"My Thoughts"

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Christian Contentment, Judgement, Trust, & Forgiveness

Christian Contentment equals forgiveness, trustI have learned to listen trust in the Lord more and more over the years.
As well I have found that God has spoken through friends such as Bob & Roger who would and still do give me honest critique of my strengths, but more importantly where I need to grow more.

One area of both weakness and growth, in part due to my past of dealing with very harsh judgments, abandonment, and affairs; is forgiveness.
This said with loving support, I believe and others such as Bob have said I have grown, but I still admit it is an area of struggle.

What has helped is understanding forgiveness does not mean trusting those who have wronged or worse shown contempt or hate toward me or my loved ones.

In looking back, as recently as 2005 I was still suffering from very regular premonitions, that even then still continued off and on to a peak again in early 2009.
Roger and Bob made a difference in helping deal with these and giving up to God my troubles and fears from the past, as well as realizing I cannot bury these on my own.

What is however still troubling and tough to deal with is the judgments by others when I still struggle with these memories.
Many do not seem to understand that going through TWO affairs, one so emotionally crippling that the thought of going through this again is a fear I cannot explain. As well even the memory of this pain is horrible and well beyond explanation.

Believe me, I am still a work in progress, however I would ask those who think I still have unforgiveness in my heart to walk even a just a block in my shoes.
The facts are most of my struggles is NOT unforgiveness as my true friends and the Lord himself have helped me greatly, rather it is trust, and fear of my memories.
I would point out that lack of trust in those who have shown hate toward me and my loved ones is not a sin, however fear is and I certainly understand this.

I would ask of those who still judge me, sadly mostly locally, is to look at those who I left behind who knew me and how much I gave up for my family and friends.
As well, many who have been the most understanding (such as Bob, Tammy's family, etc) have met the man my wife in her postpartum depression had an affair with and know of WHO and WHAT he was.
I ask those who look at my struggles, to see how they or their spouse would deal with an affair that was not even normal, it was hateful and evil, as well having CPS twice attempt to take my family based on false complaints that arose out of this predatory affair.

I can say that I have been able to forgive most completely, but I do not trust and if any read this, again I point out they are quite different emotions (one, lack of forgiveness as a Christian, being a sin).

What I think many Christians who make these assumptions about me and others, yet are hypocrites in calling groups such as the Westboro Baptist Church hate groups (which BTW I agree with), yet tell me I have problem because I cannot TRUST those who have committed just as much hate upon my family as ANYONE at the Westboro Baptist Church has.
The problem stems from a myopic view of the world and a misunderstanding of the Bible as a whole. Sadly, a person who I would count as a friend is an extreme of this myopic view.
Reference: Definition of Myopic

This includes taking Matthew 7:1-2 totally out of context of chapter 7 or the Bible as a whole.
The Bible is clear that we can state that the fruit does not show Westboro Baptist Church are true followers of Jesus (their hate is beyond obvious).
However the same can be said but those who have shown similar hate (even if more subtle) toward me and my family, whether it be Calvary Crossroads, Kenny, Josh, Bruce O, and Bruce P.
What we cannot state is: "they are going to hell" as this is a judgment reserved for God alone.

This my friends is trust, not lack of forgiveness!

Please see these snips from Matthew Chapter 7
Matt: 7; “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Please note how in the same chapter Jesus states to not throw our pearls to swine, this is trust.
As well, later he gives us a formula for testing the fruit.

Next I would ask any readers to read the entire book of Job.
Are not these persons making false pronouncements upon Job called out by the Lord God himself?

Finally, read Luke 10: 25-37

This is so crystal clear of what having Jesus in our heart really is.
It certainly is not the Westboro Baptist Church, but nor is it those who have practiced hate speech or activities to me, my loved ones or anyone else, even if less in the open that the WBC.
We SHOULD FORGIVE such persons/groups but NOT trust these persons either until they have earned this trust!!

This trust (or lack there of) also applies to those who have harmed or attempted to harm my family, friends, or business.
This means DHS, some of our local officials, Google, those from a couple of churches such as Calvary Crossroads, or Bethany Baptist West Covina should be forgiven but NOT trusted
*Children Protective Service Abuse of Authority
*Google Search, DMOZ, Aquarium Lighting
*Calvary Crossroads; Used as a Tool for Evil

For a friend to tell me I am wrong here and have issues for simply not trusting those who have committed evil upon me, my family, or my business is simply lacking discernment and displaying a myopic view of the world.
What is so hurtful is this same person, I have defended for just this (mostly discretely), yet she has attacked me for lacking this trust. Unbeknownst to her is the fact that a couple we both used to be friends with NEVER wanted to include her do to HER constant complaining and lack of contentment.
Either way, she is always in my prayers, but it is still hurtful when she constantly takes and never gives all the while I am the "bad guy" often in her eyes. This is where God's forgiveness comes in, but trust here too will have to be earned.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Courageous, the Movie; Review, Unrealistic!

Courageous, the Movie, Smarmy, unrealistic While I know many Christians found this movie to be top notch, I will have to respectfully disagree.

I found the overall premise of the movie good with believable acting and a powerful message, and for these reasons I think the movie is certainly watchable.

HOWEVER, and I am sad to say many movies of this Christian Genre also are often unrealistic, and this movie was no exception.
In fact since the message was very powerful and true, the unrealistic aspect of "Courageous" was all the more difficult to take.

I will also go a step further, that when movies such as "Courageous" with a true and powerful message paint an unrealistic picture, they can actually cause physiological harm (or worse).
What writers of this movie failed to realize is when you paint a picture of honor both paternal and Godly, and then show an outcome that sadly is often not the case, it leaves the door open for the "Evil One" to make those who have attempted to live just such life feel they have let God and others down.
In fact after watching this movie I had a horrible night of torment where in nightmares/visions I felt like a total failure. As well it brought back feelings of bitterness that I have long been working to give back to God (often by giving up even music that brings back such memories). The last thing I needed was an unrealistic movie to bring back these memories!!

What us missed is that we take these stands in life "to do the right thing" for God. I personally know the extreme pain of rejection and isolation that I struggle with to this day.
I personally know full well that we need to be "filled" by God, but God also made us not as robots, but beings that also need to be filled by others; See Genesis 2:18 "It is not good for the man to be alone".
So when unrealistic hopes are painted by a movie such as this it can cause self destructive pain for many and judgment by those who simply do not understand.

What am I referring to?

(1) When confronted with wrongs on the job, doing the "right thing" often does not end well as the movie portrays.
I know personally I confronted the owners son of our largest service contract for sexual harassment of an employee. What was the result? The loss of 40% of our business and worse this guy was vindictive and sought to harm my business further by calling others & convincing others to bail on us too.
For me I still feel I did the right thing, however friends, and worse my church questioned my wisdom of placing my family "second" (via a poor financial situation). Even after later moving to Oregon, this followed me here with an employer looking at this as a "failure" on my part.

The bottom line is this should be done for simply the correct reasons and then show what the likely real results will be.

(2) When praying for an answer to financial problems, opportunity rarely is going to jump out at you.
Again from my life it was quite the opposite; after moving to Oregon to protect my family, I was collecting cans and other recyclables early in the morning while walking down Rogue River Highway (in pray I might add) when an attendant at the Union 76 Station suddenly ran out after me calling me every #!@# name in the book and thinking he knew my life story.

(3)The Promise Keepers like scene at the end again was unrealistic.
I too made such "promises" and in fact went to a promise keepers rally in Los Angeles. When it came time to stand up and be a father and a husband after a severe episode of postpartum depression on my wife's part (which resulted in a very destructive affair that also harmed my daughter), chose to give up everything, home, business and more; yet where was my support or support for my family?
Not one person called with support, yet alone came by to see us off.
We literally left quietly 10 days prior Christmas with only business associates saying goodbye and showing any support.
The results of this move and lack of Christian support are still felt by our family to this day.

I could go on, but I think my point is made.

Now Compare Courageous to Schindler's List;

In Schindler's List, Oskar Schindler gave up much to do the "right thing", not everything turned out OK either, including him, as he died in poverty.
Not only is this a true story, it IS life and his reward is in heaven, not on earth!


I personally know of the extreme personal pain I still struggle with to this day.

I know of the pain of rejection by my Church in LA, and here in Grants Pass.

I know of the pain of rarely hearing a praise for my standing with others, doing the right thing, my testimony, or simply "your a Good Man Carl" (I am glad to know you, work with you, etc.).

I am constantly attacked on my job where I feel like a "recovering alcoholic bartender" that is not only good at his job (maybe the best), but cannot find anything else do to the rejection by his community and church that is doing the best he can to please God, yet I am in an environment where I am forced to face my struggles daily and am then told when this pain is often too much that I am practicing Idolatry by letting this hurt me (REALLY??) I do not think so, reference: Types of biblical idolatry
Yet this is the kind of judgment I still get (this person was/is an ardent supporter of the movie Courageous).

My family is and has been first (many have judged me for sticking around in the first place).
What I most if not all do not even understand is that I am in almost constant severe pain from neuropathy (for which I do not take the Codeine based pain killers out of fear of addiction, as well this gets better when I am away from the negativity and am feeling positive), I have given up flying (which I loved passionately), skiing (which I rarely talk about since this actually brings up even more pain than flying for reasons I will not go into), my businesses (PLURAL), music, and my home (only to move to a community that shows contempt for me as exemplified by a local Church and the Oregon DHS and supporters there of)
Reference: DHS, DCS, CPS; Oregon, LA, Children Protective Service Abuse of Authority

What does all this have to do with this movie? PLENTY as this movie brought out these feelings of rejection and also brought out judgment by others upon me.

While I know I should not desire a human "pat on the back" over one from God/Jesus, I also know from a complete in context reading of the Bible, God made us this way for a reason and it is not Idolatry or some other sin to feel hurt or simply pray and hope for God to remove the negativity and add a few positives to my life such as "your struggles have inspired me to try harder, give my life to Jesus, etc".

By Carl Strohmeyer of Grants Pass Oregon & founder of American Aquarium Products

My Bio and business resources:
*Carl Strohmeyer Bio
*American Aquarium Products

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Friday, October 07, 2011

Failures in Life

I often am reminded of how I have failed in life in man's eyes, even though in truth I have not in the Lord's eyes or the truth of my actions that most persons never look below the surface and make inaccurate judgments.

While I must admit that many times when God has put it on my heart to take action on another persons behalf, I have been impatient with the results and then have not waited patiently on the Lord for Him to help me help these persons. This said, it is still unfair of so many to judge my actions which were at the very least initially performed based on a clear calling from God using my strengths, talents, spiritual gifts.

I would also state that many times I have waited patiently on the Lord and have often stuck by "listening" to the Lord even as results were not what I or the person I was interceding for would have liked.
In fact I would go a step further and note that even among persons that do treat me with respect, they still have no clue how much I have gone to bat for them (often behind closed doors), often taking terrible criticism or worse.
Others initially showed respect but when actions were not to their liking, they turned on me, such was the case at my previous employment with a female co-worker I did so much for (much even she did not know such as helping her with auto insurance which caused an increase in my premiums); when I finally listened to Godly advice and simply listened to the Lord (via the Word, etc.), she turned on me.

In another "case", a person (with a prison record), I helped with a good job, helped with securing a vehicle, etc. resulting him get on his feet. After this he simply disappeared.

Much of the result of this has been me constantly in battle for others to the detriment of my own well being, often financially. The finance side has been especially difficult since I am still stick deep in debt (about $50,000 as of writing this blog entry, not counting our house debt which is double the homes value), all knowing if I had never taken ANY of the actions I felt called to do that I would not owe ANY of this debt, Yet I am constantly feeling that everything I do is for others dreams while my clock slowly ticks away, especially when I consider the severity of my health issues (& simply my age).

Here are just a few of the actions I have taken that have in the end mostly hurt me (I am only writing about the "known" actions, not the many more that I have been able to keep to myself and/or the person I came along side).
What is interesting is the actions that became more public, are the ones that often were less successful or I was judged wrongly for.
Few ever publicly noted where I might have helped them, not that this is the reason, I only point this out in that persons love to point out the negative and ignore the positive

  • In High School I stood up for a girl that was constantly belittled by others to the point of tears. When she then though she should repay me by "throwing herself at me", I refused.
    This made others claim that by doing this it proved I was "Gay" by refusing to "score with this beautiful blonde girl with a nice figure. I felt this was not the reason to help her and yet others never saw it this way. Many years later she showed up at my pet where once again she literally threw herself at me, yet my then wife refused to see the truth what really happened.

  • In 1988: Despite her affair, I asked my then wife what it would take to make her treat me as I should be as her husband (instead of the usual comments of "You make me sick", "get way from me you worm" and many more insults); her answer was to sell my pet store, which I did only to have the person who bought it liquidate it and skip the country (a $40,000 loss).
    For this I got my then wife serving me with divorce on Christmas Eve

  • In 1993: One of the owners of my largest client made sexual comments/overtures that were way past inappropriate toward an employee. I told them that I could not this and demanded an apology which was refused.
    This resulted in severe financial losses as the only choice was to cancel this contract. As well I got judged by those around me (mostly at the Baptist Church I attended) for only performing this action to win back my now ex-wife over my current wife. Of coarse this was absurd and was 100% incorrect, yet this rumor followed me all the way to Oregon

  • Shortly after the incident with my largest service account, my wife gave birth to our first child (daughter). While the pregnancy went quite well, our daughter was born with neurosensory dysfunction. She was a handful in that she almost constantly was crying.
    Outside of some help from my in-laws, we got almost no help or even support from our church in particular (mostly judgments).
    I dropped out of flight school for my life long dream of being a professional pilot (I got as far as my Multi-Engine license and was to start my commercial certificate.
    To many, this was not enough that I now was even taking my daughter for periods at a time & more to give my wife a break.

  • We had another daughter 3 years later who also was born with many difficulties (mostly feeding and constant infections that sent her back to the hospital).

    We decided to stop at two kids (she had to take medications to conceive and even then it was difficult, hence the 3 year gap between daughter 1 and daughter 2). However the Lord had other plans and even though the Doctor stated it was very remote that Jodie (my wife) would conceive without medical help, she did (we also were rarely intimate). Jodie conceived my son and at the time was not sure she could or wanted to go through another child, thankfully my mother in law helped convince her otherwise.
    Unfortunately her worst fears came true with him developing meningitis and later sever feeding issues that often resulted in hum aspirating. This required him to be on a special machine which I attended to all night (along with my long 12 hours business days).

    The end result for my wife was severe postpartum depression (which she suffered with the other two, but not nearly as bad) and this resulted in even worse problems that I will not or cannot speak of. Through all this I stuck by her and my family and I was the primary shopper, care provider, Mom, Dad, and income provider.
    What was the result? I was judged by others for not doing enough

  • The next "event" I will not go into, only to say that around this time unspeakable evil befell my family and at least a couple persons (from my business) that I was helping during this time came forward to show their gratitude and sympathies, all the while those who could have helped in very meaningful ways sat on the sidelines in judgment.
    The result was our sudden move to Oregon and even worse judgments that are too numerous to mention (not one person even called us, yet alone said goodbye from our church)

  • At the same time as the previous event I helped a couple (Trina & Paul) that could not get into a home with their child due to past issues that made it difficult to qualify for a loan.
    I signed for, fronted some $$, & pulled some strings with a business Acquaintance. This resulted in them getting a nice condo (vastly better than where I live now).

    How was I repaid? This couple took advantage of my move to liquidate my aquarium store and part of my aquarium maintenance business that I intrusted them to.
    The estimated cost in loss of inventory and estimated business value: $40,000 (thankfully Gregg salvaged $10,000

  • Later once employed in Oregon I found that persons had already made up their minds about me based on false rumors which made life difficult (especially while attempting to get back on my feet while living in a 28' RV).
    I prayed considerably about why I was brought here and felt one of the reasons was to help one of the owners of this business fulfill his dream, which I know I had both the experience and talents to do; unfortunately this was not in the cards as others listened to rumors rather than God and truth. Even still I fought hard for others there to which the result in the end was egg on my face and little gratitude from others

This a very brief account of just a small part of events (many were much deeper and darker).
Also I realize that my reward is in Heaven and what is important is what the Lord God thinks of me, not others, however God made us all beings that need others and need affirmation (despite some well meaning comments from others). As well he gave us ALL certain talents, to which when utilized to each of our fullest abilities can and will provide success to ours and others benefit as well as glory to God.
But when others constantly block one's talents, constantly take advantage mine ore others generosity, or believe 100% false rumors; the result is almost always failure in this side of life.

I am also confused as I believe others are much more important than money or my dreams, but where hurt the most (with many sleepless nights) is the fact that I have seen very little positives from what I have done, given, or suffered through. In particular No persons accepting Jesus as their Lord via my witness and with a couple exceptions most persons I have impacted their life simply going their way or working on their dreams while my dreams and time on this planet slips away.
In one incident a person I impacted after moving to Oregon made a comment: "I will never forget you as long as I live", this was so moving to me, yet this person would later stab me in the back.

I personally see time and life slipping away with age and health issues, all the while I am still in considerable debt from others taking advantage of me prior to moving to Oregon (mind you I did not even allow this, this was done behind my back after I attempted to help others help themselves in a Biblical sense).
As well our home continues to slide more upside down while I see our home crumble and the legal day of reckoning for our shed get closer; this is almost hopeless and it would take my business to finally provide the income it is capable of.
This based on outside third party reviews of my web based business; American Aquarium Products, that state we should be making many times the sales we get, yet I find that 75% of email/phone calls are lazy questions from persons again wanting something from me with nothing in return.
Link to My Website: American Aquarium Products

Currently, I also find my nights & weekends often consumed by the business often answering very rude, disrespectful, hateful emails.
What is frustrating is that I have done so much for others dreams over the last 30 years. Sadly, my dream at this point is only to get out of debt and have a peaceful vastly less stressful life (without all the constant attacks) until the end, as well as see some fruits from my many prayers for others; but apparently this is too much to hope for in this life. BUT I still hold out hope for this or at for the "Light" to go off and show me where I am wrong and that there has been much more fruit in my life than I see.

As I am now in the Autumn of my life, I still hear complaining for others (as young as 19) about how "tough" life is, while I only wish I could go back to this time of my life and make decisions about ME for a change.
In those days I went to college, worked 40 hours per week plus sold Crystal on the side as a Princess House Representative. Later as I started my business, I often worked 80 hours per week at it, plus worked swap-meets to raise extra capital and gain business exposure, HOWEVER all this work has been for not since it is long gone.

When I add up all the $$ losses in my attempt to "Do the Right Thing" this comes to a current life time loss of $336,000!!

*Loss of Business (due to liquidation) for sale to show my ex (Tris) my love for her over my business- $40,000

*Loss of income for at least 4 years caused by dumping my largest and most prestigious client to show support of my employee over money (I went from a net take home income of $60,000 per year to $25,000)- $140,000
I also believe this caused anguish for my wife due to not having $ to support her the way she was used to; I base this on tracking of all the debts she secretly ran up trace back to this time.

*Loss of $36,000 spent in my dream of being a commercial pilot that was basically thrown down the toilet (I would love to get this money back). After getting as far as my Multi-Engine License, I dropped out to help my wife with my first child as she could not deal with the stress full time. I generally was the person who took her on drives & to my parents, as well I was up late much of the time with her.

*The $80,000 run up by my wife and the person that took advantage of her postpartum depression up to our move to Oregon

*The $40,000 loss from the couple who took advantage of my trust and kindness
(This does not includes the 1000s of hours of otherwise productive time I could have spent for me or my business ventures, if only simply to earn extra money as I often did via recycling cardboard or containers)

This post though is not about money, I mostly use this to make a point about how much time & money I have spent for others, only not realize my dreams and hopes.
I would still do much for those I love such as my wife Jodie and my kids (as well as friends), but the constant nightmares, feeling sick, constant pain from Neuropathy, and lack of intimacy from my wife (it would be nice to feel desired just once in my life) makes me look back and wonder why.
The tears I shed in private and late at night often simply do not help either.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Respect for Me or my Family

I was watching the movie "We Were Soldiers" (which is one of the best war flicks in my opinion), and one point stood out to me; this was when the officers wives were talking about racism and wife of an African American Officer noted how her husband served and dealt with his poor treatment all the while he served his country with honor (& his life).
She stated that he only gave respect to those who showed him respect.

This comment really hit home for me, as although it is not knew, I never really applied it to myself and my struggles to often deal with my poor treatment (even by family members).

While I realize that what is most important is what God thinks of me and until I accept this in full (in my heart), it will continue to be an issue, even then as Pastor Matt (at Edgewater Christian Fellowship in Grants Pass) commented, such struggles will often only be in remission (such as my struggle with bitterness).
However this helps me since I and my family still must deal with the cold shoulders, lack of respect, and rumors to this day; as blunt as this may be, this is what I simply need to employ with these offenders.

Sadly I have just "taken it" for years (many have pointed this out). Even in my previous employment I simply put up with lies, disrespect and worse (especially with Josh and upper management).

To this day even my nieces (one in particular) show obvious disrespect including still fraternizing with those that have made terribly disrespectful, incorrect comments.
In Facebook this even shows in how my kids are treated, again sadly by family members who refuse to ever interact with me, my wife, or kids.

What is often mind blowing is that in the Aquarium business community I have much respect (not locally in Grants Pass though). In fact I even had a few employees contact me from the past to thank me (this include one from the 1980s who knew how I would often put employees first even in difficult times such as working swap meets at 3 am to keep the cash flowing and not cut staff).

Those who truly know me, know how I have stuck by my wife even though she has never truly recovered from her Postpartum depression since my first daughter was born (she is generally doing well, but she has had severe issues such as in Feb. of 2009).
Even as to my sense of humor I often get little respect from many judgmental individuals, amazingly this is where I get the most compliments form those willing to truly know me.
As an example I remember when we had to leave LA due to severe family issues (affair, threats, more), an office manager at a Medical office I kept an aquarium for commented she would have never known all this was going on as I was always joking with a great sense of humor!

I will use this point of respect (as in the context of this before mentioned movie) to note what positives I have and what I have accomplished with the Lord's Blessing, Grace, Help:

  • I have always treated my employees with respect, as well often paying them well compared to what I payed myself.

  • My business success, especially considering how well my articles/website has done on the Internet as some of the top read such articles worldwide!
    Example, "Aquarium Information":
    Aquarium Information

  • My accomplishments in flying

  • My knowledge of current and past events

  • How well my vendors and similar business contacts respect me

  • How I have put my family's well being well past my dreams and business; this includes giving up flying and leaving my entire business behind to live in a motor home (which gained me severe disrespect here in Grants Pass) for my family.

  • Standing by my wife despite what she put me and my kids through and NEVER dragging her through the mud even when this could have cleared my name at the worst of these times such as during her severe Postpartum depression (during which she was not at all herself and put forth the most evil mis-truths about me with the help of others with bad intentions).
    BTW, this is not at all to through her under the bus, rather anyone who truly cares about her/us would know that this is a medical issue that she to this day acknowledges (with some dysfunctional family issues thrown in since her dad was an abusive alcoholic). For this reason I must look the other way to my needs and how much she needs loving support and not bitterness from me or others.

I could go on, but I or my kids need to remember this when I/we get the cold shoulder from my nieces and extended family on a particular side of the family, the local Grants Pass business community, Judas Christians (such as Josh, Joy, Lauren, Calvary Crossroads, etc.), the GPPD, DHS, and more.
*A Church used as a Tool of Evil
*Grants Pass Police; Dishonesty, Alleged Corruption
*DHS, DCS, CPS; Oregon Children Protective Service Abuse of Authority

Sadly, my kids should not have to suffer for these persons ignorance and being tools of evil and maybe by giving ZERO respect back to those with no respect me or my family and what we have had to endure, this will drive this point home.

Finally I would point out that fraternizing with persons that treat us with disrespect (& worse) or have spread rude dishonest comments is no different than fraternizing with a racist even if you claim you are not, AND claiming ignorance of this is not an excuse!

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Where is God/Jesus in Harmful Rumors

Where is God/Jesus in Harmful Rumors; Often Perpetuated by Christians (or those claiming to be Christians)?

I also have a related post from this blog from almost two year ago:
“The Triumph of Evil” How others believe rumors and look away from wrongs where I reference my favorite secular quote:
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

This is a question I often ask myself, sometimes when deeply depressed in makes me question God himself, although I know full well that God/Jesus is not at the root of this problem that has so deeply hurt my family many times over the years.

Although it is clear from reading the bible in context that God expects all Christians to be his ambassadors here on earth, however we often fail him and then others in failing God.
The Book of Job is a clear example where so-called friends of Job falsely accused Job and eventually were judged by God for this.
Often it is Christians that do not truly seek God’s Word or follow his clear directions about loving our Neighbor as our self, however the Bible is also clear that sometimes there are those among us who pretend to be Christians and are actually “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. In fact Matthew 7:20 makes it clear: Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

A good example is a person that constantly spread rumors about me and another good friend I worked with, I found much evidence (including others who came forward) that he was the primary source. Even today, he hides behind a banner of claiming to be a Christian, yet has yet to come forward to “set things right”. As well comments about others (including our ex-president Bush) show his either hatred for those who are persons of conviction, or simply his ignorance. Sadly those around him fall for his charismatic personality (this guy could sell air conditioners to Eskimos).

For me and others he and those he has convinced by his false Christian rumors it has made our walk with the Lord stumble, often during difficult times, not that we should get our self esteem from others, but as I noted earlier that other Christians are the mouth piece of Good.
See the parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10: 25-37
My Thoughts, Standing for Truth; the Good Samaritan

Sadly this person and a good friend he convinced knew some of what I and others he trashed had been through, but that did not seem to count in the end. As well while his then fiancé may have known some of “my story” they still in reality knew little and much of what I feared in premonitions came through in an unspeakably evil way in February 2009, but to him this was simply an inconvenience.
See: Gods Answer to a my Prayers through a very evil situation

Of coarse I am not without blame either, as I saw through him immediately, but for the sake of his fiancé supported him when (as his then boss) should have fired him as it was not only was obvious that he was a “pot stirrer”, but simply a lazy employee that often would pass the buck for his own mistakes (later he constantly attempted via different methods to trip me up with upper management and other employees).
This mistake on my part in the end not only bit me in the butt personally, but also hurt my employer and another friend that worked there as well.
So the lesson for me is to trust in the Lord and always see the best in others and help them as stated in Matt. 10:25-37, but to also trust the discernment the Lord gives me and realize that it is not I that can help fix things/others, but the Lord working through me (with an emphasis on the Lord first and me second).

One might ask; Why am I still bringing this up or hanging on to this hurt?
This is a good and a fair question.

For one I have followed the precepts of Matt. 10:25-37 for much of my life (even before accepting Christ as my Savior). However I have been much maligned, sadly mostly by Christians (or those who claimed to be). This has simply been a battle for me much of my life and since the Bible is clear as to as to how he expects us to act to others if we are truly his, it still leaves me scratching my head and struggling at times with my Christian walk.
As with Job’s friends I know God can also speak to us directly (or send a messenger as with Nathan the Prophet in exposing David’s sin in his affair with Bathsheba and having her husband killed), so the fact that he and others around him have been so cruel in their behavior leaves me rather dry.
I know that God can move us in this way from my friend Bob M., who I renewed friendship that started in LA after God clearly spoke to me that he needed a friend/comfort (I did not even know his phone number, however God provided this to me and upon calling him I found out that his 49 year old wife was dying of cancer).
He since has "returned the favor" when the Lord moved him to call me that very “dark” night in February 2009.

My point is that I know from Bob and others (including a counselor from my church) that while I need to give this up to God, last February 2009 was also proof of who my friends were all the while visibly showing God's Love.
This was proven with letters/testimonials coming in from Los Angeles, the internet (mostly from those I have helped in forums), and from a few others here in Grants Pass (including my other friend that was hurt by this man and his fiancé for believing his lies).

What is even more amazing when you consider all the “bullets” I took for this couple (this list is quite long, and many they are not even aware of that even cost me $), that during this time of the highest need of my family (Feb. 2009) for support from friends that knew the truth, a person that really only knew of me from going to the same church (she ran the daycare) felt the pull of God to find out more about me and to come forward to tell these persons in authority that they were wrong and needed to look at the facts as she did when God called her to investigate this and come along beside me and my family.

Where was this couple during this time???

Sadly she even “un-friended” me at MySpace shortly after this time (for reasons I can only guess considering how her parents “dis” me and my wife and it is obvious that she has run even further from hearing God and knowing the truth and possibly even believed this horrible evil against me and my family).
So she obviously went the other direction than others, and considering their Christian claims while many that wrote testimonials were not even Christians (such as a Buddhist lady that was one of my largest clients in LA after learning of this from Gregg, my old stores service manager who knew my true character).
In fact she met some of these persons when I re-established my business contact in a trip to LA where most went out of their way to meet with me as they respected me and my character (which makes her belief in her fiancés character assassination of me all the more difficult to understand considering their Christian claims)

I guess all I ask is that someone will step up to the plate and listen to God and the truth and let them know how much they are hurting me and my family (my oldest daughter is also VERY confused by their cruel actions).
An apology here as well as listening to what the truth is would certainly go a long way.

Similarly another person (Tammy) I helped that also became public (most is not public), also became fodder for the Christian Rumor mill at our old church in West Covina, California, which helped push the issues that caused us to leave for Oregon in the first place. At least with her, she understands the truth, it is only those looking from the outside in that began these nasty rumors with no basis in fact or even my life long character.
A phone call recently from someone I had not spoken too in many years from this church confirms that I am not alone in this type of treatment and an apology here is likely not forth coming. However, I no longer live in that community so these rumors are not as destructive as the current ones.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Justification vs. Sanctification

Justification vs. Sanctification OR Grace vs. Works

This is a subject that in my lay experience seems to cause much confusion and not only among Christians but along those “seeking” and those who have struggled or have been judged by others much in life.

I have seen many non-Christians or struggling Christian (such as myself) turned off by hard line beliefs of many Evangelical Christians that often miss the context of the Bible and many verses and only seem to understand Justification/Grace, but miss Sanctification and the works that pour out from Grace.

On the other side, many Christian and non Christians do not seem to understand the importance of Justification/Grace coming first.

First I will Start with What I feel is a misunderstanding by many Evangelicals and Charismatics:

I will start off with what I feel the Bible as a whole is clear on and that is we all born with a sin nature, have free will, that Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the ENTIRE world, and that as true believers in heart (not head belief) this will show in our works (which may vary from hidden to easily noticed).
The last one and possible two is where many Evangelicals (at least those I have met or listened to sermons to) seem to fall short

Often many Evangelicals seem to only seem to preach from Paul’s writings/Scripture, and miss how the Book of James lays out the importance of proving Justification via works.
As well, one of my favorite verses from Luke 25 (the story of the Good Samaritan) outlines in absolute clarity in my opinion how justification of Loving the Lord God with all your mind Heart and Soul is followed by the sanctification of “Works”
See my previous post where I quote the parable of the Good Samaritan:
Standing For Truth

I recently heard an otherwise excellent Evangelical pastor state that Isaiah 64: 6
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
is proof that God thinks little of our works.
HOWEVER in reading many commentaries of this verse, not to mention noting that many non-Christian struggles with this verse in the way many Evangelicals interpret it is clear to me that this view is out of context.

The context is that of God’s people (& possibly non believers as well) who have engaged in sin and have more of a mind belief in God rather than a truly saved Justified acceptance of God’s Grace (through the finished work of Jesus) and think that their works can set them right in God’s eyes, which of coarse they cannot.
See this page webpage for the whole chapter:
Isaiah 64 (New International Version

Even in one of Paul’s Epistles; Galatians 2 (New International Version), where it is clear to me how God views us vs. how man views us I see one missing aspect of this passage in its message. In the passage Paul is condemning Peter for separating himself from the Gentiles.
What is missing from some interpretations IMO is that Peter is being in part criticized for his separation from the Gentiles for reasons of IMAGE, which goes back to the story of the Good Samaritan where many might look the other way for the sake of image.
I can say from my life experience that this has hurt me and my family considerably and this problem continues to this day in our life where image is more important than Sanctification via works, but then why would many not think this way when many have the incorrect view (IMO) of Isaiah 64?

Often judging is from looking externally by others who are very image conscience; however often trials are allowed by God (see the Book of Job however I also believe since we were not created to be “robots”, often it is simply chance as Ecclesiastes 9:11 shows:
Ecclesiastes 9:11 I have seen something else under the sun:
The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.

This is where many in Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches stray in my view and again cause those of us both Christian and non-Christian to struggle

It is also noteworthy that the Book of Job states this: "he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil", which does not mean his works have saved him, but God certainly gives him credit in the same way as Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan

Where many Christians miss the importance of Justification/Grace first over Sanctification:

I heard a message from my own Pastor from Jeremiah 33:14:
'The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.

15 " 'In those days and at that time
I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line;
he will do what is just and right in the land.

16 In those days Judah will be saved
and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which it [c] will be called:
The LORD Our Righteousness.'

He made the point of how we are all stewards of Christ’s and are to provide justice in this world.
However from my reading while I partially agree, I think these verses are more pointing to Christ’s second coming and we will all fall short due to our sin nature, furthermore I feel this view could lead some to believe that our works save us when Justification comes before Sanctification.

Again I will quote Ecclesiastes:
Ecclesiastes 7:20 There is not a righteous man on earth
who does what is right and never sins.

I think it is important to show our love for what God/Jesus has done for us by utilizing our God given talents to help others, I just think it is important to show this should be God centered as a Justified believer first, as well justice does not only come from helping those in need, but by also standing by those being judged or treating in evil ways by authority which I am sad to say I think my own Pastor missed this point (based on actions I have seen him take as to my family that I will not mention here).

I will also add from my reading of these verses in Jeremiah and commentaries about it, as well the bible as a whole is that only Jesus will bring true justice into the world upon his final return, and although believers can certainly do their part in bringing about justice, we has imperfect humans will not always succeed.
That does not mean we should not try, but we should seek justice by seeking the Lord first (which is often missed IMO by those taking a more humanistic approach) and as well opening our eyes to the truth about others (which is often missed by those taking a more Evangelical/Baptist approach in my experience).

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Views on the Book of James

My Views on the Book of James

First let me start out by stating that although I read the Bible much, listen to varied sermons, etc. I am NOT a biblical expert, so these are simply as the blog title states, “My Thoughts”.

What I do know is that the Book of James is different from the other Epistles and Gospels of the New Testament, and is more akin to Ecclesiastes or Proverbs of the Old Testament.
As well during the Reformation, many such as Marin Luther wanted this book left out of Scripture.
Here are Martin Luther’s thoughts:
”"Lutherans believe that faith, is understood as trust in God's steadfast love, and is the only appropriate way for human beings to respond to God's saving initiative. Thus "salvation by faith alone", the distinctive and controversial slogan of Lutheranism. Opponents claimed that this position failed to do justice to the Christian responsibility to do good works, but Lutherans have replied that faith must be active in love and that good works follow from faith as a good tree produces good fruit."

For more please See:

With all do respect to Martin Luther, I disagree and I am glad other Church fathers thought this Book was best left in the Cannon of Scripture.

My reasons are simple, that is I firmly believe that the works described in the book of James such as Chapter 2, are a way of verifying our faith and walk. Yes we fail (at least I know I do), just as we fail to keep the Ten Commandments. Christ even states in the Parable of the Good Samaritan that the one who helps the injured man is the Christian; is this not a form of works? The answer in my opinion is this is works by faith, as an unbeliever can also perform this work, however a Christian walking in the faith of the Lord should perform this task as well.
See: Standing for the Truth and the Parable of the Good Samaritan

Here is the passage I am referring to (NIV):
1 My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism.
2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.
3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet,"
4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
6 But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?
8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself,"[a] you are doing right
9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
11 For he who said, "Do not commit adultery,"[b] also said, "Do not murder."[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?
15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.
16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

I know for myself I have many times tried to live verse 1-3, yet have failed, often paying attention to the man who appears “better”.
This does not mean that we not exercise discernment, as this is also where I have failed. I have lept in to help someone without prayer, only after realizing the person was a wolf in sheep’s clothing did I finally pray and realize otherwise.
I know in particular this has happened twice with disastrous results (such as my trust in a couple to run my previous pet store in the Hacienda Heights area of California when they used me with well designed lies).
City Reference: Hacienda Heights; Information

As well even when prayer is part of the decision to help someone, I also know from experience the results may not be what we would like, but this does not mean that God does not have bigger plans.
A case in point where I helped a female co-worker at a Candy Factory I was the Production Manager with a place to live and many other aspects from insurance to loans. The results for me were disastrous (with many evil rumors and worse), but I know this was done in prayer, and another co-worker who also helped her can vouch for this as well.

Finally there are the many times I have helped others with no reward (& often public acknowledgement), since these acts were done discreetly as Christ often says we should. I know as a human it would be nice for some acknowledgment, especially when the person has the ability to stand up and vouch for your integrity during times of trials (as was the case for another co-worker whom I helped get credit to save their family car) , but I know this is not what Christ is asking of us in James or other related passages of the Bible.

In summary, my thoughts on James is that it is not a book on “works” rather a measurement of our faith, as well as a tool to help us live a life closer to Christ and to understand our own failures. This is similar in my view to Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.
In fact, my biggest frustration is that many in the Christian Church ignore James and concentrate on Paul’s Books, when I think James gives good balance to the rest of the New Testament and our lives, including mine; we simply need to read this book in context with the rest of the Bible.

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