Saturday, December 31, 2005

TOPIC: Oil Company GREED...
As we close out 2005, one of the big stories on everyone's mind is the price of gas and oil. Folks, no matter what we were told this past Summer and Fall, there was one primary reason for the huge increases in retail gas prices. It’s pure and simple == GREED. A few weeks ago, I visited and gathered some interesting info on the "Top Three" gas/oil companies:
Profits Dec ’02 = $33,594 million
Profits Dec ’04 = $48,928 million
Increase = $15,334 million (+ ~45%)
Profits 1Q/’04 = $11,606 million
Profits 1Q/’05 = $21,803 million
Increase = $10,907 million (+ ~94%)

Profits Dec ’02 = $69,208 million
Profits Dec ’04 = $100,442 million
Increase = $31,234 million (+ ~45%)
Profits 2Q/’04 = $23,812 million
Profits 2Q/’05 = $27,749 million
Increase = $3,937 million (+ ~17%)

Profits Dec ’02 = $28,217 million
Profits Dec ’04 = $43,512 million
Increase = $15,295 million (+ ~54%)
While I realize companies are in business to make money, this is RIDICULOUS! BP’s profits for the first quarter of this year compared to the first quarter of last year (when we were being gouged to a lesser extent) have gone up nearly 100%. That’s an outrage when people can barely pay for a tank of gas for their car… and families are going without heating oil this Winter. Folks, the oil companies are LYING to us – and the proof is right in front of your eyes. If the internal costs were so high and the supply so low, they would NOT be able to double their profits as it clearly shown here. It’s time we start raising our voices.

I don’t believe in the government as the savior of our country, BUT it’s time to make them do their part – and act on this situation. We need to call our State Attorneys General, our Senators and Representatives and demand they hold formal hearings to bring charges against the oil companies and their executives for price gouging. We also need to DEMAND more petrol refineries be built in THIS country (not across the border)!

Friday, December 30, 2005

TOPIC: The Pardoning God
Someone has said that humor is only the truth thinly disguised. The phrase “I don’t get mad, I get even” is intended to be humorous, but the truth is evident. For some people, this phrase is like a mantra for relationship management. Its corollary statement is, “Do unto others before they do unto you.Sadly, some people live with anger and revenge in their hearts—and at times that shows in their lives.
Consider this description of God: He “pardons sin and forgives the transgression . . . . [He does] not stay angry forever” and it is His “delight to show mercy” (v. 18). If that isn’t contrast enough, add the next verse. “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (v. 19). With God, the only thing that gets walked over is our sins!
This is an amazing picture of God. He pardons, forgives, shows mercy and has compassion. Don’t miss the application of all of this. What He does is done for you and me. We are the ones who have sinned and need forgiveness. He is the One who through Jesus offers salvation to us. When we receive Jesus, we receive all the benefits of the God who pardons, forgives, shows mercy and has compassion.
And as you think of what this means for you, remember the responsibility that comes with the blessing. Paul put it this way: “Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col. 3:13).

Key Verse: Micah 7:18
Authors: Woodrow Kroll, Tony Beckett

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Most people would rather be certain they're miserable, than risk being happy. -- Robert Anthony

The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. -- Allan K. Chalmers

The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. -- Benjamin Franklin

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go. -- Oscar Wilde

[These quotes are in response to yesterday's post about my coworker who cannot and will not be happy and content with anything.]

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

TOPIC: Have you ever met someone who...
...just couldn't be happy or satisfied with anything? I work with a young lady who finds something wrong with everything. A free meal isn't as good as the meals she used to get. A raise at work isn't enough money. Food delivered from a local restaurant didn't arrive fast enough and isn't hot enough. In fact, one of the local restaurants sent us a plate full of homemade cookies at Christmas. Rather than be thankful, her comment was, "Well, as much business as we do with them, they should have sent us SOMETHING." Argh!
I try to treat this situation according to a quote from Mark Twain, "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions..." Twain goes on to add, "Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." That's how I try to deal with others -- make them feel great; and point out the good side of things. It's easy to moan and groan, but it takes character to see the good -- in everything.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Q'sOTD: About LIFE...
The question is not whether we will die, but how we will live. -- Joan Borysenko

Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile. -- Albert Einstein

We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. -- Herman Melville

Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier. -- Albert Schweitzer

Monday, December 26, 2005

TOPIC: Christianity in America - A FoxNews/Opinion Dynamics Poll
Here are some interesting statistics from recent FoxNews polls (along with Gallop, AP, CNN & others):

1) "Which one of the following is closer to your view? Religion is under attack in America today. Religion has too much influence in America today. The current standing of religion in America is just about right."
Under Attack = 49%
Too Much Influence = 17%
About Right = 22%
Unsure = 12%

2) "Do you feel like Christianity is under attack in the United States today?"
Yes = 59%
No = 37%
Unsure = 4%

3) "Around this time of year, there is talk about whether holiday decorations on public property should include a nativity scene. Some say nativity scenes should not be on public property because this violates the separation of church and state. Others say it is acceptable for nativity scenes to be on public property because they are part of the historical celebration of Christmas. What is your view? Should nativity scenes be allowed on public property, or not?"
Allowed = 83%
Not Allowed = 12%
Unsure = 5%

4) "Do you believe the motto 'In God we trust' should remain on U.S. currency and coins or should it be removed?"
Remain = 93%
Removed = 4%
Unsure = 3%

5) "Do you believe the phrase 'under God' should remain in the Pledge of Allegiance or should it be removed?"
Should Remain = 90%
Should Be Removed = 7%
Unsure = 3%

6) "Do you think it should be legal or illegal to display the Ten Commandments on government property?"
Legal = 76%
Illegal = 15%
Unsure = 8%

7) "Do you agree or disagree that the courts have gone too far in taking religion out of public life?"
Agree = 77%
Disagree = 17%
Unsure = 6%

8) "Do you favor or oppose allowing voluntary prayer in public schools?"
Favor = 82%
Oppose = 14%
Unsure = 5%

9) "Thinking about the presence that religion currently has in public schools in this country, do you think religion has too much of a presence in public schools, about the right amount, or too little of a presence in public schools?"
Too Much = 11%
About Right = 27%
Too Little = 60%
Unsure = 2%

10) "Now I have a few questions about the Bible. Do you believe that every word of the Bible is literally accurate -- that the events it describes actually happened, or not?"
Yes, Believe = 55%
No, Do Not Believe = 38%
Unsure = 7%

If these polls truly reflect the beliefs and feelings of American society, WHY are we allowing 17% of the citizenry to dictate how we, the Bible believing majority, live?!?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

TOPIC: Merry Christmas!
Just wanted to take a quick moment to say Merry CHRISTmas to everyone. Please remember that the reason for the season is the birth of Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ and Savior of the world. Enjoy your presents, friends and family!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

TOPIC: Where does he get those insightful quotes?
I'm so glad you asked. I posted info on the primary website I use awhile back. Lately, I've been using Quoteland for most of the quotable quotes on the Sope-Bocks. It's an interesting site, complete with discussion forums. Not everyone there is an insightful as the quotes, but some make for good reading nonetheless. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

QOTD: The goal in marriage is not to think alike, but to think together. -- Robert C. Dodds

Saturday, December 17, 2005

TOPIC: A Worthy Cause
Do you have $15.00 to spare? If so, then you can make a child's day -- or help them gain eternal life. You can do this with a special Christmas gift. Samaritan's Purse is the catalyst. And Operation Christmas Child is how it's done. Here's a short summary of how it works:
1) Get a shoebox and fill it with goodies for a child (doll, ball, coloring book, pencils, bar soap, etc.)
2) Include a one-page letter about yourself and your family. Include your address and a picture, if possible.
3) Add a $5.00 check (to cover shipping expenses)
4) Pray, if you're a believer, that the items in the box will bless the child who receives them.
5) Drop the unwrapped box off at your local church or Samaritan's Purse Drop-site
My family has done this for the past few years. We are always blessed to see how our children get involved. We've also been blessed with letters from kids in Haiti and Africa. Remember, it is more blessed to give than receive. ;-)

Friday, December 16, 2005

QOTD: While forbidden fruit is said to taste sweeter, it usually spoils faster. -- Abigail Van Buren

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

TOPIC: Media Bias Is Real, Finds UCLA Political Scientist
From a UCLA article, "While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.
These are just a few of the surprising findings from a UCLA-led study, which is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly."
This is a VERY interesting article. Whether you want to believe the results or not, you should read this article and consider the findings.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

You don't love a woman because she is beautiful, but she is beautiful because you love her. -- Anonymous

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, it's what you are expected to give -- which is everything. -- Anonymous

Friday, December 09, 2005

TOPIC: New Year's resolutions -- Almost a year later
At the beginning of 2005, I resolved to loose weight; learn more about my career choice (computers); to grow spiritually and to enjoy photography (my beloved hobby) more. Near the end of 2005, here are a few realizations about my New Year's resolutions:
1) I didn't loose nearly as much weight as I wanted (13 pounds currently)
2) I learned much more than I knew about computers, but still haven't attained the level of MCSA (as planned). On the positive side, I did earn my MCP.
3) I have not grown as much spiritually as I would have liked. Some definite strides were made in this area, but I'm not even close to where I want to be in my relationship with God.
4) I enjoyed photography much more than in recent years. Like the other resolutions, I'm not satisfied with my progress in this area either.
Am I a failure? I don't think so. Am I where I wanted to be at the end of 2005? No way. Will these be my New Year's resolutions for 2006? Probably. What are YOU thinking about for 2006? How did YOU do in 2005?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

QOTD: The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it. -- Elizabeth Drew

[This sums up how I would like you, the reader, to experience the Sope-Bocks. Are you living more intensely for the reading of it?]

Friday, December 02, 2005

TOPIC: The War on Pornography
With kids carrying cell phones at a greater rate than ever before, parents need to be aware that porno peddlers are now targeting cell phones. Since there are little or no parental controls on cell phones, smut peddlers are trying another route to get kids hooked on pornography. Remember, if they can get 'em while they're young, they'll probably have 'em for life. This is distrubing -- 9 out of 10 children aged between 8 and 16 have viewed pornography on the Internet. In most cases, the sex sites were accessed unintentionally when a child, often in the process of doing homework, used a seemingly innocent sounding word to search for information or pictures. (London School of Economics January 2002) I found this to be true, first hand, when searching online for a Barbie doll to give my youngest daughter.
And before the "freedom of speech" anarchists start on me, keep in mind that we're talking about kids here. If you guys don't have a life and want to look at Jenna Jameson on your 1.5" cell phone screen, that's your business. BUT, it's NOT acceptable to have pornography freely available to anyone, anywhere -- especially on a kid's mobile phone!
If you're a concerned parent or a person who knows the problems that pornography causes, then you might want to know about a website: War on Pornography. Wirthlin Research shows that 80% of Americans want to clamp down on pornography. As someone who has struggled with it myself, I wholeheartedly agree. THINK it over -- and join WoP if you think its a worthwhile effort.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

TOPIC: How low will the American "entertainment" industry sink?
In an era when Desperate Housewives, American Chopper and Nip/Tuck are hits, the question begs to be answered. Add to the equation... Reality TV has taken over most networks. Full-time gay/lesbian networks have popped up on cable and satellite. Super-violent horror movies are shown at most theaters these days. So, I ask you -- How low will Americans sink in the name of entertainment?
Furthermore, the ratings system is all out of whack. Being a 42 year old, I remember the days when no one under 17 could get into an R-rated movie. In fact, I had to get an older friend to go with me to see "Saturday Night Fever". Maybe my memory is flawed, but I don't recall any R-rated movies being shown on TV (excluding cable, of course). Now, one episode of Fox's TV police drama, The Shield, has more vulgar language, violence and nudity than most of the R-rated movies I've seen -- and it's on regular TV during primetime! If I'm not mistaken, The Shield is also rated TV14. My oldest child is 13, but I'd NEVER allow her to watch such garbage.
And the movie theaters -- don't get me started! Movies like Wolf Creek, Saw, Freddie vs. Jason, Cellular and the like are (in my opinion) way out of bounds. These are SICK movies from sick minds, meant for sick people. This is NOT entertainment! It's gross and disgusting -- and it has no value, entertainment or otherwise. I won't even broach the subject of video games in this post. The diatribe would be too lengthy for the Sope-Bocks.
Let me simply remind you to think about one thing -- Hollywood will produce ANYTHING that makes money. They could care less about what you and I call entertainment as long as it makes money for them. SO, why not demand better quality entertainment? Why not stop watching the likes of Desperate Housewives, MTV, most reality shows and some of Fox's worst offerings? The advertisers will take a hint and take their money elsewhere, which will result in the networks changing the shows. If we, as Americans, demand better entertainment quality (with good moral values, etc.), Hollywood will follow our lead. Truthfully, they have NO OTHER CHOICE!