Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: black

Here is what America needs in the wake of the Dallas shootings

My flag is at half staff (or half mast today)

Here is what America needs in the wake of the Dallas shootings

Dallas shootings?

It is with a heavy heart I write about an incident that happened yesterday when five police officers reported for duty in a manner they had done so many times before. The difference between today and the days previously is that they would be cut down in their prime and this would be their last day on the force of the Dallas Police Department due to a man who set out to kill them by sniper fire.

I am not going to go into the rights and wrongs of protesting against the police because I do believe in the fundamental American right to a peaceful assembly and protest should the need arise and sufficient injustice has happened. However this was not that type of protest, this was a cold blooded, pre meditated action done by someone who set out to injure and kill people because of their chosen occupation.

Let me get something straight, it is not a “race thing” or a “police brutality” thing, this would have happened at some point because it would have happened because this is the actions of a sinful man and no more and it does not matter the shade of sin the person had and although there are some racially charged statements out there and these do not help and please know I believe in race because we know from the bible that God made us all part of the human race!

Gun control?

I do not believe that gun control is the answer here; I know that President Obama went straight to that issue following this tragic event however I do not believe that stricter gun control would have prevented this tragedy for the simple reason that if we make guns contraband they will be as easy to get on the black market as say illicit drugs. The only difference in that scenario will be that the bad people who are intent on doing these things will no longer be registered or on lists and will be much harder to find should they use a “legal weapon”.

Guns themselves do not cause shootings until they are operated by someone with intentions to point them and release a bullet towards someone with a murderous intent. That I know is obvious to most people with a sensible mind and regrettably if we remove the legal guns, we will have a situation where only the bad guys have guns. I am not one to criticize our leaders but I feel the President is clouded with an agenda that this administration has had towards gun control and his comments are opportunistic at best.

Sinful nature?

We have had people murdering people as far back as Genesis four where the sinful heart that I previously discussed was displayed when brother murdered brother when the first time they were alone after Cain became jealous of Abel (Genesis 4:8) he is described as “being alone with Abel and he rose up against his brother and killed him” and at that point there was no automatic weapons at that point so we have to conclude that murder is a heart condition rather than a weapons condition.

As tragic as this even was we need to address the sin of the nation first as America needs something, something that it as a whole many people in this great nation have turned their backs on…

What does America need then?

This is difficult to type as I truly feel for the victims’ families, the everyday folks who witnessed this happening and I even pray for the shooter and pray for him as he obviously needs help. As does the country, I feel funny saying this as a non-natural born American (having been born in Scotland) but America truly needs Jesus.

I do not say this as a slur against my home but as a concern for the direction we as a country are heading. I love the USA and I love many things that make it uniquely American but I do believe that we need to return to a relationship with God and repent individually, as families, as small groups, as streets, as communities and as cities and counties and i say this because can you imagine the greatest country in the world actually being the greatest country in the world?

Imagine the country praying for one another, serving each other, preferring each other before ourselves and loving each other in an unconditional agape love, that is my prayer for America as we lick our wounds, get over this tragedy and people who are praying for the first time in ages and looking for answers, I beg you dear Christians be there for those grieving, be there for police officers, first responders and their families. You don’t have to preach, sometimes being there and being an ambassador for Jesus is enough.

If you do not know Jesus and are looking for answers then please know that although this is desolate and everything feels bad, this is not the end, please know that you have a redeemer who died on a cross 2000 years ago for your sins, life has hope and life has meaning and you can be forgiven of your sins.

If you want to know more about a relationship with Jesus then please contact me and I would be happy to converse with you and direct you to someone locally if I am not in your area. Even although I may not know many of you who read this personally, please know I love you and my desire is to have you go deeper in Jesus. It is for the good of our wounded nation!

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.




Thanksgiving week – Day five – my wealth and a look at Black Friday


Thanksgiving week – Day five – my riches

It is no coincidence that the LORD has guided me to write this article and to have it published on what is the most commercial day for the American people.  The day we call “Black Friday”.

The notion of getting up at crazy o’clock to save a few bucks on an item that often times is a convenience item is not a new fad or craze. People have been doing it before I arrived in America and LORD willing they will he doing it long after I am gone. (Either by movement of God or graduating to after posthumous state)


Let me begin by saying, I am not a legalist, I have participated in both Black Friday sales and on one occasion I even went out in Thanksgiving night. So i and fully aware of the beam in my own eye and I am certainly not without sin in this area so please don’t think I am lining up to stone you.

Go beyond the ticket price and question the true value

That being said however, we have to go beyond the ticket price and ask “is this the best use of our time? ”

I know what you are thinking, “what about the poor person who, if they don’t shop then it may mean the difference between their kid getting one present instead of two?”

My answer to this is well everyone’s situation is different, the single parent lady with 5 kids that only has $50 to spend on everyone’s Christmas, I see why she is shopping frugally,  but this is not usually the case. This lady is the exception rather than the rule.

Greed not need

The ones who are usually head of the lines in these places are normally buying the big ticket items such as TVs, electronic devices etc. Some are spending thousands of dollars in single purchases. Let me tell you of my Thanksgiving shopping experience a few years back.

My wife and I decided to try it out the first year and made a beeline for a huge department store with a bullseye logo. The doors were just opening and we joined the line midway round the corner of the building, as we got in folks were checking out with TV’s and other huge items, the associate was handing out carts and keeping the stream of people coming in at a slow but safe pace.

The lady pushed a cart (no more than maybe a yard) towards me to keep things moving and as I was about to lay my hand on it the lady in front of me grabbed it announcing “she needed two carts”

Inside were scenes that would invoke PTSD, it was like like a cross between Little Big Horn and a looting, with the only difference being these folks intended to pay at the end. Many customers were glum, shelves were emptying fast, employees were tired, lines got longer and it was at melting pot of negative emotions. I wondered where it all had gone wrong.

I saw mass purchases, a lot of excess and on one occasion I heard and lady tell someone else at the end of the phone (sounded like a conference call at one point) to stay at the places they had been sent to until that lady arrived with her debit card. Sounds like that lady (this is just my reading on the situation) had stationed her kids/family members at stores all over town to maximize the opportunity of getting commercially what everyone wanted for Christmas and satisfy everyone’s material whims.

Let me tell you something crazy, I don’t even remember what we were shopping for that year, (must have been important huh?)

One thing I do remember however is that when when I put back back a crock pot that we decided not to purchase, there was a lady circling the area and swooped in like a vulture and had it in her cart like it was the last crock pot that we was ever going to be made, why do we allow ourselves to get into such a state and I do wonder what Jesus would have made of this stramash?  (To use a Scottish phrase)

Where is my redeemer?

Sadly, I seen little evidence of people preparing to celebrate the redeemer of the world. Yes, maybe one in twenty of the songs playing on the in store radio was a hymn or a song about Jesus and not banging on about winter or Santa.

We certainly were not acting like Christians, the first certainly wasn’t the last, we were pushy, moody, grumpy and greedy. I left the store unhappy with the experience but I didn’t learn the lesson until much later.

You see I should have a burden for those who materialism is what Christmas is all about, those who don’t have about redeemer and Christmas is about maintenance of a quality of life through the giving of gifts that will eventually not last forever. Sometimes in order to make those commercial dreams come true you have to sacrifice a little of your mental health.

How much are you worth?

Make no mistake about it, my kid will get presents, some I will have paid full price for, some I will have got on sale, I will be in shops today when I wake up. I won’t be first in line at midnight or whatever crazy hour the shop I chose to go to opens but I will go, maybe I will spend, maybe not.

You see, I say this with the greatest respect to anyone who reads this,  my time is worth far more and time with family is worth far more than getting 25% off the toy that is the favourite thing of my five year old. (Which will most likely change next month) and most certainly in saying that,  I doubt I will ever rush away from a Thanksgiving dinner to enter “Retail Hades” ever again.

Lastly, some perspective

We are affluent, all of us! The brokest of us still have much more than many others in other countries.  Being the time of year it is I often here the Bob Geldof song “Do they know it’s Christmas time”. That song in the mid 80’s was sold to raise money to feed starving people in countries such as Ethiopia. We have so much, even if we gave away the stuff we were going to trash, blessings would abound.

It is not all doom and gloom, I passed by a clothing recycling station yesterday and was immediately thankful as I saw the station was overflowing,  people do want to help and recycle to help the needy.

How can I help?

Pray, ask God to put someone on your heart to help, you probably know of of a family who are going without, it may even be as drastic as not being able to feed everyone. Never mind get a gift at Christmas.

You are rich, put your wealth where it really matters

(Jesus speaking) Matthew 6:19 (ESV) “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Despite your bank balance, you are rich, I am not as concerned with your checking account as your heavenly account with God. Has that been settled yet? Do you know where you are going beyond this life? You can’t take your Black Friday bargains with you.

The Pharaohs of old used to get buried with their wealth and the things that meant the most to them, however, archaeologists will tell you, the treasures did not go with them, it is as simple as that.

What about me?

Personally,  my riches are in my relationship with Jesus Christ, my love for my wife and lastly my love for my daughter. Yes I am spoiled,  I get enough to eat, my birthday and other special days are celebrated.

Let’s be honest, we all get greedy, you should see some of the stuff that I have got bent out of shape over and you would laugh, but we have to get our priorities straight.

Truth be told, if I had only my wife beside me and my child was the only one getting presents,  I would still be a rich man, wealthy in heaven and rich in love.

The other Black Friday

Happened when Jesus died to become your redeemer,  there is more to Christmas than retail craziness and spending lots of money, it is the celebration if the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth who died for the sins of the world, please contact us if you wish to know more.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.