In a State of Total Confusion

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Israel_Palestine_Flag[1]People always say that a trip to Israel will change your life, and it most certainly has. It’s true that I feel more connected to God and what Jesus did for us in his life and death. That parts of the bible will be more relevant and church will have more meaning. But the trip I took to Israel was way more involved and much different then most have or ever will take. And because of what I have seen and personally experienced, I have been very emotional. All things that are inhumane has just brought me to tears since my return home. It has given me more compassion & empathy. My eyes have certainly been opened wider and my heart has grown much larger.

I went on a 10 day geo-political tour with a group from church to Israel, mostly in Palestine. Not only to see the holy sites & where Jesus walked and died, but also to spend time on a daily basis with people, organizations, refugees, children’s schools and colleges from the Palestinian side learning their story of the Israeli Occupation upon their home land. We also were welcomed into a Jewish home for discussion (of which didn’t warm my heart) and met with a Jewish man who is also in agreement that the occupation is a horrible thing and is doing what he can to change that.

Our tour guide who was a Palestinian (driver was Christian) was very knowledegable on the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Holy Sites and all the tensions that exist between all these parties who live in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. His knowledge far surpassed anything that any of us were expecting and truly educated us beyond our comprehension.

Having come back many people want to know more about the trip and being that here is so much to tell of our experience, it is just easier to blog it out.

Forewarning: This will be a long and depressing post, but I hope you will take time to read it all. I also apologize that it goes all over the place. I am still trying to make sense of and process it all in my mind. With all the, “this is my land and not yours”.. “we were here first” and everything involved in this conflict, I am not sure there is any sense that can be made, as none of it makes any. Here is a short animation video to help you with the history and occupation of Palestine.

It is very important that if you support Israel, you understand what you are supporting. Educate yourself before you continue to support Israel because your church or political party does or says you should. If you haven’t seen it first hand, as I have, you have no right to argue for the support of Israel. You have not one iota of knowledge in what you are supporting.

Before we left for Israel, I was perhaps like you. I was a full supporter of Israel. And now that I have been educated and have seen first hand what is going on over there, I ask myself why. Why did I, why do we blindly support Israel? Because the media, our government and politicians indoctrinate us into believing that we should. What is fed to us by them and the media has turned it all around in favor of Israel and ensures that the Palestinians are made out to be the terrorist’s.

Once I returned home, the thought crossed my mind that perhaps I was indoctrinated by our Palestinian and Muslim tour guide to believe that Israel was the bad guy. But having met with those in the Jewish home, who to be honest were quite arrogant and hateful, and the Jewish man who has seen the horrors and is doing what he can for peace and freedom for the Palestinians, I know this not to be true. There is no reason that any government should harass and oppress people as the Israeli Jewish government does.

I am sure that most Christians/Evangelicals/Fundamentalists believe that this land was given to the Jews by God. I don’t really believe these are the Jews that were promised this land, but even if they were; Jesus told us that to love others comes first and foremost and this is what honors & pleases God. What the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinians is not only horrifying but I am sure it makes God very angry. Everything they do, they believe is for God first. Treating people respectfully comes later and actually doesn’t come at all. But since they don’t believe in Jesus, why would they care what he has to say about loving others or treating others with full respect and love first. This is how they justify taking over land that they believe God gave them and have no qualms getting that land at the cost of others lives.

Here is a good read on the promise of God to the Jews as the chosen people of the Old Testament and the Christians (also known as Disciples) in the New Testament.

Please know that when I use the word Jews, I do not mean all Jewish people. I am mainly speaking of the right wing and extremist Jews that run and are in support of the Jewish Israeli government and the occupation of Palestinians. I don’t want to sound like I am placing my hatred or anger on one group of people, because this is not my intention whatsoever. I do understand the Jewish people are scared and they have a right to be. Everyone around them wants to obliterate them from the face of the earth. But my honest feeling is they kind of placed themselves in that spot by claiming and overtaking Israel the way they have, and in the name of God. Who by the way.. everyone around them believes in that same God. Which is another tension all in itself. Your basically telling all those who believe in God that he loves us, “The Jews” and hates you… Hmmm. sounds like Christians and homosexuals… an argument that will never be won.

The United Nations gave the Jews a portion of the land and a real two state solution years ago. Of course the Jews liked the deal, however the Palestinians didn’t so they started a war. I am not going to argue one side over the other, as both are to blame here. The Palestinians should have just accepted the deal, and the Jews shouldn’t have started or continued to build on what was supposed to be the Palestinians land. They have been building on this land illegally and harshly throwing Palestinians out of their homes and bulldozing their properties so they can no longer build. Had the Jews just kept to the land that was given to them (which by the way, there is a lot of empty land they could build on, on the Jewish side) perhaps today, there would be some peace. I took picture after picture of empty hills and land the jews could build on.

There are many Jewish people who have taken the time to see for themselves what is going on, have since changed their stance, and are in full support of trying to bring peace and full freedom for all and are doing good works to try and change what is going on. Unfortunately, most of those in Israel, like we do in America, get busy with our easy and wonderful lives and forget what is going on with the other side. Many are taught that there is nothing wrong going on in their very own backyard.

The media has spun the stories so far that we are led to believe the Jews are on the peaceful and loving side of all things and the Palestinians are nothing but Muslim terrorists. Quite honestly, from what I have seen and heard with my own eyes and ears, it is the exact opposite. I truly wanted to believe that America wasn’t full of propaganda like other countries, but I now know this to be true. We always see the media videos of the Palestinian kids throwing rocks at Jews and their cars, but they never show the Jewish kids or people throwing rock at Palestinians or beating them down for nothing other then they want to. They never show Israeli Military harassing innocent children, arresting them, killing them and putting them in prison. No Christian should ever condone this kind of behavior.

A young woman runs past the slogans "Free Palestine" and "Hope" painted on the Israeli separation wall as hundreds of Palestinian and international athletes took part in the the inaugural Palestine Marathon which took place in Bethlehem, West Bank, April 21, 2013. Under the title "Right to Movement", runners had to complete two laps of the same route, as organizers were unable to find a single course of 42 uninterrupted kilometers under Palestinian Authority control.

I was so angry by what I was seeing, that hatred in my heart started to grow very large & fast.I can see how easy it would be to lose your mind and blow a gasket, building up day after day and year after year of being treated so horribly that the only way out was to kill as many Jewish people as possible, or to take your own life in a suicide bombing.

Before I get to intense at all the atrocities and horrors that I saw, I need to take a few to note all the beautiful things I saw. Children playing and dancing in the dirt and filth of the streets, schools and refugee camps as if nothing was wrong. Entire families from age 10ish up to Senior Citizen working together to make their family business a success. No homelessness. There are no homeless people in Palestine. All are taken in by family or neighbors and welcomed into their home to be fed and to live.

Each family, even after married lives in the same space. They simply add another floor to the current home and each family lives separately, but still together… Often these can go four or five stories high. The families build them themselves, and often you will see homes in various stages of being built. Often these homes will have rebar and wires sticking out of the tops of the roofs. This is so they can add another story to the home when the next member of the family is married and ready to move out. These homes will take them years to build, as they will only add when they can afford it.. Perhaps they can only afford to add a few bricks a month, or a window… they just build as they can pay for it.. They don’t take out loans or mortgage their homes… everything is built using cash.

People would often invite us in for a drink or dinner to eat with them or offer us a snack. All I heard is we want peace. And all I saw was warmth and love. Obviously they hate what is being done to them, but they don’t seem to hold on to hatred for the Israelis. I guess they have just learned really well how to live one moment and one day at a time. To enjoy the little things and cherish each moment of joy. We could learn some huge lessons from the Palestinians.

The first thing you notice when you enter the West Bank, which is the main place of contention here, you notice the 25 foot wall with watch towers. Checkpoints mainly run by kids 18-mid 20’s with military weapons, that the United States paid for, surrounding the West Bank. They harass and make it very difficult for any Palestinians inside the west bank to go beyond those walls. The Palestinians have used the walls that hold them in and created political and non-political artwork on these walls. There is not much of landscaping in these parts as they are not given the water, but they do try to take bits of trash and make them treasures.

We witnessed the checkpoints first hand when we left the West Bank and tried to enter the town of Nazareth. We reached the check point and our van was directed to pull of into another side portion of the checkpoint. We were all told to get out of the van with our passports. We stood there for 10 minutes as these arrogant punk kids armed with large military weapons looked thru our passports and talked to our Palestinian guide. One by one, they called our names, compared us to our passport picture and let us back on the bus. We all played it off as being okay, remained calm and tried to make funnies during the process. We thought all was good and that we would be on our way. Then our tour guide was guided by two of these punks into a building. He was gone for 30 minutes only to return and tell us to go on without him. He was told that he couldn’t cross with us. They made him walk back across the border to wait there until 6:30 which was 2 hours away, and they would allow him to cross then. Just another tactic to profile a certain race; to intimidate and harass. We were later told that he made a guard walk behind him, as these kids are allowed to shoot at will and he wanted to ensure that he wouldn’t be shot in the back as he was walking away. We were also told that often they make this promise of we will let you thru at 6:30 only to shut down the checkpoint and not let the Palestinian thru as they were promised.

These 25 foot walls make mysterious turns and directions. They block the Palestinians from their own farm land, from using freeways and we even saw a section that went as far to surround a church and parking lot that is used by the Jews.

Speaking of access to roads. The Jews (mainly American Jews that are called Settlers) have built huge illegal settlements (according to the U.N.) within the West Bank which of course means they need to make new roads to access them. Israel is all hills, and the best place to build a large settlement is on top of the hills. Video of Settlements explained. They have strategically placed these on tops of the hills to cut off, split and force Palestinians from their homes. They have also made roads that Palestinians are not allowed to use, so the Jews have created access roads that the Palestinians may use. Most of these roads are systematically created to make the Palestinians go miles out of their way to get to where they need to go. The Jews are also known to randomly close access on any given day just to harass and force the Palestinians to find an even longer way around to get where they are going. They also place checkpoints on these roads for Palestinians to have to go thru, again, manned by kids just out of high school. Keep in mind, this is the West Bank, where the Palestinians live and lived there first for hundreds upon hundreds of years. The Jews have also bulldozed thousand upon thousands of Olive trees which produce much of the money for the Palestinian farmers.. Not sure how this is a security issue for the Jews, but everything they do is done due to a security concern.

walkWe met a family who has owned their home and farm land (Tent of Nations) for 800 years. One morning within the last few years, they woke up to find that the road used to access their home and farm had been closed by the Jews. Giant boulders bulldozed on andaccess road block across the road. We saw this firsthand. (picture on left is us walking on that road to get to the families home for a visit with them) Jews have come during the nights and torn up thousands of the farmers fruit trees. But they fight back and somehow find the money to replant even more. Every single thing this family wishes to do on their own land, needs to have a permit. The Jews have done this to make it very difficult and of course, most often, they don’t give them the permit. I can’t tell you all the atrocities that the Jews have done to this family, but you can read their story here. They told us that in July, the Jews have told them that they plan to bulldoze their property. They continually make this family go to court over and over and over to prove that they are the owners of the property. They have to fight for a property that has been theirs for hundreds of years, but the Jews seem to think it is owed to them and are okay with just bulldozing this property while the family lives there. How is it that Jews from America and Europe can keep claiming this land as theirs?

The Jews do this every day and have done it to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians with not one care in the world. The Jews don’t give a shit. We even met with some Jewish settlers and their arrogance was well apparent with the first breath and statement they made to us. These Jews move to the West Bank, because our government (your money) along with the Israeli government tells them that they can move here tax free. the government will pay most of their costs to move here and to live here and these settlements are supplied with plenty of water and surrounded by electric security fences. This is not how it is for the Palestinians.

The walls that the Jews built cut off major water supplies and the Jews now have control of that as well. The Jews allow the Palestinians access to water only one day out of 20. Because of this, the Palestinians have had to place larger water barrels on their roofs (as seen in pictures) so on that one day, they can fill those barrels to have water for the 20 days that they are cut off. And should they run out of water in that period.. It’s a who gives a shit from the Jews. And let’s not forget.. the Palestinians pay double/triple what the Jews pay for their piped in water, taxes, electricity, on and on.

Tgreen acreshe hills of the West bank are very dry; yet because the Jews pipe in their water, the minute you enter a Jewish settlement, you notice green plants and flowers everywhere. You feel as if you are back in America. Since these Jewish settlers are mostly Americans everything looks very different from most of Palestine. The homes look american, the furnishings, the playgrounds, the schools for their children and the green grass in their yards and public areas. None of which you will see in the Palestinian communities. They have no parks or pools and lucky if they have a decent community center for people & kids to engage or play.

Trash… another huge issue. Palestinians don’t have trash pick up like the Jewish people do. They have made it so expensive for the Palestinians that they can’t afford it, so where does it go? It is everywhere… and huge piles of it. Wherever it can be dumped, which is most often on the sides of their homes and in their backyards. Whatever can be burned is. So unhealthy, dangerous and unsanitary. Sewage while running thru pipes for the Jewish settlers, Palestine is all on septic. Some areas, the sewage just runs down into a river of muck. Most public bathrooms we used didn’t even have the water on to flush, and if they did, you are not allowed to throw toilet paper in them. The toilet paper goes in the trash bin next to the toilet or sink..

Our first day in the West Bank, we visited the city of Hebron. This is a city in large contention. Why? Hebron is mainly Christian. We believe that Abraham of the Old Testament is the father of all nations. So do the Jews and Muslims and Abraham is buried in Hebron. Because of this, the Christians, the Muslims and the Jews believe they have the exclusive rights to this land. Stupid and ridiculous? You bet it is. But again, the Jews are in control and like to oppress, so they use their authority to go into towns to randomly and without notice close streets and bustling markets with fencing, barbed wire and armed guards. The metal doors on all the shops are welded shut with all the store owners belongings inside. Often the owners live above their shops and since the streets are cut off, they no longer have access to their homes, thereby being forced out of their homes overnight, with nowhere to go. Occasionally they can access their homes thru windows or roofs so they will enter their homes this way, and sometimes having to go thru a neighbors home to access theirs. They are not given any time to go in and get their belongings from their homes or their stores. The Jews now claim it all as their own.

These streets can remain unused for years and become literal ghost towns (see pics). These street closures also cut them off from schools, hospitals, cemeteries, etc… etc… Often, if a Palestinian needs emergency medical help they cannot get it, and if they do, because of the few roads given to them for access the medical help could take too long. Believe it or not, most of the time they are expected to get a permit or permission from the Israeli’s to get the emergency help and to be allowed to be taken to a major hospital. The blatant hatred and insanity is just too much to believe in this place.

I am sure you have heard of the one state or two state deal. The Jews claim that the Palestinians won’t even come to the table to discuss this. When you learn what a two state deal really means, you would fully understand why. The two state deal, doesn’t mean that the Jews get all of one portion, and the Palestinians all get another portion. This is far from what the truth is, and I can’t blame the Palestinians for telling the Jews to go fuck themselves. They have split the West Bank into Areas A, B & C.. for more info This woman has done a pretty good job at putting it into perspective visit her website. If you look at the the maps on this website you will see the continual take over by the Jews. Enlarge the map and you will see the blue sections are the Jewish Settlements. Notice how they are strategically placed, so as to grow larger and to cut off the Palestinian neighborhoods from each other. They are also built on the tops of the hills as to show dominance. (They are very large and quite ugly). Eventually to make the Palestinian sections smaller and smaller as they have been doing for decades. The large Jewish settlements take up much of Palestine and leave just small holes of land for the Palestinians. The Palestinians call it the Swiss Cheese… The Jews get most of the land, leaving only the holes for the Palestinians. This is a far cry from the two state deal that was offered in the beginning. There is no way you can make any portion of this land a state, unless the Jewish Settlers are willing to let go of their clear hatred, stop living in fear and their, “we are always the victim” mentality, and live together in peace. Personally, I think all these American Jews who have taken over the West Bank should be told to leave and go back home, although I don’t want them back here either. Showing a bit of anger here, but I haven’t met many Jews who aren’t arrogant, hate everyone and literally believe that they are God greatest treasures.

The ways they force the Palestinians out of their homes is mind blowing. From just blatantly kicking them out or not allowing them to move into a neighborhood, because they don’t fit the social status. They can do this by a process such as our Homeowner associations in the United States. Although here in the states we are not allowed to disallow anyone to live in a neighborhood.

We also visited a Bedouin community. These are families who totally live off the land and have been for hundreds of years. They are a total community helping each other as a need or emergency comes about. They are the poorest of the poor. The conditions in which they live due to the Jewish Settlers is unexplainable. The Settlers will build their settlements on the hills above these Bedouin communities and because they don’t like the look of their shacks in their view, will offer these Bedouin families new land, which most Israeli’s see as very generous. However, what isn’t told, is that the land they are being offered, doesn’t offer water resources, isn’t the kind of land that can be farmed and provides no space for their farm animals which would usually be killed by the Jews just for spite anyhow. The Bedouin’s we visited have had their homes and land bulldozed by the Jews dozens of times, but they just stay and rebuild. Refusing to be forced out. Examples of Bedouin Harassment: Story 1 Story 2 Story 3 Story 4

The Jews have even gone as far as to kick Palestinians out of whole towns that contain land that is very rich with agricultural land and fertile soil, and to prevent the Palestinians from ever wanting to come back or to ever to be able to use this land again, has planted pine trees in the soil that are not native to Israel. Why? These pine trees are destructive to the soil making it unusable for future use. Detestable and what an abomination. We have driven by these communities and so many pine trees had been planted that you would think it was natural forest that had grown there.

Speaking of whole towns being closed. You may have heard about the recent attack in Tel Aviv by two armed Palestinians. In most countries, you punish solely the individuals responsible, but no in Israel. In Israel, they punish the entire town. They kicked the entire town of where these two gunmen lived, out of their homes. This is what they do. They claim it is for security reasons. They look for any opportunity to take over land. They kicked these people out, most likely not allowing them to take anything with them. They they will put up barriers and barbed wire, surround and arm the town with military soldiers, so the Palestinians can’t come back. It will most likely become a ghost town for years, and then the Jews will swoop in and use this land as their own. Update as of 6.13.2016 Who knows what easing means in their eyes. Here’s a video of these punk little kids just fresh out of high school with their big guns. Makes me sick!

Israel calls themselves progressives, yet even marrying someone whom is not your same religion is illegal. Gay marriage? forget it. If you are not a Jew or are not born in Israel, you are not allowed to become a citizen. some are able, but they make it very difficult. Doesn’t sound very progressive to me. Can’t be progressive if your forcing occupation on others and keeping them walled up like caged animals….

Upon our leaving Israel you must know, that if you are with a group, they will make you enter as a group. They will stop you as they did us, remove two or three people from the group, and they will interrogate you to ensure that your answers all match. You should be honest, but never give up any extra info that they haven’t asked for. They may search your luggage. One of those in our group was made to open his bag and security found a book regarding the Occupation. This made them very unhappy. Because of this, The head of our group was sent to one security person after another, until she eventually was talking to the head dick of security. We were there for a good 30 minutes or more while they hassled her. Another tactic of theirs. One member of our group got so perplexed and nervous as would anyone, that more info was given then probably should have, but I think any of us would have done the same. It’s that sinking feeling of knowing you have done nothing wrong, but for some reason feel frightened, as you do when a cop pulls you over on the road.

More Attrocities.
*Books cannot be downloaded, shipped or brought into the Palestinian communities.
*Internet and cell phones are watched and each person is given a unique code to track them. Hmmmm. Kind of sounds like the mark given to each Jew in the Holocaust.
*Youtube videos are often taken down or re-uploaded with the story often changed in the favor of the Jews.
*Palestinians lose $10 billion dollars a year due to the occupation.
* Israel terms Palestine cities as villages instead of Cities, because cities get larger budgets. They want as little money going to Palestinians as possible.
*E-Waste is dumped near water resources.
*Palestinian children are made to burn wire to get out the copper, causing the spread of cancer.
*Religious Jews don’t work. Palestinians are charged higher water and utility rates and taxes to pay for these Jews to live. The Jews feel it is more important for them to pray all day then it is for them to work.

Let me make it clear that I can kind of understand why the Jews would like their own state. They have been persecuted since the beginning of time, and wish to have a place they can stay safe perhaps. But they are living in a victim status and this never works. They are creating the very persecution on others that was presented upon them in World War II and in doing so, are causing even more hatred towards them from far more people then before.

There has never been a state based on just religion itself and there never should be. If after reading all this and you still believe you should support Israel… then I urge you to go see it for yourself and take a tour meant that wil show you first hand the injustices.

If you are Christian and can still support this kind of behavior of killing, binding up innocent children and terrorizing people.. I suggest you pray and search your heart with God. I dare say… you are not a true Christian. Jesus would never condone this. He may have in the Old Testament, but he sent Jesus to give us a new message, and that was to love others always. I am trying my hardest to still love those in Israel and Jews in general, but the more I read, the harder it is. I pray that they can see their errors and they are in effect creating their own genocide by their actions to those who surround them.

Until you visit and see for yourself.. Please don’t argue with me that somehow you feel that what you have heard is right, and I am wrong. I have been there..

Things to ponder: Facts you should know

Companies to boycott Israel Andrew Cuomo (New York Governor) and many democrats are trying to put into legislation the right to punish you a U.S. Citizen for boycotting any products that support Israel. This includes your wonderful Presidential elect Hillary “Liar” Clinton. Money and power sure do make for complete morons in this world.

Please do me a favor and rate my blog, so I know you were here. It also helps me reach more people… Thanks so much and remember….. Only Love Can Win…

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You Get What you Deserve

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blog kharmaMany of us were brought up to believe that god is wrathful & is just waiting to catch us in a gotcha moment so he can wreak justice on us. If your image of God is punishment or that He is just sitting there waiting to catch you in sinful moment, you have probably walked away from Him, as I did 37 years ago. It causes a massive barrier for those who don’t believe or have walked away. It holds us back from believing that God is a good and a loving God. We worry that if we believe and start to attend a church that we will have to give something up.

Being perfectly honest. I was worried about that too. But when you attend church and start to follow the teachings of Jesus, the spirit that is within you, convicts you, and you find yourself actually striving and praying for most of those things you were afraid of giving up, to be taken away. You struggle and possibly fight vigorously to rid yourself of your issues and addictions. Your whole persona and the way you view things in life starts to change. And like me, if you have a lot of personal and emotional issues.. it could take years and years to rid. After all. It took you years and possibly decades to pile up those issues.

Your probably wondering why on earth I am blogging about this now. This issue of a wrathful God pulled me away from church at 15. Being told by the church that as a homosexual, I was not welcome. That I was destined to hell or purgatory. It has paralyzed me for the last two years and has stopped me from the forward motion that I was starting to make when I started going to church at the end of 2012 and on into the progress of 2013. I have really been in a struggle with this wrathful God. There are some struggles that I have prayed for help with, that just won’t seem to leave me. And each time I give in to that struggle, I beat myself up, and cry to God to forgive me. Not really thinking that he will or has. Often telling those around me that I am doomed to hell. Leaving me with thoughts of just wanting to die so it’s all over with. So I can just know where I am going and not have struggle with the fact that I am a terrible human being.

I prayed about this very thing in closing prayer at our Bible Study last week. That my unbelief as well as others unbelief would be changed. That our eyes would be open to see and our ears to hear the truth, and my prayers had been answered.

I am blogging about this, because I know that many who read my blog are suffering with the same thoughts. I often listen to sermons while I am working and last week ran across a sermon that truly hit me on this very subject, and has opened my eyes that when the bible talks about forgiveness we can believe that it is true. I have been in bible study for 3 years and have read these versus over and over and over again, but just couldn’t believe them to be true for me. 1 John 1:9  Romans 3:23-26  1 John 1:8-10  Acts 10:43 Romans 10:10  2 Chronicles 7:14 the verses go on and on all thru-out the bible, but they just wouldn’t stick in my head.

Why is this?

When most of us think of God as a just God, we put our own earthy interpretation on this, which to us means justice, and when we see those who can’t seem to obey the law, we think to ourselves that they should get justice. Punishment, imprisonment, a fine. Some way to pay for what they deserve. Of course the table turns if we ever should commit a crime. We don’t want justice. We want to be forgiven. We think we should just get a slap on the wrist and be let go to enjoy our freedom and peace. I mean after all. We aren’t as bad as they are.

In all honesty and truth be told, not one of us upholds the law. We have all fallen short of God’s perfect standards and we must pay the penalty for our shortcomings. That’s what Jesus tells us. But the good news is that God is a good, loving, forgiving and Just God. We don’t really deserve his grace and mercy, but he gives it to us freely, thru the payment and the substitution of his son, Jesus Christ, who took all the pain on the cross for us and our sinful ways. He did this to demonstrate his Justice. All we have to do is believe in what Jesus did for us, accept his substitution and boom.. what we deserve is no longer. His suffering and his mercy has made us RIGHT with God.

The word Justice or Just in Hebrew is tsedeq and mishpat and in Greek dikaiosyne. All of these words are interchangeable with the word right, righteous or righteousness. This is the definition that God in his glorious mercy gives Just or Justice.

God Is Just – What does this mean after I have accepted His Son’s sacrifice?
Once you have been reconciled to God and He sees you as one of His children, the fact that God is just means that He wants you to be just and act justly. The prophet Micah summed this up by saying, “What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly before your God?” (Micah 6:8). Repeatedly throughout the Bible, God warns His people to treat others fairly, particularly those who may be in less fortunate situations such as widows, orphans, the poor, and aliens or strangers. Jesus’ teachings go even further, telling us to love one another and to do good to those who mistreat us (John 13:34, Luke 6:27-28).

jesus under waterLet Jesus reach down to you and rescue you from drowning in your sorrow and your pain. He is the living water. He is your rescue and your Savior.

The fact that God is just can provide you with peace when you are dealing with difficulties in your life or witnessing painful injustice. You can be confident that God’s justice will ultimately prevail. The fact that the all-powerful and all-knowing God is also just means that evil will ultimately be dealt with authoritatively and decisively

We do get to run free. But there is a price for our sin. Say What? You just said that we get off free of charge. Yes and No.

As in all the verses above, we must ask God for his forgiveness and mean it. Free. So what is the payment?

If you truly love God and the words of Jesus, then your sin causes you anguish and struggle. It has caused me to much of it… crying out to god literally and begging for his help and strength not to give in. Many times it has kept me from attending church, or partaking in communion. Because my own thoughts of Justice didn’t think I deserved any part of a relationship with God.

Sin carries it’s own punishment. That is part of the payment. God doesn’t need to add to the pain. This isn’t a game for Him. We punish ourselves enough.

Sin will also cause you problems in your personal life. Which is why I also believe we were given the 10 commandments. Not to give us another gotcha moment, but to inform or educate us, that disobeying these commandments will just lead you into trouble in this life.

The sin of drinking yourself to death… Is literal. Drink enough and you will suffer death due to liver disease. The sin of smoking. Also causes death. Stealing will get you imprisoned and make it more difficult to get a job. Disobeying your parents.. we all know about that one. Sex.. all kinds of diseases and soul sucking if you ask me. Not brushing your teeth.. Not a sin, but will cause decay.

So sin… all carries it’s own payment. And we have to pay for it. Death is part of that payment. It’s why we get old and pass on. And if we believe.. We get to move onto a better place.

For those who refuse to believe and from what I believe. They will also move on, but I shudder to think that if Hell is real and what Jesus teaches us is true. This will be your destination.

I really don’t understand after knowing the truth and the good news of Jesus Christ, how you could not believe, or want to try. Getting into an eternal place with God, really isn’t that difficult. And you might be surprised that once you find a church that fits you, how surrounded with love you will be. It truly is a wonderful thing.

I never thought that I would look forward to Sundays and going to church, but here I am.

When I was listening to the Sermon that brought it all to light for me, what popped in my head all of a sudden to put this in plain perspective (which I believe came from God) was this.

He is a JUST God

He JUST wants us to love him.

He JUST wants us to believe him.

He JUST wants us to live by and believe in his words

He JUST wants us to try and be a better person and lean more towards goodness and perfection.

HE JUST wants us to have a relationship with him.

HE JUST wants to simply love us

You have nothing to lose by JUST believing, trying to follow Him, and JUST trying to do your best to be a better person. JUST accept his grace, His love, His mercy, His forgiveness and His eternal destiny for you.

I am not going to make it all beautiful and rainbows and you may disagree with me, but I fully do believe with all my heart and soul that should you choose not to believe in Him and his goodness and love, or that he exists. There is a not so pleasant place. You only get the chance to accept and believe now. There is no choice after death. It’s too late.. Just being good does not cut it which I spoke of here.

It is really not that difficult to believe if you take the time to open your eyes to see, your ears to hear, and your heart and soul to listen to the spirit of God that is in each and every person born of this earth.

It would be a tragedy for one person to be lost & to get what we all deserve.

If you liked my post, do me a favor and rate it or share it. May God Bless you.

JEF

 

Today’s Christian Hatred is The True Sin of Sodom

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CHRISTIAN HATREDPretty bold statement isn’t it? Sometime’s what we have been taught about history or the bible isn’t what we’ve been told.  I urge you to please read this other way of looking at the Story of Sodom and Gomorrah and understand that what you were taught about the sin of Sodom could be all wrong.

A few months back I was asked by a long time acquaintance how I could explain or condone living my life as a Gay man in reference to the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. Was I offended at this question? Not really. But what does offend and sadden me is that Christian’s listen to their preachers, bishops, priests, etc.. and instead of reading and studying the Bible, they just accept what they have heard and been told for decades, and believe it to be the truth. Using it to knock down those they don’t understand.

Experts on both sides of the homosexuality issue agree that this story has nothing to do with homosexuality, but there are people that just can’t let it go. Their life long hatred and disdain of people they don’t understand, as well as not taking the time to invite them to the table to learn who they really are. It is a whole lot easier to stay in their mode of hatred and continue their lashing out. They just can’t be happy unless they are part of the haves and can push someone down as the have not’s. Believing that they are doing the work of God. Welcome to America.

If I sound bitter. I am sorry. But I have heard and read the hatred and bigotry against me and the gay community for 50 years, and just about every day, so I think I earn that right.

I personally don’t believe in taking everything my pastor tells me as total truth. Humans are infallible and will preach what they were taught in their theological seminaries. Often, most of them attending the same schools or thoughts of learning. This is why I host a bible study group. To get new insights and different opinions. This is why I jump at the chance to take the time to attend any class having to do with the study of the Bible. I have also been known to search the internet for hours on a subject that just won’t seem to leave my mind.

People find it easier to listen to and believe what they are told by their elders, then to study the bible for themselves, or take a class, or read a book of other perspectives.

I never really thought this story was about homosexuality, but when the chance came my way to attend a seminar, study the Bible and what it says about homosexuality, I jumped at the chance.

It should be well understood by now that being Gay is not something that we choose. So living my life as a gay man is wrong? This is my natural self. I can’t change. It’s like me telling you to change the color of your skin or your eyes. Even better yet.. telling you that you have to be Gay. We can’t just pray it away. Trust me, many, as well as I have tried and tried and tried. I have begged God and I have pleaded. It is what I am, not who I am. Just as there is not a heterosexual set lifestyle, neither is there a gay lifestyle of which I also blogged about in “You Don’t Get to Define Me or My Walk”

People tend to take the bible literally. I believe that the Bible should be taken in its historical context and how it related to the people, places and language of that day. And yes, the bible relates to us today and has meaning for how we should live out our lives but to take the entire bible literally just doesn’t work unless you fit it all together in it correct context.

The Story of Sodom and Gomorrah as told in Genesis 19:1-22 is the most widely known and used passage to knock down the gay community. The word sodomy was actually coined by Paul Cantor, who was a French Catholic Theologian in the 12th century **as mentioned below, and ever since that time. Sodom and Gomorrah’s doom has been linked to Sodomy.

What I personally find hysterical is you can look up the word sodomy and they distinctly reference that the word was not used until 1300AD yet they also link it back to the story of Sodom. How can this be possible if the word was not in use at the time? Nor was the word homosexual first used until the 1800s, nor was it even placed in any bible until the mid 1900s.

If this story was about homosexuality, there were about 20 words that were known in that day that could have been used to specifically call it out, of which none were used.

Genesis 19:1 Clearly states, “Two angels came to Sodom in the evening.” This changes the story. How can we be talking about homosexuality if these were not even human men, but angels. Even if they appeared as men, would not you consider that humans having sex with Heavenly beings to be unnatural? When we see later verses this becomes more clear. Jude 1:7 speaks of those in Sodom going after “strange flesh” (Greek words: sarkos heteras) which is equated to “going after one not of the same nature or class.” It is obvious that two people of identical gender would be of the same nature or class even more than a male and female. Humans are in a different nature and class to angels just as we are in a different class to animals. Therefore, “strange flesh” is referring to angel and human relations and/or inner-species sex, not gay/lesbian sex.

Also note in Verse 4 of the scripture, it states that ALL men (young and old). We estimate in today’s society that roughly 10% of the population are either of a gay or bi-sexual nature, and even that seems to be a high number. If this passage was about homosexuality, why is it that all the men (not the 10%) but all the men were interested in raping and having sex with these two men (angels)? I really find it hard to believe that all the men in one city were gay. And if these men were homosexuals, why offer your daughters to them for sex? They would have no interest.

During this time, forcing sex on a man was a way of humiliating them. During war, besides raping the women and slaughtering the children, the victors would often also “sodomize” the defeated soldiers. The idea behind this was to insult the men by treating them like women. The practice of male to male anal sex was that it took a powerful man and made them as inferior as women, and pieces of property at the service of men. Rape was seen as a way to humiliate enemies and strangers.

Your probably thought to yourself, what a cruel man Lot was to offer his two virgin daughter’s to be raped by all the men. As sad and corrupt as it sounds in our day, women in those times were simply possessions or objects, and because of their low status, what Lot did was considered a minor transgression. However, it seems as though in this case, when the crowd wouldn’t stop, the angels ended up saving Lot and his daughters and blinded all the men.

Another version of this story can be found in Judges 19:20-26  In both, sexual assault highlights the “wickedness” so often mis-attributed to homosexuality. In the Judges version, there is no mention (or hint) of homosexuality, further supporting the idea that the lesson was so important it bore repeating: meanness, cruelty, abuse, and hard-heartedness (all couched in in-hospitality) are the true sins here; therefore, the story should not be used to support anti-gay rhetoric.

Although this story in Genesis clearly is somewhat about sex, the big picture here is that the men in Sodom and Gomorrah were just jerks, and it was destroyed due to severe wickedness, in-hospitality and breaking the laws of God. The law to treat aliens well. Because the Israelites were once aliens in the land.  Deuteronomy 24:17-18   Leviticus 19:33-34

Jesus also had this to say about in-hospitality in Luke 10:8-12

“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them,‘The kingdom of God has come near to you. ’But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say,‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you.Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Lot was the only one kind enough to offer the travelers a place to stay. The city of Sodom was located in the Desert and to stay outside in the cold of night, would have been deadly. The rule of Lot’s society as well as those of the Semitic and Arabic cultures was to be hospitable to travelers. It was a very strict rule of that day , that no one was to harm even an enemy who had been offered a place to stay.

In the Middle East, a person’s survival could depend upon the charity of strangers. To help strangers was a solemn religious duty of paramount importance.
See Leviticus 19:33-34 and Matthew 25:35, 38 and 43.

Specific sins which Sodom is linked to include adultery and lying (Jeremiah 23:14), impenitence (Matthew 11:23), careless living (Luke 17:28), fornication (Jude 1:7 KJV), and an overall “filthy” lifestyle (2 Peter 2:7), which word (“aselgeiais”) elsewhere is rendered in the KJV as lasciviousness (Mark 7:22; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Ephesians 4:19; 1 Peter 4:3; Jude 1:4) or wantonness (Romans 13:13; 2 Peter 2:18).

In Ezekiel 16, a long comparison is made between Sodom and the kingdom of Israel. “Yet you have not merely walked in their ways or done according to their abominations; but, as if that were too little, you acted more corruptly in all your conduct than they.” (v. 47, NASB) “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me.

There is no explicit mention of any sexual sin in Ezekiel’s summation and “abomination” is used to describe many sins.

The Authorized King James Version translates Deuteronomy 23:17 as “There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel,” but the word corresponding to “sodomite” in the Hebrew original, Qadesh (Hebrew:קדש), does not refer to Sodom and has been translated in the New International Version as “shrine prostitute“; male shrine prostitutes may have served barren women in fertility rites rather than engaging in homosexual acts; this also applies to other instances of the word sodomite in the King James Version.

According to the Wisdom of Solomon 19:13-14 the sin of Sodom was “bitter hatred of strangers…making slaves of guest who were their benefactors.”

The History of the word Sodomy or Sodomite

**By the latter half of the 12th century, an increasingly conformist Europe found minorities of all kinds, including homosexuals, to be irritating. Tracts against them began to appear, and propaganda intended to incite anger became common. One of the favorites was the accusation that minorities were guilty of killing Christian children.

The rise of intolerance did not subside, but as the years ticked by, it actually increased, resulting in the witchhunts in France, which depopulated whole regions of that country, and the Spanish Inquisition, which continued it’s harsh repression into the 17th century. While the Spanish Inquisition was without a doubt the harshest, the Inquisition itself was a church-wide phenomenon whose harshly repressive hand was felt throughout the Catholic world.

The Muslims and Jews were, of course, not the only ones to feel the heavy hand of the Inquisition. Sexual minorities were particular targets, as the pressure to conform increased. Social critics began to single out gay people for special persecution. Peter Cantor (d. 1197) was the first to argue that Romans 1:26-27 referred specifically to gay people. The term “sodomy” came, for the first time and against all theological precedent, to refer exclusively to homosexual sex.

At Cantor’s urging, the Lateran III Council of 1179 became the first to rule specifically on homosexual acts, along with moneylending, heresy, as well as the arch-heresies of Judaism and Islam. Even though the wording of the regulations on sex meant to punish all non-procreative sex, it was eventually construed, particularly in later centuries, as referring to homosexual sex specifically. It passed into the permanent collections of canon law in the following century, and became the basis of the Catholic ban on homosexuality.

I have to agree with what Daniel A Helmeniak PH.D. wrote in his book, “What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality” regarding the sin of Sodom in today’s society.

“Even Jesus understood the sin of Sodom as the sin of in-hospitality. Other passages in the Bible come right out and say the same thing. Yet people continue to cite the story of Sodom to condemn gay and lesbian people.

There is a sad irony about the story of Sodom when understood in its own historical setting. People oppose and abuse homosexual men and women for being different, odd, strange or, as they say, “queer.” Lesbian women and gay men are just not allowed to fit in. They are made to be outsiders, foreigners in our society. They are disowned by their families, separated from their children, fired from their jobs, evicted from apartments and neighborhoods, insulted by public figures, denounced from the pulpit, vilified on religious radio and TV, and then beaten in the schools and killed on the streets and in the backwoods of our nation. All this is done in the name of religion and supposed Judeo-Christian morality.

Such wickedness is the very sin of which the people of Sodom were guilty. Such cruelty is what the Bible truly condemns over and over again.”

So to those of you who oppress homosexuals because of the supposed “sin of Sodom” may yourselves be the real “sodomites,” as the Bible understands it.

40% of the young homeless teens and young adults are there because their parents threw them out for being gay/lesbian/transgender and did it in the name of God. Thrown in the streets to become forgotten. Living on drugs and alcohol to cope. And then you turn around and treat them and us like SHIT because we chose the dark path. Let’s not forget that YOU threw us there. YOU couldn’t love unconditionally as Jesus and YOU just couldn’t try to work it out in your head. YOU are the problem. You were the hypocrite. YOU are the cause of so much strife. YOU are far from being like Jesus. YOU are guilty.

The sin of many of today’s Christian’s is their love for hatred. Their in-hospitality to invite not only their gay neighbors into their community, into their church, their homes and into their hearts, but for their in-hospitality and hatred for their muslim neighbors, and illegal immigrants from near and far. Just listen to the rhetoric of the presidential candidates, and those who support them.

The sin of Christians’ is to separate and divide the church instead of coming together as one. Their sin is not to allow those who wish to know and follow Jesus to come and only wish to push them further away. Their sin is slander. You don’t know how we live our lives. Just like the heterosexual.. There is no set lifestyle. Stop worrying about us and start worrying about yourself. Many of us are better examples of living like Christ they you are.

The Good news is that God’s grace and mercy is for all of those who believe. I am not sure he is very concerned with our correct theology and 100% correctness of what the Bible has to say, but His biggest concern is love and that we believe in what he has done for us. Thank God.

James 1:12
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

“Let love be your only debt! If you love others, you have done all that the law demands.

Please do me a favor. If you read or liked my post. please rate it below and may God bless you always.

United WE Stand

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all_are_welcomeAs with most groups in our society, inclusion of a few and exclusion of others is usually involved. Groups are generally based on similar interests, types of people or situations. Religion is of no difference. As I see it however; Christianity should be different, as it’s roots and beginnings are much different then all others. The deepest impulse of the Bible is toward inclusion, that all of God’s creatures be accorded dignity, respect, safety and a sense of belonging.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that is largely exclusionary that debilitates, divides, excludes and distinguishes between the haves and the have not’s.

In our newly formed home group we decided to start with the study of Acts, which is quite fitting for a new home group as Acts is a book about new beginnings. A new church, new law. God living within us, speaking to us and healing thru us. New believers and people meeting not only in church on Sunday, but in homes all week, eating, praying, studying and loving God together. We find that God is announcing that there shall be no more exclusion or hint of it, but total inclusion of all people.

There was always tension between the Old Testatment Jews and the non-Jews (the outsiders known as the Gentiles). Jews believed they were chosen by God to only be able to worship God. They also believed that they came from God and the Gentiles not so. And although they really were no better then the Gentiles, they felt they had to work harder to please God. They were very harsh in the judgement of the Gentiles behavior that failed to respect God’s laws, and always felt the Gentiles had to be put in their place and kept at arms length. And now they find that even the Gentiles are included in this plan of salvation.

1 John 5.1

Today, Christian communities and their congregations seem to think that they have exclusive rights to God and to Salvation. That they somehow are above others and just as the Jews were, are harsh in their judgements and treatment of others or outsiders, because they don’t understand them.

Just as the Jews felt the Gentiles had no right to be included due to their lack of keeping the laws that were given to them, Christians today like to divide. To pick and choose those, they feel should be excluded from their churches: to worship, to follow Jesus and receive the free gift of salvation. That is not their right. Only God gets that choice, and God NEVER chose to divide or exclude based on anything other then you walking away from him and not believing in his plan of Salvation. THEY DO NOT get to spell out how or what someone’s walk with God should be or should look like. They do not get to choose who is in or out. God’s plan is perfectly Inclusive of ALL people who wish to come to him.

Acts 2:21 God does not exclude anyone who calls on the name of the one and only true Lord. In verse 2:17 God says, “He will pour out his spirit on ALL people”

God used persecution to cause the quickest expansion of a “new faith” in the history of the world.

God does great and wonderful things and wishes for all people to be saved. Which is why I believe he hasn’t come back yet. Did you ever stop to think that perhaps, God waited until the controversy of Gay Marriage and inclusion of the Gay community into the church came to fruition to start a new thing?

Or perhaps it could be the acceptance of Transgenderism. Perhaps he is waiting for more Muslims to see the darkness of Islam and to turn to Christ, which thousands daily are turning to Christ. Waiting for vary large controversy to stir up the hearts and minds of Christians to shed light on how their ostracization has truly split and divided the church? God always has a timing and waiting for everything.

Christians love to complain about how people or certain groups of people have gone down a path of destruction. Into sexual perversion, drugs, alcoholism, prostitution, worshiping the devil, and all kinds of others things they say disgust them. But the truth be known. The Christians are the ones who threw them into those pits, by excluding them from the church and their lives. Parents who thru out their own child because they came out to their parents as being homosexual.

Everyone wishes to be a part of a group or something special. Being a part of God is one of those things that due to the Holy Spirit, spoken of in Acts, living innately within all of us, is that, which draws us to need, seek and want God. Yes.. even us; the vile and disgusting homosexuals who God wants nothing to do with. But when you throw people out, they will and do search for places where they are accepted and included, and most of the time, if that place is not church or the home they grew up in, then it leads them to the dark places of the world. So next time you so called perfect and sinless Christian’s complain about the path that some have taken, step back, and take a look at yourself first. How you shunned us and quite honestly threw us out into the streets to become exactly what you wanted us to be. The broken. The depressed. The addicted. The marginalized. Your excluded trash.

Because you don’t understand people who don’t fit in your perfect little narrow minded box of what Christian’s should look and act like doesn’t make us the worst or most detestable to God. This doesn’t give you the right to take passages out of the bible and out of context and use them to clobber and to knock down those who you don’t understand, to make you feel better about yourself. Let’s not forget that your divorce, your re-marriage, your lying, your gossiping, your slander of us, your heterosexual affairs, and your sex before marriage is just as detestable to him. It’s no better and it’s no worse. It is all equal sin and all equally forgivable.

Stop and think about it. Those of us who have been put thru your hatred and your bullying and still desire to worship God, could quite possibly earn more rewards in heaven then those of you who got the easy path.

There are groups of people that I just can’t wrap my head around either, but instead of excluding them from my life, from church or suppressing them from knowing the life and teachings of Jesus, I would prefer to sit at the table with them, as Jesus did and would do, and have a normal conversation. To know what makes them tick. To love them and to understand them as an equal human as Jesus has asked of us to do.

Being Gay and having now been in Church for three years now, I have experienced all sides. I have felt shunned, I have felt detested and I also have been loved beyond measure. And the longer I attend church, the more I see that God is working miracles and something big is happening.

I see and read about hundreds and thousands of those in the LGBT community finally standing up and saying to religion. WE have had enough. WE are going to worship God and if you don’t like it, WE don’t care. WE will create our own churches. WE will be the leaders. WE will be the doers, and WE will be the lovers of Jesus that He created us also to be. WE, just like you were made just as we are. Unlike you, WE will disciple and help to convert. WE will not suppress anyone. WE will open our communities to everyone, just as God and Jesus wanted it. WE will take the church back to its all inclusive roots. WE will welcome all people into our doors. The Jews. The Atheists. The Gentiles. The hungry, the poor and oh… WE will feed them to. You don’t have to believe in Jesus… just come on in. WE will welcome you here.

That is what my new church (Mission Gathering) is all about. We are a new beginning. A New life. A New love. I have only been attending here for about four months now, and although my last church was filled with love, something happened there last year that I ended up falling away and hating God as well as infuriating anger at some of the members there for almost the entire year.. It was rough. My mid-life crisis didn’t help that situation much either. But this new church…. Doesn’t just say all are welcome, but they live it.

And what happens when you open your doors to all? You create something new. You bring more people to the “Good News” and the word of God as it was intended. You bring more people to the table of Jesus. Which leads to more believers and followers of Jesus. It creates lives being transformed from caterpillars crawling in the dirt to beautiful butterflies with wings spread wide and flying high in the love of God. It brings more to his plan of salvation.

This is why He waits to come. Wanting more of his children to come to him for salvation. To make a true decision for themselves. Not by what they were told as a young child or adult. How they are hated and excluded for being different. But the TRUTH of how they are fully loved, fully accepted and fully forgiven by God.

Hatred has NEVER…. EVER… brought anyone towards anything that is fruitful. Love has always, and will always win.

My fellow Christians, I beg you to to stop separating, bullying, and lying and start uniting as at the day of Pentecost in the Book of Acts. To start converting. Stop dissuading and suppressing. Stop using clobber versus because that’s what you know. How about you study and actually read your bible and learn that those verses you have drilled into your head by fellow Christians, priests, television, magazines, etc.. are out of context and are complete crap. I urge you to stand together in a common goal and not get caught up in antics or what you believe is theological correctness.

Division is what got us all here in the first place. Jesus doesn’t choose sides, and neither should we. As a nation and even as Religion, we would all be better served if we all just loved and treated each other with the respect and dignity that God taught us to be.

Regardless of who you are or where you are at in life, don’t let any Christian, or their church tell you that you are not welcome or included in God’s plan of salvation and forgiveness. That you aren’t welcome in their church to fully partake of all they have to offer. If you are made to feel that way. Run. And run fast and as far away from it as you can. Find another place that will welcome you.

I pray you will or have found a place of safety. A place to partake. Don’t just settle in. Get involved. Volunteer. Join a group of fellow members in study and life. Soak it all in. Times of both good and bad will always be around in life, but knowing the truth and living it with others will help you survive and enjoy all that God has to offer.

 

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“My Genie in A Bottle”

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IfGodThis month in the U.S. is our tradition of Thanksgiving. Today is my Day #17 of giving thanks, and today I am thankful to God for 2 years of Sobriety. Two year’s ago today; God took away my addiction to alcohol and cigarettes literally overnight. You may or may not believe in God and you may or may not believe that he still does miracles today. You may believe that miracles are just happenstance, but maybe my story of an instant healing of addiction can change your mind a wee bit that miracles are the work of God.

My drinking started innocently back in 1998 after having left a 10 year relationship and another one a short time after that. I found myself on my own and truly alone for the first time in my life. I had never been without someone by my side. Along with the drinking I started up the smoking again that I had quit once before.

In 1998 I met someone I was interested in and we would usually hang out at a bar. He was also willing to hang out at the country bar which for me was the only music of choice at this time. One particular night, we had a two shots and a beer and he wanted to move on to another bar, so naturally I said yes… We did that two more times and on the way to the fourth bar, the red lights were flashing behind my car. I just received my first DUI at an alcohol level of .21% and was tossed in a cell for the night with about 50 others. This was just the beginning. Once I got that DUI, the interest in that person faded and the next two years were loneliness contained in a bottle; whether it was at home, at a bar near or far, another city or various other places. Anywhere that fun could be had with a drink or the booze was free.

I met my current partner in 2000 and I don’t remember much drinking in the beginning, but that soon changed to not being able to go anywhere after work without one in my hand or where alcohol wasn’t available. I often would be up all hours of the night, sometimes having drank so much that I would throw it up, but that didn’t stop me, it just left room for more. Obviously this led to going to work with hangovers, sometimes with no sleep being too tired to deal with it, angry and hateful, or of course not very productive. Continue reading

“Forgive them, They Know Not What They Do”

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embarrassed-jesusJesus is most likely doing a constant face palm and very disappointed not only this week, but most of the time, at how those who claim to follow and act in his name, just don’t get it, and use his name to abuse others.

It’s apparent that Kim Davis; the County Clerk of Ashland, Kentucky, who refused to process gay marriage licenses interprets the Bible far more differently then I or many of my heterosexual friends do.

Here is the way I see it in the Bible as I read and understand it.

First of all, the 2nd commandment of God is to love your neighbor as yourself.

I get that Kim Davis thinks she was standing up for what was right in God’s eyes, and I respect her right to her convictions, just as I have that right. But keep that hateful smut to yourself. My personal opinion, she knew the law was passed, and if she couldn’t handle doing her job that the government swore her into doing, then she should have quit her job or should have requested to be transferred to a different position.

How many Muslims, Straight Non-Christians, Divorced and getting remarried Christians, Inter-racial couples, Atheists, possibly even devil worshipers, those who practice witchcraft, etc… has Mrs. Davis given marriage licenses to without any thought as to how it was against her beliefs or religion.

This is and never was based on her beliefs… It always is, always has been and will always be about homophobia. About something they don’t understand and won’t try to understand. It’s about people they refuse to invite to their table. Despite the fact that Jesus.. remember that guy you claim to follow? Invited all to his table. And why? Because it showed love, grace, understanding and created friendships and new believers. Continue reading

“Your Words and Actions Can Change Hearts”

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STICKS & STONES

Did you know that words can actually harm or heal the health of your heart? Did you also know that a heart that is transplanted into another person, also transplants the habits and cravings of the person that it came from? The heart is an integral part of the very person we are deep down. Your words, your hatred, your bullying and your actions cause those you are targeting stress, anxiety and depression. All symptoms and issues of the heart.

Depending on the version of the bible you read, the heart is mentioned 492-830 times. Mentioned more times then wisdom, sin, praise, grace, love and belief. The heart is obviously an important part of who we are.. Without it working correctly we are dead. The blood no longer keeps us alive. It coagulates and hardens. Much as our heart does when we are treated with disrespect.

The tongue has no bones, but is strong enough to break a heart. So be careful with your words.

I don’t write this to get pity and I apologize for being such a downer. But I write this for those who don’t know how difficult it is for the Gay individual to come for help, to come to Christ, to come to church.  To receive acceptance, to receive grace, to receive mercy, to receive, as well as offer forgiveness.

I pray for the change of those hearts that are hardened in hatred of those they haven’t even tried to love or understand.

Exactly two years ago to this day, I started this blog with the intention of showing people in the gay community, as well as trying to change the minds and hearts of those people; who have a clear hatred of the gay person trying to come to Christ, that yes, you can be gay and also be a Christian. Continue reading

Only Love and Understanding Can Win!!!!

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lovewinsImagine living in a world where you are not able to love, not be in a romantic or intimate relationship, not have a family. A world where you are always made to feel less then or the worst of. A world where you could make a difference, but not allowed. A world where you are not even allowed to love God or follow Jesus. A world where God’s love and forgiveness is for everyone, except you. Then imagine the sadness of not being able to change your feelings and realizing that you have no choice in who you are attracted to.

Gay people all across the United States are celebrating the Supreme court ruling on gay marriage. And the very same day, Christians, Governors, etc are already fighting back. The Governor of Texas stating that this will not be allowed in his state.

The passing of this law wasn’t about the gay community getting back at or defeating Christian’s or religion. In fact many of us have true and deep spiritual beliefs. It doesn’t prevent you from holding true to some of your ridiculous beliefs and convictions. This was about America. What a great country we have. A country that has evolved around so many issues that have only made us better and stronger.

This is not going to end marriage. Some of you have done that on your own. This will not ruin the sanctity of your marriage. It won’t even affect most of your lives. It only will, because you have such a hatred for Gays, that you will make it that way. Just as you do the Jews, the Muslims, the African Americans, those who have abortions, etc..etc.. You just can’t let it go. It doesn’t have to affect you. Most of you have no idea what it is like to be criticized your entire life just for being who you only know how to be… did you choose to be heterosexual? Nope.. Neither did we choose to be us. It just is. Continue reading

A Path to Forgiveness

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The PathFeeling accepted and accepting forgiveness are two of the hardest things that I think we all struggle with. Each day, God gives us a new chance to start fresh. His forgiveness is a free gift. So why is it so hard for us just to accept that he has forgiven us and just move on? I, just as you probably have, have struggled with these two issues for way too long. Everyone’s path to the acceptance of being forgiven by God is different. This is the story of how God worked His truth, His word, His grace and His love to me.

This last weekend with much trepidation, I took part in a Men’s Retreat with 15 men from church. I was afraid that as a Gay man, as many times in the past, I would be or would feel left out. Nothing could have been 100% further from the truth. Real men cry, cry out to each other for help, show their vulnerability, ask for help from their brothers, and aren’t afraid of embracing another man who is truly hurting. This is what each of us received from the other this weekend. It was genuine. I have never felt love like this before. So real and so not expected that I have found myself breaking down in tears now and then for the last 24 hours. From Joy, from relief. Set free from all my shame and all my fears of being around, and not accepted by heterosexual men.

My first and foremost reason for going all in and joining the group, was of course to reconnect in some fashion with God the Father. To take all the anger, angst and non joy I have with God these last few months and to find forgiveness. To be set free. Secondly, was to show the men in the group that I was just like them. Just a guy. I was very much afraid that I would somehow come off as effeminate to them, which I am not, so not sure why that was such an issue with me.. I had a bunch of stupid issues about going in. What I learned as well, was that all the men in the group had effeminate qualities as well.. we are all one in the same.

Our theme, activities & discussions centered around Luke 15:11-32 The Parable of the Prodigal Son. I have heard this story & discussed it many times, and thought to myself, this parable is getting old & tired. But we were taken into a wonderful new direction that words just can’t wholly explain.

IMAG1772 IMAG1773I intentionally arose early on Saturday morning at the crack of dawn. Before any of the guys woke up and I headed to both crosses at the camp. One at the top of the hill near our cabin and later one at the bottom. I spent a good 45 minutes at the top and 20 at the bottom. Crying tears of sadness, and also of joy, to God, that I am truly sorry for my mistakes and thankful to him for paying that debt in full for us. I told Him  I wanted to surrender and give my will up to Him. I asked, could He please make this weekend count for something. To speak clearly to me and let me know that I truly am his son, and as a gay man that I am just as forgiven as everyone else. That He does truly forgive and save those of us who are Gay. This has been hard for me to accept as my whole life I have heard from Christians and still do from some, that you can’t be Gay and Christian. You can’t be saved. Ludicrous Bullshit if you ask me.

After breakfast this same morning, we all headed up the hill, and our first activity of the day began. We were asked to focus on those things that we need forgiveness for. Not only from God, but from others. To take in the beauty of our surroundings, and if anything caught our eye or meant something, to pick it up. We each headed up the hill, giving and keeping a very large space between each of us, as this was supposed to be a silent hike for each of us, yet all walking the same path.

As I started my walk, before I focused on the questions given to us to ponder, I thought of my neighbor who had just recently passed away. I was feeling a lot of regret that I didn’t visit her while she was in the hospital for two months. She didn’t want visitors, but I had intentions to visit her anyway. I really thought she would be back. Stupid life just got in the way of me following through. Anyhow, she was really into rocks and butterflies. So I picked up a rock that I thought she would like and said I was sorry. As I kept walking, I found rocks that I thought she would like better, so I laid the old rock on the path. Along the way I also found a piece of wood that had been eaten way with holes thru it. (pictured on far right just below) To me this represented the holes and sorrow I felt with all the stupid choices I made that not only hurt me, but my relationship with God, and most of all, how I had hurt others. Continue reading

The Wounds that only Selfless Love Could Heal!

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its-not-all-about-youAs we celebrate Easter Sunday, which for me is the most beautiful and hopeful day of the year, It reminds me how unfair, hatefilled and wretched we are to one another. And need a Savior to save us from each other. I, once again, find myself directly in the middle of controversy. Understanding and wanting to be for; yet mad at both sides of Indiana’s Anti-Gay law. Saddened and angered again at injustice. At how the Christian’s, Politicians, Employers, Lawyers, Etc. have failed to get it, and have used the name of God and Christianity to, once again, use His name to create a law that could be misconstrued and could ultimately be used to discriminate in many various ways.

Please keep in mind that when I use the term Christians. I by no means imply all Christians. Thankfully, the haters are fewer then the whole of us, but unfortunately, as always, the haters have the loudest and ugliest voice. And trust me. I am far from perfect, and am sure that I myself, am guilty of many of these wrongs in one way or another, just as we all are.

Will this post will be quite melodramatic? Yes.. Will it offend a lot of people? Most likely.. But COME ON!!! Why don’t the hateful Christian’s wake up and see that they are causing a lot of the problems. This life is not about You.. It’s about us.. It’s about loving your neighbor and bringing forth people to God. Continue reading