Day: April 8, 2013

I have never thanked you for my thorns

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I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.

Leonardo da Vinci

2 Corinthians 12:10

New International Version (NIV)

10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

personal-struggle

The literal translation of this verse adds a startling emphasis to it, allowing it to speak for itself with power we have probably never realized. It is as follows: “Therefore I take pleasure in being without strength, being insulted, experiencing emergencies, and being chased and forced into a corner for Christ’s sake; for when I am without strength, I am “dynamite”.

The secret of knowing God’s complete sufficiency is in coming to the end of everything in ourselves and our circumstances. Once we reach this point, we will stop seeking sympathy for our difficult situation or ill treatment, because we will recognize these things as the necessary conditions for blessings. We will then turn from our circumstances to God, realizing they are the evidence of Him working in our lives.

George Matheson, the well-known blind preacher of Scotland, once said, “My dear God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked you a thousand times for my roeses but not once for my thorns. I have always looked forward to the place where I will be rewarded for my cross, but I have never thought of my cross as a present glory itself. “Teach me, O Lord, to glory in my cross. teach me the value of my thorns. Show me how I have climbed to You through the path of pain. Show me it is through my tears I have seen my rainbows.”

Our Savior does not cast us off
Because we fail or turn aside;
He will forgive when we repent,
Then in His love will abide

Champions of faith are people who have learned from their failures. Lift your voice and say “My God is awesome”.

Face everything and recover

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mental illnessI didn’t want to do a zoo show. I didn’t want to do a study of someone with mental illness. I just wanted to show someone who was trying to live their life.

Daniel Craig

I am grieving for this family and my family in the ecclesia of this world. I will bless The Lord in spite of the defeat that seems to be prevailing against His people. I recently began to experience deep depression myself due to my lack of understanding why my wife and I are suffering while doing what we thought was God’s will. The Donner debacle set a spark of anxiety and anger off in me that I could not handle myself. Trying to stay planted in humility with the Veteran Affairs and society related to my struggles with them and not to mention with my God have rendered me baffled at the emotional scars from these issues. Depression is a real silent killer. I do believe in His word and constantly speak life to my soul and spirit. I pray that we will all fight for peace for each other because this is affecting our youth as well as countless others. Please don’t give up your fight for your family nor your church body. Pray without ceasing for all who maybe suffering, “speak life” over everyone you can. Discouraged, yes, but not defeated. “Stand”.

I posted a topic divulging my pain on Google plus and sent it to my church family. I spoke about how many more preachers and pastor’s there are oppose to mental health experts in the world as a whole, but we are not getting the help required from the church always related to this serious issue. I am not sure what type of spirit this is that has our power being muffled within the hospital of faith. There are professionals seated within every congregation that work in this profession that could link up with ministers in the church to partner and listen to someone in pain and give solace to the ill.

The Warrens said in an email to church staff Saturday that Matthew Warren had taken his own life in a “momentary wave of despair.” It said he had long struggled to control his emotional pain despite years of prayers and the best available treatment.

“Matthew was an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many,” the email said. “Unfortunately, he also suffered from mental illness resulting in deep depression and suicidal thoughts.”

We grieve. Our stomachs turn as the shock settles in. Many of us were raised in pews where answers were given freely. But this past weekend proved otherwise. If we are honest, we are shaken by the frailty of our faith.

As the news spread on Saturday, Christians around the world were gripped by the suicide of 27-year-old Matthew Warren, son of Rick Warren, a beloved mega church pastor and best-selling author of “The Purpose Driven Life.” A son’s life was fraught with mental illness from his earliest years. A father bravely addressed this struggle head-on in a letter to church staff stating, “only those closest to him knew that he struggled with mental illness, dark holes of depression and even suicidal thoughts.”

Mental illness is a group so vast, with varying degrees so complex, we collectively avoid the topic until it creeps into our homes and afflicts those we love most. But today, we’re forced to face something that’s become so rampant, it can no longer be ignored.

For years, we’ve reserved the term “mental illness” for only the most extreme cases, but 26% of us in any given year suffer from depression, anxiety and a serious number of other mental illnesses, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It’s a dirty little secret few people want to talk about, a devastating statistic implying that, in each of our families, we all care for someone who faces this pain.

This problem doesn’t go away just because you have faith. For many, the church has become a place where they quietly suffer.

Almost one in four middle-age women is on some form of antidepressant medication, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Women intent on managing the expectations of their spouses, children and friends quietly medicate while trying to keep it all together.

Opinion: How churches can respond to mental illness

As one representing the 26%, for me it came in waves. From the low hum during the longest of winters to volatile moments rocking on the floor of my closet, questioning whether my life would always bear this weight. Watching it firsthand in my family during my formative years, I wondered whether history was repeating itself in me.

For those afflicted, depression enters when we’ve lost hope for the future. When we no longer imagine a life that is free. Whether it’s triggered by a chemical imbalance or a change in circumstances, facing it in isolation is the most treacherous. At precisely the time we need others, our inclination is to turn inward.

I’ve been comforted to know I’m not alone.

Anxiety and panic are my nemesis. In my struggle to break through the mental distress, I’ve found comfort and promise in the writings of Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl. His summation that the root cause of anxiety is a sense of unfulfilled responsibility resonates.

For me, the low surfaces when I am not contributing to someone or something. When I lose a vision for my life, purpose hides beyond my grasp. But when I recover my sense of purpose and calling — to help women navigate these hidden troubles — meaning rushes in. When I write these blogs and get into my love to help others by what affects me I find peace.

Over the past three years, the promises of Jesus have been paramount in helping me walk forward. Uttering hushed prayers in church as the doors close in, softly crying out for rescue on long desolate shut in moments at the home I now live . God’s presence has always been a guiding force, my source for purpose beyond myself.

For each of us, this tragedy raises important questions: How do we better care for the 26%? What is your role in bringing healing to those who hurt?

Perhaps these three postures could go a long way.

Remove the stigma
As people of faith, let’s talk about mental illness, giving others permission to do the same. Let’s release the stigma that keeps this a secret, holding untold millions captive. All secrets lose power when they exit the dark. The church is a place where we should be able to come as we are, with our longings for what we hope to be. Jesus always pursued the weak with open arms. When we are broken and fragile, He draws us closer to Him in ways we’ve never known. In my journey, I’ve never felt more loved and cared for by God than in my darkest hours. When we grieve, we are comforted.

Be present
Let’s be present. Let’s love unconditionally. Eye to eye, we must be honest about our own struggles. Especially in the church, no one should have to hide or sneak around or double his or her dose. Let’s be on-call in the late night hours, when the phone rings and we are summoned to show up. What if our communities of faith were the one place you could count on to find a listening ear, a hand to hold, another loving human being with a compassionate and sensitive response?

Don’t pretend to have all the answers
Let’s not shame mental illness with the judgment of spiritual weakness. As Christians, we believe this side of heaven all disease, sickness and pain is rooted in a world broken by sin. But there are real consequences to living amidst the mess. To oversimplify these complexities would be naïve at best, negligent at worst. Faith should never undermine the necessity of doctors, of medications and therapy, because we must deploy every effort afforded to us when we tackle our brokenness.

I’m comforted to know that even in this tragic moment, America’s beloved pastor still teaches us. Warren’s sensitivity and understanding in the closing words of his letter give hope for a new posture within the church. He acknowledged that “Kay and I often marveled at (Matthew’s) courage to keep moving in spite of relentless pain. I’ll never forget how many years ago … Matthew said, ‘Dad, I know I’m going to heaven. Why can’t I just die and end this pain?’ But he kept going for another decade.”

With that kind of honest, raw vulnerability and perspective, who wouldn’t want Rick Warren to be their pastor? Or their dad, for that matter.I am asking those in my uhmah to stand up and show up to the aid of our congregation. I am asking us to stop using by rout cliché’s and began to really love those God gifted our church with to be some part of the body. I asking us all to get aquinted with others in your close proximity and make a difference in their life. I found out that some of us have never really been loved and when we neglect to love as God instructed that’s where the indictment begins. Stop the bruising and look at the word, there must be something in God admonishing us to love. That is the bill no doctor on earth can prescribe. Wake up family and do your part. God did it all and left us a road map to peace by the model His son left in scripture. Really desire to have that power, ask for forgiveness when wronged or doing wrong. Stop the attacks of the accuser of our faith by acknowledging your feebleness, expose darkness and get healed. Stop prideful advances due to caste status, kill the gang banging in the church look to Him to mend our ranks with earnestness.

Why not Ron Isley: Why not Wesley Snipes?

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Ron IsleyWesleygty_stephen_baldwin_jef_130312_wmain

Male privilege and entitlement are dying a very painful death; no one gives up power without a struggle.

Gloria Allred

Actor Stephen Baldwin has agreed to plead guilty to a felony tax charge and pay New York state approximately $350,000 in back taxes, his lawyer told the New York Daily News.

Attorney Russell Yankwit said Baldwin is “happy that he’s not going to jail,” and has five years to pay back the money. Yankwit said if Baldwin pays back the debt within one year, the case will be discharged.

Ronald Isley gets 3 years for tax evasion:
Isley Brothers lead singer Ronald Isley has been sentenced to three years and one month in prison for tax evasion.

Isley was also ordered to pay $3.1 million in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Conte.

Actor Wesley Snipes has been released from a federal prison where he was serving a three-year sentence after being convicted on tax charges in February 2010.

The release to a supervised residential location in New York occurred Tuesday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons told CNN.

Snipes, 50, who starred in the “Blade” action movies and “White Men Can’t Jump,” had been serving time at a federal prison in Pennsylvania. A jury convicted him of willfully failing to file tax returns for 1999, 2000 and 2001. Snipes was acquitted of felony tax fraud and conspiracy charges.

In June 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of his sentence, which he had argued was too harsh for a misdemeanor conviction.

NEWARK, N.J. — Eight-time Grammy-winning singer Lauryn Hill pleaded guilty Friday to not paying federal taxes on more than $1.5 million earned over three years.

Appearing in U.S. District Court in Newark, Hill admitted failing to file tax returns from 2005 to 2007. She faces a maximum one-year sentence on each of the three counts. She was charged three weeks ago.

Dressed in a dark jacket, white button-up shirt and a long reddish-orange skirt, Hill declined to comment after Friday’s hearing. During the hearing, attorney Nathan Hochman indicated that Hill planned to pay back the taxes she owes.

U.S. Magistrate Michael Shipp initially scheduled sentencing for early October but agreed to delay it until late November to give Hill time to make repayment.

Hill admitted she didn’t pay taxes on about $818,000 earned in 2005, $222,000 in 2006 and $761,000 in 2007. The money was earned by four corporations she owned.

The 37-year-old South Orange resident got her start with The Fugees and began her solo career in 1998 with the critically acclaimed album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”

She then largely disappeared from public view to raise her six children, five of whom she had with Rohan Marley, the son of famed reggae singer Bob Marley.

Excuses are not enough to get away from paying the money. Speculation of one being better than the other, how do you measure that? Look out, Mr. Obama, a tax revolt has begun in America led by Mickelson & Woods

President Obama, you have a big problem. You may own the media, so you can control the Benghazi disaster. But you have no control over this one. A tax rebellion has started.

Phil Mickelson is one of the most famous athletes in the world. He is worth in the vicinity of $100 million. Last year he made almost $50 million. Yet he doesn’t want to pay California’s high taxes.

Tiger Woods is far more famous and worth far more — over $1 billion, yet he agrees with Mickelson and admits that he left California in 1996 for the exact same reason: high taxes.

In the same week, famed boxing promoter Bob Arum announced that superstar boxing legend Manny Pacquiao’s next fight will not be in held in America.

The man who makes tens of millions per fight refuses to pay Obama’s higher U.S. income taxes. He is considering Mexico City, Asia, or Dubai for his next fight.

Can you imagine? Smart businessmen would rather choose Mexico City over America because of Obama’s taxes.

Then Tina Turner went public. She is renouncing her U.S. citizenship to become a Swiss citizen- which just happens to have lower taxes than Obama’s America.

But these are just the rich celebrities courageous enough to go public. This is merely the tip of the iceberg. The rich are fleeing in droves. The Obama tax and spend Ponzi scheme is imploding.

What changed?

The technology revolution has made it possible to do business from places where the taxes are lower (or non existent) and where the government treats us better. Obama had better learn this lesson fast, because this tax rebellion is spreading to millions of Americans with far smaller incomes or assets than Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, or Manny Pacquaio.

The signs are everywhere that a tax rebellion has begun.

The latest U.S. Census showed us that the states with low taxes enjoyed the fastest population growth- states like Nevada, Texas, Florida, and Arizona.

Not surprisingly, the states losing the most population are all high tax states like California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and of course Obama’s Illinois.

These states that Americans are running from are all governed just like Obama wants to govern the entire country. Soon these same Americans running away from California, New York and Illinois will instead be running away from America.

Ask the co-founder of Facebook, who recently renounced his citizenship and left for Singapore (where the capital gains taxes are zero).

Ask big-time Democratic contributor Denise Rich, who recently renounced her citizenship to leave for Austria.

The trickle is turning into a torrent. Record numbers of wealthy Americans are giving up their citizenship- eight times more than before Obama became president.

Of course we already know that only one year after the UK imposed a “Millionaires Tax” two thirds of the millionaires in England disappeared off the tax rolls.

High taxes have worked well in England…they are about to endure an unheard of in history triple dip recession…the third recession in 5 years. Folks that’s called a Great Depression.

We already know that millionaires are escaping France at a record pace because of high tax rates imposed by the new Obama-clone Socialist President of France. Even leftist actors like Gerard Depardieu have been forced to abandon the country they love.

The famous actor isn’t alone. Requests by citizens to leave France are up by 500%.

But then came the coup de grace. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has just announced he is leaving France because of taxes.

High taxes are even chasing away the presidents of their own countries!

High taxes work great in France. Their Labor Minister announced just this week that France is “totally bankrupt.” His words.

I understand all of this only too well. I’ve got my own “escape from taxes” story. I arrived in sunny Southern California in 1989. I fell in love. I thought I would never leave. I woke up every morning to walk on the beach, and to watch dolphins swim from my deck. I married a former Miss Oklahoma. I was in heaven.

Unfortunately, during the next decade California grew more and more desperate. Taxes were raised again and again. There were so many rules, regulations, and lawsuits, it became impossible to run a business in California. So I escaped to Las Vegas, Nevada.

Las Vegas is “America’s Monte Carlo.” It’s a place with no state income tax, business income tax, capital gains tax, or inheritance tax…and the 16th lowest property taxes in America. A place where the state constitution bans income taxes, limits the time politicians can meet, and welcomes guns in the hands of law abiding citizens. I call it heaven. As long as the taxes stay at zero, I’ll never leave.

But I’m not alone. During the past decade over 1.3 million residents escaped California. When I add up the income taxes, property taxes, business taxes, and the payroll and income taxes for the 100 employees I took with me…chasing me away probably cost California about $2,000,000 in lost revenues. Multiply that times thousands of other high income, high net worth, business owners among the 1.3 million who have escaped…and that accounts for why California is always broke, insolvent, and desperate.

You know what they say about pigs- they get slaughtered. California is certainly a pig. Just like the “PIIGS” in Europe- Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain all chased away their richest citizens and business owners. Now they have nothing left. Their tax base is destroyed. Add France and the UK to the list. There all going down.

If we let big government progressives have their way, California’s sad story and Europe’s tragic story will also be America’s sad story. Obama is killing the American Dream. Phil Mickelson was only vocalizing what millions of business owners in America are thinking right now.

Governments lie when they say taxes are good, or “fair” or the price you must pay for a “civilized society.” Big government doesn’t lead to a better life. Big government leads to a miserable life. I’m enjoying a much better quality of life in Nevada with lower taxes- it isn’t even close.

Here’s the reality — the high tech revolution has killed the progressive and socialist dream. We aren’t trapped anymore. You can’t tax us to death, simply because you don’t own us. We have I-Phones, I-Pads, I-Pods, text, laptops, and Satellite TV. We can do business from anywhere in the world- from a beach in Sydney, to a mountaintop in Nepal, to a forest in New Zealand, to a luxury high rise in Hong Kong. It’s called freedom.

Sorry, President Obama your dream is about to collapse. Ask Phil Mickelson, or the President of France, or all those millionaires missing in England, or soon half the business owners in America.

Tax and spend is DOA (dead on arrival).