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Week Three: Grace

Posted on 24 November 2016 by Scott Cooper

Grace

This is week three in a three-week series on things I am thankful for.  The first two subjects were work and family.  Today’s subject is grace.  Three things definitely worthy of our thankfulness, three things we definitely need, and three things connected.

I often address the theme that most of life’s issues are non-respecter of person issues.  Meaning that regardless of one’s race, socio-economic status, faith, education level, nationality or geographic region, the issue being discussed affects all of us equally.  That is definitely true when it comes to the three things I have stated I am thankful for.  Regardless of our background, all of us need to work, we all need family, and we all need grace – and we should be grateful for these things!

I went to thesaurus.com to consider all the words related to grace. It’s amazing as you can see, http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/grace. It is interesting to look at the antonyms as well.

Ultimately, I was thinking about forgiveness.

This Thanksgiving season we are coming out of a Presidential election where the word vitriolic sounds like an understatement.  Following the election, the vitriol evidenced on the nightly news seems historically high.

I returned to thesaurus.com again to look up vitriol.  The words that came up are: nastiness, contempt, hostility, sarcasm, distain, hatefulness, maliciousness.  There are more – but that sums up what we have witnessed on the nightly news since we elected our next Commander in Chief, Donald Trump.

In multiple cities we have witnessed organized protests where citizens who, rather than getting permits and protesting peacefully which is their First Amendment right, have, among other things, inconvenienced their fellow citizens by shutting down traffic which defies the rule of law, meanwhile chanting “Not my President!”

So, I decided to do a little research on the closeness of Presidential elections.  The electoral college is an important part of our republic, but today I am specifically speaking about the popular vote.  Our electoral history has produced 45 Presidents as a result of 58 elections.  Out of 58 elections, 7 were decided with less than a 1 % margin in the popular vote, 11 with less than a 3 % margin and 17 with less than a 5 % margin.  Stated differently, almost a third of our national elections for Commander in Chief have been decided by a less than 5 % margin of the popular vote.

Division in our country is not new, but the lack of grace is, at least for most of us.

I don’t know about you, but I find this troubling.  Especially when I consider the gospel message from Mark 6:14 & 15 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Just like my previous editorials of things I am thankful for, work and family, there is an indication that the things we are thankful for include responsibility.  We can be thankful for work, and are responsible to work.  We can be thankful for family, and we have a responsibility to family.  Finally, we can be thankful for grace, but in order to receive grace, we have a responsibility, indeed a moral obligation to provide it.

I wish you and your family a rewarding Thanksgiving week.  In our republic, we have much to be thankful for.  After we recover from overeating and excessive football this weekend, I hope each of us will think about how we can be more graceful as we go about the work of providing for our family, the lowest level of civil governance and the communities we choose to reside in.

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I Am Thankful For The Next Generation!

Posted on 30 November 2015 by Scott Cooper

The Next Generation

As we close out our Thanksgiving Weekend Celebrations this year, I am particularly thankful for the next generation.  You know, often at Thanksgiving time, we look backward – to generations which came before us.  In particular we look to the early colonial era and the Pilgrims.  Their thankfulness was always God-Centered, for the provisions He had provided.

I am not saying we shouldn’t continue to look to the past, or that we shouldn’t be thankful for our current provisions – but I am saying we also need to look forward – to the next generation, and find things in their generation we can be thankful for!  There are great things happening with the next generation, often called millennials and Generations X, Y & Z, which we need to highlight & be thankful for!

I want to share four points.

First, without the next generation, there really is no future.  Everything in our society, whether it is faith based or secular depends upon our following the first commandment, “to be fruitful and multiply” and then successfully passing the baton to the next generation.

Second, when I speak to individuals in this demographic – millennials, Generation X, Y or Z, and ask them open ended questions then take time to listen to them, and their idea’s – most have thought through tough issues.  In all honesty, many in my generation and past generations have made the issues they face tougher!  For many, their idealism may have not yet received the dose of reality older generations already comprehend.  For others, their reality is extremely harsh, and they already have a lot to be negative about.  I have found that if you show a genuine interest in them, actually listen to and try and understand what they have to say – they are happy to talk.  Listening to this generation is rewarding – and I am thankful not only for them, but for the older folks who are willing to invest the time to do so!

Third, I don’t believe the line that the majority of the younger generation doesn’t want to work.  I believe a large percentage of the next generation lack adequate leadership, which has modeled proper behavior for them – helping them to identify their gifts and talents, and how they are best to be utilized in a productive society.  I am thankful for the next generation that is diligently working to find their role of productivity and service in our world – and I am thankful for the older generation which is helping these folks accomplish this task!

Finally, this past weekend I had the privilege of attending a wedding where I have known a large percentage of the wedding party for over a decade, at least on the groom and groomsmen side.  While all of these young men now in their mid-20’s grew up together, they have each taken vastly different paths.  One is getting an advanced degree in higher education, one is in sales, one is in graphic design, one is part of a family small business and another one has started his own small business.  Each one of them is working hard in their chosen field.  While I only personally know one of the ladies in the party – I know each of them are also working, and both the groomsmen and the ladies are striving to serve God in their lives.  This wedding, which was entirely planned by the next generation was God honoring, and forward looking with hope.  It gave me great encouragement and hope – and I am thankful for each of those who helped make it so.

I simply wanted to share these thoughts, because as we get older – often times we look to the past with rose colored glasses, and either are not as optimistic about the future or sometimes are downright fearful of the future.

I believe there is nothing is new under the sun.  Generations have always struggled at times getting along and passing the baton to the next generation.  But I have great hope in the next generation, and I am thankful for them!  May my generation be diligent in working with them, passing the baton to them with a smooth transition!  We, after all, are dependent upon their success!

In an effort to show how important I think looking to the past is, I want to share two Thanksgiving greetings from other organizations, which I believe do an excellent job in their fields, and have highlighted our past.   The first is from American Minute, written by my friend William J. Federer.  The second is from High Frontier, written by my father, Henry F. Cooper.  I too have written about the importance of understanding our past.

I sincerely hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend, and are looking forwards to the next year with hope for the future!

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10/30/14 – 29 Days to Thanksgiving!

Posted on 30 October 2014 by Scott Cooper

Thanksgiving 29

We are 29 days away from Thanksgiving – and in that vein, each day I am going to post something I am thankful for. I am not putting them in any order – like priority, relevance to anything specific – just random thankfulness that is on my heart at the beginning of each of the next 28 days.

 

10/30 – I am thankful for Joe Six Pack.

That’s right – Joe Six Pack! And I mean that with the utmost of respect!

I have come to the conclusion that the average American who works 40 – 60 hours per week, and is working harder and harder to maintain a quality of life that honestly is being damaged by those who lead us, the individual who quite honestly is too busy with job and family to play the role they would like to in our communities and our nation – this individual (and there are millions and millions of them) are well educated, they believe in self-education, they know how to work with their hands to create things, and are doing the best they possibly can raising their families in a culture which is on a slippery slide away from the foundations that are so critical to raising families and building solid societies.

Yes – these individuals, who certain leaders have given the title of “Joe Six Pack,” are amazing individuals. They give me hope – because while they are too busy to be as engaged in the civic arena as they would like – they are very well educated, they know the problems we have. They have withheld their vote now for some time, not because they don’t want to vote for someone who inspires them, but only until they see the right leader(s) they can trust. See – they are not drones – they want to be able to trust someone – and they are diligently looking, and sadly, as a society we have come up lacking with the individuals they can get behind.

I am thankful for all the individuals who fit this description – whether they would choose to actually have a brew or not!

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