Sunday, October 7, 2012

My Analysis of AFSCME Propaganda


I came across an advertisement last semester at UW Eau Claire and again two weeks ago, the same advertisement at UW Stout in the English department. It was a poster colored a greenish white with the phrase, “I’ll give up anything for Wisconsin except my rights” and the acronym AFSCME at the bottom.
     This poster gets the reader to identify with it because of its lack of clutter and stark phrase. I was not familiar with the acronym AFSCME so this poster compelled me to look up the acronym online and I discovered a public workers union. The AFSCME used this poster to get the reader to identify with freedom, liberty and rights of the individual public worker, or those in civil service positions such as child care, food service, health care, public-sector corrections officers, university employees, social workers and other public places where people fill job requirements (afscme.org).
     The issue the AFSCME was addressing with their compelling poster was the argument between the unions and predominately right wing politicians to eliminate collective bargaining to balance the state of Wisconsin’s budget. Collective bargaining consists of negotiations between an employer and a group of employees so as to determine the conditions of employment (cornell.edu).
     The public worker identifies with the statement “I’ll give up anything for Wisconsin except for my rights” 
because he is willing to make concessions, but not at the high price of eliminating a union they believe is their right in a free society to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They identify with the people of a society to depend on their government as “we the people” dictating what politicians can and cannot do. To public workers, cutting collective bargaining is the same as cutting the voice of “we the people” which was the beginning of American culture.
     The values of the public worker are fairness and equality, a working middle class, economic justice, and a voice on the job. They support a government that will defend these values and protect their rights as public workers not oppose the progress of the public sector and eliminate the rights they experience in the workplace.
     The values of the public sector reminded me of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the many government reforms that were made in America in the 1930s because the enemy of a thriving economy was seen as unemployment. Roosevelt depended largely on the Keynesian theory which turned to the federal government to create employment by spending sums of money for public workers (Lowman and Thompson and Grussendorf 544). During this time such programs that we enjoy as citizens today were created for example: federally guaranteed jobs, housing, income, and old-age pensions (Lowman and Thompson and Grussendorf 544).  Also during the 1930s, the labor strike became a common occurrence and labor unions started becoming a powerful force politically in the United States (Lowman and Thompson and Grussendorf 550). Interestingly, the AFSCME traces its beginnings back to the year 1932 (afscme.org).

     The phrase “I’ll give up anything for Wisconsin except my rights” grabbed my attention because of the 

last two words “my rights”. Immediately images of sacrifice given to America by diverse groups flooded my 

mind, particularly missionaries and military families and immigrants.  What “right” did the AFSCME have to claim they had any “rights” they could not give up, that millions before them had already given?
     I decided to research the beginning of unions in America since I also value freedom, civil responsibility and rights. In the early beginnings of colonial America, those of like trade formed guilds to further their skills in their chosen vocation (Lowman and Thompson and Grussendorf 384). After the Civil War, local trade unions and national trade unions were formed (Lowman and Thompson and Grussendorf 385). The American Federation of Labor had goals such as netter wages, shorter hours, the six-day work week, and elimination of child labor. Their founder, Samuel Gompers, supported strikes meaning employees refusal to work. He was against violence and non-recognition of authority (Lowman and Thompson and Grussendorf 386).
     I agree with Samuel Gompers because I respect human life and their possessions. I should be able to have a voice on the job and I should be able to expect reasonable work demands and payment from my employer. Right wing politicians like Scott Walker, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as well as myself and other “right wingers” hold to values of freedom, life, responsibility and rights. We just believe that government should only create the conditions for happiness and prosperity not actually create happiness and prosperity by catering to every persons “rights” (Lowman and Thompson and Grussendorf). The government’s version of happiness and prosperity can be seen in the wrong treatment of the Native American Indians. The American government put them on reservations and gave them their needs. My family drove through some Indian reservations on our vacations out West and many of them were face down drunk in their own vomit. I do not want to be haphazardly taken care of by a government with rationed portions of food, shelter and clothing with nothing to live for unless I leave what was given to me.
     To me, freedom allows me to perform my duty as a human being on planet earth. Freedom allows me to pursue a life whether it is a career, a family, a hobby, and/or a place among my community. To me, liberty is a matter of serving and loving other human beings.
     In order to have this, responsibility must be considered. Anything that attacks or threatens freedom must be questioned and opposed. If I love the freedoms I possess I must be willing to defend and protect the free life. There is a price tag on freedom. Rights will be disputed over. Everyone has a right to a free life but not everyone is willing to pay for this life or carry their responsibility to live a free life. Enter the laws of the land:
     Like the public worker, the right wing does believe in “we the people” dictating to our political representatives what they can and cannot do. Discrimination is a way of protection for all living beings and it is something government officials do when creating, passing and enforcing laws. A human rapes another human of their virginity; they must be punished to protect the freedom humans should have to choose who they give their body to. A human being takes the life of another fellow man; he must be punished to protect the sanctity of human life. A human being steals his neighbor’s possessions; he must be punished to protect the freedom we possess to earn our own wealth. The list and situations could go on and on.
     Government officials are fallible and so are the citizens of any country as both are men attempting to govern men. Laws can be manipulated and misused against the original purpose of the law: to punish wrong 

doing and reward righteous acts. Adolf Hitler is my prime example of someone twisting the law to pervert 

good and evil.When the law becomes a vehicle that inhibits freedoms such as punishing innocent lives and rewarding discriminated groups that have previously threatened freedom (rapists, thieves, murderers, ext) those who love humanity must oppose the law until it is restored to discriminating right versus wrong (Angwin 22-23).
     I feel the AFSCME promotes thinking similar to John Locke (1632-1704) that the governed give the law of the land its authority (Lowman and Thompson and Grussendorf 104). If  this were the case, any society and culture could do whatever is right or wrong as they reasoned or felt leaving one society to accept rape as “just the way it is” while deeming killing other humans as expendable “an okay deal”.
     I believe the theory of William Blackstone (1723-1780) about the law of nature being the will of God not 

whatever a human mind figures makes sense. Depending on the thinkers of any given society leaves a nation 

open to instability and defenseless against those that would destroy what semblance of order and morality a 

society possesses. “Since the laws of nature carry out the will of God, they are, as they relate to mankind, 

totally equitable and just. It is man’s responsibility to comply with these laws in relation to his fellow men…because of Adam’s fall, man’s reason, important as it is, is not sufficient for establishing laws to govern mankind and that only in Scripture are such divine laws revealed” (Lowman and Thompson and Grussendorf 104-105).
     Instead of taking “we the people” as my final authority, I propose taking “God said and it was good” and experiencing liberty at a whole new level. For example, in 1776, the King of England had broken his contract by refusing to protect and ensure the rights of his subjects in the New World; therefore, the Declaration of Independence was written and America was born (Lowman and Thompson and Grussendorf 104). A few years later, the country of France decided to revolt but “rather than fighting for the rights of others, men murdered and plundered their fellow citizens for personal gain and revenge” (Lowman and Thompson and Grussendorf 149).
     Instead of focusing on “my rights” that I will not give up for Wisconsin, I think the citizens of this state should focus on the benefits for all living a Wisconsin life. Not just the public worker but the parochial school teachers, the church staff, the farmer, the soldier, and small business owners. When fighting for rights becomes about what is “my rights” and what is “your rights”, the focus has been taken off the good of humanity as a whole and helping our society to only being concerned with one group over another group. I would like to conclude my critical analysis of the AFSCME poster by including an article I submitted to the Flipside in September of 2011 which is University of Wisconsin Eau Claire’s alternative press:
Questioning the Recall
     Governor Scott Walker has recently made another 65.7 to 113.2 million dollar cut to the UW systems 

according to Volume One’s Ali Drew. University of Wisconsin Eau Claire’s Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich was quoted as saying, “In 2001, the state provided 64% of our operating budget while tuition …comprised 36%. In 2011, those percentages are essentially reversed.”  This led me to ask the questions “Is it so bad that students will have to pay for their education? How much are students willing to work to pay for a higher education? Have students considered the value of the education they are getting?” The price tag of “free” on something as valuable as education may be why students are not taking their college careers seriously.
     I am a college student, for a second time around, actually. I obtained my first degree at a non-accredited Bible college where we received no federal funding. Therefore all our classes were scheduled before noon every day and most students worked second and third shift jobs. We paid a little more for our degree but most of our graduates are working in their field or are out working. We hired a handful of teachers that had either worked or were working in the field they were teaching. Transferring to a UW system school brought culture shock: I could choose classes morning, noon, or night and I could choose from a smorgasbord of teachers, to name only two differences.
    Three out of my four classes this semester the teacher gave out non-classroom related material to fill up 

class time, did not cover most of their syllabus, or showed up late repeatedly. I have heard several 

classmates remark about other classes and the complete waste of time they are experiencing with teachers in 

regards to regurgitating verbatim what the students have already read in textbooks prior to class. I have also 

heard students remark about teachers walking out of the classroom when asked for help by the students. 

With Walker’s budget cuts, maybe these should be the teachers that go? After all, they really are not doing 

what they are being paid to do. 

Hire or keep a handful of teachers that can teach and drop the three quarters that cannot. Educators are important but not at the price the unions are putting on their career.
    My observations on the recall Walker rally’s and petitions is they are not about principles of right and wrong but the issue of necessity over convenience. Modern day Americans want their “rights” not what is right. Is education a right or is it a privilege? Do you appreciate something more if you worked and sacrificed for it? Is this about putting Wisconsin in the black and the state as a whole or is this about the money driven UW system and one group of educators? (As a side note, just because I have a four year degree with the wrong accreditation, I have to start all over as a freshman. I did not picket that my rights were violated because I have to pay money to education for another four years. I am inconvenienced out of money and time but when knowledge is power and is the only thing that cannot be taken away from a person; I think the sacrifice is worth it.)
      Is this about money or is this about giving a quality education to our children by keeping core classes strong with a handful of dedicated teachers instead of a smorgasbord of teachers with shoddy classroom skills emulating their bad habits to the next generation? Some would argue that cutting education costs is unethical because it is education that helps society. I was talking to a psychology grad from a local university and he told me two of the people he went to school with are in prison. When our university’s still have ongoing alcoholism, drug abuse, and sex weekends maybe we should research a new solution for mankind’s problems instead of handing out free schooling.
     The recall for Scott Walker seems to be about putting the needs of the educators in front of the rest of 

Wisconsin, not the needs of Wisconsin as a whole. The recall seems to be about putting educators at a higher worth than other people and other careers in society. It seems to me that a small portion of citizens got their personal lives violated and are asking the majority to sacrifice on their behalf. The principle of what is right is being sacrificed on the altar of what is convenient for a few people.
     As a final word to the “99%”, have you checked out the “70%” of the rest of the world that is more poor than you?

Works Cited
AFSCME. “75 Years of History”. Web. 6 October 2012. www.afscme.org
Angwin, Dr. Richard. Gay Rights Justice or Judgement. Minnesota: Revive America, Inc., 1983.

Print.

Cornell University Law School. “Collective Bargaining”. Legal Information Institute. Cornell University, 1992. Web. 6 October 2012. www.law.cornell.edu/wex/collective_bargaining
Lowman, Michael R., Thompson, George, and Kurt Grussendorf. United States History Heritage of Freedom. Florida: Pensacola Christian College, 1996. Print.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Sunday At Branches Church 7/22/12

It's been way too long since I have felt the Holy Spirit stirring in my heart over something my pastor has said. With Christ in my heart, I should feel alive but many times I feel dead. But as Tim Stafford says, "Jesus died for your sin not your feelings."

You know God was at church on Sunday when His Holy Spirit that talks to your pastor's spirit has also talked to your spirit through the message. Been mulling over what Pastor Mike Shay talked about Sunday-matters of the heart. I was reading in Is. 30:20-22 and the dots finally connected! The King James Version is pretty blunt when it says, "And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence."

If I am using good works to  be right with God, I am still working to be accepted by God. A child of God would not need to do this. If I am using my good works to get to know God I am already a child in a loving relationship with my Heavenly Father.

God is not impressed with my tithe, church attendance, standards, and mission work. He is impressed with my repentant, humble, and worshipful heart. He is impressed with the passion behind my service, not my service.

Am I a Cain or an Abel? Did I give the first fruits of my garden of my own labors? Or did I give the best I had of my flock in the pasture of God's grace out of love for Him?

Am I a Martha or a Mary? Did I work for the Lord's approval? Or did I grow in faith for the love of Jesus?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Relay for Life

My speech I gave on April 20, 2012 at the Luminary Ceremony at UWEC's Relay for Life:

My name is Rebekah Palmer and I am a nontraditional freshman here at University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. My battle with cancer is not only my story. It is the story of my family: my father and mother, my two brothers, and me.
Most of my memories start at the age of five, about the same time I started realizing waking up in the morning meant being tired still, nauseated, and throwing up. My parents had a name for what I was experiencing. The doctor’s called it Cystinosis or Fanconi Syndrome. For my parents, this meant trying to keep medicine doses in me every six hours of every day to slow down kidney failure.
When I was twelve years old, I needed a kidney transplant. My mother was pregnant with brother number two, James, so she was hoping my dad would donate. He and I were not the same blood type and brother number one, Evan, was too young at age ten. Donors did volunteer but health examinations were not passed. A waiting list could have meant years for a kidney so my mother gave birth on March 17, 1999 to James and three months later in June of 1999 gave me one of her kidneys.
The transplant was supposed to help my quality of life. Shortly after the operation I had a sore throat which antibiotics wouldn’t cure. This led to an ear infection and an ENT who pronounced a behavioral problem as there was no need for a twelve year old child to scream with clearly no fluid behind the ears. Like all people frustrated with medical doctors, we went to the chiropractor who felt enlarged lymph nodes. One day, when my screaming from pain got the best of my mother, she called the hospital who did my surgery. They took one look down my throat and took me right into biopsy- the whole left side of my mouth was caved in. The results? An egg-sized tumor, inoperable, cancerous, B-Cell Lymphoma, 3 months to 3 years maximum life. My parents took their faith in God and my brothers and loved me through six months of treatment. I was pronounced cancer free on my thirteenth birthday.
I graduated from high school in May 2005, then went on to Bible college and graduated May 2010. It was my Junior year of Bible college when I was faced with two dear friends- Mrs. Merriott the church secretary and Mrs. Gomez my Pastor’s wife- dying of cancer. I wrote in a journal looking back at how I felt during my cancer….
August 19, 2007- “The emotions of a terminal illness are so great. Especially one like cancer, to one just going into Junior High when they are diagnosed…you know you will be dead soon like your dead grandmother. What if you know no one in Heaven?  Will Jesus make you feel at home? Will anything remind you of the wonderful life you lived with family and friends? More time is spent in your Bible getting to know your new home, getting to know God better…
…And then you get pronounced survivor- it’s like coming back to earth. Heaven was a place you were supposed to go, all ready, and then vacation was cancelled. Life goes on and you must too…
…Looking back to your cancer experience is like looking back on a different person. Memories take you back to that person…doctor’s appointments and telling your story do too. It’s like another life and you have to live both lives now because that is who you are. If you live just the illness person you live alone. If you only live the new person you have no story. If you live both you live. You have a continuing story- your life…
….When I heard about Mrs. Merriott’s passing at 1:30 am I realized I had been praying for the family at that time. I feel bad inside; like I should be gone also….
Mrs, Gomez’ passing was more shock. She had just taught us at school. We will never have her for a class. I just saw her at a craft and bake sale…I feel left behind.”
Now I want you to think of your loved ones who have passed on or are survivors. They may not be perfect but they are or were a credit to the human spirit. I dedicated this reading from the Velveteen Rabbit to Mrs. Merriott and Mrs. Gomez and now I would like to dedicate this to the memories and lives of your loved ones: “What is Real? It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But those things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
That was Mrs. Merriott and Mrs. Gomez. They served and loved people and Jesus so much that they became worn and tired. They became Real the day they passed into eternity. To quote the Velveteen Rabbit once again…”You cannot become real unless uncomfortable things happen to you.”

Friday, April 13, 2012

National Poetry Month and This Year Also 100th Anniversary of Titanic Sinking

Here's my cryptic story mixing my Christian faith with the historical events of the Titanic disaster. A magazine had a picture of Captain E.J. Smith handing a life jacket to a small girl. The girl was looking up at him with trusting eyes and an expression of pain. I wrote my story from looking at the painting.


Titanic Sinks April 14, 2012: Kills a Whole Generation

     The wrinkled face of the ship’s Captain stared painfully into the wide eyes of the curly headed child, her nose red from the frigid air. “If only we had turned away from the ice berg faster, if only we had hit the tower of hard coldness head on, if only we had seen its desolate form a few minutes sooner, if only we had the binoculars in the crows nest….” the elderly man’s mind was drowning in “if only’s” and no solutions were surfacing. The words were not even audible. How do you explain the reasons for such dire circumstances to a baby girl?
     With all the reverence and authority the Captain’s uniform represented, the only hope he could offer the precious young soul by his side was a chunky, ragged life preserver: survival, really, not hope nor opportunity, but raw survival. Robed in a life vest, the ethereal form of the child was lifted into a tipsy lifeboat. “Lower away!” cried the Captain…
     …Surrounded by the screams of hundreds more souls unsaved by this peril writhing in the frozen waves that swallowed their floating palace, the lifeboat’s inhabitants lulled themselves into numbness. No more muffled cries or sobbing reached the stars, bright spots in the darkness, as the tangible gasps of fear from those in the water were silenced by death’s chilly fingers. Captain E.J. Smith’s eyes adjusted to the inky blackness of sea and sky and noted the flimsy speck of a boat where he placed the child before he succumbed to the pull of the ocean to resurface no more. The rosy cheeked cherub of a girl that he placed in a lifeboat was now white with pain and coldness…
     …As her stiff legs moved slowly across the deck of the rescue ship only one word was in her mind: why? If the grownups were supposed to know more, supposed to protect the young and helpless, why? If she was supposed to go on, become a grown up, and let her children know about hope, why?
     The good of one generation can build a grand structure for humanity to live in and as it floats along the ocean of life, pride and greed and other wrong doings will rear their ugly heads. If the crew on board is prepared and loving, lives will be spared the harshness of reality. Many times the authority around us is preoccupied and full of pride because of position. Bad decisions are made and the innocent die for the guilty. Such was the tide of times when Jesus Christ came on board and offered Himself for all guilty mankind that we might obtain Heaven.
     Life can be so cruel because of sin, and not just your own personal sin but the sin of all mankind. When men make bad decisions, the innocent are often the object of their bad mistakes. Getting caught in someone else’s sin destroys hope and love and faith. Just because an innocent is caught in another’s wrong doing does not give excuse for them to continue the trend of hurting those in their path. This will only cause the cycle again: the innocent become the guilty and the guilty hurt the innocent. Live right and do right and love and hope and faith will be passed on to the next boat load of humanity.


And here's my soon to be published poem in honor of national poetry:
Nostalgia
Open the cedar chest
Memories inside
The book my grandma read to me
The rock I found by the seaside
Pictures of my childhood house,
That tire swing beneath the tree
The bonnets and pinafores I used to wear
A drawing done by me
Elementary and high school awards and pins
Letters and poems written by friends
I just want to lock my whole being
In the cedar chest
And never want my memories to end… 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A little poetry...

Daydreams from my Doll Cabinet

You probably won’t believe me,
My parents never did….
I even told my best friend, Linda,
And she thought it was a fib!

You see, I was sleeping in my bed one morn,
And I suddenly awoke…
When to my great amazement,
One of my doll’s spoke!

The doll that had begun to speak gave me quite a shock,
Her eyes began to move both ways and her legs began to walk!
She climbed out of my cabinet case and walked right to my bed.
My doll began to grow life size and looked human instead.

Suddenly, with a whish and a vroom,
My doll took my hand and we flew out of the room!
We flew back behind my house to a forested place,
 Where a little girl was getting ready to give chase

To a little boy who held a doll over his head, shouting,
“You can’t catch me!” I will win this race!
“Stop!” I tried to scream but the little boy only continued to yell,
As he jumped over a puddle and instead of landed, fell.

I reached my hand back over to pull my live doll along
But when my fingers touched the air I realized she was gone!
I followed the little girl to the little boy’s side,
And watched with great surprise,

As the doll she lifted from the mud
Was just my dolls original size!
Then I looked at the little girl
And smiled knowingly

I guess I should know better when I decide to dream.

Collection of Seasons
Winter
Swirl, flurry, white
Covers all the earth
Cinnamon, sweet, warm
Houses filled with cheer
Slick, hard, cold
The frozen earth sleeps

Spring
No longer dead.
Sweetness in the air.
Tiny, green buds.
Moldy, dead leaves-swept away.
New life, new love.
Fresh, new start.

Summer
Sticky, wet, clear
Floating in the air
Tye dye, sparkle, splash
Landed in my lap.
Giggle, chuckle, laugh
Summer is here at last.

Autumn
Crunch, crisp, brisk
Wind whips my hair
Red, yellow, orange
Leaves fill my yard
Erasers, pencils, books
School has commenced.





Friday, February 3, 2012

Remembering a Persuasive Essay

Essay on Paul the Apostle

This is a persuasive essay that was assigned for Advanced English in college. I chose the subject of persuading someone to be a Christian. It was written in 2007:


The prisoners were all huddled in the center of the damp dungeon. The cold and wet pierced their broken bodies so that the group of men seemed a moving mass of tattered material. Bones of small rodents littered the floor and cobwebs caked the stone of the cells. The putrid smell of decaying waste filled the muggy air. Suddenly, footsteps were heard on the cobblestone hallway leading to the prison door. The fumbling of a key in the lock and the creaking of the rusty hinges brought the men stumbling to their feet. The guard who opened the door shined his lantern in every dirt smeared face. Time seemed to freeze until finally the guard yanked a small man to his feet and dragged him out of the dungeon, slamming the door behind them. The prisoner’s name was Paul. He had been captive in Felix’s castle for two years because he had caused an uproar in Jerusalem. (Acts 24:27) Many hearings were held in Jerusalem but the dissension between the Jewish scribes was so great they had sent him to Caesarea unto Felix. Paul was not threatening in any way, he just knew the truth. He not only knew the truth but had been an eye witness of the truth. The problem was he not only proclaimed his testimony to his own people the Jews but was now spreading the truth to Gentiles. His plea: All men everywhere should repent because Jesus who they crucified was now alive.
Paul’s life was not overtly depressing or one with a lack of opportunities. Paul was reared the best of the best, a Pharisee among Pharisees to his Jewish brethren. Why then would Paul completely change his life and preach that others do the same? Our lives will be the same today as they were a year ago except for the people we meet and the books we read. Paul discovered the truth about living in a Person, the very Truth itself. Paul had an experience with Jesus Christ.
All men everywhere should repent because they have broken the laws of Jesus Christ, this Person of truth, which is God himself. In Genesis 2:16, 17, God gave the first man on earth, Adam, one command, “…But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it…” Man’s response was in chapter 3:6, 7 “…she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
Repentance should be every man’s priority because they have put a gap between themselves and the God who created them because of sin (their disobedience). Genesis 3:8 talks about God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. After man sinned, God drove the man and his wife from the sweet fellowship of the garden in Genesis 3:24. More than 400 years later, God still talked to his people through a mediator. Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt and became God’s spokesperson to them. In Exodus 19:3-8 God asks Moses to tell the people he wants to be their God if they will but obey his commandments.
Every man who has character or who needs character should repent because the righteous God-man, Jesus Christ, died in their place. Ecclesiastes 12:13 says “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Romans 5:14, 15 also says, “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.”
Lastly, men should repent of their sin because their own works cannot take them to Heaven but to a place designed for Satan and his angels (Hell). Ephesians 2:8, 9 “For by grace are ye saved though faith…Not of works, lest any man should boast.” God’s Word also tells us a true story in Luke 16:19-31 about a rich man who died and a poor man. The rich man, who no doubt worked his whole life to be rich, lifted up his eyes in torment in Hell while the poor man Lazarus rested in Abraham’s bosom (Heaven). Paul’s life story was similar in that he worked. His life was good except for one thing: the Christians. Paul decided he would persecute them so they would no longer be in existence. But while on a journey to a town where Christians resided, Paul met the One Christians were living for. Paul met Jesus Christ and his sins against him were forgiven. Paul turned his back on his life as a Pharisee and became God’s spokesperson, often suffering the same things he himself had afflicted on Christian people. Paul traveled many places preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When Paul visited Jerusalem, some Jews were disgruntled because they claimed Greeks had been in their temple. A mob gathered around Paul and soldiers were called in. The Jews cried for his scourging but the soldiers were afraid because he was a Roman citizen. Paul was brought before the Sadducees and Pharisees (Acts 23:7) but was sent to Caesarea because a forty man band vowed to neither eat nor drink until Paul was killed. At Caesarea, Paul was accused of profaning the temple by the orator Tertullus. (Acts 24:6) Felix was afraid of Paul’s testimony and Paul became bound in the castle. Festus came to visit Felix which resulted in Paul’s two year imprisonment for the Jews entertainment. (Acts 24:27) Paul was called then to a court of hearing because of his appeal to Caesar. (Acts 25:9-12)
King Agrippa sat alongside Festus in the court of hearing. Paul stood before them after he was cleaned from wallowing in the dungeon. He squinted his eyes as little beams of sunlight shined through the castle walls. He had just asked the King a serious question, “Believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.” A heavy silence filled the court as the weight of Paul’s testimony rang in everyone’s ears. The King’s answer came crushing down on Paul’s heart, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”