Chris Dorner and The Cross

“7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.”

– Isaiah 53:7-9 (ESV)

 

Let me start by saying that in no way do I condone or pardon any of the in humane acts that took place at the hands of Christopher Dorner. I believe Christopher Dorner received his due fate, which was written by his own actions.

With that said, I also do not condone the ignorant remarks being used to portray Dorner. If we take a step back, put our emotions to the side and look at the bigger picture that may be unfolding before our eyes, we may be able to reason with the pain Christopher Dorner was experiencing.

Sure, thousands of people have lost their jobs over the past year, some due to the economy, some due to corruption. However, I can say with a firsthand experience that the sting of being wrongfully terminated by the people who are supposed to be protectors of the innocent and upholders of truth, leaves a very painful sting!

Picture a man pulled over to the side of a road on a night that 95 percent of people are experiencing a routine night of traffic on the way home from a normal day at the office. Yet for this man the future of his family rests in the hands of men who are being presented with a blatant lie, charging an honest man who day in and day out protects the innocent and stands guard among a prison full of fugitives. For the man pulled over, a decision needs to be made, does he allow the legal system, which has proven to be faulty multiple times beforehand, make the final decision of the fate his and his families future? Or does he ensure the well being of his family by taking his own life? – Most of us read a story like this and feel sorry for the wrongfully accused officer and rightfully so! Being accused, charged and terminated because of the ignorance of others is a tough pill to swallow, ESPECIALLY when the ignorant are the police forces who are supposed to be preventing corruption and ignorance. 

Had Dorner taken his own life, as my dad once contemplated doing, after he was wrongfully terminated by our beloved state officials, the United States would be raging havoc and ridiculing the Los Angeles Police Department for their corrupt agency, as they have been criticized in the past. However, Dorner took a different route, a route that included seeking revenge and bringing more unwarranted sorrow to many families. Dorner made a HUGE mistake by seeking revenge and taking matters into his own hands, however the point is that this was the result of a bad decision of an individual who was treated wrongfully to begin with. 

My dad was one decision away from being Christopher Dorner, Christopher Dorner may have been one decision from taking his own life before ultimately going on a Rambo-esque rampage. The point is that SIN is dangerous and seeks to destroy!

If only I had the opportunity to speak to Christopher Dorner before his rampage, I might have been able to share some hope with him. Because you see there was in fact a situation very similar to the charges that were brought against my dad and Christopher Dorner. There was a man who was innocent on all accounts. A man whose life mission was to stand for truth, share love, fight for justice and bring people to life. Yet, was treated horribly. When asked to defend himself, he refused; when spit at, he did not lash out; when sentenced to death, he stood quiet “As a lamb led to the slaughter…” He bore the wrath of human injustice so that others may be free!

The man was Jesus, The Christ. A man who not been proven guilty before the judge, but yet was wrongfully terminated. Yet, this wrongful termination gives us the strength and courage to respond the same way to injustice. Had Dorner realized the sacrifice Jesus made, he may have chosen to react differently. He would have known that his name and reputation was already being preserved in Heaven, that his Father in Heaven would seek justice and have the last laugh. Had Dorner realized how desperate we all are for a Savior, he may have put the gun down, the same gun that my dad held to his head before realizing Jesus had already taken his place!

You see the public is quick to call Dorner a coward, just like the public was quick to call for the death of an innocent man, Jesus. Just like the public was quick to laugh at a man being whipped, tortured to his death, given vinegar as he begged for water. That public is the same public today who looks at a man who was wrongfully terminated and believes that death was the only fate for this man. Who calls Dorner a coward, after Dorner willingly risked his own life as an officer, who willingly enlisted as a Navy reserve… again his death was warranted and just, but was his death the solution to the problem or a band aid placed over a gash?

The gash is sin, the sin that leads to people being wrongfully terminated, the sin that leads to people making bad decisions that hurt other innocent people. The ONLY solution to this problem is for us as imperfect people to see our desperate need for a perfect Savior! Because at the end of the day the only way we can win the battle against ourselves is to kill it with a renewed spirit, a spirit and new life that is only attainable through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Because the death penalty Jesus received is enough strength and encouragement to bear the injustice that comes our way and lead others to life, is through the bearing of our own injustice and looking to our Savior for rightful justice. 

The Result of Faith is Always VICTORY!

“What too many athletes fail to mention…. ‘My hard work, conditioning and practicing is what got me here’” – An unmentioned Facebook friend.

To be quite honest, when I first read this quote I was baffled, even angered, if I may. The ignorance to me was astonishing. However, I quickly found myself in a state of remorse, not because the thought disagreed with my perspective or because it ridiculed a professional athlete who was not ashamed to give God glory after a hard fought victory in the second biggest football game of that players’ season. No, I was saddened because in a country and world TEAMWORK and HUMILITY is promoted, someone was annoyed enough by the glorification of Jesus that he would rather have heard Ray Lewis talk about himself and boast about his own work ethic rather than, in humility, give glory to God.

You see, Ray Lewis is not an average athlete by any stretch of the means. He’s one of the greatest linebackers to ever play the sport of football and he is also one of, if not the hardest working athlete in all of sports and Ray Lewis knows this about himself as well. Yet what Ray Lewis also knows is that he did not create himself and he also knows that the Patriots, who lost to the Ravens on Sunday for a chance to play in the Super Bowl, worked just hard, conditioned just as hard and practiced just as hard if not harder than his team. Ray Lewis knows this because it was just a year ago that his team was on the losing side of the same game to the same team, and after that loss Lewis didn’t hang his head, he didn’t say he should have worked harder, because he knows how hard he works on a daily basis. The message he delivered to his team after a heart breaking loss was this “God doesn’t make mistakes…we did what we were supposed to do, we played hard, we fought hard and we played as a team…God is going to bring us back here next year, so it is our responsibility to put in the work.” In a game that the Ravens lost due to a missed field goal, Ray Lewis knew the only reason they lost was because that was the way God drew it up. Not because they were outworked, out coached, out smarted or out conditioned; simply because the Creator and Life giver had a different plan. Lewis knew they had VICTORY whether the score board showed it or not, according to Lewis they did what they were supposed to do, they played like a team in unity and because of it they would be stronger the following year.

Ray Lewis knows how hard it is for a team to make it through the regular football season and knows that no matter how much or how hard a team works, there’s the little things, known as the intangibles, that teams must get to go their way. These aren’t skills, nor are they necessarily things that can be practiced throughout the week. So while 90 percent of athletic competitions are based on preparation and skill, there is 10 percent where faith must be applied. Ask Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith if it was his work ethic and conditioning that provided him the strength to play in a Monday night game earlier this season shortly after he received word that his brother had died. He will tell you it was God and God alone.

Because while we are natural beings who can produce natural strength, endurance and knowledge; we are also spiritual beings. The first chapter of the book of Genesis in verse 26 we read that though we were created out of dirt (Genesis 2:7), life was breathed into us by the Creator, God Almighty. Therefore, life does not exist without the breath God gives us; there is no strength, endurance, knowledge or skill, without the breath of God.

Therefore, I was saddened to hear such a remark that reveals the true state of our country. In a season when the leader of the country promotes hope and equality, we beg for arrogance and self-centeredness. We long to hear others talk about their own work and how decorated they are by their own achievements, on a day when even the president urges the nation to promote others rather than themselves, our world proves to be tainted by sin which produces pride, arrogance and ignorance.
Therefore, when we have the privilege of hearing an athlete humble himself and give glory where glory is due, we should rejoice! For the TRUTH is that without the breath of Life, which comes from the Living God, we are nothing! Literally!

What’s Your Reward?

 1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

– Matt. 6:1-8

 

What is that we seek? Do we seek the approval and/or recognition of men? Or do we seek to be acknowledged by Christ?

Most “Good Christians” who know the lingo and have bought the t-shirt would answer with the latter, without even acknowledging that by answering with latter they are seeking the former. In other words with our attempt to seek attention from Christ we really seek the attention of people but give it a cute cover by saying we are seeking the acknowledgment of Christ, as if He doesn’t already KNOW US.

Truly an epidemic across the globe, too many Christians who in their fleshy longing of acceptance put their trust in works, rather than the work that has already been completed. Don’t get me wrong, we as Christians should act out our faith, I also strongly believe that we should not hide our faith and should be vocal. However, it is also apparent that the case my be at times that Christians become defeated or lose motivation when the acknowledgement does not proceed the deeds.

You see giving and all the other charitable works we do as the body of Christ are great, but is it possible that in doing good we lose focus of why we are doing these things? I believe that in the scripture Jesus hits on some key points, that if we are not careful, we can easily overlook. He who gives to be acknowledged, speaks to be heard, and prays to be honored among men have already received their reward. Yet most people who do so are not content with this reward, because the reward they say they are seeking is that which only the Father can give, but yet when only the Father is looking, they become defeated.

It is no secret that perseverance is one of the seven things the Apostle Peter mentions for the blueprint on living a fruitful life.

The Christian life is a matter of repentance, justification and sanctification. Acknowledging that we are broken, accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, being brought back into relationship with God and caring our Cross to spread the Gospel. Therefore the works we do are simply the cross we bare, our rightful duty as being heirs of the Kingdom of God. If we seek to do such works, it should be for the Kingdom of God, to spread the Gospel and see lives be changed. Not so our Pastor or leaders can see us, not so we can be given a promotion in church ministry and not so others can perceive us as being “Holy”.

The thought stated that those who seek acknowledgment from Christ is equivalent to seeking acknowledgment from men, is stated because Christ already knows us. He created us, to think that we can catch His attention is frankly denying that He is who He says He is, which is all-knowing.

Christ died for us, so that we can know Him. To think that we can grasp God’s attention through our charity is backwards. Christ has been there and done that, He’s is the CEO of all charities established, because He laid the framework of charity, by caring the cross to Calvary, so that you and I can KNOW HIM.

Guys, do charity and do good, because what Christ has done for you is good. Not because you want more blessings, honor and/or rewards on earth, but simply because YOU KNOW CHRIST.

Why Must They Despise Me?

Psalm 35:11-14 (ESV)

“11 Malicious witnesses rise up;
they ask me of things that I do not know.
12 They repay me evil for good;
my soul is bereft.
13But I, when they were sick—
I wore sackcloth;
I afflicted myself with fasting;
I prayed with head bowed on my chest.
14I went about as though I grieved for my friend or my brother;
as one who laments his mother,
I bowed down in mourning.”

We all know how it feels when a loved one is in need. Whether they are sick from a horrible disease or desperately financial support, to name a couple examples. When these situations arise we pray and fast with our whole heart, desperately seeking the Lord to move His hand and turn the situation around. These loved one we agree in prayer with are also people who have teased us or wronged us in some way or another, however we still find it in our heart to intercede in prayer for these people.

However, when someone else wrongs us or talks badly about us we somehow forget that we are children of the Most High God. We forget that the Lord loved us even when we resented everything every word of His. He loved us even when we sentenced His Son to death. We arose against Him and beat His Son to a bloody pulp! He still stands by our side to aid us in our daily lives. So why do we seem to feel that the people who arise against us should be sentenced to death and deserve none of our compassion and mercy.

Would you like to see an example of what our compassion should look like when our “enemies” persecute us? Perhaps you should re-read the passage above, King David, a man after God’s Own Heart, gives a very detailed description of the way he prayed for his enemies. Lamenting, or weeping, as if it were his own brother, sister or loved one. Laying himself down in sackcloth, which was a form of atoning for one’s sin and fasting until his body was greatly ailed.

In order to love as God loves us we must look past our family and friends, even the family and friends that pretend to not be related to us, or the family and friends that only run to you in times of need. We must look to those who greatly despise us, wish for nothing but evil to come upon us and our families and WE MUST PRAY for them. In order to fully experience the wholeness of God’s love we must love others as He has loved us! God Bless.