Monday, September 1, 2014

Bullies


 When a 6’ boy bullied my 5’ 7” blond daughter in high school, I told her to kill the bully with kindness. That didn’t work. Then I told her to ignore him. That didn’t work. Finally she beat the bully up! He never lost his fear of her. When he saw her picture on her dad’s desk at his work several years after they had finished high school, he jumped back like he had been socked in the gut. He was very respectful. Sometimes we have to stand up to a bully.

My family are all pacifists.  My mother insisted that she was a door mat all of her life.  My older brother endured teasing.  One time, when we lived in Burbank, CA, the neighbor kids chained him to our weeping willow tree in our backyard.  He was fine with it.  He had at least gotten some attention.  Meanwhile I tried to distract the kids from picking on my brother by teaching them to climb up a tree next to our white-sided garage to stand on the asphalt roof. 

Several years later, when we were living in Alaska, my brother was chased and harassed every day after school by a neighbor girl.  My parents either weren’t aware of the constant bullying or they didn’t know what to do about it.  When my next to the youngest brother was born, and my mom was in the hospital, my aunt was caring for us.  She was appalled that my brother was gasping for air and almost having an asthmatic attack when he came home from school.  She asked him why he had been running so hard.  He told her about the neighbor girl.  She instructed him that he should wash the girl’s face in snow if she did it again.  He did as she instructed.   The girl never bullied him again but my parents were called to the school principal’s office for a lecture about boys picking on girls.  My mom was angry with my aunt for teaching my bother such a thing.

My sister, youngest brother, and I managed to remain below the radar while growing up.   I don’t remember any of the three of us being picked on.  But my next to the youngest brother had a classmate punching him in the arm every day and causing bruises.  By this time I was teaching first grade and had come to the realization that our family was unusual.  We were compliant in school, and didn’t pick on people, but I had learned that the majority of kids are strong willed.  Almost all children will try to get away with whatever they can.  Reading and writing and arithmetic taught to the tune of the hickory stick should be the theme in school.  Tough love is the way to help children to learn.

Because of my recent experience with six year olds I figured that the boy slugging my bother just wanted to get his attention.  I advised my mother to tell him to slug the boy back.  I never heard anything more about the situation.  (Maybe my mom didn’t like my advice!)

So should one stand up to a bully with appeasement or with force?  I think it depends on the circumstances.  When the United States fought the Nazi’s, Japan, and Italy, during World War II, we came together and focused on the goal of completely annihilating the enemy.  We used every weapon available to us. Now the United States is being bullied by Russia, by terrorists,  by China, by North Korea, and our ally Israel is being bullied by Hamas.  Either our elected officials do not know how to stand up to a bully, or they choose not to stand up to them, or there is some other reason.

 God can turn the heart of the king in any direction He pleases.  We must cry out to God for help for our leaders.  But most of all we must beseech God for the salvation of our leaders around the world.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

World Terror


The attack was brutal.  The lashes, beating, and stabbing painful.  And this was done to me with the tongue.  Once again I had been attacked for my Christian faith.  “Jaws” had taken a bite out of my heart.  All that I called holy –like Jesus, His commandments, His people, and His love—were put down with violent words.  How could I count it all joy?  Once again my mascara had been smeared on my bedsheets from all my tears.  I told the Lord I couldn’t bear it any more.  I asked for a way of escape.  The Lord did give me a way of escape.  I moved 3000 miles away from the person who so cruelly abused me.

But now the Christians in the Middle East and Africa are experiencing more than tongue-lashing.  They are experiencing actual physical cruelty, abuse, and murder for their Christian faith.  They are in shock, traumatized, killed, and maimed.  I pray and will petition those in power in the United States for the defense of these Christians.  It is once again genocide that is happening in our world.  Here is a you tube of a CNN report: 

The German government, under Hitler, committed frenzied genocide against Jews and others. Italy and Japan also attacked the Allies. Finally the United States took on Hitler, Italy, and Japan.

The Communists madly killed Christians, political dissidents, and others.  Over 100,000 were killed.  The people began praying.  With prayer, civil disobedience, and President Reagan steadfastly calling the Russian’s bluff, Communism was brought down.

In Rwanda the Hutus fanatically murdered the Tutsi’s.  The U.N. left the country.  There was no help.

Now we have Christians being cleansed from the Middle East and Africa by radical Islamist terrorists. What will the United States do?  Will the terrorists attack the U.S. again?

Christians must pray without ceasing and petition those in power in the U.S. to help these Christians.  This cannot go on under the watch of our Lord and the watch of those who value freedom.  If the terrorists were converted to Christianity the terror would cease, but meanwhile the force and God given power of all who will stand for righteousness and justice must stop them.

I have learned how to count it all joy.  Because of the persecution against me I have studied the Bible more, prayed more, and my faith has grown more.  In the end the person harassing me surrendered to Jesus, is now in heaven, and was changed into a likeness of Him.



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sometimes People Hate You Because of the Color of Your Skin

Our son playing percussion for his Brazillian Band leader.

Chris had just graduated with honors from microwave electronics school at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.  He had been hired at an electronics firm in San Jose, CA.  I wanted an apartment, which had a washer and dryer hook up, and also would allow kids, and animals.  We found a place in an all black apartment building in San Jose.  As we moved in, some of the people rolled their eyes and looked like they were thinking, “There goes the neighborhood.” Shortly after the move someone stole our four year old son’s tricycle, trashed it, and threw it in the dumpster.  Someone spit on our door.  Someone tried to break in to our apartment.  We borrowed a motion sensor burglar alarm but had to low crawl around the apartment because we kept setting it off.  After three months we decided to move to an all white apartment complex in Redwood City, thirty miles from San Jose. 

We had enjoyed attending San Jose Covenant Church but would have to leave that church, where several of the women had befriended me. Because of this move Chris would have to commute in our ancient Ford, our only car.  I would have to get a job to pay the rent on a more expensive apartment.  There was no washer and dryer hook up.  The apartment did not allow animals.  We left our dog and cat at my parent’s house several miles away.  They were out of town but my youngest brother was living there.  He kindly took care of our animals for us.  I walked to the nearest church and inquired about a job within walking distance of our apartment.  I was told that a church seventeen blocks away needed a secretary.  I walked to the second church and was hired.  Each day I walked our four year old to a babysitter and then walked to the church for the thirty-two hour a week job.  The salary was just enough to pay the rent. 

On Sundays, after services at Peninsula Covenant Church, I managed to put a chicken and some vegetables in a crock-pot for dinner, but during the week we ate TV dinners, as I was in too much pain, because of the flare up of my fibromyalgia, to do more.  Cooking and grocery shopping added more pain.  Any type of exercise caused a toxic build up of lactic acid in my muscles.   A chiropractor was recommended to me but he was not able to help me.  Finally, because I couldn’t sleep, my pain escalated. I told the Lord that I would have to quit my job, as I couldn’t stand the pain.  We had just paid the rent for one month and would have to move out at the end of the month. I made plans to live in our car.

Meanwhile, Chris, present at his air guard drill one week- end a month,  decided to teach the new recruits the electronics that they would need when they arrived at the same school he had just finished.  One of the other team chiefs was impressed with his ability to solve math problems.  (Chris had even found a mistake in a textbook they were using.) As a result of his efforts his fellow NOMCOM (non-commissioned officer) asked him for his resume to give to someone he knew at Hewlett Packard in Santa Rosa, CA.  In one month Chris was interviewed on the phone, (I also had a phone interview with his potential boss), we traveled to Santa Rosa where he was interviewed by multiple people, he was hired, and Hewlett Packard moved all of our 1000 lbs. of household goods to a house in Rohnert Park.  We once again had a washer and dryer hook up, and were able to have our kids, and animals with us.


I could continue on with our story and how God helped us, but all I wanted to say in this blog was that I experienced hatred because of the color of my skin.  But that hatred was only for three months.  I can't imagine that people could live with that hatred all of their lives.  We had a lovely Christian Liberian women who attended our church. When she first moved to the United States she lived in New Mexico.  When she went to church a woman said to her, "Why are you at this church?" She implied that this young lady wasn't welcome at their church.  I hope and pray that the people of the United States will love one another and especially that Christians will love one another. I will never hate anyone, by God’s grace, and especially not for the color of his or her skin!

I decided to add this comment made by a Pastor which was posted on Thabiti Anyabwile's blog.  I thought it was very good:

1.            C. Hernandez says:
August 20, 2014 at 10:17 amI have stayed out of the conversation being a young Hispanic male, but I see Thabiti as inserted brown skinned people into the discussion, so if I may say something being a brown skinned individual. First I do not dare to put myself in the place of African Americans in this country, the history speaks for itself, and I can not speak as if I feel what they feel when the thoughts of our countries history of injustice to their race comes to mind. But being a brown skinned individual raised in the inner city of Dallas, TX I know firsthand the effects of racial profiling. I myself have been put in handcuffs twice for mistaken identity. I have been pushed, cussed at, and followed home countless times. My dad told me stories of my grandfather not being able to go into diners to eat with his fellow “white” bowling team mates. He was made to eat outside the establishment for being Mexican, though he was born in the U.S.
As you can see I have plenty of reasons to be angry, cynical and suspicious of our criminal justice system, and for a large portion of my life I was. It wasn’t until 2 things happened in my life that I started to see things differently. First, the gospel, When I embraced the message of the cross and the gospel I saw the harsh reality of sin, what sin does to fallen individuals, and what fallen individuals are capable of. When I saw things through the lens of the gospel nothing surprised me not even the sin of racism. Second, education. As I began to educate myself and believe that with hard work I can go down a different path than most of my peers I started to get promoted into different social environments. As i began to meet other people, “white” people to be specific, I began to see that the perception I had towards them growing up in the inner city wasn’t all true. I met many who did care, who did love and who were willing to be friend those of other races. The question then became was I ready? Was I ready to reach out, was I ready to befriend other races? See, i grew up in a neighborhood 90 percent Hispanic and had no white friends growing up. I remember begging my dad not to send me to a mixed school, yes i loved my race that much. The problem in the way of racial harmony in my life had nothing to do with outsiders but with me. This young, angry, kid from the inner city had a lot to overcome.
So now I read blogs like these, and agree the evangelic community needs to be more involved, but my question is why now? Where was this passion before this incident at Ferguson? I pastor a small church in the inner city, and still deal with these realities every day. The problem I’m fighting is not the unfair criminal justice system, or “white privilege” as pastor Matt Chandler tweeted. The problem is fatherless homes, and confronting young men and women with the truth of the gospel. I deal with men coming out of jail, men that can’t get a job because of their criminal history. My advice to them is not “get down for the cause” or “yeah i know its unfair”. I let them know the realities of their consequences and exhort them to lead their homes and show their children a different way.
I see a lot of pastors tweeting and blogging about injustice, oppression, and so forth and see no help in that. If i was still that young angry kid, seeing that would embolden me with anger even more. It is much easier to tweet, blog, protest, be vocal, and even weep than come to these streets, give out school supplies, get your hands dirty, serve some hot dogs, lay hands, and pray with these young, men and women that are really hurting. Yes people are angry, yes people are hurting, but adding to the false narrative that the actions of few rogue, undisciplined, even racist police officers make the whole system unjust is absurd. The numbers don’t back up your claim. In fact, if you look at the statistics of interracial violence in this country your claim has no ground to stand on. Our brown and black brothers are not being killed and hurt by those on the outside, we are hurting each other from within. Where is the passion to come and confront this? Confront the dope dealers, confront the hustlers, confront the rappers that glorify violence, confront the fathers who abandon their children? These are the real enemies to our communities. I read that minority parents are scared of raising boys in an America that is unkind to them. I have 2 boys of my own, my fear is not an unkind America, my fear is them being recruited by a gang in the neighborhood, or taking the bait of easy money selling drugs. This is what I will fight, the enemy from within, I will fight it on my knees, I will fight it with devotion, and I will fight it by fathering.
I am no way saying to look the other way. I still deal with the occasional follow home by police, the extra attention in stores, and the dirty looks when I’m in a nice neighborhood. I can either choose to get angry, champion a cause, and vilify an entire race, or I can see the sin of racial profiling and racism for what it is, people of all walks are in desperate need of the gospel. That cop, that racist business man, that lost prevention security, we are all in the same boat. We are all infected by the disease of sin, and it can get ugly. My answer is not anger, its not championing a cause, my answer is prayer and action. Pray that God removes that heart of stone, that heart of racism, that heart of fear. Get active, get active with these kids, show them a better way, tell them the hard truths, be confrontational, become actively involved in my community and show them another way, the way of the cross.
I love the passion, I love the willingness to act, and the calling on all to get involved. The problem in your narrative is calling people to get involved in the wrong thing.









Monday, August 18, 2014

If ya' ain't got Jesus then ya' ain't got nuttin buddy!


God is patient with me and so I pray and ask God to help me to be patient with others.  I know that God isn’t finished with His molding and shaping me and I realize that He is not finished with my brothers and sisters in the Lord.  But the media, politics, or Satan has led some Christians astray.  I will be guilty before God if I don’t tell them the truth.  That is why I am writing this blog on who the scripture tells us is and is not a brother or sister in the faith.  This week Denny Burk wrote this blog: http://www.dennyburk.com/who-are-my-brothers-and-sisters/.  Because of his blog I decided to write one of my own.

There is a different spirit in the “social justice Christians.”  You may ask what do I mean by “social justice Christians?”  They are those who say they believe in Jesus but believe food, clothing, and shelter for the poor are more important than the killing of millions of babies in the womb, supporting the immorality of homosexuality, distancing ourselves from Israel, as well as saying that it is the military that causes terrorists to attack us.  I do not hear God’s voice when I listen or read what these types of people say or write.  I cannot relate to their way of thinking.  Malcolm Muggeridge would call their worldview “The Great Liberal Death Wish.”

But in this blog I will discuss the problem of homosexuality.   We are told in I Corinthians 6:9-10 that homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 

 Then in Romans 1: 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

We are also told in Hebrews 10:26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY." And again, "THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE." 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

So what I am saying here is that our brothers and sisters in the Lord will not support homosexuality.  Those who support it are not our brother or sister in the Lord.

If we do befriend a non- Christian homosexual we must love them enough to pray that they will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus.  We will pray that God will turn their eyes from darkness to light from the power of Satan to the power of God.  We do not hold them accountable for their behavior until they dedicate their lives to Jesus.  Then we must tell them the truth.  Following and obeying Jesus is not easy.  Everyone must choose if he will follow Jesus or the evil one.  The time is short.  Jesus will be coming back soon and then it will be too late to make a choice.