Saturday, June 18, 2011

Terrorist converts to Christ because he is loved by Christians

Trained from childhood to fight in jihad for the cause of Allah, former terrorist Kamal Saleem says he learned early to hate Christians and Jews. The response he got from Christians, however, changed his life. He was in a terrible car accident, and all his caregivers showed him the love of Christ.  He at first thought it was a conspiracy.  When he realized the care for his safety was real, he began to seek.

Read the story at

Stood there being spit upon

In the book ‘Run Baby Run’,  murderous gang leader Nicky Cruz tells of how he swore at, spit on, and threatened 'hood preacher David Wilkinson when Wilkinson first told Nicky about God.  Later he recalls that David was one of the only people who broke through Nicky’s hard shell and it was because David stood there and took it and did not run out of fear and did not get angry.

Nicky later came to God in a strong way, and brought other gang members to God.
Nicky Cruz and David Wilkerson


Doctor Death - Jack Kevorkian

From June 6, 2011

I was glad when on Christian Radio AM 990, Al Kresta told a story about the vast difference of perception about human life between Dr. Jack Kevorkian (the late advocate of assisted suicide) and an Alzheimer’s caregiver.  Al said that when he interviewed Kevorkian in the late 80’s, Jack said that an Alzheimer’s patient was "a cipher, a zero, a nothing".  Coincidentally, the very next person being interviewed by Al was an Alzheimer’s caregiver.  That man said that the Alzheimer’s patient was certainly a human being to the very end.  Al summarized it as the difference between a Satanic (I don't like the strong adjective chosen, but that's what Al said) and a Samaritan point of view on life.  The Satanic point of view diminishes the importance of life and hope in the quality of the future life.  Satan finds any method of introducing doubt and despair.  In so doing, he can cast doubt on the value of God in that life. 
The Samaritan views what is coming with hope.  The hope of Christ.  And find value in life.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian
Al Kresta

That wonderful quiet "voice"

From June 6, 2011
This morning I was parked in the car pool parking lot - first one there.  So I closed my eyes to pray.  Started thinking immediately about the argument with my wife yesterday night.  I just had to let it come up.  I was going through the human reactions of anger; of a desire to withhold my home repair work if she’s not going to appreciate it; of not talking to her until she apologized or told me she would try to be more appreciative.  That heavy wooden barrel had quite a bit of momentum and would have kept rolling down a very long hill picking up steam if I had not allowed the spirit to talk me out of it.  I do feel that He speaks to us in a calming language.  With almost 5 months of practice really listening, I am starting to recognize his voice right away.  Voice may not be the correct word.  Calming presence.  Accompanying that calming presence are thoughts that seem to come from outside myself.  “Give her what she needs even though she isn’t giving you what you need.”   It was un-human in origin, and so in tune with the style of Jesus found in the Bible.  A tone of sacrifice for others, even those others who do not deserve it.  In it was inherent the willingness to set aside ego and focus on the will of God, who wants harmony and love.  Only He could author such simple mastery.  The barrel of upset stopped rolling down the hill.  I felt like I had my answer.  

Daily Bread - doesn't mean food?

I find that I have been leaning on God/Jesus more since January than in most past years.  I made a New Year’s resolution to spend quality time with God every day.  While I haven’t done that every day, I’ve done that perhaps 2/3 of all days.  That’s only 6 months, and I find that the prayer has changed in nature from something that seems a bit like a routine or chore to something that seems like talking to a friend.  A few times it felt like talking to God was becoming something akin to eating food.  A requirement for daily sustenance.  Something needed to stay healthy.  “My daily bread”.  I had never understood this before.  I got some added meaning from that phrase.  So often, the pressures of the world and dealing with certain people who are hard to deal with can wear down my patience and increase my irritability.  Only spending time with the Lord brings it down. 

Invisible force propelled him through the air

A Catholic teen boy yesterday night on the Yahoo Groups Religion and Spirituality group wrote a question.  He was asking what to do when his friends use the Ouija board and get scary results.  I answered him with this:
I am a long-time Catholic and rarely think about or talk about evil spirits, because the Holy Spirit advised us (through the Apostle Paul in Phil 4:8) "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

In my view, the Ouija board is nothing but a piece of wood, cardboard and plastic. It's not the board that's scary, it's the situation people put themselves in where they request "spirits" to answer their questions, and, in some cases, those questions are answered in a scary and unnatural way.

I hesitate to give any more attention to those spirits who align with evil. But I do believe they exist, and it merits us consciously steering clear of them and always refocusing on God. Why do I believe they exist? (odd as it may sound - true story). A very well respected woman named Kathy O. from my church was doing her very fruitful prison ministry, as she had done for years. This one evening an especially hardened criminal was going to give his life to the Lord. As he was walking over to Kathy to receive a blessing and holy water, he was physically propelled by something invisible through the air at a high speed and hit the wall behind him, knocking the wind out of him. It scared everyone except Kathy. Kathy attributed this to an evil spirit who hides unless there is a significant opportunity. She feels protected because she keeps her own life aligned with God's will.

So even if you are in the same room as people using the Ouija board to invite spirits to be involved with them, you are not sinning by being present, since you are evidently aligned with the Lord. Rather, your presence may help.

The boy, by the way, voted mine the ‘best answer’, and gave me a thankful response.

If your life is easy, you'll never be a Saint

Today, at Men’s Fellowship, we were talking about difficult situations we were in.  In all four of the situations mentioned, it had to do with a person in our lives who had or still is making life very unpleasant whenever we encounter them.  I told about Jill at work interpreting my normal actions that most people like as offensive.  Gerry C. told about a woman at work who was just making his life hell, and we was concerned that when he came in to Men’s Fellowship to lead it this morning, that he would not be able to concentrate.  Jerry told about a neighbor who is just so difficult he just wants to avoid him. Etc.   These stories were right on the surface for us all. 
Gerry said that he’s pretty sure that the Lord wants us to be able to continue to be Godly people in the face of this stress.  As an example of someone who succeeded in accomplishing that, he mentioned a female VP at his workplace who handled something well.  Gerry thought that he said something that could have been taken the wrong way, and he went to this woman and said, “I’m sorry if I offended you”.  She said, “Oh, you can’t offend me.  I have to let myself be offended”.    And Gerry immediately thought, “That’s got to be one main reason she is where she is.”
Dan G., on the same topic, said that he heard the saying, “We can be much happier if we just don’t allow others to rent free space in our head.”
Gerry said, “It seems like this kind of problem is something that only happens to us, and that it’s harder for us than for anyone else to manage through it.  But many of the saints had to deal with harder things and still maintain a behavior consistent with God’s commands.”  Now here’s his point that really stuck with me:  “If the Saint’s task had been easy, we wouldn’t think of them as Saints”.
Yes.  Unless we have some true difficulty in life, we cannot demonstrate that we can maintain a focus on God through difficulty.
This gives me a reason to think differently about some of the parts of my life that give me pain.  It makes me think that some day I’ll really understand the Romans 5:3 passage “rejoice in our sufferings”.

He didn't want to drive to the Prison

Today at Men’s Fellowship, Pierre F. told a story of how he only had an hour left before the prison ministry time would be over, and he was at home and got a nagging feeling that he should drive in to the prison to be there for the men.  He accepted the prompting by getting in the car and driving.  But the whole time he was kicking himself for being so inefficient with his time, and convincing himself that his urge to go to the prison would be better served if he could go on a day when he could spend the full time period there.  But he couldn’t talk himself out of driving and he arrived.  When he got there, one of the inmates said, “Boy, I’m glad you showed up today.  I’ve been waiting a week to talk to a Chaplain”.
Pierre’s point was that the Holy Spirit really does prompt us when there is a need, and that if we respond, we can be an instrument in accomplishing His work.