MIT chaplain forced to resign after citing George Floyd’s rap sheet to students

MATT LAMB – ASSISTANT EDITOR

Although the priest argued for forgiveness, the message was lost on students

The Archdiocese of Boston forced Daniel Moloney to resign from his chaplain role at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after students and alumni complained that Moloney brought up George Floyd’s past criminal history in an email to students.

Although Moloney, a Catholic priest, was making an argument that Floyd’s past should not justify his death, the fact that he brought up Floyd’s rap sheet at all prompted some to protest the chaplain’s message to campus officials and file bias complaints over it.

“George Floyd was killed by a police officer, and shouldn’t have been,” Moloney wrote in his June 7 email to the Tech Catholic Community, a group of Catholic students on campus.

“He had not lived a virtuous life. He was convicted of several crimes, including armed robbery, which he seems to have committed to feed his drug habit. And he was high on drugs at the time of his arrest. But we do not kill such people. He committed sins, but we root for sinners to change their lives and convert to the Gospel,” the priest wrote.

“ … In the wake of George Floyd’s death, most people in the country have framed this as an act of racism. I don’t think we know that. Many people have claimed that racism is major problem in police forces. I don’t think we know that.”

The e-mail was republished in its entirety by New Boston Post.

Although Moloney’s argument aimed to promote justice and forgiveness, that message seemed lost on many of its readers.

An article in The Tech campus newspaper reports that MIT’s dean for student life, Suzy Nelson, said administrators and the bias response team received reports about Moloney’s email.

In an email to student and faculty leaders June 12, Nelson wrote Moloney’s message “contradicted the Institute’s values” and “was deeply disturbing” and that “by devaluing and disparaging George Floyd’s character,” Moloney did not “acknowledge the dignity of each human being and the devastating impact of systemic racism” on “African Americans, people of African descent, and communities of color,” The Tech reports.

The Archdiocese of Boston told Moloney to resign from his role as chaplain at the school on June 9, according to the Boston Globe. The move came after more than 60 people attended a forum hosted by Tech Catholic Community on June 9, according to the school newspaper.

Terrence Donilon, a spokesman for the archdiocese, told WBZ-TV “While Fr. Moloney’s comments should not reflect on the entirety of his priestly ministry, they nonetheless were wrong and by his resignation he accepts the hurt they have caused.”

Moloney told the Boston Globe on June 16, “I regret what happened, I regret it was misunderstood, I regret that [it] became difficult for me to be a voice for Christ on campus.”

Moloney is a published author at First Things, The Wall Street Journal and National Review. He used to work at the Heritage Foundation as a senior policy analyst for the DeVos Center for Religion and Society. His doctoral dissertation focused on justice and mercy, the subject of a recent book he published as well. He also maintains an active Tumblr page but has not explicitly addressed the controversy on it.

MORE: Conservative prof says seminary used COVID as excuse to get rid of him

MIT chaplain forced to resign after citing George Floyd’s rap sheet to students



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The Meaning of Passover

Laura Bagby

The Jews celebrated their Passover Feast in remembrance of God’s deliverance from death during the time of Moses.

Origination of Passover

Moses had been instructed to lead God’s people out of Egypt and save them from the evil and ungodly Pharaoh. Because of Pharaoh’s disbelief in the power of the One True God, Yahweh sent a series of ten plagues upon the Egyptians: the Nile turned to blood and at various times the land was filled with frogs, gnats, flies, hail, locusts, and darkness. In one awesome act of God’s ultimate authority, He sent one final devastating plague: every firstborn of every household would be annihilated.

In His mercy towards His people, God would shield the Israelites from such unmerciful judgment if they would follow the instructions He gave to Moses and Aaron. The specific instructions are outlined in Exodus 12:1-11. In sum, each family was to take a lamb and all households were to slaughter their lambs at the same time at twilight after a certain number of days. Then they were commanded to paint the sides and top of their doorways with some of this blood. Once this was done and all the meat of the lamb was eaten in accordance with God’s instructions, God would spare the Israelites from death. This is what the Lord said:

“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn — both men and animals — and I will bring judgement on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord — a lasting ordinance” (Exodus 12:12-14)

The Seder Meal

The highlight of a contemporary Jewish Pesach, or Passover, is the Seder.

The Seder meal consists of six highly symbolic elements: matzah, a roasted shank bone, parsley or green herbs, the top of a horseradish, charoset, and an egg. On each plate are three pieces of matzah (a special type of cracker or unleavened bread). Two of these pieces represent the traditional loaves used in the ancient Temple during festivals and the third piece symbolizes Passover. The roasted lamb bone connotes the sacrificial Passover lamb. Herbs symbolize springtime growth. The horseradish represents the bitter years of slavery in Egypt; charoset, a mixture of fruit and ground nuts soaked in wine, represents the mortar used in Egypt; and the egg represents the chagigah (a secondary sacrifice prepared along with the Passover lamb).

The Biblical Accounts

Accounts of what happened can be found in all four gospels — Matthew 26:17-27:10; Mark 14:12-72Luke 22:1-65John 13:1-18:27.

Can God change your life?

God has made it possible for you to know Him and experience an amazing change in your own life. Discover how you can find peace with God. You can also send us your prayer requests.

https://www1.cbn.com/teaching/the-meaning-of-passover

VIDEO Chinese Man Arrested for Evangelizing Shares Gospel with Police – Sarah’s Journey for Christ!

By Jessica Mouser -August 14, 2020

street evangelism

A Chinese man was arrested on August 3 for conducting street evangelism and was consequently placed under administrative detention for 10 days. Remarkably, the man continued sharing the gospel by encouraging the officers who took him into custody to believe in Jesus.

“Brother Chen Wensheng received 10-day administrative detention sentence for sharing gospel of Christ on the street at his own hometown in Hunan province including to policemen,” tweeted Bob Fu. Fu is the founder and president of human rights organization ChinaAid, which reported the incident.

 
 

Man Perseveres in Street Evangelism 

The man arrested for “illegal evangelism,” Chen Wensheng, is part of the Xiaoqun Church in Hengyang, a city in Hunan province. According to ChinaAid, he was preaching the gospel in a city street while displaying a cross with the phrases “Glory to our Savior” and “Repent and be saved by faith alone.” When officials arrested Chen, they also confiscated his cross. In its report, ChinaAid shared two videos, one of Chen’s street evangelism booth and one of him sharing the gospel with Chinese officials after being released from a previous arrest.

According to International Christian Concern (ICC), conducting street evangelism and getting arrested for it has become a habit for Chen, so much so that the local authorities know him. Says ICC, “He has repeatedly urged the police officers to believe in Jesus.” In the video of Chen speaking to officials during a previous release, the officers ask if Chen makes money from telling people about Jesus. He replies that the point of believing in Jesus is not to get money, but to receive eternal life. ICC says that members of Chen’s church have visited him and provided for his needs during his most recent detainment.

There is no doubt that Chen Wensheng has shown tenacity and courage, particularly as religious persecution in China has been increasing. Among the many ways the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is oppressing Christians and other people of faith is by threatening to “re-educate” their children and by taking away children who have been adopted. In 2019, one Christian family that was part of Early Rain Covenant Church left China for Taiwan for fear that the CCP would take away their adopted child.

 
 

Not even the state-approved Three-Self Church is protected from the government’s interference. There have been reports of authorities removing crosses and religious imagery from churches throughout the country, whether or not those churches are approved by the government. And it is not only churches that the CCP is targeting with this policy. Authorities are forcibly removing religious imagery from people’s homes and replacing it with images of Chairman Mao Zedong and President Xi Jinping, as part of the government’s efforts toward sinicization. Those who refuse face losing their welfare benefits.

This is not to mention the government’s ongoing surveillance and unjust sentencing of Christians in China, in addition to other human rights abuses such as the CCP’s invasive use of technology and the atrocities the party is committing against the Uighur people. ICC has recently published a comprehensive report on religious persecution in China, which you can access here.

 
 
Jessica Mouser is a writer for churchleaders.com. She has always had a passion for the written word and has been writing professionally for the past two years. She especially enjoys evaluating how various beliefs play out within culture. When Jessica isn’t writing, she enjoys playing the piano, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.
 
 
 

Sarah’s Journey for Christ!


More Than a Quarter of Young Adults in the US Have Contemplated Suicide During the Pandemic, CDC Says

By Bri Lamm -August 18, 2020

contemplated suicide

As the coronavirus death toll continues to rise and fall, and cases top 5 million in the U.S. alone, there’s a growing shift in focus towards mental health and wellness.

According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25.5 percent, or one in four adults, ages 18-24, say they have contemplated suicide in the past month as a result of the pandemic. That’s more than three times the percentage of people in the same age group who reported suicidal ideation in the second quarter of 2019.

The staggering statistics come from a new CDC study, which surveyed 5,470 people between June 24 and June 30.

Of those surveyed, more than 40 percent said they had experienced a mental or behavioral health condition in relation to the pandemic. 31 percent reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, while 26 percent of respondents reported trauma and stress-related disorder because of the pandemic. And 13 percent of those surveyed said they have turned to increased substance use to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID-19.

And the problem isn’t just among young adults. 22 percent of essential workers said they had contemplated suicide in the last 30 days, along with 31 percent of self-reported “unpaid caregivers” of adults.

According to the report, suicidal ideation was more prevalent among males as well as hispanic and black minorities. Symptoms of COVID-19–related stress, anxiety, or depression, increased substance use, and suicidal ideation were more prevalent among employed than unemployed respondents.

When three pandemics converge.

Federal officials and public health experts have expressed growing concern of a possible mental health crisis at the hands of the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month the CDC found that more young people are dying of suicide and overdose in 2020 than they are of COVID-19.

“Mental health conditions are disproportionately affecting specific populations, especially young adults, Hispanic persons, black persons, essential workers, unpaid caregivers for adults, and those receiving treatment for preexisting psychiatric conditions,” the most recent report stated.

“Addressing mental health disparities and preparing support systems to mitigate mental health consequences as the pandemic evolves will continue to be needed urgently.”

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, help is available. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text an emotional support counselor with the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

More Than a Quarter of Young Adults in the US Have Contemplated Suicide During the Pandemic, CDC Says

 

‘Civil Righteousness’ group brings healing balm of Jesus to protest sites

August 10, 2020 By Michael Ashcraft

 

Jonathan Tremain “JT” Thomas is a chaos chaser.

He showed up in Ferguson, Missouri after Michael Brown’s death at the hands of police in 2014 to fight for equal treatment for people of color — but also to help quell the rising violence of protests that were being hijacked by non-local agitators.

This year, he went to Minneapolis after George Floyd died when a white police officer knelt on his neck. He participated in prayer, counseling and services on the very street corner where Floyd lost his life.

“In church circles, there’s been this desire for awakening,” JT says on Slate. “Oh my goodness, it looks like awakening has come to America in the form of chaos.”

Chasing chaos is JT’s full-time job, and his organization, the pun-derived nonprofit “Civil Righteousness” — has been part of the healing balm applied to a nation convulsed by months of protests, vandalism, riots, looting and anarchy. Christian race-relations expert Dante Stewart calls them “the next generation of the racial reconciliation movement.”

He likes to talk to hot-headed young radicals, to white conservative evangelicals and to angry black liberal progressives in their 50s and 60s and get them all thinking outside of their bubbles. “Jesus came for all,” he says. “There are serious issues in policing that need to be addressed, but also the police officers are human.”

With Methodist circuit-rider great grandparents and a grandmother who was sister of soul legend/ civil rights activist Nina Simone, JT says he’s had a confluence of influences to uniquely prepare him for his current ministry.

Raised in a predominately black Baptist church in North Carolina, he launched on the path to become a missionary in college but zeroed in on urban needs in America. He worked in Tennessee and Indiana but struggled to raise support, so he started a video production company and accepted a teaching pastorate in a nondenominational church in St. Louis.

In Minneapolis, the group Civil Righteousness baptized people who were deeply troubled by violence in the city.

Then Ferguson erupted in unrest that quickly spread across the nation. In a dream vision, JT saw himself type an email titled “Meet me in Ferguson” and took it to mean that he should travel there in the name of the Lord.

He joined prayer groups and observed mounting street protests. He confirmed that agitators from St. Louis were the ones stoking the flames of outrage and sparking violence. After two months of trying to inject God into the equation, he moved his family and set up permanent residence in Ferguson.

When white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine black Christians at church in Charleston, South Carolina, JT unobtrusively introduced himself on the scene to conduct prayer services and distributed food to the homeless.

After James Alex Fields Jr. slammed his car into Heather Heyer, killing her, and injured 19 others at a white supremacist rally in Virginia in 2017, JT conducted trainings for local churches on “how to be peacemakers and mediators.”

By then, Civil Righteousness had grown into a network of like-minded Christians who are ready to mobilize like a SWAT team. “We live a lifestyle of readiness,” JT says.

Naturally, they deployed to Minneapolis.

The protests sparked by George Floyd have been different than any previous. They have become more widespread and more supported by politicians and media. They also have been more dominated by Marxists and Antifa. Leaders of BLM have openly declared the Marxist alignment. Antifas engaged in organized anti-police mobilizations, ambushing cops and using lasers to blind them.

In Seattle, hard left activists seized entire city blocks, which they declared their own. The so-called Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone kicked out cops and city officials and practiced self-governance stylized after the hippies of the 60s but with a strong black power undercurrent until two murders occurred and city officials sent police to restore order.

The BLM/Antifa movement of 2020 has prompted a broad band of liberal politicians to “defund” police and ban the use of force by cops. Minneapolis city council voted to “abolish” their police department and set up a network of social workers to respond to 911 calls.

Crime has spiked in New York after Mayor de Blasio, an avowed socialist, blasted the police union representative for inciting violence. De Blasio himself participated in painting “Black Lives Matter” on the city street in front of Trump Tower, an affront to the man whom they accuse of being racist.

JT understands the rage brought by fear of tens of thousands of African Americans who feel targeted by cops.

“When I saw the Floyd video, I was ready to go burn something down. I was angry,” he admits. “But I was like, ‘If I go in my feelings, I am not going to be helpful.’”

In Minneapolis, his group of 20 volunteers assembled a stage for preaching, prayer and worship near the spot where Floyd was killed. They mounted a public gesture of repentance called “the wall, in which they taped over their mouths to stand in silence against “division.”

It has been a contentious four years since Trump took over. The mainstream media has hounded and accused him of all sorts of wickedness. They have overtly advocated murdering Trump. With the Left pushing hard against him, the Right has taken refuge in moving further to the right politically.

JT is all about bridging these divisions. He gets people to talk to each other, and he gets people to looking for solutions in Jesus, not Karl Marx.

“When our teams are there, we have seen the entire atmosphere change,” JT says. “You can’t read the Bible and not see that God calls people to ministry in other places.”

On Saturday, Civil Righteousness organized prayer on Martin Luther King boulevards in 300 cities across America as a “hopeful proclamation.”

“For at least 50 years, protest is the only model we’ve known to provoke action and get attention in the corridors of power, but if we’re going to pursue justice , we have to have righteousness in the corridors of our hearts.”

 

Michael Ashcraft provides for his household while doing Christian journalism by selling Trump coffee mugs on Amazon.

https://mustardseedbudget.wordpress.com/2020/08/10/with-so-much-division-in-america-this-urban-missionary-bridges-the-divide/

‘Civil Righteousness’ group brings healing balm of Jesus to protest sites


5 Ways You Can Fight Back In The Cultural Civil War

It can be hard for ordinary Americans who oppose the radical agenda of the woke left to know how to fight back. Here are a few practical ideas.

5 Ways You Can Fight Back In The Cultural Civil War

John Daniel Davidson

 

Last week I wrote about how we’re in a cultural civil war and it’s time for conservatives—and really, anyone who’s not on board with the radical anti-American agenda of Black Lives Matter and the rest of the woke left—to fight back.

But how? I was light on specifics, and subsequently heard from a number of readers who wanted to know what they could do, personally, to push back against the leftward lurch of the culture. Many said they feel powerless and overwhelmed, and with good reason.

Silicon Valley, Hollywood, academia, the mainstream media, corporate America, and the entire Democratic Party (along with not a few Republicans and Independents) have all caved under pressure from the woke mob, more or less accepting the premise that America is fundamentally a racist country and an evil empire whose system of government and institutions need to be torn down.

In the face of all this, what are ordinary Americans who reject this radical view—and who represent a large majority of the country—supposed to do? Below I’ve listed a few ideas. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list, not even close, but a starting point to begin thinking about how to re-order our lives, from our spending habits to our entertainment choices to our social activities, in a way that weakens support, even passive support, for institutions that embrace leftist radicalism.

1. Choose and Fund Alternatives to Public Schools

This is the big one. The problem of public schools of course deserves many columns and books—and has them—but you can’t leave it off any list of how to fight back. Public schools have become indoctrination centers for the woke left.

Just look at the hordes of college-educated protesters screaming Marxist nonsense at the police. What they learned in college has trickled down into our middle and high schools, even some of our elementary schools. Arguably the number one thing conservatives can do to preserve our constitutional system and save the republic is to educate their kids anywhere but in public school.

Obviously, not everyone can afford private school, and not everyone is able to home school. But now is the time to start thinking hard about educational alternatives.

Churches that don’t have a school need to explore what it would take to start one, or maybe a homeschool-private school hybrid. Parents should re-evaluate their finances and figure out whether other options might be possible, even if that means drastically cutting other spending or reducing income because one parent educates the kids.

All conservatives, whether you have kids or not, should donate to private schools that teach the virtues of the American Founding. All conservatives should make school choice a top policy item when election season comes around, and ask local and state political candidates about it. All conservatives should get involved in expanding educational alternatives of every kind. The future of the republic depends on it.

2. Shift Your Spending Away from Corporations that Hate You, Like Amazon

If you’re a conservative, understand that Amazon hates you (but loves communist China). Also understand that you don’t have to buy everything on Amazon.

That new can opener or garden hose you so desperately need? You can order pretty much whatever you need from Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, and so on. Many of these places will even deliver to your doorstep.

Will you pay a little more for it? Maybe. Will it come in three or four days instead of tomorrow? Yes. But if you can’t bear that miniscule inconvenience for the sake of your principles, then you don’t deserve America.

And if you don’t want to shop at big box stores like Walmart, there are plenty of other online retailer alternatives to Amazon like Ebay, Overstock, Rakuten, Newegg, and many others. The internet is a big place. Get out there.

Or you can go directly to a specific retailer’s website. Need a tent or a sleeping bag? Buy it directly from REI or Cabela’s. Need a book? Try Barnes & Noble—or better yet, find a local bookstore to support. If they don’t have what you want in stock, ask them to order it. You might have to wait a week like they did in the olden days, but you can use the extra time to re-read a favorite book, or take more walks, or literally do anything except buy stuff on Amazon.

3. In Fact, Just Stop Using Jeff Bezos’ Platforms Altogether

Speaking of Amazon, news broke Monday that streaming giant Twitch temporarily banned President Trump from its platform because of the president’s recent remarks at the Tulsa rally, which violated Twitch’s policy against “hateful conduct.”

Twitch is by far the world’s largest video game streaming platform. It’s practically a live-streaming monopoly. It’s also chock full of actually hateful content far worse than anything Trump said in Tulsa. Amazon acquired it in 2014 for a billion dollars.

If you’re tired of monopolistic tech firms arbitrarily banning major public figures from their platforms for speech they don’t like, and you use Twitch, then find another streaming platform like YouTube Gaming. (But maybe just stop streaming video games altogether?)

4. Google Also Hates You, So Stop Using It

If things like privacy and free speech are important to you, you might want to rethink how much you rely on Google products and companies. Gmail, for example, tracks your purchasing history from the receipts in your Gmail inbox. YouTube, which is wholly owned by Google, routinely censors conservative content under the guise that it’s “hate speech.”

Google of course has all kinds of double standards for conservatives. Earlier this month Google threatened to pull ads from The Federalist—not for anything we wrote, but for our comments section, which—you guessed it—violated their guidelines on hate speech. (The irony is that the comments section of YouTube is one of the most vile, hateful places on the internet.)

Also, you don’t have to Google everything. You can use Bing, Yahoo!, Searx, Qwant, DuckDuckGo, or any of the many other search engines out there. And you don’t have to use other Google products, like Gmail. There are a host of alternatives to Gmail, which honestly doesn’t even work that well. So get creative about not relying on Google for every little thing you do online.

5. Stop Using Facebook and Instagram

There are other ways to share photos of your cat with old high school classmates. Or maybe not, but so what? Facebook has a habit of banning people and groups who say things woke Facebook employees don’t like. Just this week the social media giant made headlines by banning hundreds of Facebook and Instagram accounts associated with the so-called boogaloo movement, which Facebook says promotes “violence against civilians, law enforcement, and government officials and institutions.”

You might think that means Facebook will also be banning accounts associated with Antifa, which also promotes and carries out violence against civilians and law enforcement, but you’d be wrong. That’s not how this works. Facebook did, however, ban a Trump campaign ad attacking Antifa on the absurd pretext that an Antifa symbol used in the ad was actually a Nazi symbol.

This kind of double standard is commonplace at Facebook. Another example: back in April, Facebook banned a bunch of users from organizing “events that defy government’s guidance on social distancing.” So no using Facebook to organize lockdown protests. You might therefore assume Facebook would also ban users from organizing Black Lives Matter protests that defy government’s guidance on social distancing, but again, you’d be wrong.

Seemingly Small Things Matter

These all might seem like small things, to stop using Amazon and Google and Facebook, or to start advocating for school choice, or to patronize local businesses over giant corporations. But we have to start somewhere. Calling your local elected officials and demanding they enforce the law and arrest rioters is all well and good, but often those local officials don’t care what you say because they’re more afraid of the mob than they are of law-abiding conservatives.

So we begin with small things, and we build. The left didn’t take over American mainstream culture overnight, and taking it back won’t happen overnight. But we have to begin, now, each of us in our own private lives, in all our small choices. No one is going to save the republic for us, so let’s get started.

Oh, and one more thing you can do—fly an American flag in your yard this Fourth of July.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/07/02/5-ways-you-can-fight-back-in-the-cultural-civil-war/

How Is It That You Have No Faith?

AUG 14 by Bill Sweeney

I don’t understand why, but many of us enjoy seeing others become frightened. Some of the funniest videos I’ve seen are of grown men getting scared and screaming like little girls.

It may be fun to see others get scared, but living in fear is nothing to laugh about.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been an Online Missionary for Global Media Outreach for ten years. Last week, I received the following message from a woman overseas:

Comment/Question: “Please pray for me. I’m going through anxiety, fear of the unknown.”

Research shows that fear is triggered by a loss of control or feeling powerless. With the pandemic, social unrest, and the economic meltdown, the world is seemingly spinning out of control. There are many living in fear because they feel a loss of control and a sense of powerlessness. Since the start of the pandemic, sales of anti-anxiety drugs have risen by 34%. This is on top of the increase of those self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.

Thankfully, I didn’t resort to drugs or alcohol, but I remember the fear and anxiety that Mary and I battled when I was diagnosed with ALS so many years ago. Like many today, our whole world was turned upside down. Voices of fear echoed in our minds throughout many sleepless nights. Fear fights hard to destroy our faith and steal our joy, peace, and hope.

When going through difficult times, surrendering to our fears is the greatest temptation we’ll face. If we are followers of Christ, by definition, He is in control, and we are never powerless! That said, we still have our part to play in this war against fear.

I don’t mean to sound like a braggart, but, physically speaking, I don’t know of anyone who is as powerless or has less control than me. But, regardless of our physical condition, most of us will eventually battle those voices of fear and anxiety. Here are a few things I’ve learned about fear and anxiety that might help you fight.

Faith and fear are polar opposites: “And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).

To strengthen our faith, we need to surround ourselves with faith-filled people and God’s word: “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17).

Fear is a spirit, but it doesn’t come from God: “God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7).

The goal of this spirit of fear is to enslave us in a dark pit of depression: “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15).

“God is love,” and fear is punishment: 
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18).

God will fight with us: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?” (Psalm 27:1).

God will strengthen and uphold us: “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10).

When battling anxiety, pray and recount the things you’re thankful for: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Fear is a relentless enemy, the battle might be a protracted one, but you will be delivered: “I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4).

I’ve never counted, but I read somewhere that there are 365 verses telling us not to give in to fear. If there is a “don’t fear” verse for every day of the year, I’m thinking it’s a message God wants us to get.

It’s the things of this world, the visible, the temporary, the “shakable” things that cause us fear and anxiety. Our job, our home, our health, the economy, and so much more. For the follower of Christ, the things of this world are just things. It’s at times like this that we see that things are not deserving of our hopes. The road to unshakable hope is a very shaky one, but you’ll have Jesus with you to hold you up. This narrow road leads to a Kingdom which cannot be shaken! (Hebrews 12:27-28).

If you have not committed to following Christ, what are you waiting for?

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27).

How Is It That You Have No Faith?

Fireguard

29th Feb 2020

Wednesday saw the start of Lent.

Has it got any of you committing to giving something up for forty days?

I know some that fast from chocolate or crisps, others from social media or electrical devices.

With all this talk about quitting for Lent, it got me thinking a lot about when we fast or try to give up something, whether it’s for a period of time or permanently.  We need to be wise about the choices we make around said forbidden fruit.

For example, if we are giving up chocolate we are not gonna go camp out in Tesco biscuit aisle, or if we are stopping smoking we are going to stop going to the smoking area at break time. If it’s alcohol, we are gonna avoid the pub, gambling we are gonna avoid the bookies, and the list goes on and on.

I remember when I first made a faith decision. I was so surprised that some of my bad habits didn’t instantly disappear, like there was loads of old Terri stuffed into a new heart. It took me a LOT, and I mean a lot, of dancing the two camp tango to get my head and heart in line with Jesus and, because I hadn’t wrapped my head fully around the grace of God, I would often live under a heavy cloak of shame and regret about my Bad choices and mistakes. That would create a distance between God and me and give the enemy space to creep in and convince me of his lies.  I also didn’t have the wisdom to guard myself against temptation or wrongdoing. I was silly enough to believe I could still live my life the way I always had and expect a different outcome.

Well, a few years down the line now, I feel that, through an adequate amount of playing with fire and getting burnt, I’ve come to realise, Hey Einstein, that doesn’t work!  And guess what, you don’t have to be a Nobel prize winner to figure it out.

“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. … ” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23‬ ‭MSG‬‬

You can’t do what you have always done and expect a different outcome, especially when it comes to changing lengthy, well-established habits. I found this most difficult when it was stuff that I loved but stuff that was damaging. For example, every time I went out with the girls on a Saturday night, I would overindulge, behave like a bit of a fool, be loud and potty-mouthed; not to mention the killer hangover and stinky breath that had me avoiding church, and then the shame and horror would kick in when I was the greeter to, a first-timer walking into church, who”d recognised me from a few weeks before in the pub, getting on like an idiot. I really felt I could live my old and new life simultaneously, but I couldn’t. We can’t cling on to the old and still expect to live in the new.

In our walk with Jesus, we are going to have to make some choices in order to change. Yes, while God does most definitely work on our heart and the desires of our heart will change a great deal, there will be hard decisions and a need for more wisdom.

“And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God,” ‭‭Titus‬ ‭2:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Today, can I encourage you to take some time to think about the choices and lifestyle you lead? Does it align with the heart of Jesus? Do you find yourself repeatedly getting into situations you are not proud of? Is there an area of your life you are desperate to leave behind, but struggle to say no? are you playing with fire and expecting not to get burnt?

Can I encourage you to invite the Lord in

Ask him if something needs to change.

What do you need to start saying no to?

Who should you stop hanging out with? Alone maybe?

What do you need to delete from your phone?

My friend has this really cool phase, it’s I can’t be the queen of No… Can I suggest, should you ever feel you’re in a position where you are having to be the queen of no, like the only one saying no to bad decisions or temptation. You need to not be in that situation anymore. There are only so many times you can say no before you get tired and say yes, just because it’s easier.

Be wise about what you dowhere you do itand with whom you do it!!

“A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭25:28‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Happy Lent y’all.

Prayers for love and wisdom.

Journey into Shadow

Abanindranath Tagore, Journey’s End, tempera on paper, 1913.

By Jill Carattini

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Frodo, the young hobbit, has been given the burden of bearing the one ring of power. It is a ring that has the potential to put all of Middle Earth under terror and shadow, and the darkness is already spreading. With a fellowship of friends, Frodo determines he must start the long, dark journey to destroy the ring by throwing it into the volcano from which it was forged. It is a journey that will take him on fearful paths through enemy territory and overwhelming temptation to the ends of himself. Seeing the road ahead of him, he laments to Gandalf the Wise that the burden of the ring should have come to him in the first place.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”(1)

A fan of Tolkien’s epic fantasy once wrote the author to say that he preferred to read The Lord of the Rings particularly during the season of Lent. Though I don’t know all this reader had in mind with such a statement, Tolkien’s portrayal of a journey into darkness with the weight of a great burden and a motley fellowship of companions certainly holds similarities to the journey of the church toward the cross. The forty-day period that leads to Easter is both an invitation and a quest for any who would be willing, albeit a difficult one. The deliberate and wearisome journey with Christ to the cross is a crushing burden, even with the jarring recognition that we are not the one carrying it. On the path to Holy Week, the fellowship of the church far and wide is given time to focus in detail on what it means that Jesus came into this world that he might go the fearful way of the Cross. It is time set apart for pilgrimage and preparation, forty days with which we decide what to do with the time that is given us.

In fact, Christian scriptures attach special meaning to the forty-day journey. Considered the number of days marking a devout encounter with God, we find the occurrence of forty-day journeys throughout the stories of the prophets and the people of God. For forty days Noah and his family waited on the arc as God washed away and revived the earth. Moses spent forty days on Mount Sinai, where he received the Law of God to share with the Israelites. Later, he spent forty days on the mountain prostrate before the LORD after the sin of the golden calf. Elijah was given food in the wilderness, which gave him strength for the forty-day journey to Horeb, the Mount of God. Jonah reluctantly accepted forty days in Nineveh where the people, heeding his warning, repented before God with fasting, sackcloths, and ashes. For forty days the prophet Ezekiel laid on his right side to symbolize the forty years of Judah’s transgression. And finally, for forty days Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. As Mark reports: “The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.”

It is with this same Spirit that any are invited to take the forty-day journey into the shadows and difficulties of Lent. In every forty-day (or forty year) journey described in Scripture, the temptations are real, the waiting is difficult, and the call to listen or to look, to obey or deny is wearying. But there is something about the journey itself to which God moves the journeyer. Jesus himself was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days, while Moses, Ezekiel, Noah, and even Jonah were each instructed to set out on the journeys that brought them closer to the heart of God, whether they were able to accept it or not.

Similarly today, the forty days that lead to Easter Sunday are not without burden or cost. “The Cross of Lent,” as Augustine referred to it, is one to bear year round, but one we learn to bear all the more intensely along the way to the cross during Lent. Here, the church invites the journeyer to remember that we are dust, that we follow Jesus to his death, that we recollect the acts of God to be near us, and we let go of the things that keep us from holding the Son who saves us. Of course, these are burdens that none will never bear alone. But each day we are given is one we decide what to do with. Jesus has given one option:

“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.”(2)

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1994), 51.
(2) Luke 9:23-24.

So Help Me God

JANUARY 15, 2020 BY CLARENCE SEXTON

George Washington has long been credited with instituting the tradition of concluding the oath of office with the phrase, “So help me God,” at his presidential inauguration in 1789. This profound event has helped shape and influence our nation. Washington’s love for God and country has served as an example for all American history. We have the most unique country in the world. We have the most blessed country in the world. God’s good hand is on it. With the great freedom we have been given, comes great responsibility. People who truly know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour are responsible for what no one else is responsible for in our country. Our religious liberty is a gift from God, not from the state; therefore, we answer to God for this liberty.

Read 1 Timothy 2:1-8 and notice that it is God’s desire that “all men…come unto the knowledge of truth.” Like Timothy, we have been taught certain truths. We know that God is real. We know that heaven and hell are real. We know that there is a certain judgment. We know that Jesus Christ is coming again. We know that evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse. We know that men for money, power, or other reasons may soil their conscience. And we know that when men soil their conscience, it will surely cause their lives to shipwreck. What are we to do with the truth we have been given? How can we use the truth to impact our nation for Christ?

We Are to Speak to God About Our Country

The Bible says in I Timothy 2:1-2, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” All of us would like to live that quiet and peaceable life, but that quiet and peaceable life according to the Word of God does not begin by marching in the streets or protesting in some town square. It begins first of all with speaking to God about our nation.

The ultimate outcome of the struggle in our nation rests in the hands of God. Our first responsibility is to call on God. I want us to stop just for a moment, and ask ourselves, “How many times have we complained without praying? How many times have we griped about something we didn’t like but we didn’t pray about it?” We must speak to God first.

We Are to Speak to Our Country About God

The first thing is speaking to God for our country. The second thing is to speak to our country about God. The Bible says in I Timothy 2:3-6, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” We meet many people who have not come to “the knowledge of the truth.” How will they ever know the Creator God? It is our responsibility in our country to take advantage of every freedom we enjoy, to open our mouths and proclaim with our whole heart that our God is the true God, the Creator God, and all truth proceeds from Him because He is before all things.

Instead of sitting down, twiddling our thumbs, and having debates about every opportunity we do not have, we need to take advantage of every opportunity we do have. We need to begin speaking to our friends, neighbors, and co-workers about God. This is what our country needs.

We Are to Allow God to Speak to Us
and Obey Him

Thirdly, we are to always allow God to speak to us and obey Him. I Timothy 2:7-8 says, “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” Notice the parenthetical phrase in verse seven, “I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not.” This is given to us by the Lord in the Word of God so that the reader better understands the author. When we write something in parentheses, that gives a little more earnestness or clarity.

The Word of God says in Psalm 134:1-2, “Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.” In other words, “God, see into my heart. This is all for the Lord. It is all for His glory. I am coming to God with a clean heart and giving it to Him.”

Our responsibility is to pray for individuals, for leaders, for authorities; to speak to God about our nation; to speak to our nation in humility and boldness about the truth; and to confront them about Christ. Do you know the Lord Jesus as your Saviour? There is only one way to heaven. Do not be fooled and die and go to hell forever. Do not just live on religion. You must know the true God. That is why we are here.

We have the greatest work in this world to do: being His witnesses and His intercessors, and He will enable us for this work if we keep our own hearts right with Him.

So Help Me God