VIDEO All Eyes On God

By Jack Hibbs

As evil increases in the world around us, a great awakening is also taking place. People are asking questions about God and what will happen next. The great news is that there is comfort and peace for those who turn their eyes to God.

William Wilberforce Antislavery politician

William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce was an English politician who became the voice of the abolition movement in Parliament. He was a slightly built man, about five foot three in height, and suffered from bouts of bad health.

He was born in Hull, into a rich merchant family. As a child, whilst living with his uncle in London, he was taken to hear John Newton preach. It made a great impression on him but he returned home and soon became part of fashionable society, attending the theatre and races, where he watched his own horse run.

He enrolled at Cambridge University and became friends with William Pitt. At the age of 21, Wilberforce was elected to Parliament.  He was well suited to politics, as he was an extremely eloquent speaker and very witty. In 1783, he met James Ramsay and, for the first time, discussed slavery. Around 1784-86, he underwent a gradual but ‘intense religious conversion’ whilst travelling with a friend. He considered leaving Parliament but his friend and mentor, John Newton, advised him againt this; so, instead, he decided to serve God in public life.

After his conversion to evangelical Christianity, he gave up his racehorse, gambling and attendance at clubs. Although a serious young man, he was still fun to be with and, despite some of his friends thinking his new found belief was a madness, a childhood friend remarked, “If this be madness, I hope that it will bite us all!”

His new beliefs affected his public life. Before, he had usually voted with Pitt but now he was guided by his conscience. He and his evangelical friends were nicknamed “the Saints” by upper class circles but he won widespread respect. He championed many causes but it was the fight against the Slave Trade and slavery that he worked most tirelessly for. His interest was rekindled by a letter from Sir Charles Middleton, suggesting he should represent the cause in Parliament. William Pitt also encouraged him to take up the cause.

In early 1787, Thomas Clarkson called upon Wilberforce with a copy of his Essay on Slavery. This was the first time the two men had met, and a collaboration was formed which lasted over fifty years. The skills of the two men complemented each other. Wilberforce was able to turn the vague sentiment amongst the more privileged in society, into real opposition and rise above party politics to obtain support from many in Parliament.

From 1789, Wilberforce regularly introduced bills in Parliament to ban the Slave Trade. He was fiercely opposed by those making fortunes from the trade, who used all kinds of delaying tactics. The first time a bill was introduced, Wilberforce lost the debate by 163 votes to 88 but he never gave up. A bill to cease the trade was passed by the House of Commons in 1792 – but with the amendment that the ban should be ‘gradual’, which those with an interest in the trade interpreted as ‘never’.

In his late 30’s, Wilberforce married Barbara Spooner (also an evangelical Christian). He remained devoted to her throughout his life.  Finally on 25th March, 1807, the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act abolished the Slave Trade in the British colonies. It was carried by 267 votes. The house rose to its feet and cheered wildly. (see Letter from Clarkson) 

However, this was not a vote to abolish slavery as a whole throughout the Empire, just the trade in enslaved people. William Wilberforce continued to work for the abolition of all slavery within the British Colonies. He joined the ‘Society for Gradual Abolition’ and, when the campaign intensified again in the 1820’s and 30′, he did as much as his failing health would allow. In 1821 he requested that Thomas Fowell Buxton take over the leadership of the campaign in the Commons and resigned his parliamentary seat in 1824, after a serious illness. By May, 1830, when two thousand people met in London at Freemasons’ Hall, Wilberforce was stooped with age and wearing a metal girdle to prevent him slumping.

Despite the groundswell of public opinion, Parliament still refused to ban slavery, until parliamentary reform removed many of its supporters. Despite this, it was still not clear that Parliament would act. Wilberforce wrote a last petition. The Parliamentary debate lasted three months. On the 26th July, 1833, the Abolition of Slavery bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons. A messenger rushed to Wilberforce’s house. They told him that slavery in British colonies would finally be abolished. Just three days later, on 29th July, William Wilberforce died.

Hear extract  1 from Wilberforce 1789 speech to the house
Hear extract  2 from Wilberforce 1789 speech to the house
Hear extract  3 from Wilberforce 1789 speech to the house

VIDEO The Rest of the Story: The Life of Louis Zamperini After ‘Unbroken’

The story of Louis Zamperini captured the attention of Americans in the 1940’s and again in recent years thanks to the biography by Laura Hillenbrand Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption and the hit movie Unbroken.

Those familiar with either the movie or the book will recall that after his days as a troubled youth Louis took up running and became a star athlete. Louis went on to compete in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. After WW2 broke out, he became a bombardier on a B-24 bomber.

Louis and his fellow crewmen cheated death multiple times, but none more harrowing than after his plane went down in the Pacific Ocean. While most died in the crash, Zamperini and another airman survived a total of 47 days adrift in the ocean on a life raft (a third survived the crash but died at sea).

Mutsuhiro_Watanabe

Sergeant Mutsuhiro Watanabe abused prisoners at POW camps in Omori, Naoetsu and Mitsushima.

After being rescued from the water by enemy forces, both men became prisoners of war and were eventually sent to Japanese POW camps.

Louis endured constant brutality at the hands of a man the prisoners referred to as The Bird. His real name was Mutsuhiro Watanabe, and he was by all accounts a sadistically cruel and abusive Japanese soldier who terrorized the prisoners. He especially had it out for the Olympic athlete, whom he had regarded as his ‘number one prisoner.’ As such, Louis experienced even worse treatment than the other prisoners.

Watanabe was so notorious in his abusiveness, he was listed as number 23 on General MacArthur’s list of the 40 most wanted war criminals in Japan after the war. However, after years of hiding from the authorities (and being thought to have killed himself) he would never face trial for his actions. He died in 2003.

The movie Unbroken does an excellent job chronicling the trials that Zamperini experienced as a downed airman adrift at sea. It vividly depicts his time in a hellish POW camp. It is an inspiring tale of how with courage and determination he persevered through it all.

But the story doesn’t end there.

A Life Unraveling

Unlike the book, the film does not depict the great struggle that followed Zamperini’s return to the United States after the war ended and his prison camp was liberated.

Louis was now married and was rather famous–he was after all, a renowned athlete who came back to life after being declared dead by the War Department. In his words, “after being declared dead and finding that we’d crashed and survived the 47 day drift and nearly 2,000 miles, you get quite a bit of publicity.” 1

He went on speaking tours and was treated as a war hero. But despite outward appearances, Zamperini’s life was falling apart.

Louis was struggling to cope with his horrific experiences during his two years as a POW. Watanabe was a constant figure in his nightmares. Zamperini found that he was in many ways still under the control and power of The Bird.

Filled with anger, anxiety, and hatred, Zamperini found solace in alcohol and in concocting plans to return to Japan to murder The Bird. This was the only way Louis felt he could finally be free of him.

As he continued to withdraw into depression and alcoholism, he would also lash out unpredictably. Louis was on the verge of losing his family. “I got married, I had a little girl and I continued to drink and continued to party, and my wife refused to go with me,” Louis said. “Pretty soon I found myself fading away, to the point where I realized that I was in serious need of help.” 2

From Brokenness to Redemption

In 1949 Louis Zamperini grudgingly attended a Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angeles at the urging of his wife. It was the first extended Crusade event that Graham ever held, and it was the one which propelled him to become a nationally-known figure.

After the first night he went, Louis was upset and did not want to attend any similar events in the future. He recalled in an interview:

I got under conviction and got mad because of the Scriptures he read, grabbed my wife and said, “Let’s get out of here. Don’t ever bring me back to a place like this again.” But the next day she persuaded me in going back. I said, “Okay, I’ll go under one condition. When this fellow says, ‘Every head bowed and every eye closed,’ I’m getting out.” She said, “Fine.” 3

Louis Zamperini and Billy Graham at the 1949 Los Angeles Crusade where Zamperini made a life-changing decision for Christ

Louis Zamperini and Billy Graham at the 1949 Los Angeles Crusade where Zamperini made a life-changing decision for Christ

However, he was talked into going to hear Graham preach the next night also.

After again hearing of the forgiveness and salvation of Jesus Christ, Louis Zamperini gave his life to the Lord and was saved. This time, salvation was not from shark-infested waters or from the horrors of a POW camp.

In Christ, Zamperini found eternal, life-changing salvation that would save his soul and rescue him from his downward spiral.

The nightmares–which had been so frequent and so intense that Louis came to fear going to bed–stopped.

He poured all his alcohol down the drain the night he was saved.

Louis Zamperini was a new creation in Christ Jesus.

Listen to the message that Billy Graham preached to Louis and thousands of others in Los Angeles:

Newspapers across the country were reporting on the Crusade, and many ran articles on Zamperini’s conversion. When he returned a week later to speak to the crowd, he was quoted as declaring “I have accepted Christ and from now on I am going to be an honest-to-God Christian.” 4

Just as he had promised when he was desperate and adrift at sea, Zamperini dedicated his life to God. “Now, as God leads, I am leaving my business work and planning to work with young people…I’d rather build character–and win boys for Christ–than build a fortune,” Louis said.

He eventually started a camp for troubled youth–the Victory Boys Camp. Here he poured his life into serving God by helping boys and young men who were not unlike himself in his younger years.

Forgiving the Unforgivable

Sugamo Prison

Louis Zamperini at Sugamo Prison in Japan

Amazingly, after his conversion Zamperini’s desire for vengeance left him completely.

Louis forgave his former captors and later met with many of them. He greeted them warmly and shared the Gospel with them and many accepted Christ.

During a speaking tour in Tokyo in 1952, Louis had the opportunity to meet with prisoners at Sugamo prison, which was filled with 850 Japanese war criminals.

After speaking to the prisoners,  Louis had requested to meet with his former guards personally.

“I looked out and saw them coming down the aisle and, of course, I recognized each one of them  vividly. I didn’t even think of my reaction—I jumped off the stage, ran down and threw my arm around them, and they withdrew from me. They couldn’t understand the forgiveness. We went in the room and there, of course, I continued to press the issue of Christianity, you see. And all but one made a decision for Christ.”

One former Japanese soldier wondered how he could forgive these men who treated him so badly. Louis responded,

I said, “Well, Mr. Sasaki, the greatest story of forgiveness the world’s ever known was the Cross. When Christ was crucified He said, ‘Forgive them Father, they know not what they do.’ And I said, ‘It is only through the Cross that I can come back here and say this, but I do forgive you.” Then he responded to the invitation to become a Christian. 5

This is a tremendously powerful image of loving your enemies and forgiving others as we have been forgiven in Christ.

Louis even attempted to meet with Watanabe when he returned to Japan as part of the Olympic ceremonies in 1998. His former tormentor refused. Instead, Louis sent him a letter which expressed his forgiveness.

Here are the words that he wrote to The Bird, the man that tortured and dehumanized him as a POW for so many months:

To Mutsuhiro Watanabe,

As a result of my prisoner war experience under your unwarranted and unreasonable punishment, my post-war life became a nightmare. It was not so much due to the pain and suffering as it was the tension of stress and humiliation that caused me to hate with a vengeance.

Under your discipline, my rights, not only as a prisoner of war but also as a human being, were stripped from me. It was a struggle to maintain enough dignity and hope to live until the war’s end.

The post-war nightmares caused my life to crumble, but thanks to a confrontation with God through the evangelist Billy Graham, I committed my life to Christ. Love has replaced the hate I had for you. Christ said, “Forgive your enemies and pray for them.”

As you probably know, I returned to Japan in 1952 and was graciously allowed to address all the Japanese war criminals at Sugamo Prison… I asked then about you, and was told that you probably had committed Hara Kiri, which I was sad to hear. At that moment, like the others, I also forgave you and now would hope that you would also become a Christian. 6

Such radical forgiveness is made possibly by an overwhelming sense of Christ’s love and forgiveness for us.

More than just a tale of courage and resilience, Louis Zamperini’s life is a powerful look at the transforming grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17


1 Taken from an interview conducted in June 1988 titled An Olympian’s Oral History, page 82.

2 An Olympian’s Oral History, page 83.
3 Interview with Louis Zamperini by Dr. Lois Ferm on May 16, 1976. Audio and transcript available here.
4 This quote and a story about Louis’ conversion can be viewed in this newspaper clipping from November 1, 1949.
5 An Olympian’s Oral History, page 89.
6 Watch Louis read his letter to Watanabe in this video.

Learn More:

This short documentary put together by the Billy Graham foundation recounts some of Louis’ incredible story in his own words and sheds light on the part of Zamperini’s life not covered in the film: Louis Zamperini – Captured by Grace.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (Biography)

Devil at My Heels: A Heroic Olympian’s Astonishing Story of Survival as a Japanese POW in World War II (Autobiography written by Louis Zamperini)

Archive Video of Louis Zamperini Testimony at 1958 San Francisco Billy Graham Crusade (YouTube)

Interview with Louis Zamperini by Dr. Lois Ferm on May 16, 1976 (Audio)

“Unbroken’s” Louis Zamperini: The Rest of the Story (YouTube)

https://reasonabletheology.org/the-rest-of-the-story-louis-zamperini-after-unbroken/


Unbroken | A True World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption


Simple things you Should do for your Marriage to Work

Tips That Make A Marriage Last A Lifetime

We all know that after the honeymoon, reality begins to sink in and things can easily take a wrong turn if not well handled. Marriage does require hard work and patience. It requires team work and intention to get things moving towards the right direction. The intentions to make the marriage work for the rest of your lives should be unanimous. Let’s take a look at some of the simple things you should do for your marriage to work:

Don’t Try to Change your Partner:

Most couples get smitten by what they see at the beginning of a relationship that they miss out on the important things that can actually ruin their relationship later on. They get caught up on the positive things about their partner and totally ignore the negative side. The truth is, when those negative traits begin to emerge more often, it becomes unbearable. You might think that you will change your partner and get rid of the things you dislike about them. That’s where problems begin because you cannot change the other person. You can encourage them into changing, but the decision to actually change lies entirely in an individual.

I’ve heard women complaining about their husbands habits, I’m sure they had noticed those habits when they dated. Sadly, they choose to ignore them and hoped for some changes once they live together and start a family.  They come and remain as is, unless they decide to change. Those imperfections become part of your life forever once you get married, Don’t start nagging your partner because of imperfections you clearly noticed before you got married. Besides, we all have imperfections, your partner may not tell you but nobody is perfect. If you want to see your partner changed, get down on your knees and pray.

Photo by Sarandy Westfall on unsplash

Know your Spouse:

Once you get married and start living under the same roof with a new housemate. You start to realize that your time and self no longer belongs to you alone which is challenging.  Some people think that going out on a date is not a priority anymore because you see each other everyday. But for a person whose love language is spending quality time together, not being in able to do that outside of the home will make them feel unloved.

People show and feel loved through words of affirmation, giving and receiving gifts, acts of service, physical touch and spending quality time together. You should be familiar with your spouse’s love language. I have a friend who complained about his wife. He said that he took her on a vacation for her birthday, but all she did for his birthday was cook a special dinner. Well, she’s my friend too and had bragged about making him some exotic dishes. She gave her all because that’s her love language, but her husband missed the whole point.

Learn how to Stop an Argument:

I always say that two people living together as one must agree to disagree. Arguments will start and that’s normal, but never go to bed mad at your spouse. At the very beginning of our marriage, my husband and l would  get into heated argument, he likes to hold his peace and doesn’t say much when this happens. He would rather take all the blame just to end the fight. I was never very good at staying calm. Although I’m petite, my adrenaline levels are exaggerated. I guess I’m such a woman {smile}.

I used to go on and on about it until l get a hug, “it took a long time for that to happen”. Not until my husband noticed that when he hugs me everything evaporates. He mastered how to turn off my flares and end an argument. To balance things up, I’ve also learned that he dislikes being nagged so l stay off this female specialty. It is advisable to calmly discuss and solve the issue that started your argument. Don’t just swipe it under the rug because it will resurface. Issues don’t go away by ignoring them, it builds up and becomes significant over time. you can’t make something better unless you get clarification and find resolution.

Work on your Communication Skills:

Compliment your partner as much as you can, communication is not only for sharing problems and negative feelings. Avoiding sharing your issues with others , this includes family members. Sharing your issues might cause more harm than good in your marriage. Don’t vent on social media, the goal is to communicate with your spouse and not build a block. When you start sharing your marital issues with the world, some will laugh behind your back and others will throw you into a deeper hole with their advice.

Make God the Centre of your Marriage:

There’s nothing as peaceful as letting God take full control of your marriage.  Make a point of praying together and for one another. I noticed the tremendous changes that took place in my own marriage, when l quit trying to control things and put everything into the hands of God. If God is in your life, both of you will become better. The fruit of the Holy Spirit, Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control will reflect in your lives. All the best in your marriage.

 

Original here

VIDEO Fox News Anchor Opens Up About Life, Faith: ‘I Just Try to be Open to What the Lord May Have’

12-26-2019 by Jenna Browder

Shannon Bream to anchor new Fox News show at 11pm

WASHINGTON – She’s a bright and shining star on Fox News and in her first book, Finding the Bright Side, Shannon Bream opens up about her life, faith, and some of the ups and downs she’s experienced along the way.

Just like many of her guests on Fox News @ Night, Shannon is consistently in the middle of the action with what many would call a dream job.

“I love what I do,” she told CBN News. “It feels like a huge blessing and a gift.”

Shannon sat down with CBN’s Jenna Browder at the Museum of the Bible to talk about her book and how she got to where she is today.

She grew up in Florida going to church and Christian school, eventually choosing Liberty University for college. That’s where she met her husband, Sheldon Bream.

“We had friends who kept trying to put us together,” Shannon explained. “We were always dating other people and we had a friend in common who finally came to me one day and she said, ‘You’re here at this football game. He’s here at this football game. You’re going to meet right now.'”

Beauty Pageants and Law School

While at Liberty, Shannon took the crown as Miss Virginia. She went on to law school at Florida State University and more pageantry, winning the Miss Florida title.

It was around this time Sheldon proposed but not long after their engagement, Shannon writes about what she calls, “The Darkest Cloud,” when doctors diagnosed Sheldon with a brain tumor.

 A Shocking Diagnosis

“To be 24 – and we were engaged and planning our life together – and to get those words, to get that news, it’s totally out of left field and so unexpected,” said Shannon.

The church was a huge support, from diagnosis and surgery to Sheldon’s difficult recovery.

“We would get letters and notes or calls from people, from churches we’d never heard of, never visited, didn’t know anyone there but they said, ‘We heard about your story and we just wanted to let you know that we’re praying for you,'” Shannon tearfully recalled. “As a Christian, it was just so overwhelming to know that there were people who were just the body of Christ that we would never meet.”

Newly married and out of school, Shannon learned quickly law wasn’t for her and started interning at a local news station.

“I eventually decided a few months into that I loved it so much – the police scanners and the breaking news and just the unpredictability of live television – that I decided to kind of take the leap.”

The Road to Fox News

She eventually got hired at the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina. After a short stint there, NBC in Washington, DC picked her up. It was at a speaking conference where she met Fox News’ Britt Hume who offered her a job when he learned about her legal background.

It didn’t take long for Shannon to begin moving up at Fox, filling in on the anchor desk and eventually getting her own show.

Another Medical Challenge

One major trial she’s had to deal with is her eyesight.

“Around my 40th birthday, I started to have extraordinary pain in my eyes and it was only happening overnight and I couldn’t figure out what the source was of this but it would literally shoot me out of bed in enormous pain, doubled over,” Shannon explained.

The excruciating pain went on for almost two years before a doctor was able to diagnose her, though he told her there would be no cure.

“I just sat there crying in my car and just saying to the Lord, ‘This is it. This is the end for me. There’s nothing else I can do,'” Shannon said. “And I explain in the book how I’m not someone whoever feels like I’ve audibly heard the voice of God but I felt in my spirit and I heard Him say to me in that moment, ‘I will be with you.’ Not, ‘I’m going to heal you. I’m going to take this away. You’re never going to have this pain again.’ Just, ‘I will be with you.’ And I felt like that promise sustained me and I knew it was true. I knew His presence would be with me despite the fact that there was no cure.”

With that same doctor, Shannon was able to manage the pain and eventually underwent surgery. Today she says her eyes aren’t perfect but they’re about “95 percent better.”

The Decision to Remain Childless

One reoccurring question Shannon says she gets, especially in Christian circles, is about her decision to not have kids. She says she knew early on she didn’t have what she calls “Mom Genes.”

“The Lord creates us all in different ways and gives us all different passions and different paths,” she said, adding that she has many young people in her life but feels her true calling is her career.

As for what’s next, she’s not sure but is keeping an open mind and heart.

“I try to say to myself, this is the season that the Lord has you here. Don’t hold too tightly to it because you don’t know what other adventures or things are coming down the line and I just try to be open to what the Lord may have next.”

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2019/may/fox-news-anchor-opens-up-about-life-faith-i-just-try-to-be-open-to-what-the-lord-may-have-nbsp/

 

Look what happened to the Christians of Bethlehem

Geller Report Staff –  December 25, 2019

The Christian population in the territories controlled by the racist Palestinian Authority are being cleansed. Naturally the world will again give the Palestinian Authority a pass for their grotesque racism and human rights violations.

Related – The Persecution of Christians in the Palestinian Authority

Lies Palestinians tell at Christmas

One fable is that they are trapped in Bethlehem behind walls and checkpoints. Yet the Christian population has fallen dramatically while the Muslim one has increased exponentially! It’s a checkpoint where Christians leave and Muslims enter.

By Israel National News, December 25, 2019:

When Israel relinquished control of Bethlehem to Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority as part of the Oslo Accord agreement in 1995, 85% of those living in this then prosperous town were middle class Christians. Business and life were good when it was part of Israel.

By Christmas 2019, Christians are less than 10% of the population in an economically stricken town.

How did this come about?

In 1995, Elias Freij was that the last Christian mayor of Bethlehem. He appealed to Israeli Prime Minister, Yizchak Rabin, not to withdraw from the city as part of the Accords due to his fear for the future of Christians in Bethlehem. Rabin wanted an official and public statement from the mayor to that effect to take to the negotiations. Freij and the church authorities refused Rabin’s request, and the rest is a tragic page in Christian history.

The Palestinian leadership, as usual, blames the security wall for the current situation. They talk of Israel turning Bethlehem into a prison.”

The British artist, Banksy, has advanced his reputation in left-wing circles by promoting propaganda graffiti scrawled on walls throughout Bethlehem. He has even built a hotel in Bethlehem called the Walled-Off Hotel which is full of imagery damaging to Israel such as a nativity scene in front of a section of security wall with a shattered bullet hole which he calls “The Scar of Bethlehem.”

All this propaganda demonizes Israel and projects Palestinian Arabs as “oppressed victims”.

Nowhere in Banksy’s work is there a mention of Palestinian terror, promoted and rewarded by the Palestinian Authority, a prolonged terror campaign that has murdered over a thousand Israelis and made the security barrier a necessity. Nor does he mention the threatening behavior of Palestinian Muslims that has driven out most of the town’s frightened and persecuted Christians.

Today, Christmas 2019, Bethlehem is a once-Christian town, with important churches, holy relics and sanctuaries, but only a few Christians who live in fear not of Israel, but of Muslim Arabs.

The Christians I once knew had businesses such as tourist shops selling olive wood carvings and religious symbols to tourists. They are gone. Their homes and their shops are now occupied by their Muslim former neighbors.

The Palestinians will tell you it’s all Israel’s fault. They are, after all, the perennial victim. It’s become an industry for them. This image sells as well as Banksy’s souvenirs in Bethlehem.

But is this the truth? Not at all.

The Palestinians wanted separation from Israel and when Israel gave it to them, they used the vacated territories to relaunch their terror campaign against Israeli civilians, killing thousands.

In the name of peace, Bethlehem was the sixth town that Israel vacated and left under Palestinian rule following its withdrawal from Jericho, Jenin, Tulkarm, Nablus and Kalkilya.

Initially, there was a free flow of people. Palestinian Arabs worked in Israel. Israelis visited the Arab towns to buy and enjoy the services of the local Arabs. Everything was cheaper than in Israel while wages for Arab workers were higher in Israel and the interchange was buoyant and good for everyone.

Look what happened to the Christians of Bethlehem

No, Jesus Was Not a Refugee and He Was Not Homeless

December 25, 2019 by streiff

Every Christmas, we hear the same tired refrain from the same charlatans. Jesus, they claim, was a refugee. The implication is that if you are a Christian that you are obligated to welcome refugees because they are pretty much like Jesus.

The latest edition comes from Pete Buttigieg. Buttigieg is one of those people who, despite living an immoral and dissolute lifestyle explicitly condemned by Scripture (that would be the proscription on homosexual acts) and in direct disobedience to the words of Christ (see Matthew 19:4-6), takes it upon himself to lecture everyone else about what it means to be a Christian.

This is patent nonsense.

First, at no point in Scripture, or, if you are Catholic, in Sacred Tradition is there any intimation that Jesus was born in poverty. Tradition holds that Saint Joseph was a carpenter. Lately there has been a debate among lefty theologians over his occupation, rendered by Matthew as “tektori,” and whether than meant “carpenter.” Tektori can mean any skilled artisan. There is a hint, based on the procedures laid out for a census in 1st Century Egypt, that Joseph might have had some property interest in Bethlehem that would have required him to register for the census there. The upshot is that Joseph was a skilled craftsman and while probably not affluent, he most likely provided a home for his family that was a bit above the poverty line for Judea in the 1st Century AD.

Jesus was not homeless. He was born in a manger because his parents arrived in a Bethlehem in the midst of an influx of people there to register for the census. There were no rooms to be had. It was the manager or nothing. The Holy Family had a home in Nazareth.

Finally, Jesus was not a refugee.

Joseph and Mary and Jesus were citizens of a province of the Roman Empire. When the Massacre of Innocents took place, they fled to Egypt and stayed, we think, in the rather sizable Jewish community there. Egypt was also part of the Roman Empire. The odious Reverend James Martin claims that Jesus was a refugee based on the UN High Commissioner on Refugees definition

refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

Martin, by the way, is probably the most dishonest non-televangelist pastor/priest in any denomination. There is literally no lie he will not tell to warp Scripture to fit his personal goal of mainstreaming homosexuality. Here is the central lie in his argument:

The Holy Family, as Matthew recounts the story, was fleeing because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” because of their “membership in a particular social group,” in this case people with young children living in Bethlehem. I am not sure how you could get any clearer than that.

This is patent nonsense. A birth cohort is not “membership in a particular social group.” They Holy Family was a refugee in exactly the same way that anyone today on the run from state authorities would be called a refugee. The move from one region of the Roman Empire to another is not even remotely similar to that of a modern refugee. At a stretch, He could be classed as an internally displaced person, with an emphasis on the singular form of “person” because there were no others similarly situated. The period of time in which the Holy Family was away from Nazareth was fairly short. Herod the Great died no more than a year or two after the birth of Christ and then the family returned home. By age 12, we know the Holy Family was traveling openly to Jerusalem for Passover pilgrimage (again, not a mark of a family in poverty).

The truth here is very simple. Christ is not a metaphor for whatever political cause you are flogging. The Nativity is not a primarily a reminder of illegal immigrants or the poor or the social justice cause you are pushing. The Nativity is the a demonstration of God’s love for the world and his desire that we all be saved, for as Saint John, the disciple whom Christ loved, wrote,

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 18 He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.

It is really that simple.

 

Managing Editor at RedState Former infantry officer, CGSC grad and Army Operations Center alumnus. RedState member since 2004.
polite emails to editoratredstate@gmail.com Jerk emails will be blocked.

Eyes up!

 

Dec 2, 2019

For those of you who haven’t been following the blog for long and maybe don’t know a lot about my family life, we have a dog, Lamar. He featured in some of my earlier blogs, when I shared that my beloved mongrel had been viciously attacked by another dog and chased into oncoming traffic on the carriageway that resulted in a broken femur. It was pretty horrendous at the time but we have all lived to tell the tale, so it’s all good.

Lamar joined us March 2018 when I bought him for my son’s 15th birthday and, besides giving him his ridiculous name that constantly needs explanation, the responsibility all kind of fell onto me which, if I’m not mistaken, is a fairly common occurrence with ”family pets”

So, I’m Lamar’s walker, feeder,  poop scooper and general caregiver. I’m the person who replaces all the things he has chewed, like his harness if it is not immediately removed after a walk. So the last harness was replaced with a collar. I’ll be honest, only laziness has prevented me from replacing the last chewed harness with a new one because I had one in the house. But that collar is a flipping curse. He constantly pees on the lead, gets it caught under one leg after peeing, gets in a tangled mess, ties himself up in knots, because the attachment for the lead falls round to below his jaw whereas the harness kept the lead up high on his back. I really must replace it this week!

So as you can guess, neither Lamar or myself are fans of the collar. As we were walking along the road on one of our walks, Lamar was staying close to me and really getting under my feet. I blame the stupid collar. I kept looking down at Lamar, shouting move on, move on DOG! We all know that when annoyed with a human you call it out full name including middle names but if you’re annoyed at the animal you just call in by its species.

i.e., DOG! Right? right! He was staring up with his dopey big love you eyes that say, why you cross at me? You know the eyes. The more this went on, the more frustrated and aggravated I got, to the point where I was about to turn and head back from my walk.

My dog walking time is usually blasting worship music or a podcast and a bit of solitude time with God. I had worship blasting in my ears, so you can imagine the scene…

I love you, Lord! D….. IT DOG, MOVE!!!

Another insult to Lamar later, and I heard a gentle whisper from God telling me, look up, stop looking at the problem that hasn’t happened yet. God was so right. I was putting all my energy and focus into looking at the problem, or at least what I thought was my problem. It was distracting me and getting me irritated, and the problem hadn’t even happened. I hadn’t tripped or fallen over Lamar, just the thought that I might was distraction enough.

Turns out, as soon as I starting marching forward and ignoring my hesitating doggy stares from Lamar, he got bored and just started walking normally ahead of me.

I laughed into myself, accompanied by an all-knowing eye roll. God had made a very obvious valid point so subtly, as he does a lot of the time, in his loving, caring manner. I thought of just how much in life when I see problems in front of me, all my focus goes into that problem. My time with God is overshadowed by the nuisance and me trying to figure out how to fix the problem, getting myself more and more aggravated and distracted by the problem and allowing it steal my joy and peace instead of looking up. Looking up to God, looking forward and past the problem. Just like with Lamar, when we look up to God and put our focus and attention on moving forward with God, a lot of the time what we thought was going to cause us to stumble and fall doesn’t because God has gone ahead of us and removed the problem or cleared the path. Or perhaps, the impending problem was just a distraction assignment from the enemy to get our focus away from God.

Is there anything that you are allowing take your eyes off the road ahead?

What is causing you to look down at your problem instead of God?

What do you need to do today in your life today to readjust your focus on God?

“I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭121:1-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

As you can see below Lamar is not great at posing for photos, but here he is with his dumb collar

Eyes up!