Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Would you pay your enemies to you allow you to fight them? That's what we are doing!

Are we paying our enemies to let us fight them?

A surprising report in the Wall Street Journal this week noted that $3 billion in cash money, shrink wrapped and loaded on pallets, has been shipped to Afghanistan. Much of the money goes to private security firms who pay off U.S. enemies to allow shipments of supplies into the country so that U.S. soldiers can turn around fight the same people we paid off.

Sound crazy?

Maybe so, but there are some in Congress who keep sounding the alarm that young men and women that we know are thinking they are supporting freedom but in actuality are dying so that we can continue lining the pockets of the big guys who run the corrupt government of the country.

Speaking before Congress yesterday, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio raised the specter of the $12 billion shipped in pallets from the United States to Iraq just after the Bush administration's "shock and awe" bombing campaign.

"Vanity Fair reported in 2004 that 'at least $9 billion' of the cash had 'gone missing, unaccounted for,'" he noted. "$9 billion."

Kucinich continued: "

Last week, the BBC reported that 'the US military has been giving tens of millions of dollars to Afghan security firms who are funneling the money to warlords.' Add to that a corrupt Afghan government underwritten by the lives of our troops
 ... And now reports indicate that Congress is preparing to attach $10 billion in state education funding to a $33 billion spending bill to keep the war going.

 Back home, millions of Americans are out of work, losing their homes, losing their savings, their pensions and their retirement security.

"We are losing our nation to lies about the necessity of war. Bring our troops home. End the war. Secure our economy."

The thought of so many have lost lives, suffered maimed bodies and destroyed futures so that the rich can get richer is frustrating.

Our only hope is in God. He doesn't like war and wants to see all war end.

Micah 5:10 says, "The day is coming" —GOD's Decree— "When there will be no more war. None."

Those who profit from war won't like that; but right now they appear to be cleaning up and pocketing billions.

God's word lingers: No more war. None.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

A man with three birthdays, really four

I'm a man with three birthdays, really four!

I celebrate three birthdays. My father told me that my birthday is June 22nd. My driver's license and birth certificates list June 28th. My mother told me that my birthday is actually June 29th. She said she knew the birth certificate date was wrong but was in pain and just signed it anyway. When I lived with my father for a short time, I celebrated June 22nd. Of course, when I was with my mother for a short time, I celebrated June 29th.

That me makes a man with three birthdays, only one of which is correct. To get the right one, I celebrate all three.

There is another birthday that is not celebrated with a party, cake or candles. That was the day that I was born into the kingdom of God.

I joined the Tabernacle Baptist church in 1957 and was baptized. I was "born again" into the kingdom of God on Friday, August 12, 1966.

This idea of being born again is addressed John 3:3-5 "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
So, I have all of these birthdays to celebrate, but only one of them counts.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Boogie Man didn't get me although they said he would

I was afraid of the Boogie Man; he never showed up.

My father's home was next to the cemetery. I slept in the back room only about 15 feet from a row of tombstones that were harmless in the day but struck fear in my heart at night.

In my room, the wallpaper was loose and hung from the wall in places. However, at night the room was dark. I was alone and it seemed that someone from the graveyard was looking in the window. The hanging paper seemed to breathe. I was terrified because I was told that when I did wrong that the Boogie Man would get me. I remembered I was supposed to feed the chickens that day and didn't. I was terrified that for punishment the Boogie Man would get me. I hid my head under the covers and would not move. I was too afraid to go to the bathroom; I wet my bed. I believed that the Boogie Man would get me if I came from under the covers.

The next day I looked out the window only to learn that the graves had not opened. The wall paper still hung and that there was no one lurking in the bushes. The boogie man didn't get me.

For many years my actions were controlled by the threat that the "Boogie Man" would get me if I strayed.

The Boogie Man" is the composite of everything that we fear. He's the unseen character that lurks behind every bush, corner and turn, looking for a chance to prey on us.

The fear of failure or ridicule stops many from gaining the opportunities they should have in life. They are afraid of the Boogie Man.

God has promised to be with us in every situation. We are constantly told to have no fear as we daily work in his will. We should never be dismayed, overly frustrated or afraid.

Isaiah 41:10 says, "Fear not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."

When God shows up the Boogie Man disappears.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Are Boy Scouts crooked because they desire to be straight?

Are scouts bad because they are straight?

In recent years the Boy Scouts of America have been shunned by many people in the nation because it desires to limit its membership to young men and women who are "morally straight." Scouts also pledge themselves to be "reverent" and to respect the religious beliefs of others. That has rubbed gay groups across the country; suits have been filed, one of which reached the Supreme Court. The court ruled the scouts are a private organization and have right to be "straight."

So, across the nation scouts have been tagged as bad people and millions of dollars in donations have been lost because scouts "discriminate" against gays.

This month the City of Philadelphia lost a case in which it tried to evict scouts from their headquarters unless the scouts reversed their "morally straight" position. The city lost.

Scouts are holding their ground around the world. They teach young men to lead morally pure lives not only sexually but also in matters of family and public decorum.

The bible encourages us to be morally pure in every area of life; it is what God expects.

1 Timothy 5:22 says "Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure.

Three cheers for the Boy Scouts, who still choose to be straight even if it is not politically correct.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chasing storms? Not me; they chase me

They chase storms, I try to stay out of their way.

A van passed me recently; it was beautifully painted "Storm chasers." It sported several pieces of equipment that indicated that chasing hurricanes, tornadoes and windstorms was the nature of its business. Storm chasers seem to enjoy the whole idea of being in the middle of a storm with cameras rolling at full blast to record its every movement. They enjoy the thrill, danger and the sudden adrenalin rush and of course, the science. Sometimes the storms they chase catch up with them and overtake them.

I do just the opposite. Like most people I don't relish storms, whether they are hurricanes or the storms of life. Instead of chasing them, I'm usually trying to go the opposite way. I'd get fired from a storm chasing job.

When it comes to storms, believers have the joy of knowing that our savior can speak to the storms of our lives and command their silence. He can still the winds and ways.

We don't have to chase life's storms they will chase us without fail. When they do, our faith points us to Jesus, to speak to the situation.

I am reminded of this truth when I read, Mark 4:39-40 which says, "And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?"

Storm chasers enjoy the chase; I enjoy staying away.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

The President praised gay fathers, then took it back

The President praised two-father families, how can that be?

Yesterday, in his Father's Day Address, President Obama praised the fathers of America, past and present, for serving as the role models. His address included words of praise for those who serve as role models and mentors for youth. However, two phrases in the address, were disturbing. He praised "two father" families and those who are showing our daughters how to be fathers.

I read it. Then, instantly I saw that others read it, because web shares were moving it around the world quickly, This morning, yesterday's message has been completely rewritten to hide what was said yesterday; the phrases that obviously endorse the gay and lesbian agenda were omitted.

It was removed, but not before the damage was done. Nothing the President says goes unnoticed.

I like President Obama personally, but I am uneasy about his willingness to use the bully pulpit of the White House to promote the Gay and Lesbian agenda, inclusive of gay marriage and endorsement of the homosexual lifestyle.

Make no mistake Gays and Lesbians are American citizens. They should be afforded every right enjoyed by every American citizen, unabridged. There should be no laws that discriminate against them for exercising their lifestyle choices.

However, the nation has no requirement to endorse, encourage or promote the lifestyle choices of individual groups of citizens.

Sexual expression is designed for the marital relationship between a man and a woman. Homosexual behavior is outside God’s created intent and desire for us.

The moral tone that God has expressed on the subject of homosexuality is reflected in many passages such as 1 Corinthians 6:9 "Don’t you know that those doing such things have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who live immoral lives, who are idol worshipers, adulterers or homosexuals—will have no share in his Kingdom."

Even though Americans have the right to engage in the homosexual lifestyle, it should not be encouraged or endorsed by the President of the United States.

It's good the President took back his endorsement of two fathers, but it never should have been given in the first place.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

"You just like your daddy"; Compliment or insult?

You just like your daddy! Is that an insult or a compliment?

There are many who don't celebrate Father's Day because their memories of father are not flattering. To some, father is just the name on a child support check, a blank line on a birth certificate, or a weekend visitor, but not a loving presence.

This thinking is reflected in many popular songs over the years. Lowell Folsum started it all with a song called "Tramp" in which he criticized his father severely but praised him for being a lover. Otis Redding and Carla Thomas later came out with their version of "Tramp" with Redding saying he had no money, bragged much and had little but he too was a lover.

Joe Tex also sampled Lowell Folsum's song with a popular song called, "Papa was too." In it Papa was projected as a man who was poor, wouldn't work and "covered the holes of shoes with the daily news." His redeeming factor? He was a lover.

Most memorable is the hit by the Temptations: "Papa was a rolling stone" a song that depicted papa as a man who moved from woman and very irresponsible and unstable, but he too was a lover.

Those song paint a dreary picture of fathers. They characterized as no counts whose only asset was their ability to make love and babies. Many today have the same image of their fathers.

But along comes Luther Vandross who lifted the spirit of millions who have fond memories of their fathers when he produced, "Dance with my father again." He painted a picture of a loving dad who cared for his daughter and loved his wife till death.

They were beautiful lyrics:

Back when I was a child, before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high and dance with my mother and me and then
Spin me around �til I fell asleep
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure I was loved
If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him
I�d play a song that would never, ever end
How I'd love, love, love
To dance with my father again

The ultimate depiction of a father's love is this:

"For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

No matter how many bad attributes fathers have; they all have a few positives,too. We are a summary of of everything all that father is or was; both the good and the bad.

It's those positives that endear us and make some yearn to "Dance with my father again."

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Grits in one minute, what about an 8 minute sermon?

One minute grits, now the 8 minute sermon!

I was really amused to read that the Pope has recommended that all of the Catholic Church's priests and deacons shorten their sermons, called homilies, to 8 minutes. The Pope reasons that people have short attention spans, so priests should get to the point quickly. He made their job even harder because he also recommended that their sermons address the issues and concerns of the day; all in eight minutes.

One priest in Ireland took it one step further. He has cut the sermon out altogether. He offers his parishioners a full 15 minute worship, without the sermon; attendance doubled.

Eight minutes won't won't work among evangelicals. It certainly won't work among traditional Black Baptists like myself. It sometimes takes us 8 minutes to read the text and say, "The Lord has been good to us; better than we have been to ourselves."

An eight minute sermon? What will that do to the people who can only sleep at church? It will ruin their sleep! Those who send texts during the sermon won't have enough time to complete their conversations?

On the other hand those who actually come to hear a word from the Lord could be cheated. They blocked out several hours for their worship experience, the highlight of which is "A word from the Lord." Some drive long distances, wait in traffic and undergo severe weather for the expressed purpose of hearing "The Word." Obviously, there are times that they are relieved to receive a "quickie" but most prefer that their minister would give them a full serving.

In many black rural churches a deacon will yell out, "Take your time, Reverend, take your time."

Somehow the appeal of the 8 minute sermon is lost on those who truly want to hear an inspired message from heaven. These are the faithful who come to worship and praise, but dare not leave until they learn from God's watchman, the thoughts God has put on his heart for them; however long it takes.

They are like the people in Isaiah 21:11-12 who asked, "He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come."

We all want to hear from the watchman who stands on the wall of our future, what will the night bring; is there hope for the coming morning?

Wouldn't it be a shame if just before the pastor came to the part of the sermon that offered us hope and inspiration that he looked at his watch and said, "Sorry, 8 minutes have passed; that's it for today."

8 minutes sounds like a great idea, but on second thought won't serve any purpose whatsoever.

When the quickie becomes what's regular then the next alternative is to have no word at all.

Some would like that..

I wouldn't.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

If it's still there after four hours- ha ha ha-hee hee

Have you seen the disclaimers on TV ads? They are hilarious!

TV ads often carry some type of disclaimer or warning. Sometimes the disclaimer is longer than the commercial.

When you think about it, many church members have disclaimers on their godly relationship. Our official commercial says, "I am a Church member. I believe in God. I am a follower of Christ."

Then the disclaimer comes:

"The faith I talk about on Sunday may not be reflected in my everyday living so any recordings or videos of what I say and do cannot be made without my written permission. Be advised that my actions are subject to change without notice. If any of my actions resemble actual Christians, living or dead, it is purely unintentional.

I can be washed in the blood but hand washed only in water warmed to my pleasing. Handle me with care and do not expose me to any situations that may bend me, fold me or otherwise get on my last nerve.

I am a Christian but this claim is void where it is prohibited or unpopular. You must accept me on an "as is basis" without any warranties expressed or implied.

Be on guard when you hear me speak because some of you may find my language objectionable with explicit lyrics, so parental guidance is advised.

I am able to show love in limited quantities on a one time per day per family basis, but I don't always come with a pleasant attitude, some assembly is required.

I'm a church member but I don't do much, you see, action figures are sold separately. I don't pray much so I don't have much power and batteries are not included.

If your dealings with me result in rash behavior, irritating conversation or swelling develops discontinue your dealings with me for a while. I must not be placed in stressful or flammable situations because I blow easily; I must not be punctured, cracked on or laughed at or I could be hazardous to your health.

I'm saved but don't deal with me if you see that my safety seal has been broken or tampered with by the devil. Sometimes I might make you sick to your stomach, if so, do not induce vomiting and if my behavior persists remember me in your prayers.

If I promise you anything allow four to six weeks for delivery but don't expect me to help in case of flood, hurricanes, lighting, volcanic eruption, tsunami, earthquakes, oil spills or acts of God unless you pay me.

I tend to get settled in my ways so shake well before using me in any service. Being a church member is easy but being a Christian could be a challenge. If you see me acting as a Christian I am dysfunctional; if this condition exists for more than four hours, something is seriously wrong consult a physician at once.

Should we be ashamed and disclaim our faith? Romans 1:16 says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.

See you in four hours. LOL

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

She called the mortician and he was glad

Who encourages those who encourage others? Does anyone care about the caregiver?

A while back, there was a power outage in our city nearly everyone was powerless. We were prepared with an ample supply of batteries, candles and other necessities. We thought of the local funeral director and my wife picked up the phone and called him to inquire about his safety and to offer assistance. To our surprise he was floored by the outreach.

"In all my years of reaching out to others no one has ever asked me how I was doing or offered to help me," he said. He didn't need any help but the thought has lingered with him continuously and serves as an encouragement in lonely times, that someone does care about him.

He helped thousands of families through their grief; he inquired about and cared for them long after their mourning ended, but no one ever called back.

After many years, someone actually inquired about his well being, he was encouraged, strengthened and inspired.

We have a responsibility to encourage each other, especially those who are facing difficulties. A word of sincere interest and concern helps. That's why we are taught to encourage each other. In a way, we hold each other's hand in crises and draw strength from each other to continue.

We need a little more hand holding as we strive to survive and thrive in this life.

1 Thessalonians 2:12 says, "holding your hand, whispering encouragement, showing you step-by-step how to live well before God, who called us into his own kingdom, into this delightful life.

That one phone call to the mortician was a witnessesing moment that he has shared with hundreds of others. What would happen if thousands of us made one encouraging call a day?

Try it.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The class thug punched out the class clown, but made straight A's

What do the class clown and class thug have in common? Emotions! How successful each of them becomes depends on their ability to express and manage their emotions.

The inability to manage emotions can create a situation where the smartest boy in the class is also the class thug who punches the funniest boy in the class for being funny.

While reading the premise of Dr. Daniel Goleman's book "Emotional Intelligence" I thought about the number of smart youth I have mentored over the years who were emotionally impotent. I have seen so many smart boys who could not control their tempers or others who were academic whiz kids but could not express themselves openly or relate to other people.

Dr. Goleman contends that EQ is as important as our IQ. A smart man who cannot express himself emotionally or manage his emotions doesn't go very far. If he has risen, his demise is lurking somewhere in the near future. He says managing emotions is something that should be taught in school, especially since it is crucial to career success. He has his critics of course; they claim that there is no "right" or "wrong" emotion and such things should not be taught.

Somehow I tend to think there would be fewer fights, less violence and more creativity if children are taught, from childhood, how to express emotions properly and how to manage their emotions.

Maybe fewer people would get punched in the nose.

Emotional management is best taught to children and as they mature the qualities will exhibit themselves in every aspect of life.

Dr. Goleman thinks schools should do the training but the bible puts the responsibility on everyone who has any dealing with a child beginning with its parents.

Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

What's next? Along with our IQ we will probably get an EQ number as well.

Many who pass the IQ test may flunk the EQ, get angry, storm out of the meeting and curse out the test administrator for being so dumb!

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Monday, June 14, 2010

I lost the watermelon eating contest, but I had fun!

I lost the watermelon eating contest

It was really silly, but it was fun. Several churches in our district participated in a joint Vacation Bible School last week. It ended with a big old school style picnic that featured a watermelon eating contest. The contest was kicked off by the pastors competing. We each received a slice of watermelon and were told to eat it as fast as we could leaving no red on the rhine.

When they said "go" I plunged into my melon. However, years of doing things by a system clicked in. I proceeded to eating my melon as fast as I could but I proceeded left to right making sure that I left an even path. It looked neat but it was slow. You can't win a contest when you insist that your melon be consumed evenly and proportionately across the rhine.

The other pastors knew how to win the contest. They gobbled theirs down quickly leaving me to come in last. One even grabbed handsful of melon with his hands stuffed his mouth. The believers laughed so hard they almost cried. Cell phone cameras were everywhere, pictures were being posted on Youtube and facebook instantly.

One pastor won the bragging rights as the watermelon eating King, the rest of us had watermelon juice all over our faces and drippings all over our shirts.

It was messy, but it was fun.

It was a great day in which everyone enjoyed great fellowship with the youth and some fine foods. It was hot, too but noone seemed to notice.

Those who live the Christian life are a joyous bunch. Without drunkedness, drugs or other articificial means we experience the Joy of the Lord on this side of heaven while preparing for an even greater joy on the other side.

In fact it is this ability to enjoy life in the Lord that makes the Christian life unique. It makes us strong.

Nehemiah 8:10 ".. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

I lost the watermelon eating contest on this side of heaven, so I better practice my milk and honey skills so I can be ready for the contest on the other side.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

When trusting God is pushed to the side...

They pushed God to the side, then put him back!

There are two kinds of Presidential one dollar coins floating around, one has an almost invisible "In God we trust" and the other has the phrase inscribed on the face. Confusing?

In 2007 the U.S. Mint started distributing coins featuring likenesses of all of the Presidents. However, the new design rubbed a lot of people because it took the words "In God we trust" from the front of the coin and put it on the edge instead. Since no one ever reads the edge of a coin many thought it had been removed altogether. Thanks to the Internet a silent national protest began and in 2009 "In God we trust" made it back to the front of the coins.

The original idea of placing the "trust" statement out of edge of the coin and nearly out of sight is a sign of the times; we are trusting God less. It seems as though God is being pushed out of all public life and private lives as well.
However, the protest that resulted in it being replaced is also a sign. It's a sign of of what happens when people of God stand up.

Trusting God should not be a debatable concern for believers; it is understood. We must trust Him for our very being. We cannot move Him to the edge of our life experience; He demands and deserves first place.

We should trust Him for our daily needs, protection and favor. We dare not risk moving Him to the edge of our lives or even worse,out of our lives altogether.

Proverbs 3:5 says, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."

If you happen to run upon one of those dollar coins with "God" on the edge, keep it as an example of what can happen if the faithful ever lose sight of God.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Why can't we have a good time without getting whissy drunk?

He was so drunk he could not stand; so he fell and kept falling.

I tried to help a man once who was whissy drunk. He was so drunk he could not put one foot in front of the other; he fell each time he made a step. He caught my attention because he was sitting on the church step at 4 a.m. in the morning. I put him in my car and carried him home, but he couldn't walk in so I had to help him do that, too. In all of his clumsiness he kept laughing, slobbering at the mouth and holding on to a 40 ounce bottle of beer which he held high even when he flopped down on the sofa of his house.

I checked back the next day and he couldn't remember any of it. He didn't remember me bringing him home or how he got there. I asked why he felt the need to get whissy drunk so often. He said it helps him forget for a while who he has "f--ked up my life."

We talked about changing, regrouping, starting fresh. He agreed that I was right. He even promised to begin a regular worship routine and get his act together. When I talked about the Spirit of God I noticed a twinkle in his eye at the sound of the word "spirit." He smiled.

I wonder about those who can't have a good time without a drink or two or three. Alcohol is an awful crutch and a pain generator. It kills slowly and methodically as it gives its victims an escape for the moment.

I thought about that this morning as I read Ephesians 5:18 "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit"

A short time after that encounter, I saw the man again; sitting on the church step. He was whissy drunk again.

He sat on the church step but he never came inside or let God inside.

He was filled with the spirits.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

When sexuality and spirituality clash

Her sexuality overpowered her spirituality; it buried the message of her song.

I saw a video of a gospel singer whose song was inspiring but was diminished slightly because her attire drew more attention to her sexuality than her spirituality and message. It may have been just show business. My wife and I concluded that she was attractive but the accents on her numerous sexual assets were a distraction. We kept wondering whether everything would fall out if she jumped one more time; we missed much of the message of her song.

Then I thought about many young Christians who are struggling to express their spirituality but don't know what to do with their sexuality. Some try to do both at the same time. That's when you see a young lady sing a powerful song but she's wearing a dress with her boobs propped up and popping out, bra less or otherwise accenting her sexual endowments. In this case, sexuality overpowers spiritual message.

Spirituality is not just praising God, it's your whole attitude about godliness, restraint, modesty and humility. It's more than what you do in praise it's what you do on other ways as well.

Likewise, sexuality is your whole attitude about sex, taboos, fantasies and values. It's more than what you do with what you got. It's your mindset, too. It's what you think about what you've got and what you wish you had.

Christians have a spiritual side but we also have a sense of sexuality. The trick is to make sure that there is an appropriate balance.

There is a scripture that says, "In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you."(Titus 2:7-8

In the world, sex sells; however in a spiritual context it is a bad sell if our goal is to witness for Christ.

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

President's gutter language raised eyebrows

Gutter talk sounds odd coming from the "cool" President, but

It made all of the headlines yesterday when President Obama used gutter colloquialisms to express his frustration with the oil spill in the gulf coast. It's a documented fact that many of the president of the 20th century used very rough language in private conversations with their staff members, but it's rarely spoken in pubic, and definitely not part of formal presidential interviews in front of T.V. Cameras.

But the videos made it undeniable. Obama said, ""I don't sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar, we talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick."

It's now official. The nation's leader has given his endorsement to "a--" kicking, at least metaphorically. Instantly YouTube videos appeared, cartoons were generated, editorial columns were written and school children watching news channels in a thousand classrooms were wowed!

Earlier, this year, the vice-president spoke with his microphone open and whispered in the President's ear at a news conference "this is a big fu--king deal" after the passage of the health care bill. It too was widely reported; at least it was whispered and not official.

Once the president and the vice-president are seen in public using gutter language it won't be long before the public is desensitized and it becomes common place.

Obviously the President is frustrated over the BP oil spill; yet even in frustration restraint is required.

There is a bible passage that reflects this dilemma: "Isaiah 8:21 "Frustrated and famished, they try one thing after another. When nothing works out they get angry, cursing first this god and then that one, Looking this way and that,"

When we get upset and curse it shows frustration but doesn't solve problems.

There is an old saying, "It's better to light one candle than to curse the darkness."

Hopefully, we've heard our last bit of gutter talk from the President. If he continues, the public could very well get angry and start looking for "whose a-- to kick."

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

I know what you did last night

I know what you did last night. Hmmmm

Remember the movie "I know what you did last summer?" A note from an anonymous person alerting us that our actions, thought to be secret a year ago, were really known by someone could be unsettling. Suppose such a note detailed knowledge of what we did last month, last week, or even last night were received, would we be a little unsettled.

We'd like to believe that there are some places we go and things we do that are out of the sight of those we don't care to know. Because we are human we often say or think the unthinkable, and do the unreasonable and unbelievable.

Sometimes we are ashamed of ourselves!

Then there is a mental note that seems to come out of nowhere, creeping into our dreams or popping up behind in an idle moment..."I know what you did last night. I saw it all. I heard it all... I know!"

It is a heavenly note!

There are no secrets from God, he has our lives bugged, videoed and angelically archived, dated and annotated. He knows!

He also knows what troubles us and what hurts. He knows what we pray about and why we cry. He knows everything!

There is a bible passage that tells us that he knows: "Psalms 139:4-7 You know everything I'm going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you're there, then up ahead and you're there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can't take it all in! Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight? "

God knows what we did, what we are doing, what we are thinking and what we are planning. That's good to know because as I pray about something I know he hears me and will answer me in due time.

The best part is that despite what he knows about me...He loves me anyway!

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Monday, June 07, 2010

He read the bible, they stood up, he read it again but they sat down

If you stand when the text is read, why not when other scriptures are read as well?

I noticed recently that a preacher opened his bible to announce his text and the people immediately stood while the text was read. It was, he said, a show of awe and respect for the sacredness of the word of God. I could receive that, however, I noticed that he read from the bible several times in his sermon but the people did not stand each time. Why were they respectful and awed only the first time the text is read but not thereafter?

I learned that it was a ritual, in a non-denominational church that frowns on rituals and ceremony.

It appears there is a passage in the bible that focuses on a point in Israel's history when the only copy of the word of God had been found after being lost for a generation. Thousands gathered around as an old prophet stood on a platform to read its sacred pages. Excited, the people stood from dawn to noon, six or seven hours, as he read every word.

The passage is this, Nehemiah 8:5 "And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:"

If this is to be a modern guide, then we should note that the people never sat when the word was read, so each time a preacher reads a passage in his sermon, should the people stand? Or closer to the text, should they stand throughout the whole sermon? If they only stand once, then the first act is only symbolic; it is a ritual.

It is not wrong to stand when the text is read. It is certainly not a sin. Neither is it commanded by God. It is a man made ritual.

It's easy for rituals and new denominational trends to begin anew, even for those who profess a dislike for tradition, rituals and denominations.

Better than ritual, I think it best that I show awe and respect for God by hiding his word in my heart and striving to live by it everyday...even if I do sit down when when I read it from my I-pad.

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Sunday, June 06, 2010

Why are they all up in my business?

Does it irritate you when someone meddles in your business?

You know the feeling because you have had it to happen to you.

Buy a new car and your friends are all up in your business: how much did it cost? Who signed for it? What was your interest rate. How were you able to get it that cheap when no one else could?

Get a new friend. Who is he? Where is he from? Does he have any money?

Get a new job. Who are you working for? How much do you make? How did you find out about it?

People are so nosy that when they come to your home they read your mail left on the table, try peek at your computer screen and inspect everything they see. They can't stay out of your business.

When you were young, your parents stayed in your business; they were always asking questions. They made you take your medicine, eat your food and they wouldn't let you drive because you were not old enough, and you could not date because you were too young.

Now they are old, and you're all up in their business telling them what to eat, when to take their medicine, snatching their car keys because they are too old and not approving their special friends and dates because you think they are too old.

Everybody is up in everybody else's business.

What do you do when God decides to get up in your business? You can't shut Him out or ignore Him. You can't raise your hand and give Him the brick wall.

Unlike your neighbors, when God gets in your business He can straighten it out and work it out.

There is a passage Isaiah 31:2 that says, "Still, he must be reckoned with, a most wise God who knows what he's doing. He can call down catastrophe. He's a God who does what he says. He intervenes in the work of those who do wrong, stands up against interfering evildoers."

We want people out of our business, but whether we want it or not, God will intervene and get all up in our business; always for our good.

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Saturday, June 05, 2010

40 Million on foodstamps, God will make a way

Forty million families on food stamps, that's a big number

This week the government announced that there are now 40 million Americans receiving food assistance commonly known as food stamps. (There are 309 million Americans in the USA) The number represents a 21 percent increase over this time last year and it is increasing monthly because of unemployment.

The food assistance program assures that families in our nation do not face starvation because of a lack of food. However, there is a conundrum. Food stamps buy food but not washing powder, deodorant or soap. With unemployment nearing 10 percent many are still hungry because they are selling portions of the food stamps to get money to keep the lights on. You can't keep the milk cold without a refrigerator, you can't boil the water or cook store bought foodstuffs in the microwave without electricity. So some sell their food stamps for .50 cents on the dollar to get enough to keep the utilities on.

It's not legal, but it's a reality. It's happening.

It seems like an endless spiral because the stamps are sold to get utilities or pay rent, but without a sufficient supply of stamps, many face the prospect of hunger all over again.

Without faith that God will make a way, it's possible for those caught in this endless loop to mentally lose it!

Those who are temporarily in trouble should not be totally discouraged; God is still on the throne. He will shake the borders of the universe if necessary to care for the industrious righteous. He has promised it and it will be done.

There is a passage in Psalms 37:25 that says, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."

Those temporarily forced to use food stamps should not consider themselves beggars but those making use of an available resource. Lift up your heads, do what you have to do to use every available resource and legal means to keep food on the table.

Don't give up, keep the the faith.

God will make a way; the righteous will not be forsaken.

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Friday, June 04, 2010

The devil or the umpire stole his perfect game

He pitched the perfect game, then the umpire stole it.

Everyone of us can can can relate to what happened this week to a Detroit pitcher who pitched the perfect game, only to have it stolen from him by an admitted bad call from the umpire. Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga had pitched the perfect game against Cleveland and he was down to the final out. But a botched call by an umpire blew his chance to make it into the history books as only the 21st person in MLB league history, and the first ever Detroit Tiger to pitch the perfect game.

The umpire reviewed the video and admitted he made a bad call; in tears he apologized. The fans protested, millions watched the video on the Internet; they protested too. Baseball's great names and legends protested, but the baseball commissioner refused to reverse the call. He said mistakes and errors in judgment by umpires is part of the game and a part of life.

Perfection. We all strive to achieve it but it always eludes us. We can't ever seem to get everything just the way we want. Sometimes we make it through an entire day perfectly, then at the last minute, something goes wrong and perfection eludes us. We set a straight path the inevitably gets a crook in it somewhere.

While perfection is a goal for us, it is elusive because we are imperfect by design. We live in an imperfect world and interact with imperfect people similar to ourselves. Bad people, bad calls, and mistakes in judgment mess up our lives, whether done by ourselves or forces outside of our control.

That's a bum deal.

Our joy is knowing that we don't have to be perfect in every way. The beauty of being a child of God is that we have an honest judge who will consider our situation in the end and because of the blood of Christ, reverse our imperfections and declare us sufficient to stand before God, worthy of heaven.

2 Timothy 4:8 (msg) says,".. he's an honest judge. He'll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming."

Had the baseball commissioner in Detroit had this passage in mind, he would have reviewed the video, accepted the umpire's statement of perfection and allowed Mr. Galarraga to take his place in history as the first Detroit pitcher to ever pitch a perfect game.

Thankfully, if the devil tries to steal our perfect day, we have a loving God who will do right by us and straighten it out.

We won't ever be perfect, but God will love us perfectly.

That's fine with me.

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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Faith in the Word on Sunday, live against it on Monday

A politician who loves the Word but votes against; can that be?

Often politicians express openly that they have great faith in God and follow the teachings of the bible. For example President Obama claims to be a Christian but he promotes the acceptance and expansion of homosexuality in the nation and endorses abortion, both of which are repeatedly called abominations in the word of God.

The latest example of political inconsistency came this week when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she believed "The Word" (she wouldn't say the word God) should drive public policy. Here's what she said:

“They ask me all the time, ‘What is your favorite this? What is your favorite that? What is your favorite that?’ And one time, ‘What is your favorite word?’ And I said, ‘My favorite word? That is really easy. My favorite word is the Word, is the Word. And that is everything. It says it all for us. And you know the biblical reference, you know the Gospel reference of the Word.”
“And that Word," Pelosi said, "is, we have to give voice to what that means in terms of public policy that would be in keeping with the values of the Word. The Word. Isn’t it a beautiful word when you think of it? It just covers everything. The Word."

Pelosi, a devout Catholic, says she believes in the Word but for political reasons she votes for abortion and promotes homosexuality, both of which are banned in the Word.

Jesus said of those who learn his words in Luke 6:48-49 "If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss."

If politicians actually put the word into public policy the nation would be a drastically different place.

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

He made an A in football, but failed everything else

He made an A in football, but failed all other subjects.

A young friend of mine is facing summer school again after earning grades of D and F in all of his subjects. He failed a full year of social studies, math, and science and made D's in all other subjects. However, he did earn an A in football.

The school will allow him to pass to the next grade if he enrolls in summer school for one of those failed subjects. He's tickled because he'll still get to play football in the 9th grade instead of spending another year in the 8th.

His mother wants to pull him out of athletics and focus on his academics but the coaches tell her that he is "athletically gifted" and should be allowed to play on the school's team. They are bending every rule to get him into high school so that this academically deficient student can demonstrate his athletic gifts and help the school win games.

The mother is frustrated. The son is disillusioned; he hears the coaches tell him that he can go all the way to the pros. He doesn't pay attention to the fact that nearly all NFL players are college graduates and all attended college to some length.

With D's and F's he won't get into college at all. Apparently that doesn't matter to some people, they plan to pass him along through his high school years. He will help the school win games but after he graduates, or gets too old, that's when they will dump him.

He loses.

My advice to her was to let him repeat the grade, pull him out of athletics altogether, and plunge him to a year long "catch up" crusade of special tutoring and instruction to help him get his head ready for life. It would be expensive and time consuming but by no means should she allow him to go forward without the proper academics. She didn't take my advice or similar advice from others.

Against her better judgment, the mother enrolled him in summer school to learn in a few days what he did not learn the entire year. She will also let him move into high school deficient in core subjects that will not get easier but harder. You see, the coaches convinced her that her son is athletically gifted and should not be deprived of his chance.

We have a responsibility to train and direct the paths of our children. They are children, they do not know what they need. We must train them to value knowledge, develop their talents and to apply themselves. If we don't do it when they are young, they will grow old having missed their mark in life.

This need for training is biblical. Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

The young man can't see how he is being used. When he wakes up a few years from now and recognizes what has happened to him, he will be frustrated and angry with the world, his mother and his high school coach.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Many didn't remember the military dead on Memorial Day

How many actually remembered the dead yesterday?

Yesterday was Memorial Day. It was designed for the nation to pay tribute to those who died in defense of our nation. Freedom comes with a very high price, for thousands that price was their lives.

During our worship service Sunday we offered special words of tribute to the families of slain veterans. We were surprised to see the number of families touched by military service, past and present. Memorial Day to them has a special meaning.

On yesterday there were many programs, ceremonies and tributes across the nation, but unfortunately they were dwarfed by millions who did not honor the fallen in any way. There were no flags placed on the graves of loved ones in their families. No flags flown outside of homes, even though they received one at the funeral of their loved one. There were no family reflections on the life and contributions of family members to this nation's history through military service. -To many Memorial Day was just a long weekend, which many began by taking off last Friday.

Beaches, shopping, parties and chilling out; that was Memorial Day for too many.

However, each tombstone in Arlington National Cemetery and other grave sites across the nation and beside distant battlefields reminds us of the price of our freedoms. It deserves respect. I didn't serve in the military. My brother was a Marine; one of my sons was a Marine. My father in law died in the military. Military service touched our family. (My wife calls herself an Army Brat.) We talk about her father's service and document his involvement all through the year.

We remember.

Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.


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