Chosen

I have to share with you what I experienced last night. I began attending a new church in November 2014.  I knew the moment I walked in the building I was home.  There was a familiarity about it that just caused me to take a deep breath, exhale & smile. Since that first day,  there hasn’t been a time that I’ve left unaffected.  You have to understand….I’ve served in the local church faithfully since 1984.  Now that I’ve totally dated myself, you can gather I’ve seen quite a few trends come & go.  Real. That is what I’m gravitating toward now more than ever.  Real people; real faith; real purpose; real motives; real love; real acceptance; real challenges to help me grow spiritually; real life; real humility; real servant leadership; real Jesus. Real.  Now that I’ve typed that word so many times it looks like it’s spelled wrong!

Every week I find myself telling my daughter, “I’ve never heard that taught like that before!”  or “OH MY GOSH!! I’m blown away finding out about yet another ministry they offer!”  Seriously it’s like a new experience every week & yet at the same time, such a feeling of belonging.  Hope that makes sense!

Last night is no different.  There are sooooooooooo many connect groups to become a part of that every excuse for not developing relationships within the church body is completely annihilated! There is a group for women, named Journey. Within that group are options for different nights of the week or lunchtime meetings, prayer groups, & etc.  Any of these choices promises to fulfill whatever  you are searching for.  They planned a combined meeting for all the groups to come together & it was awesome.

Actually…..it was my first time to go & what a time to pick!  After praise & worship, four ladies were introduced.  Normal Disciples of Christ Prison ministryladies. When each began to give explain their ministry, I was awestruck.  How is it possible for me to still be finding out about things to participate in or know what gifted talent is here?  I’ll give just a summary of what they disclosed:

Lady #1- Founded Disciples 4 Christ Prison Outreach Ministry. She was incarcerated for 5 years & now the DOJ contacts her to hosts meetings & conferences across the state. She decided to offer hope to those who are walking in her shoes.

God of all comfort books

Lady #2- Published the book, God of all Comfort,  describing the loss of two of her children within a few months apart. They already had a special needs child & this new grief experience was certainly overwhelming. Instead of this journey destroying her life, it changed it.

Lady #3 -For the past 15 years, along with her husband, has developed a ministry of devoting time & attention to pastors children.  If you don’t think these relationships are vital & beyond priceless, talk to a PK.

Lady #4 – Corporate Executive who wanted to bridge the gap between the churched & unchurched.  Created a YouTube presence called Real Issues. Real Jesus. She addresses common questions in normal, everyday terms while exposing the listener to the Bible.

Lady #5 – became a blogger, published 3 devotional books that is available in 35 countries & translated in several Laura devotionslanguages.  She wasn’t actually present to talk, but her books were.

These ladies were just the opening part of the meeting!  As you may or may not know, I want to write two books.  I felt so beyond empowered being surrounded by these phenomenal women! Each of them were so humble & simply began pursuing their purpose while walking through their valleys & finding their passion.  Their obedience, however small it may have felt in the beginning, is an enormous act of faith for many women to emulate.

I could’ve left at that point & been full of courage & strength.  Of course…there was more.  The main speaker was a lady who grew up so intimidated she literally became beet red & broke out in hives while reciting her wedding vows.  Her description of herself growing up was a fair complected, red haired, overweight, shy girl named Lucretia.  Talk about having a complex!  She felt like God had given her a story within this past year that she wanted to share with all the ladies. She is recently a widow & yet found strength to continue walking in what God is doing in her life.  Amazing.

Her message was straight from Revelation 2: 12-17.  I’ll give you the short of it!  God edified & then chastened people from the church in Pergamum for partaking in the practice of the Nicolaitans.  God hated the deeds of Nicolaitans.  Strong words, but He hated, nonetheless.  In essence, the Nicolaitans straddled Christianity & paganism.  This rendered the people powerless preventing them from fulfilling their identity.  He mentioned giving those who overcome a white stone with a name written on it that only He & that person will see.  In that particular dispensation of time stones were used in the judicial system.  White stones signified acquittal while black stones sentenced condemnation & guilt.  Throughout the Bible you can find God changing the names of people.  Those names are what He sees in them or anticipates who they’ll become.  Many times people don’t know who they are or their true identity because they’ve been called everything else. We also tend to wear badges that identify seasons in our lives.  Single, widowed, divorced, rejected, depressed, bitter, angry, forlorn, etc.  Such badges lead to entitlement mentality in how we expect people to treat us.  We are holding black stones.  God doesn’t see us in that sense.  As a child of God, He sees us through His son, Jesus.  Acquitted.  Black stones & badges prevent us from fully embracing who He’s called us to be & prevents us from elevating God to the place He belongs. God wants to do an exchange of stones & show us our new name.

Relationships can enable certain identities to mask who we really are.  Even if we have left certain people or severed all relational ties, we are still “in bed” with those things that were spoken over us.  We are an overcomer & God already calls us that.

At the beginning of the message we were handed black stones .  At the end, we were encouraged to take our black stones & exchange them for a white stone of which had names written on them. The names were not visible, so we didn’t know what we were picking up.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but the name I received was exactly what I needed to see.  My daughter already had a name in her head & that was the exact name she picked up.  Not only did the name mean something special, but it was a major confirmation that God is ever present in her life.  From a mother’s perspective, it’s a huge blessing to see your child being well so taken care of & honored.

geneva chosen

Here’s my name. Chosen.  Of course you could say that’s nothing special!  The Bible calls Christians a chosen generation or states how we haven’t chosen Him, but He’s chosen us,  so….big deal.  Well….I beg to differ.  Lemme splain…..Being single now for 21 years & currently believing God for my husband to suddenly appear lets you get a glimpse of the rejection I combat feeling.  Seeing friend after friend get married & microscopically picking myself apart as to what could really be wrong with me.  I’m too picky with unrealistic expectations. I’m healthy, but not skinny.  I’m middle aged. I’m not pretty enough.  I’m whatever! Or…..what about applying for a new job only to get a rejection email the same exact day of this meeting.  Of course…I’ve spread my net far, but….still. For more years than I dare admit I’ve quoted, “I am accepted in the Beloved.” Anytime anything attempts to separate my belief in how much I’m loved by the perfect Father, Husband, Friend I have in Jesus, I quickly remind myself of this.   Getting the new name of “Chosen” takes that to a whole nutha level & was applicable in more areas than I dare to explain. Besides…..even if all those badges were non-existent, I still love the fact that out of all the people in the universe, God chose me.  After all….I am His favorite daughter!

Whew……I mentioned loving my church for being real & I just word vomited my negative self talk.  Trust me…..I have a mantra I repeat as often as necessary to combat any / all of those words.  I refuse to become identified with them.

I encourage you to lose the black stones of guilt, condemnation, unworthiness, hopelessness, abandonment, rejection, low self esteem & confidence, deception, or whatever haunts your thoughts & see yourself acquitted.  See yourself loved, forgiven, chosen, accepted, capable, beautiful, wonderful, gifted, talented, & etc.  This blog was lengthy, but I’ve learned it’s times when I don’t share my “eureka” moments that someone could really use one of their own.

Have an awesome weekend.  Come to church with me wherever you are!  We’re also available on Vimeo!

Blessings,

g

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No pressure!

Happy Hump Day!

Hopefully your week is beautiful, your attitude of gratitude is opening unseen doors of possibilities, & being thankful is the secret sauce to life!

Prayer has always been a huge part of my life.  Many years ago I learned praying for others removes the pressure & focus off my own circumstances & helps me focus on being a servant leader. I also believe in the laws of sowing & reaping or….Karma.  I wish to stay on her best side & reap an abundant harvest of good vs evil.  During the beginning of every year I participate in the Daniel Fast.  This is as close to vegan as I’ll ever get!  LOLOLOL!  This is my routine for the first (21) days of the year as my sacrificial offering to God to direct my entire year.  I attempt to plan, develop goals & specifically pray for those during this time.  I’ve done this for the past (13) years. When I have important decisions to make,  I’ll often do a shorter 7-10 day version of this.  God has constantly & continually spoken clarity to me.  I can’t begin to elaborate how many things have been avoided, happened, & surfaced because of this one simple step of obedience.  Along with my goals & plans, I choose up to 5 people to target with prayer during those 21 days.  I love seeing the hand of God move.  It isn’t always how I picture, but He is infinite.  For the rest of the year I’ve develop a list of people in my life who require daily or more often prayer support. Some are life-long friends who are battling cancer or other disease processes that are robbing them of a beautiful quality of life.  Others are new found friends who have situations draining their joy. As God intervenes,  I can cross names off my daily list. This is the greatest feeling in the universe!   Sometimes….people mark themselves off.  That’s hard to understand, but even Jesus knew when to stop investing in the lives of others.  For instance….wiping the dust off His feet; recognizing their conscious has been seared as with a hot iron; having or turning them over to a reprobate mind;  suggesting we can’t make a silk purse from a pigs ear;  or casting our pearls before the swine.  Pigs were really mentioned a lot weren’t they?  Anyway….. people can choose not to change, harden their heart or whatever the situation may be.  God gives each of us a will & even He refuses to move against it.

If you haven’t fallen to the points of no return mentioned above, I want to encourage you to embrace the promise of a loving Father who will never leave or forsake you.  There’s been many times I’ve felt like my prayers were hitting the ceiling or He turned a deaf ear to me, but….it’s during those times I’ve grown to appreciate His faithfulness even more.  It’s extreme testing, but regardless, I love & trust Him.  Remember….He’s infinite!

I received the words below in an email today & I want to pass it on to you. It’s terrifyiing enough to face unpleasant situations, but even more so when you have to grin & bear it living up to other’s perception of who you are.  If I may ask something of you, please do me a favor. Never mind me…..do yourself a favor!  Please find someone to share the burdens of life with. Friends, support groups like Celebrate Recovery, church connect group, or counseling. Never, ever allow the unrealistic expectations of society dictate the need for you to put up a facade. This is an exhausting practice where you lose yourself in the game.

Be human.

Be vulnerable at times.

Be honest with yourself.

Tear down the walls that keep people out, pain inside & hindrances preventing you from becoming your authentic self.

Be blessed & know you matter & your life is important.

g

You – God’s Prince & Princess – are destined to win.
He knows how tired you’ve become, just by trying to do and say all the right things.
Take that pressure off yourself, because He did not put it there.
The world may judge you by what they see and hear, but He looks within your heart.

He sees your desire to please Him, and He sees your struggle to please others.
If you want to win this endurance race, you must let go of your need for the approval of others, seek His will
and His pleasure.

Simplify your life, and let go of the burdens that weigh you down.
You’ll find His Grace will lighten your step,
and His favor will even draw others to join you!

Yes, at times you will stumble and fall.
But…..
don’t worry.
He is there to help you get back up again – as often as it takes.
Make it your daily passion to run with Him, and He will carry you over the finish line of your faith.
Together you will win!

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
1 Corinthians 9:24

Need a reminder?

Wow can you believe summer is almost over?  Not sure of your location, but due to spring flooding, the first part of our summer could be considered mild for Texas!  Never fear…..we have temps predicted to reach 108 just this week so it will be a regular scorcher.

Season temps are fickle, but there’s a few things that can be counted on.  As you know, my heart is always focused on single adults & how they navigate through their lives. Summertime, for singles, especially single parents, generally induce additional concerns & expenses. Sports, vacays/stacays, increased child care & more.  When my son was younger, I remember all too well how much I had a love-hate relationship with summer.  I made sure he was in sports which meant my usual 12-16 hr shifts at the hospital were reduced to 8.  Weekend games & tournaments meant no OT. Then…..childcare was my dreaded expense. During the school year he attended a local BGCA after school program for a nominal cost.  Thank goodness we had a local YMCA for summertime!  The last, but certainly not least, concern was back to school clothes & supplies.  Cutting hours & OT during the biggest budget busting time presented many opportunities to panic. I’m not one to panic, but it did take some juggling!   It wasn’t until said son was grown did I learn frugal, budgeting technics.  This past weekend he made a comment of how he honestly didn’t know how I survived & made it during those many years.  This thought was provoked because he is now a parent & understands the often daily requirements of sustaining a household.

Looking back, I have to give thanks & gratitude to Jehovah for being my all in all.  Many times there were subtle reminders of how much He is looking out for my best interest or is in control.  I could never blame Him for my poor choices or sticky situations because it simply wouldn’t be fair.  There were several occasions where the answer I sought, was not the answer He provided.  Also there were numerous instances when His word of advice left me sad or disappointed only to realize later how much wiser He is than me.  Often, during my daily commute, I consider just how much He has spared me from over the years & am beyond thankful for His grace. In the midst of trials, tribs, tests or whatever you wish to label your misfortune, maybe you’re like me & tend to forget He is ever present, all knowing, & concerned for the smallest detail of what concerns us.  It’s in these times when I tend to elevate or just spend more time solving problems on my own or place circumstances above the one who can obliterate them & bringing peace.

In the busyness of life, I tend to lose focus.  Daily scripture reading & morning prayer time is my true north! Within the past 6 mos there has been almost a constant system, for the lack of a better term, of how God reminds me He is listening, thinking of me & is very well aware of what is taking place on my timeline. Such happenings can be me thinking of something insignificant only to have that very thing transpire immediately. Perhaps I’ll think or dream of a person I haven’t thought of for years & within the same day hear from them or read something about them.  I can entertain a question only to have the answer materialize.  For instance……I completed a certain TV series & one day on my way to work pondered how the institution in the series actually began.  While watching another series, that interrelates with the previous one, an episode explained the formation of the institution in question.  This was a day or two apart.  Completely insignificant details that cause me to wonder.  Time & time again this has occurred & I refer it to my “thought thingy.” Instead of being weirded out by them, I embrace the happenings as a constant, continual reminder how important my thought life is & discern how much God is aware of my actions.  It’s a reminder for me to “tow the line” or walk upright & right standing.  Don’t get me wrong….I fail often, but am becoming more consciously aware of God’s presence.  I can read or believe scriptures every day, but one “thought thingy” quickly snaps my attention.

As you may have read in past posts, I work at the Divisional level of the Texas Salvation Army.  There is a precious ritual practiced every Tuesday called devotions. Yes, there’s weekly donuts too, but…..I leave those for others!   For the past nine years many people have spoken into my heart with their 20 minutes of history, personal stories, recently read books, & of course, the word of God.  This weeks devos were certainly no exception. Not only was the main message phenomenal, but my point of focus came from the “popcorn testimony” of someone who had recently attended the International Boundless Convention in London, England.  Along with the words he spoke about the convention, he presented an occurrence that immediately moved me to tears & lead me to write this blog.

TSA history bookThis guy, we’ll call him “Churchill,” along with another co-worker, are cousins who grew up in the small town of Bedlington on the outskirts of London.  After returning from the Boundless Convention, another one of Churchill’s department co-workers presented him with an antique book. This co-workers wife, whose sister happens to be one of our Divisional Salvation Army officers, had noticed the book at a yard sale, I think, & picked it up.  The book was Volume One covering The Salvation Army history from 1865-1878 written 80 years after William Booth began to preach the gospel.    TSA history book inside coverWithin the book was a tattered envelope. Within the envelope was a small card, referred to as the Open-Air Plan. Open air planThe card listed streets of where The Salvation Army Corps Band would be playing & who the leader was.

The same Corps where the cousins attended as youth & played in the band. This was strictly an internal schedule which probably only those band members would’ve received. The dates were November 1947-January 1948.  On January 4, 1948 the leader listed is the grandfather or great-grandfather of the recipient of the antique, yard sale book. Churchill is trying to find out which one it was because both of them went by the same name.

Think about it………Bedlington, England 1948 to Fort Worth, Texas USA 2015.  An antique book. Family. Hometown Corps. Co-worker.  I’m not sure what this means to you, but I was immediately reminded of just how mindful & mighty GoTSA history jacket coverd truly is. Who else could have orchestrated such an occurrence?  He moves through space & time because He can. He created it! I asked Churchill what he thought this meant.   He was contemplating how this book could have traveled countries apart to land here in this dispensation of time.  Who migrated here & brought it with them? Those are very logical questions that would be way cool to find out!  My primary question was, “Is there anything significant in your life you are praying for? Or just maybe there’s something you’re believing God for an answer to & this confirms God is truly listening?”  Churchill replied that he hadn’t even thought along their lines. You can tell I’m totally blown away with this divine connection!  I wonder….what “plan” God is guiding Churchill toward as the leader?? He has a very sweet, beautiful family & I can’t wait to find out!

I even appreciate how they discussed the necessity of having the Revised Standard Version of the New Testament to bbook nt version2e more relateable. Talk about forward thinking! Through this happenstance, I want to encourage you how scriptures recount God has numbered the hairs on our heads(yes, He even knows if you’re bald!), numbers of our days, thinks of us as the apple of His eye, He even bottles our tears & keeps a book of remembrance for every time we speak about Him. Jesus can never forget us as our name carved in His hands. I’m sure this would cause controversy, but it seems that’s the original tattoo! Lighten up!  Just my thoughts here!

Whatever you’re facing, regardless of your relationship type, please understand you’re not facing it alone.  God genuinely knows where you are & more importantly, He is no respecter of persons. After the book incident, I’m inspired & convinced, more than ever, He longs for us to have conversation & sweet communion with Him.  Again, He is not the author or instigator of bad choices, but He absolutely can help guide us in making the right ones. We need to listen to His voice, thought thingy’s, or unexplainable instances only He can devise.  If we quieten our busyness long enough, I’m sure more important things than a TV series question will be revealed. Preaching to myself & duly noted!

Blessings,

g
Open air plan supporters

So far

One of my friends, lovingly known as The Goddess, posted this & I wanted to share. It is simple when you think of it, yet very profound. There are seeds of greatness in all of us.  The choice of what we do with those seeds has been & always will be up to us alone.  emerging butterflies

The caterpillar lives its entire life span instinctively knowing it will soon become a butterfly. This metamorphosis dictates every decision the caterpillar makes. From each morsel of food it eats to where it will finally attach its chrysalis.   Could we, perhaps, determine the passion that stirs our soul being worthy of such pursuit?

Her words below……….

Enjoy the journey,

g

rose buds

I’ve come to realize that there is no “becoming”.

A bud doesn’t “become” a rose.
It already IS a rose.
Always has been.
What you can see is the result of the journey, so far.

Just as an acorn holds an entire forest within it, you have within you all the greatness you’ve been seeking.

It’s there.
Always has been.
What you can see is the result of the journey, so far.

The decision for each of us is what to do with our greatness.
Let it ride, or let it rise?
The choice is ours.
Always has been.
And at the end of this day, this year, this life,
What you see will be the result of the journey, so far.

*The “so far” bit is key.

Jacqueline Gates

2015 Expectations

As I contemplate the ending of 2014 (which I feel I just got used to writing) & face 2015,  I want to embrace new journies.
In retrospect of accomplishments to goals set this year I’ve:
(1)become debt free
(2)lost a clothing size  & am embracing an even more health consciousness lifestyle
(3)become a minimalist by creating most of my own health & beauty products using Essential Oils
(4)moved into a fabulous new neighborhood
(5)set a course for new personal business endeavors

image

This leads to what new goals to set!
I want to begin with things like  updating my passport, organizing the chapters of my book, maybe even taking some courses in things that interest me like concealed handguns, join a gun range club or etc. Yes….. I have a gun & used to love target practice!!

I ran across this list from something I read today by John Maxwell & want to share it as it has many attributes one could adapt resolutions from.

I will choose and display the right attitudes.
I will determine and act upon important priorities.
I will know and follow healthy guidelines.
I will communicate with and care for my family.
I will practice and develop good thinking.
I will make and keep proper commitments.
I will earn and properly manage finances.
I will deepen and live out my faith.
I will accept and show responsibility.
I will initiate and invest in solid relationships.
I will plan for and model generosity.
I will embrace and practice good values.
I will seek and experience improvements.

I pray 2015 brings a beginning of peace, joy, comfort, love & opposition as without that, we often neglect to respect the first few!!
Blessings,
g

Immigrant Children

As you may know, I’m from Texas.  I feel very strongly against our borders being flooded. Period. Many voice an opinion that this is not the “Christian”  thing to believe. There’s a huge disconnect in the belief that Christians shouldn’t feel this way. I love God & serve Him daily.  I choose as an act of my will to extend mercy, grace & unconditional love.  My bible has story after story of how God protected his people & commanded His leaders to wipe out entire nations to do so.  I’m not saying He should wipe out Mexico, Salvador, etc., so please don’t misinterpret that.  I am saying we should exercise wisdom to protect our own.

I treat all mankind with dignity & respect & strongly believe children should never be used as tools for personal or political gain. This is not Christian, or humanitarian, but political. My governor has been soliciting the POTUS to come see for himself. His trip to Texas is to attend a fundraiser, not assess the situation. Really?? A local Mayor is up for re-election.  He’s in the spotlight for the wrong reasons by offering shelters for immigrants without following procedures. Sound familiar?  Protecting humans should come from the right heart motive, not personal gain.

I’m completely against flooding our cities with people who aren’t doing so as a direct result from a natural disaster.  This disaster  is man-made & self-inflicted.  This will be like a cancer destroying our nation.  Actually this is an internal terrorist attack where we’ll be sleeping with the enemy.  Every country has border control. If you don’t believe it, ask  Andrew Tahmooressi,  our Marine who, for some strange, odd, reason, can’t be released from a Mexican prison.  Our borders should never be respected differently.
Why do I have such a strong opinion about this?  Let’s look at just a few of the reasons!
We have families (some are my friends) in Texas who are unemployed, children who don’t eat unless they eat at school & take back packs containing food home for dinner. Here’s a quote from Hunger Busters:
Over 137,000 (87%) of the children attending Dallas schools rely on school-subsidized breakfast and/or lunch as their only resource for food. All too often, these children go without dinner. Many of them have nothing to eat from school lunch one day until school breakfast the next.
At our recent National Social Services Convention, David Beckmann,  President of bread for the world, informed us about the numerous programs that have been cut from the national budget. Many, if not most, of these affect children & senior citizens.  This validates the previous quote & should enlighten us on the dire needs in our own neighborhoods.  While our economy is improving  & Texas is stronger than most, why add the strain?  I won’t go into detail as to why these children are going home hungry or why people are unemployed.  I will express my resistance to opening borders when we can’t provide for our own.
Again, this is an internal, political blow & other states, Florida & California,  are experiencing the same. California protested sending 3 busloads back. Those immigrants were put on planes & sent to Houston?   Now the government is sending armed government agents to fight the California protesters.  Really?  Our own people are being targeted?  Is it me, or shouldn’t we be focusing our attention & resources on the root source?
The old saying,  “Charity begins at home” should be applied.  Our US government shut down this past year & I had friends hanging in the balance.  Our US is on the brink of bankruptcy & many cities have already declared it. We have trillions of dollars in debt owed to other nations. Despite Obamacare, millions aren’t receiving medical treatment. Our veterans are denied well deserved benefits.  Human trafficking is rampant.  In all these things, what happens?  We open our borders.  I’m not a rocket scientist or an economist brain child, but I can see how this is pouring salt on an open wound.  Well….maybe salt is too mild as salt can actually cure. Acid on an open wound would be more descriptive.
tx border fenceWhat makes this even worse is the fact that other countries, who have vowed to destroy America, are flying to Mexico to cross the border because…..they can.  This leads me to the to believe this was the conspiracy all along. Innocent children & adults are being caught in the crossfire or are considered collateral damage.  After all….if history serves us correctly, the past several political outbursts have been smoke & mirrors to disguise what is actually happening. Create a diversion & the American people will get their hair on fire &  panties in such a wad, they’ll never acknowledge what is really happening.  Not anymore.  We have put our big girl panties on & are dealing with it.  Sorry guys…..you catch my drift!
Enough is enough!!!  Stop shipping exhausted, malnourished, diseased humans from city to city knowing they won’t qualify to stay here.  A recent Dallas newscast reported that they’ll soon be deported. Why expose them, weaken our defenses, turn citizen against citizen only to send them back?  Contact your congressman, senator, governor & let your voice be heard.  Posting your beliefs on social media is one thing & is powerful. Nothing compares to vocally reaching out & helping our officials realize we are not sheep, but  humans whose heart beats for our great nation.  This also affirms & cheers them on for valiantly fighting  on our behalf.  We voted them in & should continue to support them.
Questions???  Where are the resources coming from that are being wasted on such propaganda?  How did they miraculously find billions of dollars in our budget?  Seriously?? Where could these funds be reallocated?  I know!!!   They’re cutting welfare programs & people who are knowingly abusing the system are being forced into employment? What are some questions you may have?
You may read this & only visualize an angry, bitter, racist behind a keyboard.  On the contrary, my heart is so very proud of my Hispanic, Brazilian, Indian, etc. friends who are now bona-fide Americans.  Many of them share my same concerns or are even more vocal!  They came to my America-land of the free because of the brave.  They did so to obtain freedom from tyranny or to offer a better opportunity for their families.  They did their due diligence, counted the cost & obtained citizenship.  To the best my knowledge, NONE of them receive free government benefits.  They are proud to wave the American flag.  I salute, love & respect them immensely.
In summary… I am a Christian. I am vehemently against open borders.  I am for taking care of Americans who need a hand up, not a hand out.
God Bless America,
g