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

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

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.

The Lord is My Master

What are sheep like? I have never been around them long enough to know. What I do know about sheep, I had to study about them. I have no personal experience with them. This past week while sitting in class at Reformed Theological Seminary our professor referred to The 23rd Psalm.  It also has been titled the Shepherd’s Psalm.

Shepherds take care of sheep, which is common in Israel. It is as common as Americans owning and taking care of dogs. I started to think—which is a dangerous thing for me—what if the 23rd Psalm was about dogs rather than sheep. I started to think about my son’s Border Collie, and the Labrador Retriever I used to own. What if The Shepherd’s Psalm was The Master’s Psalm. This is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy.

The Lord is my Master.

He gives me everything I need.

He makes me lie down in my comfy bed 
right beside my bowl of cool water.

He directs my mind and my will.

He leads me in obedience training so He can brag on me for His glory and namesake.

Even though we go on walks with all kinds of danger around me, I will fear nothing 
for my Master is with me.

His collar is around me and He has hold of my leash.
 They comfort me and make me feel safe.

He prepares a dish full of food in the presence of every pesky flea and irritating cat I know.

He anoints my head with shampoo and Frontline. My bowls overflow.

Surely My Master’s love for me and His friendship are with me all the days of my life.

And I shall rest in the house of my Master, next to the AC vent, forevermore.

Paradise by Coldplay

“When she was just a girl
She expected the world
But it flew away from her reach so
She ran away in her sleep.”

The distance between our expectations and reality can be a source of frustration or depression in our lives. People do one of two things when the distance gets too far. They lower their expectations or they fly away in their sleep and dream of paradise.

What is your personal paradise? Have you ever wondered why our expectations desire paradise so much? I would always encourage one to err on the side of dreaming big rather than lowering one’s expectations.

Because what happens during our journey here is that “life goes on, it gets so heavy” and we either figure out how to get rid of the weight, figure out how to carry it, or just fly away and dream of paradise. Sometime we are not even willing to acknowledge the problem until “every tear becomes a waterfall.”

I do not know what Coldplay means when they say, “This Could Be Paradise.” I believe they leave it open ended because each person has their own personal paradise. It could be a place, a material possession, or a relationship.

Even though most spiritual people think of paradise as a place, my conclusion is that paradise is a Person and His name is Jesus. He is the One that takes the weight of our sin and the heaviness of life’s storms and He carries them Himself. The paradise the first Adam lost, a relationship with God, has the possibility of being restored though the last Adam, Jesus and His finished work on the cross.

The question still remains, What is your personal paradise? “I know the (Son) must set to rise for you.”

He could be your Para-para-paradise, Para-para-paradise, Para-para-paradise.