Recognizing The Foolish!

Recognizing The Foolish!

The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning. Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips. The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception. Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright. The wise fear the LORD and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure. A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and the one who devises evil schemes is hated. Proverbs 14:6-9, 16, 17 NIV

What is a mocker? A person who makes fun of others–appearances, values, and beliefs. They attempt to humiliate at every turn, thinking themselves to be superior to others.

One example of a mocker is the atheist who makes fun of other Believers. They say things like: our praying to an invisible God may as well as be praying to a spaghetti monster. Another example of a mocker is someone who makes fun of another person’s disabilities by exaggerating facial expressions, voice tones, or movements. And then these mockers think–they are wise in their own sight.

The “wise in their own sight” are often looked upon as being foolish because they never listen to others when people attempt to admonish them because of their attitudes or behavior. We see this every day–those who think they know something when they don’t.

I  (and many others) am extremely offended by the latest attempts of Donald Trump to “reach out to African Americans” on a number of levels. First of all, he’s not reaching out to a group of people when none of them are in his immediate presence. Secondly, if he wants to “reach” people, he might want to start off with more factual information about who they are rather than statistics that are easily debunked. Using a broad stroke of overgeneralization to describe any group of people is insensitive and negates the accomplishments or achievements of others within that group. What he said was racist and derogatory. Not all Black Americans are living in poverty; not all Black Americas are ignorant or stupid (the underlying meaning of his saying, “your schools are no good”), and most of the young people–the teens (his 58%) are high school students who are concentrating on avenues that will earn them scholarships for college.

His entire speech about reaching out to African Americans was mocking.  “What do you have to lose taking a chance on Trump?” Considering the ethnic persuasion of the audience he was addressing at his rally, he wasn’t talking to Black Americans. His campaign manager, Kellyann states, “all his rallies are open to the public and African Americans can attend.” This is particularly interesting when a man–with brown skin–of Native American heritage was removed from one of his rallies.

Reiterating his approach, “What the hell do you have to lose?” We lose the hell altogether that a Trump presidency represents and keep reaching for heaven–knowing there are no racists there. In recent news–a white man–claiming to belong to racist group–admitted to stabbing a black man when saw the man kissing a white woman. Not that their relationship was any of his business, but he took upon himself to try to kill a man simply because of his skin color. That’s what the foolish evoke in others–that’s what Trump ideology is creating in a society in which many of us had hoped was behind us. So, no–we don’t want Trump’s brand of anything and that will ring loud and clear on November 8th.

And this is how we recognize the foolish–when they do really stupid things–in a public forum and think they are believable. Love trumps hate and mockery!

Not Guilty!

Not Guilty!

Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”? Even small children are known by their actions, so is their conduct really pure and upright? Proverbs 20:9,11

No matter what we do or have done in the time we’ve been on the earth, none of us can say, we’ve never done anything wrong–unless we were physically incapable of acting on our own.

And that’s the key. If we are able to make decisions about anything, chances are–we’ve made a few wrong ones. Even small children–learning to walk and discover–find out the hard way that not everything should be put in one’s mouth or they shouldn’t touch everything they see. How much children are harmed by their discovery activities depends upon the parents’ detail to attention in keeping them safe and harmful events–limited.

So, if small children are known by their actions, how can we reasonably conclude that adults are not known by theirs?

When we promote hatred of other people simply because of their religious beliefs, skin color, or how they look–what does that say about us?

When we constantly promote the engagement of negative attacks upon others–what does that say about us?

When we think we are superior to others and totally discredit the thought processes of others–what does that say about us?

When we think we can chastise others and are never receptive to chastisement for what we do–what does that say about us?

We are known by what we do and say–and warrant greater judgment by God because we are adults–not children. The children–who do wrong–usually don’t know what they’re doing, but adults–especially those who claim to know Christ–have no excuse.

When we know The Lord and are cognizant of The Word and live it on a daily basis, we cannot say, “we’re not guilty” when we do wrong. And if we claim we’re not guilty of ever doing anything wrong–we lie and proclaim the devil is our father.

The one thing I will not be guilty of doing in this lifetime is saying, I’ve never done anything wrong. I hear Holy Spirit when He speaks and though I’m sometimes slow to obey, I do obey. I obey even if I don’t understand why He wants me to do certain things, but I know–if He says it–it can’t be wrong.

Therefore, I will continue to live like the King’s Kid that I am and hope to be known for being His–always willing to admit when I’m wrong and correct my behavior.

Unlike some–I cannot say, “Not Guilty” of ever being wrong, but I know that love–will make it right!

We Fit Together

We Fit Together

THE RIVER WALK

we fit together

But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. (1 Corinthians 12:18)

Read: Esther 4:1-7:10, 1 Corinthians 12:1-26, Psalm 36:1-12, Proverbs 21:21-22

Relate: I love to read. I love to write. I enjoy preaching and teaching. I get really passionate about issues of social justice. If you want to get me riled up, feel free to start me talking about modern slavery or the need for the West to open up their doors wider for refugees. I am a sports fan. Since coming to Turkey I have narrowed my interests to Syracuse Basketball, the Yankees, NY Red Bull and Real Madrid for football. (Don’t call that American joke of a sport football around me) I wear a lot of Besiktas and will cheer for them but I can’t really call myself a true fan. I love worship music but most people do not love listening to me…

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The Heart of The Humble!

The Heart of The Humble!

“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. “Two things I ask of you, LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. Do not slander a servant to their master, or they will curse you, and you will pay for it. Proverbs 30: 5-10 NIV

The heart of humble speaks!

Think for a moment about the speaker in this passage of scripture and then read the entire chapter. Agur–acknowledges his human failings and speaks to them to others.

He understands The Word of God and warns people about attempting to change it.

He understands that lies and falsehoods–however they are cloaked with deceptive language are not acceptable.

He understands that neither riches or poverty will make a difference in how God treats people.

He understands what most people–especially our politicians, don’t–the deceptive practices–on behalf of both parties–are not acceptable to God.

Though my thoughts this morning were not to make a political statement with the scriptural reading, this fits so well, especially in light of the so-called, “regret” uttered by a person who smirks as he speaks. No humility shown whatsoever and no real apology made about all the things he’s said. And in the next breath, focuses his attention on his opponent to talk about her.

What was even more amazing to me was to see his new campaign manager, lie with a straight face, but her eyes gave her away along with the false smile that didn’t come from within.

The humble heart–speaks from the heart–and the sincerity is seen and heard. The humble heart–when it knows a wrong has been committed, will apologize–specifically–to the wrongs done. The humble heart–seeks private as well public exoneration of any act in which they are sincerely sorry about and want to make amends. The humble heart–does not seek public attention for acts of charity or compassion. The humble heart–knows God and wants to please Him, not people or a political party.

That’s what the humble heart does!

When we see what people do–in the public eye–we know whether or not they  have read The Word, understand The Word, and live The Word. We know, by what we see and hear–who truly has a humble heart and who doesn’t.

Americans are smarter than some give us credit for. We know humility when we see it and when we don’t.

 

Where People Fit!

Where People Fit!

Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan. Proverbs 29:1,2

Evildoers are snared by their own sin, but the righteous shout for joy and are glad.Proverbs 29:6

The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.Proverbs 29:7

Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away anger.Proverbs 29:8

If a wise person goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace. Proverbs 29:9

The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity and seek to kill the upright. Proverbs 29:10

Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. Proverbs 29:11

Throughout a person’s life, they go through stages–trying to determine where they fit in with life’s scheme of things for them.

I believe that however a person turns out–in life–begins with the foundation that is laid when they begin seeing themselves in the environment in which they find themselves. And as such, when people realize what their surroundings are and they can make a difference or simply accept it–they are in position to choose their end in life. Being born into a poverty-ridden environment doesn’t mean that’s how a person how to end their life. Being born into a gilded society where a person has everything done for them, doesn’t mean they will be a better person for it and many end up being morally corrupt.

What I’ve discovered about many (not all) people who had to work their way to what they wanted (nothing given to them except moral standards), they are more inclined to have a benefactor’s heart. They always want to help someone–without fanfare or recognition–just to make sure someone has a chance for a better life.

At the opposite end of this spectrum–those born with “silver/gold spoons” as feeding utensils, usually (not always) end up looking down on those who did not have what they have and have no compassion on those who do not what they were given at birth. They tend to go through life thinking the world owes them and they do for others when they can derive attention for it.

Looking at The Word of God, we see primarily how people fit into specific categories in our general society. Now, note these adjectives are not the labels earned at the beginning of life, but rather near the end of life.

The stiff-necked–after many rebukes–those who refuse to change their ways.

The righteous–those who do what is right according to God’s Word.

Evil-doers–those who plot and plan to do evil to others for their own gain.

The wicked–those who thrive on doing evil and enjoy it.

The wise–those who respect and adhere to wisdom from above.

The fool (stupid, idiot) those who have been taught what is right, but rebel against it to go their own way and keep finding themselves in a rut–never moving forward, always blaming others for their outcome since they refuse to accept responsibility for what they do or don’t do.

The bloodthirsty–those who do not care about the bloodshed of others in their quest to accomplish their own missions.

Thinking about what we do and why we do it–we should be able to find ourselves in one of these categories. Where do you fit?

Do We Understand?

Do We Understand?

Those who forsake instruction praise the wicked, but those who heed it resist them. Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully. Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse. A discerning son heeds instruction, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father. Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor. If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable. Proverbs 28:4-9 NIV

When we are given specific, implicit instructions as to how to live to please God and ignore them, we’re opening the door for Satan to walk in and rule. And we see this on a regular basis.

To backtrack our history for just a moment, within the educational systems, across the nation, we see the result of taking prayer out of the schools. When this country allowed a demented woman to convince lawmakers that “prayer in schools” was a violation of the constitutional rights of others, Satan and all his imps–stood on the sidelines–cheering, and turning somersaults, salivating at the opportunity for destroying the minds of the young. Gone–respect of teachers or anyone in authority; teens who feel like misfits deciding to take the lives of innocent people, and many school buildings are more like–airports–with metal detectors at the doors and security personnel searching back packs. Can we see them?

When sociologists decided that “corporal discipline” was child abuse, lawmakers once again (blinded by Satan’s plans) told parents their kids couldn’t be spanked. As a result, we have a society in which kids rule because parents are afraid to discipline them and when parents have no control over kids, neither does anyone else. When we take away authority of parents–we set our society up for failure. Do we see it?

Then, with the outcries of another few demented people, it became unconstitutional for prayers to be said at government facilities, and school events, and other public events and don’t dare mention the name–God–that apparently has the enemy so shaken that he trembles every time the name is mentioned. Even with the celebration of Christmas–the Christians’ celebration of Christ’s birthday, has almost been forsaken–because of the commercial aspect pervaded by all those seeking wealth. Can we see it?

And now, the group that openly and reverently honors the enemy–that master of deception–Satan--is allowed to influence young minds further, by promulgating “the nonsense of religious beliefs” as after school clubs. Parents–who were duped into believing that prayer violates constitutional rights from their earlier era, are probably the ones who will allow their children to attend, “Satan’s clubs.”Are we paying attention?

There is a profound difference between people being religious–ardently acting upon one’s beliefs–and being a follower of Christ. Satan’s followers are religious–they ardently act upon what they believe. Some Christians–ardently act upon what they say they believe–based upon the denominational doctrine. Believers in Jesus Christ–simply live according to The Word–not denominational banners. Why? Within The Word–there is life–and instructions for living life–that pleases God. So, if we’re not living according to The Word, not heeding instructions, we are praising the wicked (figuratively and literally), and the prayers being offered are detestable to God.

Do we understand, yet?

Tooting Your Own Horn!

Tooting Your Own Horn!

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips. Proverbs 27:1,2 NIV

I can remember as a kid hearing the “older folks” say, “When you have to toot your own horn, you’re just making noise.” They would go on to explain that when a person has really done something worthwhile, praise coming from other people about the accomplishment means so much more than when a person exalts themselves.

That makes sense to me. Hearing someone else tell you how great you are at doing anything does two things for the average person. It bolsters confidence and instills humility at the same time.

I’m usually amazed at some of the things people say to me; especially since I don’t see me the way others see me. I’m competitive–by nature–and I’m usually competing with myself–always trying to find a way to do something better. As a kid, while other kids were outside playing, I was in the house reading a book because I wanted to be a better reader. When we (the girls) played sports with the boys, I wanted to be a better player, so I didn’t play like the girls (Miss Prissy); I played like the boys and was a tomboy until after I was fifteen years old. I loved playing touch football and beating the boys we played against. But it was because of those boys that I learned how to swing a bat and release after a hit without knocking someone out with the bat. I learned how to play basketball really well competing with the boys because they were taller and I had to try harder.

As an educator, I am always surprised when a colleague tells me what other students say about me. Personally, I thought my students hated my guts, so when either students or instructors tell me how my former students say, students recommend me to others–that’s invigorating, yet humbling. Hearing that makes me feel like I really have to step up my game–to keep the momentum going because I don’t want to disappoint me or others.  And though I think I’m a pretty good teacher, I’ve seldom said that to anyone. I’m creative and always looking for new ways to present basic–humdrum information because I don’t like being bored.

When introducing myself to a new class, I simply tell them my name and give them their first writing assignment–to Google me and then write about what they discover.  They share what they discover with the class and we move on from that point. I want them to know–I know about writing, but I don’t think I should spend class time trying to convince them.

So, when implementing this particular proverb to my daily life–I’d rather hear what others have to say about me than to say anything about me. Since I don’t see me as others do, I probably wouldn’t do a good job of telling anyone anything. I see me with the flaws and imperfections, but thankfully, a number of people look past them or don’t recognize them until I say something about them.

More importantly, I strive to please God, not people. I know if I live according to His Word, more than likely He’ll be pleased, even when I don’t think I’m good enough–I know, He still loves me. And maybe, just maybe, I’m a little too hard on myself. But I’d rather look at me–with a critical eye, than to look at me with an appraising eye and attempt to say anything about me.

What I’ve discovered about most people is this--if they have to tell who they are–chances are–they are not all they think they are. The more people brag about themselves, the greater the likelihood that others will see their flaws and not their accomplishments. That’s what happens when we have to toot our own horns; we invite closer inspection.

A Christian Response to the 2016 Presidential Election

A Christian Response to the 2016 Presidential Election

My point, expressed differently for the past few months!

The Daddy Blitz

Social media and cable news are abuzz with diatribes and vitriol over the 2016 Presidential Election. If you support the Taz, apparently you are a racist, a liar, a misogynist, and a demagogue.

tasmanian_devil

If you support Yosemite Sam, then apparently you are corrupt, a liar and a murderer . . .

cf50000a75c8492cd5ab93becd6f2636

and you REALLY love pant suits.

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Watching Exchanges!

Watching Exchanges!

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. Proverbs 26:4 NIV

Beginning to understand this proverb better each day.

I’ve stated before that I read articles from several different digital mediums and when I find one interesting enough, I post a comment. Depending on the subject of the post, I usually get quite a few responses–some agreeing, some disagreeing, some humorous, and some–just downright hateful. I’ve been able to spot the bigots and the racists who simply comment to make their voice known. I get it. They want everyone to know what they think, but not who they are since most hide behind profile icons rather than pics of themselves. Silly me–everyone knows who I am because I am not ashamed of who I am, my positions on anything and I certainly don’t allow the idiots to intimidate me.

Now, though some–even those who don’t agree with my stances on things–have applauded my restraint in responding in like manner to those who are hateful, I have decided–those types of exchanges just aren’t worth the effort. So, now–instead of responding to those who only want to spew their vitriol–I simply hide their post. Problem solved.

It’s not that I don’t think Holy Spirit won’t keep a rein on my fingers, but it’s just so tempting to be like those who simply want to hate others. But I’m thankful that love reigns in my heart and I don’t want to make my Father ashamed of me–by acting the part of a fool.

God is always watching what we do and say and more importantly, He knows our hearts and He knows those who are truly His, from those who claim they belong to Him.

The most amazing thing about some of the online posters is most of them claim to be Christians. From their comments they believe they are an authority unto themselves and nothing anyone else thinks–matters. And no matter what anyone says, they want to set them straight–if you don’t think like they do–you’re a worthless sinner or worse yet–for them I guess–a “clueless Libtard.”

One lady–Kim Smith–told me, I needed to “read my bible better” and I “couldn’t be a Democrat and a Christian.” I guess someone forgot to tell her that Believers belong to whatever political party they choose. What most don’t understand is–a true Believer–looks at the whole picture, not just selected portions and makes a decision. It’s like looking at a buffet table–loaded down with all sorts of food–but when a person knows they don’t like certain foods, they simply don’t put those on their plate. It doesn’t mean they choose not to eat anything.

And that’s the way I choose to select the political dynamic that best suits the goal for the masses, not just for a handful of people. I don’t necessarily agree with the platform policies of either of the four parties, but there is one, I’m sure will best benefit “all people” whether I particularly agree with the candidate or not. Here’s the thing–I will never vote for a person who shows no demonstrable aptitude for hearing and obeying Holy Spirit–no love, no self-control, no self-discipline–just rashly speaking and refusing to accept responsibility for what they say and do.  No–this isn’t a political commentary, but it just goes to show how knowing what God says–reveals itself in our daily lives.

So, watch exchanges with people–and if they don’t agree with you–let it go–it’s their prerogative and if they get nasty, let them–hide their post and walk away from it. If we act like they act, then we are no better than they are.

Many Benefits

Many Benefits

Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control. Proverbs 25:28 NIV

Picture it–a walled city with holes punctured by battering rams–and an entire army from the enemy coming through to either capture or kill those within the walls. Such is the person who is incapable of controlling themselves because they lack discipline–their lack of self-control allows the enemy to come through to capture or kill.

How does that end? The end result for anyone who lacks self-control is disaster–whether it is from a lack of self-control with eating, greed, speaking without thinking, drugs or alcohol, or stealing and lying–whatever it is that refuses to be disciplined in a person’s life–will end in disaster.

But we yet have hope with receiving Holy Spirit into our lives! One of the many benefits of allowing Him room to reign in our hearts is self-control.

With Holy Spirit guiding us–we shower others with love, we know peace and joy, we are compassionate and kind, gentle in reprimands and corrections, but firm in our convictions and faith to do what is right and submitted to Holy Spirit’s guidance to help us be in total control of what we say and do.

If our spirit-being has been ravaged by the holes punctured by the enemy, we may be setting ourselves for rejection by people and Holy Spirit’s guidance. For when our spirits are low–we put our souls at risk when depression seeps in, and clouds of doubt about who we are and what we can do–creep through the holes and blind us to the truth–we are more than conquerors–not because of who we are, but because of who He is.

Perhaps, for some–it is time to allow those holes that have been punctured to be sealed with Holy Spirit so we can receive His many benefits and know wholeness and Holiness, not holeyness (full of holes).

Is it soup yet? Time is marching on and we don’t know the day or the hour of His return, but we can live with the expectant hope of living with Him in glory, when we allow Him to live within while we wait. There are many benefits we can receive when we receive Holy Spirit and allow Him to reign.

Holy Spirit, You are welcome to take up residence in my heart, to guide me all the days of my life and to reign with full authority in teaching me–reminding me daily of God’s Word–keeping me full of love and self-control.