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Posts Tagged ‘character’

A Roman Tribune plays the role of Columbo in the most famous game of “CLUE” known to the world, called – “Where’s the body?”

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We all know the story of the empty tomb – the excited women – the missing “Messiah”. That is – we all know it from that side of the tomb.

But, what was it like from the other side? The Roman side of an empty grave? The tomb that was sealed with the Roman Governor’s seal and guarded with Roman soldiers?

‘RISEN’ has taken up the challenge in resolving the mystery.

“I’m yet sticky with filth.”  

Thus said the Tribune Clavius when summoned to Pontius Pilate. And thus sets our understanding of Clavius’s soul – ‘yet sticky with filth’.

Clavius, a role portrayed with depth and sensitivity by Joseph Fiennes, is accustomed to brutality, bloody combat and death, but not without a price. He is drained, depleted, battle weary and emotionally dead. In the opening battle scene, he brutally kills a Jewish rebel leader, named Barabbas.  (“Barabbas”? Is that coincidental or is that God’s way of evening up the score?) The constant gore and butchery of quelling those pesky Jewish insurrections in a remote, desolate land far from the ‘action’ of Rome, has taken its toll, robbing him of hope and peace, leaving him numb and yearning for nothing more than…

“…a day without death.”  

Upon returning to the Antonio Fortress, (interestingly placed below the old city of Jerusalem), his day isn’t quite over yet.  He is summoned by the Governor, something that happens all too often. It seems Pilate “has a situation and he needs Clavius to tidy up the loose ends. Those “raving Jews wanted a man named Yeshua, who claimed to be the “messiah” disposed of.

“I had to crucify him,” Pilate says almost regrettably, (a sentiment one finds hard to accept knowing the history of this brutal dictator who crucified and slaughtered thousands).

Clavius ensures that Yeshua is dead and securely buried in a sealed tomb with Roman guards posted.

End of story – right?

No – of course not – it’s only the beginning. The inevitable happens – the body doesn’t remain in the tomb.

Let the games begin – after all – we can’t have dead people walking about – can we?

56c5f51411ca7.image“We must find the body,” Pilate raves. Find the corpse of this cursed Yeshua before it rots.”

Exploded frayed ropes – two anemic looking drunken guards – discarded, bloody grave clothes – a stone tossed aside – lies and bribes from the Sanhedrin – all lead to …nothing…no body.

Does Clavius ever find his missing body?   Oh yes – with a little twisting of the arm and a bag of coins, Yeshua’s disciples are found. And they did, in fact, have the body with them.

Only – the body isn’t dead, but is very much alive, and in a scene straight out of The Twilight Zone, this hardened Roman warrior melts into the stone wall as he encounters the true power of God in the flesh. This moment just happens to coincide with the arrival of ‘doubting’ Thomas. While he probes the wounds in the wrists and side of the Messiah, the eyes of a smiling Yeshua probe deep into the soul of the Tribune.

What do you do when you encounter the impossible? He does the only thing he can do – he follows the walking dead man. In this case it means following the followers of Yeshua, like a stray, lost dog; finding acceptance among them, and ultimately – friendship.

When finally he is alone with the murdered, living man, Yeshua asks him what he seeks in life, and then answers his own question: 

“A day with no death?”

Clavius leaves all behind – to travel a new road – to places we know not of – but with a new found peace, after witnessing the ascension of Jesus and hearing His great commission.

We are set up for a sequel – as we know not where Clavius is going or what roads lie ahead for him.

‘Risen’ is excellent historical fiction that intertwines Biblical scripture with “what might have been”.  The historical is historical and the fiction is fiction – and in those scenes where the two intermix, the purity of the Scriptures was not compromised. One area where liberties were taken, was the reference to Mary Magdalene being a quite popular “woman of the streets”.  This was based on church tradition and finds no merit in Scripture.

file_607174_risen-trailerThe battle scene, Roman soldier dress, weapons and warfare was as realistic as ever shown, and Jewish culture along with Sanhedrin attire and demeanors were portrayed as accurately as history tells us.

The portrayal of crucifixions reflected the known information of such executions.

Jesus is shown smiling, laughing and gracious. He is a miracle worker and His disciples love Him as their father and leader. When Bartholomew (who would have fit right in on a California beach as a surfer dude) is threatened with crucifixion himself, he spreads open his arms and laughingly replies: “I would happily submit”.

Clavius sums it all up by leaving his life behind, saying “I believe. I can never be the same.”

‘Risen’ does something the previous stories of Jesus failed to do: it makes the non-believer pause and think about the resurrection from an outsider perspective. It’s not the usual scenes of blinding lights and rolling thunder with the women running about in alarm. No, rather it presents a barren, empty tomb and proceeds to answer the question that Pontius Pilate asked:

“How could he follow a Hebrew?”

Watching Clavius undergo a life-altering transformation, leads us to one answer – the one that Lucius, Clavius’s protégé, hesitantly offers to Pilate:

“Perhaps it is true.”

Amen – brother – Amen.

header 3                            Until Next time – Embrace your Bridges – for they define who you are.

 

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In September of 2013, I published a post entitled  “Let us be Redwoods” . Please take a moment to click on it and then come on back, ok?  I’ll wait here for you….

….Okay – ready?   Thanks.

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scientists-redwood-nichols_52779_990x742Last week, 2 1/2 years after the original post, I reposted it? Why you may ask?

Good question – it’s one  I asked myself while doing it without really knowing the answer.

“Why am I resending this?”

For some reason I felt a strong pull inside telling me to repost it. It literally, popped into my head to do it. Weird.

In addition to that, for the last few weeks the ‘Shema‘ has been on my mind.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up…”  Deuteronomy 6:4-8

Yesterday, I think I heard the answer.

“ONE” was the message spoken by my pastor this morning. He quoted the opening of the ‘Shema’ and also these words prayed by Jesus:

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;  that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  John 20:20-21

Th mighty oak is a strong and powerful tree. It’s roots burrow deep into the ground – 30, 40 even 50 feet down in the earth, grabbing firm in a death-defying life grip. When the storms come, with the turbulence, the assault and the violence, they bend, twist, crack and snap in the raging, swirling winds.

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And though they are mighty and stong, the tree can break free from its grip on the earth, and slowly, steadedly pull up and away from the deep roots, tearing up the ground, cracking, ripping, smashing –  crashing  to the forest floor in a hunderous explosion of  brokenness, destruction and death.

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Do you know how high 300 feet is straight up?  It’s a football field stood on end.

The Statue of Liberty is 305 feet high.

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How high is The Leaning Tower of Pisa?                        The Capitol Building?                    The Tower of Big Ben?

Redwood trees grows to heights greater than 300 feet – exceeding 360 and 370. Imagine a single tree towering over our Lady of Liberty!  Here – take a look…

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If we were to design such a tree, our ‘educated’, logical, scientific brains would think that we drive the roots of the Redwood down into the bowels of the earth itself in order to keep it standing during the storms (storms? just sheer weight and gravity should make it topple over like a top!).  But, as we know – that is not the case. Their roots are only two to three feet deep!  Can you imagine a 370 foot tree being supported and held up by 3 feet of roots? It defies logic – science and engineering. Think if the Leaning Tower of Pisa only had a two foot foundation!

The Redwood Tree is not only an amazing example of God’s creative genius and power, but it’s the revealed answer to God’s riddle of “ONE”!

“No way” – you say. In the forest there are many redwood trees and each are individual, stand alone trees. “Ain’t no riddle there mister, sorry  don’t see the connection  fella.

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Oh, but our eyes only see on the surface – it’s under the surface that we find the answer to the Redwood’s success – and it’s there where we find the  “ONE”.

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Yes – there are many Redwood trees – that’s the beauty of it – they survive.  Many trees – and each is an individual – each tall, straight and strong. Each having its own root system. It’s shallow, to be sure – only digging 2 to 3 feet into the earth – but those roots spread out – interwine – connect – even fuse with the roots of its neighbor – forming – you guessed it –  “ONE”  unified, solid community foundation where “ONE” supports “ALL” and “ALL” supports “ONE”.

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When the storm rages against any single tree – it’s raging against the community – against a unified mat that withstands and defeats any and all storms. God’s love is the sap that fuses the roots together!

And here’s another thought to chew on:   High above – overhead in the sky – the redwoods form a protective canopy – a covering – that shelters the oak, the pine, the hemlock and the beech tree – providing them cover from the storm. Think of those trees with the deep roots – that are looked to for their fruit – (our pastors and leaders) – they have refuge and shelter under the canopy of the shallow rooted redwoods (the flock)!

Scripture tells us to be “rooted” in the word and to “love” one another with the “love of God”. That “love” is the ‘sap’ that flows through the roots, fusing and joining together all the community of God.

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What a marvelous mystery God has given us!

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Until Next time – Embrace your Bridges – for they define who you are.

 

 

 

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 It’s the time of Thanksgiving! 

and 

 We are THANKFUL

Thanksgiving should be a special event, one of the most special events of our year.

But for many it’s been reduced to eating turkey, watching football games  and ‘black’ Friday (or is it Thursday and Wednesday or the entire month now?)

Thanksgiving should be much more than food, football and shopping. But  then, that was how it started – right?
A legal day of food, football and shopping by an act of Congress –  wasn’t it?

Everyone knows the story of the 1st Thanksgiving…the Pilgrims…starvation… the Native Americans… salvation.

Today it’s popular to belittle that event – that time – and those extraordinary   times and people. Some would like to claim it never happened.

 But there was a man who believed it did happen.

October 3, 1789 was an especially cold day, when the country’s newly elected  President, a man by the name of George Washington, stood in the new nation’s  capital of New York City, and issued a Proclamation of Thanksgiving.

    

I wonder how many Americans have ever read it.

Have you? Want to?
Here – take a look…

He proclaimed a national day of food – football and shopping for everyone to applaud their good fortune and self-indulgence of material things…

…not.

Actually, it says some pretty amazing things, like:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of  Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly   to implore his protection and favor…” 
And
“… to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and  prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many  signal favors of Almighty God…”
And
“… I assign Thursday the 26th. Day of November next to be devoted by  the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious  Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or  that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our   sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country…”
And
“…And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our                 prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations              and beseech him to pardon our national and other                       transgressions…”

Wow! So much for separation of church and state. I wonder how  many schools teach this.

Almost a hundred years later, in 1864, another President thought that having a day set aside for food, football and shopping was so  important he made it into an annual National Holiday.
Take a look at what Abraham Lincoln said about it:

It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year,  defending us with His guardian care…”
And
“…It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens  in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the  rivers and seas with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while He has opened to  use new sources of wealth and has crowned the labor of our workingmen in every department of industry with abundant rewards…”
And
“…Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do  hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day  which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may  then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the                             beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe…”
And – here where the shopping cart comes in…
“… And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on  that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.”

These are the words of our Presidents – Our Leaders! It would do us well today to listen.

Now – am I some kind of miserable, scrooge – being negative and having somekind of hatred against football – shopping and ‘black Friday’?

No No No

Let it not be said!

I love football (yes I’m a Buffalo Bills fan)

Shopping is good – Greed is bad.

Do you know what’s the unspoken secret of  Thankfulness?

Thankfulness is not one-directional. It’s not only a ‘giving’ event –    it’s as much if not more of a receiving event. It’s a benefit to those  who are thankful. 

Giving thanks transforms us. By nature we like to complain.            Whining and griping comes naturally – but are unproductive and         unattractive. Expressing gratitude is attractive and productive. Giving  thanks transforms us from complainers into people of                gratitude. 

Giving thanks changes our perspective about the Creator-creature relationship. It causes us to acknowledge that God is the source of every  good thing. When we thank God, we have to realize that our health, our  family, our food, our shelter, our job, our talents – any abundance we  may have – come from Him.

Giving thanks teaches us grace. It’s human nature to take credit for  our accomplishments. Thankfulness teaches us that we have not earned  anything – all we do is by the Lord’s grace. Each gift, whether it’s a job  or a friend or family, or place to live or a freedom we enjoy or a spiritual  blessing we have received, shows the grace of God.

Giving thanks humbles us. We walk through life selfish and self-absorbed.   We are proud and self-centered. We think we deserve a lot. The world owes  us. When we are truly thankful, we see we have much more than we  deserve.  Pride fades when we understand that every good thing comes  from God. Thankful people are humble people – for they know they can  do nothing on their own.

It’s easy to give thanks when things are going well.It’s harder when  things are not going so well. We want to come to the place where we  can give thanks for all things.

After suffering numerous “bad” things – Joseph said                            “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.”

Paul said, all things work together for good for those who love God.

I am “Thankful” to the Pilgrims – and to President George       Washington and to President Abraham Lincoln –  thankful for the ‘commitment’ they made.

There is so so much we have to be thankful for – I’m not even going to attempt to start naming them – the list is way, way too long.

Actually, Thanksgiving should be a time of commitment renewal and  strengthening.

Thanksgiving should be an occasion to remind us of our commitments  and to strengthen those commitments. Lacking that – it’s little more than spending time with family and shopping.

“Commitment.” you say?  “Commitment to what?”

Commitment to those things for which we’re thankful.

Things like life – liberty – family – food in our stomachs – a roof over our heads – a pillow – a bed – friends and loved ones.

I am thankful.

Thankful to God for His Goodness and Blessings.

Thankful for the ‘Light’ He brought into the darkness. 

And no matter what happens in this world – I will always be thankful that God remains in control.

Always giving thanks for all  things (Ephesians 5:20).

Let us never forget those who simply have nothing – to be thankful for.

Those millions upon millions of helpless victims of darkness and inhuman treatment by their fellow man.

Those countless children born into misery – born into death – having no hope for joy in life.

We must never forget them –   for they only have –                           those who remember.

It is only through our compassion and love that we bring joy to others and also find that inner joy that comes with bringing joy to others.

                                       Until Next Time:

Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are

DK LeVick

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It’s the time of Thanksgiving! 

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The harvest is full – creation is vibrant, overflowing with a bounty of blessings. The scent of crisp apples – fills the air while field after field of corn, soybean, cabbage and potatoes  – fill the silos…  

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Large, orange pumpkins are magically being transformed into spicy, sweet pies…

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Turkeys run in fear – knowing their time is short…

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And we rejoice in the richness of blessings our God has provided for us.

Yes – it’s Thanksgiving and we have much to be thankful for, and from all of us at

Original FAWN logo – we extend our sincerest wish that you and yours have a…

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Joyful – Enriching – and Happy Thanksgiving 2013.

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And while we are thankful –  let us never forget those who are hurting…

…those among us who have suffered setbacks and huge financial and personal losses from fires, floods, tornadoes, tsunamis, mud-slides and natural disasters of all sorts and types creating tragedies, loss of property and most of all – loss of loved ones.

Our hearts go out to you and we feel your sorrow and your pain – but we also feel your strength.

And let us not forget that… 

Monday – November 11th is Veterans Day –

No – it’s not a bargain shopping day – it’s a day for us to show honor – appreciation and to give thanks for those who, across the years, from one war zone to another, heard and answered the call – paying the price – for the freedoms we hold, enjoy and cherish so dearly. Freedom doesn’t come without a price. To those who fought the fight yesterday and to those who continue to fight the fight today – across the oceans – on foreign soil…to those who returned home whole and well – and to those who returned home not well in body or mind, and…lastly…to those who didn’t return home….

…we honor you!            

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Thank you veterans – you men and women who heard the call – who felt the need and who said:

 

“Here am I – send me.”

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May God bestow a special blessing upon you and your families.

And we must not forget, in our prayers and in our hearts, those who are persecuted…

 locked up against their will, away from their families, who will see no Thanksgiving dinner – no pumpkin pie – feel no hugs or kisses. Those who are beaten, abused and left in a dark, disease ridden hole – those who are tortured, gunned down and murdered for nothing more than what they think, believe and hold dear.

Each of us must always stand against tyranny and against those who work to destroy the human mind, seeking to kill that human spirit that thirsts after truth. Whether it’s our own belief or others – we must never allow the freewill to be stomped on. God gave us that gift and once we step over onto that slippery slope – then there is no belief that is safe.

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And let us never forget those who simply have nothing to be thankful for – and never have had.

Those millions upon millions of helpless victims of AIDS, starvation, malnutrition and inhuman treatment by their fellow man. Those countless children born into misery – born into death – having no hope for joy in life.

We must never forget them – for they only have – those who remember them.

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It is only through our compassion and love for our fellow men and women that we can bring joy to others but also find that inner peace that comes with finding our own purpose and happiness.

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When the final rolls are called – we must be found vigilant and working diligently for those who cannot do so for themselves…

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…until that day when all will rejoice!

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 Yes – we are thankful at FAWN for what we have and who we are.

We are thankful we are able to respond to our fellow man.

And we are thankful for you.

Until Next Time:

Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are

DK LeVick

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All my life I’ve had trouble with clocks…

…Trying to keep them running – wound up – on time – not stopping… seems like clocks and me… well…kinda like oil and water.

broken-clock

It’s been an ongoing battle. One I don’t think I’ve ever won for more than a few minutes (hmm… with out having a working clock I’m not sure how long actually…).

I tried the wind-up ones that I could never “wind-up” quite properly. They were always in need of winding or I was over-winding.

Electric? Every time I had one of them and set it right – there’d be a power failure.

Going digital didn’t help – I’d come home to a house full of flashing digits! Not only ‘clock – clocks’ – but television clocks – radio clocks – microwave oven clocks – dryer – washer clocks you know what I mean – you’ve been there.

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Going battery-powered didn’t help – clocks either ran slow or stopped, and I never had the right battery on hand. When I did…well changing the battery was usually the end of the watch…

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I don’t know about you, but personally, I don’t like wristwatches – they always seemed confining and heavy (I know, I know – they only weigh a couple of ounces, but when you don’t want or like something – doesn’t it always get heavier and heavier?) They have those tiny little knurled knobs to pull out and spin around in your fingers making the hour and minute hands dance across the face (I always have trouble with those little knobs. They seem to get lost in my fat fingers all the time.) The digital ones weren’t any better – I don’t know about you but I need a pin to push those little buttons!) I use a watch that clips onto my pants. Yeah – same knurled knobs – but bigger. Have a hard time keeping them – I think my Dry Cleaner has a collection of them.

Anyway – trying to keep one working – and staying within +/- 24 hours of actual time – has been a losing battle for me.

Well the other day – I was given an…

ATOMIC CLOCK

You ever see one of this things?

There is a battery – but it’s charged by solar power – and there are no adjustment knobs – only one switch (a big one too!) on the back, that says “ON” and “OFF”. Hey I like this already!

Well – getting it home, I flipped that switch to “ON” and hung it on the wall.

WOW! It was something to watch (pun intended). 

At first it didn’t do anything.  Then it moved around in a half circle – stopped – moved backwards a quarter circle – then stopped again. I shrugged my shoulders and began walking away thinking “yeah, just like all the rest”, when I heard a whirring sound and turned back. The minute hand was moving around the face of the clock – fast – then faster and faster. The hour hand followed trying to catch up.

The darn thing is demon possessed!

It traveled around covering every hour of the day, until it came to the hour it was and the hour hand stopped like it hit a brick wall. The minute hand began slowing down, slower and slower until it ticked its way to the actual minute it was! (How do I know, you ask? Well, I turned on my trusty cell phone and -Yup! Right on the money!)

The giant, solar-powered computer in the sky was keeping it on track!

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Amazing.

I went around the house and set every clock to it.

“Okay, so what?” you say?

Well, I got to thinking – it’s kinda like me, isn’t it?

I try to keep myself powered up and adjusted to the place I think I should be, and I either ‘forget to wind’ myself, ‘overwind‘ myself, can’t manage those little knobs and buttons of my life and personality and end up broken. Inaccuratestalled – or experiencing a power failure, ending out of control, flashing mindlessly and useless to anyone needing me!

I found that I’m not good at being my own power source – can’t really wind my own controls or set myself.

But, by allowing the ‘solar-power’ in the sky to power me and to adjust me – spinning my hands around – clearing out all the inaccuracies in my heart and mind – until I’m powered up, accurate and running “like a clock”.

The Master Clock is in control and I get the proper instruction and after spinning my gears round and round, I run precisely and perfectly.

Amazing.

I just needed the right power source and the right master clock and I’m running in sync with life.

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Kinda feels cool to be in sync with the master clock – wouldn’t you think?  Give it a try – you may like it.

Until Next Time:

Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are

DK LeVick

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“This… is…

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“I want to welcome you all.  Joining us today on our panel, we have…

                …from our Nation’s Capital – Senator Puff N’ strut;

                …from the National Mis-Media Association we have Anchor person “I Tell it my Way”

                 …and our returning champion, straight from the heart of America, Prosperity Pastor, ‘Ain’t I Righteous!”

“Okay, let’s get started then.

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For our first category, the answer is: 

“The one thing Syria, Iraq, Libya, Turkey, Pakistan, Eritea, Tanzania, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and many other countries throughout Africa and the Middle East, have in common.”

DING!

“Senator Puff N’ Strut rang in first.”

“Receiving billions of American dollars to support and promote corrupt, deceptive terrorist governments?”

“No, while that may be true Senator, that’s not the answer.”

DING!

“Anchor woman ‘I Tell it my Way’.”

“Oppressive governments overturned by democratic patriots spreading freedom.”

“I’m sorry but that’s not the right answer.”

Silence.

“Pastor ‘Ain’t I Righteous!’ did you want to ring in?”

Silence

“Would someone nudge Pastor Righteous  please?”

“Huh? What? Oh, sorry, was counting my blessings. Would you repeat the answer please?”

“The one thing Syria, Iraq, Libya, Turkey, Pakistan, Eritrea, Tanzania, Egypt, Kenya , Nigeria, and many other countries throughout Africa and the Middle East, have in common.”

“Oh yes! Hallaleulah! The question is: “Name countries we can gain funding for. Now you can donate on my website and I’ll send you a handkerchief dipped in the River Jordan and …”

 Well???  

Do you know what the question is?  Here, I’ll tell you:

“Where are  people,  having a common belief, being systematically killed or driven out of their homes, while the world looks the other way?”

– A Catholic priest was killed outside a church in Egypt.

– In the town of Arusha last May an attack left one person dead and 40 injured.

– The body of a Christian merchant was found decapitated in a cemetery.

– A Coptic Christian priest was shot by gunmen in an outdoor market.

– Muslim extremists in southern Egypt burned dozens of Christian homes and stabbed four believers to death.

– A suicide attack on a historic Christian church in northwestern Pakistan killed at least 75 people.

– Eritrean authorities arrested 39 high school students because of their faith in Christ. Morning Star News  reported that the students have been detained and suffer beatings. They face a long imprisonment unless they renounce Christ.

– An estimated 1,200 Christians, mostly Protestant, are currently incarcerated in Eritrea because of their faith.

– A brutal public murder of three Catholics in Syria, was attended by a cheering crowd.

– Muslims in southern Egypt killed two Christian men for failing to pay them money.

– A Christian Alawite girl was pulled off a public bus by armed jihadist and was beheaded in broad daylight.

– Muslim extremists in Somalia burned dozens of Christian homes, raping, stabbing and hacking to death those Christians who resisted fleeing.

– More than 130 churches have been burned and destroyed along with hundreds of people murdered by machetes in Egypt.

– In the Sinai, a young Coptic priest was shot dead, while the body of Magdy Lam‘i Habib, a Christian, was found mutilated and beheaded.

– In the town of Arusha an attack left one person dead and 40 injured.

– Al-Qaeda linked terrorists initiated one of the bloodiest church attacks in Baghdad with nearly 60 Christians hacked and slaughtered to death.

– In the recent mall attack in Kenya, Christians were signaled out and killed.

– Thousands of fathers, mothers, pastors and citizens are imprisoned, tortured and being brutally mistreated, because they won’t recant their faith.

The list goes on and on and on and…

…and the world – yawns.

The greatest persecution in history is occurring right this minute – right before the world’s eyes. Over 100 million Christians are being persecuted for their faith across the earth. Entire communities and villages are being erased off the map. Children are slaughtered in front of their parents or taken away to serve as ‘sex slaves’ for the very people doing the killing.

A global religious cleansing is underway, with the full support and blessings of religious and political leaders.  It has become difficult in the last few months to keep up with the attacks—so many and nonstop are the reports emanating from around the world. Grizzly stories of murders, rapes, and beheadings are increasingly appearing in the news.  It seems everywhere Christians and their churches are under attack.  As a result, ancient Christian communities are collapsing before our very eyes and the Christian population in the Middle East has shrunk from 20% in 2007 to 5% in 2012 – that’s a 75% decrease in population!

In the face of this humanitarian mega-crisis, the world has been shockingly silent.  

Don’t look to our panel for help.

Oh …Okay…if you insist…let’s look:

Let’s see, who was our first contestant? Right – Senator Puff N’Strut – government…right.

There was a time when our government – we the people – would stand up and say That’s enough! No more!  But, that time is not today. Actually, our government is part of the problem. Consider:

– The president supported the take-over by the (now ousted) Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt against the will of the majority of  Egyptians. Morsi’s misrule of Egypt included the persecution and execution of Christians, the collapse of the tourism industry, a government on the verge of bankruptcy, and a crackdown on democracy-promoting organizations.

– None of these conditions existed before the President helped force former Egyptian President Hosni  Mubarak out of office. Instead of using the over $1 billion in foreign aid the U.S. gives the country as leverage for improving conditions in Egypt, the President  handed the money (our money) over with no strings attached.

– Since then, not only have Egypt’s Christians and churches come under intense attack in ways unprecedented in modern history, but Al-Qaeda’s black flag has been raised on many of them.

– Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says the United States should stop funding the enemies of Christians  across the Middle East. Paul said  Christians in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Egypt are on the run and are being persecuted, and America should stop helping “the people who are chasing them.”

“There’s a war on Christianity not just from the liberal elites here at home, but worldwide,” he said. “And your government, or more correctly you, are having to pay for it. You’re being taxed to send money to countries that are not only intolerant to Christians but openly hostile,” he charged. “Christians are imprisoned or threatened with death for their beliefs.”

“It angers me to see my tax dollars supporting regimes that put Christians to death for blasphemy against Islam, countries that put to death Muslims who convert to Christianity, and countries that imprison anyone who marries outside their religion. I say  no more money to countries that are doing that to Christians,” Paul said.

Hey! Maybe there is hope from the government after all!

– Defense officials announced that U.S. aid to Egypt would continue, with a delivery of F-16 fighter jets.

– President Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have been pushing Congress to allow the United States to help the Syrian rebel movement, which includes al Qaeda terrorists.

– Christians are killed and churches are burned in Egypt; Christians are either killed or systematically driven out of the country in Syria, Turkey, Nigeria, Iraq, etc. etc., and the  President has decided the major humanitarian issue is homosexual rights in Russia.

– On NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” Jay Leno asked the President about the new Russian law. The president gave his sternest look —somewhere between the “al Qaeda is on the run” look and his “Iran will not be allowed to have nuclear weapons” look — and he said he has “no patience and will not tolerate countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”

Gee – I don’t recall any transgenders getting publicly beheaded. Wouldn’t it be neat if he was equally as impatient with countries that kill Christians?

– Next door in Syria, the President is planning to train and arm the rebels fighting Bashar Assad.   These are the rebel known for the public beheading of a Catholic priest and the burning Christian churches and Christians.

– Libya is another war-torn state that had the dubious benefit of the President’s  “leading from behind.”  You recall Libya right? There, our ambassador and three American heroes were murdered as part of the festivities in connection with a 9/11 anniversary celebration in Benghazi. Our leaders said it was because of a video. Not only was that not true – but who cares what the cause was – right?  Well, a year later the murderers are still, not only free but unidentified and there’s been so many lies and distortions that the President’s pledge to bring them to justice is as hollow as his Secretary of State’s denial of wrongdoing .

Meanwhile the killing and displacement of Christians continues without constraint.

Whoops! I guess there’s no help there.

Our second contestant is National Mis-Media Association’s, anchor person ‘I tell it my way’.

Do we need to even say anything?

The average joe citizen on the street has no knowledge of the things mentioned above.  You see, the press has already decided what’s important for the average joe to know, even before the news is made. Besides the average joe doesn’t want to know.

He’s too busy texting – playing Candy Crunch – getting high or watching his 401k.

What’s happening in America’s newsrooms is not a slippery slope – it’s an avalanche of misinformation. no information or useless information, while ignoring any and all the news of the world that is changing all around us and the average joe has his head buried in the sands of ‘self’. It’s a perpetual whirlpool, sucking the willing and unwilling alike down into an abyss of nothingness.

And that brings us to our third and final contestant – Prosperity Pastor, “Ain’t I righteous’.  

Surely, he cares and will stand up for his ‘brothers and sisters’ across the world. After all, there are thousands of churches and millions of ‘Christians’ spread across the country.

They love Jesus and Jesus was all about love of our fellow men – and these are his brothers and sisters – who better to care – right?

Ah, at last, we find a champion for the world’s persecuted Christians. Let’s all stand up and shout with joy!!

Silence.

Let’s demand our government – our corporations – our banks and organizations of mercy and humanitarian aid rise up and make their voices and muscles heard for justice.

Silence.

Let’s march – protest – shout out our voices to the world!

Silence.

Hello? Is anyone out there?

Hello?

Oh, he left?

What’s that? He left us a message? Great! What is it? He said:

“Ain’t I blessed!”

I have a question for you:  Tell me – will America wake up or is it too late?

Until Next Time:

Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are

DK LeVick

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Overcoming Tragedy is never Easy – And sometimes – it doesn’t happen.

Everyone is familiar with the Biblical story of Terah – hearing the voice of God telling him to leave his home and find the Land of Promise (Canaan).

It’s a great story. Terah became Teraham and is called the “Father of Israel”. It’s a story that inspires each of us to persevere and keep our vision in sight.

Bible-online-logoNO? You never heard of Terah???

Oh! I’m sorry – that was Abram – wasn’t it?  Yes, that’s right – Abram, who became Abraham and is called the Father of Israel”.

But, then who was Terah?  

How many of us know the story of Terah?

Hmmm – would you like to hear it?   Ok. I’ll be short.

There once was a man called Terah. He lived in the land of Ur or the Chaldeans (that’s an ancient land over by Mesopotamia – what we’d call the Middle East today).  Here, you can read the story yourself  –  you’ll find it in the Book of Genesis (that’s the first book in the Bible).

Now these are the records of the generations of Terah..Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran; and Haran became the father of Lot. Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans. Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves… Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there…and Terah died in Haran.”  Genesis 11:27-32 NASB

Well that’s it. That’s the story. What do you think?

Oh – you didn’t get it? Missed it? Here – let me help.

You see, in the first verse of the next chapter Abram hears the voice telling him to leave and go to the land of Canaan.

Terah was Abram’s father and he heard the voice first! He took his family and left the land of Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan.

But he didn’t make it.  He died in the land of Haran.

Why?

Look at what happened – Haran, “died in the presence of his father…”  Something happened that caused Terah’s son – Haran – to die right in front of him. We don’t know what it was, but, knowing the times it was then, there’s a good chance it was something violent – something bad – that gave Terah enough grief and pain, that when the voice’ came telling him to go to Canaan – he left.

But, whether bad luck – or an evil presence – or whatever you may think it was, he journeyed through the land of Haran!

Did you get that? A land having the same name as his dead son had! And, it was too much for him to get over!  It brought back all the pain and grief and he couldn’t leave. He settled in the land of Haran – he settled in his grief – in the memories of his dead son – and he died there.

He couldn’t get over the grief inside and because of that he never reached the land of Canaan. He never became the “Father of Israel”. The “call” went to his son, Abram, and he became the “Father of Israel”.

784810848Grief can be overwhelming – devastating – vision killing – death-dealing.

And tragedy and grief will find each of us at some time in our journey through life – and it’s a guarantee that somewheresomehowsometime – we’ll find ourselves in the land of Haran and forced to face it again.

Will we give up and die there?

Or will we gather ourselves together, face it and move on – and reach our vision – our land of Canaan?

Just remember – when you’re in the land of Haran – there is a land of Canaan. It’s waiting for you. You can reach it.

Until Next Time:

Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are

DK LeVick

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