Monday, April 20, 2009


During the days of Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel, Israel had become so “stiffed neck” and wicked that even the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple could not turn their hearts back to God. Their treacherous deeds included shedding innocent blood, oppressing the poor and sojourners, lewdness, adulteries, false prophecies, and idolatry (Ezekiel 22). They committed many abominable acts. They set up idols in the Temple as well as in the high places (Jeremiah 32:34). Their idolatrous hearts were even driven as far as sacrificing their sons and daughters to Molech in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom by having them burned with fire (Jer. 7:31).

Israel’s wickedness led God to drive them into captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. During the first deportation, only the wealthiest, healthiest and brightest went into captivity. Daniel was one of these. He found himself in the courts of the King (Dan. 1). Ezekiel also went into captivity. He was God’s voice to the exiles. Jeremiah was left behind in Jerusalem to be God’s voice to those who remained.

God had great messengers for his people, but his children would just not listen to them. They became ridiculed and ignored. The prophet Jeremiah wrote in Jer 20:7, “O LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me.” Ezekiel stated in Ezekiel 33:31-32, “And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain. And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it.” Israel heard God’s rebuke of their conduct through these prophets, but didn’t care. It is ironic that between the three separate audiences of Ezekiel, Daniel, and Jeremiah, the most responsive was found in the king’s court of pagan cultures. Through the lives of Daniel and his friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, King Nebuchadnezzar came to know God (Dan 4). However, Israel didn’t care.

What about today? Do we heed the warnings of God? Many today believe that a loving God is not going punish the wicked. This is a foreign idea found not only in the Old Testament as in Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc., but also in the New Testament. In Acts 5, we read about how Ananias and Sapphira were destroyed for lying to the Holy Spirit. In Acts 12, we see how Herod was destroyed for not giving glory to God. He has not changed on His reaction to disobedience. The Hebrew writer makes it clear in Hebrews 10:26-31:


For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people."  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.


As Christians today, we know the sacrifice that God has made for us. May we always be diligent to avoid the complacency to sin that plagued the Israelites which led to the destruction of Jerusalem during the Babylonian captivity. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

“Another Sleepless Night”

            I laid awake in bed tonight unable to sleep. Flooding my mind were painful thoughts and images that I have experienced. As a Christian, I understand that there will always be suffering and pain in the world until the return of Christ. However, this knowledge is not comforting me to sleep tonight. I am so blessed in my life. I have a wonderful wife who loves me and who is always there for me. Though difficult at times, I have a great job that gives me the opportunity to make differences in people’s lives. I have a caring family. I have the promise of God through Christ Jesus. I have brothers and sisters in Christ that have done so much for me and who continue to surprise me with their generosity. I am truly blessed.

            With all this being said, why am I robbed of sleep tonight? I am a nurse in an intensive care unit where many of our patients pass away. We deal with a lot of cancers and abnormal lung diseases that are many times fatal. Sometimes we try to get people stable enough so that they are able to go home on hospice and spend the last few days of their lives in the comfort of their family. These memories are why I’m writing right now with tears in my eyes. I remember a young man in his 20s who suffered from cystic fibrosis who was coming to the end of his life. He fought for every breath. He could barely talk, but whenever I did even the most trivial thing for him, he forced out in a weak breath the words, “Thank you.” He did this every time. He needed new lungs. I fought many nights to help keep him alive until he was taken off of the transplant list and all hope was lost. I was there with his family the entire time. This is just one of many painful stories. I have watched young individuals pass leaving behind spouses and young children to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. I have seen grandmothers and grandfathers who had the entire family at their side when they passed and was able to see the impact that their lives had on their friends and relatives. I understand why Christ was brought to tears in John 11 when he watched the people mourning the death of Lazarus. Even though these experiences are very painful at times, they too have been blessings in my life.

            It is easy in these fast times, where everything had to be done yesterday, to only focus inwardly. It’s like only staring 20 feet directly in front of you when you’re driving. You miss all the world around you and what is coming down the road. Christ said in Matthew 5:14-16, “ You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see you good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Sometimes we miss the people around us who need us. We miss their cry for help. We miss the need that is staring us in the face. Lets take time to step out of our lives to show the kindness and love that was given to us in Christ Jesus. He was truly the suffering servant that is described in Isaiah 53. “He borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (v. 4). He is our example in sacrifice. As Paul writes in Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Also, as John writes in 1 John 3:16, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just what goes on...

It is 600 in the morning on sat and I can't sleep because I slept all day on accident. My alarm did not wake me up. I have had a rough week. I worked four straight last weekend and then made a flying trip to Ark on Monday and came back Tuesday after my wife's grandmother's funeral. Then, I worked Wednesday and Thursday night where I took care of a 20 year old patient who has less than a 5% chance of living. In my unit right now, we have 3 critically ill patients who are my age who will probably not make it. It is good to have the weekend off to spend with my wife and family. Went to Zia's last night, which was spectacular. Enjoyed some good fellowship with adopted siblings. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Republicans have had their chance. Now its the Dems' turn. "Around and around we go. Where we stop, who knows-The American Dream?" (Hank Williams Jr.)

P.S. Whenever someone says, "Let government pay for it." Let's try to remember that this means that we pay for it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What I find most annoying...

There is something that I need to get off my chest. It has been bothering me for a long time. I never hear it discussed even though it affects almost every single person in the world. It is a simple yet complex riddle. 

Why do people hide the part of an animal that you eat? No, really think about. What part of the chicken is the nugget? What part of the pig is the ham? What part of the pig, cow, turkey, etc. is bologna? People should label the animal part or parts with respects to bologna. I mean, really.

My apologies...

I want to apologize. Apparently, I write too much. Sorry babe.

The US Republic...

I like politics, but I don't care much for politicians. They do, however, have a lot of people to make happy, and just because people are happy doesn't mean that the nation is in a good position. For instance, the nation of Israel wanted a king because all the nations around them had a king. They forgot their God like they did so many times. God warned them about the abuse of power that they would have to endure. The masses didn't listen.

 The same thing can be said today. As a Christian, I believe that I should show respect to our leaders (Romans 13), but I do like history and studying facts. Many people don't realize today that the President doesn't have the legislative power. The President can veto a bill, but Congress can overturn a bill with two-thirds vote. This is the checks and balances system. After the Vietnam War, Congress enacted a law that would allow them to pull troops out of combat. Why do I say this? We can blame the financial crisis, health care crisis, military crisis, and so forth on the Republicans. The Democrats have had the Congress for the past two years. They haven't done much either.

It is funny that we are talking so much about change during this election. What has changed. This election has been run just like every other election (with respect to the Presidential election) in our nations history-mud slinging and all. We still have a Republican pushing Republican dogma and a Democrat pushing Democratic doctrine. They have still spent outrageous amounts of money for their campaigns. Money that could have been used in more fruitful endeavors. Obama has definitely taken the victory on this front with an increase of $150 million (of public funding-that he wasn't going to take). Palin is criticized for not having enough experience to be Vice-President. Did you hear me, "Vice-President." The Vice President sits on a seat and strikes a gavel. How much experience do you need? Obama has been in the Senate for how many years. He's the one running for President.

Also, McCain is accusing Obama of wanting to raise taxes. Okay. I agree. He does. However, McCain is wanting to tax health benefits for the first time in this nation's history. After taxing these benefits, he's going to give a $5000 rebate check to people so they can get health coverage. Yeah, like people are going to use that for health care. They won't, and we will be worse off than before. The Republicans are about not doing too much. Well, except for the whole bail out package. I would hate for the government to start taking control of things. As a nation, we spend more money on health care and education, and we rank very low in industrialized nations in both of these categories. The issue is not in funding. The issue is in efficiency. For instance, HIV is probably one of the most, if not most, funded diseases. However, more people die from Hepatitis B than HIV. If you look at the top killers in the US, you don't see HIV. Then, why do we spend so much money on it? Because of interests groups. We know what causes HIV. We know the most common transmission types (i.e. sharing needles, sexual contact). The number of transmissions have dropped in both child births and transfusions. We know how to slow the transmission and to prevent contraction. Why do we still fund it more than Diabetes, heart disease and stroke? Special interests.

We blame Washington for our mishaps, and yes, they do deserve some of the credit. Yes, the banks do deserve some the credit as well for the housing crisis. But what about us? Yes, the people in this great land. We all want lower gas prices, but we don't want to dirty our backyard. Not enough to stop our consumption-no. We still want gasoline. We just want someone else to kill their environment. We want cheaper health care, but we don't want to put down our $4 a pack habit that kills our lungs and cardiovascular system (cigarettes). Nor, do we want to eat healthier foods and exercise. We want a cheap, affective pill that will completely take any responsibility off our shoulders and put it on someone that we can sue if it doesn't work. I'm not saying this to mean, but I just feel that we need to realize that the issues that face our nation are very complex. Many of these issues start in the home with common people. The education system will improve when the home strengthens its values about education. The same goes with health care and a whole list of other issues (i.e. teen pregnancy, substance abuse, depression, etc.). Families need to do more activities together. They need to eat together, exercise and be active together, discuss important issues facing children today, and study together. If we strengthen the home, we will strengthen the nation.