1. Never label any particular “race” of people as being stupid, ignorant, or bigoted. Stupidity, ignorance, and bigotry comes in all shades.
2. “Race” is a man-made term used to divide groups of people and often to build walls of division, derision, degradation, belittlement, and even hatred.
3. Accept all people for whom God created them to be, and always try to build bridges of hope, love, peace, and understanding.
4. To judge a person by the color of his or her skin is to prove your level of misguided ignorance, and not necessarily your level of intelligence. Intelligent people do not allow the color of a person’s skin to create walls of division, but rather they work together, regardless of “race,” to build bridges of hope, love, peace, and understanding.
5. Never make rash and hasty decisions or opinions about any person until you have tried to walk a mile in his or her shoes, and have strived to make some effort to at least understand what makes him or her who they are. In other words, at least try to view the world through their eyes and not always your own.
6. Never be quick to criticize another person, or quick to point out their shortcomings and faults, unless you have seriously taken the time to look carefully at the individual who looks back at you in your mirror and can honestly declare that person whom you see as being “perfect.”
7. Judge no person by the color of his or her skin, but only by the content of his or her character. The color of the skin has nothing to do with intelligence levels or anything else for that matter.
8. Be quick to show love, patience, and understanding, and slow and careful to despise or reject another because of supposed differences. Strive to find the commonalities that can bind you as brothers and sisters, and focus less on the differences that supposedly cause division between you.
9. Treat all humanity as persons of dignity and self-worth, and strive to eradicate the words “hate” and “hatred” from your vocabularies. For to hate another often, in turn, leads to more hatred, which eventually leads to a bloody battlefield of contention and strife. Always remember, hatred only begets more hatred. We need not be at war with one another, but should try to find ways to live together as brothers and sisters.
10. Those who are incessant to use the “race” card for every situation, or to judge another person according to the color of his or her skin or “race” are in and of themselves racist and bigots regardless of the color of their skin. Beware of being numbered among their ranks.
He who dares to dream is an adventurous soul who yearns to explore the unknown to unearth treasures that will prove of immense worth to him. Through his diligence and perseverance, what once seemed an impossibility, becomes a reality.
He who dares to dream keeps hope alive by never giving up or giving in, even when faced by naysayers who believe his dreams are futile and foolish. His glowing embers of hope never die out because his astute determination to press on keeps them ever glowing brightly.
He who dares to dream is never satisfied with the mediocrity of life, but rather he reaches for heights unknown. Defeatism is not a part of his daily vocabulary. But rather, he views each obstacle in his path as mere stepping-stones in helping him to see his dreams come to full fruition, and his watch word of the day is “Victory!”
Today, 17 October 2015, is my 57th birthday. Where have the years gone? Am I really that old?
When I was born at 10:17 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday, 17 October 1958, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States. It is hard to believe that in the span of my short life, I have witnessed the election and administration of 10 presidents.
I was born in what was then known as the town of Salisbury, Maryland. I remember as a boy when out with my parents riding in the car going to different places, people would stop and ask them where Salisbury was, and my parents would always reply, “You just drove through it!” Today Salisbury is a major city on the Delmarva Peninsula. The hospital where I was born was known simply as the Salisbury Hospital. It has long since been remodeled into what is now the Salisbury Regional Medical Center. When I started school in 1963 at the age of 5, I attended an all Black elementary school. I would not experience integration of public schools until I was in high school and was bused across town to attend one of the local high schools.
In the same year that I started school, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, 22 November 1963, in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. I can still recall watching his funeral procession on television, and the image of John Jr. saluting his father’s flag-draped casket as it passed by. The Civil Rights Movement was still at the forefront of the news, and just three short months before the assassination of President Kennedy, on 28 August 1963, America was listening to Civil Rights activist, Martin Luther King, Jr. deliver his timeless “I Have A Dream” speech to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. In his immortal speech which became a defining moment in the American Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King called for an end to racism in the United States. I would have never imagined that at the young age of 9, on 4 April 1968, I would hear the television announcer say that Martin Luther King, Jr., at the age of 39, had been shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:05PM that evening. I also remember watching his funeral services on television, and the image of his endearing wife, Coretta Scott King, and their young children.
Yes, many things have changed since 17 October 1958, but some things have also remained the same on many levels. What I have admired about the people aforementioned, as well as other greats that have influenced my young life is that none of them lived their life just to be living it. Each of them worked hard to make even a small difference and to make the world a better place for everyone to live in. It is because of that inspiration that at the start of another year of life, I have decided to adopt the following as a new motto: “Anima plus est quam esse diem. Verum cum cupiam vivere incipiat qualitercumque porrexeris plenam potentiam quique ante destinatum est.” (Translation: Life is more than just existing from day-to-day. You truly begin to live when you yearn to reach for your full potential and become who you were meant to be.) I hope that you too will resolve to do more than just exist.
Humble Thoughts Concerning the Second Coming and the End of the World
With all the chaos and confusion that is happening in our world today, it is of little wonder that so many people are asking the same questions that the disciples asked of the Master centuries ago, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3). The Master’s response to them still applies to us during these often turbulent, confused, and chaotic times:
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:4-14)
There are many good hearten people, including some Christians, who are anxiously anticipating the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, even to the point of making futile attempts at guessing the day and the hour when He shall appear. However, scriptures emphatically teach us:
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Mathew 24:36-39)
Scriptures also remind us, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. . . .Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2,6)
While there are some people who put their trust in chariots, and some who put their trust in horses, I will continue to remember the name of the Lord our God (See Psalm 20:7) and strive to endure to the end.
Therefore, I will no more put my confidence and trust in the speculations of man about the Second Coming of Christ than I will in those who purport that the four “blood moons” signal the end of the world. Instead of being overly concerned and feeding into much of the frenzy of the false and nonsensical teachings about the Second Coming and the end of the age, I choose to make sure that my house is in order, and that I am ready to meet the Savior at any day, at any moment or hour of the day. I choose to keep my lamp filled with oil to be ready when the Bridegroom comes.
Instead of heeding the vain teachings and babbling of men, we would be wise to follow the teachings of the Master Himself as in the “Parable of the Ten Virgins:”
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 25:1-14)
O be wise; what can I say more? (Jacob 6:12, Book of Mormon)
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14, emphasis added)
As I come across news in social media venues about what is taking place in our world today, I become even more convinced that the handwriting is clearly on the wall. The world as we once knew it is rapidly coming to an end. I am not preaching a doom and gloom message, but the signs are right before our eyes.
In 1987, the band R.E.M released a song called “It’s the End of the World.” The starting lyrics of that song are as follows, “It’s the end of the world as we know it . It’s the end of the world as we know it. It’s the end of the world as we know it. And I feel fine.” The sad commentary is that there are too many people, including good hearten Christians, who are looking at the world situation and are beginning to sing along with the lyrics of R.E.M.’s song. There are too many people who have decided to sit quietly by and do and say absolutely nothing with the attitude of “Que Sera, Sera” (Whatever will be, will be). In that same vein, there are others who have adopted the philosophy of life which states, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” Unfortunately, because they have decided to live “La Vida Loca” (The Crazy Life) and follow the philosophies and ideologies of men, they have turned a deaf ear to truth, and a blind eye to the reality that “tomorrow” may come sooner than they expect. When it does come, they may well discover that maybe life was not just one big party after another after all.
The Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize same-sex marriages in all 50 states did more than just grant the LGBT community new-found freedom. It opened the doors for many other interested groups to begin to cry out for their “rights” and “freedoms,” while in the same breath decrying the guaranteed rights and freedoms of others. The ruling did not necessarily re-calibrate the scales of justice in the interest of all concerned, but rather the needle of the scales still points off-center in favor of whichever group believes that their “rights” and “freedoms” are justly protected, and oftentimes that particular group shuns the rights and freedoms of others.
We will have to agree to disagree, if that be the case, but same-sex relations and marriages are no more an accepted societal norm than pedophilia, incest, bestiality, nudity, any type of open sex acts, or anything of that ilk. Yet, at the same time, we must realize that the gates have now been swung wide open to invite anybody and everybody who feels that their “rights” and “freedoms”are violated to “rush to justice” to plead their case for the same.
How can any court of the land, let alone the Supreme Court, say that same-sex marriages are legal, but yet a mother cannot marry her own daughter, a father cannot marry his own daughter, a mother cannot marry her own son, or a father cannot marry his own son? Would that not be considered discriminatory? Do they not also have “rights” and should they not have the “freedom” to express those “rights’? For the record, an article appeared in the media, as early as January 2015, about an 18-year-old girl who has dated her father for two years, and has plans to marry him and have children by him. Their plan is to get married and then move to New Jersey where adult incest is supposedly legal. Add to all of this confusion, that pedophiles are also diligently seeking their “rights” to have sex with underage children because they argue that “An adult’s desire to have sex with children is “normative.” Their biggest rallying cry is to lower the age of consent to at least 14 years of age. (See this article also).
It is quite obvious to me that our world is spinning rapidly out of control. What was once considered acceptable and the norm in society, is now frowned upon as being ludicrous and nonsensical, and that which once seared the conscience, or that society labeled as being abnormal, is now being considered the new normality for society. The sad commentary is that many good hearten “Christians” are also climbing aboard the first bandwagon that rolls down their streets without question or reservation. Even some “pastors” have left teaching sound doctrine because they have had their ears tickled by the vain voices of men and thus have decided to join the ranks of those whose philosophy is, “If it feels good, just do it!” Yes, without a doubt, the handwriting is on the proverbial wall, and our world is on a course of certain destruction. “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin!”
We Are All Special in His Sight
There is not one person on this earth who is any less important, or any less special than another. We are all children of the same Heavenly Father whose immense love for each of us is incomparable to any other love that we will ever experience in this mortal life. His vicarious atonement was not just for the “special” one, nor the select few, but rather, He willingly suffered and gave His life as a ransom for all humanity.
God does not care about the color of our skin. He does not care about our social status. Nor does He care about the amount of material possessions that we have amassed in this life, or how much material wealth we have accumulated. When He looks upon us, He sees His sons and daughters, and although we are imperfect, He still loves each of us equally and unconditionally. He does not categorize us according to race, culture, life style, religious beliefs, or any type of caste system. Everyone is special and of equal importance in His eyes. That means that the person who lives alone in a shack in the lowest of valleys is of no less importance than the person who lives in an extravagant mansion on the hillside with a view of majestic mountains.
It does not matter if we are Black, White, Native American, of whatever race or culture, slave, free, Jew, or Gentile. What does matter is that each of us matter to Him. God is no respecter of persons, and if we profess to love God and that we are disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we cannot be a respecter of persons either.
Let us always be quick to love and slow to judge any of our brothers and sisters. Be thou wise O’ man to never put thyself above others, or to judge another unjustly, For pride and haughtiness often lead to a great fall, and the judgments that we meet to others, may well be the same judgments that one day will leave ourselves being weighed in the balances.
Dr. Ravi Zacharias at Princeton University – Why I’m Not An Atheist
Defining the terms
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which, in its most general form, is the belief that at least one deity exists.
Theism is the belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in one God as the creator of the universe, intervening in it and sustaining a personal relation to His creation.
Deism is the belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind.
Theology is the study of the nature of God and religious belief.
Ideology, in the Althusserian sense, is “the imaginary relation to the real conditions of existence.” It can be described as a set of conscious and unconscious ideas which make up one’s goals, expectations, and motivations. An ideology is a comprehensive normative vision, meaning that it is a set of standards that are followed by people, government, and/or other groups that is considered the “norm”.
We may not ever realize it or care to take notice, but the life that we live and the example that we set before others tells more about the type of person that we truly are than a myriad of words could ever say. We, especially those of us who profess we are Christians, are the shining light of hope and inspiration to the world. We may be the only scriptures that some people will ever read. We need to live our lives in such a manner that others will see the Light of Christ through us. We need to realize that to preach a sermon is one thing, but to live that sermon is an entirely different ball game. People may be impressed by our eloquent elocution, but they will be even more impressed by the way we live our lives as living testimonies of the things that we declare we believe, teach, and preach. Some people would rather see a sermon than hear one any day.
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.
The eye is a better pupil, more willing than the ear;
Fine counsel is confusing, but example is always clear,
And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see a good put in action is what everybody needs.
I can soon learn how to do it if you will let me see it done;
I can watch your hand in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lectures you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do.
For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there is no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.
When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles, and a strong man stands behind
Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be.
And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.
One good man teaches many; men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noted is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language which to everyone is clear.
Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say,
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.
I humbly believe that there are many good hearten people who are equating love for their brothers and sisters to mean acceptance of lifestyle or behavior. I can love my brothers and sisters (as I am commanded to do), but that does not necessarily mean that I accept their actions and behaviors. They, like myself, have their free agency, and are free to choose their path in life. You will not get any argument from me on that matter. Therefore, I refuse to hate, demean, belittle, degrade, or even condemn any of my brothers and sisters to hell as it were because of their life choices and decisions. I do not claim, nor will I purport to be their judge or jury. Regardless of the path that any of my brothers and sisters choose to follow, I echo the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he said, “I choose to love, because hate is too great a burden to bear.”
I do not pretend to know the heart of another person. I have enough to do to make sure that my heart is in the right place. I do not pretend to understand the life of another person or the choices that he or she makes. I have enough to do to make sure that I keep my life in order, make the right choices, and stay on the right path.
Therefore, I cannot justify trying to clean out the corners in somebody’s house, when there are cobwebs in my own that perhaps need cleaning out. Let us remember that we are all imperfect people in need of a perfect Savior. Let us not fall into the trap of judging other people because we feel that the size of their sin is perhaps greater than our own sin, or because we do not practice certain behaviors, we somehow feel that we are better or superior to others.
Now, there will be some who will argue, “By loving your brothers and sisters regardless of their lifestyle and choices in life, aren’t you really condoning their behaviors and conforming to the world?” The short answer is a resounding NO! Love is compassion. It is not conforming to anything. I can have compassion for someone, help and support him or her as one of my brothers and sisters in any way I can without accepting those things which are contrary to my own personal believes and morals.
I guess what I am saying is that we are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves. The truth of the matter is that all of our neighbors do not live by the same morals, standards, or believes that we do, but that does not give us a poetic license to shun them, hate them, or treat them as societal outcast. Through our love and compassion we are demonstrating how we can be in the world, but not of the world.
We need to stop always focusing on the negative aspects, and start focusing on the good in people. We need to try to build more bridges of hope and understanding, instead of adding mortar and brick to walls of division, contention, and strife.
Dear friends, all the bickering, arguing, and hatred needs to stop!