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Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

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Faith/Righteous Living:  Moral Compass; Residual Benefit of Church; Psalm 133:1

We must talk about faith during public policy discussions because people who don’t believe in something will fall for anything.  In America, the state can’t compel a person to develop a faith walk but the government ends up “assisting” when faithless people find themselves in messy and costly circumstances.

Black Americans often ask why would a loving God allow us to suffer so much. (The rest of the post is simply this writer’s opinion and everyone has their own opinion…please share yours)  To me, life on earth is a test for eternity in heaven and long-suffering creates humbleness and humbleness focuses us on the other side rather than this side.

Actually, this Christian heard Minister Louis Farrakhan, a man with a detailed knowledge of the three major faiths related to Abraham, answer the suffering question at the Million Man March.  As a congressional staffer, I was behind the speakers on the west portico of the U.S. Capitol Building with my boss Rep. Sanford Bishop but I was trying to hang with Ice Cube and Will Smith.  Farrakhan said wouldn’t you like to have a little hell on earth that forces you to humble yourself, embrace God and make it to heaven rather than having riches and a little heaven on earth, become arrogant, turn from God and find yourself spending eternity in hell.

We must have a moral compass, a device in our heads that leads us to “act right.”  As a Methodist, the foundation of my compass is Jesus’s response to a lawyer.

Matthew 22:35-40

Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Game over, good night, turn out the lights.  There it is right there.  The old moral compass is pointing directly toward a heavenly home when your actions are those of someone who truly loves God and someone who  loves his neighbor as much as he loves himself.

If it was only that simple, life in Georgia would be a peach but there are people who clearly don’t love themselves more less their neighbors.  The great philosopher Oprah of Winfrey says that love is an action verb more than a feeling-based noun—show love in your actions.  The cool professor Randy Pausch wrote the book “The Last Lecture” to give directions on life to his children because cancer would take him before they grew up.  He said that his one message to his daughter is “When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you, it’s really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do.”

Pausch’s comment reminds me of the Prayer of Humiliation during communion at my A.M.E. Church that says “we are sorry for these our misgivings which we have committed against your divine majesty in thoughts, words and deeds.”  Deeds, deeds, deeds.  You can talk a good talk but what are your deeds….what did you do to back up the words from your mouth… let the works I have done speak for me.

People run around all day talking about their love for God, America, their race and themselves but do their actions support their professed love.  Yea, they love their neighbor as themselves because they don’t love themselves (eating the wrong foods, falling for the wrong person, playing in school, committing crimes, spending too much money.)

President John Kennedy said “ask not what this country can do for you…ask what you can do for this country.”  I shouldn’t get started on government/public policy related parts of the Bible.  We would be here all day debating “servant, obey your master.”  The passage most related to government is Romans 13, 1-5.

1Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.2Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 

Without order, we have chaos.  People must have a sense of right and wrong.  General Colin Powell wrote that we need to restore “shame” in America.  You have a new car but paid zero child support.  You should be shame (not ashame…good old fashion shame.)

Residual Benefit of Church: People have too much “understanding” these days but remember Proverbs 3, 5-6.  Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  As a kid, church was often a boring discussion of some ancient dudes fighting each other; you could have the non-Jesus parts.  But, the lightbulb came on for other kids (mostly girls).  They could hear the life lessons in Proverbs and Psalms….oh, don’t let Paul start writing letters to distant churches…what he could have done with a laptop and wifi.

When you go to church, you experience many residual benefits.  The homeboy told me that attending Sunday School every Sunday made him feel better in general but I knew that getting up early on Sunday reduced his hard partying on Saturday night… the Lord moves in mysterious ways.  If a kid can sit still to listen to the history part of the Bible, that ability to focus is vital in school and the workplace.  Of course, confidence in public speaking grows from years of church involvement.  Hearing a pastor craft a message helps with communication skills but pray for the kids who attend church where people butcher proper English.  Where you go to church at?   Have mercy.

For people with questionable family members, church is a place to expose your family to positive, productive folks…most of the time.  My church has so many retired successful people; the fellowship in the parking lot is a bright point of my week.  It is like having dozens of cool aunts and uncles; thoughts of their encouragement might make me teary-eyed over this keyboard and you know I don’t have the extended warranty if the computer shorts out.

We can’t sleep on the networking aspects of regular church attendance.  I am not promoting cronyism in the workplace but you hire people with whom you are familiar.  If Bob has done an excellent job as a church official for years, I have seen the quality of his work product and organizational skills.

Money/World View: This discussion can be controversial but it needs to occur because many of the conflicts involving our nation started about gold/money/treasures.  1 Timothy 6:10 says

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

My high school econ teacher wisely said that every major event in world history was directly or indirectly about money.  When groups and nations start hunting wealth around the world, they often seek a biblical justification for their actions….manifest destiny and divine intervention.

People sometimes wonder why Black Americans would embrace Christianity, the faith of those who enslaved us.  The biblical justification for slavery was said to be based on Africans being the descendants of  Cain, whose descendants were to be cursed, or Noah’s son Ham, who whose descendants were curse because he laughed at his father in a drunken state.  My brother-in-law Pastor Norman E. Kerry says that the simple answer for this question was cover on day one in seminary.  Jesus cleaned the slate for anything in the past so slave traders and Klan were wrong.

We should talk about people your faith considers to be wrong.  Jesus mentioned my sheep not of this flock.  John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.  That passage could be debated by people smarter than me because some people think that means Jesus talked to people away from the current Middle East.  We know he talked to crooks and prostitutes.  On the cross, he even said “forgive them father for they know not what they do.”

Religious, Spiritual and Righteous:  To me, there is a faith difference involving being religious, being spiritual and being righteous—I try to be all three.  A religious person might be deeply involved in the  organizational aspects of church but is that person practicing what was preached on Sunday during the rest of the week.  A spiritual person is at peace in their spirit; they know who they are and why we are here.  A righteous person might not be in church every Sunday but he tries to never do wrong; he endeavors to be a fair dealer in every aspect of life.

Plenty Room In Hell– While heaven wants believers to spread the good news and bring souls into the light, this writer thinks that we must acknowledge that the business of religion creates drama for financial reasons at times.  Some churches seem to have a preoccupation with the “fighting the enemy” part of faith and they can go right ahead because I just don’t have energy for that battle.  If you want to save those who are wrong from their doom, you are such a good person but I say there is plenty room in hell for those hell-bent on going there.

Religion has made world affairs a big mess.  The conflict in the Middle East could be the spark that starts the next world war.  Abraham was the father of three major faiths and why won’t people remember that his first son with Hagar is Ismael, who some consider to be the father of Islam.   I enjoyed my visit to Jerusalem and was awestruck to touch a place where Jesus actually sat.  However, I am one American who is fatigued by the constant conflict in that region and the exportation of that drama into every corner of the globe.

The solution begins with respect.  While I don’t want to point fingers, Europeans didn’t respect the history and culture of others when they started their golden age of global greed.   While religion is at the center of the conflict in the Middle East, American interest in the region comes from our dependency on their oil.

When imperialists from Europe saw they could get wealth and resources from the Middle East, they didn’t start by acknowledging the cultural history of Mesopotamia and Babylon.  Hammurabi who? Which Europeans came down to Egypt to construct those pyramids and that Sphinx because clearly these brown people didn’t do it alone?  Oh, the Chinese and the Japanese were more advanced in many ways but the British gave that little consideration when they forced them to trade.  The same arrogant mindset invaded Africa, South America, North America and Australia…all with Biblical justification.   The so-called American Indians are elegant and proud but they were treated as salvages.  Is that the approach Jesus would have employed?  I think not.

Peace: While there is no official religion in America (many folks don’t know that), I prefer leaders who have a moral compass, people who practice daily what is taught on Sunday morning.  If we want to have world peace, we must be respectful and considerate in our posture toward others.  At the end of the day, Ismael and Isaac came together to bury Abraham.

Genesis 25:8-9

Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre;

We should end this faith discussion with the idea that everyone on the earth should be considered brothers and sisters and we should learn to live together.

Psalm 133:1

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

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I wish I had the ear of a bunch of preachers.  I would make a you tube video or radio spot that was basically a sermon outline about politics.

Faithless/Same Bible-

Narrator: To hear some people tell it, half of Americans are faithless heathens.  The same people seems to think that they are God’s only children and that fighting with fellow Americans is the answer.  That doesn’t seem Christ like to me—where is the compassion?

President Bush 43 went Washington with compassion as the center of his moral compass; he funded more African development projects than any previous president.  Surprisingly, President Nixon created the Earned Income Tax Credit. But, those who like to be angry have taken over the Republican Party and push good people into the corner or out altogether.

During this election year, you have prominent GOP leaders talking about forcing children that receive free lunch to clean the school.  Is humiliating needy kids Christ-like?

The attacks on President Clinton and now on President Obama draw you to Psalms over and over.

Psalms 9:18: For the needy shall not always be forgotten: the expectations of the poor shall not perish for ever.

Psalms 34:6  This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his trouble.

Psalms 41: 1,7 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.

Psalms 54:3 For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul.

Psalms 69:4 They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty; then I restored that which I took not away.

Psalms 82: 3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

Psalms 109: 1 Hold not the peace, O God of my praise; For the mouth of the wicked dand the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.

 

President Obama and Democrats welcome the opportunity to address the nation’s problems in a constructive way with the Republicans.  Psalms 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.  But, the other side think they alone own America—they want their country back? Who took your country and when was it given solely to you?

Psalms 118:22-23 The stone that the builders refused has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.  That stone was Jesus and what could be more Christ-like than for the people who have been rejected by the elite and powerful to become the cornerstone of our nation.

Leaders on both sides can say what they will to each other but we won’t improve as a nation until the concept of better living reaches the most rejected among us—the cornerstones of the future.

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Since I have been really reading the Bible the last few years, I have come across so many parts that should guide how public policy and politics should function.  So, these deeply faithful people must have been skipping over the obvious like the caring sections of the Beatitudes.

To me, some people are more religious than spiritual or faithful.  For example, why do people speed in their cars to church when even I know that Romans 13:1 says “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”  The government is made by heaven.

But, who knew that Romans Chapter 12 reads as if angels took the two major political parties to the principal’s office…or should I say the “principles” office.  From brotherly love to vengeance being mine to living sacrifice, it’s all about reasonable service.

As I always write, I wish peace, love and happiness to my friends and fellow Americans across the political spectrum.  At the end of the day, most of us act with good intentions while we know that that is also how a certain road is paved.

An op-ed article in my newspaper by Cokie and Steve Roberts regarding the SNAP provisions of the Farm Bill should be read with Romans 12 in mind.  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, basically Food Stamps, assist American families.  While we know about the temporary (or hopefully temporary) food assistance, most people don’t know that the program gives our farmers the opportunity to produce more and kids need proper diet during their development to avoid costly medical problems later in life.  Children shouldn’t suffer because their parents made certain career and home economic decisions.  As Tupac sang “we got money for wars but can’t feed the poor.”  What would Jesus do?

http://www.albanyherald.com/news/2014/jan/05/steve-and-cokie-roberts-hunger-hurts-all-americans/

At the same time, 2 Thessalonians 3:10 says “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”  But, should kids be subjected to the humiliation of cleaning the cafeteria at school because their parents have little money—maybe the parents can do the cleaning but stop the madness.

I am copying Romans Chapter 12 below and highlighting the sections we should have in mind as the Dems and GOP peacefully got about the business of governing with cooperation and respect.

Romans Chapter 12

12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

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It’s time for my annual “consider yourselves told” blog post for southern conservatives. For years now, I have been patiently waiting for someone or some group on the right to ask how to do better in my community. My simply solutions would start with an overview of “The Art of War” because the first rule should be to study and learn the ways of the other side. Anyway, I have been writing the same points for years and should have gotten paid from my insight but that’s life. For the record, this discourse is the 2013 version of the same old same old.

 
Acknowledgement: America would be a better place if people would live the way conservatives wanted. A Bible based clean life would be perfect: no kids until three years into a marriage, zero cocktails, no sagging pants, do any legal employment to provide for self and family.

 
Problem: In a free society, people have the right to do as they please. It would be grand if all Americans follow their doctor’s recommendations on diet and exercise but that isn’t happening nor are people listening to sound life advice in other aspects of life.
Resulting Problem: So, a person is free to live anyway he or she chooses but if problems result from life choices, they gently fall in the governmental safety net. While that seems fair, we are finding more people who dive in the net from jump street and working people get the bill.

 
When Liberals are so wrong: Yea, a nation that ensures that all of her citizens have decent homes and decent meals sounds great. But, that would be socialism. In a democracy, the state creates a climate or situation where everyone has an opportunity to work hard, focus, plan and thrive. If your plan doesn’t work, you must keep trying while admitting that you made your lumpy bed.

 
Conservative Force vs. Moderate Compel: My conservative friends often see everyone else as child who must be told what to do. Say what? They make public policy decisions without general input and their source of knowledge comes from those in their inner circles. Some people have termed this the “donor class” because it’s the conservatives who donate to candidates and causes—in a bubble. They wanted to force their Solomon type decisions on the nation as a whole and regular folks simply laugh. (Remember, some of their approaches make perfect sense but their delivery techniques are appalling.)

 
On the other hand, moderates take the views of all sides into consideration before crafting logical policy. For example, the “lockem up” crime policies of the past produced macho campaign ads but the astronomical cost of the criminal justice system made even conservatives go back to the drawing board. Some of that money should have been used for education and training to put young people on the right path. Hell, I still think Newt Gingrich’s 1990s idea of giving clean living 21 year olds a $5,000 check was interesting because thug activities cost seven times that amount at least.

 
Bible Based: There must be a special hot pit in hell for those who twist the Bible to justify whatever provides them increase. I could list a zillion parts of the Bible that the Right uses and another zillion that the Left uses. But, I personally think Jesus of the Beatitudes speech wouldn’t want to see hungry people.

 
However, First Timothy 5: 8 says “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” Translation: A good dad would take that job flipping burgers.

 
Proverbs 12:11 He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding. Translation: Thank a farmer and a rancher in your dinner prayer tonight.

 
Second Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. Translation: The work requirement provisions of the Food Stamp selection of the Farm Bill weren’t written by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky but by Paul who use to be Saul of Tarsus.

 
Fat On Food Stamps: First, food stamps or temporary food assistance helps needy families and helps American farmers by providing additional markets. The “let them starve” mentality doesn’t seem as compassionate as President Reagan or the second President Bush. While starving, the health care cost would be billions and where were these folks when people were trying to fund programs that taught family planning and control. One conservative guy in Florida said that birth control was a grapefruit between the knees—keep those legs closed.

 
Conservatives don’t know that working Americans are also ticked off by the idea that their tax dollars are paying for someone to get fat on a futon while playing Madden all day or watching Maury Povich. Then, folks use the emergency room as a doctors’ office. My farm bill would provide temporary healthy food aid—no greasy foods . Healthcare reform should have provided a doctor for everyone and the doctor should state clear goals, objectives and consequences. “Sir, you are 100 pounds overweight and you have one year to get under 200 pounds. After that year, there will be no more free health assistance for chubby you. You will thank me in a few years or your family will be picking out hymns for your service.”

 
Nasty, Just Plain Old Nasty: In the above mention “donor class” of conservatives, you have people who love the vitriol of Fox News and talk radio. I should mention the young staffers and politicos who were sheltered as kids—home schooled, far Right Church, detest everyone and anyone not like them. Again, they are not very Jesus-like and they should stop demonizing folks who have fallen on hard times….there but for the grace of God…..

 
When the ugliest parts of the conservative movement say things design to fire up their ranks, reasonable conservatives shouldn’t remain quiet. Moderates aren’t quiet when that junk comes from the far Left or far Right.

 
Voter Suppression: The new nasty is a rehashing of the old nasty: let’s make voting hard. That’s not funny and shame on every conservative who supporters efforts to limit Americans from voting. The voter fraud junk is hogwash and they grin about it behind closed doors. If you can’t win an election fair and square, you shouldn’t resort to shady options. In June, I jumped though so many hoops to renew my driver’s license before I realized that the ultimate goal of conservatives in the state capitol was discouraging me to vote.
Joseph from the Bible: That guy Joseph was done dirty by his brothers but in Genesis 50, 20-21 it says “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.”

 
We are all southern brothers at the end of the day. I can’t understand voter suppression from the far Right nor can I understand the glamorization of thug living in my community. If anyone thinks the answer is governing the South without input from every section of the community, they have another thought coming. Some people voted for Obama while others voted against ugliness.

 
The struggle will continue after President Obama exits for Hawaii and candidate Clinton is my kind of tough lady. Yea, the voter turnout won’t be what it was in the past. I actually think it could be higher because people are getting hip to the dirty game.

 
Zimmerman: When Travon Martin was shot in Florida, George Zimmerman seemed surprised by all the heat coming down on him. He was right in being dumbfounded because he was functioning in a manner sanctioned by Florida state law. People across the country should be mad at themselves for not keeping at better eye on local, state and federal governments. Under the Stand Your Ground Laws, I could fire on a bald White kid running toward me in the parking lot at the store because I have a little concern about skinheads that I occasionally saw in D.C. But, that kid could just be someone with a cheap haircut (like mine) or an actual skinhead jogging to his car. I still don’t want to kill him.

 
The bottomline is that every American adult should try to vote so that the state legislature will be populated with officials who listen to everyone and who make well-thought out laws. Election results indicate that many Americans voted for President Obama then walked out of the polling booth. We must vote in every contest-from President to dog catcher in Ty, Ty, Georgia.

 
And we should vote smart. If the GOP is running your region, vote in the Republican primary for the candidate most like you. That action would be the cool move and it would make the far Right crazy mad.

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Our thoughts and prayers go out to those directly or indirectly affected by Hurricane Sandy—that would be every American. (It’s four a.m. and I don’t know if that should be affected or effected but during troubled time, I don’t care.)

I am proud that President Obama and Governor Romney limited their campaigns because of the storm.  To me, the Obama of the first debate didn’t see a need to campaign much more anyway.  He did what he wanted to do for the nation and if said nation didn’t like it….peace.  He saw no need for a hard sell after giving it his all. 

At the same time, I don’t think Romney recognizes the “him” that he is presenting in order to win the election.  I think he is a moderate who ran as a far Right conservative to win the GOP primary— now, he wouldn’t mine leaning back to the middle to get over the hump.

These campaigns needed suspending and any future donation money should go to storm relief families.  Oh, and get ready for some nuts to start talking about heaven’s hand in the election by way of the storm.  Heaven only knows if that is the case; but, I will say that I have never seen an incumbent candidate more at peace with the coming results.  You could say he is thinking “let the chips fall where they may” or Obama is reading 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 

I have a feeling that if giving the choice between (a) being a great disaster president over the next week yet losing the election because he didn’t make a  final push or  (b) winning the election by keeping one eye on the storm recovery and one eye on the campaign—Obama would quickly pick choice A but maybe being a great disaster president wins the election.  Yes, Romney managed the disaster at the Salt Lake City Olympics but that isn’t the same thing.  

In times like these, the leader of the free world should take a minute to hit a few gospel classics on you tube after his prayers—that “Order My Steps” song and the one about “Victory is Mine.”  What about “By and By.” 

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When I lived in D.C., the pastor of my neighborhood Methodist church was the coolest sister who ever stepped into a pulpit.  On one Sunday morning, she said that she saw a rainbow flag on a bumper sticker and on the other side of the bumper was another sticker that read “Father, protect us from your followers.”

Look, we live in a nation that is a tapestry woven from many different fibers.  While I might have personal opinions on certain matters, I think that law-abiding citizens have the right to be wrong and that reasonable people should stand to protect said rights.  If earthly actions would send people to blazes after this life is over, it is fine because there is “plenty room in hell.”  However, I have recently read a new Bible that was given to me 28 years ago (I know, I know) and I better understand that people with faith knowledge are required to share with others. 

Politics and faith blend when you consider 1 Peter 2:13-14 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, as for the praise of them that do well.   Also, Romans 13:1 reads Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

To me, the part regarding “Bishop” is funny because our congressman’s name is Bishop, which means overseer.  Rep. Bishop knows the Bible as does his last opponent, a pastor and elected official.  Actually, the opponent displayed considerable restraint from twisting biblical bishop from say Titus 1:7-9 into his campaign.  I assume that it took serious energy to keep his supporters from heading down that path.  To me, Rep. Bishop seems to fit the qualifications of Bishops found in 1 Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop then, he desireth a good work.  When Rep. Bishop decides to exit public service and really get paid in the private sector, the speeches praising him will no doubt include references to 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.  

In 1 Timothy 2:1-2, Paul wrote “I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks, be made for all men.  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

So, I will be praying for Obama, Romney, Bishop, Saxby, Isakson and the rest. Finally, for my homies in D.C., I am listing the 20 or so parts of the Bible that I find most useful so far.  Peace. 

Devotional List:

1. Psalm 23

23 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell[a] in the house of the Lord
Forever.

 

2. Matthew 5: 1-14

The Beatitudes

5 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

“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 filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
    For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

3. Matthew 6: 9-13 Lord’s Prayer

In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.[c]

 

4. Psalms 37: 1-4

37 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

 

5. Psalm 27: 1-4, 14

 An Exuberant Declaration of Faith

A Psalm of David.

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

 

6. Psalms 51:10 Clean Spirit

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

 

7. Mark 8:36-37  Soul

36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

 

8. Proverbs 17:22  Broken Spirit

22 A merry heart does good, like medicine,[a]
But a broken spirit dries the bones.

 

9. Proverbs 3:5-8 Guidance for the Young

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct[a] your paths.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,[b]
And strength[c] to your bones.

10. Exodus 20:12 Ten Commandment of Parents

 12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

 

11. Proverbs 6:16-19  Wicked Man

16 These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
19 A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.

 

12. Proverbs 13:20  Wise Men

20 He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will be destroyed.

 

13. Proverbs 16:7-8  Peace and Little

When a man’s ways please the Lord,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Better is a little with righteousness,
Than vast revenues without justice.

 

14. Proverbs 21:23 Tongue

23 Whoever guards his mouth and tongue
Keeps his soul from troubles.

 

15. Proverbs 23:9 Fool

Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
For he will despise the wisdom of your words.

 

16. Proverbs 24:17-20  Enemy

17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
18 Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him,
And He turn away His wrath from him.
19 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the wicked;
20 For there will be no prospect for the evil man;
The lamp of the wicked will be put out.

 

17. Proverbs 29:18 Vision

18 Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

 

18. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 Everything Has Its Time

3 To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,
    And a time to die;
A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
    And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
    And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
    And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
    And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak;
A time to love,
    And a time to hate;
A time of war,
    And a time of peace.

 

19. John 14:1-6 The Way, the Truth, and the Life

14 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions;[a] if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.[b] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

 

20. Romans 8:28, 31

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

 

21. Philippians 4:13

 13 I can do all things through Christ[b] who strengthens me.

 

22. John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

 

23. Ecclesiastes 12: 1, 13-14

12 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come,
And the years draw near when you say,
“I have no pleasure in them”:

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

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George Zimmerman meant well but we must be careful in our zeal to protect our communities.  Trayvon Martin was a better young man than most but sorting good kids from the bad ones has become difficult because most of them –Black, White and Brown- seems to admire the thug/hard element. 

I didn’t add “Yellow” to the list above because (as I stereotype) Asians youth in America still respect their elders and attempt to be obedient.  Oh, it is a matter of time before certain parts of American culture ruin them also. 

We have two or three generations of young people who don’t give a flip about how they carry themselves.  They will say or do anything in front of anyone and dare you to look at them sideways.  Zimmerman, with the warmth of his firearm, wanted to be that heroic figure in the neighborhood who stood for what was right; he wanted to be the man not afraid to stop the crime drama.  But, he stepped mistakenly to a decent guy. 

On some level, I feel like the guy on the block who senior citizens seek regarding community matters but I am much smarter than Zimmerman.  You must establish a vibe with the young folks and I have found that the holiday season is the best time.  During Christmas and the Fourth of July, my 40 something classmates come home to visit their parents and, of course, yell (like we do) at a brother from down the street.  It usually surprises the current young people to know that their uncles were once young and that some oldheads gave us words of wisdom—now it’s our turn. 

The seed gets planted when my old friends put their massive hands on their nephews’ shoulders and say, “listen to my homeboy and help him keep the block straight for moms.”  That nephew and his crew are the ones with the booming car music at 3 a.m.  We always want to diplomatically address these matters rather than seeing another person heading to expensive penal system.

We have so much unemployment in rural Georgia but a factory closing doesn’t mean you don’t have a job to do.  Most of my friends have worked continuously since high school.  I have seen guys laboring to keep their kids in Polo and Tommy gear but the kids grow up with a feeling of entitlement.  A year out of work might just be the year when dude saves his son from the streets or the year when moms’ house get the renovations it needed. 

On the job front, we are starting to see reports on employers who will only hire whose currently working.  Really?  In my community, we must do everything we can to weather these rough times.  The good news is that Black folks have perseverance encode on our DNA.  If we get rid of Polo, Tommy and other aspects of conspicuous consumption, we could live with less money.  Secondly, we must stop trying to keep up with the Jones because the Joneses are in debt up to their eyeballs. 

There is nothing wrong with a guy being a stay at home dad for a minute; I have been a stay at home son for more than a minute and yes the salary drama is stressing me out.  We are now the old guys who voluntarily read the Bible and I like Proverbs 20:29 “The glory of young men is their strength and the beauty of old men is the grey head.”  I find Psalm 71:18 to be equally cool “Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and they power to every one that is to come.”  While unemployed, you still have work that needs to be done.

Proverbs 22:6 states “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  Well, my daddy had a strong commitment to our community and my neighborhood was created in the 1970s by men who were overworked and underpaid on someone else’s farms.  If those dead men paid for these houses with years of hard labor, we can’t let a few half-raised youth destroy the area to the degree that widows are in constant fear.  And the crazy thing is that homies who come home from prison are the main ones telling the youth that the wild path isn’t the right one.

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