Month: March 2014
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress …” (James 1:27, NIV).
Scripture clearly and repeatedly exhorts Christians to care for the fatherless. And, with 127,000 children waiting for a mother and father in the U.S. foster care system and numerous infants needing loving homes, answering the biblical call to care for orphans is no small task.
In 2007, Ke’onte was just eight years old, News 8’s Gloria Campos featured him as a Wednesday’s Child in hopes of finding a family to adopt him.
Following a failed adoption and disappointment, Gloria did another report on Ke’onte two years later, in hopes the second time would be the charm.
Now 14, Ke’onte returned to WFAA to surprise Gloria Campos, live, during the News 8 at 10 broadcast.
Having a passion to serve and treat others as you would want to be treated is equal to self respect and having a compassionate heart. Seeds like that grow into viable organisms. Gloria Campos had purposed in her heart to let her difference make a difference in this young man’s life and now he is restored with hope that will help his parents have joy and those of whom he will touch in his school environment as well as community at home.
There are several touching stories like this. Adoption can be risky business for both parties but restoration of discarded human beings as well as animals is the work of a Powerful God. Only He can soothe pain and fill voids and create clean hearts.
Adoption has been gaining attention as a national priority in the United States. More than 150,000 adoptions take place each year, but there are still 127,000 children waiting for adoption in the U.S. foster care system, as well as infants born to birthmothers not ready to parent. In light of Christ’s command to care for orphans, the number of children without loving homes is more than just another social issue; adoption is a Christian concern.
Defined as the permanent, legal transfer of parental rights over a child from biological parents to adoptive parents, adoption is an important social practice that promotes the well-being of children, families and society. Though there are several different categories of adoption, every adoption scenario gives adoptive parents the same rights, responsibilities and joys as biological parents, and gives adopted children the same legal, social and emotional benefits of birth children.
Adoption positively impacts all those involved with the process. It gives birthmothers the assurance that their children will be raised in stable families, gives adoptive parents the joy of parenting, and gives children the opportunity to join a permanent family and grow up in a loving home. Adoption also promotes the social and economic well-being of our nation because an adopted child is less likely (than the child of a single mother) to grow up in poverty, more likely to obtain an education, and more likely to have an involved father.
Adoption is also connected to important social issues, such as the sanctity of human life and the definition of family. Adoption upholds the sanctity of human life by providing a positive alternative to abortion for birthmothers who feel unable to parent. Adoption contributes positively to family formation by creating the opportunity for children waiting in foster care to have a loving mother and father—replacing what the child has lost.
And yet, the adoption process has been recently burdened by initiatives that ignore its purpose and promote unrelated goals. Anti-life forces rarely mention adoption as a positive alternative to abortion, and same-sex advocates reject mother-father family structures as the model for adoptive families. It is no wonder then that the fundamental purposes of adoption have come under attack and that adoption has become a topic of political controversy.
Recognizing the importance of adoption and current political threats to the practice, Focus on the Family is passionately committed to not only promoting adoption among churches and families, but also to advocating adoption policies that promote and defend the well-being of children, parents and families.
While orphan care is clearly a biblical mandate for churches and families, adoption is also an important policy concern that impacts other efforts to defend life and family. The option of adoption allows pregnant women who do not think they are ready or able to parent to confidently choose life. Also, adoption provides orphans the filial relationships that God intended for all mankind to have. In other words, it grants children who are waiting for homes the hope of receiving loving families.
Children’s Needs Lost to an Agenda
Along with the sheer challenge of finding loving homes for all children who need them, the current political climate – particularly movements to redefine the family – makes child placement even more difficult. While adoption is meant to provide children with a mother and a father when the original family is broken, unfortunately, the adoption process is now used as an avenue to advance homosexual rights. Efforts to advance rights and protections for homosexuals often place a higher priority on an individual desire to parent, rather than a child’s need for a mother and a father. Today, it is not enough to promote the practice of adoption; we must also defend adoption against initiatives that would distort its purpose.
As evidenced by the fight for adoption rights by same-sex couples, the current movement to protect and promote homosexual rights threatens the adoption arena and children’s best interests. Though they might push for it, homosexual couples—and all couples for that matter—possess no right to adopt. Rather, children have a right to grow up with the love that only a mother and a father can jointly provide. Adoption placements should acknowledge that placing a child in a family structure with a married mother and father is in the child’s best interest. Unfortunately, current anti-discrimination policies and judicial decisions often negate the best interest of children in the name of tolerance and equality.
One conflict has already risen to the surface. The movement to promote individuals with same-sex attraction as a legally protected class threatens the work of adoption agencies that hold moral convictions against same-sex adoption. Certain anti-discrimination laws in the U.S. ultimately mandate that adoption agencies allow same-sex couples to adopt children. These acts stifle the freedom of independent adoption agencies to decide that concern for a child’s best interests requires them to make placements in married mother and father homes rather than with gay or lesbian-identified couples, or cohabiting heterosexual couples. Ultimately, sexual orientation laws that were meant to prevent discrimination actually violate the freedom of adoption agencies that hold religious or moral convictions against certain adoption placements, and deprive a child of either a father or mother. Adoption agencies are forced to decide between closing their doors and violating their deeply held beliefs.
This has already happened. In 2006, Massachusetts’ anti-discrimination laws pushed Catholic Charities of Boston, one of the nation’s oldest adoption agencies, to leave the adoption business in order to uphold its religious convictions about marriage and family. More recently, an Arizona-based Internet adoption registry was forced to stop providing adoption services to Californians after the company was sued for refusing to provide services to a same-sex couple.
Clearly, laws should be passed protecting the moral and religious rights of adoption agencies, which should be able to help children find the loving homes they need without violating their deeply-held religious convictions about marriage and family
In summary, adoption is an important Christian concern. If we as believers are to fulfill our biblical mandate to care for orphans, we must support initiatives that: encourage adoption; advocate policies that promote the well-being of children, parents, and families; and reject measures that negate the best interest of children, deny God’s design for the family or threaten the moral rights of adoption services.
Some of today’s most powerful women joined forces to encourage young women to take on leadership roles, saying that being called “bossy” makes girls feel insecure about taking on the same roles as men. Along with Girl Scouts of American and Lifetime, they have created an inspiring PSA to #banbossy
With women comprising just 4% of corporate CEOs, 14% of executive officers and 20% of America’s government officials, we’re facing a persistent leadership gap at the highest echelons. To move forward, we must first take stock of what is working.
The following eight leadership lessons, synthesized and updated from a keynote given last year, come directly from the women who know what it takes to get to the top.
The world’s most successful women really want it–and remain determined even in the face of obstacles. They have the skills, and they put the time in. But more importantly, they have the desire to do something great. Beth Brooke, global vice chair of Ernst & Young , was diagnosed with a degenerative hip disease at age 13 and was told by doctors she may never walk again. Before going into surgery she promised herself she would walk—no, she would run—and aspired to become one of the best young athletes the world had seen. Not only did she walk, she went on to play several varsity sports at her high school, earned multiple MVP awards, and later played Division I basketball in college. She made up her mind, and she didn’t quit. She brought that same determination to her career and today ranks among the 100 most powerful women in the world.
Women at the top aren’t fearless. They move toward their fear to continually challenge themselves. That takes courage. In 2011, Beth Mooney, CEO of KeyCorp KEY +1.27%, became the first woman ever to lead a top-20 bank in the U.S. Mooney began her career as a secretary at a local Texas bank, making just $10,000 a year, but soon realized she wanted something more. In 1979, she knocked on the door of every big bank in Dallas and asked for a spot in their management training programs. At the Republic Bank of Dallas, she refused to leave the manager’s office until he offered her a job. After waiting for three hours, he finally agreed to give her a chance if she earned an MBA by night.
That was a turning point in her career, one of many, powered by a courageous call to action—to champion herself and what she knew she was capable of. Later, she had the courage to move into roles she’d never done before, to pick up and move across the country, and to stick with it for three decades. If you’re not a little bit scared every day, you’re not learning. And when you’re not learning, you’re done.
In order to achieve big success, you have to have big impact. When Michelle Gass, who is now leading 33 countries for Starbucks, started at the coffee chain, she was asked to architect a growth strategy for a just-launched drink called the Frappuccino. Her mantra: “Let’s think of how big this can be.” After countless hours testing ideas, she decided to position it as an escapist treat and added ice cream parlor fixings and new flavors. What began as a two-flavor side item is now a $2 billion platform with tens of thousands of possible combinations. Gass repeated her go-big-or-go-home strategy when she took over Seattle’s Best Coffee. She decided to take the sleepy little-sister brand to new heights by partnering with Burger King, Delta, Subway, convenience stores and supermarkets. In one year, the brand exploded from 3,000 distribution points to over 50,000.
Take Calculated Risks
As CEO of Kraft Foods and now Mondelez International, Irene Rosenfeld is very familiar with this one. A couple years ago she completed a hostile takeover of British candy company Cadbury. Not long after, she surprised the business community again with a plan to split Kraft into two separate companies, a North American foods company and a global snacks company. To move the needle, you have to make a big bets—but never rash—always based on a careful study of the outcomes. You have to know what you have to gain, and if you can afford to take the hit if it doesn’t go your way.
It takes discipline to achieve and maintain success. You simply can’t do everything, and the world’s most powerful women stay focused on the areas that will have the biggest impact—from both a leadership perspective and a career management perspective. Sheri McCoy, the new CEO of struggling Avon Products, is currently implementing a huge turnaround at the century-old beauty company. Interestingly, when I asked what the biggest challenge would be, she said: “Making sure people stay focused on what’s important and what matters most.” It is very easy to get distracted by new trends, new markets, new projects—but when you extend yourself too far, the quality of your work suffers across the board.
Over and over again women at the top say their best strategy for success is to hire people who are diverse, passionate and smarter than themselves–and then listen closely to their perspectives. Hala Moddelmog, president of Arby’s Restaurant Group, believes surrounding yourself with people of different backgrounds—including gender, race, geography, socio-economic and personality types—will help round out your conclusions. “You really don’t need another you,” she says. Similarly, staying open to different viewpoints keeps you ahead of the curve. Claire Watts, the CEO of retail and media company QVC, schedules open door times every Tuesday, so that anyone in the company who wants to come talk to her, ask her a question or share something they’ve noticed can do it then.
Manage Your Career
Denise Morrison, the CEO of Campbell’s Soup, knew from a very young age she wanted to eventually run a company, so she asked herself what are the kinds of things I need to do to prepare for that? That might mean management experience, global exposure or revenue responsibility. She always looked at her career as: Where have I been? Where am I now? Where am I going, and what are the right assignments to get there? If her current company would work with her to deliver those assignments, she was all-in. But if it didn’t, she knew she needed to move on. “We apply these skills in business, and yet when it comes to ourselves we rarely apply them,” she said.
Delegate At Work And At Home
The most successful women have learned that they have to have help, and they have to have faith in the people around them—at work and at home. It’s not easy, but it’s critical over the long-term. Katie Taylor, the CEO of hotel brand Four Seasons, admitted to me that she is a bit of control freak, but for the good of her and everyone around her, she tries to delegate. “Sit on your hands, if you have to,” she said. “Get yourself to that place.”
The Message (MSG)
Place Your Life Before God
12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Life is a game just like all of the other games. The only difference is that life is the only game that we don’t realize is a game. Each of us has made up, largely unconsciously, a set of rules (our values)–based on our worldview and our beliefs–and we think our rules are right and inherently true. And everyone else’s is wrong. Well, sorry to break the bad news to you but, our rules aren’t right and theirs aren’t wrong.
I’m not suggesting that we do anything different than what we are already doing, all I’m suggesting is that we acknowledge that what we think is real, is actually a game. We made up the rules and now we can play the “game of life” full out; we can be happy when we “win” and dissatisfied when we “lose.” But realize it is only because we said so> And here’s the bottom line; It is always possible to remember that we made up the rules, even if they were made up unconsciously and adopted largely by osmosis form our culture and our parents. And when we do that, we can also remember that events have no inherent meaning, at which point the pain and suffering result from”losing at the game of life” can be dissolved on the spot.
All of us have a story. Many of the chapters have already been written by choices that we have made, situations that we have encountered and by people that we have met. Our story is filled with challenges that attempt to stretch us to our limit; pressures that pull the energy right out of our soul. We grope around looking for direction and at times the only voice we hear is the negative voice calling us back into our painful past.
So we have to make a decision. Do we risk going into a future filled with more uncertainty or do we retreat into the painful past just because it’s familiar?
The Old Testament contains a story of a group of people who were oppressed, mistreated, and demoralized. At one point in their lives they were enjoying peace and success, but circumstances changes and they found themselves enslaved to a foreign government. Their days were filled with hard labor and unrealistic expectations. In their despair, they cried out to God for help.
God heard their cry and sent a deliverer. His name was Moses. Through a series of miraculous events, Moses led this group of slaves out of Egypt. They were headed to a new land filled with new opportunity, but something happened in the process. Their road to success took an unexpected turn.
The Message (MSG)
8-9 God made Pharaoh king of Egypt stubborn, determined to chase the Israelites as they walked out on him without even looking back. The Egyptians gave chase and caught up with them where they had made camp by the sea—all Pharaoh’s horse-drawn chariots and their riders, all his foot soldiers there at Pi Hahiroth opposite Baal Zephon.
10-12 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them—Egyptians! Coming at them!
They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. They told Moses, “Weren’t the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Back in Egypt didn’t we tell you this would happen? Didn’t we tell you, ‘Leave us alone here in Egypt—we’re better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.’”
13 Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again.
14 God will fight the battle for you.
And you? You keep your mouths shut!”
15-16 God said to Moses: “Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.
Mark 15:29-30 (The Message)
29 People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days – 30 so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s Son, come down from that cross!”
Contemplation is a deterrent sometimes to forward progress. Listening to our speculative natures based off others input can stifle our purposes for life or our dreams. I am asking this question to night, Am I pursuing the dreams God has given to me?
Years ago`in a federal court room in New York, a sarcastic district attorney presented to a jury a glass gadget which looked something like a small electric bulb. With great scorn and ridicule, the attorney accused the defendant of claiming that this “worthless device” might be used to transmit the human voice across the Atlantic! He alleged that gullible investors had been persuaded by preposterous claims to buy stock in the company–an obvious act of fraud.
He urged the jury to give the defendant and his two partners stiff prison terms. Ultimately, the two associates were convicted, but the defendant was given his freedom after he received a severe scolding from the judge. The defendant was inventor Lee De Forest. The “worthless glass bulb” that was also on trial was the audion tube he had developed–perhaps the single greatest invention of the twentieth century. It was the foundation for what has become a multi-billion-dollar electronic industry.
No matter how harsh the criticism or how stinging the sarcasm aimed at your original ideas, pursue them further. Take them to their logical end, either convincing yourself that you were wrong, or creating something new and beneficial!! The examples of Jesus are so powerful, we have His word to reflect on as a model of how to move in Him. Jesus picked disciples and educated them on how to move in the spirit with focus on performing evangelism and the Fathers will for their life in-spite of the ridicule of those tried to save. You will be talked about in the church, you will be mistreated by those you worship with, you will have inspirations and ideas that will not be accepted, you won’t always be used as you feel you should, you will not be encouraged or respected as worthy to be in alignment with certain clicks with your church due to caste status or education, but you will be exalted by Christ in due time.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us, say Amen!!!!!
“We were heartbroken to learn today that funds were stolen from the church over the weekend,” the church said. “This includes cash, checks and envelopes containing written credit card information, and it is limited only to those funds contributed in the church services on Saturday, March 8 and Sunday, March 9, 2014.”
We are in warfare, whether we are aware of it or not.
Bible says we have an adversary – 1 Pet. 5:8.
The Devil has never been and would never be our friend or ally.
He will do everything to make our worship/service of God uncomfortable and unbearable – 2 Cor. 4 &11(Apostle Paul went through a lot).
Many believers cave in under the pressures designed by the enemy to destroy them.
We have been statistically well informed that we cannot win because of;
Our past failures and sins.
Our circumstances which are seemingly impossible.
Our perception of the unpleasant and unfavorable circumstances we face.
Due to our sins – Heb.4:15; 2 Cor. 5:21.
Due to our insensitivity to the Holy Spirit – Lk. 4:1.
Due to being outside the will of God – Lk. 22:42.
Due to lack of faith – Jam. 1:2.
Due to our limited resources – Jn. 6:9 (The little lad’s lunch); 2 Cor. 3:5.
These statistics raise our level of doubt and unbelief – Heb. 3:17-19; 4:11.
And it is impossible to please God without faith – Heb. 11:6.
To overcome in life, a different mindset is needed – Rom. 12:1-3; Prov. 23:7.
How do you view yourself and the circumstances you face – Jn. 16:33; 1 Pet. 4:12
What is your perception?
What do you see? What you “see” is what you “seal”.
I specialize in teaching perception – Prov. 4:7; Jer. 1:4.
Every subject that I teach has a perception slant to it.
Perception = Understanding => getting it, seeing it, appreciating it.
My passion is to help people “get it”, to help them “see it” by Faith.
The essence of wisdom is to give you proper perception.
Faith is a perception.
All things are not possible, naturally – Ecc. 3:1 (There is a time for everything).
Your perception changes your possibilities.
It will not snow in the Sahara Desert naturally but it did on Sun February 18, 1979.
To Overcome, you must see or perceive yourself in the following light;
1. I am an over-comer – 1 Jn. 5:4; 2 Cor. 2:14; 1 Cor. 15:57-58; Rom. 8:37.
The concept “over-comer” speaks of having done, not going to do.
2. I was designed to reign and rule – Rom. 5:17.
I’ve been anointed to dominate – 2 Cor. 1:20.
Jesus moved and talked as the anointed one – He spoke with authority – Lk. 4:18.
3. I’m born of love and it never fails – 1 Cor. 13:8.
Love paralyses all the powers of darkness – 1 Jn. 4:18.
4. No test/trial/temptation/examination can overcome me – 1 Cor. 10:13; Ps. 34:19; Jm. 1:2-4.
They are common – moderate (there are no severe temptations) – 1 Pet. 4:12.
God will never allow me to face a test that I cannot overcome.
I can function well, irrespective of the test / pressures I am facing or under – (I can bear up under it).
I don’t have to feel sorry for myself, and I don’t need anyone to feel sorry for me.
No weapon fashioned against me shall prosper – Is. 54:17; Ps. 125:3; Num. 23:23.
5. God’s power is able to put me over – Is. 40:1-5; 41:10, 43:1-3,19; Joel 2:24.
His power gives me victory over the enemy.
He is able to keep me from falling – Jude 1:24.
6. I am programmed to win – 1 Jn. 2:20 & 27, 5:14; Rom. 5:17.
I am a stranger to failure.
I have the nature of God – Eph. 2:10; 4:23
7. I am part of the Body of Christ – 1 Cor. 10:14-16; Eph. 1:16.
I am the temple of God / Jesus’ body is God’s temple God will never allow His temple/Jesus’ body to be defiled – 1 Cor. 3:16-17.
I am not alone; other believers are on my side – 1 Cor. 12:12-14, 26-27.
No believer is my enemy, no matter what they say or do – Rom. 12:3-5; Eph. 4:25.
Your Perception is Colored by your Words – Jer. 1:4-12; Matt. 6:31.
You must see to perceive – Mk. 4:11-12.
What you say, you see because words paint pictures.
Speak words of faith.
Say what God says about you.
Declare who you are in Christ, what you have in Christ and what you can do in Christ
Oppression typically operates as a system. This means that there are multiple forces taking away someone’s power based on a part of their identity (their sex, sexual orientation, skin color, etc). All of these forces work together to marginalize, subordinate, dehumanize, or otherwise devalue groups of people.
Nas & Damian Marley – Patience Lyrics
Here we are
Here we are
This one right here is for the people
Sabali, sabali, sabali yonkote
Sabali, sabali, sabali kiye
Ni kêra môgô
[Verse 1: Damian Marley]
Some of the smartest dummies
Can’t read the language of Egyptian mummies
An’ a flag on a moon
And can’t find food for the starving tummies
Pay no mind to the youths
Cause it’s not like the future depends on it
But save the animals in the zoo
Cause the chimpanzee dem a make big money
This is how the media pillages
On the TV the picture is
Savages in villages
And the scientist still can’t explain the pyramids, huh
Evangelists making a living on the videos of ribs of the little kids
Stereotyping the image of the images
And this is what the image is
You buy a khaki pants
And all of a sudden you say a Indiana Jones
An’ a thief out gold and thief out the scrolls and even the buried bones
Some of the worst paparazzis I’ve ever seen and I ever known
Put the worst on display so the world can see
And that’s all they will ever show
So the ones in the West
Will never move East
And feel like they could be at home
Dem get tricked by the beast
But a where dem ago flee when the monster is fully grown?
Solomonic linage whe dem still can’t defeat and them coulda never clone
My spiritual DNA that print in my soul and I will forever Own Lord
Major forces that make up a system of oppression are:
*Diminished legal rights/status of the oppressed group
*Negative attitudes and heightened violence toward the group
*Decreased social investment (money, resources) in the group
*Employment, educational, institutional discrimination/exclusion
*Oppressed group’s identity reduced to stereotypes
*Loss of power and freedom within the group
*Oppressed groups adopting destructive beliefs about their own group (internalized oppression)
*Perpetuation of the oppressor’s power
*Privileges afforded to the oppressor
Throughout most of the world, the most privileged groups are: light skin, male, heterosexual, transgender, conventionally attractive, Christian/Gentile, healthy/able bodied, wealthy/financially comfortable. These various groups have historically been, and currently are, some of the major groups that contribute to oppression. But, that doesn’t mean they have to be!
WHAT IS INTERNALIZED OPPRESSION?
When people are targeted, discriminated against, or oppressed over a period of time, they often internalize (believe and make part of their self-image – their internal view of themselves) the myths and misinformation that society communicates to them about their group. Exploited peasants might internalize the ideas that they can’t do any other kind of work, that their lives were meant to be as they are, and that they’re worth less than people with wealth or education. Women might internalize the stereotype that they are not good at math and science, or people of color might internalize the myth that they are not good workers,
When people from targeted groups internalize myths and misinformation, it can cause them to feel (often unconsciously) that in some way they are inherently not as worthy, capable, intelligent, beautiful, good, etc. as people outside their group. They turn the experience of oppression or discrimination inward. They begin to feel that the stereotypes and misinformation that society communicates are true and they act as if they were true. This is called internalized oppression.
Internalized oppression affects many groups of people: women, people of color, poor and working class people, people with disabilities, young people, elders, Jews, Catholics, immigrants, gays, and many other groups.
Not all members of groups that are discriminated against or oppressed necessarily turn stereotypes inward. Many remain proud of their heritage, or are able to take prominent places in the larger society through their exercise of effort, intelligence, talent, interpersonal skill, and self-respect. Many members of oppressed groups try to escape their situations by emigration or other means, and many succeed. Some rise up and overthrow their oppressors, although this can cause nearly as many problems as it solves.
Don’t assume that just because someone is a member of a group that has experienced bias, he is suffering from the results of internal oppression. Individuals are different, and have different experiences and backgrounds. If you assume internal oppression in all cases without getting to know the individual at least a little, you may, in trying to be helpful and empathetic, find that instead you’re being condescending or insulting.
It is important to note that internalized oppression is not the fault of people whom it affects. No one should be blamed or blame themselves for having been affected by discrimination. Nevertheless, as community members, we have to face these barriers in order to achieve our goals.
While the stereotypes that people internalize are imposed by society, we all, whether we are members of the favored majority or the oppressed or unfairly treated minority, have a personal responsibility to confront those stereotypes. As members of the majority, we need to help and support those in the minority to see that their personal worth has nothing to do with society’s current or past prejudice. And as members of the minority, we have a responsibility to listen to those among us who challenge the majority view, and to analyze and challenge it ourselves. We may need support and guidance in doing so – that’s what Paulo Freire provided to those he worked with, and what he wrote about.
There are two ways that internalized oppression functions:
Internalized oppression operates on an individual basis. A person believes that the stereotypes and misinformation that she hears are true about herself. She holds herself back from living life to her full potential or she acts in ways that reinforce the stereotypes and are ultimately self-defeating.
Internalized oppression occurs among members of the same cultural group. People in the same group believe (often unconsciously) the misinformation and stereotypes that society communicates about other members of their group. People turn the oppression on one another, instead of addressing larger problems in society. The results are that people treat one another in ways that are less than fully respectful. Often people from the same cultural group hurt, undermine, criticize, mistrust, fight with, or isolate themselves from one another.
Understanding internalized oppression is invaluable for community builders. People simply can’t fight effectively for themselves when they believe the problem is their own fault or that something is inherently wrong with them. To empower communities to become more effective at fighting the battles for better health care, good education, a safe environment, and adequate jobs, community members have to learn how to overcome the discouragement, confusion, and divisions that are a result of internalized oppression.
The Message (MSG)
5 1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
6 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
7 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
8 “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
9 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
The Gran Telescopio Canarias, one of the world’s most powerful telescopes, sits atop an extinct volcano on La Palma, Canary Islands. Inaugurated in July 2009 by King Carlos of Spain, it offers astronomers an unusually clear view of the heavens. Located at 7,870 feet, the telescope is above the cloud cover, where the prevailing winds are dry and turbulence-free. Here, near the equator, scientist can study all of the Northern Celestial Hemisphere and part of the Southern.
Jesus chose a mountainside to teach His followers about the characteristics of a lifestyle yielded to God. There He taught them that attitude not altitude, was the key to having a clear view of the Father. Tucked into the passage known as the beatitudes, Jesus said: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”. This is not just for the few who try to achieve it, but for all who will humbly receive it. To have a heart that is clean in God’s eyes, we need to accept the Father’s pardon through Christ His Son. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse [purify] us from all unrighteousness”(1 John 1:9).
A mountaintop is a great place to see the stars, but to clearly see God requires a change of heart.
Since by faith I have clear vision,
Your blest Word is rich and new;
Men with eyes by sin distorted
Cannot all its treasures view.
To get clear view of God, focus on Jesus Christ.
As I watched this movie last night I was struck with innovative thoughts on how to become a philanthropist myself in-order to get Second Chance Alliance off the ground. Visualization is a technique used by winners in all walks of life. If you really want something to come to fruition, then you have to put your imaginative mind to work. See the result in front of you, play the game you are going to play in your mind or watch yourself accepting your success. The only limit is your own mind. I watched another video that showed the brand I desire for my dream and man what a experience of rejuvenation I experienced from “Home Boy” Industries.
Nothing is going to improve when you feel lousy about yourself and your chances in life. A positive mindset will reset an erring period of bad luck. It will turn that half-empty glass into the half-full glass; the rainy day into the silver-lined cloud. Seize opportunities to change and move on. You’re about to create them!
Visualization is sort of like hypnosis: if you don’t think it’ll work, it won’t. Thinking positively is the first step to making sure this visualization is actually effective. It’s the first step to making these desires a part of real life. Visualization and faith are powerful ingredients. I was feeling bad that I can not seem to find anyone to buy into my dream to bring this sought of program to Riverside County, but I am connected to all the power one needs and that is The God of the universe.
My passion is the reason God woke me up this morning, and just the thought of it can keep you up late with excitement. But not everyone knows exactly what his passion is right away. Don’t worry — whether you’re looking for your passion to find a new career, or if you’re looking to get completely immersed in a new hobby or activity, there are a number of things you can do to find your passion. My past has fueled this passion and God has poured this same vision of hope for helping others into my spirit.
The prison looms today as a central feature of American society. Since 1976, we have been building on average one prison every week. More than two million Americans are now crammed into the nation’s still overcrowded jails and prisons. In fact, there are now about as many prisoners in America as there are farmers. Over half of those incarcerated are people of color. More than four million Americans, again mainly people of color, have been permanently disenfranchised because of felony convictions, many under laws enacted explicitly to prevent African-Americans from voting. (1) Studies have shown that this disenfranchisement has had a significant impact on the outcome of presidential and senate elections prior to 2000. (2) We need no detailed studies to show the direct impact of this disenfranchisement on the most recent national election. Prior to November 2000, one third of the African-American men in Florida were convicted as felons and then stripped of their right to vote, while thousands more were purged from the voting rolls as alleged felons by fiat of a corporation hired by Governor Jeb Bush. If only a small percentage of Florida’s 204,000 disenfranchised male African-American citizens (not to mention the other 200,000 disenfranchised ex-felons in Florida) had been allowed to vote in 2000, even the U.S. Supreme Court could not have installed George W. Bush as President of the United States.
As the prison has become ever more central to American society, oral and written literature created by American prisoners and ex-prisoners has become ever more vital to understanding its wider significance. One central theme unifies the entire body of American prison literature, a theme that emerged from African-American experience: Who are the real criminals? As Frederick Douglass wrote in 1845 about the law-abiding citizens of America: “I could regard them in no other light than a band of successful robbers, who had left their homes, and gone to Africa, and stolen us from our homes, and in a strange land reduced us to slavery.” A hundred and twenty five years later, George Drumgold, writing from Comstock Prison, expressed a similar idea in this couplet:
They say we’re the criminals, a threat to society
But in truth they stole us, so how can that be?
But there’s a difference. Unlike Drumgold, Douglass did not have to be convicted of a crime to be enslaved.
Prior to the Civil War, African-American slavery was not legitimized or rationalized by any claim that the slaves were being punished for crimes. That was to come next. The necessary legal transformation was effected in 1865 by the very Amendment to the Constitution–Article 13–that abolished the old form of slavery:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States . . . .
Article 13 actually wrote slavery into the Constitution of the United States, but only for those people legally defined as criminals. So America now had to transform the freed slaves into criminals–by law and through culture.
Why? Because massive slave labor was needed for the plantations, coal mines, lumber camps, railroad and road construction, and prison factories, where during the Civil War white slaves produced equipment for the Union army.
The former slave states immediately devised legislation–the Black Codes–branding almost every former slave as a criminal. These laws specified that many vaguely defined acts–such as “mischief” and “insulting gestures”–were crimes, but only if committed by a “free negro.” Mississippi’s Vagrancy Act defined “all free negroes and mulattoes over the age of eighteen” as criminals unless they could furnish written proof of a job at the beginning of every year. (3) “Having no visible means of support” was a crime being committed by almost all the freed slaves. So was “loitering” (staying in the same place) and “vagrancy” (wandering).
Many of the new convicts were leased. The convict lease system had a big advantage for the enslavers: since they did not own the convicts, they lost nothing by working them to death. For example, the death rate among leased Alabama black convicts during just one year (1869) was 41 percent. (4) Much of the railroad system throughout the South was built by leased convicts, often packed in rolling iron cages moved from job to job, working in such hellish conditions that their life expectancy rarely exceeded two years. (5)
Besides leasing convicts, states expanded their own prison slavery. The infrastructure of many southern states was built and maintained by convicts. For example, aged African-American women convicts dug the campus of Georgia State College, and prisoners as young as twelve worked in chain gangs to maintain the streets of Atlanta. (6) Some states went into big business, selling products of convict labor. Hence the vast state prison plantations established in Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, where cotton picked by prisoners was manufactured into cloth by other prisoners in prison cotton mills. These plantations dwarfed the largest cotton plantations of the slave South in size, brutality–and profitability.
The stigma associated with being an ex-felon in America is unlike anything a person can comprehend unless they walk in the shoes of ex-felons. People get ill everyday but they somehow recover and are able to seek opportunity and they are made whole. Ex-felons on the other hand suffer for a lifetime for decisions that they made in the spur of the moment. Some people understand the dynamics associated with persons who struggle daily to regain their respect and dignity in their communities because they were previously convicted of a felony. Then there are those who believe that once a person has been convicted of a felony they should be treated as felons and denied opportunities for the rest of their lives. We have programs in every state that offers assistance to ex-felons being released from prison, yet, every time ex-felons complete applications for employment, they are constantly reminded that some things never change.
In America ex-felons carry the stigma of being convicted for life. A conviction is like the metaphorical scarlet letter. When people see you they see your conviction because many folks in America will never let you forget that you committed a crime.
Today we are beginning to witness a paradigm shift in how ex-felons are treated. Unfortunately it is not because of the reasons that we would think. Ex-felons are treated different now because of the economy. Many states, counties and cities are receiving fewer funds for housing prisoners and have released prisoners who in times past they deemed posed threats to society. Decisions such as these makes rational people think about whether these people actually ever posed a threat to society in the first place.
According to the research, there are approximately 2.8 million ex-felons currently locked up in jails and prisons in the U.S. African American make up approximately 47% of the inmate population in the U.S. yet they account for only 12.7 % of the population in the U. S. African Americans are disproportionately represented in every state in the U.S. This means that their percentage in the prison population is greater than their percentage in the state’s general population. Sixty (60%) of the one million people who are released from prison return to prison within 3 years many of them much quicker!
Today Ex-felons are visible in every facet of life. America and Americans are becoming more tolerant of ex-felons in sports, media, education, military and areas in which felons benefit organizations but corporate America and political entities continue to maintain a strict stance against ex-felons. However, there are states such as Louisiana who allow ex-felons to run for public office after being released from probation or parole for fifteen years.
Ex-felons have a much lower rate of recidivating when they are released to stable living environment and caring families. Without these two safety nets most ex-felons are DOA-Doomed on Arrival. Ex-felons who are released from prison and acquire gainful employment, have the support of their love ones, and are connected to a higher power are much more likely to stay out of prison longer and in many cases never return.
No ex-felon should be punished for life. Once ex-felons are released from prison they should be treated like any other citizen. Corporations who do not hire ex-felons based on their criminal records only, in my opinion should not be supported by the ex-felons or their families. In some recent research in which I surveyed 100 of the largest corporations in Texas, many of the HR Departments responded to the questions of Do your corporation hire ex-felons by saying that each decision is made on a case by case basis. That was a common response from employers. In my book “Why Are So Many Black Folks In Jail”, I constantly remind readers that if corporations refuse to hire qualified ex-felons solely based on the fact that they committed a crime in their past not taking into account that they have paid their debt to society, then “if they don’t hire we don’t buy”. The best way to get people’s attention is to affect their wallets and pocketbooks! Ex-felons have much more power than they think, if they harness and organize their power!
If God can do all things, why didn’t He just create us with perfect character?
Many people have wondered: Why didn’t God in the beginning simply create humans as spirit beings without human nature? Why did He first make us physical—from the dust of the earth—then offer us eternal life only if we vigorously resist the weaknesses of our flesh?
If God can do all things, why didn’t He just create us with perfect character? In other words, what is the purpose of this difficult and trying physical life? Couldn’t our heartache and suffering have been avoided?
Of course God could have done all of that—if He had been willing to create us without the personal character we need for making personal choices. It all gets back to our free will, our freedom of choice. God Himself had a choice about how man would be created. He could have made us automatons, functioning like programmed robots whose only course of action is to carry out the instructions of their maker. But He chose to create us like Him, capable of making choices that are limited only by our knowledge and character. This requires that we learn right from wrong and that our character develop gradually by our decisions under God’s guidance and assistance.
Is God actively creating character in human beings?
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians:2:10).”. . . Be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and . . . put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians:4:22-24, King James Version).
God is not finished with us. We are still His workmanship. He is creating in us “righteousness and true holiness”—His character. As long as we are human, our character is not firm; it is not permanent. We can change our minds and behavior. We can make mistakes and learn from them. We can learn from the fruits of our right and wrong choices.
Since we can change our minds—and repent of our errors—God can change us even more and create in us the will and the capacity to steadfastly choose what is right over what is wrong. “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).Of course, God requires that we first recognize and willingly reverse our wrong behavior by allowing His Spirit to empower us to make those changes. Then we can become a new person “created in righteousness and true holiness.”
What aspect of our character is most important to God?
“For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel:16:7).
The Bible uses the word heart to describe our innermost thoughts, motives and attitudes. God knows what goes on inside our minds. He evaluates our intents and motivations (Hebrew 4:12-13). The internal aspects of our character count the most with Him. He considers our behavior in light of what is in our hearts (compare Jeremiah:17:10; Deuteronomy:10:12).
Can God change our hearts?
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (Ezekiel:36:26-27).
If we yield our will to God, He will empower us through the Holy Spirit to live by the principles of righteousness as He defines them in His laws. Each of us must be “a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy:2:15). It is through studying the Scriptures that we “may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy:3:16-17).
God writes what we learn in our hearts by His Spirit (Hebrews:8:10; 2 Corinthians:3:3), making it a permanent part of our thinking and nature.
How can God be sure what is really in someone’s heart?
“What is man, that You should exalt him, that You should set Your heart on him, that You should visit him every morning, and test him every moment?” (Job:7:17-18).
We face trials and difficulties so God can know how committed we are to His way of life. He has to find out if our character will endure hardship and suffering. Only then can He trust us with the powers that come with eternal life. This life is not only for building character; it is for testing that character.
Why did God test ancient Israel? “And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not” (Deuteronomy:8:2, compare verses 15-16).
Does God test the faithfulness of even the righteous?
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter:1:6-7).
Even the righteous are tested to see how faithful they remain in their commitment to God (Psalm:11:5). When we face difficult choices, God can see how committed to Him we are. Only when we obey Him under duress is the depth of our character fully evident. Paul tells us we should “glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans:5:3-4, compare Revelation:2:10).
Will God allow us to be tested beyond what we can endure?
“No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians:10:13, New Revised Standard Version).
I am occupying a dwelling “Today” that society said I didn’t qualify for due to my past record. I am sitting in this dwelling suffering from Sickle Cell Anemia “Crisis” and meditating on my past. I grew up in a home consumed with a polytheistic culture and a spirit of over achievement which resulted in me graduating at the ripe age of 16 and going on to pursue my career by attending Syracuse University while simultaneously serving my country. The past always has haunted my peace due to the many challenges I had to endure getting out of the home I grew up in. Once I graduated college I went on to become a Navy Seal. I had a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, but elected to turn down a commissioned officer rank and serve as an enlisted. I am pondering “Today” the decision I made that may have plagued my success in life. Once I received my orders to report to The USS Enterprise and then be detached to Desert Shield I was in contemplation once again, because the BUDS training never equaled to the reality I had to face once in the thick of combat.
I remember while sitting under the glare of the moon in a hostile country wondering if being here was better than being at home with all the pressure and dysfunction I ran from. I heard a voice within my inner man say Aaron I am here, “trust” me to set your life in order. Uncertainty about what the future held for me at the age of 21 with a 2 year old son and wife back home depending on me and I am here fighting an enemy that hasn’t done anything to me.
I am asking this question tonight, What keeps me from being content where God has placed me “Today”? There are so many other challenges that took place in my life to get here where I am tonight, like imprisonment as a soldier and a civilian, drug addiction to cocaine and addiction to fame and fortune. The deaths of 3 children a mother and two brothers while serving my country and as a civilian. I received my call to Christ at the age of 8 years old, only to be restricted in how and who to worship.
Family dysfunction can be any condition that interferes with healthy family functioning. Most families have some periods of time where functioning is impaired by stressful circumstances (death in the family, a parent’s serious illness, etc.). Healthy families tend to return to normal functioning after the crisis passes. In dysfunctional families, however, problems tend to be chronic and children do not consistently get their needs met. Negative patterns of parental behavior tend to be dominant in their children’s lives.
After going to prison and losing several homes and other securities my life had gotten accustomed to I blamed my dad and his influence he once had on my life. I am going to pursue release from this fog by looking to the healer of our souls.
13-18 You’re blessed when you meet Lady Wisdom,
when you make friends with Madame Insight.
She’s worth far more than money in the bank;
her friendship is better than a big salary.
Her value exceeds all the trappings of wealth;
nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her.
With one hand she gives long life,
with the other she confers recognition.
Her manner is beautiful,
her life wonderfully complete.
She’s the very Tree of Life to those who embrace her.
Hold her tight—and be blessed!
Psychologist William Marston once asked three thousand people, “What have you to live for?” He was shocked to discover that 94 percent of the people he polled were simply enduring the present while they waited for something to happen–waiting for children to grow up and leave home, waiting for next year, waiting to take a trip, waiting for someone to die, or waiting for tomorrow. They had hope, but no ongoing purpose for their lives.
Only 6 percent of the people identified relationships and activities in the present tense of their lives as valuable reasons for living! The 94 percent would be wise to recall the words of this poem by and unknown author:
During all the years since time began,
Today has been the friend of man;
But in his blindness and his sorrow,
He looks to yesterday and tomorrow.
Forget past trials and your sorrow.
There was, but is, no yesterday,
And there may be no tomorrow.
Instead of dwelling on your past mistakes, make a new start by thanking God for all the good in your life. I thank God for the ability to write and focus through my pain, I thank God for my trials and His deliverance through them all. I thank God for His word that renders so much solace when I am perplexed and confused. Guilt is concerned with the past. Worry is concerned about the future. Contentment enjoys the present. I have new mercies “Today” to escort me through difficulties from yesterday. Thank you ABBA for Your “Grace” to press onward..