Afghan Pedophilia: A way of life

Jim Kouri, CPP, the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He wrote the following article for the Law Enforcement Examiner:

Apologists say that Bacha Bazi or ‘Boy Play’ is a very old cultural practice in Afghanistan and part of that nation’s mainstream.
Citing the Afghanistan strategy review, Vice President Joe Biden reported “great progress” in the counterterrorism effort that has significantly degraded al-Qaeda and the Taliban, particularly their leadership. Lagging behind, he said, is progress on the counterinsurgency front – eliminating terrorist safe havens in Pakistan and building a stable Afghan government.

innocence defiled
innocence defiled (Photo credit: the|G|™)

However, not once did Biden – nor Defense Secretary Leon Panetta — mention Afghanistan’s dirty secret – a large number of pedophiles and pederasts among the Afghan male population.

Pedophilia is a widely-accepted practice in southern Afghanistan, where “boys are given to older men for the sexual gratification of the elder and the sexual education of the child,” say many returning U.S. troops.

Afghans say pedophilia is most prevalent among Pashtun men in the south who comprise Afghanistan’s most important tribe.

Apologists say that Bacha Bazi or ‘Boy Play’ is a very old cultural practice in Afghanistan and part of that nation’s mainstream.

When U.S. officials such as President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta discuss the war in Afghanistan and make claims of success in that fledgling democracy, one issue that’s avoided is the widespread sexual intercourse between Afghan men and young boys. In non- diplomatic terms, Afghanistan is a haven for child rape, according to several American military officers just returning from the frontlines of the Global War on Terrorism.

In a country that is considered overly repressive due to its adherence to the precepts contained in the Muslim religion’s Koran, it’s difficult for American service members and diplomats to understand the fact that a large portion of the Afghan male population are pedophiles (adults who enjoy sexual contact with prepubescent children) or pederasts (adults who enjoy sexual relations with pubescent or post-pubescent children).

While Muslims in Iraq have on several occasions stoned homosexuals for their sexual activities, not all Muslims believe pedophilia is a violation of Sharia law. Those who believe in the sacredness and infallibility of the Koran adhere to the teaching that women are sub-human and quasi-slaves, and therefore Muslim men will look for relationships — even sexual relationships — with others of their own gender.

According to Reuters, there is a lot of homosexuality going on in Afghanistan, but those engaging in it don’t think of themselves as gay, so that makes it okay since Islam officially disapproves of the gay and lesbian lifestyle.

“They regard themselves as non-gay because they don’t “love” the sex object so Allah is happy. These are the men who avoid their wives as unclean. Apparently there is very little love of any kind in Afghanistan, which explains a lot,” according to Reuters.

“Having a boy has become a custom for us,” Ena Yatullah, a 42-year-old in Baghlan province, told a Reuters reporter. “Whoever wants to show off should have a boy.” [. . .]

Sociologists and anthropologists say the problem results from a perverse interpretation of Islamic law. Women are simply unapproachable. Afghans cannot talk to an unrelated woman until after proposing marriage. Before then, they can’t even look at a woman, except perhaps her feet. Otherwise she is covered, head to ankle, according to columnist Joel Brinkley, a professor of journalism at Stanford University, and a former Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for the New York Times.

In Kandahar, a city with a population of about 500,000, and other towns, dance parties are a popular — often weekly — pastime. Young boys dress up as females, wearing makeup and bells on their feet, and dance for a dozen or more leering middle-aged men who throw money at them and then take them home.

A recent State Department report called “dancing boys” a “widespread, culturally sanctioned form of male rape.” If women dressed and behaved in such a way, they would surely be punished by Muslim men.

Even after marriage, many men keep their boy-lovers, according to former U.S. military personnel who served in Afghanistan. That helps explain why women are compelled to wear clothing that hides their faces and bodies and if they “sin” they are stoned to death in accordance with Islamic law. That same law also forbids homosexuality, but the pedophiles explain that it’s not homosexuality since they aren’t in love with their boys only fulfilling a bodily need.

Paradoxically, the Taliban frown on sexual relations between men and boys and enforce Sharia law to the letter. Are the followers of Islam, who adopt a more “liberal” approach to practicing their religion, perhaps responsible for the widespread rape of male children in Afghanistan?

So, why are American military forces fighting and dying to protect pedophiles and pederasts in a country considered by many to be the pedophilia capital of Asia?

Why is there hesitation on the part of Obama, Clinton, Panetta and others to discuss the widespread sexual assault of male children in Afghanistan? Could it be that it is politically incorrect to discuss any immoral and unlawful behavior on the part of Muslims? It’s quite evident that U.S. politicians may bash Christians without fear of adverse effects on their political careers. But these same leaders will behave as if they are walking on egg shells to avoid even the hint of criticizing Muslims. In addition, there is always a hesitation to discuss man-on-boy sexual relationship for fear of mentioning the obvious: such a relationship is homosexual in nature.

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New Year’s Resolutions

The Gadsden flag
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I apologize for not posting in a while. I’ve been busy making my New Year’s Resolutions and I got huge inspiration from Alan Caruba‘s post on Tea Party Nation. He’s encouraged me to add many of his ideas to my list.

1. I resolve to do everything in my power to help defeat Obama and the Democratic Party and ensure both houses of Congress will be Republican, the less progressive the better, and in a position to begin real change.
2. I resolve to do more to communicate, to whomever I can, that Islam is a real threat to our nation and the world. The Middle East lies in turmoil and there is a reason, it is called jihad. This threat has been at work in our country a long time and it’s time we stopped letting it gain power.
3. I resolve to find more ways to fight for less taxes and less spending and for a consumption tax vs. an income tax. Only 49% of Americans currently pay income taxes, and we wonder why our country is only going deeper in debt.
4. I resolve to fight harder to end Obamacare and help others to stand up and fight against the requirement that Americans have to purchase anything or be penalized by fine for not doing so.
5. I resolve to do what I can to ensure older Americans, who have paid into the system can obtain their benefits, and that younger citizens have the freedom and know-how to structure their own retirement and health plans.
6. I resolve to do what I can to fight for tax credits for oil companies and the removal of environmental obstacles that keep them from building refineries in this country. Our nation owns vast reserves of coal, natural gas and oil and all of them should be unobstructed by special interest groups.
7. I resolve to help identify and fund the repair of our nation’s aging infrastructure and will be calling on our representatives to do the same. We must hold their feet to the fire on this and all issues.
8. I resolve to fight for term limits for our senators and representatives. We have to be done with our permanent political class, now and forever.
9. I resolve to work hard to help downsize our federal government and will be fighting for the end of the Departments of Education, Labor, Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. The 10th Amendment is still part of our Constitution.
10. I resolve to do everything I can to fight for the expansion and upgrade of our military, which has been significantly reduced in size and structure and I will do all I can to fight for its clean up of gang members and thugs.
11. I resolve to do everything I can to communicate to my representatives the importance of rejecting and rescinding all legislation based on “global warming” or “climate change” as both have been proven to be either a hoax or meaningless because I am not arrogant enough to believe we have any power over God‘s creation.
12. I resolve to do everything in my power to battle the federal government’s continued acquisition of more of our nation’s landmass.
But, I also want to spend more time with my family and have a cleaner house, so please resolve to pray for me more this year? Thank you!

Things I Wish I Knew Long Ago

growing up

Image by elyse patten via Flickr

1. Life is a gift, and no matter how long we live, there’s always more to learn about it. It will teach you more than any classroom. Free your mind from “small thinking” and always contemplate the magnificence of being alive.

2. You are the only one of you in the world and you were not a mistake. There is a reason you are here, follow where your heart leads you and you will find that reason.

3. Find a mentor whose life illustrates integrity, compassion, sacrifice and strength. They created a path and even if you don’t want to walk in their footsteps, you can definitely learn from their example.

4. Never forget to give. No matter how little time, money or energy you have, contributing to your community, your environment is vital to the refreshing of your spirit. It will do more for you than you ever do for others.

5. Control money, never let it control you. If you don’t know how, learn. Never forget it is what you own and not who you are. HOWEVER, always have some, where no one else knows about it. Financial independence means you can walk away.

6. Keep a list of your values where you can regularly see them, for when circumstances are overwhelming. You will be grateful for a reminder. We are all human, but living outside your values makes life more miserable than any circumstances.

7. Cultivate relationships with “givers”. They will support you in your path and remind you who you are. It is your sacred duty is to feed those relationships. Don’t waste energy on the “takers” in your life; they are bottomless pits that are never satisfied.

8. Take care of your body now and every day after. Do not take your youth for granted, it fades fast. Feed it, water it and exercise it, like the delicate machine that it is. Avoid extremities of any kind and when it is in pain, listen to it.

9. Our sleeping dreams are catapults of our waking dreams. Do not deprive your life of its greatest asset…rest.

10. Whatever you pay attention to becomes a reality in your life. Choose wisely.

11. Respect begins within. Strive to treat yourself the same way you treat others. The more you understand yourself, the easier it is to understand the behavior of others.

12. Your first relationship with the world began with your parents. Revisit that relationship. The more you recognize them as people, not caregivers, the more you realize who they are, and who you are. Your life is not pre-determined, you are in control.

13. Your life, your knowledge, your skills, your experiences, your gifts are valuable and eternal. Develop and share them, it is the spark that can envelop and heal other souls around you. Don’t stifle your light.

14. You are at least ten times prettier than you think. Ask your mother/auntie/granny if she thought she was pretty when she was twenty. She’ll say no. Then find a photo of her at that age. See? Don’t ever let vanity take away from your spirit, it is a waste.

15. The only thing you should ever fake is confidence. If you don’t have it, pretend. In every new situation, pretend you’re not nervous and not afraid. The pretend part will eventually disappear and the respect you gain will bolster you in future situations.

16. In really tough situations, remember what it was like to be a nine-year old girl. Do a cart-wheel, even if you don’t want to, and remember that feeling of freedom. You are still that same person, remember that, and you will stay young until the day you die.

17. Cut or potted flowers are never a waste of money. They remind us, no matter how ugly things get, that there is beauty in the world.

18. Trust your gut. Before you know what it is, your gut does. You can ignore advice from friends, family, even your own brain, but you can’t ignore your gut, it never lies. Drowning it in alcohol or Haagen Dazs won’t make it stop telling you the truth.

19. Wear sunscreen on your face, neck, and hands every day, winter and summer. You’ll remember me when you look in the mirror at age fifty. Floss your teeth. Put nothing in your body that can permanently harm your spirit, including the wrong man.

20. Raise your consciousness. Believing there is a God and knowing Him are two different things. Cultivate that relationship and the world you live in will never be more than you can handle.

Who Am I?

Who I Am?
Image by tonyhall via Flickr

We live in a world where identity crisis is rampant. When I was growing up, I remember hearing older kids, teenagers, talk about finding themselves. As I got older, it was understandable what they meant by finding yourself because who I became wasn’t exactly who I thought I was and I was glad.

I witnessed some people lose their way and heard some say that it was because they couldn’t handle who they were or that they hadn’t yet found out who they wanted to be. It’s still common to hear my mother say that men take longer to find themselves than it does women.

I learned in psychology classes that the emotional growth of a woman is stunted when she gives birth to a child too early in life, since she hasn’t fully matured yet. I had a friend in the military who was an anorexia survivor and continued to struggle with the disease. She advised me that those that suffered with anorexia and bulimia were suffering from an identity crisis. A friend of mine has a ministry in Florida and their goal is to minister to homosexuals and lesbians who are trying to find their way and have questions about their identities.

The Book of John tells us that we are both the children of God and a Friend to Jesus. John 1:12 says, “But to all who did accept Him and believe in Him, He gave the right to become children of God.” And in John 15:15, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know what his master is doing. But I call you friends because I have made known to you everything I heard from my Father.”

The Book of Romans tells us we are justified, freed, secure and assured. Romans 5:1 states, “Since we have been made right with God by our faith, we have peace with God. This happened through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In Romans 8:1-2, it says, “So now, those who are in Christ Jesus are not judged guilty. Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit that brings life made me free from the law that brings sin and death.” And in Romans 8:28, “We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called because that was His plan.”

In I Corinthians, it says we are united, we belong and that we are a member of Christ’s body. In I Corinthians 6:17, “But the one who joins with the Lord is one spirit with the Lord.” And in I Corinthians 6:19-20, “You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you. You have received the Holy Spirit from God. So you do not belong to yourselves, because you were bought by God for a price. So honor God with your bodies.” And, in I Corinthians 12:27, “Today you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of that body.”

In Ephesians, we learn that we were chosen. In 1:3-5, “Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, God has given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. That is, in Christ, he chose us before the world was made so that we would be His holy people, people without blame before Him. Because of His love, God had already decided to make us His own children through Jesus Christ. That was what he wanted and what pleased Him.”

In the Book of Colossians, we learn that we are forgiven and complete. Colossians 1:13-14 says, “God has freed us from the power of darkness and He brought us into the kingdom of His dear Son. The Son died for our sins and in Him we have forgiveness.” And, in Colossians 2:9-10, “All of God lives in Christ fully even when Christ was on earth and you have a full and true life in Christ who is ruler over all rulers and powers.”

In the Book of Hebrews, we learn that we have direct access. Chapter 4, verse 16 states, “Let us, then, feel very sure that we can come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we can receive mercy and grace to help us when we need it.”

Finally, in Philippians, we learn that we are citizens of heaven! Philippians 3:20, “But our homeland is in Heaven and we are waiting for our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ to come from heaven.”So, is it an identity crisis or identity direction? Is it about knowing who we are, or is it not knowing who He is?

Procrastination is Preparing to Fail

“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.”Ben Franklin

An emergency is usually sudden, sometimes unforeseen, but always requires immediate action. Emergencies will vary due to location but can include disease, earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, lack of power, terrorism, tornado or tsunami. None of these events are pleasant to think about, but preparation requires pre-planning.

Location, Location, Location

NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE OR WHERE YOU VISIT, you are at risk for contagious disease, power outage, terrorism or fire. If you live on the coast, you should also be prepared for tsunamis and hurricanes. If you live in an area prone to tornado, earthquake, flooding, blizzards or avalanche, you should be prepared for those. For instance, in the last 100 years, the area where I live has suffered damage or loss of life from flood, flash flood, tornado, derecho (windstorm), snowstorm and blizzards. It would be wise to take precautions and make sure my family is knowledgeable in case those things ever happen again.

Don’t be HOOD-winked: Know your neighborhood

 You don’t have to have tea with your neighbors, but it doesn’t hurt to know them and know who regularly visits them. This is about being aware of your surroundings and keeping your family safe. It’s also a good idea to have the phone numbers of a few of them. There is power in numbers. Do you have elderly or disabled neighbors who would need help in an emergency? Don’t hesitate if you are able, an emergency situation is the wrong time to test the validity of karma.

What are you waiting for?

* Familiarize your family with two places they can meet you in the event of an emergency, one within the neighborhood and one outside of it.

* Keep all your vehicle’s gas tanks at least half full at all times.

* Keep cash on hand, at least $100 in small bills.

* Talk to your family about possible escape routes from your home in the event of different types of emergencies.

* Make sure all family members know how to use a fire extinguisher.

* Make sure all family members have a contact number memorized that everyone can call in case you are separated.

* Locate gas main and other utilities, and make sure all family members know when and how to turn them off.

* Practice different scenarios during different types of emergencies regularly.

FIRE!

Make fire drills something you do monthly if you have kids. They will especially  benefit from the repetitiveness to help them remember what to do in an actual fire. Make sure they know two ways out of every room. Remind all family members to crawl on the floor because smoke rises, to check doors for heat before leaving a room, and to stop, drop and roll if their clothes catch fire. Emphasize getting out of the house quickly and that once they have left, they MUST NOT re-enter the house for ANY reason. Have a designated neighbor’s house to meet at and instruct everyone to go there and to call 911. Make sure you keep important documents in a fire-proof safe or at a secure location. Check batteries in your smoke detectors every time you have a drill.

Inventory

Filing an insurance claim a horrendous activity if you have just experienced a loss. You will be asked to provide minute details, and the more timely and accurate the details, the more likely you will receive a faster and more accurate settlement. Make a home inventory of everything. Even if an item isn’t valuable, it will still require replacement. Whether you document your inventory on paper, by photographs or video, make sure you have more than one copy and that at least one copy is offline. Important things to remember are:

a. Take pictures of both the inside and outside of your home, and of each room within your house. This will help you to list your items, and will provide evidence of the item’s existence if needed later.

b. List items by room and take notes on specific information, such as serial numbers, purchase prices, date of purchase and present value if known. It might be worth it, especially for valuables, to have them appraised.

 c. Scan photos and receipts if available. This saves you having to enter so many details.

d. Update your inventory at least once or twice per year, or sooner if an expensive item has been purchased or sold.

e. Here is a list that can help you remember items:

  • Appliances
  • Books
  • China and Flatware
  • Clothing
  • Collectibles, i.e. stamps, coins, art
  • Computer, Electronics & Accessories
  • Furniture
  • Jewelry and Watches
  • Musical Instruments
  • Toys
  • Vehicles
  • Wine/Spirits

Documentation

Gather these items now:

* marriage license/divorce decrees

* passports/travelers’ checks

* driver’s license/professional licenses

birth certificates

* insurance policies, numbers, information

* wills/trusts/deeds

* financial statements

* prescriptions

Store copies outside of your home in a safety deposit box or with a person you trust.

Go-Go Gadget!

Buy, borrow or beg a back pack or a rolling suitcase for every member of your family and attach an ID tag to it. After this has been done, put the following items into each one:

* flashlight

* battery operated radio

* batteries

* pocket knife

* change of clothing and shoes

* emergency money (small bills and quarters)

* local map

* food and water

* photos of family and pets

* emergency phone numbers

* list of medications

* allergies and medical conditions

* copies of health insurance and identification cards

* extra prescriptions

* first aid supplies

* personal items

* tooth brush and paste

* extra keys for your home and vehicle

* Don’t forget a Go kit for your pet. Theirs should include an extra collar, ID tags, license information, crate or carrier, food, water, medications, non-spill bowl, manual can opener, plastic lid and a recent photograph.

Go Long! (Disaster preparedness for a minimum of 72 hours)

Several manufacturers make plastic, sealable containers in many sizes and shapes. Buy some with carrying handles that make them easy to transport. Clean trash containers with tight-fitting lids are another choice. Buy a variety of container sizes that you can pack into your car in a short time if necessary. Include the following:

* Food and water

* Manual can opener and cooking utensils

* First Aid Kit and instructions

* Copy of important documents and phone numbers

* Warm clothing and rain gear for every family member

* Heavy duty work gloves

* Disposable camera (specifically for documentation of damage for insurance claims)

* Liquid bleach and an eyedropper for water purification

* Personal hygiene items

* Prescriptions and/or medical equipment

* Basic tools

* Heavy duty garbage bags and a bucket

Master Binder

This will be an important and useful gift for a spouse or friend in case of an emergency, such as a sudden illness, hospitalization, or funeral. It will help them keep your household running. It can also be a great friend to you in time of need, when it’s not easy to think clearly. Make sure to include:

* important phone numbers

* shopping lists

* lists of prescriptions and dosing information

* bills and cleaning checklists

* maps to nearby locations

* menus for local establishments

* written instructions for a babysitter

* central family calendar, birthdays and special occasions

* family and pet information

Hurry up and wait!

If you’re prepared, things will automatically go more smoothly. Just take things one step at a time and do not panic. Some of us will never have to use these preparations, and most will be used for minor situations. But, reality teaches us there’s always the possibility of an emergency.

Being prepared is the key to getting back to a normal life as soon as possible, after the situation has passed.

Are you a successful Christian?

Jesus resurrected and Mary Magdalene
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You are the only one that can define your success, as a Christian or anything else that you set out to do. What you want from your Christian life could vary greatly from what I want from mine. The true meaning of what it means to be a Christian may be different for you than it is for someone else. We could say we are a success now, just because we call ourselves a Christian. But, what if we decide that our becoming a Christian, was really the sacrifice and work of Christ alone, that we just accepted Him as our Savior and that really, the road to Christianity is just beginning, and we have a long way to go before we reach success? That is what I decided and these are just some of the areas that I am working on, ways that I want to illustrate that Christ is King of my life.

I want to remember people, so they will remember me.

As a Christian, I want people to know I feel they are important by remembering their names and remembering important things they share with me. I want this not only because they are God‘s children and I should care about them because God does, but also so that they will be more likely to remember me. I want them to know I am there for them and can help them if they need it.

I want to remember that success is independent of age, education, failure and public opinion.

There are many other traits that you could put into this category that could be your stumbling blocks, but these particular ones have just been areas where I’ve personally had the most difficulty overcoming. The enemy uses these attributes as weapons against me often, wanting me to believe that my age, my education or lack thereof, a fear of failure and what other people think about me or my actions are legitimate reasons for me not being the best Christian I can be.

I had to generate a life purpose and remember it every day.

It’s tempting to get caught up in our families, jobs and even church work. Those things aren’t bad, but we know there is an eternal life beyond the one we are living. We have God’s Word as the instruction book for our lives. So, there are certain things we are commanded to do. Beyond our own wants and desires, we must concern ourselves greatly with the will and purposes of the Father. It’s easier and more beneficial to us, if we incorporate His will into our lives instead of keeping our plans and purposes separate from His. Our goal, as much as humanly possible, should be to let Him guide us into our purposes.

I have to work really hard to keep a positive attitude, and I fail often.

It would be nice if God could flip a switch in us, after we become Christians, that made us magically feel good all the time, regardless of the circumstances. Or, would it? I guess it kind of goes against the free will rule, doesn’t it? I know there are others like me who are trying really hard to bite their tongues, think before speaking and trying to leave work outside the door when they come home. But, I also know others that seem to never be ruffled, never speak a cross word, and seem to have a smile on their faces every time I see them. What is the secret? I do know that there was a time in my life when I didn’t even question my attitude, it never occurred to me that I had to be more open to others and less caustic when someone didn’t get my order right the first time. I praise the Lord for opening my eyes to my behaviors and attitudes, I guess that’s a good start.

I have to remember to have a sense of humor.

If you’ve spent any time in this world at all, you know our Lord has one. Otherwise, we would have never had the experience of seeing a giraffe or an anteater. And, how about the coldest winter on record after the big, bad, global warming scare? A co-worker made some special coffee at work one morning and told me it was ready. As I went into the break room, I noticed there was only enough left in the pot for one more cup. I was feeling particularly smug, being one of only a few who would have the privilege of drinking this delicious brew, as I poured the coffee into my styrofoam cup. I gazed out the window at the beautiful morning, and as I looked back down at my cup, to my utter horror, the coffee was going into the cup and right through the bottom side, where there was a hole the size of a dime. I hurried and grabbed another cup to hold underneath my damaged one, but I was only able to save a little less than half.  I was so disappointed, but I repented as I cleaned up the break room counter, and I laughed all the way back to my desk. I very much enjoyed my three drinks of coffee and as the scriptures tell us, I know the Lord was laughing too.

There’s so many other areas that the Lord is helping me with, like perseverance, dealing with change, and especially giving me courage through Him, so I can share Him with others. We have to remember we are, sometimes, our own worst enemy. Don’t stop learning and growing; you will be a successful Christian, if you will just allow Him to walk with you.

If You Are Waiting on an Answer to Prayer, Read this Now!

Moses Sees the Promised Land from Afar, as in ...
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The act of praying is a mystery to me.  Sometimes prayer pours out of me as natural as breath, sometimes I struggle with it, to the point of almost giving up. Occasionally, we get answers immediately and there are times, we wait and wait and…some of us are still waiting for an answer.

Unanswered prayers are discouraging at the very least, but did you also know that unanswered prayer is an effective tool of the enemy? Think about it, how many times have you been hesitant to pray about anything while you’ve waited on an answer to a past prayer? If you’ve waited a long time, has resentment crept into your heart and are you giving God the silent treatment because you’ve not received an answer? How wonderful for the enemy if he can use an unanswered prayer to drive a wedge between us and our most effective power against him.

Please don’t allow this to happen. If you are still waiting on an answer, there’s three important things for you to know:

1. The answer could be No.

In Deuteronomy 3:26, Moses states, “But the Lord was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me and the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.” It’s not that I’m saying the Lord is angry with you for anything, but it could just be that the Lord has said no, and He means it. And, it may not be important for us to know the reason. Or, the reason could be revealed in the future. This is where faith and trust will be paramount for you, in that you must trust God that He is working everything out for the best and you must place your faith solidly in His hands.

2. Your sin is blocking God’s work.

In Isaiah 59, the Bible tells us, “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” And, again, in Psalms 66, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.”

If we are living in continual sin and not repenting and trying to clean up our lives, God isn’t going to mess with us. He has no choice but to separate Himself from sin and if we aren’t even trying and are just coming to Him with our shopping list, He’s going to close the store. That doesn’t mean you stop praying, just start refocusing your prayers on asking God to help clean you up, instead of on what you’ve asked Him about originally.

3. It’s Not About You

It could very well be that the reason your particular prayer hasn’t been answered is because God is letting things play out for your good (plans for a better future). Or, that your faith and patience requires growth. It’s at these times that we must remember our time is not the same as God’s time. However, more importantly, we have to recognize that we are not alone in the world. The waiting may not have anything to do with you at all. We tend to relate every event or circumstance to how it affects us, but sometimes it really isn’t about us at all. Our waiting could have everything to do with someone else. The reason we could still be waiting is because there is someone else’s well-being, possibly even their soul, at stake.

We are given everything that we need to know in the Lord’s book, the Bible. We have many promises from Him, and He has promised us that He will never leave us or forsake us. We should try to be satisfied with this gift, and leave the mysteries unknown.

Guilty: Preachers, Teachers, Parents and You

Photo of Madalyn Murray O'Hair.

Image via Wikipedia

Murray v. Curlett, 1963

Madalyn Murray O’Hair, militant left wing atheist with ties to the American Communist Party, filed a lawsuit against the Baltimore school board. Local court judge, J. Gilbert Pendergast dismissed the suit and said, “It is abundantly clear that petitioners’ real objective is to drive every concept of religion out of the public school system.” When the case went to the Maryland Court of Appeals, the court ruled, “Neither the First nor the Fourteenth Amendment was intended to stifle all rapport between religion and government.”

At the U.S. Supreme Court, Leonard Kerpelman addressed the court stating prayer in the public schools had been tolerated for so long it had become a tradition and anything unconstitutional does not become constitutional through tradition. He said the Constitution erected a “wall of separation” between church and state. Justice Potter Steward asked him where this wording was at, stumping Kerpelman. When he regained his composure, Kerpelman said the text was not explicit but it was implied to mean the same thing.

The National Council of Churches and several Jewish organizations favored Madalyn O’Hair‘s case, and not one single Christian organization filed a brief in support of school prayer. The Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 in favor of abolishing school prayer and Bible reading in the public schools. Justice Tom Clark wrote, “Religious freedom, it has long been recognized that government must be neutral and, while protecting all, must prefer none and disparage none.” The federal government considers atheism to be a religion, and the Christian majority lost.

Abington Township School District v. Schempp, 1963

In Pennsylvania, the school system, following state law, required that ten verses of scripture be read every day in the classroom. These scriptures were read without lecture or comment and any student could request to be excused. This case came to the Supreme Court the same time as Murray v. Curlett, and the court ruled on them at the same time. The court ruled School Prayer and the reading of the Bible were violations of the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment. Ironically, the court established a secular religion for our school system, while violating the “establishment clause” of the 1st Amendment.

Every man and woman has a right to be free. Jesus came, died and was resurrected so that we could have life and have it more abundantly. However, freedom is NOT the right to do whatever we want to do. Where were you Christian, in 1963? Did you do anything to support the cause of Jesus and prayer? “Well,” you say, “I wasn’t even born yet!” Okay, fine, what will you tell your children and your grandchildren that you did so that prayer could be resurrected in our schools and public buildings?

We have a right to do what is right to do and doing right in our own eyes, doing what we feel like doing when we feel like doing it is nothing but anarchy! The only criteria we have for knowing what is right to do is in the Bible.

Guilty: Preachers

For not telling your parishioners the truth. If you had been telling them the truth, and not so worried about losing your tax-exempt status, there would have been an uprising in this country in 1963 and every day after when our government usurped our rights.

Guilty: Teachers

For not standing in your classroom and telling the truth about what our government was doing behind our backs. For accepting the notion that the core curriculum is your God and you should not have any other gods before it. Where were you in 1963, Christian teacher?

Guilty: Parents

For not standing for the future of your children, for not sacrificing your comfort and security to protect their knowledge of the truth. You are a hypocrite of the worst kind. You preach morals with conviction without doing anything to fight for the truth in our government and in the classroom.

Guilty: Taxpayers

You are paying for it all taxpayer! You put your money in the plate at the church not standing up for Christ, you put your money in the mouths of the same teachers that are not teaching your children the truth and you put your money in the hands of the dirty bureaucrats and politicians that are selling all of your freedoms to the highest bidder while you barely show up at the polls and when you do, you vote for the lesser of two evils, instead of standing for truth.

When we turn our back on God, we turn our back on freedom. Our selfishness is our culture and it is bringing us to our knees. Maybe while we are down here, we will make time to pray and ask for forgiveness. Maybe now we will make God the leader of our lives, instead of our culture.

First Aid for Your Prayers

Jesus in Pray

Image via Wikipedia

Am I the only one that sometimes has difficulty praying? Or, are you sometimes just plain dissatisfied with your prayers?

As usual the Bible has the answer and these are just some of the ones I found when I did some research.

Proverbs 21:1 says, “The Lord can control a king’s mind as he controls a river; he can direct it as he pleases.” I wander everywhere sometimes when I’m trying to pray and focus. This verse tells me that maybe I’m suppose to, maybe the Lord wants to direct me somewhere I need to go.

Are you guilty, like me, of praying when it’s most convenient, just in church maybe? Matthew 6:5-6 might make your conscience hurt a little. “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites. They love to stand in the synagogues and on the street corners and pray so people will see them. I tell you the truth, they already have their full reward. When you pray, you should go into your room and close the door and pray to your Father who cannot be seen. Your Father can see what is done in secret, and he will reward you.” I don’t think this means I need to stop praying in church or that I must never pray in public, but we definitely should be wary of just praying for appearances’ sake. We should be praying daily, earnestly and sincerely. This should be a special conversation with our Father, not just a show for other people.

Mark 1:35–Early the next morning, while it was still dark, Jesus woke and left the house. He went to a lonely place, where he prayed. Jesus put God first, and we should do no less. We must give him the best parts of our day. That may not be the morning for you, but it should be a time and a place with no distractions.

Luke 5:16–…but Jesus often slipped away to be alone so he could pray. Once again, we see an example of Jesus getting away to talk to His Father. Notice that this New Century Version translation says “slipped away”. The New King James Version translation words the verse this way: “…often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” Slipped away” or ‘withdrew into the wilderness” aren’t the actions of someone who is waiting until He has more time. Ugh! I’m so guilty of this.

Isaiah 6:1–In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a very high throne. His long robe filled the Temple.

I often rush into and out of prayer, not spending any time getting still and picturing my Lord as He really is, a magnificent entity, the King of kings! We might be unsatisfied in our prayers because we are not taking time to truly engage the Lord and sincerely asking Him to meet with us.

Psalms 78:1–My people, listen to my teaching; listen to what I say.

I find that I am way more satisfied in my prayers if I have read my Bible first and have let God talk to me before I’ve prayed. That’s not to say God can’t speak to us while we are praying, but I think it helps us to focus on Him and to still the cacophony that is often in our heads before settling into a conversation with the Lord.

 Isaiah 64:8–But Lord, you are our father. We are like clay, and you are the potter; your hands made us all.

If you are like me, you are often guilty of bringing a wish list to the Lord, telling Him what it is that He needs to do for you. Instead of focusing on what we think we need, we need to practice letting God whisper it to us; letting Him be in charge of our desires. He truly is a Father who knows best.

Luke 22:42–“Father, if you are willing, take away this cup of suffering. But do what you want, not what I want.”

Oh! that I could focus on relinquishing every situation to Him! Why is prayer sometimes our last resort??! We should be giving Him all the details. He already knows us, and He wants to hear us tell Him what we are most concerned about. It is not only therapeutic for us, but believe it or not, He just loves to hear you talk! The more we talk to Him and listen, the more we are concerned about what He thinks and not what we want.

Psalms 77:11–I remember what the Lord did; I remember the miracles you did long ago.

I bet it would be amazing what we could learn if we kept a record of what God is doing in our lives! Let’s start writing our prayers, so we are able to look back and see what God has done in our lives and in the lives of those we’ve prayed for. Imagine the information we could share with others about what God has done for us and them!

Prayers for and Love to you! Have a beautiful weekend!

Don’t Lose Money Searching for Your Muse

Jane Eyre

Image by madelinetosh via Flickr

Organizing, brainstorming, publishing, freelancing, communicating, collaborating, marketing, networking…there’s a lot more to writing than just writing, isn’t there? But, we have to do it, especially if we ever hope to make any money doing what we love to do.

If we are doing all that, how do we still find time to actually write? It’s the perfect storm leading to a bad case of writer’s block! Don’t despair; here are some great go-to places to get ideas and inspiration:

Creativity Portal

The Creativity Portal is the home of the Imagination Prompt Generator . My last two prompts were, “Can you accept yourself as you are?” and “Right now you should be ________, instead of on the computer.” Both were very thought-provoking. But, if you don’t like those, keep clicking until you strike your personal gold. The website also has picture prompts, to provide visual energy. Another great section provides information on all forms of creativity including pottery, basketry, metal working, scrapbooking and painting. So, if writing isn’t happening, express yourself in a different medium. Who knows? You might get the perfect writing idea while sculpting a work of art!

Mind mapping

Discover mind mapping. It’s amazing how fast ideas can be discovered hidden in the subconscious. There are many applications available including those that can be downloaded on your mobile device. Some mind mapping software ranges from $25 to $350, but I am currently using a free version of Thinking Space that works just fine. Mindmeisterxmind, and freemind all have free versions that are popular as well. The trick is to create a diagram that represents your ideas around a central key word or phrase. You can then generate more words and ideas that connect to those already created. For example, you might have the following sections in your mind map: purpose, assumptions, processes, notes, tools, introduction, body, conclusion, summary, references. Or, you might have a map for a character sketch: Jane, Jane’s brother, Jane’s boyfriend, Jane’s employer, Jane’s best friend, etc. You can flesh out the characters, show how they connect to one another, assign attributes and reference the map later to ensure your characters are still in character. It’s unbelievable how this exercise can also help recall old ideas and make them
fresh again.

Reading

A writer who doesn’t read is like a chef who doesn’t eat. Like food is fuel to our bodies, books are the fuel for our minds. Thinking of fuel, the Classics are the premium grade. The Classics remind us of timeless ideas, increases and strengthens our vocabulary, improves our writing, and gives us historical perspective. Who hasn’t learned something when they’ve read Emma, Hamlet, Jane Eyre, Paradise Lost or Peter Pan? If we read only contemporary literature, how we will ever develop an edge over our competitors? Check out Read Print and fuel up! This useful website also includes quotes by incredible wordsmiths. While you’re there, sign up for The Bookworm. It’s a free newsletter that features quotes, books they’ve added and recommendations.

Organize

Writing is more fluid when our minds are not in a state of chaos. A great tool to un-clutter the mind is Evernote.  I use it a lot jotting down ideas and writing notes, but it’s so much more than  that. You can actually save web clippings in the application, and it’s wildly convenient that it doesn’t matter if you are researching in Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome. For every note or idea you jot down, you can tag/label it, so that it’s easy to find later. If you want to collaborate with another writer, all your notes can be shared with them if they are next-door or across the pond, because Evernote automatically synchronizes your information so that it’s the same there as it is here. This is also true for whatever device you
are using, phone or PC. I use the free version of Evernote, but if you want the application solely for collaboration purposes and want someone else to be able to edit your writing, you might want to invest the $5/month premium upgrade.

Change

We have so many great gifts outside…sunsets, sunrises, streams, oceans, lakes and waterfalls. Writers have a nasty tendency to be indoors too often. Get out there and let nature inspire you. Fresh air and our friends that live outdoors never fail to give me fresh perspective. Take your notebook and head out to the woods. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t get a story idea, but just imagine all the descriptive scenes you can write for later use. There are so many colors out there that don’t have names yet. Describe the breeze on your face, using words you’ve not used before. Close your eyes and listen, shutting down one sense can definitely heighten the experience of another.  If you are someone who spends a lot of time outside already, go back inside, literally as well as figuratively. Get some introspection. Try writing about a feeling you’ve had recently, an event that is still in your thoughts, a behavior that irks you, or an emotion that you display often that you are not pleased with and write about those thoughts. Defend your thoughts or emotions about that topic and then argue against it. Self-reflective writing increases our awareness of ourselves and improves our objective analysis of our own writing. I find it’s also an ingenious tool in freeing up idea-generating brain cells.

These are only five cost-effective ways to find inspiration, but if you’ve tried these, and you are still not feeling the writing groove, don’t give up. Keep hunting for that special muse to get you going again. Like Benjamin Franklin said, “Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.”

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