A Life Without Hope

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Let me start by saying that this isn’t a post about gun control, but it is about a school shooting. So, while  there may be little bits of my opinion in there, please don’t think it’s the take home message I am trying to leave you with.

Today, T.J. Lane, 18, was sentenced to 3 life sentences plus 25 years with no possibility of parole for the murders of 3 students at their high school (Lane did not attend the high school) as well as 2 counts of attempted murder, and felonious assault. He was 17 at the time of the shooting, and the fact spared him from the death sentence.

I think his life is an extreme example of what happens to a person who has no hope. From what I’ve read about his life, there’s never been the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” for this kid. As he grew up, he saw his dad go to jail for attempted murder, he had been arrested for violent acts himself multiple times. He attended a behavioral disorder school alternative (for good reason). He had serious mental problems. He had severe depression and hallucinations. I don’t present these facts to justify his actions; just to evidence my thoughts that his entire life, he’s never experienced hope.

His actions the day of the shooting and since further evidence the fact that this kid’s life was hopeless. Typically, school shooters have expressed reasons why the did it; they planned it extensively; shooting people has often been a way to retake control. This wasn’t the case for T.J. He has said multiple times that there was no reason, and that seems to fit the story. He wasn’t bullied, wasn’t well acquainted with the victims, in fact, it seems that he just decided on the fly to open fire while waiting for the bus. The one detail I question, that hasn’t had a real explanation put forward, is why he was carrying a handgun and a knife that day to begin with.

T.J. made sure he was convicted. Ohio law, where he was convicted, says that a child cannot be be charged as an adult if they don’t understand the charges, court procedures, participate in his defense, punishment if convicted, is mentally ill, or has an intellectual or developmental disability. He didn’t allow his lawyer to file the motion for a mental evaluation. In fact, he didn’t allow his lawyers to present any real defense. He plead guilty to all charges without attempting a plea deal.

The last bits of evidence that he lives with no hope occurred today at his sentencing hearing. After entering the court room he took off his outer shirt to reveal that his undershirt read “KILLER” in permanent marker. He was smiling as the judge announced his sentence. In the middle of the court appearance, he swung his chair around to face the victims’ parents, flipped them off, and said, “This hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory. Fuck all of you.” It seems obvious to me that he wanted to be sure he was in prison until he died. All of his actions, from the shooting until today, suggest that was his goal.

This story has intrigued me since the story first broke last February. School shootings in general have always held an interest to me. Perhaps it has to do with the hit list/safe list that my name was written on in 8th grade. Perhaps it has to do with the kid that I sat next to in Speech class in 10th grade that was removed from class by police because he had a gun in his backpack. Perhaps it’s because I grew up during the “heyday” of school shootings. Perhaps it’s just because I became friends with several people in middle/high school of whose stories he reminds me. Perhaps it’s because there are people I know today of whom he reminds me. Whatever the reason, this case stood out to me.

As I read the news stories this afternoon about his final actions in court, and perhaps joy, that he would be in prison until the day he dies, I couldn’t help but wonder why! Why would anyone want to be jail? Why would anyone work so hard to ensure that they would be? He clearly didn’t want to die, or he would have killed himself… he would be on suicide watch. He wants to live, but he wants to live in prison. Why?

Then it hit me. He has no hope. The world isn’t predictable. Sometimes, it flat out sucks. But jail is different. It’s the same every day… occasionally people change, but that’s it. You don’t have to worry about making decisions. You don’t have to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There doesn’t have to be one. Everything is decided, everything stays the same. It’s a shame that someone can feel that the best, safest place for them is jail — but it seems to be the most reasonable explanation.

I am beyond grateful that I have something more to hope for. I don’t know how anyone can function without hope for more. Hope for something past this world. Hope that good will win. Hope that there is more to life than this; more than the here and now. I take pity this kid. Not because he was treated too harshly, not because he’s just a kid. I take pity on him because he’s got not hope. Except for an act from God,  he will go his entire life without experiencing true hope. Perhaps one day his eyes will be opened and he won’t have to experience hopelessness for eternity.

Anyone else who’s familiar with the case care to give me your input?

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On Abortion…

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Last year, a buddy of mine posted a link to this article from the Gospel Coalition about 10 questions that pro-choice politicians never seem to have to answer. He asked that a pro-choice person answer them because he was honestly curious about how they would be answered. I don’t know that I fully agree with the answers I’ve provided, but I believe they are pretty accurate for what a standard pro-choice person would say

I find myself at a difficult impasse on the issue of abortion. I wouldn’t say that I think it should be legal 100% of the time. I also wouldn’t say I think it should be illegal 100% of the time. As a Christian, I know there are many of my own religion who would condemn me for being more on the pro-choice side of the argument, but I don’t necessarily believe that my own religious views need to be law for others. Most simply, I know that I will never have an abortion (male), and I will never pressure a girl to have one.

Anyway, here are the responses I came up with to his questions (and the questions themselves). I have edited a couple of them from the original response because our further conversation showed that I wasn’t clear or didn’t phrase some spots quite how I wanted.

  1. You say you support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices in regards to abortion and contraception. Are there any restrictions you would approve of?
    1. Yes. And there are very few serious candidates who would say otherwise. Namely, late term abortion is almost universally not welcome (except for health of the mother). Typically pro-choice people agree with the supreme court ruling that if the fetus can survive (is over a 50% chance threshold with modern science) outside the womb than the abortion shouldn’t be allowed. — Notice that means it is becoming earlier and earlier that the abortion would be illegal.
  2. In 2010, The Economist featured a cover story on “the war on girls” and the growth of “gendercide” in the world – abortion based solely on the sex of the baby. Does this phenomenon pose a problem for you or do you believe in the absolute right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy because the unborn fetus is female?
    1. That is due primarily to legal or sex-trade issues in other parts of the world. The question isn’t actually an issue in the United State that I know of. Further, you could ban gender-based abortions, but that wouldn’t change a woman’s decision to get one. She would just pose a different reason, whether real or fake, if she wanted the abortion.
  3. In many states, a teenager can have an abortion without her parents’ consent or knowledge but cannot get an aspirin from the school nurse without parental authorization. Do you support any restrictions or parental notification regarding abortion access for minors?
    1. Yes. I don’t think a teenage girl should have to have parental consent for contraception – whether medical, physical, or emergency because of the low risk to her health. However, typically you have to sign waivers (in a sense a contract) when you have surgery due to the risks to your health or life as a result of them. Since minors cannot enter a contract without parental consent, teenage girls should be required to have parental consent to have an abortion.
  4. If you do not believe that human life begins at conception, when do you believe it begins? At what stage of development should an unborn child have human rights?
    1. I’ll go with Joe Biden’s response when he was asked this question at the VP debate. He does believe that life begins at conception, as per his religion. But it cannot be proven that the deeper sense of life – I’ll go with cognition since not everyone is religious and believes in the soul – so, it is not his place to force that religious belief on others who do not share it. As for when a human develops its own constitutional rights – that occurs when the fetus reaches the threshold of life outside the womb; as the supreme court ruled. Again, the exact timing of that is becoming earlier and earlier with scientific advancements.
  5. Currently, when genetic testing reveals an unborn child has Down Syndrome, most women choose to abort. How do you answer the charge that this phenomenon resembles the “eugenics” movement a century ago – the slow, but deliberate “weeding out” of those our society would deem “unfit” to live?
    1. (Edited response) I’m going to broaden this to two different subjects; children that are unwanted and children who’s parents aren’t capable of taking care of them. Study after study has shown that unwanted and unloved children develop severe problems, both mental and physical. Any baby being watched over NEEDS to receive love and attention constantly in order to grow up healthy. Orphanages and the foster care system have gotten such a bad reputation due to a long history of scandals so many women are not willing to put their child up for adoption if they can’t take care of it or do not want it. Raising a child with severe mental illnesses are beyond difficult; they require a level of dedication and constant attention that almost nobody is willing and able to give. It is an absolute travesty that women and families can feel like abortion is a better solution than our own adoption system and a travesty that our government does not offer the proper prenatal, infant, and childcare services that are necessary to make women feel like they are able to keep and raise a child. That is why I propose now and have always been in favor of increasing those social services to women and families. It’s not that I am in favor of aborting those babies, I am favor of sparing them from miserable lives caused by a government that won’t care for them and parents that are incapable. If we can convince the government to support these women and give them monetary, emotional, and physical support; so they believe they can raise a child with special needs (or that they otherwise weren’t ready for) we can prevent abortion and raise a generation of loved, healthy, happy children.
  6. Do you believe an employer should be forced to violate his or her religious conscience by providing access to abortifacient drugs and contraception to employees?
    1.  Absolutely. They aren’t buying the drugs and they don’t even know about them. There is no reason for an unclean conscience on the issue. They pay for all sorts of things they probably don’t want to pay for; FICA etc., but all they are doing is providing a health insurance package. Already they pay for STD treatments, sexual enhancement medication, and a host of risque medications that they probably don’t agree with — but have never had any issue with. The greater sin is denying your employees health insurance benefits for fear that they MIGHT spend it in a way you don’t approve of. Again, like from Biden’s answer, you shouldn’t govern your religious beliefs onto others. BTW, chemical birth control is prescribed for more than just contraception.
  7. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. has said that “abortion is the white supremacist’s best friend,” pointing to the fact that Black and Latinos represent 25% of our population but account for 59% of all abortions. How do you respond to the charge that the majority of abortion clinics are found in inner-city areas with large numbers of minorities?
    1. That charge is completely correct. That has to do with inadequacy in the government’s handling of welfare resources and racism in private sector employment. Affluence is strongly negatively correlated with abortion rates. The best way to correct this is to create government programs that specifically focus on providing financial, emotional, and parenting support to poor and minority families. If they don’t feel like it is the most fiscal responsible thing and that they would just provide a bad life for their children, they are less likely to feel like abortion is the best option for them. Again, this ties to the prevention through assistance theory.
  8. You describe abortion as a “tragic choice.” If abortion is not morally objectionable, then why is it tragic? Does this mean there is something about abortion that is different than other standard surgical procedures?
    1.  At the most basic level, look at the hormonal changes for the woman. Innately, due to these changes, the mother feels bonding and emotional connection to the child. On a more sophisticated level, nearly every woman who gets an abortion thinks about it hard and as a last resort option. As hard as it seems to believe to a pro-lifer, girls who get abortions don’t decide to do it on a whim. They consider all their options to their full extent. Politicians describe it as a tragedy because these girls believe that all other options are worse than abortion – it’s a tragedy that they don’t get the support that they need to keep the child. I will comment after question 10 why they aren’t getting this support from the government.
  9. Do you believe abortion should be legal once the unborn fetus is viable – able to survive outside the womb?
    1. I think I’ve pretty well answered this. At the threshold of viability outside the womb, abortion shouldn’t be legal.
  10. If a pregnant woman and her unborn child are murdered, do you believe the criminal should face two counts of murder and serve a harsher sentence?
    1. Yes. I see that the point of the question is that if I think they should receive a harsher punishment, it’s because the baby has rights. That isn’t my rationale though. The baby becomes an aggravating circumstance to a “standard murder.” The idea is that there is a standard murder (or standard any crime), and every change from that standard – such as pregnant – is either an aggravating circumstance or a mitigating circumstance – such as if you walked in on your spouse in adultery. Using a standard scale of determining how aggravating or how mitigating each change to the standard is; you can fairly determine how much to adjust the sentence. Pregnancy would be an aggravating circumstance, therefore murdering a pregnant woman would have an increased sentence.

As stated above. The reason specific groups are more likely to have abortions than other groups is due to affluence and financial, emotional, and parenting support. The thing that bugs me most about the abortion debate is that the group of people fighting so hard to prevent women from getting abortions also prevents funding to agencies that offer those services and fight hard to take away funding from the few agencies that do that already. You cannot take away a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have a child AND not give her access to the support she needs to properly raise the children. You ask for neglect, abuse, and crime — because the woman who need that support see no other options than that.

Obviously, even though thats a lot to read, the answers are simplified and watered down a lot, because these issues are so complicated. So forgive lack of citations and specific numbers, and things of that nature

Now, I just edited one question that was based on his critique, because I answered it so poorly and confusingly the first time. His other critique was based on the idea Biden had (this was immediately following the VP debate when Biden made the remarks) of separating yourself from religion when making political decisions. Specifically, he argued, that if I take away the religious moral aspect of it, how can I decide that anything is murder —

My response: Yeah, it’s really difficult to take religion out of it. But, as far as murder goes — our legal system has set up a basis. You have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our law says that if you unlawfully take life away from someone, that is murder. Within just Iowa State law, homicide (legal and illegal) gets split into murder 1, murder 2, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, civil liability, feticide, non-consensual termination of a pregnancy, partial-birth abortion, murder of fetus aborted alive, duty to preserve life of a fetus, and attempt to commit murder. It lays out what requirements taking the right to life from someone has to meet to fall into any one of those circumstances.

It is definitely difficult to determine when the deeper sense of life–soul–breath of Life — arrives, because it is immeasurable. I think that is why pro-choicers choose to give humans civil rights at the point where they have a greater chance to survive outside the womb than to not survive.

The real issue — more than the right to choose abortion — is that there isn’t enough funding going into promoting the alternatives. There just isn’t the money going to help the people who would choose to get an abortion for any reason other than the health of the mother. The foster care system doesn’t have the reputation that promotes girls choosing to give up children that they can’t care for offering the child for adoption. It looks like a bad option because of all the scandals. What pro-choicers really want, more than anything else, is for there to be those social services or for them to be improved. It will make it so girls feel like they either can raise the child well or their child will be well taken care of if they give the child up for adoption. 

What I think [3rd person in the conversation] meant by that was that no one really “supports abortion” … both sides want girls to choose other options. Pro-choicers just believe it should be a girls right to have abortion as an option, with restrictions (as I outlined above). Both sides want girls to choose other options, but the method of having girls choose another option is different: Pro-lifers want to make it so girls cannot legally choose the abortion option, Pro-choicers want girls to choose other options by giving support and encouragement to make the other options a clearly better one than abortion.

Alright, so that’s everything I got on the topic. I know this is a real sensitive topic; I’m sure many members of my own family don’t approve of my opinions on the matter, but I would like to see what other people have to say. Any pro-choicers please leave comments or links to posts with your own responses (or how you feel different about my responses) and any pro-lifers leave your rebuttles or links to them in the comments section!

Every Chapter: A Lesson About God — Prophesy

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Prophesy

This one is just crazy. If you’re Christian, this book holds incredible value as God’s finale. It goes out with a bang and we finally understand what mankind has been leading to! It leads to an eternity with God for those who endure through the trials described in the Prophesy Book. For those who aren’t Christian, the book holds incredible value as a fantastic, memorable, scary story. The Prophesy Book is the book of Revelation. It’s the Revelation of Jesus given to the Apostle John through a vision. It’s very interesting to think about what John must have been seeing — we are reading about events that still haven’t happened 2,000 years later through the eyes of a 1st century mind! He’s describing things that he has never even seen the things to give him a basic understanding of what he’s seeing… CRAZY, WICKED SWEET!

Revelation

    1. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega
    1. Never lose passion of God
    1. There’s still hope
    1. God is holy
    1. Jesus is the worthy lamb
    1. The Lord brings judgment
    1. God will save his people
    1. God will destroy the Earth
    1. God protects His people
    1. God is mysterious
    1. God remembers His covenant
    1. Satan is defeated
    1. Be faithful
    1. Jesus will harvest His people
    1. Endure patiently
    1. Repent and glorify God
    1. The lamb of God will win
    1. God fulfills prophesy
    1. I am the bride of Christ
    1. God will judge everything
    1. Jesus is the temple of God
    1. Jesus is coming soon

Every Chapter: A Lesson About God — Doctrine

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Doctrine

Doctrine is one of the most intimidating words in religious circles. What is it? Doctrine is the instructions for what to believe and what to not believe within Christianity. The author of most of the books on Doctrine was Paul. Paul knew the Law as a Pharisee, but he had to learn doctrine when he repented and put his faith in Jesus. Doctrine caused a lot of division in the early church; everything from eating meat to circumcision to whether or not Jesus already returned. Seems silly, but today we have the same issues just manifested differently. That’s why factions exist within even the same denominations (the different denominations being also being differences in doctrine!). Here’s what the books on Doctrine taught me about God:

Romans

    1. My sin stems from not loving God entirely
    1. Have mercy on others
    1. God is faithful, always
    1. God gave the law so I would see my need for him
    1. Jesus came to give me life
    1. Be a slave to Christ
    1. I am free from the law by dying with Christ
    1. Nothing can separate me from God’s love
    1. I can’t work for mercy
    1. Call on the name of the Lord
    1. I am on God’s tree
    1. Use my gifts to serve God
    1. Honor the authority God has put me under
    1. Serve Christ with an attitude of peace and joy
    1. Rejoice with one voice in Christ
    1. Greet my brothers with Christian love

1 Corinthians

    1. Jesus is wisdom itself
    1. The Holy Spirit makes me holy
    1. God will test me
    1. Love my brothers in Christ
    1. Judge myself before the church has to
    1. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit
    1. God paid a high price for me
    1. God recognizes the one who loves him
    1. Jesus compels me to my task
    1. Let my life always imitate Christ
    1. I am under God’s authority
    1. God has given me a job
    1. Jesus is love
    1. Everything I do should strengthen the church
    1. Jesus is alive
    1. Do everything in love

2 Corinthians

    1. God Comforts me
    1. Love those who’ve sinned against me
    1. I am the image of Christ
    1. God will never abandon me
    1. Through Jesus, I am a new man
    1. I am the temple of the living God
    1. Work toward complete holiness
    1. Jesus gave up heaven for my sake
    1. God gives generously
    1. Boast in the Lord
    1. Be wary of false prophets
    1. Jesus’ grace is enough
    1. Examine myself and see if my faith is genuine

Galatians

    1. Don’t be fooled by false gospels
    1. Christ lives in me
    1. God gave me the law to show me my faith
    1. Don’t let the law hold me away from God
    1. Live under the guidance of the Holy Spirit
    1. I obey Christ’s law when I share my brothers’ burdens

Ephesians

    1. Pray for spiritual wisdom
    1. Salvation is a gift from God
    1. God’s children inherit His riches
    1. There is one Lord, one faith, on baptism, one God
    1. Imitate God in everything I do
    1. Wear the armor of God

Philippians

    1. Do not be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
    1. Hold firmly to the Word of Life
    1. Forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead
    1. Always be full of joy in the Lord

Colossians

    1. Christ lives in me
    1. My treasure is in Christ
    1. Christ is all that matters and he lives in me
    1. Devote my life to prayer

1 Thessalonians

    1. The world should see and know my faith in Christ
    1. Always be generous and faithful because of Christ
    1. Never lose faith
    1. Live to please God
    1. God chose to save me

2 Thessalonians

    1. Never lose hope
    1. God has called me to Salvation
    1. The Lord is faithful and He will strengthen me

1 Timothy

    1. Jesus came to save sinners
    1. Pray for all people and give thanks to God for them
    1. Nonbelievers should see Christ in me
    1. Train physically and in godliness
    1. Take care of those who cannot take care of themselves
    1. All honor and power belong to God

2 Timothy

    1. No matter what, I can trust God
    1. I am God’s good soldier
    1. All Scripture is God breathed
    1. God has good things in store for anyone who keeps the faith

Titus

    1. Be a man of faith
    1. Live wisely and in truth
    1. Live with gentleness and humility

Philemon

    1. Show kindness to my brothers

Hebrews

    1. Jesus rules with righteousness and justice
    1. Jesus can help me during trials
    1. Hold firm to faith
    1. The word of God is alive and powerful
    1. Jesus understands my weakness
    1. God is not unjust
    1. Death has no power over Jesus
    1. God will never again remember my sin
    1. Jesus’ blood is the atonement for my sin
    1. Jesus’ sacrifice makes me perfect and holy forever
    1. Live a life of great faith
    1. God is a devouring Fire
    1. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever

James

    1. I am God’s prized possession
    1. My works will show my faith
    1. God has called me to an honorable life
    1. Humble myself before God
    1. Don’t let my life condemn me

1 Peter

    1. God made me to be holy
    1. God called me away from things that wage war against my soul
    1. Be ready to explain my hope in God
    1. Jesus’ love never fails me
    1. Stand firm and be strong in faith

2 Peter

    1. Always grow in faith
    1. Remember what God has taught me
    1. Look forward to the day of the Lord

1 John

    1. God is faithful and just
    1. Love others, love God
    1. God gave me His Spirit
    1. God is love
    1. Jesus is the Love of God

2 John

    1. Love is being obedient to God’s commands

3 John

    1. Love each other

Jude

    1. God called me to pull others from the fire, even by pulling them out

Every Chapter: Lessons About God — Gospels and Acts

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Gospels and Acts

There is no part of the Bible read more frequently than Gospels and Acts. The reason why is obvious: It is the crescendo of the story! Everything that the first 39 books prophesied about is coming to light. God has come out of seeming silence at the end of the Old Testament at full force. All these weird rules are finally beginning to have seeable rationales. The Gospels and Acts tell the story of our transition from practicing Judaism and the founding of the Holy Church.

Matthew

    1. Jesus is the Messiah
    2. When I’m scared, God has answers
    1. God knows man’s wicked heart
    2. Jesus was hated before He could walk
    3. In all things, God works
    1. God’s Kingdom is near
    2. I must do all that God has required
    1. Scripture is the key to beating temptation
    2. Jesus’ message is very simple
    3. Following Jesus means sacrifice
    4. Jesus is the great healer
    1. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law
    1. God knows my wants and needs
    1. When I look for God, I will find Him
    1. Jesus is all powerful
    1. Faith has made me well
    1. God rewards obedience
    1. God blesses those who do not turn away because of Jesus
    1. Men who do the work of God are Jesus’ brothers
    1. I will only find God if I am constantly looking for Him
    1. My salvation comes only because Jesus reached out to save me
    1. Mercy is greater than the law
    1. God reveals his teachings to me if I just listen
    1. With faith, nothing is impossible
    1. Jesus commands me to forgive
    1. With God, anything is possible
    1. It hurts to be great for Jesus
    1. Jesus is the cornerstone of my faith
    1. Jesus is the source of astounding wisdom
    1. Jesus gave me the law so I know what justice, mercy, and faith are
    1. Jesus will announce his coming
    1. God has given me a life to invest
    1. In the face of death, don’t abandon Jesus
    1. Find forgiveness in Jesus
    1. Jesus is with me always

Mark

    1. Prophesy is fulfilled
    2. Follow Jesus in example
    3. Even Jesus was tempted
    4. God’s promised time has come
    5. Following God may mean giving up things you love
    6. Jesus has authority over Hell
    7. Jesus has authority over disease
    8. Jesus came to heal the world
    9. Jesus is the cure of incurable diseases
    1. Jesus works to heal my needs
    1. Grace is greater than the law
    1. Understanding comes from God
    1. God’s mercy is great
    1. Without faith, the greatest miracle is just healing a few sick people
    1. Jesus heals based on faith, not who I am
    1. Jesus can provide everything for me
    1. Jesus can heal unbelief
    1. Jesus is the example of a servant
    1. Jesus will curse my life if I bear no fruit
    1. Jesus died for the world he loves
    1. I must be prepared for Jesus to return
    1. Jesus has already promised that death is not the end
    1. Jesus is the Son of God
    1. Jesus has authority over sin

Luke

    1. Investigate the claims of works of God
    2. Believe the word of God
    3. Jesus is the savior of the world
    4. God takes notice of the lowly
    5. Salvation is a gift from God
    1. Jesus came with humble beginnings
    2. Jesus is worth leaving my livelihood
    3. Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the law
    4. Jesus has revealed the deepest thoughts of my soul
    5. Jesus is wise
    1. Baptism is a declaration of my faith in God
    2. Standing up for God can get me in trouble
    3. God watches me
    4. Jesus came to save all mankind
    1. God takes care of me so I can endure temptation
    2. Jesus fulfills the work of the prophets
    3. Jesus commands with authority
    4. Jesus can cure anything
    1. Jesus rewards sacrifice
    2. Seek God in silence
    3. Forgiving sins is more important that healing bodies
    4. Jesus came for sinners
    5. Jesus is the bridegroom
    1. Jesus identifies the good and evil person by the fruit of their heart
    1. Jesus’ authority is great
    1. Jesus promised, just have faith and you will be healed
    1. Jesus is all powerful
    1. God has registered my name in Heaven
    1. I am blessed to hear the word of God and put it into practice
    1. Seek first the kingdom of God and He will give me everything I need
    1. Repent while I still can
    1. Everyday make Jesus the single greatest thing in my life
    1. I am God’s prodigal son
    1. If money is my master, God cannot be
    1. Give thanks to God for everything He has done for me
    1. To reach God, I have to give up what I love the most
    1. Jesus came to save the lost
    1. It’s not my place to challenge Jesus’ authority
    1. God’s word will never die
    1. Jesus is the Passover lamb
    1. Repentance, not works is the key to salvation
    1. There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent

John

    1. Jesus is the Word of God
    2. God uses men to fulfill His mission
    3. Jesus is the fulfillment of prophesy
    4. Jesus is the stairway to God
    1. Jesus cleanses me of my impurities
    2. Jesus is the Temple of the Lord
    1. Jesus is the way to Heaven
    2. I must become less and make Jesus greater
    1. Worship God in spirit and truth
    2. Jesus wins souls
    1. There is life in Jesus
    1. Jesus is the bread of life
    1. Jesus came to show me God
    1. Jesus set me free from sin
    1. Jesus uses men with nothing to offer to glorify God
    1. Jesus is the Good Shepherd
    1. Jesus has great compassion for me
    1. Love Jesus more than human praise
    1. The world will know I am Jesus’ follower by my love
    1. Jesus has given me the Spirit of God
    1. Jesus commands me to love my brothers
    1. Jesus has conquered the world
    1. Jesus prayed for me
    1. Jesus came to testify to the truth
    1. Jesus died for me
    1. Those who believe Jesus without seeing him are blessed
    1. I am the Lord’s sheep

Acts

    1. Jesus has given me the Holy Spirit
    1. Jesus is the center of the church
    1. Jesus still works miracles
    1. I can be bold in Jesus
    1. Don’t let my life ruin the testimony of the Holy Spirit
    1. Be united with my brothers in Christ
    1. Don’t be afraid to die because of Jesus
    1. God prepares men to meet Him
    1. God can melt a heart of stone
    1. God has made me clean
    1. God’s mercy is for everyone
    1. God set me free
    1. God reveals Himself
    1. God is the source of forgiveness
    1. Keep my body holy for the Lord
    1. God uses bad things for good
    1. Search the Scriptures to find Truth
    1. Use Scripture to prove Jesus
    1. Knowing some of the Truth is still believing a lie
    1. Love God’s children
    1. Don’t let danger sway my faith
    1. God saves lives
    1. Jesus encourages his servants
    1. God uses authority to protect His people
    1. God works to put me where He wants me
    1. Love God, even in chains
    1. Help those who want me dead
    1. Never lose faith

Every Chapter: Lessons About God — Minor Prophets

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Minor Prophets

If there is any section of the Bible that most Christians have never read or otherwise don’t know anything about, it’s the Minor Prophets. These guys had some real interesting lives. The most famous of them, Jonah, had a short stay in a giant fish, but others married prostitutes to show God’s love, prophesied about the Messiah, gave hope to the Israelites, and clarified that the Israelites were being punished; just like their conquerors would one day be punished for their sins also.

Hosea

    1. Obey God, even when it doesn’t make sense
    1. The Lord woos His bride
    1. The Lord still loves
    1. The Lord sees my heart
    1. God expects more from leaders
    1. God wants me to know Him
    1. The Lord has made me strong
    1. God will hold His people accountable for their sins
    1. The Lord will not forget
    1. In prosperity, remember God
    1. God is the Holy One living among us
    1. The Lord sees sin I believe I’ve gotten away with
    1. Apart from God there is no other savior
    1. The Lord answers prayer

Joel

    1. Sin is like an army
    1. God must punish sin
    2. God is merciful, compassionate, eager to relent and not to punish
    3. Always know the Lord is my God
    4. God  has poured His Spirit over the whole Earth
    1. God knows the end of the story already
    2. God makes promises for His people

Amos

    1. God will not let sin go unpunished
    1. God must punish the sins of His own people
    1. God does not act without giving His people a warning
    1. Worship only God
    1. God wants justice more than sacrifice
    1. God is slow to give judgment
    1. I don’t have to be someone special to do the work of God
    1. The Lord’s patience only extends so far before He must punish sin
    1. God destroys things so that He can restore His people

Obadiah

    1. God sees the suffering of the people He loves
    1. God takes care of His people

Jonah

    1. Follow God to the ends of the Earth
    1. God hears my prayers
    1. When others make my sin known to me, I need to repent and ask for mercy.
    1. God loves me despite my sin

Micah

    1. It causes God grief to punish His people
    1. There is still hope
    1. I should lead by the power of God
    1. The Lord is a personal ruler
    1. Jesus is the source of peace
    1. The Lord wants me to do what’s right, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him
    1. The Lord is m redeemer

Nahum

    1. The Lord is jealous for me
    1. God is coming back to restore His people
    1. The Lord reveals His enemies’ shame

Habakkuk

    1. I cannot understand like the Lord understands
    1. God’s Glory will win in the end
    1. The Lord is still the God of my Salvation

Zephaniah

    1. God hates complacent men
    1. Despite my sin, God still loves me
    1. God restored me

Haggai

    1. The Lord is with me
    1. Be strong in the Lord

Zechariah

    1. Return to the Lord, always
    1. The Lord will take care of me
    1. Jesus took away the sins of the world
    1. Jesus is the lampshade who conquers by the Lord’s Spirit
    1. God banishes those who sin His name
    1. Jesus plants the church
    1. Be just in all I do
    1. Jesus brings peace the nations
    1. Jesus sealed a covenant with me in His blood
    1. Jesus is the cornerstone
    1. God commands me to care for the sinners
    1. The Lord fights for His people
    1. I am God’s
    1. God Himself will rule as king of the whole world

Malachi

    1. Of all people, God chose me
    2. Let my life be a good sacrifice to God
    1. Worship the Lord
    2. Always remain faithful
    1. Jesus purifies my heart
    2. God promises blessings for obedience
    3. God promises to show mercy if I honor His name
    1. God leaves his people with hope

Every Chapter: A Lesson About God — Major Prophets

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Major Prophets

The Major Prophets really just mean they are the big books written by prophets. Even While Israel and Judea were exiled to Syria and Babylon, God sent messengers (prophets) to guide His people. They foretold the future, gave warnings to the people, and interpreted the Will of God; even in the face of persecution by their captures and even the other Israelites! The Major Prophets tell the story of a God who is Just, Compassionate, and Loving.

Isaiah

    1. If I turn to God, He will protect me
    1. The Lord rules in justice
    1. The Lord is the great revealer
    1. The Lord restores His people
    1. God has done everything he can to make me glorifying to him
    2. When I see my sin, repent
    1. God personally chooses His messengers
    1. Jesus fulfilled the promise of Immanuel
    1. Everything God is doing is just
    1. Jesus is the Prince of Peace
    2. Learn from the Lord’s punishment
    1. Don’t be proud
    2. The Lord’s anger does not last forever
    1. Jesus is the banner of salvation
    1. The Lord has come to save me
    1. God will destroy the wicked
    1. The Lord cast Satan down
    1. The Lord protects His people
    1. The Lord has pity on those He must punish
    1. The Lord will do whatever it takes to keep my eyes on Him
    1. The Lord is very serious about having no god but Him
    1. The Lord heals
    1. Have faith in God
    1. The Lord will fight for His children
    1. The Lord Himself has redeemed me
    1. God will restore even the wicked for His purposes
    1. Singing praise to God is for both happy and sad times
    1. The Lord is my shelter
    1. Those who die in the Lord will live
    1. Turn to the Lord for help
    1. The Lord talks to His people in many ways
    1. Don’t let my worship be just a set of man-made rules
    1. The Lord is faithful
    1. I cannot rely on mere men to save me from God
    1. Jesus is a righteous king
    1. The Lord is my judge, lawgiver, and king
    1. The Lord’s wisdom is greater than mine
    1. The Lord is coming to save me
    1. Only the Lord can save me
    1. The Lord defends and protects His people
    1. The Lord answers prayer
    1. I can rest assured in the Lord
    1. The Lord is the everlasting God
    1. I am not afraid, God is here to help me
    1. Jesus is the symbol of God’s covenant with man
    1. Jesus is the Savior of Israel
    1. God is the First and the Last
    1. God will never go back on His word
    1. There is none like God
    1. God has no equal
    1. If I won’t listen, God will send someone else to be His messenger
    1. My name is written on the palm of Jesus
    1. Jesus knew what awaited Him at the cross, but He still went for me
    1. God Himself Comforts me
    1. God took me back though I have nothing to offer Him
    1. Jesus died so I could be counted as righteous
    1. The Lord will never abandon me
    1. Even the wicked find forgiveness through God
    1. God gives great blessings in Heaven to men who obey Him on Earth
    1. The Lord will lead
    1. The Lord wants true, honorable worship
    1. My sin has cut me off from God
    1. God restores His people
    1. The day of the Lord’s favor has come
    1. I am the bride of Christ
    1. The Lord came to avenge the oppressed
    1. Despite my sin, God is still my Father
    1. The Lord honors His servants
    1. All humanity is made to worship God

Jeremiah

    1. God uses unprepared men for His work
    1. God see me guilt no matter how much ”soap” I use
    1. God is merciful
    1. Repentance leads to truth, justice, and righteousness
    1. Sin robs me of God’s blessings
    1. If I follow the godly path, my soul will find rest
    1. God wants obedience, not sacrifice
    1. When I sin, turn back to God
    2. Boast that I know the Lord who brings unfailing love
    1. The Lord gently corrects His people in love
    1. If I obey the Lord, He will be my God and I will be His
    1. Rely on God for the little challenges or I will have no hope for the big ones
    1. God strips His people to expose their sin
    1. God is able to save me, but sometimes I have to learn the hard way
    1. Return to God to be restored
    1. Don’t join in with what God hates
    1. God alone is my hope
    1. God can rebuild my life
    1. Don’t let my heart be like a garbage dump
    1. Doing God’s work doesn’t come without punishment
    1. I cannot win a fight against God
    1. Seek after God first and justice
    1. Jesus will rule with wisdom and justice
    1. Be like a good fig
    1. God is patient
    1. Men who love God help each other
    1. Submit to those given authority by God
    1. Never preach a false gospel
    1. If I search wholeheartedly for God, I will find Him
    1. A just God can’t let sins go unpunished forever
    1. Jesus is God’s new covenant
    1. God restores His people
    1. Jesus is the promised restoration
    1. Pay respects to the dead
    1. Be faithful
    1. I am hidden in Christ
    1. Even with best efforts, I cannot stop the Lord’s will
    1. There is safety in the Lord
    1. Listen to the word of God
    1. God protects the poor
    1. Good men die protecting God’s people
    1. Obey the Lord
    1. I cannot hide from God
    1. The Lord cannot stand idolatry
    1. God rewards the faithful
    1. Trust in God, have no idols
    1. I cannot hide from God
    1. Don’t put my faith in trust or skill
    1. Worship only the Lord
    1. The God who redeems me is strong
    1. God is the great avenger
    1. God works miracles

Lamentations

    1. Don’t let my life by a funeral song
    1. God punishes sin
    1. The Lord is my inheritance
    1. Don’t let extreme circumstances turn me from God
    1. My God never changes

Ezekiel

    1. God is personal
    1. I was handpicked by God
    1. God has appointed me
    1. I can never fully understand God
    1. The Lord’s punishment is meant to teach
    1. The Lord is God alone
    1. The Lord is God
    1. Don’t let idolatry take hold in my life
    1. I am marked for God
    1. God cannot stand sin
    1. Do the work of the Lord
    1. Be a sign of God’s coming
    1. It is better to say nothing than to give false hope
    1. I have to choose the Lord wholeheartedly
    1. Let God use me
    1. Be faithful to my God
    1. Never go back on a treaty made in God’s name
    1. I am judged according to my own life
    1. Don’t blind myself to win
    1. God purges the rebellious from His holy people
    1. Repent before God must judge me
    1. Don’t forget my God
    1. Learn from God’s justice
    1. Following God is hard
    1. Do not act out against God’s people
    1. Do not enjoy the failures ofo God’s people
    1. God gives and God takes
    1. I am lower than I believe
    1. Follow the instructions the Lord gives me
    1. The Lord wins
    1. If I am great, it is only because God made me so
    1. God destroys the evil
    1. Jesus is the watchman
    1. Jesus is the Good Shepherd
    1. Love peace
    1. God has given me His Spirit
    1. God brings the dead back to lfie
    1. God furiously defends His people
    1. The Lord will not allow others to shame His people
    1. God has already made plans for my life
    1. God cares about my life
    1. God has made my body holy
    1. My body needs to be kept holy for the Lord
    1. God wants to keep me holy
    1. God gives responsibility with His gifts
    1. God protects me even from His own power
    1. God has cleansed me
    1. The Lord is there

Daniel

    1. God is proud of obedience
    1. God rewards obedience
    1. God protects obedient men
    1. God humbles pride and restores glory
    1. God punishes pride
    1. God saves the faithful
    1. In the end, God wins
    1. God himself will fight for my soul
    1. God answers prayer
    1. God answers humble prayer
    1. God reveals
    1. God has numbered the days until the day of His Glory

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