Have You Become Old?

March 2, 2020 hepsibahgarden

Let me tell you of an event that had happened, long time ago! 🔆😎

King David was on his way back to Jerusalem after winning a great victory. There were many who had come to meet his majesty and congratulate him on his achievement. One of them was Barzillai the Gileadite who had come down to escort the king. Barzillai was a very old man, 80 years of age; he had supplied King David and his men with food when they were in a place called Mahanaim. As soon as David saw him, remembering the act of kindness Barzillai had shown to him and his men, the king said to him, “Come with me to Jerusalem, and I will take care of you. 2 Samuel‬ ‭19:33‬.

But Barzillai answered, “I don’t have long to live; why should I go with Your Majesty to Jerusalem? I am already eighty years old, and nothing gives me pleasure any more. I can’t taste what I eat and drink, and I can’t hear the voices of singers. I would only be a burden to Your Majesty. 2 Samuel‬ ‭19:34-35‬

The Point is: People who have become old spiritually cannot go to Jerusalem, the house of God. In the kingdom of God no one is old; everyone is young and fit, going about in the service of the Great King. See what Caleb says,

And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Joshua‬ ‭14:10-11‬

If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. 2 Corinthians 5:17. As we grow old physically, we need to keep growing young spiritually. Only the young can run the spiritual race. Just like aged ones become increasingly dependant on others for help with their daily activities, spiritually when a person becomes old, he/she begins to put their trust on man for help and not on God.

The Lord does not want us to be slothful in business, He wants us to be fervent in the spirit, continuing steadfastly in prayer. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah‬ ‭40:31‬. May the Lord help us.

Be blessed

Original here

VIDEO Team Player Or Blockage

By Reverend Paul N. Papas II   March 2, 2020

 

You’ve probably heard me say lead, follow, or get out of the way more than once. Every true leader knows how to follow. Every good leader looks out for, takes care of his team and prepares each team member for leadership.

Then there are those, and you know who they are, who are an intestinal blockages to success.

There are times when all hands on deck are needed address a situation, like in a foxhole when the enemy is coming over the hill.

What if you can not see your enemy and the enemy has overrun your position? I am not specifically addressing spiritual warfare, even though there is a component of the same involved.

At the moment we have two enemies among us: one is a virus; and two, those who are trying to spread fear and incite panic over the virus.  Those spreading fear hope to cause sudden overpowering fright; acute, extreme anxiety; a sudden unreasoning terror that is often accompanied by mass flight resulting in chaos.

The virus, Coronavirus, COVID-19, has attacked all but one continent. At least here we have a high level team, a task-force leading the way to contain and eradicate COVID-19, (1), (2). The success of the task force is vital to not just our safety and security but that of each continent touched by COVID-19.

Then there are those, and you know who they are, who are an intestinal blockages to success.

An insistent group has continued their propaganda campaign to incite panic over the virus, a form of TDS.  Understand this is not a new out of the box strategy. Antonio Gramsci (3) was a model for Saul Alinsky who is famous for his 12 Rules for Radicals (4).  You can watch Saul Alinsky’s 1966 TV interview below and read his 13 Tried-and-True Rules for Creating Meaningful Social Change (5) The Gramsci/ Alinsky program is liberally used by several disruptive groups who clamor for change they do not understand, Socialism. Socialism is a power grab which has failed everywhere.

 

Hillsdale College produced the following video: Rules for Radicals: What Constitutional Conservatives Should Know About Saul Alinsky

 

Then there was Alex Cora who caused division in the team after a World Series Championship, one of those TDS sufferers (6).  It is an honor to be invited to the White House as a guest, an invitation most will not experience. The White House belongs to all Americans. Each occupant is entrusted with its care for a time and adds to the character and history of the White House.

Cora placed a divide so deep in the finely tuned team that set many records including the number of wins that he installed defeat for the next season.  Cora was found to be a cheater as he helped the Houston Astros cheat their way to a World Series Championship. The installed defeatism kept the Red Sox out of the playoffs the next year which partly lead to his firing in January of 2020.  Cheating did not payoff for Cora. Causing division led Cora’s his downfall.

Just as Cora sowed his path for his own destruction Alinsky followers and other an intestinal blockages are sowing their own paths to destruction.

Which path are you on, destruction or healing?

 



References

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2020/01/30/danger-danger-danger/

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/video-christianity-and-socialism/

(1) https://www.breitbart.com/radio/2020/03/01/dr-marc-siegel-on-coronavirus-ive-never-seen-an-emerging-contagion-handled-better/

(2) https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/03/02/vp-mike-pence-and-the-coronavirus-task-force-hold-a-press-conference/

(3) https://www.britannica.com/biography/Antonio-Gramsci

(4) https://bolenreport.com/saul-alinskys-12-rules-radicals/

(5) http://www.openculture.com/2017/02/13-rules-for-radicals.html

(6) https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/01/trump-curse-red-sox-manager-who-refused-to-visit-president-trump-in-the-white-house-with-his-team-is-fired-for-cheating/

https://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2017/02/13/shoving-alinskys-rules-for-radicals-right-back-in-the-lefts-ugly-face-n2284892

https://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2012/04/13/12-ways-to-use-saul-alinskys-rules-for-radicals-against-liberals-n917872

https://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2020/03/03/world-health-organization-fear-and-panic-over-coronavirus-dangerous-calm-down/

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/03/coronavirus_codswallop__by_the_numbers.html

—–

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2020/03/05/team-player-or-blockage/


https://nackpets.wordpress.com/2020/03/01/so-true/


VIDEO Surviving the Challenges of Marriage

 

“The thing I loved about her when I first saw her, was that she was a woman that looked like she knew where she was going. She looked like that she knew what her purpose was.”

After more than 25 years of marriage James and Tryphena relish date night.  They reminisce on how their love story began.

“I fell in love with him because his heart was after God and that was something that was attractive to me.”

James proposed during church service on New Year’s Eve and in 1993 the couple married with hopes of a beautiful beginning, but their busy lives created challenges they didn’t expect.

“When we got married we were just working, running, ripping trying to take care of the kids. Trying to make money. We weren’t really focusing on each other anymore; focusing on really getting out and dating and doing those things we did before we got married and that took a toll on the marriage over time.”

Then there were money problems. Early on, Tryphena struggled to carry the families’ financial load on her own. her hair salon brought in good business but James work as a contractor wasn’t as successful as he hoped for.

“You know my pride was like I don’t want to go get a regular job because this is what I do. I do floors and she would be telling me like look, ‘You need to do something, you need to do something else.’ And I’m like, well, you see me out here. I’m trying every day. I work hard everyday. But it wasn’t enough.”

“But it wasn’t enough. I would call him lazy. I was like they don’t know you at church.”

Their disagreements over money escalated over the years. In 2011, another disagreement over finances, led the couple to their darkest moment.

“I’d asked him to pay the house mortgage and he said he would but he took all of the money out of my account and didn’t put any of his money in there.”

“I threw my checkbook at her and I was like this is your God.”

“I grabbed our wedding pictures and I started to rip them and I said, This is what I think of us. And he got a lighter and began to burn our wedding pictures. I ran in the kitchen and got the knives and I told him I was going to kill him.

“Then I was trying to take the knives out of her hand. When she yanked, she cut my hand. But by that time the police had been called.”

“I never had a speeding ticket. I worked with kids. I had a beauty salon and all of these things…and my marriage was broken.”

Tryphena was taken to jail. After facing a judge, she was released on the condition that she attend anger management and marriage counseling with James. Their pastor recommended a 16-week program at their church, aimed at strengthening marriages.

“Once we both started doing that it was like okay, let me work on me. Let me work on what I need to do. How can I be a better husband to you? How can I be a better father to my children?”

Eventually they both began to share their hearts.

“You know, I was a very passive person you know. I would let people take advantage of me that type of thing, because I didn’t have good self-esteem.”

“I needed to be softer. I needed to be taken care of. He needed someone to encourage him.”

By the end of the program their love and commitment to their marriage had been renewed.

“I forgave her and I knew that she had forgiven me and I think healing began to happen. God began to heal us both and bring healing in our marriage. I got a different job and started being the head of my household. Started making sure things were taken care of. That really turned things around too because it wasn’t that stress on her.”

Today James and Tryphena say surviving their challenges has made their relationship stronger.  They serve in ministry and speak out about issues married couples are facing.

“We don’t let things build up. When we have disagreements we really talk about them. We talk about the good the bad the ugly. So, being honest and truthful and just being able to date each other…. But one of the most important things is prayer, and asking God to come in daily.”

In their book Marriage Reloaded they share their story along with lessons that have added to the success of their lasting marriage.

“We’ve raised three beautiful daughters. To see their dreams come to pass that brings joy to my heart. To see my wife doing what she loves to do and to see the things that we are planning to do together.”

Now, they treat every day as an occasion to cherish the true meaning of love.

“Valentine’s day is every day for us.”

“When I wake up in the morning and look at her…when I see her I get excited every day.”

“I’m so grateful that God didn’t let me throw my diamonds and my pearls away. God is the threefold cord in our marriage that is not easily broken. Without him we could have never made it.”

https://www1.cbn.com/surviving-challenges-marriage

 

 

Rally to draw attention to ‘Repeal Obergefell’ movement

Ex-gays to speak in favor of traditional marriage

 

marriage_definition

When the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling that Chief Justice John Roberts argued in dissent was unconnected to the U.S. Constitution, created same-sex “marriage” in 2015, progressives cheered.

But the impact went beyond marriage,  creating a conflict between newly acquired LGBT rights and the constitutional right of citizens to exercise their religion.

Among the victims was Jack Phillips, who was sued over and over for refusing to use his wedding artistry to promote what the Bible defines as sin. And Melissa Klein, for the same. In addition, wedding venue operators, calligraphers and photographers have been targeted because of their beliefs.

Now a rally is being held to promote a movement to repeal of the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision.

It’s being organized by Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality and others.

He contends the “gay marriage” decision was based on the lie that homosexuality is immutable, like race.

How does he know? He will have a number of former homosexuals, including David Arthur, confirm that.

The rally, on a public sidewalk near the Supreme Court in Washington, will point out the fundamental flaw in the majority opinion from Anthony Kennedy, now retired, who claimed homosexuality or sexual orientation is immutable.

“Yet many men and women have left this immoral lifestyle behind,” LaBarbera’s announcement said.

“Arthur and several others who came out of homosexuality and gender confusion (transgenderism) will speak at this year’s ‘Repeal Obergefell’ rally,” the announcement said.

It was held  at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 26.

That day is the fourth anniversary of the decision that, rally organizers say, gave America the “unconstitutional, immoral and tyrannical Obergefell v. Hodges.”

The announcement says: “They have the media. They have the power. They have the money. But we have the truth.”

Speakers included former homosexual Stephen Black of First Stone Ministries, former female-to-male transgender Laura Perry, Pastor Stephen Broden of Fair Park Bible Fellowship. Others are LaBarbera, Arthur, Bruce Johnson of Metropolitan Marriage Association and constitutional law expert William Olson.

The issue has been in headlines because Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg, a professing Christian, has attacked the Christian beliefs of Vice President Mike Pence and others on the issue.

But LaBarbera described Buttigieg as “a living, walking and breathing example of the politicized sham that is religious-left ‘Christianity’ today. He claims that God created him as a homosexual – a self-serving blasphemy as audacious as it is biblically nonsensical.”

The announcement said, “Predictably, ‘Mayor Pete’ has quickly become the darling of a media who incessantly promote all things ‘gay’ and ‘trans’ — and who loathe socially conservative Christians who actually believe the Bible in humility, and fear God in reverence.

“The simple truth is that homosexual behaviors are wrong, unnatural, and often unhealthy – yet can be overcome through the grace and power of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6), as testified by countless ex-‘gays’ and former ‘transgenders.’ No faithful Christian proudly identifies by his or her besetting sins, nor seeks to justify them before a holy God.”

Original here


Differing Views on Christian Doctrine, Identity and Homosexuality – Charts

4 Ways To Help Your Kids Fight Assimilation Into Cultural Leftism

Equipping our kids might mean talking to them about difficult and uncomfortable subjects long before we’d like to. But choosing not to have them doesn’t protect our kids. It dooms them to leftist assimilation.

4 Ways To Help Your Kids Fight Assimilation Into Cultural Leftism

Dec 16, 2019

 

“You don’t agree with me that gay marriage should be legal?” All eyes around the lunch table were suddenly trained on my sixth-grade daughter. “But that means you hate gay people!” Morgan exclaimed.

“No it doesn’t,” Faust daughter replied. “My grandma is gay, and I love her. So, what is your argument?”

“Well, if a man and a woman who love each other can get married, then two men who love each other should be able to get married, and two women who love each other should be able to get married. There’s no difference.”

“The difference is that a man and a woman make a baby,” Faust daughter responded again. “A man and a man don’t make a baby, and a woman and a woman don’t make a baby.”

“Oh, I guess that’s true. But the two men or the two women could just adopt if they wanted a baby.”

“No. Adoption is not about giving kids to adults. Adoption is about finding homes for children who don’t have parents. And all children need moms and dads,” Faust daughter insisted.

“Well, I think kids just need adults who love them,” came the response.

“No, dads teach kids certain lessons; moms teach kids other lessons. And kids need both kinds of lessons,” Faust daughter concluded.

Amazingly, No.1 Faust daughter was able to identify three truths about marriage and family that escape most adults: 1) The public purpose of marriage is not about adult feelings, it’s about children. 2) No adult has a right to a child. 3) Men and women offer distinct and complementary benefits to child-rearing.

As she retold this lunch-time drama, I remember thinking, “Wow, it worked!” No. 1 Faust daughter had retained and could explain much of what we had been talking about at home. It was proof that not only can kids handle these big conversations, they thrive on them.

Parenting Is About Training

After our eldest daughter’s relatively sheltered elementary school life, my husband and I decided it was time for the “Great Equipping.” Our philosophy throughout her first decade of life had been focused on filtering out damaging ideas about worldview, gender, sex, etc. We strove to saturate her in truth and beauty during the phase wherein kids unquestioningly absorb everything they see and hear.

We limited her exposure to distorted depictions of sex, violence, and competing worldviews whether from media or agenda-driven adults. We encouraged scripture memorization, modeled imperfect-but-healthy relationships, and emphasized the purpose and inherent goodness of sex within marriage. But the time for sheltering was at an end because she was about to enter the ultimate worldview battleground — a woke Seattle public school.

The Great Equipping is the time in a child’s development when critical thinking begins, accompanied by questions like, “How do we know that’s true?” “But what if you’re wrong?” It’s easy for children to catch their parents off guard when they begin challenging core theological concepts that, only a month before, they were happily regurgitating. But fear not, these questions are an indication your kid is ready for more. They are ready to be experts.

We tell every one of our kids upon entering middle school, “We want you to know more about controversial topics than all your friends.” Yes, the Great Equipping means talking about difficult and uncomfortable subjects with our kids way before we’d like to.

But we really don’t have a choice, because the world is messaging to our kids nonstop about sex and transgenderism and every other topic that may make us squeamish. To the world, our discomfort is irrelevant. Having conversations with our kids about abortion or pornography may be discomforting, but choosing not to have them doesn’t protect our kids. It dooms them to leftist assimilation.

Uncomfortable as it is, the goal of parenting is not to keep kids safe or happy. The goal is training.

1. You Are the Primary Educators

Pre-parenthood, my husband and I worked in youth ministry. We witnessed both ends of the parenting spectrum: the laissez-faire, uninvolved-and-unaware-of-what’s-going-on-in-their-child’s-world parents. Those kids were so overwhelmed by the messages and pressures of the world, they were often swallowed whole by the time they graduated high school.

On the other end of the spectrum were the Christian kids smothered with protection. These kids often fell apart when they went to college. Their parents’ extreme sheltering meant they never had a chance to come up against a worldview challenge, whether evolution or sexual morality or the veracity of scripture, which left them woefully outgunned when they encountered the slightest pushback.

My husband and I decided on a middle road: train our children on every question the world would throw at them while they were under our roof. That middle road demanded we take our role of “primary educators” seriously. Not only by laying a solid foundation of truth and beauty when our kids were young, but also by introducing them to competing worldviews in middle school. The summer before our oldest entered sixth grade, we studied abortion, transgenderism, same-sex attraction, socialism, and more.

Being the “primary educators” of our children means being the first to talk with them about difficult subjects. Why? Because the person who introduces your child to a new something, especially a sensitive something, is the person your kid will consider the authority.

For example, if the first time your kid hears about porn is when a fifth grader with a smartphone shoves a video in his face, where do you think he goes for more information? Even if your initial conversation is not exhaustive, the first person to tell your kids about tough issues has to be you. As the mothers who lead the grassroots marriage movement CanaVox often say, “Better a year too early than five minutes too late.”

2. Include Your Kids in What You’re Already Doing

While good programs are helpful, don’t think this training requires formal curriculum. My husband and I have opted for more of a Deuteronomy 6 approach wherein you incorporate worldview conversations as “you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

This brand of training is more of an incremental handoff than a course-completion. I once heard of a discipleship model that encapsulates this slow equipping:

Step 1. I do, you watch.
Step 2. I do, you help.
Step 3. You do, I help.
Step 4. You do, I watch.

By the time your kids exit childhood, you should be done with Step 1. Your kids should already have observed you living it. Our kids have witnessed their parents read about and work through difficult scriptural and worldview questions.

They’ve watched us respond to situations with, “I don’t know. Let me learn more and get back to you.” They’ve listened to us listen to political and worldview-forming podcasts. They’ve seen us survive the real-life fallout of speaking unpopular truth about cultural topics. Your kids should understand healthy marriage, friendship, and conversations because they’ve witnessed you living them. Modeling is a critical part of Step 1. You are “doing,” and they are “watching.”

When they are near the end of the innocent phase, you should introduce Step 2. As a Federalist reader, I assume you are engaged in apologetic or policy discussions online, yes? Invite your 10-year-old or 12-year-old to read your exchanges and discuss your critic’s objections. Ask your daughter to help you with your response.

What part of your argument is the strongest and the weakest? What would she add? When you want to share a powerful pro-life video, watch it with your son and ask him to help you write a few lines about the “rape exception” in abortion. You are “doing.” They are “helping.”

When they hit that phase where the Great Equipping begins, you should be in the midst of Step 2 and moving into Step 3. If they’ve been saturated in truth and beauty and received honest answers to honest questions, the urge to further investigate and defend their worldview comes naturally. They will likely start pushing back in their classrooms, engaging in difficult conversations with friends, or identifying objectionable content in the shows they are watching (preferably with you sitting on the couch next to them).

Step 3 done right looks like this: Your middle-schooler reports that his class discussion was based on the idea that “slaveholders in the South must’ve been Republicans because Republicans are racist.” You stay your fingers from typing an angry email to the teacher and instead ask your son, “Would you like to watch a video on the history of the Democratic Party together?” or “Would you like to read the first Republican Party platform, which denounces slavery as one of the ‘twin relics of barbarism’?” You “help” while they “do.”

Ideally, by the time our kids graduate high school, they regularly dwell in the land of Step 4. You “watch” them from the sidelines responding to objections. They are drafting their own social media comments about the harms of puberty-blockers and writing pro-life essays all on their own.

A precaution: There is no shortcutting this. Do not live in the fantasy that you can skip from Step 1 to Step 4. You arrive at Step 4 only after your kids have had a couple years in Step 2 and Step 3 and have had many opportunities to practice grappling through difficult topics in the safety of your home.

3. Balance Protection and Exposure

I don’t knock any parent who chooses private school or homeschool to protect their children from the world. The only mommy war I fight is the one that really matters — to insist that every child has a right to his or her mommy (and daddy). Whether your child takes a bus to school or just has to come to the kitchen table, Christian parents are responsible for equipping their kids.

Some Christians bristle when I tell them our children are in public school. They ask, “How could you allow them to be subjected to that liberal agenda?” Their concern is justified, of course. This educational path is wrought with daily political and religious friction. We have to evaluate, child by child and year by year, whether this friction is sharpening our kids or grinding them down. If it’s grinding them down, we retreat and regroup. If the friction results in stronger mental and spiritual acumen, then they remain.

Now spanning grades four through 11, our kids often share with us the difficult conversations they’ve had with friends or a ridiculous statement from a teacher, or lament some biased curriculum. Such conversations are followed by a heavy does of Step 3 as we conduct joint research into what the Bible says about that subject, as well as supporting natural law and social science arguments. Our two oldest have spent hours investigating the character of Christopher Columbus, whether our Founding Fathers were racist, the sexes wage gap, the truth claims of Islam, and more.

For example, recently, No. 2 Faust daughter stormed in and told me, “Mom, you wouldn’t believe what Jenna said! She said abortion was okay because ‘my body, my choice.’ I was so mad, but I didn’t know what to say.” Three hours later, after an exploration of videos on natal development and some research on pro-choice talking points, No. 2 Faust daughter said confidently, “The next time one of my friends says ‘my body, my choice,’ I’m going to say, ‘If it was your body you’d be the one dead at the end of the abortion.’”

I have seen the fruits of this Great Equipping in my friends’ children as well. One friend’s sixth-grade daughter, championing the pro-life cause while riding the school bus, successfully converted four pro-choice classmates by simply being prepared to have the conversation. Another friend found out during her seventh-grader’s conference that her child had spoken directly to the history teacher himself regarding his obvious political bias in the classroom, which resulted in a humbled, more mindful educator.

Of course, not every conversation will result in such tangible “wins.” Many times our kids will experience the same rejection we adults face when we stand for our convictions. The sure result will be, however, that every oppositional interaction they have will help to sharpen their minds, and that is always a win.

4. Stay Connected

One last thing, and it’s a big thing. These conversations will be impossible or have little effect if we aren’t connected to our kids. Connection comes not only from physical proximity — driving them to school, joint dinner prep, working in the yard together — but also from emotional proximity.

If your kids are going to navigate a hostile world of competing ideas, they must know you are the safe place to put all their questions, feelings, and doubts. You demonstrate this by not freaking out when they tell you their friend came out as bisexual, or when your little girl says she wants to marry Taylor Swift, or when your son wants to know what “trans” is. While your head may say “WTH!” your face needs say, “I’d love to talk with you about that.”

Have my husband and I achieved the right balance of modeling and exposing, sheltering and training? I hope so. But we are only at the virtual half-time in this parenting game. I’ll tell you what the scoreboard says in another decade when the game is over.

What I can say is that my kids can hold their own. They can spot a lie when they hear one. They know that answers to the hardest questions do exist, even if they don’t yet know what those answers are. They know their parents are in the fight with them. And they know that while they may lose friends if they speak up, they earn the respect of their friends who remain.

Katy Faust is the founder and director of the children’s rights organization Them Before Us and the Washington state leader of CanaVox. She is married and the mother of four children, the youngest of whom is adopted from China. You can follow her on Twitter @Advo_Katy.

VIDEO State refuses to open Catholic center to help sex-trafficked girls

Managers of proposed home refuse to give up beliefs about marriage, abortion

Nov 12, 2019

Officials with the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund and the Thomas More Society have joined to bring a civil rights lawsuit against the state of California for preventing the opening of a center to help girls escape sex trafficking.

It is the state’s Department of Social Services that has refused to license the Refuge, a residential treatment home for sex-trafficked teen girls, according to an announcement about the legal action in Superior Court in San Diego.

The center is to be run by Children of the Immaculate Heart, a religious charity, but it sued because the state is requiring that its center be left empty.

“The issue is whether religious caretaking organizations can serve victims of sex trafficking consistent with their faith,” the legal teams explained.

The action demands that state regulators responsible for foster care answer for their ongoing refusal to issue CIH a license to open the Refuge.

See a video about the plan:

But licensing officials have made it clear that they find CIH’s Catholic identity “offensive” and that they “disagree with the charity’s religious beliefs about sexual orientation and reproduction,” the case contends.

“The Refuge has been sitting empty for over two years. Evidence shows that licensing officials are stonewalling the Refuge’s application to force CIH to either withdraw the application under economic duress or sacrifice its religious beliefs. CIH currently spends $15K per month to maintain the Refuge and has spent nearly $600K total since 2015,” they reported.

“Right now, a desperately needed rescue home for sex-trafficked girls sits empty because the government refuses to license a care provider with Catholic beliefs,” said Paul Jonna, senior counsel for the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund. “Every child who is at risk of sex trafficking deserves a safe place with loving caretakers. Charitable agencies that help rescue children from sex trafficking should be protected, not excluded for their faith.”

The issue is the state’s social-sexual-progressive agenda.

The announcement about the fight explained, “Licensing officials have demanded that CIH certifies that it will promote LGBTQ events, drive residents to get abortions, and inject children with transgender hormone medications. CIH does not object to a child’s access to such programs, activities, or actions, but it objects to cooperating in them.”

“Hundreds of teenage girls continue to be pimped out in our county every night,” said Grace Williams, CIH’s founder and executive director, “Yet the state of California considers prohibiting Children of the Immaculate Heart’s free exercise of religion and freedom of speech more important than helping these girls escape a living hell of being raped up to ten times a day.”

Williams had founded CIH because of studies reporting up to 8,000 victims of gang-involved sex trafficking in the San Diego area every year.

Even San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, the County Probation Department, and the County Juvenile Court all have endorsed CIH.

The legal action seeks a court order forcing the state defendants to process the organization’s application “in a neutral manner” and avoid basing any decision on the defendants’ “religious beliefs and practices.”

 

Original here

An Angel Foretells Of John’s Birth

VERSE DISCOVERY: LUKE 1:8-20 (KJV, PUBLIC DOMAIN)

Before Gabriel spoke to Mary, he appeared to another person in relation to the future Messiah.  He came to a man by the name of Zacharias and foretold of the child he would father.  This child would grow to be a messenger before the Lord and would be he of whom it was prophesied as the one who would be characterized as, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,” (Mark 1:3). 

Imagine for a moment, the president, king, or any head of a country, coming to an area to visit.  Before their arrival, another would have been sent ahead to announce and make the proper preparations before they get there.  Such as it was in ancient times when kings came into town.  And, so is the ministry of John the Baptist, the child whom Gabriel speaks of in today’s lesson as a promise to Zacharias, when the King of all kings makes His arrival on this earth.

ZACHARIAS’ DUTY

Luke 1:8-10 “And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.  And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.”

Righteous before God.  Walking in the commandments.  Blameless.  These are some of the noteworthy characteristics of Zacharias and Elisabeth his wife (see Luke 1:5-6).

Although he was a faithful priest in the eyes of the Lord and his wife modeled the same holy qualities, they had no child.  Being well-advanced in years, their time for this possibility seemed to be over until God steps in and shakes up their way of thinking and reorders their life with a great and precious promise.

The number of priests available to serve in those days was large.  Some estimates put them in the tens of thousands.  With that, 1 Chronicles 24:1-9 lays out the divisions of the priests.  There were 24 in all and from these divisions, the duties that were to be performed in the temple were selected by “lot.”  Using the term “lot” it describes the system of selection that depended on God to choose who will do what and when they will do it by the drawing or casting of lots.

On this particular day, Zacharias had the privilege to experience the opportunity to serve before the Lord.  “According to the custom of the priest’s office” (see 2 Chronicles 8:14), as the lots were cast for the duty of burning incense (see 1 Chronicles 23:13; 2 Chronicles 29:11), Zacharias’s name was chosen to perform this job “in the temple of the Lord.”

This was a highly desired position and considered a great honor.  Before the morning sacrifice and after the evening sacrifice was offered, the chosen priest would burn incense before the altar symbolizing the prayers of the people who were positioned outside of the temple (“praying without”), during this time.

AN ANGEL ENCOUNTER

Luke 1:11-14 “And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.  And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.  But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.  And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.”

Above all else, we believe God to be sovereign.  We believe Him to be in charge of time and circumstance.  And, although Zacharias is considered old at this time, we believe God held his name in remembrance to appear on the scene and receive the promise of he who would be chosen and work to prepare the way of Christ at this chosen time in history.

While reverently going about his duties which, as already noted, had to be performed twice a day (see Exodus 30:7-8), “there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord.”  Imagine, if you will, being in that holy atmosphere where one might not hear anything but the burning of coals and the shuffling of his own feet; an atmosphere where everything is sacred and yet, God chose you to come before Him in the temple to perform this holy calling.

With the aromas of spices filling the air, off to the right side of the altar, beyond the ascending fragrant cloud, Zacharias sees “an angel of the Lord.”  Some depictions of this encounter may have Zacharias just hearing the angel, but the Bible says he “saw him.”

And when he “saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.”  Throughout the Bible, any time an angel appeared directly to an individual it was often unsettling and troubling to the individual (see 1 Chronicles 21:30; Matthew 28:2-4).  God does not do anything frivolously, especially regarding having a heavenly host appear to mankind.  This was an occasion to take seriously.  Not knowing at that time, the exact reason for the visit, “fear fell upon him.”

“But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias.”  Zacharias’s reaction wasn’t necessary, and the angel sought to ease the millions of horrific thoughts that may be running through his mind.  God’s dispatched angel came with a message of promise, not of peril; therefore, he spoke, “Fear not;” the same comforting words he will give to Mary in Luke 1:30.

“For thy prayer is heard.”  Zacharias was a righteous man and he was a praying man and according to God’s holy word, “The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry, “(Psalm 34:15; see also 1 Peter 3:12).  Knowing the heartbreak and shame of being childless; I don’t know how many years Zacharias prayed, but in His perfect, pre-ordained time, God let him know He “heard.”

In a previous article titled Know That God Hears, I wrote: “Our deepest heart’s desires do not fall on deaf ears.  God is not playing cat and mouse with us.  He wants us to seek Him that He may be found: “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near,” (Isaiah 55:6).  Then, He can respond!” (Word For Life Says)

And, respond He did.  The angel told Zacharias of what would be.  He said, “Thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.”  A woman, who like her husband is “well-stricken in years,” (Luke 1:7) will finally, not only have a child and know the joy of motherhood, but she will “bear thee a son.”

Just think, after all those years of let downs.  After feelings of disgrace have surely washed over them and it seemed all hope is gone – God favored them.  They would know what it is like; they will experience their very own fulfilled promise in the form of a son named “John.”

His birth would not only bring “joy and gladness” to the parents whose hearts longed to hear a babe crying in their home, and to hold and coddle their own flesh and blood – but, “many shall rejoice at his birth.”

As time goes by and Elisabeth does give birth, we see in Luke 1:58, “her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her,” (emphasis mine).  I believe the angel’s words were meant to have a much farther reach of impact in the lives of the people who will respond to his call of repentance, and eventually be led to Christ.

JOHN’S FORETOLD CHARACTER

 Luke 1:15 “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.”

“For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord.”  When Jesus came on the scene, during His years of ministry, He testified of John and said, “For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist,” (Luke 7:28; see also Matthew 11:11).  Jesus’ ministry obviously is superior in depth and importance than that of John the Baptist’s (read John 1:29-34 for John’s own testimony of the Lamb of God’s ministry; He [Jesus] that is preferred before him [John the Baptist]).

Nevertheless, because of his position and unique ministry as the one who would prepare the way before the Savior, John the Baptist stands out and is extraordinary among the name of the prophets.  From the time of the womb, he would bear witness of the Christ (see Luke 1:41; John 1:15, 29-34).

“And he shall drink neither wine nor strong drink.”  This is reminiscent of the instructions we see given to Samson’s parents when an angel appeared to them.  The withholding of oneself from “strong drink” as well as other strict requirements, was in keeping with what is known as a Nazarite vow (compare Judges 13:4-5).  This devoted life would be a sign of the holy and set apart nature of the individual; that God was doing something special in his life.

“And he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.”  John the Baptist would be heavenly empowered and enabled from the womb to fulfill the role as that prophesied voice and that holy messenger, heralding to all who would listen, before the arrival of the Savior (compare Isaiah 40:3).  Anything done for God must be Spirit-powered.  Many today try to operate in their own power but fall short of producing godly fruit for the Kingdom.  John’s life and mission would be infused with “Holy Ghost” power!

JOHN’S FORETOLD MINISTRY

Luke 1:16-17 “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.  And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

“Many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.”  When John the Baptist came into his ministry, he is seen “preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” (Matthew 3:1-2).  People from all over the area came: “Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins,” (Matthew 3:5-6).  He was working to turn hearts back “to the Lord their God.”  He was winning souls to the Kingdom, fulfilling this prophecy over his life.

John’s style of clothing (camel’s hair garments) and eating choices (locusts and wild honey) did not detract from the impact he made on those who came out to see and hear him.  The love for people, the Kingdom, and the ingrained ministry in him compelled him to reach out and help those who were seeking “the Lord their God.”

“And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias.”  In the Old Testament, it was prophesied, “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me…” (Malachi 3:1).  When we study the New Testament, particularly the sayings of Jesus on the subject, we see that John was, in fact, he that came “in the spirit and power of Elias [Elijah],” (read Matthew 17:11-13 for further clarification).

“To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children.”  In correlation with this prophecy of John the Baptist being compared to Elijah, here too we see another O.T. promise being fulfilled through his life and ministry.  With almost exact wording, Malachi 4:5-6 talks about Elijah coming again with a focus on restoring familial relationships.  The very fabric that makes up the strength of the home is relationships; those connections would have “hearts” renewed in love and peace for one another again.

Some see it in a different way, perhaps referring to the turning of the hearts of the children of Israel back to the way of their fathers, the patriarchs.

Regardless of how one views it, his ministry softens “hearts” that will be ready to receive the healing that Christ will offer.

When John the Baptist does arrive on the scene to do the work of the Lord, the people would have been 400 years without hearing the voice of a true prophet of God.  The above quotation from Malachi 4:5-6 were among the last words spoken by a prophet in the Old Testament.

“And the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”  The ministry of John the Baptist would change hearts and minds from unjust behavior to “just” behaviors; leading people to look for the greater gift of salvation which is found in Jesus Christ.  As such, he was making “ready a people prepared.”  John the Baptist can be seen as the opening act, while Jesus Christ, without a doubt, is the main event.

ZACHARIAS’ DOUBT

Luke 1:18-20 “And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.  And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.  And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.”

“Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.”  Surprised at the announcement.  Overwhelmed at the possibility.  Over-thinking the proposed miracle.  All this and more led Zacharias down a path of doubt.

Here, Zacharias’s prayer was heard, and God sent a messenger to declare he’s getting what he prayed for.  But the faith that caused him to ask in prayer was missing at the declaration of the miracle.  Rather than respond with rejoicing, he responded with questioning.

What happened?

He looked with human eyes at human conditions and made up his mind for God, that it just wasn’t possible.  Let us be reminded of this great biblical truth: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” (Hebrews 11:6; emphasis mine).

Zacharias was a “diligent” seeker of the Lord (as noted earlier in this lesson).  God was ready to reward him, but he just couldn’t see with his natural eyes the miracle ahead.  Therefore, he asks, “Whereby shall I know this?”

What God speaks always comes to pass, so the angel, who is revealed as the same “Gabriel” who speaks with Mary – his response below is just.

“I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.”  Coming as a holy messenger of God, what “Gabriel” brought was good news!  As if it isn’t awesome enough to see an angel, period – this one brought a promise with him.  Most would think this is convincing enough, but for Zacharias, he met the miracle with misgivings about his situation and wanted something more: “Whereby shall I know this?”

Thus, the angel Gabriel said, “Thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed.”  If we fast forward to the birth of John, particularly the eighth day when it was time for him to be circumcised according to custom, which would also be the same time when he officially gets his name, we see Zacharias wrote the babe’s name “John” on a tablet.  And when he did so, “his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God,” (Luke 1:59-64).  Until that day he was “not able to speak” according to Gabriel’s words because he “believest not.”

Remember, what God promises, He is able to perform (Romans 4:21).  Believe Him for it all.

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Sunday School Lesson – “An Angel Foretells of John’s Birth” Luke 1:8-20