RECENT STUFF D 2013
1958 AGAINST HIS OWN PEOPLE!
Its story time again kiddies!
Come- gather at the media carnival- they have another great fantasy for us all.
Yes- that’s the way I feel often- when seeing new narratives emerge.
The past couple of days I have been hearing ‘he might use chemical weapons- against his own people’.
Heaven forbid it- oh my- we could never have that.
Yes- that’s the way they want you to respond.
I’m talking about Syria and the ongoing tragedy of the civil war taking place in their land.
Now- I’m certainly not a supporter of Assad- the son of Hafez Assad- who ruled with an iron fist for 40 years.
Hilary Clinton called the son a reformer- a good man who was for change.
Now he’s a murdering thug with a bent on using the most horrid thing in the world- chemical weapons! Oh my!!
Yes- for those of you who don’t know- the standard method of killing- shooting lead [or other metals] into the bodies and skulls of folk- smashing their skulls as the bullet goes in.
In many cases leaving the wounded person to die- in great agony.
Well- this method is humane.
Or say dropping a nuclear bomb on hundreds of thousands of Japanese women and children.
You know- giving radiation poisoning to tens of thousands of moms- many who were pregnant.
These kids dying of radiation sickness- their limbs melting off like charred meat from a chicken bone.
Yes- this is ‘humane’.
But chemical weapons- against HIS OWN PEOPLE- o my.
I guess it would be okay if it were other people?
Did you know our great Winston Churchill used- and advocated for the continuation of them- during the war?
Bet you didn’t know that little tid bit.
I don’t want anyone to use any weapons- ever.
And yes- chemical ones are very bad.
But when you see the western media saying ‘against his own people’.
Watch out- they are trying to develop a narrative that will excuse our involvement [via NATO] to go in once again and ruin another country.
Right now- as I write- the guys who killed our ambassador in Benghazi are walking the streets- freely.
There are reports that no one has been questioned- everyone in town knows who did it [Ansar Al Shariah].
Yet till this day the U.S. has so badly dropped the ball- that these guys roam the streets with impunity.
This week I heard an ‘expert’ on Arab affairs describe the ongoing protests in Egypt as simply a healthy expression of Democracy.
That the Egyptians were suppressed for so long- that now that they have freedom- they just can’t get enough of this new expression of rising up in their streets.
Wow- what a great story.
O- but I forgot- the women have been raped openly in the famous square- by the great Muslim Brotherhood.
All of these things are examples of the media wanting to make things look/go a certain way.
It would be terrible if after all the praise about the Arab spring- the open support we gave to Morsi [Egypt’s new pharaoh].
If after all this- we now realize that we were part of a revolution- that simply became anarchy.
That’s why they tell us the story thru this lens.
That’s why they say ‘chemical weapons- against his own people!’
So you would think ‘of course we had to intervene- we had no other choice’.
When the so called rebels [Al-Qaida] attacked a hospital in Syria and killed innocent victims and doctors- was this called an attack ‘on their own people’.
When the Al Qaeda group in Libya hunt down the former relatives and friends of Gadhaffi.
When they torture and kill them.
When the free roaming militias terrorize blacks and women- do we say they are ‘terrorizing their own people’.
We don’t say it because we backed them.
The guys running Libya are guys we put in power.
So when the various atrocities take place- against ‘their own people’. We don’t say it.
But when it’s time for the west to intervene again- well watch out- we start saying ‘against his own people’.
All war- and weapons of war- are sad- tragic.
It’s sad that many young Arab- Persian and Muslim kids have grown up in this mess.
Its’ sad that some have embraced radical expressions of their faith because they see no other way out.
It’s sad that Morsi turned out to be no better than the guy before him [Mubarak].
It’s sad that the U.S. has put its hand to many times to try and make a certain outcome happen.
Maybe we have done this meaning well [maybe!] but the end result has not turned out well.
If we go in and depose Assad [Syria].
That country will fall to Al-Qaida- that’s a fact.
I don’t want to see chemical weapons used either.
But don’t fool yourselves.
They are all killing- both sides- using very bad things- against THEIR OWN PEOPLE.
The only innocent ones are the true protestors who have not resorted to violence.
Those in the square of Egypt today- who are not violent- they are noble.
Those in Libya- Syria- all the other hot spots in the Arab world.
Those who reject violence- they are noble.
But if you take up a weapon- be it chemical or any other- then you have chosen to live by the sword.
A great man once said ‘if you live by the sword- you will die by it’.
His name was Jesus Christ.
1959 SOME OF YOU WILL BE PUT TO DEATH
Much to say- little space.
Before I forget- the chapter for the week was [is] Luke 21.
Okay- the last few days I have seen an interesting thing- this is how you know what’s really going on.
You listen carefully to those who support the view that they are speaking about.
Example- Gloria Borger is a news reporter from CNN.
I have seen her lots of times- she’s fairly good- and she is a supporter of the president.
The other night she gave a short report about the current fiscal crisis [called the Fiscal Cliff].
She said that Obama and the Dems are feeling justified after the election- and they seem more willing to not negotiate- for real- and to let the blame fall on the Repubs.
Now- as she talked- you could tell there was a sort of concern in her voice- like those who have supported the president might be worried that he might take the country over the cliff needlessly [remember- she was giving a sort of behind the scenes view of other Democrats- that they seem to think Obama is the one that might take the country over the cliff- even though he is saying it’s the Repubs- his own supporters kind of think he’s lying about the thing- get it?]
She [as well as a bunch of others] have now come out and said that the thing that’s holding up a deal is the Repubs insistence on Medicare ‘means testing’.
Right now the 2 sides [Obama and the Repub congress] are stuck because Obama wants to raise taxes on the rich- and the Repubs want to means test entitlements [Medicare].
Okay- Obama himself was for means testing- just last year he gave a speech claiming we could raise 1.2 trillion by doing this [it’s s simple adjustment to Medicare that makes the rich pay more].
So- those news papers and media outlets who have been behind the president 100% are now saying that he needs to agree to it.
Why are they all out in force like this?
They realize that he was [might still] purposefully blow a deal- because the blame will go to the Repubs.
But isn’t that petty- isn’t that wrong- isn’t that dangerous?
Sure- but that’s the honest read of this- that’s the only reason why you would have a bunch of more liberal leaning news media all come out at this time and try to force Obama’s hand.
When Boehner came out and said the deal the president offered was a joke- most insiders agreed- he was going to go over the cliff- no doubt about it.
Okay- the clincher for me was the infamous MSNBC- yes Ed Shultz had on Emanuel Cleaver [a Dem congressman who kinda looks like Richard Pryor].
Now- out of all the supporters of Obama- you would be hard pressed to exceed Shultz [now- I’m not saying it’s wrong to support the pres- I’m showing you how his supporters in the media have tried to shape the narrative].
Shultz was asking Cleaver about means testing Medicare [remember- this is the exact thing the Repubs want- and Obama’s side does not].
Cleaver gave quite a good view of why WE SHOULD MEANS TEST Medicare.
I thought that was the very thing the Repubs want?
That’s right- now you’re learnin’.
Yeah- Cleaver went on and explained why we should do means testing- he gave the entire Repub talking points- and he was right.
Wow- finally- you mean they might be admitting the need to compromise?
Shultz then said ‘but you will never be able to convince the Repubs to do this- because they will try and protect their rich friends who will pay the most out of means testing’.
And Cleaver agreed.
You see- they both purposefully lied to their watchers.
They both know that what they said was an outright lie- like all the racial accusations of those who had real objections to healthcare reform.
MSNBC spent the last year calling them all ‘under the cover’ racists- playing ‘dog whistle’ politics.
The fact is- the Repubs are the ones demanding means testing- not the Dems.
And they gave you a spin that said the opposite.
They do no service to the country when they do this.
Okay- lets hit a little from Luke 21.
This is an ‘end time’ chapter where Jesus speaks to his men about the end of the age.
Just a few points.
I only cover [read] a couple of chapters a week.
The last year- I don’t think I read a single ‘earthquake’ chapter at all.
I have found the chapters I’m covering to have significance.
Just yesterday [or the day before] Japan was hit with another huge earthquake off its Pacific coast [Luke 21 says at the time of the end- outcome- there will be earthquakes.]
It was the same size of the one that leveled the area a few years back.
Pray for Japan.
Jesus gives us some of the signs that will take place at the time of the end.
I kind of ‘spiritualized’ my reading of the chapter this week- you know- looking for some practical things that are speaking about the here and now.
So- one of the things that spoke to me was what I posted about the other day- the post on ‘the dead ones’ remember?
I talked about praying for inmates on death row.
Okay- this practice became a habit a few years ago- and I felt like the Lord was in it.
While reading Luke 21 Jesus says- at the time of the end [or outcome] of these things- some OF YOU will be put to death.
In a strange way it fit what I sensed the Lord saying- sort of like ‘John- now that you have adopted these dead ones- these on death row- they are ‘some of you’- you have embraced them- this happens at the time of ‘the end’ the time of the outcome of all things.’
Okay- there are a few more things I got from the chapter- but I’m trying to give you a sense of how God can speak to you ‘outside’ of the text.
Now- when you do this- read with a personal idea in mind- you should never make it doctrine.
That is- what I just showed you is fine to do in a devotional kind of way- trying to hear God about personal direction- but that’s not the actual teaching itself.
The actual teaching is about the end times- and also the destruction of the city of Jerusalem in a.d. 70.
I shared this with my friend who I’m doing the halfway house with.
I told him about ‘adopting the dead’.
He told me an interesting story about this.
Now- I have told John David’s story many times over the years- so I won’t do the whole thing again.
But John David killed his best friend in Dallas many years ago.
A very brutal shotgun killing that made the headlines- his brother told me one day that when they picked up the dead body- he had shotgun pellets under his feet.
David kept shooting even after his friend was down.
John David got off for this crime- his mother got the same lawyer who defended Jack Ruby [who killed Lee Harvey Oswald] – and he got David off scot free.
Okay- that’s the story.
David told me the night he was in the Dallas prison- he was with another inmate who also just killed someone.
They were both puking up beer- sick as dogs- and sitting in the same cell- as murderers.
David was walking out of the mission here a few years back- and he randomly saw a news paper article- it was the execution of the Black cellmate that David was with that night[some of you- but not all will be PUT TO DEATH].
David relayed this story to me because I told him about the Lord leading me into the ‘adoption’ of the Death Row Guys.
He felt it fit- I might have even prayed for this guy he was with.
Yeah ‘some of YOU will be put to death’.
Yeah- I got it.
1960 MY APPEAL TO ALQAEDA
I woke up early the other day- around 1 am [I have had this problem for years].
Right before I woke- I had one of those dreams that you feel are significant.
I was with a friend- Huey- and we were on top of a building.
To get down you had to climb down a rope from a tree- Huey jumped on the tree and almost killed himself- he managed to escape but hurt himself real bad.
Later that day- in ‘real life’ [no more dream] he called me- he had some ride he needed or something [Huey is one of those guys that always has something going on- but seems to never accomplish anything. A few months ago he asked if he could store some of his stuff in the room at my house- I use the room for the homeless guys. Sure enough- he’ll come by late at night- needing something- I felt I needed to learn some patience with my buddy].
The phone he was on was breaking up bad- but I told him quickly about the dream- that he needs to be careful about something [you know- I thought maybe it meant danger- not an actual fall!].
So I haven’t seen him in a couple of days- but wanted to know how he was.
His brothers- who I’m doing the halfway house with- haven’t heard from him.
So I’m walking to my van at the mission- and I see Huey for the first time since the dream.
‘Hey- how you doing’?
He was in severe pain- maybe a broken rib.
I just fell off of a pier and hurt myself real bad.
I told him ‘didn’t you remember the dream’.
Listen to my dreams.
Okay- not really.
The point is God uses us- all of us- in community.
That means in the bible the various gifts of the Spirit- they are intended to function this way.
We have [in modern church] more of an individual style of the gifts.
Maybe we attend a church- or go to some function- and often times we want to hear what God said – ‘thru the prophet in the house’ type of thing.
But actually these types of scenarios lean too heavily on one person.
You might have a gifted young man- a real go getter- maybe the pastor of a church.
Okay- good- but if the format is trying our best to hear God- mainly thru the speaking gift of one person- then thats limited- it really is not the way ‘church’ was done in the bible.
Okay- enough of that.
I have a couple of things I want to write on- but can’t do them both.
I want to write a post- just to Al Qaeda.
Yes- not one of those ‘got ya’ type titles- but a real life post to members of Al-Qaida.
What would possess you to do such a thing?
This last year I have had a lot of web hits from countries where many Muslims live.
My blog changed a function a while back.
It shows me- not on the site- but in the private section- how many hits we get.
A while back I stuck a thing on the site to see what countries view- but I realized the hits were much more than what that Fidgit thing was showing.
We were goin up a few hundred every couple of days.
Grant it- that’s not much- but it’s more than I thought.
We just passed 37,000 hits the other day.
So- I also noticed that the posts where I mention Islam- or some type of political thing- they get the most hits.
So- being I already said this much- might as well make this the Al-Qaida post.
I’m grateful to have Muslim friends who read the site- I’m grateful if some are Al-Qaida.
My appeal- what I try to do over the years- is to simply see both sides of a thing- to try and understand the others view- and then do my best to present the Christian idea.
Now- when I was talking to a friend the other day- Islam came up.
I told him ‘did you know that Muhammad- the founder of Islam in the 7th century- had many of the same protests that other Christian groups would later voice too’.
I explained that Muhammad’s rise in defense of the poor and down cast [by the way- that’s actually a biblical characteristic of prophets- in the bible] were similar to Christian movements that would rise later on- like the Salvation Army.
I went on to show that he also felt like the growing use of statues in Christian worship was a violation of the commandment that says you should not make images/idols.
Now- to my Catholic friends- I have taught the entire history of the use of art- and yes- statues- in Christian worship.
I have also taught against the Iconoclasts- those Protestants who destroyed the statues in the Catholic churches- during the times of the Reformation [16th century].
So- I’m not ‘Catholic bashing’ at all.
The point is- Muhammad had some of the same objections- based on the bible- that later Protestants would have.
Gee John- I never knew this? That’s why I teach it- it helps to have less of a negative view of Muslims as a whole.
So- after I try to look at some of the good things that Islam has done [Hamas- in the Palestinian area. Why do they garnish so much support among the populace? Because they start hospitals- they feed the poor- they start welfare programs for the kids. Do they do this as some sort of trick- a way to gain the hearts and minds of people? No- they do this because it’s a basic tenet of their faith].
Okay- then what do I say to any Al-Qaida on the site?
I say that the historic divisions- the things that divide the East from the West- many of them are actual misunderstandings.
Yes- some of the religious objections were misunderstandings.
The classic one.
Muhammad believed that the Christians worshipped 3 Gods- what we call the Trinity.
But he thought the believers worshipped God- Jesus- and Mary-the mother of Jesus.
That’s of course not the trinity- this is simply a misunderstanding.
Christians believe that there is one God- in 3 persons.
Those persons being the Father- Son and Holy Spirit.
But the biggest thing I like to show my Muslim friends- my friends form other faiths- is that the message of the Cross- it’s one of grace.
Christians believe that Jesus kept all the commandments of God- then he died to pay the price for our sins.
As Christians- we don’t teach against the 10 commandants- but we don’t use them to gain acceptance with God- the acceptance we have with God comes because of the death of his Son on our behalf.
In actuality- this message is a great relief for all people who live ‘under the law’.
That is- if your Muslim- if your Al-Qaida- you too can take this.
Yes- Jesus died for you too.
That’s the appeal I make- I’m not asking my friends from other faiths to convert- if they want to- fine.
But that’s not my appeal.
I’m saying to all my friends- this message of the Cross- this is for all people.
Heck- if you want to stay Muslim- stay- but just accept the reality of this post.
Yes- Jesus is spoken about much in the Quran.
The prophet Muhammad respected Jesus.
Jesus can become- should become- all that he was intended to become- that is he died for you guys too.
Right now in the Muslim world there is a movement going on- it’s highly debated in Christian circles.
The movement is many Muslims are receiving Christ in this way- and staying Muslim.
Yet- they are accepting the Christian view of the death of Christ on their behalf.
As somewhat of a scholar type guy- yeah- I see where the objections arise.
But as a real world person- who is glad that I get many readers from countries where I know many Muslims live.
To you- go ahead- accept the benefit of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Many Muslims have already done this- many more will.
If you want to keep the other good points of Islam- fine.
But don’t see acceptance thru your ability to keep the law- no one can ultimately live up to that standard.
Jesus was the only one who never sinned- his death on our behalf allows us to come into the presence God.
He died for all- Muslims- Jews- Hindu’s’ the list goes on and on.
In today’s world- many of the objections against Christianity are really objections against Western Imperialism.
A thing I too reject.
That’s not the heart of the Christian faith.
You can receive Christ- and keep objecting to all the political ideas of the Western world.
Heck- Jesus railed against the money changers [the rich capitalist pigs of the day].
In some ways- Jesus was the ultimate Revolutionary who spoke truth to power.
Yeah- many radical’s- even Al-Qaida could respect him for this.
That’s my appeal to Al-Qaida today.
Glad some of you might read- keep reading- that’s the point.
NOTE- There is a famous prophecy about Jesus in the bible- it says ‘Gentiles shall come to your light- and kings to the brightness of your rising’.
This also applies to the ‘rise’ of the church- the people of God.
But in context- the gentiles are all the nations [even various religions- some are called Denominations] that are not Christian- not considered benefits of the Covenant of God.
The apostle Paul teaches us that we are all now part of the covenant of hope- we all now benefit from the promises of God [Ephesians].
The point being- the bible speaks about other groups- other nations- seeing the reality of Jesus and his kingdom- and that these too will come to the ‘brightness of his rising’.
1961 What is the main message of the bible?
I want to continue with the strain of thought from the last post.
But first- some politics.
Yesterday Susan Rice pulled herself out of the race for Secretary of state.
Obviously the president felt it would be bad to have her at the center of a huge nomination process- being she’s at the heart of the Benghazi scandal.
Okay- what’s the big deal?
Yes- once again- some on the left side of the aisle [not all] have accused the other side of not being ready for a Black woman secy of state.
Yes- the pundits were out saying ‘when will the Repubs ever be ready for anyone but a White male holding the office’.
You know- for the money these guys get [MSNBC] you think they would maybe educate themselves on the main subject of their job.
We haven’t had a White- male secretary of state for around 20 years [last one was Larry Eagleburger].
As a matter of fact- the last one a Repub president had- just happened to be a Black woman – with the last name of Rice! [Condi].
Sad- these race baiters are destroying the fabric of the country- and they are doing it on the altar of vanity.
Sure- they think [make it sound like] they are the defenders of the minorities- but they hold an elitist attitude- one that has scorn for the rest of the country [outside the media market of NYC].
At the end of the day- they misinform their viewers- they believe that their racist charges are true- and they incite a sort of ‘reverse racism’ by creating an underlying distrust of those who are not like them.
Okay- in the last post I discussed the main message of the bible- what the main purpose is.
Over the years- as Christianity developed- the church had councils and meetings to hash out various controversies.
Over time- these meetings produced the historic creeds of the church.
Now- as a Protestant- I am not an ‘anti- traditional’ one.
I have read- taught- studied the creeds and the councils- and I’m on the side of those who hold to the creeds.
But- this has tended to cloud the main message of the New Testament.
Which is called The Good News.
What was the message the Apostles preached in the book of Acts?
The bible says they ‘preached the word’.
This was not simply a ‘bible message’ per se.
That is- they were not doing what many modern preachers do- simply going thru the bible to find various verses- about all types of subjects- and then making application.
No- they were preaching Christ- they were telling the world of their day that Christ came as the promised Messiah and died and rose again.
Then they told the people if they had faith- and they became followers of ‘This Way’- they would be justified by God- in a way that the law would not be able to do.
This is the heart of the New Testament message- that people are now saved by faith in the death and resurrection of Christ- as opposed to the old way of Law.
This is the basic message- what we call the good news.
But- like I said above- in the world of politics and religion- this simple message has been obscured.
Many people reject Christianity because of the hard line creeds and statements that came out of the church councils.
Many object to the way the Church has defined the doctrine of the Trinity.
Now- I’m with the creeds on this- but I do understand how Muslims- Jews- and even many Christian ‘groups’ have also had problems with the historic definition.
A friend asked me the other day about the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Now- at first I had no idea why he asked- but I told him I try and take a much more gracious position then you might hear from the average Christian teacher.
I told him they did break away from the historic position of the Trinity- but I also told him there have been many believers- all thru the history of the church- that have done the same thing.
I did a quick review of the Arian controversy [not Aryan- like the racist group].
In the early centuries of the church there was a famous Catholic bishop by the name of Arias.
He held to the same belief that the present Jehovah’s Witnesses do- that Jesus was not God- in the same sense that God the Father is God.
Okay- eventually the church overruled him- but there was a time where this belief was widely accepted- and taught- in much of the church.
Till this day there are entire groups of Christians that never rejected this initial belief- and they have been around since the days of Arius.
So- when discussing this with my friend- I tried to say I do understand how other religions have a problem with the historic way we have defined the Trinity.
He then told me his dad- who was a heathen his whole life- married a wonderful Jehovah Witness woman later in life- and he has become a devout believer.
So- in a way he was glad to see that even though the church does not believe the same way his dad believes- yet at the same time- there have been- and continue to be- many sincere believers who have had the same ideas as his dad and step mom.
Okay- said all that to say this.
Many good Muslims- who try to serve the Lord to the best of their ability- they see this doctrine as the major point of Christianity.
That is- they do not see the main message spoken about in the New Testament as the simple truth that God sent Jesus as the Messiah- more than a prophet- though a prophet he was.
But he came as the fulfillment of the promise that God made all thru out the history of Israel.
That someday a Messiah would come and he would not just die for the Jewish nation- but for all people groups.
And that all those who are struggling to please God thru their own obedience to the law- they are now free from ‘the law’ and can come to God based on the obedience of Christ.
Now- this would later become a debate- both in church history- and in the pages of the bible itself.
We read in the New Testament that some were accusing the apostle Paul of teaching that we can go out and sin- break the law- because we are now under grace.
Paul defended himself against this charge- and said we- as children of God- do God’s will.
He did not teach it was okay to break the commandments.
But- he did teach we are not justified- made acceptable in the sight of God- thru our doing of the commandments.
He taught that this system of trying to please God thru the obedience of the law was flawed from the get go.
Simply because all men are sinners- and no man could ever keep the law 100%.
Therefore God made a New Covenant with man [as opposed to the Old Covenant which was based on the law and works].
In this new ‘deal’ Jesus dies for the sins of the whole world- and all who now believe are forgiven by God and have eternal life.
This is a free gift that God gives to man based on the death of his Son.
Jesus said ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son- that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life’.
This is the Good News- this is the main message of the bible.
When I hear people of other faiths- or even people who have joined various sects of Christianity- when I hear them have sincere objections to the Trinity- or to some other doctrine- I try and bring them back to this main message of the bible.
This simple message of Christ dying for the sins of men- and freeing man from the struggle of trying to please God by keeping the law- that’s the old Testament that is no longer in force.
Paul the apostle wrote the Corinthian church and he said he was worried that satan was blinding their minds form the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ.
I have found this to be true over the years- many people have all types of objections to Christianity.
Some have to do with politics and the Western world.
Some have to do with the way the church has come to define certain doctrines.
But for the most part- many of these well meaning objectors have never really understood what I just showed you- that none of these things are the main message of the bible.
No- the main message of the bible is that because of Christ we now have a New Covenant with God.
Not one that is based on our ability [or inability] to keep the law.
No- that was doomed from the start- no man could do it.
But this New Deal we have is completed in Christ- we can come boldly to the throne of grace- because Jesus made the way.
1962 VIRGIN BIRTH
I wanted to close up the last couple of posts on the common misunderstandings of Christianity and Islam.
But also mention a few things about the halfway house.
Okay- the last misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians is the term Son of God.
This term is found in the New Testament- and around this time of year we celebrate the Virgin Birth as well.
Strict Muslims are not supposed to see- or ever read this term.
Islam teaches that to say Jesus is the Son of God- that it denotes a sort of sexual relationship between God and man [woman].
Of course the church does not teach this- when Christians say – Son of God- they are speaking about Jesus in a unique way.
He ‘came out’ from God- was ‘Generated’ from God- in a way that no other creature can lay claim to.
Now- when the church uses this statement ‘first begotten of God’ or ‘the first born among many brothers’ [both found in the bible].
The church is not saying that Jesus was the actual ‘first created being’ from God.
Okay- I know this gets a little tough- but it’s hard to clear up the misunderstanding without a little theology.
So- historically- the church interprets these terms as meaning Jesus has the first place- the Preeminence over all creation.
Grant it- those who reject the Christian teaching about the Deity of Christ- they think the church is denying the bible- in these areas- when she says these terms do not mean Jesus was created.
To be fair- I think the New Testament does tech that Jesus is not a created being [John 1:1- The Word was God- speaks about Christ].
But I also see how others can view these verses differently.
The main point today is the church does not believe that Jesus was the product of a sexual physical relationship between God and Mary.
No- Son of God means- to the contrary- that the Holy Spirit came upon Mary in a non physical way- and she became pregnant- thus ‘The VIRGIN Birth’.
But- because devout Muslims are forbidden to read this term- Son of God- some have made New Testament translations that leaves the term out.
Instead of ‘Son of God’ these bibles say ‘he that was generated from God’.
Okay- it kind of means the same thing- I’m not against making the change [though some are- because it is not an actual translation form the Greek].
But if it’s done so Muslims can read the New Testament without violating their faith- then I’m for it in that limited use way.
Okay- obviously Christians and Muslims have many other things they see differently- but in the last 3 posts I wanted to hit on some of the main things.
Often times when studying different religions- we [as humans] have a tendency to read what others have to say about a group.
But it helps- a lot- if you read what the group itself actually says.
Now- you still might find some shocking stuff- stuff that is downright in opposition to your faith- but if you read it straight from the ‘horses mouth’ at least you know you’re not opposing something that the other group might not even believe!
Okay- I guess we’ll skip the skip the few things about the halfway house.
I wrote a couple of posts the last week or so about my friend Huey who fell off of a pier and hurt himself pretty bad.
He spent the weekend at my house- he probably broke a few ribs- but does not want to go to the doctor so I put him up for a couple of days.
All is going real well with the halfway house- we already had a judge release an inmate to the house.
It’s kind of funny- the guy we sent down to represent the house- Andy- was a drunk on the streets about a month ago.
Yeah- it worked out well.
That’s it for now- figured I would not post on the terrible tragedy of the killing of the little kids.
That story has already consumed the news cycle- no need for more.
Talk to you later- John.
1963 NO BULL
Let’s talk a little about this past week- and if I have time maybe hit on today’s House [of Rep’s] vote on the millionaire tax increase [which should be an Obama dream come true!]
Okay- over the weekend I had one of the street guys stay over.
Huey fell and probably broke a few ribs- he’s been struggling in the camp and called around 4:30 pm on Friday.
I was sitting at the halfway house- which I helped start with Huey’s brother- John David.
I was talking to my friend who has terminal cancer- and was getting ready to go home and take the weekend off from ministry stuff.
That’s when Huey called- so to be honest it was a sacrifice to bring him home- and give the weekend to ministry stuff.
But- earlier in the day Henry mentioned the story of the Good Samaritan- how he put the man up- paid for his bill at the hotel [Inn] and went out of his way for the man.
When I got the call- I knew I was supposed to do it.
It’s funny- every time Huey comes over- if he leaves some type of trinket- there is always a sign to the thing.
Because he’s homeless- he has his stuff all over the area- maybe some clothes at another friend’s house- he’ll leave his guitar over here [hanging on the wall].
So- when I came back from my trip to N.J. – I brought back a walking staff/stick that I found in the park where I grew up.
I stuck it here at my house- in the room I use for the street guys.
I have all types of biblical nick knacks in the room- verses on the wall- stuff like that.
So- I was looking for a couple of little angel pins a few weeks ago- was going to use it on one of these walking staffs that I made [not ‘girly’ angels- but saint Michael the Archangel- you know- tough stuff!]
So- Huey spent the night a while ago- the next day I go I to clean the room- and sure enough- he left a hat on the stick- and the hat had 2 angel pins on it [I could not find them on my own by the way].
So- after this last weekend stay- before I clean the room after the guys spend the night- I usually write and do my blogging in the morning.
That morning I read some of the Psalms and wrote down a verse about Bulls.
It’s a common theme in the bible- it actually fits in with the posts I did last week.
The Psalm says God is more pleased with the sacrifices of praise and worship than he is with the offerings of ‘Bulls and Oxen’.
Okay- the point is God did not really want animal sacrifices- he wanted our hearts.
Today- in the New Covenant church that we all belong to- we have no more animal sacrifices- Jesus died for us on the Cross and he was the final sacrifice for the sins of man.
The apostle Peter writes we now offer the sacrifices of praise to God- the same theme we read in the Psalms.
So- I write down the Psalm on a piece of paper and hang it on the wall.
I start cleaning the room- and Huey must have broke a belt buckle- he left the 2 pieces of the broken buckle in the room.
They were 2 Bulls.
After I hung up the Psalm- I stuck the bulls to the wall.
Yeah- true story- no bull.
[Actually ‘no bull[s]’ means we are now living in a new age of grace and praise- no more need for animal sacrifice- get it?]
Okay- I have not written much about the news lately- though there is always stuff going on.
I mentioned a few weeks ago it looked like the president was really not looking for a deal with the House Repubs- not like in the past.
He seemed to have abandoned the idea of serious cuts to entitlement programs- and simply wanted to win a political feud to raise taxes on- quote- ‘millionaires and billionaires’.
Now- in reality- the president and many other Dem’s have said that they just want to raise taxes on the ‘rich’ and not do any cutting.
But the Repubs have never agreed to this.
So- the last few weeks that’s what they have been haggling over.
It looked like Obama was gonna go over the ‘cliff’ and let the Repubs take the blame.
So- as a counter punch- the Repub house is going to try and pass a bill today that will raise taxes on millionaires- and that’s it.
In essence- the bill would let the Bush tax rates expire on everyone else- except ‘Millionaires and Billionaires’.
Look- I have watched this stuff for years- if Obama really means what he says- this is looking a gift horse in the mouth- this is what has said he wants- and in the past he would never- ever get a deal like this- without entitlement cuts.
Is he going to take the deal- by making the Dems in the senate vote yeah?
He said it’s a game- a ploy- and they are already saying it’s no good.
This tells me he really does not want what he told us- ‘millionaires and billionaires’.
No- at this point- he wants to win the game.
Sure- we all know just raising the tax rate on millionaires really won’t raise enough revenue- but he has not played it that way this last year.
He has the average American thinking all he wants is to raise taxes on millionaires.
Well- if that’s what you say you want.
Then Merry Christmas Mr. President- from John Boehner.
NOTE- in Revelation chapter 4 we read about a beast vision that the Apostle John saw- the image had 4 things to it- 2 of them were a Calf [bull] and an Eagle.
One of the church Fathers taught that these images are types of Christ- sort of like the 4 gospels can be seen in these images of 4 beasts.
I find it interesting that Huey has left me 2 of these 4 images already [Bull and Eagle].
Let’s see what’s next.
1964 LETS ARM OUR KIDS!!!
As we end the week- lets hit a few hot topics.
By the way- the chapter for the week was Jeremiah 33.
Okay- we are still here.
Yes- the Mayan calendar thing did not pan out.
I always had my doubts- especially after I saw a short clip about a year ago.
Some guy was interviewing an actual Mayan expert [priest?]
He was the real deal- dressed up and all.
The documentary was a serious thing- not some comedy central skit.
The priest was asked ‘and what do you think about the end of the world prediction’.
He says- I kid you not- ‘that’s a bunch of crap’.
Form the priest!
So- I always had my doubts.
Did you hear what the preacher said?
He couldn’t believe people could call for stuff like this- yeah- you tell em Harold [Camping].
Okay- the news.
The other day I posted about Boehner’s Christmas present to Obama.
The Repubs were trying to pass a tax raise on millionaires only- and kick the ball down the road on the other stuff.
Now- that would have been a great deal for the Dems- they said that’s what they want [but they really don’t].
Because when the Dems saw what Boehner was doing- they hooped and hawed and swore they would never pass it in the Dem controlled senate.
And if it passed the President swore he would veto the thing.
So- some Repubs in the house bailed out- and Boehner never passed it.
O my- you would have thought the world was coming to an end- again.
The Dems were on all the shows- saying how this is one of the greatest failures of all time- the Tea party are even holding their leader hostage.
On and on.
So- last night Obama says ‘lets just pass an extension of the tax cuts for the middle class- and 0 yea- lets extend unemployment insurance’.
Was this not the basic plan Boehner just tried to pass- and you swore it was a disaster?
Sure was [Obama’s quick fix would have raised taxes on lower incomes than Boehner’s- but still- it was the same basic thing].
He only wanted to beat the Repubs in the house- if he were serious he would not have threatened to veto their bill in the first place- that’s a fact.
Okay- last night the NRA guy came out with their delayed response to the tragic shooting in Sandy Hook.
I’m not an NRA guy- never was.
I actually listened to most of the speech- on PBS.
He advocated for- be careful now- putting cops in the schools.
Yeah- he was careful with the language- he said COPS.
Okay- do I think his plan will fly?
Not on your life.
Does he think it will fly?
Then why float it?
They want to turn the conversation from just gun control to a broader one.
They want to talk about kids being raised with video games that kill people.
Hip Hop songs that talk about shooting cops.
They want to extend the conversation beyond more gun laws.
Sure enough- MSNBC had short clips on the screen ‘NRA WANTS MORE GUNS IN SCHOOLS’.
Stuff like that.
I guess they equate having armed POLICE with ‘more guns’.
So- according to this line- if you call the cops after a school shooting- you are irresponsible- you are calling for more guns on the scene?
See- I don’t support the NRA view- but when a media outlet purposefully lies- misleads the people- they destroy as much as any right winger ever did.
One clip showed the words of the NRA speech.
They then went to some mayor who is the head of ‘mayors against illegal guns’.
The clip of the speech said ‘lets put cops in the schools so if another deranged person comes in to kill kids- the cop can be there as a deterrent’.
Okay- have cops stopped people from shooting people before?
Just about every day.
When a cop comes to shoot a bad guy- do we usually call that ‘bringing more guns to a spot that already has too many’?
So- after the clip- the mayor for gun control said ‘how insane- he thinks the answer to having too many guns on the street is more guns’!
Actually- what the mayor did- and Msnbc and the others- they answered their own question.
The NRA guy did not say he thought this was the solution to having to many guns on the street.
He said it might prevent another shooting- which- in reality- it just might.
But the media- the mayor- they wanted you to think that the NRA- the ‘right wingers’ that they want more guns in schools.
That they want ‘security guards’ in schools.
Yeah- MSNBC did not use the actual term ‘More cops’ no- they wanted you to think ‘security guards’ and teachers- and who knows- even arm the kids!
Yeah- keep playing the game- nothing gets solved- you breed dissension in the country- and at the end of the day- you harm the country.
So John- you are for the right wingers?
No- in no way.
I’m for telling the truth- on both sides.
I am not against a ban on the 30 round clips.
I am for the ban on ‘assault weapons’ [though in reality- they are simply semi automatic guns- they just look more like a military weapon].
I’m for having fewer guns on the streets- but we live in a country whose founding document gives the right to have guns to its citizens.
Because of this- we will never be an Australia that bans all guns.
So- in the Sandy Hook shooting- the kid got the guns from his mom- who legally owned them.
She lived in a state with some of the most strict gun control laws in the land.
So- when sick people decide to get a gun- they get it.
If we totally banned all guns- would that reduce the threat?
Yes- because the deranged kid would have to use another weapon- and if he did not have a gun to steal- then yea- he would not be able to do this type of damage.
So- there are points to be made on both sides.
But when the media- when MSNBC describes the position of the right as wanting more guns- more guns in schools- more guns for teachers- and heck- the right thinks the answer is more guns for everyone!
When all the man said was ‘lets have cops in the schools’.
Then we will get nowhere.
Because the uninformed [the viewers of MSNBC] will have no idea what the real debate is about.
1965 JUST ASK
I should have covered this chapter last week- but I’m behind a little.
So let’s start the week with a famous verse.
“Call unto me and I will answer thee and SHOW THEE great and mighty things that thou knowest not”.
This chapter deals with the restoration promises that God made to his people in the Old Testament.
The other week I did a few posts about the main meaning of the bible- the message of Christianity.
One of the main themes of the bible is the promise of a coming Messiah- someone who the Jewish nation was looking for- he was a future deliverer.
In this chapter the prophet talks about the promise made to King David- that there would be a Son from his genealogy that would someday sit on the throne of David.
In the New Testament we see the promise fulfilled thru the coming of Christ.
If you carefully read the book of Acts- the main preachers [Peter and Paul] speak about this Davidic promise being fulfilled thru Jesus.
Jesus came from the lineage of David and he was raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God.
Okay- Jeremiah is preaching to the Jewish people during a time of captivity- the people are in bondage- again [Remember Egypt?]
In order to encourage them he tells them God has not forgotten the promises he made to them.
He says he will restore them- he will fulfill the promise to David- and there will ‘never fail to be someone form David’s house to sit on the throne- a Branch will grow up from David’.
When the apostles Paul/Peter talk about this promise to David in the New Testament- they say it must be speaking about the resurrection of Christ- because it says a Son [Jesus] will sit on the throne forever.
How can there be a king who takes the ‘job’ forever?
Because this king has an everlasting life- seated in the position.
So- the whole chapter is simply a reminder to a depressed people- people heading for their own ‘fiscal cliff’ and yet- there is still hope.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about getting a special ring from a friend- it has the words ‘Trust God’ on it.
So- with my history of losing rings- I made sure that this one stays on most of the time.
I only take it off when I shower- and it goes back on.
The other morning I woke up- and the first thing I realized was the ring was gone.
I mean I looked all over for it- turned the house upside down- went to the van- traced my steps- the whole 9 yards.
So- after about an hour- I knew what needed to be done.
We all know- but we get mad- and we don’t like to do it.
Yup- I prayed.
‘Lord- this week I’m reading Jeremiah 33- and it says to call unto you and you will show us stuff we don’t know- so here it goes- what happened to the ring?’
So- my daughter says ‘dad- someone will find it- it will show up’.
Yeah- I knew I had to wait- but I really did not want to.
So- I’m thinking ‘who will find it?’
Then- when I wake up the next day- I’m doing some dishes the morning- and I have a thought.
When I was at the halfway house I worked on the toilet- and I’m sure I took my ring and watch off.
Now- I had the watch- but maybe I left the ring?
I called the guys and asked around- there were a bunch of people there that day.
I waited a couple of days- and when I went to the house- sure enough little Charlie found the ring.
See- the verse doesn’t say ‘call unto me and I will bring it back’- it says ’I will show you things you don’t know’.
I didn’t know I took the ring off- I didn’t remember it- so the answer was God showing me something I forgot.
Okay- try and read the chapter this week- it’s a great chapter.
Pay attention to the promises that God is making to the people.
The promises that God will work thru their families- he will restore the things that are broken- fix stuff.
We all need those types of promises.
And if you are stuck- pray the verse- verse 3- and see if the Lord will show you something.
Maybe not an outright miracle- but just a thought- something you might have overlooked.
Often times that’s the answer to the prayer- it works.
1966 WERE WALKING TO ZION
Merry Christmas to all [and happy holidays to you politically correct types].
I debated on posting today- you’re normally obliged to do some type of Christmas thing.
But last night I was thinking about an experience that one of the guys at the halfway house shared with me- and I thought maybe we’d go with that.
And if possible- turn it into some type of Christmas story.
Okay- over the past few years I have developed all sorts of images- scenes- bible verses- they are here in my office and in my backyard.
These are simply reminders for prayer.
For instance- in my yard I have this gazebo- it has all the names of the guys I have prayed for- for years.
I have the thing looking like a modern day Tabernacle of Moses.
Yeah- in the Old Testament we read about this Tent system that God ordained when the people were in the wilderness.
It’s called the Tabernacle of Moses.
It was simply this 2 room portable tent- with various items of worship in and around it [the courtyard was the outer area].
So- in my ‘remake’ I have sort of the same things- I even covered this gazebo with outdoor hanging material- you know- like a tent.
I also started playing my harmonica every day- I started this about a year ago.
Now- I’m no musician- but I read some verses over the years that seemed to incorporate this type of harmonica ‘prayer’ in with regular type prayer.
Okay- last thing.
This last year I started making staffs- yeah- you know- things that people carry around while they are walking.
I even brought one or 2 down to the mission- I was carving on them while hanging out with the guys.
So- right now I have 5 of them- and they surround all these spots I mentioned.
So- that’s sort of the imagery that I feel the Lord gave me- ways to see the community of people when praying for them.
Okay- I’m talking with John Boy the other day.
John Boy is one of the first guys to stay at the halfway house.
He’s dying of cancer- and he kinda came with the idea that he would die while staying with us.
John was an addict for most of his life- and is trying to ‘die clean’ [those are his exact words].
So- when I take the guys into town to run errands and stuff- I take John too.
He loves getting out- you can see his pictures on my Facebook page- he’s the one holding the ax.
So John tells me this story- this dream he had about 20 years ago.
He was climbing this mountain [journey in life] and when he gets to the top- he could see all the other people climbing their mountains too.
When you get to the top- you see all these roads leading to one central thing.
It’s a tent- a ‘tabernacle of Moses’ type [I asked what type because John is an American Indian- he told me it was not an Indian type].
As all the trails are leading to the tent- all the people are carrying staffs [Hmmm?]
As they near the tent- you smell incense [which I forgot to mention- I’m always burning them- even now].
And last but not east- there is this beautiful sound of a harmonica playing from inside the tent.
John does not remember what the song was- I took his bible and outlined my ‘harmonica song’ from the book of Revelation [it says those who overcame the beast stood on a sea of glass and had these harmonicas/harps. There are multiple verses in the book of Revelation that I get the idea from- but the actual words I use are in chapter 5 starting in verse 9].
I marked the song and asked him to read it later.
Yeah- I felt in many ways Johns dream was prophetic- it had meaning.
Okay- now the Christmas part.
We read in the bible that Jesus was the bread of life who came to us thru the Virgin Mary.
He was born in a lowly stable [ark- box]- yet was Divine in nature.
A type of the Ark of the Covenant that was in the Tent of Moses- it held the 10 commandments [Deity- Gods character- inside a fleshly tent].
Jesus was God and man- not half God and half man- but fully God and fully man.
That’s why the images with the ‘Moses tent’ had both Gold and precious metals- as well as the skins of animals- showing a combination of deity along with humanity/flesh.
Over time the tent system would be replaced with a temple- that was basically the tent in a more permanent form.
This temple- built 2 times [really 3- King Herod built the 2nd temple into this grand masterpiece right before the time of Christ- it was the temple that the disciples referred to when speaking to Jesus].
This temple had a huge veil- a blanket type material that separated the 2 rooms on the inside.
This veil represented separation from God- sinful man could not approach a holy God.
The high priest went alone once a year behind the veil- and he would offer the blood of a sacrifice for the sins of the people.
During the crucifixion of Christ we read that an earthquake shook the ground- and the ‘veil of the temple was torn apart- from top to bottom’.
This signified that thru the Cross we now all have access to God- no more veil.
Yes- the whole thing pointed to Christ- there are entire books written about all the things in detail- how they all have meaning.
But for today- I’ll end with that picture in my mind- my friend John has reached the top of the mountain- he hears the harmonica playing- he smells the incense from the room.
Oh- one more thing.
John said when he got to the tent- in his dream- that everybody left their walking canes outside.
There was no more need for them.
John the Apostle tells us that in that day there will be no more crying or pain or anything like that.
Yeah- we will leave our canes at the door.
1967 I’M JUST A RACIST- I GUESS?
I read a news article yesterday- it was ‘fascinating’ to say the least.
It talked about the evil congressional republicans.
[I’m an independent myself- just sayin’]
It explained that they have 2 choices that they must make as a direct result of Obama Care.
They either have to eliminate the Mortgage interest deduction- or eliminate the pre tax dollars for employer paid insurance.
I had this benefit for 25 years at the Fire Dept.
We called it the cafeteria plan- each year we signed up for it and we paid our insurance premiums with pre taxed dollars.
We never paid taxes on the money we spent for the insurance.
Okay- I remember during the health care debate- many who objected to Obama Care said that this would happen.
You had not one single Republican vote for Obama Care- it was a rare vote where major legislation that would affect the entire country would be passed by a strict party line vote.
So- the Repubs voted nay- Obama and the Dems voted yes.
Now- the point I’m gonna make is simply one of media propaganda- I am not ‘anti’ universal health care- I was for the more progressive [liberal] choice- I wanted health care- European style.
So- just letting you know my position.
The article yesterday made it sound like the Republicans are solely responsible for the choice of either eliminating the pre tax insurance benefit- or the mortgage interest deduction.
Yes- we have a Dem president- a dem controlled senate- and the Repubs are in the majority in the house.
Every single Repub voted against Obama care- yet- the actual people who did not want this- who warned that this would happen- are now depicted by the media- and the president and Dem senate- as the bad guys who are forcing a choice between the 2 options.
This is utterly amazing- that the media can have so much power- to actually blame one side for something that side never wanted.
And the other side- who wanted the law- they are actually teaming with the media to say that the Repubs are forcing this choice.
Now- for the average news watcher- they believe the propaganda- they hear this stuff- and let it affect them.
I posted last week that the Repubs were going to try and pass a tax raise on millionaires- and ask for not one single cut in spending.
This would have been a huge plus for the president and the senate- who were trying to not cut anything while raising taxes on the rich.
Boehner- the house Repub leader- got his base mad- yet he would have forced the vote anyway.
But you had a couple of dozen Repubs say that the president had already swore that he would veto it- and they would be stuck with a vote to raise taxes on the rich- which would have hurt them in the next primary.
So- they never passed the ‘plan b’.
The next day- the president came out and said ‘let’s try and pass a tax raise on the rich’ and we can settle the rest later.
The exact thing that the day before he swore to veto.
Then why did he say he would veto the legislation?
Because what he is doing is trying to win a game with the Repubs- he wants to gain the upper hand [not saying he’s wrong- both sides do this- just showing you the game].
If the Repubs passed the millionaire tax raise- which would have indeed hurt them with the Tea party guys- then Obama would have to sign it [if he meant what he has been saying ‘lets tax millionaires and billionaires’] and then he would have signed a bill that was passed by the Repub house.
He should have just signed the thing- not threatened a veto.
[by the way- this was the exact plan that both Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer wanted- they wanted to raise taxes only on millionaires and over- because they have rich districts that they represent].
Some of the Repubs said they would not vote for the plan- because even if they voted for it- and Obama vetoed it- the media would still blame the Repub congress.
They were right.
If the media are able to take a law that not a single Repub voted for [Obama care].
And then blame that side for the decision to either eliminate the mortgage interest deduction- or the Ins deduction.
And then the side who voted for Obama care- they are teaming up with the media to say ‘look what the Repubs are doing’.
Then yes- the media will twist the story to benefit them- the side that most of them vote for.
This is simply a lesson in the media- the bias that exists- at times- on both sides.
When I read the article yesterday- I saw right thru the game- because I write on this stuff- but there are many who simply have no idea.
I’ll end with one example.
I told a liberal friend the other day that I will wind up paying the Obama Care ‘penalty’ this year.
It’s about 700 bucks that I don’t have.
Why will I pay it?
When I retired from the Fire Dept in 2008- I had to drop my health Insurance.
It would have cost me 70% of my monthly retirement check to have kept it.
So- I dropped it.
And as the ball bounces- within a week- I noticed some stuff that really needed to be checked by a doctor.
I panicked and called my Ins people to see if I could get back on- then I tried to get checked thru the VA- I am a vet.
So- after about a month of this- I got mad and said ‘the heck with it- whatever will be will be’.
So- how did I get treatment?
Okay- don’t laugh- I went on line- typed in what the problem was- and simply picked the least terrible possibility- and then typed in what ‘free’ or natural remedies I could try to fix it.
Yeah- that’s what I have been doing.
Now- do remedies like this work?
I have no idea- but just sayin’.
So- if I have to- I spend around 120 bucks and take the hit and make a doctor visit.
[by the way- people- like me- do not get free health care from the E.R. – that’s false. If you go to the E.R. with a possible long term disease- they simply recommend you to a doc and then they do tests. If you do not have Ins- you can’t go thru the process. And if the E.R does any work- you get a HUGE bill. There is no ‘free health’ care thru the E.R. – unless your poor and they can’t bill you].
That leaves me with 7 possible out of pocket visits a year- for 700 bucks.
Oh yeah- I just got an Obama Care tax raise for 700- that I don’t have.
My friend who I told the story too could not believe that I was gonna get fined.
They watch MSNBC all year- and they thought that everyone that was against Obama Care was a racist.
That those who opposed it just could never accept a ‘Black Man’ in the White House.
I told my friend that what Obama Care did for me was it leaves me a choice to get on line [when?] and choose between an option of private insurers to get insurance.
This is called the Health Care Exchange.
The govt. will pay for some of the premium- but not all.
From what I know- I will still have to cough up money I don’t have- so I will still have to pay the fine.
My friend whose already on govt. care [all my buddies get Medicaid] had no idea that this was how Obama Care worked.
That you get to choose from a group- and you still have to pay- they thought it was some actual ‘universal health plan’.
So- why would a person like me be against it?
Because I just lost 7 doctors visits- that I could not afford to lose.
I now will save that money for the ‘darn’ fine.
Were not all racists.
Some of us just wish we could have used the money- even for the ‘on line’ drugs.
They still cost you know.
NOTE- I told my friend it was sad that they never heard about the Health Exchanges- which is what Obama Care actually is.
They spent a whole year watching MSNBC.
They heard how all who were against it were playing ‘dog whistle racism/politics’.
That those in the south can’t get passed the Civil War.
They heard this ‘stuff’ for a whole year- and never once learned what the plan was.
That’s why I say outlets like MSNBC are destroying the country.
They were ‘taught’ that people like me were racists- because why else would any sane person be against Obama care?
1968 7 PRINCES TO THE RESCUE
I want to try and comment on Micah chapter 5- an Old Testament prophet.
But first a few other things.
Last night I was watching Fox news- and Greta mentioned the top stories of the year.
Lots of the news shows do this every year.
I thought- in general- that it’s harmful to re-tell the school shootings- over and over again- right at this time.
In our media world there is a sort of voyeurism that takes place- we want to see- hear- the actual events- over and over again.
Sometimes after a tragic event- maybe it’s already a few days old.
And some network will get hold of the actual 911 call- and run that as the news ad during the day.
‘Hey look- tonight we have the actual call’.
Oftentimes it’s the call a parent made when she found her kid was killed- or some other tragedy.
We do not need to air that type of stuff.
Anyway Greta said she thinks that ‘Africa will be the top story of this new year- not the Arab Spring’.
Okay- I know my liberal friends are mad at me- some ‘un-friend’ me and stuff.
Because I have been hard on the Dems.
But this time I’ll be hard on Fox.
Who remembers the Arab Spring posts I did last year?
The 3 nations that ‘sprung’ were Tunisia- Egypt- and Libya.
All these nations border each other on the Mediterranean sea- on the North part of the African continent.
In short- all the Arab Spring nations are Africa- so far.
The only possible one that’s not African is Syria- and it hasn’t ‘sprung’ yet.
So yeah- we should not always believe what we see on the tube.
Okay- Micah 5 is the chapter for this week.
It has the famous prophecy that out of Bethlehem Jesus will come.
It speaks about Bethlehem as a small- po dunk type town.
‘You are the least in Judah- yet from thee shall he spring forth who is to be the ruler’.
Jesus hailed from the wrong side of the tracks in many ways.
Galilee was also a sort of underclass area- Jesus and his men spoke Aramaic- which was kind of a lower class language.
A sort of Ebonics of the day [ouch!]
Yet- from that spot where it seemed no good could come- yet good did come.
A couple of verses caught my attention.
‘Daughter of troops- gather yourself into troops’.
And ‘When the enemy comes into the land you will raise up against him 7 shepherds and 8 principal men’.
When I read these verses this week- I applied them to the halfway house ministry we started a couple of months ago.
Often times in scripture we read symbols- things that might use warfare imagery- yet they are not talking about ‘killing’ the way we think.
One of the tragedies of our time is we have too many religious people who have never made this distinction.
And even in the church we hold to many ideas- that come from images about war- that are only symbols- but some teach them as actual war.
In the book of Revelation the apostle John talks about the Christians overcoming the enemy.
It talks about a battle- Jesus on a White horse- a sword coming out of his mouth.
When Evangelicals turn these into actual war prophecies- they do damage to the truth.
I mean the image of a sword from Jesus mouth is understood as the Word of God.
So Jesus ‘slays his enemies’ with the word of God.
Does Jesus actually kill them?
No- when people accept the message of Christ- they get baptized.
Baptism is a type of death to the old man- and life to the new.
So- the images of those being killed by ’the sword from Jesus mouth’ should be seen in this way.
[Or as a type of end time judgment that Gods word carries out- Jesus said ‘the words that I speak to you’ will judge you in the final day.]
Revelation says those who ‘died the first death and had part of the first resurrection’ the second death has no power over them.
All who are in Christ have died a sort of ‘first death’ on these- the 2nd death [when you die] has no power.
The writer of Hebrews says Jesus delivered us- who thru fear of death were all our lives in bondage.
Those who have died the first death- who have joined themselves unto Christ and are ‘crucified’ with him.
Yeah- on these the 2nd death has no power.
Okay- I could go on and on like this- but the point is we as believers need to be careful when we teach the verses that speak about killing- death and swords.
Often times they are not to be taken literally.
So- when I read that God raises up ‘7 princes’ against the enemy.
I realized- at the halfway house- there are a total of 7 of us working together in the ministry.
I liked that- God uses people- princes- to come against the enemy.
Okay- back to Revelation.
There is this image of Jesus with 7 stars in his hand- and it says these are the 7 angels of the churches.
Some see these ‘angels’ as church leaders.
The Greek word means messenger- and it can mean angels or people.
The point is- Jesus has these people- these chosen ones- and he uses them as ‘weapons’.
That is- those who are sent into the world with the message of the gospel- these are in a way soldiers for the Lord.
But they don’t go out and kill people in the literal sense- but when they carry the message of the Cross- and when others believe in that message- then yes- those who believe and are baptized have died in a way.
The apostle Paul says ‘I have been crucified with Christ- never the less I live- yet not I but Christ lives in me’.
So yeah- when the enemy comes in- God sends messengers against him.
These messengers too have ‘swords’ in their mouths- they speak the Word of God.
And yes- every so often they ‘kill’ people- that is- those who hear the message- they die a sort of ‘first death’.
They die to the old man- the old nature.
They are raised with Jesus also- to walk in a new way.
Yeah- on these- the next death will have no power.
NOTES- I also wanted to mention yesterday’s ruling by Supreme Court justice Sotomayor.
She ruled that the Catholic owners of Hobby Lobby must either provide birth control thru their company- or start paying a 1.3 million dollar a day fine.
I remember when the debate was going on about Obama Care.
Many good people—Bishop Tim Dolan from N.Y. and others.
They were assured by the president himself that the religious views of Catholics would not be trampled over by the new law.
Yet- since the law passed- many Catholics have already been affected by the law in a negative way.
As most of you know- the church teaches that birth control is not an acceptable practice for Catholics.
Now- being raised as a Catholic- and now a Protestant- I do realize that many Catholics do not obey this rule.
But- others do.
It is sad that the Obama Care law does indeed trample over the rights of Catholics.
When a law forces a Catholic to provide something that goes against their conscience- that’s wrong.
The president and his supporters swore that this would not happen- tell that to the owners of Hobby Lobby as they start writing checks for 1.3 million- every day!
1969 CLIFF DIVING
Jack n Jill went down the ….
Actually- Obama and Boehner went over the cliff ….
Yeah- last night the Dems in the senate passed a compromise of sorts.
But- we did actually do the ‘cliff’ thing- the house has not passed it yet- but it’s not as bad as the media made it sound.
I fell asleep early and didn’t catch the whole scoop- but from what I saw it looks like they are gonna raise taxes on those who make over 400 grand a year and try and settle the rest later.
It really was just kicking the ball down the road- and letting the president get some of what he wanted- though those on the hard left- and right- are not happy.
Okay- the past few weeks as I have been doing the halfway house with my friend John David- I have been kind of teaching a chapter of the bible each week to the guys.
It is funny how every chapter I read for the week seems to have some type of personal ‘word’ for what we are doing with the house.
For instance- a couple of weeks ago the chapter was Jeremiah 33.
I told the guys the other day that I felt it was no coincidence that a lot of the guys we are working with at the halfway house are all relatives of David.
John David was a long time addict in the area where I live- he has 5 or 6 generations all living right around me.
I helped his brother’s [Andy] granddaughter the other day- her name is Kayla.
Plus- she has a cute 2 year old- so I see her every now and then.
At the house- we have Little Charlie- Big Charlie- John Boy and Andy.
All related to John David- minus John Boy.
So- I felt like it was a family thing as well as an open ‘house’ for others.
So- Jeremiah 33 speaks about the promises of God to ‘David and his house/family’.
It says there will never fail to be a family member who will be a part of ‘this house’.
Now- the promises are actually speaking about the Davidic covenant/promise that God made to the great Jewish king- King David.
These promises play a very important role in the history of salvation.
I wrote on this a couple of posts back- basically God promised king David that he would set a Son upon David’s throne- and this Son would hold the position ‘forever’.
The Apostles in the book of Acts saw this promise as being fulfilled thru the death and ascension of Christ to the right hand of God.
So- that’s what the chapter in Jeremiah is actually speaking about.
But I also felt like the Lord was giving us confirmation about what we were doing as well.
It is important- very important- to make this distinction.
When people begin ‘seeing’ themselves as the actual fulfillment of some bible promise- like the prophet Jeremiah was actually- in context- speaking about them- then that’s not good.
David Koresh- right up the road from me in Waco- made this tragic mistake- and we have all seen the end result.
Koresh believed he was the fulfillment of verses found in Revelation- he took his new name- Koresh- from an actual figure in the Old Testament [king Cyrus].
When people go down that road- it’s not good.
But- to apply stuff like the way I was doing Jeremiah 33- I think is okay.
Now- when I shared this chapter with John David- I told him a funny thing happened when I read it.
All the promises to David and his family being involved with ‘the house’.
Well- in my bible- it does not say David.
It says ‘John David’.
John- are you going Koresh on us?
I told David about a year ago I heard a preacher say ‘this year- start personalizing the promises in the bible- write your name in the spot when a promise is made to someone else’.
So- I did that for about a week and quit.
But- it just so happened that this chapter was converted to say ‘John David’.
Yeah- I simply wrote my name over ‘David’ and all the promises were to ‘John David’.
Okay- was going to teach a little more about these promises and how they are spoken about in Acts chapter 15- the first church council.
Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.
For now- just hold tight- we have to finish repelling down the cliff.
1970 UNTO YOU IS BORN…IN THE CITY OF DAVID…
Had a few things I wanted to share.
These past few months- helping with the halfway house has been ‘cool’.
Just a few notes;
I was telling my partner- John David [partner in starting the house!]
That the Lord has been confirming lots of stuff- when I’m helping with the guys the Lord opens doors that I have been trying to ‘open’ for years.
On Facebook- over the years- I have had a few old friends that I wanted to find.
One of my original buddies I came to Texas with was Miguel Rodriguez.
We were best buddies as kids growing up on the streets of Jersey.
So- I ‘led’ him to the Lord and he became part of the little church I started in Kingsville.
Eventually he went back to Jersey- married a great girl- and came back to Texas.
He had some boys [I had 4 girls] and we were all friends- doing ministry- stuff like that.
He went back to Jersey again and settled back home.
One day I got a call from his wife- my friend had died.
It was sad- but I knew it was coming.
So- over the years- as sort of a ‘pact’ I promised my friend that I would try and keep in touch with his wife and kids.
As you can imagine- they were some of the first people I looked for when I got on line.
Could never find them.
So- as I have been helping at the house- who my buddy David started- I kept telling him that the Lord has been blessing me ‘in the House of David’ [a spin-off from the last couple of months posts- you’ll have to read them to get the full idea].
So- I tell David I was listening to some radio preacher and he quotes the famous Christmas verse ‘for unto YOU is born this day in the CITY OF DAVID a Savior’.
I told him I felt the Lord was saying ‘see- I’m blessing you- fulfilling promises to you in David’s house/city’.
Okay- I got it.
Then I tell him I was sitting at my house- thinking the guys would text me- someone always needs something- but no texts- huh?
So- it was a Sunday- I was doing my normal fasting thing- trying to not eat till at least 3- praying and reading and stuff.
To be honest- I felt like it was a waste of time.
Then finally- my phone does the buzz sound- you know- when someone text’s you.
Finally- a bite!
I look at the phone- it says ‘LuAnn Rodriguez sent you a friends request’.
I was shocked.
I’m now friends with her and her boy Joshua- yeah- I kept the pact.
So- I tell my buddy John David about the verse and how the Lord worked it out.
He tells me ‘hey- just yesterday some neighbor gave me a card with that verse on it’.
Sure- it’s common on Christmas cards.
He gets the card- he really does not know the people- even their last name.
I open the card- it was the verse I associated with the above family- and the card reads ‘Merry Christmas- from the Rodriguez family’.
Okay- one more.
I was at the halfway house the other day- and somehow we started talking about past experiences of drugs- and bad experiences.
One of the things David shared reminded me of a bad overdose on acid as a kid- the story was almost identical to David’s.
I shared what happened- and then mentioned another incident about a friend of mine at the time.
Now- I haven’t told this ‘war story’ in years- but I got into a very bad fight with my friend- and almost killed the guy.
I saw him a few years later and he has permanent scars from that night.
So- for some reason I was sitting at the halfway house and it came up.
About 10 years ago I got an email from a mutual friend of ours- he knew us both- and remembered him going to the hospital after that night- and he wanted me to know that now he was in prison for a very serious crime.
I read the crime on line- and it reminded me of the old days- I even read the quotes from his cousin- who I also knew- and it was like I was there.
So- he joined some biker gang- they planned a bad crime- and there was an FBI undercover agent in the gang.
He got busted with his cousin on the night of the attempted crime- right where we grew up- on 70 something street in North Bergen.
So- I wrote him a couple of times in prison- we made up after the fight years ago- and he was real glad to have been in touch with me.
I sent him some old radio tapes of me preaching and he got a kick out of hearing my voice- we never actually spoke in 25 years- just a couple of letters.
So- I haven’t heard from him in years.
The next day- sitting at the halfway house with the guys- my phone rings.
Now- those who know me know I never answer my phone.
For some reason I get it- its ‘C—-h’.
I couldn’t believe it.
He just got out of prison- and of all things- he’s in a halfway house in Newark- N.J.
I was telling David that I wanted to try and branch out into N.J.- but I don’t know anyone with the experience of being in a house in Jersey- someone I can visit and check out the scene and all.
Well- not until now.
So- these are just a few of the things that have been goin on.
Yeah- for unto you is born- ‘THIS DAY- IN THE CITY OF DAVID..’
Yeah- I like the ‘City of David’.
How bout you?
1971 John Wayne Gacy or Manson?
Believe it or not- I have stories about both of these villains!
Okay- today we’ll do Manson.
The other day we brought a new guy into the halfway house.
When I first saw Bret he was bad- I never saw someone with withdrawals so bad.
We talked for about an hour- he told me some of his story and I told him I’ll post about it.
Bret is my age- 50- he has hitched all over the country and has been to the local AA meetings on and off.
The other day David saw him at one of the meetings and saw how bad he was doing.
He volunteered to go thru the halfway house.
As I talked with him I told him a story from the bible- I have found this one example to be helpful with a few other people who have tried the 12 step programs before.
There seems to be a real sense of hopelessness when the guys [or girls] mess up- especially after being clean for a while.
So- the story is in the gospel of John.
Jesus is with his men at the meal- and he begins to wash their feet- an act of true leadership- being a servant.
When he gets to Peter- Peter says ‘no Lord- I am not worthy for you to do this’.
Jesus says ‘if I wash you not- then you have no part with me’.
Then Peter says ‘okay- then give me a complete bath’.
Jesus says ‘he that is already washed- does not need another whole bath- but just a foot washing- and then he is clean just like before’.
I used this with a couple of people already- right after they fell off ‘the wagon’.
And I told them that Jesus was saying don’t lose all hope- don’t feel like all the ‘clean time’ served no purpose.
He that is washed [had a period of cleansing] does not need to start from scratch- in the sense that he needs another ‘whole bath experience’.
No- he or she simply needs to get a foot washing.
So- I found this helpful in a couple of cases.
Yes- the goal is total sobriety- whether from drugs or alcohol.
The apostle John said ‘these things write I unto you that you sin not- but- if any man sin- we have an advocate with the Father- Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the sacrifice for our sins- and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.’
Okay- let’s get to Manson.
As I talked with Bret- I told him that God has a purpose- even for those who seemed hopeless by the worlds standard.
I told him I started praying for people on death row- because even in those cases God can still do something for his glory.
He agreed and told me when he was in prison in California he was locked up with a couple of the guys from the Manson gang.
One of the guys- Davis- gave him a bible and became a real Christian while in prison.
Bret told me that Davis’ witness to him got him into the bible for the first time.
So yeah- even a Manson disciple has hope.
Jesus will even wash their feet.
NOTE- We visited Bret in the hospital yesterday- he was so bad the Detox clinic could not admit him.
When the ambulance picked him up- we found out later that he almost died that day.
He will be in the hospital for a few days- going thru Detox- then he will move to the halfway house.
You know me with the pictures- I’m sure I’ll be posting pics of Bret soon [on Facebook].
1972 MY JOURNAL FOR 2O13 [also called- how to stop addictive behavior- for good!]
Today is February 2nd– 2013.
The reason you have not heard from me in a year [if I stay on what I feel is God’s schedule].
Is because when leaders have moral failures it is their responsibility to ‘retreat’ and have a time of real- honest- evaluation.
So- being I’m an independent blogger- with no real oversight [I do attend a fine church and have brothers who I am very accountable to].
I asked the Lord how long I should ‘go away’.
I knew I would at least take a few months off.
But then I re-read an old book I had on addictions- and the author [Christian based approach] suggested a minimum of 1 year.
I took that as a word from God- and as of today- I think that’s the way I will go.
So why am I writing on Feb 2nd– 2013?
As I continue to pray- and seek God- I felt the Lord released me to ‘journal’ in a way.
So- however many posts make up this journal- I hope they benefit all my friends.
I do pray for every one of my ‘on-line’ community.
All the blog readers and Face Book friends.
If I never mentioned this- I believe that reconnecting to my old friends from New Jersey was a major ‘accomplishment’- that is- I always wanted to be able to share my story- the ups and downs- for the benefit of my North Bergen friends.
I really love you guys- no joke.
Okay- what happened?
I don’t want to go into all the embarrassing details- but it was another case [yes- I had a DWI a few years ago] where drinking and sin went hand in hand.
I really did not [or do] remember all the details [no joke].
I did- for real- have a blackout out of sorts [not the first time- when I drink beer and hard liquor [crown] I usually have blackouts].
But- when you have them [at least me] when you wake up your not sure if you had a bad dream.
At least that’s how it works for me.
When I was first confronted with the act- I did not say ‘O no- you got the wrong person’ [denial]
But ‘you gotta be kidding me- this is terrible’.
I went home- told my wife- and from the start did not try and lie [that’s the truth].
You might think ‘that’s not the way people respond John- are you holier than us!’
No- but that’s what happened.
Okay- there were some things that were in question- whether the whole allegation was true- but because most of it was- I tried hard to not defend one part- while knowing some was true.
I just chalked it up to my decision to drink and drive- again.
Okay- how long have I been an alcoholic?
I guess around 25 years.
I have drank- pretty heavily- for those years.
Now- today is my ‘31st’ birthday [as AA says].
I only had 2 periods of non drinking in all those years [at the meetings I hear many stories of people who have had lots of 30-60-90 day chips- periods of time when they went sober and reduced the damage to the brain- I never had those periods].
About 6 months ago I tried to stop- I went about 21 days [an important number! I felt during this time- that something was happening at 21 days- not 28 or 30. I made a note that in the bible- Daniel prayed for breakthrough- and the angel Gabriel could not ‘break thru’ with the answer for 21 days. As I have read up on addictions- some say the main breakthrough happens when you abstain from an addictive behavior- for 21 days].
Also about 10-15 years ago I had a whole year of sobriety.
I just went ‘dry’ on my own with God’s help.
Okay- it’s too early for me to critique the 12 step/group movement.
I have attended 3 different AA groups in my area- been to around 20 meetings.
One is sort of a high class group.
Professionals and others who are seeking sobriety.
I also went to what my friend Bret calls ‘low brow’.
This group is sort of the Skid Row group in town.
To be honest- I liked them the best.
Then I went to the Anchor group- not far from my house [by the Navy Base- Anchor- get it?]
There sort of in between.
Why am I sober now?
As a reader- of lots of stuff- I of course noticed the Big Book [the basic text of AA- which is actually a small book- so when my friend who gave me one kept asking ‘have you read the Big Book yet’?- I told him ‘I don’t think so’ but I’m reading the little one you gave me] is a very well meaning book- but a little dated.
I told my friend John David- who I started the halfway housed with- o yea- you might think ‘how could you start a halfway house when you too were an alcoholic’- because David asked!
I told him that it would benefit all of us if we tried to read some more updated material on addictions- not just the Big Book.
So- I went to half price books and picked up a couple of more non AA books- that deal with addictions.
I also went on-line- which it seems many of my AA friends [especially from the ‘low brow’ meeting] don’t have the ability to do.
I began seeing that many of the AA meetings would benefit tremendously if they expanded their reading to more than the basic text [I’m sure some do- but I have some AA friends that seem to not like this idea].
What’s wrong with the Big Book John?
It’s just one part of restoration- and the meetings [from what I see] do have a danger of not cultivating a holistic approach to sobriety.
For instance- my friend David- who was a drug/alcohol addict for many years- he swears by AA.
To the point where some Christians- and preachers- won’t have much to do with him.
I was never like this- from day 1.
I told David I like the accountability of the group [if you fail- then you have to face your brothers and sisters- they ask you!]
That’s good- that’s biblical.
But there is also the danger of defining your life by what you don’t do.
Let me explain.
Many in the low brow group- though well meaning- seem to be in danger [as we all are] of simply seeing life as a person who does not drink.
Though that’s a noble goal- that can be achieved by Gods grace- yet you need to move on to seeing more than that as a goal.
I know the AA does teach this also- I’m just trying to give you an honest account of my journey- of what I have seen in the meetings- that’s all.
Okay- I have already read 2 books on addiction [besides the Big Book- I’m at page 350 or so] and just started my 3rd one.
The one I wanted to read was the Alcoholism and Addiction cure by Christ Prentiss.
I have seen that one advertised the most over the years- on the tube- and wanted to see his approach.
I try hard not to be judgmental- but from the beginning of the book I could tell Chris believes strongly in Eastern religions [which is OK- I have friends who also embrace this].
But- as a Christian- you will be a little leery when you see that in a book that gives advice about addictions.
I finished the book in a few of days and did like it.
I noticed a lot of the books do have problem with AA.
Some are based on NOT BEING AA.
Some see the entire 12 step movement as cultic- and an actual contributor to relapse [I will try and get to this down the road- this is a real concern that I had felt- even before reading any of the critics].
So- some of the other approaches do not like AA because they do not like Christian based ideas of sin and a ‘higher power’.
Yes- some critics don’t like God- at least not in the way historic Christianity defines him.
Others [I’m a few chapters in to a book about the AVRT method- or Rational Recovery].
This book simply teaches a technique to recognize the voice of ‘the beast’ [their words- not mine] in you.
And then teaches you to reject that voice- for the other voice- the ‘real you’.
In many ways- this can be seen as the biblical idea of rejecting the voice of the old sinful nature [the beast] and hearing the voice of God- or listening to the ‘angel on your shoulder’ as opposed to the devil.
So- all in all- I find that the other approaches- who all preach total abstinence by the way- have good points- just like AA.
One of the most helpful things I learned [or re-learned] was why 28 days [or in some case- 21] is so important in recovery.
A brief synopsis from all the above stuff- and on-line reading- goes like this;
The brain of the alcoholic [or other addictions- sex addicts- drugs- etc.]
Has become dependent on the addiction- the brain has actually been ‘re-wired’ to function off of the addiction.
It usually takes about 30 days [yes- many sources say this- this is important for you to see!]
To ‘re-wire’ the brain back to the old state- at least in some way.
The brain actually does not repair the old parts that have been ‘addicted’.
I thought this was the way it worked for years- that if you quit the addiction [yes- HEAR ME- many sources say- teach- and have a track record of going clean- without the ongoing groups- that is without an unhealthy dependence on other sources- be they well meaning sponsors- or groups- etc.- while these things do work for some- when they are held up as a must to stay clean- then you need to have grace with people- I told David that there are many- many stories of people who have ‘gone clean’ and stayed clean- without all the things that the 12 step programs teach. If you benefit from all the steps- good. But there is a danger in making everyone think that they will never be clean without all the steps- all the time].
So- what happens in the brain- during that 28- 30 day period- is the other side of the brain will actually create new pathways [Nuero Pathways] and will REPLACE the old addictive patterns.
Sort of like what happens in people with brain damage- the part of the brain that’s not damaged will ‘make up’ for the damaged part.
Now- as a Christian- this fits into the biblical idea.
We are told to renew our minds.
To mediate on the things of God.
‘Commit thy works unto the Lord and THY THOUGHTS will be established’ [re-wired].
But- for my readers who are not Christian [who I appreciate very much- Muslims- Jews- eastern religions- etc.]
This works for you too!
Yes- there is much evidence that ALL OF OUR BRAINS can get this re-wiring- if we simply abstain from any habit/addiction- for around 30 days.
Now- you might be thinking ‘John- you’re in dangerous territory- the Big Book says….’
Yes- I know.
I’m just trying to give you an honest account of what I’m learning- and what many others have said- and done.
So- there is hope- for all of us.
Of course- even the ones who advocate a non religious approach- will say- the first 30 days IS HARD!!
Yes- when the brain goes thru that re- wring process- its hell.
That’s what we call withdrawal.
You experience that fight or flight syndrome.
You overreact to stuff- you get mad.
This happens in all the above scenarios- the AA approach- the non AA folk- all of them say this.
This is part of healing- that re-wiring of the brain.
Okay- as you can see- for the first post of the 2013 ‘journal’ I have gone long.
My purpose in these types of posts for this year is to help you guys- as I too get help.
I don’t have a sponsor [nor do I feel like I will get one].
I had to tone down my attendance at the meetings- some actually made me feel LIKE DRINKING- YIKES!]
All in all- I will continue on this journey- I am now accountable to you guys- so- if I mess up- you will know for sure.
And- when I return to the blog- and Facebook- I will of course pick up where I left off.
I will continue- by God’s grace- to write.
I did have some really interesting stories about the Halfway House- the friends who we met- and the whole thing.
As of now- I [we- me and David are the founders] don’t know if it will continue.
To be honest- I did not think any of us were ready to launch it when we did.
But my buddy David- such a good friend- I love him like brother.
He looked so desperate when he asked me to join him.
Geez- the guy just had open heart surgery- was diagnosed with PTSD- for real- because of the surgery.
And he was a street guy- a hard drug addict- a murderer- who found grace.
How could I tell him no?
So we launched the thing- I told David [a few times already!] that I feel as a teacher- blogger [he refers to me as a preacher- I hate that! He means well though].
That I need to be responsible and ‘self discipline’ myself because of my moral failure.
Most times when ‘preachers’ fall- they reject any and all discipline- even if they do have oversight.
Being I really don’t have another ministry over us- I felt I needed to ‘man up’ and pull myself back for a while.
As I began the year- I thought for sure one month- then I felt the Lord wanted one year.
So- as of now- that’s the course.
I don’t want to write more than a few of these a month- or else when I post the whole thing- it will be too much.
So- whenever you guys read this- I’m still alive- I love you all and have never stopped praying for you.
If I have time- I’ll share more about some of the friends I have made along the way.
I liked Bret- he had an interesting story- I wanted to tell it.
We both had the same ‘clean time’.
Bret ‘went out’ the other day- he went back to drinking- I felt bad.
So- as I learn the lingo- try and be open and honest- I hope this whole experience helps you.
That’s all for now- God bless.
1973 CAN I QUIT MY ADDICTION- IN 30 DAYS?
Today is Feb. 4th– 2013.
I was going to limit my weekly posts- but I do find the journaling beneficial so whenever I post these- I hope they help all of you.
A few weeks back I was reading Genesis 1.
I liked the passage where God says he ‘saw the light- and it was good’.
He called the light ‘Day’.
Over the years I have liked the scriptures that talk about the Day- walking in the Light- etc.
As I read the creation account- and recalled the verses about the Day- I felt like God was saying to me ‘Son- when I expose things- hidden sins- it’s painful at first- but when things come into the light- it’s actually a good thing’.
So- in my recent ‘fall’ from grace- I felt God was saying it’s good ‘God saw the light- and it was good- he called it day’.
Now- some of the Day verses.
‘In the day I deliver you from all of your iniquities I will cause you to dwell in the cities and the wastes shall be built’.
‘There are 12 hours in the Day- if you walk in the light you will not stumble’.
There are many more like this- but I think you get the idea.
So- when dealing with addictive behavior- God says the Day- Light- is good- it’s good when things are brought out into the open.
That’s one of the good things I see with the AA meetings- things are brought out into the light- you share with a community of like minded people- who too are seeking to be free from addictions.
Now- as I am progressing thru the 3rd book on addictions- I see how there are many ‘addiction specialists’ who have a real problem with AA.
When I picked up these books- and read on-line- I was not looking for criticism of AA.
I simply read to about page 350 in the Big Book [AA basic text].
And wanted to get some more up to date info on addictions.
But I noticed that some of the alternative treatment programs were indeed very critical of AA.
The book I’m in now- Rational Recovery- is an alternative to AA.
The main book for this group is called the Small Book- a direct contrast to the Big Book.
Now- I’m about 100 pages in- and to be honest- the book is quite refreshing.
The author- Jack Trimpley- was an alcoholic who seems like he went thru the AA meetings and all- and decided to simply ‘Quit Drinking’ without an overdependence on groups- sponsors- ongoing steps- etc.
There program uses a technique that I think I mentioned in the last post- it’s simply a tool to learn to recognize your ‘addicted voice’ [when you start saying to yourself stuff that will lead to drinking] and to learn how to ignore that voice.
In many ways it’s like the biblical concept that says ‘resist the devil- and he will flee from you’.
Now- the funny things is- Jack’s program is a counter to the Deistic [God based] approach found in AA.
Rational- for those not in ‘the know’ is a description that counters ‘faith’.
That is- in the field of theology- and the whole debate in Western thought [which I covered over the years].
When you say ‘rational’- like the Age of Reason- it springs from Enlightenment thinking- Back to Kant- and it’s saying ‘we can heal ourselves! Reason is the answer’.
So- that’s Trimpley’s approach.
Now- he gives cases- many thousands of cases- where alcoholics were told – STOP DRINKING- it’s hard the first month or 2- but if you abstain from it for a couple of months- the ‘addiction’ is gone.
Now- even before I read this book- I began having some debates with hardcore AA friends- I would say ‘I am benefiting from the group- I like the accountability’ and then there would be pressure- well meaning mind you- but pressure to get a sponsor.
Or some would say ‘if you don’t do everything this way- your gonna drink’.
Now- as I said before- I was [am] not one of those Christians who opposed AA- there are many that do- I was never one of them.
Many opposed it because they speak of a Higher Power- okay- I’m open minded- I see how this can be a problem for strong scholarly types- but I’m liberal too!
Others oppose the idea of Alcoholism as a disease- the whole disease paradigm that developed since the founding of AA back in the 30’s.
Now- one thing I learned is there are also many in the medical community who too reject the idea of alcoholism as – quote- Disease.
‘But John- the medical associations agree that it is a disease.’
Sure- but just saying there are many- not just some Christians- who do not accept this idea.
Now- if you’re in AA- right off the bat- what I’m saying will seem like heresy- I know- I’m just trying to help all of us see that there are many examples of people- from various perspectives- who have rejected the lifelong idea of group meetings- they do not believe that alcoholism is a disease- they do not say ‘I’m an alcoholic’ and yet- these people are indeed not using today- some for 30 years or more [And they were indeed alcoholics- not simply drinkers].
Now- in my discussions with friends- I did say that before AA- there were many cases of true Alcoholics- back to biblical times- who simply repented of their sin [as they saw it] and yes- stopped- to never drink again.
Does the bible say stuff like this John?
Yes- many times over.
‘Repent- for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand’ Jesus and John.
‘These things write I unto you that you sin not’- Apostle John.
‘Resist the Devil and he will flee from you’- James.
Okay- I could go on.
But the point I want to make is yes- it’s not unreasonable- or even wrong- to tell the alcoholic ‘you need to stop drinking’.
And it’s also not impossible for him/her to do this act- to not drink- ever.
Yes- there are thousands of testimonies of real problem drinkers- who fit all the categories of an alcoholic- who simply stopped drinking.
Okay- I know this messes with some paradigms that are out there.
And I’m trying to be very open at this stage in my own recovery.
I have been sober since Jan 3rd– of this year.
As of now- once I passed the 30 day mark [my mental struggle was strongest at 21 days] yes- there is great relief of mind.
As lots of the literature on addiction says- if you can stop doing an act- any act- for 30 days- it’s over.
Now- to some of you- you might think ‘O- how I wish this could be true- to not have to be co-dependent on lifelong groups- etc.’
Well- I’m telling you- it is true [If you benefit from the groups- fine- I’m not against them. But when you tell people it is impossible to not drink unless you attend them- all the time- that can be a problem. I had well meaning friends tell me they were basically waiting for me to go out and drink- so I would come back more humble and submit to the program- yikes!]
Not because I’m 30 something days in- but because of all the other real life examples of people who have done this.
Now- as a Christian- when I went thru the first 30 days- there were 2 times where I was at the end of the proverbial rope- and simply prayed ‘God- help- quick’.
In my mental state- I was going to stop for my beer- I actually stopped- but bought some cigs instead and smoked a few [by the way- I’m quitting all addictions at once- yes- on line porn- smoking- etc.]
Now- were gonna get real in this journal- for everyone’s benefit.
I stopped- yes 100%- looking at on-line porn [and all others by the way].
Yes- I think this seems to be an underlying addiction- maybe even stronger than the drinking and drugs [or a root that leads to it].
It’s not spoken about openly in the meetings- and from what I pick up- I think many are still addicted to the porn because it’s not ‘in the light’ yet.
God saw the Light and said ‘It was good’.
So- were going to discuss this in the coming posts- as of today- the only slip I had was about 5-6 cigarettes- in the last 33 days.
I gave the rest of the packs to my buddies at the halfway house [The 5-6 were from 3-4 packs- I would stop- get a pack- smoke 2-3- then give the rest to me buddies].
Now I feel bad- one of the guys never smoked the Marlboro Blacks- until I gave him mine- now he has a new addiction to deal with!
Okay- I want these posts to help all of you.
I’m not sure how my journey will go this year.
As of now- I’m praying about a move [for obvious reasons].
As I pray- I feel very strongly like going back to N.J.
I was never open to this- I love the N.Y. skyline- I love the Hudson [and Hacky!- my Jersey friends know what this is].
So- I’m in February of 2013- and maybe when you read these- I might be living in N.J.
Okay- that’s it for today- it looks like I will be writing in this ‘journal’ much more than I thought.
I’m going to try and do a 30 day test- that is- give people a forum to get everything out into the Light.
Some of you might be struggling with addictions- like many of us.
If we do a 30 day test- those who want to make a public ‘confession’ by simply posting a comment like ‘I’m in’ you will be able to do it [did your heart rate just go up? That means you need to be IN].
In a way- it will be like an AA meeting on line.
Okay- that’s it- talk to you later- John.
1974 Feb 5- 2013
Caught an AA meeting last night- got my first 30 day coin ever!
I’m actually past 30 days- but didn’t get one on day 30.
It was kind of a good/bad time mixed into one.
My good friend was there- who was living at our little halfway house.
He ‘went out’ a few days back- we had the same clean time together- so it was sad to see him.
He was very drunk- and wound up sleeping behind the building where we meet.
This meeting- called Humility- is what he calls ‘low brow’.
I have attended high class ones- middle class- and this one.
He says it’s the Skid Row group- sort of like the original gang that started AA.
So- I got the coin- and enjoyed the time with my other friends.
Some of my friends have told me that they did not realize how addicted I was to alcohol.
At this time- 35 or so days in- you do very much see a real change in me.
I have gotten very edgy- have had the ‘fight or flight’ thing going on.
And because I was what you call a functioning drinker- I maintained a very long period of constant drinking.
Never had the 30-60- 90 day ‘breaks’ during my drinking years.
Because of that- you can see the difference real clearly.
My friend David- who is really into AA- tells me I’m the classic case- that I show every sign he has learned about.
I guess that’s good in a way.
We do have a few friends- in and out of the halfway house- these are young guys- early 20’s- or late teens.
We are glad they are there- but when I shared with one of them the very real struggle at this point- he said ‘o- I never feel like drinking or anything- it’s all gone’.
He’s young- I felt like maybe these younger kids- as well meaning as they are- might not really have the addiction- and its effects- like us longer drinkers.
But that’s fine- we don’t judge them- we are glad they are recognizing the danger early in life.
Okay- the prescription drug danger.
A few days ago my mind was having a difficult time- I felt like a Valium.
I did ask a friend if he had any [I took one 30 years ago- that was the only time- from the ER].
He said they had some Xanax- he could get me one.
I told him to wait- I really did not want any hard prescription drugs.
That seems to be a problem with some of the guys- they are not drinking- but are on a host of all types of very strong drugs.
Some are also seeing the meetings as places to meet people.
Now- meeting people is good.
But one of my friends told me that some people simply use the meetings to pick up girls [or guys].
H said to me ‘John- they stopped one addiction [drinking] for another [sex addicts]’.
I saw his point.
I have found the book of James- in the New Testament- to be the most helpful during this time.
John David told me that the name of the original group was ‘The James Group’ [ or the Oxford Group].
The letter of James [from where the name came from]- written by the step brother of Jesus [not the apostle James] is in a category we call Wisdom Literature.
Sort of like the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament.
It talks about humility and humbling ourselves.
Also resisting temptation.
‘Every man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed- and when lust conceives it brings forth sin- and sin- when it is finished- brings forth death’.
It shows you the cycle of addiction in a way.
We need to recognize the process from the start- and not allow tempting thoughts to be entertained.
In the last post I mentioned Porn addiction as well.
Jesus said ‘the light [or gateway] of the body is the eye- if your eye is evil- your whole body will be full of darkness’.
When we look at lustful things- there is a demonic attachment that embeds within our soul- our body eventually wants to act out on what the eye sees.
All in all- I have found the basic teachings of Christ- the things that we learned as kids- as helpful to overcome all types of sins.
James also said ‘resist the devil and he will flee from you’.
Yes- we can all try that one- the hard core AA’ers- the ones who do not like the 12 step approach- yes- people from all walks of life can practice this one.
May God help us all as we seek to do it.
1975 CHANGE WHAT YOU THINK- SAY
Ok- day 35.
Yes- 35 days with no acting out on my addictions.
‘You mean all of them’?
Of course by God’s grace alone- and a ‘little help from my friends’. [Real friends- not ‘Mothers little helper’- yeah- Stones- Beatles- you older guys get it].
Now- why say ‘all my addictions’?
Remember about the Light- God said ‘it was good’.
Yes- no drinking- NO on line porn [or any other for that matter].
And yeah- no smoking either.
Now- for that last one- that’s your choice.
I have found that for me- when I drank and viewed porn- I also smoked a lot- 3 packs.
So- just being real with you guys.
Now- as I continue reading about ‘addiction’ therapy- and the various studies and views on how to deal with it.
I find various things- from all sides [pro AA- anti AA] that are helpful.
In one of the anti AA books the guy talks about a practice they have found helpful.
When some went down the path to getting ready to use- they ‘heard’ a voice in their head- and they would begin to MOUTH things like ‘I’m going to get some beer right now’.
Maybe they began a process of looking for the car keys- or stashing some cash for later.
The point was- they began ‘hearing’ the voice of addiction.
They began ‘saying’ to themselves that they were going to do it.
The book recommends that at this stage you simply change the Voice.
My practice- which I have done for years on my own- was to memorize a few key verses- and when I had a tempting thought- or dream- I began automatically quoting these verses.
Now- over the years I have memorized thousands of verses- so instead of trying to think of which one to ‘say’ at these moments of weakness- I stuck with 2 basic ones.
One I use at night [tempting dream or thought] is says;
I HATE VAIN THOUGHTS- BUT THY LAW DO I LOVE
That’s it- that’s the one.
Don’t remember where it is- it’s in the bible somewhere.
But years ago it stuck in my head- and after a while [a few months?] this practice becomes automatic.
When the bad dream pops up- this verse gets quoted automatically- almost like an addiction- get it?
The verse I used during the day was;
COMMIT THY WORKS UNTO THE LORD AND THY THOUGHTS WILL BE ESTABLISHED
Get this one down too- and you have the 2 main parts of my ‘program’.
Okay- it’s really not a program- but these are practices that I already started doing- and they are also found in some of the addiction literature.
For today- try and get at least one of these short verses down in your head.
Try this practice for a few weeks- when you ‘see’ a bad image at night- dream- etc.
When you feel yourself going into a pattern of acting out- then use them.
Over the years- even in the middle of drinking and acting out- I would still use them- and I found that after a few minutes- if I CHOOSE to use them- then the pattern will change.
Yes- this practice is biblical- try it for today.
Remember- I’m on your side as I share my journey with you guys.
I’m trying to give you the best advice- not just from me [I know- I’m only 35 days in]
But these are things- experiences from many others- as well as my own journey.
Remember- if you stop doing a practice- any practice- for around 30 days- it will be gone!
Try and believe this is so- there is LOTS of evidence that says this- lots!!
If you are thinking ‘gee John- I was taught that is denial- to think you can be free’.
Yeah- I know that.
I’m not here to argue with anyone.
Use the things God has given you.
But in the end- yes- if you stop PRACTCING an addiction-any- it will go away.
Many movements/recovery ministries do a fine job.
Take what you can- leave the rest.
And try the things I wrote in this post.
God bless you all.
I love you all.
Yesterday I met the new kid that joined our halfway house this past week.
John David was real excited about this kid- and he wanted me to work with him.
Cameron is really into the bible- and I sort of play the role of Pastor with the guys.
Anyway- I had a good talk with him- he’s around 25.
Has been in trouble because of drugs- but is trying by God’s grace to make a new path.
As I spoke with Cameron- I found some of his responses to be interesting- he has been familiar with the 12 step groups.
And as we were discussing the possibility of being free from addictions- he gave some of the familiar responses.
Some are taught that if you think you are actually free- you are in a state of denial.
I went thru some of the studies that have been done.
There is a large amount of evidence that many people have simply quit addictions- on their own.
That’s seems impossible!
Does it- have you ever read any other material on this subject?
Yes- there are many- some say the majority- who after a short period of abstaining from the addiction- who never go back to it again.
As I have been researching on this topic- many feel that the mindset of ‘disease’ ‘possible relapse’ etc.
Many feel that these ways of seeing addiction are in themselves a sort of bondage.
When I mentioned the simple possibility of being free- some of the responses I have gotten are ‘that’s not possible- without ….’
I think it would help if we all at least accepted the possibility that you can stop ‘sinning’.
Now- it would be by God’s grace [in my view] but either way- it is possible to stop engaging in addictive behavior- and the studies show that after a short period of time [around 30 days]- there is an actual change that takes place in the brain of the addict.
He will ‘fix himself’ so to speak- by simply not doing the act.
Okay- I spoke with another friend who is partnering with us at the halfway house.
He brought up the addiction of co-dependency- and how some have fallen into this addiction.
If you view your freedom as being dependent on a certain act- a certain rigorous following of rules [any rules].
Then you can be in danger of becoming co-dependent on that practice.
For instance- in my first few weeks of going to the meetings- some well meaning friends kept telling me ‘John- you must/should make 90 meetings in 90 days’.
They all meant well- some also added other things you ‘must’ do- or else you will drink.
To be honest- a few times I had to rebuke these very good friends.
They would slip and say ‘well John- we are just waiting for you to drink- so you then can come back and fully surrender’.
After a few times of this I said ‘STOP IT’!
I would remind them that there are many thousands of people who have indeed quit.
Without submitting to any program- never mind the 12 step ones.
At times- you can get the feeling that some use the 12 step programs as others use their religious faith.
In a sense- almost cultic.
I have told a couple of friends that we should never tell anyone- who is achieving sobriety ‘that we are waiting for you to fall- so you can get the program’.
The goal is sobriety- not getting the program- we need to keep that in mind.
Okay- I just wanted to share that concept today.
Yes- my new friend had the mindset that if you talk about not drinking- drugging- or whatever [ sort of just stopping].
Then in a way- you are in denial [he meant well- I only mention this because the book I’m in now- written by an ex-alcoholic- sees this as a real problem. He- and others- feel like some of the well meaning concepts in AA have caused people to embrace a defeatist attitude- that does not allow for them to ever be free- for good.]
I think there are some real problems with some of the ideas we have given people [we- the 12 step movement of the past 70-80 years].
As helpful and well meaning as they are- we need to also be aware of the latest advances in addiction treatment.
And be aware that there are many people who have indeed quit there addictions- to never return.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.