Illegal immigration has become a controversial hot button issue in the United States today. Some argue that the immigration laws are unfair, unjust, and even discriminatory. Others claim that the lack of enforcement of immigration laws give individuals justification to immigrate here illegally.

Some Christian critics of illegal immigration often quote Romans 13:1–7 to justify massive deportation of illegal immigrants. Yes, God expects us to obey the laws of the government, but He also gives us an exception to this is whenever a law of the government forces us to disobey a command of God. (Acts 5:29) Yes, illegal immigration is the breaking of a governmental law, but does God give us an exception to this law?

Leviticus 19:33-34 states: “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”

And in Deuteronomy 10:18 we read: “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.”

Jesus himself said, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)

The vast majority of illegal immigrants in the United States have come for the purpose of having a better life, providing for their families, and escaping from poverty and violence.

Why should the immigrant or the “foreigner who resides among you” be such a concern to the Jewish and Christian faiths and what bearing does it have on the current immigration debate in our country?

God didn’t want the ancient Hebrews to forget where they had come from, or how they had gotten where they were. They had come from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. They knew what it was like to be exploited and taken advantage of. Now that they had land and wealth God didn’t want them to forget that that hadn’t always been the case.

Most Americans are the descendants of immigrants.
When European settlers arrived on the North American continent at the end of the fifteenth century, they encountered diverse Native American cultures—as many as 900,000 inhabitants with over 300 different languages. These indigenous people welcomed the new visitors with open arms and were willing to share the bounty of their land. But years later they were virtually destroyed by the subsequent immigration that created the United States. This tragedy is the direct result of ‘governmental laws’ enforced through broken treaties, warfare with the Native Americans, and of through forced assimilation.

For Native Americans, the world after 1492 marked the beginning of the long road of persecution and genocide of Native Americans. Genocide was an important cause of the decline for many tribes. By conservative estimates, the population of the United States prior to European contact was greater than 12 million. Four centuries later, the count was reduced by 95% to 237 thousand! The Removal Act of 1830 set into motion a series of events which led to the “Trail of Tears” in 1838, a forced march of the Cherokees, resulting in the destruction of most of the Cherokee population.

I must confess that until recently I was strongly opposed to allowing illegal immigrants into our country. But God has shown me that as Christians, we have to separate our attitude toward the act of entering the country illegally from our attitude toward the illegals themselves. The first obligation of a Christian is to express godliness in all our thoughts and deeds. There is no room for hatred toward those who come into the country, (Even when it’s done illegally) desperately seeking work, refuge from danger and persecution, or a better life for themselves and their families. We are to show Christian compassion toward those who would risk their lives in a dangerous, and often fatal, attempt to cross a border. Acts of hatred or violence toward illegal aliens is never to be considered or tolerated by those who profess to be followers of Jesus.

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Mat 25:37-40)

God has given us some wonderful laws that tell us what makes life work and what doesn’t. They are full of great wisdom and if practiced in our society today there would be much more peace, happiness and prosperity. Now these laws are often described in the Bible by three divisions.

Deuteronomy 7:11  describes these three divisions.  “Therefore you shall keep the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them.” This three-fold division of the laws of God is mentioned at least 10 times in the Bible.

So what’s the difference between the commandments, the statutes and the judgments? First of all, what are the commandments? Well, that’s an easy one for most of us. When Jesus told the rich young ruler to keep the commandments the young man asked Him which ones? Jesus quoted some of the Ten Commandments that God gave us in Exodus 20.

The Ten Commandments give the broad principles of how to obey God and show love to Him and to our neighbors. The statutes are secondary laws that go further and expand upon the commandments. Life is complex and so God, in His love and infinite wisdom, gave Israel further details and specifics as to how to show love for Him and others through the statutes.

Having said that, what’s the difference between statutes and judgments? Now, statutes are secondary laws that are made by lawmakers. Judgments, on the other hand, refer to judicial decisions made by a judge based upon the principles behind those laws to come up with a decision as to how best to apply those laws.

So how do we go about determining whether a law in the Old Testament is a statute or a judgment? Well, first of all, we need to understand why the particular law was made.

For our first example let’s look at a judgment from Deuteronomy 22:8 where we read, “When you build a new house, then you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring guilt of bloodshed on your household if anyone falls from it.” Why was this law given? Well, in ancient times people had flat roofs and people used to spend a fair bit of time on the top of their roofs for various reasons and so there was the danger of people falling off a roof. So a parapet was used as guard rails and to prevent people from falling off the roof. This was a basic safety law like so many of the safety laws that governments pass today.

The next question we have to ask is whether that law can be applied for all cultures for all time. Well, today very few people have flat roofs and putting a parapet on some of our steep roofs might pose more of a problem than not having one. And since the principle here is to preserve the health and safety of those who might venture onto the roof the principle cannot be applied to all roofs.

 
Let’s look at the laws that cover the sacrifices and offerings. In Jeremiah 7:22 God says “For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices.” We see that God didn’t originally give Israel these laws when they came out of Egypt. They’re not found in the book of Exodus but in the latter books written AFTER the time when they sinned by worshipping the golden calf.

The sacrifices and offerings were but types of the greater sacrifice of Christ to come. They taught Israel of the need for Christ’s sacrifice to come later on and, are no longer required because of Christ’s sacrifice. They were judgments made by God, because of their sins at Mount Sinai, to help impress on a carnal, rebellious people the need for a greater sacrifice to come.

We’ve looked at judgments. Now let’s look at a couple of statutes. A good example of a statute is the Holy Days. While many think that Christ’s sacrifice did away with the need to keep these “Jewish Holy Days” they are ignorant of the fact that the Holy Days teach us a lot about the great plan of God to harvest all souls and save all mankind. And by keeping the Holy Days we learn so much about God’s plan.

This principle behind these Holy Day laws can be applied for all people, for all time and are thus statutes. We read of Egypt having to keep the Feast of Tabernacles in the New Kingdom on earth in Zechariah 14. Leviticus 23:31 makes it clear that the Holy Days are statutes. About the Day of Atonement it says, “You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.”

The dietary laws can also be applied for all people, for all time. Most of the animals that are unclean in Leviticus 11 were designed by God to be scavengers and are not fit for human consumption. Christ’s sacrifice does nothing to change that basic fact of God’s creation. Thus, the dietary laws are statutes, as opposed to judgments.

The judges of Israel also made judgments on issues not specifically mentioned by God in the law. This is spoken of in Deuteronomy 17. In Deuteronomy 17:8-10 we read, “If a matter arises which is too hard for you to judge…you shall come to the priests, the Levites, and to the judge there in those days, and inquire of them; they shall pronounce upon you the sentence of judgment. You shall do according to the sentence which they pronounce upon you in that place which the LORD chooses. And you shall be careful to do according to all that they order you.”

They didn’t have to go to the judges if they felt that they could work out their problem. But if they felt the problem was too hard to work out they had the option to bring it to the judges and they would make a judgment based upon determining why the laws were made and applying those principles to the matter brought before them. As long as the judgments don’t directly violate the laws and the word of God, the Church has the power of judgment in ecclesiastical matters. In 1 Corinthians chapter 6 Paul chastised the Corinthians for going to unconverted judges of the world instead of the Church to decide upon matters between brethren.

Members don’t have to go to the ministry to sort out their problems with their brethren but if it is too hard to sort out Paul admonishes us to take it to the Church and abide by the decision rather than go to court against our brother. The obvious exceptions to this are over criminal matters and for civil matters that the church has no authority over, for example, finalizing a divorce.

One good example of a church judgment was when some churches made a judgment that drinking alcohol is a sin based upon 1 Corinthians 6:20 which says we are to glorify God in our body. They interpreted that every drink of alcohol (no matter how small) does us harm and that the body was not designed for taking in the dangerous chemicals that are in alcohol.

What does the Bible say about alcohol or wine? Is it a sin to drink? Jesus made some very interesting comments about the criticism leveled at him and John the Baptist related to their behavior and drinking habits. “For John came neither eating nor drinking (alcohol), and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ “(Matthew 11:16 – 19)

John’s Nazarite vow prevented him from having not only wine or alcohol but also grape juice. In fact, he couldn’t even eat any grapes! The primary location in the Scriptures that discusses the Nazarite vow and drinking is in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 6.

Jesus drank wine, but he did not sin; therefore, it is not wrong or bad if we do a little bit of drinking ourselves. In fact, Jesus’ own mother, Mary, asked her son to make more of it at the marriage feast in Cana. (see John chapter 2) He obeyed His mother even though his time to perform miracles had not yet arrived. He made more wine (And much better wine) than they could drink! Imbibing the ‘fruit of the vine’ is not a sin in the eyes of God. In fact, drinking wine is used as a representation that Christ died for our sins. ( See I Corinthians 11:23-26)

Some teach that “oinos” (Strong’s Concordance G3631) means non-alcoholic grape juice in the Bible; and that’s what Jesus and his disciples were drinking on Passover. This simply could not be the case, because what they were drinking represented his blood. The Greek word, ‘oinos’ is derived from the Hebrew word, ‘yayin’. (H3196) They are both described as fermented grape juice that could lead to intoxication. Wine is fermented grape juice which is active or “living” just as our blood. (See Lev. 17:11) The Apostle Paul did not think drinking alcoholic beverages was wrong. He tells Timothy, who was having stomach trouble, that he should drink some of it for his stomach’s sake. (See 1Timothy 5:23) The latest scientific findings show that taking a moderate amount of wine may be helpful for our heart and lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Of course, the Bible does condemn drunkenness. Paul’s letter to Titus states that a minister of God should not be given to drinking too much wine or be an alcoholic (Titus 1:7). Drunkenness is clearly not acceptable in God’s word. (1Timothy 3:8) Paul warns us a second time that we should not be taking in intoxicating drinks until we are drunk. (Ephesians 5:18) As long as we drink wine or alcohol in moderation the Bible states that it is good for us. But drunkenness is definitely a sin and should not to be a part of a Christian’s life.

The same questions about drinking wine could be asked about drinking beer or smoking cigarettes. The fact remains that moderation in all things is a Godly attribute. Smoking is obviously not healthy and the believer should try to quit, but what is there in this world that isn’t good for you? I love to go to fast food restaurants but don’t go very often because I know the menu carries high fat volumes in their foods. The fact is, there are no perfect Christians. The Apostle Paul said, “I have the right to do anything, you say—but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything—but not everything is constructive.” (1Cor. 10:23)

Jesus is more concerned with what comes out of our mouths than what goes into it saying in Matthew 15:11, “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” It is what comes out of our mouth (our words) that defiles believers, because it is by our words that our heart is revealed.

Now the Church is not perfect and so we have seen Christians hold different positions on the very same issues at different times. A couple of examples of this are church judgments on makeup and interracial marriage. Prohibitions that were made on these two issues were not based upon a specific statute in the Bible that forbid them but were judgments based upon principles which a certain church interpreted and then made a decision upon.

Orthodox Jews have another judgment that teaches not to eat dairy products and meat at the same time. This rabbinic rule came about through a misinterpretation of Exodus 23:19. “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God. Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.” (The same verse being repeated in Ex. 34:26 and Deut. 14:21) The proper understanding of this verse deals with the ancient Egyptian and Canaanite idolatrous fertility rite. The liquid milk was sprinkled over the fields by the pagans, after the fall harvest to ensure a bountiful harvest from their god or goddess, for next year.

Exodus 23:19 has nothing to do with eating meat and dairy products together. The Lord was declaring to His people that after the harvest season was over and when the pagan people around them would practice idolatry and witchcraft to insure a good harvest for themselves for the next year that they were not to imitate the pagans. Israel was instead to trust God for next year’s bountiful harvest.

We cannot find one Scripture where God commands that we abstain from eating dairy and meat together. Not one. The Rabbis have perverted the Scriptures when they declare that it is a sin to eat meat and dairy together. Biblically  there is no problem with eating meat and dairy together. We see that Abraham and the angels did it: “And he (Abraham) took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them (The angels) and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.” (Genesis 18:8)

The Bible gives us the proper definition of sin. It does not come from human beings or human opinions. Because human opinions can deviate from the Word of God; therefore a biblical definition of sin is accurate since it is a definition from God Himself.

In First John 3:4, the apostle gives us the proper definition of sin, “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.” This means that every human being has sinned and continues to sin. So we are all in big trouble since we all will continue to sin in this life. Jesus is the only human who never sinned. This is why Jesus made the perfect sacrifice because he was without blemish and the only perfect human that ever lived. His death reconciled humans to God. But only those who believe on him are the ones reconciled to God. (Acts16:30-31; Rom 5:10; 2Co 5:18)

For our final scripture let’s look at Ezekiel 36:16-27. He tells Ezekiel that after the end of this age He will restore all Israelites that He dispersed among the nations and says, “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will keep my judgments and do them.”

If we are to be the ones who will walk in these laws in God’s kingdom, then it behooves all of us to be good students and learn all we can about them now.

The Bible tells us many times that we must honor our parents. (Deut. 5:16; Gen. 18:19; Ex. 20:12; Matt. 15:14) At no point does it limit this command to parents who are honorable. God ordained parents to raise their children, teach them about God and His laws, (Psalm 78:5) and not to exasperate them. (Colossians 3:21) We all live in a fallen, sinful world, and many people live this out through their parenting. So how does this affect God’s command to honor our mother and father?

This dilemma weighs heavy on the hearts of many children of abusive parents. Certainly none of us wants to break God’s commandments, but the idea of rewarding abusers with honor seems completely contradictory to just about everything else written in the Bible, where evildoers are never honored, but are punished and suffer the consequences of their actions. (Galatians 6:7, Job 4:8)
The Hebrew word for honor in Exodus 20:12 is chabad. The Greek word for obey in Ephesians 6:2 is timao. Both calls for people to give their parents the respect and honor that is appropriate for them. It could be paraphrased to say, give parents the weight of authority that they deserve. Next to God, parents were to be highly valued, cared for, and respected.

How can we honor an abusive parent?

Our abusive parents would have us think it means letting them get away with murder, but this is already refuted in numerous Scriptures. Do they want us to believe that we have to obey them unquestioningly even if what they want is evil? I think we each need to find a definition of what “honoring” means that agrees with Scripture. To some, it might mean limited contact, an occasional card, or a brief visit. To others, it might mean letting your abusers live their lives in peace and be who they are, while you live your life in peace on the other side of the country.

It does NOT mean not calling the police and having your parents arrested for child abuse, molestation, neglect or any of the other crimes committed against many children of abusive parents.
Honoring your parents does not mean that you have to tolerate their abuse. Honoring does not mean that you never confront, or set limits on someone’s behavior. Even if you must divorce your parents and never see them again, it doesn’t mean that you’re dishonoring them. It just means that you accept that they are the way they are and that they’ll never change, which in truth is honoring them as people whose right it is to be everything they want to be; and that you still feel love for them, but you just can’t stick around for it anymore. Given the unfortunate reality of their innate hatefulness, you can still choose to set limits on them or have no contact with them, because they are destructive people. You can honor them by accepting them for who they are, not expecting change, and letting them live their own way in peace, but at the same time honor yourself and your own right to live in peace as well–Which means choosing NOT to be in their presence if they are intent on abusing you.

One of the best ways to honor someone is to help them be the very best person that they can be. The Bible gives us a few specific ways in which this applies to abusive parents:

Forgive: Matthew 18:21-22 tells us to forgive others. There is no exception for those who are abusive. Forgiving them does not absolve them of their sin in God’s eyes. It only keeps us empathetic toward them so we don’t harden ourselves against God. (Matthew 6:14-15) Some think that forgiveness means we must automatically reconcile with the one we have forgiven. The result of forgiveness may allow us to be open to reconciliation—but ONLY if the other person truly repents of their behavior. If someone broke into my house and killed one of my children, I would have to forgive them; but that doesn’t mean that I let them in so they can kill another child!
Pray: Matthew 5:44 is pretty clear: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Only the Holy Spirit can heal an abusive heart. Praying for an abusive parent with a right attitude could bring hope that he or she can come to know Christ, be changed and be the parent God designed them to be.

Love: Jesus exhorts us to love our enemies. (Matthew 5:43-48) 1 Corinthians 13 is often referred to as “The Love Chapter”. It tells us that “Love is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Some of these are extremely hard when dealing with an abusive parent. This is agape love; the love that we can only show if Jesus lives in us. He does not expect us to be able to do this on our own.

The Bible also gives us counsel on how to protect ourselves and our hearts from ungodly people—including abusive parents:

Don’t be unequally yoked: Second Corinthians 6:14 basically means that we are not to have very close relationships with unbelievers. This also applies if our Christian parents act like unbelievers. (Matthew 18:15-20) Our priority is always to God, and He does not want us unduly influenced by ungodly people.

Seek godly counsel: Ask God for wisdom. (James 1:5) Recruit the advice of mature believers. (Proverbs 15:22) Share your trials with others with the intent of receiving comfort and support–Not encouragement to become resentful. (Galatians 6:2)

Let God handle them: God’s command to honor even abusive parents does not in any way mean that we should not report the abuse of a child to the appropriate authorities. Civil authorities can be used by God to provide justice, protection, and healing. Reporting abuse is required of certain professionals and may serve to save the life of a child. But there may come a time when civil interaction is not possible. If so, the most loving thing to do may be to back away and let God handle things. Allowing a sinful person to reap his own rewards may be the most gracious course of action we can take.

These are hard steps to take. Many of them will require a great deal of spiritual maturity and a fair amount of emotional detachment. It is loving and honoring to take whatever action is necessary to prevent the sins of abuse and hateful feelings. Remember that it is God who works in us, (Philippians 2:13) and if we follow Him He will complete the necessary work to enable us to honor our abusive parent.

Many of us still love our abusers, but because it is not safe to be with them, we have learned to love them from a distance. The same is true of honoring. If your parents refuse to respect your boundaries and choose to continue mistreating you, then you can limit or end, if necessary, your time with them. We can “honor” them from a safe distance and still be obedient to God’s Word.

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4: 14-15)  “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8: 32)

As much as it is true that God is love, it is also true that God is justice and judgment. We may initially have a negative view of this quality, for it comes with the image of God high in the clouds, watching our every move and sending fire and brimstone to consume those who step out of line. In reality, justice is what makes it possible for there to be a sharp line between good and evil. It’s what makes the distinction real, for without it, the two will blur and become meaningless. Without justice, we will fail to even comprehend what goodness is.

For me, the hardest part of understanding God’s plan of salvation is simply this – why did Jesus have to die? For many years I have heard it explained that Jesus had to die in order to pay the price for my sin. But if I cry out to God to be forgiven of my sins, why can’t that simply be done and over with? Why did Jesus have to suffer and die? On the surface, it seems horribly unfair. Jesus was the most perfect person who ever lived, yet he suffered unimaginable pain and agony for my sins. Why did God allow this? Why not just make my sins vanish away?

God created all humans in His image. He is supposed to be perfect. But if that is the case, then why, when He created humans, did He create them imperfectly? — Because if they were perfect, they would not sin.
I do my best to teach my children right from wrong. I really truly do love my children, and if I could make them perfect, I would. But just like everyone else, my children have free will to choose to be holy or not. God doesn’t punish people and cause them anguish when they don’t act perfectly any more than you punish your imperfect children so that they will learn to act more perfectly.

God doesn’t send the ones He created into a post life hell of pain and agony just for being imperfect. Not only would it not have the same corrective effect; it would be like creating a rabid dog to have as a pet then kicking the dog into oblivion when it attempted to bite you. It just doesn’t make sense.

Imagine a virus that infected all the people in the world that would leave them delusional and unable to think clearly. (Much like Huntington’s disease or Alzheimer’s) Now imagine that that same virus genetically mutated and was passed on from generation to generation. But there was only one person in the whole world that was naturally immune to the virus. And his blood could be used as a vaccine. There was just one problem—in order to make the vaccine, this man had to die.

We had a virus called sin and Jesus was the only person who was naturally immune. That’s why he had to die in order for us to be saved. And dying for us was his CHOICE. (John 10:17-18) Jesus died in order to save us—out of love. He also chose to die in order to become even more powerful. After his resurrection Jesus was no longer confined to the finite limitations of a mortal body.

Things Jesus Did After The Resurrection:
We see Jesus appear to a sobbing Mary Magdalene in John 20:13-18. Mary did not recognize Jesus and mistook him for a caretaker. But with one simple word, “Mary”, and Mary’s eyes were opened to who was speaking to her and Jesus restored her faith and gave her hope.

Then in John 20:19-30 Jesus simply ‘appeared’ to the apostles who were hiding behind a locked door! Jesus “showed them his hands and side”, which had been pierced for their sin. Then we’re told that the apostles were “overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”

Again in Luke 24:13-32, we read that the disciples were talking with each other on their way to a village called Emmaus about everything that had happened since Jesus’ crucifixion. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they didn’t recognize who he was. Jesus then explained to his disciples what was written in the Scriptures concerning the Messiah. As they approached Emmaus, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But the men urged him to stay with them because it was almost evening. Jesus agreed to stay and when he broke bread and gave it to them, their eyes were opened and they suddenly recognized him! At that very moment Jesus disappeared from their sight! Verse 32 says that the disciples’ “hearts burned” as Jesus “opened the Scriptures” to them.

Jesus presented himself to his followers many times and gave many convincing proofs that he was in fact, alive! He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. In Acts 1:2-11 we find Jesus giving the apostles commandments and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. In verse 9 we read that, “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.” But before being taken up he said, “John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

His disciples thought that this was when Jesus was going to restore the kingdom to Israel. But Jesus told them that that time was none of their business and told them, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Jesus lived, died and was resurrected as an example for us and to let us know what we have to look forward to. At our own resurrection just like Jesus, we will no longer be confined to our finite mortal bodies! Every follower of Messiah should be rejoicing in this!

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1Cor. 15:51-58)

After anxiously waiting for many years, my good friend Vicki Lynn has finally released her CD, Hannah’s Prayer. It was definitely worth the wait!

God has blessed Vicki with an amazing gift of being able to use her beautiful voice to bring healing to her listeners. It is most prevalent in her song, ‘Healer of Your Heart’…a song that tells us that even through disappointment and loss we can experience redemption and true peace through trusting in a loving God.

I have known Vicki and her husband Gary for many years and I have witnessed their struggles as they passed through the crucible of testings and trials. That is what makes this CD so authentic. Vicki sings from real experiences of struggles on her songs, ‘Misunderstood’…‘Cryin’ In The Night’ and ‘Pieces of my Heart’. But she also sings of victories in her songs…’Run And Not Get Tired’…’The Battle Is Mine’ and ‘You’re Strongest In Me.’

From her inspiring song…’You Are The One’ to her bluesy folk song…’Come On Children’ Vicki proves to be a true minister of music and not just another pretty voice. Vicki’s songs will inspire those who have struggled to hold onto their dreams and at times even felt like giving up. For anyone who is struggling with their Christian faith I highly recommend getting a copy of Hannah’s Prayer. I believe it will inspire you to keep trusting God to fulfill your dreams.

Vicki’s CD is available at:  http://www.sodhouserecords.com/vickilynn/

Or direct from Vicki on Face Book at: https://www.facebook.com/vickilynnw

Many Christians are up in arms over Jars of Clay front man, Dan Haseltine’s comments on gay marriage. If Dan was directing his comments to believers I would probably agree with his very outspoken critics. But I believe in the context of his comments that he was speaking more to unbelievers. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/25/jars-of-clay-gay-marriage_n_5214742.html

Using Scripture against same-sex marriage is perhaps the most misplaced argument that I’ve heard during this heated debate. People who believe in Biblical morals have every right to use their beliefs to influence what goes on INSIDE their churches. However, according to the Apostle Paul it should stop there.

“But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.” (1 Corinthians 5:11-13)

If Scripture and God’s moral law for believers was the primary force driving secular law, divorce and adultery would be illegal and criminally prosecuted. It’s a very paper-thin argument and that is why it is not taken seriously among the courts or most state authorities.

…So how about lightening up on our brother.

“If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked.” – Proverbs 29:12

According to the AMA’s code of medical ethics, “Physicians have an obligation to assure the disclosure of medically appropriate treatment alternatives, regardless of cost.”

And yet America’s disabled veterans have been victimized by a corrupt claims agency within the Department of Veterans Affairs, with a well-documented history of falsifying evidence and shredding documents submitted by veterans in support of their claims in order to cheat America’s disabled veterans out of the benefits they EARNED.

Recently, Phoenix VA Director Sharon Helman, who has been accused of running the VA’s hospital with a double secret waiting list, received a $9,345 annual bonus for 2013, despite possibly being responsible for the death of 40 veterans who died waiting for doctors’ appointments! This is exactly the same sort of Bizarro-World performance evaluation system that got VISN 4 Director Michael Moreland a $63,000 bonus just days before the VA Pittsburgh announced a deadly Legionnaires ‘disease outbreak in November 2012!  http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/4847570-74/bonus-moreland-veterans#axzz306pVtfBa

Doctor Sam Foote exposed the ‘secret waiting’ list at the Phoenix VA medical center. Doctor Foote is now retired, but he worked at the VA medical center for 24 years. Foote says he became suspicious in December of 2012. “We had thirteen thousand patients that we did not have primary care providers for, and we had over a year waiting list,” said Foote.

Dr. Foote told FOX 10 News that after a meeting with clinic directors and the head of primary care in 2012 it was decided that the VA doctors would pick up 67 new patients. “So by mid-January my clinic had pretty much finished our work ahead of everyone else. I said well, do you have any more patients for us? And he said no and that made no sense.”

Foote says the secret waiting list began in February of 2013 and that if they were on that list there was no record that the new patient ever came to the medical center. He explained how this was done: “You would come in and they’d register you in the computer, (or so you thought) and rather than hit save they would hit print and do a screen capture. Then they would not enter your data in the computer. They would take the paper up to health administrative services and then they would put it on a secret paper list at that time, and then shred the screen capture shot.”

Last week the VA’s medical director Sharon Helman told fox 10 News, “I have never directed staff to do a secret waiting list.” But Doctor Foote believes Sharon Helman is using a play on words. “She didn’t say she didn’t know about it and didn’t agree with it.” Said Foote. He believes that director Helman lied about wait times so that she could get a bonus. He’s asking anyone who may have lost a relative due to the wait times to contact him at sfootemd@gmail.com

http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/story/25337334/2014/04/25/va-whistle-blower-speaks-out-about-secret-waiting-list#ixzz2zxE9l0u8

Corruption in government is nothing new. It has existed since the first king sat on his throne. But it should infuriate us to think that those who have put themselves in harm’s way in order to faithfully serve our country and protect us from our enemies have been treated so badly by corrupt officials and politicians for so long:

A “Primetime Thursday” investigation in 2004 by Diane Sawyer uncovered disturbing information by hidden cameras about the quality of care and questionable management practices at some VA hospitals, including misdiagnosis. One patient, Terry Soles, who served in the Navy during the war in Vietnam, went to a V.A. hospital for two years complaining of intense abdominal pain and diarrhea. His wife finally took him to a private doctor, who diagnosed him with cancer. Soles died three days later.

Two years after a report regarding incompetent VA staff, US Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the VA was still doing a poor job of checking health care providers’ backgrounds. At least 63 cases of malpractice were found between 1997 and 2002 that resulted because of the failure of a supervisor to oversee residents. These cases included misdiagnosis, surgical and medication errors, and inadequate care.

In November 2008, the VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia sent a letter to more than 1,200 patients who were treated for ear, nose and throat, warning them they may have been exposed to infections.
Following a December 2008 investigation at the VA clinic in Murfreesboro, TN, officials discovered that clinic workers were not properly maintaining the medical equipment used to conduct colonoscopies. More than 6,000 patients were notified and offered free testing.

In March 2009 VA officials announced that veterans in South Florida may have been exposed to Hepatitis and HIV after being examined with contaminated medical equipment. According to reports, more than 3,200 veterans who received colonoscopies at the Miami VA medical clinic between May 2004 and March 12, 2009 are at risk of exposure to both Hepatitis and HIV.

So what can veterans do?
Filing a veterans’ medical malpractice claim under the FTCA is complicated and typically requires help from VA medical malpractice lawyers who understand the requirements for filing medical negligence lawsuits. For instance, before you sue, an administrative claim has to be made against the VA for the full amount of damages you have suffered, and that is difficult and risky to determine. Once you have filed your administrative claim, you won’t be able to ask for more damages—EVER AGAIN–unless you have evidence that proves additional damages are warranted and you didn’t have knowledge of them prior to filing your claim. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help determine how much in damages you are entitled to receive and will make sure you don’t “short change” yourself. Of course, a VA medical malpractice lawyer sometimes works FOR the VA.

After your administrative claim is filed with the FTCA, the VA is entitled to six months for investigation and review of your claim. The VA can then do the following:
• Accept the claim and pay it out in full
• Settle the claim for less
• Reject the claim outright.

If your claim is rejected, your next step is to file a lawsuit in federal court. If the VA does nothing within six months, this means that your claim has been rejected. You can sue in federal court under the FTCA, which allows you to file a lawsuit within 2 years of discovering your injury and what caused it. But keep in mind that this time frame includes the 6-month time period needed to file and complete your administrative claim. It is imperative that you meet these legal deadlines; if not, you may lose your claim forever! A veterans’ lawyer experienced in VA medical malpractice can help to protect your claim and possible recovery.

Our system of government was designed to serve and protect its people. But over the years it has become more and more corrupt. The Bible is very clear regarding corrupt governmental leaders: Proverbs 16:10 says, “The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth should not betray justice.” Proverbs 17:7 says, “Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool — how much worse lying lips to a ruler!” Proverbs 28:3 says, “A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.” Proverbs 28:16 says, “A tyrannical ruler lacks judgment, but he who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long life.” And Proverbs 29:4 says, “By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.”

Please pray with me that soon God will intervene so that His justice will be given to our brave men and women who have given up so much to serve our country.

Because if our military goes down then we will all go down!