Let’s Stick To The Issues!

Let’s Stick To The Issues!

This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him. Acts 23:27-30 NIV

Whenever people have nothing of substance to add to a discussion, they inevitably turn to talking points that have nothing to do with the issues at hand. We know–those who Believe and accept God’s Word as true–that Jesus was arrested, illegally tried, and crucified as part of a plot by those who were envious of the attention He received. And now, some years later in this passage of scripture, we see a repeat of the motive–envy and jealously over things the religious leaders did not understand. And since they did not understand it–it couldn’t be true or right–according to their logic.

Throughout history, if we examined and analyzed every event microscopically, we’d see this scenario playing out over and over again and it hasn’t stopped yet. When people “blow things out of proportion” because they do not understand them, it is a sign that they will do anything to accomplish their own self-centered goals to destroy another. When people are “outside the loop” of knowing–they tend to see conspiracy in all that others do, yet they are so blinded by their envy and agenda, they do not see truth about themselves. Why? Because they have nothing of substance to say about “real issues” that affect the lives of others.

There are serious flaws in our political system that allow a person who knows nothing to run for President of the United States. There should be some sort of vetting by a committee–not necessarily government officials, but people in the know--who determine the competency of anyone running for President. And this is beyond the criteria already established regarding citizenship and age.

What do we need to know about political candidates?

  • Do they know and understand our nation’s history–from beginning to present–and all of the changes that had to take place in order for this country to be “united” as one?
  • Do they understand how government works? Were they paying attention in civics classes?
  • Do they understand how global economy works and that a nation’s economy can not be compromised by “bankruptcy” when debts are owed?
  • Do they understand the importance of “relationships to develop partnerships” with other countries?
  • Do they understand that conflicts with other countries cannot be solved by endangering civilians with “just bombing entire regions” to root out evil?
  • Do they understand the potential fall-out from other countries who have been disrespected and maligned simply because no knowledge about how things are done “right” is known?
  • Do they understand the potential for civil unrest and violence when promoting hate-mongering and fear-mongering when those tactics are only used by those who are insecure and love to intimidate others?
  • Do they understand the importance of keeping Americans safe from the angst of other countries when we speak without thinking?
  • Are they willing to set aside their personal interests when it conflicts with “what’s best” for the country?

These are the issues that should be addressed before anyone is allowed to become “a great pretender” and think they have what it takes to sit in the White House. For if the answer to the above questions is “yes” then political campaigns can stick to the issues in setting methods to solve problems, not create them or waste their time with personal attacks which have no relevance in the greater scheme of things.

Though I may seem to be beating a dead horse on this issue of politicism, I have to say that comments regarding Bill Clinton have nothing to do with Hilary Clinton’s ability to serve this country in the White House. It is merely a distraction and opportunity for those who keep bringing up his past because they have nothing of substance to present in making a case for bumbling ignorance we see in the other candidate. 

When it comes to the criticism of Hilary being untrustworthy and a liar–how does someone who has filed bankruptcy four times, leading to others losing their businesses, think they are trustworthy? And perhaps, he doesn’t understand that constantly back-pedaling on issues he should have kept quiet about from the beginning–is lying. He apparently doesn’t understand the principle behind “the pot calling the kettle black.”

I simply pray that Hilary will not stoop to this level of personal attack that have no relevance in the greater scheme of things and that she’ll stick to the issues and present a case to the American public that ensures the continued greatness of this country–in spite of what others say.

And for the rest of us–the voters in America–I hope we can make a decision that sticks to the issues and not personal biases about who is the best qualified for the job–whether we agree with a party platform or not.

Who’s Kissing You?

Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Matthew 26:45-49 NIV

Most Believers know the story and why anyone found betraying another is called a “Judas” because of their behavior. We still have people in our midst–sometimes in our inner circle–who will be betray us in a heartbeat. And those same people, at any given moment, will greet us with a “kiss” marking us as target.

Think about it! Most of the gangster movies in which someone from the inside is going to betray the mob or even the good guys always marks the target with a friendly greeting–with the mobsters once portrayed in movies–with a kiss (cultural preferences). Funny how most movies portrayed the mafia as only one ethnic group when there are so many other groups of “gangstas.”

But people who betray others are not always part of the mafia or any other gangsters–they masquerade as friends, sucking the life of people, encouraging people to do the opposite of what they should do and then leave them hanging when they can’t have their way. When the foolishness is exposed, they have marked a target and then are long gone. We don’t always know people the way we think we know them and when we allow them into our inner circle, we should be careful about what we let them know about us.

Let’s face it–for most of us–three and half years is not long enough to determine whether those we meet are real or not. But that’s us. Jesus knew all along who would betray Him and He didn’t try to stop Judas because the will of God needed to be fulfilled. And it was–right after prayer–the kiss of death, targeting Jesus.

So again I ask, who’s kissing you and are they really a friend or foe?

It is sad to think that within the inner circle of Believers that we have those among us who will target us–mark us for the enemy’s attack. Why would they do that? The enemy’s influence is ignited by jealousy, bitterness, envy, covetous, and disobedience to God. There are people out there who hate those who obey God and will do everything in their power to create a situation where they can see Believers fail–sin as they sin.

Every smiling face is not a friendly face and we must know the signs–the little indicators that signal who is really facing us. Do we see the darkness in the eyes of those whose smiles are not genuine? Are we able to detect the depth of hate when looking into soul-less eyes–especially when the smile only reaches the corners of their mouths?

And once again I ask, who’s kissing you?

 

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Deceptive Storms Excerpt 5

Reverend Jenkins pulled his ego up from the basement and grabbed a jacket.  As he picked up his brief case, he smiled.  “Not yet, not yet,” he thought.  “It will be all right, in good time.”  He whistled a low tune as he headed out the door.  Once in his car, he mentally began practicing a humble posture.  He saw himself, with head bowed, eyes riveted on the pastor, nodding in agreement to whatever was going to be said.  He practiced appearing interested in the pastor’s personal life by determining what kinds of questions he wanted to ask and to feign surprise or interest.  This meeting was important.  He had to make the pastor feel comfortable with him in order to get him where he wanted him—out of the church in disgrace—was his plan.  And he had already figured out how to do it.  With a little bit of help, he would soon be the rightful pastor of Christian Faith Ministries, the way it should have been.

He groaned inwardly when he thought about how he had been cheated with the appointment.  He had been warned when the church joined the ecumenical organization that a church appointment was not automatic, simply because someone had been a member of the church.   He knew that most of the congregation had really enjoyed the ministry of the Recinoire’s; he just didn’t think he had to worry about the appointment.  Wrong.  He had misread the entire situation.  That wouldn’t happen again.  He had plans and nothing was going to get in his way.  “Nothing, nothing, nothing,” he muttered aloud.

Pulling into the parking lot, he took a deep breath, rotated his head and neck to relieve the pressure and prepared to play the role of his life.  He turned off the engine, snatched his brief case off the passenger seat and climbed out of the car.  After locking the doors, he walked confidently into the church, ready to plant the seeds of his plan.

****

“Come in,” Cal responded to the knock on his door.  Looking up from his notepad, he waited.  When Reverend Jenkins entered, he rose, came around his desk, with extended hand to greet him.

Reverend Jenkins took the extended hand and shook it warmly, clasping Cal’s wrist in the process.  Smiling, he sat in the chair indicated and sat back expectantly.  Cal retreated to his chair behind the desk and sat contemplatively.

“Thanks for getting here so soon,” he began.  “Your message seemed a bit urgent, how can I help you?”

“Well now, Pastor, I didn’t really call you because I needed help.  I called to see how I could help you.  It’s been a pretty busy first year, so I figured, you could use a little more help around here.  I’m at your disposal to do whatever it is you need done,” Reverend Jenkins’ smile stretched across the lower half of his face without reaching his eyes.

“I must admit I’m surprised at your generosity.  You know the rumor-mill has it that you were upset with not getting the position here.”

“I was disappointed.  Now that I’ve had a chance to see what you’ve done in just a short period time, I’m relieved that I was not appointed pastor.  I don’t honestly know if I could have accomplished what you have.  At any rate, I do know about the rumors and I decided that it’s time to put them to rest.  I wanted to make sure that at tonight’s meeting there is no doubt in anyone’s mind about where I stand.  I want to see this church grow into everything God intends for it to be.”

“I appreciate your attitude Reverend Jenkins and I welcome your assistance.  At the moment, I don’t have anything specific in mind, but I’m sure something will surface soon.  We have more than enough to do to keep everyone busy.  Did you have anything specific in mind?”

“Well, you know we could stand raising some money around here to develop the surrounding land.  Our young people are pretty talented and I was actually thinking about having them perform a knock-out concert.”

“That’s a splendid idea!” Cal exclaimed.  “I was thinking about something similar.”

“Wonderful!  Perhaps, we should present this idea at the meeting tonight.  You know, in order to prepare a concert the magnitude that I’m thinking about, we’ll need at least a year to get everything in place.”

“That’s fine.  I’ll just add it to my agenda under new business.  I’m glad we had this chance to talk and I look forward to working with you on this.  I’m sure the congregation will be glad to see us on the same page as well.  How’s your son?  Doesn’t he sing with the youth choir?”

“Yeah, Vernon sings with the choir.  He could do a better job with some additional training, but it keeps him involved in the church.  He’d rather play basketball than sing, but I’m working on him.”

“Perhaps, we can utilize him to organize some basketball tournaments.  I’m sure he knows other young men who would be interested in playing.”

“I’m sure he would.  I’ll run that by him when I see him later.  Well, I’ll get going so you can get ready for tonight. Thanks for taking the time to see me.”  He stood and extended his hand, ready to leave.

“Anytime.”

Cal stood up and shook hands with Reverend Jenkins across his desk.  As Torrance Jenkins walked out the door, Cal felt as though he heard a faint siren.  He went to the window and looked out, but could not see any reason for an emergency.  He stopped and listened again, but heard nothing.  Shaking his head, wondering if he was hearing things, he sat down and took up his notepad.

 

(Excerpts posted in random order–book available very soon!)

Stop Talking and Start Doing!

“Let your conversation be without covetousness and be content with such as you have…” (Hebrews 13:5).

Wow! With all of the current promotion of prosperity versus poverty, a person could get confused when reading this scripture; especially the part about being content with what you have.”

First of all, we must understand that God does not intend for His children to be poor; He is rich and therefore so are His children. However, the riches are not just measured in dollars or tangible means. He is rich in mercy, grace, and love. But He also tells us, “He has given us power to get wealth.”

The power to get wealth is the anointing/ability He has placed in us to be creative and innovative. He does not intend for us to “look at what others have and plot to get it from them” (covetousness). That is greed or a desire to gain illegally or immorally. That is not how our Father works. He wants us to have an abundant life, gained legally and morally.

But let’s get back to the conversation part–have something more to say than just talking about what others are doing or how well they’re doing and how much you wished you had what they have. Examine yourself and your gifts and motives. What do you have? Be happy with what God has blessed you with and be happy for those who have what you don’t–it’s their right. The more you are sincerely happy for those who accomplish their goals, the greater the likelihood they’ll be in your corner, supporting your efforts and cheering you on to accomplish your own.

Stop talking and start doing!