Month: March 2013

Let’s obey God and love one another; By all means can we just get along?

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Oneness

Oneness

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical de- lusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ― Albert Einstein

I pray we would really internalize the word of grace….

Call To Unity – 1 Corinthians 1:10

1 Corinthians 1:10 – I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

I. Agree With One Another
II. Unite In Mind
III. Unite In Thought

I. Agree With One Another

Act 4:32 The whole group of believers was united in their thinking and in what they wanted. None of them said that the things they had were their own. Instead, they shared everything.

John 13:34 “I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you.
John 13:35 All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.”

Philippians 2:1 Think about what we have in Christ: the encouragement he has brought us, the comfort of his love, our sharing in his Spirit, and the mercy and kindness he has shown us. If you enjoy these blessings,
Philippians 2:2 then do what will make my joy complete: Agree with each other, and show your love for each other. Be united in your goals and in the way you think.
Philippians 2:3 In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves.
Philippians 2:4 Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too.
Philippians 2:5 In your life together, think the way Christ Jesus thought.
Philippians 2:6 He was like God in every way, but he did not think that his being equal with God was something to use for his own benefit.

Agree with one another in love, don’t ever think you have the most bright idea than anyone else, give in to each other’s idea to fulfill it and not to please yourself.

We are called be one:
1. One In Love – Love like the Lord Jesus loves. No one is above or beneath him, He treated everyone of us as equal.
2. One In Goal – Our goal is evangelism towards unbelievers, and ministry towards believers.
3. One In Mind – Our mind is the mind of Christ, think of the lost souls as He’s thinking about it.

Live like a servant and you can be able to do all these things.

II. Unite In Mind

Ephesians 4:31 Never be bitter, angry, or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ.

Philippians 1:27 Just be sure you live as God’s people in a way that honors the Good News of Christ. Then if I come and visit you or if I am away from you, I will hear good things about you. I will know that you stand together with the same purpose and that you work together like a team to help others believe the Good News.

1 Thessalonians 5:13 Show them the highest respect and love because of the work they do. Live in peace with each other.

Our mind is our will, if we will it, it will come to pass, because we share the same authority as Jesus have and much more because He’s in Heaven.

John 14:12 “I can assure you that whoever believes in me will do the same things I have done. And they will do even greater things than I have done, because I am going to the Father.

III. Unite In Thought

Philippians 4:8 Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.

Luke 16:15 Jesus said to them, “You make yourselves look good in front of people. But God knows what is really in your hearts. What people think is important is worth nothing to God.

Whatever is in our hearts, it will come out via our mouth. So it’s important to set our minds only on these thoughts:

1. Praise worthy
2. True
3. Honorable
4. Right
5. Pure
6. Beautiful
7. Respected

Whenever I think of these 7 things that we should think about that needs to come out of our mouth, the only thing that qualifies is God’s love and God’s Words. So think about His Words and you will not be tempted. The battleground between good and evil is our minds, think only on those 7 things and the battle has already been won.

Unspeakable word

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Life is a song – sing it. Life is a game – play it. Life is a challenge – meet it. Life is a dream – realize it. Life is a sacrifice – offer it. Life is love – enjoy it.

Sai Baba

2 Corinthians 12:1-5
Introduction: Last week, I said the Word of God mentions the word “unspeakable” three times:
– 2 Corinthians 9:15, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable Gift.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:4, “How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”
– 1 Peter 1:8, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
I also said that, in these verses, we find God’s unspeakable Gift, His unspeakable Words, and our unspeakable joy.
– God’s unspeakable Gift is Jesus. The fact, that God gave Jesus, leaves us unable to declare its wonder.
– God’s unspeakable Words were too sacred to divulge.
– Our unspeakable joy is joy so full it defies description.
In this message, I wish to emphasize God’s unspeakable words. The story surrounding 2 Corinthians 12:4 is just as amazing as the truth found in it. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:2 that he knew a man above 14 years ago who was caught up to the third Heaven. In this passage, the man Paul knew was Paul himself. What was it that had happened fourteen some odd years before?
The Apostle Paul had journeyed to Iconium, Derbe, and Lystra. There, he ministered the Word of God and performed miracles in the name of Jesus. In particular, Paul, through the power of the Holy Spirit, had brought healing to a man who was crippled in his feet from birth and had never walked. The Word of God records that Paul “Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.” (Acts 14:10) Because of this, Paul and Barnabas were viewed as gods by the people of Lystra. Then, the Bible says in Acts 14:19, “And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.”
I believe that Paul was indeed stoned to death, but God performed a miracle, and Acts 14:20 records, “Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.” It is a difficult thing to survive a stoning. During this time, Paul apparently visited Heaven, and, just as Lazarus was returned to this earth, so Paul was returned to continue his ministry. Lazarus was dead for four days, and Paul for only a few minutes. Both were brought back to life by the power of God. This is the story Paul referred to in 2 Corinthians 12. In these verses, he relates what happened to him when he went to Heaven.
2 Corinthians 12:4 tells us that Paul was told things he could not repeat to anyone on earth, “How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” In other words, God said to Paul, “I’m going to tell you some things that I don’t want you to tell anyone else.” What did God tell him? We don’t know, because God told him not to tell anybody, and Paul kept God’s secret. These were God’s unspeakable words.
Why didn’t God want Paul to reveal the secrets of Heaven to anyone on earth? Because it wasn’t time yet. It wasn’t until more than 51 years later God revealed to the Apostle John the mysteries of Heaven.

The struggle within

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The struggle withinChange does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Finding strength to press on only comes from surrendering to God’s will:
Life is full of struggles, difficulties, and problems. Some are bigger than others. But whether the Christian’s trials in life are of the garden variety, or more along the lines of major tragedy, there is but one thing that will overcome them—faith in God.
We must also keep in mind that our enemy, Satan, is always seeking opportunities to defeat us. We must never forget that there is a spiritual battle going on. Satan seeks to destroy us with our trials, while God seeks to develop us with them. The child of God cannot avoid trials. They can however, face those trials in faith toward God, and thwart Satan’s plan to defeat them.

Today we are dealing with one man’s approach to facing serious problems. Hezekiah, King of Judah, rather than letting the enemy put him in fear and frustration, chose to face his dilemma by faith in God. The problem Hezekiah and Judah faced was so enormous that only God could deliver them. And that is where faith comes in. When the problems are bigger than our ability to handle them, that’s our cue to just rely on God.
In this message we will not only see the enormity of Hezekiah’s problem, and how he chose to face it, but we will also see how unwavering faith produced a wonderful victory. One thing becomes clear in this account from God’s Word: God always honors steadfast faith in Him.

I. THE THREAT
II Chron.32: 1 “After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself.”
A. The King Speedily Commenced Preparation.
1. He stopped the waters.
II Chron.32: 2 “And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib, was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem,
3 He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him.

4 So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water?
NOTE: [1] One of the first things I want you to notice here is that Hezekiah did not simply take a passive stance. He responded to this threat by first doing what he knew to be logical to do. That part didn’t take any faith—just common sense.
In 1937 architect Frank Lloyd Wright built a house for industrialist Hibbard Johnson. One rainy evening Johnson was entertaining distinguished guests for dinner when the roof began to leak. The water seeped through directly above Johnson himself, dripping steadily onto his bald head. Irate, he called Wright in Phoenix, Arizona. “Frank,” he said, “you built this beautiful house for me and we enjoy it very much. But I have told you the roof leaks, and right now I am with some friends and distinguished guests and it is leaking right on top of my head.”
Wright’s reply was heard by all of the guests. “Well, Hib, why don’t you move your chair?”
Today in the Word, Moody Bible Institute, Jan, 1992, p.14.
[2] Hezekiah did what anyone should do when trouble appears imminent—make preparations. The Bible backs up this way of thinking.

Prov.22: 3 “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but
the simple pass on, and are punished.”
[3] Hezekiah also determined not to give the enemy any unnecessary advantages. That’s why he stopped the waters outside the city. We too need to be careful not to give our enemy, Satan, any unnecessary advantages over us. Stop the devices of deception, delusion, lust, envy, hate, pride, greed recognize what device he is trying to beguile you with and refuse to allow it to over come you within. If something tast good to us we like it, But if something taste bad we don’t like it. Well cocaine saling or smoking is bad, but your receptors will lie and say yes!! this is good as well with all sin he “The Enemy of our soul tries to lure us into. Be on guard and fight strategically with the weapons of our Lord against this fool Of a enemy…

Transplanting

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Transformation

I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.

Martin Luther

Luke 6:22-23

New International Version (NIV)

22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.

23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

Japanese bonsia trees are truly, perfectly formed minitures. They remain small no matter how old they get. Most are only fifteen to eighteen inches tall. To make a bonsai tree, a young sapling is pulled from the soil. Then, its taproot and some of the feeder roots are tied off. Thus, the growth of the bonsai is deliberately stunted.

In sharp contrast, California sequoia trees grow extremely large. The General Sherman stands 272 feet and measures 79 feet in circumference, If felled, this giant tree would provide enough lumber to build thirty-five, five room homes! The sequoia begins life as a small seed, no larger than the seed of the bonsai. However, its sapling is allowed to be nourished in the rich California soil and sunshine.

Neither the bonsai nor the giant sequoia has a choice in determining how large it will become. But we human beings do! We cannot blame others, including our parents, for what they have done or are doing to us. We have the opportunity to transplant ourselves into a nurturing, positive envoronment.

If others are trying to prune you back today, move away from their shears. Rejoice in who you are and who you can be. Find a new place to put down roots. Know that you don’t have to be toxic like those around you. The choice belongs to you rather you will allow your transformation to be peaceful in every circumstance, rather you will radiate love and positivity. Let your mind be transformed to “Trust” and obedience to “Elohim.” He will change your life, He will capture your roots in His soil of plenty, He will take your heart and make you over, He is your source for everything, he will let you be the head of every situation that once held you bound. Let Him lead and nurture you, get in a good heard of believers and begin to feed on the roots of Jesse.

Make me to obey while In darkness, so I can be a light

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The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises.

Leo Buscaglia

Isaiah 50:11

New International Version (NIV)

11 But now, all you who light fires
and provide yourselves with flaming torches,
go, walk in the light of your fires
and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from my hand:
You will lie down in torment.

This is a solemn warning to those who walk in darkness and try to help themselves find the light. they are described as the kindling for a fire that is surrounding itself with sparks. What does this mean? It means that when we are in darkness, the temptation is to find our own way without trusting in the Lord and relying upon Him. Instead of allowing Him to help us, we try to help ourselves. We seek the light of the natural way and advice of our friends. We reason out our own conclusions and thereby may be tempted to accept a path of deliverance that would not be of God at all.

The light we see may be the fires from our own kindling, or deceptive beacons leading us towards the danger of the rocks, and God will allow us to walk in the false light of those sparks, but the end will be sorrow. I speak from experience, I was stubborn and didn’t believe in the resurrection power of Jesus and was over taken by my sins and all the addictions and pain one can be exposed too. I say thais because my confession of Him as Lord of my life was not being seen as light due to my behavior. My ideas had consequence not relative to my beliefs.

If you are in a dark place at this time I extol and beseech you to stay there until God releases you. His timig is for a reason that only He knows the answer to. A time of darkness and trouble, struggle is meant to teach you lessons you desperately need. Premature deliverance may circumvent God’s work of grace in your life. Commit the entire situation to Him, and be willing to abide in darkness, knowing He is present.

Remember, it is better to walk in the dark with God than to walk alone in the light. Stop interfering with God’s plans and with His will. Touching anything of His mars the work. Moving the hands of a clock to suit you does not change the time. You may be able to rush the unfolding of some aspects of God’s will, but you harm His work in the long run. You can force a rosebud open, but you spoil the flower. Leave everything to Him, without exception. “Not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36).

His Will

God sent me on when I would stay
(‘Twas cool within the wood);
I did not know the reason why.
I heard a boulder crashing by
‘Cross the path where I had stood.

He had me stay when I would go;
“Your will be done,” I said.
They found one day at early dawn,
Across the way I would have gone,
A serpent with a mangled head.

I ask no more the reason why,
Although I may not see
The path ahead, His way I go;
For though I know not, He does know,
And He will choose safe paths for me.
From Sunday School Times
The cultivated Mind Measures the Man.–Never think that you have learned enough and that you may now relax your efforts. The cultivated mind is the measure of the man. your education should continue during your lifetime; every day you should be learning and putting to practicle use the knowledge gained. Remember, The similarity between an uncultivated field and an untrained mind is striking. Children and youth already have in their minds and hearts corruppt seed, ready to spring up and bear its perverting harvest; and the greatest care and watchfulness are needed in cultivating and storing the mind with precious seeds of Bible truths. I speak as one still thirsty to gain ground of information and dynomo power spoken of in Phillipians2:12-17 add this to your cultivating after you read this. Dynomite explodes every where, but the dynomo power is a direct reflection of a continuous connection to Him. reading praying serving expecting believing suffering joy honoring are tools to turn your ground upside down and replentish your new roots. Make it a great day live well my friends and family….

The crimes of the system and the reform we need; Wake up People!!!

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One ever feels his twoness – an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two reconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

W. E. B. Du Bois

I contemplate often the choices I made that are so in my past, but I fall daily to the harassment of the enemy of my soul due to the social and economic challenges that face so many of my people. There are many new and innovative practices to disqualify you as an individual and race of people. It is my hope that someone reads between the lines and gets motivated to continue to fight with their minds and not their hands.

I hope as you take a look at this post it synergize you into getting clean of all drugs and ill behavior to position yourself for success. We have so many achievers and over-comers who strived through  much more hideous acts of racism and oppression that there is no justifiable reason for you to stay ignorant of the enemy  devices. Players,  pimps, and drug dealers are just commercialism tactics to sway your behavior to oppress your own people or another human being. I want to introduce you to some information that may have missed your gaze.

“The young man was shot 41 times while reaching for his wallet”…“the 13-year-old was shot dead in mid-afternoon when police mistook his toy gun for a pistol”… “the unarmed young man, shot by police 50 times, died on the morning of his wedding day”… “the young woman, unconscious from having suffered a seizure, was shot 12 times by police standing around her locked car”… “the victim, arrested for disorderly conduct, was tortured and raped with a stick in the back of the station-house by the arresting officers.”

Does it surprise you to know that in each of the above cases the victim was Black?  If you live in the USA, it almost certainly doesn’t.

Think what that means: that without even being told, you knew these victims of police murder and brutality were Black. Those cases—and the thousands more like them that have occurred just in the past few decades—add rivers of tears to an ocean of pain.  And they are symptoms of a larger, still deeper problem.

I. The Real Situation

Conventional wisdom says that while some disparities remain, things have generally advanced for Black people in America and today they are advancing still. People like Obama and Oprah are held up as proof of this. But have things really moved forward? Is this society actually becoming “post-racial”?

The answer to that question can be found in every corner of U.S. society.

Take employment: Black people remain crowded into the lowest rungs of the ladder…that is, if they can find work at all. While many of the basic industries that once employed Black people have closed down, study after study shows employers to be more likely to hire a white person with a criminal record than a Black person without one, and 50% more likely to follow up on a resume with a “white-sounding” name than an identical resume with a “Black-sounding” name. In New York City, the rate of unemployment for Black men is fully 48%.

Or housing: Black people face the highest levels of racial residential segregation in the world—shunted into neglected neighborhoods lacking decent parks and grocery stores and often with no hospitals at all. Black people, as well as Latinos, who had achieved home-ownership had their roofs snatched from them. They were the ones hit hardest by the subprime mortgage crisis after having been targeted disproportionately by predatory lenders—resulting in the greatest loss of wealth to people of color in modern U.S. history.

Or healthcare: Black infants face mortality rates comparable to those in the Third World country of Malaysia, and African-Americans generally are infected by HIV at rates that rival those in sub-Saharan Africa. Overall the disparities in healthcare are so great that one former U.S. Surgeon General recently wrote, “If we had eliminated disparities in health in the last century, there would have been 85,000 fewer black deaths overall in 2000.”

Or education: Today the schools are more segregated than they have been since the 1960s with urban,

predominantly Black and Latino schools receiving fewer resources and set up to fail. These schools more and more resemble prisons with metal detectors and kids getting stopped and frisked on their way to class by uniformed police who patrol their halls. Often these schools spend around half as much per pupil as those in the well-to-do suburbs.

Or take imprisonment: The Black population in prison is 900,000—a tenfold increase since 1954!—and the proportion of Black prisoners incarcerated relative to whites has more than doubled in that same period. A recent study pointed out that “a young Black male without a high school degree has a 59 percent chance of being imprisoned before his thirty-fifth birthday.”

On top of all that, and reinforcing it, is an endlessly spouting sewer of racism in the media, culture and politics of this society—racism that takes deadly aim at the dreams and spirit of every African-American child. And who can forget the wave of nooses that sprung up around the country, south and north, in the wake of the 2007 struggle in Jena, Louisiana against the prosecution (and persecution) of six Black youth who had fought back against a noose being hung to intimidate them from sitting under a “whites only” tree at school?

All this lay beneath the criminal government response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. For reasons directly related to the oppression of Black people throughout the history of this country, and continuing today, African-Americans were disproportionately the ones without the resources to get out of the way of that storm, as well as the ones concentrated in the neighborhoods whose levees had gone unrepaired for years. Far from “mere” incompetence, the government responded with a combination of gun-in-your-face repression and wanton, murderous neglect. People were stuck on rooftops in 100-degree heat for days on end, with nothing to eat or drink. Prisoners were left locked in cells as waters rose to their necks. The protection of private property and social control was placed above human life. The governor of the state ordered cops and soldiers to shoot on sight “looters”—that is, people trying to survive and to help others. On at least one occasion, people trying to escape the worst-hit areas were stopped by police at gunpoint from crossing over to a safer area. When evacuations finally were carried out, they were done with the heartlessness of a cruel plantation owner. Families were separated, with children ripped away from parents. Tens of thousands were scattered all over the country with one-way tickets, sometimes not even told their destinations. Back home, bodies were left floating in water, or lying on sidewalks, underneath debris, decomposing and mangled, for months.

Through it all, politicians and commentators spewed out unrelenting racism. Who can forget Barbara Bush herself, the president’s mother, and her remark in a shelter for refugees from Katrina—some separated from their families and having lost everything, including dear ones—that “[S]o many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.” 10-term Congressman took the prize for declaring, “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.”

Since then, the first…the second…the third anniversary of Katrina passed with many parts of New Orleans still uninhabitable ghost towns. In the mostly Black 9th Ward, blocks of devastated houses have been razed—a vast wasteland now dotted with occasional concrete steps going nowhere. When Black people have fought to stay in the projects which are still habitable, they have been driven out—and when they have protested at City Council, they have been pepper-sprayed and beaten.

Oil rigs and tourist areas are long since back up and humming, while rebuilding schools, hospitals, and childcare centers are pushed off the list. Through it all, cops and national guards continue to occupy poor neighborhoods like enemy territory.

Does all this look like a “post-racial” society to you?

The answer is clear. And while more Black people than ever before have been allowed to “make it” into the middle class, two things must be said.

First, even for these people their situation is still tenuous. To take one stark example: In opposition to the widespread notions of the “American dream,” where each successive generation “does better” than the previous one, the majority of the children of middle-class Black families have been cast, by the workings of this system, onto a downwardly mobile path. And every Black person—no matter how high they rise—still faces the insults and the dangers concentrated in the all-too-familiar experience of being stopped for “driving while Black.” As Malcolm X said over 40 years ago, and as is still true today: What do they call somebody Black with a Ph. D.? A “nigger.”

Second, and even more profoundly, for millions and millions of Black people things have gotten WORSE.

It will not help—in fact it will do real harm—to believe in this “post-racial” fantasy, or even the “less ambitious” lie of steady improvement. The cold truth of the oppression of African-American people must be squarely confronted and deeply understood, if it is ever to be transformed.

II. Shining a Light on the Past to Understand the Present—and Transform the Future

If you go to the doctor with a painful condition, she’ll ask you to describe the symptoms. If she’s any good, she won’t just prescribe a few pills and send you on your way—she’ll try to figure out the cause of your problem, where it came from. She’ll order some tests, and then she’ll do more. She’ll ask you when the symptoms arose. She’ll take your family history, asking about your parents, and even your grandparents. And that’s what we’re going to do—go through the history of America to discover the source of the profound problems we have sketched out here.

The Rise of Capital—on a Foundation of Slavery and Genocide

This country was founded on the twin crimes of the genocidal dispossession of its Native American (Indian) inhabitants, and the kidnapping and enslavement of millions of Africans. But this essential and undeniable truth is constantly suppressed, blurred over, distorted and excused—all too often treated as “ancient history,” if admitted at all. But let’s look at its implications.

Modern capitalism arose in Europe, when the merchant class in the cities—the newly arising capitalists, or bourgeoisie—began to set up workshops in which they exploited peasants who had been driven off their land, as well as others who could not make a living any longer other than by working for, and being exploited by, these capitalists. This was the embryo of the modern proletariat—a class of people who have no means to live except to work for someone else, and that works for wages in processes that require a collectivity of people working together. The early capitalists, like their descendants, would take possession of and sell the goods thus produced, paying the proletarians only enough to live on, and thereby accumulating profit. They did this in competition with other capitalists, and those who could not sell cheaper were driven under; this generated a drive to gain any possible advantage, either through lowering wages and more thoroughly exploiting the proletariat, or through investing in more productive machinery, or both. This twin dynamic of exploitation and competition drove forward the accumulation of capital in a relentless and ever-widening cycle.

But this was not some linear or self-contained process. In fact, capitalism in Europe “took off” with the development of the world market, and that in turn was fed and driven forward by the slave trade. Ships would sail from London and Liverpool, in England, filled with the goods sold by the capitalists. They would unload these goods for sale or trade in the coastal cities of Africa, and fill their holds with human beings who had been captured in raids in the African countryside. They would then take this human cargo to the Americas and the Caribbean, to be sold as slaves. Then the ships would take the sugar, cotton, rice and other goods produced by the slaves in these colonies back to Europe, to be sold for use as raw materials or food. And so on, every day, year in, year out—for centuries. This slave trade and the slave economy that went with it—along with the extermination of the Native peoples of the Americas (the Indians) through deliberate slaughter, disease, and working them to death in silver mines—formed what Karl Marx called the “rosy dawn of the primitive accumulation of capital.”

The crime was enormous. Between 9.4 and 12 million Africans were kidnapped, sold and sent to the Americas as slaves. Over two million more died in the voyage from Africa, and enormous numbers perished in Africa itself, through the slave-taking raids and wars, followed by forced marches in chains to the coastal African cities to feed this market. At least 800,000 more died in the port cities of Africa, locked down in prison (the barracoons) awaiting shipment. Once in the Americas, slaves were sent to “seasoning camps” to “break” them—where an estimated 1/3 of the Africans died in that first hellish year.

Take a few seconds to think about the reality behind those numbers. THOSE WERE HUMAN BEINGS! Numbers alone cannot hope to capture the agony and suffering all this meant for over three centuries; the best these numbers can do is give a sense of the sheer scale and scope of the barbarity. But even today this is very little known, and what went into the foundation of American history is barely taught, if at all, in the schools, or recognized in the media and culture.

Those Africans who survived this hell were then forced to toil as slaves, doing the work to “tame” the Americas—to develop the agriculture that would form the basis for the new European colonies. A respected historian put it this way: “Much of the New World, then, came to resemble the death furnace of the ancient god Moloch—consuming African slaves so increasing numbers of Europeans (and later, white Americans) could consume sugar, coffee, rice, and tobacco.” Within Africa itself, the slave trade caused tremendous distortions in the development of Africa and gave rise to the major African slave-trading states in west Africa, as these states traded slaves to the Europeans for commodities that included guns. I am not going to put that much more on the history, but I am going to say read for yourself and change the way you live and act.

W.E.B. Du Bois, Gelatin silver print c.1911,
W.E.B. Du Bois, Gelatin silver print c.1911, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
W.E.B. Du Bois (1868–1963).  The Souls of Black Folk.  1903.
The After-Thought
  Hear my cry, O God the Reader; vouchsafe that this my book fall not still-born into the world-wilderness. Let there spring, Gentle One, from out its leaves vigor of thought and thoughtful deed to reap the harvest wonderful. (Let the ears of a guilty people tingle with truth, and seventy millions sigh for the righteousness whichexalteth nations, in this drear day when human brotherhood is mockery and a snare.) Thus in Thy good time may infinite reason turn the tangle straight, and these crooked marks on a fragile leaf be not indeed

Be humble about your gift of salvation: The jews are so imparative to God’s plan

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Jews praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur. (...
Jews praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur. (1878 painting by Maurycy Gottlieb) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.

Blaise Pascal

Happy Resurrection weekend. I am really thankful for the time to study the holy word of God. I am especially thankful for the gift of understanding. I see the need to express how serious Israel is to us as Gentile believers. I want to also make mention that we should always pray for that nation, the forecast spiritually is really prophetically taking place. The institution of the “Euro” one world currency is taking place. Our president has met with the G20 during his first term and now is pushing meeting with the G8 these committees are structure money guru’s who are trying to set prophesy in order to establish economic world order. There are so many other events taking place that are spoken of in our word.

The rabbi is Rabbi Nachman Kahane, who has guided many Jewish students of the Scriptures on the subject of the temple. In addition, he has been the main source of serious study and preparation to rebuild the Jewish temple.

How soon will the temple be rebuilt? Rabbi Yehuda Glick, the former head of the Temple Institute, says even the priestly garments are ready and the temple will stand in full operation very soon.

Where will it be rebuilt? Rabbi Chaim Richman, the leading authority on the red heifer, says the temple will be built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Rebuilding the temple will be an important fulfillment of Bible prophecy. It will be integral to the seven-year (end-times) treaty with Israel. After all, the rebuilt temple shows up in Jesus’ warning to His Jewish followers in Matthew 24:15 (“the holy place”); and it appears in Paul’s revelation that the “man of sin” (a.k.a. the beast of Revelation) will enter into the temple (after killing God’s two prophets) and set himself up to be worshipped as God.

In addition, Daniel 9:27 shows us how important the rebuilding of the temple will be to the fulfillment of end-times Bible prophecy. Here is what that verse says:

“Then they shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week they shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.”

Though many translations have “he” in place of “they,” it is a mistake to translate it that way. This is because the pronoun goes back to the nearest subject, which is “people” in verse 26. The reason “he” appears in so many Bible translations is because the pronoun is singular. However, it is singular because, in Hebrew (the language in which Daniel was originally written), “people” is a singular noun which requires a singular pronoun. But “he” in English does nothing but confuse the reader. To refer to “people,” the English translation of the pronoun should be “they.”

Here’s a question – if our faith is based on the teachings and actions of Jesus Christ – why do we have the Old Testament? I mean, isn’t it just a bunch of laws and prophecies of destruction focused on the nation of Israel? Didn’t God reject the Jews when they rejected His Son Jesus?

Good questions – and we have the very Jewish Rabbi and Apostle Paul here to explain it to us in Romans chapter 11. Look back at the end of chapter 10 to pick up the thought – remember, chapters and verse numbers were added later, originally this was one long letter.

Romans 10:21 But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

You picture God throwing up His hands – “Oy veh!” From Genesis through Malachi God pictured a savior, told about a savior, promised a savior – but at just the right time the savior came, He was rejected and killed by His own people. We talked last week about the obstinate heart that God enhances by hardening it.

Right after the resurrection, almost all of the church was made up of Jews who believed in Jesus as the savior, the promised Messiah. In fact, there was a great controversy about whether gentiles could even be a part of this new Way. After God revealed to the Apostle Peter (Acts 10:15) “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”  And the door was opened to the gentiles.

But the more time went on, the more opposition arose from the Jews. The Apostle Paul got so fed up with them that at one point he said (Acts 18:6) But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

One thing led to another, and pretty soon the Jews were rioting against Christians – Jews who became believers were thrown out of fellowship and out of families.

So in chapter 11, Paul talks to the conclusion that God has permanently turned His back on the Jews because they turned their back on Jesus. There are 7 paragraphs in this chapter – and 7 points Paul makes to help us understand what place the Jews have in God’s heart.

Point 1 – God didn’t reject His people, many of them rejected Him (1-6)

I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah-how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”  5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

You may know the story of Elijah, in 1 Kings 19 – this prophet had won a huge victory over 400 prophets of Ba’al. Then he ran from one angry woman – Jezebel. He hid away in a cave until God coaxed him out and asked him what in the world he was doing there. Elijah told him, maybe with a little whine in his voice, (1 Kings 19:14) “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

God replied to Elijah: (1 Kings 19:18) Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel-all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.” Just as there was in that time an unseen remnant of the faithful, God knows the faithful remnant today that has not bowed the knee to righteousness by good works, but righteousness through the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Elijah needed to open His eyes to the work God was really doing – just as the Jews needed to open their eyes to see the work God did through Jesus.

But as a nation they were so caught up in external righteousness by obeying the law, that they missed the internal righteousness God offered through Jesus. And even as God told Elijah to anoint another to take his place, the Jews found themselves unable to obtain God’s favor through their own merits, and that rejection brought with it a result.

Point 2 – Rejection led to blindness (7-10)

7 What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, 8 as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.”  9 And David says: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. 10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.”

Why do the Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah? Here Paul says they earnestly desired to be God’s people but didn’t achieve it – “their table become a snare” David wrote – the table was the law. Jesus said, and I’m paraphrasing, “you study the law because in it you think you have life – but that life you want is found only in Me.” No wonder David said “their backs bent forever.” Who can bear under the weight of the obeying the law to get right with God?

Later Paul would write: (2 Corinthians 3:15-16)
15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

That “veil” keeps them from understanding that Jesus is the Messiah. Jews will tell you that the Messiah is supposed to do three things: bring peace to the world, gather the Jewish people from their exile, and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus didn’t do any of those things, they say, so He can’t be the Messiah. The Messiah is to be three things – king, priest, and prophet – Jesus is all three, but He fulfills those roles not in a way that the Jews expected.

One source I looked at http://www.messiahpage.com stated that the main difference between Judaism and Christianity was the difference between law and faith. Jews steadfastly believe that the only way to righteousness is by obedience to the law – not by putting faith in Jesus’ obedience for us.

They make several errors in their logic – and I’ll mention one of them. It involves how you interpret prophecy. If you believe that prophecy is told then fulfilled once – then you would look for the Messiah to do the things I mentioned. But in fact prophecy can have both a near and far term fulfillment. An example is the prophecies of Daniel concerning the Anti-Christ. They were fulfilled with Antiochus Epiphanies in Roman times, but are still to have their ultimate fulfillment in the last days.

So too with the Messiah. Jesus fulfills both pictures of the Messiah in the Old Testament – the suffering savior of Psalm 22, and the ruling king of Isaiah 9. The Jews think it has to happen at once – but it doesn’t. Other differences include the trinity, free will, original sin, and punishment for sinners after death.

So what do we do – lambaste the Jews for rejecting Jesus? Unfortunately, that’s what many Christians have done down through the ages and I think it’s wrong.

Point 3 – Our purpose is to show the Jews God’s love, not His rejection (11-16)

11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.
12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!

13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

There is hope for the Jews. Many have come to know Jesus as their Savior. Today there are movements of Jewish believers – such as Jews for Jesus. And when a Jew realizes what Jesus really did, they bring the rich history, heritage, culture, and knowledge of the Old Testament with them.

In fact, once God takes the church from the earth, He will lift that veil off the Jewish nation and many of them will come to Christ – becoming super powerful, anointed believers.

Instead of thinking that the Jews are cast-offs, we should seek to understand how they can enrich our own experience with Jesus.

Point 4 – We share common roots with Israel (17-21)

17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

Some Christians have adopted this arrogant attitude of superiority over the Jews – but we need to keep in mind that we have been grafted in to something God was already doing through them. But what a wonderful heritage we have – all that Abraham and Moses and David went through – we now share in that history – we are now a part of that family. You can trace your lineage now back through Jesus into Israel.

Lest we think we’re something special apart from Jesus –

Point 5 – We have been brought into what God started through Israel (22-24)

22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

God is adamant – stern if you will – that only through Jesus will we find His favor. But the point here is – once a Jew realizes they’ve been cut off from God and come back through Yehshua the Messiah – how natural it is and how well they fit. Remember – the veil over the eyes of the Jews is not permanent.

Point 6 – The Jewish hardening is only temporary (25-27)

25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

So what is the trigger for the Jews? It is when the last gentile accepts Jesus as Lord. It’s like at the supermarket when all the bells go off for the millionth customer – when the last person comes into the kingdom, God will remove the church from the earth, and remove the veil from Israel – but it doesn’t mean any change in God’s plan of salvation.

Point 7 – Everyone gets to God by His mercy, Jew and gentile alike (28-36)

28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”  35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?”  36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Paul is just amazed at the intricacy of God’s plan – we were disobedient to God, and received mercy. Then the Jews rejected the Messiah the Father sent to them, becoming disobedient in the process. Now in that same disobedience that we were in, they can come to God in the same way – through realizing their disobedience and receiving mercy – not by works, not by the law, but by the grace of God through the sacrifice once for all of His Son Jesus.

His ways are above our ways and His thoughts are above our thoughts – His most insignificant thought is infinitely more profound than Einstein, Aristotle, and Steven Hawking combined.

Conclusion

So – what can we as gentile Christians glean from this chapter?

• God’s has an infinitely thought out plan for your life too (vs 33)

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Don’t worry about the big picture – just worry about faithful daily living with God. He’ll take care of the big picture.

• God’s gifts and calling are irrevocable.

Look back at that in verse 29. Do you ever feel insecure about your relationship with God – feel like you’ve just done too many things wrong and He’s going to jettison you? Or maybe He’s done some neat things through you but you feel like the “anointing” is gone.

Take heart from this verse – the word “irrevocable” means “to be without regret.” God doesn’t look at you and say “man, am I sorry I saved that guy.” You can feel secure in His love and in your salvation.

Jesus said: (John 10:29) My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

It doesn’t mean we go out and sin – that leads to death of life and fellowship. But it does mean that when we mess up, God is still there to love us and cleanse us. He will not reject you!

• Don’t be smug

At the same time you feel secure, don’t get all puffed up about it. Instead, realize the awesome privilege you have been given, of being grafted in as a wild branch to the root.

• All interpretation of Scripture must be seen through the lens of Jesus

Hebrews 1:1-2 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

When you look at the Old Testament, you must see it in light of Jesus – that’s the only way to understand it, it’s the only way it makes sense.

Some Jews will see this – when Paul came to Rome (years after writing this letter) he met with Jewish leaders and they discussed Jesus as the Messiah. At the end of the discussion it says this:

Acts 28:24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.

It doesn’t say “some were not convinced” but “would not believe” we need to pray that that hardness of heart will be softened.

America the addicted society

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I’ve seen firsthand the terrible consequences of drug abuse. My heart is with all who suffer from addiction and the terrible consequences for their families.

Columba Bush

I realize this subject may not mean anything to some because just like death until it hits home we minimize its reality. I was once apart of this mess. I went so far as to allow myself to have a radiometric-addiction to women, blink and money. I used all of them for selfish gain. I see now the destructive nature of all of them without having been educated I was doom to continue in my downward spiral.

When God delivered me from myself I pledged to be an instrument of good and not evil. I want to educate all on these toxic cultures that plague our communities and homes. The silent killer today that leads to all this dysfunction is deception and delusion of ones self.

I hope this article help’s someone or someone’s family member. I hope this visual aid by NAS is not offensive, but educational about all the forms of addictions, foods, medical prescription, out of touch realities such as religions and toxic programming.

English: Source: The National Institute on Dru...
English: Source: The National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Image taken from http://www.drugabuse.gov/pubs/teaching/Teaching2/Teaching4.html http://www.drugabuse.gov/pubs/teaching/Teaching2/largegifs/slide18.gif (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia) released a report on addictions today that is remarkably comprehensive and even more remarkably honest in portraying the virtually utter failure to identify and effectively treat addiction in the U.S.

The report, titled “Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap Between Science and Practice,” starts with the premise that addiction is a disease. Addiction is not recreational drug use or risky behaviors (like adolescent binge drinking or buying drugs on the street). They focus on abuse and dependence on alcohol, legal and illicit drugs, and tobacco. While the authors recognize a group of addictive/compulsive behaviors, they are not covered in this report.

CASA Columbia is a renowned research center on addiction. For the past five years it brought together a team of addiction, public health and judicial experts, universities, medical centers, and other mainstream officials under the direction of Drew E. Altman, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of the Kaiser Family Foundation, to study and survey the field of addiction in order to give us a landscape report of such precision and breadth. Scientific literature was reviewed, extensive surveys were conducted (throughout the U.S. and an in-depth survey in New York State), leading researchers and experts were interviewed, focus groups were held, and state and federal licensing, certification and accreditation rules and regulations were examined. Care was taken to hold to high standards of analysis and evidence. In short, this is one tome we ignore at our own peril.

Their definition of addiction is alcohol and drug (including tobacco) abuse (compulsive use despite clear harm to relationships, work and physical health) and dependence (where the body experiences withdrawal when blood levels of a substance drop).

Their definition of treatment is that of psychological and social therapies (like motivational interviewing/motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy — CBT — provided individually and in groups, the often highly-effective but controversial contingency management approaches that reward abstinence, and family therapies) and medications used to treat additions (like naltrexone, nicotine replacement and buprenorphine — see here and here). They do not include detoxification (typically repetitive, expensive, and often medically-unnecessary interventions that are generally ineffective in promoting recovery), peer- and religious-based counseling, emergency room and prison/jail services. Don’t bother to pick up this 573-page report (more than half of which is appendices and references) if you believe addiction is a failure of will, a form of moral turpitude, or habits where people should “just get over it” (though some future campaign should try to change your mind).

The consequences of untreated addiction, and its predecessor risky alcohol and drug use, are chilling. The report concludes that:

“Risky substance use and addiction constitute the largest preventable public health problems and the leading causes of preventable death (emphasis mine) in the U.S. Of the nearly 2.5 million deaths in 2009, an estimated minimum of 578,819 were attributable to tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.”

The report also estimates the costs of addiction and risky substance use behaviors to government coffers alone to exceed $468 billion annually. Yet, and here is the most important finding of all, only one in 10 people with addiction to alcohol and/or drugs report receiving any treatment — at all. Can you imagine that measure of neglect were the conditions heart or lung disease, cancer(s), asthma, diabetes, tuberculosis, or stroke and other diseases of the brain?

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disability in this country. But the catastrophic effects of addiction do not stop there: The report considers car crashes, where 40 percent of fatalities involve someone under the influence; the five-fold increase in prescriptiondrug overdose deaths since 1990, where OD fatalities exceed traffic accidents; increased risk of heart and lung diseases, cancer and sexually-transmitted diseases; and parental substance abuse, which increases the risk of their children performing poorly in school and developing conduct and trauma disorders, asthma, ADHD, depression and, of course, addiction itself. Family dysfunction warrants particular notation, since addiction produces financial and legal problems (property and violent crimes) and increases domestic violence, child abuse, unplanned pregnancies, and motor vehicle accidents.

The report is exhaustive in the ways it considers legal and illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Each section is clear, compelling and exceptionally well-supported with tables and references. A thorough analysis of why we are at this deeply troubling state of neglect examines how addiction has been systematically omitted from medical care, how treatment providers are terribly undertrained to deliver a range of proven treatments, how treatment programs are not sufficiently held accountable for delivering evidence-based practices, and how private insurance payers have eluded the provision of adequate benefits and defaulted payment to the public sector. But what we need to know far beyond the inescapable evidence of how big and bad the problems are is what can be done?

The opening recommendation is a page out of every good textbook of public health. Start by detecting a problem that is — by inattention or aversion — kept out of sight. We do not deal with what we do not confront. More than 80 million people (!) in this country ages 12 and older abusively engage in substance use without meeting criteria for addiction (defined above) and represent an exceptional opportunity to intervene early and effectively, yet this is not happening. Simple screening tests for alcohol, drugs and tobacco exist and can be made standard practice throughout medical care (and in educational and counseling settings). SBIRT — Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral for Treatment — is a recognized, proven and even reimbursed medical procedure that awaits general use despite the consequences of not using it.

The report offers a set of treatment recommendations and asserts importantly that comprehensive treatment (combining psychosocial and pharmacological interventions) is generally better than reliance on one approach alone. There is an abundance of information on treatment, beginning with stabilization of the disease and continuing on to acute care with therapy and medications. The authors provide critically-important and urgently-needed information about how chronic disease management techniques extant throughout medicine today need to be applied to addiction. Nutrition and exercise are woven into the treatment approaches. AA, NA, SMART and other longstanding and effective recovery programs find their way into the report as “support services,” revealing its particularly medical and judicial framework.

One finding that may pertain to readers of this post, or people they know, is that public attitudes about the causes of addiction “… are out of sync with the science.” Their survey work reveals that one-third of Americans still regard addiction as a “… lack of willpower or self-control.” We can be our own worst enemy, and local and national efforts to change minds and hearts are needed.

Further recommendations are framed as major sections on how to close the science-to-practice gap (to make happen in everyday practice what we know from science that works): commencing a national public education campaign, mandating program adherence to proven practices, establishing quality improvement tools and procedures to steadily and progressively improve program performance, insurance reform, and organizing federal oversight into one agency on addiction.

There is so much more in the report that this summary cannot cover. Among the findings readers may also want to take guidance from are on special populations (from youth to the elderly, and including veterans, pregnant women and those with co-occurring medical and mental health disorders), on parity legislation and the do-or-die role of funding prevention and services, and on education and practice standards. The report serves both as a call to action and an encyclopedic warehouse of information.

The CASA Columbia report’s strengths are its veracity, clarity and credibility, the last based on the excellent science they summarize and the caliber of the report’s authors. A shortcoming is that it was developed by experts in medicine, addictions, public health and jurisprudence; as a result, it does not report on the emerging and abundantly-used field of complementary and alternative approaches to addiction “treatment” (such as yoga and acupuncture) nor dedicate much report real estate to 12-step and related recovery models. Nor does the report consider how making legal substances more expensive and more difficult to get could be used as means of controlling youth drinking and other compulsive habits, though CASA Columbia did consider these interventions last year in a report on adolescent substance abuse (see here and here).

Practitioners, policy makers, educators and responsible citizens should more than consider “Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap Between Science and Practice.” It needs to become an agenda for action. Not doing so will mean that this country would have decided to continue to neglect its most prevalent, destructive and costly of diseases

America’s history is a weapon

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A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.

John F. Kennedy

History

2007 $1 Washington coin reverse.
2007 $1 Washington coin reverse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

America; the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”  A nation that guarantees “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  A “shining city” set on a hill with “equal justice under law.”  A “beacon of light” to all mankind.  The bastion of “freedom and democracy.”  “wind swept and God blessed” from “sea to shining sea.”

For over four centuries Americans have  professed and lived these values.  We’re a nation founded by people of virtue, honor, integrity and a deep and abiding love of God and appreciation for the sanctity of human life.  On the base of the Statue of Liberty are the words:
Give me your tired, your poor
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me
I lift my light beside the golden door

America was the land the world envied and yearned to be a part of.  It was the great experiment in democracy that became the model of freedom for all the world to see.  America was in every sense of the word a land of opportunity and a “Culture of Life.”
It is only in a democracy where the citizens of a nation determine the level of national morality and the type of culture in which they wish to live.  They make this determination first in their own family, then their community and ultimately, through the ballot box, the entire nation.  A look back over the past forty years reveals a lot about the cultural changes Americans have chosen over the past two generations.

Some time in the mid-sixties during the Viet Nam War, drugs were introduced on the streets of our cities in large numbers.  It was not long until this addiction found its way into every community of our land.  As this addiction combined itself with the “sexual revolution”, “communes” and “free love” became a way of life for many.  We also learned the meaning of the word “overdosed.”  A culture of “love and free-living” resulted in a Culture of Death.
About the same time it was determined that prayer had no place in our public schools.  Children who were not taught moral values in the home would no longer be taught them in the schools of America and some who were taught these values at home had them challenged by their teachers, particularly in our colleges and universities.  God became an abstract being and the Bible was reduced to a book of common virtue.  The concept of eternal live and judgment has become a Culture of Death, in which existence ends at the grave.
In the early seventies another term found its way into the hearts and minds of America.  Abortion was determined to be the constitutional right of every young girl who had been released from the moral restraints that had been imposed on her parents. The unborn child was relegated to a non-human status, and could, therefore, be destroyed at the whelm of the parent.  The most dangerous place to live in America became the mother’s womb and to date over forty-five million children have been slaughtered in the name of a “woman’s right to choose.”  The sanctity of human life had become a Culture of Death.
Assisted Suicide and euthanasia found their way into acceptance by much of our population be the late seventies and early eighties.  This was done in the name of “death with dignity.”  The old, the infirm, the incapacitated, and yes, the inconvenient all became subject to legal extermination by one means or another.  The society which for generations had prided itself a protector of the weak, the disabled, and the infirm had become a Culture of Death.

By the early nineties we were introduced, compliments of the homosexual community, to a disease called Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndrome, or for short AIDS.  Through drug needle sharing and prostitution this disease found its way into the heterosexual community as well.  That which is called an “alternative lifestyle” has also become a “Culture of Death.”
By the year 2000 stem cell research was being promoted as a panacea of cures for all sorts of neurological damage and disease.  This research requires the destruction of embryonic human beings.  Nevertheless, American’s of every stripe are accepting this destruction of human life with no reluctance.  What was once legitimate scientific medical research has now become a Culture of Death.
Since the arriving of the pilgrims four hundred years ago, the traditional family has been the bedrock of American society.  Our government, our legal system and our churches were all designed to protect and promote the welfare of the family.  Today the traditional family is under attack as never before in our history.  The concept of one man, one woman, is being replaced by a system whereby any two or more individuals, regardless of sex, or age may join themselves together be recognized as a  family by our society.
When prayer was in our schools guns weren’t.  Today we are seeing a rash of young children bringing guns to school and shooting and killing their classmates and teachers.  What which was once a climate of education has become a Culture of Death.
Finally, to accommodate all of the above changes, every vestige of God and the Bible is being removed from our public square.  Our Pledge of Allegiance and National motto have been declared “unconstitutional” because they contain the word God.  The faith of our fathers in the blessings and protection of the God who has sustained this nation for over four hundred years is being replaced by a multi-cultural system which denies the God of Heaven yet recognizes and accepts every pagan god and pagan religion professed on these shores.

And what is the result of all these deviations from the American culture that was the light of the world?
As I look at the news on my TV tonight I hear about a pop star and icon for many of our youth who is on trial for sexually molesting a young boy.  I see the stars of baseball admitting to using steroid drugs to enhance their performance on the playing field while thousands of young aspiring athletics mimic these “heroes,” many at the cost of their lives.  America’s favorite pastime has also become a Culture of Death.

I see where nine people are murdered by a teenager who our Supreme Court has determined is mature enough to operate an automobile on our public streets but is too immature to be punished with his life if he chooses to take the life of nine others.
I see the story of a 46-year-old sexual predator, twice before tried and convicted, released to rape and murder a 9-year-old girl in Florida.

And, what is possibly the most heart wrenching story of all, a woman in Florida is being starved to death at the request of her husband, in the name of death with dignity, so he may receive the balance of her insurance settlement to support his girlfriend and their two children.  It is especially appalling that pollsters are telling us that most Americans support his position.
Our media takes great pride in keeping a running total of every single death taking place among our young men and women fighting to bring freedom to others, but where they when it comes to keeping a running count of the millions who have been slaughtered as a result of the cultural values which the same media has promoted?

The terrorist who seek the destruction of America are far less of a danger to our national welfare than the activist judges in the courts of America who have sanctioned, legalized, and promoted the values that have turned our nation into a Culture of Death.
What has happened to my America?  And what is more important, how long will the good people of America remain silent while these evils destroy the moral fabric of our nation today and our very existence tomorrow?

This is the question that our children and grandchildren will look back and ask.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7: 14

There is Dysfunction in the House of worship; Can you make the difference?

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The essential elements of giving are power and love – activity and affection – and the consciousness of the race testifies that in the high and appropriate exercise of these is a blessedness greater than any other.

Mark Hopkins

You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give.
E. O. Wilson

Transcendentalism was a philosophical movement that developed in the 1830s and 1840s in the Eastern region of the United States as a protest to the general state of culture and society, and in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University and the doctrine of the Unitarian church taught at Harvard Divinity School. Among the transcendentalists’ core beliefs was the inherent goodness of both people and nature. Transcendentalists believed that society and its institutions—particularly organized religion and political parties—ultimately corrupted the purity of the individual. They had faith that people are at their best when truly “self-reliant” and independent. It is only from such real individuals that true community could be formed.

Empiricism, in the broad sense, is the philosophical outlook that stresses the power of a posteriori reasoning — reasoning from observation or experience — to grasp substantial truths about the world. When a priori ideas conflict with the a posteriori, the a posteriori wins, according to empiricism. Empiricism is usually opposed to rationalism — the view that reason rather than sensation or observation is the source of knowledge.

The essence of humanity’s spiritual dilemma is that we evolved genetically to accept one truth and discovered another. Is there a way to erase the dilemma, to resolve the contradictions between the transcendentalist and the empiricist world views?

Living in a world of moral decay and selfishness I have come to realize the importance of self inventory. Issues of abandonment and failure became my reflection. I appreciated the Pastors attempt to educate us on Mental Illness for it is now knocking at my door. Looking at the Donner debacle I was urgently awakened to my need to get help. I thirst to behave honorably, I aimed high when I took my stand to honor the Sabbath, I set a goal to be the best sailor the Navy would ever see. I long to be pleasing to God and help my Ummah and family in the precepts of my God’s standards.

Propelled into destitution and stress and depression I am looking everywhere to find help. I’ve been told that your faith lacks, you are blaming everyone but yourself, you aren’t looking for help in the right places. This movie Called “Silver linings” is a real eye opener for me. While it may seem like a lot to ask of religious leaders, it’s actually easier for young people and adults to get to clergy than it is to get to a mental health professional. According to NAMI, churches, temples, mosques and faith communities reach 70 percent of the American population each month. Clergy outnumber psychiatrists by nearly 10 to one, and are more equitably distributed geographically than health professionals.

Our Ummah’s of faith are seroiusly in need of help, More importantly, religious communities are best-positioned to respond to the faith issues that arise for people who live with and love those who live with mental illnesses. They can tell us that our condition is not a result of angering or disappointing or failing God.

There are many faithful people who live with mental health challenges. Most of the time, we walk amongst the regular praying-public as if we are invisible. But we are in congregations, Bible studies and prayer meetings wondering if there is a place for us there. We wonder if there is room for us to be honest about our struggles. We are waiting to hear our stories from places that we recognize as holy.

We as believers quote cliché’s and scripture out of habit, never really being concerned about the next mans plight, thanking God it’s not mine. We lead one another astray with falsehood and the appearance of love. We all need some type of help with something mentally. I care about myself and really want to care for you as the great commission given to man by the creator of all this beautiful world. He trusted us to steward this life and the nature of creation better that we are doing. I want to partner with you who have been liberated due to education and regenerated by Jesus being the head of our life to help the ones next to us in the pews, our communities,our homes, and our hearts to get above our sicknesses and indifference of caste status. It is my ongoing prayer that God be present with us in this dyeing world.

I want to add another optical point stated by Karl Marx a socialist, His critique of Hegel’s philosophy of rights. he states Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.

Usually all one gets from the above is “Religion is the opium of the people“ (with no ellipses to indicate that something has been removed). Sometimes “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature“ is included. If you compare these with the full quotation, it’s clear that a great deal more is being said than what most people are aware of.

In the above quotation Marx is saying that religion’s purpose is to create illusory fantasies for the poor. Economic realities prevent them from finding true happiness in this life, so religion tells them that this is OK because they will find true happiness in the next life. Although this is a criticism of religion, Marx is not without sympathy: people are in distress and religion provides solace, just as people who are physically injured receive relief from opiate-based drugs.

We as called out of darkness, blood brought believers have to accept the “essential Jesus” redemptive work for the power to remain accountable to Him as chosen instruments to shine as a city on the hill. God is not a Willie Lynch God, a God of the slave or oppressed, He is the “Essential living King of Kings, a Living God, The only wise God, The lifter of our heads who believe. He is not a mystical God nor is He a Jeanie or some sort of get out of trouble-free card. God wants us to ask Him question, Abraham ask Him several times while praying to Him about Sodom and Gomorrah and God used that situation to illustrate to the father of us all that he is real and approachable. He holds us accountable for what we believe and how we act towards mankind. Pray family of faith for Marx and all the other distorted individual of your life. Don’t leave your church because someone is acting with dysfunctional thoughts and action, let go of your hurts and let the “Essential God” reveal Himself to you by way of your beliefs and faith.

(Exodus 34:5-7 NIV) Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. {6} And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, {7} maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”

(Numbers 23:19 NIV) God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

(Deuteronomy 3:24 NIV) “O Sovereign LORD, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?

(Deuteronomy 4:24 NIV) For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

(Deuteronomy 4:31 NIV) For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.

(Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NIV) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. {5} Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

(Deuteronomy 9:3 NIV) But be assured today that the LORD your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the LORD has promised you.

Suffering for “A Crown”

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Memorial to the oldest annual running race in ...
Memorial to the oldest annual running race in Europe. Prague-Běchovice, Czech Republic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the  goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless  exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.

Martin  Luther King, Jr.

I am shocked at the way God has turned my life around when it comes to being a made over Christian. In my suffering I and my wife have let go of our old self and been totally transformed by the sufferings and trial we have had to endure. We are still “going through” but God is helping us to believe He is here. We are believing that our faith will get to the light of His presence and hear Him say well done my faithful servant, we are no good on our own, we believe and recieve His will because we want to believe that this suffering is not in vain take heart all and stand head up, chin out, ten toes down, heart fixed on Jesus promises and believing you are victorious even though He slay you BELIEVE…..

God’s Purpose in Suffering

 

I Peter 4:12-19

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

 

God has a divine purpose for the family. God has a divine purpose for friendships. God has a purpose for us even in the workplace tomorrow morning. One of the hardest ways that we discover the purpose of God is through suffering and through trials. We quote Romans 8:28,

 

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

 

We know that God has something planned through the suffering, but we still might wonder why He allows the suffering. No matter how great the suffering, God is always at work. The Book of I Peter tells of some principles that we can apply in our lives when trials overwhelm us. Peter was a fiery apostle of Jesus Christ. He was given a second chance after denying Christ, and he was used mightily on the day of Pentecost to preach a message where over three thousand people were saved and baptized. After those first moments in church history, there were some tremendous times of trials and difficulties that came upon the Christians of the early church. The Roman Empire was very unfriendly to Christianity. As those early Christians began to fan out around the world, they found persecution in every city and in every situation. It is recorded in history that there were Christians burned at the stake every night in Rome. We, as Christians, go through little problems and call it suffering. In our eyes, sometimes inconveniences become our trials. Suffering as the early Christians suffered is a far cry from the inconveniences we face today. When those times of trial do come our way, how can we know that God is still doing something in our lives?

 

Our Expectation of Suffering

 

Every Christian should expect some suffering. We should realize that it is a part of life according to the Word of God. I Peter 4:12 says,

 

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.”

 

This passage is speaking specifically about suffering for the faith of Jesus Christ. Suffering was common for the early Christians. The early Christians certainly suffered for their faith, and the more America moves away from God, the more Christians will be persecuted for their convictions. At the beginning of recorded history, Job stated in the midst of his trials:

 

“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)

 

If you study the history of God’s people, there have been trials and persecutions. Suffering is common for all who live for Christ. Anyone who will truly stand up for Christ will suffer persecution.

 

“Yea and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”(II Timothy 3:12)

 

There are some churches that will make it sound like “getting” Jesus means no more problems. God’s true and holy Word says that you can expect some trials if you intend to live for Jesus Christ.

 

Our Example in Suffering

 

If we are going to find God’s purpose during suffering, we must keep our eyes on Jesus Christ.

 

” But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” (I Peter 4:13-14)

 

Our natural response to a trial or persecution will not be to praise the Lord. Yet James said,

 

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.” (James 1:2)

 

How can we keep a positive spirit during suffering? How can we truly rejoice? First of all, Christ suffered for us.

 

“But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings.” (I Peter 4:13a)

 

It is through suffering that we get a glimpse and understanding for what Jesus did when He died for us on the cross. We serve a Savior who knows what rejection felt like, who knows what pain felt like, who knows what it was like to be separated from His Father because His body bore the sins of the entire world. Jesus Christ was not a man who became God; Jesus Christ was the eternally preexistent Son of God. Jesus Christ is our example in suffering. Secondly, we can rejoice because we have victory because of His resurrection. The word “revealed” in verse 13 is in reference to that day when Jesus Christ shall be revealed to the world. It is then that we will be glad we were faithful to Him.

 

“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.” (I Peter 1:6)

 

Peter said that you could still rejoice when you go through seasons of suffering. Dr. Curtis Hutson was a dear friend and mentor in my life. I was able to go hear Dr. Hutson preach his final message in North Carolina. There were about two thousand pastors that gathered in the auditorium that evening. Dr. Hutson, who just a few years prior was such a picture of health and vitality, was helped from his chair and brought to the pulpit. He weighed less than 100 pounds, and had to hold on to the pulpit just to keep from falling. He preached a powerful message entitled, “Things That Are Different Are Not the Same.” The thing that I remember the most about that night was the fact that Dr. Hutson, with his body filled with cancer, sang the old-time chorus, “I ’m on the Winning Side.” It talks of wandering in sin, but then coming to trust in Christ as Savior. His testimony in song during his trial is something I will never forget. If you are in Christ today you are on the winning side. Helen Keller once said, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” No one can overcome suffering unless he has the hope of eternal life because he has realized what Christ has done for him. Our example when we are going through suffering is none other than the Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

Our Experience in Suffering

 

What is it that God wants us to experience during trials? What does He want to teach us? How does He want us to become a stronger, more mature people in our faith?

 

“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” (I Peter 4:14)

 

During trials we experience the presence of God. At these times we humble ourselves before God and admit that we need His presence. When adversity comes into our lives, we usually want God to do a removal job, but He desires to do an improving job. In Hebrews chapter 4, He says that He will give us grace to help in times of infirmity.

 

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

 

God will not always change your circumstance, though He has the power to. He would rather change you.

 

The answer to our trials is not changing addresses, but changing our hearts. Remember that when you get to the end of your rope, Jesus will still be there. Some people try to climb up that rope by manipulating and trying to maintain their pride. It is not until suffering comes that we can really be humbled enough to learn what God wants to teach us in our lives. Through our trials, we are also able to express the praise of God.

 

“Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” (I Peter 4:16)

 

God says that when you suffer as a Christian, He wants to receive the glory. One of the purposes of the trial that you are experiencing is that people can see that you are going forward for God in your life, and you are doing it through the strength of the Spirit of God. Anyone can be faithful during the good times, but it takes someone with a real walk with God to be faithful during the difficult times. Many of you will recall the tragedy at Columbine High School a few years ago. The tragedy at Columbine seemed to be the pinnacle point of all the shootings in public schools across the country. This seemed to help focus the attention of the nation on the problem. One student, Cassie Bernel, became the focal point of the news reports during the week of the shooting. While veiwing the incident and praying, I imagined many of the teenagers heart condition that knew Cassie Bernel. They said that before Cassie became a Christian she was one of the roughest, wildest teenagers in the entire school. Her parents, as a last resort, sent her to a Christian camp. By the fourth night of that camp she accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior. The students said that when she came back she was a different girl. She carried her Bible to school and began to witness. The tragic day of the shootings, one of the young gunmen came to Cassie Bernel and pointed his gun at her head. He said, “Are you a Christian?” She replied, “Yes, I am a Christian.” She proceeded to try to tell him about Jesus Christ. The gunman took her life, but God had a purpose even in that tragedy. Unsaved teenagers around Denver and the country began to hear Cassie’s story and get saved. Christians have become more burdened about our public schools. In the darkness of the night God had a light ready to flicker. God is not playing a game with you when suffering happens; God has a purpose and a plan. God wants to draw you closer to Himself so that through your faithfulness in the trial He can receive honor and glory. Maybe you have had some trials in your life. Maybe some unexpected problems came along. You are realizing that you cannot handle things alone –you need God’s help. Turn to Him. Expect these trials to come as you are serving the Lord. Learn from His example. His goodness and love are waiting to be experienced through the trying of your faith.

Thank God for the Boy’s Scout stance on representing “The Real Law.”

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Anti-ACLU
Anti-ACLU (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.

Abraham Lincoln

When I began to hash this issue out with myself and others I struggled. Felons break the contract of life when they commit any crime. Gay people break the Law of God and want to be a protected group. How is the Law of the land more important than the Law of God? Whales and other endangered species have rights, but certain human beings created in God’s image, prone to failure can not get any one to speak up for their rights.

I am excited by what I see going on in this world, for I know that it’s not over just because some Judges feel they have the power to render sound decisions, i am glad when I see these things that are against my Lord’s way of doing things, because I am assured of Him coming soon. I know what my bible says and it’s not over my God I am not looking at these injustices as the way they will forever be.

I want to take a look at the literacy of God rites;

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. NIV

Because this passage starts with “…because of this”, we must go back to where this begins at Romans 1:18 to find out what Paul was addressing. From 1:18-23, Paul is addressing that the wrath of God is against…

  • all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness
  • they [who] knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him
  • they [who] became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles

Romans 1:29 and on goes on to state that they are

  • filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed and malice
  • full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite
  • they are gossips and scandalmongers and they hate God
  • they are insolvent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in the wickedness and rebellious towards their parents
  • they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless

Paganism, sensuality, idol worship, sin and lust were of part of everyday society in ancient Rome and a problem faced by early Christians. Paul’s letter to the Romans addressed the first century realities of Roman idolatry, fertility goddess worship and shrine prostitution. Romans is not theoretical. It is practical and focused on what Roman Christians encountered every day they lived in Rome.

Now, Romans 1:27 is speaking of perversion. What does this term mean? Perverting something is to twist, misuse or deviate from the norm. If one “exchanges natural relations for unnatural ones” or “abandons natural relationships”, it’s basically saying Paul disproved of sexual behavior contrary to a person’s nature. As it is normal for a heterosexual person to be attracted to a person of the opposite gender, it is normal for a gay or lesbian person to be attracted to a person of the same gender. Paul may be considering abnormal sex to involve sexual activity which is in violation of a person’s basic nature – something that goes against their sexual orientation. Or, as As C. Ann Shepherd writes:

When the scripture is understood correctly, it seems to imply that it would be unnatural for heterosexuals to live as homosexuals, and for homosexuals to live as heterosexuals.

The word “unnatural” in verse 26 is the Greek word “phusis”, meaning natural production or extension (i.e. having children) and it is likely that Paul’s concern was that the temple prostitutes who were female, were not getting pregnant (due to bodily damage and syphilis). Many people in the world have sex without the ability to re-produce. We no longer see that as unnatural or a result of sin. The word “natural” (referring to men) is the word “phisukos” and refers to instinct. Paul saw both slavery and sexual abuse of males non-instinctual. But what about gays and lesbians? Same-sex fulfillment is natural and instinctual. The key word is “unnatural”. Roman sexuality did not see same-sex practice as “unnatural”. In fact, to the Roman world it was very, very natural, even a part of growing up.

Over and over again, we see the Bible condemning orgies, molestation or sexual acts outside of a monogamous committed relationship. Who is to say this applies to modern day loving same-sex couples? Because God is the same yesterday and today and forever more.

Boy Scouts Maintains Gay Ban, But Accepts Convicted Criminals

The Boy Scouts of America might be adamantly against including gay members, but convicted criminals are another story.

The Human Rights Campaign recently obtained a Boy Scouts employment application and discovered that a criminal record apparently does not immediately preclude hiring.

“HRC obtained a copy of their job application, which says: ‘The Boy Scouts of America will not employ… known or avowed homosexuals,'” writes HRC. “The icing on top? ‘Conviction of a crime is not an automatic bar to employment’ according to the application. That’s right – a person’s sexual orientation is more of a red flag than their criminal record.”
Now, HRC is asking supporters to send letters to the Boy Scouts board demanding the organization end its policy of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, employment discrimination based on sexual orientation is actually permissible in a number of states across the nation, including many in the Bible Belt — Texas, Louisiana and Alabama, to name a few. No federal law protects LGBT individuals. The Human Rights Campaign notes on its website that, in 29 states, it is not explicitly illegal to fire someone for being gay ; nor is it illegal, in 34 states, to discriminate against an employee over gender identity.

On Feb. 6, the Boy Scouts announced it will maintain the ban on gay members and leaders while it examines the issue ahead a decision in May. The group was supposed to come to a decision in February but has reasoned the delay is due to “the complexity of this issue.”

Gay rights groups are not buying it. GLAAD, for one, thinks the issue is clear-cut: “An organization that serves youth and chooses to intentionally hurt dedicated young people and hardworking parents not only flies in the face of American principles, but the principles of being a Boy Scout,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick in a statement.

I am one that likes to foster beliefs, that drive actions, that produce the ultimate competitive advantage. As we delve into deducing this predicament we will encounter those who feel they are God, but not I,

By considering verses 26-27 in isolation from their surrounding context, we could easily make the mistake of believing that the subject of his message was homosexuality. In fact, this was not the case. When homosex sexual intercourse was mentioned, it was specifically related to his message concerning people who were thwarting the revelation of God by engaging in idolatrous practices.

In verse 18, Paul transitioned into a discussion about a certain group of people against whom God’s wrath was revealed. He described the effects of their sin in verses 19-22, and then identified the group in verses 23 and 25. He was speaking about idolaters—people who changed the glory of God into fashioned images that resembled men and animals. These images are called idols, and it is from the worship of these idols that we get the word “idolatry”. And the worship of idols was exactly what the people Paul was referring to engaged in (v. 25).

Now that we’ve determined the context of Paul’s statement, we’re in a much better position to interpret and apply his words in a manner consistent with the original intent. Ultimately, the accurate interpretation boils down to the answer to a simple question: Does Paul’s condemnation of homosex sexual acts in verses 26-27 apply to any such acts in general (a moral pronouncement that is universally applicable), or does it only apply to such acts engaged in within the socio-religious framework of idolatry?

Most people will be quick to answer this question one way or the other, depending on where they already fall in their theological beliefs concerning homosexuality. They’ll choose to interpret the passage in a manner consistent with their existing beliefs. But, such an approach won’t serve us here because rather than looking to validate existing beliefs, we want to allow Scripture to speak for itself. Consequently, we have to look into the text itself to see if it provides any hints as to the answer to this pertinent question.

Such interpretational problems are a perfect case in point. Scripture is not to be used to validate doctrine. Rather, we should use it to formulate doctrine (2Timothy 3:16). If we start off reading a passage with an absolute certainty of what it means, it is ever-so-easy to read into the text a validation of those beliefs—whether the text itself actually supports those beliefs or not. I strongly encourage you to remain mindful of this when engaging in biblical study, especially when it involves issues with implications as serious as those surrounding sexual orientation.

So, which of these interpretations is correct? The only way a certain answer can be derived is by examining the text itself, as well as related passages, for clues. One very important rule of interpretation is that Scripture interprets Scripture. Let’s employ this rule and determine exactly what Paul is condemning.

The first thing that must be acknowledged is that the subject of this passage was, indeed, idolatry, not sexuality. Not only is this borne out by the verses preceding verses 26-27, but also, Paul made an explicit link between the idolatry that was his subject matter and the homosex sexual activity. In verses 23-24, Paul identified these people as idolaters (verse 23) and then said, “wherefore” (or “therefore”) in relation to God giving them up to sexual uncleanness (verse 24). Clearly, he was saying that their same-sex sexual acts were a result of their idolatry.

This isn’t where the connection ends, though. It’s interesting that people love to read verse 26 in isolation from verse 25; yet the very beginning of verse 26 states, “For this cause” (or “for this reason”). Well, for what reason? Seeing that God gave them over to “vile affections” (which were identified as same-sex sexual affections), what exactly was the reason? Was it because they were born that way? Was it because they were molested during adolescence? What exactly was the reason these people engaged in same-sex sexual activity? Well, if we back up to verse 25, we discover the reason. Paul explicitly told us that they “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.” Again, Paul identified idolatry as the cause of their same-sex sexual activity.

I hope I have raised some spark of understanding within you about how awful this thing is in God’s eyes and for us as a nation.

Aaron

A False Representation

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Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we  think of it; the tree is the real thing.

Abraham  Lincoln

2 Corinthians 2:14-17

New International Version (NIV)

14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.

Have you ever experienced sheer disconnect from your heavenly father? Have you ever failed God by being disobedient while performing an assignment from Him? Have you lied due to fear of being discovered as a Fraudulent individual? Well I must admit I have done all the above and I know of some pioneers that did also.

On one of Christopher Columbus’s voyages, he found that his crew’s food supply was almost depleted. Anchored off the island of Jamaica, he was grateful to be given food by the islanders. But as time went on, the gifts of food decreased so that the crew began to starve.

Columbus knew from an astronomy book that a lunar eclispe would soon occur. He called the native chiefs together and told them God was angry about their selfishness and would blot out the moon. At first the islanders scoffed. But when they watched the night’s silver disc slowly become dark, they became terrified and quickly brought food. Columbus said that if he prayed, the moon would be restored. Though we may empathize with his circumstances, Columbus’s ‘message from God” was dishonest and self – serving. Aware of religious charlatans who “peddled” God’s word for their own desires, the apostle Paul wrote, “We are not, as many, peddling the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God.”(2 Corin.2:17)

At all times we must be on guard not to misrepresent God’s message to acquire what we want from others. With a heart yielded to God, we must honestly share spiritual truths that will benefit those who hear.

Don’t compromise the word of God

Or twist what He has said;

For blessing comes from faithfully

Proclaiming truth instead.

The purpose of sharing God’s truth is to profit others, not to prosper ourselves…

English: Christopher Columbus monument, Denver...
English: Christopher Columbus monument, Denver, CO. Italiano: Monumento a Cristoforo Colombo a Denver, Colorado. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I didn’t know

America’s Moral Decay

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united states currency eye- IMG_7364_web (Photo credit: kevindean)

A Storm of Wickedness is Raging Across America

There is a storm raging across America. Alcoholism, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, abortion, homosexuality, school violence, child abuse, pornography, rape, robbery and murder pervade our nation. America is drowning in wickedness and immorality. By all measures, this storm threatens to erode the moral and political foundations of America.

As God and His principles continue to be systematically and incrementally removed from America, our nation and individuals will continue to experience even greater moral decay.

As George Washington so wisely warned, “… Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle.” (83)

George Mason, the Father of the Bill of Rights, said, “As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, so they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities.” (84)

There is good news, even in the face of such moral degradation. Many are seeking answers. Many are yearning for relief and peace in dyer circumstances. Only God’s people can make a difference by pointing individuals and our nation back to God.

The belief that America is degenerating on a moral level is shared by both Republicans and Democrats.  According to a new  Gallup poll, 82 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Democrats say that moral values in the U.S.A. are only fair or downright poor.  40 years ago, only 33 percent of Americans felt that way.

So what’s happened?  First, secular forces have destroyed any rendering of Judeo-Christian philosophy in the public school system.  Many teachers are now ordered not to make value judgments on  behavior and not to push any specific moral standards.  Thus children receive little if any moral guidance in class.

Second, with the rise of single parent homes, more and more American kids wind up unsupervised for long periods of time, left to the television set or the computer, where harmful material comes at them like rain in a thunderstorm.

Third, major corporations now traffic in sex and violence to an extent never before seen in this country.  Americans spend more than $10 billion a year on porn every year.  And violent video games gross billions more for corporations.

Fourth, peer pressure to actually reject immoral behavior is virtually non-existent in many places.  The military criminals at Abu Ghraib never could have committed their crimes if other soldiers did not look away.  The code of silence about bad behavior is an infectious disease among Americans.

And finally, the decline of the Catholic church in America has dramatically harmed the U.S.A.  According to a 1958 Gallup poll, 74 percent of American Catholics attended mass every week.  Now the number stands at 25 percent.  With 65 million members, the Catholic church in America is by far the nation’s largest and used to set a moral tone that was taken seriously by society in general.

That’s over now because of the priest scandals and the lack of leadership within the American Catholic church.

So as it stands, both Republicans and Democrats realize America is lacking a strong moral compass.  Millions of American parents are trying hard to teach their children good values, but are besieged by the terrible influences beyond the home.  The secularists have succeeded in drastically changing the moral tone in this country.  And 80 percent of us see that change as a bad thing.

However, there’s no mass outcry about it.  And until there is,  America will continue its declining moral direction.

Don’t be natural with faith

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If fear is cultivated it will become stronger, if faith is cultivated it will achieve mastery.

John Paul Jones

No Place for Fear

So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” —Matthew 14:29–30

Peter was willing to put it all on the line. He and the other disciples had been straining against the waves and wind all night long when Jesus appeared to them, walking on the water. Wanting to prove his courage to Jesus, he made an amazing statement: “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water” (Matthew 14:28). These were rough seas, and Peter was willing to literally step onto them because He was looking at Jesus. That gave him confidence and courage.

It went well for awhile until Peter started to sink. And why did he sink? Because he took his eyes off Jesus and put them on other things. The Bible tells us, “When he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid” (verse 30).

Circumstances can be frightening. When your boss calls you in and tells you the company has to downsize and they are letting you go, when the doctor calls you with the test results that are not good, when you open that letter from an attorney that says you are being sued, it can scare you. It can devastate you. And it can cause you to take your eyes off Jesus.

Where fear reigns, faith is driven away. But where faith reigns, fear has no place. Faith and fear don’t mix. As you bring in faith, fear will walk out the back door. But if you invite fear as a resident in your life, then you will drive faith away.

Peter had faith. He had his eyes on Jesus. He was doing the impossible. But then he started to sink, because he took his eyes off Jesus. In his case, he looked at the wind. In our case, it might be something else. But when we forget God, we will start to sink. Yes, I started to sink in my joy, my hope, my peace and my strength. The natural elements will lie to us and make us a mess. Believe in all you do, believe its that type of tenaciousness that God smells and sees upon a vessel that loves in-spite of the suffering.

 

Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.

Voltaire

Fear terror eye
Fear terror eye (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Human trafficking is all our problem

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help me free

human_slavery_art

It has always been a great wrong that these men and their families should be  held in bondage. We of the North have hitherto acquiesced in it, lest, in the  endeavor to redress it in violation of the Constitution, greater evils might  ensue.

Jay Alan  Sekulow

I have been looking into a way to make this apart of my ministry. I know that these people are in need of a stable place to get regenerated and healed of the emotional scars they have recieved as sex slaves and labor abuse. I have spoken with a number of people that I once had as business partners to find out if there is funding for houses to act as safe houses and rehabs for these bruised and wounded “Human Beings.” Crack, Speed, Mental Abuse, Alcoholism, Child Abuse, Battered Women, all are minisrties in need of Ambassadors to facilitate.

Current Social Issue: Modern Human Trafficking and Slavery:

Poverty Is the Factor in the Global Economy That Leads to Suffering and Slavery. As Americans gather with family to celebrate their good fortune this weekend, Vision Media looks at the current social issue of human trafficking and slavery that goes unchecked in many parts of the world. Americans have become comfortable with the idea that slavery is an atrocity that existed only in America‘s distant past, or in countries where there is no rule of law, but in fact slavery is in the top three revenue earners for organized crime and 14,500-17,500 slaves are brought into the U.S. for prostitution or to labor in illegal sweat shops.

When families are starving it is easy for exploiters to persuade parents to sell their children under the guise that the child will have a ‘better life.’ Poverty is often the lever used to gain dominion over a slave worker and debt bondage is the most common type of slavery today. Buying a slave does not cost the slave trader much these days — the average price for a world slave is $30. Note that in 1850 a slave cost $40,000 (today’s dollar value). Today, 600 – 800 million modern day slaves are trafficked internationally every year.

“Those toiling under the horrendous conditions of abject slavery cannot be viewed simply as victims of unfortunate circumstances in the mêlée of world trade and commerce,” says Bill Butler, writer for Vision Media. “Modern day slavery must be acknowledged for the serious social issue it is; the result of a perpetrated by cruel and greedy individuals and criminal enterprises lacking in compassion for other people’s suffering.”

How are these modern day slaves treated? Simon Deng, having escaped the horror of his early exploitation in Sudan, describes his terror as a child slave. He was shown a picture of a child with no arms and no legs and told that if he ran away the slave owner would capture him and he would look exactly like the picture.

It is not all bad: in November 2007, Anti-Slavery International awarded its Anti-Slavery Award to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a Florida-based farm workers rights group. The CIW is known for its consumer boycotts that have improved wages and conditions in Florida’s produce fields. As the current moral issue of modern day slavery reaches more consumers, business ethics may be brought into the fabric of the global economy.

“But there is a need for a much broader quest to free the world of slavery,” says Butler at Vision.org. “The real social issue is that freedom from all slavery can only be realized if there is a complete change of the human heart.”

I will drink my “cup”

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Without pain, there would be no suffering, without suffering we would never learn from our mistakes. To make it right, pain and suffering is the key to all windows, without it, there is no way of life.

Angelina Jolie

2 Corinthians 6:10

New International Version (NIV)

10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

A Stoic person despises the shedding of tears, but a Christian is not forbidden to weep. yet the soul may become silent from excessive grief, just as the quivering sheep may remain quite beneath the scissors of the shearer. Or, when the heart is at the verge of breaking beneath the waves of a trial, the sufferer may seek relief by crying out with a loud voice. But there is something even better. It is that springs of sweet, fresh water pool up amid the saltiness of the oceans, that the fairest Alpine flowers bloom in the wildest and most rugged mountain passes, and that tyhe most magnificent psalms arose from the most profound agonies of the soul.

May it continue to be! Therefore, amid a multitude of trials, souls who love God will discover reasons for boundless, leaping joy. even though “deep calls to deep” (Psalms 42:7), the clear cadence of the Lord’s song will be heard. And during the most difficult hour that could ever enter a human life, It will be possible to bless the God and father of our Lord jesus christ. I wonder have any of you learned this lesson yet? Not simply to endure or to choose God’s will but to rejoice in it “with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”

I wish to complete the process of Maturity so I can be found ripe for the task. Olives that render good sweet juice upon pressing are only good for the picking if they have endured the press and riping process while on the vine.

I will be still, my bruised heart faintly murmured,
As over me rolled a crushing load of woe;
My words, my cries, even my low moan was stifled;
I pressed my lips; i barred the teardrops’s flow.

I will be still, although I cannot see it,
The love that bares a soul and fans pain’s fire;
That takes away the last sweet drop of solace,
Breaks the lone harp string, hides your precious lyre.

But God is love, so I will stay me, stay me–
We’ll doubt not, Soul, we will be very still;
We’ll wait till after while, when He will lift us–
Yes, after while, when it will be His will.

And now my heart and I are sweetly singing–
Singing without the sound of tuneful strings;
Drinking abundant waters in the desert;
crushed, and yet soaring as on eagle’s wings.

Thank You,
Blessed Aaron