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A Christian cry from the heartland…

:Anonymous:

Ive grown up in a Christian family my entire life. All my immediate family is believers except for my own father and a few of my uncles. I grew up going to private Christian school and attending church twice a week. I even work full time at my local church that I have attended for 14 years now as a media designer, creating and coordinating all of our web, video, and motion graphics.

I attended a local ministry school for 3 years, have been on several missions trips, and have seen many prayers answered and miracles happen with my own eyes. I don’t have any doubt in my mind that God is real, His judgement is certain, but so is His grace to any who call on him.

But over the past couple years I have become completely disillusioned with my faith. I know it is very petty to say this, but it is because of President Trump and how he has affected my family.

Today at a luncheon/gathering at my brothers house, I listened to my family rant for 2 hours all of their racist, ignorant, right wing ideas (we are white) with each other. This kind of behavior has happened for much of my life, but after today I just could not stomach it any more and left. Cried when I got home.

I don’t understand how over 100+ years of Christianity and 50+ years of private Christian school could produce such horribly biased and delusion people. They believe that if Trump doesn’t win in 2020 someone ought to start a war with the democrats. They believe that Trump is God’s infallible chosen servant. They believe protesting police brutality is pointless and black people should just submit more. They blame everything wrong in society on democrats. They watch Fox News all day.

If it was just my parents and siblings I might be able to navigate. But even my own pastor (and boss), opens prayer meetings with some right wing talking point that he heard from Fox News. “We need to pray for President Trump, because the liberals are attacking him.” He isn’t openly hostile about it, but he also believes democrats are the root cause of everything wrong in America – they are part of the fallen world and joined with Satan.

I feel like I am all alone in my church of 800+ people. Anyone I knew that definitely was not a Trump supporter has left. I feel like I am going insane and have no one I can trust. Everyone seems to be going insane around me and I don’t understand why God is letting this happen. If so many people I have trusted to know and follow the Word have gone down this road, what hope is there for me to not be deceived about something right now? How can I be so sure that anything I have learned growing up about Jesus is real or true?

Every day I think about killing myself. I am surrounded with so much hate and so many lies. I feel hopeless and don’t know how any of my family or leaders are going to open their eyes.

What is the point of prayer if this is what it has lead us to? Why should anyone burden themselves with knowing Scripture if this is the fruit? Why should I get up every day to try to help my church present a good service if these are the disciples we make? God is light, but He doesn’t come and put a stop to this madness and I don’t know why.

It’s all darkness. Everyone is filled with darkness. Everything is meaningless. I don’t know what to do.

REDDIT

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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Crucified

‘Who here has witnessed a crucifixion?’

I sense their caution, their confusion. So I lift my hand and then press it to my heart. Slowly a few raise their hands, then more, and then it is a wave: all those before me, beginning with my brother seated next to me, then all the men and all the women and even the youngest children, we lift our palms and bring them over our hearts. From deep within the assembled there come cries and weeping.

‘Our brother Bartholomew -‘ and here my voice cracks ‘-he was the first I saw crucified.’

And one by one they begin to stand. A man calls out the name of his brother, a father that of a son, another father moans and declares: ‘My son and his son.’ An old woman, her eyes white, her frailty such that she wavers and totters on her feet but she stands because she must stand, hollers in a voice that is not weak: ‘My husband and my two sons.’ The air is thick with the memory of blood and suffering, and the chamber fills with names. They are Judean and Greek, Syrian and African, names of the east and the west and the south and the north. The crying now is at a pitch that deafens the mind and scours the heart.

I raise both arms. ‘In the kingdom to come, they will be raised and they will be first.’

– Damascus – Christos Tsiolkas –

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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That’s beautiful

A friend comes to you in need.

And you go to another friend to ask for some provision – eggs…a blanket… – in the middle of the night, because you have a visitor to provide for.

And because they are your friend – and because you have importuned them – made a nuisance of yourself – he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

Usually this is used to preach intercession. You go to God and intercede on behalf of someone else.

Or Mary and the Saints intercede for us.

But I heard this: you know your friend well enough to disturb him in the middle of the night.

And the friend loves you as a friend so, irritated but loving you, will get up and give you everything you need!

I have been that friend.

Here’s the thing: Jesus’relationship to me is as Father, and then Savior and then Brother.

But – Jesus is friend! A friend. No duty as a brother, expectation from the same parents – no discipline as a Father.

Just the irritation – and love – of a friend

I’m smiling so hard!

Jesus going, man, you’ve been disturbing me, I told you yesterday I’ve got prayer hours – ok, ok – here you are. And more.

I’ll see you tomorrow.

Are we going swimming? Don’t forget lunch.

How I love my friend.

You ever thought – I can’t tell my Dad…?

– Luke 11:5-8 –

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

I’m laughing.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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A person, alone

“The intellectual answers are important, but intellect alone cannot help us navigate the minefield of pain and suffering.”

“Other worldviews also offer intellectual answers, but Christianity alone offers a person.”

― Ravi Zacharias

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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Of Angels and men; why Christians wage war

This world, itself a speck in the universe, may be—perhaps as a scene of exceptional rebellion against God, certainly as a scene of God’s infinite goodness—a lesson to other spheres of being, far beyond our conception.

In reading Ephesians I find that the whole reconciliation of Jews to Gentiles and humankind to God through Jesus on the cross – is being witnessed by angels who are not only serving in ‘The City of God’ – but learning more of the wisdom of God as they watch our struggle with good and evil – with Christianity – here on Earth.

There’s a 90s film that I forget about angels who come to Earth to have a chance at living; i.e. that Earthly life is uniquely blessed. Anyone remember?

——-+——

– Ephesians 3:10-12 –

– His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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…and to the death of love. (25 mins)

“There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away.

———+———
For though the initial act of redeeming is complete, yet redemption is a process, and not an act. And we ‘are having’ it, as the Apostle says in another place very emphatically, in continual and growing experience.

The estate has been acquired, but has not yet been fully subdued. For there are tribes in the jungles and in the hills who still hold out against the reign of Him who has won it for Himself.

And so seeing that the redemption in its fulness is relegated to some point in the future, towards which we are progressively approximating, and seeing that the best that can be said about the Christian experience here is that we have an ‘earnest of the inheritance,’ we must recognise the incompleteness to-day of our possession of God, and of God’s possession of us.

That is a matter of experience. We know that only too well.

‘I have God’-have I?

I have a drop at the bottom of a too often unsteadily held and spilling cup, and the great ocean rolls unfathomable and boundless at my feet.

How partial, how fragmentary, how clouded with doubts and blank ignorance, how intermittent, and, alas! rare, is our knowledge of Him.

We sometimes go down our streets between tall houses, walking in their shadow, and now and then there is a cross street down which a blaze of sunshine comes, and when we reach it, and the houses fall back, we see the blue beyond. But we go on, and we are in the shadow again.

And so our earthly lives are passed, to a large extent, beneath the shade of the grimy buildings that we ourselves have put up, and which shut out heaven from us, and only now and then a slanting beam comes through some opening, and carries wistful thoughts and longings into the Empyrean beyond. And how feeble our faith, and how little of His power comes into our hearts, and how little of the joy of the Lord is realised in our daily experience we all know, and it is sometimes good for us to force ourselves to feel it is but an ‘earnest’ of the ‘inheritance’ that the best of us has.

‘God has us.’ Has He?

Has He my will, which submits itself, and finds joy in submitting itself, to Him? How many competitors are there for my love which come in in front of Him, and we ‘cannot get at Him for the press’!

How many other motives are dominant in our lives, and how often we wrench ourselves away from our submission to Him, and try to set up a little dominion of our own, and say, ‘Our lives are ours; who is lord over us?’ Oh, brethren! we have God if we are Christians at all, and God has us. But alas! surely all honest experience tells us that there are awful gaps in the circle, and that our possession of Him, and His possession of us, are wofully incomplete.

Now, let me remind you that this incompleteness is mainly our own fault. Of course, I know that for the absolute completeness, either of my possession of God or of His of me, I must pass from out this world, and enter upon another stage and manner of being. But it is not being in the flesh, but it is being dominated by the flesh, that is the reason for the incompleteness of our mutual possession. And it is not being in the world, but it is being seduced and tyrannised over by the influx of worldly desires and thoughts, surging into our hearts, that drives God from out of our hearts, and draws us away from the sweet security of being possessed by, and living close to, Him.

Death does a great deal for a man in advancing him in the scale of being, and in changing the centre of gravity, as it were, of this life. But there is no reason to believe that anything in death, or beyond it, will so alter the set and direction of his soul as that it will lead him into that possession of God, and being possessed by Him, which he has not here.

There are many of us who, if we were to die this instant, would no more have God for ours, or belong to God, than we do now. It is our fault if the circle is broken into so many segments, if the moments of mutual love, communion, and indwelling are so rare and interrupted in our lives.

The incompleteness which is due to our earthly condition is nothing as compared with the incompleteness which is due to our own sin.

But this incompleteness is one which may be progressively diminished, and we may be tending moment by moment, and year by year, nearer and nearer, and ever nearer, to the unreachable ideal of the entire possession of, and being possessed by, our God.

There is a continual process of redemption of ‘God’s own possession’ going on if a Christian man is true to himself and to that Divine Spirit which is the ‘earnest’ of the ‘inheritance.’ Mark that in my text, as it stands in our Bibles, and reads ‘until the redemption,’ there seems to be merely a pointing onwards to a future epoch, but that, in the more accurate rendering which you will find in the Revised Version, instead of ‘until’ we have ‘unto,’ and that teaches us that the Divine Spirit, which in one aspect is the ‘earnest of the inheritance,’ is also operating upon men’s hearts and minds so as to bring about the gradual completion of the process of redemption.

So, dear brethren, seeing that by our own faults the possession is incomplete, and seeing that in the incompleteness there is given to each of us, if we rightly use it, a mighty power which is working ever towards the completion, it becomes us day by day to draw into our spirits more and more of that divine influence, and to let it work more fully upon the sins and faults which, far more than the body of flesh, or the connection with the world which it brings about, are the reasons for the incompleteness of the possession.

We have, if we are wise, the task to discharge of daily enclosing, so to speak, more and more of the broad land which is all given over to us for our inheritance, but of which only so much as we fence in and cultivate, and make our own, is our own.

The incompleteness is progressively completed, and it is our work as much as God’s work to complete it. For though in our text that redemption is conceived of as a divine act, it is not an act in which we are but passive.

The air goes into the lungs, and that oxygenates the blood, but the lung has to inflate if the air is to penetrate all its vesicles. And so the Spirit which seals us unto the redemption of the possession has to be received, held, diffused throughout, and utilised by our own effort.

—–+—-

II. Now, secondly, notice the certainty of the completion of the incompleteness.

—–+—-

As I have already said, the clod of earth and the handful of grass, the servant’s wages, the soldier’s shilling, are all guarantees that the whole of the inheritance or of the pay will be forthcoming in due time.

And so there emerges from this consideration of the Divine Spirit as the ‘earnest,’ the thought that the present experiences of a Christian soul are the surest proofs, and the irrefragable guarantees, of that perfect future. We ask for proofs of a future life.

They may be very useful in certain states of mind, and to certain phases of opinion, but as it seems to me, far deeper than the region of logical understanding, and far more conclusive than anything that can be cast into the form of a syllogism, is the experience of a soul which knows that God is its, and that it is God’s. ‘I think, therefore, I am,’ said the philosopher. ‘I have God; therefore I shall always be,’ says the Christian.

Whilst that evidence is available only for himself, it is absolutely conclusive for himself. And the fact that it does spring in the hearts which are purest, because nearest God, is no small matter to be considered by men who may be groping for proofs of a life to come.

If the selected moments of the purest devotion here on earth bring with them inevitably the confidence of the unending continuance of that communion, then those who do not believe in that future have to account for the fact as best they may.

As for us who do know, though brokenly, and by reason of our own faults very imperfectly, what it is to have God, and be had by Him, we do not need to travel out to dim and doubtful analogies, nor do we even depend entirely upon the fact of a risen Christ ascended to the heavens, and living evermore, but we can say, ‘I am God’s; God is mine, and death has no power over such a mutual possession.’

The very incompleteness adds strength to the assurance, for the facts of the Christian life are such as to demand, both by its greatness and by its littleness, by its loftiness and by its lapses into lowliness, by the floodtide of devotion that sometimes sweeps rejoicingly over the mud-shoals and by the ebb that sometimes leaves them all black and festering, a future life wherein what was manifestly meant to be, and capable of being, dominant, supreme, but was hampered and hindered here, shall reach its full development, and where the plant that was dwarfed in this alien soil, transplanted into that higher house, shall blossom and bear immortal fruits.

The new moon has a ragged edge, and each of the protrusions and concavities are the prophecy of the perfect orb which shall ere long fill the night with calm light from its silvery shield.

The incompleteness prophesies completion.

And if the incompleteness is so blessed, what will the completeness be?

A shilling to a million pounds, Knowledge which is partial and intermittent, like the twilight, as contrasted with the blaze of noonday, Joy like winter sunshine as compared with the warmth and heat of the midday sun at the zenith on the Equator.

The ‘earnest’ of the ‘inheritance’ is wealth; the inheritance itself shall be unaccountable treasure.

—–+—–

III. And so, lastly, a word about the completion of the possession.

——-+—–

The ‘earnest’ is always of the same nature as, and a part of the ‘inheritance.’

Therefore, since the Holy Spirit is the earnest, the conclusion is plain, that the inheritance is nothing less than God Himself.

Heaven is to possess God, and to be possessed by Him.

That is the highest conception that we can form of that future life.

And it is sorely to be lamented that subsidiary conceptions, which are all useful in their subordinate places, have, by popular Christianity, been far too much elevated into being the central blessedness of that future heaven.

It is all right that we should cast the things which it is ‘impossible for men to utter’ into the shape of symbols which may a little relieve the necessary inarticulateness; but golden streets, and crystal pavements, and white robes, and golden palms, and all such representations, are but the dimmest shadows of that which they intend to express, and do often, as is the vice of all symbols, obscure.

We can only conceive of a condition of which we have had no experience, by the two ways of symbolism and of negation. We can say,

‘There shall be no night there; there shall be no curse there; they need no candle, neither light of the sun; they rest not day nor night; there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away.’ But all these negations, like their sister symbols, are but surface work, and we have to go deeper than all of them.

But to possess God, and to be possessed by Him, and in either case fully, perfectly in degree, progressively in measure, eternal in duration, is the Heaven of heaven.

If that is the true conception of the inheritance, then it follows indubitably that such a Heaven is not for everybody.

God would fain have us all for His there, as He would fain have each of us here and now, but it may not be.

There are creatures which live beneath stones, and if you turn their coverings up, and let light fall on them, it kills them. And there are men who have refused to belong to God here, and refused to claim their portion in Him, and such cannot possess that true Heaven which is God Himself.

Then, if its possession is not a mere matter of divine volition, giving a man what he is not capable of receiving, it plainly follows that the preparation must begin now and here by the incomplete possession of which my text is discoursing.

And the way of such preparation is plain.

The context says: ‘In whom, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.’ Faith in Jesus Christ, and trust in Him and His work as my forgiveness, my acceptance, my changed nature and heart-is the condition of being ‘sealed’ with that Spirit whose sealing of us is the condition of our love, our surrender, and mutual indwelling, which are our possession of God and being possessed by Him, and are the condition of our future complete possession of the ‘inheritance.’

We must begin with faith in Christ.

Then comes the sealing, then comes the earnest, then comes the growing redemption, and in due time shall come the fulness of the possession.

‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ’ if thou wouldst have the earnest, whilst thou dost tabernacle in tents in the wilderness of Time, and if thou wouldst have the inheritance when thou crossest the flood into the goodly land.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Laughter

Put your hands under my thigh,
Immigrant,

You from the Eastern Peoples,
Come with the Shepherdess you call Rachel and water your sheep!

Sooth your bitter cry, Esau
Who sold your birthright for a yellow bowl of stew,

You are not about to die,

The West’s intent is more evil than your deceit, come
Mind not the bully with the swastika on his back,

Mind not the woman on his arm with the snarling teeth, fear
Not the politician and his fat black briefcase,

Eat now you handsome man!
Your whole body like a hairy garment!

The smell of you is like the smell of a field,
So eat now,

Before the Policeman in Arkansas hunts you down.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love…”


And I will show you a still more excellent way:

———————+———————

  • If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
  • If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
  • If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
  • Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

  • It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
  • Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
  • It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
  • Love never fails.

-+-
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

——–+——-

  • – 1 Corinthians 13 –
 
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Posted by on December 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Going Evangelical

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.

It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.

The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

—C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Dead homosexuals – or conversion therapy

“At funerals, nobody wants the heterosexual version of that person back – because that person never actually existed. They want the homosexual person that did exist back.”

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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