Thursday, December 27, 2012

So where is the "Peace on Earth" the angels talked about?

12/25/12 Tuesday
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

          Christmas is here. As I read that scripture, one that we have all heard so many times, the question comes up “Where is this “Peace on Earth” it speaks of? I sure don’t see it”. I will address that further down in this post.

It is a strange holiday for us in that we don’t get all caught up  in the hoopla and just watch as others do. For me Christmas is for children, at least the presents and pageantry part of it. We don’t have children and the two boys I helped raise are in their late 20’s, or maybe even just hit 30. (I know, it’s sad I don’t know how old they are, or even their birthdates) The oldest has one or two young children but because we don’t talk I’m not sure if it’s one or two of them but know there is at least one baby. Children was one of the things Cherie and I were robbed of due to the first divorce and missing the childbearing years. But let’s not go there.

          A storm blew in about 8:00 this morning. It dropped the temperature right away and there is a strong wind blowing out of the north. Sadly we got no rain out of it but the sand is certainly blowing. Instead of a white Christmas we have a West Texas brown Christmas. Cherie bought a nice steak for us to have for our Christmas meal. I had planned on cooking it out on the grill but with the wind, cold, and blowing sand that won’t happen. Would sure be a gritty steak in this stuff.

          The blanket we have nailed to the top of the bedroom window is blowing as the wind finds its way through all the cracks and crevices these old leaky windows have. I opened one of the windows a little and put a kitchen towel in the crack and then closed the window on it to get a better seal. The other window has the air conditioner someone gave us in it. I had stuffed insulation around it and tied a plastic garbage bag around it to reduce the air coming through. So we winterize the best we can.

          I am not sure we will have enough wood to stay warm all winter. We’ve already burned about have of what I was able to cut but if it gets bad I know where there are some dead trees I can go cut up. Had it all planned out regarding wood but then someone decided to cause problems with me and the sweet little old lady I was helping anyway I could. She had 40 pecan trees that are mostly dead I was to cut and trim. With this wind blowing cold through the house the back room where the wood stove is stays almost too warm while the bedroom with its leaky windows is cold. We dress warm in the house.

The wind is blowing hard this Christmas day.
         This Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the son of God who came to earth to pay the price for every wrong we have ever done, my thoughts are swayed to focus on division. Jesus came to show us the way to get along, to unite us under His banner of love, but He knew that there would be strife despite that. In fact one time he said "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law'; 36 and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household.” (Mathew 10) How strange this must sound to many, how opposite of the common perception of the Christian faith it might be. And it seems to contradict what Jesus said in Mathew 5 “Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.” “How do you explain that Bob?” I’m sure someone would ask.

          There are always the realities of how things are, versus how nice it would be if they were not such a mess. Jesus knew, and still knows, exactly what will happen. The  scripture above describes some serious division within a family, lots of fighting between relatives. Lord knows I’ve seen and experienced plenty of that. When you read the whole chapter you can see that Jesus was instructing His disciples before sending them out to preach to the surrounding communities. As is often the case when Jesus talked, He prophesies the future as well and the words he spoke to His disciples He knew we would be reading 2000 years later and thus are for our instruction too. Jesus warned the 12 disciples that they would run into lots of opposition not just on this journey but in the future as well.

          And what about that “Peace on Earth” thing the angels were singing when Jesus was born? There has been little if any peace on the earth since that happened, though at the particular moment Jesus was born and during his lifetime there in fact was an unusual period of peace in the known world. It was called the “Pax Roma” for this was the moment that Rome had pretty much whipped everyone into submission so for this short period of time there were no big wars between nations. But we know that did not last long.

          What you need to understand is that God does not see things the way we do. God knows the end from the very beginning and He does not have the sense of time we do. We are born, live, and die. We get up in the morning, go to work or whatever we do, and the day comes to an end where we must sleep. God however has always been and will always be. He has no beginning or end, does not get tired or sleep, so He thinks eternally. God knew and planned when Jesus was born that the long term end result of Jesus’ birth and death on the cross would be the final end of all that is bad and a new beginning for all who choose to believe. The start of eternity where there is no more suffering, no more pain, and no more tears. But the path there will be one of fire and turmoil, through which all will be tested and tried to see what is true and what is not. So peace is coming but there will be hell first.

          So what about Jesus not coming to bring peace but a sword? What Jesus knows is how we are. People are proud, get jealous, envy the others who seem to be better off, covet what they have, and that whole list of our weaknesses. James said “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (James 4)

          Jesus is God and represents all that is pure and holy. The problem is that none of us are pure or holy. Now I understand that for those who are true believers all their sins have been washed away and they are thus, in God’s sight, as clean as fresh snow, but the reality is we are still a mess. When James wrote that letter we just read a part of, he was writing to Christians. Being a Christian does not make you perfect or better than anyone else, what it means is that you are forgiven and now must work to be a better example to the rest of the world. We are sometimes the only Jesus anyone will ever see, and they judge God by how we act. Being a Christian means you understand you are a mess, and in need of God’s grace and mercy. Being a Christian requires you to humble yourself and work to serve others instead of serving yourself.

Sadly, there are many who wear that Christian label but act quite contrary to what it means. There are many who reject our faith because of what they have seen done in the name of God. Throughout history there have been wars fought and tens of thousands of people killed under the banner of Christ. This has been thrown up to me many times as I strive to explain God’s love to others. There have been (and still are) people killed as they fought over different interpretations of what it means to be a Christian, and of course this disgusts those who watch. The atheists are quick to point out all these faults and use them to justify their rejection of God. What they fail to understand is that these people, groups, even nations miss and do not follow the basics of our faith. That is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. You don’t have to love what they do but understand and have compassion, knowing they will stand before God and be judged, just as you will.
There's not much left of the corn we grew. We'll mow this down and disk it under
Jesus once sat a child in His lap and said “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks ! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come ; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes !  (Mathew 18)

We all need to understand that judgment comes to us all. If, through our words or actions, we cause someone to despise the church or decide it is all a big fraud, their blood is on our heads. So many do not get that. They think that because they had an emotional experience, or go to church, or simply say “I’m a Christian” they have their get out of hell free card. I’ve got some bad news for them. Jesus, who is the judge on that final day, said "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles ? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

          Talk is cheap. We are not saved by our works, but we are judged by our works, for what you really believe is displayed by what you do. God judges our hearts, for He sees the innermost workings of our minds and knows our thoughts. Jesus quoted what the prophet Isaiah wrote hundreds of years before when He told the religious leaders “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' " (Mathew 15)

Christmas last year. What a rare snow that was. 

        But in regards to the sword Jesus brings, that sword is the reaction of others to the truth. The fact is no is comfortable when faced with the truth that they live a lie. Everyone I know believes they are right, or justifies their actions. But none of them enjoy having their lives exposed. This is the eternal battle of light and darkness, and in the face of God’s pureness we all understand how far from the mark we fall, or at least some of us do. There are many who revel in their darkness and as a result hate with a passion all that is good. How well this is spelled out in the gospel of John,

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."

As it was in Jesus’ day, so it is now. After Jesus died and then, three days later, rose from the dead the early church exploded. Many became converts to the faith but it caused great rifts between families as the religious leaders fought what they labeled as a religious cult. At first it was the Jewish leaders, who tried to stamp out this movement through persecution and even by killing those who had converted, but as the church grew it became a “threat” to the Roman government. So the words of Jesus held true, not just then but even today. In Egypt there is a reward offered for anyone who learns of a Moslem converting to Christianity. Often those collecting the rewards are family members who turn their own blood kin in. We know of many who died there and other places because of their faith.

In the Roman empire there were definite periods where persecution of the church was ramped up and even made official Roman law, but this often was followed by a period of somewhat eased up persecution. Around the year 202 AD in Carthage there was a young woman named Perpetua. She was pregnant but came to the attention of the Roman governor. It was a time when all someone had to do was deny their faith and throw a pinch of incense on a fire as an offering to the emperor, who was seen as a god, and all would be fine. The governor wrote to the emperor asking advice regarding these Christians. They were seen as a superstitious sect, not a real religion, for in the Roman mind all real religions had to be ancient.

          In his letter to the emperor he said that these Christians were all good people, worked hard, and had taken a vow to help others. They just refused to join everyone else at the pagan parties and would not accept any other gods except this Jesus, whom was crucified by Pontius Pilate. He found it astounding that they were so “obstinate” that they chose death over denying Christ. So he killed them.

Today we have much the same attitude, in that because we don’t do what everyone else does, we don’t accept practices that we feel are wrong in the sight of God, but maintain our moral code, we are increasingly seen as a threat to those who choose to not live that way. Unfortunately many churches now are compromising, bending to be more “acceptable” or “tolerant” and thus those who choose to maintain the biblical standard are seen as a growing minority of kooks.

So tell me, why are we so bad? Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers” because that is what a true Christian should be. We are to love our neighbor, give them the shirt off our back, turn the other cheek when struck, and forgive those who treat us badly. Interesting thing about the Roman persecutions is that the Bubonic plague struck that kingdom in many localities, wiping out sometimes as much as 80% of the population. But while everyone was fleeing in terror it was the Christians who stayed, caring for the sick, helping those who died till they passed, and risking their lives as they displayed the love of Christ in truth. The empire took note of this and persecution eased up. People saw and when compared to their other religions realized that there was a truth here, an eternal truth and a real God, not one that others had made up long ago.

I have facebook friends who have posted derogatory remarks about “Christians”. I understand that they, like I, have seen much hypocrisy from various churches or factions that wear the Christian label. But a true believer learns to be humble, not arrogant, learns to forgive, and learns to love in the true meaning of the word. The key is “Learning”, a process that takes time and practice, and none of us are perfect. In the church there are many problems but the reality is we all will answer to God in the end, and it is that fear, a healthy fear, which keeps those who truly believe conscious of how they act.

Time to go. Feel free to message me if you have any questions and feel free to comment and let me know what you think.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Why? My thoughts on the shooting

12/15/12 Saturday
          Why? That is a question on many peoples mind after the senseless killing of 27 people, with 20 of them being little children. It is an understandable question and one that will be hard for anyone to answer. Such death of the innocent is incomprehensible for most but there are some hard realities that are shown in this horrible event. First reality is that this is not unusual at all when considered on the worldwide stage. Most of us in America live in a cocoon where we only allow in what disturbs us the least, and barely tolerate that. However, throughout the world there are horrors  that defy the imagination and these horrors are perpetrated against all aspects of humanity, from babies to seniors.

          Now many of you know that I am a believer, a follower of Jesus Christ. I know that some of you aren’t and understand that well. There was a time I did not believe there was a God of any kind and thought that if there was he was way out there somewhere in space and not at all concerned with the things that go on here on earth. However that has changed now that I have seen evidence of the living God and have come to understand that truth.

          Today I see the world through a different set of eyes. The answer to the question “Why” is a spiritual one that is as old as mankind. The young man who killed his mother, all those children, and the rest, was a man who had no hope, nothing to look forward to, no future, no good reason to live. Why did he have no hope? Because he had no God or understanding of God. This I know well for at one time I was that boy.

          They say he had Asperger’s syndrome, that he did not fit in and escaped through his video games and other means. This I relate to as well, having a tested IQ in the top 2 percent of the nation, no social skills, and all the other indicators of Asperger’s. My escape was books, which I devoured by the hour. Fortunately my books taught a system of values and honor that were often key elements of the science fiction I enjoyed the most. What was unfortunate for this young man is that the video games of today teach and encourage anger, revenge, violence, and that killing is an acceptable solution for problems.

          When I lived without the thought of God existing I lived with only the moment to answer for. You see, if there is no God there is no reason to be good, other than whatever immediate gratification it got me. I only obeyed the law out of fear for the consequence of breaking it and if I felt I could escape that consequence there was nothing to prevent me from violating those moral strictures. Thus the platitude “If it feels good do it” became my law. Without God there is only this life to live. Without God there is no accountability. Without God life has little value. Without God there is no eternity. And without God there is no hope of a better future at the end of life here on earth. So there is only here and now.

          I can only imagine what went through that young man’s mind and that imagination barely touches the surface, if at all. But I have seen many who fit the profile in one way or another, and in fact I probably wasn’t far from it myself. One of the two boys I raised does in some aspects, and there are others I know who are withdrawn and only fit in with a small niche group. Part of what they lack is a sincere understanding of the love of God, and it is this love that I feel is the key that can open the door to their hearts and allow healing to begin. Unfortunately in the world we live in that key is one that has been rejected by many and openly ridiculed in several sectors of American society. Because of this the sad news is we will be seeing more and more of these kinds of events.

          But in regards to the question “Why” there are many aspects to consider, no simple cut and dried answers. The boy (I know, he was 20 but still a boy in my mind) was bullied, did not fit in, was on psych medication, and often retreated into his private world. Apparently he sometimes attended the catholic church with his mother but I suspect it had no real impact on him. There are many who go to church but that does not mean much. Some go because their parents make them, some go because they are “supposed to”, some go to impress others, and on and on the list can go. The reality is that few people who go to church truly practice their faith. If they did there is a possibility this tragedy might not have happened.

          I know I am opening a can of worms here but that is what I am good at. The fact is that there is a general disgust of Christianity in many circles, because so many see the hypocrisy there. I have friends on Facebook who knew me before I returned to God. They never knew I had been a Christian before, that I had fallin away, but they watched as I destroyed my life through drugs, drinking, and criminal activity. It saddens me to see their disdain of Christians in some of the comments they make, but I understand it. Many of them don’t know what to think of me now and my faith in God makes some uncomfortable. That’s ok, I understand this as well.

          The point I am making is that if more people really understood and lived the way Jesus wants us too, there would be fewer people with the potential to become mass murderers. Oh, things like this will still happen and in the coming years it will get worse. The reason I brought up the poor opinion many have of Christians is to highlight the way it should be, versus the way it often is.

          We, or at least many of us, are familiar with the story about a baby being born in a manger at the small town of Bethlehem. “Oh, geese, he’s going to tell that whole Jesus was born in a manger story!” I can hear someone saying at this moment. Well, yes and no. To understand what it means to be a true Christian we need to understand what it is all about. You see, that little baby, born amongst a bunch of farm animals and camels, was God coming to earth. Now I know how ridiculous this may seem to those who don’t believe and I understand the ridicule thrown out regarding such a concept, but bear with me and allow me to choose whatever belief I desire. The “Why” regarding God being born on earth has to do with the love He has for us, and His desire to remove the wall that stands between us.

          I never understood all this God stuff before. It just did not make any sense to me. Why would God be born a baby? Why would He then choose to die a horrible death on a cross? “Why” has always been an important question. It wasn’t until I was sent to prison that someone explained this in a way I could understand. People would say “God loves you” but even that I could not understand. A loving father was something I had never really experienced in real life. No hugs, no kisses, no “You did well” affirmations that I can remember. Understand that I was much like that boy we started this out talking about. Socially inept, unaccepted, bullied even by the girls in school, I was a cast out and would fly off in anger on occasion. So a loving protective relationship was a foreign concept to me.

          Let me tell you how “Why”, regarding God’s love, was explained to me. “Imagine God as a pure white sheet, not a spot or wrinkle, perfect in every way. Now you know”, my fellow inmate explained to me, “that you are not pure at all”. Oh, I knew that for sure. “So you understand then that you cannot take a handful of mud and throw it on that sheet, because it would no longer be pure and white”. Ok that was pretty simple and easy to understand. “But it wasn’t always that way” he continued “originally God would come down to the garden of Eden and walk and talk with Adam and Eve. They were in charge of it all, taking care of God’s creation. They could do anything the wanted except one thing. There was one rule. Only one. “Don’t eat of the fruit of that tree” God said. “For if you do you will surely die”. Now this I can understand. I was in prison for breaking the law. The law of the land is pretty clear (or at least used to be) and says “If you do such and such the penalty is…” With God it is equally clear. He spelled it out straight. Death is separation from God, for God is the source of all life. When we choose to purposely do what we know is wrong, which is what the word “sin” means, then we are no longer pure white and thus become separated from God.

          But God, forever loving us all no matter how bad we get, decided to make a way for us to regain that fellowship with Him. God follows His own rules, that is a part of His pureness, and the wages of sin is death, separation from God. So there is a law and there is a penalty that must be paid for breaking it, and now we are back to that little baby being born and laid in the feed trough of the animals. (Stay with me folks, I will get to that boy who committed such a horrible act. This will all tie together) For my friends who are atheist, agnostic, or doubt Jesus was even born, who pride themselves on logical intelligent thought, there is lots of third party documentation of Jesus’ birth and the events that followed. Roman, Jewish, and Persian historians who were not followers of this religious belief recorded these events. Third party courtroom acceptable proof that it happened, if you will. I don’t believe because it is convenient, I believe because I have learned it is true.

          I need to explain that the question “Why” regarding the Connecticut shooting is not an easy one with a simple answer and my attempt to answer it will undoubtedly fall far short. Understand that this one incident is only a small part of a much larger picture, and it’s that larger picture I am ultimately addressing while trying to somewhat understand the shooting.

          Jesus, who is God’s Son and was there when all was created, came out of heaven and humbled Himself in every way, was born, raised, felt pain, endured temptation, and then was sacrificed like the unblemished lambs that the Jews would kill every year for the sins of the entire nation. He never did anything wrong, but lived His life as an example for all of us to see and learn from regarding how to live. It was that sacrifice that paid the price for all we have ever done wrong and through it we can have forgiveness of all of it. That forgiveness is like taking a bath that washes it all away and leaves us clean and pure, so we can once again have fellowship with God.

          But that example of how we ought to live, how we should act towards one another is what I desire to bring up regarding not just the school shooting but for everyone we get to touch.     This is where we, all who wear that “Christian” label, bear some of the blame. Jesus gave us only two real commandments, to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. And to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Everything in the bible boils down to this. But we must recognize the reality that there is the way things should be and the way they actually are. Those who are unhappy with what they see done in the name of God are justified in that, for God is not happy with it either.

This is nothing new. Jesus warned several times that this would be this way. It happened in His life and is a part of the record of the early church. Jesus’ harshest words were for the religious leaders who were the rankest hypocrites. Jesus also warned us of the condition the world would be in during the last days, before He returns to clean it up and start over. He said “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Mathew 24)

We see all of these things taking place, no question about it. The part about people’s love growing cold is especially relevant, and holds true not just for people like the shooter but it is something I see in the church too. My Bible tells me this would be as well. This scripture found in Paul’s letter to Timothy sounds like it is describing people who don’t know God and have no religion but the sadly amazing part is it actually describes those in church, as indicated by the last part, where it says they were “holding to a form of godliness”. “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” (2 Timothy 3)

It is no wonder that there is so much anger towards the church and church people. Cherie and I have seen and experienced so much of this unholy behavior in churches that we keep a guard up when around church people we don’t know. How sad it has been for me to watch pastors practice the very judgmental things God hates, and then call it good. What can you do? When I dared say “that isn’t right” I was escorted out.

But in the midst of all the darkness there are always some wonderfully bright lights that shine out, people who truly love and are willing to sacrifice for the good of others. It is a shame that they are the exception, rather than the rule, but even this Jesus said would happen. In the end only a few will make it. Those who’s treasures are in heaven, not on earth. Part of the “Why” I lay at the feet of a weak compromising church, and the shepherds who bear responsibility for how they lead the sheep. They WILL answer to God on that final day.

So again there is the way things should be and the way they really are. That young man went to church with his mother, but it is clear that this did not impact him. A true Christian should reach out to those who don’t fit in, should love them and take the time to get involved. Sadly this rarely happens in today’s world. There are many who will throw some money in a basket during a church service and think they have done something, but all they have done is appease their conscience and avoided anything uncomfortable. Jesus said to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. You know, the more you love yourself the harder it is to meet that standard.

Like I said at the beginning of this, “Why” is not a simple question. There are cultural, medical, and social factors that weigh in here as well. Lots of things that contribute to the question “Why”. We are all products of our environments. Remember the old saying “garbage in, garbage out”? We are what we feed ourselves and for many youth in America today, and for that matter for the rest of us as well, what we are fed is a lot of garbage. Whether it is the television shows or movies, what is called entertainment is not that which promotes love, forgiveness, honesty, or many of the other things most consider good. It is a lot of violence, anger, revenge, sexual promiscuity, and deception. Then there are the video games, something else the shooter escaped into. In many of them you go from room to room with the goal of killing as many as possible. This boy was also on psychotropic medication, which only adds to the disconnect from reality.

The bad news is that it doesn’t matter if the government takes every gun there is, we will still be seeing more events like the one that prompted me to write this. It will get worse. Should this be the last days spoken of in the Bible it will get much worse. For those who play at being Christian there will be a purging as with fire. Ultimately this is a battle between good and evil, and it sure looks like evil is winning. But even this was foretold. In the final chapter evil will be punished and those who pass the test rewarded, but the tests will be hard. The world will tremble as these things come about but before that the world will rise up in complete rebellion against all that is good in the eyes of God. Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming ? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." (2 Peter 3.3)

I am tired. There is more I want to say but this is enough rambling as it is. I will close with this statement about those children. It is what Jesus said when His disciples asked “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. "And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

10 "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 12 "What do you think ? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying ? 13 "If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. 14 "So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.  (Mathew 18)

          Some will say “But they did perish” but I will remind you that God does not see things as we do. Those children are in a place prepared for them long ago, they are in heaven with our heavenly father. In that place there is no time, it is eternal and has no end so no, they have not perished. It is a place I hope to go to when my time here on earth is done and I want to invite as many as I can to join me. I believe in love that requires sacrifice, I believe in helping others, I believe in doing good.