Family unity: A Christian alternative to orphanages

By Nermien Riad, Op-ed Contributor

Earlier this week I read Elli Oswald’s insightful piece on the prevalence of sexual abuse in orphanages. Her writing was spurred by the horrific news that an American missionary had been convicted of sexually abusing children at an orphanage in Kenya. As Ms. Oswald wrote, it’s a disturbing truth that even Christian institutions that we would hope to be safe can be perverted into havens for abusers, particularly when strong oversight is missing.

Courtesy of Coptic Orphans

What are we, as people of faith, called upon to do in the face of this kind of abuse? I would argue that the most crucial thing each of us can do is lift up better alternatives. It’s not enough to just criticize the orphanage system in general, from the stressed-out, underpaid social workers, to many Christians’ noble and honest attempts to care for kids in a group setting. Something more must be done. An alternative must exist. Let’s call it family-based care. The core idea is to keep families together whenever possible.

I am a first-generation Coptic Christian immigrant, and I first volunteered at an orphanage in my parents’ homeland of Egypt in 1988. Many aspects of life in the orphanage were shocking to me, but the most surprising thing I discovered was that many of the children there still had living adult family members who were simply too poor to care for them. 

I went on the found the Christian nonprofit Coptic Orphans on the belief that orphanages should be used only as a last resort. If the loss of a father traps a family in extreme poverty, as is too often the case, the next step should be a search for all available resources that could keep the child with his or her mother and close relatives. What do the mother and child need? Food, medical care, housing, education? We must provide those with the goal of keeping the family together, so that the children can thrive in the right environment. Independent research has shown that most of their needs can be better met within the family.

How do I know this works? I’ve seen it. By the grace of God, Coptic Orphans is blessed to work with over 550 loving church servants who regularly visit the homes of each of the nearly 11,000 orphans in our program. They cultivate a personal relationship with each child, treating them with respect and dignity. These servants assess each child’s needs — including how they can be more connected to their family and their Christian faith — and strive to provide for them, relying on the generous support of the Egyptian Christian diaspora. Education, including individual tutoring and accelerated literacy courses, is the key tool used to help orphans break the cycle of poverty.

Naturally, this model isn’t going to work every single time. But most of the time, it’s the best way to preserve the child’s emotional stability and ability to succeed in life.

I’m grateful for Elli Oswald’s effort to shed light on abuse at orphanages, and I pray that alternative models of care become available to children all over the world. Scaling up the family-based model to serve the enormous number of orphans around the globe would be a challenge. But it’s important that alternatives exist. For that to happen, the conversation has to begin somewhere. I’m glad that it’s happening on these pages.

Nermien Riad is the founder and executive director of Coptic Orphans, an award-winning international Christian development organization founded in 1988. Coptic Orphans unlocks the God-given potential of the most vulnerable children in Egypt, empowering them to break the cycle of poverty and become change-makers in their communities through the power of education. 

https://www.christianpost.com/voices/family-unity-a-christian-alternative-to-orphanages.html


God Can Function in Dysfunction

by Skip Heitzig | January 19, 2021

The term “dysfunctional family” came into vogue in the ’70s and ’80s to describe families that struggle to deal with one another and that produce problems that follow children into adulthood. However, dysfunction may be more pervasive than you think. It’s said George Bernard Shaw once quipped, “I don’t know if there are men on the moon, but if there are they must be using the earth as their lunatic asylum.” Maybe you read that and think, He must’ve known my family.

Genesis features a prominent tale of family dysfunction among Jacob, his two wives Rachel and Leah, his father-in-law Laban, and Laban’s sons (see Genesis 29-31). There may have been a little bit of fudge in this family, but there were many more nuts. Jacob had deceived his own father and brother and faced a comeuppance from Laban, who tricked Jacob into marrying both of his daughters and kept him on the payroll for fourteen years to do it.

This particular dysfunctional family points to a greater truth: every family is dysfunctional. Does that sound harsh? Let me explain. Because of sin, we all operate at a certain level of dysfunction, especially compared to how God means for us to live. In some families, of course, it’s worse. Dysfunctional people attract other dysfunctional people, which compounds any issue. Jacob and Laban were two peas in a defective pod, but the reason we have their story is so that we can see how God worked despite their issues.

Jacob, who swindled his brother Esau’s birthright and tricked his aged father into giving him Esau’s blessing, left home, thinking he could escape his family’s issues. He wasn’t the first to do this, nor the last to learn that running away doesn’t work, because wherever you go, there you are. You bring yourself, problems and all. Yet Jacob, we read in the New Testament, ended up being described as a faithful standard bearer for God (see Hebrews 11:20-21). In spite of his messed-up behavior, God still had plans for him.

Every family is affected by sin. That’s because we are all broken, flawed individuals who need a Savior. Jesus spoke of the people He came to save as poor, brokenhearted, captive, blind, and oppressed (see Luke 4:16-19). We are inherently dysfunctional. But here’s the good news: God can function in our dysfunction.

In the midst of family squabbles, God came to Jacob and said, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you” (Genesis 31:3). God blessed Jacob while he worked for Laban, and when Jacob was mature enough to see God’s hand at work, God brought him into a new season. That’s because the perfect God works through imperfect people. Admittedly, there’s no other kind of people for Him to use, but use us He does.

You’ve heard it said that you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. However, you can choose to adjust to your family. And you can choose to add positively to your family. In fact, the only way to fail when it comes to dysfunction is to take failure as the final word. Let God have the final say, and watch Him work even in the midst of family issues.

http://www.connectwithskip.com/devomail

Behold Two Paintings That Show A Miraculous Christmas Meeting

Two historic women, one old and one young, were the first to welcome and praise the Savior of the world. And two glorious paintings communicate the beauty of these wondrous events.

Behold Two Paintings That Show A Miraculous Christmas Meeting

Dec 23, 2019

If quizzed “Who was the first person to welcome Jesus and announce his lordship?” how would you answer? It’s an important question when we consider that this man from the nowhere town of Nazareth is the most consequential individual ever.

His teaching and followers across the globe radically transformed world culture, toppled great powers without ever firing a shot, established the world of humanitarianism and accessible medical care for commoners, inspired the scientific method, and enlivened the world movements for justice, human dignity, and individual freedom. He literally divides history and is responsible for the founding of the largest, most diverse collection of people around some basic ideals.

This all started with two women no one had ever heard of, whose life-altering experiences are now illustrated in two exquisite works of art. Mary, a humble, young virgin, by tradition about 14 years old at the time, is told by an angel she will give birth to the very Son of God. At this striking news, she “arose and went with haste” to see her cherished relative, Elizabeth, some 90 miles away.

Elizabeth was in the sixth month of her own miraculous pregnancy, for she was well past child-bearing years. Of course, her baby was Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist.

The beauty of this part of the Christmas story is the miracle that happens the moment Mary enters Elizabeth’s home. Christ is recognized, received, proclaimed, and worshiped, and Mary and Elizabeth are not the only two involved in the divine drama here. We read in Luke 1:41-44:

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

This is a major event in Jesus’ story and thus the Christian church, but we seldom appreciate it as such. It is the first time Jesus is both proclaimed and worshiped as God! This was done, we are told, “in a loud voice.” And Christ the Lord is worshiped by two people at the same time — one very old, one super young.

The First to Proclaim Jesus’ Lordship

Elizabeth proclaims the blessedness of Jesus and his mother. The simple but world-changing confession, “Jesus is Lord,” was the first and most basic way Christians began to proclaim their faith and greet one another in the church’s early years. It was the first Christian creed, and Elizabeth was the first to proclaim it, long before Christmas morning. Think on that for a moment.

The second greeting is even more incredible and speaks to an intimate relationship in the Savior’s life. Baby John leaps for joy, literally, at the coming of the Savior. He does so as a child in the darkness of his mother’s womb. (Yes, Christianity has profoundly strong words for the humanity and dignity of the unborn child in John and Jesus’ remarkable in utero contribution to the good news.)

John did not start serving as the forerunner of Christ when preaching about his coming in the desert. It was here, in the womb. And it was two very common mothers, Elizabeth and Mary, who experienced this remarkable, history-changing event. It happened in distinctly womanly interiors of their hearts and wombs, and in the humbleness of Elizabeth’s home. Humble motherhood and the intimate bond only mothers can share is the human font of the Christian story.

To be sure, the Christian church, which is often incorrectly charged with being sexist by people who know little of its actual story, is founded upon two women being the first to welcome and praise the Savior. (Remember as well, it was a small group of women who announced the “second birth” of the Savior, if you will, at his resurrection.) What other major faith or philosophy has women playing such a significant role in its founding? I cannot think of one.

Two famous paintings communicate the beauty of these wondrous events, “The Annunciation” and “The Visitation.” The first African-American painter to achieve significant critical acclaim, Henry Ossawa Tanner, created both. He is a remarkable man and one of my favorite artists.

Christmas paintings by Henry O. Tanner

‘The Annunciation’

One of the things I like best in Tanner’s two works here is that he shows us the simple humanness of Mary and Elizabeth. They are not supernatural, other-worldly, saintly subjects in the typical sense. Tanner’s images show us the regular, everyday women they were.

Christmas Painting The Annunciation

He will not allow us to miss the youth, innocence, and commonness of our Mary. Tanner doesn’t give her a facial expression communicating anything obvious. Is she scared? Stunned? Joyful? Solemn? His Mary is more complex than many artists’ as is undoubtably true of the actual event. Tanner has her communicating all these feelings and struggles at once.

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with this most startling news, he found a teenage girl living a typical teenage girl’s life. The greatest royal announcement in the history of the universe takes place in this teen girl’s humble bedroom, illuminated by the majesty of God’s oracle. That is precisely what Tanner gives us, and it’s just stunning. Also, his technique in presenting the folds and flow of her gown and bed coverings is nothing short of magnificent.

‘The Visitation’

As wonderful as Tanner’s “Annunciation” is, his “Visitation” is even more striking.

Just look at it and consider what’s happening here.

When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Christmas painting The Visitation

Tanner allows us personally to witness this event. Elizabeth most likely did not have any notice that Mary was coming or the grand news that prompted the visit. She sits at the table on an ordinary day, when she hears Mary possibly utter what any of us likely would as she comes to the door, “Liz, you home?”

Elizabeth’s divine surprise and wonder is dramatically communicated simply in her uplifted hands. It’s a glorious device. Are they hands of praise or surprise? Certainly both at the same time.

This simple scene of a surprise family visitation and domesticity is the first scene of Jesus being worshiped. Reflect on this a moment. The event we are witnessing right here in this kitchen is the initiation of what the rest of history and eternity will be about, the worship of the second person of the divine Trinity: Jesus, the Father’s beloved Son.

The interchange between these two women in this domestic setting is unspeakably profound. We typically move over it far too easily, wanting to get onto what we see as the center of the Christmas story, the manger.

This exchange is also vitally important because it is the first revelation of Christ beyond Mary’s heart and womb. It is the precise second and scene that commenced the worship of the Son of the God that will continue without end into eternity, the story that encapsulates a Christian’s whole reality.

P.S. Tanner Lived in Philadelphia

I knew Tanner lived in Philadelphia for some time, so on a business trip there some years ago, I wanted to see if his house was discoverable. It was, and I found it, right around the corner from John Coltrane’s home. How cool is that?

Henry O. Tanner house

Glenn T. Stanton is a Federalist senior contributor who writes and speaks about family, gender, and art, is the director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family, and is the author of the brand new “The Myth of the Dying Church” (Worthy, 2019). He blogs at glenntstanton.com.

https://thefederalist.com/2019/12/23/behold-two-paintings-that-show-a-miraculous-christmas-meeting/

117k people express need for Jesus after hearing Gospel through ministry’s virtual Easter events

By Leonardo Blair, Christian Post Reporter

Despite a global lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, some 117,000 people from around the world expressed an interest in committing their faith in Jesus after hearing the Gospel through virtual events hosted by evangelist Nick Hall and his young-adult ministry Pulse during the week of Easter.

Pulse led two major events during the week, namely, Leader Check-In and a Good Friday service that featured several high-profile Christian speakers, including Francis Chan, founder of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, who now lives in Hong Kong.

“I’m guessing this is the strangest Good Friday you’ve ever had,” Chan told viewers during his quarantined Good Friday presentation broadcast in nearly 100 countries, including Japan, China, Nepal, Thailand, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Ukraine, and Russia, and was translated into 40 different languages.

“You’re used to being in a church building with a crowd of people celebrating the cross of Jesus, but I actually think that there’s something fitting about you being alone because most of you are watching this by yourself or maybe with your family in just a small group,” he said, noting that being alone can be a golden opportunity to connect with God.

“That’s why there’s something good about you being alone right now. It’s one thing to yearn for Him and scream for Him when everyone else is there because the crowd may move you to that. But this Good Friday [it’s good] for you to have some quiet and some isolation so that the core of your being, not just your lips, the core of your being will connect with Him,” Chan said.

Other speakers featured during the Good Friday service were: renowned apologist Ravi Zacharias, bestselling author Max Lucado, NFL Super Bowl Champion and Hall of Fame Coach Tony Dungy, and the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez. Worship was courtesy of Christian singers Lauren Daigle, Michael W. Smith, Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes.

“We were literally getting smartphone photos from all over the world — from Nigeria to India and China — of families gathering in their living rooms, around 18-inch cathode-ray TVs, laptops and HD screens watching our services,” Hall said in a release shared with The Christian Post about the collective reaction to the event. “The doors to our church buildings may have been closed, but the church has not closed. We are living through a Great Quarantine Revival, and I think God is just getting started.”

At the Leader Check-In event hosted on April 8, ministry leaders and pastors were encouraged ahead of the Easter weekend. Bible teachers and bestselling authors such as Ann Voskamp, Beth Moore, Chan, David Platt, Rodriguez, Priscilla Shirer and Lecrae offered practical advice anchored in the Word of God.

“This Easter may have been the most significant in a century,” Hall said. “The fields have never been more ripe for harvest as people search for hope and meaning during this global pandemic. It may very well be the greatest opportunity we’ve had to share the Gospel — but we will miss it if we don’t care for our pastors and ministers now.”

https://www.christianpost.com/news/117k-people-express-need-for-jesus-after-hearing-gospel-through-ministrys-virtual-easter-events.html

Komodo Dragon Genome Bites Evolution

BY JEFFREY P. TOMKINS, PH.D. * | SEPTEMBER 10, 2019

Komodo dragons are the largest lizards in the world and a top predator on the remote Indonesian islands they inhabit. Their sensory system allows them to detect large prey, such as deer, over seven miles away. Although Komodo dragons are cold-blooded reptiles, they can rapidly increase their metabolism to near-mammalian levels for amazing bursts of speed and even long strenuous runs. Because of their highly venomous bites, all they need is one good chomp on their victim’s leg or foot and the poisoned prey will soon be the lizard’s lunch.

The Komodo dragon’s unusual traits have made scientists eager to sequence its DNA to see what sorts of genes it contains and how it compares to other creatures. This sequencing was discussed in a recent scientific publication.1

When the researchers compared the newly sequenced Komodo dragon genes that were common among reptiles, they found many startling traits specific to the Komodo dragon and many of these genetic novelties were associated with its remarkable mammal-like ability to exhibit high levels of sustained physical activity. Because the gene variations are unique to the Komodo dragon and very different from other reptiles, the genes were deemed to be the result of “positive selection”—a magic evolutionary phrase.2

A creature’s environment has no God-like ability to create new useful genetic information for complex multi-genic traits like those associated with complex metabolic functions. Evolutionists basically substitute the magic words “positive selection” or “natural selection” for something only an omnipotent God can do.

The researchers also used other magic words to explain their non-evolutionary findings as noted in this comment from a press interview in which they stated, “Our analysis showed that in Komodo dragons, many of the genes involved in how cells make and use energy had changed rapidly in ways that increase the lizard’s aerobic capacity.”2 In this case, the term “changed rapidly” means the genes were so different and unique that the idea of random mutational processes combined with the mystical paradigm of nature supposedly “selecting” for them could not account for the great differences observed.

It’s also highly noteworthy that the researchers reported actually throwing out data in their selection analysis where the variation was deemed “unreasonably high.”The data was actually manipulated to show less variability and, therefore, more in line with the evolutionary model. The stark reality is that these genes—specific to the Komodo dragon—were engineered to produce their unique God-given traits. No sign of evolution existed in the data even though the researchers cherry-picked it to favor evolution.

The bigger evolutionary (phylogenetic) analysis the researchers did comparing the Komodo dragon DNA to other reptiles, birds, and mammals also made no evolutionary sense—the patterns and groupings were totally different than predicted by standard evolutionary models. By all accounts, the data showed that Komodo dragons were created uniquely with their own specific God-given engineering.

References
1. Lind, A. L. et al. 2019. Genome of the Komodo dragon reveals adaptations in the cardiovascular and chemosensory systems of monitor lizards. Nature Ecology & Evolution. 3: 1241-1252. DOI: 10.1038/s41559-019-0945-8.
2. Guliuzza, R. 2010. Unmasking Evolution’s Magic Words. Acts & Facts. 39 (3): 10-11.
3. Gladstone Institutes. 2019. Komodo dragon genome reveals clues about its evolution. Phys.org Posted July 29, 2019. Accessed August 15, 2019.

https://www.icr.org/article/komodo-dragon-genome-bites-evolution/

10 Things You Should Know About Anglicanism

By Gerald R McDermott -April 2, 2020

10 Things You Should Know About Anglicanism

1. It didn’t start with the divorce of Henry VIII.

Actually, it started in the very first centuries of Christianity when Romans settled Britain and Christians came as soldiers, administrators and traders. The first mention we have of English Christianity comes from Tertullian who wrote in 200 AD that “parts of England were conquered by Christ.”

Very soon, Christians in Britain developed their own way of worshiping the triune God, involving attention to the beauty of the created world and missions. The Celtic church in England differed with Rome over many points of worship, and in the fourteenth century Oxford priest, John Wycliffe, called the pope “a poisonous weed” and denied transubstantiation. All of these differences with the Roman church were centuries before Henry VIII.

2. By the fourteenth Century, England had developed a distinctive spirituality.

It was rooted in the synthesis of doctrine and prayer taught by two Christian greats: Augustine of Hippo—the great theologian whose Confessions are an extended prayer—and Benedict of Nursia, whose monasteries modeled the Christian life as work amidst liturgical prayer. By the fourteenth century, English Christianity had long been influenced by both Augustine’s “pessimistic” emphasis on sin and Benedict’s “optimistic” stress on joy in common life.

3. Anglicanism is not just for the English or for Americans.

Today the majority of Anglicans are in Africa and other regions of the Global South. Each province uses its own culture to worship God with the Book of Common Prayer and the orthodoxy of the Thirty-Nine Articles.

4. There are more Anglicans in church on Sunday morning in Nigeria than in all the British Isles and North America combined.

5. With a membership of about 85 million, Anglicanism is the third-largest Christian communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

6. Anglicans consider their way to be a via media.

This means the “middle way” between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. They think they have the best of both—the worship of the catholic tradition of the undivided Church of the first millennium, plus the emphasis on preaching and justification by faith from the Reformation.

7. The Anglican Book of Common Prayer is widely regarded as the most beautiful worship in the English language.

The “sombrely magnificent prose” (Eamon Duffy) of the Book of Common Prayer has attracted legions of admirers all around the world. It reflects the liturgical genius of Thomas Cranmer, but it also provides moderns access to the worship of the early church. Cranmer, and the many other hands that produced the Book of Common Prayer, were adapting a basic catholic pattern of worship derived from the first few centuries of the Church that then developed over the course of the Middle Ages.

8. Anglicans worship not only with liturgy (ordered prayer that changes every Sunday of the seasons of the church year), but also with sacraments.

These are the two Dominical (commanded by the Dominus, or Lord, of the Church, Jesus) sacraments of baptism and Eucharist, and the five “sacraments of the church”—confirmation, Holy Orders, marriage, absolution, and healing of the sick.

9. Anglicans believe that in the Eucharist, they receive the real body and blood of the risen Christ.

This differs with the Catholic view of transubstantiation, which holds that the substance of the bread and wine are changed so that they are no longer bread and wine. Anglicans believe the bread and wine remain as bread and wine, but that in a mysterious way, the body and blood of Christ are also conveyed through the sacrament.

10. While Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) was the English Reformation’s greatest liturgist, Richard Hooker (1554-1600) is widely regarded as its greatest theologian.

His Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity are a comprehensive treatment of life and worship on the via media.

Content adapted from The Future of Orthodox Anglicanism by Gerald R. McDermott. This article first appeared on Crossway.org; used with permission.

Original here

VIDEO Thunderous Applause—We Can Kill Our Children And Change Our Sex

January 8, 2021  by Shane Idleman

“THE WICKED FREELY PARADE AND PRANCE ABOUT WHILE EVIL IS PRAISED THROUGHOUT THE LAND” (PSALM 12:8).

Almost a year ago, I wrote an article with a similar title when the so-called Reproductive Health Act passed in New York with thunderous applause in the state Senate chamber. I could not believe what I was reading: People actually applauded the slaughtering of children. Was I having a dream . . . a nightmare? Was this real?

As I’m writing this, the final results of the Georgia election and the presidency are still up in the air. Regardless of your political views, we should all be heartbroken at the state of our nation today. For example, by supporting certain candidates, many are cheering that healthy 9-month-old babies can be removed limb-by-limb. You may say, “But I’m not cheering abortion.” If you support those who support it, you are—let that sink in.

You’re also cheering that children can be influenced by transgenderism and be encouraged to change their sex (which is not possible by the way). Cheering that Congress will attempt to remove all male pronouns. The list of insanity that you’re supporting is endless.

Granted, these issues have been in America for years, but there is a huge difference between a politician who encourages perversion and murder, and one who fights against it. And I’m getting very frustrated at those who say, “But the Republicans haven’t done much to stop abortion either.” The reason is that adversaries in the House and Senate have fought for abortion rights. The enemy of our soul has done a great job preventing the shutting down of abortion mills and silencing churches via silent pastors. The view that Republicans haven’t done much is really just an excuse and a straw man argument.

I’m not writing this from a political party standpoint—I’m writing this from a God-fearing standpoint. When human life is devalued, atrocities such as the Holocaust, slavery, sex-trafficking, and abortion occur. God help us when we ignore our calling to confront evil. But how did we get here and what can we do?

THE CHURCH MUST BE REVIVED

As I said in my recent sermon and article, both titled, The Great Reset of the Church: In the same way that Jesus warned the lukewarm church in Laodicea, He warns us today: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot . . . So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” (See Revelation 3:15-17.)

I believe that the church in America resembles the Laodicean church more than at any other time in our history. Sadly, conviction is replaced with complacency, and God’s glory is often replaced with gimmicks and marketing ploys. Just look at the top sermons viewed on social media today. The preachers are motivational speakers, not voices “crying in the wilderness.” It’s about being bigger and better instead of holier and humble.

Like many today, the Laodiceans thought that they were in the center of God’s will. They were large, wealthy, and involved in the community. They looked at numbers, but Jesus looked at the heart and said that they were “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” His strong words were meant to convict and challenge, not coddle and comfort. In order to confront the massive cultural shift mentioned above, the church must be revived: “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Psalm 85:6).

TWO PRIMARY AREAS OF UNGODLY INFLUENCE

How did we get here? A deathlike, deep slumber, has overtaken the church and God has allowed the complete breakdown of society. The beacon of light has faded, the salt has lost its savor, and the message of the cross has been edited out of most sermons. We have lost our fervor for the truth. Consider the following and how they may have played a role in where we are today—applauding murder and perversion:

The media is influencing the church. The politically correct police are on high alert. You can mention God as long as you don’t mention His absolute truth. You can mention Jesus as long as He was just a good teacher. And you can embrace religion as long as it’s all-inclusive. Pastors are required to be politically correct rather than biblically correct to be accepted. The trend in churches is to be welcoming, but primarily affirming. Sermons are designed to tickle the ear but not convict the heart. God help us.

Additionally, many Christians enjoy programs about the occult, vampires, witches, zombies, illicit sex, and other perversions of the truth. A Christian should not be entertained by darkness. If we are, our heart needs spiritual resuscitation. “If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

The church cannot be political . . . unless it’s “politically correct.” I’m often reminded of God’s words to Jeremiah, “I have not sent these pastors but they ran. I have not spoken to them but they spoke. But had they truly stood in My counsel, they would have turned the people from their evil ways” (paraphrasing Jeremiah 23:21). I agree with Leonard Ravenhill here: “We need more prophets in our pulpits and less puppets.” God uses true prophetic voices to confront and convict.

I make no apologies for the controversial content of this article. When we fail to confront, we confirm. When we fail to confront destructive ideas and philosophies, we are, in essence, confirming them. To state the obvious, we become part of the problem. We cannot change what we will not confront.

As I often say, This battle is for the very soul of our nation. It’s our choice—stand or fall. Watch the video on defending the faith here.


Our Republic

Dec 28, 2020 by Pastor Jack Hibbs

Psalm 36:1-4

“Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all. In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are. Everything they say is crooked and deceitful. They refuse to act wisely or do good. They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots. Their actions are never good. They make no attempt to turn from evil.”

As the battle for our Nation’s future continues, I am once again reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s challenge to the American people. At the conclusion of our Founding Father’s Constitutional Convention, Franklin was asked by a woman waiting in the crowd outside, “What kind of government have you given us?” Franklin answered with both a challenge and a rebuke, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Freedom, like the Gospel, must be preached and practiced or else it will grow old and wither away.

“Facts are stubborn things,” said John Adams. But sadly, we have lost our appetite for truth. We have become a nation unworthy of the very freedoms we enjoy in this God-given republic.

Most today, but thankfully not all in the United States, are civically ignorant of their constitutional rights and biblical calling. Uninformed to the point that they have no vision nor understanding of what to do with them. They are willfully blind, having resigned themselves to 15-second sound bites promulgated by those who are themselves blind. To that end, Psalm 36:1-4 speaks to me about those boldly and brazenly committing acts of deception, lying, cover-ups, and fraud. They are, in short, political jihadists.

During these days, I have dedicated my morning hours to intercessory prayer for our Nation. I teach and preach that Jesus Christ could return at any moment for His Church in the Rapture (Titus 2:13), yet I must also occupy in this world until He comes. I must be busy about my Father’s business in all things, obedient to live it out now.

In the next several weeks your life and mine are about to be changed forever. The coming persecution and violence can only be met with an equal resolve to preserve our liberty and freedom for our children and our children’s children.

Truth is active and the pursuit of it is a vigorous ethos. Christian, be ready to defend your faith, family, and freedom. Someday, our children will ask us, “What kind of government have you given us?” May our answer to them be, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

– Pastor Jack


What Will You Do When the Circuit Breaker Ends?

Leslie Koh

Everyone’s talking about a “new normal” when the coronavirus saga is over. But that makes me wonder, so what was the “old normal”? What did we believe in and rely on that we shouldn’t any more?

What will you do when the Covid-19 restrictions get lifted?

Of course, this is going to be a gradual process. But as the restrictions get lifted one by one, we will have more and more freedom to do what we have not been able to do in the past two weeks.

What will you do when that happens? Will you rush down to the first bubble tea shop you can find? Will you head for the nearest fast-food outlet or hawker centre where you can finally eat there and then? Will you make an appointment for that much-needed hairdo? Or will you make a beeline for your favourite mall, knowing that you can finally indulge in some shopping that doesn’t involve home delivery?

I must confess that some of these things came to mind first as I read about the restrictions being lifted. I’ve been looking forward to having an unhurried cup of kopi at my neighbourhood coffeeshop, with some half-boiled eggs and kaya toast, of course. But I realise there’s something I’ve been missing even more—being able to greet someone, give him a smile, and have a little chat . . . not through a mask nor Zoom.

A friend of mine, journalist and author Nicholas Yong, penned a short but wonderfully whimsical piece about what he would do “When All This Is Over”. He writes:

When all this is over, the first thing I will do is take a long, long walk. I will greet everyone I meet along the way and shake their hands, and grab their forearms, and look into their eyes. No more fear in my heart, lurking just beneath the surface. No more social distancing or alternative greetings: I want to talk to people the way human beings are meant to . . .

When all this is over, I will hug the ones I love, and even the ones I don’t. And though it is a miraculous and wondrous thing, I don’t ever want to talk to the people who matter most through a video screen again. Whether they are next door or a million miles away, I will meet them and tell them, face to face, just how much they mean to me. I’ve missed you, I will say. I thought of you every day.

Nicholas has been tracking the whole saga as a journalist. Yet it’s the personal touches that have left the biggest mark on him:

But when all this is over, I know what I will remember most. A bag of groceries left at the door when I was in quarantine and couldn’t leave my flat. A homemade meal delivered to me, just because a friend did not want me to feel all alone. And most of all, the simple text messages saying ‘Just checking in. How are you?’

When all this is over, I will treasure the little things with all my heart. Because it is the little things that make up the big things, and I never want to take them for granted again.

Over the past weeks, we’ve been hearing phrases like, “Life will never be the same again after Covid-19”, or, “There will be a new normal”.

Granted, many of us will be struggling with what this means for us in our daily lives. Perhaps many of us will be working or studying at home more. Perhaps we will have to remember to wash our hands more often. Perhaps we will have to be careful when meeting in large groups—such as in church. We will have to change the way we work, move, and interact with people.

But when the Circuit Breaker finally ends, and when all this is over, what will we do?

In the book of Haggai, God reminds the Israelites that they had neglected God and His house while seeking their own comfort (Haggai 1:2–4). That was why, He said, they never seem to be satisfied with what they did (v. 6). God told them: “Give careful thought to your ways” (v. 5).

When all this is over, will we continue to focus on our own needs, concerns, and desires? Or will we, as Christians, seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness? (Matthew 6:33) Will we be grateful for what we’ve taken for granted and learn to give what we have been receiving? Will we give a passer-by a big smile, visit a lonely relative, buy something for a neighbour in need, and tell them that we miss them and care just as God cares for us?

Lord, thank You for being with me throughout this time. As the restrictions get eased, may I go back to “normal life” with a new perspective of Your heart and a new commitment to put You first in my life—to love You and to love others, just as You have loved me.

Leslie Koh spent more than 15 years as a journalist in The Straits Times before moving to Our Daily Bread Ministries. He’s found moving from bad news to good news most rewarding, and still believes that nothing reaches out to people better than a good, compelling story. He likes eating (a lot), travelling, running, editing, and writing.

What Will You Do When the Circuit Breaker Ends?

The Equal Rights Amendment Is a Fraud Using Women as the Prop

Patrina Mosley| Feb 10, 2020

The Equal Rights Amendment Is a Fraud Using Women as the Prop

Editor’s note: This column was co-authored by Tabitha Walter.

The House Judiciary Committee recently marked up H.J.Res.79, and will soon get a floor vote. This joint resolution seeks to remove the congressional deadline for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. When Congress originally passed the ERA, they put a deadline in place for states to ratify it. The ERA failed to win ratification in enough states before the deadline passed and is thus legally dead, but this stale effort is back to enshrine abortion-on-demand at the expense of hard-won protections for women.

The ERA would not only create a right to on-demand abortions in all 50 states, but it would allow for unrestricted taxpayer-funded abortions through all nine months of pregnancy. Abortion activist group NARAL Pro-Choice America states, “With its ratification, the ERA would reinforce the constitutional right to abortion by clarifying that the sexes have equal rights, which would require judges to strike down anti-abortion laws because they violate both the constitutional right to privacy and sexual equality.”

We already see this at the state level. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has encouraged lawyers to use state ERAs to strike down restrictions on abortion such as parental consent laws. They have also filed briefs in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut arguing that since an abortion procedure is only performed on women, a state’s denial of taxpayer-funded abortion should be considered “sex discrimination” under their state ERA. Pro-abortion groups have won cases in New Mexico (N.M. Right to Choose/NARAL v. Johnson) and Connecticut (Doe v. Maher) in which the state ERAs upheld this notion.

Pro-life groups have offered compromise language that is abortion neutral. But ERA advocates have rejected that language in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and even Congress, adding weight to the assertion that proponents are set on using the ERA to claim a right to snuff out the lives of babies in the womb.

As Americans become increasingly disturbed by late-term abortions, even those who identify as “pro-choice,” and as the courts trend more conservative, the abortion lobby is growing increasingly desperate to enshrine abortion in the Constitution. The abortion industry is about eugenics, and has exploited “women” as the prop for its advocacy. The same is true with the Equal Rights Amendment. They claim the ERA is necessary to protect “women’s” rights, but what they really mean is that it protects abortion.

In fact, if the ERA were ratified today, it would undermine women’s rights. The 52-word amendment never mentions protection for the rights of “women,” instead prohibiting denial or abridging rights “on account of sex.” In 1972, those meant the same thing. Many of the hard-fought victories for women’s rights in that era used the term “sex,” such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, the Federal Minimum Wage Act of 1974, and the Pregnancy Nondiscrimination Act of 1964.

But today, the Left is unwilling to define “sex” in biological terms, arguing that the word incorporates “gender identity” as well. This redefinition has led to absurd results, allowing biological males to claim access to private, women’s-only areas in shelters, prisons, bathrooms, and showers. It has also allowed them to infiltrate (and dominate) women’s-only activities like sports. Those arguing for the ERA are certainly aware of these developments, and intend to apply this definition. Thus, while trying to protect abortion under the guise of equality for women, the ERA would erase women.

Of course, despite the wishes of its advocates, the ERA is dead. Thirty-six years after it died, proponents are trying to revive its corpse by ignoring the deadline and recognizing Nevada (2017), Illinois (2018), and Virginia (2020) as states that have ratified the ERA. Countless lawyers, the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice (OLC), and even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg have agreed that the ERA could not be ratified unless Congress started over. Even still, the House Judiciary Committee is seeking to remove the ratification deadline in H.J.Res.79.

Thus, we have all of this congressional, political, and soon judicial havoc over enshrining abortion. Members of Congress should care about being boldly pro-life, and not so much about being perceived as anti-women for opposing H.J.Res.79. They should not be fooled. If the ERA really was about protecting women, it would define “women” by biological sex. The ERA is not about women; it is about abortion, and countless innocent lives are on the line.

Patrina Mosley is Director of Life, Culture, and Women’s Advocacy at the Family Research Council. Tabitha Walter is Political Director for Eagle Forum.

https://townhall.com/columnists/patrinamosley/2020/02/10/the-equal-rights-amendment-is-a-fraud-using-women-as-the-prop-n2561064