here. My mother-in-law recently passed away, which made me see the need to write another etiquette blog post, this time on funeral etiquette. Unlike the old days, people are no longer taught the proper way to pay their respects to those who have shuffled off this mortal coil (my apologies to William Shakespeare). So here's my list of funeral etiquette items:
1. If you know someone who has lost a loved one, please express your sympathy and condolences, either by attending the visitation, the funeral, or both, if possible. Your friend or loved one is hurting and sad due to the loss of their loved one. They deserve your support and sympathy. You will want and need their support when one of your loved ones die. If you can't attend the visitation and/or funeral because of work or sickness or because you're out of town, send a sympathy card or send flowers. Obituaries will often list favorite charities of the deceased and a donation in the decedent's name is often very much appreciated by the family. If you can't do any of these things, at least post a sympathy message online on the funeral home obituary listing or on the online newspaper obituary listing. In these days of social media, you can't complain that you didn't know someone died, because people post their loved one's obituary on Facebook, etc. If you are afraid you're going to miss a friend's or loved one's obituary, you can go to www.Legacy.com and set up an account to have them email you obituaries when the criteria you have set is met. Here is the direct link to set up an account and a search: https://www.legacy.com/obit-messenger/sign-up.aspx You can also search for obituaries at Legacy.com as well.
2. When you attend the visitation and/or funeral, please dress respectfully. This does not mean holey jeans, T-shirts, and flip flops. This means dress pants, a nice shirt and dress shoes. Ladies may wear a dress or a skirt and blouse if they would like. Also, please take a shower and wash your hair. Perfume/cologne is nice, but don't drown yourself in it. Some folks are allergic to too much scent.
3. When you get to the funeral home, don't forget to sign the guest book. This will let the family know that you were there. There may also be a place to write your mailing address. This is to make sure that thank you notes get to the right addresses. There will usually be a box located next to the guest book for you to put the sympathy card in you may have brought with you, if you didn't mail it beforehand. There will also be memorial folders next to the guest book. This will have information about the deceased, including dates of birth and death, where they were born and died, and other pertinent information. I always pick up a memorial folder at every visitation I attend. When I run across them while cleaning out my purse or whatever other place I keep them in, it's nice to take a moment to read them and remember that person.
4. When you enter the viewing room, a family member will usually take you to the casket to view the deceased. You do not need to touch the body if you're not comfortable doing so. If you want, say something like, "She/he looks so peaceful," or "She/he looks very nice." Be sure you shake hands with family members and friends of the deceased or, if you and they feel comfortable with it, you can give them a hug. You don't need to stay for the entire visitation, unless there's a lot of people you haven't seen in a while and you want to chat.
5. There is a disturbing new trend of people taking selfies with the deceased in the casket. This is highly disrespectful and very disgusting. If you would like a photo of the deceased in the casket, please ask a family member if it's okay that you do this.
6. If you are asked by the funeral director or a family member to be a pallbearer (a person who helps put the casket in the hearse and takes the casket from the hearse to the grave site) and you are available to attend the funeral and the graveside service to assist, please say yes. It is getting increasingly difficult to find pallbearers due to people having to work or they are not physically able to be a pallbearer. This is not to sound sexist, but pallbearers are usually men. Some funeral homes provide pallbearers for an extra fee, which the family has to pay.
7. If you attend the funeral, please stay off of your cell phone and turn off the ringer. (Please do this during the visitation as well.) Pay attention to the person conducting the funeral and the funeral director. If the person conducting the funeral asks if anyone wants to say a few words about the deceased and you feel comfortable doing so, then go ahead, but don't go overboard. A five minute speech should be sufficient. If the funeral service has religious ceremonies, please participate even though you are not of that religion.
8. If you don't feel comfortable attending the graveside service, you don't have to. Just tell the family goodbye and then leave before the cars line up for the funeral procession. If you do decide to join the funeral procession, make sure you turn on your car's headlights and the flashers. Funeral homes will put signs or flags on the cars in the processions so other drivers know the cars are part of the funeral procession.
9. This item is for people who in their travels meet up with a funeral procession. Please, at the very least, stop until all of the cars in the funeral procession have passed by. Do not cut in front of a car in the funeral procession. If you are entering a highway from an entrance ramp and a funeral procession comes by, please do not enter the highway until all of the cars in the funeral procession have passed. Do not cut in front of cars in a funeral procession on the highway; the cars all need to arrive at the same time at the cemetery. Some people who are attending the funeral from out of town may not know where the cemetery is and they're depending on those cars in front of them in the funeral procession to show them the way. My mother-in-law's funeral procession drove down a major highway and cars entering the highway cut in front of our car and several other cars in the funeral procession. It was very disrespectful. If a stop light changes from green to red while the procession is proceeding, the cars in the other direction should not proceed until the procession has cleared the intersection. When my brother-in-law died, some blonde chick almost hit my sister-in-law's husband's truck by trying to go through an intersection before the funeral procession had passed through.
I hope these funeral etiquette tips are helpful and you remember them should a loved one or a friend passes away. If there is anything you think I missed, please comment below. Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!
Friday, February 17, 2017
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
In this blog post, I will look at the parable of the 5 wise virgins and the 5 foolish virgins. This parable is found in Matthew 25: 1-13. I’ll post the whole parable and then comment on the verses.
“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’
“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
in which the Son of Man is coming.”
Jesus told this parable to his disciples, and they were surely aware of the Old Testament wedding traditions. The groom was to come in the middle of the night, after all things were ready, to take his bride from her father’s house. The virgins were the ones attending the bride; in today’s vernacular, they were the bridesmaids. They knew the time was close and that the groom was coming to take his bride soon, but they were unaware of the exact date and hour.
The wise virgins took extra oil with them in their flasks in case their lamps ran out. They were unsure how long it would be until the groom came, so they wanted to make sure they had enough oil. Oil is one of the symbols of the Holy Spirit. When we are born again, we receive the Holy Spirit through Jesus. By spending time in the Word and in prayer, we can keep the oil of the Holy Spirit renewed in us.
The shout of “Here’s the groom! Come out to meet him,” reminds me of Revelation 4, where Jesus tells John, “Come up here!” and he was instantly transported to heaven. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 reveals that we will be called to heaven with a shout and the blast of a trumpet at the Rapture.
The wise virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps at the call. They kept their flasks filled with oil. The foolish virgins, however, didn’t keep their flasks filled, so they lost their chance to attend the wedding banquet because the master didn’t know who they were. He didn’t know who they were because they didn’t spend any time with him.
When the foolish virgins asked the wise virgins for some of their oil, the wise virgins refused to give them any of their oil because there wouldn’t be enough oil for all. The foolish virgins should have brought their own oil in their flasks, which is obtained by spending more time with the Lord and being filled with the Holy Spirit. The oil of the Holy Spirit in you is your own. We each need our own supply of oil of the Holy Spirit.
As time passes and Jesus has not yet come back for His bride, we can become spiritually lazy and we can “fall asleep.” If we “fall asleep,” we will not be ready when the Bridegroom comes. Friend, take a look at your faith. Are you staying filled with the Holy Spirit by spending time in God’s Word and spending time in prayer? Will you be ready when the shout comes and the trumpet sounds? Or will you not have enough oil of the Holy Spirit? Will you be unprepared? Will you be one of the foolish virgins who the Lord will say He doesn’t know? Jesus said in the parable that we should be alert because we don’t know the day or hour of His coming.
If you have “fallen asleep,” take time today to repent of your spiritual laziness and spend more time with the Lord in prayer and His Word so you can know Him more and He can say He knows you. When the time is right and all is ready, Jesus will come back and claim His bride (the church). You don’t want to be left behind when the trumpet sounds. All of the events going on in the world today means the Lord’s return is closer than ever before. Maranatha!
Thanks for reading! See you next time!
Saturday, May 2, 2015
Our family, along with many others, will be heading to the movie theaters this weekend to see Avengers: Age of Ultron, which will probably be the top grossing film of the summer. The comic book/movie Avengers are quite a motley crew. There is a scientist who, when angry, turns into a giant, green guy with shaggy hair who likes to beat up bad guys. There is an attractive woman in a skintight black jumpsuit who is a trained assassin. There is a handsome man with long, blond hair who swings a large sledgehammer very well. There is a guy who is really good with a bow and arrow. There is a guy who was unfrozen over 50 years after World War II who uses a round shield to defeat the bad guys. And last but not least, there is a technologically savvy, snarky guy who has a ball of adamantium in his chest, and who flies around with an iron uniform on. In the first Avengers movie, the adversary was named Loki, and he resembled Satan in word and in deed. All these colorful characters are courtesy of the fertile mind of Stan Lee.
There were avengers in the Old Testament as well. The avenger of blood was the person who would chase after a murderer and then kill the murderer. If the murder wasn’t premeditated, the murderer could escape to a city of refuge and the avenger of blood couldn’t touch the murderer there. If the murderer left the city of refuge before the high priest died, however, the avenger of blood had every right to kill the murderer.
The ultimate avenger, however, is Jesus Christ Himself. At the Second Coming, Christ will return in the sky, riding a white horse, and all the armies of heaven will ride behind Him. Jesus will then defeat the Antichrist and the False Prophet into the lake of fire. An angel will then throw Satan into a pit and lock him them up for a thousand years. Satan will be released from the pit at the end of the thousand years to deceive the nations. There will have one final battle, and God will destroy the rogue nations with fire. Satan will be thrown in the lake of fire with the Antichrist and the False Prophet. Sin and evil will be conquered for all time.
People enjoy action hero movies because they represent the eternal battle of good versus evil, and good almost always wins in the movies. But when Christ returns at the Second Coming, it won’t be an action hero movie – it will be the real deal. Will you be with the armies coming back with Christ, or will you be trembling on Earth when you see Him in the sky? Don't wait too long to make that decision!
That's all for now! Thanks for reading! See you next time!
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Luke 11 was the gospel reading in my Bible reading plan the other day. Starting at Luke 11:37 and through the end of the chapter is the story of a Pharisee who invited Jesus to his house for dinner. Jesus strolled in and sat down without performing the Pharisee hand washing ritual. The Pharisee was aghast; he wanted to know why Jesus didn’t do the ritual cleansing. Jesus then rebukes the Pharisees because they clean the outside of the dish and cup (referring to their outside bodies) but not the insides (referring to their hearts). Jesus then rebukes the Pharisees for tithing one-tenth of mint and herbs, but not performing justice and love for God. Jesus also rebuked the Pharisees for wanting the highest places in the synagogues and the praise of men. He called the Pharisees unmarked graves.
A lawyer then tells Jesus that He is rebuking them as well and Jesus tells him that the lawyers put burdens on the people that are hard to carry, but the lawyers don’t help the people. He then goes back to rebuking the Pharisees, telling them that they build monuments to the prophets that their fathers killed, thereby approving of them. He then rebukes the lawyers again, telling them that they took away the key of knowledge and they didn’t go in themselves, let alone help anyone else.
Jesus didn’t mince words when it came to the Pharisees and the scribes. Jesus called them whitewashed tombs elsewhere in the Gospels. Here are the folks that I think Jesus would rebuke if He were walking on the Earth today.
Woe to the TV pastors who prey upon the poor, who spend the money that the poor send to them on nice things like jets, mansions, etc. Woe to them because they tell the poor if they “plant a seed,” it will return to them one hundred fold. The TV pastors get richer and the poor get poorer.
Woe to the Catholic priests who sexually abuse children. Woe to the Catholic hierarchy, who don’t expel the abusive priests out of the church, but move them from parish to parish, and pay off the families who sue the church with the money collected from the parishioners.
Woe to the churches and denominations that embrace homosexuality, who don’t preach that homosexuality is a sin. Woe to those denominations that ordain gay ministers and LGBT ministers, which is against God’s Word. Woe to those pastors who marry gay couples, thereby giving them the blessing of the church, even though God is not blessing their unholy union.
Woe to those denominations that hate Israel and don’t pray for her, as Scripture tells us to do. Woe to those denominations that hate the Jewish people, for Jesus was Jewish (and so were most everyone in the Old Testament).
Woe to those churches that support abortion. Abortion is murder (thou shalt not kill), and it kills those who Jesus called precious.
Woe to those churches who corrupt worship by making it a Broadway production with lights and fog machines and loud instruments, and with songs that don’t even mention God and/or Jesus.
Woe to those “pastors” who don’t preach about sin, who preach about having “your best life now,” who are more like inspirational speakers than pastors.
Woe to those pastors who embrace New Age and/or occult teachings and mix them with Christianity. Woe to those pastors who mix Islam with Christianity (Christlam).
Woe to those pastors who don’t use the Bible as the basis for their sermons, but preach “pop psychology” sermons (“How to Effect Change in Your Life,” etc.), or use popular books as the basis for their sermons (The Purpose Driven Life).
Dear reader, examine the church you attend in light of the “woes” explained above. If you find you’re attending one of these churches, I implore you to leave that church and find one that doesn’t embrace any of these sins.
Thanks as always for reading! See you soon!
Sunday, February 22, 2015
I utilize public transit to commute to my job every day, and I have noticed that the behavior of some public transit riders is much worse than ever. There are already some rules posted on public transit vehicles, but people either don’t (or can’t) read the rules or they just don’t care about rules. So here is my etiquette guide for public transit riders:
1. If you are listening to music or watching a video on your phone, please use headphones. No one else wants to hear what you are listening to. Also, please do not turn your music up so loud so that everyone else around you can hear it. Not everyone shares your taste in music. You are also ruining your hearing, although you may not care.
2. If you are listening to music on your headphones, please do not sing along aloud. This is especially offensive when the music you are listening to contains obscenities. I was on the train one afternoon on my way home from work and the guy in front of me was rapping a song with the lyrics, “Get the f*** out of my face, I said, get the f*** out of my face,” and he rapped this phrase over and over again. A public transit vehicle is not a stage on which to sing and/or rap and/or dance in your seat. Thankfully, I had my own mp3 player with me to listen to so I could drown out Mr. Rapper.
3. If you are having a conversation with another passenger, please keep your voice down. I would hope that you would not want everyone to know your business. In addition, some people use their commuting time to study, read, or even take a nap. Loud conversations are very distracting.
4. Please do not curse or use foul language. If you would not use the words you want to say in front of your mother, your grandmother, and/or your children, then don’t say them on public transit. If you don’t mind using foul language in front of your family members, then you have a bigger problem.
5. Do not leave newspapers or trash behind when you exit a public transit vehicle. Take your trash with you and place it in the nearest trash receptacle. Public transit vehicles are not your personal trash repositories.
6. Please use deodorant. I know, you worked hard today and you sweated a lot. It might be 100 degrees outside. But there is nothing worse than to sit behind someone who reeks of body odor and/or cigarette smoke. It does not make for an enjoyable commute. Keep a spare deodorant with you and take a minute to put it on before leaving work. A spare container of deodorant doesn’t cost very much and it will make the ride much more pleasant for all of us.
7. If you smoke, please don’t light up right before you board a public transit vehicle. The strong scent lingers on your clothes and makes the ride unpleasant for the people sitting near you. If someone is sitting near you who is allergic to smoke or has asthma, they could have a medical emergency if they are exposed to the tobacco smell.
8. If you are sitting in a seat designated for handicapped riders and someone comes through the door that looks like they obviously need the seat (like someone walking with crutches or a cane or in a wheelchair), then get up and let them have the seat. Someday, it may be you needing the handicapped seats because you’re using a cane or crutches, or you may be in a wheelchair.
9. Gentlemen, please pull up your pants. No one wants to see your underwear and/or butt crack. The women of the world thank you.
I have been a public transit rider to commute to the various jobs I have held in downtown St. Louis for almost 30 years. Behavior on public transit is worse now than ever before, and it’s because people are more selfish. People want to do what they want to do and they don’t care what anyone else says or how they feel, or even whether it’s legal or not. It’s the attitude of the “me first” generation. If people would put others before themselves and be courteous and helpful, the world would be a more pleasant place.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading! See you next time!
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
For example, in the first verse, there is a line that reads, "Let earth receive her King." Jesus did not come as a king at His first coming, but as a baby in a manger. "And heaven and nature sing" is a general reference to verses 7-9 of Psalm 98, in which the seas, the rivers and the hills rejoice.
The second verse has a line that reads, "Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns," and the fourth verse starts with the line "He rules the world with truth and grace." The third verse states: "No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground." These are references to the Millennial Kingdom, when Jesus will reign over the new earth.
So why do we sing "Joy to the World" at Christmas then? I believe it is to remind us that Jesus is coming back again. Indeed, in some mainline Christian denominations, Advent is the only time you'll hear about Christ's Second Coming. Advent is definitely an appropriate time to think about the Second Coming, but I think Jesus' second coming should be talked about more than once a year. If we have been born again and are taken to heaven in the Rapture, we will be coming back with Christ at His second coming, and how exciting that will be! We should be looking forward to the day when Jesus will return and establish His reign upon the new earth.
Wouldn't it be awesome if that when Jesus returns, the whole world, mankind and nature would sing "Joy to the World"? The second verse reads: "Let men their songs employ, while fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains repeat the sounding joy." How thrilling that would be!
Sorry I haven't been posting much lately. I've had a lot of stuff going on the last few months and just haven't been in the mood to write. I hope that 2015 will be a better year. Since today is Christmas Eve, I would like to wish my loyal readers a happy and blessed Christmas!
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Social media can be used for good purposes, it can be used for bad purposes, and sometimes, the use of social media has ugly results. Here are my thoughts on social media.
You can find folks you haven’t seen in years. Have you lost track of that cousin you used to hang out with in grade school? He or she is probably on Facebook. Do you have family members or friends that live in other states or other countries? Facebook can help you keep in touch with them.
On social media, you can find groups of people who have common interests, like sports, Bible studies, etc. You may never meet any of these folks in real life, but you can converse with them like they’re in the same room with you.
Social media is also good for following people and companies you are interested in. You can get glimpses into their activities without seeing them in person. If you’re having an issue with a product or a service, Twitter is a fast way to get a business’s attention. The business will rectify issues quickly so their other followers will see that the business wants to make their customers happy.
Social media is also a great way to promote your business. You can post about special offers, new products, and job openings. You can ask your business’s followers questions about what they would like to see or purchase. You can post contests and giveaways. If you have an emergency and have to close your store early, or you have different hours for weekends, you can post about it.
Social media is great for those of us who write blogs. You can use social media to publicize new blog posts. If your blog has a Facebook page, you can post items that are too short to blog about, or use it as a way to keep your readers engaged. My Branson on Your Budget blog has a Facebook page. I use it to post special information.
Twitter is really good for obtaining news quickly. I follow national news organizations such as CNN and local TV and radio stations on Twitter to get news updates. It only takes about 30 seconds to post a news item on Twitter and post a link to a web page if more information is available. Twitter is great when major news events are occurring. You can follow what’s happening in real time. Twitter wasn't around for 9/11, but if it had been, it would have crashed with everyone posting updates.
If you’re a private person who doesn't want to be found or a criminal, then perhaps social media is not for you. Google is the friend of those folks seeking people that don’t want to be found, and once you’re found, watch out.
Intent often can’t be deciphered on social media. You may post “I’m going to kill ____,” or “I’m just really depressed and I think I’m going to end it all” on your timeline and not be serious, but people who read your posts don’t know that you’re just kidding. They may become concerned and call the authorities. Depending on where you are on your life's journey, having the authorities know about your social media posts could have some major repercussions.
Violent movements and organizations also use social media to publicize their activities and to recruit more people.
If you spend more time on social media than you do with your family, then you may have a problem. If you’d rather play Facebook games than eat, then you may be addicted to social media. If you get up in the morning and the first thing you do is check social media, then you may be addicted to social media.
Potential employers look at your social media presence and if what you post doesn't comport with the type of employees they want, then they will not hire you. If you’re a student, colleges to which you apply will also look at your social media presence to see if you’re the type of student they want to admit. If they don’t like what they see, they may decide not to admit you. If your relatives don’t like what you post on social media, they may disown you.
So how should you use social media wisely? Be careful as to what you post on social media.
Actions have consequences, so stop and think before you post (or do anything, for that matter). If what you want to post could get you in major trouble, then don’t post it! My general rule is that if you wouldn't want your mother to see what you post, then don’t post it. If you don’t care if your mother sees what you post, then you have deeper issues than I can cover in this blog post. This includes not only the writings that you post, but the photos/avatars that you post or use as well.
Post enough so that people don’t worry about you, but don’t post too much. Familiarity breeds contempt.
You may wonder why I wrote this blog post. Recently, a family member posted something on Facebook that they shouldn't have. Someone turned him in. But because this family member didn't think before he posted, something his mother was looking forward to greatly will not happen now, and that’s very sad. I wanted to post this to warn others so you can use social media correctly and avoid this fate.
Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!