Random acts of kindness

When asked to help, the two most common responses are always “I do not have the time” or “I do not have any money”.  Yet, most of the time those giving these answers DO have the time to watch their favorite television show and DO have the money to indulge themselves at a nice restaurant, show or sporting event.

The poor woman who gave all she had into the Temple treasury shows us that no matter how destitute a person is, they always have something they can give IF THEY WANT TO.  Giving is a state of mind and not something bound by the limitations of time and resources.  Some of the most giving people who ever lived had the least available from which to give.

When people decide that taking care of themselves, family and even their church is more important than helping someone they do not know, they fall prey to the Pharisaical spirit that Jesus constantly railed against.  The ability to give is NOT dependent upon one’s means but rather one’s willingness.

Random acts of kindness are the greatest expressions Godly charity available.  Giving with strings attached and only for the recognition of gifts given are a total waste of time and effort.  Jesus taught us that when it comes to prayer we should do it privately and when it comes to giving, we should do it anonymously.

For those who believe their prayers must be the longest and loudest, they really need to re-read what Jesus had to say about such matters in the Sermon on the Mount.  For those who believe their giving should make the 6 pm news and be rewarded with windows and monuments named after them, really need to re-read what Jesus had to say about the subject.

If you cannot give without recognition for the giving, then your giving is in reality selfish and self-serving.  If you cannot pray without everyone hearing and praising you for your “spirituality”, then your prayers are selfish and self-serving.  If your acts of charity are accompanied by fanfare and accolades, then they are selfish and self-serving.

If you need the recognition for what good you do in this life, then don’t do it for it is not right.  Whether in prayers, service or giving; what we do needs to be done with great humility drawing no attention to ourselves.  Anyone who only does good with the stipulation they are honored for their act is automatically rejected as being egotistical and vain.

If you can honestly pray and no one knows it, you are praying the way Jesus intended.  If you can honestly give and no one knows you did it, then you are giving the way Jesus instructed.  If you can honestly do whatever you do with no anticipation of reward, then what you are doing is done from love and God WILL reward it.

Everyone one of us has time to pray and the means to give in one way or another.  If we can cease either finding good excuses NOT to give or demand recognition for our giving, we can walk in the glorious thrill of anonymous and random acts of kindness stemming from love and love alone.


Do what you do for all the RIGHT reasons

Here is a test of your ability to identify a very famous person who lived in the 20th century and made the following statements:

“There is enough for the needy but not for the greedy”

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”

“The slave clings to his chains and he must have them struck from him.”

“All fear is a sign of want of faith.”

“To a man with an empty stomach food is God.”

“I have known many meateaters to be far more non-violent than vegetarians.”

“No sacrifice is worth the name unless it is a joy.”

In case you were wondering, all these thing were spoken by Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) who was perhaps the greatest spiritual and political leader in India’s history.  Whether one agrees with his philosophies or beliefs or not, there is no denying the man was incredibly wise as evidenced by some of the statements above.

Gandhi’s quote about sacrifice is the reason for this world history lesson for I think too many times people confuse the act of sacrificing with being automatically profitable when in reality that is not the case.  Look at what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 says in the NKJV:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”

There is a song I have heard for 40 years which I dearly love that has the following line in it:

“I was doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons.”

That which is done is not what is most important in this life but rather that it is done with love.  A person can give away all his material possessions to feed the poor and have it profit him nothing if it is not done in love.  A person could serve 80 hours a week doing the work of the Lord and all he/she will have to show for it is burn out if not done in love.

In order for us to receive profit from our giving (whether spiritual, financial or of our selves), it needs to be done out of a heart filled with love and compassion.  Over the years I have seen many people (myself included) go through all the right motions and appear to be doing all the right things, yet they end up discouraged, angry and destitute.  Surely this is not what God intended.

No sacrifice is worth it unless it is done with joy.  God is not interested in going through motions.  What God looks at is the heart and the motive of the heart.  We do not give because he have to, we give because we WANT to reciprocate for all we have been given.  Giving, in any realm, is supposed to be the spontaneous outpouring of thanksgiving arising from the deep appreciation of something received.

As we determine each day/week/month what and how much to give of our money, time, talents and heart; please make sure to check the motive along with the resources.  God loves a cheerful giver and never wants His people to give out of necessity or grudgingly.  From what God has provided we are to give and do with a smile on our face and joy in our heart.


The coming storm of change is not all good at all

Can you see the storm clouds forming?  They are as clear as day.  The policies of our current administration are becoming clearer by the hour and especially after President Obama’s speech in Egypt.

Some things are undeniable and indisputable when it comes to what direction the Obama administration is going.  Gone are the policies which proved to the world that the biggest ally Israel has was and would always be the United States.  Gone are the policies which would prove to the world that the United States was and always will be first and foremost a CHRISTIAN nation committed to God.

These long standing policies have been collectively thrown into the trash and replaced with more and more overtures to Moslems to come to the USA both physically as well as allegiance wise.  With every major speech and policy decision, it is very apparent that President Obama is going to allow his Moslem roots to be seen by all.

For centuries, the United States was a Christian nation and those who immigrated here were either Christians or were forced by peer pressure to worship their gods in seclusion.  When looking at the various waves of immigration over the years, those entering this country and who became citizens came from other countries which were predominantly Christian.  But, this started to change after Viet Nam and has continued to change ever since.

With the introduction of gods and practices associated with those gods, this country has started the process of being a melting pot for religions as well as ethnic origins.  The “tolerance” movement reaches far beyond lifestyle choices all the way to religion choices.  Those in this country are reproved for being shortsighted and intolerant of those of other religions.  So much for our Christian heritage.

The incident in Kansas Sunday was tragic to say the least.  But, like all such incidents in this country, there was probably much more behind what happened than meets the eye.  Anyone who still holds to the idea that Timothy McVeigh was a solitary bedeviled figure and was singularly responsible for the explosions in Oklahoma City years ago is a bit naïve.  Anyone who believes that the group in Waco, Texas was not targeted for their crazy beliefs doesn’t understand how politics really work.

Those addicted to power will stop at nothing to consolidate and expand their power base.  Those who cannot tolerate being challenged or subjected to being the minority will stop at nothing to eliminate opposition and produce headlines to further their political ideas.  Good grief, more than 45 years after the fact, there are still major questions regarding the assassination of President Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald.

The American political landscape is littered with example after example of power hungry individuals stealing, killing and destroying their enemies to get, keep and expand their power.  Corruption and politicians have been joined at the hip for decades.

It is interesting to me to see how many people and groups cave in to the intimidation placed upon them by the current administration.  Watching the demise of Chrysler and General Motors after watching the dramatic destruction of many banking giants proves that being in positions of power and controlling money doesn’t make a person immune from being set up to fail or forcibly removed from power.  But, when this tactic is tried with the leaders of Israel, it backfires.  I hope and pray that the current Israeli administration stands up to the stiff arm tactics being applied to them and tells the Obama administration where to shove their demands.

For the most part, all that is happening in Washington, New York, London and Cairo is so big we can do nothing but pray.  Our job as Christians is not to get angry and fire guns at people or blow up buildings or even march in the streets.  Our job is to speak the truth in love and seek to help those who are ignorant of what is going on to see the web of deceit which is ever growing and getting stronger by the day.

As “watchmen on the wall” we alert others to what is coming and how to prepare for it.  As “trumpeters of truth” we alert others as to what the truth of God’s Word has to say about issues.  As “foot soldiers of the Lord” we put on the whole armor of God and stand against the wiles of the devil.  But, we are never asked to engage the enemy in and of ourselves.

These are truly perilous times in which we live and they are getting darker by the hour.  The good thing is that one of two things is getting ready to happen.  I believe either there will be an explosion of hunger in the hearts of multitudes of people wanting to know the truth and willing to handle it no matter how tough to digest; or the Lord will return soon to put an end to all this madness.  God knows this country cannot continue on the present course without permanent damage being done to its very heart and soul.


There is no scriptural justification for charging believers interest on loans–none

Every time I go to the doctor I must pass a place that gives Pay Day Loans. I understand that some of these places charge over 1,000% interest on their loans. Right next door to this place is a tax preparation business that opened two weeks ago promoting loans on tax refunds. Again, they will do this if a person is willing to pay the exorbitant interest. Many years ago I remember pawning my wedding ring and paying weekly payments (interest only) which within a matter of a few weeks was more than the ring cost to begin with.

The world is full of corrupt people who make their living charging interest rates which turn a person into nothing more than a slave. That is the danger with owing money with any interest attached to it. Loaning/borrowing is NOT forbidden in the Bible, but charging interest on such money IS.

In Exodus 22:25 it plainly states in the NKJV:

“If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest.”

The Bible is crystal clear when it comes to the subject of charging interest on debt. Unlike today’s moneychangers who seem to have no problem saddling people with upwards of 54% interest on credit cards in the UK and even excellent customers in the USA with rates pushing 25%; the Bible presents an entirely different view on this topic.

Today, usury is defined as; the lending of money at an exorbitant rate of interest. Where this may be the usage today, in the Bible it is referring to the lending of money WITH ANY INTEREST. The charging of interest in the lending of money is not allowed by God. “Well how is a bank to make a profit?” some may ask. My response would be to show me any Biblical basis for a bank to begin with.

Everybody likes the notion of “investing” in a bank and having them pay you to “park” your money there. Whether savings accounts, money market accounts, CDs or other means; banks have been paying people interest to hold their money for many years. The idea was that the bank would then use that money to lend to those needing to buy a house or start a business. Invariably, the amount charged in interest on loans was always higher than the amount paid in interest on investments. That is how the bank made money.

Please look closely at this section from Leviticus 25:35-37:

“If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.

Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you.

You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food for profit.”

I fail to see how God could make this any plainer. God’s people are absolutely forbidden from charging interest on money lent to other believers.

To make this whole thing crystal clear, please look at Deuteronomy 23:19 and 20:

“You shall not charge interest to your brother—interest on money or food or anything that is lent out at interest.

To a foreigner you may charge interest, but to your brother you shall not charge interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all to which you set your hand in the land which you are entering to possess.”

The charging of interest to those outside the household of faith, so to speak, was allowed and implied to be done in order to make money; but the charging of interest to fellow believers was strictly forbidden.

In the prophet Ezekiel’s time, Jerusalem had turned into a cesspool of every kind of evil imaginable. In Ezekiel chapter 22, the prophet is told to blow the lid on all the horrible things being done in the city. In Ezekiel 22:1-11 one abomination after another is detailed, some of which (such as verses 10 and 11) are pure filth. By the time we get to verses 12 and 13, we are dealing with the topic we are discussing:

“In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take usury and increase; you have made profit from your neighbors by extortion, and have forgotten Me, says the Lord God.

Behold, therefore, I beat My fists at the dishonest profit which you have made, and at the bloodshed which has been in your midst.”

God does not take highly to people getting wealthy by charging interest on debts owed by His people. This amounts to extortion as far as God is concerned. This is nothing different than the “thugs” who break the legs of those who fail to pay back money to loan sharks.

In Nehemiah’s time, there was a famine. Many Jewish families mortgaged their lands and vineyards and houses to buy grain. They then had to borrow money to pay the king’s tax on their lands and vineyards (today’s property tax). It got so bad they had to sell their own children into slavery to pay on their debts. When Nehemiah heard of all this he became very angry and according to Nehemiah 5:7 he says:

“After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, ‘Each of you is exacting usury from his brother.’ So I called a great assembly against them.”

You can read in Nehemiah 5:8-13 what transpires, and it is a great example of what can happen when a man of God stands up for the truth and demands obedience to God’s Word. Needless to say the problem was resolved.

There is a crisis of monumental proportions gripping this country even as I type these words. The banks and other financial institutions are failing due to unsound lending practices. No amount of Federal money infusions is helping. As the banks panic they are seeking to raise money by doubling, tripling and sometimes quadrupling the interest rates they are charging even their good customers on credit card balances.

The resulting burden being placed on borrowers is causing a wave of defaults which force the banks to charge even higher interest. It is a vicious cycle which seems to have no end in sight. Soon the banks will be charging higher and higher fees for everything as they search out new ways to find money. This is a very pertinent subject which needs further posts which I am planning to do.


“Let the Lies Begin”–Today marks the beginning unimaginable deception


Unless the true Christian community wakes up, the incredible lies overspreading this world and especially this country are going to eliminate once and for all the notion that this is a Christian country. Good lies are rarely flat out direct challenges to the truth, but rather cleverly crafted counterfeits which unless exposed, fool the vast majority of beholders.

In no particular order here are only a few of the incredible lies being promoted as truth and being sucked up like a vacuum cleaner by Christians as well as non-Christians alike:

1. There are conservative Christians, liberal Christians, Democratic Christians, Republican Christians, black Christians, white Christians, rich Christians, poor Christians etc. All these tags attached to Christians are simply an attempt to splinter and break up the body of Christ into small compartmentalized groups which fight against each other, envy and hate each other and blame each other for all the problems in the church and the world.

Listen, people are either Christian or they are not. They have either fulfilled the requirements of Romans 10:9 (by making Jesus Christ their Savior and Lord) or they have not. Christianity is not a religion or a catch phrase to describe “good people”. Any and all attempts to place Christians into categories and attach tags to them need to be confronted for what they are—blatant attacks upon our faith with the goal of division, envy and strife.

2. It is the government’s job to feed the hungry, visit the sick and elderly, provide for the poor and in all ways seek to make everyone equal. This is not the government’s job; this is the CHURCH’s job. Only because the church has willingly given over this responsibility to the government has this become the role of the state instead of simply providing for the “general welfare” of its citizens.

When the church becomes preoccupied with only preaching the gospel instead of DOING it, then people start falling through the cracks and socialistic state programs step in and seek to meet the needs. The state welfare states of Europe have failed and so will the USSA. State sponsored socialism, even if preached from pulpits in ultra liberal churches will only produce a secular religion which parades around looking “sort of like” true Christianity.

3. Every citizen of this country has the obligation to serve through some form of national service program that is both compulsory and tied to the receiving of state benefits. This is perhaps one of the scariest lies only starting to be propounded with the new administration. Again, because the church has so woefully turned over so many of the everyday activities associated with helping the poor, sick and elderly; the government has and will gladly step in and MAKE all of us do these things if we want the carrots dangled before us as far as state benefits.

This whole concept of the state dictating acts of “charity” is absolutely absurd. Yet, because so many “Christian” denominations refuse to get involved with any aspect of helping the disadvantaged and only want to “play church” each Sunday for their own; it is now coming to this horrible state of affairs. The state will soon dictate to the church to get off their rear ends and go help the poor if they want their cherished tax exempt status to remain. How’s that for irony?

4. Somehow the government is going to print enough money and provide enough programs to solve all the nation’s problems including poverty, loss of assets, lack of health care, civil rights and unemployment. Yes, the government’s grand lie in all this. To so trick people into believing it is bigger than God so as to eliminate the very phrase stamped on our money. Instead of “In God we trust”, the truth is “In the Government we trust”. If this is allowed to happen, there will be no future for true Christianity in this country just as there is currently none in Europe.

Socialism and/or fascism has ruled in Europe for years and the undeniable consequences are a population absolutely dependent upon the government for just about everything, a watered down and useless religion and a church whose building sit as empty as the boloney they pass off as Christianity. Is this really what we want in this country too?

The American people spoke via their votes in November that they were ready for a profound change in the way the government is run and their willingness to allow government to step into their personal lives in ways never known in this land before. Starting today, the age of government intervention and intrusion will commence. Along with it will come the age of an ever diminishing role of God, the church and those who are honestly Christians first and everything else in this life second.

I am going to say this knowing it will kick off a firestorm of controversy, but it is my right for a little while longer to speak what I want without fear. I believe the mark of the beast as mentioned in the Book or Revelation is speaking of the point when a person willingly turns over their ability to function in this life to the government instead of God. When people finally cave in and yield to the pressure to compromise by trusting government to be their god; that will be (one day soon) indicative of receiving the mark of the beast.

Those who lived in the Book of Daniel refused to honor the king’s command to worship the image he set up. They faced the consequences of fiery furnaces and later, lion’s dens. What was proven in Daniel is that God will watch over and in one way or another save those who refuse to bow. Whether His salvation is immediate as it was in Daniel or eternal as promised in the Book of Revelation; either way our God is a God of salvation for those who stay committed to Him and trust in Him with all their heart.

Shortly the announcement will be made for all to hear; “Let the lies begin”. Shortly, the vast majority of all that will flow out of Washington, New York, Paris, London and other places where great worldly leaders dwell will be a simple and direct message. That message will be to quit fighting them, for they have all the answers. The message will be that if people and countries want assistance they must follow the rules in every category. In other words, if you bow we will take care of you and if you don’t; you will burn.

Soon, rules regarding the environment, free speech, compulsory service, sharing wealth and a whole host of other things will start pouring out of these world centers. Soon, only fools and true Christians will be the only ones not bowing to the great gods of this world who hold in their hands the means to make people obey them “OR ELSE”. These things, folks, are not scare tactics on my part but the simple realities of the age we are embarking on today which should set some clock in motion hopefully signaling the soon end to this ever more evil age of man’s arrogance and deception.


It takes more than rhetoric to change a nation’s course

It is truly a manifestation of the downtrodden state of most Americans that they would be so foolish as to believe one man can single-handedly change a nation as diverse and large as the United States. We all know this is not possible, but if people keep hearing that “all things are possible” if there is “hope” and “optimism” then they start believing this stuff.

Those who succeed in politics usually, but not always, are excellent communicators. Ronal Reagan would never have excelled outside of acting if he were not the great communicator that he was. Barak Obama is truly a great communicator. He has the ability, just as Ronald Reagan had, to get people excited and believing in his message. This is all well and good as long as the message is correct and feasible.

Mr. Obama was swept into power on a tidal wave of discontent among Americans. Due to constant wars and financial turmoil, there was really no drama to the election in November. Pretty much the outcome was a foregone conclusion long before any polls opened. The events of September and October in the financial sector only served to anchor the sentiment among Americans that anybody other than the President (and his party) of the preceding eight years should be elected.

The rhetoric that politicians use to get elected can be pretty persuasive at times and the message of “change” and “hope” do doubt resonated with Americans this fall unto the present. The challenge for any “golden tongued orator” is to take rhetoric into reality. Whether all the abundant promises of change and visions of hope so many believe are available with this man can ever happen is yet to be seen. But for now, the parades and parties and other events are all there to allow the adoring throngs to have their day in the spotlight.

As much as I would love to get all caught up in the optimistic fervor sweeping our nation, I simply can’t. This has nothing to do with the person but everything to do with the reality of the situation in which this country finds itself. Anyone or any political party who advocates any kind of quick solution to the myriad of problems facing this nation is automatically wrong as far as I am concerned. There are no quick, easy and painless solutions, period.

Unless the adorning throngs take off their rose colored glasses and take a good hard look at the reality of the wasteland which surrounds them, they will continue to be deceived by the fair speeches and flowery words of professionals who earn their living by deceiving people. 90% of all politicians spend their lives telling people what they want to hear and whatever it takes to get elected and re-elected. Few and far between are honest people who take a stand on what they believe is right and care less if it is popular. That is nature of the political beast.

What is about to hit the United States of America via the bills flowing through Congress will be unprecedented and outrageous in proportion and expense. The bill for all the spending being advocated will take thirty generations to ever pay off, which means it never will be. Is that a burden we really want to dump on our children and grandchildren? According to the experts we have no choice, but as stated many times before, what if the experts are wrong? I guess time will tell.


The delusion of “Alice in Wonderland” Christianity

Life is full of good times and bad times. Life is full of ups and downs. Life is full of glorious treks to the mountaintop and horrible stumbles down to the valley floor. Nowhere and no place in the Bible can anyone definitively prove that there is not going to be days of darkness and despair to go along with the wonderful days of glorious light.

Where and how the notion crept into Christianity that somehow our faith gives us immunity from pain, sickness, sorrow, financial hardships and emotional breakdowns is beyond me. Jesus did not come to provide us a magic card which when inserted into God’s ATM provides unlimited resources and 24 hour per day joy, peace and prosperity. If this were the case, would not the apostles of the First Century have used such a card their whole lives and still be living in mansions somewhere today?

We live in a world where what should be many times is not and what shouldn’t be is. This is called “reality” as opposed to the fabricated fiction portrayed on television sitcoms and romance novels. The world is full of cruelty, injustice and every form of evil imaginable. To deny these realities is to deny the truth. When the truth is denied, a lie is believed.

God’s promises are not that there will never be bad times, but rather that He is with us and will guide us through those times. God never said we would not have to endure tribulations, afflictions and persecutions. To the contrary, God more or less assured us that these things are a part of living a Godly life in Christ Jesus.

What trips up many Christians is when they find out that the joy ride promised them when they got saved has a few bad bumps in the road. The first time they get bumped out of the wagon and fall flat on their rear end, they cry like a baby. “It’s not fair” or “Why me?” are common phrases coming from the mouths of newer Christians as they find out just because they get born again doesn’t mean the end of all their problems.

Listen, as long as we have to live in this world and be bombarded by all its trash in every realm, we are going to have problems. We are going to have to endure physical breakdowns of our bodies, mental anguish as we face perplexing problems with no apparent solutions and times of spiritual dryness as we deal with elements of our old nature. That is life and it has been since Genesis 3.

When the Apostle Paul lays out his personal litany of trials and tribulations in 2 Corinthians chapter 11, the things he had to go through were not pleasant nor to be desired. When Paul addressed the Corinthians at the beginning of the epistle, he noted the afflictions they were going through. When he wrote of the giving of the church in Macedonia he speaks of their “great trial of affliction” and their “deep poverty”.

When Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians he commended the believers for their patience and faith in all their persecutions and tribulations that they endured. In the epistle to the Philippians, Paul spoke of the sickness of Epaphroditus who was a dear companion of Paul and beloved by the believers. In the Book of Acts, Paul went around collecting a special offering to take to the needy saints in Jerusalem.

It cannot accurately be stated that as believers we have been given immunity from bad things. This terrible and wrong teaching has caused more problems with more Christians than any other wrong teaching I know about. Life as a Christian can and is tough many times. In fact, living the gospel the way it supposed to be lived makes life even tougher for a true believer than an unbeliever many times.

Do we have a God who can deliver? Of course we do. Our God is mighty God and able to do whatever needs to be done to save, bless and take care of His people. But, there is no promise in God’s Word that grants God’s people a free pass to some kind of life devoid of negatives, problems or “issues”. We need to teach God’s people how to be patient, strong and smart instead of throwing nice sounding verses taken out of context at them to imply there will be no negatives as a Christian.

When I see the “Alice in Wonderland” mentality of many Christians it makes me both sad and angry. Church is not an escape to some fairy tale land full of sights and sounds intended to take the senses to another realm. I advocate Christians having a good bucket of the cold water of reality dumped on their heads before going to church. Then they would appreciate what church is supposed to all about.

As this world spins steadily towards its appointed date with destiny, the results are in no ways going to be spiritually positive. Everywhere and in all realms, the wickedness and evil of man will continue to overspread and permeate this world to the point that only the truly committed Christians will stand and not fall prey to compromise or crumble under the pressure to quit.

Jesus forewarned of all this in the parable of the sower and the seeds. Few there are who are able to endure the pressures and pleasures constantly attempting to crush them or draw them away from the faith. That is why we must teach people how to take a stand and never give up or give in—regardless of the price. If Christians are afraid to stand for and on their faith, they will surely fail and fall into the various traps the enemy sets.

Please, I exhort all of us in the name of our Lord Jesus to take off the rose colored glasses and look with spiritual eyes at the condition of this world, our faith and even many of our churches. Don’t be afraid of the truth. Although it may hurt for a moment, it is better to know what is real and right than to live in a fantasy land of false promises.

May we all be as our heroes who came before us; unshakable in our faith and uncompromising in our commitment to take God at His Word no matter what the consequences may be. I pray we always remember that this life is but a short stop on the road which leads to our eternal home with the Lord.