November 2003 

Volume 18      


November 1, 2003

Michael Austin Pardoned

I read an article today about a man named Michael Austin, who was pardoned after serving 27 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Stories like that are very sad and there are more people like him who are in jail for crimes they did not commit. 

For the most part the justice system works, but how do you give a man his life back after such an experience. His youth was taken away from him and he was branded a criminal. Things like that embitter people. However, he did express his appreciation for those who showed concern for him. 

The Governor of the state apologized to him and they are discussing compensating him for wrongfully incarcerating him. I guess it helps, but it can't give him back his youth that was stolen from him. Just thinking about things like that is saddening...and just think, this man lived through it. 

Speaking of the law, I was reading articles about the Kobe Bryant case and there are some very disturbing points about it. Tests on the alleged victim's undergarments revealed DNA from two men and not Kobe Bryant. A city in Colorado has sealed documents, which supposedly show the alleged victim accused two other men of rape before. Her medical records also show that she has a history of mental problems.  

While you want to believe a woman when she says she's been raped, when you read things like that about a case it is very saddening, as it gives the appearance of something else.

You may not care about any of it, but you should. It should concern you for the simple reason that it means anyone out there can say anything, ruin someone's life and get all the media attention in the world for it when the evidence says other wise. If there were evidence to support it, then fine. But the evidence so far is supporting his innocence and the realization that this man could actually be innocent of the charges, yet is being made to endure all this. 

Look at all the attention and resources the case has usurped. It has muscled its way into our lives. A man's life and his family's have been flipped upside down in a case that spawned a media storm filled with humiliating inquiries and accusations. Sadly, sexual sin was at the root of it. 

Past Lives, Reincarnation?

God only gives you one life on this earth (there is no such thing as past lives and reincarnation, the Bible debunks those theories) then each man has to face Him when they die and explain the life they lead on earth, if they had faith in His son Jesus Christ and if they'd asked Christ for forgiveness for the wrongs they've done.

Think about that. What are you doing with your life? Are you spending it sleeping around, drinking and getting high - you need to stop now cause that will catch up with you and in ways that aren't always apparent. God can forgive you, but it is very risky to continue behaving like that, as you don't know when it will be your time and many people die unexpectedly. 

It's not a good idea to put off changing your ways. Not only that, you have to deal with the decisions you make in life while you are alive. That powerful premise that God implemented in the world called reaping and sowing, meaning the things you do will come back to you and if you go against what He says is right, you pay a price for in it this life. And if you refuse to change and die still living in those sins, it will cost you your soul.      

I think the biggest problem people face is sexual sins. It's one of most far reaching sins in terms of the areas of your life it has the ability to affect. If someone told you that for every one night stand and sexual relationship you have with someone you aren't married to it will cost you something, you may not believe them or may not want to believe them, but it is true. Sexual sin always costs you something. You will lose more than you gain from each illicit sexual encounter. God created sex for marriage and any misuse of that has its consequences. 

But no matter where you are right now, it's not too late to turn around and be forgiven. The Bible writes of Christ, "...whoever comes to Me I will never drive away" (John 6:37). So He won't turn you away. Sometimes you feel really bad or guilty, but you can't go by your feelings, because your emotions will deceive you at times depending on your mood, feelings of guilt or anxiety.  

In closing, we really need to keep in mind that the decisions we make during youth will shape our lives. Those decisions are usually the ones that last the longest and follow you through life. It saddens me when people my age carelessly make bad choices for a moment of fun. But, each person has the God given right to do as they choose. However, we must not forget that our choices have consequences. It's not to bore you or ruin your fun, but to keep you out of trouble and from destroying everything you've worked for, are working for and your future. But even then, there is still hope. God is into giving people second chances while they are on this earth (and third chances and fourth chances...). 

November 8, 2003

My godbrother loves sports. He says my mom got him interested in sports (my mom watches a lot of games). Recently, I asked him if a team offered him 20 million after high school to turn pro would he take it. He said no, he wants to go to college first. I joked that he can go to college online. Still, I told him that's admirable to want to turn down the money to go to college first...but don't repeat that in front of your mom because she would ground you for saying that - to his mom, that would be the equivalent of swearing. 

When his mom heard, she laughed and said he can take the 20 million to turn pro out of high school and "go to night school!" Uh...ok, then - something tells me she isn't kidding. She says stuff like that all the time. Here's hoping my godbrother won't need therapy in the future thanks to his mom (I'm kidding). 

Ja Rule/ 50 Cent Feud

This week I saw the special on MTV2 featuring rapper Ja Rule and Louis Farrakhan. They discussed the dispute Ja Rule has been having with rapper 50 Cent. Ja Rule made clear that the two of them do indeed have a problem and it's not just on record. Fearing a repeat of the East Coast/West Coast feud from the mid-nineties, people are staging a type of intervention in hopes of preventing a repeat of the murders of rappers Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. Music should never turn into that. 

People keep telling both parties to keep the dispute on wax, which both seem to be indicating is not happening. I'm not going to call it nonsense, because it is not. There seems to be a genuine problem there between both parties, a string of offences and a flurry of diss records. 

It is my sincere hope that neither man is killed over what happened because neither of them are ready to meet God (their lyrical content and interviews show that they aren't ready to face God, as He requires us to change our ways and their lyrics and interviews still glorify many things that God says is wrong). And there's no need for anyone to be killed over this. God loves both of them. Sometimes people believe they are too far gone or did really bad things, but they aren't too far gone for God to forgive and redeem them. 

However, if the dispute escalates, Ja Rule's children and 50 Cent's son will be left to grieve their fathers and that is unnecessary and avoidable. That's not fair to those children and both rappers grew up without dads, so they know what it feels like. Therefore, even for the sake of their children they shouldn't take it any further than it has gone. 

I don't believe either of them wants to die. There is so much they can still do. They have so much potential. 

During the interview, Farrakhan, who is Muslim, kept quoting the Bible (sincerely, why not convert to Christianity). 

Ja Rule spoke about his childhood, the difficulties he went through being raised a Jehovah's Witness and the pain his family suffered when his mom was kicked out of the Jehovah's Witness organization. God doesn't reject the repentant, so who is man to do so ("...whoever comes to Me I will never drive away" - John 6:37). 

Church is somewhere people should always feel welcomed. The pastor should preach the unadulterated word of God (the Bible) as the Bible instructs, to correct and instruct people in how God says they should live. 

Speaking of that, I read an article a couple weeks ago that confirmed things I'd been told for years regarding that religion. It's an article by a man who was kicked out of the Jehovah's Witness organization as a teenager, similar to what happened to Ja Rule's mom. To read that article, please click here. He discussed a number of inaccuracies that have been incorporated into the Jehovah's Witness religion and how it deviates from what is written in the Bible  - even removing text from it, which the Bible does not permit.   

While you are there, check out the article the author of the page did on DMX. I thought it was interesting. I read about DMX in a magazine a few years ago. It was an interview conducted with his wife. He went through a lot. Things that would scar most people. He does speak of God and it is sincere. You get the sense that he is trying to better himself. I pray that things will work out for him and for the group also listed on the page named B2K, who are nice people. 

November 13, 2003

Bodyguard Killed Outside Club

I read an article in the paper yesterday morning about two men who were killed outside of an Atlanta night club. Both men were 38 years old. A few years ago, one of the victims of the shooting was on trial with Sean "P Diddy" Combs regarding another night club shooting, that they were both later acquitted of. That same victim was also investigated for the night club murder of another man a few years ago.

The shootings took place in Buckhead, which is a suburb of Atlanta. I've been to Buckhead several times and it's an affluent neighborhood. To read about that type of violence in that district seems out of place. However, it has become a major entertainment area in Atlanta, attracting people from many places. There have been several shootings, and sadly involving people affiliated with the entertainment and sports industries. 

Why can't the entertainment industry get away from that violence. As much as people come from impoverished backgrounds and go on to become wealthy in the industry, why is it that violence still entraps them. 

It's sad when people are cut down like that. One of the men who died has a child, who is now left to wonder why his dad had to die and the really sad part about it is that he didn't have to. The things that these men died for are of no value. My condolences to their families.  



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