John 6:20

John 6:20 but he called out to them "Don't be afraid. I am here!"

Friday, May 25, 2012

Don't blame me

When I first began my walk with Christ and really started getting into the Word, my eyes started to see the world the way it was supposed to be instead of the way it is.  I already knew that we were self-destructive, I just didn’t realize to what extent.  I knew before I started reading the Bible that killing, stealing and cheating was wrong and since I didn’t take part in things of that nature, I didn’t have to take any blame for the problems of this world.  I have always had a strong since of responsibility, I don’t do drugs or break the law, I believe in working hard and paying your own way.  I took comfort in thinking I was one of the good guys. Then, I opened up my Bible and learned there was plenty of blame for me to take.  God started showing me that just because I am not a drain on society, doesn’t mean I’m not a drain on His kingdom.

As I began to study His word, I learned that lies are color blind.  There is no such thing as a “little white lie.”  All lies are the work of the enemy and go against God’s will.  Psalm 101:7 I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house, and liars will not stay in my presence.  So many people don’t realize that the smallest lie can destroy the strongest foundation.  I also learned that gossip is just as destructive.  Even when you think what you’re saying is true, if it’s negative, what is the purpose of saying it?  Are we trying to help?  Are we trying to build someone up?  If we spreading gossip, the answer is always NO.  No one has the right to assume they know what it’s like to be someone else.  I, then, realized that since I was this hard working, law abiding, all around good citizen that I had also became a little self- righteous and judgmental.  For some reason, I thought I had the authority to pass judgment on everything that didn’t measure up to my standard. The Bible taught me that I have no authority to pass judgment.  He showed me that just because I don’t kill or steal doesn’t mean that I don’t have plenty of improving to do.

The problem, however, is that once we learn how sinful these things really are, we can’t seem to take accountability for them.  We search for justification of the sin or we want to place the blame on someone else.  That is not God’s will.  He never said thou shall not kill unless you think you have to.  We have to humble ourselves and admit our own sin to the Lord.  How can He forgive us if we refuse responsibility?  We can’t just stop passing judgment onto others; we have to take accountability for our own actions.  Everything wrong isn’t always someone else’s fault.  Just because we are all God’s children doesn’t mean we should act like children.

Truth is, when we find fault and blame others; we are doing the enemy’s work but when we hold ourselves accountable for our own sins, seek forgiveness and turn away from it; we can allow God’s work to take place within us.  And, not speaking for any other Christian, but that is what I pray for every day.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged.  We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.     

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Not to offend, but...

Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.

We are well aware that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) but, how about the wages of removing God from our schools and in turn our country?

Violent crimes committed by teens

Violent crimes are committed by teens every year. The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center (1) provides these statistics on teen violence regarding violent crimes: 

  • In 2000, about 1,561 youth under the age of 18 were arrested for homicide. 
  • In 2000, nine percent of the murders in the United States were committed by persons under the age of 18. 
  • One in ten teens arrested has been engaging in a violent activity that could have resulted in the serious injury or the death of another person.
Teen violence is a very real occurrence, and violent crimes are committed by teens regularly.


We often neglect suicide in our examinations of teen violence. However, suicide is violence against oneself and deserves very real consideration. Two teen violence statistics to think about regarding suicide (1):

1.      The third leading cause of death among teens is suicide
2.      Over the past year, one in 11 high school students admit to having made a suicide attempt.
These statistics do not even take into account the number of students that think about violence against themselves on a regular basis. Additionally, these statistics do not take into account the rising instances of self-injury, which do not necessarily need to be associated with suicidal feelings, but which is a form of self-violence (2, 3).

Teen violence every day

Not only is teen violence related to violent crime and self-violence, but also there are lesser forms of violence that are perhaps more prevalent and worrisome, as they indicate a trend toward teen violence as an everyday occurrence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report the following teen violence statistics (4):

  • National estimates indicate that 30 percent of youth in grade six through 10 are involved in bullying, either as a target or as the bully. Some even experience both.
  • A national CDC survey indicates that 33 percent of high school students were in at least one physical fight within a 12 month period.
  • In 30 days preceding the CDC survey, 17 percent of high school students reported that they carried a weapon at least once. The weapon could be a gun, knife or club.

Those numbers are a little scary.  This is the world our children live in.  Where is God in all that?  That’s right; we removed Him from our schools.  We send our kids to the lion’s den five days a week and hope they survive.  It’s not just about fitting in anymore.  They deal with real issues and real dangers every day.  It is not just a lack of caring for someone else’s feelings; there is a serious lack of respect for human life.  Death holds no meaning.  For Christians, death means we get to go be with our Heavenly Father.  But, whether its suicide or murder, death has become an answer to a problem for today’s youth.  I see these problems almost every day on the news, I hear the stories my own kids tell me about their day at school.  So I ask; why aren’t we putting God back in all that?

I’ve always believed that our experiences as children help mold us into the type of adult we are to become.  If that is true, those numbers are now horrifying.  The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow.  If they have no respect for life as children, what kind of leaders can they make as adults?  In the 40’s and 50’s God was the cornerstone in most homes and communities.  Now, in 2012 children know more about Greek mythology than they do about the story of Moses.  Look at how times have changed between the two eras.  Is it a coincidence that the more we try to remove God from our country, the worse it becomes?  I don’t think so.

Now I completely believe that the Word of God needs to start in the home and we as parents take the bulk of the responsibility.  But, let’s face it; there are too many homes where God is not the cornerstone.  So, if His words aren’t taught in the home and their not being taught outside the home...once again I ask; where is God in all that?  There used to be a saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  Hmmm, that takes a whole new meaning for me now.

We need to instill love and respect into our children; not just the need to survive.  They are screaming out to us for help.  How many more will die by their own hand or the hand of others before we answer?

Deuteronomy 11:18-21  Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates,  so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

Teen Violence Statistics Sources:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Disturbing Behavior

I know earlier I had mentioned that when I first became saved that I had put too much focus on looking like a Christian instead of being one.  I feel the conviction of the Lord right now because I failed to include that if I wasn’t being one than I couldn’t possibly act like one either.  Like I had said before I was trying to dress the part but because I wasn’t living it, it was all a costume; a mask of righteousness and the only kind of righteousness I was seeking at the time was self-driven.  I did what a lot of new christians do: I made my faith about me instead of making me about my faith.  Like a child, it was all about me.

I went to church every Sunday and gave God a whole two hours of my time.  I couldn’t tithe because I was too busy telling my pastor all about my financial needs; I couldn’t bother with the needs of the church.  I was ready to use the church’s resources to satisfy my needs, even after it started to take a toll on theirs.  I held a Bible study at my house every week that every time the pastor would try to get into scripture, I quickly pulled the focus to what I believed instead. Every time I was given an opportunity to minister about Christ, I would debate why my beliefs were right and all other religions were wrong.  The time I spent in God’s Word was minimal at best.  I spent so much time passing judgment on others that I never saw or sought forgiveness for my own transgressions.  I was young and thought I had all the answers.  If I only knew a portion of what I thought I did.

At the time, I didn’t even realize that I was being that way.  I thought I was really trying to be what God wanted me to be.  What truly bothers me now is: How many people did I turn away from Christ with my actions?  How many people were curious to know the Lord and changed their mind after meeting me?  I let the enemy get a hold of me.  I was new in my walk and susceptible to his attacks.  Even though God had blessed me with a loving, compassionate pastor that was more than qualified to spiritually guide me; I couldn’t learn.  He blessed me with a wonderful church with a congregation that was trying to show me God’s love; I couldn’t see.  He blessed me with the most powerful weapon, His Word; I couldn’t use it.

I said before, when God gives us that calling to serve Him; we become a threat to the enemy and God knows this too.  He gives us the tools and resources to resist temptation and fight back.  He gives us the instruction manual, The Bible, to learn how to use the tools and apply the resources.  He never leaves us defenseless but when we refuse to read His Word we make ourselves defenseless.  That is what gives the enemy a foothold and lets our actions be led by him instead of by the Heavenly Father.  I fell into this trap and had no one to blame but myself for my lack of growth.

Since then, I have recommitted my life to Christ and without fail God has provided the same tools and resources that I need to better serve Him.  Once again, He surrounded me with loving, compassionate spiritual leaders, a wonderful church that overflows with His love and of course The most powerful weapon, His Word.  But, this time it wasn’t about me.  I am willing to be His servant; I’m eager to be and I read His Word’s daily so I can be.  Because of this, the enemy is no longer glorified by my actions.  I desire only for the love of Christ to show through my behavior so that anyone seeking the truth will find it.     

As christians, our behavior should always reflect the love of Christ.  All that we do should be in the service of God.  We never know who is watching and because of our actions find Christ or turn away from Him.  We do know that God is ALWAYS watching and will hold us accountable.

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.