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.

Original here

 

A Liberal Order That Seeks To Shut Down Christian Charities Doesn’t Deserve To Survive

Christian post-liberals on the right have seen how readily the liberal center-left and the Chamber-of-Commerce right surrender to the extreme and illiberal left. It makes them wonder: Why not us?

A Liberal Order That Seeks To Shut Down Christian Charities Doesn’t Deserve To Survive

Dec 26, 2019

It is a basic Christian teaching that good works are insufficient for spiritual salvation. We should also remember they are unlikely to suffice for cultural and political salvation either.

Chick-fil-A’s abandonment of The Salvation Army is yesterday’s news, but its lessons should be remembered, for they explain our cultural and political trajectory. That the chicken chain capitulated even though everyone was “eating mor chikin” is instructive regarding the power of the LBGT lobby and its allies. That they directed this power against a Christian organization dedicated to feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and sheltering the homeless — including those who identify as LGBT — is even more instructive.

It exemplifies how hard-liners are driving the cultural left. It is not clear that a majority even of those who identity as LGBT hate The Salvation Army. For example, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg volunteered for the organization (albeit for a photo op) a couple of years back. Now he is facing criticism from LGBT activists, as those running the movement want total victory, not coexistence. And they are winning.

The campaign included government officials from Buffalo, New York, to San Antonio, Texas, retaliating against Chick-fil-A for its support of The Salvation Army. Even without full control over the government, the left has been aggressive in its use of government power against Christians who believe traditional teachings on human sexuality. The left seems to target particularly those engaged in charitable work, rather than protecting them on account of their good works.

The left’s legal wing is trying to compel Christian hospitals to perform abortions and sex-change surgeries, Christian schools to affirm same-sex relationships, and Christian charities such as women’s shelters to pretend men can be women. A purportedly serious Democratic presidential candidate wanted to tax dissenting Christian organizations, including churches, into oblivion.

The left won’t even spare elderly nuns. When the Trump administration ended Barack Obama’s legal campaign against the Little Sisters of the Poor, various Democratic attorneys general made a point of continuing that unholy effort.

The Rise of Post-Liberal Christianity

This should not surprise us. Jesus promised that the powers of this world would hate his followers, not that they would love us if we were virtuous. While we Christians should always strive to be more like Christ, we should not succumb to a quasi-Pelagianism that presumes our winsomeness determines how others receive the gospel. Christ himself was crucified, and the grace and charity many martyrs exemplified did not save them from persecution unto death.

But that we should expect trouble in this world does not mean we should be disinterested regarding politics, nor does it excuse governments that oppose the church and oppress its people. That our nation seems to be starting down this path has intensified Christian reconsiderations of liberal political theory. Although our government ostensibly protects the freedoms of religion, association, and speech, procedural liberalism increasingly appears insufficient to protect our rights or to ensure a culture of tolerance and pluralism that includes Christians who maintain the traditional teachings of our faith.

The supposedly neutral principles of the legal left consistently restrict the rights and opportunities of orthodox Christians, and the left always pushes the envelope. Christian litigators should, of course, do their best to defend our rights, and thank God for their efforts, but it should be no surprise that more and more Christians are intrigued by varieties of post-liberal thinking, including previously marginalized ideas such as Catholic integralism. It is understandable that Christians are turning against the system of liberal democratic capitalism as it turns against them.

Post-liberal Christians are unlikely to find their minority status daunting, for they see that minorities can win if they are determined and the institutions they face are weak and full of cowards. After all, a minority of hard-line leftists control cultural, economic, and political pressure points that grant them power far beyond their numbers.

For example, the 2020 Democratic field is so radically pro-abortion that even The New York Times has noticed. The Democratic Party stands for abortion today, abortion tomorrow, and abortion forever, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren illustrated in promising that at her inauguration — angels and ministers of grace defend us! — she will wear swag to rep the nation’s largest abortion chain.

Christian post-liberals on the right have seen how readily the liberal center-left and the Chamber-of-Commerce right surrender to the extreme and illiberal left and wonder: Why not us? A decadent and despairing culture with weak institutions and degraded elites is precisely the sort that a determined minority might govern.

Thus, they see an opportunity as our culture disintegrates despite its wealth and technological prowess. Liberal individualism seems to be devouring itself: Fertility is down, loneliness and depression have increased, and deaths of despair from suicide, drugs, and alcohol are way up.

Should Liberalism Be Preserved?

Perhaps it is time to be bold and reorder society toward the highest good, rather than accepting liberalism’s dishonest promises of “live and let live” neutrality. As some post-liberal thinkers note, we increasingly live in a non-Christian integralist society that mandates belief in sectarian dogmas, such as the mystical belief that a man may become — indeed, may already be — a woman. Therefore, they see the alternative to post-liberal Christian politics not as liberalism, but as some sort of post-Christian illiberal politics.

I am sympathetic to some of the post-liberal thought developing on the right. I see the appeal, especially as liberalism’s promise of legal neutrality is exposed as so much fiction. I share many of the critiques of liberal political theory and find its discourse far more interesting than the stale talking points of neoliberals and neoconservatives.

But I am neither Catholic nor Calvinist enough to be much of an integralist, and I remain more skeptical of the likelihood of governmental efficacy and rectitude than many post-liberals seem to be. I also remain attached to many liberal practices, such as the right to trial by jury.

I am, in short, still thinking over these matters and am not entirely in either camp. From this in-between, I would recommend post-liberal thinkers reflect on the frailty and fallibility of human institutions. I also suggest that the defenders of liberal democratic capitalism take the critiques of post-liberals seriously. A liberal order that seeks to shut down Christian charities for nonconformist views on human sexuality does not deserve to survive.

Nathanael Blake is a Senior Contributor at The Federalist. He has a PhD in political theory. He lives in Missouri.

https://thefederalist.com/2019/12/26/a-liberal-order-that-seeks-to-shut-down-christian-charities-doesnt-deserve-to-survive/

Mighty Warrior

by Discerning Dad

Judges 6:12“When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

I struggle to know if I am moving in God’s calling in my life.  After all, days turn into months and years and the grind is real.  Who am I that God can use?  My past, my sin, my fear, my doubts are all reasons for why I am not qualified.  God couldn’t possibly use someone like me, look at what other people are doing in God’s name, look at the ministries, the salvations, the miracles… how can I measure up?

Let’s take a look at Gideon, he was a mighty warrior for God and one of the most famous of Israel’s judges. If you look at when God called him, he was not even close to who we think of him today.  God first saw him and called him a “mighty warrior.” Why? Had he won battles yet? Had he defeated Israel’s enemies yet? No… but God saw him for what he could become, he called this out of him before Gideon even believed it. In fact the next verse (13) Gideon answers the angel by saying “Pardon me, my lord, but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about…. But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”  God responds to this by saying “Go in thestrength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand.  Am I not sending you?”  God shut down Gideon’s doubts pretty fast, Gideon is overcome by his circumstances and basically tells God that He abandoned them, he says this directly to God’s angel, talk about being bold!  God responding with “Am I not sending you”, as in- I know what I am doing, I chose you for a reason if you were to but act upon it and believe it.

This should have been enough right?  I mean, if God told you directly that he was sending you, would you obey?  Or would you come up with excuses? Take a look at Gideon’s NEXT response in verse 15 “But how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” Gideon still had excuses, he refused to believe God knew who he was calling and tried to correct God by telling him where he came from.  The Lord then responded “I will be with you,” as if to say, none of your past matters, I am calling you into a mighty future.  The rest of the chapter is Gideon asking for signs from God to confirm even more what has already been spoken.

You have to give Gideon credit for his boldness in the face of God, he was worried that he couldn’t be a mighty warrior for God and yet here he is, in front of the creator of the universe, telling Him how He is wrong.  I find it interesting too that God allowed Gideon to express his fears and concerns without giving up on him, he came through on Gideon’s asking for a sign and did not go and choose someoneelse.  God knew what he was doing and God knew why he called Gideon.  Fast-forward some verses and Gideon destroys Israelites enemies and fulfills what God spoke over him as a “mighty warrior.”

It’s been said that God doesn’t call those equipped but equips those he calls…

What does God’s calling look like on your life?  Have you been walking faithfully in it or have you been running away from it because you are not “qualified.” What I have seen in my life is that following through on God’s calling is taking small steps and saying “YES” to God, in whatever that may be, big or small.  God is patient and wants to hear your fears and doubts. He may not always answer a “fleece” (v.39) we put before him, but he will always encourage us and always sees us for who we really are and the“mighty warrior” we can become!

Discerning Reflection: What is the reason I use for why I “can’t” do something God is calling me to do? What have I said YES to that has turned out to be a blessing to me or someone else?

Prayer- God, help me see myself as you see me. Help me walk in the calling you have placed on my life, however big or small it may be.  Help me not use excuses from my past as to why I can’t but give me boldness and guide my steps.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tim Ferrara

 

 

TBT- Mighty Warrior

Choosing To Forgive

by Discerning Dad

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which bind them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:13-14 NIV

Most Christians will agree that forgiveness is the right thing to do, after all there are over 100 verses in the Bible that talk about forgives or forgiving others. And yet, forgiving other people can be extremely hard to do. It seems to come easily for children, I know that my children will quickly forgive each other and move on about their day. They never bring up infractions from a week, month, or year ago! Why does this get harder to do as people move into adulthood? As you become adults, the wrongs levied against you become more severe, we build up walls over time, and we can analyze a scenario to judge if someone is deserving of our forgiveness.

A recent Barna study (1) among practicing Christians said that:

76% offered unconditional forgiveness to someone else

55% received unconditional forgiveness

27% identify someone they don’t want to forgive

23% identify someone who they can’t forgive

22% struggle to receive forgiveness for something

We can learn a lot about forgiveness in the Bible. Let’s take a look at the story of Jacob and Esau.

Jacob had God’s favor but he was not a good brother to Esau in the least. He took advantage of Esau when he was weak and traded him some stew for a birthright (although Esau was not very smart to have agreed). Jacob also betrayed his brother by stealing the blessing from his father by dressing up like his brother, with his mother’s help nonetheless! This was a double betrayal for Esau from his brother and mother.

Jacob brought about division against him and his brother and he had to flee for fear of repercussion. The interesting thing is that the brothers meet up again, many years later in Genesis 37. Jacob is justifiably scared of this encounter. He does not know if Esau will attack him and steal everything. Jacob separates out his wives and children into groups so that if one group is attacked, the other can flee safely. Jacob also prepares a generous gift for Esau when he arrives.

Surprisingly to Jacob, Esau embraces his brother and even rejects the gifts that Jacob brings saying, “I already have plenty, my brother. Keep what you have for yourself.” (Gen. 37:9) The brothers are reunited despite the past. God blesses both of them as they grow in livestock and wealth that they eventually have to split up because the land cannot support both groups.

Esau made a decision to forgive his brother. Jacob did not ask for forgiveness before it was offered. Esau had every “right” to stay bitter and even steal from Jacob his possessions. Esau chose the high ground.

Esau was betrayed by his own flesh and blood, how often does family betray their own? This hurt can be harder than others to recover from. If a stranger hurts me, it may make me sad but I can move on. When family hurts you, it sometimes makes the relationship irreparable and can cause devastating psychological damage.

The same can be said for our church family. Too often I hear and have experienced fellow Christians who hurt and betray their own, either through difference of beliefs or petty arguments. This can result in unforgiveness and someone choosing to not go to church or not let another Christian brother or sister close to them again in case of a future hurt. If an effort to control your surroundings, you end up taking extreme measures that hurt you in different ways such as the lack of fellowship and community. We are meant for relationship with fellow believers and to meet together regularly (Heb. 10:25).

Forgiveness does not forget the past. It does allow you to keep the past from controlling your future.

Forgiveness does not excuse or condone previous actions and it does not mean you have to sign up to get hurt again.

Forgiveness should be given even when it is not asked for. The person you forgive does not even need to be present in cases of death or abuse. You can still forgive them before your Heavenly Father.

Forgiveness is more an act of release for YOU than the other person. We hold on to unforgiveness because it gives us power, but it also destroys us in the process and steals our joy. They say power corrupts, I would say that unforgiveness corrupts our spirit.

There’s an old saying that says, “Harboring unforgiveness or bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

But we only forgive those who deserve it right? After all there are some actions that are reprehensible, that cannot be forgiven even if I wanted to? I don’t want to judge but I also can’t forgive because of what this person did to me…

If anyone “deserved” to hold on to unforgiveness it would have been Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom. She tells of an amazing story of one of her captors after the war, coming to a camp where she was preaching about Jesus. She chose forgiveness there on the spot when he told her who he was and what he had done.

Corrie ten Boom then told of not being able to forget this incident. She had forgiven the person, but she kept rehashing the incident and so couldn’t sleep. Finally Corrie cried out to God for help in putting the problem to rest.

“His help came in the form of a kindly Lutheran pastor,” Corrie wrote, “to whom I confessed my failure after two sleepless weeks.” “Up in the church tower,” he said, nodding out the window, “is a bell which is rung by pulling on a rope. But you know what? After the sexton lets go of the rope, the bell keeps on swinging. First ding, then dong. Slower and slower until there’s a final dong and it stops. I believe the same thing is true of forgiveness.

When we forgive, we take our hand off the rope. But if we’ve been tugging at our grievances for a long time, we mustn’t be surprised if the old angry thoughts keep coming for a while. They’re just the ding-dongs of the old bell slowing down.” “And so it proved to be. There were a few more midnight reverberations, a couple of dings when the subject came up in my conversations, but the force — which was my willingness in the matter — had gone out of them. They came less and less often and at the last stopped altogether: we can trust God not only above our emotions, but also above our thoughts.”(2)

What unforgiveness in your life do you need to let go of today, like letting go of a helium balloon? Let unforgiveness float away from your life and allow the Holy Spirit to heal broken wounds like only He can.

Discerning Reflection: What areas of my life do I have unforgiveness? Do I forgive as quickly as Jesus commands? Who do I need to pray about forgiving today that God is placing upon my heart?

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your immense gift of forgiveness that you gave us through your Son’s sacrifice on the cross. Help me to not hold on to unforgiveness which can lead to bitterness. Reveal to me today who you would like me to forgive, even if they are not asking for forgiveness.

Tim Ferrara
Discerning Dad
1- https://www.barna.com/research/forgiveness-christians/
2- http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/f/forgiveness.htm

Choosing to Forgive

Where Have All the Fathers Gone?

“You are not a man because you can make a baby. You are a man when you can raise a baby! It is time to man up and defend your child”  

by Godinterest

As soon as Rhys heard the front door open, he jumped up and began shouting for joy, “Mom Daddy’s home, Daddy’s home!”. His heartbeat racing and his brown eyes shining excitedly, anticipating playtime with Daddy. A wide grin spread across Rhys’s face as Daddy acted like a big bear. Daddy quickly dropping down onto one knee so that he’d be at his son’s height to horse around the living room. Sadly this scene is becoming a rear sight to see.

Today let’s talk about the invisible dads, the ones who don’t marry Mummy, don’t support their kids and don’t hang around for the hugs, kisses and nappy changes. There are millions of them around the world, and their numbers are growing.

“Today, more than one in four births is to an unmarried mother, and more than one in 10 births is to a teenager. These numbers portend a future of fragile families. Once considered primarily a racial problem, fatherless homes have increased across a wide range of demographics over the last ten years.”

How have we come to the point where a child with two parents is the exception rather than the norm? It is time that we put the issue of fatherless families front and center on our national agenda.

So who’s the real problem here? And why should we care?

It is time to shift our attention to the issue of male responsibility, and to the indispensable role that fathers play in our society.

Firstly, it would be an oversimplification to assume that two parents are always better than one as there are many courageous and loving single moms and daddy’s who are able to balance the competing demands on their time and attention, to care and provide for their children alone.

However, contrary to the sentiments of our culture and though our society is only beginning to recognize it, the presence of fathers within the home is vital to the moral integrity of a society. The short-term effects are already far too evident as statistics  reveal that the loss of fathers is reverberating throughout the world in the form of social pathologies ranging from teen pregnancy to drug abuse.

Fatherless children are  five times more likely to be poor and twice as likely to drop out of school as children who live with both parents.

Boys, without proper male role models, look to other sources for the male bonding they need. In the inner cities that often entails gangs while in the suburbs it tends to be online.

“According to the latest statistics, the increase in the proportion of single-parent families accounted for about half of the overall increase in child poverty from 1979 through to 1987.”

The Scriptures warn us about the power of fatherhood, as well as the long-lasting impact that fatherhood has on us all. Exodus 20:4-6.” Fatherlessness is the most harmful demographic trend of this generation

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” could be both about habits/behavior and also looks. Have you ever thought about that? Do you often find yourself reacting to a situation the way your father did? or scarier yet…do you ever see your mannerisms in your son? The footprint of a father leaves a permanent mark on the soul of a child.

Fatherhood is under assault

We hear a lot about the war on women…but it is the war on Dads that is causing the greatest damage in the world today. It’s not hard to find. If you watch any popular sitcom on television today, you’ll likely notice that fathers are typically portrayed as childish, irresponsible, lazy, incompetent and stupid.

The doofus dad stereotype isn’t new. There’s Fred Flinstone, and even Charlie Brown’s monotone parents. But according to Tierny, the consistency of these new portrayals has slowly created a new norm opposed to what being a father used to mean.

Dads make a difference. Dads can be heroes — if only we give them the chance. We remain optimistic that family still has more influence than media.

We all need another hero

Fathers are representatives of God on earth; as our heavenly father is the giver of life so also are the earthly father’s givers of life.  Malachi 4:6 says “And he will turn, the hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

God understands the importance of a father’s love and cares towards their children and He has set the standard by being the first example of a loving father.

“The SARRI report quotes research which  found that “the presence of a father can  contribute to cognitive development,  intellectual functioning, and school  achievement. Children growing up  without fathers are more likely to experience emotional disturbances and  depression.”

“Girls who grow up with  their fathers are more likely to have  higher self-esteem, lower levels of risky  sexual behaviour, and fewer difficulties  in forming and maintaining romantic  relationships later in life. They have less  likelihood of having an early pregnancy,  bearing children outside marriage,  marrying early, or getting divorced.”

A father’s touch

The first thing, therefore, that a father can do for his children is to love their mother. Another part of a father’s task is that of a protector for his family. But, Daddy also has another task in the home, which is to combine tenderness with strength, and to model the combination so consistently that the children regard the combination as natural.

Our kids must come to know naturally both that dad’s standards protect them, and that his love makes them strong.

Where have all the fathers gone?

Our courts do not value fatherhood as much as motherhood. In 2015 it is still the case that mothers and fathers do not have equal rights

And herein lies the problem. Our expectation of the role a separated father should play in his children’s lives is so low, that when half of dads who win “access” to their kids can’t even sleep under the same roof as their offspring, academics declare this to be an overwhelming success. One of the fruits of the feminist movement many claim is the idea that a woman is more responsible as a parent than the father is.

“He is not my Dad…he is just someone you sleep with!” How many mothers have felt the sting of those words? That is why God hates divorce. We should too.

Our culture has put asunder things which God has joined together–things such as tenderness and strength. It is the job of the father to put them back together again.

Fatherhood, like Motherhood has is its own rewards – as most dads have found. Sadly, for the others, the invisible ones, it is a gift foolishly squandered.

https://godinterest.com/2018/04/01/where-have-all-the-fathers-gone/

What does it mean to be human?

Sim Chen Xing November 29, 2019

“What does it mean to be human?” A senior commanding officer joked with me as we chatted over our morning coffee. He was a deputy commanding officer when I was back in my service in the air force, we shared quite a lot of pretty good experiences doing exercises and operations together. We reminisce about how the squadron used to be and the things we used to do together as a squadron. “It’s all different now,” he sighed.

“Things are becoming increasing transactional. People are working for the sake of working,” he added. “The bond that we used to have, it’s not as strong now.”

“Yes, the current batch of officers are all strawberry generation,” my fellow sergeant commented pretty abruptly.

“You can say so! Even the new batch of commanding officers are like that. They can work efficiently with the least resources. But they’ve lost the human touch.”

“How so?” I asked.

“I remember proposing to them to execute a certain task for the well-being of the men. You know what the commanding officers asked me? What are the orders regarding this that you’re proposing? How long can we drag before we fully implement this proposal? I was furious when they said that,” he shared with so much passion that he almost banged the table we were on. “I mean, it’s for the well-being of the men we’re doing this. We should not be doing it out of obligation? Why drag?!”

I watched as he narrated the incident in disbelief. He looked at my friend seated beside me and asked, “Are you married?”

“Yes,” he answered.

“If you have a child and you want to bring the child out, would you ensure that all the necessities for the child are taken care of before going out?” the senior commanding officer asked him.

“Of course I will,” my friend answered.

“Then I don’t understand why the new batch of commanding officers is behaving so transactionally. There’s no…”

“Love? No love, sir?” I answered.

“Yes. No love for their fellow men. It’s not human.”

The sharing of the senior commanding officer threw me into deep thought about the current social state of Singapore. People-people relationship is no longer bonded by a common goal nor is it by love (regardless whether for the country or for each other). Rather, it is grounded on transaction; on the mechanics of the organisation.

“I’ve got to say I like how Singapore is progressing,” the commander continued. “But the education sector will need to work something out; inculcate certain values such as love and ethics to balance efficiency and being human. If not, the success of our future generations will also be the cause of their downfall.”

I paused as I pondered on the things he spoke about. It reminded me of what I reflected upon yesterday — the success of Singapore and how we are at the forefront of global politics. But on another hand, we’re also experiencing a certain degree downfall alongside it. As I listened to the rest of the stories that he wanted to share with me, I cannot help but remember that this was the exact same struggle that another chairman of a charity shared with me — people who serve in charities only wanted to serve time and leave, not minding the goals of the organisation nor do they have any love for others.

“What sets us apart from animals?” he joked. “We both work as a team. We both complete daily tasks. We both eat and we both die. But animals know the importance of teamwork. What about us? We’re full of our-selves. So, what makes us human?”

I was dumbfounded at this question. I figure he’s right! If we aren’t able to look beyond current task-related obligations, then how are we able to have love? If we can’t find meaning beyond our transactional lifestyles, how can we experience interpersonal bonds that transcend the immediate present?

I figure the only way we can transcend legalistic obligation is through the overcoming of it. The layperson may consider working on a certain task while knowing the meaning behind why he is doing it. Understanding the goal of the entire organisation may give meaning and value to the task one is doing, no matter how minute. However, we know this is not lasting in the long run and this principle cannot be applied across the board.

So there must be an alternative to bond-building. There must be an alternative for us as humans to be humans once more. We need to redefine humanity beyond who we currently are.

Putting our innate purpose of existence on organisational goals may add value to our identity within the task we are allocated to. But the value stops there. It stops when we put down our task and depart home for the evening. Since our lives does not just encompass work, so our value cannot be tied purely to organisational goals. So what if we tie it to our families and our loved ones? What if we live our lives in a way that will benefit our family? If we do this, we will need to consider what becomes of us when they grow up and depart from us. We will need to redefine our identity and value when any one of our loved ones depart from this life. This then is meaningless.

So if meaning cannot be paired to things of this world, whether organisational goals nor our loved ones, so should it be paired to that that is Greater than Life? This is exactly what the Bible reminded us to do. We are reminded that “whatever we do, work at it with all our heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since we know that we will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ we are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV). When we pair our value to that that is the Giver of Life, the value of all that we do — be it family-related (Col 3:18-21), or work-related (Col 3:22) — will magnify itself exponentially.

Consider now that if it is truly the Lord Jesus Christ we are serving — regardless of what we are doing — then this Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead will release us from the Law so that we may serve in the new way of the Spirit.

Therefore, at the end of the matter, being human isn’t about fulfilling our duties on earth neither is it about the pursuit of career-related successes. Being human is about overcoming life itself. Being human is to long to hear the Giver of Life saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

Being human is to enjoy our Maker’s happiness the way He intended for us.

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https://themanifoldwisdomofgod.wordpress.com/2019/11/29/what-does-it-mean-to-be-human/

Before we say, “Here I am. Send me.” – A reflection on Isaiah 1-6.

Sim Chen Xing  November 21, 2019

Preparation is important. Answering God’s call when we are uncertain of our faith and when we have no knowledge of the world we live in might bring unnecessary harm to the work of the gospel.

Just to be clear, when God called Isaiah to “go for Him” (ref: Isaiah 6:8), the message God had for Isaiah was to tell the people that they will not be healed (ref: Isaiah 6:9-10). It was a message of judgement not blessing. It was a message of terror, not well-being. It was a message of destruction, not prosperity. It was not the gospel.

Sure, you might argue that the sign of the coming Messiah was mentioned in Isaiah chapter 7, but that’s not the point, is it? We have got to understand the context behind why the message was given to Isaiah at that particular instance. To understand this, we must relook the first five chapters of Isaiah.

Background of Isaiah’s Visions

Isaiah started off his book by stating that Israel does not know God (ref: Isaiah 1:3). Israel has persisted in rebellion and had been severely injured as a result. Yet, God in His unwavering love cared for her and pleaded with her to repent (ref: Isaiah 1:5-6Isaiah 1:18-20Matthew 23:37). Though outwardly the people are worshipping God, they were legalistic in their approach, ritualizing their worship so that they appear outwardly righteous but are inwardly full of hypocrisy and wickedness (Ref: Isaiah 1:11-17Matthew 23:27-28). So God reasoned for them with a way out. He will provide them with a way out and will thoroughly purge away their sins and have all their impurities removed. Though their sins are like scarlet, they will be white as snow. He will restore them as in their days of old; glorifying them to be called “the City of Righteousness” and “the Faithful City” (ref: Isaiah 1:18-1925-27).

At this, God continued to show Isaiah the future event that is to come: the gathering of the nations at the mountain of the Lord where people will learn the ways of the Lord so that they will walk in His paths (ref: Isaiah 2:3). There will be a Unified Kingdom in the last days whose goal is to provide the welfare for the entire world and to submit to the authority of God (ref: Isaiah 2:4). At this, Isaiah invites the house of Jacob, “Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord” (ref: Isaiah 2:5).

But not everything was peaches and cream. Judgement must be done to humble the proud. All that humanity built will be destroyed and all idols will disappear (ref: Isaiah 2:82:12-18) when the dread of the Lord and the splendour of His Majesty shakes the earth (ref: Isaiah 2:102:21). He will do these through the creation of loopholes in governmental systems, allowing immature boys to rule over them; children to govern them (ref: Isaiah 3:4). Immaturity and bad management will cause oppression amongst the people and consequently, the failure to respect elders (ref: Isaiah 3:5). Policymakers will go from house to house to pick people who will lead them, not knowing that the nation has already been thrown into chaos and no one is capable of leadership (ref: Isaiah 3:6-7).

However, the people were not repentant. They continue their pride parades and their marches for “freedom” (ref: Isaiah 3:9). They do not know the Lord. So the Lord let them enjoy the fruit of their labour — youths oppress the people and women rule over them (ref: Isaiah 3:12).

Now God takes His seat and judges the people saying that “it is you who have ruined my vineyard”. The people have plundered the poor, crushing the people, and grinding the faces of the poor (ref: Isaiah 3:14-15). The women were prideful in their actions, using their newfound stature and wealth to flirt with men around them (ref: Isaiah 3:16-17), so the Lord will take all of these away (ref: Isaiah 3:18-24), wipe out the men in battle (ref: Isaiah 3:25), and reinstate within them the desire to be loved (ref: Genesis 3:16). On that day, these women will look for love and it will not be found, they’ll desire a home but it will not be given (ref: Isaiah 4:1).

The days of darkness will not be long, though. The branch of the Lord will grow and be beautiful and glorious. The fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors. All who remain faithful will be called Holy. God will wash away all our sins and cleanse our wounds by the Spirit of Judgement and the Spirit of Fire. He will personally lead His people by a cloud of smoke and a flaming fire. It will be a shelter for the people from the heat of the day and a refuge and hiding place from storm and rain (ref: Isaiah 4:2-6).

The vision could have stopped here. But God continued to express His love and exasperation for His Creation. He’s planted a vineyard – a vineyard whom He loves (ref: Isaiah 5:1-2Matthew 21:33). But the tenants caused it to yield only bad fruits (ref: Isaiah 5:2-4). So, in His anger, God vowed to destroy the vineyard of the One He loves (ref: Isaiah 5:5-7). He will bring about judgement to those who cared only for themselves rather than the work of God’s hands (ref: Isaiah 5:8-12), humbling them and exalting Himself through His justice when He shows Himself by His righteousness (Isaiah 5:15-16). Judgement in the form of man-made and natural disasters will happen on the surface of the earth till the entire planet is covered with smoke and the light of the sun cannot pass through (ref: Isaiah 5:30).

It was on this note that God revealed His heavenly position to Isaiah. It was only after all of these visions that Isaiah saw God seated, high and exalted, on His throne (ref: Isaiah 6:1). It was on this note when Isaiah penned down the famous vision we can all memorise. It was on this note when God called out, “who can I send?” It was on this note when Isaiah replied, “here I am. Send me.”

How are Isaiah’s Visions applicable to us in modernity?

Understanding Isaiah’s vision will give us a clearer understanding of the world we live in today. We know this because contextual prophecies in the Bible will never be a one-time off thing. When God shows us a certain societal trend in the form of a vision or a prophecy, it’ll have an immediate fulfilment as well as a future (or repeated) occurrence. After all, nothing is new under the sun (ref: Ecclesiastes 1:9). That said, I’m proposing that all of the prophecies concerning societal trends that were the result of sins are applicable to modern times.

For example, when God makes boys the people’s officials and mere children their governments (ref: Isaiah 3:4), we might relate it to how meritocracy allows people who excel in their studies to take up high ranking positions in the civil services. The young will rise up against the old (ref: Isaiah 3:5), resulting in a form of oppression that was never expected in the two or three generations that preceded them. When considering how people rise up against one another to oppress each other, have we considered how chaotic the world is? Like Hong Kong in its current state? Consider also how “women rule over people” (ref: Isaiah 3:12). Doesn’t this sound like feminism? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposing equality. I’m just opposing the ruling over part. It’s feminism on drugs that led to women being “haughty” (ref: Isaiah 3:16). How about LGBT pride parades? How about arts and entertainment productions that glorify detestable behaviours in the sight of God? “They parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it” (ref: Isaiah 3:9). How about capitalism at the expense of oppressing the poor? “Woe to them who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left. They live alone in the land” (ref: Isaiah 5:8). They will be brought low and humbled (ref: Isaiah 5:15).

What does that mean to us?

Knowing these gives us the awareness of God’s calling. It gives us the awareness of the gravity of God’s calling. It reminds us that we are “a person of unclean lips living among people of unclean lips” (ref: Isaiah 6:5). Isaiah was reminded that he was in a way or another, related to all the people that he saw in the visions earlier. And this realisation caused him to repent for the fear of the Lord. He realised that he’s not worthy to be where he was and he could have died standing before the face of the Lord.

Isaiah had the contextual knowledge for the call that was placed ahead of him. He’s seen it, not just through the vision, but through his daily living. He’s evaluated the society as he knew it and must have prayed for it on a daily basis. It is through this knowledge and the assurance that his sins (past, present, and future) were atoned for that he so willingly replied, “Here I am. Send me!”

Likewise, having the contextual knowledge of God’s call gives us a perspective of the severity of the work that is laid before us. It prepares us psychologically for what is ahead of us, allowing us to plan our moves according to the nature of the message and the knowledge we have gained about our audiences. On top of this, we are to ensure that we are sure of our faith. We need to rest on the assurance that our sins, however large, were atoned for. If we are uncertain of what God had done for us, how can we lead people into the faith? If we are uncertain of our future, how can we speak of life eternal?

In all that we do, we must know that we are representing a living and loving God who is always longing for the return of humanity back to His Arms. From the very beginning until our current day and age, He has never given up on us. But because of sins, the mystery of existence will be hidden from the people we are tasked to speak to. They will hear and never understand, see and never perceive. Are we ready to preach the Word knowing we will face all sorts of obstacles? Are we ready to preach the Word with such cultural sensitivity that we speak not to the person but to his spirit?

I think, before we say, “Here I am. Send me,” we will need to ask ourselves if we have seen all that Isaiah saw. Are we assured of our eternal salvation in Christ? Don’t dive into deep waters without knowing what is in store for us.

Are we ready?

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VIDEO 100+ volunteers serve community in ‘Church Has Left The Building’ event

 

By Joyce Philippe | September 22, 2019

 

MOSS POINT, Miss. (WLOX) – Instead of holding a typical Sunday service, Safe Harbor United Methodist Church decided to switch things up with its first “Church Has Left the Building” event.

At 9 a.m., about 120 members walked out of the sanctuary and split up to work on one of 17 projects. The service area ranged from Escatawpa to Pascagoula.

“There’s something for everybody no matter how old or how young, no matter how talented or gifted you are with working with your hands,” said pastor Robbie Murden.

The projects included a free car wash, a cemetery clean-up, school beautification and helping people at local businesses with everyday tasks. One group helped organize shopping carts at Piggly Wiggly in Moss Point.

“People are really shocked, they’re like, ‘what are y’all doing?’” said volunteer Jerica Hudson. “They’re trying to give us donations, they’re trying to pay for the water. We’re saying no, please just let us help you with your groceries. It’s a blessing to us, so we’ve enjoyed it.”

Others cut and tied blankets to give to the homeless. When finished, they blessed each blanket with a prayer and an uplifting message.

“It’s needed and it’s really fun to do to help other people and your community,” said volunteer Gracie Coleman.

One team was dedicated to preparing the night’s supper. After an eventful day of service, volunteers reassembled and broke bread while sharing their experiences with helping others.

“We’re just worshipping God in a different way. We’re not staying inside the building to worship God because God is everywhere, and we want to be able to do that as well,” Murden said.

Copyright 2019 WLOX. All rights reserved.

https://www.wlox.com/2019/09/22/volunteers-serve-community-church-has-left-building-event


Mobilize: The Church has Left the Building!

Willing to be used by God

By jccast

 

Most followers of this blog know it is connected with the First Baptist Church of Madras. A small rural church in Central Oregon.

A curious fact that we’ve had to deal with as long as I’ve been a member—nearly twenty-years—is trying to maintain competent musicians to back-up the worship team.

I spent most of those years singing, playing guitar, and performing original music for specials. Unfortunately, arthritis has made it impossible for me to keep playing the guitar. Luckily, my primary instrument is drums, and the arthritis hasn’t hindered that ability.

Off and on for a few years I was accompanied by “P”, a man with a similar musical background in a variety of rock bands. He’s a good musician, competent with both guitar and bass, and we had fun challenging each other. Unfortunately, “P” has never been able to commit his God-given talents to the one who instilled those abilities within him. And, the last I heard, he was doing studio work with a secular rocker that needs a “toke” break after each recording.

I recall a young man, “N”, who came to the church for a while. He and his girlfriend bragged continually about his ability to play guitar, so I kept inviting him to come practice with the worship team. Invitations he continually turned down because of the time commitments. So, I said he could do specials every now and then, like myself and others do. He told me that he’d love to, but he had to sell his guitar. So, I said he could borrow one of mine, which was met with more excuses…so, I quit asking.

A few months later, while preparing for Sing-spiration, a worship and praise event we do along with a church from the nearby Warm Springs Reservation, “N” asked if he could borrow one of my guitars, so that he could perform a special song (while his girlfriend took pictures of him on stage).

When he got up to play, I quickly realized that all the excuses were simply covering up and prolonging the many lies he had told. He had bragged about being a great lead guitarist, and as soon as he put his hands on the guitar it was painfully obvious that he didn’t know a single chord.

Choosing discretion, not wanting to make a scene during the two-congregation event, I took “N” aside later to voice my displeasure over his continual lying to me, and others in the church.

Unfortunately, many more lies were told by “N’, along with various other inappropriateacts; until he was asked to leave and never return.

In such a small community, we sometimes go months, even years, between having new prospective musicians come to the congregation. For instance, Nancy, a wonderful pianist, and myself on the drums, have carried the musical load for several years (with an occasional musician popping in to help every now and then).

Thankfully, we serve a caring God! A God willing to take an active role in our lives and His church. And when He apparently got as frustrated as us over musicians coming to our church and choosing to remain pew-sitters, or go somewhere else, God changed His tactic. Through the unction of the Holy Spirit, He created a new desire in a man that has been a member of this church for years. He gave him the desire to join the worship team, not just to sing (which had been all he’d ever done), but to learn how to play an instrument. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” — Phil. 2:13

When James first approached me concerning the urge, he believed God was placing on his heart, I stressed the need for commitment. At the time, the arthritis in my hands had not yet hindered my ability to play the guitar. So, I was willing to teach him how to play if he honestly made the commitment to learn. However, James was pushing middle-age, and had never wanted to play an instrument before. So, truthfully, I wasn’t expecting too much. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

I’ve been working with James over a year now. His commitment remains strong. And the only time he had to take a break was when his family went from a double-income to single-income household, and he couldn’t make the long trip over regularly. But as soon as the second-income was restored, James has been true to the commitment.

James knows he still has a lot to learn. And it’s not easy for him, because he’s not naturally musically inclined, so he has to work twice as hard. He also deals with a confidence issue when he’s periodically been asked to lead. But he’s made huge strides from the beginning to now, because he’s willing to commit and be used by God; unlike the first two examples.

“P” was naturally musically inclined. God had blessed him with musical talent, and he picked up everything quickly. Unfortunately, “P” could not make the same commitment to God.

“N”, on the other hand, was merely a wannabe. He lacked the ability to commit to anything. It was easier to lie and brag about how good he was, but he never took the time to actually learn how to play. And, sadly, he approached his spiritual walk the same way.

When the people with God-given talent and skills learned through education or life experience refuse to answer God’s call, or when people settle for the easy road and life as a wannabe, God will leave them to their foolish choices. Human standards mean nothing to God. He will simply find willing vessels, like James, to accomplish His plans.

Sadly, those with a willing heart and ability to commit appear to be the minority. In most churches, approximately twenty-percent of the members handle 80-90% of the work. The common denominator among those in the twenty-percent is that they are willing to be used by God—obediently following His purpose for their lives in order to bring glory to His name.

I have been a Believer for nearly half a century, and have seen just about every type or category of church goer and/or member there is. I’ve seen individuals so malleable to God’s perfect sculpting that they effortlessly slide into a position and produce unimaginable results. I’ve seen a large number of workers struggling and sacrificing as they learn tasks they never needed before, in order to succeed in one or more positions no one else would accept. And I’ve witnessed countless people casually earn the title “pew-sitter” as they habitually arrive, sit through the service, and depart—never getting involved with anything except, perhaps, the free meals.

It becomes clear, over time, that God puts His hand of blessing on the willing spirit who will trust Him completely, instead of the various other categories which lack obedience to God.

The category of willing workers being small should not discourage you, for it has always been that way.

“The harvest is so great, and the workers are so few,” he told his disciples. “So, pray to the one in charge of the harvesting, and ask him to recruit more workers for the harvest fields.” — Matthew 9:37-38

Don’t allow any perceived lack to stop you from willingly obeying God’s purpose for your life. God can use anyone if they’re willing to obey Him.

Notice among yourselves, dear brothers, that few of you who follow Christ have big names or power or wealth. Instead, God has deliberately chosen to use ideas the world considers foolish and of little worth in order to shame those people considered by the world as wise and great. He has chosen a plan despised by the world, counted as nothing at all, and used it to bring down to nothing those the world considers great, so that no one anywhere can ever brag in the presence of God. — 1 Cor. 1:26-29

Remember, “If you are really eager to give, then it isn’t important how much you have to give. God wants you to give what you have, not what you haven’t.” — 2 Cor. 8:12. And, while this verse is presented in the context of finances, the same principle applies to your time, effort, and using your talent and skills, as well.

Instead of just taking up space or adding more problems to an already problem riddled world, wouldn’t you like your life to matter? You just need to be willing to trust and obey God, allowing Him to fulfill His purpose through you.

Every action taken for God counts for more than this temporal existence, it reverberates throughout eternity. And we do not have to rely on our strength and abilities alone. God equips us with whatever is needed to fulfill His purpose, just like Jesus did for His disciples prior to sending them out to continue the ministry He began.

Jesus called his twelve disciples to him, and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of sickness and disease. — Matthew 10:1

A life lived to help fulfill the purpose of God brings with it a satisfaction and contentment far beyond those surrounded by wealth acquired through avarice, greed, and blind ambition. And while the world’s wealth will disappear the treasures stored in heaven through obedient actions will never disappear.

For those of you already at that level of spiritual maturity, I thank you for doing your part for the Body of Christ. For the rest of you, especially the pew-sitters, isn’t it time to get off the bench and into the game? If you cannot see the warning signs in every area of present-day society, you have a serious case of self-denial. And I pray the Lord opens your eyes before it’s too late. And, for those of you that have seen the signs, and have begun to move on God’s behalf, take heart and remain courageous—for God is also working on your behalf.

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. — Phil. 2:13

And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans. — Romans 8:28

It has always been about our willingness, for God gave us freedom of choice.

Choose wisely.

 

MeDrums1 (2)

 

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