Category: Tell It Tuesdays

DYING TO STAY ALIVE

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He watches as she cleans the last of the mess. She holds a bag filled with old newspapers, beer bottles, and cigarettes butts. Slowly he comes into the room, offering his assistance.

She turns and strains a smile; holding a finger to her lips she whispers, “Thank you honey, I’m fine. Go back to sleep.” She kisses his bruised cheek. He heads back to bed.

He leaves the door slightly open and watches. He prays.

His prayer is interrupted. Large feet slam onto the wooden floor, the sound resonating through the house. The Monster is awake.

He resumes his prayer. “Stop you’re hurting me!” The child begins to cry. He wants to save her, but his stinging bruise stops him.

The sounds of breaking bottles and things crashing everywhere and shouts of, “YOU LOUSY WHORE!” will always remain. But it’s just one of many times he heard his mother being slammed to the floor. The sight of his father kicking her will remain forever.

Then silence. Silence so deafening, he hears it to this very day.

Suddenly, it’s broken. “DON’T YOU RUN FROM ME YOU BITCH!” The beating begins once more.

A toilet flushing, the creak of the bed – only after the child hears these sounds, he feels they’re safe. The Monster sleeps.

A few feet away she lies crumpled on the floor, blood draining from her mouth and nose. She, too, sleeps. In darkness, he prays.

Now lay me down to sleep, I pray you Lord my Mom do keep. If I should die before she wakes, I pray You Lord my Dad do take.

For many women, scenes like this are their reality. Broke and broken, they feel trapped in their relationship. To survive, they stay with their abusers. But they’re dying to stay alive. Unfortunately, scenes like this continue to grow because, for some, it’s justified. Someone on their WordPress site, (you know who you are) said, “I can feel no remorse or compassion towards such women, they wanted the bad guy and still they have the audacity to complain? Did anyone put a shotgun to your head and told you to hook up with him?”

I ask that person to look at the young woman in the photo, look hard and ask yourself…what woman deserves that?

These women don’t need our judgment, they need our help. Fortunately, many abused women do escape their abusers, many times with just the clothes on their backs.

Let’s help. For our GOOD FRIDAY, donate one article of clothing to a battered woman’s shelter. Come back on Friday and share your experience. And as always, keep your head up.

TRUE WEALTH

Where is the Wealthiest place on earth?

Many believe it’s in the oil rich reserves of the Middle East. Or the diamond mines of South Africa. There are even those who tell you it’s in all the cemeteries of the world.

None of those answers are correct, not one.

Of the three places mentioned, why would people believe wealth could ever possibly be in the grave? You no doubt heard this overused and under-thought excuse: “Many people in cemeteries died before their treasures could be realized.”

A treasure that can’t be accessed isn’t a treasure.

No, there are zero treasures in the cemeteries, none of which are of any value to us.

So where does all the wealth of the world lie? Where it’s always been, right here.

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And here

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 And here

And here

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 And here

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And here

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Our true wealth is in the living. So, instead of focusing on what could have been, let’s gear our hearts and minds on what can be.

 Case in point:

An eight-year-old boy turned in filthy homework every day. It had soot all over it, smearing the pages with dirty smudges. It smelled of smoke, and so did the boy. The kids would laugh, and every time he handed it to his teacher, she begrudgingly accepted it; for a week this went on. Finally at end of the week she said: “meet with me after class.”

“Why is your work like this? Don’t you care enough about school not to hand in work like this?”

With his head down, the boy answered. “Our house caught on fire. Our furniture was ruined; there was water everywhere, and we had nowhere else to go, so we had to move back in. All of the lights won’t work, so I have to do my homework by candlelight.”

With tears in her eyes, she gladly accepted the homework and told the boy he could do his homework after class in her classroom.

That’s why I believe the wealth of the world is in the hearts and minds of our children and the people of all nations, who have the fortitude to not give up. Period.

If you’re not familiar with our Good Friday, please read: Good Fridays. If you like, please join us for this Good Friday.

Our Good Friday: Read a book to a child before Friday, then come back and tell us how it went.  And as always, keep your head up.

YOU PIG!

When you call someone a pig, in some cases it’s an insult to the pig.

Many people are under the impression that pigs are grubby, nasty, and smelly creatures, that’s true, but not entirely.

A pig doesn’t sweat like humans, so they wallow in the mud for its cooling affects. The mud makes them dirty, but that doesn’t mean they are filthy.  In fact, pigs are incredible animals.

How many people do you know can run a ten minute mile? A pig can.

How many of your friends are so loyal to you that their loyalty would put a dog’s devotion to shame. It’s a proven fact that pigs are more loyal than man’s best friend.

What about intelligence? Pigs pass the test on smarts too; they are even smarter than dolphins.

Wait, what do the below pictures have to do with pigs? Let me address that concern now.

Last weekend my family and I went to the movies. The theater   auditorium was packed, mostly with senior couples. There wasn’t a kid in sight, except my two.

During the movie the sound of rustling popcorn bags, candy wrappers, and even a cork popping, could be heard. Then began the munching, belching, and hacking and spitting.

When you pay your nine bucks to see a movie, I guess you have the right to eat, drink, and converse as loud as you dare.

However, no one has the right to leave a theater in such squalor as I found when the movie ended and the lights came up.

Yes, sadly in a theater of mostly adults, when the theater emptied it was worse than a pig pen.

In every row there was popcorn scattered about the floor. Empty candy wrappers were left under and on seats. Half-filled soda containers were left bloated in the seat cup holders and empty ones left on the floor. In one row sat an empty wine bottle, with the cork shoved back in. Soiled napkins were everywhere, with all the hacking and spitting, one can only imagine what soiled those napkins.

It’s not a mystery that our younger generation carry on so thoughtlessly. Look at the poor examples we leave for them to follow. As adults we should set the best possible example we can. Thereby, hopefully, the young will emulate our good habits.

So from here on, every one of us, when we sit with strangers in a dark room watching a movie we will:

  • Consume our goodies quietly.
  • Keep our conversation to a minimum.
  • Stay in our seats as much as possible.
  • Above all, clean up our own mess!

The price of admission is not your down payment on a slave. The people who clean our theaters work hard, very hard. Please don’t make their job any harder. As I tell my children, “Always leave it better than you found it.”

What do you think? Leave a comment below, let’s talk.

Stay Away From the Bad Things Son

What would you say to your son if you knew you only had a few minutes to live?

Consider this scenario:

You and your family return from a shopping trip at the local market. It’s a good day; everyone is smiling as they carry bags up the creaky steps into a shabby home. As you begin to walk in with the last bag, three men grab you, knocking the bag out of your hand as your nine-year-old son watches. Beating you as they force you in the trunk of their car, shots go off in the mist of the struggle. “We’ll be back for our money!” All three men jump into their car and drive off.

You hear your children crying as your wife runs for help. You are dying; these precious moments could be the last  time to say…

“Son, don’t waste your life like I did. Stay away from bad people; if you don’t, they will destroy you. Become wise at all costs. Choose God, not the bottle like I did. Godly wisdom will keep you from evil men. Stay away from fornication and adultery. Find you one woman that loves you, marry her, and be good to her, no matter what. Be honest, don’t lie, don’t steal, keep your heart pure, don’t scheme, or stir up trouble: bad things get you where I am now. Most of all, choose wisdom over money because it’s more valuable than gold. Take care of your mother, help out, be a better man than I ever was…I Love you.

As you hear the sirens in the background, you pass out knowing no matter the outcome, you gave your son good advice, some of which you received too late. Hopefully your son’s life will be better.

Although a dramatic story and not everyone’s situation, the point is to teach your children while they are young, while you are here to guide them.  Don’t wait until it is too late.  Train your child now and when they grow, even when they are in the middle of some poor decisions, they will remember the wise lessons you taught them.

Fortunately, in the story, the young boy’s father didn’t die, although, his parents soon divorced. However, over the years, he heeded his father’s wise counsel and went on to become a successful writer.

If you are unsure what to say to your sons and daughters use the book of Proverbs. Let God’s word teach them how to stay away from the bad things.

The Tithe Is a Lie: The Untold Truth


 

The above clip is humorous, for obvious reasons. However, the untold truth that is preached to the masses is not.

Tithing, according to the Bible, is not a requirement in our day and thus a lie being imposed on the church for the profit of those in spiritual power.

For you to truly understand this misrepresentation, first, let’s examine tithing and its purpose.

Tithe

1. What was the tithe?  Tithing means a tenth and was established as an offering to God where the Israelites were required to give the first tenth or 10% of their fruit, grain, herd or flock to God. Leviticus 27:30-33 explains this requirement in detail.

2. What was the tithe’s purpose? The tithes was to support the Levitical priests and their families.  When God divided the “Promised Land” for the children of Israel, the tribe of Levi received no allotment. The Levite priests were established through Aaron and his sons. Their responsibility was to offer sacrifices and officiate in the temple. The tithe allowed the priests to manage the temple without concern for food and clothing, allowing them to minister for the people before God. See Numbers 18:20-22.

3. Malachi 3:10, the most misinterpreted verse, “Bring the entire tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in my temple,” was a literal call for the Priest to bring food that was filling the streets into the storehouse.  Pastors lie to their parishioners by claiming the church is the storehouse and money is the food for the church – Hogwash!

4. What did Malachi mean? Read the entire book and not just one verse to understand the context. The tithe was grains and animal offerings for the priest, however if you look at Nehemiah 13:10-13, the Levis were not receiving the tithe and had returned to the fields to work, resulting in the admonishment in Malachi 3:8 of “Robbing God or deceiving God.” The Israelites in Numbers 18:30 were commanded not only to give their first, but also their best to the Levites and the priests were required to sacrifice the best.  Yet for their own personal offering, the priests were stealing from God by keeping the best and gave God the sick and weak animals. This caused curses seen in Malachi 1:14 “Cursed be the deceiver, which has in his flock a male, and vows, and sacrifices unto the LORD a corrupt thing.” Malachi 1:7-14.

5. Is tithing a requirement today? No. Absolutely not. Tithing was a command for the tithe (grain or animals) to be paid to the Levites or Priests serving the temple and since there is no temple and no Levitical Priesthood ministering the temple then the tithe is not a requirement.

6. Is Tithing required by the law?  Before the Law of Moses, all tithes were voluntary and usually given as spoils of war and as a vow to God for His help.  Abraham gave a tenth of his plunder to the High Priest Melchizedek and the rest he gave to the King of Sodom so neither could take credit for his prosperity (see Genesis 14:18-24).  When Jesus died on the cross, he was the ultimate sacrifice and the change in the Law. Hebrews 7:12-14 states, For when the priesthood changes, a change in the law must come as well. Yet the one (Jesus) these things are spoken about belongs to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever officiated at the altar. For it is clear that our Lord is descended from Judah, yet Moses said nothing about priests in connection with that tribe.” 

7. How will the church and ministers survive without tithes? The disciples including Peter and Paul did not use biblical tithes for any of their work.  Luke 8:3 shows where Jesus and the disciples were supported by the gifts of their followers. Acts 2:42-45: “They were devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Reverential awe came over everyone, and many wonders and miraculous signs came about by the apostles. All who believed were together and held everything in common, and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing the proceeds to everyone, as anyone had need.” Paul worked as a tentmaker by trade in Acts 18:3.

 

Prosperity Message has created a Slot Machine Jesus!

Paying tithes won’t save your life or make you rich, despite what any pastor says. Ephesian 2:8-9 states: “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.”

1 Peter 1:18-19 shows: “You know that from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors you were ransomed – not by perishable things like silver or gold, but by precious blood like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, namely Christ.”

There are pastors that will tell you outlandish things to rob you of your money God has given you. They encourage that the more you give, the more you get from God, creating the slot machine concept in the ‘New Christian’ faith.

One such pastor is Kenneth Copeland, who claimed that Adam and Eve were thrown out of the garden because they didn’t tithe. Genesis 3: clearly shows they were banished for disobedience – read for yourself.  

Another prosperity pastor with odd claims to the tithe is Robert Morris. He claimed people who have problems were cursed for not paying tithes. On May 21, 2011, he offered everyone who tithed to Gateway Church for the remainder of year a money back guarantee with their tithe. If they were not fully satisfied, he would give them their money back. How? If you are giving your tithe to God, and that tithe is God’s money. How can a man promise and decide he will give it back – satisfaction guaranteed? Who is Robert Morris to give it back to you? I also wonder if there will be any refunds given in 2012.

Creflo Dollar, who says if he had his way, all members that didn’t tithe he would have them shot.

Abraham and Jacob

 

Many prosperity teachers use Genesis 14:18-24 to show that a mandatory tithe was paid by Abraham. Genesis 14:22, But Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I raise my hand to the Lord, the Most High God, Creator of heaven and earth, and vow that I will take nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal. That way you can never say, ‘It is I who made Abram rich.’” Abraham gave one hundred-percent of his spoils of war (not his income) on his own accord, not under compulsion, so unlike the greedy preachers of today.

The other Genesis verse they use is Genesis 28:20-22, “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God is with me and protects me on this journey I am taking and gives me food to eat and clothing to wear, and I return safely to my father’s home, then the Lord will become my God. Then this stone that I have set up as a sacred stone will be the house of God, and I will surely give you back a tenth of everything you give me.’” Since there was no law requiring Jacob to give a tithe, he no doubt offered it out of his heart in exchange for safe passage.

Giving a tenth was a once in a lifetime event for both Abraham and Jacob. Just because they gave a tenth, does not make it a tithe. The mandatory tithe for the Levite priests came some four hundred years after Abraham. In fact, before the Mosaic Law, the Bible does not record one single event of anyone giving tithes to God on a continual basis.

Giving was Reciprocal

 

Most preachers know how to collect tithes, but do not acknowledge that under the Law, every three years the priests were to open the storehouses to the needy, and the needy were to eat until they were full.  Deuteronomy 14:27-29 says, “As for the Levites in your villages, you must not ignore them, for they have no allotment or inheritance along with you. At the end of every three years you must bring all the tithe of your produce, in that very year, and you must store it up in your villages. Then the Levites (because they have no allotment or inheritance with you), the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows of your villages may come and eat their fill so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work you do.” How many times have you seen your church open up their treasury to the needy until they were full?

Resistance to the Lord through Selfishness

 

Today, there are many wicked pastors who no doubt will continue to fleece the flock. Any pastor that tells his congregation the tithe is mandatory is a crook. Remember the tithe in today’s church is the same as the issue of circumcision in Paul’s day. Titus 1:11: “…who must be silenced because they mislead whole families by teaching for dishonest gain what ought not to be taught.”

Giving Under the New Covenant

 

     However, as Christian how should you give under the New Covenant? This is what the Bible says:

1. “Each one of you should give just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, because God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7.

2. Don’t be like Ananias and Sapphira; give out of a pure heart. Acts 5:1-11.

3. Remember, don’t just take your pastor or anyone’s word as gold. “But examine all things; hold fast to what is good.”  1 Thessalonians 5:21.

4. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not imitate this world, but be transformed by the renovation of your minds, and you shall distinguish what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.”

As you look at the videos below and realize how sad the prosperity gospel has become, keep in mind 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will correspond to their actions.”

Remember,we should read, study and pray for spiritual guidance in all we do!

Sources:

Can Tithing Cause Blessings?

Let Us Reason

Exposing the Tithe Lie

Video links:

Bullied to Death

 

Have you ever been bullied?  How bad was it?  Did it ever stop?  In the movie Bully, for some, it ended in tragedy.

The victims and their parent’s pleas to the school for help met with failure.

With the parents hands tied and the bullied kid all alone at school, the consequences were unimaginable.

What is a kid to do when some heartless jerk stabs him with a pencil, punches him repeatedly, and calls him ungodly names?  For one, he found peaceful escape in being a loner, until the bullies came knocking.

“Violence begets violence.” I agree. Somewhat.

When I was thirteen, two bullies harassed me and a girl who sat next to me. She finally broke down one day and wet her pants to the amusement of those fools. Fed up with their insults, I kicked the crap out of both boys. No more bullies for her or me. Period!

It was so worth the two-week suspension.

Am I advocating violence? No, I’m not. What I am advising is that people need to find ways to protect themselves from abuse.

Bullying can be as silent and as deadly as a venomous snake. Listen to the non-verbal cries for help:

  • Unexplained minor bruises, such as small scratches
  • Moodiness toward parents
  • Aggressiveness toward younger siblings

But are you a bully yourself? Do you…

  • Rule your house with an iron fist?
  • Spank or beat your child? There is a difference.
  • Allow your children to make mistakes?
  • Confuse aggressiveness with assertiveness?

As a parent, I know how difficult it is raising and protecting children. But as challenging as it is for us, it’s even more difficult for our children to learn how to protect themselves.

Remember, if we stand together, we can stomp out this senseless crime.

Share your bully stories in the comments below. Let us know how you survived.

There Is No Tomorrow!

On March 02, 2012, I drove a stake through the heart of the beast Tomorrow.

As a family we wrote short stories with the hope of one day publishing them. For years our hard work languished in flash drives and drawers.

On that morning, I was fed up. With determination burning inside me, I gathered the family and said, “No matter what,  this week we’re going to write a whole new short story collection and publish it next Friday on Smashwords. Period!”

In that week, every conceivable and inconceivable thing that could go wrong did go wrong. People we hadn’t heard from in years called; both cars broke down; we butted heads with neighbors, and family spats suddenly increased. However, this time we would not let the dream assassins win. This time we would not be denied.

On March 09, 2012 we released our first book-Poies: A New Beginning. Two weeks later, we went through hell again and eventually released Swan Song.

Gone forever was the beast Tomorrow.

Slay your tomorrow beast just like Rocky did. Battle that monster, and you will emerge victorious.

Check out the book trailer for Swan Song and Poies: A New Beginning.

Does Size Matter?


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No, not that.

When it comes to eBooks, the answer is a resounding “NO!”

There is a belief that books have to be of a high page count to really be worth reading.

That’s nonsense! And those who perpetuate that lie are robing you of living your real life. Books with countless pages are often times pumped with so much filler they make a hot dog look wholesome.

How many times have you purchased one of these clunkers with high hopes of truly being entertained? Long before you force yourself to its disappointing conclusion you feel your blood boil.

“Another twenty-five dollars for a book that wasn’t good.”  And there’s no place for it on your overcrowded shelves.

A 400 (or more) page novel often taunts its readers: “My bloated book is more important than your life. Let me steal you away from your family and friends. Help me make my dreams come true while I rob you of yours.”

Short stories are vastly different. They tell the story faster and better. (For example, check out Swan Song at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/146704 it’s less than 2500 words, but it packs a powerful punch.) Short stories writers spend time with you, not steal time from you. This way, you have more time to work on your treasures.

When you get those precious few hours to yourself, do you want to spend all of it reading about empty characters when you can be living the life you desire?

This cautionary plea goes out to all aspiring writers with the hopes of becoming a better writer by reading other long-winded writers. STOP. You will become a better writer by writing. Period.

Unleash that novel of respectable size that’s locked inside your head. Or that new movie idea that’s sure to be a hit- if you can just get to it. Then you’ll breathe that full breath that you haven’t breathed in a very long time. Don’t let your death clock run out by wasting time on fluffed writing. Better get going.

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JUST SAYIN’

Just In

Hello, I hope everyone enjoyed our first Good Friday.

Also, check out Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups, usually sold at Whole Foods Market. The dark chocolate ones are vegan and gluten free. A word of caution: they’re very additive. You have been warned.

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Top Ten Reasons Why I Love Sweet Dark Chocolate

1. It’s chocolate-it helps keep me sane.

2. It’s a great reward after a very long walk.

3. The very smell of it makes my mouth water.

4. As a gift, it’s always the perfect fit.

5. It goes well with other tasty treats, like peanut butter (see above picture).

6. Watching my kids eating dark chocolate bunnies on Easter morning: priceless.

7. The last bite. So sad, but sooo good.

8. Red wine and sweet dark chocolate. Need I say more?

9. Finding a hidden bite-size piece I tucked away on the pantry’s top shelf.

10. While in Paris, my wife and I visited every chocolatier in the one mile radius. Every time I eat chocolate it reminds me of that moment.

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Just Sayin.’

Vegans

Are vegans freaks?

No, we’re not.

IF YOU WANT TO EAT (AND LIVE) LIKE NO ONE ELSE, LATER YOU MUST EAT (AND LIVE) LIKE NO ONE ELSE TODAY. (Thanks Dave, Total Money Makeover, Ramsey. Great book by the way.)

One thing is vividly clear: your life and the true quality of it, for the most part, depends on what you put in your mouth and what emotions you allow to settle in your heart.

Years ago I became a vegan and my life and health have never been better. Trust me, it can make your life better too.

After all, it takes more than veganism to makes your life better. It takes-I’m going to use a name that surprisingly offends many people-It…it takes…it takes… Jesus. There. I said it.

Jesus is the only way.

I try to walk with Jesus everyday. And most days I fail. But thankfully, God hasn’t given up on me, nor will He you.

Jesus, my wife, our children, and veganism are very close to my heart.

Speaking of my heart, my heart is much more healthy since my wife only-okay, for the most part-makes great healthy vegan dishes. We sometimes eat too many vegan treats. However, you’ll be amazed what my wife can do with a handful of nuts. No jokes please. Okay, maybe a few. Okay, okay, that’s enough.

Just Sayin’.

For more on Jesus: READ YOUR BIBLE and click this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAhDGYlpqY

For more on Veganism: click this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GR9hdOVOCKQ