About two years ago, I wrote a blog about how I was addicted to soda and I needed your help to make sure I could beat it. I failed. So I tried again. I also failed.
Then, out of the randomness of Summer, I finally made the decision that I was done drinking soda. July 31 was my last day drinking soda. And by last day drinking soda, I mean that it was the last time I would allow myself to drink it. I ended up not drinking soda that day.
I want to be honest with you: Quitting soda was really hard to do. I haven’t had a regular soda since then. Occasionally, I will drink a diet soda, but thats far and in between. I do have to make sure that everywhere I go I have access to water. I replaced soda with water and sugar free teas.
I didn’t want to give myself even a little bit of an out. Soda was delicious, but it was killing me. My addiction to soda was too real.
Now, I don’t even think about it. I don’t even hesitate asking for a tea or water when I am out.
If only I can quit eating bread.
Before I begin, I want to send my condolences to the families of the fallen from 9-11. The events that happened 16 years ago still haunt me to this day and have shaped my view of the world. America rose to a unified front during the months after 9-11. May God bless the families of the victims of 9-11.
If A 9-11 Event Happened Today, Would America Unite?
16 Years ago, a 9-year-old Ruben Jay woke up for school to see the United States in a state of terror. Two planes flew into the World Trade Centers, 1 plane into the Pentagon, and a plane crashed into the fields of Pennsylvania and would cause the beginning of the “War on Terror”, lead my Former President George Bush. In all, close to 3,000 people lost their lives that day, and thousands more would lose their lives in the wars that followed.
9-11, to this day, brings tears to my eyes. It was the first big challenge I’ve seen this country in, and I was proud to see the American people step up and help the people of New York.
The good that came from 9-11
With all the bad that came from 9-11, there was some good that came of it, even if just for a moment.
We the people of the United State became one. We were no longer divided by the results of an election or the difference of the social scene of the time. Granted, I was 9 years old and I don’t actually remember the social scene of the time. For me, the biggest problem that I had to worry about was if I was going to remain undefeated in that week’s Hand Ball Tournament. Nonetheless, America had a common goal: Heal. Much like a family after losing a loved one, people spent so much time together.
My pastor tells the story of them holding a prayer service that night and having a church filled with grieving and scared people. They were seeking the Lord in this time of unknown. People loved on one another. People prayed for one another. People helped one another.
If it happened today, would America Unite?
A lot has changed in the 16 years since 9-11. To be completely honest, it’s gotten worse in those 16 years. If a 9-11 style attack would happen on American soil today, I believe that America would fall under the pressure and divide that is in this world.
Would President Donald Trump be able to bring the American people together? Would the people of the United States even try to come together? Or would they be too worried about if President Trump was truly concerned for the American people?
America has a long history of coming together during times of tragedy, but would we do it again? I believe that the Left would be too busy being offended than trying to Unify. But who knows. May God give protection the United States.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, better known as DACA, was rescinded today by the Trump Administration. Before I get into this, I do want to say that I have empathy for those who are here illegally and did not make that choice on their own. Your parents brought you to this incredible country to give you a chance to achieve the American Dream.
With that being said, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you.
No matter how you slice it, you’ve committed a major crime (and possibly more).
Steven Crowder, the conservative host of the show Louder with Crowder, perfectly explains this paradigm in his video regarding the DACA situation. Watch below (TRIGGER WARNING: Some of the humor in this video is pretty tasteless).
In case you didn’t watch the video, here is a list of potential violations one has made in the past:
- Tax Fraud
- Social Security Fraud
- Create a false ID/License
- Using a false SSN
- Falsifying tax documents
- Illegal Entry
I’m sure there are more.
Here’s the dilemma: what do we do now?
We’ve already started the process with 800,000 “dreamers.” Can we just pull their visas/loans/jobs/status out of thin air? Technically speaking, yes. In the most basic level, if you enter this country illegally, you do not have the same rights as someone who is born here. The United States has been a gracious host for not only allowing you to stay, but also to educate you and feed you while you’re here (and if you think that illegal immigrants are not taking advantage of the system, I have a bridge to sell you!). You should consider yourself lucky to have been given the opportunities that you have received thus far.
Studies have shown that “most” of the 800,000 “dreamers” who receive DACA benefits have committed some sort of crime. While these crimes are generally “victimless” crimes (i.e. paying income tax using a false SSN – yes, that is a crime) they are crimes nonetheless.
Should we deport these dreamers?
Honestly, I don’t know. They seem to be the ones who are trying to create a better life for themselves and they are no longer living in the shadows, maybe we should keep these 800,000 dreamers. However, the bigger issue isn’t about deporting the “dreamers” that are already in the country, but rather preventing more “dreamers” from coming into this country illegally.
I’m not a perfect person. I want to give you an example of how getting away with something can lead to extremely bad habits, in this case, opening up our country to massive liability.
I am a huge fan of Starbucks. They have a refill option for brewed drinks (coffee, ice coffee, teas, etc) but it’s for same visits only. You aren’t supposed to leave and come back a few hours later and get a free or cheap refill. A few years ago, the local Starbucks I went to decided to allow me to be able to get a refill later in the day. I was able to do this a few days in a row. When I went in one day and there was someone from another store, I had an entitlement that I was allowed to get a free refill even though I bought the drink 5 hours ago. I was told by that employee what the real Starbucks policy was but I refused to accept it because I was accustomed to be treated a certain way.
But how does Starbucks lead to DACA? If you allow 800,000 illegal immigrants to stay in this country without any sort of reprimand and instead reward them, you are going to have a massive immigration problem. Which is where we are now!
Stop the bleeding!
We need to stop allowing illegal immigrants into this country. We need to stop protecting those who bring their children here in hopes of having their kids save them from deportation. Should we deport the “dreamers”? No. We really shouldn’t. We should find the exceptional ones, give them green cards, help them secure their schooling, then have them pay a higher tax for the first 5 years of their professional life to help pay their dues. However, deporting all of the dreamers would be a bad act of faith for the dreamers and to the American people as a whole.
Here are three things I think we should do to try and solve the problem.
- Secure the future of the brightest DACA/Dreamers. They will be a big help to the growth of the community and our economy.
- Secure our border and make sure that we minimize the number of people who slip through the cracks. In all reality, we can’t have people coming into this country illegally. I don’t care if you believe that this land isn’t ours. We are an incorporated country with laws, and even visitors have to follow them.
- Get rid of the bad apples. If we find that “dreamers” are committing crimes or have a record, we need to get them out. We cannot allow criminals to reap the benefits that hard working Americans have sown.
Conclusion: We have a much bigger problem than you realize.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding. (Pro 3:5)
This one is tough. It’s not tough in the basic knowledge or the concept. It’s tough because we can trust the Lord, but not always 100%.
Earlier this year, I lost my mother to cancer. The last 8 months have been a massive downward spiral in my faith and trust of the Lord. For me, most of my days were spent questioning the Lord and trying to move forward with my life. I couldn’t give the Lord the space he needed to be able to work in my life.
I did not lean on the Lord, but I leaned on myself. I leaned on the ways of the world. I had people telling me that the thoughts I had were normal and okay. But what I didn’t know was that the thoughts I had were not okay. The thoughts I had were what was causing me to question if God even loved me.
A few weeks ago, I met with Pastor Jarrod Davidoff of the Save The World Foundation and his wife, and they both reminded me about the Love of Jesus and the love of the Lord and to seek him out during my times of depression and questioning. Here I am now, Lord!
Now, I am trusting the Lord with my life again. I am no longer trying to lead my own life, but to follow the Lord in all we do!
My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
2 making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
3 yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
4 if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God. (Pro. 2:1-5)
Lets break this down. In this proverb, we are looking at some very important knowledge being shared. I read this as sound advice to us to make sure to listen to wisdom. Again, wisdom is a very big theme in the book of Proverbs.
We should seek out wisdom as we do “silver’, and in this meaning, silver is literally money. But I want to encourage you to seek out wisdom like you would a job, food, money, happiness or whatever else you seek in this life. We need to make wisdom one of the many essentails in our lives.
We need to seek wisdom like treasure (or your lost iPhone charger). Without wisdom, we have no real guidance.
In the interest of full disclosure; I am writing these blogs in effect to help me find my way back to the Lord. Your prayers and encouragement are welcome!
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Pro. 1:7)
A few years back, I was firing on all 6 cylinders, as they say. I had a fire for the Lord, I was in good standings with my church and I was serving on a regular basis. Fast forward to today and I am not as dedicated as a should be. I read this morning as and I believe it was a special nudge from the Lord.
In this verse, I don’t believe that the word “fear” truly means being afraid. I believe that the word fear is meaning to respect. Once we respect the Lord for his power and place in our life, we can begin to know the truth. It isn’t until we’ve accepted Christ into our lives that we begin to understand the truth of sinning. In the New Testament, Jesus talks about hate being the same as murder and lust is the same as adultery, the world doesn’t see it the same way and the world also doesn’t know the Lord.
We must fear our parents in order to listen to them. Not fear them to be afraid, but fear them in the same way as respecting them. A child that has no respect for their father will not learn from his father.
A fool despises wisdom and instruction. That’s important to look at. You are foolish if you don’t listen to the wisdom in your life. We all have those moments in which we get some good wisdom that we don’t listen to. When it’s time to get the receipt for not listening, we feel foolish.
Remember to fear the Lord and accept wisdom.
Donald Trump stopped by Missouri today and gave an incredible speech of hope for the people hit by this storm. Liberals, does this offend you?
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[a] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. The book of James 2:14-18
As a Christian, we tend to look at our fellow brother and sister in a time of need and say “I will pray for you”. We show them that we care through the prayers that we offer. A lot of the times, we need more than just the prayers to help a brother in need. In the scripture above, Paul is asking what good is it to offer someone our prayer when they are hungry or cold but not actually try to feed them or warm them.
This week we are reminded of this idea of showing your faith by action. megachurch pastor Joel Os has also learned this lesson the hard way. Osteen sent a Tweet out after Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area saying the following:
Victoria & I are praying for everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. Please join us as we pray for the safety of our Texas friends & family.
Osteen offered his prayers, but there was no action at this point. He later announced that Lakewood Church has opened their doors for those who need shelter. Employees of the church also claimed that there was flooding in the church and around the church, but eyewitnesses debunk the claim. I’m not sure either way.
On a side note: I want to give Joel Osteen a lesson in PR. Joel, next time there is a disaster in your area, offer your prayers and say something like “The church and I are looking into different ways to help in relief efforts”, that might help you slow the negativity from the peanut gallery.
Show me your faith through your works.
In the book of James, Paul is urging people to not just offer up prayers and sympathy to those in need: be proactive in showing the love of Jesus in your work.
I don’t like to brag or showcase when I get actively involved in relief efforts or donating money to causes. But when I get vocal about hypocrisy in the Christian church for offering prayer with no action, I want to be able to tell people that I have given my part. So for the interest of full disclosure, I have donated $25 to the Calvary La Habra relief effort.
Joel Osteen did not offer any sort of action with his faith. One church official said that Lakewood Church was actually waiting to see when other shelters were going to get to full capacity before opening their doors…you know, how Jesus waited until there was no more food to feed the masses.
Empty prayers and promises mean nothing to those in need. I understand that sometimes you don’t have the means to donate money or supplies or your time, and that’s totally okay! What’s not okay is to be a pastor worth $50 Million and not offering the support you should. Or at least lie about it. C’mon man!
Prayer and Action are keys to a good witness.
In closing, your prayers and your action will be the witness you need to reach other people. Put your words to action, and let your action do the talking.
Donate to Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts:
For the past 8 months, I have been grieving the loss of my mom. She passed in January. Since then, I have wrestled with the loss of my Mom and blaming God for taking her. Last night, I had the most vivid dream of my Mom that helped me in such a moving way.
The dream was of me and my dad in our living room, just talking. Mom appeared in her spot and she had her arm around my dad. It was as if time had stopped during this time because my dad didn’t see her. As she had her arm around him and she looked right at me and said: “Thank you, Mijo”. I didn’t know what for. I asked her one question: Do you miss us. She answered that she did miss us but what was more important she said “I love you. Everything will be okay. You are strong and you and your dad will do fine. I love you Mijo” and then she was gone.
Her appearance healed me.
My mom was my greatest supporter. Even when she didn’t really know what she was supporting, she was always there for me. When she passed, a void was instantly created. Hearing her tell me that she loved me was a massive relief to the pain I had been feeling. She came at the right time for me. I am gearing up to get back into a spiritual walk and this helped me focus on what’s next.
Seeing her in my dream was amazing. She looked happy. She looked at peace. She looked as if a weight had been lifted off her shoulder. Seeing her in that realm really helped my heart heal quite a bit.
I’m ready to reconcile with God.
I had a few months of pain and hatred towards God. Probably still do. But hearing my Mom’s voice again and seeing her in my dreams really helped me move passed whatever ill feeling I had towards God. For now at least.
Seeing her at peace and happy made me realize that she was in such pain here on earth that mourning her is some what selfish. Getting past my own selfishness has helped me open up to the idea of talking to God again.