Excited! Here’s my soon-to-be-released book cover, Treachery and the Innocent!
Have you ever watched the sitcom series, “My Name is Earl”? In this series an ex con artist named Earl, due to a set of unusual circumstances, decides that karma is against him. The series centers on Earl’s attempt to fix his bad karma by making up for his previous evil deeds by righting individuals he has wronged. Karma, in this series, is presented in a humorous manner and no doubt causes multitudes of people to laugh, yet most of these individuals probably have no clue that the idea of karma is actually based on the biblical principle: what you sew you shall also reap. The difference: while the Bible teaches that you will reap what you have sown, Karma, as taught and practiced in the Buddhist religion, is the foundation for the belief of reincarnation and is no laughing matter. In fact, it has destroyed the lives of many.
When my daughter (Mary) approached me about traveling to Thailand for three months, a foreign country whose entire culture is centered on the Buddhist belief of karma, I cringed. Of course, my first concern was for her safety. With the evil enterprise of slave trafficking on the rise, a tall, slender and beautiful American visiting a country where slave trafficking is the norm was most frightening. I had to keep reminding myself that Mary was safer in God’s will in Thailand than out of his will at home.
From her experiences, I have learned much. First, I was appalled to discover that these precious souls were usually sold into this evil enterprise by their own families yet blame it on karma. As Mary wrote, “If she were born a boy, serving in the temple as a Monk for a few weeks would earn enough good karma to outweigh a lifetime of bad and would bring unfathomable honor to the family. But, as a woman, in a family that is either poor or simply wants more wealth and prestige, duty, honor and Buddha require the ultimate sacrifice, a life of abuse and slavery to provide for those very ones who are so demanding and yet so ashamed of her existence.”
Second, Buddhism destroys lives. Again Mary wrote, “Today, I witnessed tragedy in the eyes of a young prostitute as she wept before Buddha, begging health for her family who sent her to work the streets and forgiveness for her wretched state and cursed life. Society looks down upon her and even her family despises her. But this life is payment to Buddha for the bad karma earned in her previous life. She believes—because Buddhism teaches—that everything that happens to her has been earned by her own hand and is deserved. There is no such thing as mercy, only debt. In her mind, the only chance for peace and redemption lay in selling the one possession she has, her body, to take care of her family.”
“Or, maybe she is a wife whose husband wants more money, so each day she slaves to take care of her family and each night she is dropped off by her husband to work the street. It is not the status of the girl in a family that determines her fate, it is the desires of others and the status of a gender Buddha did not consider worthy of value or honor.”
Mary worked with these precious girls each evening. She said, “. . . they are animated and sweet. Then when they have to get up and dance on the stage naked or mostly naked with bright neon lights and mirrors filling the entire room, with all the men saying and doing various things, their faces turn into masks. . . . vacant eyes stare out from the faces that pray they will please Buddha enough in this life to have a better spot next go around . . . We see Buddha’s everywhere with food, drinks and incense surrounding them. The girls pray to be purified constantly and for forgiveness for the lives they are living.”
Don’t ever believe that all religions are the same, that it doesn’t really matter which one you follow because every religion leads to God. Buddhism is a religion straight from hell. Can you think of any worse type of slavery than to believe you must submit to sexual abuse for your religion’s sake? These ladies, oppressed and scorned by the world, pray and worship the very deity that enslaves them.
Mary commented, “I weep for this people who reject the Alpha and Omega for a tottering statue decorated by the creative mind of man. I smiled as I saw the foundations of the temple were cracked and God’s nature was peeking through, eager to overtake and pull down the lies and schemes of man. All this will pass away. Every lie will be exposed. Every idol built up by man, especially those built on the sweat and blood of others, will fall.”
“One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess who is Lord and it will not be Buddha. One day . . . truth will reveal every lie and each falsehood will be destroyed. The innocent, weak, and poor will be oppressed no longer . . . but until that day both the oppressed and the oppressor need the love and grace of Christ for both are enslaved.”
In closing, thank God for organizations who carry the gospel to these precious souls who are living in darkness and abuse so they can hear about the God who loves them.
I have a new book coming out soon. Actually, I have two. One is a comedy/adventure and is the third one of the Love From Above Series. The second one (which will actually be out first) is Treachery and the Innocent. I have edited both of these books over and over again in the past few months. I have even asked for editing assistance from others—a friend of mine (an English teacher who is very good at grammar), my son who is getting a PhD in biblical languages (which means he must first know the English language inside-out), and my daughter (an attorney and writer).
After everyone was finished editing, I thought I was finally ready to submit it to Blueink Review, but I was forced to wait because the cover wasn’t yet finished. While waiting, I decided to read it through one final time to make sure it was perfect. I found about 10 additional errors. When the cover still wasn’t finished, my daughter decided to read it through again. So far she’s found 7 mistakes. As they say, “Every editor needs an editor.” That’s because when you write the material, you know it so well that you begin to read in the mistakes or missing words.
While I was thinking about this today, and pondering if it will do any good for me to read the books again, I thought about how often Christians seem to “read in” the sins in our lives. Perhaps it’s the snide or snappy comment that slides from our mouth like honey from a honeycomb, or the judgmental thoughts that plague us like locusts, or the movies we watch that must be justified before we feel right about watching them. All of these are the “read in” sins we commit, sins that have become so natural we fail to recognize their sinfulness.
God is the author of what is right and wrong—not us, not our friends or family, and certainly not the world. God’s Word, and God’s Word alone, should guide our steps.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (1 Timothy 3:16).
When you walk through an airport, you see many people with a lot of baggage. Some have so much they are forced to push it on a cart. Each of those individuals, whether they have so much they use a cart or so little they carry it themselves, have items of clothing and care products that are currently in use. You will never find old clothing that is no longer wearable or empty makeup jars in these bags, because there is no purpose for carrying such items.
My question this morning is, “Why do we weigh down our lives by carrying excess baggage?” For example, why do we burden our daily walk with the weight of bitterness due to a raw deal we endured years ago, or carry hatred for wrong done to us or a loved one, or dwell on unfair treatment by a classmate, family member, or boss? These are all excess baggage. Yes, these past events should have taught us something, but they should not be allowed to be a stumbling block in our lives.
As children of God, we need to learn to turn loose of past injuries before they become weights that hinder our lives, keeping us from being all that God wants us to be. Leave your baggage behind. Don’t let your past regrets, bitterness, or hatred control your life. Live for the future. Let your life be filled with God’s joy and blessing.
Romans 12:12 teaches us to, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
…and it’s still happening today
Pink! Pink! Pink!” he screamed as he sat on the stairs leading to the old church basement. I froze, stuck on the stairs above him as a set of foul words flew from his mouth. This was my introduction to Tony. I had taught Good News Clubs and children’s church for years, but this experience was certainly a first. I stopped and prayed, “Lord, show me how to handle this.” I immediately thought of an experience the minister David Wilkerson shared in one of his books.
While working with inner city youth, David had been threatened by Nicky Cruz—leader of the New York City Mau-Mau gang. David was preaching in Nicky’s neighborhood when he encountered the gang leader. Nicky slapped him, and then threatened to kill him with a knife. David responded by saying, “Yes, you could; and you could cut me into a thousand little pieces and spread me…
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I stumbled over those VCR tapes for years, not wanting to throw them away because they brought back such good memories of when my children were young. “They are worthless,” I kept telling myself. “Throw them away.” But this morning I discovered that one of them was currently selling online for anywhere between $900.00 to $10,000.00. Now I’m frantically trying to remember if I finally did throw them away, or if I stored the black garbage bag they called home somewhere up in the attic. (I’ll be checking in a few minutes.)
As I sat there thinking about how funny it was that something I considered of no value others consider of great value, I thought about God’s opinion of man. He considered Adam “very good” before Adam was able to do anything good or bad. He dubbed Adam good because He dubbed Adam good. It was His opinion alone that gave Adam his value.
Today, it is God’s opinion that gives us value. He loves us because He loves us, not because of who we are or what we have accomplished. We are His creation and therefore we are of value. The weak, the strong, the wealthy, the down-trodden, the beautiful, the not so beautiful, the talented, the not so talented—we are all of value to Him because of His love for us.
I thank God that what some people call worthless, He calls of great value—great enough that He gave His life to rescue that “worthless” being from an eternity of separation from Him.
“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16