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Today, I would like to talk about all the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Wow, the pictures on the news are just awful and heartbreaking. I’m sure most of you have seen the picture of the nursing home residents as they sat in water up to their waists. There was some suspicion that the picture was fake, but Snopes.com has confirmed this picture and story to be true. Thankfully, these elderly victims of Hurricane Harvey have been rescued and are now clean, dry and safe in a new location.
I was completely dismayed when I read a news article this morning that Joel Osteen, the leader of Lakewood Church in Houston, did NOT open the doors of his facility to refugees. This mega church can hold over 16,000 people. I was furious, but I wanted to get the entire true story before writing this blog. I once again checked Snopes.com.
The truth of this story is reported as a “Mixture” of true and false per Snopes. It is true that he did not open his church doors immediately citing flooding in the building. However, many different people went to the church to take pictures, and there was no flooding seen in and around the church. In addition, the police and other emergency personnel had not received any calls for help in that general area. Was there flooding in the building? We will never know for sure, but according to pictures, videos and reports from emergency personnel, there is no reason to think there was any problem at Lakewood Church.
Because Mr. Osteen didn’t open the doors to his church, he was hammered on social media. Hundreds of people went on the attack asking why a Christian preacher like himself wouldn’t open doors to the needy. Snopes attempted to contact the church, but as of the writing of this blog, there has been no response. Then things changed. This morning, days after the hurricane first hit and AFTER people spoke up about this issue, Joel Osteen sent out a message via his website that they would be opening the doors to Harvey refugees.
What took him so long? In my opinion, he only opened his doors because he was pressured by the public into doing so. That’s what it looks like to me. Am I impressed that Mr. Osteen opened the doors to his mega church this morning? Nope. I am thankful, but I am not impressed. Too little, too late.
We as Christians are supposed to help those in need. The Bible addresses this over and over again:
“Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
“For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.” Hebrews 6:10
“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” Luke 6:38
“Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:42
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” Proverbs 3:27
“Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” Romans 12:13
“Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
There are so many other verses just like these in the Bible – these are just a few. The lesson here is that Joel Osteen, in the spirit of true Christianity, should have opened the doors of Lakewood Church immediately…not waiting days and after mounting public pressure.
I point this out because, as I said in the first blog of this series, I see a section of so-called Christianity that is being misled. Is Mr. Osteen a terrible Christian? I can’t say that. Like I said yesterday, we are not the judge. We don’t know Mr. Osteen’s heart – only God knows that. But I can point out instances where pastors don’t live up to true Christian values that are taught to us by God. Watch for behavioral patterns in these pastors. If they say something or act in a way that is inconsistent with biblical teaching, question it. Satan is very sly and will use tactics that many people will miss. This is why it is so important to pick up the Bible and read it yourself. Get immersed in God’s Word. Know the truth. Then and only then will you be able to see the real truth in others. Remember, too, that false prophets are out there. Meditate on this verse:
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look! Here is the Messiah!’ or ‘There he is!’ – do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24
Fox News Lawsuit By Journalist Who Wrote Endometriosis Article, The Healthcare Bill, and “Whited Sepulchres”
I have tried my best to stay out of politics recently. In January, a long thread on my Facebook feed ended up in several heated arguments, and after that I decided to refrain from political commentary on my page. I just watched as Trump and his administration seemed to make mistake after mistake, and it seemed like every morning, I woke up to some kind of ridiculousness that left me shaking my head. At the same time, I watched as one by one, Fox News correspondents and management left the network due to sexual harassment claims. It was amazing to me to see a news channel that I watched religiously slowly fall apart. I was extremely disappointed.
Well, today I read something that crossed that big red line in the sand for me. A Fox News reporter is now suing the network because after she wrote a report on endometriosis, she was the victim of discrimination. Ms. Diana Falzone was slowly pushed out of her position at Fox News after she disclosed her uterine disorder in her report. You can read the entire article here:
I am the founder of Adenomyosis Fighters, an online group that helps women who suffer from adenomyosis. This disorder is closely related to endometriosis, and the two disorders have similar symptoms. Both have to do with abnormal menstruation – very heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding, excruciating abdominal pain, sometimes as severe as the last stage of labor requiring narcotic pain medication, severe bloating that can resemble a three to four-month pregnancy, bowel issues, bladder issues, and even infertility. I have spent the last five years fighting for women who suffer from adenomyosis, so for Fox News to discriminate against Ms. Falzone for this article caused me to become extremely angry. I am livid about this and hope Ms. Falzone takes them for everything they have!!! These men who discriminated against her don’t have a clue. They have never, ever had a period and have never had a baby. They have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what it is like to suffer month after month – anemic from blood loss and with such horrible pain that a woman has to crawl to the bathroom for fear of passing out! Shame on you, Fox News. I will no longer watch your shows because of this reprehensible behavior.
Fox News is known to support the Republicans, many of which are evangelical Christians. For crying out loud – if you are going to support evangelical Christianity, at least TRY to live by Christian teachings!! Compassion is one of the main teachings of Christianity, so why do these executives at Fox News discriminate and treat Ms. Falzone so badly when she opens up about her struggles with endometriosis?? Is that what Jesus would do? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! Why do evangelical Christians support this network when the execs have been involved in sexual harassment? Who the hell knows!! Sorry to say this, but based on what I’ve seen, I think lack of education plays a role. Or maybe it’s just ignorance.
Yesterday, the controversial health care bill was passed in the House of Representatives. This bill will basically gut Medicaid and will give states the option of a waiver regarding pre-existing conditions. This will hurt millions of Americans. So many people are now worried if they will have sufficient coverage since they have a pre-existing condition. Then, last night, the Republicans in the House decide to bring in a bunch of Budweiser beer to celebrate. Millions of people are now worried about their healthcare and these buffoons are having a huge party up there at the Capitol? Is this Christian?? Didn’t Jesus say “Love your neighbor as yourself”? How does this insensitive behavior say that you are “loving your neighbor as yourself”? Cutting medical benefits to the poorest of the poor – how is this “loving your neighbor as yourself”? And yes, the Democrats should not have sung after the vote. I don’t excuse their behavior either.
I am a Christian and see right through what Fox News, Trump, and Congress have done. Why can’t these so-called Christians who are die-hard Trump supporters see through it?? I have my thoughts on this. I think they are the Pharisees, the whited sepulchres, that Jesus talks about all throughout the gospels.
The official definition of a whited sepulchre according to Merriam Webster dictionary is a person inwardly corrupt or wicked but outwardly or professedly virtuous or holy.
Trump has a long history of non-Christian behavior. He has made disgusting remarks about women. He had affairs. He has lied over and over again. He pushed this healthcare bill which will hurt the poorest of the poor. He made fun of a disabled reporter (Yes, he actually did….I saw the video and no one is going to tell me differently, so don’t even try).
But then, he shows up to events with a Bible. Melania says the Lord’s Prayer at a rally. He talks about his “Christian values”. Do these acts automatically make him a Christian? NO! Some Christians praise him for doing this – I think it is a form of sacrilege. To me, I see a whited sepulchre because his actions are opposite of his words.
Jesus warns of whited sepulchers in Matthew 23:27 (King James Bible):
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”
Remember – NO ONE fools God. You can’t raise your hands to heaven and praise Him and then turn around and cut healthcare to the poor, talk trash about women, discriminate against minorities, etc. and still expect to be in good standing with Jesus. He sees through it all. Our God is a God of justice, and He will see to it that all the scales are balanced. Don’t be deceived by these “whited sepulchres”…those that are really good at talking about God but then live a life that is diametrically opposed to what Jesus said in the Bible.
A few days ago, I managed to find the time to watch Scientology and the Aftermath on A&E. Leah Remini, well-known for her role as Carrie on The King of Queens, hosts this amazing and enlightening show. I have never been in Scientology, but I had heard about it as many celebrities belong to this “church”. I was shocked and dismayed at the abuses that are going on in Scientology, and I would like to thank Leah from the bottom of my heart for exposing these abuses. It will not only help to shine a light on this group, but it may, as in my case, help people to understand how mental abuse occurs.
Let me explain further. Leah explains on the show that the “church” believes if anything bad happens in your life, it is your own fault. When she made this statement, it caught my attention. I turned off my computer and phone and began to pay attention. Why? Because there was someone who had been in my life who made this exact same comment to me many times. This person was a member of a narcissistic group of individuals, and those relationships ended years ago.
I was glued to the television from this point until the end (three hours of reruns of previously aired shows). Leah went on to explain that if a person says anything critical about the “church”, they are considered a suppressive person, or SP, and are considered an enemy of Scientology. At this point, the concept of “Fair Game” comes into play in which a scientologist may lie, destroy, sue, or trick the suppressive person in order to discredit them. Even though the “church” says that they canceled Fair Game years ago, Leah has shown on this show that it still exists.
My heart sunk. Not only is this just sickening for a so-called church to allow this kind of behavior, but I realized that is what I went through in dealing with narcissists in my past. I tried to address certain issues involving narcissistic people in my past, but each time I suggested they needed to take responsibility for some of their bad actions, I was blamed for causing all the problems. I was not allowed to say anything that could be viewed as critical of this group of people. When the relationships ended, I was lied to repeatedly. A friend actually told me that one of them said I was “crazy”. Sounds similar to what Leah had described. Even though I have been through counseling and knew that I was the victim, it really helped to hear it on this show. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I actually started to think that this narcissistic group might actually make good scientologists!
After watching the shows, I looked up some more information on Scientology in preparation for writing this blog. I learned that scientologists hate the psychiatry profession. This brings back memories of how Tom Cruise insulted Brooke Shields for having post-partum depression. Again, this made me think about my own past. With all of my health problems, I was told over and over again that I wouldn’t have these health issues if I just exercised. Again, I was made to feel that my health issues were my own fault which is entirely not true. Although some health issues (such as obesity) might be helped with exercise, mine were not (endometriosis and a broken back). I was also told that “counseling doesn’t work”. Eerily similar to Scientology.
Leah made one remark during the show that really hit me hard. She made it clear that if someone is a victim of Scientology or any other cult, know that YOU ARE A VICTIM. Bad things aren’t happening to you because it’s your fault. YOU ARE A VICTIM! This is soooo true! Thank you, Leah! This is going to help so many people, and you are reaching people who are not just a part of Scientology, but all those who have suffered from some form of mental abuse.
As I was doing research for this blog, I learned some of the basic beliefs in this “church”. I was raised as a Christian, and I am still a Christian. I will always be a Christian. I was stunned that there are some in Scientology that also claim to be a Christian. Let me be clear – Scientology flies in the face of Christianity. The two are diametrically opposed. Two opposite ends of the spectrum.
According to Hank Hanegraaff in The Bible Answer Book for Students, The Church of Scientology claims to be compatible with Christianity. He states that this is not true, and I completely agree. The concept of Fair Game is just one example. To teach that lying, destroying, tricking, etc. anyone who is critical of Scientology is opposite of Christianity. We are not allowed to lie, period, as is stated in one of the Ten Commandments. We are taught to “love your neighbor as yourself”, no matter who your neighbor is….scientologist or otherwise. Scientology pushes disconnection from anyone they consider a “suppressive person.” Basically, this teaches intolerance. Christianity teaches compassion.
As far as the belief that whatever happens to you is your own fault: Let’s think about this. Someone is born with a birth defect – is this their own fault? How is that possible? What about someone who loses their husband in a terrible car accident and finds herself unemployed with three children to support? What about a child that loses both parents in a plane crash? Is that child to blame?
Here are a few BIBLICAL verses that dispute that belief:
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh…But He [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”…That is why, for Christs’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10.
And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” John 9:1-3
So, according to the Holy Bible, difficulties in this life are not necessarily the result of sin. Opposite than the teaching in Scientology.
I strongly believe that the evil in this world comes about through cunning deceit. Many times, these people/organizations attempt to fool people by appearing as though they are “good” people/organizations when behind the scenes they are planning their attack. Remember this biblical verse:
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in SHEEP’S CLOTHING, but inwardly are ravening wolves. Matthew 7:15.
For scientologists and anyone else who may be subject of mental abuse, remember this biblical verse:
For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of PEACE, as in all churches of the saints. 1 Corinthians 14:33
For those who have been deceived by these individuals, don’t beat yourself up. Just acknowledge it and move forward on the right path away from this evil behavior. Remember this biblical verse:
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24
I hope and pray that all those who have suffered through disconnection or other abuses of Scientology and anyone else who have endured mental abuse find comfort and peace. And again, thank you to Leah for bringing this issue to light!
**Bible verses taken from the King James Version.
As I read one of the letters that Paul wrote today, I was once again reminded that God’s grace does not give us permission to sin. I felt the need to address this topic once again.
As I watch the news and other shows, I am constantly bombarded by stories of betrayal, murder, theft, greed, etc. If that’s not bad enough, I also see some of these same people refer to God and His importance in their lives as they speak. I find this incredibly disturbing.
Paul addresses this issue over and over again in his letters in the New Testament.
“But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.” 1 Corinthians 5:11
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” Galatians 5:16-17
“The acts of sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21
I would like people to think about this. Why are there so many people out there who don’t believe in God because they feel like Christians are hypocrites? Because that is exactly how some people live! Have you ever considered that because of the behavior of some of these hypocrites, others might turn from God and not be saved? Not only are these people putting their own souls at risk, but they are actually hurting Christianity as a whole because they AREN’T living according to the Bible. Yes, we all know that God forgives our sins, but the Bible also tells us that we must live in the Spirit. If we truly live in the Spirit, we cannot live in constant sin. Galatians 5:16-17 clearly states that living in the Spirit and living in sin are in direct conflict with each other. I would like to propose that not everyone who says they are Christian are truly Christian. Remember, the Bible also states that Satan himself parades around the world as an angel of light:
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
The Bible says many times to “not be deceived”. Know the truth about God. Yes, we are forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ if we TRULY accept Him in our heart. This means living in the Spirit and putting aside our sinful nature. Yes, we all will make mistakes, and if we are truly in the Spirit and have left our sinful ways, we will be forgiven. Do not deceive yourself into thinking that just because you speak the words, “Jesus is My Savior” but do not leave your sinful life, that this is sufficient for God. You MUST put aside your sinful behavior, for one cannot truly believe and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior without turning from his/her sinful life.
For those of you who are sick of seeing the behavior of so-called Christians living smack in the middle of a completely sinful life, know that this behavior is not what God is calling us to do. The best advice I can give to you is to open up and read a Bible. That is the only way to know the real truth in God.
Have you ever met someone who appears like a very Christian person, but as you get to know them, things aren’t quite as they seem?
I’ve come across quite a few people like this. They love to preach to everyone else about Christianity, but then they talk behind other people’s backs, insulting everything they do. They expect everyone else to follow the commandments, but then turn around and break those very commandments themselves. The put others down for immoral behavior, yet they turn around and act in an immoral fashion.
These are the type of people who, through their actions, turn many people away from Christianity. People can see the hypocrisy in their actions, and many are disgusted with their behavior. They are referred quite commonly to the “holier than thou” group, and rightfully so. I refer to these people as false prophets, and Jesus speaks to this many times in the Bible.
“Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you than unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19-20
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Matthew 7:15
“Thus by their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers!'” Matthew 7:20-23
“You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Matthew 23:27-28
Remember that old saying, “actions speak louder than words?” Nowhere is it more important to remember this than in Christianity. True Christians will not only speak of Jesus and the Bible, but they will actually live the Word and follow the commandments. They will not make up excuses for their own immoral behavior or try to justify their non-Christian attitudes toward other people. They will serve others willingly and be accepting of all people, showing love to everyone around them while being truthful, addressing non-Christian behavior in a compassionate way.
If you come across a “false prophet”, remember that Jesus himself said “Do not be deceived”. The Bible also says to “guard your heart”, so be aware and protect yourself, asking God for a hedge of protection around you. And most importantly, know that this kind of behavior is not true Christianity. Also, know that there are many, many wonderful Christians that do live by the Word of God and truly believe it in their heart and soul. They show great love, mercy and compassion for others, and you can recognize them by their actions.
“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them: they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Matthew 15: 13-14.
“If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” Matthew 19:17