A Nation Divided

I get miffed watching politicians teamed with nightly news literally tearing our nation apart. The issues we think are causing the division are not at the root of what will end horribly bad. It has to be for every individual to take an honest look, a deeper look, at what drives this division. That means stop listening to who says what that you agree so much with, and listen to the other side without judgment. I know that is hard to do. And chances are extremely good you will feel the same as you do now.

I believe people today are easily led by their traditional trust in their party. One side insists they are the working man’s party, but you cannot prove it by looking at their history, certainly not the direction they are going. The other party can easily say they are for all people, but their methodology of proving their point is obscure to say the least. Lacking empathy in their tact-less speech in the past did that party harm winning converts to their cause. Today, both parties try to out smart-mouth the other. It really sounds like school kids fighting, “AM NOT! ARE TOO!” And the media stirs the pot of anger daily.

FYI, the media is losing the trust of the people, as many projected after the last election. They did, at first, following the Presidential election, admit they really needed to change their ways to re-gain trust. But they could not resist being able to report what their party, (yes there is bias), was attempting to do, or undo, the election results. The other side couldn’t stay out of the fight having to defend the winner. (My memory of the President’s party not standing behind him at first is vivid. That changed.

Finally, we had someone stood up to all of the politicians, that had given in to other governments, out of fear, or out losing payoffs under the table as many believe. Undoing the Iran non-deal, adding more sanctions for non-compliance to nations tyrannically led, holding money back from Palestinians for their violent outbursts against Israel, and last but not least, the Great Wall of Texico. The President has some blame, tweeting, fanning the flame. But his non presidential sounding speeches are fine by me. I’m tired of people trying to sound like they think people want them to sound, if that makes sense.

Keeping legitimate folks out is not the reason we are told. But it does, and the reasons don’t matter to those opposed to the wall. It should matter to the working man. All I have been hearing from the working man is “they are taking our jobs!” But they still vote for the party that is all for illegals entering the country and receiving benefits they cannot get without paying for. Strange. I am certainly not against immigration, but it has to follow the rule of law. If we are going to not have the rule of law, then it is time for the gun control advocates to hold their piece… literally.

I want Americans to stop fighting like Christian sects over small issues that don’t matter. I want Americans to stop listening to nightly news and daytime panels who are totally not qualified to campaign for any party, or be personal psychologists for families. I know, I can want for a lot of things but at the top of my “want” list is that we are united as a people and we learn to make our choices on who and what we believe by our own research and guided by values. We can stop telling our military thank you for your service if we are bent on letting politicians and media undo what so many fought and died for.

Get In, Get Out, or Take a Seat

So I sidelined myself for a bit. I had good reasons. After all I am a busy man and I don’t believe what I write has had much, if any effect on others. Am I whining? Yep, a regular cry baby. Seriously, I have felt this inward tug to get back at it on a regular basis in hope of winning some to the Kingdom of Christ, or helping some find sobriety, both through these simple writings.

It really comes down to this. I watched the movie Tombstone several times. I am a dialog guy and a guy that likes to see good win out over evil. Are you like that? The OK Corral scene, Wyatt Earp dodging bullets yells at the cowardly Ike Stanton and blares, “GET IN THE FIGHT OR GET OUT OF THE WAY! I remembered this scene and now see my own cowardice in not getting in this war we are fighting much sooner.  I hate to offend after all.  You may be unaware we are fighting, or there is even a war in the first place. Here’s the field of battle:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual host of wickedness in the heavenly places….Eph. 6:12

It’s brutal out there as some of you know from what is going on with the mud pie fights the dems and reps are having, while issues go ignored, i.e. healthcare, the infrastructure, addicts found dead daily. Don’t choose to hate either side, but pray for them with sincerity. Or refuse to pray for them from your intense hatred of them. I’d bet you probably didn’t vote anyway, now you can hate me too…have a seat please.

Others say, you’re nuts! You honestly believe there are forces controlling events? It’s that lying President, or it’s those liberal lefties. Whatever, take a seat next to the intense haters, I ‘ll get with you later. And keep your hands to yourself.

Now those ready to do battle, gird your loins. Don’t hold on to any grudges of any kind. Pray for opposition you face in life. 1 Tim 2:1-2 gives you an idea of who we should pray for, and we already know to pray for our personal needs and the innumerable requests on social media. Speaking of media, man, do they need prayer. They have more to do with our national division that any political branch. Anyhow lets fight this spiritual warfare boldly, in confidence and knowing the time is short. Thanks!

The Great Debate

The day finally arrived for the debate regarding the origins of the universe by the two best known opponents. Bill Nye the “science guy” and Ken Hamm, founder of the Creation Museum finally have had the opportunity to present their arguments of how the universe came to be. Was it by accident or by design? In the area I live in, the debate is to be aired Sunday eve on our local station WXIX.

“Evolution is a theory, and it’s a theory that you can test. We’ve tested evolution in many ways. You can’t present good evidence that says evolution is not a fact.” Bill Nye
“Only Christianity and its teaching can explain the purpose and meaning of this world-and gives the basis for right and wrong, good and evil, etc.” Ken Hamm

This is the “Super Bowl of Human Belief,” so to speak.I am sure it will not have as many viewers locally, like the viewership that the big game received. People, saints and sinners alike have little interests in such matters. Neither side will win. Neither side has physical proof to offer.

So do you want proof of God’s existence? I think every follower of Christ should watch the debate, provided they actually have some biblical understanding of what they believe, why they believe it, and why it is important. But I, along with many others, have personally witnessed the handiwork of a transcendent, loving God, through the changed lives of alcoholics and addicts. Once God has relieved them of their ruinous lifestyle, they return the help they received to the derelicts and the unloved. Science doesn’t check on this area of possibility.

It is God, through Jesus, whose reality is evident by faith alone, without proof. Anyone who dares to trust in him, and believe in Christ’s finished work, He proves Himself, changes their life, and gives purpose and meaning to them. Those who come to faith no longer look for proof of His reality, it is reality.

Not all in recovery come to faith in Christ, or belief in God…yet. That remains a mystery to me. How do you see and hear, but not see and hear? Keep coming back to meetings, you will be contacted. He will bring His reality to anyone who desires to hear and see.

I have really determined not to look down at those who do believe, or be looked down upon because I do. If you do believe however, know why. There are people you know that are looking for answers. If you and I really believe, our belief should be evident to the onlooker. We should be able to give them answers

Those who teeter-totter on the issues will eventually drop “science” that has no proof, as a mere religion itself, because that’s what it is. But their religion cannot make a person new, nor grant eternal life, Jesus can if you believe in Him. That moment of decision to follow Him is the beginning of His consistent, subtle proofs that He is real, loving you, and living in you. You will doubt no longer. Neither will those around you. Let them know by your way of living, end the debate.

Thanks for reading,  the living God bless and keep you all.

Giving Ideas (some surprises)

This is the time of year we dig into our pockets through the lint and pull out a few cents for charities. Generosity throughout the year to remember the needy is noble and important, and comes with promise when done with cheerfulness, and out of love and concern.

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and the best part of everything you produce. Then He will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.” Prov.3:9-10

We should also be good stewards of what God gives us, whether it is your salary, or donating your clothing and items of value. For example; the name Goodwill Stores indicates a place for donations, where the proceeds go to needy people. Goodwill is privately owned and 0% goes to help needy or poor people. Here are some others:

Less than 5 cents from each dollar goes to the cause. The CEO has a 1.2 mil salary, perks, including a Rolls Royce to drive.
The United Way
CEO gets nearly $400k and many perks…and the larger percentage of donations goes to controlling the population, especially in the poor and middle-classes.
In spite of what you believe, The American Red Cross and the March of Dimes, also have highly paid CEO’s and pennies go to help from every dollar.

Be smart, give to worthy causes. The ones to give to are like The Salvation Army. Their CEO receives a $13000 salary per year, plus an apartment. Samaritan’s Purse, Matthew 25 Ministries, Operation Blessing, as well as local food banks are all worthy causes.

The American legion, Amvets, Make A Wish, St. Jude’s hospital, Ronald McDonald House, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and The Lions Club Int. all are worth giving to with 100% of donations going to the causes.

The main thing is give, give wisely, not off-the-cuff, or uncaring. There are many worthy causes to donate to that I haven’t mentioned, some unworthy…even some “ministries” you do not want to give to. Be wary before generous.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

Recovery’s Light

I’m not sure why I write this post, I do not feel prepared, but here goes. I have had this feeling about feelings lately. Faith says, “don’t trust your feelings.” I get that, faith believes in the unseen. Feelings, however, tell me that I need solid evidence before I respond. I may, by faith, jump right into a bad situation knowing that God’s Spirit is guiding, He will help me fix it, figure it, or flee it.

It is a grave mistake to look at my feelings as faith killers. God made me, feelings and all. Feelings can be a “spiritual thermometer” that notifies me when I have the sense of separation from God’s presence in my life. I know that feelings warn me of complacency in my recovery from addictive behaviors. It is as though a light is shined on past pain that drove me to ask God’s help. In other words, feelings light up memories of events that were painful enough not to desire the repeat performance.

“I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Gal.5:16 

Faith moves mountains, slays giants, laughs in the face of impossibilities. Faith is my surrendering fear of failure, or being rejected by others so I can do the next “right thing.” Without faith, I have no need to attend recovery meetings, work the steps, or pray…they will not work. With faith, a light shines so intensely I see through deceptions and thoughts of “I cannot,” to “with God, all things are possible!” As faith arrives, recovery goes from, “this may really work,” to “this works, and I am working it!”

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Rom.10:17

The Big Difference
How do you know the difference? Feelings and faith come with you as you arrive on the planet, a special value package from the manufacturer, so to speak. Both grow and develop as we mature. The importance of feelings is recognizing them and rejecting the false ones, embracing the good.

Faith can make us overly zealous and reacting instead of acting, like answering a matter before we hear the whole story. That can be disastrous, and I appear as a prideful know-it-all.

“If anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Gal.6:3

The light of understanding I receive in recovery from addictions, and in my journey with Christ Jesus, is that I accept faith and feelings as gifts. They are gifts that need balance, and much attention. If I ignore those feelings of God being distant or aloof, and just allow things to “happen,” the growth of faith will be “stunted,” complacency arrives, and every little unimportant matter takes preeminence over recovery and spirituality.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!

Thinking Things Through

Taking the time to think can be good for anyone. Seldom does spontaneous reaction lead to anything good. When it does, it normally makes headlines. I doubt that my blogs, or anything I do would be of that caliber. I have something brewing in my inner-self that I may have per-maturely mentioned a couple of posts ago regarding M25 project.
…”I was in prison, and you visited me.” Matt.25:36
I have been in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction for eight years now. Throughout those years, I have become acquainted with many ex-cons, as well as several inmates, and those who are working with the like. This may or may not shock you, but there are 7,200,000 people in the USA, that are either incarcerated, or on parole or probation. There are 2,000,000 children that have parents in the prison system, their average age is eight years old.
I want to help. Many of these inmates are just like you and I. Some people think, “if you are in prison, you belong there.” I think, “if you think you’re better, you are in a prison of your own making…in your cold, judgmental heart.” I understand that many belong in prison, and it is God’s grace that many are there. His grace to law-abiding citizen’s, and even to prisoners an opportunity to rehab their criminal ways. It works for some, not for all.
My time to think has brought me to the realization that blogging, book-writing are all fine and good, and I intend to continue to do so on a limited basis. My wife Judy and I are purposing to get involved with Prison Fellowship, helping where we can. We are of the understanding that prisoners are full of desire to be released, but fearful of release as well. They are scared of returning to old friends, neighborhoods, and habits. Few places offer jobs to felons, even though their felony was not violent, or related to anything that could be considered a reason not to give them a job. No job, no prospects for one, no place to live, no help, no hope.
I do not expect everyone else to feel as we do. Please do not judge the convicted. They have been judged and sentenced. If doing as Christ said those who enter into His kingdom will do is motivation enough for you, stay tuned. Perhaps we can work together. Or, you may consider visiting the sick, or elderly, or donating to the needy. We all can have a part in being doers of the Word, and not hearers only. Think it through.
If you have interest in helping, email me at kbarn897@yahoo.com and it may take a few days for me to respond, but I will do so after I the idea we have in letter form. If you want to remain anonymous, say so.
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.

What We Choose to Believe

I happened on to the Science Channel as I surfed for something to watch while I read my email. Not to poke fun at the channel, but I can say, that is the stuff of comedy. Having grown up with “Mad Magazine” and parodies of that era, It has helped me see humor in many things others take serious. Please tell me that people don’t seriously believe this stuff…I mean, brilliant minds in 2013, cannot take this serious! Sponge Bob Squarepants is more believable. Before we spend another cent giving grants for research for biological evolution, please lay some real physical proof that it is even possible. If you cannot, then let’s send a team of marine biologists to search for Bikini Bottom and Atlantis with the grant money, it’s waste either way.

How did this “science” go from theory to fact? If science was so desperate to find a reason for our existence, other than a Creator, come up with physical proof and then teach that science as fact. Start with a moon rock or some kryptonite, something that exists. You have nothing because there is nothing. I can say that you learned well from Vladimir Lenin who said, “if you tell a lie often enough and long enough people will believe it.” (Hitler stole that saying from Lenin) Nearly every literate nation that allows this doctrine of man to be taught in schools have whole populations believing it. Often enough, long enough. Since we are like cattle, we basically say, “I’ll take your word for it,” too lazy or apathetic to research these ideas for ourselves.

What are the facts of man’s origin? What do you have for physical evidence to prove it? When I think of great minds refused tenure because they disagreed with this “science,” I am sure that you have such evidence. Otherwise, refusing good people with great minds would be a travesty, wouldn’t it?

To the followers of this “science,” think this, “religion.” That is what this particular science is. You take it by faith without proof which makes biological evolution a “faith.” I understand that so many brilliant minds have devoted their entire lives to this study only to end their life empty, without answers, but many more questions. Only pride keeps them from admission, as individuals. Fear, and loss of credibility keeps the false teaching alive…”what will we tell the people?…they will have our heads for this!” Not really, people will move on and forget the billions spent on the research that could have been used for useful things like food and clothing for the poor.

As ridiculous as this “science” is to me, to intelligencia, religion is just as ridiculous. “There is nothing on earth that points them to a physical proof of a Creator,” they think. Long before Darwin’s writings, documents were written, handed down from generation to generation, and carefully copied for preservation. These point to the explanation of man’s origin. Secularists have done everything they can do to discredit the possibility that these documents can be valid evidence of a Creator. They have long denied the Bible saying things like, “it’s like the children’s game telephone, by the time these stories go from generation to generation, the original meanings are scrambled without a possibility of accuracy.” Have those making such claims researched their own accusations? Highly doubtful. There is the fear that the may find out it is real, then what?

According to those opposed to the Bible’s accuracy, they claim there was no king David, or Solomon. The prophets were not the actual writers of the books named for them, etc. Yet another science, archaeology, has proven most of what they deny. David and Solomon were not folk-stories. They are not hung up as much on the creation as the miracles of the exodus from Egypt, and those of Elijah and Elisha. The resurrection of Jesus, closes the book for them, “these things could not have happened,” they say.
I understand, I empathize. It is okay, they are hard to accept.

We definitely have differences, nothing to cause this continuous mud-slinging to continue for another generation. It is a face-off. I cannot convince you, nor you me. I can, however, point to additional evidence you may never accept…changed lives. Biological evolution, nor any wisdom of man can change the heart of an alcoholic like me, to turn me from my addiction and its misery, and begin to really experience life with joy and purpose. It cannot give me meaning or peace when I grieve over loss. It definitely does not present me hope for my eternal existence, and the adventures beyond this life. Only Jesus can, my faith in Him, His creation of this universe, and the constant metamorphosis, conforming me into His image. That particular science does not give me a desire to help the broken like myself, helping them find their way out of trouble. These reasons, plus ten-thousand others, gives me proof of Him, and a reason to follow Him. He never changes, science always does. I’ll stick with what works.

Let me know if you agree or disagree.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

Being Dad: A Shepherd

I wrote pages of thoughts about fathers. What does it mean to be a good dad, a bad dad, or an M.I.A.? The thoughts may have been many, but would they make a father pause and think, maybe make a change? I couldn’t really come up with a comfort zone in my thinking, what makes me feel I have the answers? We do have the answer book in scripture. By following what we read about a father’s instructions in Proverbs, we can also read through biblical accounts of fathers in the Old Testament, which are examples of how to, or how not to father children to live extraordinary lives. and that is what I suggest, read those accounts. In nearly every account, Bible fathers weren’t good at fathering, perhaps lack of knowing “how to,” performing the same mistakes of their fathers, expecting different results.

One character was named Eli. He had two sons, and they were priests like Eli. Eli knew his sons were bad, fornicating with the young females who served at the temple, doing as they pleased with the sacrifices, disobedient to the laws. They were what we would consider bullies, using their ministry to please themselves. When Samuel came to live with Eli in the temple, God gave Samuel a dream telling him what would happen to Eli and his sons if they didn’t turn from their evil ways. Eli knew about the dream, and asked Samuel to tell him what is was all about:

“What did the Lord say to you? Tell me everything. And may God strike you and even kill you if you hide anything from me!” So Samuel told Eli everything; he didn’t hold anything back. “It is the Lord’s will,” Eli replied. “Let him do what he thinks best,” 1 Sam.3:17-18 ( you can read the entire account in 1 Sam.1-2)

Eli refused to discipline his sons. Hearing what God said from Samuel’s dream, he responds, “oh well, go ahead God, have at it.” I think Eli was fearful of what his sons would do to him if he had them removed from their position. In short, they died, Eli died, and their posterity was removed from the earth. Discipline is a must for a father. Ignoring a child’s bad behavior is wronging the child, or children in ways that are nearly un-reversible. You must discipline, but you must do so in love, or out of a heart of love for your child and their future. That is not using physical, or verbal abuse. It is shepherding your child, steering the course of their life.

The Shepherd of our souls, Jesus, gave man a whole different picture of God as Father. The people of his day didn’t like Jesus calling God his father, that to them, was blasphemy. But Jesus wanted you and I to see God for what He really is…love. He could have consumed Eli and his sons without warning, but even these bullies, He loved and warned them. The beauty of God as Father, knowing that the Almighty Creator wants to be “Abba” to all people everywhere, is astoundingly unthinkable. This revelation of Him is rejected by even the believers who want to see Father as Judge only, fueled by traditional knowledge, and by our darkened understanding. Abba, (daddy), wants us to crawl into His lap like a child in adoration of His multi-faceted character of grace, mercy, and love. He desires to grant us our needs, even our wants, because we are brought near to Him again by the blood of Christ.

“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children.” Eph.5:1 NLT

As I stated, I had pages written about dads, that may be just my opinion, not so printable. Being a good dad may not be easy to “ace.” If we take accounts from scripture, real truth, we can improve our ability to father are children with good discipline, not abuse, but by boundaries. Through the Word, we can learn to teach our young, listen to their needs, and lead by example. Devour the scripture, hunger for direction from God in rearing children. above all, thirst for a relationship with Abba, He will direct every step you take in His love.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

Being Dad

Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday. I wanted to write a little about being a father. Since I am a father, I would like to share my experiences and observances of something I have done poorly at times, and okay at others, but never have done with perfection.

Fatherhood is viewed by people from various sources, many getting their views of “dear old dad” from sitcoms and TV dramas these days. When I was younger, TV made dad somewhat human, respected by the entire family. Father Knows Best, Andy Griffith, The Donna Reed Show, and later Cosby, all viewed father as a leader, wise, understanding, and a real household leader. In recent TV shows, dad is the household idiot, kids treat him with disrespect, mom leads the home and has the wisdom and understanding. Family Guy, The Simpsons, and many others, pervert and discount the role of the father in the home, as though the father doesn’t matter. Dads really matter.

“America used to live by the motto, “Father Knows Best.” Now we’re lucky if father knows he has children. We have become a nation of sperm donors and “baby daddies.” Stephen Colbert

“Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating…too often fathers neglect it because they get so caught up in making a living, they forget to make a life.” John Wooden

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” Clarence Budington Kelland

Fathers lead. They lead by example, by instruction, and by attitude. That responsibility is the greatest of responsibilities for any man who has sired offspring since the dawn of time. The first and most important lesson a father teaches his children is commitment. By being committed to the children’s mother brings a sense of great security to a child, knowing mom and dad is there. Being committed to faith in God gives a child a sense of direction in life. Being committed to providing for the household gives the child a sense of obligation to do the same as they reach adulthood, and start their family.

Unfortunately, commitment defined this way seems more like a “pipe dream” of an overly-religious person, but that is not the case at all. Some have actually experienced having a father in their home, that is committed and communicating after this manner. How they reached this understanding was from the instruction in their own home, being taught the importance of teaching their little ones with diligence. From the time a young boy reaches an ability to understand, he should be taught about being a father. Many, if not most of the societal woes we experience in our world come from fathers that know nothing about being a father, and completely unconcerned about learning about this monumental responsibility. Sons become just like their dad, whether dad actually raises their child, or just provides the seed, and disappears. Some never know their father and still turn out like him.

Over the next couple of days, I want to write about my experience as a father, and my observances of fathers that have, or are developing good and bad behaviors, affecting the future of their home, and enhancing or destroying their marriage and children’s lives. Over ninety percent of inmates in prison today had no father in their lives. Their sense of right and wrong came from the streets, from media outlets like movies, TV, and gaming. They have little or no sense of spirituality, and every small good they perform, mothers tend to over-praise them to compensate for dad’s neglect. With over-inflated egos, and no understanding of a God they have to answer to for evil they do to others, without values about right or wrong living, prison and or substance abuse tends to be the normal way of life. Tragic.

There is a better way. More to come. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.