Leftovers

I gave my leftovers to Jesus
I said to myself Jesus won’t mind
After all if He is really hungry
He will see my actions as kind

Clothing that I am not wearing
Shoes with a scuff here and there
After all I am indeed sharing
Without me His feet would be bare

I had a few coins in my pocket
Stuff I don’t consider as cash
When traffic slows down at a stop sign
I’ll give Jesus a few if he asks

A lot of good stuff I’m not using
And this I know to be true
It is no real value to me
I can always buy something new

“When you say, ‘The altar of God is not important anymore; worship of God is no longer a priority,’ that’s defiling. And when you offer worthless animals for sacrifices in worship, animals that you’re trying to get rid of—blind and sick and crippled animals—isn’t that defiling? Try a trick like that with your banker or your senator—how far do you think it will get you?” God -of-the-Angel-Armies asks you.
Malachi 1:7‭-‬8 MSG

Being ——- While Black

There are many dangerous conditions associated with being black. Some of these can be fatal. Here are list of some:

1. Driving while black
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Philando_Castile

2. Parking while black
* https://www.npr.org/2019/10/10/769089719/florida-man-who-shot-and-killed-a-black-man-in-parking-dispute-gets-20-years

3. Breathing while black
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Eric_Garner

4. Walking while black
* https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/07/us/asheville-police-beating-black-man.html

5. Sleeping while black
* https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/09/us/yale-student-napping-black-trnd/index.html

6. Moving into house while black
* https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/08/26/kazeem-oyeneyin-raleigh-police-video/

7. Mowing your lawn while black
* https://www.mic.com/articles/190120/white-ohio-family-that-called-911-on-black-boy-mowing-lawn-calls-police-on-him-again-july-4

8. Being at home while black
* https://abcnews.go.com/US/demand-justice-family-texas-woman-fatally-shot-home/story?id=66261203

This is just a summary of events over the past few years, which have been caught on camera and brought to the nation’s attention.

Being black is a pre-existing condition. There is a concerted effort by this society to put us out of their misery.

Delightful Deprivation

Lord whenever I faced temptation
Give me the joy of delightful deprivation
Soothing, soft, seductive voices
Make it hard to make good choices
Give me escape from evil situations

Lord I constantly feel such greed
Wanting more than I could ever need
Filling every closet every shelf
Concerned with nothing more than self
Insatiable wordly appetites I constantly feed

Lord how long must I abide
With a self-centered nature of my pride
Thinking others are beneath me
Dear Jesus, please bequeath me
Your humbling presence by my side

Lord crush my appetite for fame
Increase my hunger for Your name
Give me the victory of Your presence
The holiness which is Your essence
And victory in You I will proclaim

Proverbs 30:8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:”

1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear

The Poison of Power

Thomas Umstattd is well established as a Christian writer on topics of marriage and fidelity. Of interest to me is his take on power. A quick search on the Internet yields this his take on power:

Power confuses and concerns me.

Here is the paradox:

  • It is hard to do good without it.
  • The more power a man attains, the more evil he commits.

The Problem With Power

I am sure many of us are familiar with Lord Acton’s dictum: about the corruption of power

Lord Acton writes to Bishop Creighton that the same moral standards should be applied to all men, political and religious “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (1887) https://oll.libertyfund.org/quotes/214

I would add my own sentiment to this genuine fear of the problem of power. It is impossible to do anything good without power but the more power I attain the more I attribute that power to myself and to those who agree with me.

Jesus recognized this when the crowds approached Him and wanted to make Him King. He avoided and evaded this problem because he knew the heart of mankind. The heart of mankind is to anoint a leader and appoint him or her to carry out the agenda which they desire. The Israelites did it with King Saul and throughout the Old Testament they attempted to time and again to have leadership that catered to their whims and desires.

In Philippians chapter 2 verse 5 we are reminded that we are to have the mind of Jesus Christ. The mind of Jesus Christ recognized that he was indeed co-equal with his Father. But he did not make that part of his agenda on earth. Obedience to the Father’s will and submission to His plan was the only thing that concerned Him. I believe that if His Father, our Creator had commanded Him to come off the cross, He would have done so without questioning. The salvation of mankind would be of secondary importance if He could not please the Father.

His only desire and mission was to complete His Father’s perfect will. He had no desire to establish a kingdom on this earth. He had no desire to rule and reign in the political and religious hierarchy. We keep asking and seeking a Christian nation when Jesus specifically declared in John 18:36: ‘My Kingdom is not of this world’

He did not come to gain public notoriety or fame and fortune. All of these things yield power. And as we have seen throughout history power corrupts. It is impossible to do good without power, but once acquired it takes on a life of its own controlling the most noble-minded spirit. Jesus was well aware of this.

In John’s gospel 2:24 we find these words: but Jesus did not commit himself unto them because he knew all men. Again, in John’s gospel chapter 6:15 we find these words: When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.”

In Luke’s gospel chapter 6:26 we find: woe unto you when all men speak well of you.

Power is inebriating. Being close to power is intoxicating. It is addictive and like any addictive substance is poison. It is worse when those around you enable you to flex your muscles and exercise your power for their own benefits.

They wanted to anoint Jesus as King not because of His righteousness, holiness, mercy and grace but only because they felt he could bring them the political conquests which they so desired.

I wonder how intoxicated, inebriated and addicted we are in our present public discourse. If our Heavenly Father said we must die to our own desires in order that we might bring about peace, justice, equity would we be willing to do so. Or would we remain encamped in our political and social positions of power?

We accomplish nothing good without the aid of the Holy Spirit. The cross of Calvary is the epitome of dying to our own desires so that God can accomplish His aim for the tragedies we see unfolding before us every day.

Don’t accept the notion that power will not corrupt you. If you are breathing, you are still susceptible to be corrupted by the power of this present world.

All hearts are corrupt. None of us knows our own hearts. Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked who can know it?

Paul writes in Ephesians chapter 6:2 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

To choose an earthly king is to reject your Creator. In 1st Samuel chapter 8:7 these words are recorded: and the Lord said unto Samuel hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they sent to thee for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me that I should not reign over them.

Power is a deadly poison. Avoid it, no matter how good the intentions of those who offer the poison. Let the Holy Spirit rule in your life and take control of your desires for power. Jesus the Christ is the only antidote.

Don’t Ignore the Poor

Did Jesus give us permission to ignore the poor? Was the underlying message, subliminally delivered that we don’t have to acknowledge the underprivileged?

In John’s gospel chapter 12 verse 8 it seems the Savior hints we can comfortably shun, avoid and evade the have-nots. He specifically says ‘the poor you will have with you always’ which can be interpreted as an opt out for helping the less fortunate. There is nothing we can do about it.

They are poor and they make poor decisions and God Himself seems to have given up on them. They were born in unfortunate circumstances, have made poor decisions and are unworthy of a second chance if it were given to them. They do drugs, drink, overeat, have too many children, do jail and prison time. We can pretend to follow what we claim as Christ’s teaching and ignore the poor. But is that the full story?

At Miriam Medical Clinics (MMC) we have come to the mindset that Jesus was paraphrasing an old Testament verse. The first part, we get easily in Deuteronomy 15:7-11 For the poor you will always have with you in the land.

It is the remainder of that verse that is the ‘trip-wire’ for taking action. You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor in your land.

Those of us who live on the upper side of the divide of material substance, must not ignore those living on the lower side of this divide. When this scripture is taken in it’s entirety, in context of what God expects of us, we are commanded to deal with the inequities we find in every facet of life. MMC serves as a testimony that we dare not ignore the poor. In a world filled with inequities, being unhealthy because you lack access to care should not serve as an excuse to do nothing. We refuse to do nothing.

A young girl becomes a teenager and then a young adult. Her life has been filled with rape by her mother’s boyfriend, beatings by her pimp and then again rape by the prison guards. The doctors advise her that her Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS make it difficult and dangerous to carry either one of these children conceived to term, so she should terminate, abort and move on. Afterall, what can a homeless, jobless 30-year old woman do for a baby but raise it to be just like her? No one wants to give her a chance. She is poor. She is ignored.

The short version of the story is this. Miriam Medical Clinics serves the underserved in America’s 6th largest city, Philadelphia. Six medical schools, countless graduate and post graduate training programs for professionals. The healthcare disparity in this metropolis is based upon zip code.

To paraphrase one Philadelphia reporter, some people are living in Killer Zip Codes. It’s not just bullets and drugs sending so many on early trips to the undertaker. It’s something far harder to escape: the stress of just actually having to live in these places. Their zip code kills them slowly, but surely. They are living in such fear, filth, and hunger takes a toll. It batters the body [and] stunts brain growth…. Kids growing up in Fairhill [Philly’s poorest community] and Strawberry Mansion and Swampoodle [Philly’s most violent areas] have significantly lower life expectancies than kids in Iraq and Syria. Literal war zones. In Fairhill, a child born today is expected to live to 71. That’s three fewer years of life than children in Iraq and Syria, where civil wars rage, bombs explode, and armies of marauding mass murderers roam. http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20160420_In_city_s_poorest_neighborhoods__a_ matter_of_life_and_death.html Miriam Medical Clinics (MMC) is on a

And yet…, the poor get ignored.

For the past six years, MMC has provided health care services without regard to the ability to pay. We offer full-service consultation, including medication review, physical examination.

We network with multiple churches and social services so that the ignored don’t feel poor and the poor don’t feel ignored. Please join us in this work by giving, joining, volunteering or all of the above. Miriam Medical Clinics cannot ignore the poor and neither can you.

Matthew 25:40 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.

Proverbs 14:31 He that oppresseth the poor, reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoreth Him hath mercy on the poor

When being right is wrong

You can catch more flies with sugar than you can with salt. That is one of my wife’s favorites. She says that I use a lot of salt when I should be using sugar. I don’t understand her obsession with catching flies but I know that there are certainly other odors flies like more than salt or sugar. That being said, I use a lot of Self-Righteous scents. I smell malodorous when using Self-Righteousness.

I have learned that at 66 years of life 42 years of marriage and 41 years of being a father 18 years of being a grandfather that being right is very often the worst thing I can do.

God is not asking me to be right. He doesn’t expect that either. What he does is command and expect that I be righteous, and that righteousness is from Him. This is not self righteousness. This is His righteousness. The problem with being right is that I attribute the integrity of my righteousness to myself.

My wife also reminds me that the most intolerable person is a converted sinner.That is once the Holy Spirit has convicted me of some evil in my life I am quick to judge condemn and if allowed even execute someone who has done the same thing for which God has granted me mercy. Being married gives a lot of invaluable, unasked for, unsolicited, life lessons.

Being right can be very wrong. That happens when I choose to assert my integrity as though it is God’s integrity. I choose to assert my passionate defense of moral righteousness as though the All Mighty had empowered me to do so. God can best defend His reputation when I am out of the way. When I don’t get so ‘high and mighty’ I can allow Him to show Himself.

Easy lessons here.
1) Never speak in your own defense. It only worsens matters when you try to explain why you are right and they are wrong.
2) Let your integrity be from God and your reputation will speak on your behalf. To do otherwise is to allow pride to overshadow grace.
3) Stop taking credit. Anything good that I have done is because the Holy Spirit has led me to do so. Left to my own devices, I would do a the selfish thing.
4) Let God have the glory.. That selfish thing is to dwell and admire my own reputation rather than the glory of my Creator.

Jesus the Christ was very careful not to fall into this trap. He recognized that in his flesh he had no power to condemn to curse to send to eternal damnation. He left all of these final decisions to his Father.

Don’t try to be good. Let the Holy Spirit do good through you. Let Him have the glory. That way when people question your integrity you do not have to defend yourself. You certainly don’t have to defend God. He can do that himself. Being right is a dangerous trap. It allows us to look at those who very well may be wrong but deserve the mercy that God Has shown us. Being right is wrong when it allows me to do or think or consider evil towards those whom in my estimation are doing wrong.

Don’t be right. Be righteous in His eyes. I am not called to accuse, judge, condemn or execute. I am called to love.

James 1:20 my beloved brothers, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and every expression of evil, and humbly accept the word planted in you

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

James 4:12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

Somebody Has to Die

He seemed ever so serious
He looked me squarely in the eye
In order for them to believe us
Then somebody has to die

We have a lot to keep hidden
We need a very good alibi
If this secret is just between us
Then somebody has to die

The truth must never be known
And so, just between you and I
In order for me to survive
Then somebody has to die

I have learned over the years
When someone wants me to lie
They will abandon me when convenient
After all, somebody has to die

Proverbs 14:5 An honest witness does not deceive but a false witness pours out lies.

The very act

We caught you in the very act
We know much about your sin
There is no doubt at all
We are locking you within

Your deeds defied all morals
Your actions were disgusting
You deserve punishment severe
No sense in further discussing

So first you’ll be arrested
And locked deep inside the jail
And since we all detest you
We must deny you bail

We don’t care about the details
We just know you should be shamed
But if the truth be told
Many of us have done the same

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.

But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
John 8:3‭-‬11 KJV

He Hears, He Knows, He Watches

He hears my thoughts
Every single intention
The sweet things spoken
The evil unmentioned

He knows my heart
He reads my mind
Both good intent
And those not kind

He watches my eyes
When I take a chance
To give a look of mercy
Or a lustful glance

Things done in secret
Things I thought hidden
The generous good
And what is forbidden

My Creator knows
My Creator sees
So, if I walk in Him
I will always please

He controls desires
He keeps thoughts pure
To make this happen
Make His mind yours

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

No Measure, Mention or Merit

God granted me His love
It came without any measure
Overflowing from above
A never ending treasure

He granted me His mercy
Of my failings made no mention
My faults and selfishness
He refused to give attention

He granted me His grace
Special favor, without merit
Then He gave me this command
Go to the world and share it

My child the gifts I give
Cost Me a heavy price
Treat them as great value
They cost My Son His life

Don’t squander them on self
Don’t pretend that you deserve them
Go to the hurting world
Go my child and serve them

Galatians 5:13-14
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself

Acts 20:35
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.