The Gospel Calls Us to Perfection, Not Perfectionism

Holiness is a hard challenge. The key is surrender, not striving.

by COLLEEN  CARROLL CAMPBELL

The Gospel Calls Us to Perfection, Not Perfectionism

I’ve been called an overachiever. In elementary school, I considered a B-plus an abject failure, and I was updating my résumé before most kids could spell the word. I used to return my high-school boyfriend’s love letters to him spellchecked—in red ink. A journalism colleague once predicted that given where I was at age 25, my next career move would be a midlife crisis.

You don’t have to be a congenital perfectionist like me to have a problem with perfectionism. Nor must you demand flawlessness in every part of your life. Perfectionism is simply an addiction to control and a refusal to accept imperfection in some human endeavor. Looking at our culture today, I’d say a whole lot of folks suffer from that.

What other common thread links today’s Tiger Moms and Helicopter Coaches, work martyrs who won’t take their vacation days, and exercise addicts who anguish over missed workouts? What connects our soaring rates of pharmaceutical addictions and eating disorders, our escalating levels of anxiety and depression, our epidemic of credit card debt, and the explosive popularity of cosmetic surgery? Many factors contribute to these trends, yes, but a key driver is our demand for perfection.

For believers, spiritual perfectionism is an equally pervasive and insidious problem. It’s dangerous precisely because so many of us mistake it for a virtue. Spiritual perfectionism is that same obsession with control and flawlessness transposed into our relationship with God. It’s rooted in the lie that we can earn God’s love and work our way to heaven. Most of us know better than to think that out loud, and yet we often live like we believe it.

Over the years, I’ve learned that slow, incremental progress—the kind we impatient perfectionists hate—can be a blessing. It schools us in humility, keeps us tethered to prayer, and produces visible fruit as we travel toward more complete surrender. Opening our hearts to the Lord’s mercy, even if we can do so only inch-by-inch, allows him to heal those wounds we’ve covered over with perfectionism and draw us closer to himself and all those we love. That itself is a liberation.

Liberation in this life is not the ultimate goal, though. The ultimate goal is still—believe it or not—perfection. Christian perfection. And Christian perfection is not just different from perfectionism. It’s diametrically opposed. The very perfectionist impulse that makes us winners in the world’s eyes is the one we need to overcome on our journey to eternal life with Christ.

The pursuit of Christian perfection, even though we can’t fully achieve it in this life, brings joy. It’s the joy that comes from giving God the reins, turning our lives over to Jesus, and allowing the Holy Spirit to upend our plans and explode our expectations.

Such radical openness to God isn’t easy. As a bishop I know likes to say, “Obedience to God always gets us into trouble.” It’s a good kind of trouble, though—the kind that forces us to lean into God’s grace instead of crowding it out with our own petty plans and limits and rules. Letting go of perfectionism frees us to pursue real holiness instead of its self-righteous counterfeit.

Unlike the pursuit of perfectionism, a life aimed at attaining Christian perfection probably won’t impress the world or even our friends at church. The saints who walked this path before us faced ridicule, misunderstanding, and suffering, and their lives often ended in apparent failure.

Think of Francis of Assisi, shedding his clothes in the dispute with his father and marching off, stark naked, to embrace evangelical poverty. Look at Mother Teresa of Calcutta, striking out alone at age 37 to start a street ministry in India’s slums, then spending the next 50 years suffering secret desolation while laboring for a God whose love she could no longer feel. Consider Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, dying at age 24 in a French convent where the other nuns fretted that they’d have nothing to write in her obituary because she was so unremarkable.

Then there’s Paul, who gave up a life of living and thriving by the Mosaic law to become an itinerant preacher of a gospel that got him whipped, beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, robbed, hunted, betrayed, tormented by anxiety, left in the cold, and deprived of food, water, and sleep—not to mention harassed by that “thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan sent to torment me and keep me from becoming proud” (2 Cor. 12:7 NLT).

The way of gospel perfection is the narrow way, and it doesn’t always make sense. Many of the saints struggled for years to surrender to God, to give him permission to show his power through their weakness. Once they began to make that surrender, though, they discovered the deep-down, lasting joy that comes only from God. Even Mother Teresa, tormented by feelings of divine rejection, wrote these words in the thick of her darkness: “Today really I felt a deep joy—that Jesus can’t go anymore through the agony—but that He wants to go through it in me.—More than ever I surrender myself to Him.—Yes—more than ever I will be at His disposal.”

Surrender is the heart of gospel perfection and the antithesis of perfectionism. We can’t accomplish holiness without God’s grace. With him, though, “all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26)—even freedom from perfectionism.

Colleen Carroll Campbell is an award-winning author, print and broadcast journalist, and former presidential speechwriter. Her latest book is The Heart of Perfection: How the Saints Taught Me to Trade My Dream of Perfect for God’s.

This piece was adapted from The Heart of Perfection by Colleen Carroll Campbell. Copyright © 2019 by Colleen Carroll Campbell. Published by Howard Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster. Used by permission.

 

Original here

Advertisements

Understanding our History: How Imperfect Patriots Changed America for the Better

Some reflections on divine providence.
GABRIELLA SIEFERT

Understanding our History: How Imperfect Patriots Changed America for the Better

Historians have spilled much ink since America’s founding over one single question: Is the U.S. a Christian nation?

Many believers today find comfort in the notion that their country was founded by many men and women of great faith. Others might prefer to scratch out references to God found in the Declaration of Independence and not just one, but all fifty of the state constitutions in our country.

Whatever side of this debate one lands on, the importance of accurately understanding and interpreting our nation’s history remains all the same. We live in a complex world where people often try to bend and twist historical truth to suit their needs. And where our ability to appreciate people’s great contributions to our country’s story may be hindered by their own imperfections.

As Dr. Tracy McKenzie of the Wheaton College History department writes, human beings “will be tempted, subconsciously at least, to distort what we see in order to find what we are looking for.”

This includes what we are looking for in our nation’s own founding.

Some choose to make gods and others make villains out of the founding fathers and those that followed after them as leaders of this country.

But what if today, we remember that history isn’t quite so black and white? What if instead of looking to question our founding ideologically or praise the founders themselves, we chose to see God’s protective hand over these imperfect patriots who shaped our nation?

If we believe God is active in history, then we can believe he is active in our nation’s history.

Ben Franklin’s prayer

If there’s anything Scripture teaches us time and time again, it’s the importance of prayer. Even Ben Franklin—a committed deist—commented on the value of such prayer.

It was the year of 1787 and a group of over 50 men were gathered in the city of Philadelphia to craft what would become our nation’s most important document: the Constitution. There was conflict and much clashing of ideas as one could surmise. But it occurred to Franklin who was there for the proceedings that the group might look to Someone greater for help.

Notes kept by delegate James Madison during the Constitutional Convention have Franklin rising one afternoon to say: “How has it happened that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings?… I have lived a long time,” he goes on, “and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probably that an empire can fall without his aid?”

While many question what happened after this was shared—whether the delegates at the Convention proceeded to pray or not—none can doubt the truth behind Franklin’s statement.

Prayer changes things—although it might not always be the challenging circumstances we face. God uses prayer to shape our hearts and help us trust in the good work he is doing even if we don’t see it yet for ourselves.

Franklin and the dozens of others gathered in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 couldn’t have possibly known what would come of their work—that a nation which started off thirteen colonies large would later become a global power.

It is always a good day to thank God for guiding and protecting our nation’s founders.

Roddie Edmond’s courage

Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds served the U.S. army during World War II in Europe. He was taken prisoner by the German forces alongside hundreds of other American POW’s—some of which were Jews.

One particular day in January of 1945, because of their hatred of the Jews, the Germans singled out the Jewish POW’s and announced that they would be separated from the rest of the group and taken somewhere else the following morning.

Master Sergeant Edmonds heard these orders and, as a man of great faith, knew he couldn’t follow them.

The next morning, Sergeant Edmonds ordered all the POW’s—1,275 men strong—to stand together. When the German Commandant emerged and saw them there, he said “All of you can’t be Jews.”

To this, the Sergeant Edmonds replied: “We’re all Jews here.”

Even with a gun dug deep into his forehead with threats being spoken to him from the German Commandant, he replied: “…You can shoot me but if you do, you’ll have to kill us all.”

Few could question the courage displayed by Edmonds which, in the end, spared the lives of many Jewish soldiers. This act of bravery is one of many stories we want to honor on this special day.

But beyond this, we should also hope to emulate Sergeant Edmonds and those like him who’ve lived like Christ amidst unspeakably challenging circumstances.

It is always a good day to thank God for people of courage throughout our nation’s history.

Displaying gratitude

Today is Memorial Day. We recognize the sacrifice of so many who gave their lives in the defense of freedom. It’s also a patriotic day and begins a patriotic season for many Americans, thinking about their nation between Memorial Day and Independence Day.

So, it is also worth remembering that God has guided this nation, and prayers and bravery are part of that story. So, on this day, we remember those who sacrificed and we begin a season of thankfulness for the guidance of God in our nation’s history.

For this we are thankful.

Gabriella Siefert serves as an Editorial Assistant for The Exchange. She just graudated from Wheaton College where she studied Political Science, Spanish, and Biblical and Theological Studies. Outside of her work as a writer and communicator, Gabriella enjoys volunteering with Juvenile Justice Ministry.

 

Original here

VIDEO Where is your focus? (Along Came David)

The River Walk

Read: 1 Samuel 17:1-18:4, John 8:21-30, Psalm 111:1-10, Proverbs 15:11

You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
1 Samuel 17:45

Relate: Israel and the Palestinians (er… I mean Philistinians… no that’s not right either. Philistines?) faced off in their respective armies every day. The problem is, the Philistine army had a champion who was fighting for their cause. That champion was named Goliath. His name means “global media” (or, more literally, “to uncover or to reveal”). Every day that champion would go strutting about mocking Israel and defying their God. The armies of Israel would run and hide from this champion and so they were never able to possess the land that God had given them. On to the scene comes a boy named David. David was not sent to the battlefield not to fight Goliath. No, he was sent to the front lines to be an encouragement to his brothers and their comrades, and to give them food and supplies sent from home. But when he arrived and saw this Goliath shouting out his follies, the Spirit of God stirred his soul and he could not leave the situation alone.

Why did it take an untrained boy who was unfamiliar with the situation and untrained in the methods of conventional warfare to destroy Goliath? Ultimately the answer is because David was God’s man for that hour but sometimes I wonder if God had been trying to stir up courage in others but they just could not see it. Until David’s time, nobody had killed any giants or done any similar feats but after David does his thing, Sibbecai, Elhanan, and Jonathan all kill giants and there were other heroes doing things like standing their ground alone and killing 300 Pales… er, Philistines in the field of beans, and jumping in a pit to kill a lion on a snowy day. Just a few days earlier, we talked about Jonathan (not the giant slayer) and his armor bearer climbing a cliff to route an army. So there is certainly no dearth of heroes or at least potential heroes, in the Israelite army. So why didn’t anyone else have the courage to stand against Goliath?

React: I am going to go out on a limb here and say it was because they were looking at the wrong things. Their focus was in the wrong place. What were they looking at? 1) Goliath, 2) each other, 3) Saul, and 4) their potential reward. The first and most obvious answer is that the people were focused on the problem. “Have you seen that giant?” They knew Goliath needed to be killed. Until he was, there could be no moving forward. There was no stepping into the land as long as Goliath was out there, but that guy is just too big. He is a problem that we simply cannot conquer by our own talents and abilities. What is my Goliath? What impossible task is standing in my way that I just cannot take down?

The second thing the people were looking at was each other. ” ‘Have you seen that giant?’ the men asked each other.”  God might be prompting my heart to get a little bit out of line and do something, but then I look at my neighbor. First of all, what will he think of me if I say I will go take down Goliath? Will he think I am being stupid or foolish? Will he call me insane? On the other hand, look at his muscles and look at mine. He has an inch on me in height, another one in reach, and another around the size of his biceps. The only place I have an inch on him is around the belly. He is definitely better suited to take on Goliath. I think I will push down the Spirit’s prompting and let my neighbor deal with it instead.

The third thing they were looking at was Saul. ” ‘Have you seen that giant?’ the men asked each other. ‘The king has…’ ” Since democracy is certainly the best form of government, the soldiers all took a vote and they put Saul forward to go kill Goliath. OK, not really. But hadn’t they chosen him to be king for reasons just like Goliath, didn’t they? Did they choose him? Or was he anointed by God and not the people? If that is the case, even better. He is then obviously God’s designated hero to fight Goliath. I’m not going to step out of the boat and risk life and limb to fight him. I will leave it to my pastor (or president). God has raised him up at this hour “for such a time as this”. Goliath is none of my business.

Finally, they were looking at the potential reward. ” ‘Have you seen that giant?’ the men asked each other. ‘The king has offered a huge reward to anyone who kills him’ ” The problem of killing Goliath has become one of economics. What is the reward for killing him, and is that reward equal to or greater than the risk involved? God is trying to call me forward, but I stamp that voice down while trying to factor in the cost. Now don’t get me wrong. I believe in prosperity. God has promised a rich reward both in this life and in the life to come for those who will follow him. The problem is, all too often we confuse prosperity with physical wealth. If we have faith will we never get sick and have a big fat bank account. Hogwash. I have had an incredibly rich life in following God. That life has been rich in experience, and love, and peace and joy, and… you get the idea. I have, however never had much money. I’ve even had the choice do I walk three miles and buy bread and water later, or do I pay for transportation now and not eat today. I have also gone months at a time where one minor ailment flows right into the next with virtually no time in between. So what? That isn’t what biblical prosperity is about and, besides, biblical prosperity is a side effect of following Jesus. It is not meant to be either the cause or the motivator. When it is, God in his grace will take it away that our priorities will be right.

Along comes David. He is focused entirely on something else. David is a man chasing after God’s own heart. It isn’t that David is unaware of these things everyone else is focused on. Yes, there is a problem, a Goliath that needs to be dealt with. He was sent there to be a blessing to the others so he is certainly aware of the other soldiers. There is probably no one else alive who respected the office and kingship of Saul more than David. How many times does he later say, “God forbid that I raise my hands against the Lord’s anointed” even though he has plenty of worldly justification and opportunity to take Saul out and take that kingdom for himself? David is also aware of the reward. He is talking to the others about this reward when he is brought before Saul. It is my opinion that he is trying to stir up courage in others, but that is just my opinion and we all know what opinions are like. (Everyone’s got one and they all stink). David sees all that, but it is all periphery. His focus is on the Lord. It is for the honor and glory of God’s name that he steps forward and takes down Goliath.

Respond:

Dear God,
Have you been calling me out? I see a Goliath before me and it has stopped me in my tracks. I pray “let Your Kingdom come, let Your will be done” but this Goliath is standing in the way of Your Kingdom’s advance. Is it possibly Your will that I am the one to step forward to pick up the stones and face it down? Give me the courage to do so. Give me the wisdom to know how. Give me the strength to take it on. Three things I know for certain. This Goliath must fall. I can never take him on by my own strength. And You are Greater. So help me to step out in Your name, and for Your glory.
Amen

 

Original here


VIDEO Are American Pastors Still Asleep in the Light?

May 24, 2019 by Dr Michael Brown

 

There are many fine pastors in America. They are devoted shepherds. They are faithful teachers of the Word. They care for their flocks. And when necessary, they sound the alarm.

For each of them, I am thankful.

Some of them are dear friends and co-workers, and many of them have sacrificed much for God’s work and God’s people.

But there are all too many others who do not see the handwriting on the wall. They seem willfully ignorant of the “signs of the times.”

For them and, even more, for their congregations, I am deeply concerned.

According to a recent Barna survey:

“a plurality of the general population believes freedom of religion in the U.S. is worse than it was 10 years ago.”

In contrast, during that same time period:

“the proportion of Protestant pastors who fear religious liberties may be further restricted in the future has actually dropped.”

Dropped? Seriously?

At a time when our religious liberties are under attack from every corner – from our children’s schools to our places of business and from the internet to the courts – how can it be that many Protestant pastors are less concerned now than before?

According to Barna:

“In the 2014 survey of all Christian and non-Christian clergy, over half of Protestant pastors (55%) admitted they were very concerned that religious freedom will become more restricted in the next five years; this percentage fell to below half (49%) in the 2015 / 2016 study and to one-third (34%) in 2017.”

Indeed:

“If signs of concern waned during these years, it’s not because emphasis on religious freedom was any less prominent in national news. In 2015, in particular, there were several high-profile religious liberty stories, including the controversial passage (and amendment) of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which proponents claimed was intended to restrict government’s ability to infringe on religious rights; the landmark ruling in Obergefell vs. Hodges in the Supreme Court, granting marriage rights to same-sex couples; and threats to repeal the accreditation of Gordon College for their statement of faith on marriage as limited to a man and a woman. Considering these events in light of a perceived drop in Protestant pastors’ concerns about religious freedom, there is perhaps less of a ‘headline sensitivity’ than one might expect.”

Could it be that these pastors feel more confidence because of the positive steps the Trump administration has taken to reinforce our religious liberties?

That is certainly possible, and the president has done a lot for the cause of religious liberty, from his war against the Johnson Amendment to his many fine federal court appointees. And he has used his bully pulpit to speak up for our freedoms.

At the same time, it would be foolish for us to think that the national tide had somehow turned and that our religious liberties were not under serious and real attack. And what happens if a radical, leftist Democrat becomes our next president? What will things look like then?

In my 2011 book, A Queer Thing Happened to America, I devoted one whole chapter to the assault on our freedoms, noting:

“The really frightening thing is that it would be easy to write an entire book focusing on the subject matter of this chapter alone, and the book could be much longer than this present book – and this is one long book!” (For the record, the book was 700 pages long with 1,500 endnotes. The chapter in question was more than 17,000 words long.)

That was back in 2011, and even then, I could list numerous, full-length books documenting this very real assault on our most fundamental freedoms – namely, our freedoms of speech, conscience, and religion.

For example, in 2003, David Limbaugh wrote, Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity.

That same year Alan Sears and Craig Osten wrote, The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today.

In 2009, Donald Wildom wrote, Speechless: Silencing the Christians.

Also in 2009, Janet Foler wrote, The Criminalization of Christianity: Read This Book Before It Becomes Illegal!

In 2010, Tammy Bruce wrote, The New Thought Police: Inside the Left’s Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds.

This is just a representative sampling, and some of these books are more than 15 years old.

In fact, reading their content only underscores the urgency of the hour we live in today. In many ways, the warnings were quite prescient – and remember: these were written before social media giants like Google and Facebook had fully shown their hands.

Today, you need a very large, detailed scorecard to keep track of the latest assaults on our religious liberties, to the point that some major organizations (such as the ADL or Liberty Counsel or the FRC) sound out daily updates.

That’s why this Barna survey should be of special concern. Our leaders need to wake up and speak up – while they still have the chance.

And to every congregant who would say:

“My pastor is not sounding the alarm or giving us constructive steps to take.”

I offer you this council.

First, pray for them, don’t gossip about them. They have a lot on their plate and face many unique challenges.

Second, send them a note and say:

“Pastor, we love you and are praying for you and we want you to raise your voice. On behalf of our families – especially our children and our grandchildren – please speak up and speak out.”

Then, remind them of the oft-quoted words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world it leaves to its children.”

(For a related video, see here.)

 

 

Original here

VIDEO God and Our Money

April 26, 2019

 

When you consider your finances, what comes to mind? What you have or don’t have? Whom you owe or what to buy? Do you feel stress, or are you at peace? God’s Word offers much wisdom for our financial decisions. In this message, Dr. Stanley covers common concerns, discussing what God thinks, says, and promises regarding personal finances—and what we can expect if we are obedient to His principles. Discover the path to generosity and provision as you learn how to trust Him with this important area of life.

KEY PASSAGE: Proverbs 3:5-10Luke 6:38

SUPPORTING SCRIPTURES: 1 Chronicles 29:12 | Psalm 50:12 | Haggai 1:5-6 | Malachi 3:8-12 | Luke 12:16-21 | Luke 18:28-29 | 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 | James 1:17

SUMMARY

When you consider your finances, do you feel emotional turmoil and stress, or are you at peace? What thoughts come to mind?

Do you focus on how much you don’t have, how much you’d like to have, what you could do to increase your income, or what you would do with more money? These are common concerns for all of us, but there’s another spiritual aspect we should consider when we think about our finances—what does God have to say about it, and what would He have us give away?

SERMON POINTS

When it comes to our personal finances, it’s important to understand that we must follow God’s principles and not human advice or reasoning. We need to know what God thinks, says, and promises regarding financial decisions and what we can expect if we are obedient to His principles.

  • Proverbs 3:5-10 provides divine guidance that applies to financial matters as well as every other area of life. We are told to trust God and not rely on our own understanding. This means we honor Him with our wealth by giving Him the first part of what we receive. If we follow this advice, the Lord promises to supply our needs.

The Basic Teaching of Scripture

• God owns it all. “For the world is Mine, and all it contains” (Ps. 50:12). This is a difficult truth for many people to accept because from a human perspective, we’ve worked to earn all that we have. However, we are not the owners of anything but the caretakers, managers, or stewards of whatever God has entrusted to us. He is the source and giver of our money and possessions.

To illustrate what happens when we forget this truth, Jesus told a parable about a rich man whose land was so productive that he had to build larger barns to store it all (Luke 12:16-21). He foolishly said to himself, “You have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry” (v. 19). But God rebuked him, saying, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?” (v. 20). Then Jesus concluded the story by saying, “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (v. 21).

We are all only one heartbeat away from losing all our earthly goods. Then we must stand before the Lord to hear His evaluation of our lives. The time to live wisely according to God’s instruction is now.

• God wants us to give. Malachi 3:8-12 shows us God’s perspective on tithing. The Lord equated the people’s withholding of tithes and offerings with robbing Him. Then He told them, “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows’” (v. 10). Although this was spoken to the nation of Israel, the reasons for generosity still apply to us today.

  1. To provide for the Lord’s work.
  2. To provide for the needs of others.
  3. To prove to us that God is faithful.

• God wants us to give cheerfully. “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). Our heart attitude is very important to the Lord. He wants us to give voluntarily and happily out of love and gratitude.

• God warns about disobedience in giving. Since we are commanded by the Lord to give Him a portion of what He’s entrusted to us, there are consequences if we choose to disobey Him. In Haggai 1:6, the Lord reprimanded the people of Judah for their disobedience saying, “You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.”

Giving to God is not just a demonstration of appreciation, thoughtfulness, and generosity; it’s an act of obedience. He has provided us with every good gift, but if we neglect Him, everything we earn or acquire will not give genuine satisfaction. That only comes with obedience.

God’s Plan for Our Giving to Him

  • His Motivation. God loves us and wants us to understand that He is the one who enables us to prosper financially. “Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone” (1 Chron. 29:12).
  • His Promise. “Your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Prov. 3:10). The Lord blesses those who trust Him enough to give as He desires.
  • His Protection. “Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it may not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes” (Mal. 3:11). When we follow God’s guidelines for our finances, we don’t have to fear deprivation because He leads us to make wise financial decisions according to His will.
  • His Generosity. “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:38). The Lord gives us more than we expect or deserve.
  • His Sufficiency. “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (2 Cor. 9:8).

Our willingness to follow God’s financial principles is a matter of trust in His Word. If we are confident that He will do what He has said, we’ll be generous, knowing that He will be faithful to supply our needs when we give Him a portion of all He’s provided for us.

RESPONSE

  • Is it difficult for you to trust God with your finances? If so, what are you afraid will happen if you begin to give a portion of your income to Him?
  • What attributes of God reassure you that He can be trusted to supply your needs if you will obey Him in the matter of giving?

https://www.intouch.org/watch/god-and-our-money

VIDEO Only Two Things Protect America: The Grace of Almighty God and the US Military

May 24, 2019 By Charlie Daniels

Charlies Daniels in Iraq in 2016. (Charlie Daniels Band Photo)

In my youth, the holiday we celebrate this weekend was known as Decoration Day, which started in 1861 when a bouquet was placed on a Civil War veteran’s grave and continued as America paid homage and tribute to the men and women who paid the ultimate price in defense of America by “decorating” or placing flowers on the graves of fallen heroes.

The name was changed to Memorial Day and became a federal holiday in 1971.

America has lost over one million in our combined wars, and, by whatever name, it is appropriate and noble that we should set aside a day to honor their memory, their service and their sacrifice.

To be a true patriot, at least in my opinion, we must appreciate the terrible price our country and its people have paid to become the greatest nation the world has ever known, and we must acknowledge and honor all those who have served in our military and pay special tribute to the ones who gave their all.

We should never forget the warriors who lost their lives to win America’s independence, defeating what, at that time, was the mightiest army and navy on earth, the British. Outgunned, outmanned, barefoot and hungry, they fought on, buried where they fell – their graves unknown and their families never knowing what happened to them.

The Civil War was responsible for the deaths of over five hundred thousand men, many dying and buried in swamps and on mountains, and in deep woods and tiny villages without any markings to identify them.

For them and all the other heroes who have died in combat – their bodies lost in heat of battle – the president lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier symbolizing honor to all those who died and were lost in the fog of war.

I remember my mother taking me to church early on June 6, 1944, where the building was packed to the rafters with people who had come to pray for the troops, who at that moment were storming the beaches of Normandy, running into the artillery and machine gun fire that cut so many to ribbons.

Yet, on they came, wave after wave, until, at the end of D-Day, the Nazis back was broken, and the March to Berlin was on.

They called it “The Longest Day,” but it was also the bloodiest day, as there were an estimated 209,000 Allied casualties, including ground and air forces.

This weekend, we honor their memory.

The Vietnam War, the Gulf Wars, the War on Terror, skirmishes, the raids and rescues, and the covert missions we never even knew or know about have all cost the lives of brave men and women who were willing to stand between America and her enemies.

It’s frustrating these days when we have people who are obviously enemies of America and our ally, Israel, serving in the halls of power. It is also frustrating when elected officials put their personal feelings and the goals of their political parties ahead of the good of our nation.

Is that what so many brave men and women gave their lives for? So that while our nation faces so many dangers, so many dedicated enemies, so many domestic problems that a bunch of self-righteous empty suits insult their sacrifice by tearing apart the nation these brave men and women paid the ultimate price to defend?

Shame on you, Congress. Shame on you, Senate.

A million plus American citizens have given their all to give you the privilege of serving this great nation.

Only two things protect America, and it’s not the kindergarten classes on Capitol Hill. It’s not the idiot talking heads on TV who thought Michael Avenatti would make a good president. It’s not political correctness.

It’s the grace of Almighty God and the United States military are the two things that protect America. And the day we stop honoring either one is the day we’re going down.

To all the families, friends and brothers and sisters in arms who have lost a loved one in the service of this nation, from Hazel, Charlie, Jr. and me and all the folks at The CDB and Twin Pines Ranch, we salute you. We join you in honoring their memories on Memorial Day and the other 364 days of the year.

What do you think?

Pray for our troops our police and the peace of Jerusalem.

God Bless America

Charlie Daniels

— Charlie Daniels

Charlie Daniels is a legendary American singer, song writer, guitarist, and fiddler famous for his contributions to country and southern rock music. Daniels has been active as a singer since the early 1950s. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on January 24, 2008.

https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/charlie-daniels/charlie-daniels-two-things-protect-america-grace-almighty-god-and-us


Memorial Day Bagpipes Tribute: Amazing Grace


VIDEO God Bless America, A Lesson Our Kids Need to be Taught

May 23, 2019 by David Jolly

Recently, on our local news, they showed commentary from a conservative and then rebuttal from a liberal. The contrast between the two were striking and revealed the blinded views of the liberal.

The conservative spoke about the importance of teaching students the importance of the phrase ‘God bless America’. He emphasized that our kids need to know about the millions of Americans who have sacrificed life and limbs to first win our countries freedom and then to preserve that freedom.  For nearly 250 years, many men and women have fought to defend the concept of God bless America.

The liberal countered with the typical defense of not wanting to offend anyone. She spoke of being sensitive of everyone’s feelings and the need to be all inclusive.

Hearing that makes one begin to yell at the television at the liberal and ask her what about offending the majority of Americans who still identify as Christians? What about including them?

What this liberal and every other liberal really means is that they want special rights and privileges for everyone who holds the same liberal views while at the same time, removing the rights and freedoms of everyone who disagrees with them. Folks, this is nothing more than pure socialism and/or political dictatorship.

This really hit home when I recently listened to Lee Greenwood sing his hit song, God Bless the USA. I listened to the lyrics and thinking about America today, it almost made me weep in despair. Take a few moments to listen to the song and follow along with the lyrics below:

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I worked for all my life
And I had to start again
With just my children and my wife

I thank my lucky stars
To be living here today
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom
And they can’t take that away

And I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

From the lakes of Minnesota
To the hills of Tennessee
Across the plains of Texas
From sea to shining sea

From Detroit down to Houston
And New York to L.A.
Where’s pride in every American heart
And it’s time we stand and say

That I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

And I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

 

This is what students need to be taught, but sadly, they are taught the exact the opposite. They are not taught to be proud to be an American and they aren’t taught about the men and women who died to give them the rights they have.

Parents need to demand that their kids are taught the truth and not the socialist leftist lies that are being taught to them every single day. If parents value their kids, the future of their kids, grandkids and on, and if they value America, they need to start standing up and making demands of the public education system to start teaching the truth.

 

Original here