Remember Not to Forget

This year Memorial Day seems more real to me than in times past. Perhaps the reason is personal research regarding twentieth century events, and watching the American Heroes Channel whenever docs on war are on the tube. In every conflict throughout the twentieth century, more lives were lost that in all known wars on record.

I honor every person who has served our country and lost their lives, and those who served at all as well. God bless their memory, may their sacrifice never be forgotten.

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.
Winston Churchill

I have this foreboding sense of days to come and potential looming wars to come. Anger and hatred are newsworthy, networks or media from various sources bombard us with possibilities of conflict, their escalation daily. Within our nation there are conflicts just shy of turning deadly violent, but not portrayed as such. We really learned zero from history though warned not to do so.I believe pride has told us we are too smart to repeat historical mistakes, which I believe is laughable.

Keep the memory of the fallen alive by refusing to allow politicians and leaders at any level to stop giving away guaranteed rights our men and women gave their life for. Freedoms are in jeopardy, mainly, religious freedoms, freedom to bear arms, not to forget freedom of speech, which seems only to apply to the press anymore. The rest of us must be politically correct not offend anyone.

We seem to drop all of our differences and prejudices in times of national threats, i. e. 9/11/2001. We come together across multicultural lines as Americans, grieving lost American lives, you know, our family. I would love to see that togetherness thrive in our country, but I don’t foresee that ever happening.

Politicians, ethnic leaders, and media outlets are determined to keep unity at bay, increase their personal power, fanning the flame of discord without impunity. I believe their speech doesn’t match their actions, they want us to forget those who lost their lives for freedoms they freely give away, pointing out opposition’s faults to conceal their own.

Globally speaking, there are many conflicts alive and well. This is not a surprise however. Foretold a couple thousand years ago:
Jesus, questioned by his disciples about the times of the end said, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation shal rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places”…. Matt.24:6-7

World-wide conflicts have always been. Yet from the twentieth century until now, never has so many soldiers and civilians died from such. Through in ethnic, political, and religious purging by Mao, Stalin, the killing fields of southern Asia, etc. The numbers are incredible. don’t forget to remember, not just on memorial day, but when you pray, when you vote.

Now, how do you say this…Happy memorial day? Have a nice holiday? How about REMEMBER.

Ask For Help

When I first entered into recovery for alcoholism, I found it nearly impossible to ask for help for any reason. I would ask God to help me without thinking twice. But not people. What I did not know was how God used people to help me in response. I still struggle to ask others for help for things in general, even when they offer to help. This is a real character defect I must deal with.

My understanding changed as so many in AA reached out to help. I knew then that I needed what they had to offer. Even greater was the understanding of how my prayers were not wasted words. God really cared, really heard my petition, really loved me. Today when I pray to Him, I know He will answer.

I read accounts in the Bible regarding prayer. Two in the Old Testament stand out in my mind. The passage in 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, gathered the nation to ask God’s help as they were besieged by a massive army. In Isaiah 36-37, Hezekiah, king of Judah sometime later, had a similar experience. Read these awe-inspiring stories. Both give direction to praying in unity, in desperation, in faith that God can and will rescue if we only ask.

Some may say, that was then, or think, what a nice fairy tale. So perhaps an event in recent history may be more convincing. Have you ever heard about the story behind the story of Dunkirk, during WWII ? The British army, numbering nearly one-quarter of a million, along with french allies, were backed to the sea, with eight hundred thousand German soldiers closing in for the kill. Hitler was bent on annihilating the Brits.

Winston Churchill earlier, had called for a national day of prayer. I heard a woman, then a young girl account how the people responded, though unaware at the time how dire the army’s situation was.

“I remember my mother and I walking to town to the church, to pray, asking God’s help for our nation, the military, and our leaders for guidance. When we neared the church, I saw people kneeling on the sidewalk outside of the church, and along the sidewalks, for all of the churches were packed with praying people.”

No one knows why, and this is still being discussed by historians, Hitler suddenly decided to halt his charging army, and give the soldiers a little R and R…highly uncharacteristic. Simultaneously, a British leader had a flashing thought…let’s gather every boat available, no matter how small, to rush across the English Channel and rescue the soldiers.
Please don’t insult God and say, “what a coincidence!” The two events were a result of a people asking God’s help in unity, like Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah did, as well as accounts throughout scripture.

We all have an army of problems and mountains of impossibilities facing us in life. We do not have to fight alone, often not at all when we call to God for help. We have to ask. James 1 says, ‘you have not because you ask not’…or ask selfishly, (amiss). Jesus said ask and you shall receive, or say nothing and receive it.

So that’s it. Drinking was prolonged from my resistance to ask for help. Life and freedom came from humility enough to ask God and others. Great victories are realized when we have the courage to humbly ask God to fix our situations. Start asking, watch for results, be open to receive help from others.

One other thing. The times seem extremely dark, our nation is totally divided and double minded concerning right and wrong, politics, education, et al…A mountain of troubles are in view. We need to pray for our nation as never before. Please do so everyday.

Watergate’s Gift to Us

The events of 1972’s Watergate scandal left a dark stain on American politics…putting it mildly. The truth is, that incident ruined political careers, sent men with unblemished records to prison, pressured Richard Nixon into retirement. Believe it or not, something wonderful came out of that dastardly affair.

Chuck Colson was one of those men that ended up in prison. He passed from this life in 2012, but not before the second part of his life shook the gates of darkness good, really good. He became a follower of Christ feeling the weight of the scandal, his spirit broken, wanting answers, or wanting to die.

That conversion was followed by his starting prison ministries and angel tree which is a program for the children of prisoners. He authored many books, held a daily radio commentary, began the Colson Center…to name a few of his accomplishments after coming to faith in Jesus. (There is more to say, but I’m trying to shorten posts for readability.)

What Satan meant for evil for Colson, God meant for good. Who knows the mind of God? Like Paul wrote in Romans 11:33; God’s ways are past finding out! And Isaiah 55:8-9, God declares His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts higher than our thoughts. Mortal minds could never conceive of a plan like this. Thousands upon thousands of lives have been changed by….Watergate?

It really is not that scandal transforming lives, but rather the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of one willing to give their gift, risking embarrassment and scorn, falling on the grace of God in total surrender.

 How does this relate to recovery from addictions to drink and drugs, or anything else?You can allow your past to entrap you for the rest of your life if you feel God couldn’t or wouldn’t possibly use your story to bring hope to others. Chuck’s story is a lesson of hope for you. God may have used Chuck’s prominence, but throughout church history, God has taken ordinary people and done extraordinary things. Be recklessly willing to give your brokenness for God’s glory and perhaps someone may be writing about you.

Merry Christmas.

Time for Tearing Your Clothes

In my last entry, I wrote about mixed messages people hear from Christian leaders. The war within the body of Christ is raging, while the world is spiraling downward. Christian leaders want to throw stones at Joel Osteen and the “prosperity message” as though that message is destroying people’s salvation, and they are the holy hammer intent on stopping this heresy. Poppycock. Before I entered into recovery from drug use and alcoholism, I stumbled onto a TV show, (Joel), and heard the message that God loved me, He wasn’t angry with me, and I wept, and repented.

I shortly thereafter went to recovery and returned to the Father like the prodigal I was. I also heard someone at my home praying the “sinner’s prayer” while watching that program, and gave their heart to Christ. Many I have talked to have done likewise. Like Joel O or hate him, people come to Christ through his ministry, and he does not talk against his accusers.

My message to these men who feel they have the whole council of God and feel “led” to steer us away from prosperity preachers is…just preach the Gospel, not your gospel.

I also receive dozens of emails that point out America’s fall from grace. These emails want to correct this country spiritually, steer us back to the way it began, godly and moral. I see the point and truly believe God directed the founding and the morality of the countries fathers. The problem is that they were not all godly and some owned slaves, and we don’t want to return to that way, ask any African-American.

These emails also end with the fear of what will happen to you on judgment day if you don’t forward the email…“if you are not ashamed of Christ, you’ll forward this,” they warn. I delete them. My salvation is not based on passing emails nor am I ashamed of Jesus. Many are, so the emails continue on.

The Great Provocation
Why America is on a moral downward trend has more to do with Christians than our godless government. Christians have arrived at the same place Israel arrived at when the spies returned from the land of promised and made this statement:

“But the men that went up with him (Caleb) said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.” Numbers 13:29 KJV

Okay, God had delivered Israel out of Egypt with showing His power. God opened up the Red Sea and drowned the pursuing army trying to return them to slavery. So they are afraid of those people in Canaan? They must have decided that God was leaving the rest up to them, no longer helping them.

I want to tear my clothes in grief over how we provoke God by doubting He has become limited with age. He no longer heals or prospers. Confessing the Word is heresy and will not bring you favor. The gifts of the Spirit passed with the apostles, we have the Bible today. God is neatly packaged and very predictable. Paul wrote for us to covet earnestly the best gifts, but rather that we prophesy. But that is over. I wonder, if God withdrew these gifts, did He withdrawal salvation too? I really wish He could make up His mind.

I want to respect everyone’s beliefs. Sorry if I sound cynical, I don’t know it all. I have had it with our chasing after prosperity ministers and uppity know-it-all preachers. We only need to see Jesus, love Him, serve people He died for. I choose to believe nothing is too small or too great for God. I certainly do not want to provoke His anger by saying He can’t or He no longer will.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

Mixed Messages

Bear with me a moment. This post is moving away from recovery to address new followers of Christ regarding messages they may hear among the “warring tribes” in Christendom. Please read with an open heart and mind. I would love to say something to steer you clear of the foolish way “leaders” tend to pick seeds off of the strawberries.

Some of these leaders have used the truth, even twisted it, to play an age-old game of “I’m right, and you are the devil.” They claim to be protecting you from false doctrines because they are right, having God boxed neatly into their doctrinal truths, how He works, how He thinks, and what He is doing. The truth is, these “protectors” divide the body of Christ, and make a killing doing so.

Paul had a problem dealing with “Judaizers” that infiltrated the early days of the church. According to Paul, they were teaching a different gospel…no gospel at all. In fact, their gospel was to take followers of Christ and make them Jews instead.
“You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.” Gal.1:7-8 (NLT)
The grace received from Christ was being distorted by certain Jews telling the new believers they had to follow the law of Moses, including male circumcision, or their faith is false. Paul was broken by this deception. And wrote the Galatians to try to correct them.
Jesus had the same issues with those who Pharisees who were constantly following Him around trying to fix Jesus’ doctrines to agree with theirs. Neither Jesus, nor Paul wrote a best-selling book to protest these “word cops” opposition to them. They didn’t have a website to expose the evil beliefs. But had that been possible in their day, the Pharisees and the Judaizers would have such.
Listening to the “Bible Answer Man” (BAM) on my XM station, a man called in saying he didn’t know who was right or how to believe. He said he thought Joel Osteen was a good man, but the BAM says Joel perverts the gospel with his message. BAM even wrote a book in an attempt to “warn” believers how evil Joel, and other ministers are, i.e. Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyers, etc. BAM doesn’t see what God sees…not even close. Dividing the family isn’t what Jesus prayed for in the garden before His death. The spirit of the Pharisees is alive and well.
Leave Joel alone. I don’t know how many have come to Christ under Joel’s ministry. If you feel the way BAM does, check your heart. I am not endorsing any ministry, just Christ. I want us as a group to not play into the hands of the enemy, bringing reproach on Jesus, and driving the lost away. I have heard every argument. I found the best approach to questionable ministers is praying for them. Has BAM got to his knees for Osteen? Has he missed a meal or two to seek God’s direction regarding him?
 I have noticed Joel nor others under attack by their brethren, do not bother responding…cudos. That is how Jesus reacted. They just go forward doing what they feel God wants them to do.
If you want a proper Biblical response go to Acts 5, read what Gamaliel, a Pharisee and teacher told the others, determined to kill the disciples spreading the gospel:
“So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if this is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourself fighting against God.” Acts 5:38-39 (NLT)
I don’t expect the BAM to even know this post exists. If he did I would have to ask this question: If you want to attack evil, why not write a book about addictions? That is evil personified in our society, but in truth, those books don’t sell really well.
Are you tired of the war within the body of Christ? Say what you think, make a comment.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

Stormy Weather

With all of the beauty visible on this blue marble we live on, weather conditions can quickly turn beauty into ugliness. Tsunamis, cyclones, hurricanes, all have horrendous power, and can turn our lives upside down in seconds.

 In the realm we can’t see, a massive storm is gathering to change the face of our lives. I, and others that are in the thick of this storm have watched this force consume lives without regard. Addictions run across classes, destroying families, bankrupting wealthy, robbing good minds from rational thought, while most people sit quietly comfortable, until they are paid a visit or affected personally in some way.

Maybe, like all other evils that come and go, this storm may pass too.  Tell that to the families of the 350 people who will die of heroin overdose today. Give that info to the families of those killed on the highway by a drunk driver this holiday season.The attitude, “it’s their decision to take drugs,” is the wrong way to think if you say you care. Our approach and attitude like this has helped us arrive where we are today…in the thick of this silent storm.

What should be done?
Change. Whether we are directly or indirectly involved with someone using drugs or are alcoholic, we may feel it is wrong to interfere. Interfere anyhow. If we think it is wrong to speak out, speak out. If you don’t believe in prayer, pray. Storms don’t care who they destroy. We should rage against the storm when everyone says, “you can’t, it won’t work!”

Jesus was sound asleep as he and the disciples crossed over the Sea of Galilee. A major storm hit as they sailed. These men were seasoned fishermen, and knew this storm could destroy them. They woke Jesus up and said, “don’t you care we’re about to die?” He said,“where’s your faith?” He Rebuked the wind and sea, and there was calm sailing the rest of the way. (Luke 8:22-25) He could sleep through the storm because He is the Master of the storms…all of them, even ours.

Where is our faith? The situation is dire. We need God’s help to show us what to do. One thing for certain, something must be done. Pray, be aware that the storm here.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

Hope

Hope, is the forgotten virtue of the alcoholic, addict, over-eater, the couch potato, the individual fixed in their dead-end job, etc. Hope is used by so many of us in an off-handed way that when we say to another, “I hope you have a nice Holiday Season,” and it is forgotten as fast as it was heard. I am guilty of passing conversation like that. In reality, I really want those I converse with to have a good day or a great holiday, I hope they do.
 

Hope is missing in so many people’s lives. Why? Various reasons perhaps. Such as sickness, jobless without prospect, broken relationships, to name a few. I have mentioned this before, and feel it worth repeating. The happiest children in the world are in, of all places, Nigeria. These children face danger daily, possible genocide of the Christians from the Islamic groups that say convert or die. These children are happy because they have hope of a better tomorrow. 

 
The most unhappy children in the world are right here in the USA. They seem to have everything, why are they unhappy? Because they have nothing to look forward to…everything they want is within reach. 

“Hope deferred, (unrelenting disappointment), makes the heart-sick, but when desire comes, (a longing comes true), it is a tree of life.” Prov.13:12
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Attend recovery meetings and observe the broken entering for their first few meetings. These people are hopeless, beaten down, and walked on, by their own doing. They think nobody loves them, even God…they appear hopeless. But by showing up and at least giving recovery a try, the lights eventually may come on for them, as for so many others.

 
You do not have to have addictions, or overwhelming problems of any kind to be hopeless. Having no purpose, no ambition, and failures have left you totally defeated. You need that tree of life. That tree is the tree of death that Jesus died on, but life for anyone and looks to Him in hope. 

To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. HOPE means hoping when everything seems hopeless.” G.K. Chesterton

Prior to the first advent of Christ, the people of God looked forward to the “Hope of Israel,” the promised One who would appear. Their hope appeared in Jesus, but that wasn’t what they expected. We still look at Him for hope today as we look back at what He accomplished through his death, burial, and resurrection. 

 
By our believing on Him, and inviting Him into our heart for a personal advent, He arrives and our hope is realized, a real tree of life living and changing us continually. This is a mystery to the unbeliever that is hopeless. HOPE is found in Him. Just ask Him, he will come to you too, and then we can together look for to the second advent, the “blessed hope!” 

“Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:13 

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all, Merry Christmas!

Osmosis

How we learn best is through our diligence in study and desire to know. I harp often on my sites about the importance of doing whatever it takes to stay clean and sober, and about the importance of teaching our children to steer clear of drugs and alcohol. Schools, churches, or activities will not prevent their falling prey to this worldwide epidemic. They do not learn by osmosis, you and I must teach them….diligently.

THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO MY KIDS
Samuel is a well-known character in the Bible. He was a judge of Israel who anointed the first king, Saul, and then David when Saul constantly disobeyed. One would think;
“Samuel heard from God directly, his life and family must have been near perfect.”
Not so, this is in the records:
“It came to pass that when Samuel was old, he made his sons judges over Israel….But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.” 1 Sam. 8:1,3  
Just because his children’s father heard directly from God, you would think the flow of wisdom and judgment would continue with his children. Samuel obviously thought so. He felt they had learned by osmosis and gave them position to rule over the people. His predecessor Eli thought the same way. His sons, were plain old evil priests that committed adultery with young women coming to the place of worship. In both cases, the sons did not follow example, or in Samuel’s case, godliness, and learn from just being there with dad.
WHY WORRY, WE’RE GOOD PEOPLE
How do you teach your child in a way they will stay true to right living and reject wrong living? Believe it or not, people today do not think things are wrong that were wrong a generation ago. Children are taught “subjective” truth, with no absolutes. “Maybe it is true for you, but not necessarily for everyone,” is taught in schools, and believed by many of their idols.
Okay the Bible is true for me, but not for you? Then it is okay for you to covet your neighbor’s wife and have an adulterous affair with her, because it is right for you?  Then it is okay for her husband to find out, and shoot you dead right in front of your family, since it is right for him. Then it is okay for your children to avenge you, kill him since it is right for them. No absolute truth? No, this is wrong for everyone
We must tell the story to our children. We must be honest without graphic details about our lives. Telling your children your past, how you fell, why you fell, is extremely important to keep them from doing the same. Taking them to church is important, but useless without your reinforcement of what is learned there. Watching CSI on TV, expecting they see how the drug dealer loses out, doesn’t keep them from trying drugs. That’s expecting them to learn from osmosis.
“You shall teach them (the laws) diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deut. 6:7
They never forget when you teach them to ride a bike. They always remember the birthday parties you throw for them. They remember the time you spend talking to them, reading them a book, and special things you do for them. They probably forget sitting in a room watching TV with no conversation. They will not forget you telling them what to stay away from in life if you do it diligently. They may hear, you may save them and yourself many sorrows.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

What the Future Holds?

Grandson Rowen
Grandson Rowen
Greeting new babies into the world remains one of the pleasures of life. To think after I leave this life, my posterity continues. Yet, my joy can be interrupted by questions as to what will become of them, what they place importance on, what they will think and believe.With our government shutting down, through their leadership of finger-pointing, name calling, and with major gaps in philosophical differences on how this nation should be ran, my concern for their future is grave. What their parents teach them now will determine their values, and dreams.

My concern is not about the parents ability to provide food, clothing, and shelter. My concern is directed by my own short-comings in how I raised my children. Hindsight is 20/20, I have a clear view how emphatic I was to see the kids raised to be popular, or athletes, maybe even famous, was in error. 

It was my entering into recovery from alcoholism, by God’s grace and the help of so many in AA, that helped me see the importance of integrity, and thinking about purpose, not having a constant party. I see the necessity to raise children with a foundation base of morals that guide them to good living, as the passages above teach.

We all can hope they find their way. We can trust that the parents will see that they must be responsible enough to see society’s slide into immoral thought and actions, and direct their children away from secular thought,“if it feels good, do it.” If it feels good, it is probably wrong. We also may hope that parents pay close attention to what their kids learn, and question the education constantly. All areas of a child’s rearing needs directed, not taught by osmosis, as previous generations have learned. Daily teaching a child is tedious, but necessity in today’s world.

Will They Know God?
This disturbs me the most. The majority of my baby-boomer generation, were raised in church. Ensuing generations have gradually become less and less interested in God, and especially in church attendance. Why? Lay the blame where you wish, but the reality is what is believed and taught in their home. I know not to expect a church, or a school to feed my children a proper diet. That is not their job. Parents are to provide food. In the same respect, the parents should provide their spiritual food, and teach them about God. Will they?

I could go on, but I won’t. I don’t even know if this post matters in the mind’s of  readers. As my generation was well “churched,” they were also riddled with drug addiction, alcoholism, sexual promiscuity, and the generation that stopped taking their children to church. What a legacy.

Prayer is needed. Pray daily for your children, but pray that you can have enough spiritual stamina, and understanding to teach them integrity ahead of materialism, as well as other virtues that guide them to a good “God-centered” life.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

 


Thanks to You, Its Working

Do secularist really want to see Christianity removed from society entirely? Many people think so. (Secularism is to assert the right to be free from religious rule and teachings.) Perhaps they merely want Christianity changed to something more palatable to their taste. That seems more realistic. Even most atheist and agnostics, (secularists), know that if Christianity was suddenly gone, the effect would be profound. How so?

An example, when catastrophes occur, Christian groups like, Matthew 25 ministries, Operation Blessing of CBN, the Samaritan’s Purse, and scores of church groups rally to help victims long before government help arrives. Even people opposed to Christ will gladly receive the help, the prayers and well-wishes too.

Catholic and Protestants alike are responsible for inner-city help, feeding hungry and sheltering homeless. The volunteers needed, and the donations to keep them afloat, come from their members, for the most part. That is fine with secularists. It saves the government money, and non-religious donations can flow to other “charities” like the United Way, that handles “population control” with the greater portion of their donations. (you may chuckle here)

I don’t believe they really want Christianity removed to the history books. Some do, it is obvious. Richard Dawkins, author of the “God Delusion,” has been leading a campaign in Great Britain, Europe, and now the US, to de-baptize those who no longer believe as Christians.

These who want Christianity wiped out aren’t history buffs at all. Christianity, when its followers have been under persecution, has always grown exponentially. It is when all is well in the world, and no one opposes believers, watch out! They become complacent, and tend to blend in with society and non-religious lifestyles.

I say, keep up the good work. Keep attacking religious freedom and proving how intolerant “intelligent” can truly be. Insisting that religious pictures, or ten commandments be removed from public places, claiming it is offensive, will back-fire eventually. Those ten commandments are frightening. “Children may see them, and adhere to them, then what?”, one lawyer seeking their removal said.

I know that Christians today are hardly identifiable. Fewer stand for their beliefs. Mainly because they do not understand their own belief and its implications. This is not something you can blame on the secularists, the post-modernists, or amoral people. But if they persecute some more, in fact, if they heat up the opposition to Christ. We will all begin to see a revival of true discipleship grace this land.

We who follow Jesus, should not display our disdain for those opposing Him. Leave that to the radio talk-shows. If Christians do their part, and learn what Jesus is about, you can bet secularists will do theirs. Then we can truly say to all, “Thanks to You, It’s Working.”

Do you think they will succeed in changing Christianity to their liking?

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.