Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lessons from the Trayvon Martin George Zimmerman Trial

George Zimmerman acquitted in the murder of Trayvon Martin, news that apparently shocked some and spawned outrage and protest across the country. Why the shock and outrage? Did people actually believe the jury would find Zimmerman guilty of murder? From what I gathered from news coverage on Fox News, George Zimmerman was flat on his back with Martin on top of him. Photographs of Zimmerman's face and the back of his head showed blood and contusions such as would be found on someone whose head had hit the concrete and whose face was struck with someone's fist. I am in no place to say innocent or guilty in this case, but considering the evidence I do not find the acquittal of George Zimmerman in this case surprising.
Why is it so hard to believe that Zimmerman acted in self-defense when he shot young Trayvon Martin? If a young man has someone on the ground and are on top of them beating them up, what is the person getting beat up suppose to do, lay there and take it? Nobody really knows but George Zimmerman what was going on inside his head on that fateful night. Maybe he tried to get Martin off him but was unable and felt the only way he would survive was to shoot Martin. The evidence showed that George had received injuries to his face and head, injuries that stun some people and render them unable to defend themselves. This may have been the case with George Zimmerman; the blows he received may have incapacitated him to the point that he was physically unable to defend himself and used his gun. If this is the case, I believe Zimmerman acted in self-defense, which is permitted by Florida law. One might argue if that was the case, how was he able to get to his gun, point taken.
On the other hand, and one I find most likely is that George Zimmerman feared for his life. Maybe he felt that the beating he was receiving from Trayvon Martin was the end for him. Before people make a snap judgment in this case and believe George Zimmerman should not have been acquitted, they should consider how they would react in similar circumstances. What would they do someone was on top of them beating them up and had the advantage over them? Unless they are a MMA fighter they might hit the panic mode and do whatever was in their power to end the fight.
I am not saying Zimmerman was innocent or guilty, but considering the evidence presented and that the jury was comprised of women, some having children of their own, I do not find it outrageous that George Zimmerman was acquitted in this case. The justice system makes mistakes at times, but whether justice was served or not in this case I believe that it was a fair trial and Americans should respect the court's ruling.
Lessons We can LearnTo the George Zimmerman's of the world who feel the need to follow people around because they find them suspicious, get over it. I believe Zimmerman was guilty of bad judgment in following Martin; he should have left it to the authorities. Just because Martin may have appeared suspicious to Zimmerman, he should have let the authorities deal with him. For all I know Trayvon Martin may have been innocent of any illegal activity and had no evil intent on the night Zimmerman was following him. However, whether Martin was guilty of any illegal activity makes no difference in this case. The point is, had George Zimmerman not followed Martin on that night, this terrible tragedy might have been avoided. Therefore I say George Zimmerman is guilty of poor judgment, but that is not what this case has been about. Zimmerman's judgment was not on trial but his claim to self-defense.
To the Trayvon Martins of the world. I do not know why Trayvon was beating Zimmerman, he may have feared for his life as well, what he thought perished with him that night. However, we need to realize that violence is not the answer and when we assault someone, even if it is only with our fists, the one being assaulted may respond with deadly force. We never know what to expect from someone, so the best policy is to do our best to avoid violent confrontations. Maybe Trayvon Martin felt he had no way out but to fight Zimmerman, if so, then he done what he had to do. May you and I learn from this and seek to live in peace with one another as God would have us to.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bible School Lesson on the Armor of God focusing on the Sword of the Spirit. Closing lesson.

7 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Along with all the other pieces of God’s armor: the belt of truth;  the truth of God and truthful living, the breastplate of righteousness; living righteously doing what is right according to God’s standard of righteousness, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; being prepared to share the gospel and having gospel shoes to help us have good footing in advancing the gospel, shield of faith that quenches all the fiery darts of the wicked one; a faith that trusts God in all areas of life; the helmet of salvation; the knowledge and application of the benefits afforded by God’s salvation, we are told to take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

It is called the sword of the Spirit. The Spirit of God uses the word of God to help us, out on the spiritual battlefield we certainly need this help.

John 6

63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

The words of Christ are of a spiritual nature. The word of God is inspired by the Holy Spirit and I believe according to God’s will empowered by the Holy Spirit. However the devil may came at us, the sword of the Spirit can meet the attack. Whether it be through deception, temptation, physical / psychological attack, whatever it may be the word of God can meet that attack. In Jesus’s temptation in the wilderness He responded to each temptation with it is written referring to the Old Testament.  Likewise, we can respond to the enemy with the word of God.

1) The Spirit and the word work together

John 14

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

The Spirit of God brings to remembrance the words of God to help us when we need them. The more of God’s word we put in, the more He will bring out. That is why we need to study God’s word.

2) God’s inspired  word is very useful in battle.

2 Timothy 3

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Not only is the word of God profitable for the man of God but for each believer the word of God is beneficial.
Reproof: God can teach us by reproof, when we are out of line. This helps us to get back in line with God quicker.
Correction: When in the way of error, the sword of the Spirit can cut through error with truth. Error can lead us away from God’s truth and will for our lives.
Instruction: The sword of the Spirit helps instruct how to live out true righteousness.

In a battle, there may be times in close combat  the enemy gets in blow but with the sword of the Spirit we can quickly recover from his attacks.

3) The sword of the Spirit can help us fight for others. With the truth of God’s word we can hack away at the enemies work in the life of others. It can be for a brother or sister under attack, a backslider, or a lost person. Whatever the need may be, with the word of God welded under the influence of the Holy Spirit we can minister to the need.

18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

After speaking of the armor, Paul finishes with the exhortation to pray always.
This is my personal interpretation of this passage. Prayer is communion with God, through prayer we consciously tap into the resources God has provided for us and also petition God for things we may need or others may need. Praying in the Spirit is when we get our natural selves out of the way and pray in unison with God’s Spirit inside of us. Praying in such a way empowers us in our walk with God works with the armor of God.

Paul also calls us to watch for all saints, petitioning God on their behalf. He said to do this with perseverance. We are called to have endurance and not lose heart or give up in our watching and praying for others. The call to watch and pray for others reminds us that this spiritual battle is not just about ourselves and we do not want to get so self-absorbed in our own spiritual battle we forget about the rest of the body.

Paul also was requesting prayer for himself to be empowered to speak the gospel as he ought. Paul’s main concern for himself was not himself but for the proclamation of the gospel. As we come away from this week of Bible school, may we not only be better equipped soldiers with God’s armor but may we be advancing the cause of Christ by praying that God would strengthen His children and embolden them to tell the good news of Christ as we ought.