I realize those of you who read my blogs come from various backgrounds and represent competing belief systems. Of those who, like me, are Christians, there are still differing opinions on the role of prophecy in the present. I am a believer in Biblical prophecy and knowing God does not change I have trust that He still uses we humans as vessels to proclaim his messages. Simply stated I believe that prophecy is still very vital within those committed to Jesus Christ.
Not too long ago people were prophesying that if America did not turn its focus back on God, things were going to get bad. You can believe this means that God is passing judgment on our nation or you can believe that our turning away from God represents His blessings being blocked. Either way it is not a stretch for a Christian to admit that the more secularized our society gets, the worse things will become.
I believe we are now seeing the outcome of those actions. Let me be clear in saying that I do not believe God punished our nation or had a hand in any of the violent attacks in recent history, but I do think that one of the main reasons evil is flourishing in our nation is because we have ignored God. Please read 1 Peter 5:5-11 below:
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 5:5-11 ESV
As a society we are no longer clothed in humility toward one another. We exalt ourselves and are filled with pride. We no longer understand the meaning of humility. Think about it, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Where do you fit in that scenario? Since we have decided God does not exist, it is very difficult to cast our anxieties on Him so we either bottle them up or find someone to blame. Sober minded? Yeah right. We are not watching for anything because we have concluded the devil doesn’t exist. We have written him off as a figment of our imaginations. Since we are not watchful we don’t even notice him prowling and devouring us. We no longer resist the devil and we sit back in confusion as he destroys our nation. If we don’t turn back to God things will only get worse. You see we have two choices in life – serve God or the devil. If we are not serving God we are serving the devil and his reign is one of destruction. Compare our nation to the one that existed a couple decades ago. We have changed and things have worsened progressively. We are currently in a cultural civil war and I fear that we may be much closer to an actual civil war than most of us realize. We need to wake up America and turn our eyes toward God, repent and ask Him to heal our land. If you don’t, I fear you can kiss the freedom this nation has long celebrated goodbye.
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20b
America just endured another senseless tragedy as a mad gunman opened fire on a group of very young school children. Six adults and 20 children age six and seven were murdered by the lunatic. Words cannot express the heartfelt pain our nation is now suffering.
Where was God in the midst of this tragedy? As Christians we serve a God that we believe to be all-knowing and all-loving. For many who do not adhere to our faith, they see this as an oxymoronic belief. Some pose a question similar to this; “If God is all-knowing and all-loving, why does he allow violence and suffering?” I will be totally honest; I have often grappled with this question myself. It is a totally valid question and not one that we Christians should ignore.
Think about it. We live in a world where children die every day due to a lack of clean drinking water, young girls are abused and sold into sex trafficking, innocent people are robbed and acts of extreme violence are taken out upon the most innocent of victims. I believe that God has infinite wisdom and knowledge. I believe that He is also the full embodiment of love and maintains the ability to control our universe and intervene in our world. Simply put, I believe in a God who can and does work miracles.
It’s not difficult for us to immediately conclude that if God knows the future, is all-powerful, all-knowing and loves us – He would stop this type of action from happening. It seems like a reasonable hypothesis… Here we are though, watching as this senseless act unfolds. Things did not go the way we would assume. In a moment like this it becomes very easy for some to decide that God does not exist. Others try to explain it away by stating things like God is punishing our nation for its disobedience. I will quickly tell you that I DO NOT prescribe to that belief. Even if God is not pleased with our actions as a nation, the God I serve does not cause a man to go into a school and kill children as a way of inflicting punishment. Since I believe that God does exist, it is a fair question to ask where I believe He was in the midst of this tragedy.
The God I know comforts us when we are in pain. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 (NIV) / “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)
I have never faced anything nearly as horrific as what the parents of those children are suffering but I have faced tragedy. I have lost young family members and friends. I have witnessed senseless acts at the hands of humanity. God comforted me during those dark times. He gave me hope in the midst of my struggles and the strength to live on. Despite what many believe, God is real and He is present in the midst of this tragedy. He was present when our nation was attacked on September 11, 2001 and at He was present during the Holocaust. During those dark times we witnessed a growth in faith instead of abandonment. Those of us who truly know God can sense His presence. We can feel Him stirring inside of us – especially during time of suffering.
Jesus Christ did not promise us an easy life. In fact he told us quite the opposite. A good study of one of his most famous sermons, known as The Sermon on the Mount, will reveal that we are to expect destitution, mourning, and persecution. Here are his words in Matthew 5:3-11(ESV)“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” God does allow hardships to befall us but He never sugarcoated it by leading His followers to believe that life would be easy. This may not provide solace in the midst of all the questions as to why He did not prevent this tragedy but it does prove that His not stepping in and keeping it from happening does not reflect an absence of His character.
I am not able to provide some of the answers you are looking for. I am not sure why this incident happened or why children are starving and sex trafficking exists but I do know the God I serve loves me. I know that despite whatever befalls me in life, He cares for me. According to Isaiah 55:8-9, God’s ways and thoughts differ from ours. I may never fully understand why God did not stop this from happening but, honestly, I serve a God that I don’t totally understand. He allowed his son, Jesus, to die a horrific death for the purpose of granting forgiveness of my sins. I have benefitted greatly from that gift but I don’t understand it. I can’t comprehend why God would go to such great lengths to offer forgiveness to me for sins that I willingly committed, but He did.
God did not stop this tragedy from happening, but don’t jump to the conclusion that He doesn’t care. He cares more than we understand. He loves greater than we can comprehend. Since I serve a God who knows all, I trust that the decisions He makes are beyond my ability to comprehend. God is real and His love can be experienced; of that I have no doubt.
The elf is watching you; he's watching to see if you are naughty or nice... He is also sabotaging your entire house and sneaking around at night creating all types of havoc while you sleep. Also, while you lie in bed he is standing over you, peering at you through his beady little Pinocchio eyes and wearing a sinister grin.
I must admit that the whole 'Elf on the Shelf' phenomenon seems more like it should be a part of Halloween than Christmas. Just re-brand it as 'Chucky on the Shelf' and you have a whole new classification of freaking out children. I know I'm in the minority here, but it just seems a little strange to me that someone actually came up with the idea of tricking kids into believing a toy elf becomes animated at night and watches them or 'completes projects' around the house. In many homes the elf is actually up to mischief at night which creates the question, how can Santa trust the elf to honestly report on a child's behavior if he can't trust the elf to be on good behavior him/herself? I sure wouldn't want a mischievous elf reporting on me, I would be concerned that he would make up some pretty sinister stories just to watch me suffer as I pull hot coals out of my stocking on Christmas morning.
We can always tell Christmas is near because we start hearing about elves, Santa and Holidays and we hear about how some people get all bent out of shape because others celebrate differently. There is no elf on my shelf and that is just the way it is in our house. Guess what though? I really don't have a problem if you have one in your house or if your kids believe in Santa or you opt to say Happy Holidays.
I admit that I am one of those strange people who tells his children about the reality of Santa Claus from the get go. I do tell them the history of St Nikolaus and how our modern day Santa is a mirror of the joy of giving to others. We do watch Christmas movies and my kid's sit on Santa's knee. They know it's just a guy dressed in a suit, but they respect what he represents. They don't think he is taking tabs on if they are naughty or nice and they know he doesn't give them gifts - their mother and father, who love them unconditionally, gives them gifts. That's how we celebrate Christmas! I'm sure you may do it differently and that's fine with me.
Despite whether you have an elf, dress as Santa or use a different seasonal greeting, don't forget that Christmas is about a baby in a manger that changed the world. Don't forget about the greatest gift ever - grace. Jesus is why we celebrate Christmas and my one request is that you not get so 'wrapped' up in the holiday that you forget to say happy birthday Jesus.
Today I am posting the 3rd chapter of my book, The Night Terror. You can read the first two chapters here: Chapter 1 / Chapter 2
You can purchase the book here: The Night TerrorIf you have read the book, please share this blog with others on Twitter, Facebook or whatever social media you use. Your help getting the word out is greatly appreciated!! Thank you, Tim. The Night TerrorChapter 3
Aaron Elijah Foster had led an exciting life. He had spent almost a decade as a good, highly decorated homicide detective in Chicago. During his years on the force, he had saved eight lives and helped solve twenty-seven murders. He was highly respected, but all that changed, when Susan was brutally murdered. He and Susan had been married for almost 12 years. In fact, the murder happened just a week before their 12th anniversary. After she died, Aaron lost his desire to work or to live. He could not bring himself to investigate more murders, knowing each one would be torment, causing him to relive Susan’s death.
The night of Susan’s murder, Aaron had heard the call go out over the scanner and rushed home. He was off duty and already travelling home with groceries. He was only a block away when he heard the call so he was the first on scene. When he walked into the
house, he saw the bloody body of his wife on the kitchen floor and the body of the assailant a few feet away. The assailant’s knife was on the floor next to his left hand and his body was lying in a pool of blood. Andy was kneeling on the floor holding his mother’s hand and a 9mm Beretta. Sobbing, Aaron broke down and embraced his son. Within minutes, a squad car and an ambulance pulled into the Foster’s driveway. Aaron explained that he had arrived home and discovered the assailant had attacked Susan. He said he shot the man, but he was actually covering for Andy. He knew it was wrong to lie on the report, but he wanted to protect his son from being questioned. Everything else about that night had escaped Aaron’s mind. The trauma was too much. He was never able to work homicide again.
One year later, Aaron moved to Carbondale, Illinois. He applied for a job with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources as a Park Ranger in Cedar Bluff National Wildlife Refuge. This was a far cry from working homicide in Chicago. Life was slower,
everything was more peaceful and the air was clean. He loved the outdoors and believed he had finally found a place he could start a new life. Nature seemed to bring him some peace. Listening to all the forest sounds—the water trickling, the birds chirping, the
squirrels scurrying—gave him serenity. He was enjoying the sights and sounds of nature when he met his second wife, Marcia. She was hiking one of the trails in the park. She noticed him working on a damaged sign and asked him some questions about the history
of the trail. She was gorgeous. As soon as Aaron saw her, he was intoxicated by her beauty. For the first time in years he thought he could love again. You could say it was love at first sight, but mostly he thought she was just really good looking. Aaron was a tall, rugged man who worked out frequently and spent much of his time outside,
so Marcia found him attractive as well.
Marcia Teresa Diego had recently graduated from law school at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (SIU C). She was Latin American and the youngest of three children having an older sister and brother. Southern Illinois had always been her
home. Her parents, however, had immigrated to the United States from Mexico and found work in the farms near Cobden, Illinois. They were very destitute. Growing up in a Hispanic family was challenging. They were very poor and made their living by working hard every day. Many people looked down on them. Marcia’s family had legally immigrated to the United States, but because they were Hispanic farmers, most people assumed they had immigrated illegally. Very few people offered to help the Diego family with one major exception. A local priest became close friends with the family. Marcia looked at Father Benjamin as family, calling him Uncle Ben. This embarrassed her parents, but Father Benjamin said he thought it was humorous. When Marcia was a little girl, Father Benjamin told her that he would make sure she could go to school and become whatever she dreamed of. Marcia said, “I want to make a difference when I grow up. I want to help out those who can’t help themselves.” Father Ben smiled, “I am sure you will do just that little one!”
Marcia had a very difficult life. Her older sister, Stephanie, disappeared and was never seen again. Her parents thought Stephanie had run away because she left the house after an intense argument with her mom. Because they never heard back from her, they concluded she had not merely run away but had been kidnapped or killed. The police had found one lead, but could never locate the suspect. It was as though he had also disappeared. After a few years, it was classified as a cold case, and she was presumed dead.
When Marcia turned 17, Father Benjamin kept his promise. He helped pay her way through college. It was their secret; Marcia told her family she had received a scholarship. Father Ben never said otherwise, he considered it a scholarship from above. Marcia did work as a waitress and paid half, but Father Ben paid the other half
of her expenses for undergraduate work and then law school. After her graduation from law school, Marcia was hired by a local law firm that specialized in offering legal services to the poor. When Marcia met Aaron, it was like her life had reached a pinnacle. Having lost his first wife, Aaron had become gentle. He didn’t seem to take life for granted and he treated Marcia like a princess. This all happened after that first encounter. That day
Marcia first asked for directions, but after talking for a few minutes asked Aaron for his phone number. “Mr. Foster, you have been very helpful. I wonder, however, if I could call you in case I have more questions, about the park, of course.” “Well, Marcia, you can call me Aaron. Since you would be calling me with questions ‘about the park,’ I see no harm in giving you my personal number.” They both laughed and exchanged contact
After a few calls and many texts, they went on their first date. Aaron was so nervous. He assumed that since Marcia was Mexican, she would prefer going to a Mexican restaurant. She was very gracious and accepted and they had a great time. At the end of the date, she asked if she could choose the location of the next restaurant. “Aaron, thank you so much for tonight. If we are going on any future dates, however, I must confess I really like Chinese food.” They both laughed and he agreed to take her out for Chinese next time. They began to date often. They went to see movies, went out to dinner and Aaron began to bring Andy on some of the dates. They were married three months after the meeting in the park. Marcia loved Andy and made every attempt to be the best step-mother possible. For several months, they operated like a perfect family, but as time went on things began to fall apart.
Working as an attorney was very taxing on Marcia who began spending more and more time working. Each case seemed to affect her personally. To escape the stress, she relied more on her friends and less on her family. She wasn’t intentionally leaving them out of
her life, she just felt like she couldn’t connect with Aaron as well as she could with her best friend, Brenda. “I have a very demanding job,” she would say to Aaron in defense of her late nights. Everyone knew that things were falling apart.
Aaron and Andy were almost at Devil’s Canyon Lake, a secluded area within the Cedar Bluff National Wildlife Refuge. Not too much activity took place in mid-October, but Aaron wanted to check on some college students who were camping in the park. When they arrived on Friday, Aaron made sure they didn’t have any alcohol and checked them for signs of drug use. They seemed clean, but he figured that just the fact that it was guys and girls could spell trouble. Sometimes that combination can be intoxicating enough,
especially when camping near a lake. Aaron had asked one of the other Rangers, Kevin, to periodically check on them. Knowing there would probably be some activity, he wanted to prevent them from harming themselves during the night.
As they approached the campground, the first thing to catch Aaron’s attention was skid marks on the road. Parking his truck on the edge of the highway, he climbed out and started to tell Andy to stay inside. Aaron had been so deep in thought that he hadn’t even noticed Andy was sleeping until that moment. Deciding not to wake Andy, he locked the truck doors and walked over to the skid marks with his flashlight in hand.
He followed the skid marks and realized they led off the road. He walked to a tree a few feet away and realized it had been hit by something. Approaching it, he shined his flashlight on it, revealing traces of red paint. His pulse began to race as the sense of urgency increased.
As he looked down the embankment, his flashlight beam bounced off something metallic; he realized it was the wheel of an overturned car in the gully. Running toward the car, he recognized it was a red Mercedes—Marcia’s car. Growing faint, Aaron continued to rush toward the car and slid as he approached it. He got on his stomach and looked into the car. Deflated airbags were everywhere and a roll bar had automatically deployed when the car flipped. He had trouble seeing because everything was so dark, but he could tell that Marcia was not in the car. He felt some type of liquid on the ground and dipped his finger into it. Examining it, he realized it was blood and concluded Marcia must have sustained some type of injury. He could only imagine the condition she must
be in, if she was even alive. “I can’t think like that,” he told himself,
“I must find her.”
Do we really care about other people? It seems I get inundated with requests to donate money to help out people in need each year around this time. My wife and I decided a few years back that we would teach our kids about giving each Christmas and pick a charity to support. This year we each made shoebox gifts for children in need who live in the Appalachian Mountains. It has been a very rewarding experience and we are thrilled to have this opportunity, but I am sitting here and wondering if I really care.
Did you notice that I earlier used the word ‘inundated?’ I know that carries a negative connotation and I used it deliberately. I used it because it is a proper description of how I often feel. I know that I cannot financially help every charity. That isn’t what bothers me though. What really troubles me is how stagnant my reaction is to the suffering of others. It seems that with each image I see or paragraph I read I become more desensitized. I know that children are dying and understand that buying a goat and chickens can help feed a village in a third world country. I am very aware that the large cause of death in the world is lack of access to clean drinking water, but I seem to not feel it anymore. Those images and words that once tugged at my heartstrings seem to do very little these days.
I’m just being honest here, but I seem more concerned with how uncomfortable I feel in cold weather – even with my warm clothes and dry, heated buildings – than I am with the real suffering of others. I easily become obsessed with my distaste for winter and desire for the warmth of summer while there are people dying due to their exposure to the elements. I am no longer ‘distracted’ by people who beg for food because I have become very accustomed to ignoring them. I wonder if I would even send shoebox gifts to financially disadvantaged children if it didn’t make me feel good or serve as a ‘teachable moment’ to my children.
I am an average American. The citizens of this great country provide much to those in need but I wonder if we really care. Are we working in a soup kitchen because we care or because we feel it’s an obligation? Do we give to the Salvation Army because we understand the plight of those they serve or do we just feel guilty when we don’t? If those children we send shoe boxes to were our own, would it make a difference? I think we often have done the right thing but quite possibly not for the right reason. How often have you donated something knowing you could count it as a deduction on your taxes? How often have you gone Christmas shopping and were more concerned about what you were going to buy for yourself or your family than what you were going to provide to someone in need?
I think most Americans are guilty of this but we shouldn’t be. Just because the majority of people are desensitized does not make it a societal mandate. Let’s make a goal together this year. I propose we decide to search our hearts and rekindle the emotions inside our beings. Don’t be afraid to look at the images of the starving children, it’s okay to cry when you realize how desperately they need your help. It’s alright to have compassion; in fact I think it’s necessary. Don’t let this Christmas pass by without taking some time to find love in your heart. When you start to complain about how cold you feel in your winter coat or sitting in your heated leather seat, instead take some time to think about the homeless man or woman who lives in the cold and doesn’t even own a decent pair of shoes. Maybe she wouldn’t be complaining if she were sitting in your place.
To say that this past weekend was difficult would be a vast understatement. My wife, Julie, lost her grandmother on Wednesday and the funeral was this past Saturday. In addition I had a medical exam that produced some unfavorable results, not life-threatening, but cautionary just the same. These are the types of instances for which the wheels come off in many people’s lives, but that wasn’t the case for us. We held on to hope and peace in the midst of those trying circumstances. Life has taught me many lessons, but one of the greatest is that I will have many faith opportunities during my time on earth.
Some people will look at these hurdles as challenges or even calamities, but I see them as opportunities. They are times that I can draw closer to God and experience His love at a deeper level. I am already very aware that I have a limited time on this planet… The reality is that we all do. No matter what I do, I cannot change that fact. I will continue to lose family members and my family will one day lose me. It’s just a fact.
The one thing that I hold on to, however, is the promise that we will be one day reunited with Julie’s grandmother, my grandparents, and all of our family and friends who have called Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior. This life is temporary, that is true. What is also true is that even on its best day, it pales in comparison to what awaits in Heaven.
I may face sickness, adversity and will one day face death; but in reality, this is all one fleeting moment in my entire existence. I have peace because I have hope that God is preparing a home for me in His presence. I will one day cease to exist on this earth, but I will then move into my new home where I can talk with Jesus and tell him how grateful I am to have been given the gift of experiencing His love and forgiveness.
This past weekend was difficult, but it was also a faith opportunity and served as a reminder for the joy that one day awaits me.
1 John 5:13 – “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”
“Imagine that when you die, there is nothing. No Heaven or Hell. You simply cease to exist. Don’t you think that your Christian life would have been a waste to live?”
If you are a Christian and you have talked to many unbelievers, especially atheists, you have probably been faced with this question before. We Christians will often turn this question around on the atheist and say something like, “Imagine if when you die, there is a Heaven and Hell. You go to Hell. Don’t you think the Christian life would have been worth living?” We often pose this question as a gotcha answer to their question. It’s a way of trying to win a debate without really answering the question and although I am guilty of using it, I think it is a very poor response. You see the point when talking with someone who does not believe in Christ is not to win a debate. It is to show them the LOVE of Jesus Christ. Christians experience a life transformation that surpasses human understanding. We really get to experience life as it was meant to be experienced. Instead of answering the question honestly, we dodge it and try to degrade the person whom Jesus has called us to love. We often don’t do this to be mean; it’s just our initially defensive response.
Here is the answer that I can personally give to the question: “I do believe Heaven and Hell exist but for the sake of argument I will answer your question as posed. I live my life with as few regrets as possible. I am not perfect and I do sometimes make decisions I later regret. Following the teachings of Jesus Christ is not among those decisions. If there is no life after death, I would still follow Jesus. Here is why; giving my life to Christ transformed me from the inside out. I see and experience life differently because of the transformation that happened when I surrendered my life to Him. I very well could be dead or in poor health if I had chosen a different path and I am certain that I would not be living a life of joy and fulfillment. I don’t regret my life because I have hope and comfort, even in the midst of life’s greatest tragedies. Because of the life I live, I truly know how to love my wife and children and receive their love in return. I have strong friendships and have been able to connect with people on an emotional level that gives me strength and purpose. My life is not a waste. I honestly enjoy my life more than I could have ever imagined. I am not saying this to win an argument or to put you down, I am just telling you the truth. My decision to live for Jesus Christ instead of for myself is the best decision I have ever made… no matter what the final outcome is.”
If you are a Christian, I encourage you to speak to people about Jesus. Don’t do it in a demeaning or unloving way though. That doesn’t make any sense because that is not how Jesus communicated with those He ministered to. Take time to listen to the voice of God and allow Him to lead you in your conversations. If people don’t want to hear the message you have, don’t force it on them. One cannot be forced into Christianity. I know that you have experienced a wonderful transformation and want the world to experience it as well (especially your family and friends) but trying to push them into that transformation will not work. I recommend prayer and showing them Christ’s love through how you live your life. When they are ready to listen, then tell them about Christ. Explain your personal testimony because that is the strongest witness you have.
If you are reading this and you have questions about the afterlife, who Jesus Christ is or what proof we Christians have for our beliefs, check out some of the earlier blogs on this site by clicking here: Christianity
I also HIGHLY recommend you check out H.L. Hussmann’s blog: http://www.hlhussmann.com/index.html
I have spent most of my life worrying about my image. I would often bend over backwards to try to talk or act in a way that would appeal to whomever I was with at the moment. I purposely looked for ways to address them so as not to be offensive. Taking a stand on anything has proven difficult due to this attitude. By straining to maintain an image of someone who is tolerant, I have removed my own identity. I think most of this has developed from being raised in a culture that grossly promotes political correctness. As of late I have realized that this can be a very destructive force to a society and I will spend today explaining why.
Political Correctness vs. Respect
I will begin by defining the terms:
Also, PC or p.c. Showing an effort to make broad social and political changes to redress injustices caused by prejudice. It often involves changing or avoiding language that might offend anyone, especially with respect to gender, race, or ethnic background. For example, Editors of major papers have sent out numerous directives concerning politically correct language. This expression was born in the late 1900s, and excesses in trying to conform to its philosophy gave rise to humorous parodies.1 Respect:
Respect is doing your best to honor a person while political correctness is attempting to be like that person. You can have respect for another person and be honest about your views on a subject in which you differ but you can quickly become politically incorrect by stating those views. Let me give a clear example of what I mean. I personally believe in what has been defined as the traditional view of marriage, i.e. one man marrying one woman. I can state that viewpoint and still respect those with opposing views. I cannot, however, state that point and be what is currently defined as politically correct. In today’s American society, to remain politically correct I either need to say that I agree that all people have the right to marry, no matter the gender/number or just remain silent if I oppose that viewpoint. I am considered a disrespectful bigot if I exert my opinion. Therefore, society pressures me to either remain silent or change my views when they oppose the current popular social norm. Respect, on the other hand, allows me to openly state how I feel. I may generate opposition from those who are equally passionate for the opposing view, but if we respect each other we can openly debate without demeaning one another. In my opinion, political correctness breeds dishonesty. It stifles anyone who agrees with what has recently been defined as the popular stance of modern society. It requires one to change his/her beliefs in order to fit in or be liked by others. It is a type of speech control with the goal of suppressing those in opposition of current trends. Being a device used by socialist governments to control the population, political correctness actually annihilates the freedom of speech. Summary I began by explaining how I have spent most of my life trying to get others to like me. I have often shied away from debates because I did not want to offend someone. I have recently come to realize that I have been suppressing who I am and diluting the God I serve simply to save face. Whose face am I saving if I cannot be honest about how I feel? Am I truly benefiting anyone by not openly sharing what is taking place in my mind? I have come to the decision that I cannot let others control my life. I need to be Tim McSwain, not someone else. I will continue to respect the right that we all have to believe what we want but I will no longer be ashamed of my core beliefs or of the name of Jesus Christ. Some people may choose to no longer be my friend because I make them feel uncomfortable, but I guess that will show me who my true friends really are. I also want others to feel that they can be honest with me. Chances are we will disagree about something, but if we respect one another we can grow closer despite our differences. My advice: Learn the value of respect and quit being so stinking politically correct. -Tim Bible Postscript Ephesians: 4:11-16 ESV “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, theshepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather,speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who isthe head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” 1. politically correct. Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Houghton Mifflin Company.http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/politically correct (accessed: August 01, 2012). 2. respect. Dictionary.com, LLC. Copyright © 2012. All rights reserved. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/respect?s=t
- Esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment.
- Deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment: respect for a suspect's right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.2
Something at my very core is changing. The old way must go. I’m at a loss of words when it comes to explaining what is taking place, but I have found a great passage of scripture that does the explaining for me. Take some time today to read God’s words instead of mine. Let Him speak to you. The following passage of scripture is taken from a Biblical paraphrase known as The Message. Please feel free to look up these same verses in which ever version of the Bible you read.
Ephesians 4:17 – 5:10
“And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They've refused for so long to deal with God that they've lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can't think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.
But that's no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.
What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ's body we're all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.
Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry. Don't give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.
Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can't work.
Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.
Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted.
Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
Don't allow love to turn into lust, setting off a downhill slide into sexual promiscuity, filthy practices, or bullying greed. Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, those who follow Jesus have better uses for language than that. Don't talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn't fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect.
You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations on idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God.
Don't let yourselves get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with him. Don't even hang around people like that.
You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You're out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.”
- It’s time for change to take place - Tim
There seems to be a new trend taking place that concerns me. The ‘adult’ entertainment industry appears to be pushing pornography onto women, and it is working. Not too long ago, the largest advocates for tearing down the porn industry were women. A large portion of the female population argued that pornography was demeaning. They rightly contended that it made ladies appear as nothing but a tool to fulfill men’s selfish desires. Ladies were a large voice in calling for the repeal of what a majority of women viewed as a detestable act. In my opinion, the strength of the female voice began to weaken the porn industry and they retaliated by making male porn more attractive to women. Much like when the frog is slowly warmed in water to be cooked, women are slowly being lured into embracing pornography.
This trend is currently creating what seems like a double standard in our society. I’m sure the plan is to make it where all pornography is accepted.
Why am I stating this is a double standard? The main reason is because many women have no problem going to see a movie about a male stripper, Magic Mike, but they would still be offended if their husbands/boyfriends attended a movie about female strippers. This is not the case for all women and I don’t mean to generalize the statement. I am fully aware that some women did not watch Magic Mike and some who did have no problem allowing their boyfriends/husbands to watch pornography but I think that many who did watch the movie do oppose having their significant others lusting after another woman.
Say what you want to about the story, the main reason the movie has made $107,600,000 to date is because women wanted to see Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey and other men take off their clothes. That was the main focus of the commercials and the draw for the movie. This is not a record breaking movie but when one figures in the fact that the movie’s main demographic was women, it’s a large number.
I will get off my soapbox for a moment… Pornography is something I have personally dealt with in my life. If anyone ever tells you that pornography is not destructive, they are either lying, in denial or just perverted. Like any other addiction, it can control your life. It is destructive because it messes with your psyche. The fact that some people fight so hard in defense of pornography should be a very clear sign that it is harmful. It’s much like when an alcoholic says, “I’ve got everything under control. I know my limits.” Because pornography is an addictive behavior, it often leads down a road of progressive steps. A person may begin by looking at an image on a website. The image may be considered soft porn. That suffices for a time but is soon not enough to fulfill the person’s desire so he/she turns to more hard core images. The images lead to watching movies, interacting with people online and often to the person perusing sexual escapades. Each thing leads to another and the destructive nature of the behavior increases. One of the most famous cases of pornography going bad was in the case of Ted Bundy. Bundy was a famous serial killer in the 1970’s. In an interview with James Dobson, Bundy stated that his addiction to pornography lead him down the path to becoming a serial killer. I am not saying that viewing pornography will make you a murderer, but it will lead you down a path of destruction. There will be a price to pay. It may cost you your job, marriage, financial health or even your physical health. It’s not the first image you view that will cost you but that image could lead you down a path to an addiction that will cause you to make decisions that cost dearly. If you don’t believe me ask any wife who divorced her husband due to his having an affair. It usually starts with porn and leads to something more.
Every Christian should be outraged that the entertainment industry has produced a movie fully intended to desensitize women to pornography but I am here to tell you that many Christian women went to see the movie. I don’t have any statistics to corroborate my claims because there is apparently not a Christian female meter on movie viewing, but just Google ‘christian women watching magic mike’ and read some of the other blogs on the subject. It seems that much of Christian society is silent when it comes to women watching what essentially is a pornographic movie while they are outspoken when men do the same thing. It almost seems as though we Christians shun pornography when it is directed toward men but are silent when its target audience is women. It’s a double standard. Pornography is either a sin or it isn’t. If it is wrong for men to view sexually explicit imagery, it’s wrong for women.
As I stated, it’s my opinion that this is a move to generate more acceptance toward pornography. It creates a slippery slope. Think about this scenario. A wife asks her husband, “What did you rent for guy’s night?” He replies, “Showgirls.” She says, “I can’t believe that; you know I don’t like for you to watch that trash!” He retorts, “You watched Magic Mike last month, so what’s the difference?” The lines get thinner as the loudest voice against pornography grows silent. The giant $12billion industry known as the Adult Entertainment industry continues to grow while we embarrassingly fail to fight it.
Want to read a Christian review of Magic Mike? Check out this link: mike.aspxhttp://www.pluggedin.com/movies/intheaters/magic-mike.aspx
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 ESV
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.