I didn’t use the classical “F” word but, the guy I was talking to do did and called me numerous other names as well. The conversation came up when I overheard him complaining about the fact that his unemployment check, food stamps, welfare check and something else wasn’t enough. He said that he was going to have to cut back on his beer and cigarettes and it just wasn’t right! He ranted for several minutes and the young lady at the checkout counter, where he was buying a case of beer and a carton of cigarettes, was obviously uncomfortable and wishing he would just move on. My reason for engaging him in conversation was two-fold. I wanted to find out more about his situation and family, and I wanted to ask what he thought about the situation in Washington today.
I asked him how long he’d been out of work and it had been over a year since he had held any kind of job and before that had worked off and on at different places long enough to qualify for unemployment, then he would manage to be let go. He said the government owed him a decent living, and all the rich people should share their money with people like him so he could do whatever he wanted, like they did. I asked about his family and that’s when he used the “F” word and asked why the blank I wanted to know. I explained that I was concerned that he might have children and about their welfare. So, I asked if he had children and his response was, “Yeah, five or six, I don’t know.” I thought that was somewhat odd that a person would not know how many children they had, so I dug a little deeper. I asked if he was married and his response was, “No, I’ve never been married, why would I be that stupid?” He used the “F” word again. I asked him if his wife was taking care of the children and he said, “How the blank would I know, it’s not my responsibility, and besides the kids are from different women, and I don’t even know where they are and don’t care.” As I dug a little deeper I found out that he was getting food stamps under the pretense that he had children at home, and drawing welfare on them as well. He was milking the system (illegally) for all he could and blatantly told me that I and everyone else like me owed it to him to see to it that he had money, a place to live, food, clothes and a fine car to drive. He then said, “Obama promised that he’d make you people share what you have with us so I’m waiting on my check, it’s pay back time!”
I told him that there were some “F” words that I’d like to share with him if he would let me. He stared or glared at me and said, “What blanking “F” words?” He used his again. So, I told him that I believe there are “FIVE” vital “F” words everybody should know and incorporate in their lives. FAITH, FAMILY, FRIENDS, FINANCE AND FREEDOM…… That’s when he told me to take a trip that I don’t plan to take using very colorful language and descriptive adjectives in doing so, all the while signaling to me that I was number one in the sign language of today! I wished him a good day and told him that I’d pray for him as he got into his new Cadillac Escalade and drove off.
I truly believe that those FIVE WORDS are cornerstones for life. In fact you might say that they are the “F” words of life! I have long believed that God is the most important person, figure or element in life. Without FAITH it is not only impossible to please God but impossible to truly live. We have faith in many things, but faith in Him is the most important. I recall Jesus asking the disciples a very pointed question in the Gospel of Luke, when they were going to cross the lake and a storm arose while He was sleeping. The disciples were terrified, waking Him and telling Him that they were going to perish. He immediately calmed the storm, then turned to them and asked, “Where is your faith?” (8:25) He didn’t inquire if they had faith. He asked what they had faith in. Too frequently it is in our ability, the government, the doctor, or someone or something else rather than Him. Our faith grounds us, helps to remove our self-reliance, and turn our hearts to dependence, not on man but Him. It has never been the government’s job to provide a living for me or anyone else. Caring for the needy has always been a responsibility of the church, family, and believers. I’m not opposed to seeing a means of assisting those who are truly needy but only so long as we are moving them from need and dependency to sufficiency and productivity.
That brings me to the second “F” word that is crucial – FAMILY. This man had no sense of family, and no support from family. I thank God for my family, my wife, children, mother, brother and sister, cousins and in-laws. They are a source of strength and comfort to me, and I dare not take them for granted or neglect my relationship with them. It has been my experience and observation, that if one has a healthy family relationship they have an established support group that will stand with them through whatever trial that comes. I believe that FAMILY is important to God! He knows, far better than we, how strong a chord a healthy, loving, and committed family is in navigating the seas of life. Sometimes, for me, just knowing they are there has enabled me to face situations that otherwise I would have crumbled under. The rarely knew it but their love, support, and strength gave me the strength, courage and determination to hang on to my FAITH and make it through. I have truly been blessed and I know it!
Then the “F” word that is harder to define and describe comes to mind – FRIENDS. Friends are vital to a healthy life, and true friends are more valuable than great riches. They become the “iron” that sharpens “iron” helping to inspire and propel us to our fullest potential. A “true friend” will not be a rubber stamp for whatever you say or do, but will give you honest feedback when you are wrong and genuine support when you are right. Thankfully, Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. Without FAITH, FAMILY and FRIENDS our lives would be “existence” not “life”. We would be plodding through this world, day by day, hoping to make it from one crisis to the next. Sadly, that is the state of far too many people in the world, and many in the Church. They wear their masks, hide their wounds, hurts, fears, insecurities and anger but inside they are a seething caldron, ready to explode. They are like an abused animal and given the right circumstances will turn on you in a heartbeat. A person that has “true friends” is a very wealthy person though they be penniless!
Then another “F” word that is important – FINANCE. It’s important because it takes money to survive in this present world. Someone said “money makes the world go round.” Obviously that is a misstatement, but without money you can’t buy the bread you need to feed your family, the gas you need to drive to work, pay the rent, mortgage, utilities and provide the health care you and your family need. When the economy is in the condition that it is today it is imperative that we have FAITH to help us hold on to our “hopes and dreams”. We need FAMILY to help us know and experience love on a human level, that helps us maintain the willingness to keep trying. We need FRIENDS to keep us from becoming isolationist, recluses and withdraw into a bitter world where we die little by little in resentment and anger. It’s difficult to keep the FAITH when your, FAMILY and FRIENDS turn away from you and when your FINANCES go into the tank due to an economic situation that has cost you your employment, and rendered you unable to afford even the basics of life. That is magnified when you see your government taking actions that make matters worse rather than better. The implementation of programs laden with hidden costs making the basic necessities barely affordable brings a sense of hopelessness that is difficult to overcome. You can easily become cynical and angry which increases the likelihood of more difficulty for you because you expect the bad rather than believing for the good or in the good. Without FAITH, FAMILY AND FRIENDS you could easily become a casualty in this battle of life.
That brings me to the final “F” word that is foundational – FREEDOM. It is more than a word, and one usually does not know what it truly was, and how valuable it was until it is taken from them or lost. Today we are seeing our liberties and freedom slowly taken from us as United States citizens. We are seeing our leaders take steps jeopardizing our very existence, and are moving us toward financial disaster as a nation, relegating us to third-world status internationally, in virtually every category. America, once a beacon of hope for the world, feared by her enemies and a comfort to her friends has become an insignificant player on the world scene. This has transpired over a long period of time but has escalated at an astronomical rate in just two short years. We have never had a President who has been so successful in implementing his policies and ideology as this one. His ideology is about as anti-American as you can get and he considers the Constitution a hindrance to what he wants to do rather than a road map to maintain the greatness of this nation. He considers the will of the people inconsequential if their opinion differs from his and considers himself above the law and even ignores court orders and circumvents Congress through his Czars, agencies and executive orders. FREEDOM is a principle, privilege and right that is being assaulted, and we as average American citizens need more than ever, to become anchored in our FAITH, endeared to our FAMILIES, in close fellowship with our FRIENDS and guarded with our FINANCES. We also must be willing to do whatever it takes to maintain or regain our FREEDOM. To me, that means intense, earnest prayer first and foremost. Then, active participation in the electoral and political processes to see people elected to office that, are godly, principled, law abiding, constitutional, and genuinely care about the best good of the people they serve. That assignment will take a considerable amount of research, investigation, questioning and prayer to determine who those individuals might be. Lastly, we must be willing to do whatever is necessary to see our Republic remain a Free Nation. I do not know what it will ultimately take, but as our forefathers in 1776 were willing to give their lives to gain this freedom, we must be willing to pay whatever price to retain it, or we will become a nation of slaves to the elitist ruling class in Washington. Our democratic republic will disappear and will be replaced by some form of tyranny with the government dictating every detail and facet of our lives…
I know that no matter what, God is still God and as David said, “I was young and now I am old and I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging for bread.” (Psalm 27:25) I trust that statement made by the man God identified as being a man after His own heart. While we are Americans, if we are believers, we are first and foremost citizens of a heavenly kingdom and sojourners on this planet. I cannot cease calling for people to “pray” and “work” for restoration of both God’s rule and reign on the earth and our republic as established by those who purchased our freedom more than 200 years ago. I am praying for a TRUE Christian to occupy the White House. I’m not talking about someone who names the name of Christ, but someone who displays His character and stands firm for His principles. I suggest that virtually every candidate will claim to be that person in the next election but not all will be. Many were swayed by Jimmy Carter’s claim to be a Christian and I don’t question his faith, but his principles and policies were not those of our Lord, so do not be fooled! Hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in your heart and commit yourself to praying and working to see those individuals elected from the city council to the White House. We have some “F” words that are meaningful and vital so let’s focus on them! May the Lord’s best be yours in all that you do!