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Witness For Justice #862 - It is up to us to stop gun violence

Truly God is good to the upright, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked. Psalm 73:1-3

"The worst mass shooting in modern American history."

We’ve heard these words before. We’ve heard them far too often only to have the next mass shooting supersede the former. During the night, people attending an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas unexpectedly found themselves assaulted by gunfire from the 32nd floor of the Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Early reports indicate this violence is the work of a lone, 64-year-old, white gunman equipped with multiple assault weapons. It is too early to know whether we will ever have knowledge of his provocation for this deadly act. It is too early to know what life experiences he may have had, or what propaganda he may have absorbed, that might have moved him from hateful thought to hateful action.

But what we do already know, even if we refuse to admit it, is that this lone gunman was able to execute at least 59 people, and wound over 500 more, because our nation’s absolute refusal to enact responsible gun legislation provides easy access to high-powered assault weapons used to kill human beings.

According to data gathered by the CDC, on average there are 12,000 gun homicides a year in the United States, and for every one person killed with a gun, two more are injured. What we know is that of the guns sold in the U.S. one in five are sold without background checks.

What we also know is that soon the predictable rhetoric exhorting the false notion that guns do not kill people will begin again, and gun lobbyists will line up to offer condolences for lives lost without offering proposals of any comprehensive gun reform to lessen the probability of this type of massacre ever happening again. What we know is we will spend our time analyzing the mental health of the shooter while excusing the moral decay of this nation.

In Psalm 73, the psalmist cries out for relief from oppressors while simultaneously acknowledging the temptation to stray from those things we know to be morally just. In this Psalm we are reminded of the necessity to heed the teaching and the love of the Lord, lest we become adorned with pride and clothed in violence.

My heart weeps for those who are waking this morning to notifications of the deaths and injuries of loved ones needlessly gunned down last night. My heart weeps for a nation that will once again gather to mourn the dead without committing to the deeper work of sensible gun reform. May the groaning pains of this nation lift us up from our praying knees to call on our policymakers to demand legislative changes to gun laws in this country. May we stop wringing our hands in helpless disbelief and satiating our hearts with false narratives of lone gunmen. Because until we do all we can to prevent such mass shootings, no gunman acts alone. From Sandy Hook to Texas to Charleston to Virginia Tech to Pulse to Las Vegas…Lord, hear our cries and compel us to act.

Visit our website for eight actions that you can begin today.



“What a Tragedy It Would Be…!”

To have gone through your whole life and at the end of it, look back, and realize that you spent all your time, money and energy on things that were pointless and had no value or worth. [Mark 8:36]. I tell you, we should all pray as Moses did in [Psalms 90] for God’s help to understand the great value of our limited time and how to make the most of each day. Of all that Moses could have asked, he simply asked, “Lord, teach us to make the most out of everyday... teach us to number our days.” Moses understood that his time here on earth was short; soon it would come to an end. Moses didn’t want to waste his time; he didn’t want to waste his life –So he cried out, “Lord, teach us to number our days... Interestingly, in the New Testament, the apostle Paul says, “So be careful how [you] live, not as fools but as those who are wise…” [Ephesians 5:15-16]. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” [James 4:13-15].

Listen, over and over again, the Bible exhorts us to redeem the time. Like Moses, we have to learn to number our days. We must not waste our time, opportunities, or our life . Don’t be like Belshazzar who in [Daniel 5:1-31] was living for this life. Living to gratify his flesh with absolutely no thought for eternity. Partying, playing, and living for the good times, never realizing that there will come a day when the fun will end. He never stopped and asked this one important question: What will happen when the party’s over? I tell you Belshazzar is an example of a wasted life. He died a sinner’s death and went to Hell. And he is still there today, [Luke 16:19-31]. Things did not have to turn out the way they did for Belshazzar. He knew the truth about God, yet he failed to act on it.

I want you to know that the story of Belshazzar is a story of one tragedy piled on top of another. But, his story does not have to be your story. The ending to your story has yet to be written. Your story does not have to be one of a wasted life, the wrath of God and a wretched death. Your story can have a happy ending. I am asking you to make sure of your relationship with Christ. Christ demands more than just churchgoing, more than just baptism, more than just being good. He demands your total surrender—the surrender of your mind, your heart, your body, every part of you—to the Lordship of Christ. If you have a doubt in your heart that you have totally surrendered to Christ, do it now. Make sure of your salvation. Make certain that you know Christ. Repent of your sins. Confess your sins, acknowledge them and turn from them. Receive Jesus Christ into your heart by faith, making a total commitment to Him, and to Him alone. End your life well, to the glory of God.

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; what shall it be for you and I if we follow suit….[2Peter 2:4-8].

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, [and] that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he [is] thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.[Deuteronomy 30: 19-20]


Faith Leaders Asked to Deliver Non-Violence Messages During 5th Annual Week of Non-Violence, Justice and Opportunities, Oct. 15-23, 2017

2017 marks the 5th Annual Week of Non-Violence, Justice and Opportunities Initiative, October 15-23, 2017, organized by Black Women for Positive Change (BW4PC) and a network of partners. Faith leaders are asked to deliver messages of non-violence during worship services to promote anger management, conflict resolution and non-violence. The Honorary Chair of the Week is Harry Belafonte. Legendary Civil Rights leader and Honorary Co-Chair Rev. James M. Lawson Jr., states, "According to the four Gospels, Jesus of Nazareth was a non-violence soul force athlete. Why has not Christianity followed the one they call Christ? During the 2017 Week of Non-Violence I urge my fellow Ordained Ministers to preach and teach how Jesus calls the earth to a non-violent life where soul force helps us solve our violent human issues."

Diane Powell, Chair of the Pittsburgh Chapter of BW4PC says, "We're not trying to dictate to faith leaders. Rather, we're asking faith leaders to utilize weekly messages as important opportunities to highlight the ills of gun violence, extremism and hatred and how these things threaten to destroy the soul of our country." Marcus Hughes, Chair, of the Millennial Committee said, "We are asking Faith Leaders to lead Prayer Chains with their congregations outside Faith Institutions to ring bells, and pray for peace in our communities. This will be a tangible demonstration of love, peace and unity. We also invite faith leaders to a Intergenerational Rally, Washington, D.C. Saturday, October 21, 2017, 10am - 2 pm." (See attached flyer)

Rabbi Batya Glazer, Director of Social Justice and Interfaith Initiatives, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington and Member of BW4PC stated, "Once again we are reminded the weapons are tools of war and God's vision for the world is a vision of peace. It is our responsibility to create a world which reflects this vision, where we can reflect the mission stated in the Book of Psalms, 'Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!' This is the mission of the 2017 Week of Non-Violence, Justice and Opportunities." BW4PC Chaplain Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds said, "I echo the prophetic words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said, 'We have a choice today. Nonviolent co-existence or violent annihilation within and without our nation. This may be mankind's last chance to choose between chaos and community.' Non-violence is not an option, it is a matter of life and death, the only way to put an end to the steady preaching of eulogies for those who died too soon or too young."

Honorary Co-Chairs are Lucy McBath, Spokeswoman, Moms Demand Action for Gun Violence Prevention; Kemba Smith, Social Justice Advocate; Former Congresswoman Diane Watson (CA); Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Chair, SCLC; Chris Daniel, Project Management Expert; Michelle Bernard, MSNBC Anchor and Travis Winkey, Fashion Industry Executive. Partners are National Black Nurses Association; National Organization of Black Law Enforcement (NOBLE); Next Generation Action Network; Highmark, Inc., Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America; United Steelworkers Union; Wednesday Clergy Fellowship; Masjid Muhammad, the Nations Mosque; Holman United Methodist Church, Los Angeles; 100 Fathers Inc.; DC Alliance of Concerned Men; Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington; D.C., DC Cable TV; One Common Unity (partial listing). For more information go to www.

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