Tag Archives: current-events

We Need a REAL Hero

caitlyn_bruce_jenner

Am I the only one who is tired of hearing what a hero Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner is for having the courage to have transgender surgery?  In this country, which prides itself on its tolerance, I’m sure that many will be offended by this post, and that some may even accuse me of being intolerant.  However, before you accuse me of intolerance, allow me to confess that I am indeed intolerant, as are my accusers.  Those who are offended and accuse me of being intolerant are intolerant of my intolerance, while I am indeed intolerant of sin, which steals, kills and destroys mankind.

How, pray tell, can Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner be called a hero, for undergoing a surgery and transformation that has won him/her more fame and fortune than he had before having this procedure?  Jenner’s transformation was for purely selfish reasons, to fulfill his own sinful desires, not to rescue or help other human beings.  Jenner never allowed his children’s feelings about this transformation to stop him from doing so, because this was what he desired, and that was more important to him than anything else.  Indeed, Jenner is the antithesis of what a hero really is, according to dictionary.com

  1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
  2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal:
    He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child.

Self-serving deeds are not and have never been heroic, no matter what Hollywood or the media may say.  Most certainly, sin is not, nor has it ever been heroic.  Perhaps people have forgotten what true heroism is, and that’s why they call people such as Jenner and other movie and television stars, as well as professional sports men and women heroes, even though in reality, most haven’t done anything heroic, unless you call earning exhorbitant wages for jobs that don’t even require a full year’s work heroic.

Shall I tell you what a true hero is?  You need look no further than our men and women in uniform, who selflessly serve their country (you and me), for relatively low wages, considering their lives are at stake, all for the sake of the freedom that you and I enjoy.  Do you still wonder what a real hero is?  Then look no farther than the men and women in our cities, states, towns and counties, who selflessly enforce the law, so that you and I can live safely.

Heroes are the lifeguards at the pools and the beaches, who save countless lives, because that’s just how they roll.  Let’s not forget the men and women who provide medical services in order to keep us healthy and well.  Also, let’s not forget about the paramedics and EMT’s, who race to rescue people’s lives on a regular basis.

Are you still unsure about what a hero is?  Look at the many volunteer firemen and women all across this great nation, who at the sound of the siren, leave whatever they are doing, in order to run to the firehall, and try to put the fire out.  These men and women risk their lives in order to rescue people who may be trapped in a fire, and also to save their homes.  All of this is done selflessly, not for their own benefit, but for yours and mine.

Still confused?  Take a look at all of the fathers and mothers, who struggle to make their marriage work, not just for their own sake, but also for the sake of their children.  Look at the daddies and mommies, who work hard to provide for and care for their children’s needs.  Look at the many parents who would rather do without, in order to ensure their children have what they need.

There are many more examples of heroes, but let me leave you with just one more.  He was born with nothing, and raised by His mother and a man who wasn’t really His father.  Yet, He didn’t complain about it.  In fact, He went out of His way to be obedient to both His mother and His stepfather.  When He grew up, He hung out with alcoholics, prostitutes and derelects, and taught them a better way to live.  He was a radical, known as the Son of Man and the Son of God.

He was despised and rejected by many, and most people thought it was His own fault.  It never occured to them that He suffered for their sake.  They didn’t know that the sins of all mankind were put on Him, and that He was bruised for our transgressions and chastised for our iniquities.  He never told a lie, never stole anything, and never cheated or hated anyone.  Instead, He spoke truth and life, He gave His life for all of mankind, and He loved each and every person He ever met, with an all-consuming, never ending love.  He paid the price for the sins of all mankind, including Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner, so that all who believed in Him could live.  The price for sin is death, and so, He was tortured mercilessly and died a most painful death on a cross, after being whipped with a cat-o’-nine tails.  Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man was and is the ultimate hero, because He gave Himself entirely, so that we might live.  He is a hero, because He loved us and died for us, when we were His enemies and still lost in our sins.

He is MY hero, because He saved ME.

When you put Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner beside the heroes I listed, you quickly realize that he/she is most certainly NOT a hero in any way, shape or form.  No pun intended.

© 2015
Cheryl A. Showers

Creflo Dollar’s Plea for More Dollars

Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions.These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.

~ 1 Timothy 6:3-5  NLT ~

TBN Logo

I absolutely refuse to watch TBN and many of the other “Christian” television stations.  Does this shock you?  At first, I thought there was something wrong with me, because many other believers love televangelists like Creflo Dollar, Jesse Duplantis, Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, Paula White, Joyce Meyer and so many others.  Therefore, something has to be wrong with me, right?

However, as I searched the scriptures and compared the gospel preached by these people, to the Gospel of Christ, I discovered that they were preaching a false gospel.  Not only that, but in addition to deceiving many good men and women who are seeking the truth, these false teachers and false prophets also fleece their followers.  

These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.

~ 1 Timothy 6:5  NLT ~

These men and women make the proud and boastful claim that they need your money in order to save a lost and dying world.  However, when Jesus walked this earth as a man, He touched the hearts of a lost and dying world, without pilfering anyone for money.  Furthermore, when the apostles went to Jerusalem, Judea, and the uttermost parts of the world, they did so without begging for money. Indeed, the gospel was shared by many of them, as they fled from persecution. Not only that, the Apostle Paul, who traveled through many countries, sharing the gospel to a lost and dying world, was careful not to be a financial burden on the people that he served…

Preaching for Money Church

17 If I were doing this on my own initiative, I would deserve payment. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust. 18 What then is my pay? It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. That’s why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News.

~ 1 Corinthians 9:17-18  NLT ~

12 When I was with you, I certainly gave you proof that I am an apostle. For I patiently did many signs and wonders and miracles among you. 13 The only thing I failed to do, which I do in the other churches, was to become a financial burden to you. Please forgive me for this wrong!

14 Now I am coming to you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you. I don’t want what you have—I want you. After all, children don’t provide for their parents. Rather, parents provide for their children. 15 I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me.

~ 2 Corinthians 12:12-15  NLT ~

Don’t you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God’s Good News to you.

~ 1 Thessalonians 2:9  NLT ~

You see, Paul wasn’t interested in how much money he could get out of believers; he wanted to win their hearts.  Paul truly sought to save a lost and dying world.  Today’s televangelists, evangelists, teachers and various other ministries could learn from his example.  For though many of these ministries claim they want to seek and save the lost, their lifestyles paint a different picture.  

Let’s look at Creflo Dollar, whose website, on Friday, March 13. 2015, announced a new project entitled, Project G650. 

According to this video, the ministry’s current jet is over 30 years old and is now out of service.  Therefore, they now need a new one, which will cost $65 million dollars.  Really???  He and his ministry team aren’t able to fly commercial flights, like the rest of us???

In doing research on Dollar’s life and ministry, I discovered that his church began in the Kathleen Mitchell Elementary School cafeteria in 1986, to a congregation of eight.  In the years following that, his ministry began to grow, and eventually moved to a chapel.  Around this time, Creflo Dollar began preaching on the radio, and he began having four services on Sundays.  The church continued to grow, from the tithes, offerings and donations they received from parishoners and people around the world, and World Changers Church International (WCCI) eventually built moved into the World Dome, a sanctuary that seats 8500 people, located in College Park, GA.  This $18 million dollar church was built from the donations of many men and women, with no bank financing.  WCCI also has a church in New York as well.

The ministry isn’t all that has prospered since its humble beginning; Creflo and wife, Taffi Dollar have also prospered.  Though he has refused to disclose his salary for many years, it is estimated that Mr. and Mrs. Dollar’s net worth is $27 million dollars, much of which has come from the tithes and donations of many men and women like you and me.  

When giving to a ministry, I want to be a good steward. I want to know that my offerings are going to help the needy, widows and orphans, as well as the disabled.  I want to know that the money is being used wisely, according to God’s will, and not the will of a greedy man.  I would be very angry to think that I have given money to bring the gospel of Christ to those who have never heard Jesus’ name, and to help those who in need of food, money and shelter, according to God’s will, only to find it has been used to line the pastors’ pockets.  

Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.

~ 1 Corinthians 4:2  NLT ~

Heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, heal those who suffer from dreaded skin diseases, and drive out demons. You have received without paying, so give without being paid.

~ Matthew 10:8  GNT ~

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!

~ Matthew 10:8  NLT ~

Pardon me, but I have to ask, how much of the money that is donated to the ministry, for the salvation of souls and to help those in need, is actually going to the needy?  Dollar and his wife not only have a net worth of $27 million dollars, as I stated earlier, but he also owns two Rolls Royces, a $1 million dollar home in Atlanta, and a $2.5 million dollar home in Manhattan.

Creflo Dollar Mansion

With all of this wealth, I find it very brazen for Dollar to ask 200,000 members to donate $300 so that he can get a new jet!  After all, his wealth has come from the donations of many people who have a net worth of little or nothing, because he preaches a false prosperity message and claims that if his congregants will give at least ten percent of their income, they too will prosper.  Frankly, with his wealth, Dollar can either purchase his own jet, or he can do as the rest of us do, and fly the friendly skies on a commercial airline!

Minister Creflo Dollar Attempts to Raise $65 Million to Purchase Private Jet
Minister Creflo Dollar Attempts to Raise $65 Million to Purchase Private Jet

Beloved reader, true ministry begins with you and me, not with some preacher, who is more interested in what you can give him, instead of how he can help you.  Do you want to reach a lost and dying world with the gospel?  Then share the Good News with your neighbors, your coworkers, and the people you see on a day to day basis.  Pray for them.  Love them.  Talk to them about Jesus, not about your church.  This is how souls are won, not by sending your hard earned money to a charlatan who preaches a false gospel.

Finally, since I have shared my concerns about Creflo Dollar and his ministries and net worth, I would be remiss if I did not address one other scandal that was in the news in 2012.  On June 8, 2012, Creflo Dollar was arrested for Simple Battery Family Violence and Cruelty to Children for allegedly throwing his fifteen year old daughter on the ground, choking her, punching her and hitting her with a shoe.  The girl’s nineteen year old sister witnessed the alleged assault and told the same story her sister did, when questioned.  Below is his daughter’s 911 call.

Dollar told a different story, stating that he and his daughter were arguing over a party that he said she couldn’t attend because of her bad grades.  He stated that after entering the kitchen and asking why she was upset, his daughter was disrespectful to him, and he tried to restrain her.  After restraining her, he said that she began hitting him, and he wrestled her to the floor and spanked her.  Below is a copy of the actual police report for Creflo Dollar’s arrest:

Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Report –
Creflo Dollar

On the Sunday following his arrest, Creflo Dollar spoke to his congregation, and listeners all over the world, about his arrest.  Below is the video of his address.  

Now, here is the issue I have with Mr. Dollar’s address…  Firstly, I want to address the congregation’s response, when Dollar entered the pulpit.  I was greatly disturbed by the standing ovation and the cheers and whistles that arose in support of him.  With absolutely no evidence of his guilt or innocence, the congregation loudly cheered this man, who had been accused of abusing his daughter.  The congregation gave no thought for the troubled teen.  Now, please understand, when I refer to Dollar’s fifteen year old daughter as a troubled teen, I am in no way implying her guilt or innocence in telling the truth.  Either way, this was a traumatic event, and anyone would be troubled by what allegedly happened.  On the other hand, if she did indeed lie, as Dollar’s statements implied, she would still be considered troubled, for contriving a lie.  In their loud cheers for her father, who was potentially her abuser, the congregation made it clear that she and her feelings were unimportant.  

Secondly, I want to address the following statement by Creflo Dollar, by sharing his own words from this address… “I will never put any fault on my children as Jesus would never put any fault on me. I love her with all of my heart. Amen?”  That statement, sounds as though it comes from a benevolent and loving father, doesn’t it?  However, in keeping it in context with this very same address to his congregation, and all, throughout the world, who view this statement, I have to ask, who, then, if not his daughters, is he faulting?  Certainly not himself!

  • “As everyone knows, raising children in our culture of disrespect, is a challenge and a responsibility for all of us who are parents.”
    • Isn’t this just another way of saying that his daughter was disrespectful, and in so doing, isn’t he putting the fault on her, something he said he would never do”?
  • “The truth is, she was not choked.  She was not punched.  There were not any scratches on her neck, but the only thing on her neck was a prior skin abrasion from eczema.  Anything else is an exaggeration and sensationalism.”
    • It was his daughter who called 911 and also reported to the deputy that she had been choked and punched.  Therefore, isn’t this just another way of saying his daughter exaggerated and resorted to sensationalism (another way for calling her a liar)?  Again, wasn’t this something he said he would never do”?
  • “I mean, I can’t imagine. If I punched my kid, (emphasizes by punching open palm) I would hurt her.  If I choked my kid, you would see visible signs on her neck.  But to come and take a picture of a mark that’s been there for ten years, and not have enough intelligence to at least ask the parent what it is, is appalling.”
    • Let’s remember that Creflo Dollar had been accused, by his fifteen year old daughter of choking and attacking her.  Don’t you think the officer asked the girl what the mark was from?  Why would he ask the alleged perpetrator of a crime how she got the mark?  How likely would he be to tell the truth?  I wonder, how likely was he telling the truth in this statement? Also, let’s not forget that her nineteen year old sister corroborated her statement.
  • “Again, I would never approach one of my children to inflict bodily harm.  I love my children enough to establish proper boundaries and help them make right choices.”
    • Again, he is implying that his daughters are lying about what happened. I do believe that he was trying to establish proper boundaries and help them make right choices, but I also believe that it is entirely possible he lost his self-control in the heat of the moment, and threw his daughter to the floor, choking, hitting, and punching her.
  • “I will never put any fault on my children as Jesus would never put any fault on me. I love her with all of my heart. Amen?”
    • His entire statement has one goal… to deflect the blame off himself, by placing the blame onto his daughter.
  • “I want to say this very emphatically: I should have never  been arrested.  Never!  And when the facts of this come out, you will be appalled.”
    • Again, though he doesn’t actually say the words, his statement implies that his daughter lied about his assault on her.
  • “You’ve got to understand something.  It’s not as much against me as it is against this message of grace.  The devil knows in order to discredit the message, you have to first of all discredit the messenger…”
    • Here, Dollar implied that his daughter was used by the devil.
  • “… I want to close and I’ll have nothing else to say about this.  I want to close in the book of Psalms, chapter thirty-five, and it’ll describe to you, what is going on.  Verse eleven, Psalms thirty-five…

11 Malicious witnesses testify against me.  They accuse me of crimes I know nothing about.  12 They repay me evil for good.  I am sick with despair.  13 Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them.  I denied myself by fasting for them, but my prayers returned unanswered.  14 I was sad, as though they were my friends or family, as if I were grieving for my own mother.  15 But they are glad now that I am in trouble; they gleefully join together against me.  I am attacked by people I don’t even know; they slander me constantly.  16 They mock me and call me names; they snarl at me.

17 How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing?  Rescue me from their fierce attacks.  Protect my life from these lions!  18 Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly.  I will praise you before all the people. 19 Don’t let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat.  Don’t let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow.  20 They don’t talk of peace; they plot against innocent people who mind their own business. 21 They shout, “Aha!  Aha!  With our own eyes we saw him do it!”

22 O Lord, you know all about this.  Do not stay silent.  Do not abandon me now, O Lord.  23 Wake up! Rise to my defense!  Take up my case, my God and my Lord. 24 Declare me not guilty, O Lord my God, for you give justice.  Don’t let my enemies laugh about me in my troubles.  25 Don’t let them say, “Look, we got what we wanted!  Now we will eat him alive!”

26 May those who rejoice at my troubles be humiliated and disgraced.  May those who triumph over me be covered with shame and dishonor.  27 But give great joy to those who came to my defense.  Let them continually say, “Great is the Lordwho delights in blessing his servant with peace!”  28 Then I will proclaim your justice, and I will praise you all day long.  (Psalm 35:11-28  NLT)

Creflo Dollar continued, as though this next passage was a part of Psalm 35, but it wasn’t….

10 Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts.  11 Don’t let the proud trample me or the wicked push me around. 12 Look! Those who do evil have fallen!  They are thrown down, never to rise again.  (Psalm 36:10-12  NLT)

Now, as you read the scripture above, imagine that you are Dollar’s fifteen and nineteen year old daughters, who signed a witness statement against him.  Certainly the pastor’s word, this “man of God” carries more weight than a disrespectful fifteen year old and her nineteen year old sister, who are both indirectly referred to as “malicious witnesses” accusing him of crimes he knows nothing about.  After all, he has always taken care of them, even when they were sick, and he’s fasted and prayed for them, and look how they have repaid evil for his good.  See how gleefully they have joined together attacking him?  Because of their behavior, they have caused people he doesn’t even know to slander him… 

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had a pastor preach a message against you personally, but I have.  I pray this has never happened to you, because there is nothing more painful than to have the word of God aimed as a weapon of destruction against you.  It doesn’t matter whether you are truly in the wrong or not.  It is painful to be exposed, and know that there are others who are listening to the sermon, who also know that the pastor is using you as an example.  God’s word is not intended to be taken out of context to condemn or destroy someone else.  As you read the scripture in the way Mr. Dollar presents it, he is the victim of a terrible injustice.  

Finally, after praying for God’s intervention, just as David prayed against those who treated him injustly, Dollar curses his attackers (in this case, his fifteen year old and nineteen year old daughters, who called the police and signed the report against him) asking God to humiliate and disgrace them, and cover them with shame and dishonor.  Regardless of who was speaking the truth, or who was lying, how do you think Dollar’s daughters felt as they listened to their father’s speech that morning?  Do you think they were drawn to God?  Or did they feel shamed and humiliated by Him?

The assault charges against Mr. Dollar were eventually dropped in January, 2013, in exchange for him attending a pre-trial intervention program, which included him attending an anger management program.  In addition, Dollar had to pay $1,072 dollars in fees and court costs.

There are many reasons to be wary of this man’s teachings.  His sermons usually revolve around a prosperity message with money and personal wealth as the focus.  It’s the kind of message that people want to hear; the kind of message that makes them happy, but is it true?

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

~ 2 Timothy 4:3-4  NLT ~

Study_to_Show_Thyself_Approved

This is why I strongly urge you, beloved reader, to seek God’s face.  Study His word for yourselves.  When someone preaches or writes a post (including me), read the scriptures to see if what this person is preaching or teaching lines up with what God says.  Then, if it doesn’t, find someone who speaks truth, while you continue to study God’s word.

Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.

~ 1 John 4:1  NLT ~

15 Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.

~ 2 Timothy 2:15  AMP ~

Finally, beloved reader, pay attention to the way leaders conduct themselves, when preaching, and when they’re not in front of a group.  What does he/she like to talk about most frequently?  If the person talks mostly about money, that’s because this is what is most important in his/her heart.  How does he/she treat his/her followers?  Does this person like to serve, or does he/she expect to be served?  For a true leader will lovingly and joyfully serve his/her followers, expecting nothing in return. 

Abundance of the Heart

18 But whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what makes a man unclean and defiles [him].

~ Matthew 15:18  AMP ~

12 So then, whatever you desire that others would do to and for you, even so do also to and for them, for this is (sums up) the Law and the Prophets.

~ Matthew 7:12  AMP ~

43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.

~ Mark 10:43-45  NLT ~

The scriptures above are the qualifications of a true leader, given to us by the King of all other kings, and the Lord of every lord.  If the minister you have been following does not meet these qualifications, prayerfully seek one who does.  This person should be willing to give to his/her followers, not to take.  In light of this, where does Creflo Dollar fall in the spectrum?  You decide.

© 2015
Cheryl A. Showers

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A Day in the Life…

12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. ~ Matthew 24:12 NLT ~

I watched the news Friday night, and as I watched, I wept. Since then, I haven’t been able to get the news out of my mind or my heart. An old Beatles song came to mind as well, and I just couldn’t shake it, so take a listen to the song, before you read on or listen while you read.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo
Corporal Nathan Cirillo

Please bear with me as I share what I saw and heard on Friday night, that caused me to weep… On Friday, Corporal Nathan Cirillo, the twenty-four year old soldier who was needlessly slain Wednesday, was taken home, to be laid to rest. He was driven home along the Highway of Heroes, while hundreds of Canadians gathered to pay tribute to him, as he made his way to his home and final resting place.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau

On Wednesday, after ruthlessly shooting Corporal Cirillo, his assassin, thirty-two year old, Islamic convert, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, then charged through Canada’s parliament, before being fatally shot by Sargeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers. Not only did an innocent young man lose his life, but also, his assassin, their lives cut terribly short.

The following day, when parliament reconvened, Sargeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers, was hailed as a hero for killing Zehaf-Bibeau before he could murder or harm anyone else. You could see tears rolling down the staunch officer’s cheeks, as he stood otherwise composed, while the members of parliament gave him a standing ovation, and I couldn’t help but cry for this brave man too, for though he had done the right thing by killing the killer before he could kill anyone else, he would have to live and come to terms with the knowledge that he had taken a human life.

This whole story is heartbreaking. An innocent twenty-four year old, with his whole life ahead of him, including a wife and a six year old son, who will now grow up fatherless, not to mention a brother and parents, was senselessly slain. As a parent of two grown children, I can’t imagine losing one of my children. In the natural scheme of things, parents are usually the first to pass on, and I can’t even begin to imagine how devastating this loss must be to Corporal Cirillo’s family. How could I not weep over this story?

Thomas Eric Duncan
Thomas Eric Duncan

Another story covered, was the ebola epidemic, and the nurses who cared for Liberian national, Thomas Eric Duncan, who was forty-two years old, when he died of the deadly ebola virus in the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The nurses who spoke to reporters seemed to be genuinely compassionate, as they shared what it was like to care for the dying man. One nurse in particular said that he held Mr. Duncan’s hand, staying by his bedside, in the place of his family members, who were not allowed to be there, because of the danger  of catching the highly infectious disease.

Other nurses shared how their community has responded to them. One said that her niece was asked not to return to school for twenty-one days, even though they don’t even live together. Still others said they were being shunned by various friends and businesses, who were fearful of the medical team contaminating them with the virus, even though the virus is transmitted by body fluids, and is not airborne.

Again, I couldn’t help but weep, for Mr. Duncan, who caught the deadly disease when he buried his pregnant daughter, who died from it. In the aftermath of his falling ill with the dreaded disease, both the Liberian government and the Dallas County prosecutor considered filing criminal charges against the dying man for bringing the disease to the United States.

How ironic this is, when it was the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital that failed to test and treat Mr. Duncan immediately, when he arrived in the Emergency Room on September 24, 2014. When Thomas Duncan told the ER staff he had just returned to the United States from Africa, they should have questioned him more closely about where in Africa he had come from. He should also have been tested for ebola, based simply on the knowledge that he had come from Africa, where the ebola epidemic rages on, yet instead of admitting him to an isolated unit and testing him for the disease, they dropped the ball, sending him home with antibiotics, which could not fight the disease; and to his family, thereby putting them at risk of catching the ebola virus.

When Thomas Duncan returned four days later, on September 28, 2014, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital dropped the ball yet again, with this very sick patient. Yes, they admitted him to an isolated room, but they failed to treat the disease until six days later, on October 4, 2014, when they treated him with an experimental drug. Sadly, it was too little, too late, and Mr. Thomas Duncan died on October 8, 2014.  Had he been tested and treated immediately, there is every reason to believe that Thomas Duncan would have survived the disease, like every other patient who has been treated here in the United States. Again, how could I not weep over the injustice of this?

Man-attacks-police-with-hatchet-jpgAlso in the news was a recap of the unprovoked attack by a man armed with a hatchet on Thursday, who struck two police officers, one on his arm, and other on his head, before he was shot and killed by the two other officers who were there. Sadly, an innocent bystander, a twenty-nine year old woman, was shot in her lower back. Yet again, I couldn’t help but cry, and still, the news continued.

Jaylen Fryberg
Jaylen Fryberg

Friday, during the early lunch at a high school in the state of Washington, Jaylen Fryberg, a fourteen year old freshman, shot and killed a female student, and wounded four others, before shooting and killing himself. It was said that he shot both family members and friends. What could be so wrong, that he would do something so terrible? I couldn’t seem to help myself, as I sat in my recliner, weeping for the lost souls, who placed no value on human lives.

The final story was an uplifting story, yet it, too, broke my heart. Lauren Hill, nineteen years old, and a Freshman at Mount St. Joseph University, near Cincinnati, Ohio, is also a basketball player. After discovering she had a malignant brain tumor that was terminal, Lauren’s response was, “Can I at least still play basketball?”

Lauren Hill
Lauren Hill

Wearing jersey  number 22, Lauren gets up early every morning to practice with her team. Though the tumor has weakened her coordination and energy, Lauren still pushes herself to come to practice. Her goal has been to play NCAA basketball for Mount St. Joseph University since she first found out about her tumor, but because it is likely that she has only a couple of weeks left to live, the NCAA did something unprecedented. Because Lauren’s situation is so urgent, the NCAA made a special exception to change the Division III school’s opener against Hiram College to Nov. 2, despite its rules that require seasons to start later in November.

Lauren’s hopefulness is inspiring. Her goal isn’t just to live to play that one game. She has stated that she hopes Sunday’s game will just be her first basketball game with  her team, and that many others will follow. Again, how could I not weep as I witnessed this young woman’s courage in the face of certain death?

As I sat in my recliner weeping, I wondered what was wrong with me. After all, it’s not as though I knew any of the people in these stories personally, but then, just as quickly, another thought ran through my  mind. “There’s nothing wrong with you for weeping for those who are suffering. Instead, you should ask, “What’s wrong with the people who are not as affected by these stories?”

Sadly, far too many people have become desensitized to the pain of others, Even Christians have become hardened to the pain of strangers. Many adults and young people watch horror films and murder shows, not to mention the nightly news, with all of the violence going on throughout the world, while still others play violent games, and search out violent websites. After viewing so much violence and killing, many people have become desensitized to these things.

However, for those of us who are Christians, this should not be. It’s easy not to feel personally affected by the suffering of someone we don’t know, and have never seen, yet, as followers of Christ, we are to love even those we don’t know, and when you love someone, you care about what happens to them, even if you haven’t seen him/her for a long time. In fact, look at this command for Christians…

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. ~ Romans 12:15  NASB ~

Beloved reader, when is the last time you wept because of the plight of people you may not even know? When you hear of human trafficking; of children being sold as sex slaves; of men, women and children dying of dreadful diseases like ebola; of tragedies like hurricanes and tornadoes destroying people’s homes and even killing them, do you feel the weight of their pain? Does your heart ache for the abused and misused? The prophets wept for the people of Judea and Israel, especially Jeremiah. Jesus wept for Mary when He saw her weeping over the death of her brother, Lazarus…

33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and [h]was troubled, 34 and said,“Where have you laid him?” They *said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. ~ John 11:33-35  NASB ~

Beloved reader, if you find yourself unmoved by the pain and suffering of others, then you need to pray for God to change your heart of stone…

26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. ~ Ezekiel 36:26  NASB ~

Ask the Lord to fill you with His love for others. Ask Him to help you to love others the same way that He loves them. Ask Him to help you to weep with those who weep, and to rejoice with those who rejoice, in Jesus’ name. For this is God’s will for His children. In fact, Jesus commands us to love even our enemies…

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” ~ Matthew 5:43-48  NASB ~

Finally, beloved readers, ask your heavenly Father to help you to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice, in Jesus’ name. For He is faithful to His children, and if we delight ourselves in Him, and ask for anything according to His will, He will give us the desires of our heart…

14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. ~ 1 John 5:14-15  NASB ~

Take delight in the Lord,
    and He will give you your heart’s desires. ~ Psalm 37:4  NLT ~

Beloved reader, don’t become desensitized (hard of heart). Rather, weep for those who are hurting and struggling. Weep for those who are lost. Weep for the many nations, including our own, who are bent on going to hell.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Justin Ross Harris & Israel’s Cities of Refuge

Image Credit: people.com
Image Credit:
people.com

Everyone is talking about Justin Ross Harris, who left his twenty-two month old son, Cooper, in his hot SUV for seven hours, while working his job at Home Depot. This horrible incident has been all over the news media, and a couple of days ago, I watched his probable cause hearing online. By the end of that day, Mr. Harris’ motion to be released on bond was denied, so he must remain in jail until his trial.

In the aftermath of this terrible occurrence, one thing is certain; everyone has an opinion about it. Did Ross Harris deliberately murder his only son, or was it really a dreadful accident, like he says? As I watched the court proceedings the other day, I was struck by a sad thought…

Suppose this really was an accident? Haven’t you ever gotten in your car, planning to go to one destination, and then, while you’re on your way, you suddenly realize that you’ve driven somewhere else, almost as though you were on auto-pilot? Haven’t you ever gone into a room with a specific task in mind, only to get there and realize that you’ve forgotten what you had gone in there for? 

I realize that a child was involved in this incident that turned very deadly, but the fact is that each one of us are human beings, with finite minds, and we do sometimes forget very important people and things. Several years ago, I remember promising to pick up an elderly woman for bible study at the church we attended together. On the evening of the bible study, I arrived around fifteen minutes early, because I am a very punctual person. After arriving so early, I spent the next several minutes chatting with other friends before class started. At one point, I remember looking at one of my friends, asking, “Where’s Miss Betty? She’s usually here by now.” 

My friend gave me an incredulous look, then stated, “I was going to ask you where she is. Weren’t you supposed to pick her up tonight?” I was totally embarrassed, because as soon as she said that, I remembered telling Miss Betty that I would pick her up. How embarrassing it was, as I quickly exited and went to get Miss Betty and bring her to the bible study. 

That’s why I don’t think it is totally implausible that a father or mother could go to work and forget his/her child is in the back seat, especially if the child falls asleep. Before we pass judgment on this father, let’s remember that he is every bit as human as we are, and it is truly possible that he did indeed, forget his son was in the backseat of his SUV. 

And if he truly did forget his child, can you imagine how traumatic it would be to come to the realization that your forgetfulness killed your only son? Imagine how horrific that must be for him. If he truly did forget his son, this young man (who looks like a boy to me), must find a way to live with the knowledge that his stupid error killed his beloved son. If it was indeed an accident, he will have to live with all of the ramifications caused by his memory lapse… Think of it, while his wife and family are grieving the loss of this adorable little boy, Ross Harris must be carrying a crushing load of guilt, knowing that his son would be alive if only

If only…

  • he had taken Cooper to daycare…
  • he had remembered Cooper was there, in his car seat, in the SUV, before he got out…
  • he had thought about his little boy, instead of allowing his mind to wander to sexual fantasies with six different women (none of whom were his wife), and wasting precious minutes, (which could have saved his son’s life) by sending sexual messages to these women (one of whom was an underage, sixteen year old girl)…
  • he had remembered his son before he went to lunch with his friends…
  • he had looked in the backseat of the SUV, when he dropped the light bulbs off in the front seat of his car, after lunch…

The list of “if only’s” goes on and on, but sadly, they mean nothing, for Cooper Harris is gone now.

Meanwhile, Ross Harris now finds himself in a battle for his freedom, and possibly even for his life, since Georgia is one of the states, which still enforces the death penalty. While watching Mr. Harris’ defense attorney questioning Detective Phil Stoddard (who seemed to have convicted Justin Ross Harris already, before the investigation and a trial have been completed) that I began to think about how a situation like this would have been handled in biblical times…

Image Credit: Bob Enyart Live
Image Credit:
Bob Enyart Live

During biblical times, the people of Israel had six cities that were designated to be Cities of Refuge

These cities are for the protection of Israelites, foreigners living among you, and traveling merchants. Anyone who accidentally kills someone may flee there for safety. ~ Numbers 35:15  NLT ~

Were these cities of refuge available to everyone? As you can see from Numbers 35:15these cities of refuge were available to foreigners and traveling merchants, as well as the Israelites, who found themselves in a situation much like the one Ross Harris is now involved in. Also, because the Lord is a merciful and just God, He made sure that the cities of refuge were available to all, no matter where they lived in Israel…

“If the distance to the nearest city of refuge is too far, an enraged avenger might be able to chase down and kill the person who caused the death. Then the slayer would die unfairly, since he had never shown hostility toward the person who died. That is why I am commanding you to set aside three cities of refuge. ~ Deuteronomy 19:6-7  NLT ~

Now, this place of refuge was not a place for someone to stay to escape justice. Nor was it a prison. The cities of refuge were there so that the person who accidentally killed someone could live without fear of reprisal before being tried by the community.

These cities will be places of protection from a dead person’s relatives who want to avenge the death. The slayer must not be put to death before being tried by the community. ~ Numbers 35:12  NLT ~

God did not command these cities of refuge be created to help the slayer escape justice. He called for these cities of refuge to be built in order to ensure that justice was served. Indeed, the Lord didn’t appoint only three cities of refuge, but six, so there would be enough to make them equally accessible for people to escape to.

13 Designate six cities of refuge for yourselves, 14 three on the east side of the Jordan River and three on the west in the land of Canaan. 15 These cities are for the protection of Israelites, foreigners living among you, and traveling merchants. Anyone who accidentally kills someone may flee there for safety. ~ Numbers 35:13-15  NLT ~

To be clear about this, murderers would not be allowed to find haven in any of the cities of refuge. These cities were only to protect those who accidentally killed someone, and they, like anyone else accused of a crime would face a trial by their community.

Those who were found guilty of murder were sentenced to die by the hand of their victim’s nearest relative. However, if the person accidentally kills someone, the community must protect the slayer (the one who accidentally kills someone) from the victim’s avenger (the closest relative of the victim), and escort him/her to the city of refuge, where the person must remain until the death of the high priest. (Numbers 35:24-25  NLT)

As long as the slayer remains within the city of refuge, until the high priest dies, thus ending his sentence, he will live in safety, protected from the victim’s avenger. However, if the slayer is discovered by the victim’s avenger outside of the city of refuge before the high priest dies, and the avenger kills him/her, this will not be counted as a crime by the avenger…

26 “But if the slayer ever leaves the limits of the city of refuge, 27 and the avenger finds him outside the city and kills him, it will not be considered murder. 28 The slayer should have stayed inside the city of refuge until the death of the high priest. But after the death of the high priest, the slayer may return to his own property. 29 These are legal requirements for you to observe from generation to generation, wherever you may live.  ~ Numbers 35:26-29  NLT ~

Now, let’s go back and examine the scriptures in Numbers 35 again, and see how they explain the difference in an accidental killing and murder. As we study this, let’s keep in mind what we know about the death of Justin Ross Harris’ son, Cooper Harris… The following scriptures describe exactly what a murder is…

16-21 If someone picks up an instrument—iron, stone, wood,whatever—and batters somebody else so badly that the victim dies, or if he otherwise kills with intent (fatally pushes with hatred or throws an object from some hidden place that kills its target), the perpetrator is guilty of murder. His punishment is death in return, and someone shall be assigned to kill him. The one to carry out this death penalty is called the “blood avenger.” Whenever the avenger has a chance to kill the murderer, he should do so. ~ Numbers 35:16-21  VOICE ~

As you can see from the description, it is murder if someone picks up an instrument and batters someone with it so badly, that the person dies. Further, it is also murder if someone intentionally kills someone either by using a weapon, or by some other means. As we follow the case against Justin Ross Harris in the coming months, let’s keep this biblical description in mind when determining whether the man murdered his son, or whether the child’s tragic death was an accident.

22-24 Sometimes it happens, though, that a person pushes his friend or acquaintance, throws an object, or happens to drop a heavy stone on someone else without any intention of hurting (much less killing) the person, but the other person happens to die from it. The guilty person should be able to take refuge in one of the six designated cities, safe from the one who would avenge the death he caused. Then people from among the greater community shall judge whether it was indeed an accident or not. ~ Numbers 35:22-24  VOICE ~

Image Credit: couriermail.com
Image Credit:
couriermail.com

In the coming weeks and months, I imagine we’re going to hear many different things about Justin Ross Harris, as he is tried for murder in both the courtroom, and in the news. Many people have already formed an opinion regarding his guilt or innocence, without even knowing all of the facts. However, I would encourage all believers to pray especially for Justin Ross Harris, and his wife, Leanne Harris, for if this was an accident as Mr. Harris claims that it is, I can’t even begin to fathom the pain he and his wife must be experiencing. On the other hand, if it was murder, let’s pray that justice is served, and that the Lord would comfort Leanne Harris, who loved and trusted her husband with their child. Let’s also pray for their marriage, which has very likely suffered from this tragedy.

After reading the scriptures that tell how to know the difference between murder and accidental death, we understand how to determine the difference between the two. However, if we are members of God’s jury, in the case of Justin Ross Harris, how can we judge whether he is guilty of murdering his son, or if the death was accidental? Let’s turn to Numbers 35 once again to help us…

“All murderers must be put to death, but only if evidence is presented by more than one witness. No one may be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. ~ Numbers 35:30  NLT ~

As you can see, to convict a person of murder, there must be evidence presented by more than one witness. If only one witness testifies against the accused, then there is not enough evidence to convict him/her.

There is one more noteworthy thing about this chapter on the Cities of Refuge that I would like to mention. If the person accused of murder was found guilty, he/she would be sentenced to death by the victim’s avenger. However, if the death is found to be accidental, the person does not get off scot-free. He/She must remain within the city of refuge until the high priest dies.

You see, God values the life of mankind, most certainly, more than humans do. Therefore, if someone is killed by the hand of another, his/her death must be paid for by the one who killed him/her. Of course, if the person was murdered, his/her killer must be killed to pay for his/her death.

However, if a person was accidentally killed by the hand of another, that person’s death must also be atoned for by his/her killer. Therefore, though the killer does not deserve to die for the accidental death caused by him/her, he/she must still pay for the death with his/her own life. Hence, the killer must spend his life living within the confines of the city of refuge until the death of the high priest, whereupon he/she will then be free to return to his/her own land to live in freedom once again.

I think this consequence for causing the accidental death of someone is fair. By sentencing the accidental killer to live in one of the cities of refuge, several clear messages are sent to everyone involved…

    • First and foremost, the sentence acknowledges the value of the life that was lost, and though his/her death was accidental, it must still be atoned for.
    • This sentence makes it clear that the death was unintentional and accidental, therefore, the killer does not deserve to die for it.
    • Only God, (who knew when and how the victim would die), knows when the high priest will die, thus ending the killer’s sentence.

It seems that God’s plan for determining whether a death is  the result of murder or accidental is the best plan. Although most of us will never sit on the jury in Justin Ross Harris’ trial, there is still a great probability that we will all form our own opinions about whether little Cooper Harris died an accidental death, or whether he was the victim of his father’s heinous murder plot. Therefore, I encourage all of us to use God’s way of determining whether Cooper’s death was an accident or murder. What a shame we don’t have cities of refuge here in the United States!

Meanwhile, please join me in praying for Cooper Harris’ family…

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Inside Israel – Doves of Jerusalem …and trains!

Image Credit: Jerusalem Shots
Image Credit:
Jerusalem Shots

Greetings Beloved Readers!

Praise the Lord, I am now up to date with the letters from our sister in Jerusalem. As always, I want to encourage you to pray for Israel. It is so important for us to understand that even though the Lord has saved many of us and delivered us from sin, and adopting us as sons and daughters, His love for Israel is not diminished. Israel still remains His chosen people. Therefore, we must cry out for His people in these last days.

This week, as you read the letter from our sister in Israel, let the following scripture passage be your prayer for God’s chosen people…

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

 

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

And now, without further ado, I introduce to some of you, and present to those of you who follow our letters from our sister in Israel…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Blessings and love to you dear sisters and brothers.  May The Lord of glory be blessed and glorified! 

 
Image Credit: Remi Kahane http://photolight.co.il/show_photo/346116.html
Image Credit:
Remi Kahane
http://photolight.co.il/show_photo/346116.html

Although most of us picture doves as white, the doves of Jerusalem are that beautiful ‘doe’ color…like a deer.  Perhaps you wonder why I write so much concerning nature.  Today I believe I understood the reason (besides the fact that I have always loved nature). 

 
When we first made arrived, we found that our new reality demanded that we find work as soon as possible.  Not being able to handle my new language yet at all, (and NOT having many qualifying skills…AND being 49 years old at the time) I was happy to be offered a job with a rather well known international ministry here.  Being in this intense area, there are probably more large, international ministries functioning here then anywhere else on earth, and not just ‘English speaking ones’ either.  It is the same with news media outlets; there are more world news media groups stationed here then anywhere else on the earth (that is a fact).  That should say something.  Those of you who know Jerusalem know what a tiny city this is.  When I was offered work with this ministry I asked them to pray with me as there were some doctrinal issues that they held that I could not stand in agreement with (not foundational ones of course).  They prayed and assured me that I was the one for the job and it would be fine.  I was so thankful for the work as the main part of my job was answering many of the letters that they received and I loved that.  We began each day with Bible reading and prayer and I loved the fellowship, in spite of our differences.   But the area that I was not in agreement with allowed them to embrace a false prophecy, which led them to the verge of bankruptcy and most of the staff had to be immediately dismissed, including me.  It was then that I found out that they had not been paying into our form of ‘social security’ for me (as a citizen it was required for the boss to do that) and that left me, after a year and a half, without the ability to receive unemployment. 
 
The Lord certainly works everything to the good and for His glory, for it was the beginning of an intensive course in learning to REALLY trust Him and walk by faith in a new dimension.  I was without work for two years after that (my husband was not in the country at the time…another story that glorifies Him in the end) and I felt firmly that He was directing me to work in secular work immersed in my new ‘culture’ rather then to work again with a ministry and He surely has directed my path.  But what in the world does this all have to do with ‘nature’ and ‘doves’?!? 
 
Image Credit: Kazwell http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaz/2275391632/
Image Credit:
Kazwell
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaz/2275391632/

Just this:  Because we are such a small body here and so dispersed, I now have very little opportunity for fellowship outside of our weekly meeting, but today I realized just how much He speaks to me through His creation!  I understood that I daily ‘fellowship’ with Him in this manner (as well, of course, in His Word and in prayer) and am edified!  No, it does NOT take the place of ‘fellowship’ with the body (HIS perfect design) but He always provides when we want His will, and this is part of my current provision. 

 
And now, back to our doe colored doves!
 
holytrinitypm0Jerusalem is literally covered with doves.  I have learned that if they are near to me as I walk and I don’t look directly at them or speak to them (yes…I do that! :-[ I admit it) they will stay where they are, but if I look at them or speak they will fly away.  Now we all know that The Holy Spirit came as a dove so as I learned this I have thought about how The Holy Spirit did not come to speak of Himself, but to point to Yeshua…to bring to remembrance everything that He said and to magnify Him…not to draw attention to Himself.
 
But yesterday my attention was drawn directly to a dove sitting on the ground next to a wooden fence along my path.  He looked at me and I sensed that he was injured.  I went toward him and he did not move, but kept watching me.  I saw that his gentle breast had been harmed, most likely by a cat.  I reached down to pick him up, but stopped: Where would I bring him?  There was no place around that would make him to be less prey for another cat attack, nor could I bring him to work…he would be petrified.  I know enough that if I were to touch him, he would carry my ‘scent’ and that might be worse…so…I stood and prayed simply that The Lord, Who cares for all creatures, would care for him mercifully, and went to walk on.  A bit further I felt just bothered to leave him like that so I turned to go back and then I saw a most unusual sight.  Another dove flew down and began to peck at him and flap his wings angrily.  I felt so bad, thinking that he was being attacked…UNTIL…I saw him reluctantly move and then, after some more pecking and harassment move again, and suddenly, hesitantly, he took off in unsteady flight, but up into a tree.  The second bird had come to rescue him and had likely been watching when I stooped down!  Immediately I thought of so many of the painful and harsh things that seem to come into our lives when we feel most vulnerable and I wondered at the goodness of God to ‘afflict us in His faithfulness’ (as is repeated over and over in Psalm 119, that marvelous teaching Psalm!)  for example 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.  And verse  71 It is good for me that I was afflicted,That I may learn Your statutes.     
 
Do my ‘parables’ drive you crazy?  I hope not!  I gather strength as mana to go through my days as He blesses me with these encouragements!  I actually thought about it as I was faced with my daily train ride.  Two days in a row I arrived halfway to my destination when the loud speaker announced a ‘hefetz ha’shood’ or an ‘unidentified object’ that the bomb squad was being called out to investigate.  We are usually advised to ‘walk’ or ‘possibly wait up to half an hour’, but this week, the first time, we were told that we would all have to get off of the train as the driver was being told to turn around and go in the other direction.  The lady-older-then-myself with some 20 kilos of cherries that she had just bought at the shuk began to grumble loudly, as did the very old man with a walker. Soon there was quite a rebellion taking place as it was noon and the sun was hot and the train was crowded with elderly people with packages or young mothers with babies.  I decided to walk rather then listen to the rage.  Thankfully today we were allowed to sit and wait.  As we did I looked around and it hit me for the first time that our trains carry perhaps an pretty odd assortment.  They are full of baby carriages and strollers, often twin strollers.  There are lots of shopping carts (mine included) and then there are walkers, canes, crutches, wheel chairs, Seeing Eye dogs, shopping bags, suitcases and myriads of backpacks, not to mention weapons.  More then occasionally there are also the ‘tools of the trade’; a mop and bucket, large tool box, computers or assorted furniture being brought home.  Sitting next to me today was a woman with a portable oxygen tank attached to her nose.  In front of us stood a young girl with BOTH a rocking horse and a plastic push ‘bike’.  And then there are all of those pregnant women!  No wonder the train is always so crowed! 
 
As many of you realize (although it IS summer where you are as well as here, and I know that many of you are up to your ears in activities…God BLESS your summer with joy and blessing in Him!)(along with work and children home, more difficult for some then for others.  MUCH GRACE to those of you who have difficulty!)  things here are more volatile and tense then ever, if that is possible! I think back to the beginnings of the ‘revolution’ in Egypt that began very shortly after the US President visited there, and how ‘revolt’ has been sparked in almost the entire region.  The nations on all of our borders are shaking and smoldering and the world is so foolishly trying to ‘solve the problems’ with embarrassing rhetoric and shallow human reasoning that knows almost nothing of the ancient roots of the problems…nor The Maker Who is watching over His Word.  The latest moves to ‘arm the rebels’ in Syria while screaming and crying about all of the people dying is so pathetic but can not be seen as funny.  More weapons will NOT stop the bloodshed.  I look at my Bible and see so many circumstances for which there was NO HUMAN SOLUTION.  Take, for example: the Sea in front and the Egyptians behind as the Israelites came out of Egypt.  Perhaps it was thousands in the wilderness without food in both the ancient days during the 40 years in the wilderness and the nearer days when Yeshua said ‘How many loaves have you?…Bring it to Me!’  What about Legion howling in the tombs or the lame man waiting for the stirring of the waters?  AND…how about Yeshua…dead in the tomb?  Oh my, there is no end to examples….in fact the Bible is FULL of situations that there was NO human solution for.  But we live in an age of ‘humanism’ and seem to actually have a foot in the door of the one world system that will carry the mark for buying and selling.  I can see much more clearly how that could be possible now.  When our value added tax went up 1% I somehow thought that my bills would also go up 1%, but (as I have admitted before) I have NO understanding of economics and basically bills (especially grocery bills) have shot up a whopping 25%!  Since wages don’t increase, I think of how young families who are not prepared by The Word mixed with faith and the fear of God will withstand taking such a mark.  From my vantage point the world appears to be spinning faster and faster out of the control of the nations and their leaders. 
 
And there are those of you who pray for our nation (I am aware that there are many also who might read some of these letters who don’t find the time to pray.  PLEASE don’t take ANY condemnation from me when I mention those who do!  It is ALL unto The Lord and we ALL do what we can and believe we are called to do.  Please be released from any condemnation over this.) I would like to ask for specific prayer for a 60 year old problem that I believe our nation is poised to impose a solution into that is perhaps unjust and I am very concerned. As you know we have a Bedouin population.  The Bedouins are a fascinating people.  They are nomads (I suspect that they are the people described in Jeremiah 35:1-12) and live mostly in the Negev where they move their goats and camels from place to place living in tent like structures with large extended families.  (google Bedouin if you are unfamiliar with them) Over the years efforts have been made to settle them in villages and extend all the benefits to them of education, health care, sanitation etc.  They are currently listed as the most rapidly growing population in the world.  Their land claims are not written down.  Israel is a small nation and wants to establish its borders.  Legislation has just passed to establish the Bedouin in villages against their will and this strikes me a lot like ‘American Indian Reservations’.  I have a long and personal history with Indian Reservations and my heart breaks at the thought that the same awful injury might be done here.  Please pray that this legislation is somehow overturned and that some just solution is found. The Druze population in the North was also nomadic and they were peacefully settled into villages, but I have a very bad feeling about this Bedouin decision. Thank you for praying if The Holy Spirit brings it to mind. 
 
But in the midst of all of the ‘distressing news’, you likely haven’t heard of the more then 30 wounded Syrians from both sides of the conflict that have been treated in Israeli hospitals as friends or family bring them to our borders.  Also, a lovely ‘peace prize’ was just awarded to our fast response health motorcycle paramedic service which was founded by an ultra religious man and an Israeli Arab working together.  They have no political agenda; they simply share a passion for saving lives and have formed a nationwide service that rushes to all emergencies.  In this context, a Jewish man with a kippa (skull cap) has delivered a Moslem baby and a bearded Moslem man has delivered an orthodox Jewish baby.  Lives are saved, and the result is trusting friendships…the same as I have found in my daily walk…’peace’ is made through kindness, one on one in the small ways that we can.  He is our Peace…He HAS broken down every wall. 
 
It is I who enjoy sharing, so I thank you for making time to read.  Come and visit???  God bless and encourage you ever nearer to His Heart beat. 
Thank you for continued prayer for our younger daughter at this time. 
Lovingly, your sis

Inside Israel – Taking a moment to share – 19 June 2013‏

Image Credit: Jerusalem Shots
Image Credit:
Jerusalem Shots

Dearest brothers and sisters in Yeshua,

He is precious and to be glorified and blessed, and as His Blood bought body, how very precious are each of you!  

… for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people…” (2 Corin 6:16) 

Continue reading Inside Israel – Taking a moment to share – 19 June 2013‏

Steubenville Horror – The Truth Shall Set Her Free

*** Warning – This post contains some graphic descriptions which may be offensive. My purpose in including the descriptions is not to offend, but to inform, so that the reader may know how to pray for and help “Jane Doe” and others like her. I place this warning at the beginning of the post, so that you have the option of closing this post before being offended. May the Lord bless each of you readers with His divine wisdom and understanding so that you can help those who have been broken by the evil acts of others. ***

Since hearing about the cruel and senseless rape of sixteen year old, “Jane Doe,” in Steubenville, Ohio, my heart has burned with anguish for the victim, who suffered this inexcusable rape. As if the pain of the rape wasn’t enough for this sixteen year old girl to bear, she has been shamed and blamed by her rapists, by the community of Steubenville, Ohio, and even by the news journalists as they mourned over the “two promising young men” whose lives were ruined by their guilty verdict. Since watching ABC’s 20/20 episode entitled, Steubenville: After the Party’s Overmy heart burned with the following questions, which I’ve addressed in individual posts for each of the first six:

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

Tonight, I’d like to address the final question… 

How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

One of the reasons the Steubenville Horror has aroused such anguish from me is not merely a matter of sympathy, but empathy instead. You see, it’s easy for me to imagine how this girl must feel, because I know how I felt when I was a little girl between eleven and thirteen and my stepfather, the man I called Daddy, did the same to me as those boys did to “Jane Doe.” I remember the fear and the horror, followed by the shame and embarrassment that followed, when I awoke from a nap to find my daddy sitting on the edge of my bed, with his fingers penetrating me beneath my robe. At first, I tried to pretend that I was asleep, hoping and praying that he would stop, but he continued his unwanted and uninvited probing, and as he leaned forward kissing my mouth, I opened my eyes and said, “No Daddy. Please stop.” 

Image Credit: http://fab.com/inspiration/1965-princess-phone-light-blue

I praise God that He stopped my dad that day, before it went any farther, as he got up without a word, and walked out of my bedroom. I heard the garage door slam shut a few minutes later, and ran to peek out the window in time to see his little red Ford Falcon drive off. With my heart thumping wildly, I ran from the living room into Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom, quickly grabbing their blue princess phone from the nightstand on the right of their bed, and listening carefully to make sure I didn’t hear him coming back, my shaking fingers dialed my mother’s number at work. My sister and I weren’t supposed to call Mommy at work unless it was an emergency, but I figured this was an emergency. What if he came back and killed me or something? 

What happened to me was in a different time and place, but with some similar results. The blame for what happened was placed on my shoulders… If I had worn clothing under my robe, this wouldn’t have happened… If I told anyone, I would destroy the family… If I talked about it to my sister, it would hurt her, and I wouldn’t want to do that, would I? 

There were all sorts of lies and cover-ups to protect the perpetrator, while I was left unprotected so that he could attack me again and again. Not only that, but all of the shame and the blame was placed squarely on my shoulders, much like “Jane Doe’s” perpetrators and the citizens of Steubenville have tried to do to her. I share this with you not to gain your pity, because praise God, I’ve overcome the shame and the pain of my past. I merely shared a piece of my past with you so that you will understand that when I answer the question, How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?, I am speaking from my own personal experience, and I know what works and what doesn’t work.

One of the ways for “Jane Doe” to pick up the pieces is to know the truth. 

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

~ John 8:32 NLT ~

There have been a lot of rumors and lies circulating about “Jane Doe” since the night of her attack. She’s heard lies from her rapists, lies from other teens who attended the parties and lies from adults who have placed the blame for the attack on her shoulders. She’s heard people speculating that if she hadn’t done this, then her attackers wouldn’t have done that. She’s heard others speculate that if she had only done this, then her attackers would have done something else. And here’s the sad fact about most victims of crimes like this:

Victims tend to blame themselves for the crimes committed against them.

Image Credit: breathoflifeonline.net

When you combine this natural tendency to blame yourself for an attack against your person, along with the accusations from her attackers, friends and adults, the weight of that blame becomes a heavy burden for anyone to bear — let alone a sixteen year old girl. That’s why it’s so important for this girl to know the truth, so that she won’t begin to self-destruct, as so many victims do. She needs to know the truth not only about what happened that night, but she also needs to know the truth about who she really is. 

You’ve heard the lies and the names people have labeled her with. She already feels terrible about what happened, and like I said before, she’s probably blaming herself for what happened to her. This is why it is vital for her to know the truth about who she really is.

I’ve been to Christian counselors, psychiatrists and psychologists, and my recommendation for “Jane Doe” would be to receive counseling from a Christian counselor, who can assist her in knowing who she is in Christ. You see, in Christ, people like “Jane Doe” and me are no longer victims, and we’re not merely survivors just hanging on. In Christ, we are victorious. In Christ, we are overcomers. In Christ, we are blameless. In Christ, we are no longer rejected, we are chosen. These are important truths that “Jane Doe” needs to know in order to pick up the pieces and move on with her life.

Another reason for “Jane Doe” to receive Christian counseling is so that she can talk about what happened to her. Too often, people try to hide what happened by ignoring it. This will lead to nothing but anxiety and emotional pain for “Jane Doe,” and she’s already suffered enough. Her perpetrators tried to silence “Jane Doe” to hide their own sin, and it only caused her more pain. She needs to talk about what happened. She needs to talk about her role in what happened, and the roles of everyone else involved. It is only when she is able to speak the truth openly, out loud, that she will begin to overcome the lies and the pain.

“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything will be revealed; all that is secret will be made public. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ears, shout from the housetops for all to hear! Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows.”

~ Matthew 10:26-31 NLT ~

By speaking the truth about what was done to her out loud, she will overcome her tormentors, who tried to destroy her. 

Lord, I cry out to You for “Jane Doe.” Father, continue to minister to her, and draw her close into Your loving arms. Father, please set her free from the sin and the pain that have come together to destroy her. Lord, Your word says that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, and I pray, in Jesus’ name, that You would give “Jane Doe” life more abundantly. Save her, Lord and heal her in Jesus’ name, amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Who’s fault is it anyway?

As I’ve been studying the Steubenville Horror, and witnessed the lack of sympathy for the sixteen year old girl whose life was forever changed by the unwelcome invasion of her body by her two rapists, while the two perpetrators have received undue sympathy from their community and even from journalists, my heart has been heavy. In this series of posts, I have been tackling the following seven questions that have been very troubling to me.

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

I’ve already addressed the first five questions in posts which are listed below under “Related Articles,” which leads me to the sixth question.

How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?

As I address this question, I want to make one thing clear from the  outset, so that there are no misunderstandings. Although “Jane Doe” placed herself in a dangerous position, she did not ask for nor did she invite her rapists to ravage her body. This little girl should not and must not be blamed for the crime committed against her. The blame for the rape, the filming of the rape and the defamation of her character rests squarely on her rapists and their enablers’ shoulders.

Image Credit: http://www.godui.org/news/?p=112

Having said that, it is important, if we want to protect our children and teens, to address this question. How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position? No one can argue that anyone attending this wild party of teenagers, with alcohol running freely, was extremely unsafe for male or female.

It really saddens me as I read the accusations that have been thrown against the victim of this crime, while the boys who committed the crime have had sympathy heaped on them, as though they were the victims of a crime that she committed against them… Doesn’t anyone remember what it was to be a teenager?

Image Credit: http://listoftheday.blogspot.com/2012/10/ news-of-day-family-makes-disturbing.html

If I think really hard (actually, it’s not that hard to remember), I can remember what it was like to be a sixteen year old girl. I remember what it was like to have a crush on a guy… how my heart would flutter and how I would blush if my current crush happened to glance at me. Does anyone else remember that? And if the guy walked up to you and began to talk to you, do you remember how your heart would pound, and your thoughts would be jumbled up, as you batted your eyes and giggled foolishly, while still trying to look cool? Or was I the only one?

Do you remember feeling as though you would just die if the one you had a crush on chose another girl? Do you remember those awful feelings of rejection, and how lonely and miserable you felt? It felt as if the world around you was crumbling. Do you remember wanting that boy so badly, that you would be willing to do almost anything just so he would want you too?

Image Credit: http://imgfave.com/search/+hey%20arnold

Teenage girls don’t always think rationally. They don’t always make the best or wisest decisions. Their hormones are running wild, and they haven’t yet matured enough to control all of their emotions. Unfortunately, rather than rationalizing things and thinking things through, teenage girls are often led by their emotions.

That’s why it is so important for parents to protect their daughters, because chances are, if they don’t, their daughters can get into all sorts of trouble — not because the girls are bad, but because they are immature and lack wisdom that only comes with age. It is the parents’ responsibility to check up on their teenage sons and daughters. Parents should know their children’s friends. They should know their children’s friends’ parents. When their child is invited to go somewhere overnight, check it out. Take them there and go inside and talk with the adults. Ask if the children/teens will be staying there, or going somewhere else that evening. If they are going somewhere else, get the address of that location. Don’t be afraid to go to that location later on and check it out, and don’t be afraid of embarrassing your son or daughter by making them come home if they are at a party that is inappropriate. It’s a whole lot easier to get over being embarrassed by your parents than it is to get over possible drug addictions, alcoholism or rape.

Before judging this girl, who placed herself in a very dangerous situation, try looking at things from her perspective, and remember, she was just a teenage girl, like many of us were, or for the men who are reading this post, just like your wives once were, or perhaps, like your daughter may be. Most teenage girls think with their emotions instead of their brain. Let’s look at the following statement that “Jane Doe” texted to Trent Mays, because it gives you a clear picture of the victim’s mindset that night she went to the party:

“Ok I liked you a lot and I left that night because I thought you’d take care of me. You were part of it. I was drugged. I never said you raped me but you and your friends did humiliate me. You should have protected me. Anyone with a heart would have.”

Think about it. Here was Trent Mays, the popular, good-looking football player that she “liked alot.” Isn’t it obvious that she had a crush on him? She wanted him to like her too, and she was drinking. Was it wrong for her to be drinking? Absolutely. Did she deserve to be raped for drinking way too much? Absolutely NOT!

Image Credit: (Photo: Keith Srakocic, AP)

Isn’t it clear from reading her text, that her motives and his motives were entirely different? She wanted to be with the handsome football player that she really liked, and she trusted him. It’s clear that she thought he liked her in the same way that she liked him. What young teenage girl doesn’t dream of the handsome football player “liking” her and taking care of her? It’s foolish, but most young people do act foolishly, and that isn’t a put down, most just don’t have the maturity necessary to think past their emotions. Did her foolishness merit rape? No way.

So to get back to the question, How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position? I think it’s pretty clear. She did what a lot of other girls did and still do when not supervised by adults — she behaved immaturely. But when I look back over my life, there were so many times that I behaved immaturely as well, and I didn’t deserve to be raped. Did none of you ever behave immaturely? Did you deserve to be raped? Of course not!

Both the girl and the boys, and all of the other teens who were at the party behaved immaturely, and should have been monitored by responsible adults, who in my opinion also acted immaturely by not keeping a closer eye on their children. The difference is that this girl was violated and raped. The only crime she committed was a misdemeanor — underage drinking. The boys, however, violated and raped this girl physically and emotionally, and then ridiculed her on social media, for all the world to see, as they completed their acts of humiliation against her. They committed several crimes:

  • Underage drinking — misdemeanor
  • Rape — felony
  • Taking pornographic pictures of a minor — felony
  • Harrassment — misdemeanor

The other teens who witnessed the violations against this girl and took pictures committed the felony crime of taking pornographic pictures of a minor. Those teens who witnessed the violations against the girl and did nothing to stop or report what was happening were guilty of enabling these fiends to further degrade and eventually rape the girl. All behaved immaturely, just as the girl did. Did any of these deserve to be raped? Of course not, and neither did the victim.

Finally, let’s look at all of the adults involved, parents, teachers, coaches, etc. Did any of them check up on their children who were out partying and getting drunk that night? Did anyone hear the commotion outside while the teens were chanting and encouraging one another to urinate on the girl, and try to stop it or call the police? Did Nate Hubbard act maturely by throwing the partiers out of his house instead of calling the police or their parents? Did any of the coaches, teachers, parents and other adults act maturely or responsibly after this crime was committed:

  • Teaching their sons that it is wrong to take advantage of a girl?
  • That it is wrong to video a girl being raped and debased?
  • That it is wrong to laugh at a crime being committed against a teenage girl or any other victim?
  • That it is wrong to go to parties and get drunk?
  • That it is wrong to stand by silently watching while a crime is being committed?
  • That they should call the police in order to stop or prevent a crime from being committed?
  • That they should shower compassion on the victim of the crime, not the perpetrators?

A terrible crime was committed on August 11, 2012, and that needs to be acknowledged. People in Steubenville, Ohio are no different than people in any part of this country or other countries. If this had happened in my hometown, I have very little doubt that people would have responded the same wrongful way as the citizens of Steubenville did. You see, for some reason, people think that if you’re physically attractive, smart and talented at sports or music, or whatever, then you’re a hero.

How wrong they are. Let me show you a real hero:

Many were amazed when they saw Him — beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know He was a person. And He will again startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in His presence. For they will see what they had not previously been told about; they will understand what they had not heard about.

Who has believed our message? To whom will the LORD reveal His saving power? My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about His appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected — a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way when He went by. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God for His own sins! But He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him the guilt and sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth. From prison and trial they led Him away to His death. But who among the people realized that He was dying for their sins — that He was suffering their punishment? He had done no wrong, and He never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush Him and fill Him with grief. Yet when His life is made an offering for sin, He will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s plan will prosper in His hands. When He sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied. And because of what He has experienced, my Righteous Servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins. I will give Him the honors of One who is mighty and great, because He exposed Himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners. He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners.

~ Isaiah 52:14-53:12 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://www.lostseed.com/extras/free-graphics/images/jesus-pictures/jesus-crucified.php

Jesus was a hero. He never played a football, basketball or baseball game, and He never wrestled on the wrestling team. He just came to a lost and dying world and healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, voices to the mute, and life to the dead. He showed love to the unlovable, mercy to those who knew no mercy, acceptance to those who were rejected, hope for the hopeless, and He gave grace upon grace to all who were willing to accept it. He is my hero, and friends, no sports figure can match Him!

Do you know what He would say to the girl who placed herself in a dangerous situation? He would say:

“Don’t be afraid, beloved. You no longer need to live in shame. Come to Me, and I will make you forget the shame of your youth. Cast all of your cares on Me, beloved, for I care for you. 

“Beloved, don’t let others shame you, because I love you. Trust in Me, beloved, with all of your heart, and don’t try to figure things out for yourself. I am with you, beloved, and I will never reject you or turn My back on you. You are My beloved. Behold, I have called you by your name and you are Mine.  When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, and I will be with you wherever you go. 

“Now, My beloved, hold your head up, and be not ashamed, for I am with you. You were wrong to get drunk, beloved, but you did not deserve to be raped. This was not your fault. The fault is not yours, My beloved. The blame rests on the shoulders of ALL who condemned you and trampled on you, so hold your head up, child. You have nothing to be ashamed of.”

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Does Anybody Really Care?

*** Warning — There are some graphic terms in this post, as there were in a previous post — not because I approve of such language, but because I felt I needed to refute it. 

For the past few days, I’ve been writing about what I refer to as the Steubenville Horror. When I heard about this heartbreaking rape, my heart was flooded with a mixture of emotions, and there were seven questions that arose from those emotions that I was compelled to address.

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

I’ve addressed the first four questions in previous posts, which are listed at the bottom under “Related Articles,” and tonight, I will address the fifth question on my list:

When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined?

Image Credit:
DefendWomensRights.org

I addressed the parents of all of the Steubenville teens who attended the now infamous parties on August 11, 2011, but now I want to extend my post to include all of the adults who reside in Steubenville, Ohio and beyond. I have to tell you that I am blown away by the number of adults from this town, as well as journalists express so much sympathy for these young men whose lives, which showed such promise, are supposedly ruined by the verdict.

Image Credit: http://d22r54gnmuhwmk.cloudfront.net/ photos/0/he/gt/flHeGtgYPJaTaXs-556×313-noPad.jpg

Excuse me — were they the victims of a crime? As far as I can see, these two young men received a merciful sentence for their unmerciful crime against “Jane Doe,” a sixteen year old girl with a real name, who was raped by these two “promising young men.” And I don’t mean to sound heartless, but I’m calling it as I see it… Those two “promising young men” apologized and cried only after they were found guilty by a court of law. Prior to their arrest, if you’ll recall, they were quite proud and cocky about their actions, judging from their own tweets and posts on social media.

As overwhelmed as I am by the outpouring of sympathy for the two “promising young men,” I am truly underwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy for a sixteen year old girl, who was not only physically raped by those two “promising young men,” but emotionally raped by them as well, as they posted nude pictures of her and called her all sorts of crude names — such as:

  • Whore — dictionary.com defines whore as a woman who engages in promiscuous sexual intercourse, usually for money; prostitute; harlot; strumpet… 

    • According to this definition, a whore is a woman — this was a sixteen year old girl.
    • This girl did not engage in promiscuous sexual intercourse with these “promising young men” for money or any other reason — they raped her.
    • This  girl did not consent to have promiscuous sexual intercourse, therefore as I stated before, these “promising young men” raped her.
  • Bitch — dictionary.com defines bitch as a female dog…
    • As I have stated before, this girl is not a female dog — she is a human girl, one who has human feelings and emotions, one who should be treated with honor, dignity and respect, no matter how drunk she got that night.
  • Slut — dictionary.com defines slut as an immoral or dissolute woman; prostitute.
    • Although the defendants’ attorneys and the good townspeople of Steubenville have tried to label her as a slut, I will say it again — this was not an immoral or dissolute woman or prostitute. She was a girl.
    • This girl did not engage in consensual sex with the two “promising young men” — they raped her.

As I’ve read, and listened to the news, and watched numerous videos online about this case, I keep coming back to the adults in Steubenville and the adult reporters and journalists, and I wonder, “Does anybody really care?” Just look at some of the comments made by the adults from that town:

  • “The rape was just an excuse, I think. What else are you going to tell your parents when you come home drunk like that and after a night like that? She had to make up something. Now people are trying to blow up our football program because of it.” ~ Nate Hubbard, Steubenville volunteer football coach
Image Credit: http://therealwithdarylanddevon.files.wordpress.com/ 2013/03/21655391_bg1.jpg

Do you know what’s really interesting about this? Nate Hubbard admits right here that the girl was drunk. Remember, Nate Hubbard’s home was the location of Party #1 that night, and it was he who told the drunken teens to leave his house on the night of the rape. He knew she was a drunk sixteen year old girl, and as a leader of the community’s youth, shouldn’t he have called her parents at the very least, instead of sending her and other drunken teenagers out to drive under the influence. As a coach of the city’s youth, didn’t he care that they might endanger themselves because they were clearly under the influence? Didn’t he care when he heard that the sixteen year old girl had been raped? It seems obvious that this leader and role model for the students didn’t care about them… His comments make it clear that he only cared about their football program.

In fact, the football program was so important to him, the other coaches and the parents, that the other teens who were at those infamous parties were not punished for their despicable behavior. Instead, knowing the garbage that had been plastered all over social media, the coaches, teachers, principals and other school officials allowed them to continue playing football. And let’s not forget the parents who could have punished their teens for their immoral behavior, but instead, allowed them to continue playing football. Meanwhile, across the river, in another town, a young girl’s life was tragically altered after she was raped. Does anybody really care?

“don’t feel bad bc we r talking about a girl also known as stubenvills “train whore” going to parties there every weekend and foul s- – – going down…” Deidre Myers, Steubenville resident

Nice. I just have to make this clear once again — this is a sixteen year old girl we are talking about, not a woman, not an adult, not a dog. However, even if this case was about an adult prostitute, the acts committed against her would still be rape. This girl did not give those boys permission to touch her, remove her clothes, insert anything into her body, or take pictures of her naked body. She was rapedDoes anybody really care?

Image Credit: http://www.handsintothelight.com/ steubenville-city-residentsgood-people-of/ 2012-10-26-rape-victims-accused/

I am appalled at the people who have tried to paint the rape victim in the worst possible light, while referring to the two perpetrators of the crime as “two promising young men.” Not only does my heart break for the victim, but it breaks for other teens who are being raised with that same mentality. My heart breaks for the people of Steubenville and other communities, who do not care how their boys behave, as long as they do a good job on the football field. I added other communities to that statement, because this attitude is not limited to one geographic location — it can be found all across the United States, even in my own community. It seems that sports “heroes” (and I use that term loosely) are deemed by many to be above the law. As long as they play well on game day, they can rape and pillage to their heart’s content, and their fans will gladly blame their victims. Does anybody really care?

As I’ve listened and read how people have justified the actions of those “promising young men,” and how they have vilified the victim, I’m reminded of the passage of scripture where the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, and I look at His response to her, a woman who was not raped, but had consensual sex with a man who was not her husband, and I think of many things that we can learn from this.

1 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning He was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and He sat down and taught them. 3 As He was speaking, the teachers of religious law and Pharisees brought a woman they had caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. 

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” 

6 They were trying to trap Him into saying something they could use against Him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with His finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so He stood up again and said, “All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones!” 

8 Then He stooped down again and wrote in the dust. 9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said,“Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

~ John 8:1-11 NLT ~

Isn’t it interesting that the Pharisees brought only the woman who was caught in the act of committing adultery to Jesus? The law about adultery also applied to men, so why didn’t they demand that the adulterous man be stoned? Think about this — the Pharisees wanted to condemn only the woman involved in adultery, although justice demanded that both the man and the woman be condemned. Do you see a parallel? Steubenville wants to condemn the victim for being drunk, which a whole lot of others at the party were as well. It seems they believe that only she should be accountable. Does anyone see the injustice here? Does anybody really care?

While the girl was guilty of underage drinking, her two violators were as well, but Steubenville adults want to condemn the girl. While the girl’s only crime was underage drinking, a misdemeanor, and please don’t think that I minimize that, because it is a big deal that I’ll tackle at another time, the boys, those “promising young men,” committed the same misdemeanor, and a felony as well… They raped her, but the adults in Steubenville choose to condemn the girl’s actions. Is this their idea of justice? Does anybody really care?

Image Credit: http://images.acswebnetworks.com/1/325/c_lent_5.jpg

When Jesus was confronted with the adulterous woman, He who is perfect and never sinned, did not condemn her. Instead, He set her free, telling her to go and sin no more. Jesus refused to condemn a woman who was engaged in consensual sex, choosing to forgive her and set her free instead, but many of the adults in Steubenville would choose to forgive the rapists, while condemning the victim! Do you see the irony? Does anybody really care?

There has been talk by the news media about how the lives of these “promising young men” have been ruined by their guilty verdict. I say that if their lives have been ruined by anything, it was ruined by their criminal actions. They chose to rape a girl, and the consequences of their crime is really lenient, in my opinion. They committed an adult crime and could have been tried as adults and been sentenced to several years in prison, as well as being listed on the sex registry. Instead, they were tried as children (although children younger than they have been tried as adults for the crime of rape), and received the minimum sentence for their convicted crimes, possibly having to remain in juvenile detention until they are twenty-one years old. Richmond was given a minimum sentence of one year, while Mays, who was found guilty of disseminating pornographic pictures of the girl, who is a minor, in addition to the rape, was sentenced to the minimum of two years. They may not even be added to the sexual offenders registry when their behavior is evaluated after they are twenty-one years old.

Think about this, juvenile records are often closed once the person reaches adulthood with no further charges. Therefore, in just a few short years, this could all be behind those two “promising young men.”

Image Credit: http://wmc.3cdn.net/2e14d66f22ebcf87da_vvm6bnk26.jpg

However, the scars that “Jane Doe” received on August 11, 2012, against her will, will last her a lifetime. Rape is a crime that haunts a woman for many years, and the emotional scars that it leaves are devastating. When those boys are set free in a year or two, enjoying life and putting their past behind them, “Jane Doe” will most likely feel the pain of those scars, as the wounds are ripped open once again. Does anybody really care?

Father, I cry out to you for the adults who have failed so miserably in supporting and caring for this hurt and broken little girl. Have mercy on them, Lord, and change their hearts. Lord, fill them with Your compassion for the victim, and give them the wisdom to teach their children to love and respect all humans.

Lord, give them wisdom to teach their young men to respect girls and women, just as You do. Give them the wisdom to teach their young girls to respect other young girls, and to watch out for one another and protect one another. Lord, give the adults the wisdom and the hearts to watch out and protect those who are weaker. Teach them to care, in Jesus’ name, amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Where Are The Parents?

I began this series of posts in response to ABC’s 20/20 episode, entitled, Steubenville: After the Party’s Overwhich reported on the rape of sixteen year old “Jane Doe,” and the use of social media to further demoralize her. It was as I watched this report that the following questions arose in my spirit, beckoning me to respond to them.

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

In the last couple of days, I’ve addressed the first three questions, which brings me to tonight’s question, and I have to tell you, this has really been burning in my spirit. 

Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?

Image Credit: http://www.npr.org/

How many different teens were at those three parties that night? My understanding is that there were around fifty teens at those parties, so I can’t help but wonder — were all of the parents of  fifty teenagers out of town that night? Were there no adults in either of the homes where the parties were held?

Were there no neighbors near any of the homes where the parties were held? Were the at least fifty teens who  had been drinking that night, at the various parties so quiet that no neighbors heard them when they were standing outside laughing at a sixteen year old girl who was throwing up? Did none of the neighbors hear any commotion? Did none of the neighbors hear the people at the party taunting her, while they chanted and cheered as a Steubenville High baseball player dared bystanders to urinate on her?

Image Credit: http://therealwithdarylanddevon.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/21655391_bg1.jpg

When twenty-seven year old Nate Hubbard, volunteer coach for the Steubenville Big Reds came home and found the drunken teenaged partiers at his home, why didn’t he phone the police? Isn’t underage drinking a crime in Steubenville, Ohio, or didn’t the twenty-seven year old assistant coach know that? Isn’t drinking and driving a crime? Why then, would he order the intoxicated minors to leave, without at least offering to drive them home?

Image Credit: http://writetodeepakbhatt.blogspot.com/2011/12/alcoholism-and-its-adverse-effect-on.html

What adult bought the alcoholic beverages that were consumed by the teens that night? Did none of the fifty parents know where their children were that night? When their teens told them where they were going, did it not occur to any of the parents to call other parents to see if their children were telling them the truth? Did all fifty of those teens have their own cars, so that their parents didn’t need to take them to their destinations that night? Of those parents who drove their children to the party or to their friends’ homes, did any of them walk inside with their teens and talk with any other parents that night? 

Image Credit: http://www.speechbuddy.com

How many of the at least fifty teens who were at the various parties that evening owned their own cell phone? Out of those teens that owned a cell phone, how many were bought by their parents? How many parents paid for their teens’ monthly service? How many of those parents had ever checked their children’s cell phones to see what kind of pictures, texts and other media messages their children received and posted before that night? How many of those same parents have ever checked their children’s cell phones since that night?

One has only to look at the reactions — or should I say lack of reactions from the parents, neighbors and other adults in the community to gain an understanding of why there was no one to defend “Jane Doe” on August 11, 2012. We need to look at the adults of the community who failed to teach their youth the difference from right and wrong. Do I sound harsh? Perhaps, but I am speaking truth. 

Image Credit: http://news.yahoo.com/lightbox/left-defense-attorney-adam-nemann-client-defendant-trent-photo-214631608.html

I heard the parents of the two boys who were convicted of rape talk about their boys, and what good boys they were, and how their boys wouldn’t do something like that, and it sickens me. I love my children, but when they are wrong, even though it breaks my heart, I cannot defend their actions. As I listened to them, and even some of the media lamenting for those poor boys, and how this has ruined their lives, I was struck at the lack of empathy for “Jane Doe,” who was victimized by those “poor boys.”

Did “Jane Doe” place herself in a dangerous situation? Absolutely, and I’ll talk about that in my next post, but no matter how drunk and foolish she may have behaved, the abuse inflicted on her by those “poor boys”, and by the other teens who were mocking her, photographing her and smearing her name all over cyberspace, was inexcusable. She was the victim, not those “poor boys,” nor any other person involved.

This is a wake-up call, America. We have become a selfish, self-centered culture, placing our own wants and needs above all else, which is completely contrary to the lives that God has ordained for us to live. You see, we were created for His glory, not for our own pleasure. 

“All who claim Me as their God will come, for I have made them for My glory. It was I who created them.

~ Isaiah 43:7 NLT ~

This horrific case has broken my heart for everyone who was involved, the victim, the perpetrators, the bystanders and the parents, and though I don’t want to see something like this happen again, it will, unless people are willing to make a change in their lives. Not only will incidents like this happen again, but I tell you with certainty, that the crimes will become more and more vile and heinous, unless the people of this nation repent of their sins and cry out to God for His mercy. 

Image Credit: http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/474.html

I’m sure there are some who disagree with me, but the facts speak for themselves. If the parents of those teens had been proactive in their children’s lives, rather than reactive, perhaps this wouldn’t have happened. What if the parents of any of those teens who attended the parties that night, had checked up on their children’s plans before and even during the parties? This could have been prevented, right? 

Suppose the parents of the teens who attended the parties that night had brought their children up from childhood to love the Lord as the Scriptures say?

1 “These are all the commands, laws, and regulations that the LORD your God told me to teach you so you may obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, 2 and so you and your children and grandchildren might fear the LORD your God as long as you live. If you obey all His laws and commands, you will enjoy a long life. 3 Listen closely, Israel, to everything I say. Be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 

4 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. 5 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.”

~ Deuteronomy 6:1-7 NLT ~

It’s sad that many of the parents of the teens involved in this horrible crime likely would never dream of missing their child’s football game, but few would ever insist on their children learning to love the Lord God with all of their heart, soul and strength. How many of those parents have bought the music those teens were listening to that night, like “Way too Gone”, by Young Jeezy? How many bought their teens Nirvana’s “Rape Me”? I wonder, if the boys had been listening to something different, like the song below, do think it’s possible that it would have squelched their evil desires that night?

Suppose the parents of those teens taught their children from the time they were small to be kind to others…

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

~ Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT ~

Suppose, instead of defending their teen’s heinous actions, they disciplined them?

17 Discipline your children, and they will give you happiness and peace of mind. 18 When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is happy.

~ Proverbs 29:17-18 NLT ~

My dear readers, it’s too late to change what happened in Steubenville, Ohio on August 11, 2012, but it’s not too late to change future events. If you are a parent, grandparent, or an adult that children and teens look up to, teach them to love the Lord Jesus Christ by your words and by your actions. Children aren’t stupid. They are looking to the adults in their lives to show them how to live, not only by what they say, but by what they do. 

It isn’t enough for a father to tell his son to respect women, when his son observes his father looking at pornography and cursing his mother. Do you think the son will do as his father says, or as his father does? It isn’t enough to tell your kids to be truthful, when you tell lies. 

Parents, you can’t be friends with your children while they are still children and teens. You must be the responsible adult, and you must discipline. Parents who truly love their children will discipline them. Parents who tell their children they love them, but do not discipline them, do not show their children love. Instead, their lack of discipline shows them that their parents don’t really care about them. 

Do you want to do what is best for your children, and hopefully prevent your children and teens from committing despicable acts against others?

  • Pray for your children.
  • Dedicate yourself and them to Christ.
  • Lead them by example.
    • Show them mercy and compassion toward others
    • Live a disciplined life.
    • Pray with your children.
  • Discipline your children.
  • Maintain a loving relationship with the child’s other parent.
    • Even if you are no longer married or together, respect the child’s other parent and never put him/her down.
    • Even if you are no longer married or together, pray for your child’s other parent.
  • Talk to your teens about this case and others that have happened.
    • Ask your teen how they would respond to that situation.
    • Offer suggestions, so that if something like that ever happens, your teen will know what to do.

My beloved readers, I truly believe our country is at a deadly crossroad, and each one of us must choose which way we will go and lead our children. Will you lead your children on the path of righteousness? Or will you choose to lead your children on the path of destruction?

11 “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand or perform. 12 It is not up in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go to heaven and bring it down so we can hear and obey it?’ 13 It is not beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear and obey it?’ 14 The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it. 

15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between prosperity and disaster, between life and death. 16 I have commanded you today to love the LORD your God and to keep His commands, laws, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and become a great nation, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. 17 But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. 

19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live!”

~ Deuteronomy 30:11-19 NLT ~

Father, I pray for all parents, not only those who live in Steubenville, Ohio, but for every parent throughout this country and throughout the earth. Lord, I pray in Jesus’ name that You would give parents a hunger and a thirst for righteousness. I pray that You would give them godly wisdom, so that they can make good decisions for their children and themselves. 

Father, build a wall of fire around the youth in this nation, so that the enemy can’t penetrate their hearts. Lord, I pray that You would reveal Yourself to every man, woman, teen and child who might come across this post and draw them to You, for salvation is found only in Christ. 

In Jesus’ name, Father, I pray that men and women throughout the world who love You would humble themselves under Your mighty hand and pray to You and repent and seek Your face, and that You would hear our cries, and heal our land. Amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – My Brother’s and My Sister’s Keeper

Image Credit: http://thefreeman.net/journal/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/dog-bone.jpg

Sometimes, when the spirit within me is stirred up, I’m like a dog with a bone. I just can’t leave it alone. It’s like that when the Lord places a word on my heart. I can’t sleep or rest until I’ve said, written or done what He has compelled me to do. This is how I’ve felt ever since Friday night, when I watched ABC’s 20/20 episode, entitled, Steubenville: After the Party’s Over, which informed us about the physical and emotional rape of a sixteen year old girl, referred to as “Jane Doe” on August 11, 2012. After viewing this program, I was haunted by the following questions, which I began addressing in a series of posts:

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

I’ve addressed the first two questions in two other posts, which are listed under Recent Articles, at the end of this post. Therefore, today, I’m going to address the third question…

Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?

Image Credit: abcnews.com

It was reported that several girls present at the first party were concerned for the victim, and tried to talk her out of going with Mays and Richmond, but the inebriated girl did not heed their warning, so they let her go. How terrible… Look at this statement one of “Jane Doe’s” friends made to the police:

“I could tell that she was gradually getting more drunk and worse throughout the night,” 16-year-old Farrah Marcino is seen saying in the video, obtained by ABC News. “Just, like, that she couldn’t, like, she didn’t walk.”

“She wanted to go with Trent. Like, we just kept trying to tell her: ‘You don’t want to do this. You don’t want to go with them,’” Marcino told detectives. “I just let her do what she want(ed), which I understand was wrong.”

Read more: 

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/steubenville-investigation-video-shows-fellow-students-concerned-victim-article-1.1297103#ixzz2OXiOUGyY

Image Credit: abcnews.com

It’s obvious that the teenaged girls who attended the parties were concerned for “Jane Doe,” but their concern meant nothing, because they failed to act on their concern. I can understand that they may have been afraid to stand up to the boys, perhaps, but all of them had access to a phone. For goodness’ sake — most, if not all of them had their own cell phones that they could have used to call a trusted adult to come and rescue the girl, who was obviously too impaired to make any decisions for herself. Or, if the teens were afraid of calling an adult to help the girl, they could have called the police to come and rescue her! So, why is it that none of the concerned girls or boys at the party did anything to protect her?

This reminds me of the discussion between the Lord and Cain, after he had murdered his brother Abel:

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

~ Genesis 4:9 NKJV ~

Here is yet another example of the values that many parents have failed to instill in their children. Are we our brother’s (or in this case, our sister’s) keeper? YES!!! We are indeed, our brother’s and sister’s keeper. 

1 So we who are strong have a duty to bear the weaknesses of those who are not strong, rather than please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please his neighbor and act for his good, thus building him up.

~ Romans 15:1-2 CJB ~

God’s word is very clear to us. Those of us who are strong have a duty to bear the weaknesses of those who are not strong, rather than please ourselves. Each of us should please his brother (or sister) and act for his (or her) good, thus building him (or her) up. I really want to break this down, because this is something that every parent needs to understand, so they can teach it to their children both by words and deeds.

Image Credit: http://3.bp.blogspot.com

Those who were strong on the night of August 11, 2012, were all of the teenaged boys and girls who did not physically or verbally participate in the victimization of the girl that night. Those who were strong that night are the ones who tried to convince the girl not to leave with the boys. Those who were strong were the ones who witnessed what was going on, and felt bad about it, but said and did nothing to prevent the situation from growing worse. 

Those who are strong have a duty to bear the weaknesses of those who are not strong. Just to be very clear, the one who was not strong that night, was “Jane Doe,” and her weakness was the amount of alcohol she had consumed, which rendered her unable to make wise decisions. Her weaknesses that night, made it impossible for her to defend or protect herself. She needed one or more of those who were strong to bear her weaknesses and act for her good, thus building her up. 

But sadly, the strong ones failed in their duty to bear her weaknesses and act for her good. Why did they fail? Could it have been out of selfishness? Is it possible that they were afraid to call a trusted adult or the police, because they didn’t want to get in trouble? Did they think it was better to let “Jane Doe” be raped and hurt than to risk getting in trouble for being where they shouldn’t have been and doing what they shouldn’t have been doing? Were they supposed to be their sister’s keeper? YES!!! 

Image Credit: http://thetimehascome.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/living-sacrifices-romans-12.jpg

What a sad time it is for the people of this country! We have cast the Lord Jesus aside, and embraced our own selfish desires, and then, when disaster strikes, we demand to know how a good and loving God could allow such atrocities. It’s time for the people of this nation to get a grip. No longer do parents bother to teach their children how to worship the Lord and be a living sacrifice. Instead, they teach their children to worship themselves and sacrifice others!

How many more times will the same scenes be repeated, before men and women begin to sacrifice themselves and teach their children by word and by example that those who are strong must care for those who are weak? Do you want to see a change in this nation? Do you want to see a change in your children? Then teach them to do as Jesus commanded…

12 I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. 13 And here is how to measure it — the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends.

~ John 15:12-13 NLT ~

Please join me in praying for those teens who attended the party, and though they didn’t actively participate in the assault on “Jane Doe,” by their silence, they enabled the crime…

Heavenly Father, I pray for each person who attended the parties on that fateful night, and I ask You to touch their hearts and draw them to You. Lord, show them where they went wrong, and show them how to do what’s right from this time forward. Father, I pray that You would give each one of these teens a compassionate heart, filled with Your love for those who are weak. 

Inspire them to lay down their lives for others, Lord. Give them wisdom not to attend anymore parties like that, and if ever they are involved in a situation where someone who is weaker than they, is being harmed or exploited, enable them to be courageous and strong as they take a stand for what is right.

Father, I ask You to continue to watch over “Jane Doe,” and heal her broken heart in Jesus’ name, amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Warning!

*** Readers Beware – I do not usually use any graphic language or descriptions in my posts, because first and foremost, in all that I do, I want to honor God. However, in this post, there are graphic descriptions and links to song lyrics, which denote the vileness of the crimes committed against the victim. My wish is still to honor God, however, in doing so, I must include the graphic descriptions below, in order to illustrate the evil that we must begin to battle in order to save our nation, our children, our elderly, and even ourselves. The time has come to wage war against evil, rather than standing by silently hoping it will disappear.

In the wee hours of this morning, I wrote the first post, entitled, Steubenville Horror – Heartless?, in a series about the callous rape of a drunk sixteen year old girl, and the equally heinous atrocities that followed. In the first post, I listed a seven questions that I would be addressing in this series, dedicating that first post to the first question:

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?
Image Credit: http://www.elefterian.com/files/mix_4/lavina2.jpg

In this post, I will attempt to address the second question from my list. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, however, as you examine this case, it is very evident that something has gone terribly wrong in our culture, and like a snowball that gains momentum in an avalanche, unless we make some drastic changes to our lives, many more lives will be devastated and destroyed. Therefore, as I share the events of that terrible night on August 11, 2012, look at it as a warning sign for every man, woman and child in this nation!

What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?

As horrible as the rape of this girl was, I was equally appalled by the cruelty shown by other teenaged boys, both those who were at the parties, and those who learned about the rape later. Briefly, on the night of August 11, 2012, a sixteen year old girl from West Virginia attended three parties that took place in Steubenville, Ohio, along with several other teenaged boys and girls. At all of these parties, the minors were consuming alcoholic beverages, and it became apparent to all by around 10 or 10:30pm, at the first party, that the girl, “Jane Doe,” had become extremely intoxicated, as she stumbled around, slurring her words.

Image Credit: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/01/steubenville-high-football-rape-crew/60554/

This is a very loose timeline of the events that occurred that evening, and I truly believe that this is like a shot heard ’round the world, and we must heed  its warning:

  • People at the party started making fun of “Jane Doe,” as one of Steubenville High School’s baseball players dared people to urinate on her.
  • A couple of hours later, “Jane Doe” left the party — now unable to walk on her own, Steubenville High School football players, Trent Mays, Ma’lik Richmond carried her by her hands and legs, as though she was an animal to Mark Cole’s Volkswagen Jetta. According to witnesses, she “was sleeping.”
  • On the way to Cole’s home, Mays exposed the girls breasts and penetrated her with his fingers, while Richmond drove and Cole recorded the crime on his cell phone, as the song, “Way too Gone”, by Young Jeezy played in the background. The lyrics to this song are truly vile and disgusting.
  • There were apparently three parties that night, and by the third party, witnesses report that “Jane Doe” was unable to walk on her own, and that she vomited several times, eventually winding up on the ground, naked, silent and motionless.
  • While at Mark Cole’s home, witnesses Anthony Craig and Evan Westlake testified that they saw Ma’lik Richmond behind the girl, with his hands between her legs, penetrating her with his fingers, while Trent Mays repeatedly smacked his penis against her side.
  • The victim woke up the next morning naked, in a room and a home that she did not recognize, unable to find her cell phone or her shirt.
  • The victim learned about what had happened to her from Twitter, Instagram, YouTube videos and texts.
Image Credit: http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18ah4v28dxs5tjpg/original.jpg

One of the many things that makes this so disturbing is the way other teenage boys responded to the girls victimization. They laughed about it and told crude jokes. They took pictures of Mays and Richmond violating the girl and posted them online.

One young man, who apparently wasn’t present at the incident, posted a twelve-minute YouTube video, where he laughed about the rape. He even commented via Twitter, “Song of the night is definitely Rape Me by Nirvana.” I checked out the lyrics of “Rape Me”, and they’re chilling.

Image Credit: http://www.realisticimaginations.com/Wallpapers/Loveless/loveless1400.jpg

There is something seriously wrong with a culture that raises teenaged boys to have such contempt for the lives of others. If “Jane Doe” had been one of their sisters, or mothers, would these boys have found such humor in her victimization? Because the girl was from another town, did that justify their behavior? Because the girl was drunk, did it make their actions less heinous? 

Is this anyone’s idea of harmless fun? As I read and learned about these boys who could have and should have stepped up to the plate and stopped the attack on this girl, I’m reminded of the bullies who laughed and cried out against Jesus when He was arrested. We like to pride ourselves in thinking of how far we’ve come from the violence of days gone by, but the truth is, mankind has not evolved into a kinder being. The true is that with each passing generation, as America has turned her back on Jesus Christ, she has become more evil and more debased. 

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold…

~ Matthew 24:12 NIV ~

Think about it, not one of the boys involved in the parties had any love or compassion for a helpless sixteen year old girl, who was not able to even walk away from the first party. Parents, what are we teaching our children? What are we teaching our boys? Are we teaching them to respect the lives of others? Are we teaching them to protect, respect and care for women? Or are we fueling their egos? Heed this warning, people:

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

~ Proverbs 22:6 NIV ~

Image Credit: http://s1341.photobucket.com/user/MrsRaZella/media/compassion_zps3b56214e.jpg.html

Are you training your children to love others and put others ahead of themselves, or are you teaching them to look out for number one? I may not be popular for writing this, but it has to be said. How many of the teens who attended these parties bought and paid for their own cell phones and service? Or were they a gift from Mom and/or Dad? How many of the parents of those teens regularly check to see what their children are posting and texting? How many of the parents of the teens at these parties buy the music that their children were listening to that night — music that encourages rape and drunkenness? How many parents knew where their children were that terrible night, and if not, why not?

Didn’t any of the boys at these parties feel any compassion for the victim, or have their egos been stroked and groomed so that they think football players, wrestlers, baseball players, and anyone else deemed popular by the so-called “in-crowd,” is above everyone else? Are we raising a culture of boys who think that they just have to play a game well in order to be considered a “star” or a hero? Every single boy who came in contact with “Jane Doe” that evening had the opportunity to become a heroic man, and sadly, every single boy chose to be cowards and fools.

A fool gives full vent to anger, but a wise person quietly holds it back.

~ Proverbs 29:11 NLT ~

Parents, the fact is that we are raising a generation of fools by covering up for their sins, buying them whatever they want and fueling their over-sized egos. Raising strong and wise young men requires hard work and much prayer. It means withholding those things which are bad for your children, no matter how much they badger you for it. It means that you must give up your own “me” time to devote yourself to teaching your child wisdom. Contrary to popular belief, doing the right thing does not come naturally to people — doing the wrong thing does. We must teach our children wisdom, and that means sacrificing our own desires for their good. It means that our children need to learn that life is not always fun. They must be taught the value and pleasures of wisdom.

Doing wrong is fun for a fool, while wise conduct is a pleasure to the wise.

~ Proverbs 10:23 NLT ~

This is my prayer for foolish teenaged boys throughout our country:

Father, forgive us, because rather than living according to Your word and teaching our children how to live according to Your word, many of us have become wise in our own sight. We thought it would be best to spoil and coddle our boys, rather than teaching them how to grow into strong and courageous men of God. In catering to their whims and desires, we have taught our children selfishness, rather than how to be selfless as Christ was.

Forgive us, Lord, and teach us as parents how to train up our children in the way that they should go from this day forward. Lord, Your word says that if we will obey You and ask for anything in Jesus’ name, according to Your will, that it will be done, do Father, in Jesus’ name, I’m asking You to touch the boys who are growing up in today’s world. Draw them to You Lord, and teach them to love You first and foremost. Show us how to teach them to love others first, by demonstrating that love for them. Show us how to teach our children repentance, by our own example of repentance. 

And Father, in Jesus’ name, show us how to teach our children and youth of today the value and sanctity of life, so that they will grow into strong and courageous heroes and men of God, no longer bound by the foolishness of their youth. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Heartless?

Friday night, I watched an episode of ABC’s 20/20, entitled, Steubenville: After the Party’s Over, and ever since watching it, my heart has grieved, and I can’t help wondering, Why? There are so many different perspectives here and you just have to ask yourself what went wrong? With all of the turmoil there has been in my life recently, it was really easy to fall behind on the news, and so when I saw this program, I was shocked and appalled by everyone involved in this horrible incident, and several questions began to brew in my spirit…

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?
Image Credit: http://abcnews.go.com/topics/news/steubenville-rape-trial.htm

The case has been tried, and two boys, Trent Mays, age 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, age 16, were convicted of rape on March 13, 2013. My reason for writing this post is not to question their guilt or innocence. My reason for examining this case and writing about it is to encourage parents, children and teens to talk about what happened in Steubenville, Ohio, and thereby, hopefully deter another horrific incident like this.

Therefore, in a series of posts, I will be addressing each of the questions that I listed above, beginning with the first question…

What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?

Were Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond completely heartless? Did they think that they were better than the girl they abused? What made them think they had a right to treat “Jane Doe” in such a callous manner?

9 “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 10 But I know! I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” 

~ Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT ~

I don’t believe for a moment that these two boys were completely heartless, especially in light of scripture. Do you see it? The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked… The problem with these boys is not that they are heartless, but that their hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. Both Trent and Ma’lik had a heart problem that neither were aware of, and before we examine this any farther, I need to be up front with you… You and I are not exempt from this heart problem. Let’s look at verse 9 again:

“The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”

~ Jeremiah 17:9 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://cdn.hiphopwired.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/steubenville-football.jpg

The scripture doesn’t say some hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. It very clearly includes all human hearts — that includes yours and mine… So what could have led these two boys to humiliate, abuse, molest and rape this girl? 

Image Credit: http://collegecandy.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/steubenville.jpg?w=600&h=350

These boys were “stars,” adored by Stuebenville’s football fans and their families. They were built up and put on a pedestal as star athletes, who were somehow better than others. Let’s be real, we see this adulation of high school athletes all over the country, and not only high school athletes, but college and professional athletes as well. They are given star treatment, often receiving special perks for being good-looking, talented and intelligent, and as the scripture says, “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked…” 

All too often, when people are built up like this, it goes to their heads, and they begin to believe that they really are special… that rules and laws don’t really apply to them… that they are entitled to receive special treatment… and that their needs are more important than the needs of others. While it’s true that not everyone who receives this kind of “special” treatment responds in this way, there are many who do.

It isn’t healthy or wise to put people on a pedestal. Certainly, it is good for parents and teachers to acknowledge a child’s accomplishments and to encourage him/her. But it is equally important to teach a child humility. Every child should know that while he/she may be gifted, their talents are just that — a gift from God, and that gift does not make someone more important than anyone else. Indeed, those who are given gifts must also be taught how to be responsible.

 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

~ James 1:17 NKJV ~

Parents, it’s up to us to teach our children the difference between right and wrong. We are the ones who are responsible for teaching our children not to look out for number one, but to put the needs of others above even our own needs…

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

~ Romans 12:10 NIV ~

We need to recognize that while it is damaging to give a child low self-esteem, it is equally damaging to build a child’s self-esteem so high that they believe they are above others.

What if those boys had been armed with the knowledge that their hearts were so terribly wicked and deceitful? What if they were taught that their talent was a gift given to them by God, not because they were any better or more deserving than anyone else, but simply because of His grace? And what if those boys had been taught to honor others (including “Jane Doe”) above themselves? Is it possible that the Steubenville Horror could have been averted?

My beloved readers, do you have children… grandchildren… nieces and nephews… students… teen-aged friends? Talk to them about this horrible atrocity, and ask them what they would do if they were in the position these boys were in. Talk to them about how these boys should have responded and why what they did was so utterly and terribly wrong. Talk to them about the consequences of their actions…

And please, join me in praying for Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond…

Father, in Jesus’ name, I cry out to You for Trent Mays’ and Ma’lik Richmond’s hearts, which are most deceitful and desperately wicked, and I ask You to create a clean heart within them. Lord, let them see the wickedness of their actions against “Jane Doe,” and fill their hearts with remorse and repentance.

Lord, let them learn from this, and let each young man repent of his sins and find salvation in You. I pray that You would set them free from the lies that they have told themselves, and that others have told them. I pray that You would reveal to them that they are no better than anyone else, and that they would begin to place others above themselves, seeking ways to help others, rather than to harm them.

Lord, I also cry out to You for the girl that they damaged. Father, please protect this young woman, and touch her heart. Let her feel the warmth of Your embrace, and let Your rivers of healing waters wash over her, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

You’ve Got Mail…

Creative Writing Challenge: 2AM Photo

by Michael Pick on March 18, 2013
It’s 2AM and your phone has just buzzed you awake, filling the room in white-blue LED light. You have a message. It’s a photo. No words, no explanation. Just a photo. Tell us all about it. And what happens next.
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Image Credit: http://theperiledsea.ning.com/profiles/blogs/horse-rider-made-of-fire-what-i-saw

“You’ve got mail!” The sound loudly clamored repeatedly, jarring me awake from a dead sleep, as I reached over to grab my cell phone, wondering why it kept repeating over and over again. Usually, when I received a text or notification, it only sounded once, and I never had the volume as loud as it was now. 

“It must be some kind of a stupid glitch,” I thought to myself, as I sat up in the bed, squinting to see who could be texting me at 2:00 in the morning, and what kind of malfunction was causing my phone to vibrate and continue repeating, “You’ve got mail!” at full volume. Finally, unable to silence it, I decided to open the stupid message, hoping that would shut it up.

As I opened the message, my heart began to beat violently in my chest. There was no “Sender”, nor was there any message, just the grim picture of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. My heart felt like wax, as it melted within me, and a sudden weakness washed over my body. “Oh God,” I whimpered, as the image on the cell phone shook in my hands.

Suddenly, it seemed that time had run out. As I stared dumbly at the image on my cell phone, I saw the future begin to unfold, as other images raced across the screen, showing the impending doom of mankind and the earth as we now knew it. It was both great and terrible, as wars, famine and pestilence flashed across the screen, with each of the four horsemen leaving a horrible wake of destruction as they passed…

We were about to face the war that ends all wars, as families and friends would be pitted against one another. Children would turn against their parents, and mothers would betray their very own flesh. The love of many would wax cold, and it would soon be nearly impossible to tell friend from foe.

Indeed, this photo of the four horsemen was a call to war, and I knew immediately what I needed to do, as I dropped to my knees and began to pray fervently, crying out for God’s mercy and grace. I couldn’t deny that I’d already seen the signs — oh, who was I kidding? I knew that the first of the four horsemen had already arrived, and that it was only a matter of time before the second rider followed, as Antichrist set his evil plan into motion, winning the trust and adoration of many as they turned further and further away from Christ, calling His gospel of peace a gospel of war.

I had already witnessed the terrible toll that was taking place on believers throughout the world, and yet, like a foolish ostrich, I had buried my head in the sand, hoping that this terrible evil would just vanish if I didn’t look at it. “Oh Lord, forgive me for not taking a stand,” I now prayed, as I began to put my war clothes on.

Image Credit: http://taniarubimenglish.blogspot.com/2012_02_01_archive.html

Then, grabbing the breastplate of righteousness, I fastened it tightly, carefully guarding my heart. “Lord God,” I now prayed with purpose and fervency, “guard my heart and keep me righteous. In these last and evil times, Father, I ask You to protect my heart, so that I won’t stray from You, nor lead anyone else away from Your saving grace.”

Next, with purpose, I lifted the belt of truth, carefully examining it for any breaks or flaws that may have occurred during my time of cowardice, as I refused to face the truth before me. Thankfully, the Lord had guarded it, and I carefully fastened the belt of truth tightly around my waist, as I vowed, “Lord, from this day forth, with Your help, I will walk in truth, looking neither to the left nor the right. And though it may lead to my death, I will speak the truth in love, boldly to the men, women and children You place in my path, no matter who stands against me, because I know that no weapon formed against me shall prosper, and that every lying tongue that rises up against me shall be brought to justice.”

Image Credit: http://www.123rf.com/photo_15082883_old-and-dirty-military-boots-isolated-on-white-background.html

Even though it was now well past 2:00 a.m., I stooped down to slip my feet into the shoes in readiness of sharing the gospel of peace. “Lord, Jesus, send me to the streets, the prisons, the bars, the crack houses and the whore houses, so that I may share Your gospel of peace with those who are desperate for a Savior. Let me speak to them in Your love, so that they will be ready to face the trials and the tribulation that all must face. And Lord, I ask that You snatch them from the fiery grip of the enemy, saving many in these last and terrible days.”

Image Credit: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-shield-of-faith-booker-poole.html

I knew that my faith would need to be strong for me to endure until the end, and so, as I lifted my shield of faith, I entreated the Lord to take the faith He’d already given me, and to increase it, so that I would be able to withstand the fiery darts of the enemy. The helmet of salvation came next, and I carefully tied my hair up and out of the way, before resting the helmet on top of my head. It fit snugly and perfectly, and I breathed a deep sigh as I continued to pray, “Lord, let the mind of Christ be in me. Let my thoughts be Your thoughts, and Your thoughts be mine. Lord let me have the same attitude that Christ had, because even though He was God, He didn’t demand or cling to His rights as God. Instead, He made Himself as nothing, becoming a humble slave and suffering for the sake of many. Lord, help me be willing to humble myself for the sake of others, let me care more for their lives than my own. Oh God,” I cried, “Let me be a woman after Your own heart.”

Image Credit: http://fineartamerica.com/products/sword-of-the-spirit-jeff-haynie-poster.html

Finally, I was fully armed, save for one last weapon. I carefully picked up the sword of the Spirit, transferring it from my left hand to my right, placing it in its sheath, and then quickly removing it and assuming the warrior’s pose. The sword of the Spirit — the word of God… “Oh Lord,” I softly breathed. “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. As I prepare to leave the warmth of my apartment to go into battle with my brothers and sisters that You have also armed and called for such a time as this, order my steps, for Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.”

“It is time now,” I sensed the Spirit commanding me, as I stood at attention. Then, without so much as a final look at what I was leaving behind, I walked out of my apartment, locking the door behind me. I would not be returning, for I had received my orders, and I was off to wage war against the enemy of the souls of men and women. “Remember this final thing,” I heard a voice speaking from beside me, as I continued to walk toward the city’s red light district, “This battle belongs to the Lord!”

“Hallelujah!” I shouted loudly, as I set my face like flint and sprinted to my destination.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Ode to a Playground

A place from your past or childhood, one that you’re fond of, is destroyed. Write it a memorial.
Daily Prompt: Ode to a Playground

I couldn’t believe it when I heard it on the news. I must have misunderstood what was said. Surely the church of my childhood… the church that held such happy memories for me… the church where I first came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior couldn’t have burned. I hadn’t been there since I was around fifteen or sixteen years old, but I always had such fond memories of it.

Image Courtesy: http://meadesbranchfwb.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Church-bus.gif

I remember the first Sunday I attended Gethsemane United Methodist Church, in Reliance, MD as though it were yesterday. The day before, some stranger and his wife came to visit my mother and father, and invited my sister and me to ride on a church bus to this church. I couldn’t believe my parents said yes! They didn’t even know these people, and they had agreed to let them take my sister and me on this bus.

Although I was only around ten or eleven at the time, I had a vivid imagination, and I was very distrustful of people and their motives. I was certain these seemingly nice people were going to get my sister and me on that bus, then kidnap and murder us. The whole ride to church, as the bus would stop and pick up more and more children along the way, Mr. W. stood at the front of the bus, singing songs about Jesus and laughing and smiling. It was really a lot of fun, but I wasn’t about to let my guard down. I didn’t trust these strangers, not one little bit.

I was surprised and relieved when we reached the church, but I was still suspicious. “They probably brought us here in case our parents call to check up on them,” I thought to myself. “They’re probably going to kill us on the way home from church.” Praise God, they obviously didn’t kill any of us, or I wouldn’t be sitting here writing my story for you. Nevertheless, when we were safely delivered to our house that afternoon, after enjoying Sunday School, church and snacks afterward, I continued to be suspicious of them. Perhaps their plan was to win our parents’ confidence, and then, after several months, they would kill us. I remember, I was so distrustful, that I imagined different scenarios of our kidnapping and murder, and I would daydream, imagining different ways in which we might escape.

Eventually, over the months, I began to let my guard down and trust these people, who seemed to genuinely love us and care for us. I couldn’t believe that they really cared for me… my sister, yes, because she was cute and sweet and everything that I wasn’t. I remember how I hung out with some of the tougher girls, those who at the tender young age of twelve or thirteen had already had many boyfriends — and some of their boyfriends were actually men, not boys. I remember that I envied those girls, because they were so much prettier than me, attracting grown men!

As I reflect on these memories now, I am grateful to the Lord for guarding and protecting me, at a time in my life when I was so vulnerable and needy. I remember cursing and swearing with one of the girls, and going behind the community house to smoke cigarettes, because I so wanted to be cool and fit in… and be liked by the boys. I tried to act tough like one of the other girls in particular, whose name, like mine, was Cheryl, and I would be so disrespectful, because I needed to be accepted by someone… And there on that church bus, was Mr. and Mrs. W., who continually showered their love on me.

No matter how bad or disrespectful I was, they treated me with love. I can remember Mrs. W. looking up at me one time, when I had behaved so terribly, with such a look of unguarded love on her face, that it left me feeling ashamed… She acted like she really loved me, but how could that be? At home, when I was bad, my own parents cursed me and called me stupid, dumb@$$, worthless… But here, at church, when I really behaved terribly, Mrs. W. still acted like she loved me. When I misbehaved, she didn’t act like she was angry with me at all… Instead, she looked at me with her pretty, expressive brown eyes that looked as though she was hurt and ready to cry, and continued to love me.

I didn’t understand these church people, but I admired them and loved them, and I wanted to be like them. I remember one Sunday in church, when I was around twelve or thirteen years old, the minister preached a message, and I was compelled to move forward toward the altar, while the hymn, Just As I Am, was being sung by the congregation. There, at that wooden altar, with the red velvet cushions, I knelt on my knees, and asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me and deliver me from evil.

That afternoon, I couldn’t wait to get off the church bus and share the good news with my parents. I remember running into the house and breathlessly telling my mom that I was born again. That really irritated her, and she told me that if I was going to start acting religious like Mr. and Mrs. W., she wasn’t going to let me go to that church anymore. I was devastated. Mr. and Mrs. W. were good, loving people. Why shouldn’t I be like them?  I didn’t talk about Jesus to my mom and dad until many, many years later, when I was a grown woman.

I have such fond memories of Gethsemane United Methodist Church, in Reliance, MD, and although the fire completely destroyed the church on May 11, 1998, my memories of it remain intact. A couple of years later, the church was rebuilt, not on the same site as the original structure, but across the street from it. The new church is quite lovely, and although it is a brick structure, it bears no resemblance to the original. Nor does it invoke the same feelings that the original one did.

I pray that the people in this new Gethsemane will impact the lives of men, women and children as the people from the old one changed my life. To the old structure, I reluctantly bid a fond farewell.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Dear Leader

If your government (local or national) accomplishes one thing in 2013, what would you like that to be?
Daily Prompt: Dear Leader

If my government were to accomplish one thing in 2013, I would want to see Roe vs. Wade overturned, and the sanctity of human life upheld. I realize that this is a very touchy topic with many, but I truly believe that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. For the sake of argument, this is the definition of life from dictionary.com:

  1. the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally.
  2. the sum of the distinguishing phenomena of organisms, especially metabolism, growth, reproduction, and adaption to environment.

Now, many purport that human life doesn’t begin until after birth, however, this is simply not true, according to the definition of life listed above. From the instant of conception, a human being begins to grow within his/her mother’s womb, as many changes occur throughout the baby’s nine months of gestation. It is my contention that because our government places such little value on human life, in all stages of life, that many of the people of this nation also devalue human life.

Week 11 Unborn Baby BBC Health Tools
Week 11 Unborn Baby
BBC Health Tools

Don’t you find it ironic that this nation places little to no value on unborn human children, and yet they enforce strict penalties for violating animal rights? The Bald Eagle has been removed from the endangered species list,  yet according to The Daily Retort, “The original penalty for violating this law was $5,000 or a year in prison. However, under the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, as amended in 1987, the fine soared to $100,000 for guilty individuals who tried to “…pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, molest or disturb…a bald or golden eagle, alive or dead; or any part, nest or egg of these eagles….”

Now for those of you who are animal lovers, please understand that I too, love animals, and I abhor animal cruelty. However, I also believe that human beings, whether the unborn, newborn, toddlers, children, teenagers, young adults, middle-aged adults or elderly adults are of much greater value, and their lives must be protected.

So many of us question how such atrocities as mall shootings, the Batman movie shooting, the Newtown massacre and so many other horrible cruelties against men, women and children can occur, while turning a blind eye to the millions of unborn babies whose lives have been terminated since Roe vs. Wade, in 1973. According to an article written by LifeNews.com on January 23, 2012, “A new estimate published by the National Right to Life Committee indicates there have been an estimated 54,559,615 abortions since the Supreme Court handed down its 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision allowing virtually unlimited abortions.”

We live in a society that has so devalued human life in the last 40 years, that mass killings have become the norm. No longer do we see the occasional random acts of violence. We are now witnesses to an epidemic of murders, tortures, suicides and other forms of cruelty.

I truly believe that if our government and its citizens do not amend its ways, we, like the fall of the Roman empire and so many other barbaric nations, will one day cease to exist. This is why, my prayer… my dream… my vision for the United States of America and its government is that we will realize the sanctity of human life, and overturn Roe vs. Wade. It is my prayer that every man, woman and child will come to know that each one of them has been created in the image of God, and that He has created each one of us different, but equally precious in His sight. It is my prayer that the government and the men, women and children of this country will once again realize that we have all been endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – Don’t Give What Is Holy To Unholy People

 “Don’t give what is holy to unholy people. Don’t give pearls to swine! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” (Matthew 7:6 NLT)

http://www.laportecountysheriff.com/jail/jaildiv.html

I had a horrible experience when I ministered in jail in August. As I was sharing the Word with the women, several, who were in the back of the room were quite noisy and disrespectful. I’ve been doing prison ministry since 2003, and I can usually deal with it when some of the women become loud or disrespectful, and it doesn’t usually fluster me, but this time was different.

I had to stop several times and ask them to be quiet, as they mocked me while I ministered. Then they began asking questions. Questions don’t upset me either, when someone is seeking answers, and if I don’t have the answer, I let them know that up front, and I try to get the answers to their questions when I minister in jail the next time. But again, this was different. You see, there was one woman, the ring leader, who was questioning me, not because she wanted answers, but because she wanted to argue.

http://www.photoeditinc.com/resultsframe.asp?txtkeys1=PRS551JMW001%20001

She informed me that her grandmother was a pastor, and that she had never heard of the things that I was teaching. Then she would shoot me another question, only to disagree with the answer. Honestly, if I had said the grass was green, she would have argued with that, and I saw this, so I told her that I didn’t want to argue with her. Then I prayed against any spirits that would hinder the word of the Lord from going forth.

That’s when this woman got up and went to the door, demanding to leave. I was more than happy to oblige and call for an officer to take her and her following out. After they left, the atmosphere changed, and the women who were left in the room (only 7 remained) worshiped freely, asking me if I would return. I assured them that I would be back, Lord willing, in 2 weeks to minister.

And I was there again, 2 weeks later, to minister. Before allowing me to go in and minister, an officer informed me that several of the inmates, (those who had left the service early 2 weeks prior) had filed a grievance against me. I was stunned. I’d never experienced that before, and so I was asked to give a written statement of what had happened in that church service, which I did.

After completing my statement, I went to the room where the church service is normally held, and within a few minutes, the women were led to the door. When they saw that I was the one ministering that day, all of the women decided to return to their cells and not attend church. Wow. I was hurt and confused, because even those women who had remained in the church service the last time, the ones who asked me to please return, turned around and left. But then, 3 of the women decided to stay for the church service.

When I saw who had decided to stay for church, my heart dropped, and I felt an uneasiness in the pit of my stomach. It was the ringleader, and 2 of her cohorts. I started praying, and determined to share the word, but I was nervous and very uneasy. The relentless questions began almost immediately, from Ringleader, and you could see that her friends were becoming very uncomfortable, as she began to speak doctrines and things that are not in scripture.

http://beautifullyflaweddivinelychosen.blogspot.com/2009/01/pearls-swine.html

One of her friends tried to tell her that what she was speaking was untrue, but she gave her a look that cowed her into silence. The other friend was a “yes” person, but you could see that she was uncomfortable too. I tried to share what the bible said about the things she was claiming, but she had control of the service, and that’s when it hit me.

This was no longer a worship service for the glory of God. It was a one woman show, that she was running. These 2 friends of hers were being indoctrinated with her rebellion and her false statements, and I couldn’t talk over her. Indeed, I didn’t want to talk over her. I came to minister, and she wouldn’t let me minister. So, I very calmly said, “I came here to minister today, and I’m not going to argue with you.”

“See?” she said gleefully. “I told you, she don’t know nothing.”

With that I walked over to the phone, called for an officer to take these 3 women back to their cells, and I left after being there for only 20 minutes. In all the years that I’ve been doing prison ministry, this was the first time that I didn’t complete a service, and I was devastated.

I immediately began questioning myself and the Lord. “Lord, are You trying to tell me that my season for prison ministry is over?” And, “Oh God, how should I have handled that?” Then, “Lord, what did I do wrong?” There’s only one thing that I did wrong, which may have prevented this whole thing… I didn’t pray enough.

http://diggingtheword.blogspot.com/2010/08/dont-cast-your-pearls-to-pigs.html

But the Lord also let me know that I did the right thing by refusing to argue, and that it would have been pointless for me to try to share the scriptures with this woman, and He spoke these words into my spirit,  “Don’t give what is holy to unholy people. Don’t give pearls to swine! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” 

Brothers and sisters, there is a difference between someone sincerely seeking answers to questions about the Lord and His word, and someone who merely wants to argue. Discern that difference in people, and if you can’t discern, ask the Lord to give you discernment and wisdom. “Don’t give what is holy to unholy people. Don’t give pearls to swine! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.”

Daily Prompt: Last Words

You have the chance to write one last post on your blog before you stop blogging forever. Write it.

Time is short. I only pray that I have enough time to share all that needs to be shared with you before they arrive. I pray that I will have enough time to click “Publish”.

We knew this day was coming, and many tried to warn us, but like foolish children with their fingers stuck in their ears, we didn’t want to hear the warnings. We belittled their wise counsel, because we didn’t want to acknowledge the very real threat to our society and our freedom. Who knew that it could really happen here in the United States of America? Who could have realized that little by little, one by one, our basic rights would be stripped away from us, until none were left?

The new laws and the new policies seemed so good to us at first. Laws against hate crimes – who could have known that that one little law would rip away our freedom of speech? Who could have known that laws affording us the right to choose would result in the widespread euthanizing of the elderly, who tried to warn us, reminding us of the Holocaust?

But already, the proselytizing had begun. The schools were teaching children that the Holocaust was just a figment of the imaginations of the ignorant. They were teaching the youth that they had nothing to gain from the elderly, who were both feeble minded and physically frail. The world would be better off without them, and truly, the elderly would be grateful if they were put out of their misery. When it began, none of us believed that anyone would actually take this foolishness seriously, much less act on it. We were wrong.

The elderly population began to die off rapidly, and then the “suicides” and “mercy killings” began to spread to the physically and mentally handicapped. After all, they reasoned, no one would want to live with a disability, and with the money the government would save, they could provide better health programs for the younger population.

Sure, there were some who cried out against it at first, but then, those who were the most outspoken began to die mysteriously in “accidents.” And still, as the reality of the situation was beginning to register with some of  us, we refused to believe that this could really be happening. It was just like a bad movie or a nightmare. Mankind is basically good, right?

Surely people are going to wake up and realize that this is wrong and it must cease! But it didn’t. Children began to turn on their parents, reporting them for “hate” crimes and treason against the government.

Phone calls were intercepted, and the “news” was merely propaganda now. Those who did report the truth on the internet were now  underground, in fear of their lives, and with good reason. Just like in old western times, posters, and photos were posted on television, in post offices and on the internet, offering huge rewards for the capture of these “insurrectionists”. They were wanted dead or alive.

Civil war spread throughout the nation, as foreign terrorists joined in the fray. In the government’s effort to stop the people from mutiny, they created a national religion, which embodied “the best” of all religions, while outlawing Judaism and Christianity altogether.

The right to bear arms was terminated also, with the passing of the gun control act, but fortunately, many had seen this coming, and had already taken their arms and their computers underground. There are just a few of us spread throughout the country, trying to report the truth without being discovered. Someone has to speak out against the atrocities that are being committed in the name of justice.

I fear that my time is short. I’m almost certain my location has been pinpointed, and that in just a few short minutes, my life and my computer will be taken. That’s why I must hurry.

Listen! Time is short. This is not the way it should be. Our country was founded on freedom and democracy. We were a republic. We were united in one cause – freedom and justice for all.

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…”

My friends, these are the words of our country’s Declaration of Independence, and it has become necessary for us to dissolve our ties with the current government and pursue our rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We must now stand up and tell our government in the words of Patrick Henry, one of our founding forefathers, Give me Liberty, or give me death!

I hear their footsteps outside my door – I must

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Politics – Grrr!

Official photographic portrait of US President...

There are many Christians who are quite angry about the outcome of the election, for seemingly good reasons… but are they really? I’ve probably lost some friends on Facebook because I can’t bring myself to agree with them.

And then there are other Christians who are now gloating over the results of the election, for seemingly good reasons… but are they really? I may lose some friends over this, because I just can’t bring myself to agree with them either.

The fact is that no matter which way this election went, I was grieved by it. I’ve already written several posts about why neither Barack Obama or Mitt Romney was a good choice, so I won’t bore you with repeating those facts. Instead, can I take just a few minutes to share my grief with you?

Rosa Parks defies segregation on Alabama bus
Rosa Parks defies segregation on Alabama bus (Photo credit: Chris Green)

I’m grieving because once again, whether anyone intended it or not, or whether anyone is courageous enough to admit it or not, it’s become a black and white issue. For many black Americans, the image that Romney projected of a man who wanted to go back to the 1950s was repulsive, because their memories and views of the 1950s are quite different from the nostalgic memories of their white counterparts.

For black Americans, the 1950s represented a time of social injustice, in which they were forced to sit at the back of the bus. It was a time of segregation in which they were not allowed to dine in the same restaurants as white people, or heaven forbid! They were certainly not allowed to use the same toilets as white people. They remember a time when their children were not afforded the same education as white children, and when there were black neighborhoods and white neighborhoods, and a black person better not try to move to a white neighborhood. The “colored” people were allowed to work as servants for the white people in their neighborhoods, but they had to remember to always enter from the back entrance, never from the front. It doesn’t matter that most white people couldn’t afford servants, because whether they could afford them or not, the general attitude was that white people were smarter, more attractive and better than black people.

Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence (Photo credit: Why Tuesday?)

It was a time of inequality, that belied the words of our founding fathers, who wrote in the Declaration of Independence, We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

While these are the images indelibly engraved on the minds of many black Americans, many white Americans see things differently and more nostalgically. They remember a time when men and women married for life. They remember a time when hard work paid off with promotions and pay raises. They remember a time when children respected their parents, a time when children prayed the Lord’s Prayer in school, when the bible was welcome in school and even taught in some classrooms. They remember when the 10 Commandments were posted on the walls of schools, and when the biggest problems teachers had with their students in those days were chewing gum in class and talking too much.

So, who is right and who is wrong? And was that really all that this election was about? How could a group of people see things so totally and completely different? And where do we go from here?

A person’s a person no matter how small – Dr. Seuss (Horton Hears A Who)

Many Christian people are gloating over Obama’s victory, believing that with his victory, the many issues of this country will be resolved, blindly overlooking the fact that during his last 4 years as President, things have only gotten worse. Abortion is not only condoned by this president, but he even justified and encouraged it for  his own daughters… “I’ve got two daughters, 9 years old and 6 years old.  I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.  I don’t want them punished with an STD at the age of 16.”

Hello? For those Christians who voted for Obama, surely you understand that abortion is not biblical, and nowhere in scripture is having children considered a punishment! Indeed, when my own daughter got pregnant out-of-wedlock, I told her that while God hated the sin of fornication that she had committed, her pregnancy was not a punishment. The wages of sin is death, not life

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/22/belief-blogs-morning-speed-read-for-tuesday-may-22/

Further, Obama as we all know, endorses same-sex marriage, and for those proponents of same-sex marriage, who claim that Jesus never spoke against it,  “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ And He said, ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.‘ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one separate them, for God has joined them together.” Please do not even attempt to claim that your choice was based on biblical principles, because to do so is to make a mockery of God.

http://bible-truth.org/differentgod.htm

And for those Christians who voted for Romney because he stands on biblical values, give me a break! He serves a false god, and to claim that he has biblical values is ludicrous in light of that, because serving a false god goes against biblical values.

Let’s not forget what Christ has called us to do! We are to go and share the gospel, making disciples of all nations… disciples of Christ, not of the U.S.A. Jesus came and told His disciples, “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT)

Let’s remember our call, and do as Jesus commanded, loving our enemies, blessing those who persecute us, and lifting Him up before all men. Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” (John 12:32 NLT)

Finally, I leave you with one other message from scripture, and it would do well for all of us to remember this. Dear brothers and sisters, you are foreigners and aliens here. So I warn you to keep away from evil desires because they fight against your very souls. Be careful how you live among your unbelieving neighbors. Even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will believe and give honor to God when He comes to judge the world. For the Lord’s sake, accept all authority — the king as head of state, and the officials He has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish all who do wrong and to honor those who do right. It is God’s will that your good lives should silence those who make foolish accusations against you. You are not slaves; you are free. But your freedom is not an excuse to do evil. You are free to live as God’s slaves. Show respect for everyone. Love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God. Show respect for the king. (1 Peter 2:11-17 NLT)

Let’s stop bickering among ourselves about this election. Get your priorities straight, and let’s be about our Father’s business first and foremost, snatching as many souls from the pit of hell as we can, for the time is short.

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Signs of the Times

Later, Jesus sat on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to Him privately and asked, “When will all this take place? And will there be any sign ahead of time to signal Your return and the end of the world ?”

Jesus told them,”Don’t let anyone mislead you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will lead many astray. And wars will break out near and far, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must come, but the end won’t follow immediately. The nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come.

“Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because of your allegiance to Me. And many will turn away from Me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will lead many people astray. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But those who endure to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then, finally, the end will come.” (Matthew 24:3-14 NLT)

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the...

With the upcoming election, many Christians are fearful of the outcome. Many claim that since he’s been in office, President Barack Obama has done more to pave the way for Antichrist to come. People fear that if Obama is elected for a second term, life is certain to become more difficult – even dangerous for the Jewish people of this nation and Christian men and women. It will be much more dangerous and difficult to stand for righteousness…

I also believe that if Mitt Romney is chosen as our next President, that he will continue to pave the way for Antichrist. I know that many are painting him as the closest thing to “Biblical Values,” but the fact is, this is untrue. Mitt Romney openly worships a false god and he makes a mockery of Christianity by getting evangelical leaders to promote him, knowing full well that the Jesus we worship is not the same jesus he worships. His jesus is the brother of the devil!

Mitt Romney in 2007 in Washington, DC at the V...
Mitt Romney in 2007 in Washington, DC at the Values Voters conference (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, brothers and sisters, getting back to the text, should we be fearful that the end is upon us? Let’s see what Jesus had to say, because He knows, and He forewarned His disciples of the signs to watch for over 2000 years ago. “Don’t let anyone mislead you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will lead many astray.” (Matthew 24:4b-5 NLT)

http://thereformedtraveler.com/2010/03/13/beth-moores-dangerous-bible-twisting/

Listen to me people of God, I believe that the advent of Antichrist is coming very soon, but I honestly don’t see how we can stop this from happening by electing either Obama, (whose stance against biblical values is unquestionable) or Romney, (whose stance against biblical values is perhaps not as clear, because he seems to have many of the same values we as Christians hold dear). Brothers and sisters, I caution you to heed the words of Jesus, “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are really wolves that will tear you apart.” (Matthew 7:15 NLT)

Brothers and sisters, we must stay alert and be ready at all times, but don’t fear. “And wars will break out near and far, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must come, but the end won’t follow immediately.” (Matthew 24:6 NLT) Don’t you see? We’re already seeing some of the signs, but remember what Jesus said, “Don’t panic… The nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come.” (Matthew 24:7-8 NLT) 

Can you see it? A lot of these things were already set in motion, before Obama came into office. Christians, we need to get a grip! There’s a lot of in-fighting and anger within our own camp over this election. Wake up Church! Do your really think this pleases God? As various church members fight with each other over an election in which neither candidate can possibly save our nation from the wrath to come, we’ve lost sight of our only hope!

Jesus warned us, “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because of your allegiance to Me. And many will turn away from Me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will lead many people astray. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But those who endure to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then, finally, the end will come.” (Matthew 24:9-14 NLT)

Don’t you see it yet? And many will turn away from Me and betray and hate each other.” How many of us are arguing and dividing the church over which evil candidate to vote for? How many of us are offended because God is allowing all of this to take place? How many of us have turned away from Jesus during this election? And how many of us now hate some of our brothers and sisters in the Lord because of this election? And yes, I’ll bring up the race issue, because even the church is divided along the race line… How many of us hate our brothers and sisters of another race because they are voting for a different candidate? Do you really think this pleases God?

Brothers and sisters, no matter how this vote turns out, Jesus is coming back soon, and He is returning for a bride that is without spot or blemish… a bride that loves her enemies and prays for them… a bride that pays back good, even when evil has been committed against her… a bride that looks to HIM for salvation, no matter whether anyone else agrees with her or not… He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 NASB) 

Church, as I look at the state of our nation, I can’t help but think of the Roman empire. They were strong and mighty, and they had it all, but they were hell-bent on enjoying all of the evil vices that Satan offered them… they drank too much, committed incest, adultery, fornication, homosexuality… sinking lower and lower into depravity, because that was their right as Roman citizens… but their debauchery wasn’t wicked enough, and so they began murdering Jews and Christians for sport, until God finally had enough and poured out His wrath on that wicked kingdom.

Brothers and sisters, do you realize how close we are to crossing that line? Do you know that if God did not even spare His beloved Israel, He will not spare the United States for much longer. Elections and governments can’t heal our nation. There is only one thing that can help us. The Lord says, Then if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT) 

Brothers and sisters, there is more at stake than this election. Will you join me on Tuesday and fast and pray for our nation? This is our only hope.

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

I Am Outraged!!!

My Christian Brothers and Sisters,

This post is addressed to all who call themselves Christians. It is not meant for non-believers, as they are not held to the same level of accountability that we, the men and women of God, are. I’ve already written one post here on WordPress and one on Facebook regarding the election, and I truly intended to let it go after that, and let the chips fall where they may, so to speak, until this evening, when I viewed a YouTube video posted by Kay Arthur of Precept Ministries. While viewing this video, I felt my blood begin to boil and my blood pressure begin to rise, and though I tried to keep silent, I find that I CANNOT, because the Word of the Lord truly does burn in me like a fire shut up in my bones! Just listen to this war cry:

Now, maybe you’re wondering why I’m all worked up about this, because after all, Ms. Arthur is simply urging voters to vote for biblical values. But that is not all that is going on here! Without specifically saying so, because that could cost her ministry their tax exempt status, what Kay Arthur is doing is using her influence as a respected woman of God to scare Evangelical Christians and steer them to vote for the candidate that stands for “Biblical Values.”

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, of course, everyone knows without question that Barack Obama, while claiming to be a Christian, has legislated for gay rights, abortion rights and has not taken a stand for Israel in the last 4 years – even going so far as encouraging them to divide their land. Therefore, there’s no question in any Christian’s mind that Barack Obama does not stand for “Biblical Values.”

And as a Spirit-filled Bible believing Christian, I’m not going to argue against the truth. The truth is that abortion is the murder of innocent lives, no matter how anyone tries to paint it. The truth is that God does call homosexuality a sin… indeed, He does call it an abomination. And Scripture makes it clear how God feels about Israel and about Israel’s enemies.  For thus says the Lord of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8 NKJV). Also, please note, that when the Lord gave the land of Israel to Abram (who later became Abraham), He said, “I am going to give all this land to you and your offspring as a permanent possession” (Genesis 13:15 NLT). So, there we have it. President Obama most definitely has not stood for “Biblical Values” during the last 4 years of his presidency. And yet, many of my African-American brothers and sisters in the Lord will choose to vote for him because they believe that he is the lesser of two evils.

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, that brings us to Mitt Romney, the other candidate for the office of President of the United States of America. And brothers and sisters, you’re about to see why my blood is boiling! Because President Barack Obama so clearly does not stand for “Biblical Values,” Mitt Romney is presented as a man of great faith and “Biblical Values” by many Christian Evangelical leaders, who use their influence to sway ordinary men and women, like you and me to vote for this candidate.

We have such great influential leaders as Rev. Billy Graham, Kay Arthur, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Gary Bauer and John Hagee to name a few, encourage their followers to vote for “Biblical Values,” then make it clear that the democratic party does not stand on “Biblical Values.” Really? And does the Republican Candidate, who is a high priest in the Mormon religion, stand on “Biblical Values”? Since when did it become biblical to serve any other god besides the true and living God? “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2-3 NKJV). 

Did you know that the Billy Graham Association removed Mormons from its list of cults on their website? Did they suddenly decide that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is no longer a cult, but Christian? And how did they determine this? Is winning this election more important than men’s eternal destiny? Is it better to mislead men and women who may not be as versed in Scripture as they are, for the sake of getting the right man in office? Do they… do YOU honestly believe that a politician can save this country from its current downward spiral into moral decadence?

These men and women call themselves men and women of God, but they have become more like Pharisees! They are selling the souls of men and women for political power and clout. They are trying to not only control the political leaders of this country, but you and me as well! Maybe they do  have good intentions, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Church, this is what it comes down to. Are you going to believe the Word of God and stand on it? Or are you going to believe the word of men and women who claim to be of God, but speak falsely? I want to be true to the Lord. I want to honor Him, therefore, I want to pose some questions to you, and let you decide for yourself.

Do you believe that God approves of the abortion laws that allow more than 4500 unborn babies to be killed every day? Do you believe that God would rather see millions of souls eternally lost because our Christian leaders endorsed a false religion? Charles Spurgeon, a man of God from another era said it well, and I fully concur with him, “Of two evils, choose neither.” 

And look at the division between the black church and the white church! Surely this isn’t of God! We are brothers and sisters in the Lord, and certainly we can all agree that neither candidate is of God. There shouldn’t be any division within the church about this, either among races or age groups.

Brothers and sisters, I’m not suggesting that you don’t vote. In case you aren’t aware of it, we have the right to write in the name of the one we want to lead us. Therefore, if neither of the candidates that are presented to us are worthy of our votes, why should we compromise ourselves and our faith for the sake of winning this election?

I want you to know that I have long admired Kay Arthur for her wise biblical teaching, as well as Dr. James Dobson, and the other Christian leaders listed above. But when I see them taking an unholy stand in the name of Jesus Christ, my blood boils and I have to speak the truth, even at the risk of offending you, because I truly do love the Lord and I love you, His people, my brothers and sisters, and I hate people to take advantage of those that I love.

The only way that this nation can be saved from its current moral decline is to do as the Lord commanded in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “Then if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land (NLT). If these men and women of God truly believe the Word of God, then these are the instructions they should be giving, because the truth is the USA is becoming more and more wicked, and the election of either one of these political candidates is not enough to stop the decline, nor is it enough to stay God’s hand of judgment on this land. Brothers and sisters, our only hope is if we will humble ourselves and pray as the Lord commands.

In conclusion, I urge you to remember that it is not God’s will for us to choose the lesser of the two evils. Evil is EVIL. Therefore, it is good to end with Charles Spurgeon’s quote once more, “Of two evils, choose neither.” 

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Why Abortion Is Wrong Even In Cases of Rape And Incest

Pregnancy
Pregnancy (Photo credit: jess.g.)

I just read a post entitled, “If Your God Condones Forced Pregnancy, Get A New God,” and my heart was stirred up. There is a fire burning in my bones, and I wanted to respond to this post, but I have too much to say to place it in a space for comments. This person’s outrage began over a statement made by Richard Mourdock, U.S. Senate candidate on October 23, 2012, in which he said, “I know there are some who disagree, and I respect their point of view, but I believe that life begins at conception. The only exception I have, to have an abortion, is in that case of the life of the mother. I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

The person took offense to Mr. Mourdock’s statement that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” Now my response to Mr. Mourdock’s allegation is that he is absolutely correct. Is it God’s intention for a woman to be raped? Absolutely not.

But does God know in advance that a woman is going to be raped? Absolutely. We live in a fallen world, where many horrible things happen, and God, who is omniscient, knows the past, the present and the future. In fact, He knows each person, before they were placed in their mother’s womb and He has a plan for our lives…  “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as My spokesman to the world” (Jeremiah 1:5 NLT). 

Fetus week 9-10
Fetus week 9-10 (Photo credit: lunar caustic)

In fact, God not only knows us prior to placing us in our mother’s womb, He has a record of each and every day, hour and minute of our lives already written, before we have ever even entered the world! You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed (Psalm 139:16 NLT).

Now perhaps you’re wondering at Mourdock’s audacity in claiming that even if a child is conceived by rape, it is still a gift from God. Well, I concur with Mr. Mourdock. The act of rape is a horrible, brutal crime and the perpetrator should be punished. But when a life is conceived, it is never a punishment from God.

Think about it… the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23 NLT). How does God reward people? With life. How does He punish people? With death.

Now continue to think about this with me… Who committed the brutal crime against the woman? The rapist or the baby in her womb? It should be obvious to everyone that the criminal in this case is the rapist. Therefore, who should pay the consequences for raping the woman? The rapist or an innocent baby, who was not even conceived until after his/her father raped the woman?

If my father raped someone, would it be that woman’s right to kill me because of what my father did? In fact, according to the law of this land, even the rapist is entitled to a trial and is considered “innocent” until he is proven guilty. Yet, many people are quick to condemn the life of an innocent baby for the crimes of his/her father.

Everyone keeps talking about women’s rights and a woman’s right to choose, but what about the rights of unborn children?

Horton Hears a Who Card
Horton Hears a Who Card (Photo credit: Kami Jo)

Even though the unborn child is too small to be seen yet, to quote Dr. Seuss, one of my favorite authors, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” 

I find it ironic that everyone is outraged because this senatorial candidate had the audaciousness to say that every human life is a gift from God and abortion should not be allowed, even in the case of rape, because every life is precious. What I find even more ridiculous is that this country, which kills more than 4500 unborn babies daily, will fine anyone found guilty of disturbing a bald eagle’s nest or its eggs up to $5000 or one year imprisonment! How ludicrous is that? Isn’t the life of a human being worth far more than that of a bird?

Scripture tells us that we must not offer our children as a sacrifice to Molech (a pagan god that children were sacrificed to in biblical times). While no one worships Molech any longer, men do tend to

Tissue Baby
Tissue Baby (Photo credit: Rex Morache)

worship themselves, and we must not sacrifice children (whether born or unborn) to satisfy our own desires.

Our Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Nowhere in this document or in the U.S. Constitution does it say that a woman has the right to choose… And the Declaration of Independence states that one of our unalienable Rights is the Right to Life.

In conclusion, the person in the post that I read said that “if your God condones forced pregnancy, get a new god,” I would say that if your god condones murder and infanticide, I choose my God – who created, condones and honors life!

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6 NKJV).

Do you know of anyone who is spiritually fat or filled? We are constantly bombarded with stories and images of injustices and unrighteousness, and it seriously grieves me. Does anyone else feel that way?

Right here, in this country that I love, we see politicians standing up for the very things that grieve God… The Democrats stand in favor of abortion, which is the slaughter of the unborn child. People can call that baby an embryo or a fetus, but the fact is that by the sixth week of gestation, the unborn baby has all of his/her organs. In fact, from the very instant the baby is conceived, it is a separate life living within his/her mother’s womb. Scripture actually talks about the unborn child… In fact, the Lord spoke these words to Jeremiah, the prophet, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:7 NKJV). 

If the Lord knew us before we were even placed in our mother’s womb, and he already had plans for our lives, how could any of us ever even consider killing an unborn baby? And yet, in our country from 1978-2008, over 50 million abortions were performed. That’s an average death rate of 4500-5000 abortions per year! This truly grieves the Lord… and it grieves me too. Is there anyone else who is grieved by this? Is there anyone who longs for… hungers and thirsts for righteousness? 

And when I think of what abortion has done to the lives of the many women who have been lied to… when I think of the many women who have lied to themselves and tried to convince themselves that the life growing inside of them is nothing more than a mass of tissue… when I think of the many women who have been traumatized because of their “Right to Choose” my heart breaks for the guilt and pain they still suffer today. And when I think of those who felt justified by their choice, I mourn for them too, because they have so clearly been deceived by the enemy of our souls… And YES, I hunger and thirst for righteousness… I long for that day when this evil will be outlawed!

Because I hunger and thirst for righteousness, I cannot bring myself to vote for anyone who is in favor of abortion… Because I hunger and thirst for righteousness, I cannot bring myself to vote for anyone who wants to change the marriage laws from one man and one woman to include homosexual marriage. God created man and woman for the purpose of procreation and the Lord commanded His people in Leviticus, “Do not practice homosexuality; it is a detestable sin” (Leviticus 18:22 NLT). 

And don’t think the Democrats are alone in their sins against God. Let’s look at the Republicans… Their hearts are for the wealthy and the truth is as they’ve shown time and time again, they have no heart for the poor… Let’s see what James tells us about this… My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim that you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people more than others? For instance, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in shabby clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor” — well, doesn’t this discrimination show that you are guided by wrong motives? Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom He promised to those who love Him? And yet, you insult the poor man! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear? Yes indeed, it is good when you truly obey our Lord’s royal command found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you pay special attention to the rich, you are committing a sin, for you are guilty of breaking that law (James 2:1-9 NLT). 

When I see this evil, my heart hungers and thirsts for righteousness! And if that isn’t enough, let’s look at the man who many Christians and Churches are endorsing for the Presidency… Mitt Romney – a wealthy Mormon high priest. Brothers and sisters, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormon Church) is not a Christian organization. This religion was founded by a pedophile named Joseph Smith, and their Jesus is not our Jesus! They claim that their god came down to earth and had sexual intercourse with Mary and that their Jesus was conceived through this union. They also claim that their Jesus and Lucifer are brothers. They believe that the men of their religion will one day become gods, who will be married to many virgins… I don’t know what’s in it for the women of that religion. This cult has been leading millions to hell since its foundation, and yet many in the Church want to endorse Mitt Romney as President because they say he is the lesser of the two evils.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again!!! Evil is EVIL!!! Don’t you hunger and thirst for righteousness??? Change has to begin in you and me before there can be a change in our country. He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 NKJV)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6 NKJV).

The Lord is telling us, just as He told the Solomon and the Israelites, “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV).

Brothers and sisters, when you watch the news on TV, are you grieved in your spirit? When you see your family and your neighbors struggling to make ends meet, is your heart burdened? When you see a homeless person, or a drug addict, or a  prostitute, do you feel like weeping for them? Do you long for better days? Do you yearn to see people living holy and uprightly? Do you long to see the Church present herself spotless and without blemish to the Lord? If you do, then you are truly blessed… “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6 NKJV).

©  2012

Cheryl A. Showers