Category: Personal Growth

Seeking personal improvement

Constitution Review part 1

It’s no secret that there is a current emphasis on the Constitution in these days. For many are claiming one thing or another that the Constitution says and guarantees. So, it is vitally important to know the document itself, it’s pieces, principles, and powers. Our purpose in this 4-part review is to look at those pieces, principles and powers so that you can be refreshed in your understanding of our great document and equipped to support and defend it.

There are only 3 pieces to the Constitution.

The 1st piece is the Preamble. This is like an opening or introductary paragraph.

The 2nd piece is the Articles. There are 7 articles and each of them explicitly lays out the details of how our government is structured, who makes up each part, what their responsibilities are, and their qualifications. Additionally, these articles deal with how the nation does business and deals with other nations, and how the federal government and each state government work together.

The 3rd piece is the Amendments. These are now 27 amendments, or changes that have been made to the Constitution since it was ratified.

As far as guiding principles found in the Constitution, we would have to mention these:

Self-government – the framers were firm in their resolve that America NOT be like their former homeland, with a Monarch, and where the people had little voice. Therefore, they chose to create a government in which the people’s voice directed the shape and direction of the leaders in government and the nation.

Liberty – Giving the people as much individual freedom as possible was a priority of the framers. That is why, in the ratification process, there were states that refused to ratify the Constitution unless and until a Bill of Rights was added that would ennumerate the freedoms provided by and protected by this new government.

Federalism – This gives certain, clearly defined and limited powers to a strong, central government but also specifically reserves the other powers to the states.

Separation of Powers – Not wanting any one person or branch to have too much power, our framers set out a structure of government that keeps three branches separate but equal. Included here comes the responsibility of those separate powers to check on the other two branches.

Let’s look now more closely at The Preamble.

WE THE PEOPLE” is the best known phrase from the Constitution and is the first three words of the Preamble. Listed in this brief, introductory paragraph are the 6 purposes of the entire document. Perhaps you had a History or Social Studies teacher who taught you the Schoolhouse Rock song? (I was that teacher… ha ha)

The 6 purposes are:

  1. to form a more perfect union – we’re making what we had even better
  2. establish justice – justice for all
  3. insure domestic tranquility – insure peace and protections for the inhabitants of the nation
  4. provide for the common defense – defend all states and the nation
  5. promote the general welfare – tend to the welfare of its citizens
  6. secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity – make the nation strong not just for us, but for the generations to come

How would you say we are doing living up to this remarkable Preamble?

In our last section for today, we will look at the first three Articles.

Article I- Congress/Legislature is the longest article & tells us about the legislative branch called Congress, and it shall consist of the Senate, elected every six years, and the House of Representatives, elected every two years. The Senate shall have 2 elected representatives from every state and representation in The House is based on each state’s population. Totaling 435 members of Congress.

The Capitol in Washington D.C. houses Congress

It’s important to note here, that “The Great Compromise” that was reached when settling this Two House government came with huge debate. The larger states and the smaller states wanted equal representation in Congress and via this compromise they got both, equal representation (in the Senate) and propotional representation (in the House).

Congress in session. (working)

Each of the 10 sections in Article 1 clearly spell out qualifications, how they are elected, duties, responsibilities, how a bill becomea a law, how Congress is run, and limits on Congressional powers. There are actually 18 listed powers that the Congress has. (see Article 1, section 8) Funding, declarations of war, and states importing and exporting with Congressional approval are some highlighted responsibilities.

Article II – The Executive/President The chief executive of the U.S. is the President, who is elected every four years, along with the Vice President. How he/she is elected, their qualifications, duties and responsibilities are listed. Additionally, how she/he shall be removed from office, what happens when the office is vacated, and how he/she is sworn in , is clearly articulated in this second article.

The White House in Washington D.C. is both the home and office of the President.

Article III – Judicial power of the U.S. is invested in one Supreme Court, and many inferior Courts. Particulars regarding trials, cases, juries, and crimes are innumerated in the 3 sections of this article. Treason is spoken of in this article, what it is and how it should be judged.

The Supreme Court in Washington D.C. is where the Justices do their business

A very signifigant point to make regarding The Supreme Court involves the issue of “Judicial Review”. This, a main responsibility of The High Court is when a law is presented to them in a case, and their task is to determine if, in fact, that law is “Constitutional”. They must determine if that state or federal law violates the constitution. If it does, (as determined by a majority vote of the 9 Judges) then it is deemed unconstitutional and reversed.

Many believe that these Judges have “legislated from the bench” (thorugh the years), thereby changing laws and resulting in a changed national outcome from what elected representatives have passed. The phrases to watch for are :

  • Strict Constitutionalist – one who believes the text of the constitution is not open for or to interpretation, it’s words are literal.
  • Judicial Activist – one who believes the Constitution is a living document and should be interpreted based on present situation.

These three Articles define what we often refer to as the Three Branches of Government, Legislative, Executive, and Judicial; and they clearly tell us who they are, what they do, and what is allowed in our government.

This document, our Constitution is the supreme law of our land. All persons and politicians are bound by it and no one is above it. Therefore, we best know it. Not know of it, not believe everything we hear about it, but know it. Know the document itself.

You can easily find it online at https://constitution.congress.gov

My personal go to’s

Paperback copies of the Constitution can be purchased as well. If you visit Washington D.C. or your Senator’s local office, they often give them away as well.

Please, if you are a citizen of the United States, of if you care deeply about America, do your due diligence and be familiar with this document. It is our responsibility as citizens to vote, and uphold the laws of the land, so we should know them as outlined in the Constitution.

https://momsforamerica.us has posted a short little constitution quiz which may be fun for you to take.

Whatever you do, I hope you’ll check back next week, for part 2 of our Constitution Review.

God Bless America,

Debbie

Sources:

US Constitution for dummies, Dr. Michale Arnheim

The Constitution of the United States of America

Constitution Day

September 17, 1787

Here it was, four years after independence had been won by the colonies, (the Treaty of Paris was signed Sept. 3, 1783) when this pronouncement was made,

It appears to me then little short of a miracle that the delegates from so many different states… should unite in forming a system of national government…”

George Washington, delegate to the Convention in Philadelphia, September 1787

Fifty-five men, from twelve colonies, (Rhode Island did not send representatives) had just spent months of debate (May – September), in the Pennsylvania Statehouse, located in Philadelphia, during the heat of summer, to produce a federal system of government that included checks and balances. Their finished product was called the Constitution of the United States. This was the miracle to which George Washington referred.

PA Statehouse, Independence Hall
George Washington and the delegates

It was apparent in 1786, two years after the Revolutionary War ended that the Union would break apart without a fix to the standing national government called The Articles of Confederation. This document had been drafted during the War by the Continental Congress to help guide the colonies through war and provide some sort of central government. It was obvious now, something more needed to be done for the sake of the new, fledgling nation.

At the pleading of the Annapolis Convention, (5 states with Maryland) in 1786, a Convention was called for in Philadelphia, May, 1787. On May 25, 1787, what we call the Constitutional Convention met with those fifty-five delgates at the statehouse in Philadelphia. Their intended purpose was to amend The Articles of Confederation.

After some time, it was clear that amending the Articles was to be scrapped. Something new had to be created. In this closed meeting house, with windows and doors shut tight for privacy (and sweating in wool coats and vests), without AC, these partiots hammered out the structure, form, and substance of our federal government. They built consensus, offered compromise, all within secrecy and never even threw a punch! (now that’s a miracle!)

Alexander Hamiliton, one of the delegates writes,

Alexander Hamilton

For my own part, I sincerely esteem it a system which without the finger of God (Luke 11:20) never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.”

Alexander Hamiliton, upon the signing of the Constitution

James Madison, another delegate, writes,

James Madison

It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it the finger of that Almighty Hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the Revolution.”

James Madison, upon signing the Constitution

What these men came up with, our Constitution, is what governs our land now. It is what has inspired and modeled for other nations their constitution. The similiarities between ours and theirs is often identical in wording.

The U.S. Constitution

This document, the Constitution, was signed by thirty nine of the delegates on September 17, 1787, and as per the specification in the Constitution, later ratified by nine of the thirteen colonies to become effective. New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify it on June 21, 1788. It was agreed upon that this new government would begin March 4, 1789. (Which is why Inaguration Day was in March for so many years. In 1981 it was changed to January 20.)

Our Constitution provides for:

  • 3 Branches of government
  • Legislative/Congress – make laws, checks on other branches
  • Executive/President – manages daily operations of the government, checks on other branches, enforces the laws
  • Judicial/Federal courts, Supreme Court – courts, judges, checks on the other branches, makes sure the laws are constitutional
  • Personal freedoms as stated in the Bill of Rights/first 10 amendments
  • Ways to amend or change the Constitution
  • Separation between the federal and state powers
  • all the qualifications for elections, candidates, how laws are made, where money comes from, treaties, citizenship, emprisonment, trails, searches and seizures, how a republic is run
  • and so much more
Outline of the contents of the Constitution

This document, our Constitution, has been and continues to be the “the law of the land”. All federal employees, military personal and so many other employees, upon entering their positions take an oath “to faithfully defend the Constitution”.

It is sacred, above all other ideologies, and worth every effort of patriots to defend. It is the law of our land, not immutable however, as provisions to change it are also addressed.

What the founding fathers and the framers created is a clearly laid out form and structure for our government. It has come under much scrutiny, debate and with much compromise and it still stands today, as Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration says, ” as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament were the effects of a Divine power.”

It behooves us then, We The People, to stand in the spirit of those patriots- who pledged their best hopes, strongest intellectual pursuits, and good faith in the creation of that Constitution, to do the same.

On this Constitution Day, 2022, 235 years after it’s signing, may we fully understand and promote, but also strongly defend The Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

In keeping with this challenge to understand, and leading up to the elections in 8 weeks, I will be presenting a 4 week follow-up refresher on The Constitution, walking us through the body of the Constitution, and examining the parts. They will be as follows:

  • Week 1 – The Preamble & Articles 1-3 Legislative, Executive & Judicial Branches
  • Week 2 – Articles 4-7 –
  • Week 3 – The Amendments, 1-10 The Bill of Rights
  • Week 4 – The Amendments, 11-27

You can see original copies of The Constitution, The Bill of Rights and The Declaration of Indepenence at The National Archives in Washington D.C.

National Archives, Documents on display

I hope you will sharpen your understanding and appreciation of this great document and our great nation and check back in to join us in that endeavor.

Debbie

God Bless America,

Sources

Britannica – The Constitutional Convention

History.com

Yahoonews.weather

National Archives – The Framers

BrainyQuotes.com

Dealing with Shame

Today, one of the most significant mental issues facing all of us is learning to deal with shame. In this video lesson we take a deep dive into this important topic for every person’s growth, well being and emotional stability.

click on to watch

Please take the steps needed to be free of shame. It is possible, through Jesus – the one who carried it all for you because He loves you.

Go with God,

Debbie

A Brief Lesson in Optics

light through a prism

Optics –

a science that deals with the genesis and propagation of light, the changes that it undergoes and produces, and other phenomena closely associated with it”

Merriam-Webster

So what do we know about light, and why should I care? How ‘bout these factoids?

  • Light is a natural energy produced to make things able to be seen
  • Light energy is always moving
  • Light is an electromagnetic wave, one of 7
  • Light travels at 186,000 mph
  • Light is plants sole source of food – therefore light provides food to all life
  • Light is vital for growth, sleep and body rhythms
  • Light is stored in all carbohydrates, therefore vital to our nutrition
  • All objects produce light (electromagnetic waves), we just can’t see them
  • Visible light accounts for less than one ten-billionth of the electromagnetic spectrum – so that means there is waaaaaaay more to be seen than is actually being seen.

We should care about light because as shown by the above facts, without light, life on earth would cease. The end. Fin. La Fin. Mwisho. Das Ende. Fim. Ang Dulo.

Allow me to remind you of some interesting features of light.

Light travels in waves, and always in a straight line. If an object gets in lights way – the light wave will bend, refract or get absorbed by the object. The actual wave or light beams, are made of zillions of air packets of light – called photons.

Visible light is what allows us to see colors and beauty. You actually see things when light enters your eye. That light can be from one of two sources – a light bulb or refracted light, which is much more common. If no light enters the eye, you see black – darkness. And to restate, all objects produce light, they create electromagnetic waves, the problem is that humans can’t see them.

Light not only benefits all life but is absolutely needed for life to exist. In addition, light is needed for drying and evaporation on earth. It is needed for sanitation on and scavenging in earth. Light actually raises earth’s temperature and therefore maintains not only temperature but life.

photosynthesis

Light is used in medicine and in all sorts of human applications.

Two more light tid bits and then we will drive this all home, okay?

Plato, the great philosopher once thought humans could shoot light from our eyes. Boy, what would this world be like if we could? I guess you can’t always be a genius, Mr. Plato.

A “jiffy” is a unit of measure that dictates how long it takes for light to travel up to a centimeter. So, when we say, “I’ll be back in a jiffy”, we’re making a pretty fast trip! ha ha Light travels so fast (186,000 mph) that if a human were to travel at the speed of light, in one second they could circumnavigate earth 7.5 times!!!! That’s MORE than a jiffy. Geesh!

We’ve shined the light on light’s characteristics, let’s focus now on another aspect of light.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16 ESV

As we have been for the past few weeks, we peek here into The Sermon on the Mount, preached by Jesus some 400 years after the close of the Old Testament era. Here, He was, newly introduced by his cousin John, as the worthy Lamb of God, who was the One spoken of. He went up to a mountain, and Sat down where thousands gathering around Him to hear Him teach about His kingdom ways.

BAM! The first words out of His mouth are eight values of the kingdom of God. (poor in spirit, mourn, meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted for righteousness sake) Then, He uses the analogy that these values are like salt, and as His followers live by them, they are actually salting, seasoning and presevering the earth. (For more see the past 3-4 Sunday Sermon blogs.)

Now, He makes another analogy or metaphor comparing the followers in His kingdom to light.

Your lives light up the world.”

Matthew 5:15 TPT

Wait. What? How can I, a simple little human living in Southern California light up the world? I just get up, go to work, love my family, and try to be kind to others, then get up the next day and do the same. “Light up the world” is a rather hefty statement, Jesus. But is it?

From the very beginning of creation, God’s focus has been on light.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

Genesis 1:3 ESV

And God said, “Let there be lights in the heavens to separate the day from the night…and let them be lights to give light upon earth…And it was so…And God made two great lights – the greater to rule the day and the lesser to rule the night…and God set them to give light on the earth… to rule over the day and the night… to separate light from darkness.”

Genesis 1:14-18 ESV

Light’s design on earth has always been to give life, to give light to the earth, to separate light from darkness, and to rule.

It’s funny that God said in Genesis 1:14 – “let there be lights” and Jesus said, in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light”. Jesus was telling us that as we live His kingdom values, and under His kingdom authority, we shine as light does in the world. We light up the darkness, we are the light. But how?

With Jesus, the light of the world, John 8:12, living in us, our kingdom actions and choices are seen by others. They are a light pointing the way in darkness. They are energy waves, illuminating from us, picked up by people, bouncing off of them, or being absorbed by them. Our words and actions, our auora even, distinguishes us, separates us, as “different” – because we are carriers of The Light. Sometimes people, really can see our light and they should. It should be giving light to all in the house. It should be on a stand for all to see. We should be standing for the Light of the kingdom.

As light, our course is a straight path. His Word is our true North, and we don’t waver off course. We bounce off of some people, bring clarity to others, and expose still others. Our light sanitizes or helps to clean up dirty places in people (and us), while at the same time bringing warmth to the cold hearts of some walking our earth.

Our light is earth’s medicine. Earth’s life. Without our light, the earth would be enveloped in total darkness.

But our light is meant to give life, bring light, separate and rule the darkness. Darkness will never overpower our light or even understand it. John 1:5

God has set the lights in the sky, just as he has set brightly lit cities on hills. Those cities are filled with zillions of photon-people, like YOU, litting up not only their city, but the darkness. In much the same way that the Israelites’ homes were filled with light, during the ninth plague of darkness that gripped Egypt. Exodus 10:23

Our light helps all to see beauty, color, distinction. Our light can be like a light bulb, shining when needed in a dark space or refracted light- shining and bending back. Refracted light will change – and speed up, depending on the substance it is entering. It adjusts to the object. Without refracted light, focus is lost.

It matters little whether you are a light bulb or being refracted, as long as you are shinning.

Don’t hide your light.”

Matthew 5:16 TPT

These may well be days of darkness, but they are too, days of separation and distinction. They are days of waves of light beaming upon our earth, once again bringing light to the earth, and ruling over the darkness. Just as God originally intended.

May these words serve as a prism for you which will inspire and challenge you to burst forth in colorful, visible light upon your world.

Our world needs a brief lesson in optics.

Debbie

Sources

Factcity.com facts-about-light

Afrilcate.com facts-about- light

Study.com/academy/lesson/factsoflight

Light – studyread.com/uses of light

Wired.com – light

Let God Love You

One of the most significant things that we can learn in life is how to accept love and open ourselves up to being loved. Opening yourself up to God’s amazing love will melt, change, warm, strengthen and amaze you and is the most important experience of your life, bar none.

See what I mean in this video. You’ll never be the same.

Let Him love you,

Debbie

Healing From What We Are Harboring

Recently in my reading, I was struck with a phrase that has been reverberating through my spirit, mind and soul. It was this:

Because you harbored an ancient hostility

Ezekiel, the Prophet, chapter 35 verse 5

Other renderings put the same phrase this way –

  • because you kept this age-old grudge. The Message
  • because you kept eternal hatred. NLT
  • because you cherished perpetual enmity. ESV
  • because you maintained perpetual hatred. CSB
  • because you have had everlasting enmity. NASB

The challenge to me was to inspect within myself, those areas that may be harboring any type of grudge, resentment, or bitterness; those unresolved, concealed or secret hurts, or offenses. God was calling me to identify them for what they are – hurts, painful events, and to let them go by allowing Him to uproot their poisonous taproot of resentment and bitterness.

I believe this same experience is what He would have for all of us. He is wanting to completely heal us of all of our grudges, bitterness and resentment. He wants us to be whole and unhindered by negative, past feelings, memories and experiences. Letting go of the anger, bitterness, hurt and pain of the past allows us to focus on the present.

When we hold on to grudges and resentment, it’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick.

Piedmont Healthcare, Angela Buttimer MS, NCC, RYT, CPC

In the book of Hebrews, we find this very same issue being addressed:

Make sure no one lives with a root of bitterness sprouting within them which will only cause trouble and poison the hearts of many.

Hebrews 12:15 TPT

The Apostle Paul adds this piece of insight to this whole issue of anger, bitterness, resentment and grudges:

In your anger, do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold.

Ephesians 4:26-27 NIV

It is apparent that unresolved anger leads to poisonous roots growing in our heart, and yields a place for the devil with his toolbox of sins to grow.

One last quote and then we will look at a story.

James, the brother of Jesus, who wrote the book of James, and also knew a thing or two about envy, and selfish ambition left us this piece of wisdom: (geesh, can you imagine dealing with the envy, bitterness, resentment, and misunderstanding in this home between these brothers??!)

But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts….such wisdom is earthly, unspiritual, demonic…”

James 3:14 NIV

All of us have had conflicts from which grudges have grown. Those grudges sorta become our consolation prize- we were wronged and now we get a grudge. It seems to serve us as a way to compensate for our negative feelings.

A perfect example of this is found in the story to which Ezekiel was referring in our opening statement about harboring ancient hostility.

The story begins in Genesis 25, where we see Rebekah about to give birth to twin boys who we now know as Esau and Jacob.

Even from the womb these boys were jostling, wrestling and competing. Gen. 25:22 As they grew, they developed very different likes and lifestyles. Esau was an outdoors, hunter kinda guy, while Jacob was a stay at home, cooking in the kitchen type. Esau and his Dad were close, Jacob and his Mom were close. Gen. 25:27

The first glimpse we have of growing tension between Esau and Jacob is when Esau comes in from a long and exhausting hunt and is famished. Cooking in the kitchen is, guess who? Yep, Jacob. Esau asks Jacob for some of his yummy, red, stew, so Jacob finagles a deal – food for your first-born birthright. Esau easily caves and swears an oath to Jacob, stew for my birthright. Genesis 25:34 says that Esau hated his birthright.

Esau had given up his firstborn position in the family. Some would say Jacob tricked Esau out of it. What do you think?

Either way or both ways, Jacob was now considered the firstborn son with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto. And so it begins, the grudge holding, bitterness and resentment.

Some years later, when Isaac, Esau’s dad was old and blind, he asked Esau to hunt him some game and prepare him a meal, because it was time for Isaac to pronounce his Fatherly blessing on his sons. Overhearing this request, Rebekah called for Jacob and told him to fix up Dad’s favorite venison meal. While Esau was out hunting, Jacob was cooking in the kitchen.

Making a long story short, Jacob and Rebekah hatched a plan that worked and one in which the Father’s firstborn blessing would be pronounced upon, you guessed it – Jacob!

When Esau returned to Dad and heard that Dad’s blessing had been given to Jacob, he vowed to kill Jacob. This was not a happy family. His grudge was now exploding and all of his pent up anger, bitterness, resentment came cascading from his lips and life. Jacob was gonna be toast if Esau had his way. This was no small grudge anymore, this was a pot boiling over with anger, hatred and bitterness.

Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”

Genesis 27:41

Mother Rebekah realizes the depth of Esau’s anger and seriousness of his threat and arranges for Jacob to steal away and live with her brother in a distant city “…for a while, until your brother’s fury subsides… when your brother is no longer angry…and when he forgets…” Gen. 27:42-45

So Jacob is on the run to uncle Laban’s while Esau is seething with anger and resentment towards his younger brother.

Insert your family story, change the names & context, but make it yours. At some point each of us has had to deal with some sort of family tension, event or encounter that has presented us with holding onto a grudge.

It’s past time to let it all go. It’s past time to be healed and to heal the broken relationships as much as possible. Pull up the anchor at this harbor and sail on a new course free from those hindering grudges. Freedom and healing will not come unless and until we do.

Jacob and Esau met again, they didn’t kill each other and they weren’t best bros either. But they got over it and more importantly, God used it in both of their lives to bring about good. That is what you can trust Him to do for you too.

Cue up Elsa, “Let it Go”.

The doctor is ready to heal you from what you are horboring.

Debbie