Posts tagged ‘poor’

October 25, 2012

Voter ID

by pastortimfowler

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/madison_guy/6919635377/

I try to stay away from political stuff when I blog, but this is a subject that I think defies logic. Voter ID requirements seem to be a source of conflict. I just don’t understand it and here is why. From what I understand, the argument against requiring an ID to vote is about people who may be poor or live a long way from a place that issues IDs and therefore it is a hardship on them and risks disenfranchising them. If that were the case, I can see the point of the argument, but something about that does not make sense.
Voting is not something that everyone can do. You must be 18 to vote. You must not be a convicted felon. You must be a legal US citizen. You must live in certain districts to vote on certain races like county and city races. Without some form of ID, several of these requirements can not be verified. I think if the laws are on the books they should be enforced. I do not want a bunch of 15-year-old kids deciding the local school board or the president of the US. I don’t want someone who lives in another county deciding who represents me on the county council. I don’t want someone who is not a citizen of this country deciding who is our president. Call me crazy, but I can see the reasoning behind these laws.
But my argument is not against the laws, but against the logic of how difficult is is to get an ID for some people. I know that there are some in society who have a more difficult time than others when it comes to matters like this. It does not matter the race of the person, it is a matter most often of health, wealth (or the lack of), and age. I know these things can make doing anything more difficult. But here is my question, how long does it take to get an ID if you need one? Even if it were to take months or even a year, elections don’t come around that often and we know that most state and national elections happen every two years. Even under the worst cases, with that much time, and knowing the law requires it, anyone could get proper ID.
And what about other laws that require ID. For instance, you must be 18 to purchase those evil cigarettes. Every store that I have ever been to in the last 10 years says that they ID everyone before they will sell them a pack of cigarettes. Sure, if you are an 80-year-old man, you can buy them without an ID. Common sense says that he is older than 18, but what about that poor person who is in a wheel chair who wants a pack of cigarette and he is 18. Do they have to show an ID? Is that okay? Is it discrimination? That person has to have a proper ID and from what I remember, people purchase cigarettes quite often and I do not remember anyone ever claiming that proper ID to purchase cigarettes or alcohol as being disenfranchised.
I have to show proper ID to get the power in my house turned on, board a plane, drive my car, get into some buildings, catch fish or shoot deer and any number of other things that happen daily. But for some reason, getting an ID to vote, something that happens at best, annually, and something that has definite consequences if abused, is looked upon as evil and even racist by some. Try to get into a labor union meeting without proper ID. Try to get into a nightclub without proper ID. Try to get into Canada without proper ID. It won’t happen. Quit trying to vote without one.

September 19, 2012

Redistributing Wealth

by pastortimfowler

give

I heard on the news this morning that Pres. Obama said that he believed in redistributing wealth. DUH! He has said that for many years. Why is it news now? I too believe in redistributing wealth, but of a different kind. Let me explain.
Socialism is the act of taking from those who have much and giving to those who have little. It sounds noble, but it leaves out the fact that there is only so much you can take from someone before they have nothing left to generate wealth with. It does take money to make money. Our government believes this and that is why they propose stimulus packages. Pretty soon those who had money and could make money lose that ability and then there is no one to provide jobs that pay a living wage. It won’t matter what the minimum wage law is, if you don’t have people to hire others, there just won’t be anyone with money. This is what happened to Cuba and is happening in Europe.
But there is a source of wealth that is never-ending. It is the riches of Heaven and of God. He has told all of His believers to give and give abundantly. Give to the poor and it will be given to you. Perhaps this is an area of neglect by the church that has motivated governments to try to step in a help. If the church and its people gave like God says give, we would not need government welfare. But giving should be an act of love not a mandate of government.
Jesus did not from those who had much to give to those who had little. All through the Bible when God asked people to give, it was those who were poor. The widow and her son were asked to give to Elijah. The boy with a couple of fish and some bread was asked give. The widow gave the most because she gave a penny. Jesus took what those who gave in faith and in love and multiplied it and redistributed out of His power, not the power of the all mighty dollar or a government.
Christians need to trust in God’s provisions. We need to be those who redistribute the wealth, but not our own; God’s.
Luke 6:38…Give, and you will receive. A large quantity, pressed together, shaken down, and running over will be put into your pocket. The standards you use for others will be applied to you.”

July 2, 2012

Back From Cuba

by pastortimfowler

I am back and wow, do I have a lot to tell you. Cuba is a place that is full of beautiful people and scenery and yet my heart breaks every time I go. Socialism and Communism have made it one of the poorest places in this hemisphere. The average monthly wage is around $20 per month and because the government has taken everything from those who were rich, now everyone is poor. The old saying that it takes money to make money is true. There is no way to equally distribute what I make in order to lift others out of poverty, it only makes me poor too. That taxation in Cuba assures that the government only has money and the people get “free” healthcare from doctors who are lucky to make $45 per month and would make more money if they drove a horse-drawn cart around for the public transportation system, which is how we got around in the city of 140,000 people.
But the church is alive and well and serving those in need like you would not believe. Their hearts are filled with hope and appreciation for God’s provisions, even if it means they can’t afford to eat anything more than rice and beans and plantains. But they share and help and love, even with those occasional American Christians who come to help. I truly believe that I learned more from them than I was able to teach the Cuban church. Humble takes on a new meaning for me now.
We are fooled by pictures of classic cars and beautiful facades on buildings that have been touched up to make them look good. The cars are not owned by collectors, but rather by people who bought them the last time that they had any money to spend on such a luxury. Most cars are only painted over rust buckets and few have any original working parts. The buildings are weathered and termite infested and crumbling. Not even the locals can drink the water from the public water supply because it is such poor quality.
But this does not stop the people of Cuba from taking pride in what they have and sharing it with others. They have little from the government to share but have found ways to make ends meet and share what they get through an undercover free market that shows hope of letting entrepreneurs make a little more that they can keep to provide for their own and those who need help just to survive on what the socialist way has taken away. I love the heart of these people. They know more than most, that government is not the answer and never will be when it comes to providing the needs of family. Hard work and free markets are the only reason that they were the once a thriving resort and leading producers of sugar and entertainers of years gone by. That is a fading memory now.
People in Cuba cringe when you mention the name Castro. They lower their voices and do not say his name themselves. The do not speak out against the oppressive socialist system that has plunged them into poverty like we in the USA have never seen. But they know the answer is freedom and free markets where people can achieve a level of prosperity that allows others to be employed and purchase goods produced by individually owned companies who can provide jobs to others instead of money to the government.
I cannot wait to go back. I will be sharing more about the things we did and saw, but I wanted to get this out first. So many people in America are thinking that the government is the answer and that socialism works. It is a failure everywhere it is tried and Cuba is a direct and devastating example of its results. Taking everything from the rich so that the poor have more only results in the rich becoming poor and no one able to provide jobs to those who need it. Handouts are only a temporary fix. The old saying, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime is true. But if you can’t even afford to buy a net or a fishing pole and there is no one now making them because no one can afford to buy them, what happens? People starve and suffer and no one is better off except the elite few who dictate oppression to the people who need a job.
Thanks for your prayers and support. God, please bless Cuba again. And God bless America!

February 17, 2012

Its Free!!!

by pastortimfowler

Without saying that I am a Republican or Democrat, I am saying that I am sick of politicians promising everything to everyone and saying that it is free. The latest argument that insurance companies should give away contraceptives to people who are poor is another of the many “free” things the government promises. The latest vote on the Hill is to continue giving unemployment to those who are still without work. They are “giving” us about $40 extra in our paychecks by not taking more of our money. The sacrifice that no one is talking about is that this gift is coming from our future Social Security. I can probably do without it now more than I can do without it when it is my retirement plan.
Who pays for anything that the government “gives” us? Where does the government get “their” money? Its call our taxes. Its called taking our money and using it as if it was theirs. I won’t argue about who should pay more. Rich or poor, we should all pay our share because we must fund the basics of what makes our country function, but welfare and handouts don’t make anyone more productive and those things are not free. The only people who do not pay for these things are those who are making it their lifestyle of taking and never giving.
I ran a business a couple of times in my life. Nothing was free. Every factor of business was accounted for and was figured into the pricing of our products and services. If I incurred a cost such as a raise in rent, power bill, payroll, or made to give something away, I passed the cost on to the customer. Don’t gasp in disbelief, because every business does it. Otherwise we can’t stay in business. So when the government, who has no money of its own, tells any business that they must pass on a service or a product to those who can’t pay and make it “free”, someone will have to pay for it and that someone is the paying customers.
Freedom is not free. There is always a price for something valuable. Those who get things for free continually have no value in what they get and someone else is paying for them. They become dependent and often feel as if they are owed the hand out. The right to have property comes from the privilege of having a job or a way to produce a product that has value to someone else who is willing to pay for it. A home given to someone who has no desire to work and no concern of losing it is often a just a building that eventually has no worth to anyone. A check that is given for doing nothing but walking to the mailbox only makes one want to walk to the mailbox. Sure we pay for unemployment insurance, but that has its limits. Congress extending those benefits for what is now years, are not spending the big pile of free money that they make, but rather they are taking money from my paycheck that I earn and giving it to someone who now, may not be willing to work anymore.
Everything has a cost and some has to pay. Usually those who pay the highest cost are those who have the biggest heart. Government has no heart. They are not giving out of love and concern, but rather the desire to stay in office. If they want it to be free, give it from their paycheck and leave mine alone.
I give to church and other charities. I help those in need and do it because of the motivation of knowing Jesus as my Savior. But never forget that Jesus worked. He told people to work and give and even to pay taxes. But paying taxes was never to take care of those who want something for free. His command was for Christians to personally take care of the family and people they knew who were in need and the church to take care of the poor that had no family…not the government.
Stop believing when people say. Its free!

February 2, 2012

Philippine Prayer

by pastortimfowler

I have a friend who lives in the Philippines and he is someone who starts churches and helps pastor of the churches that he starts. I talk to him regularly on Facebook and occasionally on the phone. We first met about nine years ago when he visited my church while here in the states raising funds for his work. For whatever reason God bonded us in friendship and we have stayed in touch and I feel much closer to him than the distance of being half way around the world from him should allow.
The Philippines is for the most part a poor country, and especially where he is. Many people there do not have running water or sewage. He told me the other day about a 3-year-old who died from complications caused by drinking from the river because they do not have the ability to drill deep wells for safe drinking water. His church had to get the body from the morgue for the family who could not afford it. This family of 6 live in a 3 meter by 3 meter room.
Although my friend is younger than I am, he is not in the best of health. He is a diabetic and has hepatitis. On top of that, he has bad allergies that cause frequent sinus infections. Every time I talk to him I tell him that he needs to take care of his health and he tells me that he stays busy so that he doesn’t have to think about it. The availability of medicines is not the greatest and the doctors and hospitals are nothing like what we have here in the states, so even if money were not an issue, the quality of care can be questionable at best.
This morning I got a Facebook message from his wife telling me that he is in the hospital. I have not heard what is wrong or how serious it is. There is a 13 hour time difference that makes talking a challenge, so I am waiting for a reply. I am asking those who believe in God to pray for him. He is an amazing person who cares for his people with great compassion and with very little concern for his own well-being. His wife and kids are amazing people too and they have supported him and his ministry with uncompromising dedication.
I also ask you to pray for that nation. There is a wide variety of beliefs in that country and many are in direct conflict with Christianity. Some even resort to violence against those who don’t believe as they do. There is little help from the government in the form of protection for those who are trying to start the churches. Being a nation of islands, many of the smaller or more remote ones are often ran by those who have little regard for the law. The church in the Philippines is not the powerful force of money and resources as we see in the states. It is much more like the church of the early New Testament, a group of believers who join together to help those in need. Its kind of refreshing when you think about it like that.
There is a need in my friend’s church and ministry for financial help if you were to feel led to do so. I normally would never mention something like this, but I have personal knowledge of the legitimacy of the need. If you are interested in helping out that way, you can contact me via email or message me on Facebook. My email is emanrev@msn.com. I will give you a direct contact source or you can give through our church. But most of all I ask for your prayers for my friend’s health, his ministry, and his country.
Thanks for the prayers and I will update this as soon as I hear about why he is in the hospital or that he is out and all is okay.

February 1, 2012

To Work or Not To Work?

by pastortimfowler

To work or not to work? Poverty is a problem world-wide. It always has been and always will be. In Matthew’s gospel, the 26th chapter and 11th verse, Jesus said that we would always have the poor with us and I believe what He says. That does not mean that we should not care about them, the question is how should we care for them? Our country has an ongoing argument about how the poor should be dealt with and I have talked about this before in a few blogs.
The best thing a poor person can do is to get a job. I am not saying that we should not provide for those who can’t work, and I am not saying that it is a simple thing to get a job. I am saying that if you can get a job it is better than living off handouts. In fact the Bible says that if a man will not work, he should not eat. Sadly we have developed a culture of people who believe that they deserve to have the government and anyone else who will, take care of them. I get many calls a week from people who are “professional” beggars that have developed a phone script to ask for handouts from churches. They know the agencies that I try to refer them to before I can even get the list out of my drawer. I ask them if they are willing to come do some work around the church and they almost always say no. FYI, I have never turned someone away who is in true need of food or shelter.
Many people who are poor are going through a difficult period in their life that is due to circumstances beyond their control. Sadly they often become comfortable with having the unemployment checks sent to them and begin to enjoy not having to work for their money. Soon they stop looking for work and become a burden on society. Often the excuse in the beginning is that they can’t find a job making enough money. Many times people are not willing to do a job for less than what the last one paid but are more than willing to take less for doing nothing. I have a problem with that.
Working more than one job can overcome the difference in salaries. I know of multiple places that are hiring right now if you are willing to work for minimum wage. Having two and even three jobs is not a bad thing if it pays the bills. Many of our parents and grandparents worked multiple jobs as a way of life. It is not something to be ashamed of. And before you jump to the conclusion that I don’t know what it is like to work two jobs, I do. I have done it as recently as last year. Why? Because I needed to pay my bills and I was not willing to sit around and sponge off others when I could do something to help myself.
Being on government welfare is too often the hindrance of people who would work, but don’t because of convenience. Unemployment insurance should not be extended automatically to everyone who is accepting it. The money does not come from the government, it comes from the tax payers. Sure, most pay unemployment insurance while they are working, but it is not for indefinite benefits. After the allotted time for those benefits, it becomes other people’s money that pays for it. If the checks stop, people are more likely to look harder and take whatever jobs needed to feed themselves and their families.
The bottom line is not about being compassionate or not. It is about enabling those who are fully capable of working but won’t. People who can’t work and are in need must be helped. It is the right thing to do. One of the commands of the Bible is to help those who are in need. But personal responsibility is also a command of the Bible. Laziness is a sin. Not supplying the needs of your family when you are able, is a sin. The church nor the government, should ever help someone sin. But we better be ready to help those who can’t help themselves. If we don’t, then we sin.
But when someone can work, they should. We do no favors by letting people have handouts when they could find a job. While they are in that difficult spot of in-between jobs, we need to help. We need to assist in food, housing, and the overall well-being of anyone in that position. But we must remember that old proverb that says, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. To work or not to work? WORK!

August 4, 2011

Free Cell Phones

by pastortimfowler

Our government gives the poor way too much. It is not the job of the federal government to give food and housing to the poor. It is called the American dream to own a home, not the American right to own a home. Owning a home requires one to be able to pay for the home and just because the government makes it easier to get financing, does not mean that you are ready nor deserving to own the home. Just yesterday I saw that there is even a government program to give poor people a free cell phone with 250 free minutes. Why?
There is no such thing as the government giving anything for free. It is all paid for and due to the fact that our government has no money of its own, that means that those of us who work and pay taxes, pay for all this free stuff. Since I pay for my own food, house, and cell phone, I can’t afford to pay for someone who can’t afford it for themselves. I bought my house based on my good credit and my good work record and because I budget my finances well I have a cell phone.
Food is a touchy subject. I do believe that people need to eat. I believe that if someone has no job and can’t buy food that they should have a means in which to eat. I just don’t think that it should come from the government. And I don’t think that someone who refuses to work should be able to eat as well or better than someone who does work but has to make sacrifices because they are paying for someone else’s home, cell phone, and groceries.
By this time I probably have about half of the people who read my blogs fuming mad. I have probably been call insensitive and had my Christianity questioned. However, I am not wrong; it is not the government’s responsibility to do these things.
Let me make one statement that I hope we can all deal with; No one has a right to a free cell phone and minutes.
Let me now clarify some things from the above statements.
It is the churches responsibility to take care of the poor. I can’t and wont argue with someone who is not a Christian about whose responsibility it is. Hopefully we can all agree that helping someone in need is a good thing and we just do it. BUT… The Bible is very clear that the church, Christians, should feed the hungry, cloth the naked, and house the homeless. It is not the responsibility of the government.
The church should do it out of love and a desire to show Christ’s love to others. We should do it with a motivation to help others become self-dependent and then for them to be able to help others. We should not just give to those who are not willing to help themselves. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 While we were with you, we gave you the order: “Whoever doesn’t want to work shouldn’t be allowed to eat.” There is a difference between those who can’t work and those who won’t.
Our society has created a class of people who are freeloaders. They know every agency and every charity that is willing to give away something free. When asked to work they refuse because they have more than they need from the give-aways, including a free cell phone and minutes.
My challenge to you is this. As of right now, things are not going to change when it comes to government give aways. But we can elect officials who will work to change these things. I am not talking about yanking the rug out from under poor innocent people who are down on their luck. I am talking about stopping the use of our tax dollars to promote freeloading. Pray about how you can begin to work within your church to help those in need. The old saying, give a man a fish, you feed him today, teach a man to fish, he feeds himself for a lifetime, is still true. We must help people become self-sufficient.
I will never allow someone to walk away to starvation. I will never allow someone to freeze to death because they have no shelter. I will never stop someone from calling 911 on my cell phone in an emergency. But please stop giving away so much free stuff without accountability. Even Jesus requires us to be accountable with the new life that He gives us, so what is wrong with require accountability from others?

July 5, 2011

5 July, 2011 15:40

by pastortimfowler

After a long weekend I should be rested and ready to go, but I feel tired and ready to stay. No rest for the weary at my house on the 4th of July weekend. Every kid in the ‘hood had fireworks and from the time it was almost dark until the wee hours it sounded like a war zone. Add to that a dog that is petrified of the noise and another who thinks that she should go outside and bark at them and that equals little sleep.
For any holiday that is celebrated with fireworks, the people of my community start warming up a couple of days before and usually continue for a couple of day after. This has been the norm for as long as I have lived there and that has been 8 years now. You might think that this is just a very patriotic crowd, but it is not. They may be patriotic, I don’t really know, but that is not the reason they do this. I can’t for the life of me understand the obsession, but I wish that I could open a fireworks stand for those weeks because then I could probably afford to move.
When we moved here we did it because of our church. We want to live in the place that we serve in. We really want to know the people and help if we can and be part of their lives in some way. For years we helped with food, clothing, shelter, utilities, and education. We tried to learn where folks were hurting and how our church could help ease the pain. But something weird keeps happening and it is not just in our ‘hood, it is everywhere in America that there is a “low-income neighborhood”. I remind you that I am qualified to say these things that I am getting ready to say because I live there and am trying to be part of the solution.
How can someone be so poor that they can’t buy food without food stamps but can afford enough fireworks to last for days? You can’t pay your light bill or your rent, but you can keep me awake all night with the explosions you can afford. This makes no sense. It is not just fireworks, but almost every kid in the ‘hood has a cellphone and are using it all the time. We could not give away Wranglers and generic shirts because they weren’t FUBU. I went to buy me a FUBU outfit and couldn’t afford it, but the people I am trying to help can.
I had one family who wanted us to pay their rent, pull up in a fairly new F-150 pulling a very nice grill and smoker combo on wheels. I know that I could have sold that combo for about $1000 and that covers anyone’s rent in that ‘hood for sure. I don’t think these guys were originally from here because they didn’t speak English and when I ask if they were legally here they quickly drove away.
I love our country and the opportunities it offers. I love the generosity of the people in the USA and the way we go out of our way to help those who are in need. Yet I hear people all the time getting upset about poor people and illegal people misusing the system. Being poor is never going to be eliminated and because of that, there will always be ministry for those who want to help. The problem is trying to wade through the stupidity of those who ask for help while wearing designer cloths, talking on their cell phone and shooting hundreds of dollars of fireworks all night long, as they beg for help to pay their light bill and helping someone who is truly in need.
I pray for wisdom as I continue to live in the ‘hood. I pray that people will wise up and quit blowing money on fireworks and start paying their bills. I pray that I will always have a heart for those less fortunate than myself and that if I have to lose sleep it will be because of my burden to help not because of the noise of fireworks that they can’t afford.