In the “Parable of the Prodigal Son” found in Luke 15:11-32, Jesus tells the story of a man who has two sons. The younger son tells his father to give him his portion of the family estate as an early inheritance.

Typically, a son would receive his inheritance at the time of his father’s death. The fact that the younger brother demanded his early division of the family estate showed a rebellious and proud disregard for his father’s authority, not to mention a selfish and immature attitude.

Once the son receives his inheritance, he promptly sets off on a long journey to a distant land and begins to waste his inheritance on wild living. But after the money runs out, a severe famine hits the country and the son suddenly finds himself in dire circumstances. Times get so hard that he even takes a job feeding pigs. He is so destitute that he even longs to eat the food assigned to the pigs. Pigs are unclean animals; so when this son took a job feeding pigs, (Even wanting to eat the garbage he was feeding them) it reveals that he had fallen as low as he could possibly go.

The young man finally comes to his senses, remembering his father and all that he had there. In humility, he recognizes his foolishness and decides to return to his father and ask for forgiveness and mercy, hoping to only become his father’s servant.

Unknown to this son, his father had been patiently praying, watching and waiting for his son’s return home. The father is so overjoyed by the return of his lost son that he receives him back with open arms of compassion. Immediately the father turns to his servants and asks them to prepare a grand celebration feast in honor of this son.

Meanwhile, the older son is not one bit happy when he comes in from a hard day of working in the fields to discover a party going on to celebrate his younger brother’s return. The father tries to dissuade the older brother from his jealous anger explaining, “You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.”

To most of us, it’s easy to view ourselves as the prodigal son. We all know enough about loss, about decisions made that led to a trail of ruin and heartache. We know what it’s like to wake up one day and realize that we have wandered far from God, how we’ve wasted our lives and what it’s like to feel lost and unable to be found. Yearning for God’s love, we replayed our life over and over in our heads thinking: “Where did I go wrong?” And like the younger son, we hope beyond hope for another chance to get it right—Another chance to start again.

This is one of Jesus’ longest parables. And because Jesus doesn’t explain the parables’ meaning, the parable lends itself to many interpretations. Many sermons have been preached on how the older brother represents legalistic Christians who have lost the love of God and the joy of serving Him.

But I must confess that I sometimes relate more to the older brother in the story. I have watched other Christians squander what God has blessed them with as they flippantly live and speak as if they belong to the world.

Most of my Christian life I have only wanted to use my talents to serve God. Not to gain favor with God or become popular within Christian circles, but because I truly love Him so much that I want to do all I can to serve only Him. But more times than not, I have not been allowed the opportunity to do that. So when I see half-hearted Christians being blessed so much, like the older brother, I sometimes feel cheated too. But I’m still learning and growing, so try not to be too hard on me.

Most Christians would not admit to relating to the older brother. But I think if the truth were told, our churches are full of older brothers. That’s why we need to get to a new level of repentance, a new level of renewal. We need to repent of trying to get control of God. We need to re-examine the reasons for our wanting to do good. Otherwise there will be no renewal.

The older brother reacted the way many of us react when we feel cheated by God. (Myself included) When the reality is that if we have truly repented and been saved by God through Jesus, how can we even think we have been cheated? We have everything we could ever hope for–eternal life with our heavenly Father.

The father in the parable represents our Heavenly Father. God waits patiently, with loving compassion to restore us when we return to him with humble hearts. He offers us everything in his kingdom, restoring a full relationship with joyful celebration. He doesn’t even dwell on our past waywardness.

The older brother in the parable should have welcomed his younger brother back with open arms just like his father did—even though it cost him half of his inheritance. That’s the kind of love God desires us to have for others.

It is not up to us to decide who receives God’s blessings because he blesses those he chooses to. (Romans 9:18) So I will put away my jealousy and take my seat at my father’s table—Next to my younger brother!

At one point or another in our lives we all experience discouragement and doubt. Sometimes it seems that even God has left us to fend for ourselves. This is especially true when tragedy comes into our lives and leaves us broken in despair.

Brokenness is being felt and lived out in people’s lives all over the world—In fact, we are all broken. That’s why God sent his son to live in a frail body like our own and die a cruel death—so that he could relate to our own pain and discouragement. But God went a step further and resurrected his son to show us that this life on earth is not the end!

I recently began working on a devotional for all who are discouraged with this life to give them hope to carry on until the Lord calls us home.

I hope to have the devotional finished by this summer. Below are excerpts from the devotional. I would appreciate your prayers in this work.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

There are very few people who will associate with those who are broken and  despondent, but God chooses to abide with them until he has healed them. He himself lays on the ointment of grace, and wraps us in the soft gauze of love, and thus binds up the bleeding wounds of those convinced that they are broken beyond repair. This is the compassion of God. The Lord is always healing and binding. This is nothing new to him; for he has done it since the ancient times. And it is not a thing of the past of which he grew tired of. Just as he did in the days of Elijah; just as he did for Job; and just as he did through the apostles, he will do for us as well.  So come, you who are broken! Come to the Great Physician who never fails to heal! Open your wounds to him so he can tenderly bind them up!

“The base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen…” (1 Corinthians 1:28)

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. Romans 11:15

So many of us feel as if we don’t belong; that we don’t fit in anywhere. If something is broken, we generally discard it. However, God uses broken things to accomplish his purposes. Sometimes the trials and tragedies that we’ve endured have left us feeling discouraged and less than whole. Years ago I worked in the flooring industry. When carpet layers had leftover carpet from a job, they would bring it back to the store and it would be sold as a remnant at a reduced price because it could not be used on the job. A remnant is something that was once part of a whole but was cut off as unusable. But the apostle says that that is exactly who God is looking for! The ones that others view as unusable—the ones who feel that they are too despised; too broken to be used of God. But the truth is, we should rejoice in our brokenness, because that is when God will use us.

About 40 million children worldwide suffer abuse every year, with more than 1,500 children dying of abuse in the United States annually.

Often the adults who are designed to protect children refuse to take action because they don’t want to get involved or because the perpetrator is a family member and they fear that doing so will split up the family unit.

Even when a perpetrator of sexual child abuse is convicted, they are often only given probation and required to register as a sex offender for no more than 15 years.

Currently, the Nebraska Sex Offender Registration Law (SOR) does not have any restrictions on registered sex offenders. The SOR law can only mandate that the offender register his or her required information under statutes 29-4004 and 29-4006 at the sheriff’s office within the required time.

It is left up to the judges discretion to prevent an offender from attending certain events or restricting an offender from entering certain facilities where vulnerable children are present. But more often judges will only restrict an offender from living near a daycare center and refrain from using drugs and alcohol. Some offenders are even allowed to live with their own children who are also at risk of being abused.

The greatest myth about the SOR law

I started a petition at https://www.change.org/p/pete-ricketts-change-nebraska-sex-offender-registration-law  to change the SOR law in Nebraska. Sadly, very few people have signed it.

Many opponents of the SOR law claim that the law unfairly targets those who urinate in public as sex offenders. This is one of the biggest sex offender myths propagated by registry opponents. There are only 13 states that could possibly have convicted people of being a sex offender for urinating in public. However, these states do have laws against exposing one’s genitalia to the view of a minor or another person who may be offended. So If you are peeing into a bush and no one can see your genitalia, there is no crime and no requirement for registration. There is not a single state that requires registration for urinating in public. Even if those convicted of urinating in public were charged as sex offenders, this would only account for less than 0.1% of all offenders.

America’s long history of child abuse

Laws regarding “cruelty” were first created for the humane treatment of animals on February 8, 1866. It was not until many years later that children were granted that same consideration. (http://www.childenrichment.org/education/child-abuse-history)

Child labors laws were enacted in 1906, but did not provide protection from other forms of child abuse. Without laws specific to child maltreatment, severely abused children would fall under the animal welfare laws as a member of the animal kingdom. It was not until the 1968, after the book “The Battered Child” was published (authors Dr. C. Henry Kempe and Ray E. Helfer), did Americans acknowledge that parents and caregivers truly could and did physically harm their children.

Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.” (Luke 18:16)

Most of us, when threatened or attacked, will contact law enforcement and report it as a crime. But children often won’t tell you straight out that something has happened to them, because either they’ve been threatened, or they may feel ashamed and they may not feel comfortable talking to you about it. So it’s up to adults to watch for the signs of abuse and act on behalf of the child.

Because no child should have to suffer abuse in silence.

Nearly every child in America now has a smart phone. For many parents, it makes it easier to keep track and stay in contact with their children. Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones who can track their child’s every move. Technology is also making it easier for strangers to track our children.

Your child’s iPhone has a hidden feature: It tracks and records their location constantly whether you want it to or not. And unless you’re a tech savvy parent, you may think there’s not much you can do about the tracking feature.

But it’s actually quite easy to disable the GPS tracking feature on your child’s iPhone to prevent applications from determining their location. When you disable the GPS, law enforcement officials can still track their device, but other applications, including the Family Locator service offered through both AT&T and Verizon Wireless, cannot.

Here’s how you do it:

Step 1

Press the “Home” button on your iPhone. Enter your four-digit passcode, if prompted.

Step 2

Tap “Settings” and “Location Services.” All of the services currently using the GPS feature of your phone are listed in the bottom panel of the screen.

Step 3

Touch the “Location Services” field to disable GPS tracking. The field now shows “Off.”

Step 4

Press the “Home” button to exit to the phone’s home screen.

Could a stranger on the Internet really track my child’s every move?

Yes — and easily — thanks to an app named Creepy.

All they have to do is type in a person’s Twitter or Flickr username, and hit the ‘Geolocate Target’ button. The app will then gather all the geographic information available online, via photos that the ‘target’ has shared online.

The reason the app can gather this information so easily is that whenever someone shares a photo taken with his or her smartphone, services like Flickr, Yfrog and Twitpic automatically record the location where the shot was taken, and store that geo-tag in the image’s EXIF data. Creepy pulls up that data and places it onto maps. If combined with details gleaned from tweets it can reveal information which could easily be abused by someone with evil intent like:

  • Where your child lives
  • Who else lives there
  • Where they attend school
  • Their route to and from school
  • Certain parks or shopping malls they visit on a regular basis

You might be a little nervous about seeing just how revealing an innocently uploaded photo can be, so you want to know: How do I protect my child?

It’s simple. Check the settings of the apps or websites they use to upload photos. Make sure that the geotagging features are turned off. And if you want to be extra safe, use an app to strip photos of geotags before uploading them such as: Geotag Security http://www.geotagsecurity.com

or Exifer http://download.cnet.com/Exifer/3000-2192_4-10142150.html

Many may think I’m taking an alarmist view of the world, but the truth is that we live in a world full of evil people. And given the fact that many judges and politicians do very little to punish those who would do harm to our children because of prison overcrowding, it is up to parents to make sure that our children remain safe.

Jesus said “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

The serpent is a very sharp sighted, cunning creature, and uses various strategies for its own preservation. So as followers of Christ, we are to make use of all proper methods to preserve ourselves (And our children) from the evils of men, and not expose ourselves or them to unnecessary dangers and to avoid all snares and traps that are laid for us.

Alone, the wisdom of the serpent is mere cunning, and the harmlessness of the dove little better than weakness; but in combination, the wisdom of the serpent will save us from unnecessary exposure to danger; the harmlessness of the dove, the ability to escape without sin.

Child abuse has been defined as an act, or failure to act, on the part of a parent or caretaker that results in serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation of a child, or death. (42 U.S.C.A. § 5106g)

Child abuse laws have raised difficult issues, pitting the rights of children against the rights of families and parents. The mistreatment of children at the hands of parents or caretakers has a long history of a system that gives children few, if any, rights.

About 40 million children worldwide suffer abuse every year, with more than 1,500 children dying of abuse in the United States annually and affects all educational and socioeconomic levels, ethnicities, cultures, and religions.

Many other important statistics regarding this problem in the United States include that it costs society more than $120 billion per year and that with more than 3 million referrals to state and local agencies every year, an average of six such referrals occur every 60 seconds!

Survivors of child abuse are at greater risk for physical, emotional, work, and relationship problems throughout childhood and into adulthood. Common forms of child abuse include neglect, physical assault and emotional abuse. But the most disturbing abuse is the sexual assault of a child.

It is important to understand that child abuse, whether physical, sexual or emotional, is not always immediately visible. Which is why when a child reports the abuse, often they are not believed. Victims of child abuse may experience so much stress in reaction to the abuse that it often leads to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (PTSD)

Often the adults who are designed to protect children refuse to take action because the perpetrator is a family member and they fear that doing so will split up the family unit. (And often does) Many times family members will support the perpetrator and accuse the victim of filing a false report, which causes even more stress for the victim.

Currently, the Nebraska Sex Offender Registration Law (SOR) does not have any restrictions on registered sex offenders. It does not have the legal jurisdiction to prevent an offender from attending events, limiting employment, restricting an offender from entering any facilities, or refrain from living with or socializing with children. The SOR law can only mandate that the offender register his or her required information under statutes 29-4004 and 29-4006 at the sheriff’’s office within the required time. Even when a perpetrator of sexual child abuse is convicted, they are often only given probation and required to register as a sex offender for no more than 15 years. That means that someone who has been convicted of child sexual assault is able to freely visit playgrounds, children museums, schools and other places where they have access to vulnerable children while on probation.

I have written Governor Pete Ricketts about changing the Nebraska Sex Registry Law so that more restrictions can be placed on sex offenders so that they are not allowed to freely interact with vulnerable children who are now at risk from them.

The Governor wrote me back telling me that a senator needed to bring this issue up in the legislation before he can do anything. So I wrote letters to many Nebraska senators about this issue. So far, I have not heard from any of them.

Our world has changed

When I grew up, the typical family was still a working dad, a stay-at-home mom, and other kids in the neighborhood with the same type of families. Today, the divorce rate is almost 50 percent, and children living with a single parent or in a blended family have become all too common. This creates a whole new environment of risk for children.

Did you know that a child with a biological mother who is living with a man who is not the child’s father is 33 times more likely to suffer abuse. (Source: Dreamcatchers for Abused Children)

I know a girl who was physically and emotionally abused by her stepfather for over 10 years before he sexually molested her. Once the abuse was reported, it still took the court system over two years to finally convict the man. Even then, he was allowed to plead guilty to third degree sexual assault, (a misdemeanor) rather than sexual assault of a child. (a felony) The judge only sentenced him two years probation! What makes matters worse is that the victims’s mother maintains that her daughter made the whole thing up.

Less than two weeks after being released on probation this same man was arrested again for child abuse against another daughter still living in the home! Now he faces  charges for child abuse in one county and probation violation in another county.

No parent wants to believe that one of their own family members or a spouse would be capable of sexually molesting their child, but if a child comes to you complaining of inappropriate behavior of someone you know, the worst thing you can do is ignore it. This problem will NOT go away on its own, and if the perpetrator is not confronted, it will only get worse.

What can we do to help?

Children often won’t tell you straight up that something is happening to them, because they’ve been threatened, they may be ashamed, or they may not feel comfortable talking to you about it. So it is up to adults to watch for the signs of abuse and act on behalf of the child.

Watch & Listen!

You may be surprised at what you can learn by observing a child during playtime.  It’s why so many therapist use “Play Therapy” when dealing with younger children. There are also possible physical and behavioral indicators of child sexual abuse, some of which are:

  • Unusual  or inappropriate interaction between a child & a specific person.
  • Showing unusually aggressive behavior toward family members and friends.
  • Experiencing a loss of appetite or other eating problems.
  • Showing unusual fear or a sudden reluctance to be alone with a certain person.
  • Engaging in persistent sexual play with friends, toys or pets.
  • Engaging in self-mutilations, such as cutting themselves.
  • Wearing an unusual amount of layers of clothing.

For more information and help contact:

Project Harmony

11949 Q Street / Omaha, NE 68137

402) 595-1326

http://www.projectharmony.com

Childhelp USA’s National Child Abuse Hotline

1-800-422-4453

(1-800-4ACHILD)

http://www.childhelp.org/

National Domestic Violence/Abuse Hotline

1-800-799-7233

(1-800-799-SAFE)

1-800-787-3224 TTY

http://www.thehotline.org/

 

Because no child should have to suffer abuse in silence.

 

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I first learned of Sam Herron              on Face Book. I was impressed with his talent as a photographer. But I was even more impressed with his empathy for those he photographs—the homeless men and women who live on the streets in Omaha, Nebraska.

People might wonder how Sam gets these up-close-and-personal glimpses of homeless men and women who spend most of their lives invisible to the general public.

Sam will tell you that it’s because he understands them. He understands them because he was once one of them. “Just lose your entire life,” he says. “Live in your car. And you, too, can photograph the street.”

Sam doesn’t take pictures just to be taking pictures. He knows many of the people he photographs personally. They talk sometimes for an hour before Sam takes out his camera and asks them if he can photograph them. They tell Sam about their life on the streets, how their day is going, and Sam can relate to all of them.

Just like so many others, Sam never thought he would be in their situation. “Not me,” he says. “But when I was…it changed me. And I wanted to show it.”

It happened slowly at first. He lost his job. He found another job, but lost that one, too. He was jobless for a month, then two, then four. He struggled with depression and anxiety and he sometimes drank too much. Eventually, after spending his life’s savings and selling most of his possessions, he realized he had nowhere to go. It was the dead of winter, right around Valentine’s Day.

The first night, he parked underneath the 10th Street Bridge and shut off his car. He woke up in the morning shivering uncontrollably. His toes were numb. By the end of the first week, Sam had started to develop a routine. He would wake up in the morning, pull on one of his shirts he had carefully folded in the trunk, and drive to the Blue Line Coffee in north downtown just as it opened. Once inside, he would walk to the bathroom, lock the door, and using the sink and the soap dispenser, he would give himself what passed for a bath.

He would buy a cup of coffee, open his battered laptop computer and apply for jobs online. And then, if he had any change left, he would buy another cup of coffee and write. He wrote about his life; about his homelessness; or whatever popped into his head. In the afternoon, Sam headed to 13th Street Coffee & Tea in the Old Market and continued to apply for jobs and write on his laptop.

At night, he would go to the Rose & Crown Pub near 20th and Howard Streets. The regulars there got to know him and would buy him drinks. Everybody thought he was just an eccentric, tattooed writer who liked to drink. (This was partially true) But what they didn’t know was that Sam stayed there until closing every night because it was warm.

After closing time, Sam would steer his car toward the same spot beside a church on Leavenworth Street. He would blast the heater during the drive, and then he would park and shut off the car. Each night, he would sleep with his work boots on. He would wake up at 6:30, get dressed, and start all over again. After a while, he began to wonder, “Am I ever gonna get out of this car?”

It’s hard for Sam to choose his lowest point while he was in this valley, but he says it’s easy to pinpoint the moment when he started climbing back out. It was the moment that he first picked up his old Canon SD 400 camera, (one of the few things he hadn’t sold) and began to shoot photos of his fellow down-and-out fraternity brothers.

Sam had developed a pattern for the men he didn’t know. He would offer them a cigarette and then strike up a conversation. He would tell them his story and eventually he’d ask: “Can I take your picture?”

Last year Sam hosted an exhibit at Creighton University called “Street Life Chronicles,” which featured images of the homeless in Omaha. Sam said it was “soul crushing” having to relive his time on the streets. “I went to my old homeless haunts twice a day to catch the right sunlight.” He recalls. “That was the easy part. Having to endlessly live out my recent past with those who still suffered was the difficult part.”

Sam is doing much better now. He worked as a stand-in for Bruce Dern in Alexander Payne’s movie, “Nebraska.” And he picked up a few photo jobs. Then he picked up a few more. He also started his own freelance photography business.

He soon plans to work on a long-term shoot with a fashion photographer. And if things work out, he will travel to exhibit his photos at a Creighton sister university in China.

Last year Sam was nominated for Best Emerging Visual Artist by Omaha Entertainment & Arts Awards of 2014. Some of his photos were showcased during the award ceremonies at the RNG gallery in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Sam has done more than just take great photographs. He has given us a glimpse into the invisible world of the homeless community. If you look closely, you will also get a glimpse of the man behind the camera—and hopefully, see a little of yourself there too.

Sam still thinks of his companions on the street and says, “Many tonight will be in a similar situation without the benefit of an automobile to sleep in, and it’s a sad fact that should give all compassionate people pause.”

Our heart should reach out to all the invisible people in our city. They are someone’s mother, father, brother and sister—and they are created in God’s image. Remember Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

 

“I was and continue to be exceptionally poor by some people’s standards. On the other hand when compared with a large percentage of the planet, I’m suffering from an embarrassment of riches.” – Sam Herron

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© Ipso Facto Photography – by Sam Herron – used by permission

You can contact Sam at— https://www.facebook.com/samuelherron

More stories like this can be found in The Heartland News Street Newspaper. The Heartland News primarily addresses issues related to poverty and homelessness and is distributed by poor or homeless venders. Venders sell the paper for a set price, (usually $1.00) and keep the money they make. For many, this gives them the opportunity for a first small step toward independence and permanent housing.

To donate contact:

The Heartland News 4001 Ames Ave, Omaha, Ne. 68111.

 

While walking home from Irving Middle School in Lincoln, Nebraska last year, 14-year-old Frida Aguilera was ambushed and attacked by a classmate while other kids circled around and videotaped the incident.

“My face was full of blood and at that point I guess they just thought that was enough,” said Aguilera.

Frida’s attacker got a week suspension and was prosecuted in juvenile court. But the passive bystanders taping the entire incident were not punished.

Unfortunately, Frida’s story isn’t the only one. In December, 9th grader Jared Williamson was leaving school when he was involved in a brutal and unprovoked attack that left him with a concussion and cervical sprain. Students watched and filmed the incident, egging the attacker on. Within minutes the fight was posted to Facebook. After Jared’s attack, he was diagnosed with PTSD and now has to be home schooled because of it.

After Frida’s attack, Frida’s mother contracted Thomas Inkelaar of Inkelaar Law Firm. Inkelaar says Nebraska has no cyberbullying or bullying laws on the books. Nebraska only has an anti-bullying law stating that schools must put policies and procedures in place. “To actually say hey it’s illegal for someone to bully someone, there is actually not a public policy on the record,” he said.

Inkelaar Law is petitioning for stronger state legislation against bullying what is being called ‘Frida’s Law’. If passed, this law would include criminalizing bullying behavior as acts of violence and hold kids videotaping the incidents accountable. “The goal is to stop this, put it in place where we can have safety in our schools,” said Inkelaar. “At minimum, the goal for Frida’s Law is that the aggressor’s sentence includes counseling and community service.”

But what is happening in our schools now goes beyond bullying. It is assault, plain and simple!

Students who engage in violent assaults are more often suspended for a short time when they should be expelled from a school or district, as well as face criminal penalties, including jail time. School districts should also face civil law penalties, in the form of hefty monetary fines, if it is proven that they failed to prevent or punish certain types of behavior by students within their district.

When a teacher is threatened with violence or suffers the same type of attack from a student, the student responsible for the attack is expelled and quickly arrested and charged with assault. Should not students be allowed the same protection under the law?

Research has shown that violent assaults on students can end up causing lasting damage to its victims. I too was bullied as a kid, and I found the experience to be pretty ugly. I’m in my 60s now; and although it’s been years since I experienced getting beat up by three bullies after school for two weeks, that experience has never left me.

I don’t think about it much these days, but I know that that experience has affected me as an adult—and not for the better. Because no one was willing to protect me I felt I had no choice but to quit school in my junior year. As an adult I suffered from depression, low self-esteem and experienced many failed relationships. Even after I surrendered my life to Jesus, it was still years before I was able to see my own worth as a person.

I know that I am not alone in this. Our world is filled with people who continue to suffer from emotional problems because they were victims of physical attacks in school.

How did we come to this point? What causes our children to become such uncontrollable beasts who brutally assault each other without conscience?

The apostle Paul warns us that whatever a person sows, they will also reap the same. (Galatians 6:7-8)

Look at what we have sown: We’ve exchanged the security of family values with immoral ideas and attitudes. Sanctity of life is no longer fought for, and more often is legislated against. We’ve replaced the Bible and prayer in our public schools with metal detectors and police security….Welcome to the harvest!

Addressing these problems with positive parenting and by teaching problem solving skills and anger management may help to reduce violence among some teens, but until we repent as a nation and turn back to God and teach our children to do the same, I’m afraid that nothing will change.

Remember God’s warning through the prophet Isaiah: “Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on Him… Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Come now, let us settle the matter, says the LORD. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 1:4; 16-20)