Tag Archive | Trayvon Martin

Words Matter.

MLK1“Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Last week, we all witnessed the horrific slaughter of five American heroes on the streets of Dallas, TX. When Micah Johnson opened fire on police at a protest on July 7, it became the deadliest day for American police since September 11, 2001.
Yet, in spite of the horror of an “active shooter” environment, witnesses testified to the fact that the heroes of the Dallas police ran toward  the gunfire when the shooting started. Blue Line
In the end, Officers Michael Krol, Patrick Zamarripa, Brent Thompson, Sgt. Michael Smith, and Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens were killed, seven other officers were wounded, as well as two bystanders. Ironically, these policemen were at the protest to protect protestors who were, in essence, protesting THEM.

Now, I want to start off by making a bold statement that some may or may not agree with…

America is NOT a racist nation.

IMG_1904Does some racism exist in our nation? Sadly, yes. However, to call America racist because of the actions of a minority of its citizens is simply wrong… misleading at best. It appears that when you are a politician, calling someone “racist” is far easier than logically explaining your position, or why you may disagree with someone. In my opinion, the misuse of the word “racist” is, in many cases, racist in and of itself. It is a word with significant meaning that is bandied about far too often and far too carelessly.

Statistics speak volumes. Most of what we see in the media, in polls and news stories, is based on statistical information. With that being said, let me share a few stats with you…

There are approximately 765,000 law enforcement officers in the United States who carry “arrest power” (the authority to arrest an individual). All total, there are over 1.1 million people who work in some capacity of law enforcement. An October 2015 article in The Washington Post confirmed the following…

… “Only a small number of the shootings — roughly 5 percent — occurred under the kind of circumstances that raise doubt and draw public outcry, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. The vast majority of individuals shot and killed by police officers were…armed with guns and killed after attacking police officers or civilians or making other direct threats.”

… “Of the 800 people killed by police this year, almost half have been white, a quarter have been black and one-sixth have been Hispanic.”

Now, statistically speaking, what one can surmise from this article is that…

  • Out of 765,000 officers, only 800 (total) have been involved in a fatal confrontation.
  • According to this statistic, .1% of police were involved in a shooting the year this article was written (2015).
  • Of the 800 people killed, the majority were white, and only a quarter were black.
  • Based on these approximations, and assuming that EVERY killing was unjustified (which we are not, except for the purpose of this example), that leaves approximately .03% of all police officers as being involved in the killing of African-Americans.

And please remember, these statistics come from The Washington Post, not what many would consider a “right-wing news outlet”.

Let’s look at another statistic…

According to research done around 1999 by Capitol Hill Blue, an online publication that covers federal politics, after researching public records, newspaper articles, civil court transcripts, and criminal records, CHB uncovered the following:

  •  29 members of Congress had been accused of spousal abuse.
  •  7 had been arrested for fraud.
  • 19 had been accused of writing bad checks.
  • 117 had bankrupted at least two businesses.
  • 3 had been arrested for assault.
  • 71 had credit reports so bad they couldn’t qualify for a credit card.
  • 14 had been arrested on drug-related charges.
  • 8 had been arrested for shoplifting.
  • 21 were current defendants in lawsuits.
  • In one year (1998), 84 were stopped for drunk driving, but released after they claimed Congressional immunity.

There are no more than 435 members of Congress, and 100 members of the Senate. So, assuming no person has been guilty of more than one of the charges listed…

  • Out of 535 members of the two houses of Congress, 164 have been accused of crimes… 31%.
  • In one year, 16% were stopped for drunk driving.
  • 5% are accused of spousal abuse.
  • 3% were arrested on drug charges.

The point I am making is that, while ANY loss of life is tragic, a little perspective would be in order before we start making reckless generalizations. Saying that police are a bunch of “racist thugs just out to kill blacks” because of a few questionable incidents is as irresponsible as saying that all politicians are “drunks, wife-beaters, and drug addicts” because of the actions of a few. Honestly, statistically speaking, you would have more evidence to support those claims than saying “all cops are racist killers”.

Many in our current leadership are trying to divide our nation along racial, gender, and other socio-economic lines. With the recent shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rogue, people in positions of authority began making accusations of racism before hardly any of the facts were in. Such rhetoric, although common during election years, is not at all constructive, and only succeeds to divide us further. When those in authority speak irresponsibly, it only serves to feed and fuel the misguided passions of those who would use such words as justification for acts of evil and hatred.

We hear the word integration a lot. This word comes from the Latin word integrare which means to make whole. By definition, it takes all parts coming together to comprise a whole. In America, we have always found our strength in our coming together. There is undeniable power in unity. The power of unity is a Scriptural principle…

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

In Matthew 18:19-20, Jesus promised that when we come together in unity in His name, He would show up…

“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

In spite of the hate and division we have seen, I have seen glimpses that have given me hope for our hurting nation. A popular picture being circulated on social media in recent days depicts a group of African-American men standing in solidarity with, and protecting, the police force on the streets of Baltimore. Images such as these should be plastered all over the news. Yet all too often, the media focuses on every negative story as it relates to the police. When the de facto bias of news outlets becomes one of anti-authority fear-mongering and hatred, it is no wonder that the citizens of our nation become cynical, skeptical, and suspicious of anyone wearing a police uniform. Yes, I will freely admit that there are “bad cops”. There are officers who have made regrettable mistakes that have cost lives. However, I refuse to take what is a vast majority of these brave, dedicated, and sacrificial public servants and lump them into a category of corruption and abuse of power exhibited by a microscopic minority.

Last week, in the aftermath of the death of Alton Sterling, several anti-police protests took place in Baton Rogue. According to reports, these protests were, for the most part, peaceful. It was not until out-of-town agitators arrived that the protests turned violent, with dozens of arrests taking place. We have seen this over and again in places like Ferguson, MO, and Baltimore, MD. But for those who would try to turn a horrible tragedy into an opportunity and excuse for lawlessness, I would echo the warning that the Apostle Paul issued in Romans 13…

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. ~ Romans 13:1-4

So what do we do now? Where do we go from here?

Well, a good starting point would be to take these words of advice, promise, and warning from the prophet Isaiah…


“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;

Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil,
Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.”

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. ~ Isaiah 1:16-20

All Lives MatterWords matter.

We can choose to make those words of healing, restoration, unity, and life.

Or…

We can make those words drip with hatred, division, and death.

The choice is ours… all of ours.

Blessings,
Pastor Ron

When the Writing Is On The Wall

The Bible tells of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Now, for all of his faults, Nebuchadnezzar reached a point in his life that he acknowledged the greatness of the Lord God Almighty…

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of Heaven,
for all his works are truth,
and His ways are justice;
and He is able to bring low
those who walk in pride.
~ Daniel 4:37

However, his son Belshazzar never learned from His father’s experience.

The book of Daniel tells the story of how King Belshazzar threw a huge party for thousands of the lords of Babylon. While they were partying, Belshazzar commanded that the vessels of gold and silver, that had been taken from God’s temple in Jerusalem, be brought to the party, at which point, Belshazzar and his guests defiled these consecrated items, and drank wine from them in their drunken stupor. Not only that, but as they did, they “praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone”.

If you are familiar with Daniel, you know the story… Immediately, a hand appeared and wrote on the wall, Daniel was brought in to interpret the writing, and before the night was over, Belshazzar was dead, and his kingdom was divided between the Medes and the Persians. Just before his death, Daniel gave Belshazzar this dire rebuke…

 And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified. ~ Daniel 5:23 (NKJV)

Belshazzar took what was consecrated before the LORD, and defiled it, making a mockery of what was sacred.

Sound familiar?

IMG_1905On June 26, 2015, the Supreme court of the United States voted in a 5-4 ruling to legalize gay marriage. The Court majority, sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, made useless their oaths of office, made worthless the document they swore to defend, and made a mockery of the Book upon which they placed their hands when they swore their oaths of office. Chief Justice Roberts closed his 29-page scathing dissent by saying…

If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.

Within hours of the ruling, the White House was illuminated with rainbow colors, making a mockery of a national symbol that should be above partisan politics, making profane the oldest sacred covenant in human history, and effectively shaking its fist in the face of every American who believes in the sanctity of marriage, and in the very face of God Himself.

Coptic ChristiansBut while Americans have been transfixed, distracted, and divided over fringe issues, manufactured crises, and “straw-men” such as same-sex marriage, police brutality, the confederate flag, and “climate change”, the wholesale slaughter of Christians in the Middle East continues, unabated.

Why is it that, while all our last four Presidents, as well as dozens in the Senate and Congress of the United States claim to be believers in Christ, they have allowed this slaughter of Christians in Iraq, the Sudan, Egypt, the West Bank, Kenya, Nigeria, and Iran?

Where are the voices of liberal outrage bemoaning and crying out against the slaughter of more than 11,000 African-Americans at the hands of other African-Americans since the unfortunate death of Trayvon Martin? Why is tragedy only newsworthy when a white person kills a black person?

IMG_1904Why did it take nearly a week for flags in the Capitol to be ordered to half-mast in honor of the five brave, unarmed servicemen in Chattanooga who lost their lives when an Islamic terrorist murdered them in cold blood, yet took only a few hours to illuminate the White House with rainbow colors in honor of the Supreme Court’s Godless and lawless decision to legalize gay marriage?

Why is it that the only world leader who seems to exhibit love of country, opposes the “New World Order”, recognizes the threat of ISIS against Middle Eastern Christians, and openly opposes homosexuality and gay marriage is Russian President Vladimir Putin? Putin, a Russian Orthodox Christian, sees the Beast of Revelation rising from Middle East and the West, and is the only world leader standing in defense of Middle Eastern Christianity.

Why do four Americans still sit in Iranian prisons while Iran is given the blessing of this administration to continue its nuclear program… a nation that is bent on the destruction of our greatest ally, Israel?

What have we become?

In Isaiah 5:20, the prophet Isaiah warned…

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

It is time for the Church of Jesus Christ to rise up.

It is time we demand from our leadership what they demand from us. It is time to hold elected officials to the standard by which the rest of us live. It is time for officials to stop merely swearing on the Bible to uphold the Constitution, and to actually start doing it.

It is time that we demand our leadership call terrorism by its proper name, be it Islamic terrorism or any other kind. It is impossible to effectively battle an enemy until you properly identify that enemy.

It is time we vote our convictions and, when it comes to the ballot box, heed the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and vote for people based “not on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character.”

It is time that we demand an end to the hypocrisy and abomination of abortion. In light of the recent Planned Parenthood scandal involving the sale of aborted baby organs and tissue, it is time for Congress to immediately and without delay de-fund Planned Parenthood. How can we look at ourselves as a civilized nation while allowing the same types of behavior and atrocities for which history has so strongly condemned the likes of Hitler and the Nazi regime?

It is time we stand against the “social justice” hucksters that have precious little to do with justice, and are simply looking for their next sound-bite opportunity and 15 seconds of fame. It is time for the Church to show the world Who real justice and mercy come from.

It is time for the Church to stand.

The Church must also recognize who the real enemy is. It is time that the Church remember the words of the Apostle Paul who said…

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…”  ~ ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:10-18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

But… it is also time for the Church to fall.

It is time for the Church to fall on our knees, first of all in repentance and humility for our failure to be the salt and light in our culture that Jesus commanded us to be. We must repent of our apathy and complacency. We must admit our need for Him, and be willing to follow His leading, regardless of the cost. Our society has seen enough hypocrisy and fraud perpetrated in the name of God. It is time for the world to see a Church united in purpose. They may not always agree with us, but there should never be a question about where we stand on issues of faith, morality, and real social justice. There should never be a doubt that all we do is out of love for the Savior. We must seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness. We must do this before we can expect any change in a world hostile to Him.

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  ~ ‭‭II Chronicles‬ ‭7:14‬ ‭NKJV