Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

This is a bit of a break from the fast, but this is such great news that I had to share it. If you work in a public service industry, the government will forgive your loan debt after 120 payments (even if they are $0 because you make little money!). That’s 10 years!

This is not a gimmick, this is a legitimate government program that I just found. I had no idea it existed.

If you work in the following areas, you qualify:

Type of Public Service Organization, in accordance with the definition in Section 5 (check one):

(a) A government organization (including a Federal, State, local or Tribal organization, agency or entity; a public child or family service agency; or a Tribal college or university);

(b) A non-profit, tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;

(c) A private, non-profit organization (that is not a labor union or a partisan political organization) that provides at least one of the following public services (check all that apply):

Emergency management,
Military service,
Public safety,
Law enforcement,
Public interest law services,
Early childhood education (including licensed or regulated child care, Head Start, and State-funded pre-kindergarten),
Public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly,
Public health (including nurses, nurse practitioners, nurses in a clinical setting, and full-time professionals engaged in health care practitioner occupations and health support occupations, as such terms are defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics),
Public education,
Public library services,
School library services, or
Other school-based services.

NOTE as to categories (b) and (c): a borrower’s employment does not qualify if the borrower’s job duties are related to religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing.

For the application, click here: Application

Ponderings

As I’ve delved deeper into health and nutrition, reading and watching different things, it has become abundantly clear: God created our bodies to heal themselves with the right diet. Our bodies have a built in construction crew that can fix almost anything thrown at it, if we give it the right tools. Vitamins and nutrients are those tools. 

Most diseases, cancers, daily headaches, various ailments, all can be remedied by eating raw fruits and veggies in the proper servings. High concentrations of vitamins have been known to kill cancer, with no side effects.

It makes me wonder what God thinks when we pray for healings, when He’s already given us the tools and our bodies the ability if we would just use it! Most of us, myself included, don’t care enough about our bodies to keep it running the way it was built to be run. Our bodies were created as a temple, and we seriously defile it.

Part of the problem is that most of us have been so brainwashed by big food and drug companies into thinking that those who believe in raw food diets are all wackos, so we dismiss anything that is not mainstream and widely accepted. As we look at the increase in diseases, cancer, and obesity as processed foods have become more prevalent, maybe we should start listening to the wackos. Maybe eating the foods God created isn’t such a bad idea…

Just a thought.

Modern day Pharisees?

From the start let me say that I love Facebook and Twitter.

I love the idea of sharing what I like and don’t like with my friends and family via the internet. I think it’s a wonderful concept and I don’t intend to stop doing it. This post isn’t even about necessarily that, but I just wanted to make it clear just in case my rantings get misconstrued.

What I really want to address is some of the things we do with Facebook and Twitter, and if they relate to some of things that Jesus warns about in His sermon on the mount.

I’ve been on FB & Twitter for several years now and I would say I have a fair amount of connections to people all across the world (currently 1,085 “friends”), including Christians, non-Christians, ministers, pastors, preachers, saints, etc. This has given me the opportunity to observe over time an ever-growing trend that has developed especially among those that are more heavily involved in ministry and churches in general.

One major desire that all humans have in common is a desire to feel cared about and significant. We want to know that someone actually cares about us, or that someone cares about what we’re doing in our life. That’s completely normal. That’s one reason why FB & Twitter are so wildly popular – it gives all of us a feeling of worth; that someone cares enough about my life to connect with me and pay attention to what I do everyday (or they at least pretend to).

I don’t think it’s wrong to post your accomplishments and things you have done personally on these sites, I do it all the time. I want people to know just how AWESOME I am! We all want that sense of pride, I dare say we NEED that sense of pride to some degree.

However, when it comes to bragging on FB & Twitter about when we pray and the fast we just finished, I begin to wonder something: Are we as Christians developing modern day Pharisee behavior? Let me explain.

In Matthew 6, we jump right into Jesus’ sermon on the mount and He says:

1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”

5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. (NKJV)

Jumping down a bit….

16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

The Pharisees made it clear to anyone who would pay attention that they were “holy” and that they were praying and fasting. That’s what Jesus is addressing in these passages. Whatever glory we get from men in response to our displaying what we do spiritually, that’s the only benefit we’re going to receive. That completely negates the purpose of prayer and fasting!

Obviously our cultures are different nowadays than back in the times of Jesus. We don’t have street corners that we strut around on in our robes and display our holiness (we do that in the churches, duh!), but we do have FB & Twitter. Are they not public forums for which all can observe our activity and behavior? Does it not have the same effect?

So I ask thisdo we negate the good our prayer and fasting is supposed to do when we share it publicly on social media sites? Is there really any difference between that and what the Pharisees used to do?

I’m not condemning anyone – just a question to ask yourself. Not a sermon, just a thought 🙂

(For the record, I am not referring to sharing a testimony of what God has done for someone’s life. There’s a difference between giving God glory and glorifying yourself.)

Sometimes you’re just a jerk..

I know the title sounds harsh, but I wanted it to jump off at you. This is the first post in the topic line of Common Sense for Christians. Sometimes we as Christians simply abandon common sense, or use God as an excuse to do what we want and not feel bad. I’ll explain…

My masters degree is in Family Science, and I did an internship at a therapy clinic on campus working with couples and families (yes, I was trained in this). So I have some professional experience in working with relationships and observing people, apart from my many years of personal experience just from life. I wouldn’t call myself an expert by ANY stretch of the word, but I would say I’m a practiced amateur. I have also had the fortune of growing up in church and have been exposed to Christians my entire life. So now that you have my “qualifications”…. 🙂

Being a Christian, especially an Apostolic Pentecostal, you become very familiar with a mystical term that floats around and is used in all sorts of ways – the will of God. For centuries, Christians have used this term to simply do whatever the heck they wanted and feel justified. Whether it is mass murder (think of the Crusades) or consolidating power as an organization (I won’t name any particular church that liked to burn people who spoke out against them), it has been used as a weapon. But I am not here to wax long on the ills of humanity as a whole.

My interest in this writing is to give my thoughts on Christians using the will of God as an escape clause in relationships and life. With people, especially in romantic relationships, there is a difference between the will of God and knowing how to be a good boyfriend/ girlfriend. The issue I have lies in using the will of God as an excuse to not bother becoming a better person and LEARNING how to be in a relationship and treat someone.

More times than I can count, a friend or acquaintance of mine has been broken up with (better known as dumped) by a dating partner and simply exclaimed “well, it must not have been the will of God”, or “they must not have been the one for me”.

No, you just treated them like a jerk.

Never mind that you treated them badly, never did anything for them, were selfish, and called their momma names. It  had to be the will of God that drove them to be dumped, because surely they are a perfect boyfriend/ girlfriend.

A perfect example from one particular friend. We’ll call him “Abe”. Abe is a twenty-something, average kinda guy who likes playing video games. Alot. If Abe is home, he’s playing Call of Duty or Madden football or any cool, new game. He liked to play so much that he had a tendency to ignore his girlfriend in favor of video games. He wasn’t overly rude about it, but if he was on the phone with her he’d be playing a game at the same time, and be spaced out. “Uh huh’s” only go so far in a relationship. Well eventually this sort of thing pushed his girlfriend past her limit and she broke up with him, telling him she didn’t feel important enough to him. His reaction? “She must not be the one for me man. God was looking out for me”.

Seriously?

In his mind, he was the best thing since sliced bread. The only conceivable reason she might have for dumping him was a divine intervention from God to save him for his one and only.

What’s the point of this ranting you might ask? It’s this:

As I stated before, there is a difference between the will of God and your ability to sustain a relationship. Is the will of God important? Absolutely. Is your ability to sustain a relationship important? ABSOLUTELY.

LEARN how to be in a relationship. Don’t be unwilling to IMPROVE yourself so that you’re a desirable mate to someone who has a head on their shoulders. Be aware that if someone isn’t happy with you in a relationship, most of the time there is a legitimate reason and you need to explore yourself as to why. I’m not saying change who you are, but you can change your actions.

The will of God is not a weapon to use against people, and it is not an excuse to not better yourself. EVERYBODY needs to improve in some way, especially in relationships. We can never stop learning or improving how we treat our significant other, whether married or dating.

Sorry for the capitalized words, I think I got carried away 🙂