Saturday, June 28, 2008

Serena Williams Not Voting for Obama, or Anyone

Why Serena Williams won't vote for Barack Obama. - By Jacob Leibenluft - Slate Magazine

Serena Williams told reporters at Wimbledon on Wednesday that she's excited about Barack Obama's candidacy but won't vote for him because Jehovah's Witnesses "don't get involved in politics." Her sister Venus—who is also a Jehovah's Witness—wouldn't even comment on the presidential election. Why don't Jehovah's Witnesses vote?

Because of John 17:14 and other passages in the Bible. In that verse, Jesus says of his followers: "They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." Jehovah's Witnesses have interpreted that statement as a call to remain neutral in all political matters. (In some of the sect's literature, members are described as "representatives of God's heavenly kingdom"; they are thus obligated to stay out of local political affairs in keeping with the behavior of ambassadors.) Witnesses also refrain from serving in the military, running for public office, and pledging allegiance to the flag.

Voting is not expressly prohibited, but it is discouraged. The Watchtower, the official publication of the Jehovah's Witnesses, ran an article in 1999 suggesting that the decision whether to vote was one of personal conscience, although it carefully laid out reasons for staying out of the voting booth. In reference to countries that require all citizens to show up at the ballot box, the Watchtower has explained that "[w]here Caesar makes it compulsory for citizens to vote … [Jehovah's Witnesses] can go to the polls and enter the voting booths," but the Watchtower did not specify what Witnesses should do with the ballot itself. According to some, the requirement for political neutrality led to the violent persecution of Witnesses in Malawi during the late 1960s and early 1970s, when adherents refused to register with the ruling Congress Party.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Judgment Of God

Just hearing the statement, “the judgment of God” can strike fear in the hearts of Christians, but only because it is misunderstood.

Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (Jn. 5:24)

And Paul said, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1 NIV)

Both of these scriptures (and many others) make it clear that there is no condemnation, (the same Greek word translated judgement) for Christians here on earth and in the after life.

But you might say, what about the sins that I commit now? Isn’t there judgment for them? Well, those sins have been paid for by the death of Jesus. Simply receive forgiveness for them if you feel guilty and afraid.

Well, what about the sins of non-Christians? Don’t they bring God’s judgment? Yes, but the bible makes it clear that their judgment is not in this world but in the next.

The bible says, “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. (Heb. 9:27)

The judgment of God comes AFTER we die, not before. (For Jesus “came not to judge the world but to save the world.”) (Jn. 12:47)

After we die, those who have accepted Christ as savior will be judged according to the perfect works and life of Christ; thus will pass from death unto eternal life. Those who have not accepted Christ as savior will be judged based upon their own imperfect works, which will not be good enough to earn them eternal life. And since they have not accepted the sacrifice of Jesus for their sins, (and all sin must be paid for) will eternally pay for them themselves. The reason it is eternal punishment is because the only payment good enough to remove sin is the Lord’s. That is why it is so vital to accept Christ’s sacrifice for our sins… NOW, in THIS world…!!! So we don’t have to pay for them in the next! (Jn. 3:16, 18, 5:24; Heb. 9:27, 1Jn. 5:11-12)

Let’s now look at what Jesus and the bible say about the judgment of God.

Jesus said, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” (Jn. 5:22)

So, first of all, we see here that the Father doesn’t judge men. He has left judgment up to the Son. And in the following scripture, we will see what Jesus does with his authority and when it is that judgment is planned for.

Jesus said, “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” (Jn. 12:47-48)

So, even though Jesus has the authority to judge men, he will not do it. It is his word that will judge men, and then it will not be until the “last day,” that is judgment day, in the next world.

The point is this… We are not living in a time period that God is judging man. We are living in a time of grace. Jesus paid the price for all sin, so instead of judging, God is now offering salvation to all. Indeed there is a day of judgment coming, but it is not now.

Think for a moment about this. Even before Jesus went to the cross, do you remember him condemning the woman caught in adultery? If anyone would be judged for their sin, would it not be her? After all, the Law of Moses said that she should be judged and stoned. But Jesus would not condemn her; in fact he PROTECTED her from those wanting to condemn her. Then Jesus simply corrected her, telling her to go and sin no more. This he did despite not having died for sin yet and the fact that the Jews were still under the law, not grace. (Jn. 8:1-11)

Now consider this passage:

“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
And when his disciples James and John saw this they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” (Lk. 9:51-56)

Wow! If they didn’t know what manner of spirit they were of, just what “manner of spirit” were they of? It was not the spirit of God, or of Jesus, because Jesus rebuked them for it… “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”

Despite all of this, I know that many people believe that certain disasters that occur here on earth are “the judgment of God,” or the “hand of God at work,” so let’s look at one of them. And that is destructive weather. There are a lot of people that think destructive weather is God “at work” in people’s lives or that he is judging man. However, neither is true.

God does not control the weather any more than he controls man, (unless he does it through a man, as he did through Jesus when he calmed the storm) (Mt. 8:23-26) Weather patterns have a “life” of their own, and along with all of creation were affected adversely by the sin of man. No longer do they act as God had intended. And because of the laws of nature, when certain atmospheric conditions interact with other conditions, we have certain kinds of weather. And some of it can be destructive, even deadly. (Gen. 3:17-19 Rom. 8:19-22)

It was the fall of man that gave rise to destructive storms, not God. And it is not God who initiates or “uses” these forces to deal with man now. In fact, Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil,” not to use them. (1Jn. 3:8) If we want to control these weather patterns and these destructive storms, we can calm them just as Jesus did. “WE” can keep them from destroying us because Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also…” (Jn. 14:12)

Besides, we are not under the Old Covenant. We are under a New Covenant. (It is not that God was different in the Old Testament, but the covenant he had with man was different.) In the Old Testament, Jesus had not yet paid the price for sin, and man was under a covenant of law, which was a covenant of condemnation and death. (2 Cor. 3:6-9) But in the New Testament, man is under a covenant of life and grace, where Jesus paid the price for man’s sin, averting man’s judgment until after we die. (2Cor. 5:19, Heb. 8:6-13) Again, the point is that we are not in a time period where God is judging man, by destructive storms or by any other means. Judgment comes at the end of time.

Well then, if the bible teaches that Jesus came not to destroy but to save, and that he does not use natural destructive forces to deal with man, (even those that reject him and his word) then where do these things come from and what is their purpose?

It will be in my next article that I will touch on answers to these questions, but in order to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of this topic, you can read my book, "Suffering (God’s Will?)" In it I thoroughly cover this subject, supporting what I say with many biblical references. And along with a full study of suffering, you will be able to read a chapter on God’s Correction and Judgment and on the book of Job and how each has been traditionally misunderstood.

Submitted by John B. Agati
Author of : “Suffering (God’s Will?)”

More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead. ”—Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), novelist (

There it was, plump and waddling around my front yard in plain sight. I glanced at it as I ran towards my car in a dash for my morning commute. I commented to myself that that seemed odd that normally when you approach a bird; it flutters away quickly -but not this little creature. Instead it reminded me of a toddler amiably moving around with no real destination, just glad to be moving, delighted with its new found freedom ,walking and stumbling with out the assistance of an eagle eye parent.

Then when I returned home, I noticed again the same little chick hopping around on the bricks. It wasn’t until the very next day that as I walked once again down my driveway to jump in my parked car that I glanced at the bird and then it occurred to me this was our baby-I was sure of it. As my husband stood in the doorway I called back, “Hey that’s our baby bird!” Several days prior to that I hadn’t really grasped that this was really a gift from God-in arm’s length!
As I reflect back, first it was the discovery of the beautiful Robin’s eggs displayed in the nest in our backyard-but now this was even better-the eggs had hatched and the dream, the long awaited arrival of the chicks had occurred and I had been totally oblivious of their birth and this divine wonder-well almost.

It’s no happen stance that today’s inspirational quote would tug on my heart strings and remain etched in my memory. As I read Exodus 17 and could picture the travelers weary and grumbling, Louise May Alcott’s words must have mirrored the sentiment of Moses. to look up and live, instead of looking out and grumbling.

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead. ”
—Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), novelist (

Often I too have been guilty of being oblivious of many of life’s lessons until well after the situation had concluded and the smoke cleared. I regret not embracing the gift of God’s grace (more) readily and honestly appreciating the (particular) trial, the (uninvited) circumstance, the(embarrassing) difficulty, the (long awaited and timely) blessing, the (tough) learning experience-whatever you wish to call it more sooner than later.

What might have happened had I been appreciative of the learning experience in the midst of it all? This must be what folks mean when they say; we should thank God while we are “going through” being pulled and shaped on the potter’s wheel during our uncomfortable valley experiences!

Be assured that we are all experts about trials, but I’d like to think that God wants us to be cognizant on this day-that so many gifts from God/blessings are in our midst, yes, right there before us! Theses blessings are like my baby chick –visible- and in arms reach, in direct view. I am sure that the Holy Spirit is sharing that with our new mind set we’ll negate our obstructed view and won’t loose sight of the divine gift that is presented to us.

I think you’ll agree that when the truth is told, we’re audibly or inaudibly caught up in our grumbling, sulking, hurting, rushing and consequently we fail to appreciate the beauty of the moment. Do you recall my bird’s nest in Expectant Joy? Well, I really appreciated the gift of the bird’s nest that was so symbolic for me. It represented so much: birth, new beginnings, expectant joy, blessings on the way, the good that was on the horizon, God’s gift’s and promises to come and on and on-but then even with that epiphany I missed it!

Yes, I needed to believe-get my faith in gear and mentally grasp the next level! What might that be you ask? I am glad you asked I believe the answer is: That God really had intended that my joy and yours evolve and spill over into something greater and erupt into our paying attention to all the blessings which are in arm's reach!!

Did I really think that I‘d behold the blessings in my own front yard? Nope! I almost missed that wonder.

Take some time and read Exodus 17, I expect that you’ll appreciate your wilderness experiences all the more and like Moses acknowledge God’s provision of resources, support and favor designed especially for the faint of heart and the weary traveler.

So, friends look outside your tents, go on and pull back your curtains, better yet stand in your front yards and behold what blessings are in your arm's reach!!! Have a wonderful day!

I will meet you by the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and the water will come pouring out. then the people will be able to drink.” Moses did just as he was told;and as the leaders looked on water gushed out.” Exodus 17:6 (NLT)
Joyfully Submitted by:

Linda Mose Meadows, author

The Blessedness of Believing A Devotional Journey of Life’s Lesson’s and God’s Promises

Enjoy other writings Click on Blessed Chronicles

Friday, June 13, 2008

House of Yahweh Leaders' Doomsday Prediction Didn't Happen

It appears that "Buffalo Bill" Hawkins, founder of the House of Yahweh, wasn't correct in his prediction that the world was going to end on June 12. It's now June 13th at 1:18 am, so I guess his prediction of a nuclear holocaust that has persuaded many members of his cult to empty their bank accounts (giving money to him of course) is not going to happen.

Here is an excerpt of some of Hawkins' words:

'...Nuclear war will begin next Thursday, June 12, or sooner, according to the latest prediction of self-proclaimed prophet Yisrayl "Buffalo Bill" Hawkins, the founder of a religious sect in Abilene, Texas.

"It could be turned loose before then," Hawkins told 20/20 for a report to be broadcast tonight. "You're going to see this very soon, really soon," he said.

Hundreds of truck trailers have been loaded with food and water on the group's 44-acre compound, in preparation for the coming war...'

Hawkins is an interesting character. In the 20/20 special, he had all of his followers change their name to Hawkins. He was also recently arrested for a series of allegations, including polygamy. Sounds like the same old stuff. Hawkins does have that "Jim Jones" charisma, so you can see how his followers were fooled.

Here is a story on Hawkins.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Key To Christianity

The key to Christianity is receiving. It is not giving and it is not doing.

Giving and doing is secondary and will flow out of our receiving.

The truth is; we can’t even become Christians without receiving. Christ must be received as savior in order to become a Christian. And the reason for this is simply because we need him and the salvation that he has for us. We cannot produce it ourselves.

And it is no different after we have accepted Christ as savior. In order to have what we lack, we must receive it from God.

The bible says that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights…” they come from God. They do not come from us. (Jas. 1:17)

And unless we receive what we need from God, we will not have anything from God to give… How can we forgive like God forgives if we have not received his forgiveness; and how can we love like God loves if we have not received God’s love? And how can we have finances and goods from God to give, unless we first receive them from God. If we do not receive God’s blessings, we will not have God’s blessings to give.

For those of you who are familiar with the story of the prodigal son, think for a moment of the elder brother, the one who stayed at home while his younger brother was in the world wasting his inheritance in sinful living. It turned out that this elder brother, (though loyal and committed) thought his life was about his work and serving his father, never knowing or taking advantage of his father’s provision. And because he did not know or receive his father’s goodness and blessings and love for himself, he had no love to give when his younger brother repentantly came home. He was resentful and bitter when his father received the wayward boy with joy and forgiveness, and when he put a robe on his back, a ring on his finger, and honored him with a great feast. The elder brother simply did not have the same love to give as the father had because he had never received it for himself.

And do you think this elder brother’s lack of understanding may have contributed to the younger brother leaving home in the first place? As the younger brother looked up to his older brother, (as younger brothers will do) he may have seen that his older brother was unfulfilled and bitter. Maybe the boy wanted no part of that kind of life. Why would he? He then mistakenly went into the world to get what he thought he could not get at home, only to find that this type of getting was destructive to his life and his substance.

How many of our children choose to live in the world and in sin because all they see is that Christianity is about serving and doing and demands? Ouch! (Lk. 15:11-32)

Christianity is about God and what he has done for us through Christ. It is not about what we can do for God. When Christianity becomes about what we can do for God, it then becomes about us and what WE do, not about God and what HE does. It becomes “self” centered and “self” righteousness, not God centered, not fulfilling and not loving. We then can become as the elder brother in this story became; dry, bitter, and law oriented.

But the enemy wants us to believe that receiving is selfish and that all Christianity is about is serving and doing and giving. He wants to drain us, make us miserable, self-righteous, bitter, unfulfilled and unable to bless the world. And he wants God to look like a demanding God who always “wants” something from us, rather than be the giver and blesser that he is.

But an attitude of receiving is NOT selfishness. It is in reality selflessness. It is thinking of God who wants to bless us. And it is thinking of Jesus, who suffered and died so we could be blessed, and it is thinking of those around us who need what we receive from God. And, yes, it is thinking about ourselves, but not in a selfish way. As I will explain receiving from God is how we are to love ourselves.

Jesus commanded us to love others as we love ourselves. We cannot love others unless we first love ourselves. And the way we love ourselves is to let God love us. For example, it is the best kind of self love when we receive Jesus and the forgiveness he offers us!

The truth is that God just loves us and wants to bless us and be a part of our lives. That is all he ever wanted. And he knows that if we receive from him, we will have “him” to give. And if we don’t, we won’t. Receiving from God is not selfishness. It is just the opposite.

When Jesus came to Peter to wash his feet, Peter said, “Thou shalt never wash my feet.” But Jesus answered him saying, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.”

Peter had it all backwards. He thought humility was to not let Jesus wash his feet, but that was actually pride and it was arrogance. Can you imagine telling Jesus no to what he wanted to do, as if Jesus was making a mistake? But Peter quickly corrected himself saying, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head.” True humility is to let God wash our feet. And if we don’t allow God to wash our feet and to serve us, we will not have any part with him. Yes, it takes humility to let God serve us, but that’s what it takes. (Jn. 13:8-9)

Think for a moment about the relationship of children and their fathers. Do children think it is their responsibility to meet their father’s needs? How can they? They rightfully expect the father to meet theirs, and a good father takes great pleasure in pouring his love and blessings and gifts on his children. Of course he wants them to be responsible and generous with what they have, but first and foremost he wants to bless them. And it is no different with God and his children.

God spoke through John the apostle when he said, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” In other words, as much as God wants our souls to prosper is as much as he wants every part of our lives to prosper, (and above ALL things). That means that before anything else he wants to bless his children. That is first on a good father’s heart and it is first on God’s. (3Jn2)

Putting God first in our lives does not mean serving him. It means receiving from him.

And love is not about our loving God, it is about God loving us. Again St. John said, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loves us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1Jn. 4:10)

God is the greatest giver of all. And the only way to be part of him is to become a receiver. Without receiving from God, we’ll have nothing of God for ourselves or for the world, nor will the world be able to see what God is really like.

The key to Christianity is receiving!

One last point here… Things are simply different in the New Testament than they were in the Old. Jesus came to change them and he did. Whereas the Old Testament laid out the law and what man was required to do for God, (and was only given to prove that we could not do them) the New Testament is about grace and what God has done for us through Jesus. And the only way to enter into God’s grace and to have what we cannot produce ourselves is to receive.

Let’s let God be God and live a life of receiving from him as our God. It is what God always wanted for us and always will. He is a good Father and wants to pour his life and his blessings on us, and he has done so through his Son. And it is in receiving from him that we will be filled with all he is and all he has and then can be a blessing to the world around us.

The truth is; what goes in will come out, but nothing in, nothing out.

And don’t worry; God will never run out and neither will we if we live a life of receiving from him!

Submitted by John B. Agati
Author of : “Suffering (God’s Will?)”

More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Each Day!!!!

Each and every day that we wake up is a true gift from God. It wasn't guaranteed that we'd see another day.

I think that we tend to take this for granted. We wake up, rush in the morning, & mainly head out the door. Do we stop and say a simple "Thanks" to God just for opening our eyes? Do we pray for travelling mercies? Are we truly grateful???

Slow down and see what God wants you to see in the midst of the new day arising. There may be something so simple that you're supposed to take in and grow from.

Thank you God for allowing me to see another day!!!

Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

photo from:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Thank You God For The Audacity of Hope

I watched and enjoyed Barack Obama's 2004 Democratic National Convention speech. The speech titled "The Audacity of Hope" was electrifying and gave Americans especially black Americans glimmers of hope. Those hopes include the possibility that Obama a black man might one day win, The Presidency, the highest office in the land.

I have been urging people to endorse Obama since his historic victory in Iowa. I was so excited about Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Senator Obama on Monday, January 28, 2008. Listening to the speeches of Obama and all of the Kennedy clan gave me great joy and hope.

(Thank you Senator Kennedy. May God continue to shower you with his grace and mercy during your current trial)

Hope that we will continue to seek God's face and that God will heal our land. Hope that we will come together as a one nation united under God. Hope that Obama will win the nomination of the Democratic Party and hope that he will become the next President of the United States of America.

Today, June 3, 2008, as a fifty-four year old black woman I hope that this man Obama time has come, that his time is now! Today I have the audacity to hope, pray, and believe that Senator Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States of America.

Vera Richardson is the author of “A Case of Racial Discrimination and Retaliation Real or Imagined."

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Praying and Waiting with Expectation

One thing I've learned (and am continuing to learn) is to pray and to wait with expectation. I mean, many of us do pray out of habit and wonder why things aren't coming to pass. However, do we pray expecting that big thing or that event to occur or are we praying with "hope"?

Hebrews 11:1 & 6 states: 1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Faith and prayer, prayer and faith; the 2 go hand and hand.

What are your expectations? What are you seeking? God already knows, He just wants to know that your faith and expectations are in line with what He can do!
photo from: imses on