A prayer for the saints

Saints: Those dedicated to God and set apart for his service. All who believe in Jesus, regardless of their character or spiritual maturity.

Ephesians 1:15-23

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And god placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

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Ecclesiates 5:1-7

Guard your steps when you go to the house of God.  Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.

Do not be quick with your mouth,

do not be hasty in your heart

to utter anything before God.

God is in heaven

and you are on earth,

so let your words be few.

As a dream comes when there are many cares,

so the speech of a fool when there are many words.

When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “my vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless.

Therefore stand in the awe of God.

Struggling with the struggling

I know this post is probably opening a can of worms.  I may even make some people angry,  I may even upset a friend or two or twenty, or cause people to comment and fling insults at me about my lack of knowledge on how government systems work.   Darn straight! They would be right!  I don’t know it all.  I don’t know enough.  I witness much and it makes me sad.  Be gentle, I am just venting.

A good friend was telling me the other day that statistics show that a minimum wage earning family has more “expendable income” than your average middle class family of 4 earning $60,000 a year.

Here are a couple links to stories discussing this:

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/entitlement-america-head-household-making-minimum-wage-has-more-disposable-income-family-mak

http://www.cynicaltimes.org/articles/failing-middle-class-nears-poverty-line

Years ago, I would have been surprised by that but now now. Being a member of the middle class, and having had to help others seek public assistance…I was not.  I regularly speak to “middle class” families who live paycheck to paycheck that have had some situation (illness, injury, divorce, unforeseen repair, utility increase, inflation, etc…) that has thrown a wrench in their budget and because they “make too much money” there are no government agencies that can/will help them.

I could give a whole list of the things that our family personally does not have or do because we try to stick to a strict budget…but really that is none of anyone’s business.

I will say this though, there are opportunities given to and luxuries enjoyed by people that “qualify” for government assistance and scholarships based on their income that can sometimes frustrate me. Especially when there is a sense of entitlement that accompanies the receiving of these gifts.  Is this some sort of jealousy?  Maybe.  We work very hard for what we have and we have a good chunk of change coming out of our paychecks that go toward taxes.  Guess what pays for those government programs?

When I think hard about it, I guess what frustrates me is that we have these great programs and some people who qualify for them use them as a permanent solution rather than a temporary means to an end and then teach that same mentality to their children. There is no foreseeable consequence for it.  No reason to change the trajectory.  Just continue teaching their children which systems and programs to rely on rather than instilling a good work ethic.

Generational poverty.

The latest headlines regarding banning junk food from being paid for with food stamps, drug testing people who receive welfare, and illegal immigrants receiving government assistance have caught my attention.

I struggle with the fact that I struggle with it.  I feel that it is being judgmental and I don’t want to be judgmental!  I want a solution!(Don’t we all?)

I have occasionally thought that maybe, just maybe there could be a tiered assistance program.  One for those who need the assistance long term to survive with a strict structure to pull them up above the line.  I mean, for instance if there were standards stating that if you receive this type of assistance which includes higher education for your children then there is the expectation that the generation of children whose parents benefited will not be allowed to receive those benefits as adults from the same program.  I know, “But Dawn, how will they survive as adults if they choose NOT to participate in the education provided – well, how about WITH THEIR PARENTS – the ones who instilled in them how to survive in the world.  I have the history from both of my parents who were each 1 of 11 children who tell tales of very small homes and sharing beds and floor space and hunger that to this day is a deep seeded fear that causes my mom to feel she needs to go shopping if she has ANY shelf space in her cupboards.  Let me tell you, that taught them to WORK, and not have more children they could not afford.

There should be a middle class tier/fund for those who need occasional assistance who live beyond the parameters of the “poverty line” or live below it but somehow find a way to not receive government assistance (Because I know there are families out there doing that!) – a system of support for keeping the middle class alive.   With structure as well, maybe a max limit per year or maybe limiting how often the fund can be accessed (once or twice a year but not exceeding X dollars and by the way, what luxury are you still living with?).  I know, I know – how will it be funded and staffed and monitored?  I have not thought that far but if you are limiting assistance to a specific generation odds are that might free up some funds right?

I may very well be wrong.  Seriously.   I am kind of nervous about posting this – but I am going to anyway.

I don’t HAVE the answers.  I have a lot of questions.  I have a great deal of frustration, but not with the people receiving the assistance.  There but for the Grace of God go I. It is with the system by which it is given.