Tuesday, March 25, 2008

One for the world

This week at the local church house Easter was in the air. Amazing worship, families decked out in their Easter best, and time with Jesus that -for some reason- is far more powerful than every other Sunday. Something about Christianity that many people don't really realize is that people who die normally don't come back to life. Therefore, Jesus' resurrection was distinct, unique - a life and death had differently than every other human on the earth.

Pastor Mike taught that our questions about faith are appropriate for us to ask. Often we are afraid to ask the quesitons - especially about our faith, simply because we think questioning authority is bad. However, Christ wants to answer our questions and give us the knowledge and understanding of our faith. So questions are accepted daily and openly with Christ. Pastor Mike also encouraged us to seek the answers to our quesitons through Biblical teachings and texts. And lastly he encouraged us to be rid of our doubts after our answers are found.

Now all of this teaching was great- and I so appreciated it. But my mind could not stop thinking about how often the world disappoints me. It's amazing to me that so many people I come across are terrified to let their faith rule and guide their lives. They are victims to the world and the powerful, negative influences it has over people. And I can honestly say that I have been there and done that. The world is my constant disappointment. The place where TV, the internet, and media in general are my prophets. When I'm in the world -the place I go for answers is the TV, the internet, the media, and people. And how often are the teachings of the media and human nature much more detrimental to the overall wellbeing of all of us?

Honestly, it's hard to grasp the idea that Christ and faith can give someone so much peace and overall confidence in life. This is especially true when someone has never experienced the freedom of the Christian faith. It is through Christ that an unexplainable peace comes over you even in some of the most difficult times of life.

This has been true in my life over the past six months or so. I was in a relationship with someone for about 2.5 years - and that's a lot of time to spend with someone. I got to know this guy on a very personal basis and I truly believe that we know more about each other than many people know about us. Our relationship was not what it was supposed to be, and we ended it. I'm not going to sit here and lie to you - it was awful. You can't even put into words the feeling of heartbreak. It was through this time that I called out to Jesus like I never have before and He met me where I was - devastated, alone, and truly scared. It's been a few months now since that all happened- and I can say that I'm stronger now than I ever have been before. I'm more confident and focused than I have been in over 3 years. I'm happier now than I have been in a long time. And I'm beginning to find the true me that has been pushed aside for so long.

I wish so much that I could share this astounding joy with everyone I come into contact with. I wish I could just walk up to everyone and give them the freedom and the peace that I feel. Yes, I still hurt over the break-up, and yes I'm still frustrated and confused and hurt because of what happened. However, I had a choice to make when that break-up happened - and if I chose the world - I would NOT be okay right now. Honestly, I would probably be in a severe depression, contemplating ending my life, and constantly reminding myself of the bad parts of my life instead of the good - beating myself up over the failure of a relationship. And I could almost bet, that I would be trying to fill the void that my ex left in my heart with someone else. But I didn't choose that path....

With Christ and his prophets (of David, Solomon, Paul, Billy Graham, etc) there is freedom, peace, love, joy, compassion, everlasting hope, and strength to get through each day. Choosing Him is a hard choice to make and a terrifying one. It's SO hard to give up our power as humans and put aside our pride. But it's one of the most powerful and amazing feelings in the world to know in your heart of hearts that everything is going to be okay, and that Christ is standing beside us, picking us up when we fall and carrying us home. Sure, it's no walk in the park being a Christian - but the overall calm and encouragement we receive in Christ is....AMAZING!

So which will you choose today? The way of the world and constant diappointment and depression. Or the way of Christ and eternal life, joy and hope? Choose life my friends - you will never be disappointed that you did!

Footprints (SO TRUE!)

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,
"You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me?"

The Lord replied,
"The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints in the sand,
is when I carried you."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lessons Learned

Hi all! Welcome back to the local Tenacious Insights! So this week I've dug back into the local Country Music that I LOVE so much! In fact... some of my good girlfriends and I are going to the Rascal Flatts concert when they're in town. LOVE THEM!!! Anyways, I was listening to a Carrie Underwood song called "Lessons Learned". Here's how it goes:

There's some things that I regret,
Some words I wish had gone unsaid,
Some starts,That had some bitter endings,
Been some bad times I've been through,
Damage I cannot undo,
Some things,I wish I could do all all over again,
But it don't really matter,
Life gets that much harder,
It makes you that much stronger,
Oh, some pages turned,Some bridges burned,
But there were,Lessons learned.

[Chorus:]And every tear that had to fall from my eyes,
Everyday I wondered how I'd get through the night,
Every change, life has thrown me,
I'm thankful, for every break in my heart,
I'm grateful, for every scar,
Some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were lessons learned.

There's mistakes that I have made,
Some chances I just threw away,
Some roads,I never should've taken,
Been some signs I didn't see,
Hearts that I hurt needlessly,
Some wounds,That I wish I could have one more chance to mend,
But it don't make no difference,
The past can't be rewritten,
You get the life you're given,
Oh, some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were,Lessons learned.

[Chorus:]And every tear that had to fall from my eyes,
Everyday I wondered how I'd get through the night,
Every change, life has thrown me,
I'm thankful, for every break in my heart,
I'm grateful, for every scar,
Some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were lessons learned.

And all the things that break you,
Are all the things that make you strong,
You can't change the past,Cause it's gone,
And you just gotta move on,
Because it's all,Lessons learned.

Okay, I know I say this alot, but I LOVE music!! It's able to put emotion into words and describe the feelings of life that happen everyday. This song is amazing to me simply because it says exactly how I feel. Over my life, I've made mistakes. I've diappointed people. I've hurt those closest to me. I've broken hearts and mine has been broken. Bridges have been burned far more than I would have liked. However, EVERY single problem, trial, issue, challenge, whatever you call it that I have faced has made me who I am today. Yes, they broke me and devastated me, but they have made me so much stronger and so much more able to see and have compassion and love for those around me.

Yes, I've been extremely hurt and disappointed through the years, but I've just got to get up everyday happy for the day I have ahead of me. Looking to see how I can help those around me, and seeing the needs in others - that's why I'm here. These lessons... although harder than anything sometimes to get over - are lessons truly learned and incredibly life changing.

So here's to disappointments, trials, heartaches, and sufferings - for they are Lessons Learned!

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Word on Socialized HealthCare

If you think health care is expensive now - wait until it's free!

Hi Everyone! So most of you know that I'm currently a licensed Insurance Agent and I work for an amazing company. I have a girl in my office that was writing a paper on the issue of Universal healthcare. In my job, she asked me a bunch of questions relevent to the topic and whether or not I believe in what I do. So what exactly do I do? I work to get Small Busineses and Individuals Medical, Dental, Long Term Care, Disability, Life Insurance, as well as Financial Planning. I thought I would share with each of you my concerns about the idea of socialized or Universal Healthcare. These are the answers I gave my friend:

1. I absolutely agree with and believe in what I do for a living. I'm not the type of person that enjoys having a job just to have a job and pay the bills- I value the fact that I'm helping people understand the whole Healthcare system and finding the best fit for them. I truly believe that I'm helping others through my work and I know that my clients very much value my feedback and advice. So I LOVE being an Insurance Agent! :-)

2. The Current Healthcare system is definitely flawed- however, every system in this country has some kind of flaw somewhere. Overall, I think we have a pretty great Healthcare System working for us - definitely one of the best in the world. Often times, As Americans, we forget how blessed we are to have the things we do - and we begin to de-value everything within our lives. This is also true of our healthcare. Since we live in a "now" mentality we are impatient to wait for change or won't work together with the Insurance Companies with any issues we have - we just throw our problems to the government and expect them to take care of us.

**Strengths of current system- FREEDOM OF CHOICE! You can choose your own plan to best fit your Medical Needs. Overall GREAT healthcare where you can see any doctor and have the freedom to get a second opinion at any point. Costs are another plus - most Businesses will pay for their employees health insurance costs - thus keeping the costs low. And higher risk people (AIDS, cancer, Coronary Artery Disease) are placed in a different payment pool so the healthy people don't have to be penalized in cost for the unhealthy.

**Weaknesses- Cost- The costs are increasing due to Increased Technology, New ways of doing procedures, increased Doctors Costs (they have to insure themselves for malpractice suits), Prescription Drug Cost, Hospital Services, and Increased Usage. What MOST people don't understand is that most Medical Insurance companies are NON-PROFIT organizations - which means in essence that legally they are NOT allowed to keep more than 3% of their annual revenue. That means the money is NOT going to the Insurance Companies but DIRECTLY to the consumers, doctors, hospitals, etc. for their increased everything (see list above). So the cost is a good thing in that we get better coverage overall - but it's a bad thing because it costs so much.... Talk about a conflict!

*BTW - EVERY governmentally supported Medical system is broken and barely functioning. We see this most greatly in Medicare. The system is running out of money because the Baby boomers are retiring and they didn't populate the earth enough to pay for their high cost Medical Bills (that's us - they didn't have enough kids to pay it forward). :-) HA! But serisouly, Medicare is a dying system that is a MESS To work with and no one in the government has any answers on how to fix it. Payments are not paid out according to the bills sent for patients. Medicare does not pay 100% of everything and does not pay for Preventive Care at all - and if you want good coverage for your Medicare you WILL have to buy a public Market "Supplement" or "MedAdvantage" Plan. So the government is proving left and right that they cannot support their own "Universal Healthcare" for old people. And you will still have to pay HUGE amounts of money out of pocket for the quality care so many are looking for.

3. Universal Healthcare is problematic simply because we lose the ability to CHOOSE. The government begins to make our decisions for us. With Capitalistic Medical (what we have now) Doctors, Hospitals, and Pharmacy's have the ability to "compete' for clients and usage. This encourages better growth and better care by the Hospitals and Doctors to keep people coming back to them. However, with Universal Healthcare competition is stifled and thus doctors will all be paid the same for the services rendered.

Another problem with Universal Healthcare is COST. People have this notion that the government has extra money lying around just waiting to be spent on us, the people. I'm not sure if you know this, but our national DEBT or DEFICIT is like at 7 trillion dollars at this point - and rising everyday! I would say that we don't have ANY extra money lying around. So then, how do we pay for everyone's healthcare? Oh simply by taxing the people more of course. And everyone likes having more cash in their pocket instead of paying the government more money - wouldn't you rather get the whole $1 instead of only $.70 cents of it? I think so.... :-) There are conservative estimates out there that if Universal Healthcare comes into effect many people can see their taxes rise up to 50% of their total income. So if you make $50,000 a year, $25,000 of it goes directly to the government and probably about $15,000 of it will be for healthcare (regardless of age and health history).

Yet another issue is FORCED participation. This means that with most of the plans out there you won't even legally be able to get a job unless you are enlisted in the Governmental Medical Plans. So if you don't want to pay for the cost of Insurance you will still be FORCED to pay for it anyway. And you lose your freedom of choice in the meantime.

We see another problem that has to do with ETHICS - because competition is stifled Individuals getting care are often placed on waiting lists for care (see video below). A great example of this is found in Canada where many Canadians are coming to the US for care because their doctors are overworked so much that some terminally ill people are turned away for care. So if you want to live America is the key to freedom from illness. For example, the Doctors in Canada see two patients one is 60 and one is 40. The 60 year old is in great health and takes care of his body, but has prostate cancer. The 40 year old also has cancer, but he is inactive, overweight, and diabetic. The Doctor can only treat and heal one person - and he sees the 40 year old as having more years to live because he's younger. So he treats the 40 year old and the 60 year old dies. Why in the world should doctors be making the choice of who deserves to be treated or who gets to live another day?? I don't think that should be the choice of the doctor but the choice of the PATIENT. Ethics my dear Watson... Ethics! :-)

I'm a little passionate about this -if you haven't noticed. :-) I've had many conversations with friends and family members about this. And in all honesty, Socialism is the way to demolish a society. We see this in Germany, North Korea, France, and many other countries. When we rob the rich to pay for the poor we are stifling economic growth and encouraged Small Business and Competition. Hopefully this little informaton has shone light upon a topic that is greatly influencing our world today.

Example Video!: http://www.freemarketcure.com/brainsurgery.php