HIV is Living Among Black America

slidethumb_fuelDid you know that 1 in 16 black men and 1 in 32 black women are diagnosed with HIV?

Statistics from the Center of Disease Control [CDC] estimate that in 2010, there were 44 percent of African American adults and adolescents carry the horrific burden of contracting and spreading the virus—13 and older.

Accordingly, African Americans account for 13 percent of the entire population but present with the virus eight times more than whites.

Here are the numbers:

  1. 70% African American men (14,700) of all new cases out of the 20,900 new cases reported
  2. African American men account for 63.6 new cases out of 100,000 populace which is 7 times higher than white men
  3. Men having sex with other men account for 72 percent (10,600) of new cases, and gay and bisexual men between the ages of 13-24 than any other race represented which means that Bisexual and gay men are more than 3 times more affected than other races
  4. African American women represent 29 percent of all new cases, that is 6.100 of adult and adolescent women, but since 2008 there is a decrease to 21 percent
  5. 1 percent out of 100,000 women have the virus which is 20 times higher than white women and 5 times more than Hispanic and Latino women

The need to bring this news to your house is urgent, and urgent for us all as a group; even more than for the individual who suffers such a fate. Consequently, when speaking concerning HIV as an epidemic in America the premise here is that people may not feel that the issue affects them since it’s not in their house. However, generally speaking the premise here is not the houses we live in per se’, but the house of Africans as a nation within America whose members are attracting the virus daily. Let us not forget that end of the woeful event for many is death; therefore, there is a need to deliver this news to your door, to my door and the doors of our neighbors that we are dying ever so slowly from the silence of non-adherence to the call that HIV creeps softly, but AIDS kills loudly.

I want all of us to get this warning, because we see a very small sound coming from health officials concerning this matter, or, we do not take heed concerning taking care ourselves, to educate ourselves because our children are dying, our women, our men. It is the case, that with all the education available we must send this call out right up and to the doorsteps of every person to feed of its contents at the dinner table, and especially when we prepare to lay down unprotected.

I ask —do your love yourself? We are going in-depth about this topic, dedicating much time to discuss every single detail to alleviate and protect our house that means the group, the family and the individual. It is the case that if we do not learn the truth about the behavior that leads to contact then no one can save us.
Look for more information on HIV and African Americans coming soon!

Watch: Out of Control: The AIDS Epidemic in Black America

The Lifestyle of Poverty among Black People

hebrews Urie Bronfenbrenner, an ecological theorist proposed that human development is best known in terms of the interaction between individuals and the environments in which they live. He proposed what he calls the “Ecological Theory,” and in this construct is what he termed,  Microsystem,  Mesosystem, Exosystem, and Macrosystem and  says these entities consist of one’s “daily environment, family, school, religion and group affiliations”, and further adds that these can range from poor to excellent. Conversely, all the connections of  the theory have an effect or impact for the individual whether child or adult (Witt & Mossler, 2010). What do all of these have in common? The commonality is that all have played a magnificent part on the black mind which either keep people in poverty or releases them from it. The Bronfenbrenner theory sheds light on most human beings where environment along with other relationships are crucial to development. In this case, poverty and the underlying issues which are indicators of how a person may view the world around them. According to a report from Black Demographics, there are an estimated 44,456,009 million black people living in America which amounts to 14.1 percent of the population as a whole. Conversely, in proportion to these numbers, statistics show that 28.1 black families in America live at the poverty level. (Black Demographics, 2012, Paraphrased). Sadly, there is a stigma attached to African American people which says that all black people are lazy, some do not want to work, or they are criminals.  It is the case that, though these conditions may be warranted in some cases they do not apply for the group as a whole. Consequently, there is difficulty for some when speaking of this lifestyle of poverty from the inside out. Therefore, let this essay serve as a voice for those who cannot speak that the lifestyle of poverty supports everything people do from how a person might view themselves; including, their spiritual self, interaction  in relationships, and especially how one views problems, and/ or the inability to resolve them.  Poverty is multifaceted in American society and it affects more than just shelter but consumes ones entire existence, and to combat it each individual would need to examine and eliminate certain factors or barriers to their impoverished self; hence, mental health is a factor, unemployment, education, relationships, spirituality and other areas of life.

In order to see the entire picture of how the black population has ended up in an impoverished state one would have to go back to the past venue of slavery, because these venues convey truth of how traumatic an event slavery actually was, and as a result create an impoverished lifestyle today.  No one wants to talk about the mental and physical cruelty which was subjected on a people all those years ago, and even today people shout ‘get over’ it as if the hurt, pain and shame can be so easily put away from ones soul.  Inherited grief, the ridicule the scorn, the brute force of a hatred which is seemingly so deep rooted that one cannot dare believe that someone can be so evil against another, and most harrowing of all is that some used Christianity to make their way seem right. It is prejudice and discrimination which still lives on today in the white race and that which keeps black people down. In the article, “What are slavery’s Lingering effects?, the author wrote,  “The enslaved immediately found themselves dependent on their captors for food clothing and shelter, which has subject their descendants to the inequalities of colonization for decades.” (NCR, 2014, Para. 2).  Consequently,  a dependent mind tends to stay that way unless there is light to shed insight that the way out of poverty is to learn to think for oneself; hence, it is the premise that acceptance of a life given is generally passed down to one’s young whether they are rich or poor. It is the case, if one has been viewed as a social outcast for centuries then this would serve as a premise for lifelong habits formed, and what happens next is the acceptance of a poor lifestyle without necessary tools to change their environment. Bronfenbrenner definitely has a great point. Hence, his theory will be used to back up other sources throughout  this article.

Society tends to shun the impoverished adult rather than the children in most instances. Hence, one has a tendency to feel sorry for the children while being most critical of the adults’ inability to come from this lifestyle of defeat. Of course, one would see the reasoning behind this thinking, because no one wants to see a grown man sitting on the lap of a woman, or even worse the lap of the government. However, one should also note that these men and women were children once raised in poverty themselves.  Byron A. Brown, director of Educational Research Solutions consultancy in Botswana writes, “For many years, poverty has dominated international headlines as a global condition. Poverty is pervasive, and it is a chronic socio-economic problem affecting all population groups; adults, adolescents and children in many societies. The impact of poverty on adults can be far-reaching as adults are household heads. In household structures, adult poverty often has a ripple effect downwards, debilitating even the youngest family members. As part of a strategy to alleviate poverty, many societies are encouraging their adults, particularly young adults living in poverty, to participate in programs geared towards poverty reduction. But poor adults are not like mainstream well-to-do adults; poor adults often have complex learning and psychological problems that must be understood before they can participate in any programs. In most cases, these issues are locked in the identity which they developed by virtue of their sustained poverty conditions.” (Brown, 2005, p. 393, Para. 2). I agree wholeheartedly with Browns’ perception of the lifestyle. In the text he deals promptly with the initial impact of generational poverty across the board then narrows that concept down to the black households. However, even though this is enlightening news that someone else sees the clear picture of poverty among the black race does not to ease public conscience of the plight. He adds further, “The common assumption is that adult identity develops as individuals work through conflicts, stigma and stresses that are related to their poverty conditions. Resolving feelings of rejection, the direct physical consequences of deprivation, the consequences of severe stress on social relationships and the stigma attached to being poor, adults gradually consolidate an affirmative sense of self that enables them to accept their position and class in the community/society.” (Brown, 2005, p. 393, Para. 2). The information, in a sense might seem disparaging; however, the acknowledgment that there is a situation stemming from poverty passed down from one’s ancestry does not present biased information. Conversely, when speaking of Bronfenbrenner’s theory of people’s contact with their environment then the premise becomes that one’s choice is limited to their environment; especially in childhood. Hence, people living in poverty have no sense of seeking help outside of their environment. Furthermore, if social programs are available these might lend to help entertain an image of life without poverty, but do nothing to change the mind to free itself from poverty which is inbred thinking wherever that impoverished lifestyle happens to be in the world.

The Exosystem denotes Bronfenbrenner’s theory on social programs. Therefore,  in consideration of fundamentals that slavery has wrought a mind of dependency is one that society has yet to accept and the reproach of such sentiment is seen further in the venue of governmental welfare programs of the United States.  In the broadcast, “’The War on Poverty’Splitting up Black Families Podcast (2005),” guest speaker , Cherylyn Harley LeBon, co-chairman of Project 21, a leadership network of black conservatives suggests that the breakdown of black families as a moral and social construct;  along with,  or even more than slavery began with the entrance of welfare programs. The war on poverty introduced by President Lyndon B Johnson in 1960 set the premise for the downfall of the American black family in that these programs set in place under the pretense of help, actually, tore down the unity of the black family system even further when a mother has to choose whether to have shelter and food for the children; or keep the father in the home when there is not a legal marriage involved. Further notes presented, in statistical data show that in 1964 poverty was about 19 percent and since has dropped to only a 15 percent decrease total for blacks families which is a 4 percent decrease in 50 years. Therefore, however surprising this information might be for some people , it is the case, that one cannot hang on to untruths that an impoverished mind can be freed without provoking thought so the person can see they need the help first. Essentially, a mind which accepts poverty as a way of life has accepted their enslavement and will stay this way until a life changing thought provokes it to seek outside of the environment to which the mindset was bred. Moreover, one must see the United States Government as the slave owner, and see themselves free to walk away. There is no bias in the broadcast, no deceit, because further information was brought forth from the Reparations site (2014), where a study concluded that all states within the Cotton Belt are living in poverty, and shows that in parts of Texas alone there are 81to 100 percent families who live in poverty. Hence, the lingering effects of slavery are overwhelming. Similarly, the reality that black families were split up because of murder or being sold away as is seen in slavery where without the father to protect the wives and children became dependent solely on the slave owner; instead of the man. Hence, this is the same exact scenario just another time frame of life.

Reference to absent fathers is manifest in the article, “Wired for Success,” which speaks to the public in general concerning fathers not living with their children. However, the plight of the black man has been this way for centuries and is a further add to the premise of the impoverished lifestyle. Here we note that society has tagged these men dead beat dads, and granted this is what some are if they do not support their offspring. Here also is a barrier, because for those who work for low or no pay equals no money for the children who live elsewhere. Moreover, not all are dead beats who fall behind in their payments. There are many reasons why some men cannot pay. Consequently, many black men view child support as a modern day ‘lynching’ and do not want to be caught in the noose so they run. The article also links some common factors concerning poverty and the absent parent in general, saying, “Approximately 30% of all American children are born into single-parent homes, and for the black community, that figure is 68%, and also shares more insight which says “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminality, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics. Over half of all children living with a single mother are living in poverty, a rate 5 to 6 times that of kids living with both parents; Child abuse is significantly more likely to occur in single parent homes than in intact families In single-mother families in the U.S. about 66% of young children live in poverty ”. (Williams, 2011, Para 4). Ray Williams, author of the article brings good data to the table  statically as like that provided above but that is where ‘good’ stop here, because he goes on to group black people and American values in a lump. This information is not all inclusive when the majority of citizens where slave minds frequent are black and poor. He adds this saying, “The Scholastic Aptitude Test scores have declined more than 70 points in the past two decades; children in single-parent families tend to score lower on standardized tests and to receive lower grades in school according to a Congressional Research Service Report.” (Williams, 2011, Para 4). I add, to this in defense of the so called ‘fatherless’ children and say that it is biologically impossible for any child on earth to be produced without the aid of a man. Hence, the term ‘fatherless’ needs to be dispelled from the equation. This statement brings me to my next point while we remember that education has not come easy for black people in America.

Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory  pointed to how one’s environment would influence poverty through the ‘Microsystem.  The Mesosystem is of value as well. In the book “Adult Development and Life Assessment” the authors write, ‘The Mesosystem refers to the connection of all the microsystems influencing a child. Changes in one microsystem can impact others. For example, fighting parents create distress in the home, which can influence how well children perform in school.” (Witt & Mossler, 2010, Para. 3). Education in black communities can leave a bad taste in one’s mouth, because in black impoverished neighborhoods there are not only poorly funded schools, but as a result of poor funding there are not adequate resources for learning. This is a personal experience I had with my own children being that we live and have lived all our lives in impoverished neighborhoods, and having experienced single parenthood for the most part I can say that the children suffer for lack of funding because not only do they not have textbooks to take home but they do not learn well. In these schools state testing is given and the children are lowest in the state in the areas of history, reading and math. Furthermore, along with being low-income schools some were pressured with the added threat of passing the test or having their schools close. To date, several high school students who did not pass the TAKS test have not graduated.  Consequently, the tendency for low income school districts to hire  less than adequate teachers or low paid teachers who might have made only C scores in college themselves are not equipped to prepare a child for A grade work; not to mention the ones there for a paycheck only and fall into the category with others which says‘under the pretense of help.” Additionally, parents who are uneducated, or who have to work outside the home cannot help their children. In essence, an uneducated parent, a working parent in some cases are in the same category of an absent parent being that they are not there; or rather cannot be supportive of their children by helping with homework. Conversely, if one or both of the parents cannot read then there is no help there as well. Therefore, what academically can they help with?  Hence, Bronfenbrenner’s theory, although correct, means more than just arguing parents or abusive parents. It is the case that a parent in absentia of an education can affect a child’s performance as well. Society will say here there are opportunities available, however, if the choice of a meal on the table means work, rather than learning to read then the choice is made to work. On the contrary, not every black person sits at home to live off the state. It is the case, that generations of people have inherited their parent’s educational values. Perhaps if there had been rights given to read in slavery then all black people would have literacy would they not? As mentioned earlier, the premise now is that it takes a thought provoking light to reveal the need to look outside of ones environment to seek help to stand up

Of course, poverty is not isolated to the United States because across the globe there are people struggling to break free from the lifestyle. In this we note, that many other countries are adopting social programs as like those in the United States with great success. How can this be when the United States is known for its success in business and otherwise, and still their own citizens; black people are still the poorest of the land? Greg Corombos, author of ‘War on Poverty’ writes, “In some communities, public assistance programs have become a subtle destroyer of the spirit because when you’re looking at multi-generations of families who have been on public assistance, where is the incentive for individuals to want to start businesses and become entrepreneurs? It’s just not there,” (Corombos, 2014, Para. 8). Corombos is exactly right, because an impoverished mind has not a mind for business, except to put food on the table and in many instances it might seem better to allow the government to feed, clothe and shelter as generations before were conditioned to. Slave mentally breeds poverty, and the mind which says why work when I can get all this for nothing. In other words, Massa takes good care of the slaves or so they believe.

A study was presented by Byron Brown (2005) with five adults who had lived their entire lives in poverty, the focus being on individual poverty and households. Results concluded that lifestyle of poverty presented the following: “(a) the participants acknowledged being poor and believed ‘poverty’ is a label that others used to identify them (some reject the poverty label); (b) all held a strong belief that there were important purposes and meaning to their lives, even though they were poor; (c) for many poverty meant, ‘unbelief in self, that they hardly travel  out of the village—frustrated, just locked indoors’; (d) they felt rejection and a sense that other people see them as ‘nobodies’ because of their poverty conditions; and (e) many talked of discomfort, emotional pains from poverty stigmas, deprivation, inadequacies and feelings of hopelessness.” (Brown, 2005. p. 398,  Para. 2). History, education, religion, identity and spirituality have a connection with all of the above. The study is an accurate view into the minds of those who live the lifestyle of poverty. In this view, one can gather that until there is a mind changed then people literally see themselves as having no choice, no hope of a better life and sometimes unknowingly pass that same mind down to their children. This thinking is why society sees entire generations living on the welfare system. Hence, grandmother lived on welfare, daughter lives on welfare, granddaughter, father left his wife, son left his wife, and grandson left his wife and so on.

Spirituality is a great motivator, contributing  to how one gains a meaning into what happens in life. However, for blacks the belief in God far outweighs that of the white people. One may ask how is it that a group of people who have been kidnapped, beaten up, murdered, raped, enslaved, and rejected can still believe there is a God who loves them. Christianity has presented a God who is all about prosperity, and also presents a question that if the God of Christianity is all about prosperity then what happened to the black people? Why are all other people prosperous and this prosperity seen everywhere except with people of color? Since Brenfrenbrenner’s analysis speaks of church as an influence, let us talk about church; or rather religion as it pertains to poverty among blacks and the downfall of the blacks race in America and otherwise. According to a Pew Research study, black people are the most spiritual people in the United States. In the article, “African Americans top U.S. religious measures-Pew”, Stoddard (2009) writes, “Nearly eight in 10 blacks (79 percent) say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 56 percent among all U.S. adults.  Blacks attend religious services and pray more frequently than the general population. While 39 percent of all Americans report attending religious services at least once a week, 53 percent of blacks report the same. Similarly, while 58 percent of all Americans report praying at least once a day, 76 percent of blacks report praying daily. The vast majority of blacks are Protestant (78 percent), compared with 51 percent of the U.S. adult population as a whole.” (Para. 1-3). There is much to be said concerning this because religion, identity and lack of education has much to do with these findings, because although blacks pray to the so called God of prosperity in the Christian sect they are still poor. The Scriptures can explain, “Hear the word of יהוה, you children of Yisra’ĕl, for יהוה has a case against the inhabitants of the land: “For there is no truth or kindness or knowledge of Elohim in the land.  “Swearing, and lying, and murdering, and stealing, and committing adultery have increased. And bloodshed follows bloodshed. “Therefore the land mourns, and everyone living there languishes, with the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens. And the fish of the sea are taken away. “However, let no one strive or reprove another, for your people are like those striving with a priest. And you shall stumble in the day, and the prophet shall also stumble with you in the night. And I shall make your mother perish.” (Hosea 4:1-5). History recounts that the slaves were stripped of their names, forbidden from reading, or speaking their native language of Hebrew and worst took away our God. How do we know this? One knows because of some of the lyrics of so called slave songs such as Kum Ba Yah (Come by here Yah) in the Hebrew tongue. The book of Deuteronomy Chapter 28, also conveys truths of this matter, saying that the children of Yisra’el would be taken to another land by ship and that the occurrence would not been seen again, there to be sold as bondsmen and women and no man would redeem us. Redeem in this instance would be as in Kinsman Redeemer, however, if all one’s people are sold and scattered to the four corners of the earth then there is no man (kinsman or otherwise) to save us. Hence, poverty is a part of the curses; verse 31-33 says,  “Your ox is slaughtered before your eyes, but you do not eat of it. Your donkey is violently taken from before you, and it is not given back to you. Your sheep are given to your enemies, with no one to save them.  “Your sons and your daughters are given to another people, and your eyes look and fail for them all day long, and your hand powerless.  “A people whom you have not known eat the fruit of your land and all your labours. And you shall be only oppressed and crushed all the days.” (Deuteronomy 28, The Scriptures). It is the case that black people were stripped of their God and forced to worship the god of Christianity. Hence, poverty is the result of idol worship which is a breach of Covenant to the Most High. Hosea conveys truth: “My people have perished for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being priest for Me. Since you have forgotten the Torah of your Elohim, I also forget your children.  “As they were increased, so they sinned against Me. My esteem they have changed into shame.” (Hosea 4:6-7). The study is correct, black people do pray but to the wrong god. It is the case that one cannot argue with statistics.

In closing, I leave a quote from William E.B. Du Bouis, PH.D, from the article, “The Individual and Social Conscience, “It is impossible for the individual to reach the larger social conscience by sheer expansion, by a benevolent endeavor to be interested in all men. This leads inevitably to a tenuous filmy consciousness, a loss of grip on the realities of human beings—on the concrete man. It becomes easily a theoretical rather than a practical humanitarianism, and has often been illustrated in the world’s history by the wavering and doubting of the philanthropic mind. We can only be interested in men by knowing them—knowing them directly, thoroughly, intimately; and this knowing leads ever to the greatest of human discoveries,—the recognition of one’s self in the image of one’s neighbor; the sudden, startling revelation, “This is another Me, that thinks as I think, feels as I feel, suffers even as I suffer.” This is the beginning, and the only true beginning, of the social conscience.” (Excerpt from: The Sacred Unity in All the Diversity”: the Text and a Thematic Analysis of W.E.B. Du Bois’ “The Individual and Social Conscience” (1905)). This is a powerful statement. One that surmises the condition of those who live in an impoverished lifestyle because many cannot understand why years after rights of equality were given do people still have hatred in their hearts, and worst why do people still live in poverty. The Messiah said, that poor would always be among us. Our children want to know why they cannot live in a good house, go to the same schools as their white peers, and seemingly the margins and divides are unconquerable when we see disparages even against the children who can go to college but are not prepared for college when they get there. Hence, education for a black mind is a farce. What about religion? Even the preachers are dumbed down, and are educated fools who do not know truth, and in actuality are helping the lynch mobs to kill our people. Therefore, Religion is a farce. The welfare system is system designed to break up homes and families under the pretense of help, therefore government assistance is a farce. It is the case that the only thing real thing in all this to the black person is their poverty. Hence, each day a person gets up to start another day walking through their impoverished mind, unable to solve problems, unable to find answers because like their mothers and fathers before them their ability to think is limited to the life passed down. Therefore, each individual would need to examine and eliminate certain factors or barriers to their impoverished self.  It is therefore the case that mental health is a factor, unemployment, education, relationships, spirituality and other areas of life. A great writer once wrote, “A theorist, said that family, church, school, and state programs help shape a child’s mind and the world around them. It is my opinion these have failed the black child. Family has failed the black child, religion has failed the black mind, school has not provoked thought, except to brainwash our children when there is no identity to gain of who they are other than how society sees them.” (Spears, 2014). It is written.

Watch: Poverty In America

 Bibliography

Black Demographics, (2012). 12 Black Population: 44.5 million, 14.2% of USA. 

Brown, B., (2005). The incorporation of poverty into adult identity over time: implications for adult education.  INT. J. OF LIFELONG EDUCATION, VOL. 24, NO. 5 (SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2005), 393–404. Retrieved (19 March 2014) from: http://library.ashford.edu/databases_a_z.aspx#J

Gillam & Griffith (2010). Prayer and Spiritual Practices for Health Reasons among American Adults: The Role of Race and Ethnicity Author. Journal of Religion and Health, Vol. 49, No. 3 (September 2010), pp. 283-295. Published by: Springer. 

Grohol, J., (2014) The Vicious Cycle of Poverty and Mental Health. 

North American Reparations Task Force (2014). What Are Slavery’s Lingering Effects? Sponsored by: National Commission for Reparations. 

Stoddard, E., (2009). Reuters, African Americans top U.S. religious measures-Pew.

The Scriptures (1998). Translated, Published and distributed by: Institute of Scripture Research. North Riding, South Africa. The Scriptures Publication History, First Edition 1993, Second Edition 1998. IBSN—13-978-0-9585045-4-6

Williams, R., (2011). Wired for Success The decline of fatherhood and the male identity crisis. Psychology Today (2014).  

Williams, R. (2012). “The Sacred Unity in All the Diversity”: the Text and a Thematic Analysis of W.E.B. Du Bois’. “The Individual and Social Conscience” (1905). J Afr Am. (2012) 16:456–497  DOI 10.1007/s12111-011-9171-4. Published online: 23 March 2011. Political Science, Bennett College, 900 East Washington St., Greensboro, NC 27401, USA. # Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, 201.

Witt & Mossler (2010). Adult Development and Life Assessment. Ashford Discovery Series. ISBN 10: 0-9841823-3-0, ISBN 13: 978-0-9841823-3-6, Published by Bridgepoint Education, Inc., 13500 Evening Creek Drive North, Suite 600, San Diego, CA 92128. Copyright © 2010.

Your Sunday Bread, Lord Help My Unbelief

Awesome word. Yes since we know that God is real and made angels and that He will cast Satan out of the heavenlies, but for now he comes as angel of light to fool and trick us then to turn our lives upside down; it would serve as warning to become more aware of the demons among us.

So yes, amen there are demons and they reek havoc in the lives of believers, so imagine what they are doing to those with unbelief…better ask somebody, because the mental institutions are full of people who are under the attack of the enemy and we call them insane because we don’t believe; it’s not normal behavior to run from something or someone not there. But we know that these are spirits and it makes sense that we don’t see them; we can’t see the devil he is spirit. However, we do see him at work in other people.

So are the people who are able to see them really insane or running scared?

Concerning demonic thoughts, hearing voices,

Mark 9:14-29

‘And when they came to the [nine] disciples, they saw a great crowd around them and scribes questioning and disputing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw Jesus [returning from the holy mount, His face and person yet glistening], they were greatly amazed and ran up to Him [and] greeted Him. And He asked them, About what are you questioning and discussing with them?

And one of the throng replied to Him, Teacher, I brought my son to You, for he has a dumb spirit.

And wherever it lays hold of him [so as to make him its own], it dashes him down and convulses him, and he foams [at the mouth] and grinds his teeth, and he [falls into a motionless stupor and] is wasting away. And I asked Your disciples to drive it out, and they were not able [to do it].

And He answered them, O unbelieving generation [without any faith]! How long shall I [have to do] with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to Me.

So they brought [the boy] to Him, and when the spirit saw Him, at once it completely convulsed the boy, and he fell to the ground and kept rolling about, foaming [at the mouth].

And [Jesus] asked his father, How long has he had this? And he answered, From the time he was a little boy.

And it has often thrown him both into fire and into water, intending to kill him. But if You can do anything, do have pity on us and help us.

And Jesus said, [You say to Me], If You can do anything? [Why,] all things can be (are possible) to him who believes!

At once the father of the boy gave [an eager, piercing, inarticulate] cry with tears, and he said, Lord, I believe! [Constantly] help my weakness of faith!

But when Jesus noticed that a crowd [of people] came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, You dumb and deaf spirit, I charge you to come out of him and never go into him again.

And after giving a [hoarse, clamoring, fear-stricken] shriek of anguish and convulsing him terribly, it came out; and the boy lay [pale and motionless] like a corpse, so that many of them said, He is dead.

But Jesus took [a strong grip of] his hand and began lifting him up, and he stood.

And when He had gone indoors, His disciples asked Him privately, Why could not we drive it out?

And He replied to them, This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.

When we look at this text we can equate this to all bad behavior, because who said that talking to people who we cannot see there takes precedence over killing someone?

Powerful word, and I ask who can drive the demon out except the glory of our Elohim through fasting and prayer.

Checking in: Health Reform across the country

Checking in: Health Reform across the country

Real stories of someone who needed the help

Watch:

Your Sunday Bread, Addressing the Pulpit

Addressing members of the clergy’s behavior is a difficult situation. No one wants to see their pastor, the leader of their church caught in scandal, because not only does it bring the church a bad name, its members are looked upon harshly, and worst of all the word of God.

In all of this one might wonder what has become of this thing; or amazed at how this all came about.  Our church was popular someone might think, but within these perils of thought one must also consider whether their church has become popular for the wrong reasons.

Before we go on with this subject, we must note that people are quite hush hush about what goes on with the men of God; those who lead the flocks, and when the preacher is seen doing things contrary to the word of God, where sin is present no one wants to be the one to confront it. Most people are fearful of the man of God and most will use the word to excuse their inability to speak out. Actually, it is cowardice in its greatest display.

The scripture taken from Psalms 105:15 Saying, “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm”, and the same in 2 Chronicles 16:22.

Although we shouldn’t touch those anointed many people  are portrayed doing that in the bible and more so in deed than words. Here we note that the prophets were being killed because of speaking God’s word to those who were idol worshippers and other sins.

The Prophet Elijah was chased out of town by a death threat from Jezebel in 1 Kings 19:2-3,

“Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.  And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.”

Prophets were killed for spreading the word of truth in those days.

Today, however, the men of God are seen having affairs, molesting students under their care and counsel, raping; and even participating in homosexual acts against its members which are most certainly acts against the word of God.

Sin is running rampart in the pulpits, our leaders falling under the lies of Satan and no one is saying anything.

No one wants to talk about it; that is, to straighten the man out!  Sadder still is prayer being manifested as a last resort when those act already known by some in the church are made public. Hence, we see our preachers being drug off to jail, sent to prison and one notable example  is of a Pastor and Funeral Director who was murdered, hog tied and gagged; not for spreading the good news of Christ our Savior, but for deeds done against our Holy God and his church.

God says this:

 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.

 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth(Suppress it) in unrighteousness;

 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:

 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

(Romans 1:16-18, 22-25) (Emphasis mine)

Pastor John Piper explained homosexuality as “worship of self” as a form of idolatry which in turn leads to men and women’s lust of same sex which is idolatry.

God gives explicit word for people who accept this in church and out as well. He says about the homosexual that he gave them up to this life style to do what they will, which in turn leads to more sin.

The observation here is that these things are occurring in the Roman Church who the author speaks to. Notably, people might believe that he is speaking to someone outside; this is what one would expect, but sadly we cannot tell the world from the church.

God says, “
 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, (Romans 1:27-30)

And covenant breakers; the church:   

 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1:31-32).

The main concern is to judge what is right and stop turning a blind eye to sin. There is something wrong when people called by the name of God cannot open their mouths and speak truth no matter who it is.

Probably the most heinous crimes are not done by people unsaved, but by people who call themselves saved. Now everybody is shocked and taken aback because someone they idolized and worshipped instead of God has left them disappointed and dumbfounded. Why are we shocked when we don’t pray, when we don’t speak truth even to the ones who teach us.

We have to take the church back it has become a breeding ground of sin. God is not pleased and is bringing his wrath in judgment.

above all things pray without ceasing

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HIV/AIDS Drug First Introduced as Cancer Cure

AIDS Awareness

AIDS Awareness (Photo credit: sassy mom)

The drug, AZT was originally created by scientist Jerome P. Horwitz in the 1960’s, and was first thought to be a cure all for those with cancer. Sadly, today there is still not a cure for cancer, however, AZT is the drug highly recommended and approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1987, as treatment of HIV and AIDS.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus and the Advanced Immunodeficiency Syndrome are names given to illnesses derived from a virus that tears down the body’s natural immune defense system, rendering those who suffer helpless to fight outside diseases. Hence, a virus such as the common cold can be fatal to someone who is exposed to the  foreign germs.

AZT was the first drug sold to decrease the duplication of the virus in the body, and combined with other drugs has been effective in slowing the process of these deadly diseases. However, these combinations of drugs are not a cure, but life has been sustained because of its existence.

Statistics from the  Centers for Disease Control  show that the United States has new cases reported more so in the south.

New AIDS diagnoses:

At the end of 2010, the South accounted for 45% of the estimated 33,015 new AIDS diagnoses in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, followed by the Northeast (24%), the West (19%), and the Midwest (13%).

AIDS in the United States, by Race/Ethnicity

Most people receiving an AIDS diagnosis in 2010 or living with an AIDS diagnosis at the end of 2009 were black, white, or Latino, reflecting the majority population groups of the United States.

To find out more about HIV and AIDS: Click Here

Watch: Living with HIV: Andre’s Journey

The Cast Down Spirit

“She girds herself  [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.”

(Proverbs 31:17)

Depression can cause spiritual, mental and physical exhaustion. I saw a television advertisement that said, “Depression hurts.” Yes, it does because we can become paralyzed literally in our thinking, becoming so low that some have attempted to take their lives because of it.

Depression is a tool that the enemy uses to stop progress in our thoughts. Thoughts of past hurts, of family woes, financial concerns, and abusive relationships can all take their toll on an already weak mind. When I say weak it is because depression seems to hit hardest when we’re feeling down about ourselves already, low self-esteem and self-hatred dealt cold hands. Sometimes it can go unnoticed, and it might have succeeded if had not been for the ultimate battle that came to claim its victim.

Today I want to talk about THE CAST DOWN SPIRIT, because it is the in-between area that blends in with the happiest of times and the worst of times. However, it is the most hurtful because it is here that this silent enemy almost always wins unless we find strength to fight it. Depression is the number one cause of disability in women, but it affects men as well. We need to talk about it because there are some who even in this day and age with all the medical treatments and therapies available still find it hard to speak out that there is something wrong. This to me is the greatest tool that Satan uses against women and if you were brought up in an environment where secrets were kept makes it even harder to speak out. I want to go in-depth about this silent killer of good thoughts and see what the word is saying to us about gaining strength, but first let’s look at what thing really is doing to our minds.

Take a look:

What is Depression?

Minor depression is characterized by having symptoms for 2 weeks or longer that do not meet full criteria for major depression. Without treatment, people with minor depression are at high risk for developing major depressive disorders.

Some forms of depression are slightly different, or they may develop under unique circumstances. However, not everyone agrees on how to characterize and define these forms of depression. They include:

  • Psychotic depression, which occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false beliefs or a break with reality (delusions), or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations).
  • Postpartum depression, which is much more serious than the “baby blues” that many women experience after giving birth, when hormonal and physical changes and the new responsibility of caring for a newborn can be overwhelming. It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of women experience postpartum depression after giving birth.1
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. The depression generally lifts during spring and summer.
  • Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness, is not as common as major depression or dysthymia. Bipolar disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes—from extreme highs (e.g., mania) to extreme lows (e.g., depression).

Symptoms of depression include:

• Little interest or pleasure in doing things

• Feeling down, depressed or hopeless

• Trouble falling or staying asleep or sleeping too much

• Feeling tired or having little energy

• Poor appetite or overeating

• Feeling bad about yourself, that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down

• Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television

• Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed or the opposite in that you are so fidgety or restless that you

Have been moving around a lot more than usual

• Thoughts that you would be better off dead or of hurting yourself in some way

Women may be more likely to report certain symptoms, such as:

• Anxiety

• Somatization (the physical expression of mental distress)

• Increases in weight and appetite

• oversleeping

• Outwardly expressed anger and hostility

Sometimes these feelings may seem normal, especially when we don’t know anything of a calm environment or may have had them early on. They were noticed then at their first onset, but were unrecognized or ignored. I was 20 years old when I first experienced this sad feeling. As I look back on it now it came in with the thought, “I should be married now.” Wow, what a difference time has made and what a blessing when wisdom comes…Thank you God, Amen. More lessons, yet more wisdom to go.

“Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my [sad] countenance, and my God.”

 (Psalm 43:5)

 Even David was faced with depression because he asks himself, “Why are you cast down, O my inner self?”

 Cast down means to be depress or as/like sinking and this verse gives us where this is taking place in our spirit (KJV says soul). It’s a very hurt feeling that comes along with thoughts but when first experienced it comes on so suddenly that one has to question why? Sometimes there doesn’t have to be anything going on and there it is. It’s reminds me of someone who is baffled about something and cocks their head to one side because they’re trying to figure it out but can’t quite pinpoint it, that’s the response to it; bewilderment.

“And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me?”

I want to point out here two other words that can help us to relate to this condition because sometimes we become sorrowful in our spirit and can’t explain it. We are blessed that God has given us the wisdom to seek after the Him…we should want to know more, because He is showing up the enemy tactics. David use some solemn words to describe what  he is feeling.

Moan: the Strong’s dictionary describes it this way, it’s clamorous, to make a loud sound, rage, tumultuous. There’s this episode of “I love Lucy” where Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel are traveling to California and they have car trouble to stop over at this little rinky dink gas/motel/diner. It’s the middle of the night and their starved and have no other choice but to stay over in this run down roach motel. They pay for sandwiches and the only room available so that the 4 have to share it. While the owner is outside trying to fix their car, they then find out that the cheese on the sandwiches is like rubber so they have to go hungry. So they go to their room and try to get some sleep, but the beds are a mess and uncomfortable, and then when they finally do manage to calm themselves enough to rest a loud train comes through which causes the beds to vibrate and move to the center of the room. Then they try to leave the place and find that their steering wheel has been stolen, and the owner just happens to have one just like theirs for sale; that’s a bad day. Similarly, that scene you’ve just witnessed is what it’s like when we can’t control our thoughts and emotions…seems that everything around us spiraling out of control.

David questions his downcast spirit and then he tells it the solution and what he will do, he says, “Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my [sad] countenance, and my God.”

(Psalm 43:5) 

This is important because this moment of questioning and decision is where Satan uses our sin against us…this is where some will run back to the sin that so easily besets…alcohol and other substance, adultery, promiscuity. Remember that the purpose of the downcast spirit is to tie you up and force you back into to bondage; or keep you there if you aren’t delivered but have walking that way.

Where are we headed? 

 It’s either sink or swim, because we can choose to give in to this trick of the enemy or seek God in the middle of the sinking sand. We can either lay on the couch of the enemy or seek God through this sea of sadness so He can bring us to a place of wealth in our minds. Yes, I say wealth because if we are depressed then something has been severed from the promise of God. So it is the thought of where we are headed that seems most important at this point, so let’s look at the word of God:

“She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.”

(Proverbs 31:17)

 I have to tell you that when I look at the Proverbs 31 woman the way for the woman of God seems auspicious or favorable because God has given us a clear picture of what we will be like as we follow Him to wholeness. But this picture to me or could seem to others who haven’t attained this promise yet…a far reach. I believe that with all else we have to conquer being wives, mothers, students, etc., that we have to be whole in our minds to be anywhere near this woman portrayed here, this is impossible when we are weak in our minds; and most certainly cast down in our spirit. Where are we headed?

To “Gird, “means to put on something, look at this:

Proverbs 31:17, says, “she girds herself with strength in all areas of need.” the result is that she then becomes fit for her God given task. So that we see it as impossible to gain the type of strength needed for anything unless it is God given.

 In all areas of need that are spiritual, mental, and physical. It’s not easy to take time to rest and do all that is expected of us as wives mothers, and employee not to mention if we’ve embarked upon other ventures of independence…”you’ve come along way baby” then has improved avenues of wealth not only has also added to diverse thinking but has brought about stress where there was none before. So if we haven’t gotten ahead or bettered ourselves in terms of that career profession or education then chances is that this too has become more of a hindrance than a help…has this become a cause of dissension in our mind?

 Get help for your mind. Putting on strength means that we seek out those things to help us in our daily life. Some think that more money will solve the problem, and that may be so but if we are weak  in any one of the three areas, I need to mention money will not help. Our source of strength has to be more powerful than we are. Seek God for your spiritual needs.

Here’s some other help:

1. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – With Help Comes Hope

2. Depression Center: Symptoms, Causes, Medications, and Therapies

3. 1on1health.com: Depression

Praying for sound mind and good thinking….be in peace.