27 November 2009

Responding to Unfinished Business


I read your comment to my post "Unfinished Business" in its entirety and wanted to respond to some of the things you said in a separate post as I think it would be beneficial for my readers.

First of all I want to assure you that I am indeed a Christian who believes Almighty God grants forgiveness through Christ to repentant sinners (1John 1:9, Acts 4:12, Psalm 103:12). I am thankful that He chose to have mercy on me, a sinner. The wages of sin is death thus we are all condemned unless we, through no merit of our own, have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23; 3:10-28; Ephesians 2:8-9). Do I believe God saves liars, adulterers, murderers and thieves alike? Absolutely. Has God chosen to save Ramon Salcido? I haven't a clue and have no reason to speculate one way or the other. My only familiarity with the man stems from his crimes in April 1989. I will say this though. It is as easy to confess Christ while sitting on death row as it is while standing in front of a congregation- our words come cheaply but the Word says we will know people by their fruit (John 3:20-21; Galatians 5:19-24). From your post it seems you are both familiar with Ramon and an advocate of his. Is that a fair assessment?

Secondly, I want to assure you that I am wise enough to recognize that it was not coincidental that Carmina appeared on ABC's 20/20 at the same time her book was being released. I am not naïve enough to believe that everything I see on television is true. That is inconsequential though as I think you have missed the point of my post. I was not actively supporting Carmina, endorsing her book or anything of the kind. I was addressing the impact that my prior occupation had on me, and the importance of a biblical worldview. That was my agenda. Nothing more. With that hopefully I have made my foundations clear for you and I would now like to address some of your comments and I have some questions for you.

Is it really true that you equate 20/20 airing Carmina's version of her story as horrific? Perhaps you didn't mean to but it seems you compare Ramon's murders with airing a television show where a woman chronicles a terrible event the details of which may not have been accurate. I fail to see how the two things can be compared even if you are right in your assertion that Carmina has been incorrect or willfully fabricated what she said. Let me be clear that I do not condone lying. It is also a sin. Describing ABC's actions in airing their interview as horrifying and Ramon Salcido's murders as horrifying is inconceivable to me. There is no way to equate the two.

What concerns me more is your attempt to make excuses for Ramon Salcido's behavior the day he murdered seven people and attempted the murder of two others. None of us get through life without scars, trauma and disappointment. When you squeeze a sponge and dirty water comes out of it, it is not the pressure on the sponge that made the water dirty. The water was dirty to begin with. When a man goes on a cocaine binge and kills- it is not the cocaine that caused the murder. The lack of sleep and cocaine may have made it easier for him to slash the throats of three defenseless children, shoot and stab the others but it was not the cause. Whether or not his wife had deceived him was irrelevant. Emm, circumstances are not the cause of behavior; they are the context where the content of our hearts and our character are revealed.

I have no desire to check into Carmina's social networking on line and I am in no way attempting to defend or deny your accusations of her lack of veracity. Wondering for 20 years what had become of her does not translate in wanting to be familiar with her. For whatever reason God used the 20/20 program Carmina was on to show me that I had really not dealt with some traumas in my life. Working in public safety has changed some things about me that I need to be aware of and to work on. It's all part of the sanctification process and growing in Christ. It was a chance for me to look biblically at things in my past and realize I had some unfinished business.

Thank you for commenting, Emm and I hope you read this response in its entirety.

09 November 2009

Let's Get Ready to Grrumble!!

... or not.... I am trying to be grateful. Currently I am most appreciate of the following things:

1) Tamiflu I recommend it if you get H1N1 and do not recommend H1N1 to anyone. If you don't believe me check with my friend, Hobster. He'll tell you the same thing.

2) Vitamin B-12 injections Pernicious Anemia used to be a fatal disease. I just get to have B12 injections every few weeks rather than be dead. What's not to like about that?

3) MRIs Yeah, I flunked my first couple because of claustrophobia- but in great Kentucky tradition I finally 'got her done' and while mine shows some really bad stuff, without it there's no telling what my diagnosis and prognosis would be. If I understood the very kind neurosurgeon when I am in enough pain I'll beg him for surgery, until then we will just manage it with drugs and therapy.

That's it for now. I miss blogging. I miss working. I miss quite a bit. That learning to be content thing that Paul talked about? It's not all that easily done...unless you start being grateful for some of the daily miracles in your life.

I'd like to hear about yours. I know it's cheesy sounding but there's always something for which to be grateful.

Psalm 50:14-15
14 "Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High;
15 And call upon me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor me."

01 November 2009

Recognizing False Teachers

My pastor preached on Matthew 7:15-20 today. I always look forward to what I am going to learn from him. His sermon reminded me of my presumption of mercy from God. Being able to come boldly before His throne should never include being presumptuous. I was convicted by my cavalier attitude regarding my faith. In fact, there were several areas he touched on that were convicting for me, but that's not really the object of this post. In dealing with the scripture and admonishing us to be discerning about those who claim to belong to Christ, he gave us a quick outline on how to recognize false prophets. I spend a lot of time listening to men like my pastor and my friend James White. I want to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that lies within me and I want to be able to discern truth from error. God gave us our intellect for that very reason. So, I thought I would pass on this quick outline of things to look for when you listen to someone preach about our Lord. In a day or two you will find this sermon on the website to right labeled "Recent Sermons" and like the others listed there it's worth a listen.

False prophets...

1) Avoid teaching on the holiness, wrath and righteousness of God. Preferring to focus on how much God loves us.
2) Avoid preaching on the final Judgment Day.
3) Fail to emphasize the depravity of man.
4) De-emphasize the substitutionary atonement of Christ.

Matt 7:15-20
15 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn {bushes,} nor figs from thistles, are they?
17 "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
19 "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits.