3,000…

3,000…

That is the reported number of how many babies are aborted every day…

3,000 human beings, eliminated, for various reasons…

And who am I to argue?  I mean – I’m a man, I shouldn’t be talking about women’s rights to abortion (Unless of course I support that right).

If that baby in the womb is not a human being, I would agree with that statement completely.  If that baby is just a growth, like a finger nail or a tumor, then yes, it is part of the woman’s body, and it is her choice whether to carry that growth to birth.

But really, are we still arguing that is the case?  Why?  Why is this subject SO politicized?  Why is abortion seemingly celebrated?  (Google “Shout Your Abortion”, and you will find several people arguing for the right to not only HAVE an abortion, but to celebrate it or at least be supported in this decision – as if it is good…

Again, if that child is not a human being, then I would wholeheartedly agree.

DNA at conception.  Unique DNA, that shows this child is human.  We’re not talking about DNA that mutates into human, from something else – the same DNA that child would have at birth, as they grow, into adulthood.

A heartbeat in 19 days.

We can SEE the child forming in the womb, thanks to technology we have today!  It’s pretty amazing, and any expected parent is beaming as they show their pictures and videos of their child.

THEIR.  CHILD.

Because they chose?  And that’s it?  If I was trying to have a kid, or decided to keep my kid, then it’s human.  But if I don’t want him or her – it’s just a thing?  A growth?  We don’t really believe that, do we?

I wrote this song from the perspective of the child in the womb.  A child that knows he or she is going to be killed.  From the perspective of a mother or father who lives with the haunting knowledge of a decision they can never take back.  I do realize that doesn’t fit the description for everyone who chose to have an abortion.  But it does for many.  There was a song written about it, from the father’s perspective, in the 90’s.  It was very popular, and very sad.  There are studies that show statistics around how a mother is affected after she has an abortion.  Again – I know that doesn’t fit everyone.  You are not a statistic.  But it certainly affects many.

So – I am sharing this song, at no cost to you (Other than your time).  However, I will be giving $5 for every download or stream of the song from Bandcamp, to an organization called “New Life Family Services”, specifically for a program they have called “Conquerors”.  This program is designed to minister to mothers who have had abortions, and are struggling or hurting.  If that is you, you are not alone…

You can read about them here and here.

If you want to help, great!  You can give directly from their website, or pay for the song if you so choose.

I’m NOT intending to raise money or awareness to further legislate.  We have enough of that.  I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t fight for that – I just feel that is not my job.  I want to reach your heart.  I want to talk about this.  Of course I want to change your mind on this subject.  As passionate as you are about what you have been conditioned to believe about this being a women’s right issue – I am about you knowing what you already know.

  • You are a human being with intrinsic value
  • Your value comes from the fact that you are created in God’s image
  • You are valued ultimately by God Himself – in a way nobody, including yourself, could fully comprehend
  • This is the same for your, eternally (“I have loved you with an everlasting love” – Jeremiah 31:3)
  • This was the same for you, when you were a baby in the womb…

So I again open this up for discussion.  And I pray that you accept the truth.

3,000, every day…

I love you…

T.

3,000…

 

You Know Me…

You have searched me, Lord, and You know me.
‭‭(Psalm‬ ‭139:1‬)

The creator of the universe, knows me… who the hell am I?  How can I make a claim such as this?  I’m nobody special.  But YAHWEH is, and He made this claim, not I.  He says He numbers the hairs on my head.  Literally He knows every detail about me.  Woah…

But whoever loves God is known by God.
(‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭8:3‬)

You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar.
(Psalm 139:2)

There is nothing – NOTHING – hidden from God…  He knows my every moment, awake or asleep, no matter how “far” I try to get from Him (as if I could).

This verse, taken out of context, sounds a bit like a “santa clause” verse – up there in the North Pole, knows if you’ve been sleeping, or awake, bad or good so be good for goodness sake.  But if taken in context of the entire Psalm, we see that God is neither distant nor conditional in His unfettered love.  We are the ones who are distant and conditional…

You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways.
‭‭(Psalm‬ ‭139:3)

Every detail.  Every mannerism.  Every piece my personality.  You know it, oh LORD…  To be known by You, is immeasurably greater than any and all knowledge I could possess…

…and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God…
‭‭(Ephesians‬ ‭3:19‬)

Before a word is on my tongue
You, LORD, know it completely
(Psalm 139:4)

You know me better than I know myself…

You hem me in behind and before, and You lay Your hand upon me.
‭‭(Psalm‬ ‭139:5‬)

The language the psalmist uses, makes me think of the kind of care a mother gives her newborn child.  The bond a mother has with a child in her womb, I cannot fathom.  I’m told it’s a bond that is stronger than almost anything, and continues through the mother’s life.  So strong, that many will describe their mother as “One who’s very life was her children”.  And that is often true, and so amazing and beautiful.

THIS is the bond God has with those who are His.  And He is eternal!  WOAH!

On the day I gave my life to Christ, I “felt” two things. They weren’t physical, more mentally and emotionally triggered.  But very very real.

One was weight lifted. Shame was no more, at least in that wonderful moment.  I was free…

The other was as if my mother’s hand was placed on my head and the back of my neck.  The sense that I was comforted, safe, LOVED.  The best way I can describe it.  Not some BIG PROFOUND EPIPHANY, or some grand enlightenment.  I did not gain some secret, some knowledge that made me better than anyone else.  I was KNOWN…

“You lay Your hand upon me….”

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
(Psalm 139:6)

Anyone can “know of” a person. I know of many rock stars.  I know of the president – whether that be our current, or any who have been president in my lifetime (and before).  But I don’t KNOW them.

Anyone can read a book, take a class, go to school, get knowledge, and boast in their knowledge.  Which is good – maybe not the boasting part, but getting smarter is good 🙂 – but that’s now what this verse is talking to.

The “knowledge” mentioned in this verse, isn’t head knowledge.  Though God is definitely smarter than I, it’s the fact that He KNOWS me, my every detail.  It’s overwhelming!  The Creator of the universe, knows me???

Now, imagine billions of people, throughout history. and the Creator of the universe KNOWS them.  HOW?  And why would He WANT to?  Who is this God???

We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.
(1 Corinthians 8:1-3)

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
(Psalm 139:7)

“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it…
Prone to leave the God I love…
Here’s my heart, Lord
Take and Seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above”

If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
‭‭(Psalm‬ ‭139:8‬)

“He is jealous for me…
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His grace and mercy…”

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
(Psalm 139:9-10)

“You have my heart completely…”

 

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
‭‭(Psalm‬ ‭139:11-12‬)

Adam tried to hide, when he knowingly sinned against his God…

Peter said to Jesus, “Away from me, Lord, I’m a sinful man…”

Shame is a tool the devil might use against believers (“Nobody will understand…  I must not be saved…”).  Self-righteousness might be a tool he uses against unbelievers (“Who are you to judge?  Did God really say…”).  Both are symptoms of a rebellious heart.  Both drive us to want to hide from our Maker.

But there is no hiding from God.  He never hides from you.  And you cannot hide from Him.  The God who knows you and loves you, will never give up on you.

For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb
(Psalm 139:13)

A child might be a result of a mistake, but that doesn’t make the child a mistake.  A child is never a mistake.

You are not a mistake.  He’s known you since before you were conceived…

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
(Psalm 139:14)

I did not create myself.  Nor was I an accident, or an evolution of sorts descended from some goo or an ape.  I was fearfully and wonderfully made.

And I’m nothing special, by the way.  This same truth applies to you.

The story you’ve been fed, that you are here by chance, diminishes the glory of your Maker, as well as diminishes your value and the value of every single human being.  Every.  Single.  Human.  Created in God’s image.  KNOW THIS.  Stop believing lies.  Know how much your Creator values you.  Yes, you.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
(Psalm 139:15)

Lord, You know me…

 

Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in Your book
before one of them came to be.
(Psalm 139:16)

God has known you, long before you were “knowable” by human standards.  And not just you – that person you see next to you on the bus, or work with.  That guy who cut you off on the freeway.  The person you didn’t vote for – the person who voted for the person you didn’t vote for.  Yeah, God knows them too.

The person you passed on the sidewalk, asking for money…  Have you looked at their face?  Do you know their name?  God does…

The baby in the womb.  Yes, that living human being, with a heartbeat in the first 20 days, with limbs forming, with DNA at conception.  God knows them too…

The person you think is a terrorist.  Whether that be the brown-skinned person you see at the bus stop, or the politician taking away perceived rights – God knows them too…

The needy person at church, or at work or school – “Ugh, I don’t have the energy….” – God knows them too…

Lord, help me to seek to know those You know…  To see them as You see them…

How precious to me are Your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
(Psalm 139:17)

Oh, our precious are the moments, when I seek Your face…  When I wait on You…  When I pour my heart out to You…  When I listen for You…  How I long for more…

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.
(Psalm 34:8)

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for You, my God.
(Psalm 42:1)

How precious to me are Your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with You.
(Psalm 139:17-18)

The mind of God, the thoughts of God, the wisdom of God, we can only strive to know…  But in the striving, in humbly seeking to know God and God’s will for us, we can delight in Him!

When I was young, I used to try and count to a million.  I know I started over many, many times, because I’d lose track of where I left off.  But I kept striving. It wasn’t going to win me any kind of award, or give me recognition.  Still, I wanted to do this.  For some reason, God gave me a mind like that.

When I was older, I was invited to a bible study.  I thought, “Bible study??  Me???  I know NOTHING about the Bible!”.  So I sought (As I had several other times) to read this thing cover to cover.  Much like counting to a million, reading a million pages seemed an attractive mountain to try and scale.

Little did I know God would meet me in my seeking.  Little did I know God’s Word is alive and would penetrate my soul and spirit.  Little did I know He was making me new…

I never did count to a million.  I eventually gave that up.  I would have done the same with God and His word.  I’m wired like that.  Take on a huge project, then give it up when it’s too hard.  Sure, start over a few times – but eventually I’d realize that mountain is too high, and the payout isn’t worth it.  Strangely, that’s not the case with Jesus.  Even in the hard times, I seek Him more and more.  Even in the empty times – I long for Him, more and more.  When I wake, when I sleep – I seek Him more and more…  I don’t think I have anything to do with that…

” You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”
(Jeremiah 29:13)

If only You, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
(Psalm 139:19)

When I was first saved, I LOVED Psalm 139.  But I would stop reading at this point, or skip over these verses, because “Why would David say this???”.  Or even think this?

But there is beauty in this confession of David’s. I  mean – we ALL cast condemnation down on those we deem “wicked” or “bloodthirsty” (which would very often be different than those who were afflicting David and actually seeking to end his life).

Still – if you read this psalm (and others like it) through to the end, you can see that even David is confessing his hatred to God.  Who better to “vomit” on, as my pastor said in a recent sermon.

In these verses, I see a beautiful combination of “vomiting on God” and pleading with Him to make one more like Christ.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth….
(Isaiah 53:7)

They speak of You with evil intent;
Your adversaries misuse Your name.
(Psalm 139:20)

It’s a common phrase, to ask God to damn something or someone.  We think of that as “taking the Lord’s name in vain”.   But what about swearing to God, when you don’t really mean it (which is probably most of the time)?  Or making claims in God’s name that don’t line up with His character?  Or the whole “name it and claim it”, as if God owes me something because I declare it to be so “In Jesus name”.

Still, those are typically associated with those who love, or at least claim to love, the One True God.  I think this verse is pretty clear that it’s referring to those who are militantly against God.  Not just “I don’t care” – the very mention of the name Jesus can flare some people up.  And they’ll let you know, in no uncertain terms.  In some countries, people lose their heads over it, literally…

Here in America, it’s pretty tame.  We instead are thrust with many, many options, sold as equal to, or better than, the One True God.  We are told to prove He exists.  We are told there are many gods, or there is no god.  We are told the very word of God is suspect, and how can you trust it – funny, we’ll trust that person who tells us we can’t trust God at His word.  We’re silly that way.

We’re told God is either unloving, or weak, or both.  And that’s if He even exists.  And even if He doesn’t exist – He’s still unloving and/or weak. Basically, we’re very quick to mock Him.  Very quick…

But make no mistake, God will not be mocked.  Yes, He’s patient, wanting none to perish but all to repent and have eternal life through Christ Jesus. But there will be a reckoning…

It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the LORD,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
(Romans 14:11-12)

“I am YAHWEH; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another
or my praise to idols.”
(Isaiah 42:8)

Do I not hate those who hate You, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against You?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
(Psalm 139:21-22)

Well intention-ed hatred and contempt, is still hatred and contempt.  Whether it be the godless heathen, who not only commits atrocious sins but celebrates others who do the same or worse, or the hypocrite who calls out sin in others yet hides or justifies his or her own – hatred and contempt in our hearts is itself sin…

To be clear – it’s noble to hate what God hates.  Yes, He hates sin.  It seems nobody likes to admit that anymore.  “God doesn’t judge”, I’ve heard people say.  God is the ONLY judge!  The only One worthy to judge – and I’d argue the only One we should trust to judge.  He judged us when He sent His Son to die in our place – while we snubbed our noses at Him, mind you…

You see that?  He hates sin so much, He went after the sinner – YOU AND ME – with everything He had!  Do we do that?  Do we, really?  Do I?  Or do I look at that other sinner contempt, thanking God I’m “not like them”, as they beat their chest and cry out to God their Savior…

We must check our hearts, when we get worked up over sin in the world.  I’d argue, we MUST get worked up about sin in our very self first.  Otherwise that plank is going to do a lot of damage as we try and “wrestle the speck out of our neighbors eye”.  We’re not God, we would do well to give more of our cares to Him.  I would do well to do this…  This does not mean silence, or inaction.  It simply means laying our hearts before the Lord.

I’m encouraged by David’s honesty, in the Psalms.  These verses follow a pretty hefty request, to eliminate the wicked.  We may not want or ask God to KILL those we deem wicked – but we might wish they didn’t exist, or were more like us, or – just listened to the truth.  And here, we see David justifying his request.  “Don’t I hate those who hate you, Lord?”

The honesty in his writing, his pouring out to God, is honorable.  Yet, what is even more honorable, is the fact that he then leaves it at the feet of Jesus, and puts his trust in Him.  “You know better than I, Lord, please show me my error and lead me…”

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
(Psalm 139:23-24)

 

The Songs

old-dogs-cover

Old Dogs

I made this EP as a sort of “tribute” to my friends who played with me in the Moondogs for many years.  Steve Parenteau, Derek Kosch, Tony Preston, Tom Carlon.  We did a lot of shows, made a lot of crappy records – we had a lot of fun.

We did a reunion show last summer, which would have also been 20 years.  Crazy…  It got me thinking, I’d like to re-do some of those older songs.  So – I did!  Here is a rundown.

Burning Bridges – This is really a mish-mash of riffs from various Moondog songs, put into a new song.  I didn’t want to just recreate what we created 20 years ago.  So I opted for something new out of the old.  I like how this song turned out, it has a cool groove.

“Burning Bridges” is not meant to “cut ties with those who are not like me”.  It’s more cutting ties with the temptation to fall into sin.  “I’m a wrecking ball on sin”, applies to my life only – I don’t see myself “wrecking sin” in others’ lives, I think Jesus does that just fine.  🙂  BUT if this song can serve as an encouragement to others, wonderful!

She Don’t Know – I always loved this song, though I’m not sure we ever played it live.  I was trying to reproduce “Somebody’s Baby” by Jackson Browne.  I didn’t really get it 20 years ago, and I didn’t really try to get it this time around.  But I like how this rendition turned out.

Tears Are Falling – Yes, the Kiss song.  This song has nothing to do with my old band.  Although Steve and I did play “Heaven’s On Fire” in our high school band (and horribly).  I put it on, because I thought it fit the tone of the record.  I was listening to this while running, and the thought came to me, “What if Crowded House did this song?”  So I tried to record it with that in mind.  I did keep part of Bruce Kulick’s guitar solo (the only part I could play).  But it’s definitely different than the Kiss version.  I’d like to get them a copy, because Kiss is the reason I ever picked up a guitar.

Cry In Vain – Another song we never played live in the Moondogs.  Not necessarily my favorite.  I can’t recall why I chose this one to re-do?  But I kinda like how it turned out.  Musically, it flows better than it did 20 years ago.  And lyrically, it’s a bit different.  It used to be a song about relational hopelessness.  I changed a few words, and it became a song about hope.  So I like how it turned out.  And I’m getting more into playing the Fender Rhodes on my songs.  Some day maybe I’ll get good at it.

How You Hurt Me – I wanted to write a Rick Springfield song with this one.  It’s a fun song.  We did play this one a lot in the Moondogs.  It was a fun one to play, especially as it explodes at the end.

It’s really kind of a dumb rock song.  I’m ok with that, really.  Rock and roll can be dumb from time to time.  We all need to be silly from time to time.

As I mentioned in my last post, you can get this record on cassette!  And soon on 8-track as well!  Both versions will get you a digital copy – or you can just buy the download if you prefer.

And there is always itunes, Spotify, Amazon, whatever you prefer.

I give the money I make away, because I like to and someone else can use that money.  This time around, I chose an organization called “To Write Love On Her Arms”.  They are a wonderful organization, their mission being:

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

EVERYONE knows someone who struggles with depression or addiction, and/or might even be that person.  While I know money thrown at a problem doesn’t just fix the problem – money given to people who want to fix the problem is never a bad thing.  And my heart’s desire is for people to know they MATTER.  God cares for His children, loves His people.  I want them to know that.  I want YOU to know that.  More than anything, I want you to KNOW that.

If you feel so inclined, you could give to TWLOHA directly.

I really hope you like the record.  There will be more…  🙂

Old Dogs

Look, I’m Just Gonna Make Records…

Yes, I just put a record out in October.  And the one before that, in June.  And a few songs here and there.  AND I am working on another record as we speak.  I’m just going to do that.  It doesn’t matter, because I’m not doing this for a living, I just like to write songs, and make records.  I like how records of old told stories.  I am trying to do that, in some way.

Soooo – I have one out TODAY!  It’s called “Old Dogs”. It was originally going to be a collection of old songs written in the time I was in a band called the Moondogs.  And it mostly is still that.  But I added a cover of Kiss’ “Tears Are Falling”, because I loved that song as a kid, and because – well just because.  🙂

old-dogs-cover

5 songs.  Out today.  I also have it available on CASSETTE TAPE today!

cassette-1

Because why not?  If you have a tape deck in your car, or maybe on your boom box in the garage, why the heck not right?

You can just head on over here to make your purchase.  You’ll see options for cassette, and – yes – 8-track too!  I’m still waiting on the pressing for the 8-tracks, but they will come.  And if you are so inclined, buy one of those too!

A purchase of either tape will get you a digital download as well.  So you can put it on your phone, tablet, PC, iwatch, Google Glass, what have you.  And if you don’t like tapes – first of all what is wrong with you?  – but secondly, you can just buy the digital download here.  Scroll toward the bottom, and you’ll see the digital download.

Of course, there is itunes, Amazon, Spotify and the like.  You can buy or stream to your heart’s content.

I give the money I make away, because I like to and someone else can use that money.  This time around, I chose an organization called “To Write Love On Her Arms”.  They are a wonderful organization, their mission being:

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

EVERYONE knows someone who struggles with depression or addiction, and/or might even be that person.  While I know money thrown at a problem doesn’t just fix the problem – money given to people who want to fix the problem is never a bad thing.  And my heart’s desire is for people to know they MATTER.  God cares for His children, loves His people.  I want them to know that.  I want YOU to know that.  More than anything, I want you to KNOW that.

If you feel so inclined, you could give to TWLOHA directly.

So, that is my new record!  I hope you enjoy!  OH!  And I made a video!  Well – sort of… I did submit it to the Bon Jovi opening band contest.  Who knows maybe I’ll win.  But short of that, you can watch that here.

Thanks dear ones, and I’ll see you soon.

Love,

T.

If You Falter…

If you falter in a time of trouble,
    how small is your strength!
Rescue those being led away to death;
    hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
    Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?
(Proverbs 24:10-12)

Sunday January 22nd marked 43 years since abortion was made legal in this country…

It’s celebrated by so many today, as a woman’s right to her choice, to her own decisions with her body.

It’s mourned by so many others, as a time when we as a nation said, “It’s OK – no righteous – to kill your baby”.

We argue whether or not this baby is a baby – is a life.  When it’s a life.  What determines this child is a living human being.  What determines viability.

It’s become quite the topic, of late.  Political candidates ran on this platform, as they have in the past.  But it seems the lines have been drawn harder than before.  It’s a hill many are willing to die on.

Am I?

I wrote this post in September of 2015.  I talked about not being able to stay “on the fence”.  Then – I got back on the fence…  I never stopped believing what I wrote.  But I – just hid…

I confess, I am a coward.  I am afraid to post even this.  I’m afraid to take the stand.  I’m afraid to offend so many of my friends – to lose friends…  But if what I believe to be true, is true – how can I tremble in the background in fear?  How can I NOT say something?

If you falter in a time of trouble,
    how small is your strength!

So my invitation to talk is still open, to anyone who is willing.  If you think I’m an idiot, a bigot, against women and/or women’s rights, heartless, a monster – SHOW ME why this is the case.  Come talk to me.  Reach out to me, and I will gladly meet with you.  If you think a child with a heartbeat at 18 days is not a living human being – TELL ME why.  Let’s talk about it.

See – I don’t want to hide behind politicians making decisions that may or may not affect law in this country, or in our states.  I am surely interested in that – but I know it’s not the answer to changing hearts and minds.  Hearts and minds changing might however affect law, eventually – certainly it has in that the morality of the day says a women’s right to choose trumps the life of a child.  That didn’t happen overnight.  And I think short of Jesus returning, that likely doesn’t get reversed overnight.  43 years plus of the message that abortion is necessary, a right, GOOD, will affect us as a people.  Think about that…

So – let’s talk…

But I understand that an invitation will likely be met with silence.  Or an online argument that gets heated beyond what I am comfortable with – I’m willing to go there, and I will be patient and hear you out, responding with respect.  Or the invitation will be met with me being unfriended on social media.  Or labeled.  Or all of the above.  I get it.  There is a line in the sand.  One must choose sides.  It’s just not a topic anyone can speak passively on, or really, avoid.

I fear speaking out about such a divisive topic today could hinder my ability to share the good news of Jesus Christ.  But really, Jesus – God in flesh – came to save the weak, the oppressed, the sinners (all of us).  That’s this child growing inside of you, as much as it is YOU, dear mother…

And know that I am not here to condemn you, if you have had an abortion.  Just as I have plead with those I love getting a divorce, “Don’t do it!”, only to love them and move forward with them after they still made the decision to end the marriage, I would do the same for you.  Heck – that is what Jesus did for me…  That’s what He does for us…

Rescue those being led away to death;
    hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
    Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?

That passage, has been used before in pro-life talks.  I think it is important to note, those “being led away to death”, that isn’t necessarily applying to the child growing inside of you.  It applies to you, mother.  To you, father.  To you, doctor.  To you, pro-choice advocate.  To all of us.  My Lord – that’s what Jesus did for us…

No idea who might read this.  I don’t get a lot of readers.  But if  you are in a situation, where you or someone you know are considering abortion, know there are options.  Here are just a couple, in the Twin Cities:

http://www.nlfs.org/

http://www.mypregnancychoicesmn.com/

It’s only a couple of options, I know.  I’m sure many could list other options, possibly better options.  And I would appreciate that greatly, as I would love to provide every option to those faced with these decisions.

I know that some of you are facing something I’m not.  I know that having a child will affect you for the rest of your life.  But really – the pregnancy, whether going to term or being ended prematurely – will affect you the rest of your life.  It does not go away with abortion.  You were still a mother, once…

Grace and peace…

T.

Celebrities, Our Worldview, and Jesus

There have been a few things that our celebrities have said and done, of late, that has brought on much ado in the social media realm.  QBs taking a knee, actors lamenting our president-elect, celebs pleading with our electoral college to “vote their conscience”.  We as a people have either celebrated them or lambasted them for their public displays.  I’ve read often how these people have a responsibility to us, how they shouldn’t do or say these things, or shouldn’t be allowed to.  Huh?  Wha???

Sorry to say, but it’s their platform, not ours.  They can say or do anything within the law.  Sure, there might be consequences for their action.  People have been fired, etc.  But they won’t be going to jail for it.  At least not in our country.  At least not today.

And I am fascinated at how we as a people REACT to it!  We want them to shut up and just do what we pay them to say or do.  But we didn’t buy THEM.  We bought their services, their entertainment.  I may not agree with them – I very often don’t – but let ’em say and do what they are going to say and do.  It’s ok, really it is, if your favorite actor doesn’t agree with you on everything, or really – anything.  It’s ok if they do or say something stupid – that’s not a reflection of you.

I also find it fascinating, how we will use a celeb as “social media leverage”.  I’m guilty of this myself.  Sure, if Bono says something that resonates with me, often in a way much more eloquent than I could even think, I’m all about that.  I will probably re-post.  As will so many others.

Same goes for our celebrities opinions on Trump, Clinton. Obama, Planned Parenthood, gun control, bathrooms, on and on.  It’s as if someone I like says something I agree with, now I MUST be right!  And we’ll take that and turn it into a meme, so everyone can throw it around.  Sorta like when the cool guy says something cool that put the other guy in his place.  And we are the little weenie behind them, saying, “Yeah, take THAT!”

And what about what celebs think and say of Jesus?

So often we might hear about how Jesus was a good teacher, a pacifist, almost a zen Buddhist.  Not much different than so many of us, who don’t know Him personally.  Described in impersonal terms.  Described often in positive ways, but rarely or never with a deep reverence.  Described almost never as the One True God…

An example, although a bit older, is this.  In his post, John Fugelsang describes a Jesus that seems to threaten the Jesus many Christians claim to know.  Maybe for some.  I don’t know.

But what I do know is Mr. Fugelsang, like so many others who have shared these or similar thoughts, never referred to Jesus as God.  He describes Jesus, as if He was just a man, in history, like any other.  And I don’t know John, maybe that’s what he thinks?  If so – I’m sorry to say John Fugelsang, you do not know Jesus.  I could argue that from some of your descriptions – but my point isn’t to refute your descriptions or correct your misconceptions of Jesus.  But if you don’t think Jesus is God, you simply do not know Him…  And that is so sad…

So, given all this celeb opinion talk of late, I thought I’d spend some time re-posting some comments that Jesus Himself, the ultimate celebrity, made about Himself.  These are but a handful, there are so many more.  And there are so many descriptions of Jesus in the Gospels.  But these are a small handful of descriptions of Jesus, in His own words.

“I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:13)

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58)

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I, the One speaking to you—I am He.”  (John 4:25-26)

So these are just a few.  There are so many more.  I encourage you to read them for yourself.  I encourage you to get to know this God, who so loved YOU, that He gave His very life as a ransom for yours.  I don’t want you to read about, hear about, some hippie Jesus who may have said some nice things to say, who “never cared about the small stuff”, who “did not judge”.

Nor do I want you to be buried with a Jesus who tells you, “You must clean up your act”, or, “You aren’t good enough”, or, “Try harder”, or, “You know better”.  He did not say that.

I want you to know the Jesus who said He came to set the captives free,  who said He did not come to condemn the world, but to save it through Him, who says He has loved you with an everlasting love

We’ll likely be enthralled, or appalled, by the next celebrity speech, or tweet, or action.  It’s kinda what we do.  But the more we fix our eyes on the One True God, who He is, what He says, maybe – just maybe – the less we’ll focus on our worldly idols.

 

 

Not My President?

Differing weights and differing measures—
    the Lord detests them both.
(Proverbs 20:10)

Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”
    Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.

The Lord detests differing weights,
    and dishonest scales do not please him.
(Proverbs 20:22-23)

So, as far as I can tell, it’s now official.  Donald Trump is our next president.  I know there has been much ado over whether or not the electoral college would “vote their conscience”, and not for Trump.  I’m not sure, has that ever been encouraged to this degree in previous elections?  Maybe?  I’ve never paid attention.  In fact, I didn’t pay it much attention this time either – just that there have been so many postings, videos, etc.

People have attacked Trump, Trump voters, Trump supporters, Never-Trumpers, Anti-Trumpers, Never-Ever-Anti-Anti-Trumpers.  Pretty much EVERYONE has been vilified, threatened, harassed – some even harmed, due to the results of this election.  I had a dear friend seek out his Facebook “friends”, looking for Trump voters or supporters, and systematically unfriending each one. And then call out for others, who may be hiding.

And – even encourage them to take their own lives…

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
(Matthew 7:1-2)

For some, these verses I post may mean nothing.  I get that.  But they do mean everything to me.  And when I read the verses in Proverbs 20, I think about what Jesus said about judging others, as referenced in Matthew 7.  See, it’s very, very easy for us as humans to hold others to a standard we don’t want to hold ourselves to.  And before you jump to, “Oh, I don’t do that!”, please look at your heart with sober judgement.  Are you being honest?

Donald Trump is my next president.  Because I’m an American citizen.  He wasn’t my choice.  I don’t like him, or at least what I’ve seen of him.  I’m saddened by his behavior – past and present.  I’m completely flabbergasted that he thinks tweeting relentlessly about things that – just shouldn’t be said by a president, or – ANYONE really –  in public for the world to digest – is acceptable, presidential behavior.

Please don’t get me wrong – he has EVERY right to tweet away, to his hearts content.  As do we all.  But it’s just – childish…  I wish he would stop…

But he’s my next president.

And guess what?  If you are an American citizen, he’s yours too.

And further – I think he’s the president we ALL wanted.  Stop and think about that for a minute.  Even if we didn’t want Trump in office – we wanted this…  Oh, we wanted this… On his Twitter activity alone, he’s a perfect reflection of what we have become as a social media society.

Don’t agree?

Look at your social media feeds.  You all see it, if you haven’t blocked everyone you disagree with, or hidden all but pictures of cute grandkids and awesome recipes.  And even if you have blocked everyone you disagree with – read closely the language used by those you DO agree with.  Is IT “presidential”?  Yes, I know, you’re not the president-elect, nor are your friends.  But most of you who might read this ARE adults.  Is it becoming of you, or whomever may have posted it?  Does it foster conversation, discussion, even debate?  Or does it build walls and shut all communication down?  Does it foster love, or hate?  Would you say it to someone’s face, without a care as to how they might be hurt or offended?

The news does the same thing – no matter where you get your news.  Pick your poison.  We might get a nice feel-good piece on occasion.  But much of it is drama, because drama sells.  It stirs us up.  And we buy more and more, further feeding the beast inside us that so wants to hate…

Yes, there is a lot of bad going on in the world.  Yes, we should stand up for those who are oppressed.  Yes, we should absolutely be saddened, shocked, appalled, at what has happened in Aleppo, at Standing Rock, with the recent shooting of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, the bombings this year in France and Orlando and Istanbul, and elsewhere, the taking of innocent lives – whether by police officers, private citizens, mothers, fathers, sons or daughters.  We should be appalled.

But are we becoming people who have forgotten how to forgive?  Have we let fear and anxiety and hatred of our perceived enemy overcome us, to the point where we cannot love?  Someone I know made these cool shirts with the slogan, “Love trumps fear”.  And it does!  But are you letting it?

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
(1 John 4:18)

FEAR – is what is making so many lash out against the election, against Trump, against those who may support him.  FEAR – is what is making so many feel the need to DEFEND Trump and call those who have expressed their disdain for him less than honorable names.  FEAR – is what seemed to enable some to finally feel “empowered” to do some very deplorable things to Muslims, gays, blacks, hispanics, women, and anyone else I may have forgotten to mention, in the name of our next president.  FEAR – is what leads so many of us to respond almost in kind, attacking our next president for not saying anything about all this, or if he does he “doesn’t really mean it”.  FEAR – is what leads us to see all the ugly going on and assume that is what the next four years will be like.  And if we allow our fear to rule – that IS what the next four years will be like…

We don’t have to fear Trump.  Even IF he were as completely horrible as he’s been made out to be in news and social media (and as much as I dislike him, I do not think that’s even remotely the case), we don’t have to fear him.  Love truly does trump fear.  And whether you believe in an all-powerful mighty, just, loving God or not – you were created in His image.  Which means you have in you a desire to love and be loved.

Will you feed the desire to love and be loved in you?  Or will you feed the beast that fears and hates?

I have another dear friend, whom I recall some years ago, calling out the “anti-Bush” people, who would not acknowledge him as president, or give him any sort of respect that our president should receive – only to be the one treating President Obama with the very same disrespect…

Some might jump to the conclusion my friend was a racist.  But he wasn’t a racist.  He was just a hypocrite.  As am I sometimes.  As are we all…  But we don’t have to stay that way.  We do not…

President-elect Trump is not the president I wanted.  But come January, he will be my president.  And yours as well.

Differing weights and differing measures—
    the Lord detests them both.
(Proverbs 20:10)