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.

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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.

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.

Don’t Judge Me Bro!

“Don’t judge me.” Have you ever heard someone say this? It’s a very popular response when people make a judgment call on someone or something. We, as Americans, seem to have a schizophrenic relationship with judging others. On the one hand we cry foul play by saying, “Don’t judge” and on the other hand we can’t seem to stop making judgment calls. In fact, I would say we actually love to watch judgment in action.

Take for example the TV shows that millions of Americans tune into each week. One can find judgment on all levels. American Idol has their judges. Survivor has a weekly judging party and ends the season with a jury. People love drama and get in on the judging themselves. The People’s Court, and shows like it, seem to be doing well too with Judge Judy, Judge Mathis, and Judge Joe Brown. People love to watch the action.

So, why the cry of do not judge? I believe one reason is that the Bible says, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged” (Matthew 7:1). Jesus said these words and it is important to read the words which follow because if one just takes that one verse out of it’s context, people would never have the right to make a judgment call according to Jesus. Good thing He elaborates on this topic a little. He goes on to say, “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:2). My first thought about this statement is that if I just lower my standards, I’m good with Jesus and off the hook. If I have an “anything goes” standard of living, and I sport that same standard to everyone else, then that is how God will judge me someday. Here again, it’s good Jesus explains His train of thought.

Jesus continues, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3-4). I think Jesus was stating the obvious here, we all have our problems and issues. Some may be small like a speck and some have issues like a log in their eye. I don’t know if you have ever had something small in your eye like a gnat or a speck of dirt. If you have, I’m sure you realize how irritating it can be. It is something you go to a mirror for or someone else that can help you.

I believe God has given us two things in life to help us with our eye problems. One is a spiritual mirror, which is the Bible. If one studies it with The Holy Spirit’s influence and guidance all the logs and specks become clear and the remedy for them is understood. The second thing God gives us is Spirit Controlled Christians. They are people who can help you see things that you and others around you can’t see. This is why Jesus finishes up this passage and thought with, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5). I believe Jesus has two goals here, first, to clear up your vision and then, for you to help clear up others. His goal is for believers to judge rightly, not to never judge. This is why The Apostle Paul says later, “Don’t you know that God’s people will judge the world? And if you are going to judge the world, aren’t you able to judge small cases? Don’t you know that we will judge angels? Then we should be able to judge the things of this life even more!” (1 Corinthians 6:2-3).

So… how is your eyesight? Get in front of the spiritual mirror daily and find some Spirit controlled people to connect with weekly. Don’t forget when Jesus gives you better vision, don’t just enjoy it, help someone else to see clearer.

Hall of Fame

“And the world’s gonna know your name
 cause you burn with the brightest flame. And the world’s gonna know your name
 and you’ll be on the walls of the hall of fame.” ~ Hall of Fame by The Script

Will they remember your name? How about you, can you remember the name of your grandfather? How about your great grandfather’s name? Many of us live with the goal of making some sort of Hall of Fame yet if we go back far enough we find it hard remembering particular people of big events unless we are a sports or history buff.

April 18th, 1874 was declared a day of national morning for the British Isles. There was not a student or factory worker that did not know that Britain’s greatest hero was being buried that day. It was eleven months after his death but because of three African friends his body made it back to his homeland. However, his friends first buried his heart under a Mpundu tree in Chitambo, Zambia because they felt it belonged in the country he so dearly loved. Then they prepared his body and carried it over 1,000 miles to the coast of Africa to the British authorities. He was taken back to his homeland and laid to rest in London. On his tombstone is inscribed a portion of one of his last letters written to a friend about his most passionate topic, slavery. It reads, “All I can say in my solitude is, May Heaven’s rich blessings come down on everyone, Americans, English, Turk who will help to heal this open sore of the world.” They said of this national hero that he served three masters, as a missionary he was, first and foremost, a servant of God. As an explorer he was a servant of science, and as a denouncer of the slave trade he was the servant to humanity.

I recently attended a class where the professor was telling us about his trip to London. As he visited Westminster Abbey, he was looking for this hero’s grave in the church. He walked all around the gravestones but ended up asking a lady overseeing the abbey that day. He told her who he was looking for and she replied, “Last name again, please?” He said, “Livingston… David Livingston.” He was amazed that the name did not ring a bell for a person that was first of all, British, and that worked in Westminster Abbey. She went to her records and on finding David Livingston’s name, she was amazed that the grave was right in the middle of abbey in such a prominent location.

I found the story interesting because most of us work our whole lives trying to make a name for ourselves. I can remember one year at church camp getting a silly superlative award at our camp banquet. It said, “Most likely to be disappointed if they don’t become famous.” I first kept this award because it was a fun memory of Camp 1982. I have continued to keep it because it’s a reminder that my ultimate intention is not to become famous or to make a name for myself but to love Jesus, and to love people just like Livingston did.

David Livingston is probably the greatest missionary to come from the British Isles and one of the greatest explorers in the world. Yet today, most of us know little about him. His grave probably would not be a one we would look for on a visit to London. Few would know of his passion for abolishing slavery and slave trading. In most circles his name would not stand out. He surely did not make a name for himself with the Westminster Abbey staffer that day. Good thing that was not what he was trying to do on his mission to love Jesus, and to love people.