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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Flawed Justice

Isaiah 59:4 (NIV) 
No one calls for justice;
    no one pleads a case with integrity.
They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies;
    they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.

The occurrence of crime is nothing new. Mankind has been subject to unlawful acts for as long as history has been recorded. However, in recent times, the incidents of crime seem to be increasing. This condition is brought about by a number of factors, all of which can be attached to a few basic underlining circumstances. One being attitude and the other response.

The "West" as a whole and America in particular does not pursue "Justice." What it does instead is pursue a "System of Justice." The trouble with this system is that it has been corrupted to represent "Just Us", or more correctly "Just Them." Them, being an exclusive few who have taken the notion of privilege as theirs alone. In a quest for power and riches, the system has been manipulated to keep in place the values and position desired by a limited few. A position that from the outset has excluded the masses. In effect, justice has become a method of control rather than a design to foster fairness and equality. The result is the loss of well being for the sake of resource management.

How many times has a bill been stopped from passing in our legislature because one party wishes to control or stop another?

How many times has a clause been attached to a bill in an attempt to appease a special interest group and insure its passing?

Do the PAC's and lobbyist that court our elected officials operate with the overall interest of the public in mind?

These actions speak to an attitude that has more to do with desire than justice, and that desire looks more and more selfish in nature than it does as having the overall well being of the people at heart. The response generated can only be of equal and opposite nature and just as negatively inclined. 

In the book, "The Hidden Agenda of the Political Mind", the authors, Jason Weeden  and Robert Kurzban, point to an unspoken truth that's known but often not discussed.

"It's about people's interests. Identifying where people's interests lie is, in some cases, pretty easy. However, in other cases, while the key issue is still interests, identifying how particular policies advance people interests can be trickier." 

Another sad condition that underlines and sometimes defines the motivation of self interest is greed. Money, or the desire for the material things that it can buy, has become more sought after than the preservation of human life.  

Genesis 6:5 (NIV) 

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 

Isaiah 5:21 (NIV)

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. 

One cannot impart any skill to another without first having it in their possession. The result is a systematic influx of training fueled by a government and corporate structure that promotes desperation. We are taught to feel inadequate, and encouraged to act ruthlessly. There are no easy answers. as the problem didn't occur overnight... the solution won't be an instant one.

Crime, in the legal sense is an invention of man. this is evident by the way the law is created, amended, and changed. What is and is not a crime is based on attitude and perception, something that is in a constant state of change. Many of the things that are now considered crime were at one time unchallenged practice. 

The National Law Center, reports that around the country there has been a 60 percent increase in city-wide bans on camping in public, and a 119 percent increase in bans on sleeping in vehicles since 2011. “This is a trend,” says Foscarinis, (Executive Director, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.) “In many cities, there’s a misguided view that ‘doing something’ means passing a law that makes it a crime to be homeless. Clearly that doesn’t work.” (Read more here.

This is a clear case of attitude and the interests of a select few compounding a problem, making it worse. Having been homeless myself I can recount a few instances where the system added negative input. 

Deuteronomy 15:11 (KJV) 

For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

The media puts to use the best minds it can find to create depictions of what was and what could be, and more and more it uses violence to tell its story. Everywhere you look there is a proliferation of violence, and right in the middle of all it are our young people.  

“You turn on the television, and violence is there. You go to a movie, and violence is there,” “Reality is distorted. If you live in a fictional world, then the fictional world becomes your reality.” Dr. Emanuel Tanay, retired Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Wayne State University and a forensic psychiatrist for more than 50 years.
See more at:  Psychiatric Times. 

When you live in a fictional world it becomes very easy to believe that it's O.K. to do things that are not right, especially in the absence of morality. 

(ABC 7 Chicago Blue Line Incident)

The young man sought in this incident was turned in by his own mother. Please don't misunderstand. I make no reference to this mother, her decision, or her skills as a parent with this discussion. My statements are general and aimed toward the community as a whole. The family nucleus has been generally destroyed. There is a whole generation of children born of parents who were raised on movies, TV-sitcoms, and a thug life society. They accept gangs, drugs, and prison as the norm. It's hard to instill moral value to young people when so much negative input goes on around us everyday. Even the best of parents are fighting an uphill battle. I commend this mother. Her choice was a hard one, not made lightly. So many in our community are content with easy choices, made without much thought at all. Something that further compounds the problem. 

"The trouble with the laws these days is that criminals know their rights better than their wrongs."
~ Author Unknown ~

Our current system of justice is punitive in design, using punishment and retribution as its basis. This model tends to be one sided, favoring the supposed injured party. The identified guilty party is then made the victim of the retribution and punishment. It serves the interests of one side, and usually that side is the one with position, influence, power, and or money. At the same time it does nothing to address the root causes for the infractions, and may even, to some degree, further perpetuate those causes. Many believe the criminal justice system to be ineffective, unjust, and malicious, but little, if anything is being done to reforming or re-examination the system fundamentals. That stagnate posture has, in recent times, led some to accept oppressive behavior as a normal procedure. It becomes normal for those who carry out the crime and for those who are charged with enforcement. In any case it leads to more violence. 

Because of exposure in our society, which is a combination of institutional teaching, training in the home, and a lack of effective measures; some have decided to take matters into their own hands. All of us can be potentially affected, often with drastic results. 


There is a flaw prevalent in our communities. We've attempted to define righteousness while voiding the inclusion of moral value.Our desires are in need of balance in order that our temptations are kept at bay. Temptation must be filtered through morality, for without it, righteousness, for us, will never exist. Unfortunately, there exists a whole generation who themselves, don't have training in morality. It is from this generation that we are forced to elect our current and future law makers and those who enforce those laws. 

As of this writing there are just under 7.5 billion people on the planet (population). That translates to a lot of self-interest groups, each with differing opinions. Even if you discount the personal agendas, political parties, and other forms of ego; there would still be difficulty in getting everyone appeased, let alone to agree. As long as we insist in following our own self righteousness, we will invite an existence of struggle and difficulty. 

Our Heavenly Father is the creator of all that exists. On that list of things you'll find a good and perfect version of both justice and righteousness. I think it would behoove us all to wrap our heads around Paul's advice... That we present ourselves a sacrifice pleasing unto God. After all, it echo's the words of Christ, described in Luke's Gospel...  "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Jesus had one agenda of concern. He followed the "Will of God." Nothing got in His way, not even the grave. The last time I checked, He was also the only one who went from the grave straight to the throne room of Heaven. That should be reason enough to pay attention and do likewise.

Micah 6:8 (NIV)
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God. 


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Consider the Orphan and Fatherless Children

Job 29:12 (KJV)
Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. 

A story made popular in the news caught my eye. 

It speaks of a young man who cried in church for a family... he wanted to be adopted. There was a lot of attention, a media frenzy, as well as an out pouring of offers of adoption from individuals across the country. 
Reference: Lane DeGregory, Tampa Bay Times 

Now all of this is fine and dandy, but it still boils down to a lot of "Hoop-La." My questions are these...

Where was the attention or the offers before his plea became public? 

Why does the media (in general) wait for angles and public appeal before jumping on the bandwagon? 

 Why do we generally wait on the media?  

While I might be willing to give a pass to the media as an institution, I can not give a pass to the individual, especially not to those who follow Christ.

Everyday, as we go about our hustle and bustle, there are a countless number of children who languish without notice in the adoption system. For the most part we only recognize their existence on those occasions, such as this one, that spring to our attention in the news media. And in our attention - we seem quite comfortable in allowing ourselves not to notice or acknowledge their presence. 

America boasts of a Christian Heritage, something that is also being debated in recent times. For the sake of argument, lets say that "We Are" a nation of Christians. If Christian, then we are failing. We've failed because we have dropped the ball on the poor, the fatherless, and those that have none to help them. 

In private it's easy to say things like...

 It's not my fault.  
It's not my problem.  
It's none of my business.
They're not my children. 

All of these are excuses. They're excuses... being offered to justify an individual's lack of humanity. This is even more profoundly true of anyone, who, insists on being identified as Christian. 

Why are we so afraid to practice righteousness and perform those acts of kindness that we know to be good? 

Psalm 82:3 (KJV)
Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. 

To be fare, I know full well that not every person is in a position to accommodate a full scale adoption, I don't expect everybody to be. However, you still can't excuse that fact that there are way too many who are able, but don't lift a finger. There are Christians who possess the resources, both financial and logistic, and in a lot of cases the mental fortitude necessary. What they lack is commitment. It is to them that I offer this debunking of the excuses mentioned earlier. Hopefully my expansion will give us all some things to consider from a spiritual perspective. Maybe a few of us can find the encouragement to go further in committing to those who are hurting... "Our Children."  

Psalm 71:17-18 (KJV)
O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.
Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. 

It's not my fault.

Oh really, are we really going to try an hide behind this as an excuse? It's not about finding fault, it's not a blame game. OK. so you didn't do anything to bring about the conditions or circumstances that went into this tragic outcome... that may be true. Still, I don't think it fully lets you off the hook. If we are aware of conditions and circumstances that carry the potential for harm, can we comfortably turn our heads and ignore them? While we may view this as far removed and not affecting us personally, it still affects someone. Someone is hurting and feeling pain. What happened to the simple values of compassion, a quality known to be a part of Christ's character. Should it not also be the character of all who would be "Christ Follows?" 

Lamentations 3:32-33 (KJV)
But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.
For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.


It's not my problem.

Poison in the Kool-aid is a problem. The fact that you're not drinking it might make it slightly less of a problem for you... but it's still a problem. The world we live in, our world, comes with its own set of problems. Problems that present themselves in our lifetime, that makes them "Our Problems." They are a problem for the whole of mankind, and neglecting them only passes them on to a new generation in addition to the set of problems that will come to that generation in their time. Stop for a moment and consider what we presently face. Everything from "Global Warming" to "World Hunger", these issues exist because others passed the buck in neglecting them. Issues that go unresolved only fester and become worse.  

Philippians 2:14-15 (KJV)
Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 

It's none of my business. 

Happiness is a joint project. More so, Jesus Himself desired that our joy be full. How can we truly be happy when those around us are miserable? Everybody has needs, and among those needs are those which can not be supplied by the person in need. In addition to the need itself, they need assistance. Making life better is the business of us all, and we need to get busy making the effort. It will require cooperation because no one person is quite up to the task alone. 

Luke 2:49 (KJV)
And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? 

They're not my children. 

Careful, I wouldn't be so quick to hold such a rigid point of view! We belong to the "Race of Man" and all children are the children of men. We may not have brought them into the world physically, but they are the only children we will experience during our lifetime... that alone gives us responsibility concerning them. They will grow up, live in our communities, become our neighbors, our co-workers, our good citizens, or the criminal element that we abhor. Whatever they become depends on how we regard them now. As Christians we have been charged with training them in the way they should go. With supplying them with the value of godly principles and the understanding of "God's Will." All of this not withstanding, children still fall under the banner of those included in the "Great Commission" carrying the potential to become a "Child of God." Do we really want to ignore a member of God's family by not including them in our own? 

Mark 10:14 (KJV)
But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

In closing I encourage us all to consider that Our God is a merciful God. He takes up the cause of the neglected and forgotten, always seeking the lost. His favor is with His servants, those that take up "His Righteous Cause." I urge you to remember that as "Followers of Christ", we serve Him and not our own agendas or desires. Let us therefore be diligent, making an effort to ease the pain of those who are hurting... "Especially the Children." 

For a better understanding of Christian Character and being a Disciple with the Love of God... 
Read my book "The Jesus Command." 


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Most Important Celebration

Twice each year Christians celebrate dates associated with events in the life of Christ. The significance of these events remains a key foundation for Christianity. The birth of our savior would be made meaningless had not the second event occurred. It is the most important single event in all of history.

Three days, mark for all mankind, an unparalleled turning point in the universal order. The death, and resurrection of Jesus, changed the status of man and his relationship to God forever. Without this, Christ would be nothing more than another holy man. With it, we have a believable assurance toward the gift of salvation. All men can be drawn unto Him because He was lifted up. The price for sin has been paid, once and for all; death has lost its sting. No longer is it necessary to make sacrifice to atone for sin; Christ is our atonement. He has done what no mere man could ever do; being the unblemished sacrifice, perfect in every way.

To help understand the real essence of what took place, I am sharing these posts of early essays, written back when I first started my public writing. They still hold my feelings and have meaning for this celebration of Christ's Resurrection.

The Gift (April 15, 2006)

John the Baptist was in prison, and probably knew that he was going to die. He had preached the news of Jesus, that he would come to set things right, The New King. This same Jesus didn't seem to have an army. Instead He hung out with the poor, the lepers, and other publicans. Having doubts he sent his disciples to get some answers. When asked about it Jesus gave simple instructions “Go and tell him what you have seen." We must all keep in mind that often times we won't receive what we expect. However; what we do get is a hundredfold better than what we need. Jesus came into the world at the Will of the Father. His very life was an act of LOVE, and a benefit for all mankind. The death and resurrection of Christ was necessary for forgiveness. Had judgment been rendered with the first coming, all mankind would have been lost. "For all have sinned", so who could have been saved. Jesus died so that we might live. The power of His Holy blood and it alone gives us the chance at redemption. It was not the power and might, that John the Baptist sought, but the humility, in the selfless act of sacrifice. This was the unexpected gift of LOVE that was, and is the most powerful gift of all. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)

As we attend service, Spend time with our families, or otherwise celebrate this time... I urge you to reflect on what a great and personal gift was given us by Jesus Christ, with this life changing event.

Reason (July 6, 2006)

Genesis 3:6-7 (NIV)
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Selfish... or selfless, it's a question of position. Which position a person takes is one thing, but which one they hold is another ball of wax. The word desire is introduced at the very start in the story of man. God imparted it as part of man's original package. In the beginning our desires were led by God. We followed His will and all our desire was good. The free will of man had the influence of God, who could only instill righteousness. As a result of this, man's will and the will of God, were one and the same. There was perfect fellowship. God's plan for our lives was always to give us and allow us the very best. In the beginning our choice was focused on His perfect will.

One of the tools of Satan, used in spiritual warfare is temptation. It is probably his most effective and most often used. We see above that it was the one used in the fall of man. Temptation was used to corrupt the will and desire of man. Satan only had to play with the desire that was already in place. Once the fruit had been eaten, the perfect influence of God was no longer the only voice that man would hear. The groundwork for ongoing temptation, or evil desire had been set. Satan, looking to rob us of our focus, found a way to corrupt God's plan. He added to our ability to choose. With his deception we had to contend with reason, long before we were ever ready to handle it. Every time we make a choice we try to attach reason to the choice we make. Even when it's a bad choice we want to justify it. Reason for us is really confusion. We need the wisdom of God, and the help of the Holy Spirit, in order to obtain righteousness. This is the key to salvation, to accept Christ as a savior. Without Him in our lives, to strengthen our commitment to His will... we fall back on our reason. Remember, most reasons are nothing but dressed up excuses. It's like this, when He comes, what will you stand on... His righteousness... or your reason!!

Jesus knew the power of man's desire as well as what would result if we were left to the temptations of Satan. In His example of prayer, He teaches us to ask our Father in Heaven: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil..." Jesus knew that the evil temptations of Satan would come to influence our power of desire.

John 17:15 (NIV)
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

There are some very good reasons for staying in this world, for one there are others that must hear the message of Christ's salvation. Those who follow Christ and bring that message must learn to resist the evil one. This corrupt place is the best training ground for both Satan's tactics and following the direction of the Holy Spirit.

All is not lost, for God is still in control. Satan corrupted man, not God! We were redeemed and given the gift of salvation, if we only believe. To believe in Christ is to trust in his Word. After all, Jesus is the Word. When we study His word... and I do mean study, we learn to hear and recognize His voice again. As in any relationship, choice of involvement is key. You must want and desire to be there. If you make wanting a relationship with God... YOUR REASON... you have the best choice possible. This is what reconciliation to the fellowship of God through Christ Jesus is all about. Things can be restored as they were in the beginning.

John 3:16-19 (NIV)"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

It all comes down to your reasons behind the God given power of desire that you have. What will be your choice? God Himself is asking the question... think hard about your answer.

1 John 5:18 (NIV)
We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.

1 John 5:19 (NIV)
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV)
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

I hope and pray each and every day that you all find "GOOD REASON" to choose life. It's in the Will of God.... found in His Word. Your place in eternity should be all the "REASON" that you need.


When I was a boy in my father's house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said, "Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

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Galatians 6:10 (NIV)

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

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1 Corinthians 3:6 (NIV)

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