Archive for July, 2015

Lions_hunting_Africa

I am not a big fan of hunting. Not because I am against it, but because I have certain beliefs that surround the act of hunting animals. First and foremost I believe that we must eat what we kill. God has given us various livestock that have been created for human consumption. I also do not have what it takes to kill, gut, and skin an animal. I am also a huge animal lover. So therefore I am not going to be a hunter. I think you probably know where this is going. Cecil a beloved lion in Africa was recently killed by an American who has a past time of hunting trophies. Now I always try to put myself in someone else’s shoes. I am sure this man thought what he was doing was okay. We are known to justify anything that gives us pleasure. Obviously he has friends they must have known of his trophy hunting.  Many have probably been admiring his collection for years. I am just guessing but if one spends thousands of dollars for a head I am sure he had them mounted so all his visitors could view his conquest. I am also sure it is a very thrilling experience to stalk a deadly animal and kill it. Something that reaches back to man’s primal existence.

Let me make it clear, I am against the hunting of these creatures. It makes no sense to kill these animals.  God has placed them on this earth for us to be stewards of. God cares even for the sparrow, he surely cares for all of the other creatures of his creation. Switching gears a bit let me allow you to look at the hunter within. I found it very disturbing to see the hate in which many have placed on this man. Most people had no idea about this lion, until mob mentality took over.  Everything I read on social media is encouraging revenge on the dentist from Minnesota. Many are even asking for his death. How crazy is that! We humans have are priorities backwards. It is the human who was created in the likeness and image of God. It is the human who is a little lower than the angels, and it is the human in whom Jesus was incarnated in order to bring salvation to the world. So I say every person calling for the death of Walter Palmer is just as bad as he is. We humans like to seek out and prey on others. It is the thrill of the hunt. Who can we shame next? Who we can gang up on and destroy because they are doing something outside of the social norm. So who is the hunter? Who is seeking the thrill of the hunt? I am not saying Walter Palmer is innocent, but I am not saying you are either. You’re a social justice abuser. You cry over a lion no one has heard of, but no tears are shed over aborted babies. What in the world is wrong with us? I guess it is just the human condition, I really shouldn’t be surprised. Man is evil from birth. Yet does that give us the reason to persecute our fellow brothers and sisters. No, we should be able to respond in a dignified humane way instead of acting like the man we are shaming. So what would I say to Mr. Palmer? I think I would tell him that I understand that you are a hunter and have been doing this along time. For the most part you were under the radar.  Now everything is in the light. I am sure you are only sorry that you were caught. Maybe you should realize that these animals are rare and precious. If you committed a crime you should answer to the crime learn from this experience and move on with your life.

What comes to my mind when people hunt big game for no other reason but a trophy is their decreased sensitivity to life in general. On the flip side do those who throw stones especially through social media also have a disregard for life? It is certainly easy to run your mouth online, yet I doubt 90% of these social justice warriors wouldn’t dare speak to this man’s face. This guy kills lions with bows and arrows, I am sure that he also has plenty of high powered rifles laying around. Also Lions and big game are not necessarily innocent creatures. They are not my kitten who is sleeping next to me as I write this. A lion will kill you. Bears will kill you. They will have no remorse, and social media wouldn’t make a sound. These animals will even cannibalize their offspring. People talk about humanity being violent and humans being the destruction of the planet, the animal kingdom is much more ferocious. I am sure you have watched the lion killing dozens of gazelle on TV. I am not saying this to justify the actions of Mr. Palmer, I am saying it because there is always two sides to every story. God desires us to be good stewards of the world in which we live. We have majestic creatures in which we should protect if possible. Yet in reality many of the endangered species will go extinct just as the many before. Dinosaurs once ruled the planet and nature took its course, now only bones remain. So when I woke up today to notice social media going nuts over this dentist in Minnesota, my first thoughts were not about the lion it was about the cruelty that our fellow man shows to each other. This man didn’t kill another human, he may have broken the law but nothing deserving of death. So just think about it next time you’re out and about and maybe do something that could leave you shamed. I guarantee we all have been there. Or think of your past and the little secrets that you wish to remain hidden. Being aware that we are human, and giving each other grace will be a major step in helping your own life find peace. I have found that people who like to cast stones have some kind of issue which is putting their life out of balance. I could understand if this man killed another human being, but he did not. I am not defending his actions, but defending him from the absolutely crazy responses from our social media warriors. So speak easy and with reason, or don’t speak at all. Blessings!

Advertisements

p07-130121-a2

The country is saddened by the recent shooting resulting in the death of four Marines. As a veteran I think it touches me just a little bit more when I hear of the senseless deaths of my fellow men at arms. We still have fresh images of the shootings at Colorado, Sandy Hook, and the tragic deaths of our fellow Christians in a prayer meeting in Charleston. These are just the shootings that make the headlines let’s not forget the hundreds of shootings that take place in Chicago. People around the nation are starting to call Chicago Chiraq, in relation to Iraq and a warzone. For all purposes it seems we have a problem with violence in the country. Many on the left would say that we have a gun problem. Do they have a point? Do we have a gun problem? It is hard to actually know how many guns there are in the country, estimates put it in the hundreds of millions. Pew Research Center states that 52% of Americans are in favor of protecting gun ownership.1 I agree with the 52% I think that gun ownership in America is a right that has long been protected yet, over the years more restrictions have been placed on citizens who wish to be gun owners. Due to poor choices I have made in life I cannot own a gun based on legislation. More legislation is being looked at regularly in order to restrict gun ownership to more Americans. I support a person’s right to bear arms, and I always will. For me personally, after playing around with guns for 5 years in the military I really don’t care about my personal gun ownership; I had my fair share of gun play during that time.

10415664_10154183161520106_9145452046677218058_n

So every time that there is a tragedy in America involving guns, the gun control fanatics go nuts. They forget about the 2nd amendment “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” This amendment has been scrutinized and played with over the years by the ever wise courts. Some conspiracy theorist would say the government is making moves in order to strip the country of their guns in doing so the military industrial complex can have unhindered control. While others believe that a society without guns would be a safer society. Some of them make agreeable points, without guns the mass shootings that I mentioned above probably would not have taken place. We do live in a different day of age from when the 2nd amendment was made into law in 1791. We were still war weary from our independence which ended in 1783. Tensions were still high with the British and the protection of our nation was in the hands of the people, people who were given the right to bear arms. This right proved useful during our next war with the British in 1812. Some may say without the right to bear arms we would not have a country today.

Guns-in-America-600x343

Yet as I said today is a different world. We have a well-regulated militia. It is made up of the 5 branches of the military. Each state also has its own national guard. So it is easy to see that the 2nd amendment was probably for purely military reasons. I believe that the right to bear arms in the United Sates has survived because of the shear amount of guns in the country and because of public support. Guns are a part of American culture, we have a rich gun wielding culture that dates back to our founding days, it is encoded in the DNA of most Americans. Even the staunches gun abolishing liberal politicians have armed body guards at their service. Let me say this again I am indifferent on the gun issue it just creates a great intro into the true purpose of this article the human condition. The idea that regardless of gun ownership or not the human condition is one that is prone to violence, and committing terrible atrocities. We know this through our own history, one does not have to look hard to find that violence and man are synonymous. The difference is the technology in which man possesses. From rocks, to knives, bows, swords, guns, missiles, and atomic bombs, we are violent by nature. So I am a gun supporter not because I think guns are good, but because I don’t think that it makes any difference if they are legal or not. We Americans are especially violent. War is in our nature and even those who protest war, do so violently. Mother Teresa said it best “I will never attend an anti-war rally; if you have a peace rally, invite me.” We only have to look at the holy text to find who we become when the ego is in control of our flesh. “The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” (Genesis 6:5, NIV) again God points out in Genesis 8:21 “The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.” The psalmist writes “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalms 51:5, NIV) Surely it is not a gun problem that is wrong with the country it is a human problem. Are you ready for this answer to the problem? Okay. There is none. Yes, that’s right. If God says we are evil from birth who am I to argue. I am man, I know I am evil. Yet we have a solution that can put are ego into a state of remission. This solution is found in Jesus Christ. Through his teachings by the power of the Holy Spirit we can live much better lives.

cross

The thing is there is no answers to the senseless violence, wars, and terrible crimes that our fellows commit upon each other. We freak out and build walls, put up more security, we arm the police with weapons of war, and our military is continuing to create billion dollar war machines. Do I blame them? Absolutely not. It is in our nature to do such things. All of the left wing anti-gun fanatics who claim that peace will come through gun control or appealing the 2nd amendment are only fooling themselves. None of that will change anything, just fools thinking peace can come through the destruction of the tool. Peace has an opportunity to advance, in fact we live in one of the most peaceful times in human history. Life in the United States holds great value today; abortion aside. For most of human history life was cheap and violence was common place. Today I can get up go to work and not even think about being attacked by a group of bandits, or another tribe marching over the hill to attack my village.

Do I think that the 2nd amendment is written in stone? No. I don’t believe that any law is set in stone. We are human we make mistakes, we create laws that are good for the day in which they were created. I am far from a blind nationalist more of a citizen of the world. I do truly believe that the founding fathers intended the 2nd amendment to be used as a right for the protection of the country. Our culture and the sheer amount of weapons in the United States will insure that guns are not going anywhere anytime soon.

guns

Let me give a word of warning. A natural law set in place by God himself. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. (Matthew 25:52, NIV) I believe that this does not just not apply to those who are in the wrong. Those who live by the sword are also our military, police, and any other honorable profession that requires the use of arms. Jesus spoke the truth, many officers and soldiers die at the hand of another man’s gun. In closing we must continue on with our lives mourn the loss and know thyself. We must know and accept that we are human. Will there be more mass shootings unfortunately yes. Not because guns are readily available, but because we are man.

SOURCES

Kohut, Andrew. “Despite Lower Crime Rates, Support for Gun Rights Increases.” Pew Research Center RSS. April 17, 2015. Accessed July 27, 2015.

The Backyard Preacher

Posted: July 26, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags:

https://www.facebook.com/thebackyardpreacher

37386194rJust who were we before we were born? This is a question that I have not heard much about in any of my Christian circles. Apologist who believe that our existence started upon birth or at conception use 1 Corinthians 15 in order to negate the question. The Apostle Paul speaks of the natural being first, followed by death and then the resurrection to new life. This I do believe, yet it does not fill in all the blanks and the scriptures as a whole can be confusing. I find that this is a very interesting topic because the paranormal fascinates me and as a Christian I strongly believe in the afterlife and the paranormal. All Christians should. For one, the scriptures teach us that this life is short, that we are just visiting or passing through. So if we are just passing through where did we come from? I know we came from God but when? Something inside me tells me that we all have been around a lot longer than the date on our birth certificate. Why would I think something like this to be true? Why wouldn’t I just follow much of the fundamental church’s teachings? Well for one, I cannot say for certain that the church has everything right. I am also not afraid to speak about such issues that are spoken about in hushed tones or completely ignored. The world is chasing after every other teaching to fulfil their spiritual curiosity and many times Christians remain silent. Being a Christian is a mystical, and experiential life, it is amazing!  Many would not seek out other faiths if they understood Christianity. Most fundamentalist would say that there is God, angels, demons, and Spirits who reside in either heaven or hell. I believe this as well. It is also written that we are a little lower than the angels for a time. There is also the recorded creation in the book of Genesis which lays out what seems to be a creation of both spirit and body when God formed Adam. Yet like Jesus who was incarnated into the womb of Mary, who is to say that we are not all incarnated into the wombs of our parents from the spiritual world. Who is to say that the first Adam was sent to the earth to start the human race? I know that I am up against a tough argument, because it is also written that it is appointed for man to die and then the judgement. One could exegete Hebrews 9:27 and say that this is an event that takes place in every life that we live, that is if we are to believe that we make many trips to earth. Once again we would have to look at the following verse 28. So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. I strongly believe that Christ was offered only once for all, and that is all that was needed in order to cosmically change the universe. Christ brought salvation into the world through his death. We accept this salvation and understand that through this salvation we have been granted eternal life.

On the opposite side we can look at Jeramiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Now of course God was speaking to Jeremiah and not to us. Yet if you would take the passage across the hermeneutical bridge we realize that if he was talking about Jerimiah who was also a human being born in a body like all other humans so why wouldn’t it be any different for us? I don’t know. Just like many apologist who are against the idea of pre-existence use 1 Corinthians 15 there are a variety of other scriptures that seem to indicate that we existed before being incarnated into this body.

The whole entire first chapter of Ephesians is very interesting. Especially Ephesians 1:11-12 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. What it seems is that whatever existence that we had before we were sent to earth we were given the opportunity to become sons of God through Jesus Christ. The time that we are living on the earth is more of a transformational state or an initiation into the glory that is yet to come. This glory set aside only for us, those who have been chosen according to the author of Hebrews to be a little lower than the angels while we are on earth. This would surly light a fire under the enemy Satan who would obviously not want any more spiritual beings who are sons of God.

I know, I know as a fairly conservative Christian it is a strange topic to write about. Many may say just leave well enough alone. Or what is the point? Well it is these begging questions that are mysteries to us that I find irresistible. I personally believe that God incarnated each and every single one of us into the biological bodies inside our mother’s womb. That is what gives the value to the life in which she carries. A reason why I am such a strong advocate for Pro-Life. So we either were Spirits with God before we were incarnated into our bodies or we have made many trips to the earth. Several religions especially those of the East believe in reincarnation. I could write another article about it, but I think I will just incorporate it into this one. Jesus speaks of John the Baptist as Elijah. The book of Revelation also speaks of two witnesses who will be appointed for their duties in the end of days. These witnesses according to Revelation 11 will be appointed, killed, and then rise again from the dead in front of the whole world. Thank you 24/7 news. Many people who believe in reincarnation believe that the Spirits of man are no longer coming to the earth. The Dali Lama believes that he will also not be reincarnated. This goes against a long standing Buddhist belief.  Many conspiracy theorist believe that Pope Francis is the last of the Popes. We may be seeing these witnesses sooner than later. So be ready!

Finally the mind boggling stories of small children who have incredible knowledge of some sort of past life are very intriguing. This link shares some stories of small children under five that have amazing stories.  http://wallstreetinsanity.com/9-reincarnation-stories-that-will-give-you-goosebumps/ So what does this all mean as a Christian? I really don’t think it means much at all. It could all be true or I am completely wrong, I do not think that it matters so much. Most Christians have decided not to even go there. What I believe is true is that during this life we must accept what Christ has done for us. This life is most certainly a training ground for the next life, and we have been blessed to come to the earth. Kind of like Army basic training, it sucks but it also has the benefit that upon graduation you have morphed from a civilian to a full blown soldier. We may have been Spirit before this life but we may not have made it until we eventually become sons of God through Christ. Of course this is mostly all speculation but it is fun to think about. Blessings!

   

o-PANIC-ATTACKS-facebookI have been going to church for most of my life and have not heard a lot of teachings on mental illness. This article will focus on my own personal story of anxiety, panic attacks, and substance abuse. First I am a Christian who has a mental illness. Know it is not demon possession or oppression. I am not lacking in faith, and I have a good prayer life. The point is that just as people suffer from other disorders that attack other parts of the body those of us with mental illness suffer in the mind. I remember when I was a teenager I would witness my grandmother suffer from terrible depression and anxiety. I would ignorantly think that it must all be in her mind. Well I was partially right it is in the mind, yet I did not know or understand the suffering in which she endured. That is till I started suffering from anxiety and panic disorder at the age of 25. For those of you out there readings this and also suffer in some form or another with a mental illness, and are also a professing Christian realize that you are not alone.

I also mentioned that I suffer from substance abuse as well, I currently have my substance abuse in remission, yet for many years I would use alcohol to self-medicate my symptoms. I do not want to focus so much on my substance abuse in this article I am not ashamed of it, I just want to take one thing at a time. This way I may be able to give some sort of spiritual insight in order to help my readers.

So what are panic attacks?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) gives guidelines to mental health care professionals to better diagnose their patients. I Know the V has come out but many of us are more familiar with the IV-TR so I will use its definition. If a person has four or more of the following

  1. palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  2. sweating
  3. trembling or shaking
  4. sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  5. feeling of choking
  6. chest pain or discomfort
  7. nausea or abdominal distress
  8. feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  9. feelings of unreality (derealization) or being detached from oneself (depersonalization)
  10. fear of losing control or going crazy
  11. fear of dying
  12. numbness or tingling sensations
  13. chills or hot flushes

You may have experienced a panic attack. Yes these are very scary symptoms that is why many of us get to know the emergency room doctor very well.

Panic disorder is basically reoccurring panic attacks. Remember that in the United States only a professional can diagnose and treat panic disorder. I am not a professional I am a sufferer writing an opinion. If you have these symptoms there is help. Seek out a local psychiatrist and or a therapist who is professionally licensed to treat mental health disorders.

Being a Christian with a disorder such as panic can be a troublesome. These attacks lead many people including myself to an overconsumption of alcohol in order to self-medicate the disease. In the Christian world that can leave another stain on our Christian walk to outsiders.  Sure we shouldn’t worry about what others think of us, but we are human and we do. So we may prefer not to talk about it with our brothers and sisters in Christ, for fear of criticism. It is difficult when one can bring up verses in scripture such as

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matthew 6:25-27, NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)

And

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psalms 55:22, NIV)

There are many more great verses that talk about anxiety and I truly appreciate them, I also absolutely believe in them.  Yet when your frontal lobe shuts down and common sense goes out the window many times the first response is to run to the medicine cabinet for your prescribed benzodiazepine.  After the drugs have kicked in, you can read the soothing verses and find peace. Obviously this is not how I want it.  I want to be able to truly trust and believe in the scriptures and allow the Spirit of God to bring peace to my heart that will calm me down and take away all of the irrational fears that I am facing. It just never seems to happen that way. I have been a Christian along time, I have come to realize that I have a disorder and I am learning to accept it and not fight it. In my opinion when we fight a disorder like panic we may be creating more friction and cause the panic to enhance.

I personally would like more teachings about mental illness to take place within the church. I don’t want to hear “just pray” “have faith” or “Christians don’t suffer from these things.” I know one thing if those that believe you can just pray or have faith started suffering from panic attacks they would be changing their tune. This is why knowledge of mental illness needs to be taught from the pulpit. Believers need insight in order to understand and help their brothers and sisters. If the church elder, priest or pastor doesn’t have training in the area of mental illness have a person speak once in a while who does. Have a sufferer give their testimony. In this article I am talking about my own panic disorder but there are numerous others disorders that Christians suffer from and may feel like they cannot turn to those who share their same faith.

Is there any advantage to having panic disorder? Well as a sufferer for 10 years I think the answer can be yes. I will explain.

I believe that many of us who suffer from panic disorder have a great possibility to be empaths. An empath is a naturally giving, spiritually attuned, good listener. Empaths can feel where you are coming from, and have the uncanny ability to relate to another person and understand their heart. A verse that reminds me of what an empath does is Romans 12:15-16 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. (NIV)

We are sensitive people and while that can trigger emotional instability if we learn how to transmute this quality we can use it for amazing good.

Second, if we take action to treat our condition we can understand and learn humility and surrender of self. Our ego and selfish nature will tell us to hold on to our life. Our ego says we are dying and have not accomplished such and such, or we are scared of the future so our unconscious self sends us into a panic. Our amygdala goes out of order and the flight or fight feelings take over.  These issues can be worked through with a professional who possess many techniques to help us. After we have been given some insight into our panic we can understand that life is short, it is just a brief moment of time, and then we are on to the next life. God has given us this short life, we must learn to surrender this life to God and to our fellows. I am still working on this but it is where I am currently at in my Christian walk. The scriptures say to take up our cross, die to ourselves daily, it is not me who lives but Christ who lives in me. After going through hundreds of attacks and feeling like I have been near death many times, in a strange way it becomes easier to allow God to take control because nothing else seems to work. We become dependent on God almost in a manner that I cannot describe. You almost have to go through this disorder or something similar to understand.

Also we with panic disorders can become great inner workers. In other words we gravitate to prayer, meditation, exercise, and seek out inner peace.  We read and gain knowledge in the arts and sciences. We do these things in order to help our condition, this brings about great knowledge and ultimately can lead us to a great and profound level of life.  Our disorder creates a need to seek out holistic tools that many people wish they had the motivation to practice, while we are forced to master.  We then can use these mastered abilities to help others and change the world.

Most importantly as a Christian with panic disorder we are forced to rely on Christ. Jesus the great teacher starts to become a part of our lives more and more through our sufferings. Paul was forced to have a thorn in his side. God would not remove this thorn but assured him that his grace was sufficient. Our panic disorder is truly a thorn in the side yet as above mentioned it can bring about a good life if treated properly. Our panic disorder can bring about an awakening in our lives that can open up a new world in every way imaginable. I am still seeking these outcomes, but I believe it to be true. The verses mentioned above are true, Christ does not want us to worry or fear but to totally trust him.

Now I understand that is all well and good till your next panic attack. Believe me I know. Run for the medicine cabinet! Yet I do believe in what I am saying, and I am progressing toward the goal to not only live out a more productive life because of my panic disorder.  I also want to use it to help others live out a better lives also.

imagesCAA1JPAWPlanned Parenthood or should I say planned murderhood is under fire once again, and this time for being exposed selling body parts of aborted children. I use to work in many factories in these factories we would produce scrap parts or excess material and place them into bins. The company would then take the material and sell it or recycle it in order to make the most of its resources. Planned Parenthood who receives government funding, is using babies in a similar manner as a byproduct of their shop of horrors in order to turn an extra profit. This wouldn’t be surprising if we found out that the Nazi SS conducted this behavior. It is however extremely shocking that it is happening on United States soil. Even more the Dr.’s that are performing these procedures have no remorse for their actions almost as if they were trained by Heinrich Himmler himself. Let me also say if you are a woman who has had an abortion, I forgive you, God forgives you. Grace is a real thing and God will never turn his back on you.  The same goes for any doctor that may read this God is love and has covered our sins no matter how heinous by a man who willingly died for our salvation.

The debate is ongoing in the secular community as to when a fetus becomes a human protected by law. I honestly believe that human life begins at the moment of conception when “ourselves” our Spirit is placed into our biological suit. This is a sacred thing. That being said the majority of Americans are not supporters of abortion, it is talked about by many in hushed tones. In secular universities they tell students not to write papers on the subject out of fear. Supporters try everything in the book to brainwash the public that a woman’s body is her own while she is pregnant.  If she discards the baby she has the right because it is her body. I will call it like it is, it is not just her body but also another body in which she is carrying and responsible for. In our society we call intentional killing of another person first degree murder. Yet we have somehow justified the murder of the unborn. Now we have taken it a step further and are selling the bodies of murdered babies for profit.

The enemy of our souls knows that his time is up. There is a Christian revival that is coming to the world and God’s Spirit is going to be poured out like never before. We can look at past history, because it repeats itself. During the time of Moses in Egypt, Pharaoh ordered male Hebrew children murdered. Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.” (Exodus 1:22) Scholars also argue over of the possibility of the nation of Israel sacrificing their own children to so called gods. I will now point to the time of Jesus when Herod ordered the death of children under his authority. When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. (Matthew 2:16) These documented cases show us a couple things. Abortion is not a new phenomenon and second Moses, and Jesus were both born and saved from the slaughter despite the devils plan for their destruction. Let me assure you that the men and women Satan wished to kill will be saved. They will rise up as leaders in the generations to come  and lead Christianity despite the abortion of our children in America.

I am a man and I am writing an article that many feminist would say is none of my concern. Well I don’t care, I still will write it. Is there some fault by men for the treatment of women that have led some women into the mindset that a baby within their body is not a baby? I would answer yes to that. Men for many years treated women like property, it is only a natural reaction that feminist slingshot their views in a militant way even denying one of the most precious gifts God has given to them. Women have a unique role to play in the world, they are our mothers, daughters, Grandmothers, and are natural nurturers. Women can be amazing leaders in and outside of the church. Women are equal in every way to a man and then some. Women are set apart and given an amazing ability they are the carriers of life. That is amazing and I respect all women for being able to be so connected to the divine. It is amazing that God would place a spirit into the biological womb of a woman, and give her the responsibility to care for the developing baby until he or she is ready to be birthed.  She is two people in one body. To deny this is to deny the very nature of the gift of womanhood.

I wrote about social justice abuse recently and I do not want my social justice stance against abortion to be social abuse towards the abortionist. It is the love of God that draws people to repentance. I also in no way desire to bash or shame women who have had abortions as I said above you are loved and forgiven. Yet just as murder is illegal for the sake of social order we must stop the madness that is abortion. It has gone on long enough. This is a social justice issue that the left should have long been behind instead of supported. This is about the protection of human life.

This is a call to the church, we must pray. I believe that there is real power in prayer. I also believe that almost every revival begins with prayer. When we pray things happen. So let us not be discouraged over the latest events surrounding Planned Parenthood. These new allegations may have just started America down the road to criminalizing a practice that is literally killing the future.

While so far I have drawn the line and shown my conservative fundamental side on an issue that I take very seriously. We Christians must address some issues that we have long ignored. Sex. We teach our children to abstain from sex until they are married and hope for the best. The truth is keeping teens and young adults from having sex is not that easy. We are biologically created to gravitate to the opposite sex. The sex drive is one of the most powerful drives that we humans possess. Yet many Christians despise the fact that sex education is taught in school and children have access to birth control. As a protestant I am of the belief that a human is made at the time of conception. I know my Catholic brothers and sisters have differing opinions about birth control. Yet I believe that birth control and sex education saves lives. Teens and young adults will have sex, and if they do there is a chance that the baby could be aborted. What is worse fornication or murder? I don’t think that I have to answer that question. If the laws of the land do not change we have the duty to decrease the amount of abortions that are taking place in America. We can do this through education and prevention.  It is okay to teach Biblical abstinence along with safe sex practices. It is not counterproductive or hypocritical it is not a double standard but a double preventative. The church must come to understand the practicalities of life, sex is a part of life and should not be thought of as a shameful act. Pastors and teachers need to share from the pulpit honest, and real sexual teachings and be brave enough to even preach safe sex practices. This may be difficult to understand and that’s understandable, but when lives are at stake we must do what we can.  Pray-Love-Teach- and Let God be God. We will get through this and every other struggle we face as a church. Blessings!

4e2We live an amazing time in history. At no other time has one been able to communicate with other humans around the globe so quickly. Yes the world has gone and gotten itself into a hurry and if you’re smart you will keep most of your thoughts off of the net. I suppose I find myself not following my own advice. Well it is probably because I don’t have much shame, and not to worried about being publicly shamed. I have done enough shaming of myself through many poor life choices. Yet I am undeterred and press forward because I am looking out for you; not really but I do care.

I care about humanity because we are all men and women created in the image of God. We make mistakes, fall down, and often times if you’re like me falling down is about as normal as a walk in the park.  Alright, enough about me, back to the lecture at hand. I say all of this as a human who believes in social justice and equality for all people. It is important that we give grace and understanding to those that we may not see eye to eye with. We all know of someone would be considered a social justice warrior. They drive a hybrid, always recycle, and attend social events for the causes they support. Most are always into the latest and greatest causes within the progressive movement and are quick to gang up on those that cling to their Bible and guns. Now of course I am generalizing, as I fall into the middle of the spectrum. Not a radical conservative or a crazy liberal, instead I have found my space in the Goldilocks zone of the political, social, and religious spectrums. But watch out because if you are caught with your hand in the cookie jar saying something not popular the social justice peace loving warriors will strip you of your identity and roast you like a stuff pig. So I have come to the conclusion is it social justice? Or social abuse?

We humans like to follow the leader. We will jump on a bandwagon and pick up stones and destroy each other with words and other forms of abuse because it seems popular, everyone else is doing it, or maybe it satisfies some deep unfulfilled place in our soul. It’s an oxymoron- ok I am going to fight for justice, at the same time I am going to tear someone down. I think of the many establishments around the country who refuse to bake a cake or support homosexual weddings through their businesses. It might be a little silly, I have told my friends what an excellent opportunity to share the light of Christ. Yet for these people it is a real issue they are honestly morally torn. I dont get it, why can’t we just leave them alone? Here is a good one, Donald Trump talks about Mexicans at the border and while he may have some valid points. He obviously needs to do some research and is not politically correct, but that is his opinion. Just for the record I hate political correctness. Trump is also an ego maniac what do you expect! Yet the whole country will stop and put all of its attention on Trump while there is much more important issues. Now what the social warrior does is becomes the social abuser, doing what once was thought as noble becomes intolerance towards intolerance. If you have to bash someone for a slip of the tongue or because you do not agree with someone’s twitter post or what someone says on Facebook we can lose sight of who we truly are allowing ego to win. The social abusers are just as quick to get the stake and gasoline and burn someone like Salem. The very thing you are trying to stop, you have become. I am sure I have been guilty of this I just wrote an article in reference to Mike Huckabee and his remarks on the border. Yet in all fairness I like Mike. We are not all going to agree on all social issues, but we can get along and enjoy humanities differences. Some people are so worried about offending someone that they never really get anything done. Let me remind you again we are human and have come a long way since the beginning of this country. And thank you social justice warriors! It was the social justice warriors that have paved the way to the place we are today. We live in a more tolerant and peaceful society- outside of the Middle East- than ever before. We have all have heard of the 1% a social status that I wouldn’t mind being in, I mean why the hate- because you’re not in the club? Put me in the 1% and you can say whatever you want about me. Yet the social justice abusers are like piranhas waiting for one to make the fatal slip into the lake. Look he or she is racist or a homophobe, they own a confederate flag, or I cannot believe they think Bruce Jenner is still a man, you get my point.  We love to take others words out of context for some morbid self-gratification. Yet that is the mindset of the modern social justice abusers if there is not something to fight about, by golly we will make something up.

So let us start being kind to one another, if we disagree try to reason with another in a respectful way. We are all a part of this human family who God loves. Granted I know that I have been guilty of this and will probably will be guilty in the future, yet I acknowledge my wrongs and wish to put an end to the social abuse. Remember that we are the bride of Christ, he loves his bride and has cleansed us. In his eyes we are all beautiful regardless of our faults. Next time you take aim at a person or group of people that have a different opinion than yours remember that you also have a different opinion than theirs, and both of us are not any more or less special.

ISR-EGY_border_6521aNo borders in paradise, well wouldn’t that be nice. Unfortunately we live in an age in time in which borders mean a great deal to society. Unfortunately we are also far from paradise. I like many of you am a Facebook user I follow many people, some whom I like, some I don’t, and some I like but don’t necessarily agree with; I am sure you can relate. One of these individuals is the former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee who posted a Facebook quote stating “Secure the border. Without a secure border nothing matters.” How crazy is that! “Nothing matters but a secure border?” While I like the Huckster, like many conservatives they are very short sighted. I suppose I fall into the category of a moral liberal with conservative tendencies, or in other words I have radical ideas based on the teachings of Jesus.

So where did borders come from anyway? As a psychology and religion major I couldn’t tell you exactly. An anthropologist, sociologist or archeologist would probably have a good answer. I suppose I will look at scripture to support my arguments like usual. The book of Genesis gives us the creation story and tells us that God placed man in a garden located in the east of Eden. Eden in the Hebrew language is roughly translated as luxury or delight in other words paradise. Genesis chapter two gives us little information about the gardens location. We do know that four rivers are mentioned among the land of Eden. God told Adam he was free to do whatever he wished but he was forbidden for whatever reason to eat from the tree of good and evil. This would be the first boundary albeit not a geographical border. Obviously there was geographical borders that separated land masses a reading of Genesis 2:10-14 speaks of different sections of Eden and their attributes, the garden must have had a starting point and ending geographical location but we know little of them. So essentially there was no borders in paradise. At least not ones with walls and armed guards ready to check your papers. Yes life was good for the young couple Adam and Eve, until they decided to do the one thing God told them not to do. Whatever the tree symbolized whether it was an actual tree and fruit, or a symbol of something else such as knowledge they were not to touch it. Like us today the two just couldn’t leave well enough alone. I don’t blame Adam or Eve I would have done the same thing, I am a sinner and have missed the mark that God has had for me more than a few times. Now because of the sin of Adam and Eve we find ourselves facing something as far as we know that had not been seen before, a border. Not only a border but a guarded border. Genesis 3:24 states “After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” It was the fall of man that created a border, our sins that divided us. Our enemy the devil seeks this division and this division that started because of sin still continues to this day. It continues by men who don’t seek to tear down borders and promote unity but by Christian men like the Huckster who wants to wall us in, and wall everyone else out. In my personal opinion Eden meaning luxury and delight probably was a representation of the whole world. God made the world and everything in it and called it good. Borders these man-made imaginary lines seem to be brought about by the sin of man.

If we are Christian we know that sin is not something that God wants us to do. Sin is harmful thus borders are harmful. We in America call immigrants illegal or undocumented and desire to send them back to their countries which they are trying to escape. Remember that the children of Israel were once slaves in Egypt. God told the people of Israel to treat the foreigner as one of their own. “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:34) While I am not saying that America must allow all people into the country we Christians such as Huckabee should read the words he once preached on Sunday mornings.

Okay, now I am about to become a little radical I am going to let my liberal side out. Why have borders at all? I cannot answer that. I don’t know why we have borders, or separate countries for that matter. I suppose if I was to try to guess I would say because of sin, the original reason for borders in the first place. What would be so hard treating everyone in the world as citizens of humanity and not citizens of a certain country? Think of the shocking events that would take place if this was practiced. No more wars, poverty, racism, injustice etc. Although we would have to convince all seven billion of us to agree to such a task. This goes for the immigrants in America as well. Come to this great plot of land but respect the land. Respect the people in the same way you wish to be respected. The earth is sacred and created from the mind of God. What you see around you comes straight out of the divine, all is divine. You and I are divine created in the image and likeness of God. The enemy Satan wishes to divide us and keep us separated, God seeks unity and a fellowship between men and women united under the banner of Christ.

You may say I am crazy, I won’t argue with you I am. I am a fool for Christ sake. I do not know what the immediate future will be in the world, but I do know what the final future for us will be. Again my argument is from scripture. In fact God plans to restore the Eden he created before man’s sin.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelations 22:1-5)

The plan of God will be complete and no one will be able to stop it. Since we know God’s ultimate plan why not start living it now? Isn’t being a Christian meaning to be like Christ? Politicians such as Huckabee and many of the other Republican candidates want to keep us divided as if the United States is somehow more special than the rest of Eden. We have a world to win for Christ this will not happen by keeping people out and separating each other because of the geographical location a person happens to be born in. Let’s seek unity and love our neighbors of Eden just as God desires us to do. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)

hfdhgszThe path of least resistance for many Christians seems like a foreign concept. Many American Christians desire to be at friction or war with our neighbors who happen to be different than us. Many, when thinking of “the path of least resistance,” will think of taking the easy way out, this is far from the truth. In fact the path of least resistance is the much harder path.  Now I know that many can and will quote scriptures that seem to be contrary to taking the path of least resistance. So let me tell you what the path of least resistance is, ready for this “To trust God in everything, to be at peace within yourself knowing that God is in control of all, to follow Jesus through the knowledge of the scriptures, becoming less associated with the self-will and increasingly transformed into God’s will.” Ultimately the goal is to rid one of self allowing one to enter into God. Jesus said For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mathew 11:30) Jesus also states Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Mathew 6:34) So forget yourself! If you want to read a book about the path of least resistance start with the book of Acts. The Apostles especially Paul followed this path he suffered shipwreck, prison, beatings, and finally death all while singing praises to God. Paul knew the secret which is not a secret at all. Paul did not have self-will he had God’s will. We do not have to force people into God’s will in fact it cannot be forced or bought it must be received.

Today in America we try to change people so much that we can end up forgetting that there is a God; who actually does the changing. We create resistance only to drain ourselves and make Christianity look like an ugly stain on society. We protest Gay marriage, guns, drugs, crime, abortion, and every other moral objection that comes out of our ten thousand plus denominations. Don’t get me wrong there is a war on Christianity yet our fellow man is not waging this war, the war is being waged by Satan and his fallen angels. Paul writes to the Ephesians telling them “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) Instead what do we do, we damn our fellow man to hell because they happen to be different than us or believe in a different political opinion, dress differently, come from a different culture or have a different type of theology. God loves these people too just as much as He loves you and me. Being in opposition brings irritation, only to makes you irritated, discontent, and unsatisfied with life. While you are thinking you’re on the road less travelled your actually taking the broad road of irritated, angry, and frustrated people. This is not the road to the kingdom this is the road of the fundamental Christian based on outdated American theology that came about in large part due to the Civil War and the argument over slavery. (That’s another article)

Let me show you a better way, or let me let Paul show you a better way.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13)

Paul understood that we can be annoying, irritated, and angry people, but these attributes will not win anyone to Christ.  Yet faith, hope, and love the three attributes that make up our true selves are used by the Spirit to draw all men unto Him.  When we step out of ourselves and into Christ we see that there is not a war on Christianity in America there is a war within us that becomes enraged when we see the country going the way in which we don’t agree with.  Let me finish with a proverb.

There was a man who won a car in a drawing, all of his friends were happy for him and expressed how lucky he was for winning such a nice car.  The man didn’t smile or frown just simply said “well maybe”

The man decided to take his new car out on a Sunday afternoon for a drive. While driving his car he was involved in a terrible accident that destroyed his car and landed him in the hospital. His friends came to him and said, how tragic that you have been injured and your new car destroyed. The man said again with the same attitude “well maybe”

While the man was in the hospital a storm came upon his town and a tornado demolished is home, again his friends visited him telling him how lucky he was to be in hospital during the storm. I am sure you know his comment.

Often we do not know the beginning from the end, but if we trust God for the outcome in all things we will be exactly where we need to be. At the center of His will.

ed38ed842aae6cdb78ae6cca3094f41fRainbows and crosses, that seems to be the top headlines among the brethren in the United States since the Supreme Court made their decision on gay marriage. Some Christians are proud that the country is moving in the right direction while others feel that America is crumbling. Now every crazy TV preacher will think every hurricane that hits the country is God’s wrath. Isn’t freedom of speech and religion great!  We have the voices of millions of people who believe they know the will of God.  I will tell you that I am not one of them.  Yes I am a Christian, I believe in the Bible and even consider myself a minister of the gospel.  I do have a personal opinion on the matter in which I will gladly share. I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, or should I put it another way, relationships of the sexual type should be between a man and a woman.  Many Christians are bent out of shape believing that the country has redefined marriage.  Well the country can do whatever it wants, the Supreme Court is just giving equal liberties to all citizens based on the 14th amendment. I really do not see how this effects our own personal Christian lives.

First of all let me dispel the myth that the United States was founded as a “Christian” country. Some of the “Christians” that were the pioneers of the country would burn you at the stake and place scarlet letters on a person for life. We still live with these puritanical laws in the form of “felons for life” and the removal of their rights; that’s another article. Most of our founding fathers were agnostic they believed in a power greater than themselves and desired to set apart a country that would be a great experiment a New Jerusalem of sorts. The founding documents resemble more Freemasonic ideas than ones from the Bible. Yet this is a good thing. If you want a state ran by religion look at Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle Eastern countries that are still living in the middle ages. Fathers happily stone their daughters to death because of adultery and call it the will of God. That is Insanity! That’s what our founding fathers of this great country wanted to prevent, and I still believe it is a good idea to prevent such madness.

So what’s the big deal? Homosexuality has been around since the beginning of time. Do I believe it is against nature? Yes. I mean it doesn’t take much biological knowledge to know that procreation cannot happen between two men or two women. Sin means “missing the mark” so yes homosexuality is missing the mark. Still what’s the big deal? Many sins are allowed in the country and Christians don’t blame hurricanes and terrorist attacks on them. I know it is a tough pill to swallow, but let’s not forget that many Christians believed that being unequally yoked meant blacks and whites could not marry.

So what would Jesus do? Well I think Jesus would carry on being the light of the world, healing the sick, and raising the dead. I don’t think he would picket or become angry, but instead love those who sinned against him. When we love and apply grace we step into the heart of God. This is the opportunity that we have in this great country to love others despite their differences. Not by beating people over the head with the Bible or talking religiously “casting pearls before swine” but by living our lives as a living testimony of Christ on us and in us. There is absolutely nothing to worry about. God did not step off the throne because of the Supreme Court. If homosexuals want to marry it’s just a piece of paper the government uses to keep track of us, and to place us in a tax bracket. I for one would like to see all clergy stop being state sanctioned wedding officiants. All marriages could be done by a judge and your clergy of choice could marry you in a ceremony before God. I really don’t think that God looks at a piece of paper and says “The government said you’re married so now you can have sex.” No, it’s a commitment before God and man that you are taking the one you love and devoting your life unto them. Remember God looks at the heart.

So as a Christian, do I want to see the world changed by the gospel? You better believe it! Although it is not going to happen because of the Supreme Court, Congress, or the President. It is going to happen because of you. If you are a Christian then you are all called to be an evangelist and minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Get out there and learn about your neighbors! Look for opportunities to share your faith! The Spirit is always willing, but are you? Let’s not use this decision to divide humanity even farther apart but let’s use this as an opportunity to show our love. Jesus when nailed to the cross forgave them “for they know not what they do.” So we should forgive and allow the love of Christ to shine in us. Christians remember this is not legally a Christian country, nor would we want it to be. It is a great country in which people are free to worship and obtain the same rights as everyone else. If we want a Christian country do what Jesus commanded us to do.

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.  When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20