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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Journey of a Christian Man: From Weakness to Strength

I write across a wide variety of platforms and outlets, with the bulk of my writing centering on Christianity, manhood, and building the kingdom of God on earth.

Because of that, it can appear I arrived at strength and victory overnight, which would be far from the truth. It was facing a series of extraordinary challenges over time, with the help of Jesus Christ, the Bible, my wife, and fellow believers, that helped me survive and ultimately to thrive and eventually attain victory in the circumstances.

It required me to hold on to God first, as it appeared nothing in the way of deliverance was coming. Under some circumstances it took years, others a few months.

The point is we all have to go through serious trials in one way or another, and in many cases there are no answers in the short term; we have to learn to carry the load while engaging with everyday life. That's where the chief struggle is, and where many men fail, because they focus on the challenging issue to the detriment of other areas of life, with some losing their jobs, wives, families, businesses or even their sanity, because they wanted the circumstance to change so bad, they forgot about the rest of life.

I've struggled in those ways in all of those areas, losing businesses I built for years, along with part of my family, as I was legally attacked because of an accusation that was made, which while false, it wasn't determined till almost everything in my life and the life of my family was destroyed. By then it was too late, even though I had been exonerated.

To make it worse, those making the accusations knew it was false, but proceeded anyway because it was released to the media across a large portion of the southern part of the U.S.

It shouldn't have ever gotten that far, but a D.A. was up for re-election, and thought he had a slam dunk case. Eventually he had to work behind the scenes to save his political rear end by allowing my lawyer unprecedented access at the time to the grand jury. He was allowed to go in and argue the case as if it was a trial itself.

The grand jury dropped all the charges, but it wasn't till after I had literally been shot at, had people come to my home and threaten me in front of my family, lost four children (two adopted and two foster), lost my business, and in the end, had to move away from the area because of the undeserved loss of reputation, which while cleared, forever put a question mark in the minds of the people in the area concerning my guilt or innocence.

This is just one of the many things encountered during my lifetime which I had to face as a man.

At first I was in a state of shock as I watched child protective services take four children away from us, as my wife wept, watching the car drive off with them in it, never to have them in our home again. It took time for that shock to leave me, as they attempted to trump up even more charges against the two of us. The original charge was that I had kicked the oldest adoptive boy in the eye, a charge he later admitted he made up. That was what actually resulted in the charges being dropped.

I had other times in my life when people or the system attempted to emasculate me, but this was by far the most dangerous. There was other danger in the past, but that was psychological rather than physical and economical.

After years of other struggles, including taking care of a disabled son my wife gave birth to, it almost caused me to collapse under the pressure. Not only was I trying to hold my family together, but I was holding on to my own courage by a thread. I didn't know if I was going to make it.

I had never experienced this level of corruption in the government before, it was something that surprised me and didn't know how to deal with at first because I wasn't able to process it. I had never before experienced evil being displayed through official government channels. There had been corrupt individuals within the government I had encountered before, but never the systemic evil being worked against me.

After losing the children, that was probably the first area I had to process and adapt to. I realized they had no interest in the truth, but in a political victory in the case of the D.A., or by the child protective services attempting to save face once they realized they had been lied to. To the end the corrupt agency refused to stop pursuing the further and total destruction of myself and my family.

The problem with child protective services is they can wield an ungodly power that has few if any checks and balances. It's extremely difficult to survive a vicious attack from it - especially if you're a man.

I can't tell all the details because it would take a book to delve into all the variables, including an internal battle between people over the best way to handle these troubled children.

My caseworker, which had been removed from her job, believed unconventional people (especially Christians) who home schooled and offered a different lifestyle were prepared to have a more positive effect on these children.

Her removal was what opened the door for the lawsuit to be filed against us. Once she was out of the way, there was nothing to stop the persecution that followed. Okay, you get the general story.

How I battled my way out of it was to first focus on what remained of my family, which was my wife, son and daughter. We took them to a doctor to have a physical examination in order to show there had been no abuse with them. This in and of itself confirmed they really didn't believe the charges against us, because they would have never allowed our two biological children to remain in the home if they thought they were being abused.

After I secured their safety as far as remaining under our care, I had to start dealing with a plethora of legal and other issues.

We did a lot of praying together and bonding together as a family, as we lost my business and source of income. We had some money left, but most of that had to be spent on legal expenses to defend ourselves.

I came to the conclusion we were ruined, and were going to have to start from scratch in almost every area of our lives.

One thing I refused to do, and my wife was with me in it, is we wouldn't enter into a plea bargain, where we were asked to accept a three-year sentence, with about half of it being suspended. We said no, and instead faced up to ten years in prison if we were convicted.

It may look dismal, but in fact coming to a decision and taking a stand was empowering. We knew we were innocent of all charges, and we weren't going to allow them to get away with what they put us through by entering a guilty plea in hopes of some leniency; the primary purpose being to end the media coverage of the debacle, which was extensive.

Along with prayer and holding on to one another, we had to come to a place of peace with the help of God, putting everything into His hands. We did reach a place of peace and were ready to accept whatever came our way. This was also empowering, as they had lost all power over us that came from intimidation, and we were ready to do battle.

In the end, even our lawyer said we could have pursued the matter legally and put some of the people in jail that kept the pressure on, knowing we were innocent. There were even doctor's reports saying the children were in perfect health, and then in the middle of the report completing changing their opinion, with the obvious reason being someone had told them that's what they wanted them to do.

I became a much stronger man as a result of this ordeal, which spread over months. After losing the children, one of the harder things to learn to cope with was the wait. You have to put your life on hold and stand still with your lives. Nothing can go forward until the situation was dealt with and it came to a conclusion.

There are times when a man has nothing left but to trust in and cling to Jesus Christ to hold him up during times like these, as we must not only be strong for ourselves, but strong for our families. That's all I did, and I can take no credit for it.

In the end though, God proved He is stronger than one of the most powerful and potentially corrupt institutions in society, bringing us out of a place of defeat and despair to complete victory.

I decided we wouldn't legally pursue the people who did this to us because my family had been crushed so much, I determined it would be detrimental to them to stretch it out for another year or more. I let it go; one of the hardest things I had to do when I wanted to put the sword of justice on their necks and make them pay for what they did.

Since I'm prone to want to take those types of steps in protecting my family, that was something that was extremely difficult, but I didn't think of it as being emasculated, but rather taking care of my family, which had been crushed in every way a human being could be crushed.

It taught me God could take us through anything if we continue to hold onto and trust in Him, while understanding the depths of the evil and corruption that permeates this world, even at the judicial level. It opened my eyes in a way only something like this could do.

Fortunately, I'm not cynical, although I remain extremely cautious. I don't trust the legal system any more, and certainly don't trust those employed by it.

That said, because God has instituted it, I still abide by the general precept, although I'm more apt to resist authority when it represents that which opposes the revealed will of God in the Holy Scriptures.

If I had let my anger overcome me, I would have eventually lived a life of victim hood, eventually striking back in a way that probably would have resulted in be serving jail time. By the grace of God I didn't do that, and He allowed me and us to survive and learn many lessons to this day.

The bottom line for me is I had to focus on what was best for my family under these circumstances, and that meant letting it go and moving on with our lives. We could have went to war and won, but it probably would have been at the cost of some of us not surviving the struggle.

That's not to say this is how is will always or should work out, but there are times to make war and time to let things go. This was a time to let go. It went against my nature, which was to fight and destroy my enemies, but this time my decision was the right thing to do. It was the manly thing to do.

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Men and the Kingdom of God

"Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet." (l Corinthians 15:24-25).

Paul has declared by the revelation and power of the Holy Spirit in the scriptures, that Jesus Christ "must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet." It doesn't say "will reign," but it says "must reign."

This implies it's a requirement of the Father for Jesus to reign from heaven until He has "put down all rule and all authority and power." Faithful male followers of Jesus Christ will take the lead on this, as the way Jesus will take rule is through godly men taking action based upon the law, word and revelation of God revealed in the Bible.

What's interesting about this in my view and experience, is when men take the lead, godly women will follow them. Even though some women attempt to distort the order of God, it can't and won't be denied: men will take the lead and women will respond to that leadership.

But for that order to be manifest and made visible on the earth, Christian men in fact must take the lead. That means taking responsibility in our respective callings before God and man. Until we do, confusion will remain on the earth as the people of God flounder about because of the lack of male leadership.

Men have been made by God to face and conquer challenges, and it doesn't get any better than battling against the forces of darkness in a leadership role.

What this doesn't primarily or necessarily mean is we are to be in some type of official role in the church, such as pastor or teacher, among others. It could mean that, but it's far too limiting in scope to represent the full idea of God in regard to His kingdom.

Rather, it means in our individual lives, families, jobs, businesses, politics, and a plethora of other areas of life, we are to learn what God says about them in His word and apply them to our lives and the lives of those we have influence in. This is taking dominion.

Taking dominion isn't about lording it over people or bossing them around, it's about exercising authority in their lives by first, living it before them as an example, and second, teaching them how they can also do it. It doesn't get much more complicated than that, although there are a lot of variables to learn in different disciplines we may operate in. That means becoming experts in whatever area of life we choose to take dominion over outside of our own lives and that of our families.

When I say outside of our families, I mean we are to take dominion there, but there is more for men to do than that. It must start there, and we must guard our trust and take responsibility for our wives and children. From there we can then engage in taking dominion in other areas of life.

Take courage brothers. Don't be afraid, or let fear rule you. God has been pleased to give us the kingdom, which means we are given responsibility to rule and reign on earth according to what His word tells us to do it.

Throughout the entire Bible, we are given instruction on how to apply His word and laws in every area of life. It's up to us to take that and run with it, confident that we as men will lead His people to dominion under His Lordship and reign.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

One of the Great Writing Secrets - for Fiction or Non-Fiction

Undeserved Misfortune

There is a little known secret in the writing and creative world, which if understood and properly utilized, would take the popularity of your writing to an entirely new level. I'll call that secret "undeserved misfortune," although it could be described using a variety of phrases.

What's interesting about this is many authors don't know why it is a particular piece of writing is successful, so they just throw out some stuff to see if it'll stick.

Yet when you analyze a large number of books, or films for that matter, you'll find one of the key elements making it a success is negative things that happen to people that are no fault of their own. This creates an opportunity for a lot of secondary elements or characters which can be worked in around the reason for that misfortune.

Before we get into fiction, let's look at one of the secrets those promoting non-fiction books have known for some time - specifically in the self-help or inspirational category.

What is done in order to get a reader to relate is tell some of their background story of where they started from, and in many cases, how certain challenges came about. This sets the reader up to be shown what a person did to overcome the challenges they faced. The more the struggles are undeserved, the more the reader can relate to and identify with them, which provides the backdrop for the solutions. The bulk of the remainder of the book will show how the difficulties were resolved.

Without the before and after story and imagery, it's not as effective.

For fiction, it's only different because it's all creatively made up. Yet the effect is still the same, with the exception of the introduction of other elements into the story - such as humor and waiting for a hero to be revealed to help solve the problem.

What makes it work time after time in story after story is the redemption factor. Darth Vader in Star Wars is one of the more well-known characters, but you can easily identify hundreds more if you think about stories that have been highly successful.

Some of the undeserved misfortune can include disease, accidents, a variety of enemies (human or otherwise), or anything else which causes a person pain and struggle they.

I do want to interject here that the misfortune has to be undeserved. Someone that has brought it upon themselves and struggles with it, isn't as attractive to readers.

Think that through for a moment. While we can somewhat identify with someone that causes their own problems and are trying to work them out, it's those that aren't self-destructive or unwise in some way, which readers really identify with. You cheer them on to make it far more than those whose wounds are self-inflicted.

I believe the reason for that is a person, in the end, must save themselves if the cause is their own thinking and actions. Those who aren't the source of the problem, most of the time need someone to help get them out of the situation. This is a powerful attractant and tool to use to get other characters into the story.

There's a lot more to say about this, but the key is to start looking at this as the foundation of your fiction or non-fiction writing. It'll take it to another level and delight readers who want to find out how the misfortune was dealt with or solved.

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Lack of Punishment Creates Criminal Class

I'm a strong advocate of gun rights for citizens, based upon the fact there is evil in the world, and we all have a right to defend ourselves and our families.

That said, one of the reasons we see so much resistance to self-defense is the justice systems in America and other countries, have refused to deal with crime in the way the way God instructs us to in the holy scriptures, with the end result being a growing criminal class and increased crime.

The resistance comes from there being so many criminals engaging in crime, they have become a significant portion of the population. Either that, or those committing crimes are enabled by families believing they shouldn't have to be held accountable for what they have done, other than getting mild sentences, if any at all.

Only the most heinous crimes are treated seriously because of public pressure.

The moral laws of God as revealed to Moses and throughout the scriptures, remain in place, as do the accompanying penalties for those crimes, unless they are abrogated in the New Testament.

Because sin has become so rampant in the world and the church, and God has instituted punishments for those sins (breaking God's laws), many people have rejected them because they themselves, or someone they care about, have committed sins that require justice; in some cases including the death penalty.

Since punishment is weak or absent in many cases, people are trained to know they can get away with many things there are no consequences for. This encourages more sin and lawbreaking, which produces many victims.

While we are given permission by God to deal with criminals to the point of killing them if they are a threat, the scenario God wants in this world of sin is for those committing crimes to be dealt with in a way they are either forced to give restitution, or if they've committed a sin unto death to be executed.

Career criminals, even if it's a series of what some would call - petty crimes, are also required to be executed, according to the word and will of God.

Under those circumstances, there would be much fewer times people would have to defend themselves, because the criminal element would be largely eliminated from society.

To deal with this we need to once again teach our children and grandchildren the laws of God and the consequences of breaking them, while at the same time working to have them become part of our judicial system once again.

I believe that is what 2 Corinthians 10:5-6 means.

5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

6 And having in a readiness to revenge (punish) all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

We must come into a place of fulfilling our obedience to God, which means obeying His commands as revealed in the Bible. Once that is in place, we will be ready to punish all disobedience, because we will be walking in practical righteousness.

I see the point here being is we all tend to work in self-interests, so if we're walking in disobedience to God, we aren't going to call for punishments for sins as revealed in the scriptures. But as we walk in obedience we remove self interest because there is nothing we are doing we should be punished for.

If we don't commit to this, evil will continue to spread across the world, as those living in a lifestyle of sin will continue to grow in numbers, overwhelming the numbers of the righteous.

As the world is today, we'll continue to see a growing number of people having to engage in self defense because laws that are on the books aren't enforced, and many that should be there aren't even seriously considered appropriate because of the many people engaging in sins that, according to God, require punishment.

That means the criminal class will grow until we as Christians live in accordance with the commands of God, and put the laws of God and their punishments into our legal code.

For that reason we do need to have a plan of self defense in place, even while we work on our legal and judicial systems embracing the commands of God, as He requires.

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