Trayvon Martin’s Blood On My Hands

George Zimmerman,The verdict is in and George Zimmerman has been found not guilty of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. This case has broken two  families, shaken a town, put a state in the judicial crosshairs, and divided once again our great nation. So if George Zimmerman is not guilty, who is? My conclusion is that I have a little bit of Trayvon Martin’s blood on my own hands.

I could ask people, “What do you think about the verdict?” or “How do you feel about the verdict?” but if I don’t ask… and answer the question, “What have I learned from this tragedy?” I have wasted the opportunity to grow as an individual. I miss the opportunity of God working something beneficial in me from the tragic situation on the night of February 26, 2012 in Sanford, Florida. What I have learned from this sad chain of events is that I share part of the guilt of Trayvon Martin’s death. How did I come to this conclusion? I started digging and peeling back some layers over the past thirty years of my adult life. I dug down to the root of problem.

I could have stayed at, “If George Zimmerman would have never gotten out of the car, Trayvon Martin would still be alive.” However, As I dug, I asked myself, “Why was Zimmerman even in the car?” I obviously realized he was on his way to Target but why did he have his Neighborhood Watch hat on while driving in his neighborhood that night? Another scoop of dirt led me to ask, “Why was this neighborhood broken into in the first place?” Who committed these crimes and why were not caught? If I had stopped digging there, I would have concluded that local police and the lack of home security systems have failed us as a society. However, I kept on digging. I told myself, “If I am going to blame George Zimmerman for getting out of a car for trying to make his neighborhood safer, I must blame police for not protecting this neighborhood, and the government for not providing a free home security system for every American. It was a crazy conclusion as I thought of how much our deficit would increase with hiring the police we need in every school and neighborhood. Add to it the cost of a home security system for every American home who could not afford one. Then I realized I must place blame on the people who committed the crimes in his neighborhood that led Zimmerman to his reaction to their actions. They were nowhere to be found… imagine that.

parents-trayvon-martin-parents100The people who had been breaking the 8th Commandment, “Thou Shall Not Steal”, were at the bottom of this tragedy and there I thought I had my guilty party but I dug one more time.

In recent years we have asked that the 10 Commandments to be removed from public display. Yes, at the root of this story are people across our nation breaking the 8th Commandment, causing neighborhoods to take action, causing people like George Zimmerman to purchase guns, causing people like him, black and white, to follow people that fit descriptions of those who had been committing these crimes.

My travels down the road of cause and effect led me to a dead end that I did not want to be at. Surely, George Zimmerman, along with countless Americans have guns because they feel our government can’t protect them and their homes anymore, thus, the reason for the rise of gun sales and security systems over the past 50 years.

We, the people, don’t want the 10 Commandments in our schools and government buildings anymore and God is slowly showing us what happens when we remove His ethics from a society. He has been showing us that for decades now. A new generation has grown up in America absent of God and the Bible directly influencing their daily lives.

At the dead end of the road of “cause and effect” I dug one last time and hit rock bottom and saw that, we as a nation have rejected God’s Word time and time again. Our first president, George Washington, said it best, ““It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” When I got down to the bottom of the issue, I realized we had not only rejected the wisdom of our first president, we had rejected the wisdom of our Creator and our God. In God We Trust has just become words on our lips and our currency. The reality of this grave matter is this: When we all travel down the  road of cause and effect and do a little digging, we all may discover a little of Trayvon Martin’s blood on our hands.

it-is-impossible-to-rightly-govern-the-nation-without-god-and-the-bible-george-washington

Jesus Therapy… a day at His Spa

ImageI recently took trips with my family to Juniper Springs in the Ocala National Forest and Ichetucknee Springs near High Springs, Florida.They were great trips filled with many great memories. In fact, going into the Ichetucknee trip I had fond memories of tubing the river as a teenager with my youth group in Georgia, where I grew up. I remember traveling down to Florida and spending a fun filled day with friends from my church. We did encounter a Florida afternoon rain shower on one of those trips which produces the memory of one of the coldest, and yet  one of the hottest days of my life. At one point on the river while it was raining, I was on my hands and knees on my inner tube trying to stay out of the 72 degree water. Back in the 80’s we tubed down the river on a tractor tire inner tube. After we got off the river we were sitting on our hot church bus, and I began to think, “I have never gone from being so cold, to so hot, so fast.”

I was delighted that my family did not encounter rain on our trip. The river has a way of producing enough goose bumps on one’s body without any help from rain. The crystal clear river has a therapeutic element to it. All the Florida springs I have experiences seem to have that effect. I realize why Achsah, Caleb’s daughter, in Joshua 15 asked her dad for the springs. She found something in them that she wanted to make sure she was close to them. It’s interesting that Achsah asked her dad for a blessing, and then for the springs. They were high on her priority list.

What makes them so therapeutic and inviting? I realize as people travel to Florida they think of Disney and the beaches but there is nothing like swimming in God’s swimming pools. In fact I believe these springs are a beautiful word picture to many attributes and characteristics of God Himself.

First of all, I think of springs as being refreshing. Some people like to slowly wade into the springs, which to me can be agonizing. Just plunging in is the way to go. It can be extremely refreshing, just like God. I can remember Steven Curtis Chapman singing the song Dive.

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Taking the Plunge at Juniper

Caught in the rush lost in the flow in over my head I want to go

The river’s deep the river’s wide the river’s water is alive

So sink or swim I’m diving in

 

God is refreshing and He wants to daily refresh our life with His Word, His love, His guidance, and yes, even His commands. When Jesus encountered the woman caught in adultery in John 8, He made two statements to her. Both statements were full of grace and love, and both statements were refreshing. He told her, “Neither do I condemn you” and then He said, “Go and sin no more.” I find God’s love just as strong in command as I do the forgiveness. Remember, God’s refreshing is in every word He gives us.

The springs are pure, just like God. There are communities down here in Florida that have made a great deal of money bottling pure water from God’s springs. There are greater springs that Jesus offer each and every one of us. When Jesus encounter the woman at the well in John 4, He told her of waters that the well they sat at could not produce. He spoke to her about “Living Water” that He freely gives to those who with come to Him by faith. He told her that the water that He gives would make it where she would never thirst again. Not only that, but His water would well up inside of her producing eternal life! Jesus wants to flow His purity into our lives and through our lives. The impurity of this world, and in some cases the church, are all around us. We are all seeing the impact, and consequences of sin in our culture. However, Jesus is saying to us, drink of My pure, living water and never thirst again.

Last of all, the springs are therapeutic. They have a way of making one feel younger. I over heard one young lady exiting a blue hole say, “This is like a day at the spa!” If we allow Jesus resurrect our dead spirit, like He did the woman caught in adultery and the woman at the well, He will faithfully start bringing therapy to our soul. Our soul is made up of our mind (our thinker), will (our chooser), and emotions (our feeler). Those three areas of my life needs Jesus therapy every day! As I come and drink, dive in, and swim of Christ’s abundant springs of water I find days of refreshing, I feel His purity and it’s effects of my weary soul and body. I experience Jesus Therapy and it’s like a day at the spa.

My Invictus

invictusWilliam Earnest Henley is best known for his poem Invictus. It was written after one leg was amputated and his other leg was about to go through intensive surgery from complications from tuberculosis. The poem echoes with sounds of “try harder”, “the sky’s the limit”, and concludes with the famous line, “I am the captain of my soul.” I can hear the echoes of Kelly Clarkson’s song Stronger in the background, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller…”

No doubt, this life’s journey throws us some serious stuff to have to go through. As Henley writes:

 

Out of the night that covers me,


Black as the pit from pole to pole,


I thank whatever gods may be


For my unconquerable soul.



 

In the fell clutch of circumstance


I have not winced nor cried aloud.


Under the bludgeonings of chance


My head is bloody, but unbowed.



 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears


Looms but the Horror of the shade,


And yet the menace of the years


Finds and shall find me unafraid.



 

It matters not how strait the gate,


How charged with punishments the scroll.


I am the master of my fate:


I am the captain of my soul.

 

How do we go through life’s journey? Who do we go through it with? Is our creator in the business of making us stronger in ourselves? Is He in the business of making us stronger in Him and dependent upon Him? There is a world of difference in how we answer these questions.

livestrongIn Lance Armstrong’s battle with cancer the phrase Live Strong was birthed. Nike created yellow Live Strong wristbands to help raise money for cancer. Lance Armstrong’s approach to cancer was Live Strong because “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” I believe Lance missed something valuable in all of this, something sacred. Sadly, William Earnest Henley seemed to have missed it too.

During the time Lance Armstrong fought cancer, I witnessed two other approaches to cancer by Dr. David Jeremiah and John Piper. They answered the above questions differently than Armstrong. John Piper wrote a powerful article right before cancer surgery called, “Don’t Waste Your Cancer.” Dr. David Jeremiah taught about laying in his hospital bed looking at the ceiling and praying to God in his personal “black pit.” It was clear from both Piper and Jeremiah that they were not declaring they were captains of their souls.

psalm18.2I believe life is made to be experienced with the One true captain of my soul. His name is Jesus. He is the creator of my soul, the lover of my soul, and the captain of my soul… all in One. He is not in the business of making me stronger in and of myself. He is in the business of making me dependent on Him. What doesn’t kill me, should make me turn and depend on Him. He is my rock, my fortress, He is… My Invictus.

 

My Invictus

 

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank the One True God,

For being The Conquer of my soul.

 

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I was broken and cried aloud.

Under, what I see, the bully of chance

My head is bloody, but bowed.

 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Shadow of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, Christ keeps me unafraid.

 

It matters not how straight the gate

How charged with punishments the scroll

I know the Master of my fate;

I know the Captain of my soul.

 

May we all Live Strong and “stand taller” in Him.

An Open Letter to President Obama About Parenting A Nation

sasha:maliaobamaDear Mr. President,

What would happen in your family if Sasha ended up buying some music on iTunes that she should not buy? What would happen if she ended up purchasing some music with the explicit red warning sign by it? Michelle and yourself had trusted her with her iTunes card, you feel like you warned her about what she could and could not listen to, and she knew what was expected of her. Basically, what happened is that you trusted her, and she betrayed your trust?

I am sure you would discipline her in some form or fashion. Would you ban her from iTunes? Would you take her account away? Would you take the iTunes card back? It would be interesting to know.

What would be more interesting to know is what would you do to Malia. What punishment would she receive for the actions of Sasha? Does Malia keep her iTunes account? What about her iTunes card you gave her? Most importantly, does she keep her iPod or her iPhone?

You see Mr. President, on December 14th,2012, Adam Lanza, who was one of your national children, did something stupid. He disobeyed the rules. He deserved punishment, discipline, and correction. However, he did not stay around for any of it. He took the easy way out. He was a coward. Yes, he was confused, warped, and could have been a poster child for a decaying section of a generation in America. However, Adam Lenza does not represent all your American children.

While you were growing up, did any of your siblings do something stupid that you got blamed for or punished for? Have you ever suffered the consequence of someone else’s wrongdoing? How did it make your feel? President Obama, I believe the rest of your children in America feel we are getting punished for our sibling’s stupidity. We feel you want to take away what you rightfully trusted us with at one time and what we have been trustworthy with. We feel you are taking gifts our grandparents gave us because one person did something horribly wrong . He was a person who represented less than one percent of the rest of us.

lostsheepI remember Jesus telling a parable about one lost sheep in Luke 15. The shepherd left the ninety-nine sheep to go after the one lost sheep, which was a moving gesture of love and character. He did not condemn the ninety-nine, barricade them into submission, or scold them with threats about if they ran of too. He simply trusted them as He went to look for the one lost sheep.

Mr. President, I believe you have gone after the wrong sheep. We all feel we are being punished for the offense of one. The majority of us are in the fold and doing what right. We feel we are being punished for the one that ran off. Please don’t make the mistake of punishing Malia for Sasha’s wrong doing.

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” Luke 15:4-5

Is Love a Fancy or a Feeling? Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

valentinecandyHow would you finish this statement, “This is how we know what love is…”? Today is St. Valentine’s Day and I am sure he was a pretty cool saint, if for no other reason, for giving his life for his faith. However, most of us don’t think of faith when we think about Valentine’s Day. We think about love, romance, or if you are from the School of Spanky on the Little Rascals, you may think about the He-man Woman Haters Club. We love little sayings on candy and cards to help us figure out what to say and ways to define our love.

How do we know what love is? Hartley Coleridge asked, “Is love a fancy or a feeling?” How would you answer that question? He quickly answers, “No” to our fancy, feely world of love. Coleridge goes on to say,  “It is immortal as immaculate Truth.” Love is immortal as immaculate Truth. Take time to let that sink in. Is there an everlasting, perfect love?

Shakesphere analyzes loves and says, “…it is an ever-fixèd mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken.” Where is this immovable, everlasting, perfect love? I believe the answer comes from the pen of one who experiences this love first hand. He wrote the conclusion of the statement, “This is how we know what love is…” John, the beloved disciple of Christ, finishes this statement, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.” There you have it, the immovable, everlasting, perfect love of God displayed through the death of Jesus… for you. Jesus perfectly displayed, “I love you.” There is no need to try to figure out what love is because Jesus defines it with His perfect life, death, and resurrection. If you are looking for love, He is the One you have been trying to find. He did not write it on a colorful candy heart, He wrote it on His heart. He wrote, “I died for you.”

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16

Louie Giglio vs The Homosexual/LGBT Agenda

louieLouie Giglio was scheduled to deliver the benediction at President Obama’s second-term inauguration but because of intolerance that will not happen. Giglio said this past Thursday, January 10th, he is withdrawing from the ceremony amid questions about an anti-gay sermon he gave in the 1990s.

This has started another explosion of Twitter, FaceBook, and news pages on the debate over the Bible and homosexuality. Let’s just get quick to the point here people. God, Moses, The Torah, Jesus, The Apostle Paul, Bible believing churches, and Bible believing Christ followers all teach and believe that homosexuality is a sinful and destructive lifestyle. It is in there with other sexual sins man commits against God and themselves like fornication, murder, adultery, etc…

No matter how hard the LGBT community tries to change God and His Word, these truths still remain. What I find amazing is when people try to compare the plight of the gays and lesbians with African Americans. I am not sure this is what Dr. Martin Luther King would have wanted according to his views concerning homosexuality.

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If one wants to compare the LGBT plight with African Americans they need to understand that Martin Luther King Jr. lived for a day when a person’s character, not the color of their skin, would judge them.

When a young boy, who was having gay tendencies, wrote Ebony magazine and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1958, we find out what Dr. King felt about homosexuality. The boy wrote, “I am a boy, but I feel about boys the way I ought to feel about girls. I don’t want my parents to know about me. What can I do?” Dr. King told the boy that his problem wasn’t uncommon, but required “careful attention.”

“The type of feeling that you have toward boys is not an innate tendency, but something that has been culturally acquired, you are already on the right road toward a solution, since you honestly recognize the problem and have a desire to solve it.”

Louie Giglio is in the business of trying to help people solve their sin problem. In this business, sometimes you have to call sin for what it is… sin. One has to do this even when it’s not culturally acceptable or accepted by President Obama.

Louie, you had to make a choice, and I believe you made the right one. You are in good company with Moses, the Apostle Paul, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but most of all, you are in the awesome company of God, and His Son Jesus. It’s a shame that the world’s intolerance of truth kept you from praying. Press on anyway, my brother!

Verses to consider:

Matthew 19:4

1 Corinthians 6:8-10

Romans 1:26-32

Leviticus 18:22

If you would like to become a Christ follow, admit you are sinner (Romans 3:23), received the free gift of salvation that God offers you through Jesus (Romans 6:23). All you have to do is ask. You can pray a prayer like the following one.

Dear God,

I  admit I am a sinner and I am in need of your forgiveness. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for my sin. I accept His sacrifice on the cross and ask that Your Spirit would come and live in me and transform me into a Christ follower. 

In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

If you need help leaving the LGBT lifestyle, here is help. Get started today and get into a Bible believing church. Let the new life begin!

http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com/courses/door-of-hope/

http://exodusinternational.org

Sandy Hook Shooting Newtown, Connecticut… Analyzing A Troubled 20 Year Old

Connecticut School ShootingAs our nation mourns and heals from the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut we are bombarded with the question, “What can we do to avoid this ever happening again?” The most popular vibe will be gun control. We will ask why this young man was so angry and crazed to kill his own mother and the children at this school. This young man’s divorced parents have already been observed on the news. The fact that he felt crazed to kill the children too… points to the fact that there was some form of resentment or hatred towards what this class represented. This situation will be analyzed for years. The bottom line is that this leaves us numb and without real answers.

Adam Lanza was twenty years old. That means he was born around 1992. What happened in this young man’s life between 1992-2012 that would cause him to go off the deep end? Was he indulged too much? Was he resentful towards a working mom that he felt valued her class over him? Did money play a part of this? We may never know the answer to these questions.

The fact is that we are seeing this more and more. We are also seeing this from people who look like normal people, like people we see everyday. President Obama’s speech on December 14th, 2012 made reference of putting politics aside and stopping behavior like this, as if we can police this. The fact is that we really have little control over the drug war in America, the drunk drivers killing others, or crazed gunmen going on a killing spree. So who are you going to blame? Are you going to blame a lack of gun control, the rise of divorce, working moms, video games, society in general, or television? What is interesting is that President Obama gave the answer to all the above in his speech but one would have to be a keen listener to have heard it.

At the end of President’s Obama’s speech he said, “May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.” There is your answer! Who is the One who heals and binds up wounds? Do you know what he was quoting? Yes the Bible, but more specifically? It was Psalm 147:3. President Obama may not know where this Old Testament scripture is fulfilled but it is fulfilled in the Person of Jesus (Luke 4:18). He is our answer. He was the answer Adam Lanza’s issue. It’s interesting that the name Adam means man because Jesus is the answer to mankind. America can keep on policing everything from elementary schools to the middle east but until we look to the One who controls the heart, we will continue seeing tragedies like this and we will keep on asking. “Why?”barackobamaschoolshootingspeechap_296

Today, make the commitment to become a Christ follower. Admit you are a sinner and need Christ (Romans 3:23). Understand that Jesus loves you and died for your sins (Romans 5:8 & John 3:16). Realize Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). Ask Him to be your Lord (boss) and Savior today. You do this through prayer, which is talking to God.

You can pray something like: God, thank You for sending Jesus to die for me on the cross. I realize I am a sinner and that I need forgiveness that only Your Son can provide. I ask that He would save me, cleanse me, and make me His follower and Your child. Thank You for loving me this much to do this. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Now… Please get involved in a Bible believing church and start influencing people from the inside out and stop trying to control them from the outside in.