Next Shiny Thing

I want to confess You are Lord
I want to confess you as King
But just when I am ready to speak
I discuss the next shiny thing

You are worthy of all honor and glory
More worthy than any gift I can bring
Your majesty and splendor obscured
As I admire the next shiny thing

I want to adore You and worship
With words that I speak and I sing
But just as I open my mouth
I speak only of the next shiny thing

Creator God, Sweet Savior, Sustainer
Holy Ghost sending angels on wing
Please protect me from even myself
So I don’t chase the next shiny thing

1 Corinthians 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

1 Timothy 6:18 “That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;”

Proverbs 23:4
Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

Matthew 13:22

He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

He Listens

When everyone else has answers
When everyone else has positions
When everyone else has conclusions
My Savior holds me and He listens

When everyone else has no doubts
When everyone else has decisions
When everyone else has their minds closed
My Savior hugs me and He listens

When everyone else still remembers
When they conclude my guilt without condition
When everyone else walks away
My Savior stands with me and He listens

He doesn’t care if I am right or am wrong
He doesn’t care if I’ve made pure contrition
What matters to Him is my salvation, so
My Savior comforts, and He listens

If you are struggling with the pain of opinions
If others hold you in contempt and derision
If you are filled with self-doubt and regret
Come to the Christ Jesus and He will just listen

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
KJV Psalm 4:6…8

Compassion not Coercion

He was completely vulnerable, paralyzed from the waist down and exposed. I had done this to him. These were circumstances beyond his control. He needed the surgery performed and the only way to do this was to get him in this weakened and defenseless state. I placed the spinal anesthesia, prepped and draped his abdomen and prepared to convince, coerce and convert while he all he really wanted was to be healed.

I took advantage of this situation. Opportunities like this only presented 5-6 times daily. People who need my help and are willing to do whatever it takes for me to render them the service required. I start with questions like this: “Do you know where you will spend eternity when you die?”

Why should I be subtle? He is already frightened about the surgery, I am wearing a mask and holding a knife in my hand. Subtlety is unnecessary luxury to a surgeon, I ask again: “Are you prepared to meet Jesus if you die right now?” In this state of helplessness, he is very likely to give me whatever answer will steady my hand, help the procedure to go well and speed his recovery.

I was encouraged to do this approach by the fact that numbers seem to matter to us in ministry. ‘How many converts have you made Dr. Johnson?’ This question means; how many people have I won to Christ? How many people have I been able to make a public statement of profession in Christ. After all we know numbers are important to God. He wants us to have bigger numbers than those other religions.

Of course, I am being facetious, and I hope you have picked up on this by now. The real take on this as that we are so focused on coercion that we lose compassion in the process. Christ never told us to convert people to the faith. He did command us to love and make disciples. We have become legalists in our profession as Christian healers. We expect the law to do what only grace can do. Only grace manifest through our compassion can win people to Christ. Otherwise we are coercing people at their most vulnerable state. Single mothers, the substance and sexual addicts and those who for whatever reason remain confused are paralyzed and vulnerable to the continuing onslaught of moral suasion of the world.

The evidence that God loves them will come through compassion, not by political, social or moral coercion They are paralyzed by their life choices, chances and circumstances. They need compassionate healing of their wounds. Let’s practice our profession with compassion.

Matthew 11:4-5 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Too Dumb Too Poor To Breed

Dear Dumb, Poor Woman;

As a trained, compassionate, capable and caring healthcare professional, it is my carefully considered opinion that you are too dumb and too poor to breed. You neither have the social bearing, economic potential nor the intellectual wherewithal to continue to carry the life that is growing in your womb. Based upon the data collected from communities like yours from around the nation, and the globe, I would advise you not have a baby. Instead you should terminate it within the timeframe allowed by the laws of the land. By delaying this termination; technically known as abortion, you may find yourself contributing to the moral decay of our society by bearing another person who behaves just like you. This is especially important if the life in your womb has a defect! Think of how awful it would be to actually have your child born handicapped and have to live like the other handicapped people in the world. Think of what people would say if your child had birth defects and after all, who wants to spend the time and money to care for such kind of ‘people’?

There are several options I present to you. Let me explain it in terms that someone like you can easily understand. First, you could choose to have the baby forcefully pushed from your body by using some very strong hormones. This is cheaper, but it must be done early on before you can actually feel the baby growing inside of you. The baby can hardly be seen at all at that time so no one really knows what is happening, unless they test your urine or do an ultrasound of your uterus. If you catch it even earlier, like just after you have had sexual intercourse, no one has to know at all.

So it is for your own good that I strongly advise you to avoid any delay late into your pregnancy, so that we don’t have to resort to the following procedures.

“D&E” (dilation and evacuation). The physician inserts a long toothed clamp through the woman’s vagina into the uterus. She/he grabs body parts of the fetus at random, breaks them from the body and pulls them out. Finally, the head is crushed and extracted. Finally, the placenta and any remaining parts of the fetus are suctioned from the uterus.1

“D&X” (dilation and extraction) The woman’s cervix is dilated. If necessary, the fetus is rotated until it is facing feet downwards. The surgeon reaches into the uterus and pulls the fetus’ body, with the exception of its head, out of the woman’s body. Surgical scissors are inserted into the base of the fetal skull, and withdrawn. A suction tube is inserted and the fetus’ brains are removed through aspiration. This partially collapses the fetal skull. The fetus is then fully removed from the woman’s body.2

I hope I have convinced you of the importance of making the right decision both for you and society as a whole. Please don’t listen to anyone who says they are helping you to make decisions that favor you keeping your baby. They would have you believe that the life growing in you is special. That would mean you are special too. Who would dare believe such a thing? As I said we don’t need a world full of dumb, poor and handicapped people. One of them might grow up to be a world leader. Who would want that?

Sincerely yours with great care,

On behalf of; Rich and Powerful Professionals, Politicians, Lobbyists and Other Nice People

Pro-Choice Politics in the Back Alleys of Africa

by Michael Johnson, MD

He forcefully took the woman by her arm. She resisted. He persisted.Her 5-foot, 90-pound frame was no match for his 7-foot, 240 pounds. At 80 plus years she refused to allow this 30-year-old man to have his way with her. However, both of them knew she would tire first. She did. He finally got her to agree to allow him to help her across the street. She neither smiled, nor said thank you. Why should she? She had just been dragged to this side by another “do-gooder” and would now miss her bus a second time. This is not the street she wanted to cross.

“If they don’t legalize abortions, women will seek them out in the back alleys and die from the complications.” So goes the old mantra that seeks to justify the push for “abortion rights” for poor women in the developing world. As well-meaning, nice people fight for the reproductive health rights of poor women, do they ever ask, “Is that the street they want to cross?” The simple fact is that most maternity facilities in most of these countries are not much better than “back-alley” birthing centers.

Why is it that the politically rich and powerful, yet resource-poor nations want to “help” the women of the resource-rich, yet politically poor nations abort their babies? Is it the interest of poor women’s health? Is this a human, women, or civil rights issue? Is it in the interest of the socioeconomic development of the recipient nations? Or is this to satisfy and supplement the living standards of the rich? After all, there are limited resources on the planet.

Rich donors want to convince poor mothers that it is normal to suck, scrape, and forcibly remove their unborn babies in bloody bits and pieces. Those who could afford the high-end clinics would get anesthesia. The 80 percent plus majority, however, would just have to sweat it out, just as they do when giving birth. Alternatively they could use the intentional ingestion, injection, or insertion of poisons, hormones, or other agents to cause the warm safe uterus to prematurely expel the individual being created inside of their bodies. The “fearfully and wonderfully made” is terminated and disposed of like a piece of rotten meat (Psalm 139:14). These women won’t listen. They want a safe baby, not a dead one.

Alternatively, donors could help provide sanitized or even clean environments for childbirth. They could replace the usual birth places of mud huts surrounded by garbage and raw sewage of the city slums, or dusty rural villages. A 20 percent death rate by age 3 could be markedly reduced by such simple measures. African mothers would welcome that help.

Abortion on demand (our demand) sends the poor mothers a message. It tells them it is best to abort, because statistically, they die in childbirth at a rate 300 times that of a mother in America or Europe. They will most likely deliver a premature, underweight, infected baby with a 100-200 times the chance of dying compared to those born in those developed nations (maternal death rates are as high as 1 in 15 in Africa versus 1 in 3,750 in America). Should she cross that street?

To say it simply, there is a contrast. For African mothers, having children defines them. For American mothers, having children confines them.

Mothers in America can legally “plan” their families by eliminating the nuisance of delivering a child. A child may be an inconvenient drain on their personal resources of time and money. They have the luxury of waiting for the convenience of marriage, sperm banks, hormone manipulations and injections, embryonic implants, and even surrogate mothers. Abortion is legal, and as medically safe as normal delivery. Hence a woman can “plan” which child to keep and which to throw away, as easily as updating her wardrobe. These mothers value their independence and personal freedom. Having children confines them.

In the developing world, the continuing saga of wars, civil strife, famine, plague, and the almost complete absence of ante-natal care rob mothers of the luxury of planning their families. They have seen and borne enough death. Telling them how to kill their unborn is not the street they want to cross. Their wardrobe is limited by what they have on their backs. Women in these cultures value their interdependence and personal responsibility to family and community. Having children defines them.

Children in America are part of a culture of “throw-away” non-recyclables. Whatever is inconvenient or too costly to store somewhere, like in a womb for instance, we throw away. African women don’t have that convenience. African children add value to a mother. A woman is beautiful, mature, rich, and useful if she bears children. In America, a woman is defined as mature, rich, and useful by how much money she brings home or how “beautiful” she is physically. The sooner she regains her B.C. (before childbearing) hourglass figure back, the sooner she regains her personal value.

In Africa, beauty is a woman who bears children. To be childless can mean a woman is useless and even cursed. Being “full figured” is a sign of beauty. Abortion is counter-culture. This is crossing the wrong street.

Children are insurance for the mother’s welfare in Africa. They enhance her value as a woman of substance. They don’t have the privilege of insurance, social security, pension plans, unemployment compensation, or medical insurance to assure they will be taken care of in later years. Children are part of continuing the prosperity of the family and community.

So as the west prides itself on helping poor mothers obtain their “god-given” rights to abort a child, mothers in the developing world want the right to life for their unborn. We are either naïve or casual and callus in ignoring their pleas. We are imposing our will on their bodies. It is our freedom of choice for their bodies. It is the wrong street. We should not expect a thank you or smile for service rendered.

Michael Johnson, MD, and his wife, Kay, have been involved with overseas missionary work since 1984. Their work has included a brief trip to Zaire (Congo), where they worked in Tandala Hospital for a period of seven weeks and again to Kenya in 1987 for a period of seven weeks. They began full-time work overseas in 1989 when they were accepted with World Gospel Mission of Marion, Indiana, to work at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya, East Africa. The Johnsons now make their home in Kenya to help provide healthcare to the over 30,000 street children of Nairobi and to help in the training of Kenyan physicians. They are also involved with several development projects, providing schools, water sources, farming, and medical assistance to underdeveloped communities. Through these ministries, many orphaned children are now being placed in Christian families by adoption and foster care. The Johnsons have four adult children: Elijah, Christina, Emmanuel, and Keturah, and two grandchildren. Their home church is Tasker Street Missionary Baptist Church in South Philadelphia.

Prayer, a Lame Excuse: My Soft Response

I see the pictures. I see the naked, crying, hungry children and women displayed on practically every screen of the news. I see parents and friends of children cry on television as they moan and bemoan the loss of their loved ones. What is my response? It is soft. Let me pray about it. I will really, REALLY, REALLY pray about it. How often have I said this?

What I really mean is: ‘Leave me alone, I have my own problems and I don’t want this to crowd out my personal concerns.’

My prayer is a lame excuse, a soft response for doing nothing. I ask God to do what He has told me to do. I appear holy, pious and a deeper thinker, while all the time I continue to enrich my life with things that are important to me and mine. I ignore the real pain of doing something meaningful by doing soft things like group prayer, chain prayer, Facebook prayer, Instagram prayer and a host of other soft things.

I put my loose change in the McDonald’s charity box or seasonal Salvation Army Kettle, give a generous tip to the apparent immigrant waiter and of course, as a ‘sincere follower of Jesus’, pay my tithes.

The problems and challenges in front of me are obvious. The needs of the hungry, the naked, the sexually abused and exploited are just a remote screen click away. I must click quickly to something pleasurable, before feeling the other painful events unfolding either in my neighborhood, nearby county or other parts of the globe. My soft response is a lame excuse;’ let me pray about it.

Actually the Holy Spirit is asking me to become personally involved with these who are hurting, as He is personally involved with me.

My Father holds me personally responsible, not for the outcome, but for my response. The outcome is beyond my personal control. My response however is what He holds me personally accountable for, both now and in eternity. You were hungry, thirsty, naked, in prison and sick and I prayed about it.

Matthew 25:31-46

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

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.

46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Jesus at His Worst Was at His Best

We are over celebrating the Christ child and well into the new year. Now it is time to look for Jesus at His worst. It seems so easy to celebrate the birth of child who comes into the world naked to be wrapped in swaddling clothes. But to celebrate the death of a man stripped naked and nailed to a cross feels disgusting and unnatural. Why should we prepare to celebrate death, just a few months after celebrating birth?

The crucifixion is the purpose of Christ’s arrival. It is not wrong to celebrate His birth, but He did not come for that purpose. His miraculous birth was a setup for His marvelous death. It was the cross where He was hanged and demonstrated that at His worst, He was at His best. He proclaimed: “Father forgive them…”.

His words speak today to my own selfish and corrupt nature. I ignore His command to put others before myself, to turn the other cheek, to forebear, forgive and forget.

If Jesus could suffer for doing what is good, right, honorable and holy in His Father’s eyes, then what about me? He was betrayed and left alone by His disciples who had still not grasped His teachings. He was treated as a criminal for telling the truth, healing the sick, raising the dead and feeding the hungry. He did nothing that His Father saw as worthy of death, but here He hangs and He is at His worst.

He is hungry, tired, in pain and embarrassed to be displayed naked and bruised. In this moment of grief, when He is at His worst as depicted in the Bible, Jesus is at His very best. He demonstrates that best by saying: “Father forgive them”

I need to be at my best when I am at my worst. When I feel let down, misunderstood and not appreciated, that is the time I need the Holy Spirit to dwell in me to help me be at my best. I need to forebear, forgive and forget. I need to be at my best when I feel I am at my worst. The Holy Spirit can accomplish that, if I am willing to ask His intervention.

Luke 23:34-45 King James Version (KJV)
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

Common Recipes of the Impoverished Or How to Prepare For Famine in Three Easy Steps

How do you prepare for famine if you have never even known hunger? Here is the trick. Try these easy three step recipes.

Before starting, prepare yourself by fasting for three days. Because you are unfamiliar with starvation, you must drink at least a cup of water daily while fasting. Body/mind preparation is essential for you to withstand the rigorous demands of food deprivation.

Now you are ready to begin. Don’t get nervous. It is as easy as 1,2,3 to achieve a fat free, low cholesterol, low salt, low carbohydrate, low nutrient, minimum caloric diet that is pathetically normal to people enduring famine.

I promised you three steps. Here they are; 1) Gather; 2) Prepare; 3) Eat.

Step 1) Gather; Climb up high in a banana tree and throw down some of the largest leaves. Save the younger, smaller, and tender leaves for tomorrow. Now walk to the nearest puddle of water or stream and fill a plastic bucket with water. A clean bucket without holes works better. Be very careful not to stir the water up too much or you will get mud and silt. Avoid any place where people may have deposited bodily waste. Now gather some dried grass or dung and place it on the charcoals that remain from yesterday’s fire.

Step 2) Prepare; Place your banana leaves and water in a pan (recycled from discarded oil drums) on your fire of charcoals and dung. Don’t be in a hurry for the dung to get warm. After all, this is not fast food. Bring to a boil or at least heat well.

Step 3) Eat; It’s just that simple. You are now dieting in the style that is a staple for millions of people every day.

I recently picked this recipe from a recent front page article of a leading newspaper, detailing the severe famine now gripping, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia in southern Africa. Well, to be true, I made up the recipe based upon the stark ingredients the writer described. He noted these essentials of the current diet of the people struggling to survive.
As an American physician with 20 years of experience working in Africa it is still hard for me to believe there is such famine somewhere in the world. As I clean my overcrowded refrigerator, discard cartons of egg-foo-yong, stale pizza and overripe strawberries I think, “how can people be hungry when I am so full?”

As I worry about my widening waistline I feel uncomfortable and guilty about my excesses in this land of plenty. I have trouble understanding famine when I haven’t even known hunger.

Let’s get back to the recipes. If you don’t find banana leaves, you can always try sawdust. Sawdust does not require any special sauces, or at least none were noted in the article, leading me to believe you can eat it raw by the handful.

Then there is always tree bark and roots. Season these with the natural silt that comes from the water. As you pound the roots, some of the sap exudes adding a pliable consistency to the roots making it easier to swallow. Taste is not a consideration when you are eating to live. After all remember, you are starving.

One of the best things about this modern day recipe is that it never spoils. You can eat it again and again, especially when it is the only food you have.

The alternative to this recipe is death. All over the continent weakening mothers hold emaciated children as they slip from soft weeping to silent coma and final stillness.

Are you ready to handle this recipe? Do you think you have the right stuff to survive this diet?

If not, you may be ready to do something to help those who alleviate this specter of starvation and death. You may be ready to call your congressmen, and President to speak about the priorities of our nation. Help our nation focus on saving life among the expanding endangered species list to include human beings around the world.

Today and, tonight you will gather, prepare and eat. Most likely, the steps you follow will be much simpler than those outlined for the common recipe I have described above that fuels people for the challenges of escaping from warlords and natural disasters. Your meal may give you heartburn. If it does, before you take your antacid allow your heart to ache for the people who will fill their bellies with dirty roots, cold sawdust and warm banana leaves.

Sprinkle Jesus

To cover up my worst deeds
I found the best way to fit in
Don’t admit to apparent evil
Just sprinkle Jesus on my sin

Fornication, greed and lust
Yes, I did it, I can’t pretend
But after all, no one is perfect
Just sprinkle Jesus on my sin

I know my actions were not perfect
And though it may indeed offend
I expect all is forgiven if I
Just sprinkle Jesus on my sin

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh,

Shake Hands With the Devil

An old preacher once told me
Not so long ago
If you shake hands with the devil
It is hard to let go

He will grant your desires
But just so you know
He’s the master of deceit
The Bible says so

You will defeat your opponents
Your influence and power will grow
But it will be only on his terms
You see, he’s the real foe

So once your hand is in his
He will have you in tow
And as the old preacher said
It is hard to let go

John 8:44 – When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

2 Corinthians 11:14 – And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.