Tag Archives: Jesus

A Broken Record

To be brutally honest, I’m fine with what’s been taking place recently along our nation’s southern border. However, many people seem to be up in arms over the latest techniques being used in yet another attempt to secure our border with Mexico. The so-called “cages” for captured illegal immigrants are continuously being aired on television for the purpose of invoking sympathy and promoting a certain political party’s agenda. Those “abhorrent” holding facilities happen to be the exact ones used during the Obama administration, but unsurprisingly, like a broken record, the media has assigned all the blame to President Donald Trump.

I think those to blame for the “ripping of children from their mothers’ arms” lies solely with the lawbreakers themselves. If I was pressed to name a runner-up at fault for this current, unfortunate situation, I’d have to choose the Democrats. In the same way the Republicans are mostly responsible for preventing practical gun control legislation, the Democrats are mostly responsible for preventing practical immigration policy. If I were the Democrats, I’d work tirelessly to get something done now instead of betting on gaining numbers during the next election. I suppose the gamble could pay off similar to how the Republicans were victorious (wrongfully, I might add) after refusing to give then President Obama’s Supreme Court Justice nominee a hearing before an upcoming election. The GOP’s stall tactic was successful, and they were rewarded with securing the open justice seat with a Conservative, after the votes were tallied.

However, if the Democrats decide not to compromise this time, and they lose numbers in November, then a more tilted Congress may very well enact a new immigration policy that does not include protection for their coveted “Dreamers.” Just give President Trump his “big, beautiful wall.” I’ve surely given up hope that Mexico will entirely foot the bill, but it’s quite possible the border wall could be funded via the savings from Trump’s tariffs and better negotiated trade deals. The fact is something has got to be done about illegal immigration, and the sooner the better. We’ve probably all heard the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well, that cute slogan does not apply here. Our nation’s immigration policy is unequivocally broken.

Maybe we should take comfort in knowing we aren’t the only country currently experiencing immigration concerns and conflicts. In 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened her country’s borders to asylum seekers from other countries. Three years later, Germany is now home to an additional 1.4 million immigrants. Merkel’s decision has put a strain on the country and has led to an increase in support for anti-immigration politicians. After dealing with the perils of a boost in immigration, for a relatively short time, at least 61% of German voters now desire for immigrants to be turned away at their border. Likewise, just a few days ago, Italy and Malta refused to accept approximately 600 migrants who had been rescued at sea a week prior. Spain has given the migrants a temporary stay while the authorities ponder whether to grant them asylum or not.

I am certainly not anti-immigration. I am, however, anti-illegal immigration. There’s a colossal difference between the two – regardless of how the media tends to purposely confuse us in to thinking they are one in the same. I also realize that refugees fleeing from violence or oppression are not the same as those who are boldly hopping over our southern fence. However, once refugees from other countries do make their way into Mexico it doesn’t necessarily mean they should automatically be allowed into the United States. They have already successfully fled danger and are now amongst friendly people. I certainly haven’t heard that take on the situation from the slew of mainstream political pundits out there. I’m simply tired of the majority of our media sounding like a broken record, on so many subjects, day in and day out.

For example, the media and loyal Trump haters alike are now recklessly using the word immoral when describing President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy at the border. Their newest favorite word has already become all too commonplace. And they’re even quoting Scripture, mind you, in a futile attempt at proving themselves right. A vast number of those arguing about the morality in this particular case just so happens, oddly enough, to be the same folks who frequently celebrate homosexuality – biblically, an undeniably immoral act.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions launched the ill-advised Bible interpretation war when he referred to the Book of Romans in defense of the newly enacted “zero tolerance” policy. Sessions said, “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.” Romans 13:1 does state, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.” And Romans 13:2 says, ” Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” After exploring Romans for myself, I can’t disagree with what the Attorney General said. But Jesse Jackson does. The good reverend, the Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and others disagree with Sessions’ shared interpretation, for whatever reason.

This WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) moment is sponsored by yours truly. The popular ’90s crusade was designed for Christians to ask themselves what their Savior would do before taking any of their own actions. I think it was my pastor who conveyed an unconventional, yet probably spot on, opinion concerning the clever campaign. He said something equivalent to this: if you’re actively pursuing Christ then you won’t even need to ask what Jesus would do because the proper response will just come naturally. This sort of deep contemplation reminds me of the dreaded debate that creeps into conversations every so often about whether Jesus would be a Democrat or a Republican. First of all, exploiting the Good Book for political reasons is never a good thing. Second of all, I’m pretty sure Jesus is an Independent – independent of all earthly things and only concerned with His Father’s Heavenly plan.

I, on the other hand, am a stickler when it comes to enforcing our country’s laws. Why don’t some people understand that in this world there are consequences for actions? I’d suggest the more severe a lawbreaker’s punishment, as we’ve been witnessing on the border as of late, the less likely the miscreant, and others considering following suit, would be to repeat the violation. Illegal immigrants should absolutely be made to feel very unwelcomed within the confines of a great nation boasting borders and laws. I would like to reiterate as to what I think is the proper courseĀ for a successful immigration policy as I proffered at this site on February 7th, 2018. I still believe in securing our southern border with a great wall, creating a sensible and sustainable pathway to citizenship for the “Dreamers,” and imposing strict, harsh penalties on all persons and businesses harboring, hiring, or catering to illegals. I could probably go on a little longer, on the subject of illegal immigration, but I don’t want to sound like a broken record.

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Lunch With Jesus

The other day I had lunch with Jesus. That may or may not sound strange depending on who you are and what you believe. I have believed in God (the one and only God) for several years although I used to inaccurately envision Him as a detached supreme being, watching over His creation from afar, instead of as the encompassing, loving entity that He truly is. In actuality, He is much closer to us than we probably can even imagine. I wonder how I overlooked, for so many years, the fact that the name Immanuel (Jesus) actually means “God with us.” Duh! I no longer see God as being way out there in the universe somewhere because at times He’s in my own backyard. Literally!

I invited Jesus to have lunch with me this past week, and not surprisingly He accepted my invitation. I wish I could take credit for such a novel idea, but having lunch with Jesus was suggested by my pastor. He made the proposal to his congregation but only after experiencing the unconventional activity himself. Quietly praying to my Lord and Savior is an amazing thing, but speaking out loud to Him as a friend adds a whole other dimension to the relationship. At least that is what I have found to be true these past few years, so I was more than willing to partake in the soul training exercise as recommended.

I made myself a Reuben sandwich, but I did not make one for Jesus. I’m not crazy! However, I did pull out a chair for Him to sit on after bringing my Reuben, a handful of Cheetos, and a Snapple iced tea to the table outside underneath the covered patio. I began the luncheon by thanking Jesus for always being there with me even when I wasn’t truly aware of it in the past. I immediately thought about the beloved “Footprints in the Sand” poem as I visualized myself being carried by God. I was then compelled to thank Him for those trying times throughout my life when He absolutely “carried me.” I continued thanking Jesus, in between bites of my delicious sandwich and Cheetos, for my family and for all he has blessed me with.

I poured my heart out to my Savior with unconstrained emotion. I told Him what was on my mind, and I shared all of my recent concerns with Him. The time went by quickly, and I found I had much more to say to Jesus than I had anticipated. My sandwich had cooled off (as much as it could in the Arizona heat) before I was even halfway finished, but I continued conversing with my Lord until my plate was spotless. I admitted to Jesus I knew I had been hogging the conversation. I guess there was so much I needed to say and so much gratitude I wanted to express. I then informed Him I was going to shut up and just listen for a while because I longed to hear His voice in that special moment.

I also told Jesus how hearing a small voice would be fine, but a thunderous voice from Him would be a whole lot better because sometimes I’m not too bright, so subtleties are usually wasted on me. I closed my eyes and sat in silence. I listened intently but I didn’t hear a thing. I eventually opened my eyes and began surveying everything in the backyard before finally staring up at the sky in hopes of receiving some sort of a sign. Again, nothing. This new venture was foreign to me, so I wasn’t sure if I was executing the task in the proper manner or not. I decided to close my eyes and sit in silence some more. I heard myself softly repeating, “Please speak to me, I want to hear your voice.”

The popular biblical phrase, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” was the first thing that entered my mind for some reason. I promptly dismissed that notion because I figured maybe my ego was attempting to get in the way. Next, a pesky fly landed on my arm. It appeared to be the only one in my backyard, but obviously its mission was to bug me (pun intended) since it had been buzzing around the table the entire time I was having lunch with Jesus. Instantly, but only for a second or two, I thought, “Uh-huh, there’s a lesson to be learned here.” Maybe I had become easily annoyed lately, and Jesus was imploring me to “chill out.” Maybe.

Suddenly, I was no longer blanketed in peaceful silence. My neighbor to the east wandered out into his backyard, and soon I realized he was in no hurry to go back indoors. There was an incessant clanging, for the next several minutes, in which I perceived as having something to do with the transportation of ceramic flowerpots. Then a dog somewhere in the distance began barking and would not quit. A neighbor nearby, to the west of me, started-up some type of power saw that continued to run non-stop. Then I noticed an array of birds unified in one spirited song as though they were from the same choir. Another neighbor, on the other side of my southern cement wall, added to all of the other distractions by tossing his recyclables, one at a time of course, into an echoing receptacle.

Maybe I was being reminded of what my pastor has repeatedly proclaimed from the pulpit on Sunday mornings: We do not work where we work, play where we play, or live where we live by chance. I was placed in my neighborhood for a reason. As a follower of Christ I am called to be a good neighbor, and at times I am to be the light in someone’s darkness. Maybe I was suppose to be better aware of people’s needs especially of those who live around me. Probably. It was difficult for me to know for sure with the lack of silence now being so magnified. I told Jesus, “Apparently, our quiet lunch together is over, and maybe you didn’t have any earth-shattering thing to say to me at this time.”

As soon as the last word of that sentence left my mouth something happened. The once calm air transformed into a gusty wind upsetting the previously motionless wind chimes hanging above my head. The swaying chimes emitted a ding…ding…ding sound resembling what is commonly heard on television game shows when a correct answer is given by the contestant. It appeared as though Jesus was in agreement that our lunch date was indeed over. I began pondering what had transpired over the last hour, and I could not help but recall the “good and faithful” thought I initially had when I first sat there in silence. Maybe on this special occasion God simply was pleased I had taken the time to have lunch with Jesus.


God

They say you should never talk about politics or religion if you aim to keep your friends, or in my case readers, but I have never been one to really care what others think of me, so why start now. I’ve already scratched the political surface with my previous writings and have even touched on religion a bit, but as I was worshipping at Copper Hills Church this past weekend I was suddenly and overwhelmingly compelled by the Holy Spirit to share with you my thoughts on God. As I began seriously considering what needed to be said I couldn’t help but rethink the situation, and I started searching for reasons not to discuss this subject. That is what sometimes happens when the human flesh battles with the Spirit. Sitting in my usual spot (the comfy chair by the windows) at Starbucks, where I do most of my writing, I continued thinking about other possible topics to pursue, but the voice of the Holy Spirit is not easy to dismiss nor should it be. That being said, I am still struggling some with the subject matter since there is so much I could say, yet I feel a heavy sense of responsibility for conveying it in a complete and accurate way.

Therefore, the following is not me speaking on behalf of all Christians, but it is simply the truth as I know it. I also know that being prompted to write this at this time, with Easter upon us, is not just a coincidence. I have never been a big fan of the Easter Bunny, but I have enjoyed coloring eggs and participating in Easter egg hunts in the past. The reason I celebrate Easter though is because it is a special time for me to acknowledge that God’s only Son, Jesus, rose from the grave. He did so after suffering a painful and brutal death on an old wooden cross; therefore, conquering death for everyone who truly believes in Him. Jesus Christ was a spotless (sin-free) man, yet he willingly and humbly paid the ultimate price for each and every one of our sins. The sacrifice he had to endure seems very unfair, and it was, but fairness died in the Garden of Eden when man chose to disobey God, so now all believers and non-believers alike lead imperfect lives and experience unfairness while on this earth.

Although the sun shines and the rain falls, on both those who believe and those who don’t, believers are no longer enslaved to sin whereas non-believers still are. The only way out of enslavement is to acknowledge the one and only God, believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection, and then accept Him into your life. That is precisely when the Holy Spirit begins to dwell inside of you and the gift of eternal life in Heaven with Him is given. Please be advised though that you’re not immune to sin after becoming a believer. Bad stuff still happens, and life remains unfair, but now you have your Savior walking by your side at all times. That’s the Good News! I cannot imagine dealing with the perils of everyday life such as losing a job, family issues, health issues, or even death and tragedies like 911 without having God in my corner.

Every Christian has their own story as to what brought them to the realization they needed God and to that certain point in their lives when they finally made the decision to follow Him. On the testimonial scale of 1-10, ten being the most earth-shattering, mine is maybe a two. I am almost envious of the numerous powerful testimonies I have heard over the years of people overcoming addictions, abusive backgrounds, and rotten childhoods with the much needed help of Christ. On second thought, maybe I’m actually more thankful I did not have to endure anything like that to lead me to Him. I was raised in a Christian home, so I knew the truth at an early age, and at some point I made the most important decision I will ever make of accepting Jesus into my life. As a Christ follower I am not perfect and still have many faults, please don’t tell my wife, and I would be a bit leery of any Christian who would pretend otherwise.

On that note, I would now like to apologize to any non-believer who is reading this and who has ever encountered a judgmental, arrogant, or hypocritical person that call themselves a Christian. I know it’s not that far fetched because even I encountered some of them at the church I grew up in. I am reminded of an episode of the hit television series, The Big Bang Theory, where Sheldon finds out his very religious single mother is having, in his character’s all too familiar expanded word choice, “coitus.” He is extremely disappointed in his mother’s actions and tells her, “I’ll condemn you internally, while maintaining an outward appearance of acceptance.” Sheldon’s mother responds with the humorous line, “That is very Christian of you.” There are so many things wrong with the aforementioned scenario that I wouldn’t even know how to address it, but I do believe my responsibility as a Christian is to accept others as who they are and allow God to do the judging if and when He sees fit. There is a huge difference between being a Christ follower or just being religious. I once had a keychain that read, “I’m not religious, I just love the Lord,” which I think says it all. Well, I have now blogged about both politics and “religion” at great lengths, and I truly hope the Holy Spirit is pleased. Happy Easter!