Category Archives: Uncategorized

Our Daily Bread — Just a Second

 

Read: Psalm 39:4–6 | Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 30–31; Luke 13:23–35

How fleeting my life is. Psalm 39:4

Scientists are pretty fussy about time. At the end of 2016, the folks at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland added an extra second to the year. So if you felt that year dragged on a bit longer than normal, you were right.

Why did they do that? Because the rotation of the earth slows down over time, the years get just a tiny bit longer. When scientists track manmade objects launched into space, they must have accuracy down to the millisecond. This is “to make sure our collision avoidance programs are accurate,” according to one scientist.

Lord, help us to use our time wisely for Your honor and glory.

For most of us, a second gained or lost doesn’t make much difference. Yet according to Scripture, our time and how we use it is important. For instance, Paul reminded us in 1 Corinthians 7:29 that “time is short.” The time we have to do God’s work is limited, so we must use it wisely. He urged us to “[make] the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16 esv).

This doesn’t mean we have to count each second as do the scientists, but when we consider the fleeting nature of life (Psalm 39:4), we can be reminded of the importance of using our time wisely.

Lord, thank You for each moment You give us. May we strive to honor You with this gift by using our time wisely for Your honor and glory.

Don’t just spend time—invest it.

By Dave Branon

INSIGHT

Can you think of a time in your life that served as a wake-up call? David wrote Psalm 39 recalling such a moment. Although he doesn’t describe the circumstances that roused him from a sleeplike existence, his song tells us how he came to sense the importance of the moments given to us.

At first, he’s troubled by those who seem to have no moral conscience. Sensing foolishness and danger in their presence, he decides not to speak—maybe so he won’t be like them or so that his words cannot be used against him (39:1–2).

But in self-imposed silence, David has a more troubling thought. He too has been living without wisdom. Time is getting away from him. He’s lost the joy and wonder of life. Realizing his own inclination to think life is found in the material things we accumulate, he calls out for help (vv. 3–6).

Recalling what he has already learned about the Source of joy and hope, he sees how reliant he is on the eternal God to help him see more than the momentary distraction of passing wealth (vv. 7–13).

Could this be a good time to see ourselves in David’s song?

Mart DeHaan

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – Let Peace Be Your Umpire

Let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts. — Colossians 3:15

I try to run my life by finding peace. If I am shopping, I don’t buy something if I don’t have peace about it. If I am involved in a conversation and find myself losing my peace, I become quiet. When I make decisions, I look at the options before me and see where the peace is. When I am trying to discern between the voice of God and the other voices that compete for my attention, I listen to see which voice or message brings the peace of God into my heart.

I have learned that maintaining peace is important in order to maintain power in our lives. When we don’t have peace, we may very well be making a serious mistake. I would go so far as to say we should never act without peace. We might say that peace is an “internal confirmation” that God approves of the decision we have made. God leads us by peace.

The verse for today says peace is like an umpire that decides what is “safe” or what is “out.” If there’s no peace, it’s “out”! We are to let the inner harmony in our minds and souls rule and act as an umpire continually in our hearts, deciding and settling with finality all the questions that arise in our minds and the decisions we must make in our lives.

We must learn to obey our own sense of right and wrong and resist doing things our inner conscience is uncomfortable doing. God gives or takes peace from our conscience to let us know whether or not we are on track.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for leading and guiding me into Your perfect will. Help me to be more sensitive to Your Holy Spirit and follow Your peace in all of life’s decisions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

From the devotional Hearing from God Each Day by Joyce Meyer.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

John Stossel: The left’s war on science | Fox News

 

We’ve been told conservatives don’t believe in science and that there’s a “Republican war on science.”

But John Tierney, who’s written about science for The New York Times for 25 years and now writes for the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, told me in my latest online video, “The real war on science is the one from the left.”

Really? Conservatives are more likely to be creationists — denying evolution.

“Right,” says Tierney. “But creationism doesn’t affect the way science is done.”

What about President George W. Bush banning government funding of stem cell research?

“He didn’t stop stem cell research,” Tierney reminds me. “The government wouldn’t fund it. It turned out that it really didn’t matter much.” Private funding continued and, so far, has not discovered much.

“People talk about this Republican war on science, but if you look around, my question is, where are the casualties? What scientists lost their jobs?” asks Tierney. “I can’t find examples where the right wing stopped the progress of science, whereas you can look on the left and you see so many areas that are taboo to research.”

Some research on genetically modified foods became taboo because of protests from the left. That may have prevented a second Green Revolution to feed Africa.

Scientists can’t even talk about whether genes affect intelligence without being threatened by the left. Political scientists who continued to investigate the topic are screamed at on college campuses, the way Charles Murray, author of “The Bell Curve,” has been.

Tierney adds, “The federal government stopped funding IQ research decades ago.”

Likewise, researching gender differences is dangerous to your career.

“You can’t talk about sexual differences between men and women, (although) it’s OK if they favor women,” laughs Tierney. “You can say men are more likely to commit crimes, but you can’t suggest that there might be some sexual difference that might predispose men to be more interested in a topic.”

Google fired engineer James Damore merely for suggesting that sex differences might explain why more men choose to work in tech.

“Damore just pointed out very basic scientific research about differences between the sexes,” argues Tierney. “The experts in this, as soon as he published that memo, said, yes, he basically got the science right.”

It’s not as if women aren’t doing well in life, says Tierney.

In universities, “women dominate virtually every extracurricular activity, but all the focus has been: ‘Why aren’t there more women physicists and mathematicians, and of course in the sports area, too?'” says Tierney. “There’s this idea that they’re being discriminated against, (but) there have been enormous studies of who gets grants, who gets tenure, who gets interviews for jobs, and women get preference.”

However, one group does get discriminated against in colleges: conservatives.

“In the social sciences, Democrats outnumber Republicans by at least eight to one. In fields like sociology it’s 44 to one. Students are more likely to be taught in sociology by a Marxist than by a Republican,” says Tierney. “It’s gotten worse and worse.”

Why does this happen at colleges that claim they “treasure diversity”? Because people on the left believe diversity just means race and gender, not thought. And even schools that want some diverse thought reach a sort of political tipping point.

“Once an academic department gets a majority of people who are on the left, they start hiring people like themselves, and soon the whole department is that way,” says Tierney. “They start to think that their opinions and that their interests are not only the norm, but the truth.”

That’s how we get “scientific” studies that “prove” conservatives are stupid.

One such study asked people if they agree with the statement “Earth has plenty of natural resources if we just learn how to develop them.” The researcher called a “yes” answer an “irrational denial of science.” But anyone who’s studied economics knows the statement has repeatedly been proven true.

Finally, millions of people die of malaria today partly because many countries believed leftist junk science and needlessly banned DDT. Many were influenced by Rachel Carson’s scientifically challenged book “Silent Spring.”

There is a war on science.  But most of it doesn’t come from the right.

 

Source: John Stossel: The left’s war on science | Fox News

Denison Forum – How Martin Luther King Jr.’s last Sunday sermon speaks to us today

Tomorrow marks the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last Sunday sermon.

On March 31, 1968, Dr. King preached at the Washington National Cathedral. An overflow crowd heard him deliver “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution,” calling his listeners to join God in a movement that would bring righteousness to a culture divided by racial bigotry and endemic poverty.

In his message, he noted: “On some positions, cowardice asks the question: Is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question: Is it politic? Vanity asks the question: Is it popular? Conscience asks the question: Is it right?”

Then Dr. King stated, “There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.”

Four days later, he paid for his conscience with his life.

Continue reading Denison Forum – How Martin Luther King Jr.’s last Sunday sermon speaks to us today

Should We Chill Out about Global Warming? – Scientific American

 

 

Two “ecomodernists” argue that continued progress in science and other realms will help us overcome environmental problems

 

I work hard to maintain my optimistic outlook. Wishful thinking works. The first step toward building a more healthy, peaceful, just world is to believe we can do it. So how do I deal with all the bad news about climate change? U.S. officials are rolling back regulations designed to curb global warming even as reports flood in about its scale and potential consequences.

I have thus found solace in two new essays that offer upbeat takes on our environmental future. Both reflect the outlook of ecomodernism, a movement I have written about here and here. One essay, published in the ecomodernist Breakthrough Journal, is by mega-pundit Steven Pinker. I have knocked Pinker for his views on the roots of war and other matters, but in general I appreciate his empirically-based optimism.

His Breakthrough essay, “Enlightenment Environmentalism,” is adapted from his new bestseller Enlightenment Now. The book, which been praised and attacked, argues that we’ve achieved lots of progress, material and moral, and we should achieve lots more as long as we don’t succumb to fatalism.

In his Breakthrough essay, Pinker spells out a key assumption of ecomodernism. Industrialization “has been good for humanity. It has fed billions, doubled lifespans, slashed extreme poverty, and, by replacing muscle with machinery, made it easier to end slavery, emancipate women, and educate children. It has allowed people to read at night, live where they want, stay warm in winter, see the world, and multiply human contact. Any costs in pollution and habitat loss have to be weighed against these gifts.”

Pinker contrasts the can-do ecomodernist spirit with “the lugubrious conventional wisdom offered by the mainstream environmental movement, and the radicalism and fatalism it encourages.” We can solve problems related to climate change, Pinker argues, “if we sustain the benevolent forces of modernity that have allowed us to solve problems so far, including societal prosperity, wisely regulated markets, international governance, and investments in science and technology.”

The bulk of Pinker’s essay consists of documentation of how we’ve handled environmental threats. We have reduced our rate of population growth; made agriculture, transportation and other key industries more energy-efficient; and increased the acreage of marine and terrestrial preserves. Here is a typical passage:

“Since 1970, when the Environmental Protection Agency was established, the United States has slashed its emissions of five air pollutants by almost two-thirds. Over the same period, the population grew by more than 40 percent, and those people drove twice as many miles and became two and a half times richer. Energy use has leveled off, and even carbon dioxide emissions have turned a corner. These diverging curves refute both the left-wing claim that only de-growth can curb pollution and the right-wing claim that environmental protection must sabotage economic growth and standard of living.”

My mood got an even bigger boost from “The Conquest of Climate” by Will Boisvert, a journalist I met at an ecomodernist powwow a few years ago. My first exposure to Boivert’s dry, iconoclastic sensibility was a 2013 Breakthrough Journal article, “A Locavore’s Dilemma,” which asserts that “the linkage of local farming to efficiency and sustainability is dubious.” Boisvert’s new essay, which he posted on his blog “Progress and Peril,” deserves to be widely read. It is even broader in scope than Pinker’s essay, and I found its analysis strikingly original. Boisvert begins:

“How bad will climate change be? Not very. No, this isn’t a denialist screed. Human greenhouse emissions will warm the planet, raise the seas and derange the weather, and the resulting heat, flood and drought will be cataclysmic. Cataclysmic—but not apocalyptic. While the climate upheaval will be large, the consequences for human well-being will be small. Looked at in the broader context of economic development, climate change will barely slow our progress in the effort to raise living standards.”

Boisvert examines four consequences of climate change: water shortages, food shortages, rising air temperatures and rising seas. He contends that the negative effects of climate change will be offset by continued progress in technology and other realms. As an example, he examines a 2016 Lancet study that predicted that by 2050 climate change will cause food shortages that result in 529,000 deaths each year.

The food shortages, Boisvert points out, “are relative to a 2050 baseline when food will be more abundant than now thanks to advances in agricultural productivity that will dwarf the effects of climate change.” Even factoring in climate change, the Lancet study calculates that per capita food consumption will be higher in 2050 than in 2010. Newsweek’s story on the Lancet study was nonetheless headlined, “Climate change could cause half a million deaths in 2050 due to reduced food availability.”

Boisvert comments: “A headline like ‘Despite climate change, rising food production will save millions of lives’ isn’t great click-bait, but it would give a truer picture of a future under global warming.” He adds: “Global warming won’t wipe us out or even stall our progress, it will just marginally slow ordinary economic development that will still outpace the negative effects of warming and make life steadily better in the future, under every climate scenario.”

I also like Boisvert’s discussion of water shortages. Claiming that a drought sparked Syria’s terrible civil war, greens warn that global warming could provoke “water wars.” Boisvert points out that the drought that struck Syria also affected Israel. He continues:

“Shortages forced Israel to tighten its already stringent water conservation and recycling standards. More importantly, they prompted breakthroughs in reverse-osmosis desalination technology, cutting by half the energy needed to extract fresh water from the sea and dramatically lowering the cost to just 58 cents per cubic meter (1,000 liters) of drinkable water… The implications of cheap desalination are profound. By tapping limitless sea-water resources it could drought-proof agriculture and thus eliminate the greatest threat posed by climate change.”

Boisvert notes that “when we think harder about the specific problems global warming poses—problems of water management, agricultural productivity, cooling and construction—the threat becomes less daunting. Our logistic and technical capacities are burgeoning, and they give us ample means of addressing these problems.”

Greens fear that optimism will foster complacency and hence undermine activism. But I find the essays of Pinker and Boisvert inspiring, not enervating. I plan to assign the essays to my students, who have become quite gloomy lately. These days, despair is a bigger problem than optimism.

Further Reading:

Climate Change: Facts Versus Opinions

Merchants of Doubt Author Slams “Corrosive” Climate Change Skepticism

Meta-Post: Horgan Posts on Climate Change, Nuclear Energy and Other Green Topics

By the Time Science Can Pin Hurricanes on Global Warming, Will It Be Too Late?

Are We Doomed to Wage Wars over Water?

 

 

 

Source: Should We Chill Out about Global Warming? – Scientific American Blog Network

Streams in the Desert for Kids -Not Talking

Job 34:29–30, The Message

In the Old Testament there is a story about Daniel. Daniel was praying to God for help, but none came. God was silent—so it seemed. Daniel prayed and went without food for three weeks. Still nothing. Then one day he was standing on the bank of the Tigris River when an angel named Michael appeared before him. Daniel was scared nearly to death, and fell on his hands and knees. Then the angel spoke to him. “Daniel … consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have been sent to you.” Daniel obeyed, standing but trembling like a leaf in the wind. Then the angel said, “Since the first day … your words were heard.”

God heard Daniel the first time he called out to God in prayer. Even though God didn’t respond right away, God heard Daniel. God hears us in the very same way, always listening to our prayers. He’ll answer when the time is right.

Dear Lord, I’m not always patient when I’m asking you for something I need. Help me to learn that you always hear me—even when there seems to be no answer. Amen.

 

 

 

Max Lucado – Jesus Has Ample Room

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Some of the saddest words on earth are: We don’t have room for you!  Sorry, I don’t have room for you on the team. I don’t have room for you in my heart. We don’t have room for your type here.

Jesus was still in Mary’s womb when the innkeeper said, We don’t have room for you. When the religious leaders accused him of blasphemy saying, We don’t have room for a self-proclaimed Messiah! Even today Jesus goes from heart to heart, asking if he might enter. But more often than not he hears the words of the Bethlehem innkeeper…. sorry, too crowded. I don’t have room for you.

But Jesus says I have ample space for you!  “Trust in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms” (John 14:2). We make room for him in our hearts, and he makes room for us in his house!

From When Christ Comes

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

 

http://www.maxlucado.com

Bill Nye Does Not Speak for Us and He Does Not Speak for Science 

 

 

 

 

Bill Nye Does Not Speak for Us and He Does Not Speak for Science

By attending the State of the Union with NASA administrator nominee Jim Bridenstine, the Science Guy tacitly endorses climate denial, intolerance and attacks on science

Tonight, Bill Nye “The Science Guy” will accompany Republican Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), Trump’s nominee for NASA Administrator, to the State of the Union address. Nye has said that he’s accompanying the Congressman to help promote space exploration, since, he asserts, “NASA is the best brand the United States has” and that his attendance “should not be … seen as an acceptance of the recent attacks on science and the scientific community.

But by attending the SOTU as Rep. Bridenstine’s guest, Nye has tacitly endorsed those very policies, and put his own personal brand over the interests of the scientific community at large. Rep. Bridenstine is a controversial nominee who refuses to state that climate change is driven by human activity, and even introduced legislation to remove Earth sciences from NASA’s scientific mission. Further, he’s worked to undermine civil rights, including pushing for crackdowns on immigrants,ban on gay marriage, and abolishing the Department of Education.

As scientists, we cannot stand by while Nye lends our community’s credibility to a man who would undermine the United States’ most prominent science agency. And we cannot stand by while Nye uses his public persona as a science entertainer to support an administration that is expressly xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, racist, ableist, and anti-science.

Scientists are people, and in today’s society, it is impossible to separate science at major agencies like NASA from other pressing issues like racism, bigotry, and misogyny. Addressing these issues should be a priority, not only to strengthen our own scientific community, but to better serve the public that often funds our work. Rather than wield his public persona to bring attention to the need for science-informed policy, Bill Nye has chosen to excuse Rep. Bridenstine’s anti-science record and his stance on civil rights, and to implicitly support a stance that would diminish the agency’s work studying our own planet and its changing climate. Exploring other worlds and studying other planets, while dismissing the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change and its damage to our own planet isn’t just dangerous, it’s foolish and self-defeating.

Further, from his position of privilege and public popularity, Bill Nye is acting on the scientific community’s behalf, but without our approval. No amount of funding for space exploration can undo the damage the Trump administration is causing to public health and welfare by censoring science. No number of shiny new satellites can undo the racist policies that make our Dreamer colleagues live in fear and prevent immigrants from pursuing scientific careers in the United States. And no new mission to the Moon can make our LGBTQ colleagues feel welcome at an agency run by someone who votes against their civil rights.

As women and scientists, we refuse to separate science from everyday life. We refuse to keep our heads down and our mouths shut. As someone with a show alleging to save the world, Bill Nye has a responsibility to acknowledge the importance of NASA’s vast mission, not just one aspect of it. He should use his celebrity to elevate the importance of science in NASA’s mission—not waste the opportunity to lobby for space exploration at a cost to everything else.

The true shame is that Bill Nye remains the popular face of science because he keeps himself in the public eye. To be sure, increasing the visibility of scientists in the popular media is important to strengthening public support for science, but Nye’s TV persona has perpetuated the harmful stereotype that scientists are nerdy, combative white men in lab coats—a stereotype that does not comport with our lived experience as women in STEM. And he continues to wield his power recklessly, even after his recent endeavors in debate and politics have backfired spectacularly.

In 2014, he attempted to debate creationist Ken Ham—against the judgment of evolution experts—which only served to allow Ham to raise the funds needed to build an evangelical theme park that spreads misinformation about human evolution. Similarly, Nye repeatedly agreed to televised debates with non-scientist climate deniers, contributing to the false perception that researchers still disagree about basic climate science. And when Bill Nye went on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show to “debate” climate change in 2017, his appearance was used to spread misinformation to Fox viewers and fundraise for anti-climate initiatives.

Bill Nye does not speak for us or for the members of the scientific community who have to protect not only the integrity of their research, but also their basic right to do science. We stand with others who have asked Bill Nye to not attend the State of the Union. Nye’s complicity does not align him with the researchers who have a bold and progressive vision for the future of science and its role in society.

At a time when our ability to do science and our ability to live freely are both under threat, our public champions and our institutions must do better.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

Source: Bill Nye Does Not Speak for Us and He Does Not Speak for Science – Scientific American Blog Network

Confronting Leftist Lies

 

Leftists who hate America as founded dominate fake news media, Hollywood, public education, and social media. Their mission is to bring America down from her status as the world power. This is why leftists are so repulsed by Trump’s desire to make America great again. Leftists hate the free market and seek to replace it with socialism; a big brother government controlling every aspect of our lives.

Leftists are liberals. Most people think “liberal” means having a live and let live attitude. The reality is that liberals are super aggressive, using government to force their ungodly agenda items down the throats of the masses. This why Obama hates our Constitution — because it restricts government from dictating how we behave. Obama dissed our Constitution with these words: “a charter of negative liberties. It says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the federal government can’t do to you but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.”

Obama’s rant against our Constitution is typical leftist arrogance. They believe their superior intellect should grant them the authority to dictate how we peons should live.

Leftists are also obsessed with poking their finger in the eye of the God of Christianity; transforming America into an anything goes sexually society (bestiality, pedophilia, incest, and etc.). Leftists hate the God of Christianity because He requires moral standards of behavior.

John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” The American left is in a relentless pursuit to strip America of an remnant of her moral and religious roots and heritage.

I watched Alex Azar being sworn in as the new secretary of HHS (Health and Human Services). It was truly refreshing to see Azar with his hand on the Bible, swearing his oath to God to defend our Constitution. Leftists have not successfully totally banned God from our government. Praise God.

It is a shame the way the American left has been allowed to indoctrinate generations of young Americans into believing this divinely conceived, unique experiment called America is the greatest source of evil on the planet. Our Christian roots, birthed out of the teachings of Jesus Christ, makes us the most loving, giving, and compassionate nation on the planet. We are Americans; good people blessed by God.

Since his election, Trump has dramatically dialed back Obama’s legacy of government unlawfully usurping control of our lives. In a nutshell, Trump is making decisions, deals, and policies best for America. Leftists are out of their minds with rage and frustration. Every play in leftists’ “How to Destroy a Republican” playbook has bombed big time against Trump. Fake news media has abandon any pretense of fair and balanced reporting. Every news story is either a distortion or blatant lie about Trump.

For example. Trump’s tax cuts have already sparked a boom in our economy, beneficial to all Americans. Businesses are coming back from overseas. American companies are raising wages and giving bonuses.  And yet, everywhere you turn, leftists are spreading their lie that Trump’s tax cut only impacts the rich. Disgustingly, leftists always play upon our baser instincts; class envy and the sin of covetousness. Leftists want you to hate and feel victimized by anyone who has more than you.

Every day we must be truth warriors slaying lies from the American left about Trump, his agenda, and America.

Movies and TV shows are no longer mindless entertainment. Ninety-nine percent of what comes out of Hollywood is lies; designed to seduce Americans into embracing Leftists’ ungodly agenda. Hollywood relentlessly demonizes Christians, America, mainstream Americans, and Trump.

Leftists in media, colleges and corporations are breaking new ground in their intense efforts to stop Trump’s agenda and silence conservative speech.

Millions are outraged at the NFL. Americans who simply tuned in to watch Sunday football games were slapped in the face by NFL players, coaches, and management politically protesting on the field against our flag, country, national anthem, and police. And yet, NFL management had the audacity to reject an adfor the Superbowl program booklet, claiming it is too political. The ad featured a veteran, a U.S. flag and the words, “#Please Stand.” The NFL’s rejection of the ad is evidence of the NFL arrogantly supporting the American Left while dissing mainstream Americans.

Psychotherapist James Caspian specializes in studying transgenders. Leftists are bullying Caspian into silence for exposing the truth that transgenders who regret having sex change surgery are on the rise. Leftists always quickly seek to silence any truth that contradicts their agenda. We are in a war of Leftists’ lies vs truth.

The 6 o’clock news was on the TV in the background while I was chatting with a relative at his home Folks, it was a truly painful experience. Every news story was liberal spin and/or lies. Programming after the news was seductive liberal propaganda. I watched my relatives unknowingly soaking in all the Leftist beautifully presented excrement. This is what we are up against, folks. If it were not for my Christian faith, I could be discouraged; believing our battle for the hearts and soul of America is already lost.

Since moving to West Virginia from Florida, I stumbled across One America News, a great source of real news on DirecTV. Dish Network refuses to carry OAN.  Facebook is shutting down conservative pages. We are at war, folks.

Pray for God’s wisdom and guidance. Boldly confront Leftists’ lies with truth. God has given us a chance to take back America via President Trump. We have surrendered too much ground to the American Left. Time for us to stand for our flag, our country, and stand with Trump.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American

Help Lloyd spread the Truth.

http://LloydMarcus.com

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Right Side of Pain

We shuffled back and forth between the states that sat like metaphors between our divorced parents—a summer, a spring break, a Christmas far from one of them. The pain of the one we were leaving was always palpable, but we always had to leave.

It’s strange the things you interpret as a child with the limited perceptions you have. I was very small when I determined that pain had sides—like a terrible river that could be crossed. I silently vowed I would not allow anyone to keep me stranded on the wrong side of people in pain. As a result, I’ve spent much time collecting strays, searching for the oppressed, feeling the pain of others, and desperately attempting to bind broken hearts, usually without much (or any) success. I realized one day that every community I have ever been involved with has been one somehow marked by suffering. At times, I was even somewhat frantic about expanding my circle of care. The world of souls is a sad and broken place. I was most certain of this because I was one of them, and I vowed that they would not be alone—or perhaps, at times, more accurately, that I would not be alone.

On occasion, I could be honest about unhealthy patterns to my ever-expanding circles of care. With each oppressed group or heart, I would come alongside with the best of intentions. I would give everything I could and some things I could not—love, time, money, tears, depression—until I collapsed, no longer able to give anything at all. I always thought I was retreating out of necessity because taking in pain was understandably exhausting. I figured that the metaphorical house I tried to keep filled, at times, simply needed to be emptied from over-crowding. I was opening up my house until people were hanging from the rafters and lamps started getting broken, and I was falling apart. Little did I realize, the house was falling apart before any of them entered in the first place. For I was inviting them into the wrong house.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Right Side of Pain

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – A Different Side of Good News

“For a difficult journey, minimal benefits, bitter cold, long months of darkness, constant fatigue and hardship. Most will quit. Honor and recognition in case of success.”

These were the words inscribed on a University of Washington men’s rowing crew advertisement I spotted recently while walking on the university campus. For those who know the history of the men’s crew at U of W, this advertisement will not come as a surprise. The team’s history is replete with times of dramatic struggle and monumental triumph. Perhaps most notable is the story of their quest for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics: an eight oar crew who were not expected to compete against even the East Coast American teams at the time showed astonishing strength to provide a winning story that would not be forgotten.

When I first came across the full-page advert for the men’s crew, I read it at least ten times over. It struck me that of all the ways in which the rowing department would choose to draw first year students to their sport, this was the way they chose to do it: not by enticing students with reward, but with the cost. Yes, there might be glory, the advert hinted, but that was not the compelling point. There would be no guarantee of glory to woo potential recruits. What was promised was pain and sacrifice; this was the U of W crew’s appeal.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – A Different Side of Good News

Christians in Egypt face unprecedented persecution, report says | World news | The Guardian

Christians in Egypt are facing unprecedented levels of persecution, with attacks on churches and the kidnap of girls by Islamist extremists intent on forcing them to marry Muslims, a report says.In the past year, Egypt has moved up an annual league table of persecution of Christians compiled by the charity Open Doors. According to its World Watch List, North Korea is still the most dangerous country in the world in which to be a Christian, and Nepal has had the biggest increase in persecution.But Egypt, home to the largest Christian community in the Middle East, is of particular worry. Officially about 10% of the 95 million population are Christian, although many believe the figure is significantly higher.The overwhelming majority are Orthodox, with up to 1 million evangelical Christians and 250,000 Catholics. Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas on Sunday amid tight security, days after at least 11 were killed in attacks. The president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, attended midnight mass at a new cathedral 30 miles (45km) east of the capital as tens of thousands of armed soldiers patrolled streets around churches all over Egypt.According to Open Doors, 128 Christians were killed in Egypt for their faith and more than 200 were driven out of their homes in 2017. It attributed the rise in persecution to “the overspill of Islamic terrorists driven out of Iraq and Syria”.Last Easter, two church bombings killed 49 people, and another 29 were killed when extremists attacked people travelling to a monastery in May. More than 15 girls in Minya governorate were kidnapped in 2017 to be forced to marry Muslims and convert to Islam, Open Doors said.“Michael Jones”, a Cairo-based businessman and evangelical Christian, told the Guardian there was a gulf between statements from the national leadership regarding the Christian community and actions at a local level.“You hear the president speaking about Christians with a lot of respect and sympathy. Just a few days ago, he made a beautiful, emotional speech when inaugurating our new cathedral. It looked like an amazing affirmation that the state is supporting the church and the Christian community, and doing everything it can to guarantee our welfare,” said Jones, who asked for his real name not to be used.“Then you have have the local authorities in villages and towns – police, judges, business owners – and it’s evident that many of them are infected with a rejection of Christianity. You see this in daily practices – not usually violence, but discrimination.”Jones said Christians were overlooked for jobs or promotion, university students were given bad grades or failed, schoolchildren were made to sit at the back of the class, shop owners were boycotted and hospital patients were not given proper treatment.“There is only a minority of violent extremists, but the culture in Egypt cherishes the perception that Christians are infidels,” he said.The response of the Christian community was one of endurance, prayer and forgiveness, he said. “By forgiving our attackers, we’re not saying they should not be punished but retaliation and revenge is not our response. We don’t want to be part of a cycle of violence.”Jones, who is to address MPs and peers in parliament next week, said many Christians had left Egypt because of discrimination and persecution. “I have thought about leaving many times, but I believe God will take care of me. I don’t want my life defined by fear,” he said.Lisa Pearce of Open Doors said: “Christians in Egypt face a barrage of discrimination and intimidation yet they refuse to give up their faith. It is hard for us … to imagine being defined by our religion every single day in every sphere of life.“In Egypt, as in many other Middle Eastern countries, your religion is stated on your identity card. This makes discrimination and persecution easy – you are overlooked for jobs, planning permits are hard to obtain and you are a target when you go to church.”As well as highlighting persecution of Christians in Egypt, Open Doors said south-east Asia was the next emerging hotspot, fuelled by Islamist extremism in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and the Maldives.

Source: Christians in Egypt face unprecedented persecution, report says | World news | The Guardian

Mystery deepens over fate of super-secret $1 billion military satellite

 

Very little information has been made public about Zuma, which is presumably a spy satellite, but may have other capabilities.

 

Where is Zuma? What is Zuma? What went wrong with Zuma?

The Pentagon is not saying anything about the fate of the military payload, code-named “Zuma,” that was launched this week and may have crashed soon after, and neither is anyone else.

“I would have to refer you to SpaceX, who conducted the launch,” said Dana White, chief Pentagon spokesperson when questioned about the unexplained mystery Thursday, four days after the satellite did or did not go into orbit, or more likely ended up falling back to Earth and plunging into the ocean.

A reporter for Bloomberg, who was among the first to report that something had gone awry with Sunday’s launch, was aghast that Pentagon briefers were refusing to give even the barest details about the highly-classified mission.

“I’m sorry. This is a billion-dollar satellite. It’s been four days. Was it a success or a failure?” pressed Bloomberg’s Tony Capaccio. “And what’s the fate of the satellite?”

“I’m done. We’re not going to be able to give you any more information,” replied Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, director of operations for the Joint Staff.

“I’m asking you, from an accountability standpoint, this thing went bump in the night somewhere, and nobody knows what happened to it?” Capaccio pressed. “You’re the government, you paid for it, you’re the overseers, and you’re asking us to go to the company who might have been partially responsible for the problem?”

“I understand, and given the classified nature of all this … that’s the answer,” White said.

Very little information has been made public about the Zuma payload, which is presumably a spy satellite of some kind, but may have other capabilities such as the ability to repair other satellites in space.

A video posted on SpaceX’s website, appears to show a picture-perfect launch from Cape Canaveral Sunday night.

But by Monday, various space monitoring sites were reporting the satellite was not in orbit.SpaceX has said its Falcon 9 rocket “did everything correctly” but says it cannot provide any more details because of the classified nature of the payload.

Northrop Grumman built the satellite and, according to published reports, the decoupler as well. It’s not issuing any statements, saying it can’t comment on classified missions.

Some experts speculate that the satellite may have failed to separate from the second stage booster, and rode it back to Earth, burning up in the atmosphere.

One thing is obvious: The Pentagon isn’t planning to clear up the mystery anytime soon. It’s not even clear if the U.S. military was the U.S. government agency that paid for the satellite in the first place.

 

 

Source: Mystery deepens over fate of super-secret $1 billion military satellite

Wisdom Hunters – How to Handle Success With Humility and Wisdom 

Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.  2 John 8

Success is wise stewardship; so do not take it for granted. God has blessed you for a purpose, and success is part of His purpose for you. However, if you do not steward wisely and responsibly the blessing of His success, you may very well lose it. Success means you have the attention of your peers and others in your industry and community. Your success over the years may have even gained the respect of many you have never met. Your family respects you; your church respects you; your friends respect you; your work associates respect you. But success is not designed to lull you into apathetic work and lazy living.

Success is meant to drive you to your knees in gratitude to God. Success is an opportunity to seek God for His wisdom regarding a new set of problems and opportunities. Normally, current issues require different answers from those in the past. The process of solving them may be similar, but the solutions are different. You have fared well until now without a structured board of directors or advisory board, but because of your level of success, one or both of these may be necessary, so you have expert advisors and wise counsel surrounding you.

Accountability and wise counsel are big parts of stewarding success. Also, use fiscal restraint. It may take you five years instead of two years for you to reach certain financial milestones. It is better to extend your goals, and avoid unnecessary leverage. Even if people want to throw debt at you, reject the flattery and “just say no.” This is wise stewardship of success.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – How to Handle Success With Humility and Wisdom 

Denison Forum – Could this newly discovered planet support life?

Astronomers have announced the discovery of a nearby planet. Named Ross 128 b, the planet is only eleven light-years away from Earth. It is about the same size as our planet and could have a similar surface temperature.

Could it support life? Scientists believe that water could pool on its surface and radiation from its star would not threaten its environment.

The new find joins a long list of planets discovered in recent years. Humans have always been fascinated with life on other worlds. Perhaps the quest for extraterrestrial life is appealing in part because life on this fallen planet can be so difficult.

It seems we have two options. We can focus on this fallen world as an end in itself, which is reason for great discouragement. Or we can focus on the world to come, using this life as merely a means to an end.

Recently I have been contemplating a third option, one which values both the present world and the world to come.

A different view of life

Consider this statement by C. S. Lewis in The Great Divorce: “Earth, if chosen instead of Heaven, will turn out to have been, all along, a region of Hell: and earth, if put second to Heaven, to have been from the beginning a part of Heaven itself.”

Is he right?

John 3:16 famously states that whoever believes in Jesus “should not perish but have eternal life.” Our Lord did not say that the believer “will have” eternal life but that he has such life now. Then, the moment his body dies, he is with his Lord in paradise (Luke 23:43).

By the same token, the lost are destined for separation from God (Matthew 7:23). At death, they move immediately from earth to hell (Luke 16:22–23). Both heaven and hell are permanent (Luke 16:26; Revelation 20:10, 15).

In other words, eternity has already begun for each of us.

Why eternity matters today Continue reading Denison Forum – Could this newly discovered planet support life?

Max Lucado – Do-it-Yourself Christianity

Do-it-yourself Christianity isn’t much encouragement to the done in and worn out!  “Try a little harder” is little encouragement for the abused. At some point we need more than good advice; we need help. Somewhere on this journey we realize that a fifty-fifty proposition is too little.  We need help from the inside out. The kind of help Jesus promised.

“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it does not see him or know him. But know him, because he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17).

Note the dwelling place of God…in you. Not near us or above us, but in us! In the hidden recesses of our being dwells, not an angel, not a philosophy, not a genie, but God. Imagine that!

Read more When God Whispers Your Name

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Charles Stanley – God’s Ways: Ordinary and Miraculous

1 Kings 17:2-7

In Isaiah 55:8, God declared, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” And in fact, one of the biggest frustrations of the Christian life stems from a lack of understanding about God’s ways. There are times when we could really use a miracle, but He does not come through for us the way we think He should. Our unmet expectations lead to confusion, disappointment, and even anger. We might think, Why did the Lord let me down?

Some people don’t believe God performs big miracles at all, while others are convinced that if He’s not doing the miraculous every day, then something is wrong with their faith. Neither belief is true. We need a balanced perspective, which we find in the Bible.

God works in both supernatural and ordinary ways, and He determines the method. Elijah ate food miraculously delivered by ravens, but his water supply from a brook was completely natural. When the water dried up, the Lord could have made more spring from the ground, but He didn’t.

Sometimes God uses ordinary means to move us in a new direction. The curtailment of Elijah’s water supply opened the door for his next assignment. When the Lord withholds miraculous intervention and lets your brook dry up, He has something else planned for you.

Seeing the work of God in the miraculous is easy. But He’s just as involved in the everyday aspects of life as He is in any supernatural event. Look for His fingerprint in the day’s mundane activities. He is there, opening and closing doors, drying up one opportunity but initiating another.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 43-45

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Loyal Follower 

 “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”    1 Samuel 14:7

Loyal followers are hard to find, but once they are discovered, wise is the leader who values them. They are rare and productive, constantly looking for ways to make the leader successful in his or her God-given mission. They unselfishly serve behind the scenes, tirelessly and tediously. Because of a loyal follower’s sixth sense to anticipate needs, they know how to encourage excellence.

They learn to prod the leader with thorough questioning so the leader’s intuition can be clarified and verified. The loyal follower is an encourager and an implementer. They get things done by converting the leader’s vision into reality. Without the skill and support of these dream enhancers, the visionary leader would drown in their dreams.

Leaders without loyal followers are not effective over the long term. You can beg, bribe, and berate followers into results for a season, but eventually, this type of leadership will drive loyal followers away and leave only the weak ones. The leader may start something, but it is the loyal follower who sustains the new initiative. He or she is comfortable not getting credit, though the wise leader gives it gladly and gratefully. It is no secret that the loyal follower is the engine that keeps the enterprise running smoothly.

Therefore, reward loyalty with loyalty and appreciation or the loyal follower who is taken for granted will remain loyal no more. Paul modeled help for loyal servants of the Lord. “Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel…” (Philippians 4:3a). A wise leader learns to love loyal followers lavishly and unconditionally. Regularly reward those who embody the values of the organization. Thank them with bonuses and unexpected time off.

For followers, loyalty is not an end in itself, but a means to something greater than themselves. They feel called to carry out the God-given mission of the ministry or business. Their loyalty is the fruit of their calling and the result of their respect. They respect because they are respected. Indeed, the respect of the leader toward followers elicits their respect in spades.  When you honor and value your team or family you invite loyalty.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Loyal Follower 

Charles Stanley –Fellowship With Jesus

 

Luke 10:38-42

Two sisters were busy preparing for Jesus’ visit. Upon His arrival, Mary turned her attention to the Lord. Meanwhile, Martha was distracted by the preparations (Luke 10:40) and became agitated that her sister was no longer helping. We may be thinking Martha was right—if there was still work to be done, her sister should not have been sitting down. Then we hear Jesus’ perspective. Observing that Martha was worried and upset about many things when only one thing was needed, He said Mary had chosen what was better (Luke 10:42).

There are some important lessons to be learned from this story. First, to have fellowship with Jesus, we may have to leave some things undone. Jesus knew how hard the women had been working and how much Martha longed to finish the tasks. But their greatest need was to spend time with Him. The sisters’ focus was to be on listening, learning, and interacting with Him.

The second lesson is that our choice to forgo an activity may be misunderstood. Martha certainly didn’t comprehend her sister’s decision. What’s more, if we fail to take time with the Lord, there may be unpleasant consequences. We see this in the way Martha’s distraction led to worry and agitation. Jesus invited her to choose the better way—namely, to be with Him.

Establishing a habit of communing with God is essential to our spiritual health. Even in our daily work, we can learn how to maintain an awareness of Him. So aim to choose the better way, as Mary did. Connecting with Jesus regularly will sharpen your focus on what is most important and help you distinguish what is good from what is truly the Lord’s best.

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 7-9

 

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