Friday, January 19, 2018

My Biblical View of Food

Let’s start with the facts:

1) I believe that the Bible is the Word of GOD, is absolutely infallible, true (jot and tittle) and that it all came from His lips.
2) I believe that Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh. John 1:1-3 (KJV) states, “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing [sic] made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
3) I believe that we were made in the image and likeness of GOD (see Genesis 1:26).
4) I believe that “science” doesn’t know half as much as it says it does and less than half as much as it thinks it does. How often has a food item (eggs, coffee, coconut oil, chocolate, wine, etc.) been bad for you one day and good for you the next, then go back to bad, then good yet again?

Okay, now on to my thoughts on this subject.

In the Bible we see that there are multiple references to things like food, eat, ate, drink, feasts, and specific food items. Breads are mentioned: leavened, unleavened and shewbread (a part of the sacrifice to GOD) and even breads made out of “wheaten flour” so GOD is not gluten intolerant.

Fish, beef, lamb, goat, birds, fruit, olives, wine, water, cheese and many more food items were mentioned; even the fat of the bullock and the ram which were eaten by GOD as an offering (Exodus 29) so we know he ate the fat and didn’t worry about the cholesterol, calories, or whatever else is “bad” about it. In fact, GOD ate the stuff that the doctors nowadays tell us to not eat. Which, not being a fan of eating the fat on a piece of steak, chicken or whatever, I’m okay with not doing. I trim every bit of fat off. I’d say that I’ll leave it for GOD to eat, but there is no need for Him to ask for sacrifices – or sharing – since He gave His Son for us and all need for sacrifice of any kind is done away with once and for all.

We see in the Old Testament that there are specific things to avoid because they were “unclean”, but that in the New Testament those “unclean” things were made clean by Christ’s sacrifice (Acts 10 and 11) Note: Here it references both food items and that the gentiles were made clean by GOD. After all, GOD told Peter to “kill and eat” and GOD does not sanction murder or cannibalism, so it can’t be just man referenced here that was cleansed by GOD!

Let’s get more specific, though. In the Garden of Eden before the fall of man (okay, before Eve ate the apple and convinced her hubby -- weak-willed, disobedient Adam -- to do so, too. After all GOD told Adam in Genesis 2:16-25 to not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, not Eve. She wasn’t there yet!), humans were vegans. There was no death on earth yet: no blood-shed death, so plants could be eaten but animals could not, and people and animals ate only plants. Some people say this is the “ideal” diet. Do they take into account the fact that the “ideal” diet includes sugar, since it is plant based, alcoholic beverages, flours of all kinds since they are plant based (yes, white wheat flour, too) and rhubarb and other known carcinogens?

We have Eve and Adam (listed in order of appearance with the fruit) to “thank” for the partaking of steak, salmon, veal, etc. However, we also have them to blame for death, diseases, sins of all kinds, etc. Admittedly, they did us no real favors unless you consider never tasting a cut of beef called Tri-Tip as something that falls into that category of things to be glad for (and it does!). I’m not grateful for the sin; it was inevitable that sooner or later it would happen, but imagine if it had taken two or three generations! I am grateful that GOD had a plan from the time before he created the earth for when it did happen.

Anyways, the fact remains that the Bible tells us that we – mankind – are made in the image and likeness of GOD and that we are told by in Deuteronomy 12:15 to “kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after” as long as it’s not the blood that you want to eat, it’s okay in Deuteronomy 12:15. Then again, in Deuteronomy 12:20 we see “I will eat flesh, because thy soul longeth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after.” And in the same chapter, verses 21-22 says “thou shalt kill of thy herd and of thy flock, which the Lord hath given thee, as I have commanded thee, and thou shalt eat in thy gates whatsoever thy soul lusteth after. (22) Even as the roebuck and the hart is eaten, so thou shalt eat them: the unclean and the clean shall eat of them alike.” GOD says not to eat of the blood but everything else? That’s just fine!

So we see that GOD says to eat “whatsoever thy soul lusteth after” as long as it’s not the blood of the animal. That’s the only thing that was out of bounds for GOD’s people at the time. It wasn’t until GOD gave the covenant with the Israelite children that He took things away. Declared unclean in Deuteronomy 14, in verses 7-21, GOD tells us:
“However, of those that chew the cud or that have a divided hoof you may not eat the camel, the rabbit or the hyrax. Although they chew the cud, they do not have a divided hoof; they are ceremonially unclean for you. The pig is also unclean; although it has a divided hoof, it does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses.

“Of all the creatures living in the water, you may eat any that has fins and scales. But anything that does not have fins and scales you may not eat; for you it is unclean.

“You may eat any clean bird. But these you may not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, the red kite, the black kite, any kind of falcon, any kind of raven, the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, the little owl, the great owl, the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, the cormorant, the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

“All flying insects are unclean to you; do not eat them. But any winged creature that is clean you may eat.

“Do not eat anything you find already dead. You may give it to the foreigner residing in any of your towns, and they may eat it, or you may sell it to any other foreigner. But you are a people holy to the Lord your God.

“Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”
That’s when the dietary restrictions were set down and what they said. What we must remember is that those restrictions were removed in Acts 10 and 11 and we have been under no restrictions since then.

The Bible tells us what kinds of food GOD uses to associate with certain people. Did you know that the first mention of food in the Bible is in Genesis 1:29, in which GOD says that He has given us “every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed: to you it shall be for food”? So food’s first mention is before the fall of man (that Eve ate it first thing). Although, prior to the fall GOD had already put animals that were to be considered “clean” for man to start using as food later, so it must have been a part of the plan from the beginning. After all, GOD knew that the heart of man is wicked and deceptive so He knew that we would (sooner or later) break fellowship with Him and that we would love a good steak. That’s why after the fall, GOD created animal sacrifices to atone for sins.

In fact, the first mention of food other than herbs and fruit is the serpent’s curse in which GOD says that the serpent “shall eat dust”. The third mention of food besides those already mentioned (herbs, seeds, fruit, dust) is the sacrifice offered to GOD by Abel.

This is an important mention because it tells us what GOD – in whose image we are created – eats. It says in Genesis 4:4-5 that “Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering.” We know that GOD eats the offerings given to Him so that’s the third mention of food and we all know that the number three is the number of perfection or completeness. So if GOD is eating the fat of the calf, as seen in Exodus 29, then we know that we can eat the fat of the calf.

For food, the Bible tells us that we can eat whatever we want. We don’t have to stick to the vegan diet because GOD knew ahead of time that man can sin and He provided animals for us to eat and did, in fact, command us to eat (Acts 10 & 11). He did not just “allow” us to eat the animals listed in Deuteronomy 14, He commanded us to eat the things that used to be unclean. If GOD says to do it, it cannot be bad for us, nor can it be sin.

We also see that we are given specific examples of what others ate. For instance, in Isaiah 7:14-15, we see that Jesus was said to be a man who would eat “butter and honey”. John the Baptist was a man who was Christ’s precursor and who ate “locusts and wild honey”. The children of Israel were delivered into a “land flowing with milk and honey”. There are many examples of people who were to eat honey, specifically. GOD provided manna from heaven that tasted like honey and the Israelites lived on that for a very long time. From a bride in the Song of Solomon to the Revelation where John ate the scroll and it tasted like honey (Revelation 10:10), we see that the sweet flavor of honey is throughout GOD’s Word. When Christ was risen from His grave, we see in Luke 24:42, that He ate “broiled fish and some honeycomb.” Even after being risen from the dead Christ had a sweet tooth! We see honey mentioned throughout the Bible but not too much because it will make us vomit. Notice something about the mention of honey? It is associated with special people, times and places of GOD: the Promised Land, John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, the time of Christ’s return. From this we can gather that to eat sweets is a special gift from GOD.

However, how many of you remember a time when you were a kid and ate too much of your Easter or Halloween candy and got a tummy ache because of it? I admit that I did. I ate too many sweets when I had the chance when I was a kid and a few hours later paid the price. That’s a temporary discomfort to eat too many sweets and throw up because of it. Notice, though, that the Bible does not say that you will have a permanent illness, a continual affliction, or whatever other words you want to put to it, because of eating too much honey. It does not say it will give you diabetes or anything else as far as a disease is concerned. It says you’ll puke: once, not for the rest of your life. That’s not a long term, life altering, drug-treatment inducing illness. It’s a puke or GOD would have said otherwise because GOD “is not a man, that He should lie”. GOD says it will make you puke. It will. But it won’t do anything besides that or GOD would have told you.

Which takes me into the next part of my thought (and belief) process: Where in the Bible – the Word of GOD Almighty – does it say that food will give us diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cavities, obesity or anything else bad?

In Proverbs 23 it talks about not eating the delicacies of the rulers if you are prone to gluttony because “that food is deceptive”. But if you read the context of the scriptures, it is not referring to food, but to the beliefs of the rulers. If you read the Word, Jesus says in Matthew 15:11 that it’s not what goes into a man’s mouth that defiles him, but what comes out of the man’s heart via his words and deeds. So what we put into our bodies is not what causes the problem, is it?

Am I saying that we can be gluttons? Nope: not at all. The Bible warns us against that in Proverbs 23:20. It also tells us to be careful about “strong drink”, but did you know that it says in Numbers 28:7 that “strong drink” was given as part of an offering to GOD? So Jesus drank wine and GOD drinks “strong drink”, but warns us to not drink too much of it, or to get drunk. GOD does tell certain people they cannot drink strong drink, or even wine, but for the most part, of wine and strong drink only have a little. Don’t be a drunkard is what GOD says.

Considering all of this, why does science, the “health food” industry and doctor advice tell us to watch what we eat, eat mostly fruit and veg, and to cut back on fats, gluten-laden foods and sweets?

“Science” tells us all the time that something is “bad” for us: eggs, coffee, chocolate, coconut oil, cheese, red meat, all meats, anything containing alcohol, etc., etc., etc. There is almost no food/drink item that “science” has at one time or another said was bad for us. But remember: “science” is not GOD. GOD knows a lot more than any scientist ever will or can. “Science” also changes its “mind” while GOD does not.

So why the “change of mind” from the time the time of the Israelites receiving the dietary restrictions to the time of Paul being shown the sheet with the “unclean” animals and being commanded to kill and eat? There are a few things to take into consideration to get to the truth in that.

First, in Acts 10:9-16, we see that the circumstances have changed from the time of the old dietary restrictions. Jesus Christ had already been crucified and the price for our own cleansing was paid by Christ’s death. Prior to His crucifixion the Israelites were told not to eat “unclean” things because they were told to be obedient to GOD and the eating of those “unclean” things was an act of disobedience. No matter how wonderful that bacon smelled, they could not eat at their neighbor’s house for that meal.

You see, when the Children of Israel were at Mt. Sinai after leaving Egypt led by Moses, they were asked if they could keep the commandments GOD was going to give them. Their reply is in Exodus 19:8, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” They probably meant it at the time, but soon thereafter, they were making a golden calf and worshipping it. So they could not really “do all that the Lord has spoken”, could they? So when GOD saw that they were a hard hearted people He did all he could to rein them in. Part of that “reining in” was to put more rules around them to try to make them control themselves. As time went by more rules were laid down. It’s like having a two-year-old who won’t stop playing with the goldfish until it’s dead. You try to tell him no, then you tell him to not go near it, then you move the fishbowl and finally you have to either get rid of the goldfish altogether or you have to put a tall fence around it. The more rules the better they’d behave, right? Neither the two-year-old nor the Israelites would agree with that (I suspect a lot of us would be the same way!)

When GOD saw them heading in one direction, He’d make another rule, another set of “don’t do that’s”. He saw them being tempted to join in the worshipping of other gods, the gods of their neighbors or even their enemies and GOD would write a rule to prevent Israel from worshipping their neighbors’ idols. Or He’d see that they were considering marrying outside of the children of Israel and GOD would write another rule about not marrying them in order to keep them safe and to prevent them from falling into the worshipping of their spouses’ idols. That didn’t work either, though, did it? So GOD made rules to keep the children of Israel safe: including the dietary restrictions.

Those restrictions kept them from getting trichinosis, a food borne disease, and other diseases. Since people didn’t know at the time how to properly cook pork these restrictions were given to keep Israel safe from a possibly devastating disease. Even in that time, GOD says “I am the Lord that healeth thee” (KJV). So we see that He’s not wanting them to get ill (He is offering healing in the warning), but He knows that eating poorly cooked pork can make them ill, even so ill that they die. The restrictions were for obedience (in which they failed in other areas), and for their own health. In Acts 10 & 11 when the sheet was lowered with the “unclean” animals on it and the command given to “kill and eat”, we see that Jesus Christ had created a path for the people to be made clean via His sinless life, death on the cross, and resurrection. Prior to Christ’s death there was no “direct” pathway to heaven. Christ did that for us so there was no need for any kind of dietary restrictions to test obedience, and it was safe to cook pork because by then we had figured out how to perfect the cooking of pork products and how to prevent them from making us sick.

Can anyone tell me where it says in the Bible that food will make you healthy? It says not to eat certain things because (at the time) that stuff would make you sick, but where does it say that it can make you healthy? Not being made ill by something is not the same as being made healthy. A “healthy” diet nowadays has so many variations. There’s vegan, beef-based, low calorie, gluten free, low carbohydrate, and the list goes on. Where in the Bible does it say that eating or not eating certain foods will make you healthy? Does it say so? If not, why do we think that what we eat is the deciding factor of how we feel and what we look like?

A lot of people put all kinds of stock in exercise in order to lose weight. But did you know that the Bible says in 1 Timothy 4:8:
“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
Bodily exercise profiteth little? Did you know that the Bible (the Word of GOD) says that?

A lot of folks will point to “science” and try to convince us that “science” knows how our bodies work because they have studied it. “Science” tells us that we have to eat more vegetables, more whole grains, more organic, purer foods. We should not eat red meat (if we eat meat at all) and we should definitely stay away from sugars and sweet food (even honey). We should not eat white bread, cheese, drink milk (after all, they say, what other animal drinks milk from another animal?), or have anything close to foods with chemicals in them anywhere near our mouths or bodies. BTW, what exactly is food made of? Does any food have any naturally occurring chemicals in it? I mean, if mushrooms had no chemicals in them then we couldn’t eat them, could we? Even water has chemicals in it: H2O is a chemical designation.

It’s the manmade chemicals we should not eat as additives to our food, isn’t that what they say? Isn’t that like saying that if you can make something with chemicals that you shouldn’t eat it? Chemicals, though, are in almost everything we eat. Vitamins, for instance, are chemicals. Do you want to do without vitamins?

The federal government has made recommendations on what and how much you should eat and the president’s wife has made a big deal of what she thinks is a good diet for the rest of us (too bad she doesn’t take her own advice). The federal government has been doing this since 1894 and they have changed over time. If they and their scientists are so smart, why was it later admitted that their recommendations were fouled up:
“First, last fall, experts on the committee that develops the country’s dietary guidelines acknowledged that they had ditched the low-fat diet. On Thursday, that committee’s report was released, with an even bigger change: It lifted the longstanding caps on dietary cholesterol, saying there was “no appreciable relationship” between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol. Americans, it seems, had needlessly been avoiding egg yolks, liver and shellfish for decades.”
So why is “science” so wrong about so much? It’s because “science” does not know our bodies as well as our bodies’ Creator. Our bodies’ Creator knows how our bodies work without having to do any sort of research, without consulting anyone, without doing studies. GOD says “kill and eat” and to eat whatever we want. “Science” tells us to eat only this and that, and to eat those things a certain way, cooking it the “healthiest” way and to not eat the other stuff. “Science” also has to deal with lobbyists who try to do what they can to sell the food products they represent. That’s something that people who listen to the “science” don’t usually take into consideration. So we take “science” at face value and believe what they say because, after all, it is “science” and “science” would know, right?

If they know so much, then why do such things as the Twinkie® diet work? Twinkies are, after all, full of fat and carbs and preservatives and all kinds of things that are “bad” for us. The “science” will tell you that it won’t work. The “science” will tell you that if you try it your cholesterol, fat, weight, blood pressure, and all the “bad” things will increase and your body will be in horrible condition and maybe – if you’ve eaten enough of it – you’ll have a heart attack or whatever. You’ll never be healthy while on the Twinkie diet is what “science” will say. However, looking at the results – lower bad cholesterol, higher good cholesterol, lower triglycerides, weight loss and lower body fat – you’d think that “science” would learn a little from the experience. Has “science” caught the drift of the Twinkie diet (and other surprising successes like it) and realized that the “science” is not supported by the effectiveness and success of these diets?

The Bible says (and let us not forget that this article is about my belief in the Bible as the Word of GOD) that Jesus Christ is our healer and in Him we are healthy. If you believe that the Word of GOD is true, too, then why would you worry about eating anything as long as you bless it, or about exercising as long as you don’t feel a conviction from GOD to do so? Is that not how we should all live: trusting GOD to guide us and trusting in His goodness toward us? He said to eat after we ask GOD to bless our food. If we do not trust Him to do so – bless it so that it cannot hurt us – then how can we trust Him to do anything He has said?

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© 2017 Linda McKinney All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?

As I sat in my back yard chair a few days ago, I started thinking about how fences have impacted our lives. We have a tall privacy fence made of wood and the neighbors have the same kind of fence. We can’t see each other’s yards, but we can see the rooftops. When I was a kid it wasn’t like that.

When I was a kid we lived in military housing most of our lives but even in the civilian houses we went past on the way to school we saw many houses without fences. There were friends we visited, and the kids would go outside and play in the yard while the parents were talking and usually preparing food. I don’t remember fences back then.

I remember when I was a kid we’d play in someone’s back yard, then get tired of their toys and all go to the next kid in our group’s back yard and play with their toys, and move from yard to yard playing with whatever the kids in that house had until we grew bored with them. Or, we’d play a game of hide and seek and the whole immediate neighborhood was fair game, running to find a hiding place in the neighbor’s yard that was good enough to be the last one found but close enough to hear the “Allie, allie, in come free!” if we weren’t found. We could play tag running through five back yards, baseball across property lines; Army, or cowboys and Indians in seven yards, front and back. It was fun, a lot of exercise and made for good neighbors.

When someone’s children acted up, any parents would be allowed to reprimand them, or they’d do the worst thing possible: call our parents and tell them what we did wrong. Heaven forbid that was their choice because we knew that we’d get a spanking then!

We were taught back then that if something doesn’t belong to you that you can’t touch it without the owner’s permission. If you break something, apologize and make it right and to never steal. We were not taught that there is something called “economic inequality” that made it okay for us to steal. That was not something that anyone thought back then. When I watch the movies and television shows from back then (I am aging myself), I don’t see fences around the back yards. I see fences in the front yards sometimes, white picket fences trimmed with annuals or well-kept shrubs. Sometimes you see a farm show with a fence to keep the dog, chickens, or other farm animals in, but not often did you see a back yard with a fence.

Nowadays you can’t drive through anything but a deed restricted community and see open back yards, and even some deed restricted communities have fences; they’re just controlled by the property owner’s association (Home Owner’s Association, whichever). Those communities may have security gates at the entrances, private security guards roaming around in golf carts or regular vehicles and high prices for their HOA fees to pay for that security.

Fences are almost a must, a necessary accoutrement today because children (and some adults) were never taught the lessons of our childhood:

• If it’s not yours don’t touch it
• Thou shalt not steal
• Ask permission before playing with something
• Don’t trespass if you don’t have permission

Those things are no longer escaping parents’ mouths. Those things are not taught in public schools (or many private schools). Those things are not the acceptable norms of the left. Instead, excuses are made for those who have “less than” the next guy and theft is considered okay by some if the perpetrator has the excuse of _____________ (fill in the blank). It’s an astonishing change in what seems like a very short period.

Those who would break and enter, steal out of your yard after breaking a gate’s lock, or who want to do harm to those inside the house are no longer afraid of society’s norms nor their scorn. They want what they want and it’s by whatever means they deem necessary that will get them that and it’s okay if the excuse is available.

Society has made this possible by making excuses for the perpetrators and by giving parents the “My Child” complex, but only when in righteous indignation against anyone else verbally disciplining their child. What do I mean? When a child does wrong, and a neighbor does verbally discipline that child, the child goes home and whines about it to the parent. The parent will go to extreme efforts to make sure that the neighbor knows that verbally disciplining their kid is not an option and that it means war between the “adults” and it better not happen again or else! Meanwhile, the kid is off doing whatever he/she wants again because the parent doesn’t care what the kid is doing as long as that child is not in their parent’s hair.

Parents will visit their fourteen-year-old child in jail and ask the child why they did that, accepting whatever excuse the child gives (including “I didn’t do it. It wasn’t my fault. It was Jimmy (or Kate, or whoever)!” In the parent’s heart they know their child did it. They tell others up one side and down the next that the child is innocent, they borrow the money from friends and family and bail the kid out and make excuses for their bad behavior to one and all. In front of the judge the parent makes all kinds of promises, attends the four-hour parenting class while the kid does community service and then, since the boxes are checked, go back to kicking the kid outside so that the parent can get back to whatever the parent wants to do: besides parenting!

This is what the fences are for. They’re for the children who were never parented correctly. They’re for the children who were taught that whatever they want to do is okay as long as they have someone else to point to. They’re for the children who were taught that there is no right and no wrong; if it feels good, do it. They’re for the children who, because of the terrible parenting felt unloved and unwanted their whole lives and never learned to find fulfillment in what they can do for themselves, instead of what they can take from others – whether that taking be in government payments or theft and violence.

Fences are a form of self-protection. We protect the things we worked hard to earn the money to purchase. We protect our privacy and hope that those fences will keep out those who want to violate it. We protect our families and hope that fences will help prevent harm to them, whether through a child wandering into the road or through a perpetrator breaking into our homes and doing harm.

Fences are a sign of a failure of parenting and society. Parenting because with good parents, children do not do the things written about here. Society because we have been cowed into accepting the lie that there are those who have less and because of that less they have an excuse to do the things written about here. Instead of standing up to those spreading that lie we have chosen to not fight the lie and allowed it and its results to be woven into the fabric of our beings.

Fences are a sign of the division of society. With good fences we do not speak to our neighbors, thus do not know it. We do not recognize our neighbors thus we do not know who does and does not belong over there. Fences make us not care unless it is catastrophic and then we may offer to help a little. Instead of helping with the car repair if we have that knowledge, or the lawn care if our neighbor breaks a leg, or the cooking if our neighbor is down with the flu but needs to feed the kids, we stay behind our fences and consider that all is well with the world as long as our little fences make us okay. We can see the neighbors’ rooftops, but can we see the neighbor? Only if we are over six feet tall.

Fences make us delusional, isolated, insular, while making us feel safer (and, yes, sometimes they are effective in that). Fences divide us but protect us against certain dangers (unruly animals, etc.) but they also have their drawbacks. Fences allow us to swim in our pools without too many eyeballs on us, but they also prevent us from seeing the man next door having a heart attack in the back yard.

“Good fences make good neighbors”? In today’s world we feel we must have them to “keep the other guy honest” but do they accomplish that, or do they just keep the honest guys honest? Fences have been jumped by those who don’t think the rules apply to them so fences are not always effective.

Fences are kind of like guns. The law abiding don’t need them to stay out or to prevent them from stealing from or hurting their neighbor. As with guns, it’s those to whom the law means nothing that fences may help against. If the fence doesn’t work, the gun will.

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© 2017 Linda McKinney All Rights Reserved

Monday, June 19, 2017

Job: A Different Perspective

Job

I’ve heard a lot of Christians say that because of the story of Job in the Bible that they believe a loving, gentle, kind, forgiving, merciful, graceful GOD – our Father - would give us illnesses and hurt us to teach us a lesson. I find that idea and belief abominable.

If that be the case, then if a Dad reached over and broke his child’s arm to teach him not to throw a ball in the house, I would be out of line to reproach the Dad, to try to prevent him doing so, to even report him to the police. If GOD hurts us and makes us ill as a lesson to us, then we have no right to expect good things from anyone who loves us.

The “I’ll make you sick or hurt you because I love you GOD” is not the GOD of the Bible. Even in the story of Job, which Christianity loves to point at and say, “See! There’s my biblical backing!” GOD’s character is misrepresented (to say the least) as a foundation to stand on for that erroneous “GOD who hurts us” belief.

So, let’s look at the Bible story of Job to see what kind of alleged “foundation” they think they have.

In Job 1:1 Job is described as a “blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil”. Even GOD said about Job that “there is none like him on the earth” (vs.8), and it is reiterated that he is “blameless and upright” and that he “fears God and shuns evil”. Does that sound like someone GOD would hurt to teach him a lesson? If so, what kind of lesson does Job need to learn? What wrong was Job doing that he had to be taught a lesson? Or, in the opinion of the Christians who make this claim, does GOD teach Job a lesson without Job needing a lesson, in GOD’s own opinion?

If you read what is written there, the Bible says that GOD was talking to our mortal enemy, Satan, and that GOD was standing up for Job. Why would GOD do that if he wanted to teach Job a lesson? No, what was actually happening is that GOD was saying to our enemy that if he looked at Job he would find someone who would not be destroyed by our enemy. GOD said, “Have you considered my servant Job…?” (1:8).

In verses 10-11, Satan replies that there was a “hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side” so why would Satan consider attacking Job because GOD protected him so much? Satan went on to say that if GOD “stretched out [His] hand and touch[ed] all that he [Job] has” that Job would “surely curse” GOD to His face.

To this GOD responded in 1:12 that everything Job had was in Satan’s power, with the exception that Satan could not touch Job himself. Why would GOD do this? To prove to Satan that there are faithful people who will not turn away from GOD, who will not curse GOD, who will not fall away from GOD or from belief in Him, if bad things happen to them! It wasn’t a test, a lesson, or an attack on Job: it was a lesson to Satan!

Look at everything Satan took from Job in verses 13-22: his oxen and all but one servant with them (vs 15); his sheep and all but one of the servants with them (vs 16); his camels and all but one of his servants who were with them (vs 17); his children and all but one of the servants with them (vs 19). What does Job do?

In verses 20-22 we see Job’s response to Satan’s attack: Job “arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head and he fell to the ground and worshipped.” Who did Job worship: Satan, who took everything away from him, or GOD, who still loved Job and allowed all of this to happen to him because GOD chose to teach Satan a lesson? Job worshipped GOD. GOD was proven correct in trusting Job. In verse 22 we see “In all this Job did not sin nor charge GOD with wrong.”

That’s something that should have impressed Satan, but apparently it wasn’t enough. In 2:1 there was another meeting of the “sons of GOD” and Satan again showed up.

GOD asked Satan where he came from (2:2) and Satan replied “From going to and fro on the earth and from walking back and forth on it.”

Then -- absolutely certain that Job would be faithful -- GOD again pointed to Job (poor, faithful Job) and asked if Satan had “considered [His] servant, Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears GOD and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited me against him, to destroy him without cause.” (vs3).

See what it says: Job “still” held “fast to his integrity” and that he was a “blameless and upright man” who feared GOD. Does that sound like Job needed a lesson taught to him, or does it sound more like GOD has faith in Job and in the fact that – even though the first time Job was used to teach Satan a lesson it devastated his life – GOD was absolutely certain that Job could be trusted in his faithfulness, his uprightness, his blamelessness?

GOD may seem harsh here, picking on Job again, but think of what it is saying about Job that GOD has so much faith in him. Job was a favorite of GOD’s. However, being GOD’s favorite doesn’t mean that your life will be easy as breathing. Consider Mary, mother of Christ, who was another favorite of GOD’s and who was chosen as a young teen to bare GOD’s “only Begotten Son” – while single, but betrothed and who had to face the slings and arrows of the town gossips, the accusations of town people, her future in-laws, etc. David was a favorite of GOD’s, but when he messed up, having an affair with Bathsheba and fathering a child with her then ensuring her husband’s death, the child he fathered in that affair died. Although GOD’s favor was still upon David, the baby died. That’s not an easy thing to endure, but David understood it and cleaned himself up and worshipped GOD after the child died (2 Samuel 12).

In GOD’s second time of telling Satan to “consider” Job, Satan was told that Job was in Satan’s hand “but spare his life”. Satan was allowed to do anything to Job he wanted, but he could not kill him. Job wound up with boils “from the souls of his feet to the crown of his head.” Job used a potsherd to scrape the boils from his skin and he went and sat in ashes and his wife told him to “curse God and die” (2:9)! That’s pretty harsh. It’s also what a lot of people would do in the same situation. His children are dead, his cattle, camels and sheep are gone, along with the servants that were with them. His wife is all that’s left and his wife tells him to turn his back on GOD and die! Harsh!

Look at what Job did instead. In 2:10 we read that Job stood up for GOD; “‘Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

Even when Job’s friends came and accused him of having some sort of sin in his life – apparently they hadn’t heard GOD’s opinion of Job – Job lamented his own conception and birth (chapter 3) but he didn’t lament GOD’s touch on his life. In the coming chapters we see Job’s “friends” (with friends like these…) telling Job he is claiming to be “innocent” (4:7), but he can’t be if GOD is doing this bad stuff to him. Job has to deserve this kind of treatment for something that is hidden. Eliphaz goes so far as to say that he saw a vision in a dream that said that no one can claim to “be more pure than his Maker” (4:17), which Job, so far, hadn’t claimed to be!

His friends go on and on and on about how Job must have done something – anything – to deserve this punishment from GOD: he must be guilty, but denying it. Job defends himself against their accusations (as did GOD’s statements to Satan regarding Job), and Job answered them and defended himself in chapters 6-7, 9-10, 12-14, 16-17, 19, 21, 23-24, and 26-31, the youngest “friend” standing up and berating Job for six chapters (32-38).

Job 32:1 says, “So these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.” Is that a bad thing? Remember, GOD considered Job a “blameless and upright man” of whom there were “none like in all the earth”. I think that Job was just agreeing with GOD and that’s a good thing to do! (“Where two or more agree as touching anything…” Job and GOD in agreement are two or more, correct?)

In the end of the book we see GOD speaking out of the whirlwind and asking Job questions that there is no way he can say “Yes, I can”, or “Yes, I am” to. But listen to the questions and they could just as easily be directed at Job’s three “friends”, too. Then, after GOD is finished questioning Job, what happens? Is it then that Job is punished? Is it then that – after saying he was more righteous than GOD – the Lord finally takes a whack at Job and gives him leprosy, break his leg, makes him blind, makes him have erectile dysfunction? No.

The loving, gentle, kind, forgiving, merciful, graceful GOD of the Bible does none of those things. We see what happened to a man who GOD accused to his face of claiming to be more righteous than him, GOD spoke to Job’s “friends” in 42:7-8 and ordered them to make reparations with Job and to make offerings because GOD’s “wrath is aroused against you” because “you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has (my italics).” GOD, who was supposedly punishing Job, told Job’s three friends that Job said what was right and they had not.

Adding frosting to the top of the cake, in 42:10-17 GOD restored Job’s losses after Job prayed for his friends – without GOD ordering Job to do so. GOD restored Job’s losses so much that He gave Job “fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys”, and seven sons and three daughters again and GOD made Job’s daughters very beautiful (it doesn’t say anything about the sons’ looks).

So, Christians who claim Job as “proof” that GOD punishes us with bad things happening to us, where is your proof? What lesson did Job, the "upright" and "blameless" man have to learn and where did GOD say, "Job, I did this to teach you lesson X"? Where is it that you found anything close to “proof” in Job of the GOD who punishes people and that we have to accept illnesses and pain from a loving, gentle, kind, forgiving, merciful, graceful GOD? I’d like them to show me where it is that GOD does that to His children because I truly do not see it in Job. Look at the words written there and see GOD's protection of Job, not His punishment and not a lesson for him. GOD was teaching our enemy something, not Job.

I can already hear some of you yelling, Oh, but Job suffered because of the lesson! He lost his children, but Job knew his children well enough to know that he had to do what was needed to cover them with GOD's forgiveness. He was given new children to replace those the enemy took. I won't read into Job, but maybe GOD knew something we did not? I don't know. Do you?

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© 2017 Linda McKinney All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

“Earth Day”: Hypocrisy on Parade?

Not being believers in “Earth Day” practices, beliefs, or fears, we only remembered “Earth Day” after seeing all of the event signs and participants. For “Earth Day” of this year my husband and I were in the panhandle of Florida, birding (and yes, we drove there). We didn’t plan on birding in “celebration” of “Earth Day” as did others we met. It was just a free weekend for my hubby, the first he didn’t have to work in a while.

While we were spending time together as a couple sharing a common interest, we saw whole families walking toward the “Earth Day” event of their choice, vehicles lining the streets as the event’s parking lots overflowed with “one-dayers”: those who put on a show of caring for the earth for “Earth Day” only and otherwise may or may not recycle but do nothing else the rest of the year. You know: the people who go four wheeling on someone else’s property, light a bonfire there and drink beer until the wee hours, leaving the beer bottles/cans for the next person to clean up as they wend their way home, kicking up dirt and already planning their next foray into the forest.

We also saw those who are “true believers” and who practice their beliefs to some extent on a daily basis, but who were putting the lie to their beliefs. Think of it. The true believers’ activity on “Earth Day” included:

   • Their appliances and electrical devices were probably plugged in and working while they slept until their alarms went off. Their food was being cooled, water heated without a reason and their own bodies cooled via air conditioning while they slept under blankets.

   • They probably took hot showers and ate a normal breakfast before most of them got into their vehicles and drove to their “Earth Day” event.

   • At their “Earth Day” event, some of them boarded buses – giant fossil fuel users and polluters – in order to get to another area for that part of their “Earth Day” celebration.

   • After doing their “thing” for that portion of their “Earth Day”, they re-boarded the bus and went back to their original “Earth Day” meeting place and maybe did more there, or got back into their personal vehicle and drove it either to a restaurant to eat, another event, or maybe back home.

   • When they arrived home, they used more appliances – air conditioning, oven/stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer, etc. – as well as lights, radio/television, electronic devices, etc., until they went to bed for the night during which their refrigerator still cooled their food, the air conditioner cooled them, and their hot water heater still heated water until needed the next morning as their electronic devices charged for the next day’s use.

So the reality of the “Earth Day” ceremony of going out and participating in something to prove that you are interested in, dedicated to, or a “true believer” in “helping” the earth is actually just hurting it.

Instead of doing all that is wrong and going to hurt the earth on “its day”, why don’t they:

   1) Turn off all of their electrical appliances at the breaker box the night before as they go to bed?

   2) Get up in the morning without showering (to preserve water) and pop a mint to freshen their breath?

   3) Get on bicycles and bike to the event where they would not use any water, nor create any pollution besides their own exhaling?

   4) When finished, bike home?

   5) Spend the rest of the day reading until bedtime and go to bed without eating or showering so that they didn’t use any electricity or water?

The next morning they could switch their breakers back on, shower after the hot water heater warmed things up and they could eat a hot breakfast after their “Earth Day” fast. Why not celebrate “Earth Day” that way so that you can help the earth on “Earth Day” instead of harming it? I think that would be a more fitting activity list for those who purport to put the earth as a priority in their lives.

For those who think that the earth is not being injured by humans living here and that the earth is not that fragile and who don’t believe that we should be worshipping the earth or anything else in this realm, we can go about our usual activities because we didn’t put our names to the lie. We can feel free to use our vehicles, appliances, electronic devices, hot water, etc. Not being a hypocrite is a wonderful thing and if we don’t believe in the “Earth Day” ceremony and we don’t participate in it, it’s also more fun.

If these make believers wanted to do something good for the earth instead of going out and participating in – or even participating in the planning of – “Earth Day” events, as they did this year, they would change things up. For every future “Earth Day” event of the future may I suggest the following?

   1) Plan all “Earth Day” events close enough to population centers that anyone in that population center wishing to attend may walk or ride a bicycle to the location.

   2) Plan events for “Earth Day” that would produce no carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide or other emissions of any kind.

   3) Use no paper advertising for Earth Day” events should be used in order to save the trees: nothing in newspapers, magazines, brochures, snail mail letters, or flyers of any kind.

   4) Use no advertising that requires any kind of electrical support. No television, radio, internet, or robo-calls should be used so that polluting power companies cannot be used to get people to participate in “Earth Day”.

   5) All “Earth Day” events should be planned to not disturb the ground in any way, shape, form, or fashion. Planting trees, while symbolic, may be “good for” the earth, but it also lends itself to erosion in the area until the trees take hold.

   6) Use no water at “Earth Day” events for we all “know” that water is in short supply and that means that it should be used sparingly, instead of as a show to impress others, which is no better than having a swimming pool in your back yard that you keep filled, chlorinated and cleaned but rarely use.

   7) Don’t allow dogs at “Earth Day” events because they are humans’ pets and it is due to their existence that we humans have to pollute the earth via visits to the veteran’s office, trips to buy food, toys, to take them on walks, and during those walks, they drop pollutants and leave them to be picked up by others, or left to be washed into the earth.

   8) Make everyone stay on the pavement/asphalt because if they walk on the grass, who knows what new species may be growing there but killed off because of so many people trampling on them? There should be no hikes through the woods, no bike rides into the forest. Prevent everyone from touching the woods because they can harm it by participating in it.

   9) Allow only “true believers” to participate in “Earth Day” activities. Those who show up for “Earth Day” but do nothing otherwise besides recycle are hypocrites and we all know that being a hypocrite in anything harms any movement instead of adding to its followers. You can’t get a Planned Parenthood president to take a pro-life stance and expect Planned Parenthood to maintain donation inflow.

   10) If vehicles are used to attend the event they must be electric vehicles that have been charged via an electrical source that does not pollute (no coal power plants), kill nature's animals (no wind produced electricity), nor any water sourced electrical power. This way no harm can be done to the earth in order to drive to “Earth Day”.

   11) If you’re going to celebrate the earth, do so properly and hold a Wiccan/Gaia worship ceremony. After all, it’s a celebration of the earth, why not do the Wiccan/Gaia thing? If you’re really all that enamored of the earth, if you’re really going to honor it, why not admit that you worship it? It is your god? You hold it as a holy thing? At least those who are not zealots would see the road they’re headed down and the truth may snap some out of it.

That would be a much better “Earth Day”. No hypocrisy, no harm to “Mother Earth”, using no natural resources that demand stripping the earth of her plants, water, coal, wind, or whatever else must be used to create paper, electricity, or anything else to advertise, organize, or participate in the day, or creating pollution via people driving their vehicles or riding buses to the different events or locations. “Earth Day” would be a real celebration -- and worship -- of the earth if those who want to celebrate it would actually do so without doing more harm than good. Don’t you agree?

___________ © 2017 Linda McKinney All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 6, 2017

How I Know GOD Is

Love. It’s just that pure, plain and simple. That’s how I know GOD is real. In 1 John 4:16 we see the truth: GOD is love. Without GOD there would be no love.

When I say “there would be no love” I mean exactly that. There would be no love in any form: no erotic (male/female marital love), filial (brotherly love), agape (love of GOD), nor “empathy love” that would make you run to help someone trapped in a burning car. None of those would exist. No one would realize that we were missing something because you never miss what you’ve never had. That’s how I know that we have the One, True GOD watching over us and loving us. There is love.

Without GOD, there would be no human motherly love toward her child. All human children would be born from animal instincts to mate and the children would be left to fend for themselves as though they were sea turtles (to choose something we’re all familiar with here in Florida). Sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand, bury them and return to the sea. When it’s time for the eggs to hatch the mother is nowhere to be found and the babies make their ways out of the eggs, up out of the sand and – if they’re lucky – into the sea to make their way the best they can. Some don’t make it far from the nest thanks to sea gulls and other land predators, or they make it to the ocean only to live a day and be eaten by a predator in the sea. No mommy to take care of them, watch over them, instruct them in how to avoid being eaten by that sea gull, or defend them against the tiger shark or grouper once they get to the ocean. Human children would be left to themselves, like the turtles.

That’s not, however, the way we do it. Most women, once pregnant, trying to get pregnant because they desire a child so much their hearts ache for one, or at least once they’ve given birth and seen their child, have a mothering instinct that kicks in and a connection is made with the child and barring circumstances that are not the norm (substance abuse, sociopathy, etc.), will do everything she can to protect her child, go to extremes to feed, clothe and house her child. It’s an instinct, but it’s formed from, based and predicated upon love. She looks at the face of her newborn and falls so very deeply, inexplicably, irrevocably in love with her baby that most mothers will lay down her life for her child, no matter what. She’s that child’s mommy; nothing will stop that, change that, remove that, not even giving it up for adoption. Love makes this happen. Love proves that GOD is real.

Without GOD there would be no other forms of love: brotherly love, erotic (Eros) love (like between a bride and groom), or “empathy love”: the kind of love one has for a stranger when you help him get up off the ground after a hard fall, or buy him dinner when he’s hungry. Without GOD there would be none of that because, like sunlight, in order to have love there must be a source of love. GOD is that source.

Without GOD there would be no one willing to lay down his life for his fellow man, for “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” It’s impossible to have that kind of sacrifice without having GOD’s example and gift of His Son who laid down His life for us so that we don’t have to face an eternity in hell if we choose to follow Him and accept His free gift. No one would be a cop, serve in the military, risk their lives to save a stranger or the stranger’s child from a rising river and a stalled and flooding vehicle. Without GOD there would be no firefighters willing to run into a burning building to rescue a trapped person, a dog who is whimpering in the locked apartment, or even the parakeet much loved by its elderly owner.

“Oh!” you smugly retort, “But they’re getting paid to do that!”

True, but they were not being paid to do so when they choose that career. Ask firemen (generic term meaning “people” in general) if they chose the career because they wanted the pay and you’ll be laughed at to your face. Ask them if they went into the career because they wanted to help people and that’s what will get a resounding “Yes” most often. They may or may not call it “brotherly love” or “empathy love” but that’s what it is: they risk laying down their lives for their fellow man every time they respond to a dangerous situation.

We all know that there is love and there is lust. Lust is not love if you will admit the truth. You may lust for someone (your neighbor, a celebrity, or a former high school classmate), but that doesn’t mean that you love them. “Eros love” – not lust, love – is what the bride and groom share that makes them truly commit to each other for life. That “until death do us part” portion of the wedding vows is not always followed but when given they are supposed to be meant and it’s supposed to be a real commitment. If it were not for this kind of love then most of the children in the world would be born out of lust (a lot more frequent nowadays than sixty years ago); the temporary joining of bodies in order to fulfill temporary animalistic desires, sometimes more desired by the male than the female. Eros love, as Helen Joy Lewis put it, “the most appreciative of all pleasures”(1) and is the kind of love that makes the marriage ceremony so solemn, so celebrate, so important and not to be mucked with via changing laws. The marriage kind of love is the one GOD talked about after creating Adam and Eve and he said to “be fruitful and multiply” and we learned in both the Old and New Testaments that “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” And Jesus instructed us “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” One flesh. One. That’s how deeply man and woman are joined together in love, not lust.

Look at how those who do not love act and you will see that there is a difference between those of us who do know GOD via knowing how to love and knowing love in return; no matter what kind of love we experience we do experience it. Those incapable of experiencing it are often called sociopaths because they do not connect with others, have no idea what right and wrong are and wouldn’t know how to treat others if they were not instructed in how to do so and were not restricted in their deeds because others are watching. Sociopaths cannot feel the love of others toward themselves nor do they know how to give love in return. They can fake it both ways, but they can’t really feel it. That’s why sociopaths can commit such heinous acts; no love – not even brotherly or empathy love -- equals no remorse.

Another example of not realizing the truth of GOD’s love and the way it affects people is the way those societies that do not follow the GOD of Christianity conduct themselves. ISIS is not following the GOD of Christianity; their god does not love them, he loves their acts if it happens to please him at the time but even their martyrdoms do not always please him and it holds no guarantees. Heaven is not promised in the Quran for martyrs. That was not even guaranteed to the prophet of Islam, Mohammed. Yet, they kill their own children for their god so that they may be able to spend time in heaven with the same god who they want to please so desperately that kill their own children so that he will be placated. That’s not love in my book. Nor is stoning your daughter, neighbor, sister, or wife to death because she dared drive a car, go outside by herself, not wear a full hijab. If that’s love I think a lot of us would say, “No thank you!” to love.

Look at how other societies do things, societies that do not follow the GOD of Christianity, and you will see other things that are scary, questionable, too negative to be considered a good thing. Am I saying that Christians always behave perfectly? No. I am saying that the overall differences between Christianity and other religions can be very minor as to be miniscule, to so big they can be considered enormous. Different religions sometimes have similar beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that the non-Christian religion is better than the Christian religion. Look at what each of them believes, teaches and practices (actions speak louder than words). Then tell me that the GOD of Christianity is subservient to, less than, not as good as the gods of other religions.

“Oh, but the Crusades!” you scream at your screen. The “crusades” were long ago and more about power and money than they were about religion. The Crusades really had nothing to do with religion; it had more to do with territory and who controlled it. Yes, the mask of Catholicism was worn, but it wasn’t really a religious war; it was about power and territory. The pope may have been involved, but that doesn’t mean that everything the pope did then nor currently does is based upon Biblical principles.

Now I want you to reread the first two sentences of the second paragraph. No love would look something like this: There would be no one willing to lay down his/her life for their fellow man. No one would be willing to give birth to babies because the baby in the womb would not illicit motherly love, but just the inconveniences of today’s abortion industry. Murder most heinous would be the norm; horrors of the worst kind being done to others for the fun of it. Bribery of the highest officials in the land would be normal. Robberies using whatever force needed to get what was wanted would be an hourly occurrence. Gang rapes the norm; animals would be treated as cruelly as evil hearts would do to them and no one would raise an eyebrow. Godless gangs would roam the streets doing as they wish without anyone even thinking of stopping them: there would be no law enforcement to do so because no one would be willing to lay down their lives for their fellow man. Think of any of the vile things one can do to a child that is currently done in the sex slave industry then multiply it by ten, twenty, thirty. That is what will be done without love because mercy stems from love and without it there would be no reason to stop.

That’s a world without love. That’s what tells me that GOD is: “I Am that I Am.” Without Him and His intercession into the minds, hearts, souls and spirits of mankind, our world would be so very dark and hateful that you would not want to recognize it. GOD is love and love exists. Our world is – for the most part – a better place than that. If GOD was not real, it would all look like ISIS and it would all be darkness, hatred, murder, horrendous things done in the name of whatever they choose to call it.

It’s just that simple. GOD is love and it comes from and is part of Him. If you love anyone or anything you know GOD is the source of that love for without Him, it would not be love. He gave His only begotten Son – who chose to do what was necessary for Him to do in order to save us – to die in our stead. That’s love. If it weren’t for Jesus Christ’s self-sacrifice for us we would be doomed to receive the eternity in hell that we deserve.

GOD is love. Without Him we would be demons not even as close to acting as civilized as the wildest animals, the smallest brained slugs, the hyenas that laugh at civilization or the deepest ocean depth’s creatures that never see light. Darkness would not begin to describe us, our souls, our actions, our filth.

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1) Helen Joy Lewis, “The Four Loves” as published in “The Beloved Works of C.S. Lewis”, pg. 264: Inspirational Press, A Division of BBS Publishing Corporation, 450 Raritan Center Parkway, Edison, NJ, 08837: Harcourt Brace & Company, 622 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32897

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© 2017 Linda McKinney All Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 9, 2017

GOD’s Protection of Cain

by Linda McKinney

How many times have I heard that GOD marked Cain with black skin because he killed his brother, Abel? I have heard hard hearts say so, I have seen it in writing in places where it should have never been put to paper (or internet) and I have heard it spoken by bigoted, misled, ignorant people. To me, it is a disgusting statement, sentiment, misnomer, idiocy. Those who believe such a lie do not study their Bibles and do not know the Word of GOD or they would never have believed such a perversion of GOD’s Word.

Let’s look at the truth because it is desperately needed. In Genesis 4 it states:

"And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

"9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? 10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. 11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; 12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. 13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. 15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

16 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden."
If you read what is actually said, GOD sent Cain from ever seeing GOD’s face again and GOD put a mark on Cain that would – read it carefully – protect him from harm: “lest any finding him should kill him.”
The KJV Bible was written in Old English and the Old English definition of “lest” is:

conjunction (subordinating; takes should or a subjunctive verb)
1. so as to prevent any possibility that:
So the meaning of the term is “So as to prevent any possibility that any finding him should kill him.” The mark GOD put upon Cain was a protective mark, not a mark of shame, or of being an inferior being! GOD still loved Cain and didn’t want him dead. GOD put a mark of protection on Cain so that no one would try to harm him.

We know that Cain lived a long life because he not only got married in the land of Nod, he also had children and built a city that he named after his first son, Enoch. He had other children as well but the Bible never says for how long Cain lived – with the mark of GOD upon him – but the life spans listed in the Bible of his relatives at the time were along the lines of 930 years, 912 years, 905 years, etc. GOD’s mark on Cain did not mean that he lived longer nor shorter than his kin, and the years mentioned here are his father, Adam’s, his brother, Seth’s, and Seth’s son, Enos, respectively.

Also, nowhere does it say that the mark GOD put upon Cain is genetic. Nowhere do you see that GOD marked Cain and Enoch, Irad, Mehujael, Methusael, Lamech, Jabal, Jubal and Tubalcain, Cain’s descendants. GOD made it clear that the mark was upon Cain, but when GOD puts a mark upon one person it doesn’t automatically mean that it is inherited down the ages. I have a bigger than usual birthmark that neither of my children have. It’s a form of a “mark” that involves the skin, which is where the bigots say was the mark of Cain. Why did my sons not inherit the mark since GOD marked me?

Cain’s descendant (four generations later), Lamech, murdered someone as did his ancestor. However, in this case, GOD does not mark Lamech. He has to make it on his own. Even without GOD’s marking of protection upon him, Lamech lived until he was 707 years old! That’s not as old as his ancestors but it was about the same as the rest of the people of that time. He died before his son, Noah, built the ark, so GOD saved Lamech, the murderer, from drowning.

If having dark skin was a bad thing, why would GOD allow Song of Solomon Chapter 1 to say:

"The Bride

"5 I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.

"6 Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.

"7 Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?"
So, bigots, where is your evidence that GOD marked Cain with black skin because he was a murderer? Where is your evidence that darker skin was a mark of anything, much less anything bad? You use Cain as a reason to hate blacks, assuming that darker skin was the mark of Cain. The mark of Cain is not delineated in the Bible, but bigots choose to say that it was dark skin, a certain hair texture. In saying so they not only betray their bigotry but they also betray their ignorance of the Bible’s actual truths.

Truth: GOD does not love nor condemn anyone based upon skin tone. GOD looks at whether they have a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. That’s the only factor taken into account in GOD’s book. Anyone who uses skin tone as a deciding factor for whether to like someone, to associate with anyone, to deny them the basic courtesies of civility is going to be judged by GOD and it won’t be good for that bigot. So those who are slandering GOD’s Word (see John 1:1-5 and tell me you want to continue doing so) should not only be ashamed of yourselves but you should fall on your knees immediately and beg GOD’s forgiveness for your slander, lies, hatred and for judging people for something for which they may not be guilty (see Matthew 7:1-3) but you may!

It’s time to stop the lying. It’s time to stop hating. It’s time to stop slandering GOD’s Word and start reading and understanding the Word of GOD. It’s time for bigots to lay down their hatred, pick up the Light and the Word of GOD and to repent of their wrong.

By the way: it goes for the other way around, too. If you have dark skin and you hate people with lighter skin, stop it. You’re doing the same thing for an unjustified reason, too.

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© 2017 Linda McKinney All Rights Reserved

Sunday, December 25, 2016

My Christmas Present to You: "In the Shadow of Christmas Day"

© 2016 Linda McKinney All Rights Reserved

In the shadow of Christmas day
And the wake of Santa’s sleigh,
The wrappings of presents set out by the curb to stay…

In the dawning of the day after
Recalling dreams come true and laughter
The voice of one calling in the desert -- quietly as if from rafters --

If one listens to the hushed sound
“I love you” is the message that resounds
Will you listen actually hear; in your heart rebound?

Christmas is not a present to unwrap on Christmas Day,
But the Gift of One Who was born to take our sins away –
To take our place upon the Cross after being mocked, scourged, He was put on display…

For all to deride and spit upon as they walked by,
He was labeled “King of the Jews” with a cry,
“No! Not that!” unwanted, they said it was a lie.

But King He was – over time, space and all
That man knew then, knows now – big and small,
He died there, begging forgiveness for those who refused His call…

Yes, blind, rebellious, hard-hearted, they refused to see
Truth, hung there upon the Tree,
Rising again, whole but scarred, eternal marks on him instead of me.

His back is ever shredded, from lashes given to a Babe laid upon the hay,
The nails left eternal marks on the Child Who did obey,
Thorns dripped blood down royal brow on young man who gave His life for you that day.

In the shadow of Christmas when we celebrate the day
The Child born to take our sins away
Began the greatest, hardest journey that calls to you every day…

“Come to me! I love you!” the Child cries out to you
But in rebellion, egotistical, sinful people cling to what is untrue
And leave the arms open wide to receive them, empty as his heart so longs for you.

Wrap the presents and bake the pies,
Cling to family, worship the lies,
While in eternal love your Savior’s heart cries

For if there be any sadness in heaven you know
‘Tis for those who refuse His love and on their own ways go
Fr He knows their path will lead them to eternal throes…

And God’s Baby Son was born to save all men
No matter color, nation, creed, He cries out to them,
“I love you! Come to me!” they turn their backs, their choice, themselves condemn.

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© 2016 Linda McKinney All Rights Reserved