"JESUS...THROWN OUT OF COURT"
7:44 am cdt
O.K., now I'm ticked off! I just read a piece on the Internet explaining how a federal
judge awarded the Louisiana ACLU, court costs, attorney fees and 'nominal damages,' in a case where the Slidell, Louisiana
city court made an "unconstitutional" error in displaying a picture depicting Jesus as a "law-giver."
According to the judge, the court violated the Constitutional issue of "Separation of Church and State,"
by displaying the image...one of the ACLU's favorite targets.
The Court has added other images such as
Moses, Charlemagne and Napoleon, which allows for the image of Jesus to stay...since it can now be viewed in a different
context. The ACLU is asking for a million dollars in damages. Another million for them to fight against anything
that is publicly Christian on another day.
Although I agree that it is important for government to be ruled
democratically, rather than through a theocracy...such as in Iran, I certainty don't think a picture of Jesus is a breach
of the Constitution.
Personally, I think the ACLU has found a "money wagon," in finding and attacking
anything that can make them money. "The love of money is the root of all evil," the scriptures declare.
I honestly think that might be the case here.
The ACLU stands for the "American Civil Liberties
Union." In short, American Civil FREEDOMS Union. Isn't denying a community like Slidell the
right to portray an image of a historic and beloved figure taking away that civil freedom? I believe it is and that
makes the ACLU a hypocritical organization. They're not protecting freedom, their limiting it.
Now we're not talking about a typical religious leader here who ordered the murders of people outside of His teachings
or bilked His followers out of millions of dollars so He could live a lavish lifestyle or even promoted an agenda dangerous
to the government of His day. In fact, in all His teachings, Jesus never attacked or promoted revolution against the
Roman Empire. He was not a dangerous man...to governments or anyone else. Not then...not now.
about a historic and beloved figure who taught love, mercy, compassion...love for your enemies...grace and sacrifice.
He not only taught these lessons, but lived them profoundly.
After all, the picture in the Slidell courthouse
is not of "The Church," but of a historic figure who both lived a life of peace, equality and self-sacrifice
and taught others to follow that example as a rule of inner law. Aren't those principles essential to law and order,
whether or not one chooses to follow Christianity? I think so. This is not a case of separation of Church and
State, it's a case of separation of Jesus and State. Jesus and the Church are not the same person.
we honor the truth, wisdom and honesty of Jesus' message without making it a certain doctrinal issue or an attempt
to convert unwilling participants? Of course we can. One does not have to be a devout follower of Jesus to see
the wisdom of His teachings in relation to peace and harmony among mankind.
I do not for one second believe that
the ACLU is motivated by keeping the Constitution pure and equal to all Americans. I believe they are motivated by one
thing...money gained by lawsuits...with the Constitution as their Bible...at least their interpretation of it. If their
gain is at the expense of Christianity...well so be it. Greed is an equal opportunity employer. I truly believe
this is how they think.
Having a painting or photographic image of Jesus hanging in a courthouse, a school or any
other public forum is not a violation of Church and State, unless that image is accompanied by active attempts to indoctrinate
or unduly influence, or promote the beliefs of a certain religion upon the public. If this court was using the New Testament
as their form of justice rather than the laws of the United States, I could see the problem. They weren't.
Consider this. Isn't the "Church" made up of people who believe in Christ? Yes.
Doesn't the government require by law that every one of those believers pay taxes to the State and Federal Government?
Yes. Isn't this action a violation of the separation of Church and State? It could certainly be argued
as such. I could argue that since I'm a member of the Church, I shouldn't have to pay taxes to the State, since
we must remain separate by the Constitution. I could argue that all the way to jail!
Is the ACLU jumping
at the chance to represent the Church in this action? No way.
My point is this...you can't completely
separate Church and State when the State is made up, (largely at least), of the Church, meaning those who sincerely believe
in and follow Christ. It is a fallacy. Now I am in no way saying Christians shouldn't pay taxes...I pay every
dime I owe and have always encouraged others to do so as well. My point is, there has never been a complete separation
of believers and the United States.
This proves that this portion of the Constitution was never meant to completely
separate all references to Jesus from the public forum...only that the Government be ruled by democratically elected officials,
rather than Church officials or one specific religious doctrine.
One could argue that any or all references to
Jesus are purely religious, and should therefore be completely banned from public buildings...but this is simply not
accurate. Jesus is also a beloved and honored historic figure for His messages of love, equality and fair justice...things
we should all desire in any court. Those attributes alone should earn Him a right on the wall of courthouses.
If someone were to hang a picture of Abraham Lincoln on a wall in our Church, I would not find that offensive. His
life and message was one of equality...something that could easily be honored, even within the sacred walls of a Church building.
This issue is not about religion my friends...it's about money. It's not about freedom or the Constitution,
it's about money. Pure and simple.
That's my opinion in this debate. It's called "Freedom
of Speech," and is also protected by the Constitution.
I love you all,
"PIG PENS AND PIG POOP"
4:17 am cdt
I cannot think of anything that is more painful or life-altering than the experience of a broken
heart. The term "Broken Heart," is of course a metaphor used to describe the enormous emotional pain that accompanies
the loss of someone we love.
I have witnessed in others and experienced firsthand the devastation that is caused by having a broken heart. That horrible
feeling that someone is literally sitting upon your chest making it hard to breathe...the long days and longer nights of mental
anguish, where thoughts of the loss play over and over like a never-ending horror movie and the unending puzzle of "what
went wrong" and "how can I fix it," that leaves us tormented and at a loss.
Broken hearts leave people vulnerable and in a
severe emotional condition. I'm convinced that many suicides and early deaths can be attributed to people who simply cannot
continually bear the pain of their broken heart. It's that serious...that deadly.
Broken hearts are caused by loss. Sometimes it's the horrible
loss of a loved one through a tragic or untimely death, sometimes it's caused when someone we dearly love decides to leave
our lives, throwing our love to the wind. Regardless of the reason...it is devastating.
Like most everyone else, I've learned that time has a way of
helping us come to terms with the loss that has caused our hearts to be broken. But, I've also learned that I'm never
the same following a broken heart. A broken heart changes you...period. There have been times I just wanted to feel like "my
old self" again, but it never happens. Getting your heart broken is that serious.
The reason a broken heart hurts so badly and is so hard to heal is
simple...we were never created to experience one. God created mankind to live in the love and splendor of the Garden of Eden...not
the deep valleys of depression that follow heartbreak. That's why we're ill-equipped to handle it...we weren't
created for it.
Adam and Eve to live together in the Garden, completely naked and unashamed of their need for or their desire to give love.
Through their selfishness...that ended. Soon there was death, jealousy, murder, separation and broken hearts. Our world became
a place of "every man for himself," and anyone who attempts to love, will eventually get hurt deeply.
Tonight, my fifteen year old son was sitting on
our bed crying. His mother came into the office and got me and I went in to see what was bothering him. His girlfriend broke
up with him, leaving him in tears. We cradled him and told him that we love him and that everything would be alright. The
sad thing is...even at fifteen, getting your heart broken can begin to effect your ability to trust, have faith in love and
weaken your desire to try again...stealing the very essence of what true love is.
You see, if we didn't love or need love...we wouldn't get our heart's broken.
However, it's the fact that we do want and need love that proves it is the
reason God created us. He didn't create us to go to the Moon, or to build giant cities, to get rich and famous...He created
us to give and to receive love. Why? Because He created us in His image. He too wants to give and receive love.
When our love is rejected, it breaks our hearts and emotional devastation is the result.
"Do not cast your pearls before swine," Jesus said. Do you
know what that means? It means that if you place an expensive string of pearls into a pigpen, the pigs will sniff it to see
if it's edible and then they will walk on them, smooshing them into the mud and the poop. Pigs simply don't
know the value of pearls. When we get our hearts broken through rejection, abandonment, unforgiveness or just
plain selfishness...it's because we placed something of great value...our hearts...into a place where it was not valued.
With the pigs...if you will.
In the beginning pages of the New Testament, Jesus made a very bold statement. "I have come to heal the broken
hearted," He said. He proved this when He would raise loved ones from the dead and return them to their families.
He will do the same for us...in time. Our families will be together once more...just you wait and see. Your sorrow will turn
He also has a way of
replacing the swine who have hurt us or devalued our love with "THE REAL DEAL" if we can remain willing and not
too bitter to try again. It is when my heart has been broken that I found out who truly loved me...valued me and was with
me for the long haul. These are people who are quick to forgive my short-comings, stubborn to keep the relationship and are
willing to do whatever it takes to workout a problem. Leaving is not an option for the real deal. Real love can't
help itself...it won't give up!!! It also expects the same in return.
My precious friends...I wish I had a magic pill, a witty answer or a nifty plan to make
the pain of your broken heart go away. I don't. I can tell you that YOUR GOD loves you and has promised to never leave
you or forsake you. He has made big promises for your ultimate future and He will keep those promises. With every 'tick'
of the clock, your deliverance is closer.
One more thing...There are people who need and want your love. When Jesus was rejected
by His own people...He turned to us...Gentiles. His own people rejected Him, but a prostitute anointed His feet with love
and adoration. Her loving act has been rewarded...she is a biblical legend. If you are heart-broken today, turn to the people
who need and want your love and will place great value upon it. You won't be disappointed. I'm one of them.
I TRULY love you all,
"IF I'D ONLY KNOWN"
1:40 am cdt
From the time I was about eleven years old, I would visit my Dad in the Summer for a few weeks.
He owned a radio and television tower company and did a great deal of traveling, so usually, these weeks were spent riding
with him to someplace were his work carried him.
On one of these particular "Road Trips,"
we were driving along a long and straight highway and you could see in any direction for miles. The roadways were empty
and we were lucky if we even saw another vehicle for hours. I was probably about fifteen years old at the time and dreaming
of having my driver's license and a car. We, (Dad and I) were out of things to say to each other and the radio filled
the silence with Country Music.
In the distance there was an intersection and there was a white pick-up truck
moving at a high rate of speed off to our right...moving toward our highway from a different road. Although we were
still quite a distance from the intersection I noticed that Dad let off the gas trottle a bit and began to slow.
Suddenly, he spoke: "You see that truck coming there?" "Yeah, Dad I see it,"
I responded. "When you drive you should always anticipate what the other driver might do...just so you'll
have a plan ready in case they do something stupid."
Well, the white pick-up finally began to
slow and to stop at the stop-sign. Dad returned to his normal speed and nothing else was said about it.
The interesting thing is...how much that advice has stuck with me all these years.
By sixteen I had my
driver's license and by seventeen I was on the road with a band driving hundreds of thousands of miles per year in every
kind of weather...over every kind of road...in major Cities, over mountains...day and night. I still travel quite a
bit and do most of the driving when I go. And...I still use that advice given to by my Dad so long ago.
I'm always aware of what other driver's are doing and developing a plan about 'what to do' if they make a
erratic move. In all the miles I've traveled, I've never had an accident...yet...knock on wood. I've
avoided countless one's however, by following that advice.
Did you know the same advice applies to almost every
area of our life? It's true. A person's 'creed' or their 'convictions' are developed by
deciding (in advance) how they would react to certain things...done or said.
For example: A long time ago I decided
that I did not want to be a participant in talking negatively about people behind their backs. After reading the Bible
I saw how doing so would displease the Lord. Having adopted that conviction as a 'creed,' I found that when
others began to talk about people...I'd simply remain quiet and excuse myself...or I'd blatantly try and change the
subject. I'm certainly not saying I've never fallen victim to gossip, (I have slipped up from time to time,
God help me), but I've learned that by establishing this 'creed' in advance...I already have a 'plan of action'
ready when it comes my way. It really helps.
Have you ever wondered what you'd do if someone tried to
kidnap you? No? Maybe you should develop a plan of action...so you're prepared!!! O.K., maybe that's
a bit far-fetched...but you never know!
In John Wayne's last movie, "The Shootist,"
there is a great line. He says: "I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a
hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them." This is a classic
example of having a creed to live by.
Have you ever had someone say something to you that was so rude or
accusatory that it just left you speechless? I have. So many times I'd think of some awesome 'comeback'
that would leave them embarrassed and...as we say in Texas...told off. Unfortunately...I'd think of it long after
the encounter was over. I wish I had a dollar for every time I started a sentence with "I wish I'd told them
to..." Too late.
Listen to what the Apostle Paul told the Colossian Church: "Walk in wisdom
toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that
you may know how you ought to answer each one."
Did you catch that? Paul is teaching
us that "wisdom thinks ahead in regards to 'how' and 'what' we say to people in advance."
Our response should be filled with grace...but it should also have a little salt added! I like that. Nice but
to the point.
This may sound awful coming from a Preacher...so I apologize in advance...but...my sons asked me
what they should do if someone picked a fight with them and was determined to fight. I answered: "If it's inevitable,
hit them first. Hurt em' fast by knocking the wind out them by slugging them in the gut...or hit them as hard as
you can in the nose. Hitting someone in the nose will cause their eyes to water, giving you an advantage. Hurt
em' quick before they can hurt you."
I want my sons to learn to "know" in advance what
to do in certain circumstances. I also talk to them about what to do in sexual matters, arguments, offers of drugs or
dangerous situations. I want them to know what to do "before" it happens. This is wisdom. Perhaps
it will stick with them like my Dad's short advice has stuck with me concerning driving.
My precious friends...develop
a creed to live by. Listen closely to your convictions and decide in advance how you would handle unhealthy situations.
The more you do this...the more wisdom you'll have and the healthier you will become.
I love you all,
"THE MOST IMPORTANT CHOICE OF YOUR LIFE"
2:40 pm cdt
If I had to describe what 'faith' means, I think I'd explain my vision of it this way:
"Faith is the freedom to choose what we believe." The Bible tells us that every living person is given
a "measure of faith;" meaning that every man, woman, boy and girl is given...by God...the right to believe
in whatever they wish.
single one of us has the right to believe in...for example: The Big Bang Theory, the Theory of Evolution, Hinduism, Islam,
Christianity, Hippies, Charles Manson, David Koresh, Jim Jones, New Age Crystals, The Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, Mother Goose,
The Easter Bunny, Hercules, U.F.O.'s or Santa Claus. What we choose to believe in is our choice...our own personal faith
In short, our
faith is the right to decide for ourselves...each one individually...what is truth. Truth is determined by what is factual
and real, versus what is false, deceptive, uncertain and dangerous. Truth is important because it helps us to move
forward through life, knowing the dangers that lurk in the shadows of our path. For example: the truth about Rattlesnakes
is that if you enter into their territory, they view you as a danger to themselves and will 'strike,' biting you with
razor sharp fangs that will inject you with poison. Truth tells me to "stay away from Rattlesnakes," and thereby
truth becomes a 'saving' measure. Now I could 'believe' that Rattlesnakes are friendly little serpents who
are misunderstood, lonely and in need of a human friend. I could seek them out determined to be their loving companion. I
could believe that...but it's not true...and they would prove that to me with dangerous results. In a word...truth saves...deception
In some cases, our faith,
(the right to decide what we believe), can be forced away from us by evil people determined to "shove their view of truth
down our throats," or face death. They become certain that they are divine "Enforcer's of the Truth,"
and have a right to make you submit to their doctrine. If you don't, they feel they have the same divine right to simply
kill you. The problem with that...other than the killing part...is that no matter how much they force their views and practices
upon you...they can't MAKE you believe it as truth. A man could MAKE a woman live with him and fulfill the role of a wife...but
he can't MAKE her love him or view him as a legitimate husband. In short...forcing anything does not make it true or real.
Which brings me to this question:
"Why do I choose to place my faith in Christ?" Do I believe simply because I was born and raised in America where
Christianity is the predominate religion? Do I believe because my parents viewed Christianity as "the" truthful
religion and their parental influence caused me to accept it as truth blindly out of respect and honor to them? Do I choose
to believe because it's the only teaching I've been exposed too? Am I therefore blinded to other options? I believe
these are all important questions we should ask ourselves. Why do I believe?
to this question is lengthy...but I'll try to be as brief as I can.
Somewhere in the search for my own purpose for living, I began to realize that the Universe,
the Earth and all within it had to be created by a very powerful, intelligent
Being. Simple common sense tells me that everything that is currently functioning within the Universe is so complex, it must
have intelligence behind it. To believe that all of this came about as an accident is simply ludicrous. As one man put it,
"To believe that the Universe and life came about as the result of a big explosion is Space is like believing that
the Dictionary was the result of an explosion in an ink factory." How true. There is intelligence behind the Dictionary
and there is intelligence behind our creation. The chances of it being a 'freak accident' are not a million to one,
a billion to one or even a trillion to one...it is zero.
Realizing that all of this was created...I sought out the Creator. This search led me to a single voice...Jesus
of Nazareth. Why? Because almost all valid historians accept the fact that Jesus of Nazareth did live, worked miracles
(as testified to by many witnesses and recorded in the four Gospels of the New Testament as well as other documentation),
and died of crucifixion at the hands of the Romans. In other words, History declares the "extaordinary" life of
Jesus as fact.
Now, since Jesus
did live as recorded in history, His words become very important in the search for truth. Now remember, truth is meant to
save us. That's exactly what the message of Christ attempts to do...and it is very simple: "Because of the selfishness
of mankind...everything on the Earth dies. They (mankind) kill, they steal, they destroy. I have come at the bidding of the
Creator to restore you to life! If you will place your faith in Me, I will lead you into eternal life." Now, those words
are mine...so let's read His:
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not
perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through
Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he
has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the
world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
Jesus is simply saying, "I have brought you the truth about
eternal life. If you'll place your faith in the truth I've given you, it will lead you to eternal life. If you choose
not to believe in Me, there is nothing else I can do." Even Jesus cannot change the truth to accommodate anyone...because
the truth is based upon fact and reality, not dreams and wishes. So in the end...those who chose truth and place their faith
within it will be victorious. Those who placed their faith in myth will find a dead-end. Just ask the followers of David Koresh, Jim Jones or Adolf Hitler.
Think about this: Most religions are based upon what it's followers are supposed to
accomplish in order to add to the religion...enlightenment, sacrifice and so forth. True Christianity is based upon what Jesus
has already accomplished. The work is over...accomplished...finished. Our part is simply to believe the truth.
In my personal opinion this current life is about
one thing...a choice. It is the only reason we are here on this temporary basis. God has placed us among His stellar creation
to prove Himself in a very real and tangible way and said, "Choose Me, and I'll give you things your eyes have never
seen nor your ears heard, nor that you could even dream of!" The faith is ours...the choice is ours. There are Rattlesnakes
or Green Pastures ahead...choose wisely.
I love you all,