The Passion Of The Christian

David Kupelian explores what it really means to ‘take up your cross’
And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

– Mark 8:34-37

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

– Luke 9:23

“And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”

– Matthew 10:38

 


Every Easter, many dazzlingly eloquent words are written and spoken about Christ’s “Passion” – a singular historical event, graphically portrayed in films like “The Passion of the Christ,” “Jesus of Nazareth” and “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” That these screen depictions serve to powerfully rekindle many believers’ gratitude for what Jesus endured for their sake is undeniable. But I wonder, how often does that appreciation for Christ’s sacrifice ignite a fire in the belly of believers to “take up the cross” themselves?

But first things first. What in the world does “taking up your cross” really mean?

‘I die daily’

In ages past, Christians dwelt a lot more on the concept of taking up the “cross” than they do these days. Today, the phrase “it’s my cross to bear” is usually a self-congratulatory reference to the fact that we have to put up with a vexing medical condition, or a child in trouble with the law, or perhaps an overbearing, live-in mother-in-law.

Admonitions from the pulpit may not shed much more light. Oh sure, a well-intentioned minister will reverently read one of the scriptures cited above on “taking up the cross,” and he might even briefly plug the ideal of self-denial. But too often this amounts to a polite nod to a notion that seems both archaic and almost irrelevant, or at least unattainable, and the pastor just moves on to more pleasant topics – like how grateful we are for Christ’s death and resurrection.

It wasn’t always so. Throughout past centuries, Christian philosophers and mystics dwelt at length on the crucial, life-and-death need for repentance, resignation, “mortification,” the “crucifixion” of sin in man, and the “death of the carnal man” or of “the creaturely self” and so on.

The Apostle Paul said it most powerfully and succinctly when he wrote: “I die daily.”

Unfortunately, much of what has been written in more contemplative eras about this inner transformation of man is highly poetic and allegorical – an attempt to use mere words to chart the narrow path that connects man’s lowly estate with God’s heavenly one. Although such archaic language may be profound, it’s probably insufficient for Christians today, buffeted as we are on the outside by a voracious and atheistic secular culture, and on the inside by what is increasingly a simplistic and far less rigorous Christianity than that embraced by our forefathers.

Please allow me to take a stab at this, from a somewhat different angle – this command from Jesus Christ that each of His followers “take up his cross daily.”

Killing the creature

What exactly is this “creaturely self” that Christian thinkers throughout the centuries have so colorfully warned we must “slay” or “crucify” if we’re to inherit the Kingdom of God?

It’s self-evident that we’re all born with a troublesome nature called “pride.” Basically, pride is the part of us that wants to be like God. It loves being praised, quickly puffs up with angry judgment over the real or perceived wrongs of others – and as a rule is oblivious to its own faults. Moreover, you can think of pride as a “life form” – a living, breathing “something” which, like any other life form or “creature,” can be fed or starved. When it’s fed, it grows and enlarges; when it is starved, it diminishes and dies – daily.

As our pride – our “sin self” – diminishes and dies through obedience to God, the direct result is that our good side, our true God-centered character and identity, enlarges.

We’re not talking about matters of dogma here. Nor is this just a matter of outward behaviors and “works.” So please don’t e-mail me with arguments about “faith vs. works.” This is about real change – about transformation – the mystical heart of the true Christian life, about “dying to the world.” Not an archaic, poetic and hopelessly idealistic notion, but the very heartbeat of our everyday life, as we deal with stresses and problems (“trials and tribulations”) in our lives.

Of course – and this is something of a divine paradox – as Christians, we know we can’t save ourselves, and yet we are most definitely called to obedience. So, let’s not slough off our responsibility to “die daily” by comfortably presuming on the unending mercy of God. His mercy is unending, indeed, but also balanced with justice, and these two seemingly contradictory qualities work together mysteriously and wonderfully toward our redemption, but only in the truly sincere human soul that doesn’t tempt God.

A different kind of love

To understand what “taking up the cross” means, we have to understand why Jesus Himself had to suffer.

More pointedly, if our loving God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent – which He is – why then did His own Son have to be tortured and executed? Countless people throughout the ages have asked, “If God is love, why would he require his own son to endure such torture and death?” Indeed, many have judged God, concluding: “I could never worship a god like that.”

Although we say “God is love,” we don’t really know what either one is, do we? “God” is beyond our comprehension – like understanding infinity. And “love” – well, we use that word to describe our “strong feelings” for anything and everything we’re attracted to.

Let’s talk about real love.

There’s one element present in almost every authentic manifestation of real love among us human beings. And that is – are you ready for this? – suffering. From the ultimate expression of love – “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend” – to the simple act of being patient with others, love implies forbearance, longsuffering and kindness in the midst of problems.

Here’s how Webster defines “patience”: “the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain without complaint, loss of temper, or anger.”

Certainly, Jesus’ words as he was dying on the cross – “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” – are the kindest, most patient words ever spoken.

Thus, patience is nothing less than the basic “cell” or building block of love for each other. The very idea of being patient implies suffering with grace. The recipient of your patience – say, your spouse or child – experiences that patience as love, just as they experience your impatience as a lack of love.

Still, why is love inextricably tied to suffering?

Just think: God is the architect of an awesome expanding universe involving heavenly bodies and distances and speeds and temperatures beyond human comprehension, as well as of a never-ending microscopic cosmos of orbiting particles and universes within universes, all too small for human eyes or minds to conceive. And yet, there’s one thing the Creator of all couldn’t just … create out of thin air. And that’s love.

Oh sure, He loves us. But I’m talking about our love for Him and for each other – fulfilling Jesus’ two greatest commandments. The only way God could “create” loving children was for us to have a choice: a choice to love Him, or to be our own god – literally, a choice to make something more important than our own lives, well-being and comfort – a choice to love, in other words – and to be able to demonstrate that love, which involves suffering.

After all, if I compel you to “love me,” is it real love? Of course not. Love always involves a choice.

Jesus’ teaching that there’s no greater love than laying down your life for a friend doesn’t only mean that you have to be willing to die for someone else by jumping into a lake to save them, or taking a bullet meant for them. Remember, Paul said, “I die daily.” It’s a different kind of “death” that’s being called for. You have to be willing to let your pride-self die – for the sake of your “neighbor” – and particularly, for your family’s well being.

Small example: If someone puts you down or treats you in a cruel or unjust way and you become angry and upset, you’ve simply failed to find God’s love in that moment and to extend it to the offending person. All of us have fallen for this temptation over and over – I know I have many times. But if we are genuinely patient – that is, if we suffer the cruelty with grace, and resist the temptation to puff up with anger because our pride was offended – we can then respond to the other person with the energy and spirit of God’s love.

So do I need to be a martyr?

Do an Internet search on the phrase “Take up your cross” and you’ll discover sermon after sermon on the necessity of being willing to be tortured and executed for Christ.

“Are you living with a martyr’s attitude, that is, willing to suffer and/or die for the cause of Christ?” asks one sermon on the topic. “We are to be Jesus’ present-day martyrs, as millions in the past literally were proven to be by giving their lives for the cause of Christ.”

Others regard the “take up your cross” reference as a call to the celibate, monastic life.

And of course there are lots of references to the conflict between man’s “natural will” and God’s will, and how they are at war with each other.

Indeed, “taking up the cross” has always been a common sermon topic. Most typically, listeners are admonished to visit the sick, feed the poor, put their spouse’s desires ahead of their own, tithe and volunteer time for church work, and the like. And while these are all fine actions to take, the problem is, one can do all of them and still remain the same faithless, resentful, doubtful, guilt-ridden, but heavily compensated “nice” person. Worse, the approval and adulation we receive from others for our “good works” often serves to further blind us from seeing and repenting of our well-concealed sinful nature.

The point is, we’re not so much in need of a behavior change as we are of a nature change. The “cross” Christ prescribes for us is an instrument of death. But just as He died to bring life, we are supposed to “die” to sin that we may share His life.

All of which boils down to this: The real “cross” we have to bear is that we have a fallen nature, which we need to understand and relate to properly — which allows God to change us.

Let’s start with an obvious example – sex. Men in particular are born with a sexual nature that needs to be restrained. If not, men would want to express this drive virtually all of the time. Obviously, men need to control this “animal nature” or “creaturely self.”

Likewise, what if somebody wrongs you so egregiously that you have an impulse to do him bodily harm? You better restrain that impulse too, right?

So much for the obvious. How about something more subtle?

Let’s say we suffer from envious thoughts. To covet is to break one of the 10 Commandments. So how do we deal with these troublesome feelings? How do we “restrain” them? Certainly not by wallowing in them and indulging them. But also not by repressing them, or attempting to manufacture “good” thoughts and feelings in their place. The Christian answer might be to pray, but what form of prayer? Try this out: If you notice envious thoughts, just observe them – honestly, sincerely, without escaping or trying to change them or making excuses for them or justifying them or getting upset over them. Just see what you see, with poise and dignity – and quietly, wordlessly, cry inwardly to God for help. He will.

This is true transparency, which is resignation of your will to His. It calls forth the very process of regeneration, imperceptible though it may be to us.

Put another way, “dying” to the world is like fasting – but not from food. The real “fast” God desires is that we fast from evil thoughts, from anger, from envy, from lust, from greed and so on. He wants us to abstain from being irritated by provocations, from becoming impatient and angry toward others, from temptation of all sorts.

The truth is, we’re never closer to God than when we’re just plain quiet and still, aware of all of our defects in each precious moment, looking at ourselves first and foremost, without judgment or worry, and having quiet faith that God is there with us and that He will help us.

Shortly before His Passion and death, Jesus gave his disciples what He called “a new commandment” – namely, “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Of course, since He had previously brought forth the Old Testament commandments to love God “with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5) and to “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18), how was this Last Supper commandment then “new”?

It was new because He was raising the bar to a higher standard. He was now asking us to love one another as He loved us.

We are supposed to live the way Jesus lived, and to suffer the way He suffered. (I said, the way he suffered – with love for each other through obedience to the Father – though obviously not to the extent He suffered.) And, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, that does not mean only sharing the Gospel of Christ’s atoning death and resurrection with as many people as possible. We are called to a still higher standard – to live as He lived – or maybe to put it more aptly, to love as He loved.

Love and logic

In the classic story of “Ben-Hur,” Judah, long-consumed by hatred and a desire for revenge against Masala for falsely condemning him as a galley slave and imprisoning his mother and sister, now lepers, witnesses the crucifixion of Jesus.

In the final unforgettable scene, Judah tells his betrothed Esther: “Almost the minute He died, I heard Him say, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’

Esther, amazed, responds in a whisper: “Even then …”

“Even then,” echoes Judah. “And I felt His voice take the sword out of my hand.”

The real Passion of Christ must connect directly with our own internal programming and strengthen our own spirit, as it did in the story of “Ben-Hur.” We too must die the death God has prescribed for us – the death of pride, the ancient compulsion to be our own god – that we may share the true life He prepared for us, and which His Son purchased so dearly for us.

One of the main reasons I’m a Christian is simply because it makes so much sense to me. If God wanted to demonstrate His love for mankind, how else could He do it? Go ahead, tell me! What could He do to demonstrate the depth of His love? Make mountains of pomegranates for everyone? Give everyone a great job and a big house and three luxury cars? Give us everything our proud little hearts desire?

No, if God wanted to demonstrate His love for us, and at the same time provide us with the perfect, ultimate example of real love for our fellow man, what could be a more perfect expression of love than the willing suffering and death of His Son – Who while dying asked God to forgive His tormentors? The sheer beauty, logic and power of it is transcendent. If you’re looking for love in this loveless world, that’s it.

I know some will be offended by this message, as though by even mentioning and holding up the standard Jesus clearly demanded of His followers, I am somehow denying the sufficiency of His substitutionary death for all mankind.

But you see, there’s something really wrong with today’s Christianity. Over 70 percent of Americans consider themselves Christians, but our country’s government, laws, culture and institutions, from its education system to its entertainment industry – are increasingly and overtly hostile to Christianity. Even Christian families all too often are falling apart. Clearly, we’re missing something big.

So, can you handle a little tough love? Here it is: Just continually telling each other about Jesus’ death and resurrection is not enough. It’s not what He taught. Jesus didn’t say, “Just talk about me and you’ll be saved.” Rather, He said: “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17) And “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (John 15:10) And “… he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matthew 24:13 KJV)

So, while as Christians during the Easter season we reflect on the Messiah’s suffering and sacrifice, the question is: What are we willing to suffer and sacrifice? Can we face our own sinfulness? It’s the one enemy most of us don’t really want to confront.

To take up our cross – to “lose our life” for His sake so that we “shall save it” – we need to repent. And we cannot repent without looking in the mirror and honestly facing the sin in our minds and hearts. To stand transparent before God so He can heal us through understanding and repentance may be as hard as watching Jesus being scourged and crucified, but watch it we must.

God honors the sincere soul who, with quiet dignity, simply faces the darkness within and repents. This is the heartbeat of our life, without which there is no real life. Each of us has this moment-to-moment choice to make, whether to defend, excuse and enlarge our sinful, hell-bent nature, or whether to pick up our cross, deny our (wrong) self, and follow Jesus – first to death, and then to life.

https://www.wnd.com/2004/02/23485/

Why an empty tomb is such a big deal

Bill Federer recounts important people who knew their ‘Redeemer liveth’

 

Jesus crucifix Bible (Pexels copyright-free image)

George Washington’s tomb is engraved with the Scripture, John 11:25, where Jesus told Martha: “I am the Resurrection and the Life; sayeth the Lord. He that believeth in Me, though he were dead yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.”

Martin Luther (1483-1546) remarked: “Our Lord has written the promise of the Resurrection not in books alone, but in every leaf in the springtime.”

Elias Boudinot (1740-1821) was the president of the Continental Congress, 1782-83. He was a U.S. Representative from New Jersey, 1789-95, and helped frame the Bill of Rights. He was also director of the U.S. Mint, 1795-97, under Presidents Washington and John Adams.

Becoming a genuine Christian during the Great Awakening, Elias Boudinot was baptized by Rev. George Whitfield and helped to found the American Bible Society in 1816. Elias Boudinot stated in New Jersey, July 4, 1783: “No sooner had the great Creator of the heavens and the earth finished His almighty work, and pronounced all very good, but He set apart … one day in seven for the commemoration of His inimitable power in producing all things out of nothing. … The deliverance of the children of Israel from a state of bondage to an unreasonable tyrant was perpetuated by the Paschal lamb, and enjoining it on their posterity as an annual festival forever. … The resurrection of the Savior of mankind is commemorated by keeping the first day of the week. … Let us then, my friends and fellow citizens, unite all our endeavors this day to remember, with reverential gratitude to our Supreme Benefactor, all the wonderful things He has done for us, in our miraculous deliverance from a second Egypt-another house of bondage.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) wrote in his sermon “The Leafless Tree,” delivered March 8, 1857 at New Park Street Chapel: “If we read the Scripture’s aright the Jews have a great deal to do with this world’s history. They shall be gathered in; Messiah shall come, the Messiah they are looking for, the same Messiah who came once shall come again, shall come as they expected him to come the first time. They then thought he would come a prince to reign over them, and so he will when he comes again. He will come to be king of the Jews, and to reign over his people most gloriously; for when he comes Jew and Gentile shall have equal privileges, though there shall yet be some distinction afforded to that royal family from whose loins Jesus came; for he shall sit upon the throne of his father David, and unto him shall be gathered all nations.”

In his Easter Address, April 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan stated: “This week Jewish families and friends have been celebrating Passover. … Its observance reminds all of us that the struggle for freedom and the battle against oppression waged by the Jews since ancient times is one shared by people everywhere. And Christians have been commemorating the last momentous days leading to the crucifixion of Jesus 1,950 years ago. Tomorrow, as morning spreads around the planet, we’ll celebrate the triumph of life over death, the Resurrection of Jesus.”

Reagan continued: “Both observances tell of sacrifice and pain but also of hope and triumph. … Men and women around the world who love God and freedom – bear a message of world hope and brotherhood like the rites of Passover and Easter that we celebrate this weekend. … We want peace. … And then they ask, ‘Do you think that we can have these things one day?’ Well, I do. I really do. Nearly 2,000 years after the coming of the Prince of Peace, such simple wishes may still seem far from fulfillment. But we can achieve them. We must never stop trying.”

Well-known British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge wrote in his 1975 work titled “Jesus”: “As Man alone, Jesus could not have saved us; as God alone, he would not; Incarnate, he could and did.”

Sir Lionel Alfred Luckhoo (1914-1997) was knighted twice by the Queen of England. He was the only person to have been an ambassador for two sovereign nations simultaneously, Barbados and Guyana. He served as Lord Mayor of Georgetown, Guyana, and presided as Judge of the Supreme Court of Guyana. Sir Lionel Luckhoo was acknowledged in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s most successful criminal attorney.

At the age of 64, after studying world religions, Sir Lionel Luckhoo accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior on Nov. 7, 1978. Addressing audiences worldwide, including presidents, kings, parliaments, cabinets, bar associations, and the United Nations, Sir Lionel Luckhoo stated: “The bones of Muhammad are in Medina, the bones of Confucius are in Shantung, the cremated bones of Buddha are in Nepal. Thousands pay pilgrimages to worship at their tombs which contain their bones. But in Jerusalem there is a cave cut into the rock. This is the tomb of Jesus. It is empty! Yes, empty! Because He is risen! He died, physically and historically. He arose from the dead, and now sits at the right hand of God.”

In his Easter Message, April 2015, British Prime Minister David Cameron stated: “The values of the Bible, the values of Christianity are the values that we need – values of compassion, of respect, of responsibility, of tolerance. Now … you don’t have to be a Christian … to have strong values, to believe in strong values or to pass those values on to your children, but the point I always make is that it helps. We’re always trying to tell our children not to be selfish, but is there a better way of putting it than ‘love thy neighbor’? …”

David Cameron continued: “We’re always telling our children to be tolerant … but is there a better way of explaining tolerance than saying, ‘do to others as you would be done by’? It’s the simplest encapsulation of an absolutely vital value and the Christian church and the teaching of the Bible has put it so clearly. We’re always telling our children that they must make the most of what they have; they must not waste what they have been given, and is there a better way of putting that than ‘don’t hide your light under a bushel, make the most of your talents.’”

Spanish King Felipe VI stated Dec. 13, 2016: “Europe needs … to be honest and respectful to both our common Judeo-Christian values and origins.”

Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl wrote in the foreword of the Hungarian translation of his book “Out of Concern for Europe: An Appeal”: “Europe cannot be the new home for millions of people in need … (as many refugees come) from different cultural backgrounds. They follow in significant part, faiths other than Judeo-Christianity, which is one of the foundations of our values and social order.”

In an Easter address in St. Peter’s Square, April 1, 1956, Pope Pius XII stated: “This year’s celebration of Easter should be primarily a recall to faith in Christ, addressed to people who, through no fault of their own, are still unaware of the saving work of the Redeemer; to those who, on the contrary, would wish to have His name wiped out of the minds and hearts of nations; and finally, in a special manner, to those souls of little faith who, seduced by deceptive enticements, are on the point of exchanging the priceless Christian values for those of a false earthly progress.”

John Milton Hay (1838-1905) was private secretary to President Lincoln and ambassador to Great Britain under President McKinley. As Secretary of State, 1898-1905, John Milton Hay negotiated over 50 treaties, including the Open-Door policy with China; the Panama Canal; the Alaskan boundary; the Philippine policy. John Milton Hay worked for the New York Tribune from 1870 to 1875, where he published the poem:

Sinai and Calvary

But Calvary stands to ransom
The earth from utter loss;
In shade than light more glorious
The shadow of the Cross.

To heal a sick world’s trouble,
To soothe its woe and pain,
On Calvary’s sacred summit
The Pascal Lamb was slain.

Almighty God! direct us
To keep Thy perfect Law!
O blessed Savior, help us
Nearer to Thee to draw!

Let Sinai’s thunder aid us
To guard our feet from sin,
And Calvary’s light inspire us
The love of God to win.

Philanthropist George Hay Stuart (1816-1890) served as the president of the United States Christian Commission, which was formed out of the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) in New York, Nov. 14, 1861. During the Civil War, the United States Christian Commission raised millions of dollars in private donations to provide supplies, hospital stores and clothing to the army and navy. George Hay Stuart helped distribute over 30 million gospel tracts and New Testaments to the soldiers. One of the workers was D.L. Moody, who later became a world renowned minister.

George Hay Stuart stated: “I have prayed for this union; and I have labored for it, simply because I believed that it would bring glory to my blessed Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. … I have labored and prayed for it, because it would bring brethren together, now unhappily divided, to see eye to eye, that the nations that have so long bowed down to idols might learn of Jesus and Him crucified. … Since these twenty-four hours have passed away eighty-six thousand four hundred immortal souls have gone to the judgment seat of Christ. … I never hear the funeral bell toll without asking myself the question, ‘What have I done to point that departed soul to the Lamb of God that died to save a perishing world?’ Brethren, buckle on your armor for a great conflict; buckle it on for giving the glorious Gospel of the Son of God to the millions of the earth who are perishing for lack of knowledge.”

James Logan (1674-1751), who was secretary for William Penn, and Chief Justice of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court, 1731-39. He stated: “Remember thou art by profession a Christian; that is, one who art called after the immaculate Lamb of God, who, by offering Himself a sacrifice for thee, atoned for thy sins. … Rouse with the more simple servants of nature, and borrowing one hour from the sleep of sluggards, spend it in thy chamber in dressing thy soul with prayer and meditation, reading the Scriptures. … Remember that the same enemy that caused thy first parents to forfeit their blessed condition, notwithstanding the gate is now open for restoration, is perpetually using his whole endeavors to prevent thee from attaining this, and frustrate to thee the passion of thy Redeemer.”

John Robinson (1576-1625), pastor of the Pilgrims, stated in his Leiden letter: “Thus this holy army of saints is marshaled here on earth by these officers, under the conduct of their glorious Emperor, Christ. Thus it marches in this most heavenly order and gracious array, against all enemies, both bodily and ghostly: peaceable in itself, as Jerusalem, terrible to the enemy as an army with banners, triumphing over their tyranny with patience, their cruelty with meekness, and over death itself with dying. Thus, through the Blood of that spotless Lamb, and that Word of their testimony, they are more than conquerors, bruising the head of the Serpent; yea, through the power of His Word, they have power to cast down Satan like lightning; to tread upon serpents and scorpions; to cast down strongholds, and everything that exalteth itself against God. The gates of hell, and all the principalities and powers on earth shall not prevail against it.”

Robert Morris Page (1903-1992) known as the “Father of U.S. Radar,” was the physicist who invented pulsation radar used for the detection of aircraft. The holder of 37 patents, Robert Morris Pages served with the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.; received the U.S. Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award; the Presidential Certificate of Merit; the IRE Fellowship Harry Diamond Memorial Award; as well as the Stuart Ballantyne Medal of the Franklin Institute.

The son of a Methodist minister, Robert Morris Page wrote: “The authenticity of the writings of the prophets, though the men themselves are human, is established by such things as the prediction of highly significant events far in the future that could be accomplished only through a knowledge obtained from a realm which is not subject to the laws of time as we know them. One of the great evidences is the long series of prophecies concerning Jesus the Messiah. These prophecies extend hundreds of years prior to the birth of Christ. They include a vast amount of detail concerning Christ himself, His nature and the things He would do when He came – things which to the natural world, or the scientific world, remain to this day completely inexplicable.”

The Democrat Party’s candidate for president in 1896, 1900 and 1908 was William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925). Memorialized with a statue in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall, William Jennings Bryan gave over 600 public speeches during his presidential campaigns, the most famous being “The Prince of Peace,” printed in the New York Times, Sept. 7, 1913, in which he stated: “The world had known love before … but Jesus gave a new definition of love. His love was as wide as the sea; its limits were so far-flung that even an enemy could not travel beyond its bounds. Other teachers sought to regulate the lives of their followers by rule and formula, but Christ’s plan was to purify the heart and then to leave love to direct the footsteps. What conclusion is to be drawn from the life, the teachings and the death of this historic figure? Reared in a carpenter shop; with no knowledge of literature, save Bible literature; with no acquaintance with philosophers living or with the writings of sages dead, when only about thirty years old He gathered disciples about Him, promulgated a higher code of morals than the world had ever known before, and proclaimed Himself the Messiah.

“He taught and performed miracles for a few brief months and then was crucified; His disciples were scattered and many of them put to death; His claims were disputed, His resurrection denied and His followers persecuted; and yet from this beginning His religion spread until hundreds of millions have taken His name with reverence upon their lips and millions have been willing to die rather than surrender the faith which He put into their hearts. How shall we account for Him? Here is the greatest fact of history; here is One who has with increasing power, for nineteen hundred years, molded the hearts, the thoughts and the lives of men, and He exerts more influence to-day than ever before. ‘What think ye of Christ?’ It is easier to believe Him divine than to explain in any other way what he said and did and was. And I have greater faith, even than before.”

In his masterpiece Messiah, 1742, composer George Frederick Handel wrote the line: “I know that my Redeemer liveth.”

After comments on divine inspiration, George Washington Carver was criticized in a New York Times editorial, Nov. 20, 1924. In his defense, Carver received letters from around the nation. He replied to one from Rev. Lyman Ward, Jan. 15, 1925: “My dear Bro. Ward, Many, many thanks for your letter of Jan. 4th. How it lifted up my very soul, and made me to feel that after all God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform. I did indeed feel very badly for a while, not that the cynical criticism was directed at me, but rather at the religion of Jesus Christ. Dear Bro. I know that my Redeemer liveth. I believe through the providence of the Almighty it was a good thing. Since the criticism was made I have had dozens of books, papers, periodicals, magazines, personal letters from individuals in all walks of life. Copies of letters to the editor of the Times are bearing me out in my assertion. … Pray for me please that every thing said and done will be to His glory. I am not interested in science or any thing else that leaves God out of it. Most sincerely your, Geo. W. Carver.”

Brought to you by AmericanMinute.com.

https://www.wnd.com/2019/04/why-an-empty-tomb-is-such-a-big-deal/


Hey, Revolutionaries! No Drifting Down the Secular Leftist’s River of Deception

George Orwell likely never said it, but he should have: “In a time of universal deceit — telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Whatever its source, is there a popular dictum more apt for the state of things in 2019?

On a daily basis, twenty-first century society tees up circumstances fairly pounding the table for the facts; or some outbreak of commons sense or ground-level decency. All you would-be “revolutionaries”? Provide any of the above and you’re practically there!

Twenty-three-year-old actress Madeline Carroll was churning along nicely in the mid-2000s, landing “family-friendly roles” in film and television. Then she hit her teens and — no surprise — lascivious Hollywood decided the young starlet’s career trajectory needed to change. Performing opportunities became increasingly objectionable to Carroll who, as a Christian, had adopted the radical — revolutionary? — perspective that her work choices ought to please the One she claims to follow.

“I was going to be the … teenage girl that wanted to sleep with everybody in the school” she recently admitted to the National Religious Broadcasters. “[I]t was really devastating for me, because I had [gone] from so much happening to literally nothing happening.”

Her agents were miffed at her for declining these shots at money and fame, but her mother reaffirmed:

“It’s better, Madeline, to err on the ways of righteousness than err on the ways of the world.”

At age nineteen, a big screen part arrived — but nudity was required. She rejected the offer.

“You know, you’re crazy,” chided her agent. “if you don’t want to do nudity, I don’t know what to tell you. Because that’s literally all there is in this industry.”

An exaggeration from an exasperated handler, perhaps. Still, I’m reminded of reading somewhere that first-century Christians simply forswore any involvement in the theater of their day: sexual depravity flatly saturated every aspect of it.

“I laid it down before God and I let my dream die,” confessed the Los Angeles native. “And I truly didn’t think that I was ever gonna pick it back up again,”

Then, 2018 … another head-snapping reversal: Carroll won a major part in the religious-oriented film I Can Only Imagine. The movie opened in that week’s Top 5, wrapping it’s run with an imposing $83 million haul. She’s now collaborating on launch of a “new faith-based studio, Kingdom Studios”. “It’s time for Hollywood to wake up,” presses Carroll, “that there are people out there like me … that want to do something for His glory.”

Nice denouement to her personal drama — practically deserving silver
screen treatment. But before the inspiring third-reel of her story rolled, an ambitious young girl first had to refuse to go along with Tinsel Town’s status quo: No, I won’t disrobe in living color before audiences full of men so they can rush home and masturbate to my mental image. Not gonna be a part of that.

To libido-obsessed modern minds, them’s earthquaking words! And from a woman who pledged she wasn’t going to supinely go-along-to-get-along; at potentially disastrous professional cost. If the entertainment machine is hurtling toward the hot place, looks like it’s going to do so without Madeleine Carroll’s complicity.

Prospective revolutionaries, call your office.

Speaking of imperiling one’s career track: over the past three years upwards of eighteenintrepid souls have quit their positions with Britain’s National Health Service over concerns children are being misdiagnosed as transgender and administered harmful hormone treatments in the process. Each of these former NHS-employees were operating with teams tasked with determining whether kids as young as three should be prescribed puberty-blocking drugs, the effects of which are irreversible.

One staffer worried, “This experimental treatment is being done on not only children, but very vulnerable children.”

Carl Heneghan of Oxford University’s Centre of Evidence-based Medicine concurred, slamming the therapies as an “unregulated live experiment on children.”

These erstwhile NHS clinicians apparently arrived at the same conclusion — enough so that they determined to take attention-grabbing action.

In the span of a few dizzying years, transgender orthodoxy has become an inexorable steamroller before which nearly any cultural resistance, even mere reluctance, obsequiously yields. Count the “NHS Eighteen” as those comparatively few professionals modeling the courageous exception: they’ll no longer have a hand in medically trendy-but-ghoulish hazarding little one’s lives.

It’s the same noteworthy spirit driving a piece over at nationalreview.com where Graham Hillard lately admonished “Conservatives Shouldn’t Use Transgender Pronouns”.

“He”, “she” swapped out for “ze”, “zir”? Someone’s birth certificate specifying “male”, but collectively we’re obliged to fake he‘s “female”? And now humanity has to say grace not only over men’s and women’s willingly disfiguring their bodies, but over the disfigurement of language on behalf of their mental/emotional confusion, as well?

Hillard takes outspoken exception. “Renouncing” such balderdash “may come at a price,” he contends, “[but c]onservatives should pay it.”

While conceding transgender zaniness has become pandemic, he maintains sensible people “are to blame … if our conciliatory language impairs our ability to declare that this is wrong. It is not real. We have to stop it. … [I]f the central transgender assertion is a lie … then God forgive us if we utter a word in its favor.”

Hillard is candid about the risks involved:

To be sure, conservatives will pay a price for their stubbornness. … Jobs may be lost or friendships ruined. Our own children may one day condemn us. What is at stake, however, is the irreplaceable right to say of one thing, “true,” and of another, “false” — to define the basic realities from which our politics proceed. A man is a man. A woman is a woman. Let us not pretend otherwise.

If those embracing Judeo-Christian principles and valuing America’s founding ideals truly believe what we so snappily profess, how can we co-operate, even on the margins, with the demented, reality-disdaining forces assailing this age? Civilization-engulfing fecklessness impacts persons in the most jarringly practical ways: how they conduct themselves, the decisions they take. Civilization-preserving wisdom ought to inform our responses against the same.

Shrugging at the omnivorous fithifying of our culture, at LGBTQ depredations of troubled children or the common understanding of words isn’t an option, either. Hey, it’s just the way things are! is nothing less than a dodging-responsibility card for the culturally passive; the bleat of those complacently drifting along the Leftist-secularist lazy river swamping every front.

Meanwhile, nowadays, those enunciating unfashionable but society-preserving truths should, properly, be labelled revolutionaries. And those moving beyond what their mouths sell, actually walking out its implications? For them, Mr. Orwell, or whoever coined the original adage, should have formulated an even loftier encomium.

Original here

 

Accountability

 

April 19, 2019 by Discerning Dad

Exodus 32:21-24: He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?” “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”

The idea of accountability is not something most people love to volunteer for. It has been a part of many leadership examples and activities during my career. Some people are naturally accountable to feedback, listen earnestly, and decipher how they can improve based on if the feedback was constructive or not. Other people, however, get very defensive when they receive feedback; they make excuses, and find other people to blame. I can tell you that my favorite people to lead are those who are accountable. They have a positive attitude and own up to their mistakes. It takes overall less work to lead these types of people.

Self-reflection and seeking out input from those your trust is important. John Wesley was so concerned with building a righteous fellowship that he devised a series of questions for his followers to ask each other every week. Some found this rigorous system of inquiry too demanding and left. Today, the very idea of such a procedure would horrify many churchgoers. Yet some wisely follow just such a practice. Chuck Swindoll for example, has seven questions that he and a group of fellow pastors challenge each other with periodically (C. Colson, The Body).

Aaron was a big help to Moses. God allowed Aaron to join Moses after Moses complained about not being a good speaker (Exodus 4:14). Aaron was side by side with Moses through all the miracles and exodus of the Israelites. Aaron was also the first High Priest of Israel. For all of the positives of Aaron, he had two major flaws; he gave in to peer pressure and he was not accountable to his actions as we saw in Exodus 32. Aaron knew the power and miracles of the Most High God. He knew the commandment to have “no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). So why did he give in to the Israelites demand for a golden calf while Moses was away? Aaron was weak; he feared what man thought of him more than God. He gave in and probably prepared his excuse ahead of time for when Moses came back. He had to have known things would not have ended well based on the nature of God, but he still did not have the backbone to make a stand.

It’s really in Aaron’s excuse that stood out to me as how unaccountable he was to the whole situation. He blamed how evil the people are, not how evil HIS actions were. He tried to diminish his hand in the matter when he stated that “Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” I mean, I’ve heard some poor excuses from my kids before but this is just laughable right? The better response would have been confession of his sin, asking for forgiveness and pleading with God on behalf of the people. Instead what happened as a result was that about 3,000 people died that day.

Athlete Wes Fessler is quoted as saying, “good men are bound by conscience and liberated by accountability.” Holding yourself responsible for your actions may be difficult but it is freeing, the weight of the guilt and blame can only be pushed aside or pushed to someone else for so long until it comes crashing back at you.

So what does accountability look like when it comes to following God? Here are some examples
– Hearing a message from a Pastor and applying it to your life vs. thinking about someone specific that it BEST applies to… like your spouse sitting next to you.
– When your sin is confronted, exposed, or you confess, be completely open about why it happened to begin with. Do not blame someone else or your circumstances.
– You’ve probably heard the term “accountability partner”; I feel there is a definite benefit to this. Someone who you can be open and honest about, someone who can walk along side you without judgment but will push you past where you want to go versus where you need to go in Christ.
– Seek out feedback; ask someone close to you how they see your walk with God? What are ways they think you can be a better disciple of Jesus?

If we are penitent and contrite in our responses to the feedback we receive or the sin that is revealed in us, we have a real chance at growth in our spiritual walk with the Lord. “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6). Despite what your fleshly inclination might be, choose repentance, choose humbleness, and you will find the freedom and forgiveness of God.

Discerning Reflection: What is an area of my life that I am not accountable to God about? Why am I hesitant about seeking out feedback from other Christians? Do I have an accountability partner and if so, am I making enough time with them?

Prayer: Lord, help me be accountable to my sin, help expose areas that need to have your light of truth reveal to me. Thank you for your grace and patience with me. May I be a good example to those around me and help them as well on their walk with you, Jesus, Amen.

Tim Ferrara

Original here

 

VIDEO Keeping the Faith – He Is Risen

Let your prayer be accompanied by faith, and don’t give an ear to doubt.
April 14, 2007

KEEPING THE FAITH

When the missionaries left, the new believers were on their own. But this group kept encouraging each other in Christ while they waited for a Bible in their language.

In the inky darkness, chirping crickets can be heard. Nearby, a river flows between muddy banks, many days’ journey from the sea. The Peruvian Amazon basin makes up 60 percent of the country and contains only 5 percent of its inhabitants. There are few roads. Here, in some of the most remote places on earth, members of indigenous tribes may travel hours by canoe to reach the next village.

Christian missionaries have visited some, but not all, of the tribes in the region. Sometimes they stay to disciple new converts. But often, they can only introduce Jesus and then move on, leaving the rest to God.

For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.
—Matthew 18:20

village

Most Amazonian tribes have inherited some form of traditional religion from their ancestors. Evangelical missionaries have brought the gospel to some of them, but in the more remote communities, there are still no churches and no pastors.

These communities, often a few dozen houses on stilts in a clearing, have no church building and no local fellowship to join. Those who believe the gospel are the first to depart from the old ways and embrace the light of truth, and there’s nowhere for them to go when they set out on the Christian life. They’re surrounded by the ancient tribal religious ways, with nothing to nurture their newfound faith.

That’s what happened to Arnaldo and Raul, members of the Capanahua tribe. A team of missionaries brought the gospel to their village about a year ago. Arnaldo and Raul believed and received new life in Christ.

“I was overjoyed,” Raul says. “God touched my heart.”

“There’s nowhere for them to go when they set out on the Christian life. They’re surrounded by the ancient tribal religious ways, with nothing to nurture their newfound faith.”

Arnaldo and Raul

Arnaldo and Raul accepted Christ as their Savior several years ago when missionaries passed through their village. “I was overjoyed,” Raul says.

Arnaldo wanted to remember the wonderful event that changed their lives forever. The missionaries were gone. But there’s a sweet sense of family in everyone who carries the indwelling Christ, drawing us to each other through love. In a model reminiscent of the earliest Christian gatherings, he began inviting the other new believers to his home. They spoke of what they had learned, fellowshipped, and rejoiced in the Lord. We would call this a house church. The body of Christ blossomed, bonded together in love, “the perfect bond of unity” (Col. 3:14).

This bond of love is what holds any church together, from a few people to a megachurch 20,000 strong. But in a house church, togetherness takes on a special meaning. To enter someone’s home is to be received in a circle of family and shared trust.

Arnaldo’s meetings expressed the biblical notion of hospitality, with everything that requires: brotherly love, service, generosity. But they had no Bible and no study materials. “Nada, nada,” says Arnaldo. The Word of God exhorts us all to grow in Christ, but this church was bereft of Scripture. Deep in the thick jungle, they kept their faith strong by memory and the Spirit within.

Marcos Costa knows many Christians in this plight. As director of the Aurora Training Center, a ministry facility in the heart of the Peruvian rainforest, he has made it his mission to equip local believers with tools they need to mature in their faith. “How are people going to change if they don’t have the Word of God?” he says. “We need these tools.” And tragically, believers without a Bible are deprived of the deep love and joy that reading Scripture engenders as it brings us closer to the Lord.

FINDING A WAY

In Touch Ministries is working with Marcos and others like him to distribute devices from the Messenger Lab. Together in “the church that is in their house” (Romans 16:5), even the most isolated recipients can listen to the entire Bible and dozens of sermons. It’s like a pastor, says Marcos. “The Torch functions as preacher, discipler, and comforter … It feeds and edifies. The Lord uses it for everything. It’s the missionary I don’t have.” The Torch currently offers Scripture in six tribal languages of this Amazonian region, and Dr. Stanley’s messages in Spanish. And with its solar-powered lantern, it will even light up those dark jungle nights so the group can pass the evenings together.

Arnaldo pastored his church for a year, always longing for the Word of God. Finally, he and Raul made the journey to Aurora, eight days by motorized canoe, for a church planting seminar. In Touch Ministries would be giving out Torches and micro SD cards in Capanahuan, the heart language of their tribe.

“This is the first time we’ve been given any Christian materials,” Raul said. “Now we finally have a Bible. I feel really good. Very happy.”

A Peruvian man holds an In Touch Torch

At the Aurora Training Center, Christians from regional tribes receive In Touch Torches with the Bible in their own native language and sermons from Dr. Charles Stanley in Spanish.

Around the Amazon basin, small fellowships like Arnaldo’s are appearing, and the Torch helps them flourish. Aurora attendees, many of whom already pastor a church in their own home, were taught how to plant another—just the way Jesus instructed His disciples. “Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it” (Matthew 10:11-13 NIV).

The visiting pastor leaves the Torch with the “man of peace” he has identified. This man takes up the mantle of hospitality and invites the believers for weekly meetings. They listen, learn, and pray as a body, breaking bread and remembering the instruction: “not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another” (Heb. 10:25 NIV).

“The Torch functions as preacher, discipler, and comforter … It feeds and edifies. The Lord uses it for everything. It’s the missionary I don’t have.”

—Marcos Costa, Director of the Aurora Training Center

As Marcos tells people like Arnaldo and Raul, wherever two or three are gathered, there is a church. With the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, they can grow strong in their faith and continue to bear fruit for the kingdom. But they need Scripture, “so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:17 NIV).

For this, Arnaldo and Raul traveled far on the winding rivers to find the Word of God and bring it home. Now, their little church can rejoice in its life-giving power as they listen together in the Torch’s glow.

 

Original here


Ravi Zacharias: He is Risen Indeed

VIDEO What happens when ‘Rule of Law’ doesn’t include God?

William Brewster

William Brewster

William Brewster is portrayed in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol giving thanks to God in the “Frieze of American History” depiction of “The Landing of the Pilgrims.” He is depicted as representing “religion” in a thematic painting located in the president’s room of the Senate Wing.

William Brewster was an elder in the Pilgrims’ church in England. He was arrested and jailed by Britain’s oppressive government which denied liberty of conscience and religious freedom. Brewster fled with the Pilgrims to Holland, and 12 years later, sailed with them to America. He signed the Mayflower Compact.

Governor Bradford wrote of him: “Mr. Brewster … lived in the country … till the Lord revealed Himself further to him. In the end, the tyranny … against godly preachers … in silencing … and persecuting … caused him … to feel the burden of … many anti-christian corruptions. …”

Governor Bradford continued: “After they had joined themselves together in communion … William Brewster was a special help and support to them. On the Lord’s day they generally met at his house, which was a manor … He entertained them with great kindness when they came, providing for them at heavy expense. … He was the leader of those who were captured at … Lincolnshire, suffering the greatest loss, and was one of the seven who were kept longest in prison and afterwards bound over to the assizes.”

Governor Bradford wrote further of William Brewster: “After he came to Holland he suffered much hardship, having spent most of his means. … Towards the latter part of those twelve years spent in Holland, William Brewster’s circumstances improved … for through his knowledge of Latin he was able to teach many foreign students English. … Both Danes and Germans came to him, some of them being sons of distinguished men.”

William Brewster is portrayed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda holding an open Bible in the painting “The Embarkation of the Pilgrims.” In that same painting, the Pilgrims’ Pastor, John Robinson, is portrayed kneeling with his hands extended in prayer.

On Dec. 15, 1617, elder William Brewster and Pastor John Robinson wrote a letter from Leiden, Holland, to London financier Sir Edwin Sandys, explaining that the Pilgrims were: “Knit together as a body in … covenant of the Lord … we so hold ourselves … tied to all care of each other’s good.”

Pastor John Robinson is considered one of the founders of the “Congregational” Church. The words “congregational,” “compact” and “commonwealth” refer to a group of people in “communion” or “covenant” with each other. This was a concept studied by the Reformation scholars, such as John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, Thomas Cromwell, John Knox, the Scottish Covenanters and the translators of the Geneva Bible.

One of the key references to “covenant” or “congregation” comes from the Greek word “ekklesia.” Jesus stated in Matthew 16:18, “… upon this rock I will build My church (ekklesia); and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”

In another place, Jesus stated “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church (ekklesia); and if he refuses to listen even to the church (ekklesia), let him be to you as a gentile and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:17.)

“Ekklesia” means a called-out assembly; a gathering of citizens called out from their homes, congregating in some public place; an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating; assembly of the Israelites.

King James insisted that in his translation of the Bible, the word “ekklesia” be translated “church” rather than “congregation” or “assembly,” as he wanted to be its head, and how can one be the head if it is the congregation which deliberates?

Ten years after the Pilgrims arrived in America, Puritans fled persecutions in England and began arriving in New England in 1630. In the next 16 years, called the Puritan Great Migration, nearly 20,000 Puritans settled in Massachusetts, being led by John Winthrop.

John Winthrop authored “A Model of Christian Charity,” June 11, 1630, in which he explained the nature of colonial constitutional “covenants”: “It is of the nature and essence of every society to be knit together by some covenant, either expressed or implied. … We are a Company, professing ourselves fellow members of Christ, we ought to account ourselves knit together by this bond of love. … It is by a mutual consent through a special overruling Providence … to seek out a place of Cohabitation … under a due form of Government both civil and ecclesiastical. … Thus stands the cause between God and us: we are entered into covenant with Him for this work. We have taken out a Commission; the Lord hath given us leave to draw our own articles. … For this end, we must be knit together in this work as one man. …”

Winthrop continued: “We must delight in each other, make one another’s condition our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our Commission and Community in this work, as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. … We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies, when He shall make us a praise and glory, that men of succeeding plantations shall say, ‘The Lord make it like that of New England.’ For we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.”

“Covenant” theology was held by many New England colonial leaders.

John D. Eusden wrote in “Natural Law and Covenant Theology in New England, 1620–1670” (Notre Dame Law School, Natural Law Forum. 1960, Paper 47): “The idea of the covenant – that central, permeating idea of Puritanism. … Covenanted men actually constructed political communities – the emerging ‘American character’ in the realm of governmental theory and jurisprudence … Names dominate the dramatis personae: John Cotton, influential minister of the First Church in Boston. … John Winthrop, long-time governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. … Nathaniel Ward, chief framer of the 1641 Body of Liberties for the Bay Colony; William Bradford, governor of Plymouth Plantation; Thomas Hooker, preacher and potentate of Hartford; John Norton, official apologist for New England Congregationalism; John Eliot, evangelist and occasional political writer; and John Davenport, founder of New Haven. … Political and social thought of early American Puritanism was drawn from four sources: the Bible, the covenant tradition in Reformation theology, the common law of England, and the long Western tradition of natural law.”

The Puritans that stayed back in England had a civil war, led by Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, and afterwards established a covenant form of government in 1649, called “Commonwealth.” It only lasted a decade, ending when King Charles II was restored to English throne.

Os Guinness stated in an interview on “Thinking in Public” with Dr. Albert Mohler, June 5, 2017: “The covenantal ideas in England were the lost cause, sadly. They failed. The king came back. But the lost cause became the winning cause in New England. And covenant shaped constitutionalism. … The American Constitution is a nationalized, secularized form of covenant. … Covenant lies behind constitution.”

To the Protestant Reformers of the 16th century, the perfect example of a nation with a “covenant” form of government was ancient Israel – a group of people in agreement with each other, getting their rights from God and being individually accountable to God.

In the 17th century, during the Age of Enlightenment, the idea of “covenant” evolved into “social contract” – a group of people in agreement with each other, with or without God. In the 18th century, the French Revolution morphed “social contract” into intentionally excluding God. Rights came from the group and individuals are accountable to the group. This culminated in the French Revolution’s bloody Reign of Terror, 1789–1794, beheading those who resisted the group or state.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, considered the Father of the French Revolution, wrote in “The Social Contract” (1762): “The citizen is no longer the judge. … When the prince says to him: ‘It is expedient for the state that you should die,’ he ought to die … because his life is no longer a mere bounty of nature, but a gift made conditionally by the state.”

Ironically, the group never really decides anything, but rather those who control what information and propaganda the group receives are in control:

  • the country is controlled by laws
  • laws are controlled by politicians
  • politicians are controlled by voters
  • voters are controlled by public opinion
  • public opinion is controlled by media and education
  • therefore, whoever controls media & education controls the country

The flaw of the social contract was displayed at the Nuremburg Trials of 1945–1946, where officials of the National Socialist Workers Party (Nazi), who killed 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, defended their actions by explaining they were only following laws agreed upon by the people of Germany.

To remedy this, the United Nations had to appeal to a “higher law,” which to them was a set of rules agreed upon by “all the nations” of the world.

Eleanor Roosevelt proudly helped compose the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. It listed rights all the nations agreed upon, such as freedom of religion and that women are equal to men, but nowhere in the document was any reference made to the Creator as being the source of rights.

The naiveté of this effort was revealed when a U.N. subgroup of 57 Muslim countries formed the OIC –Organization of Islamic Cooperation. On June 30, 2000, the OIC rejected the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights and embraced their own “superior” Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, which allowed for beating of women and killing of apostates.

If laws are simply what any given group agrees upon, what is wrong with them agreeing upon sharia law?

The Pilgrims stood in stark contrast to this. Led by their Pastor John Robinson and their elder William Brewster, they held the covenant form of government, as modeled by ancient Israel – a people in covenant with each other, getting their rights from God and being individually accountable to God. This God made it clear that all men and women were equal, made in the image of God, and that there was to be no respect of persons in judgement – doing “to others as you would have them do to you.”

Governor Bradford eulogized William Brewster: “He labored in the fields as long as he was able. … When the church had no other minister he taught twice every Sabbath, and that both powerfully and profitably, to the great edification and comfort of his hearers, many being brought to God by his ministry.”

In 1629, after the Pilgrims founded a second church in Massachusetts Bay, William Brewster wrote: “The church that had been brought over the ocean now saw another church, the first-born in America, holding the same faith in the same simplicity of self-government under Christ alone.”

William Brewster, in whose home in England the Pilgrims first entered into covenant, died April 18, 1644.

Governor Bradford wrote: “About the 18th of April died their reverend elder … Mr. William Brewster, a man who had done and suffered much for the Lord Jesus and the Gospel’s sake, and had borne his part in the weal or woe with this poor persecuted Church for over thirty-five years in England, Holland, and this wilderness. … Notwithstanding the many troubles and sorrows he passed through, the Lord upheld him to a great age.”

Brought to you by AmericanMinute.com.

Original here


President Trump’s Easter Greeting 2019

 

VIDEO Notre Dame, hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil – ISIS Celebrates Burning – Ancient Oak Doesn’t Burn Like That

When it comes to Notre Dame, hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil

April 17, 2019  by Karen Hagestad Cacy
When it comes to Notre Dame, hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil

COLORADO SPRINGS: Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral, built in the 17th century, burned this week. Even before its embers were out, reporters re-telling the historic event. And they are emphasizing a benign explanation for one of the world’s most destructive fires.

However, It matters whether the fire was set by terrorists or by a careless restorer. Moreover, nefarious explanations of the fire are already being blacked out.

Attacking Western Civilization

Those in charge seemingly are sending a message that when an iconic symbol of Western Civilization burns, we are to remain silent. We must not speak of it. We must not knit together facts.

As many see Western Civilization under attack, we are told to, “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”

There’s nothing to see here, folks. Just move along.

And many comply. We remain silent lest we are accused of harboring mad conspiracy theories.

In America, it is a time of hurt feelings, “fairness,” and political correctness superseding free speech. When facts are unpleasant, they must be dispatched. Feelings win out, curiosity remains unsatisfied.

And this week, as an iconic symbol of Western Civilization is destroyed, we are to remain silent.

And yet, there are certain pesky facts underlying the Notre Dame tragedy.

A March 21, 2019 article in Newsweek written by Brendan Cole features this headline: “Catholic Churches Are Being Desecrated Across France – and Officials Don’t Know Why.”

One must ask, do they not know why, or are they simply refusing to know why. Are they turning a blind eye to the destruction? Are they ignoring undesirable information?

According to Cole,

“France has seen a spate of attacks against Catholic churches since the start of the year, vandalism that has included arson and desecration. Vandals have smashed statues, knocked down tabernacles, scattered or destroyed the Eucharist and torn down crosses, sparking fears of a rise in anti-Catholic sentiment in the country.”

He reports:

“The historic Church of St. Sulpice in Paris was set on fire, which police have confidently attributed to arson. Built in the 17th century, St. Sulpice houses three works by the Romantic painter Eugene de la Croix, and was used in the movie adaptation of The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown.”
“Last month, at the St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Houilles, in north-central France, a statue of the Virgin Mary was found smashed, and the altar cross had been thrown on the ground, according to La Croix International, a Catholic publication.”
“Also,” he continues, “in February, at Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur, in south-central France, an altar cloth was burned, and crosses and statues of saints were smashed. The attack prompted Lavaur Mayor Bernard Canyon to say in a statement: ‘God will forgive. Not me.’”
“In the southern city of Nimes, near the Spanish border, vandals looted the altar of the church of Notre-Dame des Enfants (Our Lady of the Children) and smeared a cross with human excrement.”
“Consecrated hosts made from unleavened bread, which Catholics believe to be the body of Jesus Christ, were taken and found scattered among rubbish outside the building.”
“Bishop Robert Wattebled of Nimes said in a statement: ‘This greatly affects our diocesan community. The sign of the cross and the Blessed Sacrament have been the subject of serious injurious actions.’”
“‘This act of profanation hurts us all in our deepest convictions,’ he added, according to The Tablet, which reported that in February alone there had been a record 47 documented attacks on churches and religious sites.”

Churches and cathedrals are living, standing evidence of the rise of European civilization, with its roots embodied in Roman Catholicism and Christianity. These religious structures are repositories not only of religious observances, but also of history, culture, art, architecture, and music.

Our Lady of Paris, Notre Dame, will live on as the Soul of France (slideshows)

Notre-Dame de Paris, “Our Lady of Paris,” dates from 1160, when construction began, and its completion in 1260. A medieval cathedral, Notre Dame sits on the Ile de la Cite in Paris’s 4th arrondissement neighborhood. It is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture.

Its innovative use of the rib vault and flying buttress, it’s enormous and colorful rose windows, and the naturalism and abundance of the sculptural decoration set it apart from the earlier Romanesque style.

Notre Dame’s place in history

The cathedral was desecrated in the 1790s during the French Revolution when its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. In 1804, the cathedral was the site of the Coronation of Napoleon I, as Emperor of France. Notre Dame witnessed the baptism of Henri, Count of Chambord in 1921. As well as the funerals of several presidents of the Third French Republic.

As one of the most widely recognized symbols of Paris and the French nation, Notre Dame is a repository of history. The cathedral embodies the French identity:

“Liberte, equalite, fraternite.”

For anyone who would deny France’s rich history, traditions, and religion, a strong message must be sent:

“Do not trample on our traditions, do not dishonor our history, do not disrespect the French heritage.”

For those who would destroy free speech and the exercise of religion;  To those who would invade and alter European culture and tradition, the world, speaking in one voice must say “Arrete!”

Moreover, to those who would look the other way, who willfully refuse to observe evil, much less do something about it, there should be no quarter.

To “See no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil,” is to succumb to it.

History has taught us many lessons, the most salient of which is that to remain silent in the face of evil is to cede to it an undeserved power.Let Notre Dame stand as a reminder to all.

If you see something, say something. Preserve civilized culture. Do not desecrate artifacts of those who came before. Civilization is built upon these forebearers. We must honor them. We must look to them for guidance.

Vandalism, wherever it occurs, should not be tolerated. We must “Hear evil, see evil, and speak out against evil.”

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Terror Group ISIS Celebrates Burning Of Notre Dame Cathedral

The latest speculation by French officials is that the fire that gutted the Notre Dame Cathedral was caused by the electric wiring in an elevator shaft, but it is not definitive as of yet. One thing the officials are sure of, that the fire had nothing to do with arson or terrorism. Despite that it was none of their doing, the sick nutbags at ISIS are celebrating the near destruction of one of the most famous houses of worship in the world, just days before Christians celebrate their Easter holiday.

 A poster of the blazing cathedral appeared online accompanied by the words, ‘Have a good day,’ and was created by the ISIS-affiliated Al-Muntasir group according to the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium.

The poster says: ‘Its construction began in the year 1163 and ended in 1345. It’s time to say goodbye to your oratory polytheism.’

Per the Daily Mail:

ISIS fanatics are heartlessly reveling in the inferno at Notre Dame Cathedral just days before Easter calling it ‘retribution and punishment’, according to terror intelligence researchers.

Trending: Chief Of Campus Police Force Placed On Leave For Conservative Viewpoint

A poster of the blazing cathedral appeared online accompanied by the words, ‘Have a good day,’ and was created by the ISIS-affiliated Al-Muntasir group according to the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium.

The poster says: ‘Its construction began in the year 1163 and ended in 1345. It’s time to say goodbye to your oratory polytheism.’

The jihadists referred to the catastrophe as ‘retribution and punishment,’ SITE intelligence reported.

The chilling message appeared as firefighters continued their efforts to put out the blaze late on Monday night, which broke out less than a week before Easter and amid Holy Week commemorations.

The Al-Munatsir media organization has shared propaganda rejoicing in terror attacks which have rocked France

It didn’t take long for those murderous animals to rejoice in the pain of others. The only surprise is that they didn’t claim to have started the blaze, After-all along with killing, lying is used for ISIS propaganda.

There are those who speculate the fire was an act of terror. Perhaps because many churches in France were attacked recently and a woman was just sentenced for plotting an attack near Notre Dame Cathedral. Some point to the fact that the roof of the cathedral burned so fast.  But they forget that wood is flammable and 800-year-old wood is even more combustible. Besides authorities on the scene said ruled out arson and possible terror-related motives as possible causes at least for the moment and are treating the blaze as an accident, according to The Associated Press. Any speculation that the fire was premeditated and purposeful is dangerous and irresponsible.

I mourn for the cathedral and the people of France; I do not cry because I am a Catholic or a Christian, but because I am an observant Jew. As a person of faith, I believe that any place where people of any religion that observe the seven Noahide Laws* gather to connect with God is a holy sanctuary and must be treated as thus.

*For those who are not familiar with the Seven Noahide Laws, in the Jewish tradition, they were given by God to Noah after the flood.  They include:

  1. Don’t worship idols.
  2. Don’t curse God.
  3. Establish courts of justice.
  4. Don’t commit murder.
  5. Don’t commit adultery or sexual immorality.
  6. Don’t steal.
  7. Don’t eat flesh torn from a living animal.

Any Gentile who observes the laws above is considered a righteous gentile.

Cross-posted with The Lid.  Alicia Luke contributed to this report.

Related:

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Fmr. Notre Dame Chief Architect: Ancient Oak Doesn’t Burn Like That

APRIL 18, 2019 8:45 AM

Expert casts doubt on official narrative

(Newswars) – A former chief architect and general inspector of French historical monuments has cast doubts on the official narrative that the Notre Dame fire was likely an electrical short that set the iconic cathedral ablaze.

Benjamin Mouton, who served as Chief Architect of Historic Monuments in France and oversaw restoration work of Notre Dame until 2013, says that it is highly unlikely an electrical short circuit took place, and that it would take an extraordinary effort to ignite the ancient oak of the cathedral.

“So, you’re telling us that this type of timber doesn’t burn like that?” Mouton was asked by an LCI host.

“Oak that is 800-years-old is very hard – try to burn it,” Mouton said. “Old oak, it is not easy at all. You would need a lot of kindling to succeed… It stupefies me.”

Asked to present an explanation for how the blaze spread so quickly and with such strength, Mouton asserted that there were no additional precautions that could have been taken to ensure such a “quick” incineration could be prevented.

“In the Nineties, we updated all the electrical wiring of Notre Dame,” Mouton said. “So there is no possibility of a short circuit. We updated to conform with the contemporary norms, even going very far – all the detection and protection systems against fire in the cathedral.”

Mouton also revealed that there are two watchmen on duty around the clock who monitor for any chance of fire, adding that the technical and security measures taken to protect monuments like Notre Dame are unprecedented.

More than a billion euros have been pledged to restore Notre Dame, which President Emmanuel Macron claims will be executed within five years.

Below: Alex Jones presents video of Fox host Lou Dobbs warning his viewers of a “political” cover-up of the cause of the Notre Dame cathedral fire.

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