Mitigation Ministries

I've been thinking about the ministry of mercy lately. You know; when you your friend messes up and they're down and out and they don't want to ask anyone for help. They missed the mark and he or she avoids going to church and stops associating with their Christian friends including you. It's then you need to go to your Christian brother or sister with mercy.

Romans 12: 4-8 looks at various ministries in the body of Christ. Verse 8 mentions, "he that showeth mercy" as a ministry.
4  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7  Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8  Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines mercy as "compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm."

It is not within our power to harm other Christians. However, we can share God's mercy with our downtrodden brothers and sisters. I was looking for a  particular verse on mercy from the Bible and found several more along the way and decided to include them all.
Ephesians 2:4-5  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Psalm 57:10 For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.
Psalm 86:5  For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
Psalm 86:15  But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
Psalm 89:1-3   I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens. I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,
Psalm 94:18  When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up.
Psalm 100:5  For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
We can share mercy through an act or an encouraging word. People may need to be admonished as well as encouraged. But, if we admonish someone to remind them of their duties or obligations, we also need to follow up with, "God loves you forever no matter what you did and will take you back regardless of the number of times you fall."

I was thinking of mitigation as being part of mercy. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, Mitigate means, 1: to cause to become less harsh or hostile: mollify 2: to make less severe or painful: alleviate. I believe mitigation also implies salvaging the most good you can from a given situation. It's when the best you can do for someone at a given time is not God's best but there is a lot of "worse" you can help them avoid.

For someone addicted to drugs and alcohol, mercy must be delivered with clear defined boundaries. They are in a position where they will have go through something similar to the mountaineer who had to cut off his arm to free himself to save his life.

I thank God for those rushing in to assist those ravaged by tornadoes to mitigate their devastation.

Someone going through the dark period of divorce needs to navigate a lonely path to health and needs wise advice along the way to avoid making things worse than they have to be.

What got me thinking about mitigation being part of the ministry of mercy was an article by a family law attorney by the name of David T. Pisarra. He offers some balanced advice in Welcome To The Danger Zone.  I was interested in this article because my brother in law is going through a divorce. The advice Mr. Pisarra gave would help him. It got me to thinking the position Mr Pisarra is in as a family law attorney to minister to people at such a vulnerable time.

His client is going through a divorce, knows he's hurting himself and his family, feels like a failure, may have stopped going to church, and may have stopped associating with his Christian friends. There is a place of ministry, even if it is not called "ministry," for a family law attorney who provides his clients objective, balanced, and wise direction. I don't know about David Pisarra's faith. However, I do know that God can show mercy through an attorney to their client during this time to mitigate harm and to salvage the most good for the client, his ex, and his children.

God not only wants to use attorneys but all of us in every profession in the furthest fringes of society and circumstance to show mercy, to mitigate harm, and reclaim the salvageable good. I think a good name for a ministry would be, "Mitigation Ministries."

Looking Back from the Future

I was at the 5 o'clock service one Sunday afternoon. There weren't many of us there. I looked around and it struck me what a diverse mash-up we were.

There was a successful professional and his young wife. There was my friend who seemed depressed sitting toward the front. There was a young man who looked like he had been drinking earlier and was dragged in by his wife. Yet, he seemed to understand that he needed to be there. There were those I always see there serving. I felt a sense of us together as the body of Christ.

Then, a thought struck me that Christ might gather this little group together again one day in heaven. We look around and find each other sitting again in the same arrangement as then. Only this time we are with Christ in his love and glory and we remember the day we took our frail struggling humanity to the chapel to worship God together.

Terje Sorgjerd: The Mountain

Stunning and awe inspiring!

You can click on the "x" just to the right of the blue "HD" for full screen view.

The Mountain from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

Woman Goes to Jail for Withholding Autistic Son's Lifesaving Meds: Insurance Company Praises Her and Gives Her a Bonus Before Realizing She Doesn't Work For Them

The last half of the headline isn't true. I made it up to illustrate a point. Many health insurance companies get away with similar behavior from a distance, wearing business attire, behind closed doors.

Yahoo News Video

The woman in the video didn't administer lifesaving cancer medicine to her autistic child who later died. The child was diagnosed with treatable non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He was treated in a hospital, then released with medication his mother never gave him. She was sentenced 8 to 10 years by the judge for assault and attempted murder.

It's appalling and shocking!

Now, watch the video and mentally replace "mother" with "Insurance Company." It's scary, because the video is still coherent and plausible. Insurance companies often deny medical tests, medications, and treatments on many grounds. Some denials are legitimate. For instance, some newer medications are several times more expensive than older versions while offering only slight incremental improvements. On the other hand, my mother was on a medicine for ulcerative colitis that was working for her but her insurance company wouldn't pay for it. She has tried two different drugs her insurance company would cover. Neither has worked. Because of her most recent switch, she required a blood transfusion. Lets see if her and her doctor's appeals have any effect.

Rescission is particularly nasty. Insurance companies can cancel your policy if they find you lied or just incorrectly entered information when you signed up. You're probably not at risk to have your policy cancelled unless you start costing your insurance company too much money; just when you need them the most and are too weak to fight. They'll start scouring your policy with a fine toothed comb for any plausibility to cancel it. By engaging in these practices in an overreaching manner, some health insurance companies are increasing profits at the expense of human lives.

We must be walking around in a daze to allow this to continue.

Just as not all mothers are bad, not all insurance companies are unethical. I pray there are decision makers pushing the insurance industry in the right direction. However, I'd like to see some of these irresponsible, one sided profit driven insurance decision makers sentenced on criminal charges just like this mother. Punishment is a currency of justice. Every moral human being yearns for justice. So, what is their punishment? Nothing, because it's legal, except maybe for a few soft regulations the government is too tired to adequately enforce.

I like to imagine there is justice for common people wronged by filthy rich humongous corporations. I like to imagine.

Here are some articles that might shock you. I hope none of this ever happens to you.

Insurer denied needed medical tests, Senate finds
“What troubled us most was that the criteria they were using was more stringent than the American College of Cardiologists uses.”
A review of 3,000 consumer complaints against Anthem Blue Cross, California's largest for-profit health insurer, has found over 700 violations of state law during the past four years, state regulators said on Monday.
Man claims "insurance company wrongfully denied coverage for a life-saving liver transplant."
Health Insurance "Rescission" Three Times More Likely Than Losing Russian Roulette
"If, as I suspect, rescission is targeted toward the truly bankrupting cases – the top 1%, the folks with over $35,000 of annual claims who could never be profitable for the carrier – then the probability of having your policy torn up given a massively expensive condition is pushing 50%. One in two."
Blue Cross praised employees who dropped sick policyholders, lawmaker says
"But they (healthcare executives) would not commit to limiting rescissions to only policyholders who intentionally lie or commit fraud to obtain coverage, a refusal that met with dismay from legislators on both sides of the political aisle."

Matt Maher - Christ is Risen

Hope you like this song by Matt Maher. One of my favorites.

Here are the lyrics.
Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
We fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to Him who showed great love
And bled for us
Freely You've bled for us
Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bowed to none but Heaven's will
No scheme of Hell, no scoffer's crown
No burden great can hold You down
In strength You reign
Forever let Your church proclaim
Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
The glory of God has defeated the night
Sing it, o death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead, He's alive, He's alive
Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

We Need Strong Healthy Filters To Combat Media Malaise


I think quiet time rejuvenates our filters. Today, having strong and healthy filters are more important than ever when "information" and opinions are as ubiquitous as sand and thrown about with such bombastic authority.


The age where the free market of ideas producing truth and right results is dead. Think about all the forms of media out there: word of mouth, signs, posters, door to door soliciting, flyers newspaper, radio, television, and the Internet. Think about the different formats in radio and television. You have news, editorials, movies, sitcoms, variety shows, etc.... Then the Internet comes along and it was supposed to be the equalizer. The companies controlling media couldn't control the message. Every person can get involved and share news and voice their opinions through Twitter, Facebook, blogs, E-mail, opinion posts, and the list goes on.

See how complex everything is now? It takes resources to master complexity. The wealthy have resources to master media. Myriad media is an extremely effective tool strongly favoring the wealthy. The anonymity of the Internet makes money even more effective. The super wealthy can spend buckets of cash getting their messages out in an anonymous format; or worse yet, pose as someone else.

See how BP put adds out there after the oil spill. They didn't approach us as BP. They spoke to us through the owners of BP service stations. BP put their message in the mouth of the common man. Now, it is our neighbor telling us that BP tries to be safe but accidents happen, they are doing their best to clean up the mess, and they are compensating everyone damaged by the spill.

Global companies aren't people from a decision making standpoint. Everything is numbers. They have to please their shareholders who care for nothing except profits. But, here's my neighbor saying buy gas from BP again. That was television. I think it was an effective message. However, I don't believe it was truthful.

It's worse on the Internet. Companies have hired people to post positive reviews on them and their products. The more money you have, the more fake customers you can hire and the more ways you can trickle up falsehoods through fictitious people and entities who sound like they're from one group but really belong to the other side. There may be people saying they're Christians telling us who and what to vote for who aren't even Christians at all.

Am I paranoid? No for two reasons. First, I am only looking at what we exists, what's being done with myriad media, without exaggeration, and drawing rational conclusions. Second, I'm not paranoid because my Lord's kingdom is not of this earth. My hope is not part of this mess I'm seeing. I'm saddened to see it. However, I'm not part of it even though I'm in it.
Proverbs 20:12 - The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.
Keep our eyes and ears open.
John 18:36 - Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
 Fight only the battles God wants us to fight and fight them in the way he wants us to.
2 Timothy 3:13 - But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
Don't expect things to get better.
Colossians 1:3-6 - We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
Rejoice because our hope is away from this mess kept safe for us in heaven. We need strong healthy filters now more than ever.

Google Dreams

I dreamed last night that Google released nano bots to map in detail the world and everything in it. They would crawl around the world; crawl on you; and in you. Google ran an informative add campaign explaining how you couldn't see them except under a thin layer of mayonnaise, it is a dream, and that you couldn't feel them. However, there were unofficial reports that some Google employees experienced numbness when the nano bots were tested on them. Then, they released those bots right next to me. I knew it even though I couldn't see or feel them. Then, I woke up.

I can't help but note that it would be a logical extension from Internet search bots, to those roving cameras creating street view, to nano bots.

I warned you this blog would be about everything.

Legal Disclaimer: This Was Just A Dream

Google Has a Sense of Humor

I purchased an Android phone recently and have been playing around with the voice activated navigation system. It works surprisingly well. It gets what I say right most of the time and does a good job getting me where I want to go.

Yesterday, I wanted to get out of the house, so I opened Google Navigation and spoke, "Out Of Here" to see what destinations Google might suggest.

Google Navigation came up with:
  • Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar
  • Hal & Mal's Restaurant
  • Hooters
  • Mellow Mushroom
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • P.F. Chang's
  • Mississippi Democratic Headquarters
  • Nagoya
  • Parker House Restaurant

Not bad.


I was organizing photos on my computer and it has caused some links to break here. It may take awhile before I get those links fixed.

Viktor Frankl: Man's Search for Meaning

Memory and Memories

Today, I've been recalling seemingly random memories and started noticing a particular characteristic. They all seem to play back in the preserved present. There is remembering the name of a song, a telephone number, a person's name. However, the kind of memory I'm referring to is in the first person; where you're there in the moment. These memories seem selective in the content they preserve.

In your first person memories, are you worrying about the future, getting a better job, or paying the bills? If you're like me, then, no. In the present tense, my memories seem to retain a natural focus on what's important. If so, these memories can be a guide for what I should value and focus on in my life today.

I also notice my first person memories don't naturally include numeric data. I can remember how much money I made, paying my bills, or paying for a meal in a restaurant. However, I don't seem to have first person memories where that information comes up. I remember meals I had with friends, but I can't remember the moment I pay the waiter, even if I have vivid memories of the people and conversation leading up to that point. Numeric data does not seem to be part of my first person memory narrative.

Many of us live too much of our lives in anxiety over the future or in regret over the past. However, we only build memories in the present. Age gradually takes things away from us we took for granted, until finally, all we have left is our present self with our memories. We can learn from the character of our memories what's meaningful for us today. Our relationships with people; joy; grief; and moments of beauty and discovery. On the other hand, how much money I made doesn't seem to play in first person memory.

Will memories have any value when we pass away? I believe our memory records the meaning we manage to capture from one present moment to the next. Maybe our memories are the Creator's tablet he uses to record our lives. Our memories may be thirsting to find meaningful events to live and record. We may find fellow saints in heaven reading the meaning of our lives, transparent and recorded, in memory, for all eternity.
Matthew 10:26 - Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
I Corinthians 4:5 - Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
These thoughts on memory remind me of some things Viktor Frankl said. I'm sure he's influenced my thinking on this even though I was not thinking of him as I drove the truck around today. He found meaning in the most dire of conditions; in a German concentration camp during the Holocaust. He wrote the following on the creation and importance of memory; and how he links memory with meaning.
The transitoriness of our existence in no way make it meaningless. For, in the past, nothing is irretrievably lost but everything is irrevocably stored.
Man constantly makes his choice concerning the mass of present potentialities; which of these will be condemned to nonbeing and which will be actualized? Which choice will be made an actuality once and forever, an immortal “footprint in the sands of time”?
What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? He can reflect with pride and joy on all the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest…Instead of possibilities, he has realities in his past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered.
The potentialities they have actualized, the meanings they have fulfilled, the values they have realized – these assets can never be removed from the past.
Viktor Frankl was a remarkable person and brilliant psychologist. He said things that go deep to the heart and ring clear. I found some more quotes I'll share and an old video on YouTube I'll post tomorrow.