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Family, Faith and Favorite Things
In March 12 Issue
By Linda Stephens, Columnist

A Favorite Thing… Cheez-It crackers, especially the White Cheddar ones. I like to eat them with a sweet beverage, maybe chocolate milk or sweetened Lemon Zinger tea. I like the combination of something salty with something sweet.

Operation Christmas Child. This week, the "Shoe Box Report" from Operation Christmas Child arrived in our mail box. I couldn't wait to read it and look at the pictures of smiling children around the world holding their shoeboxes. In 2010, ten countries collected 8.17 million boxes which translated into 8.17 million gospel opportunities. Robert, who lives in the Philippines was one of those 8.17 million children who received a shoe box gift. His family earns 50 pesos a day as garbage collectors in the community of Angeles. They go to the dump and pick up empty bottles, plastic materials and anything else they think they can sell. It's not pleasant work, but at least he and his parents and six siblings are able to make enough money to buy food. Robert was invited to come to a special children's event at a nearby church, where he was given a shoe box gift. In his gift box he found a shirt, slippers and a calculator he can use to keep count of his sales of bottles and plastics. Robert also heard about God's love for him and how precious every child is to God. So much that God sent his Son Jesus for him, too! Robert received Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Although Robert's family is very poor, he knows that he is a child of the King and that his ultimate treasure awaits him in heaven.

If you or your family, your church, club or organization would like to participate in the Shoe Box project this year, please give me and David a call at 343-2210. We have brochures and information to help you get started.

Head over heels in debt. Folks, to put it mildly, we are in a serious situation concerning the debt our federal government has racked up.

Time is not on our side anymore. We have a small, very small, window of opportunity to get on a different course. But action must take place now, quickly or that opportunity will be gone. Our country is at the edge of the cliff of financial disaster.

In 1991 Larry Burkett, founder of Christian Financial Concepts that is now Crown Ministries, stated we are "borrowing ourselves into poverty." We are the world's wealthiest country and we are head over heels in debt. Dangerously in debt.

Just this week Nancy Pelosi said she was against the budget cuts the House Republicans are trying to get passed, because "they are too drastic." This is the same Nancy Pelosi who told the National Association of Counties in March 2010, "We have to pass the (health care) bill so you can find out what is in it."

Let's take a look at the federal budget. To "see" what it looks like, get 100 pennies and we'll make some piles to represent categories in the federal budget. Give Social Security 20 pennies. Give National Defense, not counting Homeland Security or Veterans Affairs, 19. Give 16 pennies to "mandatory programs" that include federal retirement benefits, veterans benefits, Food Stamps, and unemployment compensation. Medicare will take 13 pennies and Medicaid will take 8 pennies. These two programs alone take one fifth of the budget. That leaves 24 pennies for "other."

Defense is the only one of the five specifically name in the Constitution as a national-government responsibility. The other four which take up 75 percent of the federal budget -all involve directly (or nearly direct) benefits to individuals. These are the government programs that keep on growing each year with increases, fraud and waste.

This fiscal year began in 2010 and Washington is on track to overspend by a whopping 70 percent! That means the government is spending $1.70 for each $1.00 in revenue( tax money) Now is that crazy or what?

That's how far out of line, off the charts, and irresponsible our Senators and Representatives and President are. No business, family, club or organization would deliberately spend themselves in to this kind of debt. But our elected officials have done this… to us.

This is what's going to be "too drastic" in our very near future if something isn't done now… the stock market starts down again and inflation starts going up, way up. That's when we're all going to feel it. That's when it will be drastic. Congress should look closely at everything that is funded.

There are huge amounts of waste, duplication and programs funded by tax payer dollars that shouldn't be. There is plenty to cut out of the budget. Yes, we may feel it and it may hurt some, but the alternative is not a pretty thought. There will be severe consequences for all of us if this spending is not curtailed immediately and deep cuts made now.

Scott Rasmussen is President of Rasmussen Reports, which Fordham University found to be the most accurate polling organization the 2008 presidential election.

This is what he says about Washington DC. " We have a political class in Washington that is semi-permanent and doesn't have a clue about what life outside D.C. is like. … It never occurred to anyone in Washington officially that the bailouts in late 2008 were a bad idea, but only 28 percent of Americans thought they were a good idea." Let's hope that the newly elected Republicans and the career politicians will turn our financial ship around before we sink.

By the way, Crown Ministries has excellent resources on family and business financial matters. Check them out at

Thanks again for reading my column. Till next week. 

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