About Me

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Jim Killebrew has 40 years of clinical psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities, and experience teaching, administration, consulting, writing with multiple publications. Dr. Killebrew has attended four Universities and received advanced degrees. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., Educational Psychology; University of Illinois at Springfield, Counseling Education; M.A., Human Development Counseling; Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Killebrew attended Lincoln Christian Seminary (Now Lincoln Christian University). Writing contributions have been accepted and published in several journals: Hospital & Community Psychiatry, The Lookout, and Christian Standard (multiple articles). He may be reached at Killebrewjb@aol.com.

Welcome to my Opinion Pages

Thanks for stopping by and reading some of my thoughts. I hope you will find an enjoyable adventure here on my pages.

The articles are only my opinion and are never meant to hurt anyone nor to downgrade any other person's ideas or opinions.

Scroll through the page and stop to read any of the articles you wish. If you like what you see leave a comment, then tell someone where they can find this site. If you don't like what you read then leave a comment reflecting your thoughts and I will read them when I visit the site from time to time.

Thanks again for stopping by.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Abortion: outcomes of a journey’s destination

Special Note: This article is a different article from the ones I usually post on this site. It is controversial and opinions will be formed for or against by each person who reads it. It is about abortion and some ramifications of that practice. Each reader should know that I understand that the practice of abortion is not Biblically permitted. This is a Christian site and many of the articles are based in Christianity and the explicit belief that God is Supreme and His Word is absolute. There are many other articles in print or on the web that attest to the facts of the Bible in relation to abortion. Many things have been written that use passages from the Bible to demonstrate God’s displeasure against abortion, which is at the bottom line, the taking of another human’s life. For that reason I have not focused on the Biblical basis for eliminating the abortion practice. There are many people who do not believe in Biblical principles or the impact the Bible, God’s Word, has on the world. Therefore, this article moves toward taking a view of this subject from more of a humanistic, logical and realistic view of the fallacy of abortion in the first place, and the consequences of the process and a closer look at just who this issue applies to.

An Outcome is a consequence of something. To a large extent, life is a journey, but more than that, it is experiencing the consequences of our journey. We are taking the “Journey” through life living processes that move us from point “A” to point “B” most of the time expecting the outcomes we want will be delivered. We get up on a cold morning and just expect that the furnace has kept the house or apartment warm through the night, depending on the thermostat setting we chose. When we turn on the faucet we expect that water will start flowing. We basically live on a set of expectations that we have established through our own learning histories. In essence, those personal expectations are tied inexplicitly to other peoples’ expectations and their willingness to deliver appropriate outcomes in their sphere of influence.

In a very real sense, issues we face each day are defined by us not only in terms of their immediate meaning, but ultimately in their outcomes. I fear, however, that we don’t always think about outcomes as much as we should when it comes to issues. We sometimes tend to take a “whatever will be, will be” approach to life’s issues. Or we stop at a particular junction of one outcome that seems most in agreement with our opinion about that issue and suppress or ignore the other outcomes that naturally follow.

Take the issue of abortion, for instance (United States Supreme Court Decision, January 22, 1973). Abortion is a highly emotionally-charged issue with many ancillary issues swirling around it. Along the journey of the path to abortion there are many land mines that are set to explode and deflect the discussions and reality away from the ultimate outcome. The ultimate outcome of abortion is, of course, a dead child.

But you see, right there one of the land mines exploded and the discussion is deflected from the outcome to that of defining what is actually dead. Some say it is not a child, but rather a fetus, or a mass of cells that have not yet taken on “human quality.” For some who believe that, it softens the outcome to a blur that can more easily set aside the fact of the ultimate outcome of abortion. There can be agreement that something is dead, but it may or may not be a child.

But then there is another explosion that deflects the discussion to questions like, “If it isn’t a child, then what is it?” “Is it a horse…a dog?” If it is left to grow through the gestation stages, what will it be when it leaves the womb? Of course everyone knows that when it leaves the womb it will be a child. Whoops, there goes another explosion!

The discussion that derails the issue at this point away from the ultimate outcome is whether or not a child is a child until it grows into consciousness and is able to become “self-aware.” Some believe that even a “neonate” is not yet a child. Medical science generally operates, however, on the premise that,

“A neonate is a baby who is four weeks old or younger. An infant is considered to be a "newborn" or "neonate" up to age 1 month (4 weeks old). This "neonatal period" represents a short time of life where changes are very rapid and when many critical events can occur.

During the first 30 days, most congenital defects (such as congenital heart disease) are discovered. Genetic abnormalities may show up and it is a time when infections such as congenital herpes, group B strep, toxoplasmosis and others are discovered as they begin to have effects on the baby.”  (John Goldenring, MD, MPH, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital, San Diego, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network and presented in Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia on 11/18/05)

Of course this opens another diversion to the discussion that focuses on those “congenital” or “genetic abnormalities” that may exist. Especially through the use of modern technology of ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a noninvasive diagnostic technique that produces computerized images of internal body tissues and is based on nuclear magnetic resonance of atoms within the body induced by the application of radio waves. So the discussion centers on the “abnormalities” that may exist in the child, and the possible need to not go full term in order to “spare the child the agony of a life of disability.” Even with such an altruistic rationale focused on the child, it still blurs the fact that the ultimate outcome is death.

If the focus of the discussion is not the child, then it most certainly will migrate toward the woman. Some women whose strong position is the issue of women’s rights maintain that what men, and other less sophisticated women, just don’t get, is that in the matter of abortion it is about the woman’s right to choose. Choice is very important in our society. The Supreme Court of the United States has upheld the women’s right to choose, even if that choice results in the death of a child. There is nowhere in our society or no other people group, outside of the legal system that convicts a person of a capital offense, who has been given the right to make a choice that affects another person’s right to live. That right is relatively unrestricted too.

During the past thirty-five years that right that was upheld by court-decree has not only been unrestricted, but has been expanded as well. Today, in the 21st Century a woman has the right in the United States to end her pregnancy at any time during the period of conception all the way to full-term. Partial birth abortions constitute just as much a right given to women as are abortions in any other time during her pregnancy. The reasons behind that choice for any individual woman are deemed relatively unimportant. In the very beginning it may have been argued that abortion was used in cases where the life of the mother was in jeopardy. Now, however, that practice has changed to include almost any reason, including a form of birth control or gender selection; or no reason at all.

Even in the discussion about women’s rights to choose, however, a diversion forces the discussion even further away from the outcome of death. We glibly recite that it is a “woman’s” right to choose, but in fact, it is not any woman’s right, it is only the pregnant woman’s right. A woman who is not pregnant cannot make a choice to take the life of another woman’s child, even if that child is the product of an in vitro pregnancy that produced the child she is carrying. A woman who is not pregnant cannot make a choice about the life of any other child or any other human being. The only right to choice she has been given by a small group of elitist liberal-minded jurists is the life that she helped create by becoming pregnant herself.

In their infinite wisdom those same jurists have thrust upon that often time’s younger, pregnant woman a right of destroying that life that grows within her without the help of anyone else. Suggestions can be given by the biological father, or the woman’s family members, but there is no legal standing that even remotely approaches the “right” she holds sway over the life growing inside her. How convenient it is for everyone except that lonely pregnant woman who must make that decision alone, and ultimately endure the consequences of an outcome that ends in the death of a child.

You see, we have been duped into believing that it is some fundamental, constitutional right that has been handed down from our forefathers that the woman should have the absolute right to “end her pregnancy” at whatever point she decides…because that is her right. Nothing could be further from the truth! Really, the only women who have that right are those whose biological time has come that allow the physical possibility of childbearing. It does not exist for those who cannot, either because they are too young, too old or are physically unable. So it is only a “sub-set” of women who have that right. And even among that group the right is given only to those women who are pregnant.

We have strapped onto the sub-set of younger women the responsibility of taking on the burden of making a decision that is so awesome a responsibility, that in the end, the outcome is a dead child. All of those male political rousers who stand up and decry the lofty position that they believe in a “woman’s choice” are in no way burdened by that outcome. The same is true for all those women who have passed beyond the ability to carry a child, but promote such a right in others; they are unable to become pregnant, and therefore will never again be in a position to personally make that decision. In fact, this brought a fundamentally true condition to American women: They did not have the right prior to their physical ability to become pregnant; they were temporarily given the right only under the condition they became pregnant, and then the right was taken away from them when they left childbearing ability. This is not even to mention the millions of young girls who have already been aborted who will never have any rights. This may seem mundane, and to some even laughable, but in truth it is all the more tragic when one examines the chain of choices that must be made to be in a position to actually have that right.

If the woman who is of childbearing age chooses to voluntarily get pregnant, then the choice that she makes in ending the pregnancy is predicated upon a voluntary act for the first cause in order to be in a position to make the decision for the second cause, that is, ending the pregnancy that results in the death of a child. One could argue, why make the first decision and engage in behavior that will establish the need for the second decision in the first place? If a woman cannot decide to make that choice (exercise her freedom) to end the pregnancy prior to becoming pregnant, then it becomes only a situational choice when the decision is being made during pregnancy. Except for rape or incest, this could imply a premeditation that she wanted to become pregnant, but she did not want the results of the pregnancy. This begs the question, “If she is going to end the pregnancy in the first place, why become pregnant?” From within this context, the choice of the woman is playing fast and loose with another person’s life (the baby’s) by engaging in a behavior that will put her in a position to terminate that life simply because of a reckless behavior. With an attitude like that, it establishes the premise that human life is devalued from the beginning. “Never mind the consequences of her present behavior; it can be cleaned up later by simply ending the life of another human being.” The aftermath of that logic adds to another outcome that people usually do not want to talk about, and that is the toll that abortion takes on the physical, psychological and emotional ways to the young woman who made that decision.

Yet another outcome that is not frequently discussed is the effect that the pregnant woman’s abortion has had on the population of the United States. It is estimated that 1.2 million babies are aborted each year in the United States. Projecting backward to the United States Supreme Court Decision in 1973, it could be conservatively estimated that at least 27.2 million babies have been aborted. From a purely statistical perspective, over the past thirty-four years under legalized abortion practices, the United States has likely lost at least almost 16 percent of that group who would have had an IQ of 115 and higher. There is no accurate guess about how many chances of enhancing the quality of life for people everywhere could have occurred by not losing the brain power of that many people who could have been researchers, teachers, inventors, and healers. Of course, that is an empirical question now, since we, as a society are where we are now, without the input and enhancement of those who “never were.”

Proposal to think about

It seems to me that the arguments on both sides of this issue of abortion creates a lot of “noise” in regard to the process of morality, ethics and giving or taking away particular “rights” to a sub-set of Americans who actually practice and implement this law. Those on one side of the argument have a fear that it will “take away” rights if appealed; the other side has fears that without the appeal there will be others (unborn children) whose right to life will never be extended.

The solutions to this problem are to both end the abortion practice, but at the same time extend it for a season. For that sub-set of women who now have the right to choose, let them keep that right. For those women (girls) who have not yet attained the maturity to have that right, simply do not grant that when they do reach that maturity. For those women who have already passed the age of childbearing capability, there is no issue because that right has already been removed from them anyway.

Therefore, for girls whose current ages are from birth to say, 10 years old will not have that right to choose abortion granted to them when they reach the childbearing age. For those women whose current ages are at the on-set of puberty and have already entered into the child-bearing capability, they will continue to have that right as bestowed by the Roe decision, and will remain in full force throughout their childbearing time. However, that will be the last generation of women who would have that right. As they “age out” the issue will be resolved. For the ensuing years abortions will continue to decrease, but with a future end in sight. For sure the proponents on both sides of the issue will likely feel cheated.

Those in the “Pro-Abortion” group will believe they have lost a fundamental right for women to choose. But for all the reasons discussed above, that is a flawed right that errs against basic human life and rights.

The group against abortion will likely believe that they have lost since yet another generation of women will continue to have that right, whose outcome is the death of a child. But the battle lines have been, and indeed are now embedded so deeply in the social, legal, and political and criminal justice landscape of America, that a negotiated, political end to abortion may never be attained.

That state of affairs will likely extend this issue for decades to come; in fact it could never be decided. At least this solution will establish an end-sight that each group will be able to see, and we as a Nation can move toward it with a renewed value in human life and individual rights projected evenly to include even our yet to be born American citizens.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Americans still claim to be Christians

In an email I received from a friend with an article written by the singer and actor Pat Boone, bold accusations criticized President Obama for making a variety of statements that were seemingly critical of the United States. In his editorial Mr. Boone quoted Mr. Obama as saying, "We're no longer a Christian nation." June 2009; "America has been arrogant." "After 9/11, America didn't always live up to her ideals." "You might say that America is a Muslim nation." Egypt 2009.

Snopes.com verified this editorial posted by Pat Boone. The only part that was called into question was the statement about America being a Muslim nation. Snopes.com detailed that the statement was likely a rewording of a statement made by the President in a radio interview prior to leaving on his trip to Egypt. Snopes.com recorded the President as saying, “And one of the points I want to make is, that if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, [living in the United States] we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.” The President stated further, “And so there’s got to be a better dialogue and a better understanding between the two peoples.”

I never cease to be amazed at the arrogance that Mr. Obama tends to show at each of these statements and the sharing of his beliefs that so many interpret as anti-American. Surely he must realize that he angers a majority of the people in America when he says such things about the country. It is difficult to believe that he could be so naïve as to perhaps not be aware of the sentiments of most people. Likewise, it is difficult to believe that his many advisors and counselors to the President would be so naïve as to advise him to keep making such statements, if they in fact, are.

Poll after poll shows that most Americans (83% in an ABC Poll) at least believe they are Christian and this country was founded on the principles of Christianity. One can argue about the definition of Christianity and the diverse forms it takes in this country; but regardless if the belief stems from Biblical Christianity or some form of interpretation of Christianity through various religious filters, it is a long way from being similar to the Muslim religion. It is interesting that the President keeps beating this drum.

Perhaps it could be that his motivation is rooted in a long-held belief that has provided him with an abiding faith in his heart of hearts that creates within him the fervor to be an evangelist for his perspective. It might be much like a Billy Graham or the Pope evangelizing their perspective on Christianity in a country like Iran or Saudi Arabia. As they evangelize in such a way they would begin to persuade citizens of those Muslim countries to turn toward Christianity as a response to their Christian message. Now, for a Papal visit or a Billy Graham crusade preached for three or four days might be tolerated in those countries. It would be another thing altogether if the Christian message were to be presented by the Ayatollahs of Iran and the Ruling Family of Saudi Arabia. The citizens of those countries would begin to wonder what the Leader’s motivation was.

That is where we are in America. When we hear our President talk about the American Exceptionalism being diminished or absent, or that Christianity is no longer what Americans claim, or that Americans have become so arrogant on the world stage that we are hated by much of the world’s citizens, Americans begin to wonder about the President’s position.

This is more pronounced when the President’s actions begin to follow his stated convictions. When the President presents himself with a waist-deep bow to foreign Heads-of-State on foreign soil, or fires off apologies around the world that America has become so arrogant that friends and foe alike should take a second look at their relationship with his country; Americans begin to question why he has taken such a stand.

The President has used the first eighteen months of his Presidency in making speeches and establishing policy that seemingly goes against the grain of many, if not most, Americans. He has taken a position much further to the left of center than the majority of Americans are willing to go. As a consequence his approval ratings have fallen, there is a rise of negative sentiments against his leadership, a movement in the form of “Tea Parties” has taken root, and entrenched, liberal Democrats have fallen in several primaries and elections throughout the country. It would appear that to date there are many American citizens who have listened to The President’s evangelical liberalism and have responded, not here; not now. The next couple of years will determine if the President has been converted.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Business and Christian advertising

A local contractor completed an inspection of a person's property for the purpose of providing an estimate for remodeling. The contractor promised that he would have the estimate completed by the end of the week. After seven weeks of waiting, wondering, and expecting his call, it was evident that he was not going to keep his promise.

Many of the person's calls went unreturned. Ordinarily the person would just note that incident as another episode of life's normal dishonesty, or at least slackness of work ethic. That happens with many promises in our society, and service providers unfortunately tend to operate in a "business-as-usual" routine.

In this "hypothetical" case, however, the contractor was advertising openly as a person who operated under a different standard…as a Christian, with Christian ethics. It might be a benefit to that contractor, and others as well, if by putting this in writing a message might be reflected to all business persons that highlight the message that is projected.

The contractor was flamboyant in his claims: His telephone answering machine message with its upbeat Christian greetings; his business card with biblical messages; his Yellow Page advertising extolling work-standards reflecting Christ; and his powerful witnessing as he first met people. All of those indicators certainly do point to Christian principles. They would lead a person to believe that he was an individual with whom persons could place their trust.

Christianity is undergirded with many foundations: The most prevalent of course is that of the "good news," namely, that Jesus, God's Son, willingly gave His life as a ransom for all and died on the cross to provide salvation for any who believe. Further, as millions celebrate during Easter, He was raised up from the dead, now being alive. Many claim a risen Christ who offers hope and salvation for all eternity.

Another of those foundations is that to be Christ like, and take on His ethics, is to live a life of honesty and integrity; this, among other things, means being true to one's word. People count on that kind of consistency and appreciate it when they find it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with saying in essence, "What you are doing is speaking so loudly I cannot hear what you are saying." In more recent times we have heard from teenagers, "If you cannot walk the walk, don't talk the talk."

There was no real doubt that the contractor's Christianity was real to him. In fact, he likely was doing some good things as he walked through life. Perhaps he had touched many lives in many positive ways. If so, then let all the glory go to God.

Just a word of advice, however: You might seriously consider the impact of associating your business with the claims of Christianity. In our society that is a very tedious path along which to walk. If in the lineup of businesses a person cannot "be different, and come out from among them," then that business person may perhaps wish to consider a different advertising slant. Whatever gains the business person makes in their personal testimony will be more than lost if their business practice creates a reputation which is "not any different from all the rest."

Finally, please do not take what has been written here in the wrong light. The aim is to simply share with all business people the perception they have left with persons who have asked for their services. Many, being fellow Christians, would like to encourage each business person who claims Christ to walk carefully in a personal relationship with Christ. There is no higher calling, and no greater assurance than to place all trust in the "blood of the Lamb." But, in the "busy-ness" and hectic environment of a business life, be very cautious about aligning your business with advertised Christian ethics if there is a remote possibility that it will leave in the mind of anyone that the business person is simply using Christian ethics as a "gimmick" for his/her own personal gain.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Completed meal

"While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, 'Take it, this is my body.' Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,' he said to them. 'I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God'" (Mark 14:22-25).*

The Passover meal had progressed to a point where Jesus interjected this very familiar scene. Breaking the bread, He likened it to His body. The cup, He said, is His "blood of the covenant."
The Passover meal consists of four cups:

The Cup of Sanctification - based on God's statement, "I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians"

The Cup of Judgment or Deliverance- based on God's statement, "I will deliver you from slavery to them"

The Cup of Redemption - based on God's statement, "I will redeem you with an outstretched arm"

The Cup of Praise or Restoration - based on God's statement, "I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God"

At that very moment Jesus did an extraordinary thing. He propelled the Passover meal or the "Last Supper" into a perpetual future event. Although that meal was likely not meant to end at that time, Jesus abruptly ended it by saying,

"I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God." He had finished the third cup, the cup of redemption, but the fourth cup, the cup of restoration for this meal would not yet be finished.

An act which is never finished is ever-present. It lingers on and on, never reaching a conclusion or finding complete resolution. In 1 Corinthians 11:24 the Apostle Paul adds that when we eat and drink at the Lord's Table, we should do so in "remembrance" of Jesus.

We remember Jesus and the Lord's Supper not only what He has already done in the work of salvation, but in what He is going to do when He finally brings that meal to a conclusion.

Each time we eat and drink that meal we should be in a constant state of readiness looking forward to finally being with Him and all those who have claimed Him and His salvation, as He stands at the head of the table of the wedding supper (Revelation 19:9). There He will raise the last cup of the fruit of the vine, and invite each of us to drink with Him together as that meal is finally concluded.

In this way we are not only sharing with Him continually in the drinking of a cup which is His "blood of the covenant," but are constantly looking forward to sharing with Him His final victory, remembering His sacrifice for each of us.

*Scriptures are from New International Version.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Resurrection this side of the cross

In Genesis 3:15 when God talked to Satan [serpent] it was after the humans had turned from obedience to their Creator to disobedience. Speaking to both the serpent [Satan] and the woman, God told them, "I will put hostility between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring; her offspring will attack your head, and you will attack her offspring's heel." Many believe this is the initial reference in God's Word that hints of the future revelation of the gospel of Christ. God says that Satan will deliver a powerful blow to the Seed of the woman (who is ultimately Jesus), but the fatal blow will be delivered by Jesus to the Serpent.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Fast forward at least four thousand years to a night in Jerusalem where Jesus and His Disciples had just finished the Passover meal. The night was upon them now and another scene began to be played out in another garden: Gethsemane.

After the Passover meal had been finished, Jesus and His Disciples had gone to the Garden called Gethsemane. It was there that Jesus was later arrested, having been betrayed by one of His Disciples named Judas. The sequence of events moved very quickly through that night: Jesus' appearance before a cadre of officials: Jewish High Priests, Kings and Roman officials. Ultimately Jesus was led to a place just outside the city where He was nailed to a Roman cross and put to death.

So Jesus was now dead. His blood had been shed and above His head, attached to the cross, hung a sign that said "King of the Jews." A few people had gathered at the foot of the cross; most of His Disciples had run away and were in hiding. Perhaps some were watching from a far distance, fearing they too might be recognized. They may not have been able to see much of what was happening.

The sky had grown dark a few hours before His actual death, so it was likely difficult to see clearly, especially from any distance. John, one of Jesus' Disciples was there at the foot of the cross, and Mary, Jesus' Mother too; of course there were some guards who were there to oversee the crucifixion. In the deafening quietness of the chilling darkness death was slowly, but surely descending on that place. It is quite possible that Satan and some of his followers were there to witness that scene as well. Perhaps Satan remembered the "other" garden and the words of "attacking" this offspring's heal. It may have brought a smile to his face knowing that Jesus would soon be dead.

It was ironic that across the city at the Temple the priests were going through their rituals of killing, cutting and burning the lambs that had been offered as a sacrifice to as a push-back for a person's sins. Because on that hill at Calvary, just outside the city, the One whom John the Baptist had declared "The Lamb of God" began speaking at the afternoon offering time, "It is finished." The Lamb of God on the cross presenting Himself as a sacrifice with His own blood for the forgiveness of sins, through His death, even on a cross.

But then the resurrection! If Satan had shouted a victory cry when Jesus was on the cross, his voice must have crackled with despair and disbelief "early on Sunday morning." First Corinthians 15:54-55 shout:

"Death has been swallowed up in victory."

Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?"

After spending forty days with his resurrected LORD, Jesus Christ; Peter, Jesus' Disciple reported to a large group of people publicly on the Jewish Day of Pentecost,

"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man clearly attested to you by God with powerful deeds, wonders, and miraculous signs that God performed among you through him, just as you yourselves know - this man, who was handed over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you executed by nailing him to a cross at the hands of Gentiles. But God raised him up, having released him from the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held in its power." (Acts 2:22-24)

Peter went on to say,

"Therefore let all the house of Israel know beyond a doubt that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were acutely distressed and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "What should we do, brothers?" Peter said to them, "Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself." (Acts 2:36-39)

For all those who have placed their faith in the work that Jesus did on the cross, and have been justified by His blood and continue to walk in His Spirit, they will one day be glorified by the changing of their bodies to join the Resurrected Jesus as He sits on the Throne in heaven. Jesus died once for all, was resurrected and glorified to sit on the right hand of God's throne.

What goes around comes around. With the work on the cross completed, the blood of Christ given as a sacrifice and Jesus secure on the Throne of God, at His appointed time the "final disposition of Satan" will be accomplished by Jesus:

"And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are too, and they will be tormented there day and night forever and ever." (Revelation 20:10)

Without the perfect life, death and burial of Jesus, God's Son, there would have been no resurrection. Without the resurrection there would be no victory over death. Without the victory over death there would be no dispelling Satan to be banished forever.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Leadership Characteristics

The leadership characteristics both inherent and learned in an individual are important markers that determine the kind of leadership a person practices. The Associated Press reported the Illinois gubernatorial race should have been about ethics reform. Politicians in Illinois have been branded with unethical conduct; including the newly nominated lieutenant governor who bailed due to ethical issues. Instead, those running have made the race about "a sputtering economy" due to a $13 billion deficit.

For Illinois politics stewardship seems scarce. Stewardship is a responsibility; more than that, however, stewardship is a privilege.

Stewardship is service carried out by a person who is responsible for possessions belonging to another. The steward is responsible to carry out the owner's instructions regarding that property. Elected officials become the stewards of the people's resources.

Governments may levy taxes, but everything collected is subject to appropriate use. When the framers of our form of government put quill pen to parchment and wrote those enduring words, "We the people...," the values changed from feudal lords, monarchy and privilege, to individuals with freedom.

Each individual living in a stable society must strive toward maintaining integrity, high moral values and trust. More importantly, the person who is thrust by "we the people" to be an official is even more obligated to take on a lifestyle of the highest character. To marginalize the need for ethics is to abrogate that responsibility of stewardship. It is shameful that Illinois Politicians have spent to a deficit of over $13 billion. There is not a family in Illinois that could maintain that proportion of deficit spending and expect to prosper.

Clearly, those responsible for this deficit have been poor stewards of the people's resources. It resulted in money being spent for "bridges to nowhere" and projects that benefit only a few. Meanwhile, communities read about local school programs being eliminated due to limited resources.

The plight of Illinois is not unlike the circumstances we are experiencing throughout the United States. We are bombarded from the policy wonks and the news reporters about our debt climbing into the trillions of dollars. “Generational debt” it is being called; borrowing from our children and grandchildren to pay off our current debt. As individual states and the federal government collectively continue to fashion our national economy upon a foundation of deceit and shadow truth, the integrity of our way of life will continue to plummet.

In the leadership role of a public office, no matter what level, the foundational strength is the individual's moral character, along with practiced ethics and values of good stewardship.

Is this not among the most important requisites for holding any public office?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Abundant life through Christian living

Christian living is more than just "getting by" or living a mundane existence from day to day. People are searching for something more in life than just "making it through another day." In our world we see young people chasing their dreams or wanting to have it all instantly, career people trying to reach the next rung in the ladder; parents of the last generation wanting their children to have more than was possible for themselves. Our society and culture is looking under every rock or tree to discover the "best" or the "most" to gain for them the most exhilarating experiences possible.

When people make decisions about what they do each day, they make those decisions from within their personal world view. In our modern world communication has become very complicated. The daily task of living life can be cumbersome and burdensome to say the least. Doing it alone is sometimes a perilous adventure.

Frank Sinatra sang a popular song, "That's Life," where he crooned,

"That's life

That's what all the people say

You're riding high in April

Shot down in May

But I know I'm gonna change that tune

When I'm back on top, back on top in June

I've been a puppet, a pauper,

A pirate, a poet,

A pawn and a king,

I've been up and down and over and out

And I know one thing

Each time I find myself

Flat on my face

I pick myself up and get back in the race."

These lyrics are submitted by BellaMella

To many people that is life; being on top one day and flat on their face the next day. To a lot of people that may be life, but it is not abundant life.

Jesus was talking about people accepting Him and coming into the fold with Him. He described Himself as the door through which people enter, and it is He who provides the safety-ness for those who enter. He offers that and much more as well; He offers abundant life.

Jesus said, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I [Jesus] am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly." (John 10:10).

Jesus was likening Himself to a shepherd who keeps his own safe from the world outside the fold. He has a way of breaking things down into the simplest terms: Those from outside are thieves who want to do harm by breaking in, stealing and even killing. But Jesus has come to give life, but not just life, abundant life.

Abundant life is not being the most popular, the wealthiest or the most famous. It is not having the best clothes, the fastest car, and the best job or having the most friends. It is life that is full of richness, joy, a deep sense of fulfillment; life that overflows to the fullest. It is a life that brings satisfaction and a sense of knowing that you are never, never alone.

Christian living in the Abundant Life is constantly realizing that you have yielded yourself to God's Grace and you are growing in His Spirit each and every day.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A King’s influence

The influence of a king can be great; it can build up the people who are ruled or tear down and dishearten the ruled. Through the years many forms of government have existed, from absolute monarchy to a republic or democracy. In one way or another people who are ruled or governed are affected positively, neutrally or adversely. In the American society most people who have lived their lives under the democracy that allows for voting and the expression of various freedoms generally believe it to be the better form of government.

America’s early history began with the desire to worship without restriction and with the “state” not in control of how one worshiped. Through the years of early foundations the people of America developed the desire to form a government that allowed for checks and balances that placed the will of the people above the rulers. The revolutionary war was fought in part to break free from the tyranny that was imposed from a foreign monarch. With America’s Declaration of Independence and later the Constitution that balance of power was vested in “We the People” through an Executive, Judicial and Legislative sharing of power based on the laws established by the founding fathers.

In the United States of America the President, the Supreme Court and the Congress are separate and independent of each other as a law is formed, developed, signed, implemented and then verified as Constitutional by the Judicial Branch of government. Laws are tested by the people and sometimes repealed as needed by following the founder’s established blueprint embedded in the Constitution. Through the years, however, governments can and do change.

The Bible says in Proverbs 29 that “If a ruler listens to lies, all his ministers will be wicked." (Proverbs 29:12)

It is true that those whom a person chooses to surround him to receive advice will be influenced in ways that he may not have thought of. It is likely that in this advice from the Bible that the writer, Solomon, observed that a ruler over the people chooses council to provide suggestions about what to do. When the ruler pays attention and gives heed to the advice of those who lie, he is sending a message to those who are providing such false advice. That message is permission to continue to provide lies in their advice since the ruler is listening to and heeding that advice. The cycle of misinformation grows until the actions of the ruler cannot be understood by the people under his rule. Ultimately, his closest advisors may have to turn to evil practices to gain his favor if he is continually swayed by such lies.

In verse four of that same chapter in Proverbs, Solomon writes, “A king brings stability to a land by justice, but one who exacts tribute tears it down." (Proverbs 29:4)

It is interesting to note that the ruler’s influence has a dramatic effect on the people who are under his rule. He actually makes the nation strong by the influence of his own character and strength. His justice by his actions builds the national image and the people follow his lead and afford him honor and respect. He is looked up to and admired for his strength, security and stability.

However, as he begins to look upon himself as the provider of that strength he begins to draw tribute to himself and thereby weakens the will and resolve of the people under his rule. By ”extracting” higher and higher taxes and “tribute” for himself, he tears down the will of the people and destroys their motivation to continue to work. Ultimately the ruler breaks the backs of the people by demanding heavy taxes and placing them in unimaginable debt. The final outcome under that kind of rule is division and strife that often leads to a revolt against the ruler and his advisors.

Finally, Solomon says in his writings, “If a king judges the poor in truth, his throne will be established forever." (Proverbs 29:14)

The ruler has a responsibility to judge in fairness and with equity. He must dispense the laws not just as prescribed by the government, but in the way that God has intended for them to be carried out. The ruler should rule even handily and not provide a miscarriage of justice toward any group of people simply because they are members of a certain class or subdivision of people in the society.

The word “throne” in this Proverb likely means that it is established for an extended period; based on the consistent practice of morality in rule. It may be a timeless promise that represents the lasting rule of right based on the ruler being fair and just in his administration of justice in the land. The qualification of the enduring administration is its moral character. The language of this proverb reflects the promise of the Covenant established by God with His servant David, Solomon’s Father. Directly related to the rulers of Israel, it could be a principle of rule that would apply to all morally, established governments.

One sees a strong relationship with the tenants of this Proverb to the form of government rule written by men like Thomas Jefferson and other founding Fathers the rule they established for America. One can merely read the United States’ Constitution to catch a glimpse of that moral, ethical character of government rule.

Thomas Jefferson knew this because he lived in a time of being under bondage from the British government that imposed the yoke of tyranny upon those under rule. He actually lived the "consequences" of those actions. That is why he and many other patriots of that time were motivated to change the conditions under which they lived. They longed for freedom from the tyranny that the king imposed. It would appear that Mr. Jefferson was well aware of the Scriptures and understood the consequences of subjecting the public to massive and unjust taxes that extended into generations hence.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A listening treat

This is just a break from the normal posts on this site.  This is one of my favorite Gospel songs performed by John Starnes.  He has a wonderful voice and this is a wonderful song.  Enjoy! 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Beginning of wisdom

Solomon wrote in his Proverbs,

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7) (KJV)

God is the one to be feared, but not necessarily in a sense of pulling back away from, but more a reverent approach of awe and respect with an aim toward worship. In the Christian life one senses the majesty and awesomeness of a Creator God and that Christian places everything else in a secondary position. From within that fear is the foundation of hearing from God what His will is for the Christian life. Christian living, then, is undergirded with God as the foundation and the starting point for gaining wisdom.

As Christian living begins to surround the individual through God's Spirit, the Christian begins to want to turn away from evil and avoid those things that are known to be displeasing to God. Yielding to God's message, the Christian steps onto the path of being led into righteousness through the power of God. This is not a work the Christian performs in order to gain some special favor with God, but rather a continual yielding to God's power in His Spirit that moves the Christian from a mere "head" knowledge to a "moral" knowledge.

Moral knowledge is an experiential knowledge that is produced in the Christian from the leading of God's Spirit. It enables the Christian to meld into practical Christian living experiences that reflect the Spirit of God. Again, this is not a "work" in which the Christian engages, of which he could boast, but a gift from God bound in the work of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross through the shedding of His blood, and the subsequent work of the Holy Spirit that dwells within the heart of the Christian. It is a gift of God by taking the Christian's hand and walking with him as he embarks on the journey of obtaining Wisdom.

Solomon wrote in such a way as to contrast two thoughts; the antithetical parallelism in verse 7 contrasts the one who is beginning the journey on the path to obtain Wisdom to the one who lives life in a completely opposite way. Solomon referred to that person as a fool.

That is a person who claims that Christian living is a weakness, a crutch needed by the Christian in order to make it in life. The fool's wisdom is to depend entirely on "self" to be the god of his life. What he desires is the important thing in life, and he defines what is most important; nothing can compare to his acquiring the best for himself. This is seen in the American culture as the constant quest for "things" and happiness. The seeking of self-pleasure consumes the individual constantly seeking newer, bigger, better, most advanced things that ends with a comparison of his life being, "He who has the most wins." A competitive tendency grows to the natural order of getting ahead no matter who gets in the way of personal success.

This lifestyle fails to view moral knowledge as important and engages in thoughts and activities that negate wisdom in the moral sense. As the verse states, it is wisdom and instruction that fools despise.

For the Christian to receive instruction in the Word of God and set his foot on the pathway to moral knowledge, and then turn from that instruction is to join the ranks of the fools. Christian living is to acknowledge God's Word, listen to the instruction of God's Word and yield to the Spirit of God to continue in His presence and have God write the instructions of Christian living on the Christian's heart.

Solomon began his writings by saying the Proverbs had a purpose. That purpose was to,

"Know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding." (Proverbs 1:2) (KJV)

Discernment is to learn by instruction the ability to know the moral truth and acquire the skill to distinguish between the truth and something else that is not the truth. It is the acquisition of a skill that is given to the Christian the ability to understand Wisdom. As the Christian becomes immersed in the Word of God through the gift of the Holy Spirit, through his personal faith in Christ, the power of the Spirit energizes the Christian to continue seeking the righteousness of God. The Christian lives and works then to do righteous acts, not to be saved, but because he is saved. Christian living is a gift from God, with all glory going to Him.