Are you pure in heart?

 

November 27, 2019 Nehemiah Zion

 

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)

Only the pure in heart will see God. The heart filled with the lusts of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, cannot see nor begin to understand the goodness or purity of heaven.

God is Holy. Holiness is His standard. Purity is not attainable by man, on his own.

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” ‭‭James‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭

When our hearts are purified, the work of our hands and the words of our mouth will be pure. God will be near. We will live without fear. What we express comes from the depth of our hearts (Mark 7:22,23). It will be well-pleasing to God.

How to purify our heart? By walking in the two commandments of love through the power of the Holy Spirit. Loving God, and loving everyone in our lives, specially brethren.

“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:” 1 Peter‬ ‭1:22‬ ‭

Purifying our heart requires daily exercise. All Word (scripture) based exercises sanctify the heart. When Jesus prayed for the disciples, He asked God to sanctify them by the truth. How does the truth sanctify a believer? Exercising the truth in our walk purifies our lives from all carnal, old natures that attack us during everyday spiritual warfare.

Obedience to the word of God produces heavenly natures in us. God creates in us a new heart and renews our mind daily. This new heart and fresh mindset, powered by love through the Holy Spirit produces a faith that overcomes all double minded behaviour.

How to stay pure in heart?

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” 1 Peter‬ ‭1:13-15‬ ‭

Moses met the Father on mount Sinai, before that by the burning bush. This wasn’t the Moses of the palace. This was Moses who was humbled after 40 years herding sheep. This was Moses, the meekest man on the planet at that time. It takes a meek, poor in spirit and a pure person to get that kind of an audience with God. God made it possible for Moses. God is holy, we need to be covered by grace to be at his throne. In Jesus, we are covered like the shittim wood that was covered by brass, created for the ark of the covenant.

We are called to be examples as youth, and Paul cites 6 areas including purity when he writes to TimothyLet no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)

The two blind men were pure in their heart when they believed in Jesus. No matter who hindered them to meet Jesus, they cried out in all earnest. After they were forgiven and healed, they were able to see Jesus and follow Him.

Peter who denied Jesus, was a changed man after he started to walk according to the leading of the Holy Spirit. At the temple, Beautiful, the people around were shocked by the miraculous healing of a lame man. Peter clarified that it wasn’t he who performed the miracle, it wasn’t his holiness or power. But the power of the Holy Spirit that works in a believer. Where there is a purity of faith and belief, we will see the glory of God.

We cannot define purity however we want. God has a standard, and the Word of God is replete with instructions for us to abide by daily. May God heal our hearts from the corruption of the times and enable a Spirit led walk daily for us to enter into His eternal glory.

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5)

Original here

Chick-fil-A Should Take A Lesson From The Salvation Army And Stop Bowing To The LGBT Left

In the left’s crusade against the Christian faith, it harms the people it purports to defend. This means good people must ensure no one in need is left behind, and for the record, The Salvation Army is very good people.

Chick-fil-A Should Take A Lesson From The Salvation Army And Stop Bowing To The LGBT Left

Nov 21, 2019 by By Chad Felix Greene

Chick-fil-A stated Monday that starting at the beginning of the year it will no longer donate to The Salvation Army, to which the restaurant franchise gave $115,000 in 2018. This decision came shortly after LGBT groups pressured Chick-fil-A into closing its first location in the United Kingdom.

Chick-fil-A was accused of donating money to, as CNN reported, “anti-LGBTQ” organizations, including The Salvation Army. GLAAD, an LGBT organization, argued LGBT people should “greet today’s announcement with cautious optimism,” while LGBTQ Nation dismissed the change as merely a PR move to make more money. The accusation of The Salvation Army as an “anti-LGBTQ” organization, however, requires a deeper dive.

If you read The Salvation Army’s page dedicated to LGBT concerns, you might imagine it was from any major LGBT advocacy website. The first posted statement concerns housing obstacles for some LGBT people. It states, “Because LGBTQ Americans living in poverty often experience unacceptable homophobia and transphobia, many become homeless.”

Arguing that nearly one-third of transgender people have been rejected from homeless shelters around the country, The Salvation Army provides details about a dorm in Las Vegas it built specifically to help this vulnerable group. Their messaging addresses substance abuse, access to food, job training, and suicide prevention.

Stating that a donation to its cause can provide three nights of shelter, the charity assures the reader, “When a transgender person seeks help from us, we serve them in the same manner as any other person seeking assistance.” It even offers rental and utility assistance, arguing on behalf of LGBT Americans, which it states are more likely to be poor.

This information is not buried deep within the website, either, to be found only through dedicated searching. On its What We Do page, The Salvation Army includes “Serving the LGBTQ Community” right alongside “Love the Elderly” and “Stop Domestic Abuse.” It clearly communicates that the burdens of LGBT people in need are just as urgent and important as everyone else’s.

Pop Culture Clashes with The Salvation Army

Yet British singer Ellie Goulding recently told her fans she would refuse to participate in the Dallas Cowboys versus Buffalo Bills game on Thanksgiving Day, sponsored by The Salvation Army, saying, “[S]upporting an anti-LGBTQ charity is clearly not something I would ever intentionally do.” Goulding previously worked with The Salvation Army and posted on her Instagram the work she had done.

She did so with pride. It was only after fans began inundating her with outrage that she changed her position. One fan lamented, “A little disappointed considering the salvation army has a long standing history of anti lgbtq+ rhetoric. i appreciate the positive things they do but there are other, better organizations that don’t discriminate against others.” Another said, “They only help *certain* people. Very homophobic, transphobic, anti-LGBTQIA+ organization. Please do your research before endorsing a company that continues to hurt our community.”

Goulding gave The Salvation Army an ultimatum. “Upon researching this, I have reached out to The Salvation Army and said that I would have no choice but to pull out unless they very quickly make a solid, committed pledge or donation to the LGBTQ community,” she said.

Jon Rich, a Salvation Army commander in the area serving the upcoming football game, quickly responded: “It brings attention to how inclusive we are as an organization and serving everyone no matter who they are, what their sexual orientation is, what their station in life is. We serve without discrimination.” After reaching out to Goulding and reassuring her of The Salvation Army’s equal treatment of all people, she agreed to do the show.

The Salvation Army Northern Division FAQ page provides insight, addressing concerns related to how it engages with LGBT people. The page firmly states, “Any person who comes through our doors will receive assistance based on their need and our capacity to help.”

The organization investigates and takes action in cases of alleged discrimination. It has spent $300,000 on diverse lobbying efforts in the last two decades, 0.0009 percent of its income. As Rich stated regarding same-sex employees, “Now, nationwide we offer health benefits to same-sex couples, no questions asked.” He continued, “But we think everyone should have access to healthcare. So why wouldn’t we do that?”

LGBT Media Goes After the Salvation Army Regardless

Despite this overwhelming assurance that The Salvation Army in no way endorses or engages in discrimination or hatred toward LGBT people, LGBT media overwhelming include it in lists of “anti-LGBT” organizations. ThinkProgress in 2019 argued, “The Salvation Army has a long record of opposing legal protections for LGBTQ Americans.” The Huffington Post cited the same reasoning, “The Salvation Army, which has an extensive record of anti-LGBTQ advocacy.”

Transgender activist Zinnia Jones published a list of the organization’s anti-LGBTQ history on the Huffington Post back in 2013, and it has been referenced ever since. The list begins in 1986 and covers the organization worldwide, which is active in 130 countries.

The official list includes five examples. In 1986, the New Zealand Salvation Army helped collect signatures to oppose a law that would decriminalize homosexuality and issued an official apology in 2008. In 1998 a branch in San Francisco chose to turn down money from the city that included a requirement to provide benefits to employees with same-sex partners.

In 2000, the Salvation Army of Scotland submitted a letter to Parliament opposing the teaching of homosexuality in public schools. In 2001, the U.S. branch lobbied to protect religious institutions from being held liable under anti-discrimination policies. The Salvation Army addressed this, saying, “[T]he effort was solely focused on allowing our clergy and those involved in our religious activities to work on federally funded social service programs without having to compromise core religious beliefs.”

In 2012, the only stated accusation of discrimination, Danielle Morantez, a case worker for the office in Burlington, Vermont, claimed she was fired after coming out as bisexual. The story’s latest update appeared in 2012 on the GLAAD website. Jones recognized then that The Salvation Army had already set up pro-LGBT pages and removed reportedly offensive information on its site.

Confusion Over Biblical Teaching on Sexuality

Also in 2012, a controversy arose, as the Washington Blade reported, “[A] Salvation Army spokesperson told an interviewer that gay people deserve death, according to scripture.” The Salvation Army addressed this as well, stating, “The officer was responding to a question about a Bible passage which most Christians understand to be a discussion of spiritual death, meaning a separation from God, their creator.” The organization widely condemned the statements shortly after the interview was reported.

Essentially, the issue for LGBT activists, despite the information the organization has provided over the last two decades, is as Jones puts it, “These statements completely ignore the reality that the Salvation Army continues to maintain anti-gay theological stances.”

Time and time again, the biblical belief system of the organization itself comes up as a fundamental argument used to demonstrate the hatred and bigotry the organization represents: “The Salvation Army states clearly they believe, The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and that they only constitute the Divine rule of Christian faith and practice.” For many on the left, this alone is enough to dismiss the organization as hateful.

In 2013 Jones made the plea, “Supporting the Salvation Army this season, whether by tossing your change in their red kettles or donating your used goods to their resale shops, means assisting an aggressively anti-gay church in furthering its goals of discrimination.”

In 2018, LGBT author James Finn wrote, “Did you know that when you give money to the Salvation Army, you’re giving money to a church? Did you know that the Church is viciously homophobic and transphobic, fighting all over the world for the right to discriminate against LGBTQ people?” This reasoning, in part, motivated Noah Michelson to pen his 2018 Huffington Post article titled “If You Really Love LGBTQ People, You Just Can’t Keep Eating Chick-fil-A.”

The Good Guys Shouldn’t Bow to the Outrage Mob

Regardless of the factual information, the context of several decades, scattered accusations firmly condemned by the core organization, and the open welcoming of LGBT people, all that matters for the left is the idea of Christian faith behind it all. As CNN reported, “The Salvation Army has said in the past that the Bible forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex, that gay Christians should embrace celibacy and that scripture does not support same-sex marriages.” This on its own seems enough to justify the left’s hatred.

The thing about attempting to appease those who hate you is that whatever you do will only deepen their suspicion of you. As GLAAD’s director of campaigns and rapid response Drew Anderson cautioned, “In addition to refraining from financially supporting anti-LGBTQ organizations, Chick-fil-A still lacks policies to ensure safe workplaces for LGBTQ employees and should unequivocally speak out against the anti-LGBTQ reputation that their brand represents.” It will never be enough when the opposition views you as a threat based on what they think you believe rather than on what you express to the world.

Christians should follow The Salvation Army’s lead and continue to stand for their faith while speaking to the accusations against them and opening their arms as they would anyway. But we cannot underestimate the power of propaganda and simply hope Chick-fil-A realizes the mistake it has made. The Salvation Army argued, “When misinformation is perpetuated without fact, our ability to serve those in need, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or any other factor, is at risk.”

In the left’s crusade against the Christian faith it refuses to understand or tolerate, it harms the people it claims to defend and protect. This means good people must step up to ensure no one in need is left behind in the meantime, and for the record, The Salvation Army is very good people.

Chad Felix Greene is a senior contributor to The Federalist. He is the author of the “Reasonably Gay: Essays and Arguments” series and is a social writer focusing on truth in media, conservative ideas and goals, and true equality under the law. You can follow him on Twitter @chadfelixg.

https://thefederalist.com/2019/11/21/chick-fil-a-should-take-a-lesson-from-the-salvation-army-and-stop-bowing-to-the-lgbt-left/


I am a Salvation Army volunteer, including for  Katrina, and a former Board Chairman and former Board member 

Knowing God’s Love is Impossible

At least for us. But for God, nothing is impossible.

DEREK RISHMAWY Oct 21, 2019

Knowing God is maybe the most central thing in the Christian life. Also, possibly the hardest.

The other day I was talking to a student, relatively new to a life of discipleship, who confided just how frustrating it is that he’s taking so much time to grow. He lamented how much he struggles to trust God when others seem to do so with ease.

As I struggled to think of how to encourage him, I remembered one of the most curious prayer requests in all of Scripture, found in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, which I had just been working through.

Towards the end of chapter three, Paul asks “out of his glorious riches may [God] strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all God’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:16-19).

We’re tempted to glance over this and think, “Okay, great, Paul prays that they understand God’s love. Typical Paul prayer. What’s the big deal?”

I was stopped short, though, when I realized Paul is asking that they be strengthened, that they have “power” to be able to know this love that surpasses all knowledge.

Now perhaps it’s because I’m a grad student who happens to study the doctrine of God, but if I were writing Ephesians, I might have rendered the relationship differently. I might have said that coming to know God takes weakness (and not just because you spend all your time in the library and not the gym). It requires a humility, a pliability, a weakening of our arrogance to sit before Scripture and come to know the infinite God as he has revealed himself. At that point, though, the answer becomes, “Try harder. Humble yourself!”

But that’s not the route Paul takes. Paul’s paradoxically encouraging assumption is that we are simply too feeble to be able to grab hold of the love of God. We don’t need to be weakened—because from the start we don’t have the “spiritual grip strength” to grasp God’s love.

Paul is asking that they be strengthened, that they have “power” to be able to know this love that surpasses all knowledge.

To steal an image from Plato, it’s as if we’ve dwelt in a cave of sin and our spiritual eyes are too weak to withstand the brilliant light of God’s glorious love. Our own hearts are too frail with sin and selfishness to grasp the shape of it, our muscles too cramped and atrophied from curving in on ourselves to imagine the gracious extension of God’s love, which surpasses the boundaries of the cosmos.

I hoped my student would find encouragement in this prayer for at least three reasons.

First, it clarifies that, inevitably, strengthening takes time. Being “rooted and established in love” requires time spent experiencing the love of Christ when you are your most unlovable. It requires time seeing the love of Christ extend towards those it would never occur to you to love. Indeed, we will need an eternity to begin to plumb the fathomless love of God.

Further, coming to know God’s love is not something we’re meant to do alone. Paul teaches us that we come to know God “together with all of God’s holy people.” Coming to know the immeasurable love of God is a group project in the church, not a competition we engage in all by our lonesome.

Finally, that this is a prayer to God is the big tip-off: Paul is asking for something that ultimately only God can bestow by his grace, as a gift. He doesn’t preach a gospel of salvation by grace only to slip back into making knowing God a matter of intelligence, native smarts, efforts, or achieved goodness.

No, it is only by God’s gracious condescension into human history as the Son of God Incarnate, and by his atoning self-offering on our behalf, that God demonstrates the depths of his love beyond all doubt (Rom. 5:8). And for that reason, we can all take heart. A God whose love is strong enough to overcome sin, death, and the devil will surely answer any prayer to enlighten the eyes of our hearts, by his indwelling Spirit, to know that love (Eph. 1:17-18).

Derek Rishmawy is the Reformed University Fellowship campus minister at UC-Irvine and a doctoral candidate at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/november/knowing-gods-love-is-impossible.html

 

‘Thanking God For Another Year Of Life Happy Birthday To Me

God, thank you for giving me the unique opportunity to be able to wish myself a happy birthday today in good health and happiness.

'Thanking God For Another Year Of Life Happy Birthday To Me

by Pastor Ray Patrick

As I celebrate another year of life today, I’m reminded of what God has done for me. No matter what difficulty I’ve faced over the year, God has drawn me out. Hallelujah! When I  felt overwhelmed, God reached out His hand. He wouldn’t let me sink, and He wouldn’t let me slip. He took hold of me and rescued me from the deep waters of opposition that raged against me.

He will do the same for you. Scripture says that when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a barrier against him. If you are facing adversity, know that you are not facing it alone. God is with you, and He is for you. He will draw you out!

Today, I say to all of my friends and those that follow me on social media, who over the past year may have been affected by major difficultities of life, know that you have only made it this far because God reached down, held you, rescued you and drew you out. Hallelujah! Today, on the day of my birth, I know that it was God who was working behind the scenes, that has brought me this far and He’ll  do the same for you. He will bring us out better and stronger.

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy…”

(Psalm 18:16-17, NIV)?

Pray With Me
Yahweh, thank You for Your grace and mercy that has held me together this year. Father, I reach out my hand to You today, knowing that You have been an ever present help in my day of trouble. God, I thank You for another year of life, and in advance for all that You are doing, and for bringing me to a place of peace, in Jesus’ Name! Amen.

https://godinterest.com/2019/06/21/thanking-god-for-another-year-of-life-happy-birthday-to-me/

10 Years Later, The Manhattan Declaration’s Defense Of Marriage Is Even More Needed

The most fundamental duty of government toward marriage is to recognize its reality and enforce the legal contract at its heart. This is what the Manhattan Declaration called for 10 years ago.

10 Years Later, The Manhattan Declaration’s Defense Of Marriage Is Even More Needed

Nov 21, 2019 Jonathan G. Lange

The Manhattan Declaration, released ten years ago today, is an appeal to everyone who considers himself a Christian to recognize that the sacred nature of marriage is no reason to be silent about its public benefits. Rather, precisely because Christians know both the sacred and the secular value of marriage, they owe it to their secular neighbors to defend it. In so doing, they are not merely defending principles, they are defending millions of people who have been defrauded by government institutions.

For nearly 50 years millions of men, women and children have been robbed by state and federal governments. I am not referring to taxes, unfunded mandates, or to federally planned inflation. I am referring to the government’s dereliction of one of its most basic duties—to enforce marriage contracts.

Marriage, of course, is far more than a contract. It is a sacred covenant. But it is a covenant with an economic impact. Christians recognize that marriage signifies the holy bond between Jesus and His church. But anyone can see that it bestows tangible goods on husband, wife, and any children who are conceived in the conjugal union.

Those who reduce these tangible goods to tax privileges and social standing demonstrate an astonishingly deficient understanding. Tax benefits and social standing are not the content of marriage benefits, they are its results. Because of its intrinsically high value to society, governments support it and incentivize it. But the most fundamental duty of government toward marriage is to recognize its reality and enforce the legal contract at its heart.

Marriage Secures Children’s Rights

When a woman enters motherhood, (Latin: “matrimony,” French “marriage”), her energies are refocused in fundamental ways. The physical, psychological, and emotional demands of pregnancy and child rearing affect every area of her life. Marriage serves as a legal contract to guarantee her the support of the child’s father both during these affected years and beyond.

When a man enters fatherhood, his life changes as well. His chromosomal connection to the child creates a legal and social obligation that is enforceable by law, whether he is married to the mother or not. Marriage seals his obligations to the mother while obliging the mother to cooperate with him in raising the child.

Children are the greatest beneficiaries of these mutual obligations. When mother and father are cooperating on a child’s behalf, that child’s “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is protected. The more comprehensive the cooperation, the more beneficial it is to the children. Conversely, when parents refuse to cooperate it robs children of their birthright.

When a couple files for a marriage certificate, they have every expectation that those issuing the certificate will enforce the contract. But so-called “no-fault divorce” laws changed that. As governor of California, Ronald Reagan signed the first one in 1970. Years later, he counted it among his biggest regrets.

Before long, every state was reneging on its promise to enforce marriage contracts. Knee-jerk calls to “get the government out of people’s lives” resonated with libertarians and libertines alike. Free love culture reasoned: If they want to get a divorce, they should be free to get a divorce.

How No-Fault Creates an Imbalance of Power

The problem is that married couples never want a divorce—at least not initially. Rather, typically one party to the marriage wants a divorce while the other does not. “No-fault divorce” laws do not make the government neutral. They put it on the side of whoever values the marriage least.

The injustice is felt by the woman or man who accepted the up-front economic disadvantages of child-rearing relying on a promise of future fidelity. The person is defrauded when the promise is broken. A government that fails to hold people to their promises becomes party to that fraud.

Even worse, the children who ought to be protected from the loss of life, emotional support, education, and inheritance are completely disregarded. Divorce courts should admonish parents to work it out for the sake of their children. Instead, they usually rubber-stamp the breakup. All that remains is for the welfare state clumsily to micromanage the broken home and throw money at the child, as though that could substitute for losing a parent.

Connections Between Religion and Marriage

Forty years after the disaster of no-fault divorce, the late Chuck Colson recognized that anti-Christian religious forces often use the religious nature of marriage to delegitimize and silence Christians who speak about the public policy side of marriage. He and others connected the dots between government’s abdication of its duties toward marriage and its parallel abdication of its duty to protect the youngest and most vulnerable people—children, the unborn, and frozen embryos.

They also recognized that as public policy supporting marriage and human life spiraled downward, there was a corresponding growth in attacks upon religious liberty. This not only put Christians in legal jeopardy, more importantly, it caused many Christian voices to self-censor in a vain attempt to weather the storm.

Colson decided to do something bold. He asked Dr. Robert P. George of Princeton and Timothy George of Stamford to draft a document that recognized both the public and the churchly nature of marriage. It was called the Manhattan Declaration. Today, (November 20) marks ten years since 152 Christian leaders released it. Since then, more than a half-million others have signed it. I am one of them.

In Defense of the Children

Since marriage so deeply affects the welfare of children, the Manhattan Declaration also calls upon every Christian to speak in defense of the life of every child conceived. While faith informs Christian action, it does not limit it. The faithful do not do this primarily in self-defense, but in defense of all people. It is a duty of love to stand with any man, woman, or child who has been defrauded by a government derelict in its duties.

It is a duty of love to stand with any man, woman, or child who has been defrauded by a government derelict in its duties.

The Declaration states: “Because the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife, and the freedom of conscience and religion are foundational principles of justice and the common good, we are compelled by our Christian faith to speak and act in their defense… We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence.”

Those trying to intimidate Christians into silence have only grown louder in the decade since these words were written. They have passed laws that strip infants of legal defense both before and after birth. They continue to press a radical agenda that allows embryonic children to be bought and sold on the open market, and do precious little to halt the trafficking of older children. All the while, there is a never-ending parade of government-sanctioned indoctrination aimed at destroying the marriages of generations to come.

To shield these anti-child and anti-marriage policies from criticism, they carelessly bludgeon fellow citizens with labels meant to intimidate and silence. They press for so-called “hate crime” laws that use the power of government to silence their opponents. Despite a string of losses at court, states and municipalities continue to pass such laws. They are valuable for intimidation even if unenforceable.

‘Only the Bravest Keep Standing’

The latest salvo has come from the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives. One of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s first orders of business was to push through the so-called “Equality Act” (H.R. 5). This radical legislation has nothing to do with equality. It is, rather, a toxic stew of laws that further erode federal support of marriage and legal protections for children of all ages and stages of development. Centered in its crosshairs are protections for professionals, social agencies, and individuals who live out their Christian understanding of marriage in word and deed.

‘It’s only the bravest who take a stand, and continue to bear witness even when others mock them.’

Measured by its effects on public policy, the Manhattan Declaration doesn’t seem to have done much to stem the tide. But public policy was never its chief aim. The Declaration was and remains a personal pledge. Signers promise to continue speaking and acting in defense of their neighbors no matter what the cultural or political costs. By that measure, its effectiveness can only be measured by you.

In commemoration of the Declaration’s tenth anniversary, the Colson Center for Christian Worldview published a collection of essays titled: “Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty: What Belongs to God, What Belongs to Caesar.” In it Frederica Matthewes-Green wrote, “[E]very generation faces an issue that draws a line between those who will stand up for what is right, and those who just go along. It’s only the bravest who take a stand, and continue to bear witness even when others mock them and misrepresent them; only the bravest keep standing when, from a worldly perspective, the cause looks lost. Only the most dedicated people are willing to keep working for change, when the struggle is all uphill and they reap nothing but rejection.”

She has aptly described our generation. Our grandchildren are watching to see how we respond.

Jonathan G. Lange is a pastor of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. He has raised his family in Wyoming for two decades, serving parishes in Evanston and Kemmerer. He is a leader of the Wyoming Pastors Network. Follow his blog at OnlyHuman-JL.blogspot.com.

How the Church Can Protect the Dignity of the Most Vulnerable
Among Us – segment 

http://www.breakpoint.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Tada-Chapter.pdf


I am a signer of the Manhattan Declaration

Dancing with the Devil in the Latter Times

Sim Chen Xing December 2, 2019

When we pray for God’s kingdom to come and for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, what do we pray for? Peace? Prosperity? The revival of the Christian church? Or the advent of the latter times — the impending judgement that must come as prophesied by countless prophets throughout Biblical history?

For me, I see the formation of a global polity. I see the rise of global powers coming together in the name of peace. I see a day when all nations will set aside their differences, put down their weapons of war, come together to tackle issues that can only be solved if humanity comes together as a collective.

Got to admit, though, that if the Bible claims that the impending judgement on the earth in the latter days will be the work of the devil, then I think that our job as believers is to dance alongside the devil and to rise above him. To do this, we’ll need to be conversant with Biblical prophecies (because it is the sequence of events that must happen) and be kept up-to-date with current affairs. Let no one trick you to think that there is no need to read beyond the Bible. It is in the middle of the war when we’ll need to be well-versed with Biblical prophecies and then be able to link modern happenings with what we know must happen.

Don’t be fooled. The devil knows better than we do about what must happen — and shudder. Daily, the devil live out the vision of being swallowed alive due to the decision that he’s made earlier before the formation of the universe. The devil knew everything that must happen. The devil knew everything that lies ahead of him. Faced with the prince of the power of the air, it is in our every intention to work alongside him and to realise the purpose that he was called to fulfil. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling us to stand alongside him, but to rise above him. If we understand that the devil’s purpose was predestined by God to be fulfilled on this earth, we will understand that any action against the devil will be an act against God.

Don’t misunderstand me. Dancing alongside the devil is not accepting all the workings of the devil in this world. Rather, we are called to understand the works of the devil and to rise above him. Look, if the Bible says that there will be a global leader in the future who will unite global powers and the global economy, then we will work alongside him to achieve it. But if the Bible says that the global leader will cause people to worship him, then we will need the wisdom to consider alternatives to it. We can run, but we can’t hide. He is, after all, the prince of the power of the air. If we know that all the nations will turn to God and this is also the purpose of the devil, then work alongside him and be advocates of the Truth. But if we also know that the devil will pervert this to his own advantage and cause the world to worship him as the Creator, then we will need to stand our ground, one way or another — either by going into hiding or divorcing ourselves from the global economy.

Whether or not we put our faith in God, all of these must happen. But as Christians, when we pray for God’s kingdom to come and God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, then we must be prepared that we’re inviting the devil into our midst. Therefore, we are called to ready ourselves for the war that is ahead of us.

In the stillness of my meditations, I have listed down a few pointers for our consideration as we prepare for the arrival of the latter days.

  1. Do we know the prophecies in the Bible well enough that we can determine where we are on the Biblical calendar of end-time prophecies?
  2. Do we know how to recognise true news sources from fake ones? Are we able to take decisive steps to determine the level of truth of the articles we read?
  3. Are we grounded ethically to God’s original design? Or are we easily swayed by the waves of modern trends?
  4. Are we prepared to divorce ourselves from the economy for the sake of survival? Going into caves and relying on agriculture to stay alive? Or are we overly reliant on modern technologies for our survival?
  5. Is our definition of love, sin, and forgiveness, grounded on Biblical truth? Or are we overly legalistic, condemning every “sinner” that comes our way, forgetting that we are too, the needy sinner who has fallen short of the glory of God?

We are called to dance with the devil. But much more than that, we’re called to rise above him. We are not to be swayed by the waves of modern trends, but we are called to be rooted in our faith in Christ. Are we ready for the dance?

Image by Efes Kitap from Pixabay
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https://themanifoldwisdomofgod.wordpress.com/2019/12/02/dancing-with-the-devil-in-the-latter-times/


James 4:7 (NKJV)
7  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.


VIDEO Trees Replanted In Eden – God Is In Control

In Christ, we find our way home to paradise—not just in the future, but also right now.

There is no entry for “Christmas tree” in my field guide to trees of the eastern United States, and I cannot buy a table from a carpenter made with the wood of a Christmas tree. A Christmas tree becomes one only when we bring it into our home and dress it up with twinkle lights and tinsel. It is place and purpose, rather than species or variety, that identify an ordinary evergreen as a Christmas tree.

Through Christ, we have become rooted in a new and eternal place that is forever fresh like spring and fruitful like summer.

As a child, I helped choose our family Christmas tree from a field of Scotch pine in central Texas. Now that I am grown, I help my own children choose our annual tree from a field of Douglas fir in southeastern Pennsylvania, a practice we especially enjoy when there is snow on the ground and we can take turns pulling the tree back to our car on a sled. Whether we choose pine or fir, the lifespan of most Christmas trees is brief, but a friend recently introduced me to his family tradition of a “living Christmas tree.” For several years in a row, he and his wife have chosen an evergreen tree from a nearby garden center. This “living Christmas tree” includes a root ball well wrapped with burlap and twine. After a few days in the house, this tree can be replanted in the yard, and my friend now has a few transplanted Christmas trees flourishing around his home.

Followers of Jesus have something in common with Christmas trees. We, too, have been given a new place and a new purpose, and it is these that now identify us. No longer defined by categories like “slave or free” and “Greek or Jew,” we are, as Eugene Peterson writes so beautifully in his colloquial translation of Psalm 1, trees “replanted in Eden, bearing fresh fruit every month, never dropping a leaf, always in blossom” (Gal. 3:28 NASB; Psalm 1:3 MSG). Through Christ, we have become rooted in a new and eternal place that is forever fresh like spring and fruitful like summer. Our core identity as “replanted trees” stands in sharp contrast to those this version of Psalm 1 calls “the wicked, who are mere windblown dust” (Psalm 1:4).

Windblown dust is a troublesome thing, and when we feel its sting, we may be tempted to repeat a familiar cliché: “This is not our home. We are only passing through.” With these words, we claim a heavenly inheritance, but unfortunately, we claim it only for our future selves. Heaven becomes a place out there instead of near as Jesus promised when He preached, “‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matt. 4:17). The idea that we are “passing through” comforts only if we have forgotten where we stand: not in the kingdom of men or even Satan, but on firm ground reclaimed by the bountiful and beautiful kingdom of God.

Perhaps the notion of Christians as homeless wanderers persists because it echoes biblical imagery—for instance, in 1 Peter where we are described as “aliens” and “strangers” (1 Peter 2:11). However, in Ephesians we read, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household” (Eph. 2:19). Are we strangers merely passing through this place called Earth? Or have we traded the identity of stranger for citizen? If we are citizens of a heavenly kingdom, is that kingdom here and now? Or is it something we only anticipate?

In Hebrews, the heroes of our faith who preceded Jesus are those who believed they were “exiles on the earth” in search of a “better country” (Heb. 11:13Heb. 11:16). But we who live after Jesus are digging our toes into the dirt of that better place Abraham could only imagine. When I return to 1 Peter to trace the contours of that word stranger, I find a passage concerned with our rootedness. No longer wanderers, we are “living stones” being built up into a solid, spiritual house (1 Peter 2:4-5). With Christ as our cornerstone, we are already home. If we remain strangers in some sense, it is only that we are strangers to the dust-blown reality of which Peterson writes. That reality is passing away. One day it will disfigure the earth no longer and creation will be completely renewed.

If we acknowledge the mystery of this fulfilled kingdom—if we truly believe that the kingdom Jesus proclaimed did not depart with Him but has instead established itself on earth through a Spirit-filled church—we will live each day with a profound sense of freedom. Why is this not always our experience? Perhaps it is because, though our roots are growing in a place where spring and summer reign supreme, we still feel the chill of a wintery world. We must still remind ourselves, as we do this time of year, that the Light of God “shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5 NIV). Those twinkling lights on our Christmas trees testify to this truth.

With Christ as our cornerstone, we are already home.

With the help of God’s Spirit, we defy the world’s winter winds to offer our neighbors the heavenly fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And this fruit blesses not only our neighbors but all of earthly creation. For creation itself is groaning for the new world that is even now being revealed in us. Groaning as if in childbirth, even as we are being shown our true nature: We are children of the eternal king (Rom. 8:19Rom. 8:22).

Grafted into the true vine, laid like rocks on the most solid Rock of all, our transformed lives testify that heaven has drawn near and is reclaiming its rightful place on earth. If we ache, if we feel battered by the swiftly passing dust storms of the world, it is because we long for the kingdom soil beneath our feet to extend everywhere without boundaries. We feel that ache especially during the Advent season of Christmas anticipation. “Come, Lord Jesus,” we pray. “I am with you always,” Jesus answers (Matt. 28:20). Because Christ is with us, and because we are fruitful trees of Eden, every moment of our life is an opportunity to extend the reign of heaven on earth. Even our smallest offering, whether we bring a meal to a lonely neighbor or plant a tree in the ground, becomes one more resounding answer to an earth-shaking prayer: Thy kingdom come.

Illustration by Helen Musselwhite

https://www.intouch.org/read/magazine/faith-works/trees-replanted-in-eden/


God Is In Control, Habakkuk 1:2-4 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study