Valentine’s Day Christian Style

And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Ephesians 5:2

If you are someone trying your best to avoid all the hoopla over Valentine’s Day, then you are not alone.

Valentine’s Day is supposedly an ancient Roman festival known as Lupercalia (celebrated on February 15th) which purpose was to keep out an evil spirit and secure fertility.

The festival required that two young males would be covered in goat skin. The two young males pretended to be goats and would run around slapping people with goat skin strips. These young males represented the embodiment of sexuality. It was also in honor of Faunus a Roman religion.

Now imagine that.

The Lupercalia festival was around during Christian times and was kept around until the 5th Century.

It was Pope Gelasius I, Saint, who took Lupercalia as a Christian feast day around circa 496 declaring February 14th as St. Valentine’s Day.  One explanation is that three early Christian saints with the same name of Valentine were all to have been martyred on February 14th.

But, whatever one chooses to believe about the celebration of Valentine’s Day, it brings a great deal attention about love.

Funny isn’t it how one day out of the year can bring such splendid and at the same time heartbreak and despair. And we know why. Valentine’s Day is not about the real meaning of love.

Now if we could only celebrate the love of loving like Christ shows to us each day, perhaps we wouldn’t have to wait for a pagan festival to tell us that we ought to show love to those we are close to.

Valentine’s Day Christian style would be a most beautiful day but it doesn’t exist and will never exist. Why?

Valentine’s Day Christian style is pretty much as a pagan festival today as it was in the beginning.

If we only consider overthrowing the commercialism of love and get down to the simple explanation of what Christ has taught us.

We should just live to love.

In Him Alone,

The Counterfeit Christian
2017 The Year of Our Lord

In 2016 1.7 Billion was spent on Valentine’s Day

 

We Only Get One

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:12

Yesterday I finally got it!

And I now understand why young people don’t put their time to watching television but engage in social media.

This might be the reason.

With all the talented and intelligent young people working their behinds off to break-into the entertainment industry, why is the entertainment and media industry continually hiring the same black entertainers?

And why are these same entertainers and personalities hoarding three and four great spots on television?

Why am I bringing up this matter?

Well, yesterday, there was this big announcement that Oprah Winfrey would now be one of the hosts of 60 Minutes.

I sat back and said to myself. Why? Doesn’t she already have a number of things going on for herself?

Does she believe that she is the only black woman who has a charming personality that makes white folks feel comfortable with having her talk to them?

But here is the answer to my question.

Because she is Oprah and we all know that everyone presumably loves Oprah.

But, as fortunate and wealthy as she is with all her businesses (OWN channel, magazine, Weight Watchers, etc.) has she not thought how selfish she is with pushing aside someone younger who might have their own great personality and the ability to tell stories, even better than she?

Even Steve Harvey has been promoted to be the only talented black man who can host a talk and game show, in addition to beauty pageants.

I even read somewhere online that they were labeling Steve as the black male Oprah Winfrey.

Unfortunately, the old saying that black folks only get one is being proven true.

Truly, this saying has become a fact in our community and it will continue to be so when those in the entertainment and media industry stop trying to group black folks based on what makes them feel comfortable.

I wonder has Oprah or Steve ever stop and think about the opportunities they are hoarding from the young, gifted and talented blacks who are looking to break-into the business but are turned down because of the “we only get one” mentality.

It is time for us older folks to make way for the young. Sacrificing a job to someone who is not a billionaire or millionaire can be a blessing.

So, come on Oprah and Steve, how about sharing and just say “no” and refer a few gigs to our young ones.

With the start of Black History Month (which is twelve months for me) we need to pay more attention to changing the status quo.

How do we do that?

By declaring, ‘we only get one,” is a thing of the past.

In Him Alone

The Counterfeit Christian
2017 The Year of Our Lord

140 Characters of a Delusional Leader

Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. Isaiah 5:14

George Orwell’s 1984 Predicted Donald Trump & Alternative Facts

I started off my weekend disappointed and disgusted that president Trump decided to ban Muslims from entering the United States of America.

As I watched the news of vocal, compassionate and angry protestors that are the true makeup of Americans, my heart sank into bitterness against that wicked and evil spirit that Trump has within him.

One would think that he has the interest of all Americans in mind. But he doesn’t. The only people he is playing to are the ones who voted for him and place him high above God. But even these folks will one day regret their decision to choose a man based on his material wealth and supposedly excellent business successes.

Donald J. Trump is no more than a failed business man and is showing his failure to lead a nation that are proud to say that we are a nation of immigrants.

But here we are now with Trump and Bannon vetting their arrogance, anger, prejudice, bigotry, hatred and white populism/nationalism message to a world that has grown up and will not tolerate their bully pen of executive orders.

The challenge for us who are willing to accept refugees and respect another person’s religion, is not to be tricked into believing that Americans are being attacked everyday by terrorists—especially, when that is not factual or true.

Just to keep it real. I thought on how best I might describe the character and characteristics of a Donald J. Trump who lives his life by believing conspiracy tales, watching television and tweeting from the depths of his empty soul.

140 Characters of a Delusional Leader.

Serpent in the Garden of Eden deceiver/liar Genesis 3
Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver Matthew 26:15

In Him Alone

The Counterfeit Christian
2017 The Year of Our Lord

The Saddest Day in America

Matthew 10:28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Well, this is the final day of the presidency of President Barak H. Obama and we look to his departure as bittersweet. He was indeed a man of grace and dignity and wore his blackness with pride.

Now, we enter a new era with a newly elected president who has put these United States into such a polarized and divisive nature. His rhetoric and antics, his arrogance and sheer ignorance to insult, bully and deny others to speak about him and against his position on any and everything from Saturday Night Live, his devotion to Putin and to him bringing in entertainers, sports figures and comedians to meet with him to help solve major problems within the black community.

Yes, I for one see this is the saddest day in America with all three governing bodies are all of one political party.

What a number of Americans dread is the thought that Donald J. Trump now has the power of an ink pen to override President Obama’s executive orders and put his own signature of revenge against progress.

And another troubling matter is that Trump now has at his closeness to use nuclear power to wipe out nations.  

But, despite what we may see with our eyes and feel within our inner being, there is hope.

One thing that we know is that this new president will not be able to do everything he has claimed or declared to his adorning flock of voters. No. Mr. Trump will and as we all do, must answer to a higher power. And that is God almighty.

So, do I fear Mr. Trump? No. And neither should you.

What we have before us today is the power to believe that God will not allow the wicked or evil  to prevail over His people.

God is in control and all power is in His hands.

So my dear friends don’t spend your time worrying about what you think that President Trump may or will do. Get out into your communities and be active, vocal and non-violent when you protest,

Just remember. All power is in God’s hands. God rules the heavens and the earth.

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” Daniel 4:37

In Him Alone

The Counterfeit Christian
2017 The Year of Our Lord

Thank you to President Obama and First Lady Michelle for your service to this nation.

Farewell Obama Tribute – Joey Gallant

 

Poverty Knows No Zip Code

But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 1 John 3:17

Christmas is but a few days away and many have completed their shopping, some have just started and a number of you have turned away from the commercialism of shopping altogether.

Each year, notable organizations, charities and television outlets make an appeal to have coats, toys and food donated for those economically unable to provide these things for themselves.

suburban-povertyHowever, with all the holiday appeals, I wonder, have any of these organizations consider the poor living in the suburbs?

From my viewpoint, I think this is where the anger is generated over the years from the population of folks who do not live in the city.

The underlying disappointment comes about because it seems like the same groups of people living in specific areas in the country are given help quicker than someone who may not live in a row house or apartment building.

Let’s deal with the facts of everyday life folks.

Poverty knows no zip code or color.

Poverty doesn’t discriminate either.

I know what it is like to lack. And it is not a Good Times television sitcom.

Now, I want to also state for the record that I am not blaming the receivers of these donations.

When the appeal for donations are asked each year, people respond thinking probably more on those living in poverty in the city than those living in the suburbs.

Is it intentional? I don’t think so. I just think that the organizers and committees of these good-intention decision-makers think only specific demographics are in need.

But this way of thinking has to end…and I don’t believe I am the only one who has thought about this very subject.

I truly thank the Lord for seeing me through hard times of poverty. Lack has instilled in me a first-hand experience of having empathy for all of humanity.

Life isn’t easy to live, especially when you may get hit suddenly with unemployment, homelessness or a terminal sickness.

Living now in what used to be towns of farmers and is now a up and coming growing community outside of the City of Philadelphia, I can testify and assure you that the poor still remain within even wealthy communities (e.g. nannies, housekeepers, caregivers, lawn workers, etc)

But, when I watch news stories during the holiday season, it is noticeable that their reporting of giving is focus on the same inner cities  receiving donations but those in our neck of the woods are being overlooked.

So today, I am making an appeal to all those good-intention organizations, charities and news outlets to revamp the way they distribute their donations in the future.

This is what I decided to do; I am re-engineering that famous Christmas story title of “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus”.

Here is my take on the above. “Yes America, There Are Poor People Living in the Suburbs.”

Perhaps this post will find its way on the desk of a kind and cheerful newspaper editor who will pass on this message to those groups who keep forgetting that poverty is everywhere.

May you all show the true reason for this season and have a Merry Christmas!

In Him Alone

The Counterfeit Christian
2016 The Year of Our Lord

Scam Proof Yourself this Christmas

And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Luke 12:15

 

Okay, the holiday season is upon us and if life has taught us anything. We must be diligent and beware of the numerous scams and ads that will infiltrate our emails and smart phones.

online-shopping-800px

This year, I thought it was important to put together a list of websites you can bookmark and apps you can download for your iphone or android to help with the discovery of any unknown emails or ads coming to you for the sole intent to disrupt and possibility destroy your ability to use your computer and phone.

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Just a reminder that internet criminals will nine times out of ten use bogus fronts of legitimate businesses to pull you in. And remember, you may even get email from someone you trust and it turns out to be a malicious virus or malware.

Stay vigilante on purpose and don’t take anything or anyone for granted when it comes to internet crime. Also, help younger and older users who are not familiar with using the internet. It’s the right thing to do.

Cybercrime is alive and well and is not going anywhere.

Scam proof yourself this Christmas!

And keep yourself safe year-round.

Websites to Help Identify Current Scams and Crimes

Hoax Slayer

Scam Busters

Fight Identity Theft

It Security Guru

Fraud.Org

Hoax Busters

Federal Trade Commission (Scams)

Snopes

Apps for Phone

Scam Detector (app)

Whispers System (encrypt your calls)

Security Apps (Google store-free)

Where to report online crime

USA.Gov

FBI Internet Crime Complaint

Comedian Chuck Nice gives his take on McAfee’s 12 Scams of Christmas

In Him Alone

The Counterfeit Christian
2016 The Year of Our Lord

 

 

The Aftermath of 9/11 Fifteen Years Later

Lamentations 3:20-23

20 My soul still remembers
And sinks within me.
21 This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.

22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

The aftermath of 9/11 fifteen years later is still fresh in the minds of so many Americans.

As I waited patiently for the bank teller to complete my transaction, this young lady looked up at me and smiled. Within in a few seconds, the teller began sharing with me what she had just learned from her child’s teacher.

“Did you know that the children who will be entering kindergarten this year will be learning about September 11th? I mean, they will actually be learning about something that is now in the history books.” She paused and began tapping on the keyboards. Then she resumed the conversation.

“I was in fourth grade when 9/11 happened,” she said. “I can’t believe that it has been fifteen years…and now, its’ history.”

All I did was smile and nod my head. I understood her amazement and the fact that September 11, 2001 will be forever a historical mark in the lives of Americans.

It was a hard day and an wake-up call for our nation because we had assumed that no one in their right mind would enter our country and attack us. But of course. It did happen. And for a few weeks, we were on the lookout for terrorists and taking revenge on the nation(s) who might have been involved in this horrific deed.

Remembering the day that it happened also brought to mind how our church sanctuary was filled the next evening after the attack. People from all walks of life were entering our church, crying and holding onto their loved ones. Our pastor deliver a short but encouraging message that left everyone in the congregation to reflect on how blessed we were as a nation and how we were still holding on to our freedom to walk into the house of God for solace and comfort.

A few weeks later, I remember that this nation went back to business as usual. Lives would never be the same.

And God was left by the wayside…that’s the history that I also remember.

In Him Alone

The Counterfeit Christian
2016 The Year of Our Lord

In Memory…In the Arms of the Angels

 

 

Double Jeopardy

So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. Acts 10:34-35                                                                                     

This past Sunday, Americans found themselves living with, yet, another act of senseless violence against police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Three members of law enforcement were ambushed and killed and three others were wounded.

The shooter was an 29-year-old African-American who served in the U.S. military as the previous gunman in the Dallas tragedy.

For the families who have seen their loved ones taken from them in the line of duty, it is not just a grievous loss but also a sacrifice for the citizens they serve within their communities.

When reading one of the articles about these brave men, one story resonated and got my attention.

The article about police officer Montrell Jackson who on July 8th had posed on his Facebook page the following, “I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me,” he wrote. “In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat. … These are trying times. Please don’t let hate infect your heart. This city MUST and WILL get better.”

Baton Rogue Police Officer Montrell Jackson

This post was a heartfelt message from a man who is not only the color black but wore the color blue.

Officer Jackson was experiencing two environments.

That of a black man in today’s America.

And a police officer in today’s America.

It is apparent that their are some people who saw Officer Jackson as someone who was supposed to deal with their personal hate while wearing his uniform or when he wasn’t wearing it.

And the sad part of this all is that it wasn’t just coming from one segment of the community. But he may have experienced hate from whites and blacks alike.

This is probably the same double jeopardy that police officers throughout the nation might be dealing with if they are from the minority community.

If we also look at the two people who caused havoc in Dallas and Baton Rouge, they also wore uniforms.

As, honorable discharged military, these two young men learned to defend our nation and were taught how to use an assault weapon.

What makes these two men different from Officer Jackson is that he was crying out to God about what was burdening his heart. He was asking God did the city he served, loved him. He wasn’t bitter. He was heartbroken.

And then their are the two men who once wore military uniforms and decided to take on another rational. They allowed hate that they felt was against them, be a response to their pain.

These three men took different roads.

The saddest of them all is that color was and continues being the cause of pain, suffering and death here in America.

Black, blue and camouflage.

I was just wondering. Is this the kind of society we want to hand over to our young?

Think about it.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5

In Him Alone

The Counterfeit Christian
2016 The Year of Our Lord

 

 

When History Repeats Itself

                                                                 Changing History for the Better

Galatians 5:17 New Living Translation (NLT)

17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

 

At this very moment, we seem to be a country in a state of turmoil.

And rational and reasonable people are seemingly caught in the middle of all this chaos taking place around us.

This summer has seen, heard and witness violence of the innocent and not so innocent.

Talk radio, news and social media and protestors are now doing more of a disservice to those who gave their lives with race baiting, intimidation and threats.

We also have learned from our history that violence only begets to violence.

The word love has been thrown around so much these past weeks that the meaning of it tends to be merely tongue in cheek rhetoric.

In the past two weeks, I have visited Philly. This is not usually my habit but habits are made to be broken.

Looking around, I began to feel sad and just wanted to cry.

Why?

Because I was trying to gain an understanding of why my black people have perhaps missed something in the Dallas Texas shootout.

I was thinking about an incident back in the 1980s when a bomb was dropped on a roof top in a black neighborhood.

Then I thought about how the Dallas police chief gave the order to send in a robot with a bomb to take out the assassin of his police officers.

We often miss the bigger picture until it becomes normal.

I couldn’t help but to remember when Philly’s city administration and the police department had serious issues with the black group known as Move.

Tensions had reached a fever pitch and before anyone knew it, things in that West Philadelphia neighborhood had become a battle ground.

The standoff and confrontation of Move reached a terrible end.

A bomb was dropped on the roof of Move’s house and caused death for adults and children, and destruction to a two block radius.

And life after that bombing was never the same again.

What the black community throughout this nation needs to do is be more proactive and not allow outside influences dictate how we should be perceived to the world.

Peace among our fellow-man is far better than hate and destruction.

There is good and evil among us all—we just have to want the best for each other.

Regardless if you are a police officer or a protestor, we need each other.

When history repeats itself, it is never worth the rerun.

My sincere sympathy and prayers to all the families who are grieving the life of a loved one they have lost over these past several weeks.

Romans 8:6-8 New Living Translation

So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. 

In Him Alone

The Counterfeit Christian
2016 The Year of Our Lord

More of the Same

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Matthew 5:44

Two black men shot to death by police officers in two different states.

Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile of Falcon Heights, Minnesota are yet two more black men who have died by violence at the hands of white police officers.

And with these two public killings, protestors of numerous walks of life, black, white, Latino, Asian, old and young, came together in the streets across America to show their disgust, as well as, their resolve that these public killings at the hands of police must end.

But while the protesting was taking place and the news media continue to spin these tragic deaths, unbeknownst to Americans, one person came to a breaking point and decided to take vengeance against the Dallas Police.

A day later, the nation witness five police officers killed, five wounded along with two civilians.

By the break of day the news media carried their stories based on their audience demographics.

Within a forty-eight hours news cycle, the two black men who were killed by white police officers became a mere by-line and the men in blue are now portrayed as the victims.

What is more ridiculous is how President Obama is being accused of being against law enforcement officers and siding with of all people, black men.

Well, I for one have to keep it real. Thank God that there is someone in a position in power in America who is willing to speak up for black men. At the rate of these police public killings of innocent black males, young and old, something needs to be done, and that is sooner than later.

Now, I have read too many comments of white folks saying that “we kill more of our own than police do.”

But if we carry on this masquerade of thinking that one race is more superior than another race based merely on color.

Then America had better be ready to look to a different rebellion unlike the sixties.

Hatred, fear, racism and bigotry are a worthless cause in the eyes of God.

In Him Alone

The Counterfeit Christian
2016 The Year of Our Lord

Tim Wise: Colorblind Denial and White Privilege