Behold Two Paintings That Show A Miraculous Christmas Meeting

Two historic women, one old and one young, were the first to welcome and praise the Savior of the world. And two glorious paintings communicate the beauty of these wondrous events.

Behold Two Paintings That Show A Miraculous Christmas Meeting

Dec 23, 2019

If quizzed “Who was the first person to welcome Jesus and announce his lordship?” how would you answer? It’s an important question when we consider that this man from the nowhere town of Nazareth is the most consequential individual ever.

His teaching and followers across the globe radically transformed world culture, toppled great powers without ever firing a shot, established the world of humanitarianism and accessible medical care for commoners, inspired the scientific method, and enlivened the world movements for justice, human dignity, and individual freedom. He literally divides history and is responsible for the founding of the largest, most diverse collection of people around some basic ideals.

This all started with two women no one had ever heard of, whose life-altering experiences are now illustrated in two exquisite works of art. Mary, a humble, young virgin, by tradition about 14 years old at the time, is told by an angel she will give birth to the very Son of God. At this striking news, she “arose and went with haste” to see her cherished relative, Elizabeth, some 90 miles away.

Elizabeth was in the sixth month of her own miraculous pregnancy, for she was well past child-bearing years. Of course, her baby was Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist.

The beauty of this part of the Christmas story is the miracle that happens the moment Mary enters Elizabeth’s home. Christ is recognized, received, proclaimed, and worshiped, and Mary and Elizabeth are not the only two involved in the divine drama here. We read in Luke 1:41-44:

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

This is a major event in Jesus’ story and thus the Christian church, but we seldom appreciate it as such. It is the first time Jesus is both proclaimed and worshiped as God! This was done, we are told, “in a loud voice.” And Christ the Lord is worshiped by two people at the same time — one very old, one super young.

The First to Proclaim Jesus’ Lordship

Elizabeth proclaims the blessedness of Jesus and his mother. The simple but world-changing confession, “Jesus is Lord,” was the first and most basic way Christians began to proclaim their faith and greet one another in the church’s early years. It was the first Christian creed, and Elizabeth was the first to proclaim it, long before Christmas morning. Think on that for a moment.

The second greeting is even more incredible and speaks to an intimate relationship in the Savior’s life. Baby John leaps for joy, literally, at the coming of the Savior. He does so as a child in the darkness of his mother’s womb. (Yes, Christianity has profoundly strong words for the humanity and dignity of the unborn child in John and Jesus’ remarkable in utero contribution to the good news.)

John did not start serving as the forerunner of Christ when preaching about his coming in the desert. It was here, in the womb. And it was two very common mothers, Elizabeth and Mary, who experienced this remarkable, history-changing event. It happened in distinctly womanly interiors of their hearts and wombs, and in the humbleness of Elizabeth’s home. Humble motherhood and the intimate bond only mothers can share is the human font of the Christian story.

To be sure, the Christian church, which is often incorrectly charged with being sexist by people who know little of its actual story, is founded upon two women being the first to welcome and praise the Savior. (Remember as well, it was a small group of women who announced the “second birth” of the Savior, if you will, at his resurrection.) What other major faith or philosophy has women playing such a significant role in its founding? I cannot think of one.

Two famous paintings communicate the beauty of these wondrous events, “The Annunciation” and “The Visitation.” The first African-American painter to achieve significant critical acclaim, Henry Ossawa Tanner, created both. He is a remarkable man and one of my favorite artists.

Christmas paintings by Henry O. Tanner

‘The Annunciation’

One of the things I like best in Tanner’s two works here is that he shows us the simple humanness of Mary and Elizabeth. They are not supernatural, other-worldly, saintly subjects in the typical sense. Tanner’s images show us the regular, everyday women they were.

Christmas Painting The Annunciation

He will not allow us to miss the youth, innocence, and commonness of our Mary. Tanner doesn’t give her a facial expression communicating anything obvious. Is she scared? Stunned? Joyful? Solemn? His Mary is more complex than many artists’ as is undoubtably true of the actual event. Tanner has her communicating all these feelings and struggles at once.

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with this most startling news, he found a teenage girl living a typical teenage girl’s life. The greatest royal announcement in the history of the universe takes place in this teen girl’s humble bedroom, illuminated by the majesty of God’s oracle. That is precisely what Tanner gives us, and it’s just stunning. Also, his technique in presenting the folds and flow of her gown and bed coverings is nothing short of magnificent.

‘The Visitation’

As wonderful as Tanner’s “Annunciation” is, his “Visitation” is even more striking.

Just look at it and consider what’s happening here.

When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Christmas painting The Visitation

Tanner allows us personally to witness this event. Elizabeth most likely did not have any notice that Mary was coming or the grand news that prompted the visit. She sits at the table on an ordinary day, when she hears Mary possibly utter what any of us likely would as she comes to the door, “Liz, you home?”

Elizabeth’s divine surprise and wonder is dramatically communicated simply in her uplifted hands. It’s a glorious device. Are they hands of praise or surprise? Certainly both at the same time.

This simple scene of a surprise family visitation and domesticity is the first scene of Jesus being worshiped. Reflect on this a moment. The event we are witnessing right here in this kitchen is the initiation of what the rest of history and eternity will be about, the worship of the second person of the divine Trinity: Jesus, the Father’s beloved Son.

The interchange between these two women in this domestic setting is unspeakably profound. We typically move over it far too easily, wanting to get onto what we see as the center of the Christmas story, the manger.

This exchange is also vitally important because it is the first revelation of Christ beyond Mary’s heart and womb. It is the precise second and scene that commenced the worship of the Son of the God that will continue without end into eternity, the story that encapsulates a Christian’s whole reality.

P.S. Tanner Lived in Philadelphia

I knew Tanner lived in Philadelphia for some time, so on a business trip there some years ago, I wanted to see if his house was discoverable. It was, and I found it, right around the corner from John Coltrane’s home. How cool is that?

Henry O. Tanner house

Glenn T. Stanton is a Federalist senior contributor who writes and speaks about family, gender, and art, is the director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family, and is the author of the brand new “The Myth of the Dying Church” (Worthy, 2019). He blogs at glenntstanton.com.

https://thefederalist.com/2019/12/23/behold-two-paintings-that-show-a-miraculous-christmas-meeting/

Seven Reasons Why Church Leaders Abuse People

By Dr. James Scott, Jr. -March 11, 2021

abuse

Seven Reasons Why Church Leaders Abuse People

It’s easy to throw stones at all the things that aren’t so good about the internet and social media, but we don’t nearly as often hear about the wonderful things that also come from using technology to connect with others.

Like, for example, being able to connect with some terrific people you otherwise would never meet!

Just recently, one of those terrific people I’ve recently met through social media reached out to me about the topic of why church leaders abuse people. This fellow is a devoted Christian, a sharp guy who has seen abuse happen by church leaders, and is concerned about it. He leads a ministry that has a popular website, and wanted to talk about why leaders abuse others and see how his website might be able to do something on the topic.

I pointed out to my friend that, like any other problem, it’s important to identify the root cause(s) of a problem in order to effectively address or resolve it. First, we started with this premise: When God calls a godly man, who meets His biblical standard, and follows the biblical model for church and ministry, then the fruit of that will not be someone who purposely hurts others. So our discussion turned to the question of why church leaders abuse other people, and here are seven key reasons we discussed:

1. The practice of sin; the presence of evil. Where there are patterns of abuse, there is the practice of sin.

2. Wrong people in the ministry. More than 1,700 pastors quit each month. We tend to automatically think it’s because these ministers have burned out, etc., but several of the pastors who quit should never have been ordained and in vocational ministry in the first place. That’s because some of them do not meet the biblical qualifications to be pastors; for others who do, many go into ministry inadequately equipped, some who even have never been personally discipled. New attention needs to be given to churches and denominations about their examination process for those they are ordaining into ministry.

3. Wrong method of how we structure a church. Many churches today are structured in such a way as to place all “power” into the hands of a single individual, usually a senior pastor. Instead of structuring a church by biblical example, with a plurality of elders, many churches are structured as if they are a pastor’s personal fiefdom. Instead of elders or deacons, we have “management teams” who serve at the whim of a charismatic or controlling pastor, with little to no accountability to others. This kind of power position is a breeding ground for abuse.

4. Corruption from a broad-based addiction to leadership. Leadership, leadership, leadership. That’s almost all you hear about in church leadership circles. What leadership books are you reading? What leadership conferences are you attending? How many new leaders are you developing? And sadly, much (most?) of what is written about leadership, and taught at church conferences as leadership, are business leadership models and principles, NOT biblical teaching about servant leadership. One outcome is many church leaders would rather spend their time with other church leaders than with the flock they’re supposed to be shepherding. When you adopt a worldly model, you’ll be working from the flesh, not walking, led, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. That’s why many of today’s leadership structures in the church are based on the pastor as CEO and leading an “organization,” not a structure of an under-shepherd serving the family of God. This corruption of leadership is also a breeding ground for abuse, as CEO pastors see church members as volunteers there to accomplish their vision. To get them to do that, manipulation, control, and other abuse can occur.

5. Pride. So many who “mentor” ministers teach church leaders to create their own platforms and promote it broadly and constantly. That makes “being a leader” about pursuing and achieving “success.” Using people to achieve that often results in abuse.

6. Sin. This isn’t the practice of sin, which was the first item mentioned, this is that occasional fall that any and all of us can have in our lives. A pastor can become so over-worked, under-rested, and under-appreciated he could snap at someone or otherwise exercise poor decision-making. This can be rectified quickly with confession and repentance, and usually isn’t an ongoing problem unless the minister fails to fix the things in his life that led him to this momentarily lapse in sin.

7. Mental health issues. Just like the general population, many ministers struggle with mental health issues, from things as simple as temperament weaknesses and dealing with stress, to working from patterns of irrational thinking or developing habits of cognitive distortions. These can lead to conflict and, if not handled properly, may lead to abuse. Also like the general population, a sizable percentage of ministers say they do suffer, or have suffered, from a diagnosed mental illness. These can include anything from narcissistic tendencies, depression, and chronic anxiety, to bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. If a minister doesn’t receive appropriate treatment for a mental illness, his illness could contribute to inappropriate treatment of others.

There are other reasons why church leaders abuse people, these are some of the primary reasons. When you identify a root cause to a problem, you can then identify some of the ways to fix a problem. For the issues shared above, some things to do to fix some of these issues include:

  • The personal holiness of those who claim to be called to church leadership of any kind. Have they been discipled, trained, and equipped? Is their covenant relationship with Jesus Christ authentic and mature enough to move into ministry?
  • So the assessment process for licensure or ordination of ministerial candidates must be explored and addressed.
  • How churches are structured must be explored and addressed.
  • How to address falls (not a practice) of sin must be learned.
  • The plight of leadership addiction must be addressed in the church. We must change what it means to be a leader in the church.
  • Whether there are mental health issues or illness needs to be identified and treated.
  • All Christians need to be discipled to spiritual maturity.

Just as there are other causes for church leaders abusing people, there is more to be done to resolve such issues as well. Abuse of any kind, by anyone, anywhere is not acceptable, but it certainly must never be tolerated in the church among church leaders. We need to look closely at why some church leaders abuse people, and take every necessary action to stop the abuse, see to healing of the abused, aim for restoration and discipleship of the leader, and be proactive in preventing any opportunity for abuse to occur in the church by its leaders.

This article originally appeared here.

Dr. James Scott, Jr., is a minister, former church planter, Christian clinical therapist, certified Personal Trainer, and author. He currently serves as Founder and President of Scott Free Clinic, an international parachurch ministry. Follow him at ScottFreeClinic.org.

VIDEO My Thoughts On Why America Is In Its Current Situation – Conservative Age Rising!

My Thoughts On Why America Is In Its Current Situation

This post is unlike my other articles. Here are my personal thoughts on why America’s in its current situation:

If churches hadn’t stopped preaching hell, fire, and brimstone, America wouldn‘t be so screwed up right now.

The raw truth puts the fear of God in people! How many of us can truly count on one hand the number of people they know who they believe possess the fear of God? When was the last time you heard someone say they weren’t going to do something because they didn’t want to go to hell? Or how about this one, “I want to do what pleases the Lord”. Conviction is at an all-time low (in the church and the world).

Our ears have been tickled with lollipop and gumdrop teachings to the point where we think and unconsciously view Jesus as a “pushover, hippie genie”!

Read the Book of John and you will find that Jesus was INTOLERANT of ALL sin, EXTREMELY direct, sugarcoated NOTHING, and still was pure love and showed compassion. Did you know that Jesus’ heart races every time He looks at you? He’s madly in love with you.

The reason why He preached more about Hell than Heaven, is because He doesn’t want to lose us and desperately doesn’t want us to go there. He preached warnings for safety! It breaks His heart every time a soul is eternally lost. It’s unfathomable to imagine a life forever without God, lacking EVERYTHING, being void of all that is good. Friends, family, companionship, laughter, hope, rest, and even food are all nonexistent in the abyss.

We all hear the question so many typically ask, “Why would a loving God send someone to hell?” Yet, the truth is, people send themselves there. If you see someone walking toward a cliff and you yell to them, “Wrong way! There’s a cliff! You’re going to fall off and die if you don’t go the other way!” But the foolish person responds with either, “I’ll take my chances”, “I don’t believe you”, or “all roads lead to safety”, then that person who was warned ends up falling off the cliff and dying, who sent them there? THEY DID!

All things good come from God and Him alone. You can know the entire Bible by heart and still end up in H-E-double-hockey-sticks. Now is the absolute WORST time to be uncertain about where you’ll go if you die. Death does not discriminate against age, race, gender, nationality, or religion. You won’t just cease to exist. You’ll exist somewhere forever, but the question is, “Where?”

There’s one of two places to choose from—Heaven or Hell. Heaven will give you a forever warm reception, while in hell, you’d be an eternal unwelcomed guest.

I’ve had four near-death experiences and the first time I was NOT ready and truly uncertain if I’d see Jesus face to face. Oh, and guess what, I was a Christian! By God’s grace, He rescued me every time!

You see, some may have said a prayer at the altar once and thought they were heaven-bound, but if there hasn’t been a TRUE, genuine transformation of your life, thoughts, and speech, then it’d be wise to do a self-examination of the heart, because that’s where it starts. When Jesus enters your heart, there’s an evident transformation and your surroundings will know it. You can’t fool God.

The reason why America is in the state that it’s in today is because of the failure of the church. The church is what leads by example. Things can turn around for the good, but it starts with the church, first.

If you want to be like Jesus, then you’ve got to teach like Jesus!

Hell is the default. Heaven is your CHOICE. Jesus is the WAY! If you haven’t already, receive or rededicate your life to Him today. He’s the ONLY God Who thought you were worth dying for…and ACTUALLY DID! That’s love.


A New Conservative Age Is Rising!


Practical Life’s Lessons From The Nativity

by Pastor Ray Patrick

1. Spend Quiet Time with Yahweh

Be still and know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10

The baby was soon to come and Mary had so much to do. In spite of all her preparations in the physical, she had to spend spiritual one on one time with God. Spending time alone with God is an important part of spiritual development. This week, amidst hectic holiday preparations, make time for quiet meditation. Stop the talking, working and rushing long enough to be still. God is waiting for you. Begin now!

2. Yahweh Source of All Hope

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

Isaiah 40:31

For 9 months Mary and Joseph lived with great hope and expectations. Hope is a powerful thing, but the real strength comes from the source of hope. When you place your desires and dreams into the hands of God, nothing is impossible. Hope for all mankind came through Christ, born as a lowly child in a stable.

Are you feeling run down, dealing with worry or frustration?

Hope in the Lord Jesus Christ today, say a prayer and stand in hope…

3.  Make Faith In Yahweh a Habit

So exercise yourself spiritually and practice being a better Christian.

1 Timothy 4:8

Mary had to make faith a daily habit. She had to trust God moment by moment, day by day. Through loneliness, ridicule and the pain of pregnancy she had to exercise faith and make it a habit. Someone once said that practice does not make perfect; practice makes habit. This advent season, dedicate time to your spiritual exercises–prayer, Bible reading, meditation and make deepening your relationship with God a daily exercise. So like Mary, you can stay on track on your spiritual journey.

4. Focus on Yahweh’s Gift

Be very careful, then, how you live…making the most of every opportunity.

Ephesians 5:15-16

This time of year was a busy time in the Jewish calendar. Mary and Joseph would have had lots to do. But they had to stay focused on the gift God had blessed them with. December is a busy month for most of us. Filled with opportunities—parties to attend, special worship experiences to have and chances to reconnect with family and old friends. Make sure to focus your heart on the true reason for every Season. Focus on God the man, Christ Jesus and the tremendous difference He makes in your life. Pray for the wisdom to keep the holidays blessed rather than stressed.

Pray With Me
Yahweh, our Creator, we offer this humble prayer today. Father, we worship you with a song of thanks in our hearts—a song of redemption, a song of hope and renewal. We pray for joy, hope, love, forgiveness and peace upon the Earth. God, we ask for the salvation of all our family members and friends, and we pray your blessings on all people. May there be bread for the hungry, love for the unlovable, healing for the sick, protection for our children, and wisdom for our youth. We pray for the forgiveness of sinners and abundant life in Christ. Holy Spirit, be with us in love and power. In Christ’ name. Amen.

https://godinterest.com/2019/12/25/practical-lifes-lessons-from-the-nativity/

Bible Contradiction? Was Jeconiah the son or grandson of Josiah?

December 21, 2019 by SLIMJIM

For today’s post we will tackle the question the Skeptic Annotated Bible asked: Bible Contradiction? Was Jeconiah the son or grandson of Josiah?

Here are the two answers which the skeptic believes indicate a Bible contradiction:

He was Josiah’s son.

Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.” (Matthew 1:11)

He was Josiah’s grandson.

The sons of Josiah were Johanan the firstborn, and the second was Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum. 16 The sons of Jehoiakim were Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son.” (1 Chronicles 3:15-16)

(All Scriptural quotation comes from the New American Standard Bible)

 

Here’s a closer look at whether or not there is a contradiction:

  1. When dealing with skeptics’ claim of Bible contradictions it seems one can never be reminded enough of what exactly is a contradiction.  A contradiction occurs when two or more claims conflict with one another so that they cannot simultaneously be true in the same sense and at the same time.  To put it another way, a Bible contradiction exists when there are claims within the Bible that are mutually exclusive in the same sense and at the same time.
  2. One should be skeptical of whether this is a Bible contradiction given the Skeptic Annotated Bible’s track record of inaccurately handling the Bible.  See the many examples of their error which we have responded to in this post:   Of course that does not take away the need to respond to this claim of a contradiction, which is what the remainder of this post will do.  But this observation should caution us to slow down and look more closely at the passages cited by the Skeptic Annotated Bible to see if they interpreted the passages properly to support their conclusion that it is a Bible contradiction.
  3. The skeptic tries to pit Matthew 1:11 as affirming the claim “Jeconiah was Josiah’s son” against 1 Chronicles 3:15-16 as affirming “Jeconiah was Josiah’s grandson.”
  4. It is clear that 1 Chronicles 3:15-16 does affirm the claim “Jeconiah was Josiah’s grandson.”  From this passage we learn that Jeconiah was Josiah’s grandson through Josiah’s second son Jehoiakim.
  5. Matthew 1:11 does not contradict with 1 Chronicles 3:15-16 if we understand the Greek word that is translated “became the father of.
    1. The verb for “became the father of” is ἐγέννησεν.  ἐγέννησεν is a form of the verb that lexical root is γεννάω.
    2. γεννάω often has the meaning of “begat, give birth to.”
    3. However γεννάω does not always mean being the direct biological parent to a child.  The verb simply mean direct descent.
    4. If γεννάω simply mean direct descent then that mean it doesn’t need to conflict with the claim in 1 Chronicles 3:15-16 that “Jeconiah was Josiah’s grandson.”
    5.  We see even within the context of Matthew 1 that γεννάω doesn’t necessarily mean being a direct biological parent of a particular child.  Matthew 1:16 states “Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born.”  A form of the verb γεννάω appears here (ἐγεννήθη).  We know Jesus wasn’t born physically through Joseph.  Yet Jesus’ descent from Joseph is  what’s being referred to in some other sense (legal).
    6. Also Matthew 1:8 skips over Ahaziah, Athaliah, Jehoash, and Amaziah in the genealogy of Jesus, even though the biblical record elsewhere preserved this.  This further substantiate that γεννάω doesn’t necessarily mean being a direct biological parent of a particular child but can at times mean simple direct descent.  One can be “grandfathered” and “great-grandfathered” to someone using this verb.
  6. Thus there is no contradiction here if we understand that the lexical range
  7. Some might object that the possible range of meaning for γεννάω can mean “fathered,” “grandfathered” or simply part of the lineage of someone since there’s so many possible meaning of the term when there should be one meaning of the word.  But that’s a terrible objection.  Terms can have more than one meaning in many languages and not just with Hebrew.  For instance consider the lexical range of meaning for the English word Whoppers and the Word “Left”.
  8. We shouldn’t miss that worldviews are at play even with the skeptic’s objection to Christianity.  The worldview of the author of the Skeptic Annotated Bible actually doesn’t even allow for such a thing as the law of non-contradiction to be meaningful and intelligible.  In other words for him to try to disprove the Bible by pointing out that there’s a Bible contradiction doesn’t even make sense within his own worldview.  Check out our post “Skeptic Annotated Bible Author’s Self-Defeating Worldview.”

 

https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2019/12/21/bible-contradiction-was-jeconiah-the-son-or-grandson-of-josiah/

She’s Interested and He’s Not Pursuing

What’s up with all the godly Christian men not making a move?

by Godinterest

Houston, we have a problem. It’s a problem that will require all of our effort, courage, confidence and creativity to solve.

Christianity is the largest religion in the world, claiming 2.2 billion of the world’s 6.9 billion people, as of last year and dating is a big deal for most young Christians. However, ask any young woman what the Christian dating scene is like these days.

“Christian men … ugh.”  Grim. Impossible. Slim pickings they’ll  say.

Young Christian men simply won’t commit, they’ll  say and if you’re lucky they’ll  call once — never to be heard from again.

And the churchgoing men who are available? Well, there’s a reason they’re single.

“Usually, he respects or admires the godly young woman (or, other people in his Church think he should admire her more), and yet he’s not physically attracted to her. She’s not his “type,” he says.”

So why are all the single Christian ladies having trouble finding single Christian guys for companionship and romance?  A plethora of Christian dating websites, books, blogs, advice columns, and magazine articles have surfaced in the last few years, attempting to give Christian young women some helpful tips for snagging a godly man and achieving that much-desired state of wedded bliss.

  • Date for at least a year.
  • Don’t kiss before you’re married.
  • Be careful how much time you spend together.
  • Date a bunch of people before getting serious.
  • Don’t unless you are ready to move in the direction of marriage.

It’s not terrible advice– waiting until marriage takes work. But here’s the thing: Relationships take work.  However, while most Chrisitan ladies have internal regulations in the form of our Spirit inspired convictions and knowledge of the Bible, it does not seem to be enough?

Could it be that we screened all the godly young men out of church as boys?  

Probably not entirely, as according to Mark Regenerus, a sociology professor at the University of Texas, young single women in the church outnumber young single men by a three-to-two ratio.

That’s right ladies, you’re not imagining it: there’s a severe shortage of single men in the church. Not just here in the U.S., but also around the world.

“There are almost no men in my country who are following Christ. And French men will not marry a woman whose faith in Jesus is so strong. She is a leper in their eyes.” –  Christian woman from France

A young godly man knows he’s a catch — particularly if he’s dedicated to his faith, good looking and works out and there are hardly any other man is his Church. With each week that passes, he’s presented with a congregation full of single women. Most haven’t been on a date in a while. He has his pick of the bunch.

There’s even a joke about the gender imbalance. It goes like this:

“Men in the church are like parking spaces. All the good ones are either already taken, or they’re handicapped.”

Furthermore, it has been confirmed that the supply of young women grows with each passing year.

So whats the solution?

God Will Orchestrate the Love Story

Do you find yourself becoming resentful that God is withholding something from you?

  • Still waiting to find the man of your dreams
  • Your greatest desire is to have a baby
  • You want to experience the joy of being “equally yoked” with a godly husband

Desperation is dangerous because it focuses on self: What I want. What I must have. What I cannot live without. Firstly,  if and when the time comes for you to be married, God will orchestrate the love story. But in the meantime, your focus is to be on serving God and pouring your life out for God, not on getting serious about getting married. The timing is up to God, not you.

Singled Out in Church

Secondly, research shows that single men are more likely to attend churches that fit the following profile:

  • Large
  • Headed by a male pastor who’s bold and outspoken
  • Offers intentional male discipleship
  • Worship service is done in under 90 minutes

Apart from salvation, there is perhaps a way that the concept “God helps those who help themselves” is correct. We’re not suggesting you switch churches over this issue. It probably wouldn’t hurt to visit another church once in awhile — especially if your church offers nothing for singles.

Also remember that there are actually some Christ-men out there who are praying and hoping for a set-apart young woman — one who is not following after the trends of the culture, or who are not wallowing around in discontentment or on the constant prowl for a guy.

Any pastors who are reading, have you ever stopped to listen, really listen, to the women in your church about how they feel they are treated or perceived?

https://godinterest.com/2018/03/18/shes-interested-and-hes-not-pursuing/

People Series: David, man after God’s own heart

January 15, 2020 by Nehemiah Zion

David, the greatest King Israel ever had. A shepherd, warrior, worshipper and a lot more. What did I find when I mapped his life onto the seven point framework? Similar to the previous article on Cornelius. If you enjoyed it, please leave a comment or share your thoughts as you are moved by the Spirit.

David knew his Identity

“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!” Psalms 139:17 

Full marks to David for knowing the heart of God concerning him aka His children. He had no doubt that God loved him greatly, he was so filled in the love of God himself. He knew his joy and peace came from the salvation of God alone. His gratitude and adoration is revealed in his words of praise to God. What a life of hope!

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalms 139:23-24 

David knew the state of man. He knew his true place as a human being on earth. Even though he was King, he knew he was nothing before the King of kings. He was eager to please God every day. His only desire was to be with God forever.

David knew he was Unique

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalms 139:14

David believed he was uniquely created. He had a clear vision of his life, knowing that God had created him with purpose. He fed his spirit with Gods will, and not his own.

David only Expected from God 

“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” Psalms 62:5 

One of the key enablers of all confusion and unrest in life is living on wrong expectations. It’s impossible to satisfy a longing soul. He knew God alone could fulfil the longings of his soul.

He expected only from God. He waited on God for every help he required for battles and life.

David gave his Time to God

“My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Psalms 84:2

When Jesus is your first love, you’ll only want to spend all your time with Him. Are you hungry and thirsty like the OT King? We who have the Holy Spirit indwelling in us, how passionate are we about praying and meditating on Gods word?

David loved fellowship | People

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Psalms 133:1 

David not only loved God, but also loved fellowship. He believed in a lifestyle of unity. When the families of his army and his own family were captured, his own people turned against him. Yet, he encouraged himself in the Lord. He leaned on God when everything was against him. Not only did he get the families back but the love of his people was greatly restored.

David knew the secret to true success in this World

“What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?” Psalms 34:12 

Everyone wants a good and long life (when things are going well for them), but you cannot have it without walking in the fear of God. David who had it all, personally realised the price one pays when he or she strays away from the Word of God.

David knew his Enemy

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Psalms 23:4-5 

David’s lifestyle, his love for God and people, not only brought him victory over his enemies but also converted enemies into friends. His devotion in worship brought healing to those who were affected by evil spirits of depression, anxiety and other mental and emotional problems. No matter who the enemy was, in the physical or spiritual, He relied on God to overcome them all.

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“My COUNTRY ’tis of Thee, Sweet LAND of LIBERTY”

by  Bill Federer

Patriotism unifies a country, which is the opposite of Marxist tactics to overthrow a country.

Baptist minister Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., stated at the Civil Rights March on Washington, August 28, 1963:

“I have a dream … where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers …

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning,

‘MY COUNTRY ’tis of thee,

Sweet land of liberty,

Of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died,

Land of the Pilgrims’ pride,

From every mountainside,

Let freedom ring.'”

The song Martin Luther King, Jr., recited, “MY COUNTRY ’tis of thee,” was written by Samuel Francis Smith, who died NOVEMBER 16, 1895.

Samuel Francis Smith was a classmate at Harvard with poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, who wrote the famous poem “Old Ironsides.”

Smith went to Andover Theological Seminary and became a Baptist minister.

While a student in 1832, Samuel Francis Smith admired a tune while translating a German Hymnal.

The same tune was used for the national anthems of Britain, Canada, Russia, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland.

Smith stated:

“I instantly felt the impulse to write a patriotic hymn of my own, adapted to the tune.

Picking up a scrap of waste paper which lay near me, I wrote at once.”

Proclaiming “Let Freedom Ring Day,” July 3, 1986, President Ronald Reagan recalled the 4th stanza of “MY COUNTRY ’tis of thee”:

“As the golden glow of the Statue of Liberty’s rekindled torch calls forth … throughout our land, let every American take it as a summons to re-dedication, recalling those words we sang as children:

‘Our father’s God, to Thee,

Author of Liberty,

To Thee we sing,

Long may our land be bright

With Freedom’s Holy Light.

Protect us by Thy might,

Great God, Our King.'”

Patriotism unifies a country, which is the opposite of Marxist tactics to overthrow a country.

Patriotism is people, though different, identifying as citizens.

Marxism gets people to identify with subgroups (racial, economic, class, religious, etc.,) which are pitted against each other to create division.

The chaos and violence that follows causes people to feel insecure.

In a panic, they surrender their freedoms to someone promising to restore order, and in the confusion, a socialist dictator seizes power.

Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a patriotic address to the White House Correspondents’ Association, February 12, 1943:

“In every battalion, and in every ship’s crew, you will find every kind of American citizen representing every occupation, every section, every origin, every religion, and every political viewpoint.

Ask them what they are fighting for, and every one of them will say, ‘I am fighting for MY COUNTRY.'”

The theme of “MY COUNTRY” has run through America’s history, such as the statement by 21-year-old Yale graduate Nathan Hale who declared before being hanged by the British, September 22, 1776:

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for MY COUNTRY.”

America’s founding was unique in that instead of people having allegiance to a king, the people are the king!

In contemplating war with the King of Great Britain, John Adams declared:

“If it be the pleasure of Heaven that MY COUNTRY shall require the poor offering of my life, the victim shall be ready, at the appointed hour of sacrifice …

But while I do live, let me have a COUNTRY, and that a free COUNTRY!”

In 1775, when British General Gage attempted to intimidate Samuel Adams, he replied:

“I trust I have long since made my peace with the King of Kings. No personal consideration shall induce me to abandon the righteous cause of MY COUNTRY.

Tell Governor Gage it is the advise of Samuel Adams to him no longer to insult the feelings of an exasperated people.”

During the Revolution, General Nathaniel Greene wrote to Samuel Ward of Rhode Island, January 4, 1776:

“Permit me, then, to recommend from the sincerity of my heart, ready at all times to bleed in MY COUNTRY’s cause, a declaration of independence;

and call upon the world, and the great God who governs it, to witness the necessity, propriety and rectitude thereof …

Let us, therefore, act like men inspired with a resolution that nothing but the frowns of Heaven shall conquer us.”

(Get the book, Miracles in American History: 32 Amazing Stories of Answered Prayers)

Signer of the Constitution Gouverneur Morris wrote April 17, 1778:

“While MY COUNTRY calls for the exertion of that little share of abilities, which it has pleased God to bestow on me, I hold it my indispensable duty to give myself to her.”

Benjamin Franklin wrote from Philadelphia to David Hartley, December 4, 1789:

“God grant that not only the love of liberty but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man may pervade all the nations of the earth, so that a philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its surface and say: This is MY COUNTRY.”

Attributed to Thomas Paine, “The American Patriot’s Prayer,” written in 1776, reflected the sentiment of the colonies:

“But chief to hear MY COUNTRY’s voice,

may all my thoughts incline,

‘Tis reason’s law, ’tis virtue’s choice,

‘Tis nature’s call and thine.”

General George Washington wrote October 18, 1777, upon hearing of the surrender of British General Burgoyne at Saratoga:

“I most devoutly congratulate MY COUNTRY, and every well-wisher to the cause, on this signal stroke of Providence.”

General Washington wrote from Mount Vernon to Benjamin Lincoln, August 28, 1788:

“I trust in that Providence, which has saved us in six troubles yea seven, to rescue us again from any imminent, though unseen, dangers …

Heaven is my witness, that an inextinguishable desire (for) the felicity of MY COUNTRY may be promoted is my only motive in making these observations.”

Following the ringing of church bells, explosion of artillery and deafening applause, President George Washington proceeded to Federal Hall, at Wall and Nassau Streets.

There, he delivered his Inaugural Address to both Houses of Congress:

“The foundations of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality, and the preeminence of free government be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens and command the respect of the world.

I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for MY COUNTRY can inspire, since there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness …

The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”

In January of 1790, President George Washington wrote to the Hebrew Congregations of Philadelphia, Newport, Charlestown and Richmond:

The power and goodness of the Almighty were strongly manifested in the events of our late glorious revolution … My agency … has been guided by … a sense of the duty which I owe MY COUNTRY.”

In his Eighth Annual Address, December 7, 1796, George Washington stated:

“The situation in which I now stand, for the last time … I cannot omit the occasion, to congratulate you and MY COUNTRY, on the success of the experiment; nor to repeat my fervent supplications to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and Sovereign Arbiter of Nations, that his Providential care may still be extended to the United States.”

On May 20, 1792, from Mount Vernon, Washington wrote to James Madison:

“I take my leave of them as a public man; and in bidding them adieu (retaining no other concern than such as will arise from fervent wishes for the prosperity of MY COUNTRY)

I take the liberty at my departure from civil, as I formerly did at my military exit, to invoke a continuation of the Blessings of Providence upon it.”

Upon the death of James Madison, his wife, Dolley Madison, sent his papers to Congress, stating August 20, 1836, stating:

“The best return I can make for the sympathy of MY COUNTRY is to fulfill the sacred trust his confidence reposed in me, that of placing before it and the world what his pen prepared for their use — a legacy of the importance of which is deeply impressed on my mind.”

Samuel Adams stated:

“I thank God that I have lived to see MY COUNTRY independent and free. She may long enjoy her independence and freedom if she will. It depends upon her virtue.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Notes of the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, 1781:

“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis,

a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?

Indeed, I tremble for MY COUNTRY when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

President Ronald Reagan stated June 16, 1983:

“We’re a nation under God, a living and loving God.

But Thomas Jefferson warned us, ‘I tremble for MY COUNTRY when I reflect that God is just.’

We cannot expect Him to protect us in crisis if we turn away from Him in our everyday living.

But you know, He told us what to do in II Chronicles … He said,

‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.'”

Chief Justice John Jay wrote in his Last Will and Testament:

“His protection has accompanied me through many eventful years, faithfully employed in the service of MY COUNTRY; and His Providence has not only conducted me to this tranquil situation, but also given me abundant reason to be contented and thankful.

Blessed be His Holy Name.

While my children lament my departure, let them recollect that in doing them good, I was only the agent of their Heavenly Father, and that He never withdraws His care and consolations from those who diligently seek Him.”

John Quincy Adams stated in his Inaugural Address, March 4, 1825:

“I shall look for whatever success may attend my public service; and knowing that ‘Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh in vain,’

with fervent supplications for His favor, to His overruling providence I commit with humble but fearless confidence my own fate and the future destinies of MY COUNTRY.”

John Quincy Adams wrote in his diary:

“I implore the Spirit from whom every good and perfect gift descends to enable me to render essential service to MY COUNTRY, and that I may never be governed in my public conduct by any consideration other than that of duty.”

John Quincy Adams composed the poem:

“MY COUNTRY’s weal (well-being)-that be my polar star-

Justice, thou Rock of Ages, is thy law-

And when thy summons calls me to thy bar,

Be this my plea, thy gracious smile to draw-

That all my ways to justice were inclin’d-

And all my aims-the blessings of mankind.”

President Andrew Jackson stated in a Protest message to the Senate, April 15, 1834:

“The only ambition I can feel is to acquit myself to Him to whom I must soon render an account of my stewardship …

If the Almighty Being who has hitherto sustained and protected me will but vouchsafe to make my feeble powers instrumental to such a result,

I shall anticipate with pleasure the place to be assigned me in the history of MY COUNTRY,

and die contented with the belief that I have contributed in some small degree to increase the value and prolong the duration of American liberty.”

Andrew Jackson stated in his Farewell Address, March 4, 1837:

“My own race is nearly run; advanced age and failing health warns me that before long I must pass beyond the reach of human events and cease to feel the vicissitudes of human affairs.

I thank God that my life has been spent in a land of liberty and that He has given me a heart to love MY COUNTRY with the affection of a son.”

President Franklin Pierce stated March 4, 1853:

“With all the cherished memories of the past gathering around me like so many eloquent voices of exhortation from Heaven, I can express no better hope for MY COUNTRY than that the kind Providence which smiled upon our fathers may enable their children to preserve the blessings they have inherited.”

Kit Carson stated:

“No, this is a service for MY COUNTRY, and it doesn’t matter whether I do it as an officer or as a plainsman. The big thing is to do it.”

Clara Barton stated of the wounded Civil War soldiers:

“What could I do but go with them, or work for them and MY COUNTRY? The patriot blood of my father was warm in my veins.”

President Herbert Clark Hoover stated in his Inaugural Address, March 4, 1929:

“If we hold the faith of the men in our mighty past who created these ideals, we shall leave them heightened and strengthened for our children …

I ask the help of Almighty God in this service to MY COUNTRY to which you have called me.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt stated in his Radio Campaign Address from Hyde Park, New York, November 4, 1940:

“When you and I step into the voting booth, we can proudly say:

‘I am an American, and this vote I am casting is the exercise of my highest privilege and my most solemn duty to MY COUNTRY.’

Dictators have forgotten – or perhaps they never knew – the basis upon which democratic Government is founded: that the opinion of all the people, freely formed and freely expressed, without fear or coercion, is wiser than the opinion of any one man or any small group of men …

Democracy is the birthright of every citizen, the white and the colored; the Protestant, the Catholic, the Jew; the sons and daughters of every country in the world, who make up the people of this land.”

President Dwight Eisenhower approved the Code of Conduct for Military, August 17, 1955:

“I will never forget that I am an American fighting man, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made MY COUNTRY free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.”

President Dwight Eisenhower stated in his Farewell Address, January 17, 1961:

“This evening I come to you with a … farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, MY COUNTRY …

We face a hostile ideology – global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method …

As we peer into society’s future, we … must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow.

We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage.”

Daniel Webster stated at the Bunker Hill Monument, June 17, 1843:

“I mean to stand upon the Constitution. I need no other platform. I shall know but one country.

The ends I aim at shall be MY COUNTRY’s, my God’s, and Truth’s. I was born an American; I will live an American; I shall die an American.”

(Get the book, Miracles in American History: 32 Amazing Stories of Answered Prayer)

https://newsmaven.io/americanminute/american-history/my-country-tis-of-thee-sweet-land-of-liberty-Lc1EK7-Y-02E6CV-2Ea0lQ/

William Wilberforce Antislavery politician

William Wilberforce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to do when you are accused falsely?

December 11, 2019 Nehemiah Zion

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” Matthew‬ ‭5:11‬ ‭

Being reviled, persecuted and spoken evil of falsely is normal for all believers. One would imagine why? Speaking the truth in love is like using a two-edged sword, it cuts finely to heal, few desire to be healed. It exposes our thoughts and intents of the heart.

Religious folks are the worst kind. Who are religious people really? Those who are hung up on themselves. They love their outward disciplined lifestyle. Inside, they are full of un-forgiveness, bitterness, greed and pride. They live unhappily, and won’t let others live happily. They exercise what’s in their hearts through their words and actions. They worship at their altar of Self, and have their own standards of what is good and bad.

A friend at work went through a lot of harassment only because he kept his Bible open in his cubicle desk. Couple of these guys, pushed him towards a wall, threatening him. He was eventually falsely accused for things he never did. He was warned by HR, even though he had done no wrong. He stayed silent all through, waiting on God to work for him. A year later, he was shifted to another city closer to his mom, under a different boss, in the same company. He never loved his job better!

Joseph was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife. He went to jail for it. He did not allow the false accusation against him steal his peace. Why did a loving God allow this? He had bigger plans. Really big plans! God raised up Joseph to be the most powerful man in Egypt (next to the Pharaoh).

“Then Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On (Heliopolis in Egypt), as his wife. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt [to inspect and govern it].” Genesis‬ ‭41:45‬ ‭

How we fight for justice! How we demand, ask for our rights, make claims! If you don’t know the Righteous Judge you will seek out your own justice. A stranger cannot make claims or have rights or demand anything. The believer knows his citizenship is in Heaven.

God always has our back. Don’t be troubled by the problem before you. Our problems are nothing before the great God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, an unchanging God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth!

When you are hated, reviled, abused, or persecuted, lean on His arms. When we are poor in spirit, He will keep us. He will see us through this life, an eternity of His glorious presence awaits us. It’s not possible without Jesus. Follow Jesus.

 

Original here