i wonder if heaven is real or just a santa claus lie to keep us on our best behavior, to get us through this life like it’s a christmas eve night. patiently waiting for the arrival of good, the gift we’ve earned for believing in something we never really see. i wonder who i’m talking to every night before i go to sleep, i wonder if i’m just talking to my pillow or if someone is actually listening. sometimes i get so mad and i wonder where he was when my dad got sick, i wonder where he was when i let my wrists bleed out. i wonder where he was every time a child died for no reason. i wonder if he see’s that half of us are broke and the other half are breaking. i wonder if he see’s the world he planted from a seed is melting in the palm of his warm hands. i wonder if he knows some are convinced we are made up of mud and water, that we are dried by the sun like clay. that are bodies are just shells, and we don’t have souls just brains. i wonder if he knows i am talking to him. i’ve heard others say when you question his existence you question your stay in hell. i’ve heard others say don’t believe it til you see it. but what am i suppose to think when i’m on the fence, what am i suppose to ask when i can’t get an answer for any question? god, i am talking to you. god, i am asking you. i guess we could all be bodies of water and dirt, i guess we could be formed from an angel and have clipped wings. i guess we won’t know the answers until we lie down to die. but god damn, i wish i knew. i wish you’d answer me.
—  i.c. // talking to god

Kevin Kruse explains how “in God we trust” began to appear on coins and stamps—it’s more recent than you’d think:

“So the phrase “In God we trust” comes from an often forgotten stanza of the “Star Spangled Banner.” It goes: “Then conquer we must when our cause it is just, and this be our motto – ‘In God is our trust.’” That stanza was largely forgotten until the Civil War when that phrase “In God we trust” is plucked out of that line and placed on coins. And it is done so at the urging of religious leaders who believe the Civil War has come as a result of America’s original sin, of not officially being founded as a Christian nation. And they ask the Secretary of Treasury to correct that and he does so by placing it on coins.

The phrase appears on coins intermittently over the next 50 or 60 years. Theodore Roosevelt tries to have it removed — he believes it’s close to sacrilege — but the public outcry prevents him from doing so. During this moment of the Eisenhower years, the phrase flourishes and it does so first when it’s placed on a stamp in 1954. Then [in] 1955, Congress decides to add it to not just coins but to paper money. And in 1956, they move to make it the country’s first official national motto.”

How ‘One Nation’ Didn’t Become ‘Under God’ Until The ’50s Religious Revival

I have great reverence for religious freedom. As a child, I was baptized in a Baptist church, and faith has always been an important part of my life. I was never taught, nor do I believe, that religion should be used as an excuse to discriminate.

I remember what it was like to grow up in the South in the 1960s and 1970s. Discrimination isn’t something that’s easy to oppose. It doesn’t always stare you in the face. It moves in the shadows. And sometimes it shrouds itself within the very laws meant to protect us.

—  Tim Cook wrote a fantastic op/ed for the Washington Post decrying “religious freedom” laws like those recently passed in Indiana and Arkansas. Religion is not an excuse to discriminate. Full stop.
Georgia Legislature Drops Plans For 'Religious Freedom' Bill After Watching Indiana Implode

Georgia Legislature Drops Plans For ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill After Watching Indiana Implode

Let nobody tell you that your voice doesn’t matter. Nowhere is that more clear than in Georgia this week where the state’s Republican-majority legislature quietly killed their very own “religious freedom” bill after watching their fellow conservatives in Indiana go down in spectacular fashion for passing a similar law.

According to WXIA in Atlanta, the Georgia House Judiciary Committee cancelled…

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sometimes you gotta realize that God put you in someone’s life not because they are to be a blessing to you, but because you are to be a blessing to them

for example

you could be praying and praying for a boyfriend, and God introduces you to this man and you say “aha! my prayers have been answered!”

and you like him, but you know he aint living right, or that he’s not what you need

but you still say “aha! this is the man God put in my life, so he must be it”

and all the while never taking a step back to say maybe this person isn’t the one for you

but you could be a friend, the friend that they need, the example for them to follow

nah, you don’t have to hand hold him and fix him. but you could say “this relationship isn’t working” and move on

just by having contact with you, his life may change. you could be the blessing in his life, and even though it didn’t end in marriage, it still ended in a blessing

of course this could be extrapolated to relationships with friends and family

you will meet all kinds of people that will make you take a step back and think “what was the point of that……” and people may come and go and you’ll wonder “why were they in my life only to leave……”

in those times, at least for me personally, i realized that i may be used as a vessel. there have been times when one random conversation with a random person has led them to change. or to be inspired. or encouraged. and i gained nothing from the interaction, but it was a word in season to them. it used to frustrate me. that i would be the person people leaned on but never had someone to lean on. and i realized i was looking at things wrong. because it is a blessing to be that kind of person to others. and in all honesty, the only person we need to lean on is God. it’s ok to be there for other people,  even if there is no real benefit to you. as long as your spirit isn’t compromised. the bible says in 1John 3:17 “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” if you have a blessing to share, do not close it off just because you may not get a blessing in return.

allow yourself to be a vessel

jerusalem—
you keep appearing in my mind
like it’s normal to be caught up in memory,
to feel the vividness of summer heat
in the beginning of springtime.

i keep seeing you everywhere:
city gates and cobblestones
ringing with an age i will never reach
somehow,
brick and concrete buildings remind me of you.

sometimes i see pictures of oil lamps,
shards of pottery,
roman glass and roman coins
sometimes in class we talk about gethsemane
mount of olives
and suddenly, all i can see is you—
no, wait—
suddenly, all i can FEEL is you.

jerusalem.
holy holy holy city
sometimes i wonder if a part of me didn’t burn when i was in you.
i went away more lost; more found.
sometimes
i remember touching the western wall and thinking—
GOD—
if there were anywhere a higher power would be,
it’d be here.

sometimes i wonder if i’ll ever have words enough
to write this poem.
jerusalem.
indescribable, holy.
i will never know the Sacred better than when i was with you.
sometimes
that Mystery scares me
more than words can tell.

—  love letters to cities: jerusalem, Drea O.
In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Catholic. Then they came for me — and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.
—  Pastor Martin Niemoller

Agate: Happiness, intelligence, fertility, health, protection of children, strength, physical energy, courage, overcoming envy, gardening, and well-being.

Amazonite: Calm, peace, joy, attracting success, gambling luck, overcoming grief, concentration, and creativity.

Amber: Cleansing, positive energy, wisdom, happiness, luck, strength, healing, patience, beauty, love, pleasure, protection from negativity, physical strength, self-confidence, and will power.

Amethyst: Transmuting negative to positive, increasing spiritual awareness, calming, soothing, repelling negative vibrations, overcoming addiction, peace, love, happiness, protection, good judgement, dreams, new beginnings, stability, fertility, eloquence, common sense, and compassion.

Ametrine: Astral travel, magickal power, meditation, and removing negativity.

Apache Tears: Luck and removal of pain.

Aragonite: Meditation, balance, centering, healing, will power, patience, and self-assurance.

Aventurine: Creativity, motivation, inner peace, business success, intellect, perception, soothing emotions/heartache, clarity, imagination, independence, joy, sexuality, vitality, wealth, and romance.

Bloodstone: Healing, wealth, courage, physical strength, stress relief, help in business/legal matters, revitalization, prosperity, guidance, abundance, rain, and organization.

Blue Lace Agate: Peace, calm, patience, happiness, warmth, gentleness, domestic harmony, and tenderness.

Botswana Agate: Eases stress & pain of a loss, reduces anxiety, and boosts mood.

Calcite: Luck, money, problem resolution, gambling, healing, creativity, business success, and attracting love.

Carnelian: Joy, protection, energy, easing depression, promoting self confidence, peace, concentration, focus, action, sexuality, lust, healing, and courage.

Chrysocolla: Clarity, peace, patience, love, wisdom, dreams, balance, prosperity, growth, hope, intimacy, intuition, tolerance, patience, sleep, creativity, and self-awareness.

Citrine: Sleep, luck, creativity, protection, self-esteem, magickal power, optimism, abundance, acquisition and maintenance of wealth, mental focus, endurance, clarity of thought, open mindedness, successful outcomes, career success, courage, smoothing family problems, and dissipating negative energy.

Copper: Releasing, healing, protection, self-esteem, luck attracting love and money.

Diamond: Generosity, trust, faithfulness, prosperity, love, peace, success, physical strength, will power, confidence, joy, and luck.

Emerald: Psychic awareness, meditation, insight, tranquility, peace, sleep, healing, divination, love, friendship, protection from evil, business success, memory, recognition, faith, fertility, serenity, romance, and understanding, balance.

Flourite: Good luck, concentration, keenness of mind, perspective, reducing emotional involvement, increasing mental power, logic, managing anger, analytical skill, intellect, and truth.

Fuchsite: Healing, wisdom, intellect, productivity, independence, problem solving, balance in the family, equilibrium in relationships, reducing mood swings, and connecting with faeries and your own inner child.

Gaia Stone: Prosperity, emotional healing, and Goddess connection.

Garnet: Health, cheery disposition, self-esteem, love, business success, past life regression, consistency of love & friendship, travel protection, happiness, peace, balance, patience, inspiration, persistence, wisdom, and prosperity.

Gold: Abundance, energy, purification, love, warmth, and prosperity.

Goldstone: Hope and protection.

Hematite: Concentration, memory, banishing negativity, clarity, courage, stress relief, energy, healing, divination, grounding, centering, healing, scrying, reliability, self-confidence, and legal matters.

Herkimer Quartz: Stress relief, meditation, visualization, balancing, and calming.

Howlite: Stress relief, anxiety, calming, tension, artistic expression, creativity, eliminating selfishness, purity, and spirituality.

Iolite: Truth, calming, peace, psychic ability, curiosity, spiritual growth, and leadership.

Jade: Concentration, unconditional love, concentration, fidelity, harmony, health, justice, protection, luck, beauty, energy, stress relief, perspective, wisdom, and growth.

Jasper: Stability, and healing, balancing emotion & stress.

Jet: Purification, psychic protection, virility, control, luck, health, divination, protection from illness & violence, and guarding against nightmares.

Kyanite: Creativity, commitment, loyalty, meditation, communication, cleansing, loyalty, dreams, and honesty.

Labradorite: Earth magick, faith, patience, imagination, introspection, strength, sleep, protection, stress, relief, calming, divination, strengthening convictions, courage, and facilitating transformation.

Lapis Lazuli: Courage, healing emotional wounds, compassion, courage, wisdom, strength, clarity, wisdom, fidelity, spiritual love, past life recall, divination (especially scrying, Tarot, and runes), tranquility, eloquence, expressiveness, self-confidence, and creativity.

Lepidolite: Serenity, peace, tranquility, stress relief, unity of the mind & heart, transitions, new beginnings, overcoming dependencies & addictions, objectivity, clear communication, and acceptance of life’s inevitable changes.

Lodestone: Focus, sleep, and grounding.

Malachite: Power, success, inspiration, releasing pain/anger, concentration, travel protection, healing, sleep, inspiration, psychic visions, overcoming negativity & depression, business success, money, protection from physical danger, emotional maturity, fertility, and wisdom.

Moldavite: Meditation, inner guidance, sympathy, compassion, clairvoyance, protection during astral travel, self-healing, channeling, communication with higher self, and widening perspective.

Moonstone: Travel protection (especially water travel), stress relief, past life regression, luck, clarity, spiritual understanding, calming emotions, hope, opening heart to love, joy, good fortune, new beginnings, beauty, childbirth, dieting, divination, and humanitarian matters.

Moss Agate: Friendship, gardening, healing, money, happiness, longevity, and finding treasures.

Obsidian: Grounding, centering, divination, increasing spirituality, healing, cleansing, clarity, luck, manifestation, transformation, and inner growth.

Onyx: Balancing, protection, faith, grounding spiritual energy to the physical plane, stability, scrying, and relaxation.

Opal: Positive emotions, joy, aura cleansing, inner beauty, loyalty, spontaneity, clarity, healing, passion, eloquence, faithfulness, self-confidence, wisdom, and beauty.

Pearl: Divination, balancing, protection, intuition, chastity, wisdom, youth, purity, serenity, truth, innocence, money, prosperity, friendship, emotional clarity, and concentration.

Peridot: Prosperity, growth, purification, balance, intuition, compassion, cleansing, protection against nightmares, anger management, overcoming nervousness, fertility, friendship, healing, repairing relationships, reducing stress, and focus.

Petrified Wood: Protection, longevity, and past-life recall.

Pyrite: Logic, clarity, memory, prosperity, will power, grounding, harmony, and vitality.

Quartz: Healing, drawing out pain, protection from negative vibrations, mediation, psychic powers, balance, and magickal strength.

Red Jasper: Beauty, grace, increasing mental processes, luck, easing pain of childbirth, and forming barrier against dangerous whims & desires.

Rhodocrosite: Balancing, healing, beauty, intelligence, divine love, energy, peace, loneliness, comfort, meeting potential, self-confidence, tact, compassion, and friendship.

Rhodonite: Assurance, understanding of cosmic purpose, understanding of new concepts & teachings, self-worth, self-esteem, self-confidence, peace, happiness, laughter, joy, strength against vulnerability, harmony in relationships, and enabling change.

Rose Quartz: Self-esteem, peace, fertility, creativity, love, compassion, beauty, fidelity, and happiness.

Ruby: Wealth, passion, restful sleep, protection from storms & negativity, power, joy, courage, sexual energy, enthusiasm, generosity, will power, contentment.

Rutilated Quartz: Energy, inspiration, removing negativity, and clearing the chakras.

Sapphire: Balance, overcoming depression, self-discipline, love, meditation, peace, healing, friendship, and fertility.

Seraphinite: Purification, centering, compassion, and healing.

Sepentine: Cleansing, visualization, meditation, attracting love, drawing money/wealth, abundance, psychic power, matters involving the elderly, and longevity.

Silver: Soothing, cleansing, psychic ability, balance, clarity, and stress relief.

Smokey Quartz: Eases depression, calms the mind, reduces fear & panic, elevates mood, overcomes negative emotions & unhappiness, grounding, and centering.

Snowflake Obsidian: Grounds spiritual energy to the physical plane, absorbs negativity, and enhances serenity.

Sodalite: Alleviates fear, clears the mind, calms inner conflict, truth, stress, relief, peace, harmony, wisdom, relaxation, communication, dispels guilt, merges logic & spirituality, creates emotional balance, learning, perception, creativity, insight, and eliminates confusion.

Staurolite: Compassion, understanding, spirituality, and prosperity.

Sugilite: Stress relief, protection, purification, healing, protection, spirituality, balancing, spiritual love, forgiveness, compassion, eloquence, fertility, friendship, growth, spirituality, and awareness.

Sunstone: Personal power, healing, overcoming depression, health, physical energy, protection, sexual arousal, sexual energy, increasing the energy of healing herbs, success, vitality, courage, and independence.

Tanzanite: Meditation, clairvoyance, spirituality, protection, wisdom, and communication with spirits & animal guides.

Tiger Eye: Protects against external stresses, restores physical energy, truth, understanding, emotional balance, luck, good fortune, travel protection, communication, recognition of own faults, overcoming stubbornness, self-confidence, and connection with the Earth.

Topaz: Emotional balance, abundance, clarity, confidence, overcoming depression, energy, focus, power, and tranquility.

Toumaline: Weight loss, creativity, success, prosperity, attracting love, and meditation, grounding, understanding root of problems.

Turquoise: Friendship, meditation, emotional balance, loyalty, divination, healing, soothing, wisdom, psychic development, beauty, protection, joy, wealth, romantic love, courage, trust, and victory.

Unakite: Protection, power, balance, healing, friendship, gardening, attracting animal guides, peace, and quiet.

Yellow Aventurine: Creativity, manifesting money, abundance, prosperity, leadership, decisiveness, and increasing personal power.

Zoisite: Health, strength, entusiasm, poise, and composure.

(Source)