One Hit Wonder
Barabbas was a thief and everyone knew it. Bible scholars think he was also a revolutionist. I tend to think he was simply Satan’s little helper to seal the deal in Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. Satan wielded a methodical, crafty plan to maneuver people in the wrong place at the wrong time. He took full advantage of everything imaginable, including similarities between Jesus’ and the thief’s name. “Bar Abbas” is translated “son of the Father.” Did Jesus not refer to His Father as “Abba?” Think this is a coincidence? I doubt it.
Every person involved in the crucifixion of Jesus knew exactly what they were doing, to a point. Pilate knew all too well the Jewish council envied Jesus and wanted Him dead. Yet, the governor did not usurp his authority to free an innocent man. He’d rather please the people.
The people’s ambition to overthrow the government created an insatiable need to kill our Savior. They weren’t out of their minds. They weren’t mentally unstable. They didn’t have moments of rage. They didn’t have bad parenting. Selfish gain hindered them. Satan coaxed them into believing they needed their revolution at any cost. If Jesus didn’t come to earth to rescue them from the hands of the Roman Empire, they determined to find someone who would. Why not get rid of Him and move on to someone more capable to take on their cause?
None of them realized their plans had holes. They had no idea Jesus would wreak greater havoc after His death. Fear and panic reverberated through their community when word spread that Jesus had risen from the dead. A host of witnesses verifying He had been seen and heard in numerous places troubled them.
Whatever revolution the people had in mind, the spiritual one that began at Jesus’ resurrection took precedence.
How many times have we seen the masses storm the streets, take to the CNN Network and Fox News, in an effort to press the public to their way of thinking? If we listen to their arguments long enough, they tempt us to throw up our hands and cave in.
The scriptures are clear: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Don’t be fooled. Satan is sly, sneaky, and patient. He is maneuvering the masses today as he did in bible days. What troubles me most is when my Christian sisters and brothers allow Satan to seep into their lives and massage them into compromising situations that both grieve and cause them shame.
Did it ever occur to you that you are being used? Satan can dangle something good in front of us then lead us into a trap. It could be as simple as a wife spending too much time with her mother and not dropping everything to serve her husband (and vice versa). It might be your need to tell your sister in Christ that she hurt your feelings. Leaving things unsaid “kindly and out of love” can tempt you to harbor anger. Or maybe you want to work one more week of overtime, leaving your wife and children alone, thinking one more week won’t hurt them. After all, it’s only seven days. Right? Feelings of abandonment are powerful emotions to overcome. You must remember Satan is in the family destruction business.
Listen to what the scriptures say: “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible, but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” (I Cor. 10:23) Yes, it is good to work overtime to feed your family. But it is wrong to do so excessively. If we’re not careful, Satan will tempt us with our needs and the growing crowds surrounding us will chip away at our firm foundation until we are standing in the middle of a marsh and left wondering how we got there.
Do not be easily persuaded. Test the spirit. Stand your ground. Don’t become immoral. Keep yourselves pure. Don’t slander your brother and sister. And please don’t look the other way when you see them on the streets. “Greet each other with a holy kiss….” (Romans 16:16) And fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. That’s exactly what Jesus Christ did for us.
by Donna B. Comeaux
Freelance Writer, Author, Poet
September 1, 2013
Written for Park Plaza Church of Christ
The sermon on Barabbas will be preached Sunday, September 1, 2013. You will be able to access this sermon by Thursday afternoon. Keep checking the website for the upload of the sermon if it is not up by Thursday. Follow these instructions to get to the church website: GO TO Parkplaza.org to hear the sermon on Barabbas. Once on the website, click “Media,” then click “One Hit Wonders.” There is NO signin or registration. ENJOY!
Killing of the Innocent – Our Broken American Families
Something disturbing is happening in our society. I could mention the issues with gun laws, mail-order ammunition, firearm security in the home, or tighter supervision with guns. But these issues are merely symptoms of a larger problem. I believe tighter gun laws are warranted. We can’t ignore Australia’s success. Since Australia(1) tightened their gun laws, there hasn’t been a mass murder in 18 years.
Until the gun law issue is resolved, I searched the internet for understanding to the mass killings. I discovered a common thread in each incident dating as far back as the Columbine massacre. Each killing was driven by anger. I asked, “What makes a young man so angry that he is driven to kill?”
The last thing I want to do is unfairly judge the parents of these young killers. But it is clear something within the family unit is broken. These young men feel isolated, unloved, angry, are prey to bullies, and are unable to communicate their fears and anxieties to someone they trust. Matter of fact, they don’t feel as if they have anyone they can trust. They have lost the support of both their family unit and their community.
But my research couldn’t give me the answers to the following questions:
- did these young men come from a bible-believing family;
- if they had fathers in the home, were they nurtured by their fathers;
- were they ever allowed to voice their emotions; and
- were they more preoccupied with technological gadgets (including video games) than being emotionally engaged with their families?
In a BBC News’(2) report dated February 14, 2000, it states that in an effort to control the elephant population in Kruger National Park, conservationists removed several young male elephants and placed them in a game park with rhinos. Soon after, park rangers discovered 36 rhinos, including a rare black one, had been slaughtered and they couldn’t, at first, determine how or why. One park ranger later reported he witnessed an elephant killing a rhino in the park. When conservationists placed the young male elephants back with adult male elephants, the aggressive behavior stopped immediately.
I do not in any way claim to be an expert in animal behavior science, but when you read an account like the BBC News report, you wonder: if male bonding is that important to elephants, how much more important can bonding be between a son and a father?
Over time, social ideas have changed the way we approach raising our children. One-parent families have become the norm. Our need to avoid confusion with a former spouse/mate has driven us to sever contact with fathers (or mothers). Some fathers don’t mind this arrangement because it gives them a way out of the drama. But what both parties fail to realize is the problem is much bigger than they are and, more importantly, their lives are secondary to that of the child. Parents must understand they blew their chance at happiness together. Now, they must look beyond themselves and work together to ensure the safety, happiness, and welfare of the child.
There is no denying the commonality of these mass killings. These young men are angry, isolated from society, and in some cases, mentally ill. If we don’t help them find an outlet for their anger, and find a way to replace that anger with love, these massacres will happen with much more frequency.
I cannot begin to understand or imagine the burden these killers’ parents must feel. I’m sure all of them are still wondering how and why these massacres occurred. Counseling is ongoing for a great number of them. The victims are suffering even more.
In order to avoid such tragedies from becoming our own, we need to heavily invest in the rearing of our children, regardless of our marital status. It means:
- Don’t just drop your child off to school. Walk inside. Greet the teacher and get to know your child’s teacher on a first-name basis;
- Don’t wait for your child’s teacher to contact you. Feel free to contact the teacher on a regular basis to make sure problems have not been overlooked;
- Sit at the kitchen table and help with homework;
- If you can’t help with homework, get a tutor. When you can’t afford a tutor, work something out where the person tutors your child, and in return you do their grocery shopping, clean out their garden, etc.
- Ask your child a host of questions. You will probably get that old familiar “I don’t know,” but if you ask a question often enough, your child will eventually dislodge what he/she thinks or knows.
- Don’t leave your child alone for long periods of time. Not even your teenagers.
- Know where your child is at all times. Make your child accountable each and every day, without fail, especially if you’re a gun owner, and your child watches violent video games.
- Don’t hesitate to reconsider your decision to allow them to watch violent video games. (Note: Don’t just take the video games away; replace them with better entertainment, i.e., group/church events with other children.)
- Cut your hours at work. Don’t just spend more time at home, engage in conversations with your child.
- Don’t forget to play. Go on field trips. Engage in life-learning experiences. For example: Ask your child to balance a page in your checkbook. They will hate this, but they will learn something. Believe it or not, kids love to say “my momma taught me that,” or “my daddy showed me how.”
- Don’t feel as if you have to come up with all the ideas for entertainment. Have your child participate in the decision. In that way, they feel a part of the team versus always feeling like they’re being told what to do.
- It is very important for parents to drop the “old school” mentality and learn to listen. The old saying, “because I said so,” doesn’t work anymore. You can learn a great deal by listening to how your child feels about what he/she is going through. When a child talks long enough, they will inevitably tell you how they feel and what they need from you.
- Be willing to drop any and everything to be there for your child. There will be times when your child will have what he/she thinks is a crisis. Stop what you are doing; leave work; and go to your child’s aid. This reinforces your child’s trust in you. They will feel loved when they know you are putting them first.
- If you notice a change in your child’s mental health, please seek professional help. Don’t try to do this alone. And don’t be ashamed to share what you are going through with family and friends.
More gun laws alone won’t keep an angry, ill-nurtured child from acting on his impulse to kill. There’s an old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Let’s all get involved in helping parents nurture our children back to good mental and emotional health. Children are our biggest asset and our only legacy. Love them. We’ve only got one chance at this. Let’s get it right.
Donna B. Comeaux
Freelance Writer, Author, Poet
August 31, 2013
There comes a time, at least once a day, things trouble you. God has blessed a man with the ability to put poetry in motion through his music. Meet Harry Gregson Williams. He is the artist behind many movie soundtracks and his work of art speaks for itself. Below is one of many of his beautiful artworks. It is titled “Smiling,” and the title, like the music, is perfect. This keeps me inspired when I’m overwhelmed, calms me when I’m upset. It brings me back to a spiritual place where God wants me to be. What would we do without His grace? As this beautiful work soothes me, I easily imagine I’m on the wings of an eagle soaring over God’s landscape right before the angels escort me to heaven. Endlessly, I Listen…
“Smiling” by Harry Gregson Williams
Taken from the movie “Man on Fire” soundtrack
Please come back and visit as often as you like.
Donna B. Comeaux
Freelance Writer, Author, Poet
A Ray of Hope
Alone and think that no one cares
I crept inside my darkest lair
Midnight became my covering
For all my sorrows and despairs.
I picked at every speck of light
I thought I saw throughout the night
And tried to cover more of me
With all the night I thought I’d need.
But that speck of light would not
Depart my lair, so I stood up
And reached as far as I could
And found that you, not I, who stood.
Your hand propped up my feeble spine
Your voice began to fill my mind
You talked all day and thru the night
Until all darkness gone from sight.
You lifted up one foot of mine
The other came without much prying
I looked deep within my dark dim room
But could not find it or the gloom.
I’m not quite sure I remember what
It was that meant so very much
All I know for sure right now
I’m alive, have hope, and to you I bow.
by Donna B. Comeaux
Freelance Writer, Author, Poet
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