Cultivating Fresh Faith Through Your Lifetime

by Lucy Wyndham

Cultivating Fresh Faith Through Your Lifetime

Japan, Germany, and Monaco are countries approaching an aging population looking into retirement or settling in retirement homes. Among the older adults, this is probably the time to slow down, reflect, and take leisure time walking along the coast side, travel the world, or build and live in a wonderful lakeside home. The Millennials and Gen Z’s are picking up the weight and chase after the ‘American dream’ faster than ever. But, before technology became a staple in our lives, our forefathers made sure to look into the Word through meditation, mindfulness, and reflection. Looking for a fresh perspective in your walk with God? Each day provides an opportunity to an enriched life filled with a purpose.

The joy in ALL circumstances

A verse in Philippians 4 pointed, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice’. A worldview devoid of God would have only pinned joy as an event that lasts only for a moment.  But life is a struggle and it doesn’t always go your way. It’s not always happy and it’s not always on time with whatever you asked of God. True joy in your life shouldn’t be dependent on your circumstances. Once we know our Savior, Jesus Christ, we look beyond the circumstances and into the face of the one who gives us substance and meaning. This is why it’s so important to meditate on the truth and joy available to us, as this simple daily practice will help us face our struggles and change our perspective for the better.

Whose image is on you?

In the Gospel of Mark, a man once asked if ‘it is right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ to which Jesus replied, ‘Bring me a denarius and let me look at it… Whose image is this? And whose inscription?’ The man replied, ‘Caesar’s’ to which Jesus responded to give to Caesar what is due to his and to God which is due God’s. Ravi Zacharias, a renowned Christian apologist, made a poignant remark of the questioner’s ‘disingenuousness’ by not asking a follow-up question. If it wasn’t the case, the questioner would’ve asked, ‘What belongs to God?’ to which Jesus would have replied, ‘Whose image is on you?’. To have a calling, you first need to have a caller. Each of us is called for a holy life in Christ, to bear the image of his father, and fulfill the purpose He predestined since time immemorial.

Rethinking retirement

If you’ve never heard it before, more adults are retiring early. While there are many reasons people want to retire early, there’s an ugly truth to this ‘upside’.Adults retiring early experience loss of identity and security. The fear of the unknown may also set in once income dwindles, inflation rate shoots up, and the market crashes. Set scheduled time to reading inspirational texts to guide us in honoring our Creator and love of your neighbor. Living the faith does not come with an ‘expiration date’ and building a robust prayer life liberates you from material concerns.

Make every work matter

God cares for the world through us. Even the first task of man on earth is to ‘work and take care of’ the Garden of Eden. The Bible is replete of insinuations of God feeding His people. The only catch is that it has to be done through work. So what does this imply in your walk in the faith? From the grandest work of a CEO running a multi-billion company to washing dishes, no work is menial, and each work carries with it great dignity. As we are all parts of the body of Christ, we are called to become the ‘hands and feet’ of God.

https://godinterest.com/2019/07/10/cultivating-fresh-faith-through-your-lifetime

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Christ’s prayer for His followers, offered long ago in Jerusalem, is still His prayer for us today.

BY CHARLES F. STANLEY

Last words carry great significance because they reveal what’s important to a person. That’s why we gather around a loved one’s bed as the end draws near, hoping to hear final thoughts, instructions, or wisdom. And of all the recorded last words, the most valuable are those of the Lord Jesus. Before He went to the cross, He spent an extended evening with His disciples, celebrating the Passover. His final words in John 13-17 show us His heart for those who belong to Him.

 

Consider the roller coaster of emotions the disciples experienced in those last days and hours with their Messiah: They’d watched the crowds welcome Him into Jerusalem as “the King of Israel” just a few days before (John 12:13). But now they were gradually being awakened to the fact that things were not going to turn out as they hoped. They’d left everything to follow Him, and now Jesus was telling them He was going to die.

To see this from the disciples’ perspective, we need to better understand their expectations. According to the Old Testament prophecies, the Messiah was going to come as a conqueror to subdue Israel’s enemies, exalt the nation to global prominence, and rule over the entire world (Isa. 2:1-4). As His followers, they were anticipating places of prominence, authority, and greatness in the kingdom. They didn’t realize that they needed a Savior more than a King. The Messiah had to first offer Himself as a sacrifice in order to save His people from their sins.

 

THE LORD’S PLAN

When Jesus first began to speak of His upcoming death and resurrection, Peter actually rebuked Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You” (Matt. 16:22). Despite Jesus’ repeated assertions, they could not fit a dying Messiah into their belief system. But on this last night, the reality was finally sinking in, and they were filled with grief and sorrow at the thought of life without Him.

Despite Jesus’ repeated assertions, they could not fit a dying Messiah into their belief system.

Christ’s response to their trauma is best described in John’s gospel: “Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1). Everything He said was for the purpose of strengthening their faith. Before their world began to turn upside down, Christ said, “I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He” (John 13:19). Then He revealed what was going to happen:

  • One of them would betray Him (John 13:21).
  • He was about to leave and go back to His Father, and they couldn’t follow Him (John 13:33), but He would return and take them to the Father’s house (John 14:1-3).
  • He promised that He would send them another Helper (John 14:16-18John 16:7).
  • He would still provide whatever they asked for in His name (John 14:13-14).
  • They would have a new kind of relationship with Him (John 15:1-5).
  • They would be hated and persecuted by the world but could have His peace (John 15:18-19John 16:33).

These confused and fearful men in the upper room became the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20). Jesus was entrusting them with the task of taking His message of salvation to the world. From an earthly perspective, this looked risky. They were not an impressive group. In fact, they lacked spiritual insight and the courage to stand with Christ when their lives were in danger. Yet Jesus knew their future success didn’t depend on their own abilities but on His power, provision, and intercession. Therefore, as the evening drew to an end, the Lord lifted His eyes to heaven, and this is how He prayed:

 

These confused and fearful men in the upper room became the foundation of the church. Jesus was entrusting them with the task of taking His message of salvation to the world.

FOR HIMSELF (JOHN 17:1-5)

First, Christ prayed that both He and the Father would be glorified in His death, which would bring eternal life to all whom the Father had given Him (John 17:1-2). The cross was not a defeat, and Jesus was not a victim. By completing the work He’d been given, including His redemptive death on the cross, the Son glorified His Father.

 

FOR HIS DISCIPLES (JOHN 17:6-19)

Next, Jesus prayed—not for the world but for those who believed that God sent Him. They were precious gifts to Christ, and He had been glorified in them through their faith in Him. Now He was going to send them into the world with His message. Therefore, Jesus asked His Father to protect them from the evil one and sanctify them in the truth of His Word.

 

FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE THROUGH THEIR WORD (JOHN 17:20-26)

In conclusion, Jesus broadened His intercession to include all future believers who would make up the body of Christ—His church. Just imagine, on that night almost 2,000 years ago Jesus prayed for you. And what did He request? “That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:21).

He wasn’t merely asking that believers get along with each other, although we should. Jesus was speaking of the spiritual unity of all Christians with the Trinity and each other. Every true believer is baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit and becomes a part of His body. Together, we are sent to proclaim the gospel so that the world may believe.

 

THE ANSWER TO THE LORD’S PRAYER

God answered Christ’s prayer for that little band of men gathered with Him for the Passover observance. They faithfully took the gospel to the world, and we now have their testimony recorded in the Bible. What’s more, the heavenly Father continues to answer Jesus’ prayer as new Christians enter into the spiritual unity of Christ’s body. In fact, believers around the world gather to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, which Christ established that last night.

For His final request, Jesus said, “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory” (John 17:24). A day is coming when everyone Jesus prayed for will meet together in heaven with Him and with each other in perfect unity. And we can know with certainty that this will come about because the Father always answers His Son’s prayers. In the meantime, the church is called to strive toward unity here and now—loving one another just as He loves us, and testifying to an onlooking world about His transforming power.

 

Photograph by Ryan Hayslip

https://www.intouch.org/read/magazine/the-pulpit/from-the-upper-room

Epstein, Abuse, & the Log in Our Own Eye: It’s Not Just Out There

Jeffrey Epstein’s case is disturbing—and in some ways it mirrors the abuse crisis in the church.
July 15, 2019 by ED STETZER

Epstein, Abuse, & the Log in Our Own Eye: It's Not Just Out There

ust last week, news surfaced of the arrest of financier Jeffrey Epstein for running a child trafficking enterprise that allowed him to sexually abuse girls as young as 14. When federal agents searched his New York City mansion, they confiscated a “vast trove” of pictures of young girls­­.

After seeing some media reports, I tweeted this:

So, “underaged women” is not a thing. They are called children. And anyone who had sex with “underaged women” as an adult is a criminal. And, anyone who covered it up, regardless of their influence then and now, is a criminal.

As the weekend began, Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta announced his resignationamid continuing questions as to how he handled the sex crimes case against Epstein when Acosta was a federal prosecutor in Florida.

Every day we learn more.

The writer of Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun. For millennia, children have been victims of horrific crime. Today, children continue to be treated as objects of desire and power rather than what they are—invaluable creations of the Lord God. “What you did to the least of these, you did to me…”

It’s an admonition spoken to God’s people, but it is true for all.

When one is harmed, all suffer.

A Reminder, Again and Again

In 2012, I wrote about child abuse in a church context. In 2014 I wrote again. And in 2015 I wrote again. And we published many articles since then, many around our GC2 Summit on Sexual Harassment, Abuse, and Violence at the Billy Graham Center last November.

But, we could write on this every single day. (I sometimes get complaints that I write too much on the subject, but I think that abuse in the church is one of the defining issues of our day— and, even if it were not, every child matters.)

This systemic problem of men (and sometimes women) viewing our children as objects seems to be no nearer to an end. Perhaps this is true, but the latest indictment of Epstein reminds us that there are people fighting tirelessly on behalf of the most vulnerable and voiceless among us. They are reminding us that criminals won’t go free forever and that justice will be enacted at some point.

According to The United States Department of Justice, “Child sex trafficking refers to the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a minor for the purpose of a commercial sex act.” For reminder: a minor is anyone younger than 18 years old.

A minor is a child.

It’s easy to look at someone like Epstein, identify that he used power and influence to hide the abuse of dozens of girls, and then look for the enabler—especially when it might be someone you already have disdain for. If you hate the Clintons, you might be sure they were in on this. If you hate the Trumps, you might be sure they were in on this. All of these ideas are out there.

And, this approach makes abusers into “others out there,” when they are really in here.

First of all, if either the Clintons or the Trumps participated in or enabled Epstein’s crimes, they should face the full consequences of the law.

But, it is worth noting that the church’s impulse is to shout outrage at the American systems of wealth, politics, and justice without looking at our own issues. The sad reality is that church, too, can be a place where predators work and where the system covers up for them.

Yes, it is good to post our horror on social media. But is better to be sure our churches know how to prepare for the inevitable predator who seeks access.

It is better to be sure our churches know how to respond when accusations come forward.

It is better to know that churches stand with the victims.

After (and in addition to) this, we must fight for the justice and healing of so many who have been sexually exploited among us. We must fight against the powers and systems that have created spaces for our children to become objects for the use of others rather than persons of honor and dignity.

What More?

It is interesting that even the Confessing Church, which arose in opposition to government-sponsored efforts to unify Protestant churches into a single pro-Nazi church, later admitted their complicity in the Nazi regime:

We did fight for long years in the name of Jesus Christ against the mentality that found its awful expression in the National Sociality regime of violence; but we accuse ourselves for not standing for our beliefs more courageously, for not praying more faithfully, for not believing more joyously, and for not loving more ardently.

They did this only after a fierce admonition from Deaconness Marga Meusel and pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer condemned the failure of the Confessing Church to care for the suffering Jews. Meusel’s words to the Confessing Church ring in our ears even today:

Why does the church do nothing? Why does it allow unspeakable injustice to occur? … What shall we one day answer to the question, where is thy brother Abel? The only answer that will be left to us, as well as to the Confessing Church, is the answer of Cain.

Lessons can be learned from this as well as from the Book of Esther, where we are confronted with the challenging and tireless question:

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?

What more can we do, church, when it comes to fighting for the vulnerable among us?

Four things come to mind:

First, pray without ceasing.

We must follow our King, who “always lives to make intercession for us.” Pray for those who have been victimized at the hands of others. Pray for those whose view of themselves and the world has been forever changed by the horrific acts of those they trusted. Pray for justice to be made evident, redemption to come, and for healing to overwhelm like a river of gladness.

Second, fight fearlessly.

We are called to speak on behalf of those with no voice (Prov. 31:8). Imagine a world where no wrongs are ever sought to be righted; now imagine a world where every wrong is fought to be righted. This is our purpose in life—to love God and others to the extent that we step into suffering sacrificially for the sake of another. Use your voice and your life to fight for those who have been abused.

How many of Epstein’s targets went home to tell a parent or authority figure, only to not be believed. Or, even the reporter who first wrote the story, but was not heard.

Fight for those who have been abused so they know the church is the safe place when, as in Epstein’s case, the legal system is not.

Third, prepare wisely.

Epstein targeted vulnerable children. That’s what predators do.

They target children in vulnerability. Given that churches are places of vulnerability, it is common sense that predators are targeting your church. Prepare yourself by training your church. Yes, background checks help and are a start, but we need much more. We need to educate ourselves on how to spot grooming patterns, how to set up systems where children are safe at all times, and much more.

Prepare your church as if Epstein was targeting your church’s kids—because predators are.

Fourth, love endlessly.

The great abolitionist William Wilberforce once said, “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.” Friends, it’s too late to turn the other way if we are to truly follow Christ into the hard places.

My own denomination faced some of these realities this summer, though there is more to do.

We are the hands and feet he uses to love and care for the marginalized, the bruised, the beaten. We are the ears he uses to listen to the stories and lament for the wrongs. We are the voices he uses to speak words of hope and expectation where little dwells.

Child abuse has, once again, made the news. In a sense, it has been placed at our feet. The natural inclination is to shout our anger at Epstein and to be sure to name the people we don’t like who we hope are complicit.

Yet, it is more than Epstein and his enablers. It is also about abuse in the church and its enablers as well.

The enormity of this problem, which continues to confront us, calls for a better response—one that begins on the knees in prayer and continues until justice streams down like a river and all our girls (and boys) are safe, and those who have been hurt see justice and experience healing.

Ed Stetzerholds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, serves as Dean of the School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership at Wheaton College, is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2019/july/epstein-and-log-in-our-own-eye.html

Spiritual highlights during Apollo 11’s moon landing

Chuck Norris relates little-known religious observations during historic event

I read a fairly wide array of books and periodicals. One of the latter I really enjoy is the American Family Journal.

In the July 2019 issue, Associate Editor Rusty Benson interviewed Stephen McDowell, historian, prolific author and founder of Providence Foundation. It is a phenomenal interview on the founding of our nation.

Last week, I wrote my column titled, “In God We Must Trust.” Humbly speaking, it’s a must read, especially for those who might have missed it because of the holiday weekend. I believe patriot articles should be read all summer long and not just bottled up on July 4, especially since the Declaration of Independence was ratified in July and the engrossed copy signed on Aug. 2 (at least by the remaining delegates). We also celebrate our Constitutional birth on Sept. 17 – its 232nd anniversary this year.

Stephen McDowell’s interview almost reads as a sequel to my last column. I addressed the power of the role of God and religion in our republic. McDowell narrows the subject to discuss the role of Christianity and the Bible. Let me give you a few highlights.

In McDowell’s article, “Christianity and the Constitution,” he quotes a prestigious literary journal of 1867: “The American government and Constitution is the most precious possession which the world holds, or which the future can inherit. This is true – true because the American system is the political expression of Christian ideas.”

That is why McDowell explained in his interview: “The power and form of the Declaration and the Constitution are biblical. Power being the underlying ideas that are reflected, and form, the structure of how our government was set up and flows out of those ideas.”

The Declaration begins by saying “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

“Now that statement is full of biblical ideas. First, the founders recognized that absolute truth exists. Right and wrong, moral and immoral, legal and illegal – these emanated from a Creator,” McDowell said.

He added, “…the rulers, as well as the people, are subject to the laws. No man [or woman] is above the law. We are a self-governing republic in which power emanates from the people, who themselves are under the Creator.”

McDowell elaborated, “We live in God’s world, not in a made-up world of Karl Marx or Darwin or any other political philosopher. God created it to function based upon a set of physical and moral laws. If we violate His laws, we suffer the consequence. The Bible teaches that, and history confirms it.”

By quoting extensively from the founders, McDowell builds a case that we must return to our founders’ faith, civility and morality. They weren’t perfect, but they built our republic upon the bedrock of Christianity.

As our second president John Adams wrote to our third president Thomas Jefferson on June 28: “The general principles, on which the fathers achieved Independence, were the only principles in which, that beautiful assembly of young gentlemen could unite, and these principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general principles? I answer, the general principles of Christianity, in which all those sects were united: and the general principles of English and American liberty, in which all those young men united, and which had united all parties in America, in majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her independence.”

Speak of great men of old and amazing patriots who had some pivotal sacred moments, I bet few students today learn that the crew of Apollo 11, whose moon landing we commemorate this week on its 50th anniversary (July 20), had themselves some profound Christian moments when they were up in space and particularly on the moon.

Some have religiously categorized astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin as the deist (Armstrong), the Christian (Aldrin) and the atheist (Collins) who went to the moon. But that’s an oversimplification.

The truth is, Armstrong was a Christian (not a Muslim, as some falsely reported), Collins was a nominal Episcopalian and Aldrin was an elder at his Presbyterian Church back in Houston.

Perhaps the most under-reported story about Armstrong’s faith concerned his visit to Israel following his historic trip to the moon, which is conveyed in Thomas Friedman’s award-winning book, “From Beirut to Jerusalem” (winner of the National Book Award).

The story goes that Armstrong was taken on a tour of the old city of Jerusalem by Israeli archeologist Meir Ben-Dov. When they arrived at the Hulda Gate, which is at the top of the stairs leading to the Temple Mount, Armstrong asked Ben-Dov whether Jesus had stepped anywhere around there.

“These are the steps that lead to the temple,” Ben-Dov told him, “so He must have walked here many times.”

Armstrong then asked Ben-Dov if those were the original stairs and Ben-Dov confirmed that they were indeed.

“So Jesus stepped right here,” Armstrong asked. “That’s right,” answered Ben-Dov.

To which Armstrong replied with this monumental statement: “I have to tell you, I am more excited stepping on these stones than when I was stepping on the moon.” Wow!

Speaking of stepping on the moon, before Armstrong and Aldrin actually did, they made another historic step. While Collins stayed back in the lunar module, Armstrong looked on respectfully as fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin performed a communion ceremony before the two set foot on the moon.

 

The communion bag and chalice used by Buzz Aldrin during his lunar communion. (Credit: David Frohman, President of Peachstate Historical Consulting, Inc.)

The communion bag and chalice used by Buzz Aldrin during his lunar communion.
(Credit: David Frohman, President of Peachstate Historical Consulting, Inc.)

Former White House Special Counsel Charles Colson, who served under President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1970, once wrote a column about it, the details of which Armstrong confirmed.

Colson wrote, “What you may not know, however is that for many of the early astronaut heroes, the ‘right stuff’ included deep religious faith. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are best known as the first astronauts to land on the moon and take that ‘giant leap for mankind.’ But you probably don’t know that before they emerged from the spaceship, Aldrin pulled out a Bible, a silver chalice, and sacramental bread and wine. There on the moon, his first act was to celebrate communion.”

Buzz made the following announcement to Mission Control during that spiritual moment: “Houston, this is Eagle. This is the LM pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. I would like to invite each person listening in, whoever or wherever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the last few hours, and to give thanks in his own individual way.”

Aldrin reported later: “In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture [Jesus’ words in John 15]: ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit.’”

(That scripture reminded me of something I read earlier in Stephen McDowell’s interview: “Christianity has brought great blessing to mankind. … But if we remove the Christian faith and its principles, then we’re going to get worse and worse fruit. That’s what’s been happening the past century.”)

It is especially fitting and poignant that Aldrin also read Psalm 8:3-4 on the moon: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; ‘What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?’”

Aldrin later wrote in Guideposts magazine: “The very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church reported that: “Each year since 1969, Aldrin’s church, Webster Presbyterian, holds a Lunar Communion service to commemorate Buzz Aldrin’s celebration on the Moon.”

 

A handwritten card containing a Bible verse that Buzz Aldrin planned to broadcast back to Earth during a lunar Holy Communion service, featured in a space-related auction in Dallas, Texas, 2007. (Credit: LM Otero/AP Photo)

A handwritten card containing a Bible verse that Buzz Aldrin planned to broadcast back to Earth during a lunar Holy Communion service, featured in a space-related auction in Dallas, Texas, 2007. (Credit: LM Otero/AP Photo)

Speaking of sacred scripture, I just have to include what else I read on the website of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church about NASA, the Bible and the moon:

The Apollo Prayer League was a group of NASA engineers, scientists, administrators and astronauts. The League was headed by Rev. John Stout, a NASA Information Scientist and chaplain who worked closely with the astronauts and NASA personnel.

The Apollo Prayer League created a microfilm Bible and 300 microfilm copies were carried to the lunar surface. The microfilm is about 1.5 inches square, and yet contains all 1,245 pages of the King James Bible. These pages so small that they must be read under a microscope. This Lunar Bible is the only complete copy of the Bible to have flown to the surface of the Moon.

The microfilm Lunar Bible was flown on three Apollo missions. It was packed onboard Apollo 12 spacecraft, but was mistakenly left on the Command Module. It was then placed onboard Apollo 13, and was with the astronauts during their perilous return to Earth after the explosion of the Service Module. The Lunar Bible copies were finally carried to the Moon in the pocket of astronaut Edgar Mitchell on Apollo 14.

I’d bet my Texas ranch that your child or grandchild wouldn’t learn the above sacred and historical facts today about the Apollo missions in any public school. How sad. So it’s going to take us patriots to get the word out. Please share this column with everyone you know during this 50th anniversary week of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

https://www.wnd.com/2019/07/spiritual-highlights-during-apollo-11s-moon-landing/

Respect: Entitled or Earned?

by jccast

 

A middle-aged man with a cane limps by a group of young people (approx. college aged). The loudest male among the group stares intently at the man slowly making his way by, and suddenly exclaims, “You’d better show me some respect, old man!”

The man casually looks at the young upstart, approximately a third his age, and says, “What have you ever done to deserve respect?”

The young man, encouraged by the group, replies, “I don’t have to do anything. I simply am who I am, and I’m worthy of respect.” And the group chimed in with unanimous discord against the traditional belief that respect needs to be earned. Like many within the younger generation—a lack of parental supervision and controls, along with being fed the Liberal agenda in school year-after-year has brainwashed them into a sense of entitlement.

When a society intentionally veers away from family values, individualism, morals, ethics, and God, it inevitably develops a collective mind-set of hate and intolerance, with an over-inflated sense of self and entitlement, and a complete lack of personal responsibility.

In America, we’ve seen this steadily getting worse with every generation sense the 1960s, ending up in the present chaotic state.

As an ex-investigator, I have a habit of researching any topic or group I develop an interest in before making up my mind completely. So, when all the conflicts surrounding Antifa and Trump supporters became big news, I would listen to the reports.

Unfortunately, it was obvious to anyone with an IQ over 10 that the Liberal media was editing and spin-doctoring every event to meet their agenda. Just like FOX News was doing to a lesser degree on the opposite side of the issue. So, I decided to watch 100 YouTube tapes randomly, as they popped up on the side, to get a clearer idea of what was honestly happening at the rallies and marches.

Sure, there were still a few tapes that were obviously edited with their agendas in mind. But, for the most part, many of these tapes were put online with little or no editing. And one thing became clear in a hurry. The level of respect among humans for each other in America is at an all-time low.

Antifa, whose actions epitomize everything it claims to hate, mirror the Hitler Youth of the 1940s. Not once, in 100 tapes, did one of the face covered Antifa members ever act like they honestly wanted to engage in any relevant discourse with someone from the opposing camp. And whenever someone from the opposing camp tried to have a meaningful conversation with them, they did their best to shout them down, or in many cases, attacked them. Yet, ironically, when they spoke with a media personality, they claimed they had been disrespected, that they were entitled to respect—but they felt the Trump supporters deserved no respect, whatsoever.

To be honest, about half the tapes equally showed Trump supporters engaged in disrespectful actions. And some of these people you would see in several of the tapes. It’s as if they wanted to start just as much friction as the Antifa camp because it would get more views on YouTube. As if getting more views on their site is more important than fellow human beings. Kind of makes you wonder when was the last time they read their Bible, especially the parts regarding how you should treat your fellow man.

In light of what’s being taught in schools and pushed in every other format, under the guise of Political Correctness, I was happy to see at least half the Trump supporters still trying to do things in a respectful manner, while still getting their points across, and standing up for their rights. Unfortunately, the others that are doing it for YouTube ratings, personal thrills, or some other selfish motive are actually a detriment to the cause because of their disrespectful actions. And for those in the tapes that are claiming to be Christians, yet still engage in the un-Christian-like actions, they really need to rethink their purpose for being there. It surely isn’t to honor God.

For those that might ask about defending myself and way of life; yes, I believe in self-defense and defending our way of life. I’m a disabled Vet. But I don’t believe in instigating violence for the sake of ratings, thrills, or any other selfish reason. My belief is that violence is only acceptable for self-defense or the defense of others. And any action taken without proper respect only lowers your self-respect.

I find it very hard to believe that those at these rallies and marches claiming to be Christians while they participate in such disrespectful actions, have ever truly chosen to put God first in all areas of their lives. Ironically, several of them were near other professing Christians that were acting respectfully, and trying to be a light in a very dark world.

This country needs to get back to its traditional morals and values. Respect is a big part of that, and a good place to begin. But respect is not entitled; it must be earned!

 

Some verses on how to treat fellow humans:
Matt. 7:12
Romans 12:10
Phil. 2:3
Titus 2:7
1 Peter 2:17

https://jccast.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/respect-entitled-or-earned/

 

Our Father Defends (#OurFatherDevotional)

July 17, 2019 by Ronne Rock
This year, we’re sharing ways in which our God is truly Father to the fatherless in our special #OurFather devotional series. This month, former Orphan Outreach staffer and global missions advocate Sarah Herbek challenges us to consider what it means to uphold the cause of the orphaned and vulnerable with “Our Father Defends.”

 Psalm 82:3-4 – Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

At first reading, Psalm 82 might be a little confusing. Who is this Psalm talking about? Who is coming before God? The individuals being rebuked in Psalm 82 were Israel’s rulers or judges, leaders responsible to promote justice, to punish evildoers, and to defend the weak and the oppressed. But this was not happening. The vulnerable and fatherless were being taken advantage of. So, God is accusing these leaders and making it clear what a judge is supposed to do.

Psalm 82:2-4 says, “Enough! You’ve corrupted justice long enough, you’ve let the wicked get away with murder. You’re here to defend the defenseless, to make sure that underdogs get a fair break; Your job is to stand up for the powerless, and prosecute all those who exploit them.” (MSG)

Judges are to be a haven of justice for the weak and oppressed, the unprotected, the orphan and widow. God puts certain people in leadership for this purpose but He desires that all His people would do what is right. He created us to rule over His creation (Genesis 1:26, 28) and part of having that authority from God is to defend the orphan just like He would and does. Anyone with authority or influence of any kind (which, according to Jeremiah 22:3, is all of us) must care for the orphan and the widow, the oppressed and afflicted. We act on behalf of God as we carry out the mission of God that He promised will be fulfilled in every nation (Genesis 12:3). It is our privilege to be a part of that mission. We are to live in a way that aligns with the character of God, including His justice. As Paul put it, an earthly ruler is “… a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil” (Romans 13:4). We are God’s agents who are to bring light to the darkness, and carry out mercy and justice in His name!

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OUR VISION AT ORPHAN OUTREACH IS “TO SHINE BRIGHTEST WHERE THE WORLD IS DARKEST.”

So what is God the Father as a judge like? In the context of Psalm 82, He is the ultimate judge! The righteous judge! He is a defender. He stands between those who would harm and take advantage of the weak. He perfectly applies mercy and justice (Micah 6:8) — mercy that preserves dignity and justice that creates lasting change.

Robert Lupton put it this way, “Twinned together these commands lead us to holistic involvement. Divorced they become deformed. Mercy without justice degenerates into dependency and entitlement, preserving the power of the giver over the recipient. Justice without mercy grows cold and impersonal, more concerned about rights than relationships. The addict needs both food and treatment. The young woman needs both a safe place to sleep and a way out of her entrapping lifestyle. Street kids need both friendship and jobs.”

This might seem like an overwhelming task, but we must remember that not only has God promised that one day He will remove all injustice (Revelation 21), but He has commissioned this task to His Church all over the world. We are not in this alone, and that is why we can partner with each other to pursue mercy and justice together, one person (or child) at a time.

Memorize Micah 6:8 today. Then, write down and thank the Lord for ways you see His people advocating for the weak and vulnerable!

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 NLT)

Questions for you to ponder:

  1. What is the difference between justice and mercy? How are they similar?
  2. Where might God be asking you to make changes in your life in order to grow your knowledge of Him?
  3. What ways can you engage in promoting mercy and justice in your sphere of influence?

http://www.orphanoutreach.co/media-resources/newstory.asp?pageid=6532


Narrow Path Ministries is in the process of opening an orphanage. An Endowment fund has been established  to fund the orphanage.


 

I’ve Found A Great Hiding Place

by Pastor Ray Patrick

I’ve Found A Great Hiding Place

As a child, one of my favorite games was hide and seek. We looked for the best place to hide in the house or back yard, and waited quietly for our friends to try to find us. It’s a great game for kids, but as adults, we also look for a good place to hide from time to time. A place of refuge, a place of safety, or a place to rest when we feel overwhelmed by the circumstances of life, a place where the enemy of our soul can never find us.

I’ve got good news. God has the perfect hiding place for you! You don’t have to hide at work. You don’t have to hide in relationships. You don’t have to hide in food or addictions, because God Himself promises to hide you! He freely offers you shelter from the storms of life, any time you call upon His name.

Today, remember there’s only one place the enemy cannot find you. There’s only one place where opposition cannot steal from you. There’s only one true place of safety and rest for your soul, and that is in the arms of Jesus. Know that He loves you, and He is ready to receive you when you call upon His name! Hallelujah!

“In the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.”

(Psalm 27:5, NIV)

Pray With Me
Yahweh, today I come humbly before You giving You all of me. Father, thank You for hiding me in Your shelter and keeping me safe from the storms of life. God, today my soul finds rest in You, please hide me from the enemy of my soul, as I seek You and praise Your Holy Name, in Jesus’ Name! Amen.

https://godinterest.com/2019/07/10/ive-found-a-great-hiding-place/?