31 March 2016

Friends, Family And Love


What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar. 
- Proverbs 19: 22
We need each other.

People need people.

A solitary experience is a life half-lived, and 'half' is stating it generously.

God gave Eve to accompany Adam, although Adam had a bunch of animals and a vast garden to keep him busy.

And when our humanity causes friction between one another, this isn't cause to separate or not return in the work of loving one another.

This is when the “unfailing love” mentioned in the verse from Above means that much more.

Where then is the Source of love; where a love that never fails can be found?
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are My friends if you do what I command. 
- John 15: 12-14
We have a daily opportunity to experience the unfailing love God established for us with the people we encounter every day.

Imagine a world where each human being is firstly considering the human being near them, rather than themselves.

Imagine a world where this approach to others continues past the family, tribe, village, town, city, county, state, country and continent.

Consider the stranger, perhaps you've been told they are your enemy, is your friend waiting to befriend you, your brother waiting to embrace you as his own.

Consider the people you see on more than occasion; there is no coincidence they are in your life.

It may be the workplace, it may currently be school, or it may be through another way you come across familiar faces often.

These are the people God has placed on your path, the journey called your life.

These are strangers waiting to be friends waiting to be family.

Be the friend, the loving family member, the instrument God uses to make His love known.

Although relatives may become strangers, friends shall become friends and friends shall be family.

30 March 2016

Freedom Too Loose ( To Lose )


Had a conversation regarding perception and progress today, among other topics.

It seems that mankind's progress is not without consequences.

As people continue to seek rights, freedoms and individual acceptance according to their own tastes, something may be traded away in pursuing equality and acceptance.

It is easy to “live and let live”, and this approach to life seems to 'work' until someone's desires encroach on the rights, moral convictions and ethical alignments of others.

Since the laws, ideas and efforts authored by mankind are authored by humans, and since “to err is human”, the effort to perfect society in accommodating all people and their personal desires, has inherent fault.

Not that all people cannot be safe, justified or included by the laws of men or the aims of rights, but where can the line drawn be drawn in seeking a freedom for one person if that freedom causes restrictions for another person?

What needs to be found is the backstop, the bottom-line and the basic and universal truth of what is right and wrong regarding rights, freedoms, laws, consequences, etc..

But what if some folks desire not to follow what has been a constant reality since mankind began to gather together to form societies?

What if mankind desires to make for themselves a new method of law and order, now calling what is arguably 'wrong' as 'right'?

How can you convince someone they are not what popular culture suggests they are?

The conversation meandered into sexual preferences, with one conversationalist mentioning their personal interests as something they were born with.

The question was asked if bestiality or pedophilia would be acceptable or something that a law or government could allow, protect or defend as a right.

For those who indulge in such depravity, how could they be convinced of their depravity or that their desires are problematic?

It is easy to conclude how the slippery slope of arguing for the rights of individual freedoms can trump sensibility, for what may be acceptable for someone could be outright wicked for someone else, contributing to the eventual destabilizing of society [please read] that objective historical overviews reveal.

Can law and order be based on a culture's current tastes or the demanded acceptance of what for aeons has been considered decadent, depraved and void of decency?

If not, why then does mankind desire to replace and undo the order that Today's societies and cultures have been built upon and are currently enjoyed?

Consider the following when reflecting upon the cultural climate of your city, state, nation / country:
As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. 
The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. 
Even as fools walk along the road, they lack sense and show everyone how stupid they are...

There is an evil I have seen under the sun, the sort of error that arises from a ruler: 
Fools are put in many high positions, while the rich occupy the low ones. 
I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves.

Whoever digs a pit may fall into it; whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. 
Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them; whoever splits logs may be endangered by them.

Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips. 
At the beginning their words are folly; at the end they are wicked madness—and fools multiply words. 
No one knows what is coming—who can tell someone else what will happen after them? 
Woe to the land whose king was a servant and whose princes feast in the morning. 
Blessed is the land whose king is of noble birth and whose princes eat at a proper time—for strength and not for drunkenness.
- Ecclesiastes 10: 1-3, 5-9, 12-14, 16-17

29 March 2016

Who Is This?

circa 20th century, given to me by my maternal grandmother

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

- John 1: 1-5, 9-14



The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.

- Colossians 1: 15-20



John,

To the seven churches in the province of Asia:

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before His throne, and from Yeshua Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father—to Him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
“Look, He is coming with the clouds,” 
and “every eye will see Him, 
even those who pierced Him”; 
and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of Him.” 
So shall it be! Amen.
“I Am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Yeshua, was on the island of Patmos because of the Word of God and the testimony of Yeshua. On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”

I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a Son of Man, dressed in a robe reaching down to His feet and with a golden sash around His chest. The hair on His head was white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and coming out of His mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. Then He placed His right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I Am the First and the Last. I Am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I Am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

- Revelation 1: 4-18

28 March 2016

Learning To Sail Financially


Metaphors are such a great tool in conveying messages, ideas and lessons.

Some of us have heard of “golden parachutes” in speaking to corporate managerial compensation after quitting / termination.

A golden parachute is a decent severance pay to a select few people atop the corporate ladder.

The typical employee may get a few weeks pay in severance, and then has to find another job.

No golden parachutes for regular employees... the free-fall after quitting / termination is a rough landing.

Sometimes no stock options for the regular employee; thus no personal incentive during or after work.

It is up to the individual to make for themselves a 'parachute' of sorts, during their work years.

What does a parachute do?

Slows down the free-fall back to the ground.

It has to do with wind resistance and safety.

In the United States, Social Security made for a decent idea for retirees.

But this fixed income doesn't adjust to inflation.

So the individual, if they so desire, needs to make plans for themselves if they plan to have something while they work, and if / when they retire.

I say “if” because not everyone makes it to retirement age.

And the idea of working one's entire life only to wait around to die... is... well, not living in my opinion.

For some people, a job they can leave at work is fine by them, and there is nothing wrong with that.

This blog article is not to promote anything financial, but to identify the call to be personally responsible for your financial affairs while you live.

And if it doesn't matter to you, perhaps your faith calls you to place your safeguard in the Most High... and that is the best place to be.

However, we do have a role and part to play while we traverse this earth.

Although God is in absolute control of all things, not doing our part is not abiding by what He has established.

Wealth and money are tools, if they are used wisely... and can be weapons used against some people.

Our attributes, our developed talents, our very selves are God's gifts to us.

We are to develop our person, not becoming a burden to others ( unless God has willed such a temporary scenario to bring about something greater ).

If we live within reasonable means, the means can be easily reached, achieved and surpassed.

I like using the sailing metaphor when speaking of the concept of financial security.

With sailboats, a sail needs to catch the wind in a certain way to make the vessel / boat move over the water.

Once again, wind resistance and, instead of only safety as with the parachute, the sail is about propulsion.

A properly adjusted sail means the difference between winning a race, or getting to a destination earlier, eventually... or not at all.

The manner in which you manage your monies determines what kind of sail you are making for yourself and how well it will work.

Imagine the size of your vessel / boat as being your liabilities, or your regular costs ( housing, food, energy, etc. ).

A large boat with a very small sail may have a difficult time traveling, or may not travel at all.

'Dead in the water' is a phrase to consider.

Yet a small boat, with a large sail, can capture more than enough wind to help it travel anywhere... even around the world!

A large sail can be trimmed in, but a small sail cannot be made larger.

One should continue working to build and add size to their current sail.

Yet, the key is to keep the sail and boat size comparable, or have the sail being larger than the boat, never the vessel larger than the sail.

Have you ever heard a story, or seen a movie, about the cargo of a boat needing to be thrown overboard in order to save the boat, and thus all who are in the boat?

What may be considered to be 'good' cargo may actually be a monthly payment that is making your boat sink.

Some people may simply say “let's make the sail larger” ( make more money )... but this is actually the unwise thing to do.

The wise thing to do is to always be lightening the load; releasing the cargo that isn't producing income or adding value to the boat.

The key, if you are into acquiring cargo, but would like to get the kind that makes dollars and sense ( cents ), is to acquire assets... while releasing liabilities.

The method is learning to tell the difference between the two and the effort is the discipline to actually do it.

24 March 2016

Love Welcomes You Home


What is “love”?

It depends on who you ask and where you search for its definition, as is with every other word or idea.

Read some secular, religious, cultural and historical definitions of love here, and below:

- an intense feeling of deep affection

- a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone

- a great interest and pleasure in something

- a person or thing that one loves

We sometimes perceive love being attached to an emotion or feeling.

Rarely is love attributed to choice and / or effort.

Some people say they fell in love... and have fallen out of love.

Is this possible?

Perhaps if seeing or understanding love according to certain definitions can one fall in and out of love.

What is love to you?
As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
- John 15: 9-13
This approach to love is to be extended to enemies:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
- Matthew 5: 43-48
And what is the effort and choices in effecting love to others?

What kind of “love” is this?
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
Love never fails. 
- 1 Corinthians 13: 3-8a

23 March 2016

Unfolding Past Experiences



I had a very insightful conversation yesterday with a couple who both worked in social services.

They shared about somewhat horrific personal upbringings, and also about shocking situations they witnessed while working for the government in helping children from broken families navigate life.

As our conversation meandered from one associated subject to another, we concluded that each of our personal experiences growing up was quite unique when comparing or reflecting on the upbringing of others.

The dynamic I personally had in my home life included the existence of both parents, but for some reason dad never came along for summer vacation... and this I never questioned, because it was simply how it was.

To question what I perceived as 'normal' was not on my mind.

So it is possible to understand, not the actual experience, but the dynamic of difference when some people grew up in an abusive home and may think that physical violence is common in all households.

As the world's cultures, religions, perceptions and value systems continue to solidify, resolve and clash... we are learning how very different others have been raised.

Sadly, for some folks, violence received and violence in response is what their culture or religion teaches.

For others, love is the start and end of all things... despite the desire to respond to violence with violence... and despite what a related religion may hypocritically teach, or what one's government may implement.

If we could grow away from our perceived and manufactured identities, which are usually divisive from the start, and embrace the things we do have in common, perhaps the clashing of culture can become a compliment of sorts.

If one could truly hold onto “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” perhaps the clashing will eventually resolve.

If one could even go as far as to “love your enemy” and “do good to those who persecute you” perhaps God's true nature will be revealed in some men, helping them see past their violent upbringing and slanted view of others from a different upbringing, religion and culture.

22 March 2016

Seeing Without Glasses


I recall realizing how influential the media was when studying mass communications at a local university.

I had come to realize the great responsibility that media programmers have in what is shown on television, played on the radio and messaged onto the psyches of the masses.

What was made very evident to me was how business was the goal and the method by which media messages were broadcast.

In promoting products or services, commercials fill the space between “your regularly scheduled programming.”

And as many mainstream movies now show without blushing, products are precisely placed in a scene to be seen by the camera; yet another way of funding a movie and furthering the commercialization of our lives.

Music, like visual media, also promotes certain products and services, although it would be quite the debate in proving to a musical artist that they are promoting certain things, let alone certain lifestyles, or forwarding their brand of depravity.

But to argue that depravity is forwarded by media without considering the condition of our hearts, or its fallibility, is to shift the blame and place it solely onto others and the actions of others.

Personal responsibility.

When television and radio broadcasting began, certain things were prevented from being shown / played.

Today, with the exception of foul language and outright nudity in come media, that 'prevention' has been loosened.

Fewer and fewer things are considered obscene.

The very understanding of the natural order and what has historically been considered unnatural is mainstreamed as good, normal and embraced as graduated process of human evolution.

Life diluted.

Advertising and marketing is at times subtle ( the actor drinking a Pepsi ), overt ( pharmaceutical commercials ), artful and thought provoking ( Super Bowl commercials ) and always purposed; to trigger your appetite to consume and imitate art imitating life.

What is quite paradoxical, somewhat difficult to understand ( and accept ), and a notion that the religious of any group will vehemently accuse, is that despite the deplorable, the depravity and the demonic forces anyone can count into the thousands on a daily basis, the following reality still reigns:
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one Man, Yeshua Christ, overflow to the many! Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one Man, Yeshua Christ! 
Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one Man the many will be made righteous. 
The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Yeshua Christ our Lord. 
- Romans 5: 15-21 (read the entire chapter for the contextual / overall message )
As we can understand, the righteousness from Above was revealed among a corrupt and wayward people, in a fallen and death-filled time... and that aspect of our collective existence has yet to be resolved.

Sin and corruptions has not ceased on earth, no matter what order, what society, what religion or what leader was in charge... to think otherwise is not to see oneself clearly in the mirror, let alone view the world with sobriety.

The righteousness that comes by faith is not dependent on society, our efforts in grappling with society and its choices.

This righteousness is neither dependent on how clearly we see God's grace working among the sin.

Be at peace with the faith He grants us, and be grateful when seeing it working through our obedience.

God and His grace doesn't cease simply because some cannot see past the darkness... otherwise, He would cease to be Sovereign and salvation would be dependent on our efforts in controlling others, society as a whole and the thoughts and hearts of others.

These are realm where only God reigns and commands.

Control is what tyrants, religious zealots and the faithless desire to achieve.

God grants us the semblance of choice weaved within His eternal Sovereignty.

21 March 2016

Barking Or Roaring?


Do you have a title before or after your name?

If you do, what do the words or letters next to your name really mean?

What amount of meaning, value or identity do such things bring to your life experience?

What is interesting and unique about the human experience outside of the natural world is our perception of ourselves and other humans.

The natural world is accepted as it is observed, yet why are we not accepted as we see ourselves?

Is it because we see ourselves through faulty and unnatural prisms and paradigms.

If the lion's roar were to be removed from him, would he cease to be as ferocious or as strong as he is?

Perhaps... and perhaps you simply won't hear him approaching.

Yet, even in removing the lion's roar, the lion doesn't cease being the 'king of the jungle' / top predator.

What if the lion was to lose its mane?

Will it also lose its ability to snap the neck of its prey?

Would it cease being dominant over all other animals?

If not, why then do humans go after manes and roars of their own?

For some people, a title brings them prestige, honor, notoriety, praise and many other acknowledgements.

For some people, being found without a title of some sort may cause them much sorrow, as if losing a part of themselves or their entire self.

This is why it is important to look at the animal world.

We as humans can learn very many lessons from nature.

The animal world is very honest.

It is clear.

Which animal, not being a lion, goes about acting like a lion?

Many lessons from and for our human existence can be learned by simply looking at the animals.

But if only we were to look past the obvious, while accepting what is obvious about ourselves and leaving behind the 'made up' things.

It is in reflecting on our humanity and considering the animals, that we can learn how silly we the humans can be, and how much further we have to go in becoming what we've been created to be; one family under God.

Some people act quite ferocious, like the lion.

And like the lion's mane makes it stand out and look larger than it really is, and like the lion's roar strikes terror in those who can hear and feel that timbre from afar, many humans sadly take too much pride in things which are not as natural as the lion's mane and roar.

People take pride in the exterior things; money, looks, titles, material possessions, their own and the perceptions of others, and on and on.

If you are like a lion, you don't have to take pride in your mane nor your roar.

Like a lion, you already are that which you've been created to be.

Lions are also anchors for the pride ( family group of lion ), they have no reason to take pride in themselves or what they are, nor do they attempt to be something they are not.

The lion, like the human who humbly accepts their station in life, isn't worried about what the hyena or the jackal thinks of him.

But how silly it is for a hyena or jackal to act like a lion.

18 March 2016

Audible Gift


I was discussing musical tastes the other day with a friend.

It is so fascinating the way music touches and affects us.

Music can be a mood modifier.

Certain genres of music can motivate us, alter our emotions, remind us of a particular point in our past, inspire us... and so much more.

If lyrics are present, they can convey a particular message; sometimes allow us to explore new ideas, other times being dragged through the lyrical message.

When lyrics are absent, our imagination and immediate reality can creatively reflect the musical tones and emotion the music is rendering in us.

For those who play music, it can be an escape, an outlet of expression for a range of emotions.

As any of us who appreciate music, it can feed our hearts, minds and even souls.

The listening ear can appreciate what a great song can compel in us.

As with any thing made by man's hands, music can also instigate negative and dark responses in us.

For example, political overtones, if not in a proper context, can foster rebelliousness and violence.

Yet, the truly talented can clearly identify political issues while still pointing to hope and a peaceful resolve.

This too is a talent that an audible experience can have us applauding the artist.

With the onset of television and, specifically music videos, the music experience has been forever altered.

A single interpretation, usually by the director of the video, can forever visually stamp a song for us.

If you have ever heard a song prior to seeing a video interpretation of that song, you know what I am talking about.

Once seeing the video, it is difficult to forget that visual and audio collision.

Much how when a song is heard during a sad time in our lives, that song may forever recall those feelings and that time's mindset, even detailed events.

Same goes for a joyful time in our lives.

May you always enjoy the gift music was meant to be; to inspire, to praise what is good and to allow us to search our hearts through the expression of another person.

17 March 2016

The Ace Of An Emperor's Heart


An interesting word to learn: Idolatry

noun

- worship of idols

- extreme admiration, love, or reverence for something or someone

From Old French “idolatrie,” based on Greek “eidōlolatreia,” from “eidōlon” (see idol) + “latreia” meaning ‘worship.’



Let's now look at: Idol

noun

- an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship

- a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved, or revered

From Greek “eidōlon,” from “eidos” meaning ‘form, shape.’



Look at: Worship

noun

- the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity

verb

- show reverence and adoration for (a deity); honor with religious rites

From Old English “weorthscipe” ‘worthiness, acknowledgment of worth.’


There was a Jewish Man that walked the earth many centuries ago which broke away from the closed cultural model and showed the Way to love all mankind.

Some religious and irreligious people would argue that Yeshua / Jesus / Isa is or became an idol for people.

However, it is written very early on that “So God created mankind in His own image...”

So if God became a man in the body of Christ to salvage, reveal and prove His love for His creation, then He does have some sort of conceivable 'form' or 'image' that mankind can relate to and understand.

Have you noticed some forms of creation, people, being idolized, as if they are the perfect role model or perfect person?

A man a century ago instigated, manipulated and roused up a nation after a 'perfect' model of a human being... although he ironically and hypocritically did not resemble in any way this idea(l) he professed.

This little man formed ideas, ideals and pointed to, what he believed to be, a perfect system, a perfect people and sadly... he convinced quite a lot of people.

This manner of mass propaganda and mass manipulation is nothing new... it is today a social science.

It includes the same scapegoating of peoples.

This same pattern occurred in many ancient empires and times, and is still being repeated today.

From America's perspective, scapegoats of last century were the Japanese, the Germans, the Russians, Communism as an idea, immigrants from places previously colonized by western political governments... the list being continuous and long into this century... all who do not fit the idolized archetype and homogenous social profile.

How else can people be fooled into hating and going to war against others they do not know?

There are many people today, in America, who are following in the footsteps of that little man from Austria.

There is a little man today, in America, who is rising to stardom, to power, to influence and to intrigue, rousing the very hate, division and scapegoating witnessed a century ago.

But who can tell those who worship idols by default that, according to their society's sociological programming, they are following yet another little man trumpeting himself as an example / idol of what is right, good and great?

A little man who says everyone loves him and that he gets along with everyone else, but sadly contradicts himself with almost every other sentence spoken, while many do not comprehend the contradictions.

As for the persona or archetype, ancient history has many of these types of personalities.

And one the patterns these personalities repeated was their lack of love for others who did not resemble them or failed to comply with their value set and ideology.

These personality types can be adequately called psychopaths, narcissists, lovers of self, haters of others not of their ilk.

The blinding force of such big and charismatic personalities is their attraction to those who are already deluded by propaganda, hate and fear.

But for some of us, we can see through the facade and can identify their humanity, their frailty, the darkness which causes struggle, the very things we too can sense, but have realized not to forward onto others.

In a world where the love of money is a default mindset, automatic since almost all people must do something in order to earn money so they can pay for their existence, when people hold the pursuit of wealth at a high station, it is like a common language others can hear and speak.

When greed is another theme that is admired, legalized in legislation, and applauded as 'ambition,' is it any wonder people cannot see past their idols or idolatry?

Do you currently suffer from any form of idolatry?

May the Lord, the Living One who vanquished death, open your eyes, heart and mind to His love, His forgiveness and His compassion for your fellow brothers and sisters.

We are one, as He is One... if only all people can realize this... and live according to His love.

16 March 2016

Never Destroyed, Only Empowered


How is it possible for certain individuals to experience horrendous and extremely traumatizing situations, yet overcome them and not seem damaged by them, but somehow empowered because of them?

Why do some instead become entrapped and overrun by their circumstances?

Why can some people be both products of their circumstances and can still live a life of certainty despite the traumas?

Aren't we all damaged goods, having been hurt to some extent by others?

Haven't we lived through situations, events, occurrences and experiences which have troubled us to some degree and in some negative way?

Is it a strong genetic code which separates those who triumph from those who flounder?

Some scientists may have you believe this.

But I have known people whose life journey has been severe, yet they are quite the cognitive and at-peace individuals.

Some people have been forever scarred by witnessing certain atrocities, yet the scars do not cause them to cringe or have lifelong adversity.

Their scars have healed in making them a stronger person, not hardening their hearts, but softening the heart to the point it can withstand any future impact.

Why is this possible for some and not for others?

There are many factors, but one thing I've noticed is the propensity of the afflicted to persevere.

The victim desires to become victorious, and thus chooses to persevere.

What caused harm is not hidden away, but spoken freely.

What is intimidating is grappled with.

What is feared is confidently faced.

It is so important to talk about the past things which have harmed us.

Yet, the manner in which these events are expressed is important.

Blame placed on the victimizer only goes so far.

Accepting what has happened is also needed.

Acceptance is not justifying or misplacing blame.

Do troubles cause you to grow, mature and eventually triumph?

They should.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 
- James 1: 2-4

15 March 2016

Keeping My Eyes and Heart Open


Walking and riding public transportation allows the observer to really 'see' their surroundings.

If someone is accustomed to taking private transportation to school, work or elsewhere, many details of life can be missed... and I'm sure some would say this is the idea.

Only when walking the paths others walk can one come close to understanding another human being, or at least what they see, hear, smell and experience in their daily commute.

We may come somewhat close, for their home life, their upbringing, their daily internal process is absent from our view.

But in catching a glimpse, perhaps we can come closer to understanding why some people struggle as they do, or are challenged as we may possibly hear them say they are.

Yet only the individual knows their personal story, no matter how close we may get to them.

The observer, or even the meddler, or the one who chooses to look after and serve the less fortunate, can only come so close.

The rape victim alone knows that particular experience.

The verbally, mentally, physically abused only know what it was like to be in a home where constant friction and negativity was the norm; curses in place of encouragement, strife in place of peace.

The victims also know ( or don't ) the lapses in memory due to trauma and their methods in dealing with horrific events, overwhelming memories and emotional and psychological scars.

Just like only the victimizer, rapist, criminal, murderer, wicked only know ( or deny if confronted ) the sense of power or dark thrill they experience in subjecting others to wickedness.

Some forward what they were previously subjected to.

Yet a gleam of hope, when searched for and usually found by happenstance, is possible among the challenging images, sounds, smells and activities of the downtrodden.

So this morning when traveling by public transit through some of the roughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, reading the screen of an opened laptop computer ( although the intercom warns of hiding electronic devices ) I read a summary, perhaps a lesson, of the Gospel.

It seems someone was preparing a lesson, showing how the Christ moved among the faithful and the faithless, the righteous and the wicked, healing, binding, loosening and loving all those He touched.

Seeing such things remind me to pray, to bless, to love... despite the challenges this man feels when seeing things which may initially affect and offend me... reminding me again what I've been called to do.

I am grateful for being reminded by He who hears and see all things.

Praised be His Holy Name!

13 March 2016

He Lives In Us, For Us & Through Us


This past week has been quite eventful for this man.

I shared a few words at my matriarch's funeral, seeing after some time many faces that I grew up with and love very dearly, some faces I may never again see while on this plain.

Learned that a casual acquaintance, a career law enforcement official, lost his son to gang violence; I overheard him confessing to a relative he had not been the best father to his son.

A minister who pastored some of my relatives into their later years shared with me his challenges he had with some relatives regarding their perceived failure of his in continuing to meet their expectations.

A man who God brought to victory over his past, his vices and his fears who felt a desire to personally thank me regarding how God brought us together and orchestrated his repentance.

A woman a few years younger than myself offered her 'services' to me; she was coming down from a controlled substance; the Lord navigated our conversation in convincing her to seek Him while there is still opportunity.

There were a few more new friends I made this week, each with some of the same or usual challenges religion and the religious have caused them to suffer.

Some interactions are only minutes.

Some interactions last a few hours.

Some time is spent while breaking bread, with both newly met friends or long-time friends.

Some times, any interaction is only expressed from my heart as prayers to the I Am who hears and sees all things hidden and visible.

There are also the many usual suspects (a running joke I have with my wife when I tell her about my day and the interactions with the regular people this ministry serves), continuing our chats and intimate conversations from where we've left off.

Some of these encounters continue growing and deepening, while some others now deviating and falling cold.

I very often meet people who grew up with knowledge of the Lord, but have been overcome by witnessing the failings of men and religious organizations as these somehow have pulled them away from placing their hands to the plow and pursuing intimacy with the Lord despite themselves, their fears and their hurts.

We all have our journey to traverse, our story to tell, our experiences to reflect upon and our heart's concerns to resolve.

I see unity being developed, the continuity throughout the ages, the enlightenment of those who without effort of their own are brought to understand.

I also see the darkening of those who, despite their efforts and much pondering, are pushed further away from the light.

Yet everything has yet to be set in stone... for what “is” today may not be tomorrow, and vice versa.

And can this man take any credit for the situations, the people, the occasions and the purpose He has set in my heart to effort?

I would be a fool if I would think yes.

And perhaps I may be foolish enough to take any credit or honor, if I were to forget my humanity and the thorns the Lord has chosen to not remove from my side.
I lift up my eyes to you, to you who sit enthroned in heaven. 
As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till He shows us His mercy. 
- Psalm 123: 1-2
“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ ” 
- Luke 17: 7-10
Therefore Yeshua said again, “Very truly I tell you, I Am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I Am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 
- John 10: 7-10 

11 March 2016

Daily Graduation


Have you ever heard the saying “what doesn't kill us makes us stronger”?

Songs, movies and other aspects of popular culture has repeated this phrase.

The phrase is 'originally' attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher who contributed his opinions and logic to the understanding of the human experience.

In terms of philosophy, it has been my experience that there isn't anything 'original' which men can add to the observation of nature and the living of life, nor from the reading of what others have already concluded.

What seems like a new idea or new way of thought may simply be a rewording of what has already been spoken somewhere.

Sometimes the source is hidden by reason or by purpose.

Information is like soil.

Knowledge is like seed.

Understanding is like a growing plant, reaching to become a tree.

Wisdom is like a ripe and fruitful tree, providing shade to passersby and refreshing those weary from their journey.

Peace is the gift produced from a mature tree, forever established in an eternal forest.

Information is found out in the open, as the world is full of many fields.

Knowledge is trumpeted by many, claiming their field to be fertile.

Understanding is found among very few, who have plowed their field and realized a harvest of truth.

Wisdom is allotted, as a gift is granted and given, not attained according to human effort, just as a harvest comes from the Lord, for who can decide to make rain fall and to force a seed to sprout and grow?

Where could Mr. Nietzsche have derived his coined and popular phrase?

Was Nietzsche a plagiarizer or borrower of things he both dismissed and still admired?

Or did Nietzsche add to what he read, and although questioned things which are understood only by the gift of faith, perhaps put into his words what is quite evident to a pondering heart?
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 
- 1 Corinthians 10: 13
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. 
- James 1: 2-8

10 March 2016

Do You Like Your Easter Eggs Scrambled?


What do we 'see' when looking at the Easter Egg celebration?

The world has arguably grown from man's earliest origins into today's modern and sophisticated cultures, yet some practices and traditions have never changed.

Some may think this 'evolution' has come about by chance.

Yet some of us believe and 'see' the manner in which God has directed and conducted His will throughout all time; in times past into the modern era, even since the inception of recorded history.

It seems that men carried along with them certain signs, hints and meanings in their traditions.

It is interesting how these traditions were handed down as men moved away from one another and spread across the earth.

Despite languages, cultures and attitudes growing away from one another, and thus producing various and at times conflicting societies, this egg tradition continued quite consistently.

This consistency is notable and surprising.

The earliest civilizations of Sumeria and Egypt decorated ostrich eggs in gold and silver to place in tombs.[a]

Evidence found in Africa tens of thousands of years prior to Egyptian and Sumerian civilizations reveal ostrich eggs being decoratively engraved.[b]

Practically all cultures, according to archeologists, show a consistent tradition of celebrating spring with eggs, signifying a meaning of fertility and rebirth.[c]

This amazingly ties into the celebration of Christ's resurrection from the grave 2,000 years ago, with Christ having died and rising again the week of the spring equinox!

The believer / convert is baptized into Christ's death, signifying dying to one's old self, and being raised to a new life in Christ just as He rose from the dead.[d]

This seems to conclude the spring-time egg phenomena with eggs being buried along with the dead, signifying rebirth and new life.

The pessimist may be tempted to dismiss this as a “coincidence” while the optimist may take note of God's providence and authorship, eventually bringing forth His good will in providing the ultimate understanding of this ancient practice that has transcended the world's cultures, just as the testimony of Christ has traversed the globe.


References:

[a] Treasures from Royal Tombs of Ur, by Richard L. Zettler, Lee Horne, Donald P. Hansen, Holly Pittman; 1998, pages 70-72.

[b] Egg Cetera #6: Hunting for the world’s oldest decorated eggs. University of Cambridge.

[c] David Leeming (2005). The Oxford Companion to World Mythology. Oxford University Press.

[d] Romans 6: 1-10; Colossians 2: 11-12. New Testament.

Shining Like Stars


It is quite easy to get sidetracked with global affairs and regional politics.

Whether you live under a regime which resembles a democratic process ( “the will of the people” ) or rule by decree by a single or group of individuals, propaganda can be a constant program.

Yet, each and every one of us lives somewhere local, with the opportunity of choice.

We choose our thoughts.

We can choose how to react, interact and approach others during our daily life.

Our neighborhood, our street, our village, our city... is right there for us to affect.

The individual can effort a change for the better wherever they live, or be a cause of grief, or a neutral bystander.

The regular employee who chooses to visit their local city council and eventually becomes mayor, is a person who focused their attention on local affairs.

So also is the person who focused on looking after their neighborhood, starting with the street they reside on and their neighbors.

For some, their local attention is their home; the members of their family... and this is a great place to start and isn't a failure if this is the only place one's focus is placed.

We all have a role to play, but let us make the effort.

The love poured into the members of the family can also overflow into the street and onto to those who need love, those who may not have had a loving mentor or parent in the home.

The same consideration can also make great strides to neighbors... and onto council members, and beyond, even onto the international stage.

Remember, you and I and others are human beings.

Humans have feelings as well as hopes, fears, dreams and worries.

The manner in which we speak to and treat others is the key to garnering positive, neutral, indifferent or negative responses, and thus results.

We can all agree we'd like to be treated and spoken to in a kind manner.

This notion is almost too obvious to have to mention, yet we can see how we and others can easily forget at times.

Imagine if each person we knew, ourselves included, purposely made a kind effort to every person we interact with on a daily basis.

Imagine if we would also make that same kind effort with those whom we would usually ignore or avoid.

The small spark that love ignites can turn into a solar flare that will outlast the stars of the universe.

09 March 2016

My Brother Is Found In A Tree


This morning I was invited to breakfast with someone I had a 'chance' encounter with some months ago.

I first saw this individual high up in a tree, literally.

They were highly intoxicated and too far up the tree to be reached.

Police and the fire department had blocked off the street and had brought a latter to meet them in the tall tree.

As this person recalls the encounter to me from their perspective this morning, they remember how confused and delusional they were, perceiving circumstances which were not present; hauntings from the past and overwhelming affects from years of drug abuse.

I had prayed when first hearing of a man in a tree from a police officer... so I prayed for him and the situation as I passed by.

After doing what I had to do that morning, I return the same way heading back home, and see the man is still in the tree.

I once again pray for God's good will to be done.

Arriving back on scene, I meet and befriend a man who says he knows the man in the tree.

The man in the tree often attends the church my new friend is a part of.

My new friend and I begin to chat, getting to know one another.

We find out we both praise the God of heaven according to the Holy Name revealed under heaven.

He also shares that he had been praying for a Christian to show up and help in some way.

I praise the Lord in my heart, seeing once again how 'chance' is simply a word for others to describe His purpose.

We spend the rest of the afternoon and evening, along with a few other people, talking with the man, trying to convince him to safely come down and end this spectacle.

We pray and even speak the Word out loud for the entire neighborhood to hear.

The scene wasn't without its hecklers and haters; some even asking the man to simply jump down so they can have something to post on youtube.

We stayed at peace as we kindly asked these individuals to have respect for life and to be considerate.

That, and one who became part of the group of us trying to convince the man in the tree to safely come down, physically threatened the hecklers if they didn't silence their ridicule.

This morning, tears were coming to this individual's eyes as he recounted the manner in which God had brought him from practical ruin that day in that tree to gratitude and a new lease on life.

It was quite the pleasant meal; breaking bread with this found brother, hearing him praise God for His love, kindness and grace shown him.

The journey didn't end that evening when he came down from the tree and was taken into custody.

His journey would bring him to assaulting a nurse at the facility he was taken to in order to come off the drugs.

And although the police report stated he did much more harm to the nurse, her testimony stated the facts that he simply held her momentarily in trying to fight off the delusions; the mental affects from many years on synthetic and illicit drugs.

The threat of long jail sentence was reduced to a few months... and although the time away from the street and the drug scene only delayed his return to this lifestyle, a few more 'chance' encounters would bring to fruition God's plan for all parties involved.

Well over six months pass and I happen to see this same man sitting beneath a tree this time, near the ocean.

He denies being that man after I call to him by his name.

We speak for a little bit, me a bit confused but convinced it is him.

I later tell our mutual church friend that I have seen our friend ( perhaps brother in Christ ).

A few months later, I see him once again at the laundry location I frequent.

I encourage him, for this time he does admit to recognizing me and also acknowledges our mutual friend.

Once again, I call our mutual friend and tell him about the sighting.

He quickly travels there to say hello, encourage and offer support, inviting him to return to the next church meeting and enjoy the fellowship.

For reasons only God knows, our friend in the tree has quite the response from God's love.

He testifies that the day after seeing me and our mutual friend in that laundromat, God enabled him to stop the drug abuse, the self destruction and the denial of his current state of living.

He is amazed at how he has dropped it all like removing a piece of clothing.

He marvels at the strength imbued in him from Above.

I see before me yet another miracle performed by the hand of God.

I can't help but thank God for how good He is, how wonderful His love is... and how powerfully His love works in all ways.

08 March 2016

Fisher Of Men/Women


For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord... 
- Jeremiah 29: 11-14a
We never know who we will come across in our daily lives.

There is always a lesson or two (or more) to learn when interacting with creation.

Whether that creation is in the form of another human being, listening or watching the birds early in the morning, or spying on an ant as it makes its way along what may seem to it the grand expanse of your driveway.

Having met a young person this morning, our conversation eventually revealed the purpose and timing which God had brought us together.

Time and time again, all events in my life are validated with a good purpose; a greater reason than I initially perceive.

We who are called are blessed to participate in the divine nature, and we are blessed to have our hand to the plow in planting, or watering.

In due time, either watching His work grow in the hearts of those we come across, or realizing the good work He does in ourselves.

We were each made to reflect His Presence, to love one another as dearly beloved children of His, and to help and assist one another as we all traverse this experience called life.

May His Name be forever praised!

May you who reads this be forever blessed and found in His immeasurable grace!
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. 
- Colossians 1: 15-20

06 March 2016

I Am You Are Me


We all are some 'thing'.... each of us are either a man, or a woman; a brother or sister.

Let's think about this for a second.

Who taught you that you were 'white' or 'black' or '_________' (your current national, ethnic, religious identity)?

Who taught you that you are somehow different from anyone else (aside from how a man is anatomically different than a woman)?

When we were kids, we were the same.

We'd cry if hurt and would be happy when we played with someone else and were having fun.

When hungry we'd complain or cry, and if we were tired, we'd get cranky.

How were any one of us taught to hate or be suspicious of another human being?

People are taught to hate others.

Love is also taught.

Either of these extremes are direct results of parents feeding children prejudices through flippant remarks and foolish actions.

They are byproducts of society and culturally-themed derivatives.

Some parents learn too late that their words and actions are absorbed by their children, as a sponge absorbs a liquid.

We all have plenty of labels attached to us and we attach labels to others.

We repeat and forward poor and ignorant patterns.

But as adults, we can work on deciphering the ignorant from the wise patterns.

Do you desire to continue the current status quo and programming of labeling and being labeled?

Are you really something derived from a political definition, from a religious prejudice or an entity void of love?

I know you are not, and I hope you do not perceive yourself or others like this.

I have come to realize I am not, and was not made to be such.

Anyone reading this is one of the following to me: my sister or my brother.

However, you have the choice to not like me and consider me lower than yourself, or your enemy, or whatever else you've been taught.

You also have the choice, according to how you choose to see the world, whether to love others or have selective or limited love.

I suggest to make the effort to discover how in fact God has made you to be; a loving creation forwarding His good will to others.

I suggest to love fully He who made us all, and others as you would have them love you.

05 March 2016

Reflections When The Spirit Is Released


The passing of a dear friend or relative is always quite the experience.

Depending on where our heart is at the time, the experience may come as quite a challenge, sometimes beyond overwhelming.

Twelve years ago when my grandfather was released from the body, I was not at my best.

I had reverted to my old self; where it speaks about returning to vomit and mud.

I had 'back-slid' quite far, believing myself at the time to have fallen from and far out of His grace.

I was self-destructive, full of bitterness, cynical, self-absorbed, arrogant, in fear of eternal judgement, hateful and was lashing out at friends and relatives alike.

Shortly after my grandfather passed, I had some success with a small business I started, and that 'success' added to my arrogance and pride.

A few years prior to my grandfather's passing, I went from loving and accepting my friends and relatives to despising them and, at times, verbally attacking them.

My attitude towards some relatives was dependent on my emotions and judgements of them, their lives and their past shortcomings.

I was condemning them according to gossips regarding events that occurred before I was born.

After the passing of my maternal grandfather, the patriarch of my and the previous generation, our family groups splintered and my critical eyes narrowed even further in judgment of certain relatives.

My character had become so stuck in the mud and had been so diluted by the vomit, I became a stench to my relatives and most friends.

Hypocrisy is rarely realized in the self until God grants a glimpse... but I was many times unwilling to even acknowledge my attitude, let alone consider the notion that it was me who had problems.

Denial.

After writing some letters in recent years to certain relatives regarding my past trespasses against them, it was bittersweet and challenging to face them last week.

Seeing them at my grandmother's funeral was, to my mind, the greater challenge than facing the fact that my grandmother's spirit had been released.

I was fearful of sensing their distance, seeing forced smiles or feeling uncomfortable hugs.

I love my relatives.

I pray for them regularly, especially those who seem to never want anything to do with me.

It was so painful to me to find myself having fallen on my face before them all after having been so preachy, so self-righteous and so judgmental.

God served me a huge slice of humble pie... and it wasn't until ingesting it did I realize my frail humanity and His amazing grace, not only in my life, but in the lives of each of my relatives.

I wasn't saddened by my grandmother's passing recently as much as I was overjoyed that she was finally released from a body of slow decay.

I know with certainty that she is in His love and light now and for eternity.

This notion was doubtful to me at the time that my grandfather was released... and in my heart I was reflecting that doubt as a reflection of my personal spiritual outlook.

I think I saw this same reflection in some relatives recently at the funeral.

One cannot help but reflect on their own mortality when facing the death of another human being, even more so a dearly loved and honored person as my grandmother was among all of our relatives.

May God grant peace and tranquility to those who are called heavenward, so those who have yet to know Him may somehow be spurred towards acknowledging Him who dries tears of mourning and consoles feelings of loss.

04 March 2016

Called To Divinity



The Way is not so much about knowledge, than it is firstly about living by faith.

Faith comes from hearing the message of the Gospel of Christ.

God gifts the hearing heart this faith; it could not be purchased or accepted according to any human method or effort.

Attempting to do so is adhering to religion.

Christ said “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life... no one comes to the Father unless through Me.”

It is a growing and maturing in the Spirit.

The jailer asked, and a response with a message was given.

We can read that faith was allotted to the jailer, and he grew in the faith, as all the faithful have done throughout the centuries.

The knowledge part is growing in one's understanding of the character and identity of Christ, and becoming a representation of Christ.

This comes by submission and humility before God and men, just as Christ exemplified.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Yeshua our Lord.
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 
- 2 Peter 1: 2-4
May you be brought to completion as He builds you into His eternal temple, removing the humanity and replacing that with His divine nature.

02 March 2016

Love Civilizes All Chaos


I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of His people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me. 
Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Yeshua. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. 
Greet also the church that meets at their house. 
Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia. 
Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. 
Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. 
Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord. 
Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys. 
Greet Apelles, whose fidelity to Christ has stood the test. 
Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus. 
Greet Herodion, my fellow Jew. 
Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. 
Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. 
Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord. 
Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too. 
Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the other brothers and sisters with them. 
Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the Lord’s people who are with them. 
Greet one another with a holy kiss. 
All the churches of Christ send greetings. 
I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. 
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. 
The grace of our Lord Yeshua be with you. 
Timothy, my co-worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my fellow Jews. 
I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord. 
Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings. 
Erastus, who is the city’s director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings. 
Now to Him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Yeshua Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith—to the only wise God be glory forever through Yeshua Christ! Amen. 
- Romans 16
Some interesting highlights:

- women began having a substantial role in the church (previously passive in the culture and religion of Judaism)

- one of the 'places' the 'church' met was at people's private homes

- seniority was reflected in service, not tenure

- Jews and Gentiles were unified; one family, one people

- some were prisoners, not for criminal activity, but for the faith in the risen Christ, King over Caesar

- previous strangers of a perceived cultural inferiority now embraced as endearing relatives

- warning to identify divisive and deviating individuals who teach obscurity and cause factions

- public officials, now Christians submissive to Christ, occupying their office according to the Christ identity

- obedience to God being lived and experienced by faith

God has been transforming the kingdoms of men into His earthly kingdom for over 2,000 years... and arguably since the very beginning... have you noticed?

01 March 2016

Who Is Behind The Paper Bag Of Politics?


Imagine a world where the citizens / people of any given country have realized that their public servants are actually hired hands, disguised as public servants.

The current political wrangling in the United States is exposing this reality.

The “news” is following opinion and choosing sides regarding political parties.

This activity is NOT democratic, nor is it objective.

It is void of integrity.

It is an example of a “lackey”.

Imagine a group of people, disguised as a 'party' that is supposed to represent the will of the people... and that group planning on removing the popular person who is in fact representing the will of the people!

Regardless if you agree or disagree with what other people desire, it is very difficult to hear what the people desire for themselves.

This couldn't happen in America, right?

Couldn't happen in a country where people's freedoms and the people's voice is always heard and heeded, right?

Yet, this is happening.

The mainstream news is consistently supporting the established political group(s), ignoring or minimizing the criticism from those who don't have enough money to push their agenda or further their business interests.

The establishment is in the business of staying in business... this is how the tool of politics is handled.

“Change” is spoken of but rarely, if ever, implemented.

Promises are always made, yet when the (s)elected are in office, somehow the promises are forgotten or reasoned away with excuses as to why they didn't happen.

Will this year be any different?

Some people believe so; perhaps IF someone which is not part of the establishment is (s)elected.

Perhaps when a third party is formed, one that resembles less the established parties ( which has resembled one single party for quite some time, according to where the campaign money comes from ).

What is certain is that the political system, process and dialogue will never be the same after this year... at least among the public.

What is spoken of in the propaganda news media will most likely continue to repeat the droning, repeating and typical lies, repeating soundbites and slogans.

But the people's eyes have been opened.


The people have realized, once again, that they have been on their own.