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Faith

Joy Still Comes with the Morning

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Where is your anchor in the midst of the stormy seas we face in America today? For many, it is their Christian faith. As a believer, if you read the Bible every day, you never know when you’ll find a verse that makes you take notice. One such verse is Psalm 30:5 (ESV): “For his anger lasts but for a moment, and his favor for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

There is plenty for God and people to get mad about during these challenging times. In our op-ed world, one can find many things every day that are just plain wrong. One can get worked up about inflation, racism, the national debt, election fraud, homelessness, open borders, and any number of hot button issues. As columnists we’re good at getting anger to last a heck of a lot longer than a moment. In fact, we all know people who seem perpetually grieved by all that’s wrong with America today.

If anger’s not your thing, weeping sure seems appropriate for some of the decisions coming out of Washington today. As the song goes, some weeks I could cry me a river!

But for all of the anger and weeping conservatives seem to endure, it’s amazing how many people on the street seem clueless about what is even happening. They’re asked, “Who is Kamala Harris?” You hear: “Should I know!” “Is she a singer?” “I’ve heard the name.” For many Americans, no anger or weeping seems even necessary! Everything is fine as long as things are working for them.

As a believer, we are neither to be an obsessed and troubled advocate or a clueless citizen. The Apostle Paul writing to the Romans, asserts, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.” Blessed with a republic and the right to vote, we all ought to care about those we elect into office. If I am to be subject to their authority, we ought to pick wisely.

Yes, as believers, we should seek to be politically informed and exercise our citizenship by voting. We are called to work and pay our fair share of taxes. We should care enough to do our part to influence the political process—demonstrate, knock on doors in support of our candidates, and write our own op-ed columns and letters to the editor.

But as a Christian, never forget where our solid ground comes from—it comes from our faith in God. As the Psalmist notes, “his favor (lasts) for a lifetime” and “Joy comes with the morning.” No matter who is in office in Washington and what is happening in my life, joy is there to claim every morning because of God’s presence in and through all that we face.

Benjamin Franklin had a way of bringing humor to even the most powerful truths. He wrote, “…Parsons, even in his prosperity, always fretting. Potts, in the midst of his poverty, ever laughing. It seems, then, that happiness in this life rather depends on internals than externals….”

Do you know people who are always angry and complaining? I call them “Pit’s People.” They’re always saying, “Today is the pits! My job is the pits! Biden/Trump is the pits! This country is the pits! In fact, you’re the pits!” You avoid them like the plague. But wait a minute, what if that person is you!

Faith should and can change everything…if you let it. In God, we have a rock-solid foundation and a relationship with the Almighty who loves us and knows us by name. We’re blessed by the fruit of the Spirit in and through it all—love, joy, and peace.

That is why I worked with the TOME team in Dallas to create a thirty-one day Christian video devotion series, “Joy Comes with the Morning” (https://tomeapp.com/products/joy). The series focuses on the many faith-filled doors open to us to experience and enhance our joy and deepen our faith.

You can find Christian joy in serving, worshipping, doing daily devotions, reading the Word, a vibrant prayer life, hiking in God’s creation, giving your time and resources, and even in enjoying your ordinary days. The great American evangelist Billy Sunday liked to say, “If you have no joy, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere.” It’s time to plug a few leaks and open the floodgates to God’s joy.

Stay informed, read your op-ed columns, do your part to influence others and vote, but never forget that your faith is your solid ground. God promises to gives you joy in the morning, every morning. We are blessed to live in this great country. We can disagree and even demonstrate without being quite so hateful in how we treat each other.

Develop a healthy joy-filled perspective. Take some of your time and invest it in watching your children or grandchildren, attending faith-filled worship, watching the hummingbirds battle over your feeder, or pausing to enjoy a soaring hawk dancing on the wind. Yes, never forget to smile and let joy come with your morning…every day.

Purchase Dr. Paulson’s newly released ”Joy Comes with the Morning” course today! Get ready to enjoy the 31 short, recorded messages on your computer or smart phone. Each message is designed to expand and enhance your joy-filled faith experience whenever you need or want it. Visit https://tomeapp.com/products/joy to start bringing more Christian joy to your morning today.

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Dr. Terry Paulson is a PhD psychologist and author of The Optimism Advantage, They Shoot Managers Don't They, Speak Like a Pro, Meditations for the Trail, and The Dinner: The Political Conversation Your Mother Told You Never to Have. Since founding Paulson and Associates, Inc. in Agoura Hills, CA, Dr. Paulson has presented to such companies as IBM, 3M, Kaiser, Nationwide, SONY, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and hundreds of hospitals, government agencies, and associations. Dr. Paulson is a past president of both the Global Speakers Federation and the National Speakers Association. He’s been inducted into NSA’s CPAE Speakers Hall of Fame, an honor given to less than 230 speakers worldwide. Dr. Paulson is a long-time conservative Republican who has spoken to numerous Republican groups. He currently is a regular op-ed columnist for townhall.com and politicrossing.com. Terry brings knowledge, tasteful humor, and a passion for conservative principles to every presentation. Dr. Paulson graduated with honors from UCLA and received his PhD in psychology and an MA in theology from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology in Pasadena, CA.



 
 
 

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Faith

A Nation of Unsung Heroes

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The movie, Unsung Hero, is not only a great movie. It’s a movie that captures the struggle and hard-earned survival and eventual success of millions of Americans who have had to overcome struggles to earn their own American Dream. For two centuries, Americans have been known for their resourcefulness and resilience, and we are not done yet!

We are again living in difficult and challenging times. Surveys suggest that nearly 60% of American families are living paycheck to paycheck. Their solutions to their plight won’t be coming from politicians in Washington. Their success, as always, depends on their will and resourcefulness in overcoming daily obstacles, their ability to survive on limited resources, their scrounging for work that allows them to survive another day, and help from those who care.

That common but heart-rending struggle is conveyed in an inspiring way in Unsung Hero. The film focuses on the early struggles of the Smallbone family in the early 90’s. We watch as David Smallbone’s once-thriving music business as a concert promoter in Australia falls apart. They lose their home, their car, and their life’s savings. With no opportunities in Australia, David moves the family halfway around the world to Nashville to secure the only job he could secure. After missed flights and a long and tiring journey to Tennessee, David learns that his promised job had been given to someone else.

As their dreams fall apart, you watch as the steady faith and creativity of Helen Smallbone, played by Australian actress and mother Daisy Betts, pulls the family through one setback and challenge after another to find a way through. With six children and another on the way, every member of the family is challenged to do their part to keep them afloat. They do yard work, any work that would fill their jar of savings. They couldn’t let it be empty, and they didn’t. They kept finding a way.

They were Australians with no friends, no family, no car, sleeping on beds made out of clothes. To nurture their faith, they began attending a local church. Aware of their needs, church members found ways to help in any way they could. In a foreign country living in a city with over half-a million people, it took finding a loving faith community who cared enough to help. Watch the movie, to find out the rest of the story. Bring plenty of tissue and be ready for a few tears along the way.

America needs this movie right now. Why? Too many people are feeling hopeless in the face of growing inflation and lost jobs. They face frustrating obstacles and enormous challenges, and the answer is summed up by a quotation of Mother Teresa shared in the movie, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” Luke Smallbone, the producer of the film, acknowledged the importance of that truth, “That is really the heartbeat behind the film.” It is also the local solution that has always helped Americans find their way through-the power of family and the presence and support of their local “family of God.”

Washington may send you money, but they can’t provide the flexible and persistent support needed. It’s one’s local family, friends, and faith communities who can encourage resilience and help shape a needed recovery. Solutions come from a local community’s caring and support. It used to always be that way, and it needs to be that way again.

Our nation is full of unsung heroes who are helping their family and friends, and they are more needed than ever. If you don’t have anyone helping you, stop looking to Washinton for the help that will never come no matter who is elected President. Get involved again in your family and your community. Call your family and let them know you need help. Get back involved in your church or synagogue and let God work through them to help you get back on your feet. Investing in community is an adventure that allows you to help and be helped to the glory of God and country.

When you get involved, you most likely will not make any headlines. That is left for terrorists, violent demonstrators, and other disasters and threats out of your control. But America is strong because of millions of unsung heroes who make it all work and seldom get acknowledged. This column is dedicated to you. You deserve to be honored and applauded for all you have done and will do to keep America the country it has been and must remain. May it continue to be so in your adventure!

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Elections

Let’s Reclaim America’s Optimism Advantage

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On this New Year’s Day, America needs more than a parade and great football games; our people need renewed optimism in living our American Dream. Instead of looking for government fixes or some magical new president who will make things right, we need a kick in the pants to get busy making America work no matter what obstacles we face.

At the 1992 Republican Convention, Ronald Reagan shared what he considered the secret of his success as our President: “I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence, rather than your doubts.”

Oh, how we need leadership like that in America today. As we start this year, too many people feel powerless. Inflation may be coming down, but high fuel and food prices have taken their toll on far too many Americans. Watching the invasion on our Southern border means too many of our cities are being overwhelmed with no end in sight. We wonder if there is anything we can do but watch. The sense of despair and helplessness is contagious, but so is optimism. What attitude do you spread?

There is more than you think within your control. Every day, you make choices to make your situation better or worse. Studies of optimism find that optimism comes from a track record of overcoming obstacles. If you have had obstacles the last few years and are still making it work, pat yourself on the back. Be a proud survivor, not a victim so many seem to take pride in claiming to be.

Make each day count by starting your day doing one thing to make your situation better. Find one way to cut expenses. Find a way to increase your resources. Make a call or visit to nurture your network of colleagues and friends. Learn from your mistakes and celebrate your successes, both big and small. Nurture your faith realizing that God gave you gifts and give thanks every day for the blessings you have. Lest you forget, you’re blessed to live in America. People risk everything to come here, and few want to leave.

Yes, this is an election year, and it would sure be a gift to have a leader who would nurture the hope and optimism of all our citizens. So as the campaigns progresses and you listen to potential leaders vying for your support, ask yourself a few key questions:

Do they want to control your choices or ensure your freedoms?

Do they want to make you more or less dependent on government?

Do they want to increase the size of government and entitlements and the taxes needed to fund them or decrease them?

Do they want to force your children to go to public schools that don’t’ get the results your children deserve, or are they willing to give you the freedom to pick the schools your children need?

Do they disagree with their opponents and state why, or do they demean them and call them names?

Do they want to grow the size of government and its debt, or do they want to decrease both?

Do they believe in the citizens they represent, or do they convey that they are the answer to America’s future?

Do they take responsibility for their mistakes and actions or quickly deny responsibility and blame others?

No President is perfect. It’s easy to promise and a lot harder to deliver. Reagan focused on three things: an optimism based on free-enterprise innovation, smaller government, and lower taxes. He delivered on all but smaller government. As Reagan advisor Arnold Laffer confessed, “When it came to cutting welfare payments and school lunch,…it was very hard. Someone would come over and say, ‘How can you cut school lunches?’ Reagan would reply, ‘I guess you’re right; I’ll tell them not to cut that one.’”

The pressure to keep growing government is tempting and easy to understand, but it is not what America was created for. America’s form of government was designed to protect citizens from an over-controlling, over-taxing government. We need to reclaim that passion for freedom and self-reliance. Our founding citizens wanted the opportunity to pursue happiness, not happiness given to them at the expense of other taxpayers.

The election is months away. So I’m going to borrow on the optimism of Ronald Reagan to inspire us all on this first day of 2024: “I’m not taking your time…to ask you to trust me. Instead, I ask you to trust yourself. That is what America is all about… It’s the power of millions of people like you who will determine what will make America great again.”

Reagan wouldn’t want us to wait for the next election. We’ve had enough of eloquent politicians who think they have all the answers. We need to believe in ourselves and get busy living our own dreams. Then, in November, let’s elect a leader who will stay out of our way and give “We the People” freedom again—freedom to fail, succeed, and thrive in our own American Dream!
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