A letter to my Christian brothers and sisters, on ISIS

Let me tell you a story? Paint picture, if you will. Right now, there is a large group of people, with a well-known name, and a widespread reach. They have found something they don’t agree with, someone they don’t like. They believe that what that someone is doing is wrong, and they think that their beliefs are better, that they are better people, even perhaps a higher level of humanity. They are are outraged at what they see, and want to capture, torture and kill, and even going so far as to call for the heads of the people with whom they are angry. 

Read that carefully. Maybe read again? Who does that make you think of? I’m guessing, your answer is probably the well-known Islamic rooted terrorist groups, known as ISIS and Jihad and the Taliban. But you would be wrong. What I just described is the reaction I have seen over the past few days from many people, many Christians, some of whom I know and love and respect, but who are out raged at what they see going on in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, and Israel and other parts of the world. Some of them have made public statements saying that they wish that THEY could have the heads of the brutal maniacs that are terrorizing the Middle East and parts of Europe. Citing their deep evil hearts, and barbaric actions, begging for a chance to “have at them”.

I will admit, that for a brief moment, I was one of them. It makes me sick to my core to see what these evil men are doing to this world. To see them recruit children and indoctrinate them into carrying out their evil wishes across the world. Seeing them slaughter men women and children of many races and religions, anything that is not them. I would rationalize it by saying, “God says,

‘Do unto others as you would have them do to you.’ (Like 6:31; Matt 7:12)

They had it coming.” But see, that verse applies to believers and how we should treat other people, not to the barbaric savages who are doing these evil deeds. See, God also says,

“Vengeance is mine saith the Lord” (Heb. 10:30; Rom. 12:19; Deut. 32:35) 

And what about Christ’s word about  retaliation and loving our enemies?

“38You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But 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. 40And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. 43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is 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. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:38-48‬ ‭ESV‬)

Are we loving our enemies? Are we forgiving them, praying for them? Are we not just asking God to end the evil, but also to save their souls? We would be committing a grave sin of putting ourselves in the place of God if we sought to take vengeance against the evil around the world out of our own might and our own will. Now, please PLEASE do not get me wrong. I. Love. Our. Military!! I have great respect for the man and woman who leave everything to defend total strangers against the evil of this world, and stand up for their country and what they believe. Military defense of nations, and wars are not only talked about and commanded in the Bible, but God also blessed battles and soldiers and armies. There is, most definitely, a place for that. A place for defending the widows in the orphans, for standing up for your country and what you believe. But, it is to be carried out under the authority of the government and by the military. If we as individuals take our anger and rage against what others are doing into our own hands and seek drastic harm and death to them, and we become absolutely no better than the barbaric savages that we are angry with. Our military is made to defend our country, and also our allies and others who are less able to defend themselves. That is how our country, and the world was designed.

The moment we throw all of that away, take things into our own hands, do not trust in the powers that be, and especially do not trust in God’s perfect will, in His perfect way, in His perfect time WE. HAVE. NOTHING.

Love is Patient, Kind, and Color Blind

Love is Patient, Kind, and Color Blind

Let me tell you a story? It’s kind of different than most, in that, it is not purely truth, or hypothetical, it is a combination there of. If it sounds a bit confusing, just keep reading, and hopefully it will make sense soon, and also make you think.

I read a news story online today, about a 14 year old Muslim boy named Ahmed Mohamed, who “Enjoys tinkering with electronics”,  and build a fully functioning clock, by hand, by himself. He then proceeded to proudly bring it to school to show his teachers and classmates what he had accomplished. However, instead of pride, enthusiasm, and encouragement, he was met with questions by school officials and police, search and secure of his personal belongings at school, suspension, and ultimately being taken from school in handcuffs, all because his teacher personally decided that Ahmed Mohamed’s clock looked too much like it COULD be a bomb. This child, so proud of his work, who could be a genius, if not the makings of a brilliant engineer, was harassed, questioned, and punished for his intelligence, all because of his race and religion prompting discomfort to his teacher.

This is the true part, so let’s get a little hypothetical here, and probe how this could have gone for any other child in his class, you see, he wouldn’t have been the only one profiled these days for his actions. Let’s see how this could have played out for them, and before you try to judge the suggestions, take a moment and really think about it, and compare it to all the stories we’ve been hearing. Pretty sure they will sound painfully familiar.

So, here we go. All these children have, hypothetically completed the same project, and this is the subsequent result.

Another child in the class, a blonde girl, named Sally, who had thus far been a pretty average student, completed the project, of building a fully functioning clock, by herself, by hand. She is questioned, and suspected of cheating, because there is no way she could have done that herself!

A third, an African-American young man, named De’Quan, achieved the same; he is not only accused of cheating, but of stealing the parts to build the item in question.

Next, a young Latino boy named Juan shows his work. He however, is completely forgotten personally, and turned in to a statistic, in the school’s attempt to praise their own ability to educate the underprivileged immigrants of America, illegal or otherwise.

And lastly, a brown haired, blue eyed Caucasian boy named Steve displays his masterpiece, and immediately is given an A, enrolled in the Honor’s Society, given academic scholarships, hailed a genius and goes on to attend an Ivy League University and become a renowned engineer.

Now, let me ask you, does this sound about right? Is this not how the mentality of America has become? Now, does this sound fair? I hope not! Our society has become so quick to judge someone’s beliefs, views, mental capacity, and even human rights, based merely on race and religion. We are far too quick to elevate one and dismiss another for the same behavior simply based on what they look like.

Let’s take a moment to see what The Bible has to say about this, shall we?

Acts 17:26 (ESV) “And he made from one make every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and boundaries of their dwelling place…”

When God spread the people across the earth from Babel and confused their languages in Genesis 11, He didn’t change anything about their humanity, their intelligence, or their abilities, not even immediately change their skin color; that came later through genetic mutation. All He did was mix up their languages.

Throughout the Bible, both in the old and new testaments, God made it clear that, though there were many tribes, tongues, nations, people groups, that does not matter to Him, or ultimately to us in the end. To Him, the only difference is if we are followers of Christ or not. In the end there will be no black or white or Asian or Latino or any other race or ethnicity, or language; only those who have believed in Him, and those who haven’t. So let’s worry less about what people look like, or where their ancestors came from; if God doesn’t even do that, what right have we to do so?

So, instead, let’s focus more on looking around us and all the opportunities to show Christ’s love to ALL people, no matter what. We have the blessing of being surrounded by so many different types of people in this country, and if we look around our circle of life and only see friends, or acquaintances who are a certain color, or age group, or religion, then we need to take a hard look at our lives. Are you willing to go out and play some ball with those black kids on the corner, or do you watch them wearily out the window expecting trouble? Do you say hi to that Muslim girl you see at the grocery story every week, or do you sheepishly look away? Are you willing to chat with the bag boy at Publix who has Downs Syndrome, or do you brush him off and walk away? Do you thank that Police officer at the next gas pump for their service, no matter their age, race or gender, or do you ignore them and go on your way?

We ALL need to take a close look at how we look at those around us.  We are told that everyone is our neighbor. And further, that we are to love our neighbors, and lastly we have laid out for us exactly what that love entails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, 13 (ESV) “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…. ….So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

The Room

There is some debate as to who wrote this story but it is VERY powerful none the less! Please read it and pass it on!


In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room.
There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files.
They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order.
But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings.
As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read “ Girls I Have Liked.”
I opened it and began flipping through the cards.
I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.
And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was.
This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life.
Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn’t match.
A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content.
Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.
A file named “ Friends” was next to one marked “ Friends I Have Betrayed.”
The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird.
“ Books I Have Read,” “ Lies I Have Told,” ” Comfort I have Given,” ” Jokes I Have Laughed At.”
Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: “ Things I’ve Yelled at My Brothers.”
Others I couldn’t laugh at: “ Things I Have Done in My Anger”, “
Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents.”
  I never ceased to be surprised by the contents.
Often there were many more cards than expected.
Sometimes fewer than I hoped.
I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived.
Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to fill each of these thousands or even millions of cards?
But each card confirmed this truth.
Each was written in my own handwriting.
Each signed with my signature.
When I pulled out the file marked “ TV Shows I Have Watched,” I realized the files grew to contain their contents..
The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn’t found the end of the file.
I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast time I knew that file represented.
When I came to a file marked “ Lustful Thoughts,” I felt a chill run through my body.
I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card.
I shuddered at its detailed content.
I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.
An almost animal rage broke on me.
One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these cards!
No one must ever see this room!
I have to destroy them!”
In insane frenzy I yanked the file out.
Its size didn’t matter now.
I had to empty it and burn the cards.
But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card.
I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.
Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot.
Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh.
  And then I saw it.
The title bore “People I Have Shared the Gospel With.”
The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused.
I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands.
I could count the cards it contained on one hand.
And then the tears came.
I began to weep.
Sobs so deep that they hurt.
They started in my stomach and shook through me.
I fell on my knees and cried.
I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all.
The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes.
No one must ever, ever know of this room.
I must lock it up and hide the key.
But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him.
No, please not Him.
Not here.
Oh, anyone but Jesus.
I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards.
I couldn’t bear to watch His response.
And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own.
He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes.
Why did He have to read every one?
Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room.
He looked at me with pity in His eyes.
But this was a pity that didn’t anger me.
I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again.
He walked over and put His arm around me.
He could have said so many things.
But He didn’t say a word.
He just cried with me.
Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files.
Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.
“No!” I shouted rushing to Him.
All I could find to say was “No, no,” as I pulled the card from Him.
His name shouldn’t be on these cards.
But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, and so alive.
The name of Jesus covered mine.
It was written with His blood.
He gently took the card back He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards.
I don’t think I’ll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side.
He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, “It is finished.”
I stood up, and He led me out of the room.
There was no lock on its door.
There were still cards to be written.


 If you feel the same way forward it to as many people as you can so the love of Jesus will touch their lives also.

My “ People I Shared the Gospel With” file just got bigger, how about yours?

You don’t have to share this with anybody, no one will know whether you did or not, but you will know and so will He.

Texting While Driving: Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be


 I know this is not my normal type of post but it is very important! Please tell all your friends about it and spread the word about safe driving.

    According to foxnew.com, “A report from the University of Utah says ‘When motorists between the ages of 18 and 25 talk on cell phones, they drive like elderly people – moving and reacting more slowly and increasing their risk of accidents.’ ‘If you put a 20-year-old driver behind the wheel with a cell phone, his reaction times are the same as a 70-year-old driver,’ said David Strayer, a University of Utah psychology professor and principal author of the study. ‘It’s like instant aging.” The report goes on the explain that the difference is only a matter of milliseconds, but it could mean the difference between hitting a child in the road or not.

   The statistics and studies about teens and texting while driving are shocking and down-right scary. In 2007, driver distractions, such as using a cellphone or texting, contributed to nearly 1,000 crashes involving 16-17 year old drivers. According to a 2011 Distracted Driving study over 37% of drivers have sent or received text messages while driving, and 18% said they do it regularly. Over 60% of American teens admit to risky driving, and nearly 50% of those specifically admit to texting behind wheel. Teens say that texting is their number one driver distraction. Over one-third of all young drivers, 24 and under, are texting on the road. Interestingly enough, in March 2012 the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released “Distracted Driving Among Newly Licensed Teen Drivers,” an in-car video study that found that teenage girls are two times more likely than teenage boys to use cellphones and other electronic devices while driving; and that of all cellphone related tasks – including talking, dialing, or reaching for phone – texting while driving is the most dangerous.

     As important as these facts are to know, it is not enough to know the problem is there. Here are some facts about the effects of the problem. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15-20-year-olds. Teen drivers are four times more likely than adults to get into car crashes or near crash events directly related to talking on cells or texting. Around 6,000 deaths and half a million injuries are caused by distracted driving each year. Each year, 21% of fatal car crashes involving teens ages 16-19 were the result of cellphone usage. This result has been expected to grow as much as 4% each year. Sadly, according to the Insurance Information Institute, a survey released by State Farm in April 2012 found that “Many teens continue to engage in texting behind the wheel even though aware of the dangers.” In the survey, conducted for State Farm by Harris Interactive, only 43% of drivers 16 or 17 years said that they had never texted while driving, the same percentage as in State Farm’s first survey two years ago. These staggering results do not seem to deter teens from texting while driving even though 76 % of teens ages 14-17 agree that motorists risk their lives by doing so and 93% believe that an accident is “inevitable among drivers who text.”

     There are efforts being made to fix the problem however. Texting is banned for all drivers in 39 states and the District of Columbia, and ten states and the District of Columbia have banned the use of hand-held cellphones all together while driving. Drivers with learner’s permits are restricted from the use of all cellphones in 32 states and the District of Columbia, and specifically banned from texting in 5 states, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.


     Federally, the first attempt to legislate the use of handheld cellphones while driving came in 2002. There have been House and Senate bills presented regarding driving and cellphone use each year since, so far none have passed. Florida is one of 11 states without a ban on texting by all drivers, and Governor Rick Scott, a Conservative Republican, does not appear supportive of a handheld cell ban. In 2011, he vetoed a bill (HB 689) that would have required the Department of Motor Vehicles to provide education on the dangers of electronically distracted driving. According to the Gainesvillle Sun,“Florida lawmakers said that while they agreed the issue needs legislative attention, they would need more data and more details before considering a specific bill.” Does that mean they need more teens getting in crashes and dieing too?

   The problem is that even where there are restrictions, despite the known risks, the majority of teen drivers ignore them and text anyway. There are things that can be done to make a difference. First, if your state has no laws, encourage individual counties to make laws restricting or banning texting and cell-phone use. Second, start campaigns in schools, especially high schools, to show the effects and consequences of texting while driving. Create TV, internet and social media ads that catch the attention of teens and strongly make the point that texting while driving is dangerous and deadly.

  There are things I can do also to help challenge my friends to be safe drivers. First, start trying to be a positive influence to my friends when they are driving, encouraging them not to text while driving. Second, share statistics and reports on widely viewed medias showing the dangers of texting while driving. Third, start a local text free driving campaigns. Lastly, I could support legislation to ban texting while driving, especially for teens, and encourage politicians to push the bans.

   Each of us can do our part to encourage our friends and family, especially teens not to text while driving, and we can certainly make the decision for ourselves not to text while driving. Everyone, no matter if they are a teen or not, should make the safe choice and decide not to text while driving. We can all save lives.


Indipendance Day Thoughts


 Happy Independence Day!

 The Declaration of Independence was written mostly by Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s founding fathers and the second president of the United States. A while back, in my post called “In God We Trust,” I wrote of the foundation of faith that is the cornerstone of this nation. I also talked about how far from that heritage it has fallen, ending with a prayer that we would one day return to being a nation that trusts in God.

The Declaration of Independence mentions God four times. The first reference to God is “[T]he Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God…” This reference to God’s laws of nature and God’s laws for his people in Scripture. “The Laws of Nature” refer to things such as the laws of physics, Newton’s Laws, the laws of gravity etc. The second part, “…and of Nature’s God…” refers to the moral and spiritual laws given by God, such as the Ten Commandments, the Sacrificial laws, the Ceremonial laws etc. Their point, I believe, was that the Laws of Nature’s God should be just as important, binding, unchanging, and unending as those of Nature itself.

  The second reference, “[A]ll men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable (cannot be taken away) Rights…” This statement can be seen in no other way than to refer to the Creator God spoken of in Genesis. These Unalienable Rights are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. The first is the right to life: God, as our Creator, is the One who gave us life. God, as our sustainer, is the only One who can truly keep us alive; and as such, is the only One with the true right and power to take it away. No man made himself or anyone else, so we have no right to take the life of himself or anyone else. Second, Liberty: the right granted to act as one sees fit, without fear of restraint or control, unless by the laws of nature which is a state of liberty not license. Lastly, the pursuit of happiness. According to William Blackstone our happiness is directly linked to God’s laws, and we can only be truly happy obeying Him. The Constitution was written, not to deny these rights, but to secure them and ensure they were and are unalienable. Since God created us, He gave us these Rights, and only He can take them away.

Third, “[A]ppealing to the Supreme Judge of the World, for the rectitude of our intentions…” referring to the God of the Bible who will reign Supreme as a Holy and Righteous Judge of the good and evil in this world. Rewarding the righteous with promised eternal life with Him in Heaven; and the evil with promised eternal damnation in hell with Satan. Jefferson is calling on God to Judge his life and guide his paths, to life eternal.

  Lastly, “[W]ith a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence…” This last reference envelopes several attributes of God; His Omniscience, Omnipresence, Sovereign control, great power, love for His people and many, many more. The LORD is our Protector, defender and sustainer. Without Him we are nothing, with Him we are everything.

These four references in the birth certificate of our great nation, serve as a firm, constant and poetic reminder of where we began and why we began this way. Jefferson, I am sure, hoped this nation would stay that way, but sadly, it did not. My prayer is that it will return there once again.  

The Fruit of the Spirit in a new Light

  I got this idea from one of my youth leaders. It’s something anyone can try, take the fruits of the spirit, or anything like that and find Bible verses that describe each word. Enjoy!

  John 3:16– For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not die but have everlasting life.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, it is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 

Romans 12:9-13 – Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.  

 Philippians 4:4– Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18– Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 

Proverbs 17:22 – A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.


Philippians 4:7– And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Psalm 34:14– Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. 

John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.


2 Timothy 2:24-25– The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition. 

Isaiah 40:31– Though youth grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. 

Galatians 5:5 – For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.


 Proverbs 31:26– She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 

Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to one-another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as god in Christ also has forgiven you.

Micah 6:8 – He has told you, O man what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? 

 Exodus 33:19– And he said, “I myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion to whom I will show compassion.” 

Psalm 31:19– How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear you, which you have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men! 

Acts 6:3 – Therefore, brethren, select from among you men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.

  Psalm 100:5– For the Lord is good; His loving-kindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations. 

Matthew 23:23– Who to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but the are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 

Matthew 17:20 – And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

  1 Corinthians 4:21– What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness? 

Ephesians 4:2-3– With all humility and gentleness, with patience, show tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Saints in the bond of peace. 

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

  1 Corinthians 7:5– Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of you lack of self-control. 

2 Timothy 3:2-3For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, inconsiderable, malicious, gossiping, without self-control, brutal, haters of good. 

2 Peter 1:5-7 – Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence in your faith supply moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.

Motivation~Is it the Right Kind?

Irena Sendler was born February 15, 1910, and died on May 12, 2008.* Irena lived through the horrors of World War II in the heart of Poland. Her homeland had essentially become a war zone, and her compatriots had fallen victim to Hitler’s cruelties. Irena loved her country and its people. She could have fled for her life or hunkered down and hid, but instead she decided to go out and help those who could not help themselves. Her motivation was one of love, fighting for all she was worth, against someone who was deeply motivated by hate.The place was Warsaw, Poland; the year was, 1942.* Hitler was working hard to divest the Jews of any means of life and livelihood, and he was succeeding. The Jews were daily being thrown into the vicious holocaust, herded into ghettos like cattle and made to work long hours while being fed perniciously small amounts of food. Their crime was simply being Jewish or disabled or black. Irena felt called to help, in any way she could. Sometimes this meant pushing a tumbril down the street that looked as though it had a load of bricks in it, but in fact it was only a few bricks covering a box that held a small infant which she smuggled out. Other times she would go under the cover of being a social worker taking “sick children” out of the ghettos for medical aid. She sometimes had to go to great lengths to be vouchsafed passage through the gates of the ghetto and out to safety with the children. Every time they tried, they were fearful of the incisive voice of a guard discovering them, but thankfully none ever did.  Irena worked very hard to protect the children. By giving the children a non-Jewish sounding pseudonym and teaching them a “story of their life”, she succeeded in temporizing the authorities ever watchful eye. Irena did everything she could to return them to their parents, if they were still alive, after the war was over. Unfortunately, most of their parents had been killed at the Treblinka extermination camp. She kept the real name of each child as well as their new names and where they had come from in a jar which she hid well out of the Gestapo’s range. Irena saved quite a few children before the day in 1945, the Gestapo found out and arrested her. She was taken to a concentration camp, tortured, and sentenced to death. This sentence would have been carried out if it were not for the Zegota, (the council to aid Jews) who resued her from the camp and hid her. She had been working for Zegota all along.*

 Over all, Irena saved a total of 2,500 Jewish children from certain death, if not by the cruel hand of the Gestapo, then by shear starvation and lack of proper shelter and clothing. Though she was not a Jew herself, she knew that this was a terrible injustice occuring and wanted to help. Hers was most certainly a motivation of love. Some of the children even called her their mother. Irena died at the age of 82, in 2008, at her home in Warsaw Poland.* She will always be remembered as the Moses of Poland during WWII, leading God’s chosen children to safety. Thank you Irena, you are truely a hero of the holocaust!

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irena_Sendler

Heroes of the Faith~Martin Luther

  I am starting a new series called Heroes of the Faith. Every few posts I will post about a story of the life of an influential person of the Faith. Hope you enjoy!

Martin Luther

     Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483, to Hans and Margarethe Luther, in Eisleben, Saxony; which was then the Holy Roman Empire; Luther was baptized the next day as a Catholic. In 1484 they moved to Mansfield, Germany. His father, a German cooper smelter, became wealthy by renting equipment to the mines, and later used this wealth to help put Luther through school. Luther’s mother was a hard-working woman. He had several brothers and sisters, and was very close to one of his brothers named Jacob. Hans wanted Martin to become a lawyer, and in 1497 Hans sent Martin to three Latin schools, in Mansfield, then known as Madgeburg. The three Latin schools focused on grammar, rhetoric, and logic. Luther later compared is time there to Purgatory and hell. In 1501, at the age of nineteen, he entered the University of Erfurt, which he later described as a beer-house and hoar house. The schedule called for waking at four every morning for what has been described as “a day of rote learning and often wearying spiritual exercises.” He received his master’s degree in 1505. Martin enrolled in law school at the same school that year, as his father wanted; but dropped out almost immediately, because law to him represented uncertainty. Luther sought assurance and a steady balance to life through philosophy and theology. He was deeply influenced by two tutors who taught him to be suspicious of even the greatest thinkers and to test everything he heard, which later helped spur him to start and lead the Reformation.

     On July 2, 1505, Luther was on horseback during a thunderstorm and a lightning bolt struck near him as he was returning to university after a trip home. Later telling his father he was terrified of death and divine judgment, he cried out, “Help! Saint Anna, I will become a monk!” He came to view his cry for help as a vow he could never break. He left law school, sold his books, and entered a closed Augustinian friary in Erfurt on July 17th 1505. One friend blamed the decision on Luther’s sadness over the deaths of two friends. Luther himself seemed saddened by the move. His father was furious over what he saw as a waste of Luther’s education. Luther devoting himself to fasting, long hours in prayer, pilgrimage, and frequent confession. He would later remark, “If anyone could have gained heaven as a monk, then I would indeed have been among them.” Luther worried about his salvation, so his superior decided that Martin needed to work more to distract him from his worrying, and ordered him to pursue an academic career. Luther was ordained into the priesthood and in 1508 began teaching theology at the University of Wittenburg.

     A Dominican friar named Tetzel began selling indulgences, which was supposed to get one out of Purgatory and in to Heaven. When Luther found out that Tetzel was doing this he became very angry, because indulgences are totally against the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Luther believed that if someone believed on Jesus’ death on the cross for their sins, that they did not need indulgences. Tetzel tried very hard to sell them to whomever was willing to pay. He would yell things like: “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory [also attested as ‘into heaven’] springs.”. On 31 October 1517, Luther wrote to his bishop Albert of Mainz, protesting the sale of indulgences. He enclosed in his letter a copy of his “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” which came to be known as The Ninety-Five Theses. Many of the thesis attacked the Roman Church on several points including Thesis 86 which asks: “Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money?”

     In 1823, Luther married Katherina von Bora, a run-a-way nun she was 26, Luther was 41. They had six children. Luther wrote many hymns including his most famous hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” or in German: “Ein Feste Burg ist unser Gott”. Luther was eventually called to recant or deny all that he had taught; his writings were banned and burned. He was put in prison until he was brought before the Diet of Worms, which was like the court of the Roman Church. He refused to recant, stating his famous quote: “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well-known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other. May God help me! Amen.” Orders were given that no German was to aid him and any one who killed him would not face legal consequence. Thankfully, Frederick III of Saxony pitied him and had masked men kidnapped him along the way, taking him to his castle. It was there in Fredrick’s Castle that Luther translated the Bible into German.

      Luther struggled with poor health in later life which made him short-tempered in his speech and writings. His wife was heard saying to him “Dear husband, you are too rude.” To which he responded, “They are teaching me to be rude.” his last sermon was preached in Eisleben, the city of his birth, on Feb. 15, 1546, three days before his death on Feb. 18 of a stroke. He was 62 years old. He was berried in Castle Church in Wittenburg, beneath the pulpit.

The Least of These

  “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of THE LEAST OF THESE my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Mt 25:35-40 AV)
When I think of Africa, I think of lions and hippos, elephants and giraffes, crocodiles and wild dogs. Or I think of the vast deserts and the Nile river with all its perils. I used to take little time to really think of all the people there. Yes, I knew they were there; yes, I may even feel sorry for them; but, I never really thought about what they go through every day of their lives. I never really cared, until now.
Recently, a series of events have occurred, that have brought them to my mind, and brought what they endure every day, to light. What I see, is shocking, and saddening. A few friends of mine went to Africa not long ago, on a missions trip; the stories and pictures they brought back made me both laugh and cry. The people of Africa are both beautiful, and frightening, sweet and fierce. As I watched videos the team brought back, I laughed as I saw little children running next to the cars and boats the team was in, wave their hands and shouting; I saw little orphan children, who had survived the perils of their past few months.
That story was especially gripping. The Christian Africans in Nigeria where the team went, are constantly persecuted for their faith. The villagers are attacked by the Muslims with a three-pronged attack. First, the Muslims sneak into the Christian’s villages and set their houses on fire at night; then, when the villagers run from their homes to escape the fires, the are beaten and hacked with machetes; last, if they are fortunate enough to survive that, as they run from the village, there are men surrounding it with machine guns waiting to shout anyone who tries to escape. Few make it out, and many that do, die soon after from their wounds. The few children for each village that survived are taken to or just go themselves to a nearby orphanage where there are children all the way from four or five to eighteen.
I also saw a documentary about a movie star who in all seriousness, has taken several trips to Africa and continues to go. He traveled to various countries in Africa collecting facts about the state of life there, then came back to the USA to talk to the president about helping them. What he saw there was devastating. The wars between the Christians is brutal and violent. Men are killed or taken as slaves, women and children are raped and either take as slave or burned to death. To protect themselves they have made up their own army, which includes boys as young as twelve or thirteen carrying AK 47s and machine guns, going out with the men to protect their people, and kill the enemy. Their fate is very indefinite, their goal very definite. Life for them all is like a thread, it breaks or it doesn’t break.
At least seventeen times in the Bible God speaks of caring for the widows and orphans in this world! We can do no less than our best to obey. There are many, many orphans in Africa, and in many other parts of the world, with sad stories similar to these. I heard a statistic once that if only SEVEN PERSENT of the families on this earth would adopt just ONE child, the orphan crisis in the world would be gone. Imagine, what would happened if each family adopted two or three. But even if they can’t adopt a child, if they just support a child, or fund someone else to adopt, imagine the impact we could have! Even if we can’t give money, we can most certainly give our time to pray for them, pray for God’s safety for them, pray for their salvation, pray for a family for them. Also we can write a letter to a child in an orphanage, they always love receiving letters for someone in America who cared enough to take time to write to them.

Remembered Today

  I normally post on Friday, but considering this special day I thought I would post early. This is a poem I wrote for everyone, but especially those now in , or who have been in the military.  Enjoy, and God Bless.

Have we remembered today?

Have we thought, pondered,

Do we pray?

For the men and women,

So far away,

That risk their lives each day?

In oppressive heat and scorching sun,

they fight day by day.

And from their goal they never stray.

“What is that goal?” you ask.

Well let me tell you now,

To save a country and a people,

from those who mean it evil.

They offer their lives,

They give their all,

They serve with strength and pride.

They leave family,

Friends and loved ones dear,

to serve our country,

Far and near.

And yet some say, “In vain

They serve, and home

They must return.”

Then, we said we’d never forget,

But now, is that still true?

Have we forgotten,

The people that were lost?

And the lives forever changed?

This, my friends,

Is why they serve o’er the world today,

So let us ne’er forget, that for our soldiers,

We must pray.

Have you remembered today?

In loving memory of all those lost on 9-11,

and since then in the war on terror.