Not How But Why

Don’t tell me how I should take this medicine doctor. Please tell me why I should take it. How to take it is confusing. Why I should take it bewilders me. I don’t need to know how. I need to know why.

This is a common conversation. It goes something like this.

All I seem to do now is keep appointments. There’s an appointment to my dentist. There’s an appointment to my heart doctor. There’s an appointment to my cancer doctor. There’s an appointment to my primary care doctor. I have so many appointments that I don’t have time for life. The great disappointment is I have all these appointments and I am not getting any better.

I wake up and select from a variety of pill bottles to decide which pill should be taken at which time. Should I eat first or drink some water? Should the blue pill be taken with a fatty meal or can it be taken on an empty stomach. Should the red one be taken with orange juice? And what about this injection? Can I put it in my arm muscles or on my abdomen? Should I apply the ointment to my face, or lower leg? Does this brace go on my ankle or knee? When is my next appointment?

I can see the frustration and though I don’t have the personal experience to understand, I do know this can be depressing. If life is nothing but trying to stay alive it becomes meaningless. I must help my patients find a meaning for life and purpose. The how means nothing if the why is not worth it. The ends must outweigh the means. If I can find a purposeful life, I can justify any means for living.

Dear doctor, at my next appointment don’t leave me disappointed. Help me find meaning for life and purpose to move forward. Don’t just tell me how should live. Tell me why I should live.

John 16:33 King James Version (KJV)
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

By The Sword

Yesterday 22 veterans killed themselves.
Would you please pass the butter?

Today 22 veterans will kill themselves.
What do you think of the Dallas Cowboys?

Tomorrow 22 veterans kill themselves.
What is the weather supposed to be?

The day after tomorrow 22 veterans will kill themselves.

This is beginning to sound redundant.
Let’s try something different.

We had another mass shooting.
Are you coming to my birthday party?

Between 1955 and 1975, the Vietnam War killed over 58,000 American soldiers – less than the number of civilians killed with guns in the U.S. in an average two-year period.

In the first seven years of the U.S.-Iraq War, over 4,400 American soldiers were killed. Almost as many civilians are killed with guns in the U.S. every seven weeks. https://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-deaths-and-injuries-statistics/

Most of the 30,000-gun deaths in this country are suicide, almost 19,000 annually. Yes, we pray for and have generous kind thoughts of for those who are killed in senseless mass shootings as we should. But we are a nation that has never come to terms with its senseless violence committed against civilian populations around the world.

This nation slaughtered the original inhabitants, enslaved its workforce and their descendants, terrorized the generations that followed. We tolerated and applauded lynching of vulnerable citizens. We were built on exploitation and murder.

Our endless wars are…, endless and senseless. The bomb precisely hits the target. The shrapnel hits the wedding celebration nearby, killing the family or others who are hunkered down trying to survive a civil uprising.

Somehow, we are supposed to make us feel safer at home. Our military assaults nations that do not acknowledge our greatness. We do so in the name of manifest destiny, stopping communism and bringing down dictatorships or keeping peace in the region. We enjoy killing people. Most time it never even makes the news.

President John F. Kennedy said that: ‘mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.’

During the height of the Vietnam war Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King noted that it costs $500,000 to kill one Vietcong soldier while we spend at that time $53 to fight poverty.

Imagine the relative costs today after 20 years of war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and all the continuous covert hostilities which never make the news.

Jesus said: ‘Put up again your sword in your place: for all that take up the sword shall perish with the sword.’ Matthew 26:52

We will continue to perish by the sword because we relish the power it brings us to kill others without consequence. Or at least, we don’t think so.

Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Whom To Hate

The soldier asked his Commander
A question we all could relate
Friend and foe look so much alike
How can we know whom to hate?

There is a slight distinction
In their speech I do detect flaws
If I hold them in prolonged isolation
I’m within confines of present laws

If they shout and make great demands
I can pretend that I just don’t hear
After all that’s what Jesus would do
He would make them cower in fear

Though some may be good people
The bad ones are hard to detect
But if I let any of them live near me
Who will my interests protect?

The Commander gave a soft retort
You must have read the wrong orders
I AM the King of all lands
I don’t respect nations or borders

My commands is to love My creations
That My love they know and can’t doubt
Love them all with genuine compassion
I AM THE ONLY ONE who sorts out

If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:
Jeremiah 7:6 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jer.7.6.KJV

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:45‭-‬48 KJV

When it comes to sex…, silence

Everyone in the waiting room was quiet. I think, or at least I hoped they were feeling sorry for me. He was screaming, yelling and looked as if he would resort to violence. He exclaimed; ‘what right have you to tell me how to live my life? Who made you judge and jury? What does it matter to you if I have sex with 50 or 500 men or women? This is my life and it is my right to do with my body as I want. You have the responsibility to treat me without asking me a lot of questions. So just do your job and leave the preaching and lectures to those other self-righteous SOB’s. And with that, he was gone.

The other patients noticed the sweat on my brow, but, because I was wearing a lab coat, they never noticed the perspiration under my arms. If they had taken my pulse it would have revealed my real stress level. They remained silent.

When it comes to sex, we almost all remain silent. I needed to remain silent. I needed to be swift to hear, slow to speak and of course give no place to wrath. The silent part is what is difficult for me. Silence has its place for sure but when it comes to sex, we need to speak.

We remain silent about the epidemic sweeping across this nation. The analysis published by CDC notes the severe human and economic burden of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the United States. The new estimates indicate that there are about 20 million new U.S. infections each year, half of which occur among the nation’s youth. Annually, there are more than 110 million STIs in the United States, which cost the health care system approximately $16 billion yearly in medical costs alone.

We remain silent. We are pummeled by the voices that tell us we have no right to speak about how people live. They have their rights regardless of the consequences to their health or the public health. We are averse to being criticized for being moralists and purists.

The Christian church is ridiculed for claiming moral high-ground. In fact this moral high-ground has been compromised since the advent of Christianity. The apostle Paul wrote about it to the church at Corinth when he noted that a man was living with his father’s wife and the church had done nothing to condemn this (1 Corinthians 5:1-8).

Sexual immorality was tolerated throughout Christendom, now even more prominently noted in the scandals rocking both the Catholic and Protestant denominations with rape of children and women. Part of the reticence to speak on these issues is the self-awareness that we have plenty of ‘mote’s in our own eyes’ as the Lord would say (Luke 6:41). Put another way, as Paul writes in Romans 1:32 when speaking on sexual immorality ‘Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which do such things are worthy of death not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.’

The American Christian church has tolerated and indulged in everything it has labeled as sexual sin and hence, its moral high-ground is quicksand. It cannot speak authoritatively on these issues as it stood by when men of ‘high moral Christian character’ raped the native and enslaved populations with impunity and went to worship God without ever having to recognize or repent of this evil.

We must discuss the issue as if it were any other public health issue. That takes away the judgemental attitude. Few, if any, deny the negative effects of cigarettes, heroin, cocaine, alcohol or other substance addictions. The magazines, radio, television and billboards display and discuss the deadly affect of these chemicals and the social consequences. But when it comes to sex, we remain silent, especially when it is within our own parishes and congregations.

We need to speak, but we must recognize that many of us have been guilty of the same sins of which now we find repulsive (1 Corinthians 6:11). This self awareness softens the rhetoric and allows us to be still in the face of heated criticism and vitriol that comes our way. We must remain silent when the world is shouting at us. Jesus suffered the accusations against Him without responding. But we must speak firmly and without reservation when the opportunity arises. Our firm commitment to what is right and righteous in our own lives will speak louder than the volume of our voices.

James 1:19 Tells us to be ‘swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath’.

Speak the truth in love.

Every Soul Matters

Every soul matters
Each is special to Me
Every life is important
This I want you to see

When he begs on the corner
When her body she bares
He snorts, smokes or injects
Do more than just stare

Don’t demean or disgrace
Don’t pretend you don’t see
Every life is important
Every soul matters to Me

Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard. Proverbs 21:13 KJV

Wealthless not Worthless

Are the wealthless worthless?
Does God know their names?
Do the dispossessed matter?
Or only those rich with fame?

Do the penniless count?
Should the naked stay bare?
Does God even notice?
Does God even care?

When the hungry do faint
When the wounded do cry
Does God intervene?
Or stand idly by?

I accuse You Creator
You should intervene
You watch disasters unfold
You were first on the scene

Then I heard His soft voice
Yes, it matters to Me
Now I give you a choice
You can answer their plea

You can comfort the lost
Provide shelter from cold
You can visit the prisons
Use the advantage you hold

Give the thirsty clean water
Those blind to hope, help them see
Tell the wealthless they are worthy
They are made worthy by Me

Matthew 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

Occurred

Has it ever occurred to yo
That it never occurred to Me
All the things you decided to do
Are the things I foresaw I did see

I am neither distraught or dismayed
Neither confused or surprised
The events and things you call news
Have long played out in my eyes

You can relax and take a deep breath
Take confidence I AM all that is true
I don’t predict, set in motion
Nothing is out of my power or purview

And here’s why: God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding. He’s a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well, a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere. He keeps his eye on all who live honestly, and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones.
Proverbs 2:6‭-‬8 MSG

Now

I worry about the future
The why when who and how
Don’t focus on what will come
Pay attention to the now

Self absorbed, self centered
At the altar to myself I bow
Worrying can’t change the future
Pay attention to the now

Needless concern, sleep lost
Greet morning with furrowed brow
If God’s in control
Pay attention to the now

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
Matthew 6:34 MSG

A picture of God

The man looked on in cynicism as the little girl composed a picture of God. She was only 6 years old and her crayons were scattered chaotically on the floor. She obviously had no idea of what she was doing.

He asked her with a sneer; “Nobody really knows what God looks like. So why are you doing this?”

Her simple answer was; “Well they will know what He looks like when they see my picture of Him!”

I was reminded by a friend that I must live my life in such a way that people who don’t know Jesus but do know me, will want to know Jesus because they do know me.

We live in a world of chaotically scattered crayons. Families members not speaking, neighbors ignoring neighbors, nations at war, famine, disaster and disease scatter the landscape of our lives. Can we draw a picture of God in this?

This is the God who created order from chaos. Can He use us to do the same?

We have the ministry of reconciliation. That is the picture we are to draw.

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
2 Corinthians 5:18 KJV

What kind of picture am I drawing?

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:16 KJV

More Mercy and Grace

I squandered my health
My wealth I did waste
I asked God’s forgiveness
God gave more mercy and grace

I offended and abused
Behind backs and straight to face
Now alone, who will love me
God gave more mercy and grace

When the world has abandoned
When you^ve no hiding place
I AM never forsakes you
God gives more mercy and grace

If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
Psalms 139:8 KJV