I have formed the habit of posting a message on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus each Sunday: "Your sins are forgiven. That is all. Spread the word!"
I intend to keep doing so until I no longer can.
There ain't no free lunch.
"Free" just means, "Paid for by somebody else."
I've experienced enough "free" to know that when something comes that way, the most appropriate single response is gratitude. And sometimes that's the ONLY appropriate response. Sometimes, "Thanks!" is all that needs to be said.
At other times, nothing needs to be said, but something needs to be done. Some demonstration of gratitude.
So today I will add, in keeping with the season, that the forgiveness of our sins is free for us because Jesus paid for it with his life.
From the minute we believe that, our lives should be suffused with gratitude towards both the Father and the Son, a gratitude that flows from the Spirit, and is bigger than every fear, bigger than every resentment, bigger than every sorrow.
If you aren't there yet, know that you can be, by growing your gratitude. Remember every day that your sins are forgiven, and thank both Father and Son every day for that fact. If you do nothing else on any given day, do that: speak gratitude.
Want to grow your gratitude further? Learn more about what God has done beyond forgiving your sins, like giving you (already, not in the future) every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms (yes, the Bible actually says that. Want to have your mind blown completely? Read the first three chapters of Ephesians in one sitting.).
Then, if you do only one other thing every day, do this: act from gratitude. Having chosen to be grateful, let gratitude govern your other choices: "Because of what Jesus has done for me, I now choose to do x (rather than y or z - which I might have done if it were just about me)."
In short, as people who share the life of the resurrected Christ, let our expression of that life begin with gratitude for that life. At the very least, speaking gratitude and acting from gratitude will strengthen our bonds to God Himself, and make us less subject to the willy-nilly of our other emotions.
Beyond that, who knows? Maybe the people we care about who do not yet believe will find it much easier to do so, when every Christian they know shows gratitude for being forgiven.
Here's the question: Does Donald Trump have dementia?
Most of what I see regarding Donald Trump characterizes him as stupid, psychopathic, narcissistic, or some combination of the three.
None of that acknowledges the possibility that he may have dementia.
Whatever else he is or isn't, Donald Trump is first and foremost a 70-year-old man. For him to experience Alzheimer's, which often manifests during when a person is in their 60s, would not be strange or unusual.
And yet, the press, as far as I know, has largely ignored the possibility of Donald Trump having dementia.
Enter David Pakman.
By focusing on language, Pakman illuminates the fact that Donald Trump is frequently incoherent. In the segment of Trump's interview with David Muir that Pakman quotes, that may not have come across in the moment (around the 4:00 mark here), because one of Donald Trump's great skills is speaking with such confidence that people tend to go along, even when he not making sense. But when you read his words, or repeat them as Pakman does, the lack of cohesion becomes startling.
Now, David Pakman is not HuffPo, WashPo, or WSJ...but he does have a large enough audience (344,390 subscribers) so that him voicing this concern could trigger more of the needed dialogue. Because we need a LOT of dialogue.
Think with me for a minute. Would you agree that:
1. Donald Trump may well have dementia...
2. If he does have dementia, it will only get worse, because dementia is both progressive and irreversible...
3. If he does have dementia, he may become visibly unable to serve long before his term expires, triggering the exercise of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment...
4. If he does have dementia, the people closest to him probably KNOW it already, and are propping him up...
If #4 is true, then nothing that Trump himself says or does is as important as the question, "Who's really governing in the Trump administration?"