Sunday, March 6, 2016

Loving the unlovely

Do you know people who make you crazy? People who are just mean, or seem to be bent on making you look bad. I have lots of experience with people like this. My challenge as a Christian is to love them.
So what does that mean to my walk with Jesus? It means I have to be kind, patient, and look for opportunities to get along with them. Sometimes this means saying I am wrong when I am not, saying I am sorry because they perceive I have done something to offend them. Other times it means standing and taking their anger and accusations quietly without lashing back.
Truthfully, this makes me crazy. I have difficulty understanding why people are so proud. I believe they have not realized that they are someday going to die and nothing they think right now is going to amount to a hill of beans. I believe that pride, that preening little devil that lives in us all, stands like a guardian on the cave of insecurity inside us all. When we let pride free, we lose the ability to practice love.
I think of Jesus standing before the accusing crowd of Pharisees and Pilot, listening to the nonsense they were all spouting. Jesus did not say a word. What words would you have to rebuke such nonsense? Many times when dealing with people I have no words. Some folks think I am weak, one person told me I was “milk toast’.
But why should I shame my Savior just to look good to a person who is going to die and turn into dust?
Matthew 5:44-46 (NKJV)
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Obama-A man of his word

Whether you like President Obama or not, I can offer proof that President Obama is a man of his work. I did not vote for Obama in the first election. However after he took office, I learned that President Obama was a man of his word. My situation took a year to resolve, and the Obama administration is responsible for the resolution. With their intervention, I did not lose my home and my mortgager, Bank of America, did not win the day.

I lost my job suddenly in August of 2011. I was two month short of beginning early Social Security payments. I contacted Bank of America and asked that they move the September and October payments and move them to the back of the loan. I also sent in the principal and interest payment for September as a second option.

Bank of America went crazy and said they were foreclosing on my home. I had never missed a payment and simple asked for a little relief. I understood that Bank of America took a hit on the value of my home during the 2009 meltdown, and as time went on, I realized they were trying to foreclose to write off a bad debt and resell my home at market price.

My Social Security began in November of 2011 and I sent in my full payment. Bank of America sent it back. They would not accept my house payments. They were poised to foreclose.

I remembered that President Obama had signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. After reading this act, I decided to see if the government would really help. I wrote a letter to President Obama explaining this bizarre situation. In November of 2011, I received a letter from the Department of the Treasury in response to my letter to President Obama.

I was instructed to file a complaint with the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). With the power of the presidency backing me, Bank of America was forced to accept my payments. They kept threatening foreclosure, however I was able to catch up the two missed payments in October of 2012. Bank of America stopped threatening me.

I received a second letter from the CFPB in July of 2013 to let me know they had kept up with this case.

Then in August of 2014, the department of justice cited Bank of America with financial fraud in conjunction with President Obama’s Financial Fraud task force. This is the press release dated August 21, 2014.

Bank of America to Pay $16.65 Billion in Historic Justice Department Settlement for Financial Fraud Leading up to and During the Financial Crisis

Attorney General Eric Holder and Associate Attorney General Tony West announced today that the Department of Justice has reached a $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America Corporation – the largest civil settlement with a single entity in American history ­— to resolve federal and state claims against Bank of America and its former and current subsidiaries, including Countrywide Financial Corporation and Merrill Lynch. As part of this global resolution, the bank has agreed to pay a $5 billion penalty under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) – the largest FIRREA penalty ever – and provide billions of dollars of relief to struggling homeowners, including funds that will help defray tax liability as a result of mortgage modification, forbearance or forgiveness. The settlement does not release individuals from civil charges, nor does it absolve Bank of America, its current or former subsidiaries and affiliates or any individuals from potential criminal prosecution.

This settlement is part of the ongoing efforts of President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and its Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (RMBS) Working Group, which has recovered $36.65 billion to date for American consumers and investors.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Sometimes being a Christian is hard work

No matter what happens in my life God is there with wisdom and comfort.

Yesterday was a trying day at work. I was asked to prove I did not make a mistake, that I was not “wrong”. My pride pounded in my chest, my anger flared-the Holy Spirit counseled “do the work, see if you made an error. Swallowing my pride (this is my private battle), I did the work, and low and behold, I was correct.
People do not always believe we are who we say we are. As Christians, it is our job to ‘to the work’ to let our hearts and personalities be open to God, changed to reflect His glory.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:13-14 (NIV)


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Strength in Psalms

I love the Psalms. I get such comfort and strength as I read and think: This was a man, just like me, limited and subject to the human nature. However, David and other psalmists loved God with all their heart, to be able to realize God’s power and mercy towards our lives.

Psalm 7:1-17 (NCV)

LORD my God, I trust in you for protection. Save me and rescue me from those who are chasing me, Otherwise, like a lion they will tear me apart. They will rip me to pieces, and no one can save me. LORD my God, what have I done? Have my hands done something wrong? Have I done wrong to my friend or stolen without reason from my enemy? If I have, let my enemy chase me and capture me. Let him trample me into the dust and bury me in the ground. (When I read this, I do fear a little. I wonder at David’s confidence in his relationship with God)

LORD, rise up in your anger; stand up against my enemies’ anger. Get up and demand fairness. Gather the nations around you and rule them from above. LORD, judge the people. LORD, defend me because I am right, because I have done no wrong, God Most High.

God, you do what is right. You know our thoughts and feelings. Stop those wicked actions done by evil people, and help those who do what is right. God protects me like a shield; he saves those whose hearts are right. God judges by what is right, and God is always ready to punish the wicked. (I pause here and pray for those whose hearts are still dark; I don’t want anyone to suffer God’s punishment)

If they do not change their lives, God will sharpen his sword; he will string his bow and take aim. He has prepared his deadly weapons; he has made his flaming arrows.

There are people who think up evil and plan trouble and tell lies. They dig a hole to trap others, but they will fall into it themselves. They will get themselves into trouble; the violence they cause will hurt only themselves. (This comforts me. Sometimes I wonder why people are cruel; this reminds me that human nature has always been like this)

I praise the LORD because he does what is right. I sing praises to the LORD Most High.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

How can God not be real

I wonder when I hear people say "I don't believe in God". I ask what they believe in, and most cannot say. But some respond "Oh, a great being", "a higher power", or, sadder still, "nothing, when you die you die." Some say "How can God be real, with all the suffering in the world?" 

Open your eyes, sometimes I say. How can God not be real? We breathe, we hope, we aspire. And for what, if there is nothing? But until people experience this good grace for themselves, they cannot know. And some are so shelled with pride, they cannot reach a thought that's not their own. 

I pray for them, that their eyes are opened, their hearts softened, and their pride abandoned. 

God is great: imposing, noble, heroic, splendid
Some do not believe. I wonder
How can His presence be denied?
What thoughts do they possess
That leads them through the dark place
Where God is real, but they are blind?
Where is their laughter?
Where is their hope?
Living in one dimension
Straight-line birth to death

Tick marks along the line of life events

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter is the reason Jesus came

The cross stands, empty, in the highlights of dawn,
A faint shadow falls upon the bloody ground,
A crude crown lay abandon, the marks of His body still in the dust.
In the dark and silent cave the
Son rises, sits, still swaddled.
He removes the rags of death and smiles.
Standing triumphant
Commands the stone to move
And walks into the bright morning.
This is why He came, why He died;
To conquer death,
Remove the gardens curse,
Leading the way to the tree of Life.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Consider Him who is faithful

The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.  It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Lamentations 3:25-27 (ESV)
Consider Him who is faithful.

I turn dreams to heavy things,
Demanding, like a child.
I lose sight of vision
Staring at the present reality
As if it was the only one.
I seek the Lord for answers
Already given in the vision world
Of faith and certainty. 

Oh faithless heart, distraction of my sight!
My soul grows faint in battle
With my soddened self.
I cry for mercy, relief from such a foe. 

Mercy always comes. And such a sweet face.
The Lord smiles.
My soul finds rest in the gleam of His eye.
I stand again to move through one more day,
Just present reality,
And reach the vision set in trust for me. 

Then there will be one more.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


I will not let my life
suspend on quiet threads.
Life is remembrance,
the immortal chance
to leave a wisdom,
and improve the place I stand
for those who come after
a thousand years, and time worn
stones, the names are smooth
where they lie now, and where then,
and who remembers, or is better
for their birth.

Some advance the generations,
teaching  stories that contain
seeds of consolation, wheels
and turn.

But my gift is not a grave
and who I am is not the thing
But that I have some insight
and I lived the sorrows
others will have.
To them I give the consolation
that life is only death
but between lies laughter, and actions of joy. 

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

I have learned that I am judgmental

I realized today that I am judgmental. I was blind to it. I was praying about something that has bothered me since a few months after I was saved. God told me I am judging. So I am praying and searching my heart to see why these kinds of things bother me so much.
I was saved into a church with many rules. No makeup, no movies, women wore skirts, and so on. What I began to notice is that although people will not go to the movies, they would watch the movie on TV. The women darkened their eyelashes with hairspray. People found ways around the doctrine they professed to believe.
I saw a woman who did not drink spit out a bourbon hot dog she had been porking down. One of the women in the office mentioned there was bourbon in the sauce. I understood why she did it, but she just looked ridiculous to the unbelievers in the group. She had already eaten twelve of them, and swallowing one more would have been polite.
Today on Facebook I saw a girl share the cover of a book she was excited about reading. One the cover, there was a bare-chested man and a woman kneeling so that her head hit his belt buckle. The woman’s blouse was falling off her shoulders and down her breasts. I laughed and had to refrain from responding. This is the same girl that brought a conversation to a screeching halt one evening by announce she would NEVER see an R rated movie. She made such a pucker face, everyone just stopped talking.
This kind of mindset drives me crazy. It makes me crazier when I see this in Christians. We get so much opposition from unbelievers, and when we are not true in all our actions, we just look stupid.
Christians have a core belief that Jesus is Lord, God’s Word is true, and baptism is important. Yet depending on the denomination and maturity level, we do have differing beliefs. We all walk in the light that we have, and operate in the measure of faith God has given us.
I guess that I think if you have a belief like not wearing makeup or going to movies, then live with it and do not try to have fake makeup and watch the movies on television. The movie does not get any holier because it is on TV. If you do not watch R rated movies, do not read R rated books. Just be true to what you believe, and do not say things to impress other believers. The only one we have to impress is God.
But as I pray, God says to me “What is that to you? You do as I have instructed you.”   

Does the Bible support slavery:Why would we ask such a question

Does the bible support slavery? This topic is trending, but I have to ask “Why?” Slavery exists in today’s global society, and has existed since the beginning. Slavery highlights the condition of man’s heart, to capture and subjugate others to a man’s will. I have to wonder if we, as Christians, do the same with God’s Word.
Depending on the condition of our hearts when we read the word, we “hear” it is different ways. Are we still holding onto the illusion that our will somehow has an effect on God’s Word? Have we learned to push our own thoughts, desires, and expectations aside so that we can truly hear what God is saying?

I have heard of a type of study termed Precept. This study involves three steps: observation, interpretation and application. Precept offers sound advice about interpreting the scripture in that Precept teaches that one scripture alone cannot form a belief, but the belief must be supported throughout the scripture. What caused me to pause in this is the third tier of Precept: The first step in application is to find out what the Word of God says on any particular subject through accurate observation and correct interpretation of the text. Once you understand what the Word of God teaches, you are then obligated before God to accept that truth and to live by it.

While the concept of Precept is excellent, are we studying God’s Word in this way to increase our knowledge of God’s Word, or to increase our submission to God’s Word? Submission means to surrender our concepts, expectation and desires to God and be willing to hear what He says to us.  As we study God’s Word, we acknowledge that God discussed slavery. However, Jesus teaches us that we must treat others as we would treat ourselves. Jesus teaches us how to live as Christians in Matthew 5. The entire chapter is devoted to bringing our flesh into submission to God’s Word. Even if the Bible discusses slavery, Matthew 5:39: But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (ESV) Cross reference.

This is the will of God:

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come; buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.
Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” Isaiah 55:1-12 (ESV)