"19 As water reflects the face,
so one's life reflects the heart"-Proverbs 27
One weekend, some friends and I went to a nearby casino. We drove 30 minutes just to go gambling and have some fun. Before I jumped to the card tables to put my big "bucks" I like to start small and have some fun a little with the slot machines. I wasn’t winning as much, so I went over to the card table where I can bet a minimum of 5 dollars. By the night’s end, I won fairly a "good amount" as I giggled and laughed with some of my buddies. As we sat there, my friends started to wonder why I gamble as a Christian. I sat there and told him that "being a Christian doesn’t mean we have to be perfect all the time". Later that night, I pondered a bit about this statement; God convicted me about being “His light”. Days after, I started to realize that I can’t shine for Him with the lifestyle I live. I was challenged to “shine more for Him”, so by the end of the summer of 1997-I decided to stop gambling.
Actions like these can give a wrong message to "non-believers", who are constantly watching “believers”. For me, I gave the wrong mixed message a lot in my “early years as a Christian”. I swore a lot, I drank a little too much, I was very racist, etc…. As a believer, I’m realizing we need to be held accountable of our actions-especially when we know what we are doing is “wrong”. When I first started gambling after high school, I didn’t really thought much about what I was doing was "right" or "wrong". I thought it was just “innocent” fun! Then in the Spring of 1996, I dedicated my life to Christ. From then on with increasing knowledge of God’s Word (Bible), I began to know what was “right” and “wrong” (sin). There were sinful actions (cheating, stealing, lying, etc…) that I always did that I really never thought wasn’t too serious-read Galatians 5! As I grew in my personal relationship with my Heavenly Father, I grew to not want to hurt him through my sinful ways. From these day on, I try to ask God’s forgiveness everyday as I want to be able to "shine for Him" more and more!
As I look back in my “early Christian years” when I still was gambling, I was a hypocrite to many of my friends, family, and “non-believers” that was watching me. Most importantly, I was a “hypocrite” to my Heavenly Father as a child of God. When I look at fellow brothers/sisters in Christ and see their "sinful” ways, I start praying for them. Instead of judging them as “hypocrites”, I pray for them more and more because I used to be and sometimes I am in their “shoes”. I can relate to them because we are all in the same boat. One example was a friend of mine, who just started his life dedicated to Christ. He still loved to play with “Magic Cards” (a form of witchcraft). Others that may not know him as well as I do would probably would see his lifestyle very “hypocritical”. I knew what he was doing wasn’t really “Christ-like”, but I didn’t say anything to him judgmentally. Instead, I continued to befriend him more and try to show Christ’s love as much as I can-along with regular prayers for him. Within a year, he would share with me that he is done with these “Magic Cards” because it isn’t what God wants him to keep doing. He gave up in this hobby and replaced it with a different hobby-playing chess. However, he didn’t completely close the door on this hobby. Instead, he used his past experience of this hobby and tried to “reach-out” to youth involved in this hobby. This is just one example how “believers” can “reach-out” to “unbelievers” through their old ways (interest, hobbies, etc…) in life. In fact, they are a “walking” testimony to where God has brought them or is continuing to bring them out of. We “believers” are going to keep sinning until the day we die; however, it doesn’t mean we should keep on sinning….
"don’t keep on sinning"….
When you see a Christian being a “hypocrite”-pray for them and just remember where God has took you from. Even when “they” go to the same church or a church overall, just remember no one is perfect-except Jesus-Himself!
"A 66-year-old Forest Lake minister was found guilty for defrauding 519 people nationwide out of approximately $30 million in an investment scheme Friday.
Neulan Midkiff was found guilty of eight counts of mail fraud, eight counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and four counts of failure to file tax returns.
From April 2004 through December 2005, Midkiff devised and intended to devise a scheme to defraud and to obtain money by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, and did knowingly cause to be sent by the U.S. Postal Service and interstate commercial carrier various mailings for the purpose of executing such scheme.
It was part of the scheme to defraud that Midkiff fraudulently obtained money from individuals by falsely representing that the individuals’ money was being invested and that other investors were obtaining high rates of return on their investment, when in fact, he knew that the investment was not producing interest payments.
In the spring of 2004, Midkiff began soliciting investors using the business name "Central Financial Services of Minnesota," and promised a return on their investment of 6 to 8 percent per month.
Midkiff even directed potential investors to speak with existing investors for confirmation that the existing investors were receiving regular interest payments as a method of attracting new investors.
Midkiff paid himself or otherwise used for personal expenses in excess of $2.5 million out of the funds provided by investors, and Watkins was paid in excess of $1 million.
Midkiff faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each mail fraud count; 20 years on each wire fraud count; five years on the conspiracy count; and one year on each failure to file count."
"..is known for weaving the visible and supernatural worlds together in epic stories that both entertain and challenge readers. Her books are rich tapestries of history, belief, philosophy, religion, and compelling characters that examine and extend our physical world beyond the limits we perceive...
Anne Rice: I quit Becoming a Christian
"Washington (CNN) -- Protesting members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church were met with an unlikely group of counterprotesters Monday at Arlington Cemetery.
Hours before President Barack Obama led the nation's Memorial Day observances at the Tomb of the Unknowns, three members of the Westboro Baptist Church were challenged by others who disagreed with them -- including members claiming to be from the Ku Klux Klan.
The Kansas-based church has attracted nationwide attention for its angry, anti-gay protests at the funerals of U.S. military members.
Among those counter-protesting at the cemetery's main entrance: About 10 members of a group that claims to be a branch of the Ku Klux Klan from Virginia called the Knights of the Southern Cross. They were cordoned off separately in a nearby area, but drew little attention as they gave out small American flags behind a banner that read "POW-MIA."
They said they were there to object to the Westboro Baptist Church's anti-troop message.
"It's the soldier that fought and died and gave them that right to free speech," said Dennis LaBonte, the self-described "Imperial Wizard" of the KKK group that he said he formed several years ago.
"That's fine," said Abigail Phelps, the daughter of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps. "They have no moral authority on anything.
"People like them say it's white power ... white supremacy," Phelps said. "The Bible doesn't say anywhere that it's an abomination to be born of a certain gender or race."
LaBonte insisted he is not a racist nor a "hate-monger," but said he believes the white race is "slowly and most assuredly being denigrated."
Members of the group declined to say whether they were armed.
A larger group of about 70 protesters -- separate from the KKK -- located across the street waved pro-USA signs and took turns shouting down the Westboro Baptist Church group.
Some of the counterprotesters, including Malaika Elias, stood in front of the Westboro participants in an attempt to block them from street view.
"I think they're twisted and confused, and we're just here to show them there are people who think they're completely wrong," Elias said.
Many passersby shouted their thanks to the counterprotesters as they entered the cemetery on foot and in vehicles.
Several police officers, some on horseback, observed the proceedings.
Phelps said her trio was there to tell people they should not "idolize" the dead, especially those who died for an "unrighteous cause.""
"Since the days following the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan has preached a gospel of hate, intolerance and exclusion. But while it has attracted members who number in the millions at times, it has also repeatedly been battered into near-submission by activists, the government and changing public opinion" Why did the KKK adopt the Christian cross as their symbol?, from answers.yahoo.com "..well first of all, the kkk were porteatants . the kkk were protestant, the original kkk tht is, now its more leniant though. they were anti catholic,blacks and jew.
kkk is for w.a.s.p.
white anglo saxon protestans. but the reasois burning the cross was a symbol of Christian purification by fire , but i think the cross wqs just because it was apart of what they represented in w.a.s.p.."
"A Moorhead stripper accused of blackmailing a minister from Valley City, N.D., pleaded guilty on Friday to a felony charge of coercion.
At a plea hearing in Clay County District Court, 46-year-old Bunny Byington admitted that she threatened to expose the pastor, who paid her for nude dancing and then later for sex, unless he provided her with thousands in hush money.
“Absolutely, yes,” said Byington when asked if she threatened the man, who isn’t named in court records but has been identified as the Rev. Mark S. Ostgarden.
A joint recommendation from prosecutors and Byington’s attorney call for her to serve 90 days in jail and pay restitution, including the $7,000 she got from Ostgarden before he balked at her demands for more.
Byington originally faced three felony counts linked to the extortion. She’s set to be sentenced on Oct. 19 and was ordered by Judge Lisa Borgen to avoid any contact with Ostgarden.
Court documents state:
Ostgarden found Byington through a classified ad in The Forum, paying her $100 a shot for a half-hour nude dance. He began contacting her every few months for another appointment, paying a little extra to touch her.
As time went on, he began paying $200 each time for sex.
In March, Byington told him he no longer had to pay her and to consider their relationship an affair. They saw each other every week until May 14, when the demands began.
By June 5, Ostgarden had paid Byington $7,000, cash slipped under her apartment door in envelopes. She then insisted he pay her another $18,000.
When Ostgarden said he could not come up with more money, Byington contacted his wife and church officials.
Ostgarden resigned after meeting with his bishop to discuss the situation. Byington had sent the bishop a photograph of Ostgarden lying on a bed wearing underwear and a t-shirt"
ATLANTA (AP) ―
Reverend Bernice King (right) confers with Bishop Eddie Long (left) during funeral services for King's mother, Coretta Scott King on Feb. 7, 2006, at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga.
Two men have filed a lawsuit accusing Bishop Eddie Long of exploiting his role as pastor of an Atlanta-area megachurch to coerce them into sexual relationships when they were members of his congregation.
Lawyers for the men, now 20 and 21, say they filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in DeKalb County Court. The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they were victims of sex crimes.
Craig Gillen, Long's attorney, says the pastor "categorically denies the allegations."
The men were 17- and 18-year-old members of Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, when they say Long abused his spiritual authority to seduce them with with cars, money, clothes, jewelry, international trips and access to celebrities.
Christian Josh McDowel" Why are some Christians Hypocrites?"
"Why are some Christians Hypocrites?Josh McDowel explains...... "
"This is an excellent documentary on the Crusades, the religious wars that pitted Christians and Muslims against each other for control of the Holy Land. Includes acted out sequences, battle scenes, expert commentary... Everything that makes a modern documentary better..."