Sunday, April 26, 2009

Reason, Logic and God

God reveals Himself primarily through the pages of Scripture. God's Word are backed by His authority as the supreme and sovereign in all situations. Often we make decisions we think that it is God's will however, circumstances will make us change directions. The circumstances surrounding our lives are no accident: they may be the work of evil, but that evil is held firmly within the mighty hand of our sovereign God. We are to allow the Holy Spirit do what He will through us and see what He does with us.

Often we battle with issues according to flesh's reasoning. The concept that is is called "begging the question in logic", which is the Latin name petitio principii, is an informal fallacy found in many attempts at logical arguments. Such an argument is valid in the sense in which logicians use that term, yet provides no reason at all to believe its conclusion. Often people will use "logic" and "argument from analogy" (relating things to novel other situations) to prove their case. Thinking logically is a tough thing to do because it works against our human and horizontal perspective on true salvation. One thing I have learned is that God's will don't appear to be "logic". God is good and God is also Just. The Bible teaches that God is love; some have interpreted this in such a way as virtually to deny that He is just, which the Bible also teaches. The biblical doctrine of God's goodness so far that it is made to contradict His holiness. The biblical doctrine of God's compassion cancel out His truth. People will view God is ALL good, which is true but the definition of "good" in God's point of view is different than our human point of view.

Faith is accepting God's Will. Often we make decisions we think that it is God's will however, circumstances will make us change directions. The circumstances surrounding our lives are no accident: they may be the work of evil, but that evil is held firmly within the mighty hand of our sovereign God. Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it. nothing is too small in us or in any other creature, not to be ordered by the all-knowing and all-powerful providence of God.

We all can claim to be a Christian, and we all believe that the root of the matter is in us and the seed of God is in our hearts. To understand reality is not the same as to know about outward events. It is to perceive the essential nature of things. The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.

Monday, April 20, 2009

My life through denominations.

I have had issues with Tradition which is why I often distrust churches that focus on Tradition more than the Bible. I grew up in various Baptist denominations but I left due to their legalism system and lack of sound doctrines. I went into Anabaptist since it is so similar to Baptist and their doctrines are more sound. The term anabaptist was used to describe and define certain Christians during the Reformation however they were not part of the Reformation (Protesting against the Catholics). These Christians regarded the Bible as their only rule for faith and life. Because of their radical beliefs, the Anabaptists were persecuted by other Protestants (i.e. Luther, Calvin and others) as well as by Roman Catholics. Anabaptists were radical due to their doctrines as Luther did with Roman Catholic Church. Many Catholics viewed Luther a radical heretic. In the early days, which is when the Anabaptists established their reputation, they often challenged the Reformers publicly as did Luther challenged the Roman Catholic Church publicly.

Much of the historic Roman Catholic and Protestant literature has represented the Anabaptists as groups who preached false doctrine and led people into apostasy. persecuted the Anabaptists, resorted to torture and other types of physical abuse, in attempts both to curb the growth of the movement and bring about the salvation of the heretics (through recantation). The Protestants under Zwingli (Reformed) were the first to persecute the Anabaptists. On May 20, 1527, Roman Catholic authorities executed Michael Sattler. King Ferdinand declared drowning (called the third baptism) "the best antidote to Anabaptism".

The Anabaptists, the most persecuted people of the Reformation, were not allowed the luxury of extensive written records. They were known to history for centuries mostly from the writings of their enemies, and Calvinists have been among the worst offenders in this regard.

Other offenders were,Felix Manz became the first Anabaptist martyr in 1527, ten short years after Luther had nailed up his theses. He was drowned in the river right in the middle of Zurich. Other Anabaptists were beaten or banished.

There is no single defining set of beliefs, doctrines and practices that characterizes all Anabaptists. The Anabaptist I was involved in followed reformed doctrines (Luther/Calvin). The very first Anabaptists were Continental, those who were radical and persecuted. The Anabaptist bodies of today are no longer comprised mostly of descendants of the Continental Anabaptists. The Anabaptists were early promoters of a free church and freedom of religion which includes separation of Church and State. The Anabaptists were one of several branches of "Radical" reformers (i.e. reformers that went further than the mainstream Reformers) to arise out of the Renaissance and Reformation.

So, here I am, I love the Reformers, Puritans and I love the Anabaptists as well as the Baptists. I view both theologies of the Reformers and the Anabaptists to clearly define the most comprehensive Evangelicalism today.

One of the main reasons I love the Anabaptist is because resistance is a central practice for the Anabaptist heritage of Christian witness and discipleship. Remember The Amish school shooting that happened at the West Nickel Mines School, Lancaster County, PA? One grandfather of one of the murdered Amish girls was heard warning some young relatives not to hate the killer, saying, "We must not think evil of this man." Another Amish father noted, "He had a mother and a wife and a soul and now he's standing before a just God."

Marie Roberts, the widow of the killer, was one of the few outsiders invited to the funeral of one of the victims. Marie Roberts wrote an open letter to her Amish neighbors thanking them for their forgiveness, grace, and mercy. She wrote, "Your love for our family has helped to provide the healing we so desperately need. Gifts you've given have touched our hearts in a way no words can describe. Your compassion has reached beyond our family, beyond our community, and is changing our world, and for this we sincerely thank you." Amish school shooting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anyway, knowing your true enemy is important and that enemy is Satan who can easily become the tool of Satan, who is called the accuser. One of his chief weapons is discouragement. My perspective from what I am reading from the Scriptures, that if we desire honor and glory from God, we must display humility first. That is contrary to our earthly philosophy, which exalts pride which is often used through works of choice.

In this life it is inevitable and it is useful because it produces the evidence of your true spiritual condition, humility and intimacy with God and allows God to put Himself on display in His grace. If we forgive those who sin against us, our heavenly Father will forgive us. But if we refuse to forgive others, our Father will not forgive our sins. We are to forgive seventy times seven. We must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. I have discovered through this forum (especially here), there is lack of forgiveness and lack of love.

Satan have successfully sowed seeds of discords between believers so that there won't be any spiritual and relationship restoration for unity. Relationship will be restored once that sinner comes to me and told me that he repented to God and he wants to restore the relationship. I don’t want to bear a grudge. If you sin against me, I have to forgive you in my heart even as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven me. So, I do that willingly. But I will never be able to have a right relationship with you until you come to me and seek the forgiveness that opens up the relationship. I always forgive and always give a person an amicable, companionable, comradely, cordial, hearty, neighborly, warm, warmhearted invitation without being cold, cool, frigid; bellicose, belligerent, contentious, quarrelsome. If I am not amicable and being cold, then I am not behaving like Christ who is ALWAYS amicable and inviting.

Colossians 3:13...........Forgive one another
Colossians 3:16.......... Counsel one another
Galatians 6:2..............Bear one another's burdens
Titus 1:13.................Rebuke one another (with love)
1 Thessalonians 4:18....Comfort one another
Hebrews 10:25...........Exhort one another
Romans 14:19............Edify one another
Romans 15:14............Counsel one another
Galatians 5:13............Love one another
Ephesians 4:12...........Love one another
1 Peter 1:22..............Love one another

All men through their sinful nature have corrupted Tradition through their persecutions. All great Christian leaders are guilty in one form or another. Only Christ, His Church and Holy Scriptures are perfect.

I grew up in Duxbury, MA which is part of Plymouth Colony. I know alot about the history of Puritans. Regarding the witch trials, the Puritans themselves repented of the way the trials were conducted. Their confession was then made: " to the Guilt contracted, upon the opening of the late Commission of Oyer and Terminer at Salem (to which the order for this Day relates) he is, upon many accounts, more concerned that any that he knows of, Desires to take the Blame and Shame of it, Asking pardon of Men, And especially desiring prayers that God, who has an Unlimited Authority, would pardon that Sin and all other his Sins; personal and Relative: And according to his infinite Benignity, and Sovereignty, Not Visit the Sin of him, or of any other, upon himself or any of his, nor upon the Land. . . "

Governor William Phips put an end to the Salem witch trials precisely because there was the recognition that innocent people were being prosecuted without sufficient tangible evidence of their guilt. Innocent people were being incriminated based upon unsubstantiated accusation. Salem trials have brought down Puritanism in New England.

We can learn from history, including Church history that includes Tradition. Some of my favorite Quotes about "Learning from History".

"What I am great advocate of looking into the past, I could warn everybody against living in the past. The only justification for looking to the past is that we may learn great lessons from it and apply them" (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

By avoiding the mistakes of the past: "Those who fail to remember the past are condemned to repeat it" (George Santayana)

By repeating the victories of the past: "Those who fail to remember the past are condemned not to repeat it" (David B. Calhoun)

Reading Ecclesiastes helps alot. Hearing stories from my elders (old relatives and older Christians) reminded me that their experiences speaks the truth. As they say, "History repeats itself in every generation."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Some 22 members of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Mets fans have marked Opening Day at Citi Field with a pregame protest over the nearby subway station.

Audism, Struggles and Growth

Audism basically means those who discriminate or stereotyping against Deaf culture or hearing-impaired individuals. Audism means a system of practice, behavior, belief, or attitude. In the deaf culture, calling someone an audist is akin to calling someone a racist. People who have audist attutides are considered to be audists. Many of us are sharing our insights from our first-hand experiences with deafness. Often when we think of the disabled, we often think only of those who are in wheelchairs or are otherwise, visible physically impaired. However, the word can also refer to the deaf community, though many deaf persons do not consider themselves to be disabled. Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults. Mostly, we deal with socially and professionally disabled more than deafness.

Many disability obstacles such as discrimination, attitudes, ignorance, stereotyping, or alienation are still around by all of us whether we realized them or not. Stereotypes, biases, and misconceptions leap into one’s mind. Stereotyping has created by showing incorrect judgment of a possibility by making people into stereotypes that leads to myths. Audism, like racism and sexism, is discrimination against deaf and hearing-impaired individuals. However, I do acknowledge that there is a significant difference between ignorance and audism. Nowadays, it is hard to tell the difference but I believe that with today's technology and disability discrimination laws that are out there, there should not be any ignorance. My only conclusion is that people are doing audism rather than being ignorant.

In spirit, the purpose of Christianity with disabilities is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great enough for life. Paul wrote in Romans 5:3-5, “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”

A Christian who is rooted deeply and very fruitful, who concentrates on the eternal root system of his or her life is going to bear fruit upward, but if he or she concentrates on the eye-appealing temporal things, he or she may end up a rootless failure. A person who is elated by success and is cast down by failure is still a carnal Christian. At best, his or her fruit will have a worm in it. God's timing is infallible. He takes every factor and contingency into account. We often want to pluck unripe fruit, but He will not be pressured into premature action. A mature Christian disciple will not stumble because of apparently unanswered prayer. A mature Christian disciple will not, however, adopt a fatalistic attitude when he or she examine his or her prayers and seek to discover the cause of failure.

Jesus said in John 15:1-2, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more." With the Holy Spirit and love, we can and will walk in the Spirit because Christ produces the fruit in us through His GRACE. In "the sufficiency of God’s grace" in the worst of human circumstances is that when a person is weak in a temporal sense while the person is strong spiritually by God's Grace in eternal sense.

Jesus also said in John 15:5, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing." Carlo Carretto explained it nicely, “We are the wire, God is the current. Our only power is to let the current pass through us”. We must remember that we are still in the flesh even though we have Christ in us. It is the Holy Spirit's conviction that God’s design for us is to be radically transformed by the renewing of our minds. (Romans 12:2) Our hope for this radical transformation is by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13). With the Holy Spirit and love, I will walk in the Spirit, Christ produces the fruit. It is Christ through the Holy Spirit produces power, love, sound mind through us. Christ helps us. Without Christ, we are nothing. Our faith is not in our works. Our faith is the generator of our works. Faith produces works. Works reveal faith or the lack of it. Being is expressed in doing. Faith is a gift from the Holy Spirit, without the Holy Spirit, we can't have faith and without the Holy Spirit, we can't be spiritual. Faith will express itself in faith deeds not just words alone. Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

In my own experiences, God lead me to what I call "coincidences" in my life which perhaps God will make sure that His wills will be done at His right time and place. God will yet have His way while at the same time, as responsible forgiven sinner, I also must make my choices in any situations I may face. Often I make decisions when I think that they are part of God's will however, circumstances will make me change directions. Someone has said “Life is God’s novel. Let Him write it.” (Isaac Bashevis Singer). My life is like a pencil in God’s hand, He does the writing and the pencil has nothing to do with God’s writing. We often try to alter our circumstances to satisfy ourselves, instead of letting God alter us. God does not desire to destroy our will, but to sanctify “our will into His will”.

The circumstances surrounding our lives are no accident: they may be the work of evil, but that evil is held firmly within the mighty hand of our sovereign God. We are to allow the Holy Spirit do what He will through us and see what He does with us. God tests His real disciples more severely than lukewarm ones.

True life is:
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. A man's steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way? The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases. I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 16:9, Proverbs 20:24, Proverbs 21:1, Jeremiah 10:23, Romans 8:28-29, Matthew 10:29-30)

Our faith should recognize the fact that God is in control of our lives. Whether we believe it or not, it's a fact that God is in control of the world. If we don't believe it, we are just robbing ourselves of the enjoyment of the fact.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Advocacies for Deaf and hearing loss.

Why many deaf people do not want to be a member of AG Bell's organization?

Hearing loss experiences differ individually. There are those who have been born with hearing loss (like me). There are those who lost their hearing later in life. To many, hearing loss is more of a social and professional disability rather than a physical disability. Many keep forgetting that the majority of the deaf community is often late-deafened, and especially with the baby boomers now entering the old age, we are seeing declining hearing and it is unlikely we’d see them rushing to learn another language like ASL.

Last month, Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) denounced repeated demonstrations against the association and its members by several groups claiming that AG Bell discriminates against individuals who are deaf who use sign language, specifically American Sign Language (ASL). One group for an example is “Audism Free America”. I found that there are some hard-core deaf idealists out there. Organizations like this are wasting time and money on divisive activities rather than looking for ways to give all people with hearing loss the ability to achieve their dreams, whatever they may be. Idealism basically means holding on to a set of beliefs which are a rigid system of the way life is "supposed to be" or "should be". Idealism belief system basically means you have adopted about how things "should be done" which often gets challenged by the way things are in reality. Many idealists find it difficult to fully accept anyone the way they really are and chronically attempt to control them so that they can become the way they "should ideally be" which often leads to become fatalistic, hostile, pessimistic, and negativistic attitudes. I truly believe that "over-idealism" is a control issue and that it is at the root of our need to over-control situations, people, places, or things in order to ensure that they come into compliance with our ideal image of the way reality is supposed to be.

Historically, there is a large degree of mistrust between the Deaf community and the AGBell because their philosophies are different. Depending on each individual, some may continue to use ASL after.CI surgery along with other forms of communication within their society. They can enjoy both deaf culture and hearing. There are those who will continue to be against AGBell unless they are willing to change. It is up to each individual (or parents) that a deaf person should learn to interact with other people in the most effective way. It’s up to the parents to help encourage a deaf child to interact with society as well as possible. All parents have the RIGHT to make decisions about cochlear implants and communication methodology for their own children.

I can understand as parents, they find it very tough for parents to find the "right" path for their deaf and hearing-impaired children when their parents are not getting ALL of the information about deafness. AG Bell should be sharing all aspects of what can help parents of deaf children regardless how we think should be the right way. Deaf and Hearing loss advocacies are to be very diverse who are very open minded and willing to learn everything unconditionally whether they "communicate orally, with signs, cue, and/or combined methods". What can parents of deaf children can do for their kids? They can make sure that their children can communicate effectively so they can have a "normal" relationship. I have learned that many children with hearing problems will face both experiential and language deficiencies. My speech is so good that no one will ever know that I am deaf but if they listened to my grammar and/or my speech, they will figure me out.

From birth up to until I was about 4 years old, my family didn't know I was deaf until I had a hearing test in a famous hospital in Boston. I could hear loud noises but I could not communicate or even talk normally. As soon as they found out that I have a major hearing loss, my grandparents got me a new hearing-aid and I actually remembered the first day I actually HEARD anything including my mother's voice and of course a TRUCK outside the hearing-aid store. My first hearing-aid was a Zenith.

Then before attending deaf school, I was in speech therapy and then soon, I was able to talk basic words but not really having a conversation. Soon, I started attending the Boston School for the Deaf for 7 years which was an oralist deaf school (now closed). I was not to learn or use sign language until I was about 19 years old. I really wished I learned better english grammar, even through sign language because I wanted to communicate effectively. Today, even though I can hear and can communicate effectively. My grammar will always be off and words I say will always be off the mark.

In "person", I am mildly reserved and low-key person because I am usually afraid of saying something wrong grammar or speech. I am not big on small talk. I usually prefer in-dept discussion about important issues rather than small talk. Along with my deafness, I had to struggle with the conditions that affect the development of my communication skills within personality and intelligence. Today's experts say that "Age of onset plays a crucial role in the development of language". It took me YEARS to overcome my lack of understanding in english grammar as well as sign language.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Christianity and Hypocrisy

If anyone remember Daniel in the Old Testament, Daniel's actions were basic part of genuine integrity and the uncompromising life. Christian life in this world should be different from the world, being in the world but not of the world. We should be a humbled Christian because we are Christians with flaws. God uses humbled Christians than hypocrites. Charles Elliot said it nicely, "Hypocrites we are: but we are on the way to liberation even from our own hypocrisy". James 1:26 says, "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless." As Christians in new creature in Spirit within us as for example Jesus are not to be like the religious Pharisees to a group of dishwashers who clean the outside of a cup while leaving the inside dirty.

Often when some Christians try to reassign God’s authority to themselves; they seek to be ultimately self-governing and self-defining. There are those who believe and teaches “joining with Christ though a mixing of our supposed divinity with His” by placing their minds into their faith that whatever they desire will be received. Their theology sees the Holy Spirit as a power to be put to use for whatever the believer wills, we have to understand it is clear such teaches opposite do not mean that. Many typically favor their own kingdom over the true God for maintaining authority, or lordship, over their lives that they seek success, happiness, honor, and self-approval. They exchange God’s supreme reality for a false substitute. An emphasis on subjective feelings or experience rather than objective truth; a tendency toward self-centered rather than God-centered worship; a lack of appreciation for church history and the ancient creeds; an emphasis on pragmatism as the basis for church work; an anti-intellectual attitude and even an openness to mysticism. Non-God-Centered doctrines (i.e. covetousness) are supremely serious, which may be why the commandments against it are first two on 10. The worst form of idolatry is to make a god in our own image, and then worship it.

Self-centered desires affects our minds through deception and that we begin to justify and rationalize our right to possess what we desire. Our society (sinful world) is characterized by lies, it is characterized by deception which lead by Satan’s agenda. This sinful earth is characterized by what is temporal as people can “see” that fulfills their desires, but what is for time only, what is physical, what is passing, what ultimately will be destroyed.

Christians are to focus on God-centered on faith as OUR SOURCE of faith is from God alone. Reading Romans 8:14 says, “Those who are led by the Spirit are the sons of God.” Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (See also: Ecclesiastes 9:10; Romans 12:11; I Corinthians 15:5-8; Ephesians 6:7,8.) If we lack wisdom, we are commanded to ask God for it. “It will be given to him“, the wisdom we seek will be ours (cf. Matt. 7:7-11). James says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5). Scripture reminds us that we must be sound in the faith through the Holy Spirit and Word of God (1 Tim. 4:6; 2 Tim. 4:2-3; Tit. 1:9; 2:1).

I am still struggling and that I need to be reminded that God really does love me and that His love does not depend on my performance.

Phillip Yancey says "there is nothing we can do to make God love us more, and nothing we can do will make Him love us less".

I have been quiet and away

There was alot happening my life in the past few weeks and I have been too busy to get online long enough to post a blog. There were economic issues as well as other issues that impacted my life.

One of the areas that I was busy is trying to find a local church for BOTH my wife (who is catholic) and I (Reformed). For 5 years, my wife and I have been visiting many churches around the area. There were some that had potential but didn't work out. My wife and I think we found a home church that we BOTH can enjoy together. We have tried many different denominations and churches. We think we found one that we BOTH can enjoy worshiping together every Sunday.

Most Christian denominations and movements share common beliefs in the major aspects of the Christian faith, while differing in many secondary doctrines. We are attending the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) local church. Lutherans are a sometimes neglected group of evangelicals, since they lie somewhere in between Arminianism and Calvinism in their view of divine sovereignty, and embrace neither dispensationalism nor covenant theology in their understanding how the Old and New Testaments relate to one another. Their liturgical worship and their understanding of baptism and the Lord’s Supper bear some resemblance to Catholic practice, but their doctrine of salvation is emphatically Protestant. Ultimately, Lutheranism is best understood on its own terms rather than by comparison to other systems.

Lutheran seems almost unknown in American Christianity. Catholics, Episcopalians, Baptists, Charismatics, and Calvinists are well-represented. Within Protestantism, Calvinists attack Lutherans for “not going far enough in the Reformation,” for keeping papistical practices and idolatrous worship. Arminians attack Lutherans for not believing in the freedom of the will and for leaving the door open to anti-nominianism. Charismatics think Lutherans are “cold.” Fundamentalists say Lutherans are strong on doctrine but weak on morals. Lutherans condemn Arminians for not believing in predestination and Calvinists for believing in double predestination. Catholics and Charismatics are considered alike in believing that the Holy Spirit reveals Himself in human beings, apart from the Word. Fundamentalists are savaged for their legalism.

We are attending classes to learn more about Lutheran doctrines and the local church's beliefs.

I will keep you posted.


Recession hits harder for deaf, hearing-impaired and disabled

Those who run non-profit groups are feeling the pain of deep, wounding budget setbacks, including support from various supporters.

Especially those who are disabled who rely on their income to support their disabilities are getting furlough, cutting pay or even facing lay-offs. I am facing my own 10-day unpaid furlough. I even lost almost $15,000 worth of retirement in my deferred compensation plan funds (similar to IRA) that I have to work longer to recoup what I have lost.

Recession also leaves disabled job seekers behind. Many disabled are competing with thousands of non-disabled job seekers going for jobs. The Department of Labor in February released a report tracking unemployment rates among disabled job-seekers. The survey found a 14 percent unemployment rate among disabled workers -- almost double that of the non-disabled population. According to the U.S. Census, people with disabilities comprise the largest minority group, approximately 20 percent of the population. The numbers will change after 2010 Census.

Will President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package help people with disabilities?

Many of us who are disabled do NOT want disability checks. We WANT TO WORK. Many experts and people often treats disabilities as 2nd or 3rd class citizens. We live in a world which places great emphasis on beauty, wealth and power. People with disabilities are often a symbol of the opposite, we struggle with physical or mental imperfection, powerlessness and often invisible. This only adds to the stigma which isolates them, separating them from the mainstream of life. Today, people with disabilities are focusing attention on tough issues that affect quality of life, such as accessible transportation, housing, affordable health care, employment opportunities and discrimination. People should be aware that that people with disabilities are ordinary people (just like them) with common goals for a home, a job and a family.

There are areas that are still facing barriers in one form or another. Improving the material quality of life, improving public safety and security, improving education, Christianity and spiritual values, increasing employment or improving work conditions for those who are truly disabled, improving the cultural quality (i.e. Deaf Culture) of life, improving the psychological and social quality of life and much more.

People with disabilities still are dealing with old legal barriers that prevents them from being independent. We are still identifying barriers to participation in our society. Many people with disabilities have the ability to overcome barriers in their own ways and making sure that they are having quality of life regardless of barriers. Proverbs speaks of the relationship between adversity and strength. "If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small (Pro. 24:10)." No matter how big the adversities, we can over-come and be able to what we want with our desires. Its our will that is strong. Its our desire that is strong. Its our determination that is strong.

Happy Easter

Just like King David. David messed up big time but God told us through the Bible that David was truly after God’s heart. We all are sinners and had our share of mistakes. My life is just a series of trying to make up my mind. Every Christian has a past, and every sinner has a future. I have more trouble with myself than I have with anyone else around me. I cannot succeed if I don’t believe in myself. What I think of myself, that is what determines (or indicates) my fate. At times, I fail to grasp the extent to which God identifies me with Jesus, His beloved Son with whom He is well pleased, I do not know that, in Christ, it is impossible for me to displease or disappoint God. The Law promises life to those who keep the Law. The Gospel promises life to those who have transgressed the Law. The promise of the Gospel is an unconditional promise of pure grace.

Justification cannot be separated from sanctification. We are declared righteous in justification, and then the process of making us righteous begins to function in this sinful world. This is a life long relationship with Christ until we go into heaven. God has given us the grace to sanctify us. In sanctification, God has to deal with us on the death side as well as on the life side in a way that sanctified means “to be separated from sin”. In Second Corinthians 5:21 states that God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Keep in mind that Paul doesn’t at all infer that we will automatically be renewed because we have to actively renew our minds to it. I need to understand that I will not try to put up a daily fight against sin because, there are times, I do not truly understand the nature of sin (or try to). According to Peter, God “has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3).

I am repeating my previous post. For Christians, the fear of death is canceled in the hope of bodily resurrection. During Easter, we are to think of what Christ did during His life on earth and what He has and currently been doing over the years. What practical significance does Easter have for us? "Much in every way!" (Romans 3:2). Jesus "through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:4). Jesus "was raised to life for our justification" (Romans 4:25).

Since Christ's resurrection is central to the Christian faith, mention of His resurrection occurs in literally thousands of songs and hymns. "Messiah" is George Frideric Handel's best known work. "Messiah" was designed and selected from the New and Old Testaments of the Bible based on a libretto by Charles Jennens. Handel might never have written "Messiah" had Jennens not sent him a letter a compilation of scriptures which focused on the Christ of God. Handel felt deeply moved in his spirit and began to write. Within seven days he had completed part one of "Messiah," which concerned Jesus' birth that is often played during Christmas. He wrote the redemption part in another nine days and then, in less than one week, Handel completed the resurrection and future reign of Christ portion including the "Hallelujah Chorus" which is often played during Easter. Anyway, this is one of my favorites songs and after 250+ years, Messiah still holds its extraordinary grip on musician and audience member alike.

Handel's Messiah

Christianity's concept of the Messiah ("the anointed one"). In Christianity, the Messiah is Jesus. The work is a presentation of Jesus' life and its significance according to Christian doctrine.