Archive for December 11, 2011


Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!”               Ps 41:1 NLT

Even in a bad economy most of us are still better off than others, and better off than we have ever been. We may lack the latest, the biggest, the finest and the fastest, but we seldom lack the necessary, right? Now God doesn’t “guilt-trip” us, but He does want us to “Consider [remember, be mindful of] the poor.” The Bible says, “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered” (Pr 21:13 NAS). Could this be a key to your prayers getting answered? To be comfortably provided for is a blessing, but you must not forget those in need.

What is God’s attitude toward the poor? And what does He expect of us? “If there is a poor man among your brothers…do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward [him]…and give him nothing…you will be found guilty of sin” (Dt 15:7-9 NIV). Helping others is an obligation, not an option. In Scripture the tithe took care of God’s work and God’s servants, but it was also to be shared with “the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat…and be satisfied” (Dt 26:12 NIV). God said: “If one of your countrymen becomes poor…unable to support himself…help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you” (Lev 25:35 NIV). The truth is, we’ve been called to feed, shelter and clothe the needy (See Isa 58:5-12). God is compassionate and generous to the poor, and He promises us His blessing for following His example.

http://theencouragingword.wordpress.com/2011/12/11/the-blessings-of-the-compassionate-heart-1/

God’s Ways Are Right · Max Lucado

Posted: December 11, 2011 in Max Lucado

God’s Ways Are Right · Max Lucado.

Breathtaking

Posted: December 11, 2011 in Our Daily Bread

Breathtaking.


Restore our fortunes, LORD,      as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears      will harvest with shouts of joy.

Where I live in the Texas Hill Country, hundreds of creeks meander through the oak-covered hills, canyons, and ranches. A few of these creeks run year round, but most are seasonal. Many of the creeks are, in fact, dry most of the time. This has been especially true during the last year, when we have been experiencing a devastating drought. But, when torrential rain comes, the creeks quickly fill with rushing water, water that often overflows the creek banks.

The streams in the Hill Country are not unlike the wadis in the desert of Israel, which remain dry except in the rainy seasons. When the rain comes, these parched creeks are transformed into life-giving streams that “renew the desert” (126:4). This was exactly the sort of renewal that the people of God needed after they were brought back from exile in Babylon. Though they were once again in the land of promise, their life was anything but perfect. They were “planting in tears” (126:5). On a literal level, the people struggled to get the hard ground to produce the food they needed to eat. But, emotionally and spiritually, the people were also “planting in tears” as they sought to rebuild their shattered lives.

Sometimes we can feel as if we’re “planting in tears.” We work hard to raise our children in the Lord, but they wander away from the life of faith. We labor faithfully in our jobs for many years, only to be laid off in the latest downsizing. We save for a secure future, yet our savings shrink as the economy staggers. We try to honor God in our daily lives, but our sin keeps dragging us down. I expect you have your own version of “planting in tears.”

Psalm 126 offers the hope that God will renew us like streams in the desert. It proclaims with confidence that “Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy” (126:5). This harvest comes fully in the future when the reign of God is established on earth. Thus, we look forward to the day when we will reap the harvest of our lives with celebration. In the meanwhile, we get to enjoy a taste of the future even as we wait for the banquet that is yet to come.

On the third Sunday of Advent, we add a new element into this solemn season of expectation and hope. Today we rejoice because we know that our hope for a savior was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. Moreover, we know that the tears of this age will one day become overflowing streams of joy.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When do you feel as if you are “planting in tears”? What sustains you even when life is hard? Do you think about the harvest of the future, when there will be shouts of joy? When do you experience a bit of that joy in your life?

PRAYER: O Lord, the words and images of Psalm 126 touch our hearts. We too need you to restore our fortunes, like streams in the desert. We need the living water of your Spirit to refresh our parched souls.

It does seem, Lord, that our planting is often in tears. Our lives are filled with challenges, discouragements, and frustrations. Sometimes we are slammed by tragedy. We keep on “planting,” but with plenty of weeping. Thus we long for the day when you will reign completely, when our planting in tears will return an abundant harvest. We look forward to shouting with joy in your presence.

Thank you, gracious Lord, for allowing us to sample a bit of that future joy even now. Thank you for the reassurance of your Word. Thank you most of all for our Savior, Jesus Christ, whose birth we prepare to celebrate in this season of Advent. Amen.

http://www.thehighcalling.org/reflection/advent-reflection-streams-desert-and-shouts-joy


Membership in the Universal Church

Sometimes people come into the local church who have never come into the universal church. People join a church who have never been born into the true church. Some churches actually throw the doors open and say, “Now we’ll sing the closing hymn for those who want to unite with the church. Come to the front.” Al Capone could come in and join. Nobody asks any questions; they just take in anybody. I do not believe in that at all, and I know you do not either. I believe that if you are going to get into a local church, you should first be in the universal church, which Jesus purchased with His own blood. You should get into the church with rebirth, the Holy Spirit and regeneration. Then you should join a local assembly. It is impossible to receive Christ and reject His people. How do you find the Shepherd? Go where the sheep are! If you do not know where the Shepherd is, then go where the sheep are. All else being equal, that is where you will find the Shepherd. Whoever receives Christ must receive His people too. Jesus said, “He who receives you receives me” (Matthew 10:40a). Whoever rejects the bride rejects the Bridegroom, and whoever rejects the flock rejects the Shepherd. I think that is clear enough.

http://www.cmalliance.org/devotions/tozer?id=394

Individuality

Posted: December 11, 2011 in Oswald Chambers

Individuality.

Chasing Death

Posted: December 11, 2011 in Pro-Life, TownHall.com

Since 1973, generations have come and gone, 50 million abortions have been performed, and still the mantra is chanted—“not the church, not the state, only I’ll decide my fate.” It’s a line in the sand and a warning to any political officeholder who would dare seek restrictions for abortion-on-demand. “It’s my choice,’ the radical screams, “don’t limit it!”

Yet the word “choice” is misplaced. For abortions aren’t part of the choice, rather, they are used to take away the life that results from poor choices made. Or to put it as Doug Bandow did, “Sex is a matter of choice; abortion is an attempt to avoid accountability.”

In other words, there’s a choice—will I have sexual relations or not?—and what follows that choice is responsibility. However, the combination of nihilism and a tendency to mix and match a “have-it-your-way” morality leaves us scrambling for the means to circumvent the responsibility our choices have manifested.

In effect, this makes death a solution for our self-created problems. And instead of all roads leading to Rome, more and more of the roads we trod seem to lead to death.

This is evident in situations like we recently witnessed in Ohio, where the state senate passed a ban on performing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy if the baby can survive outside the womb, and NARAL’s response was:

In passing this legislation, the Ohio Senate is ignoring the devastating impact this legislation could have on the health of many Ohio women and they are inappropriately inserting themselves between doctors and their patients. This legislation [also] harms women with wanted pregnancies that experience heartbreaking complications, such as a fetal anomaly or a cancer diagnosis.

Note there is no concern whatsoever for the baby that would be aborted. Rather, there is outrage over the fact that a mother’s chance to kill her child has been shortened.

No matter how you look at it, this is a tragedy beyond measure.

To justify this nihilistic endeavor we tell ourselves that the child—who has no choice in living or dying—is not really a child at all. Rather, he or she is but a bundle of DNA yet to survive apart from the sustenance received from another, and is therefore labeled “non-viable.”

This is a frightening argument because a 5-month old infant is also incapable of surviving apart from the sustenance another provides (as is an 8-month old, a 1-year old, or even a 2-year old for that matter). Should we therefore be free to dispose of our 2-year old sons and daughters if the responsibility of sustaining them becomes too great?

Of course there are those who argue that we should, and that’s because the culture of death has swallowed their minds and now permeates their every inclination.

And that is why these are fair questions. For we must deal with the fact that we’ve tossed logic out the door in a bid to justify our deviousness. As a consequence, we are literally chasing death.

We should all bemoan the fact that we’ve arrived at a place in our culture where death is viewed as a solution, for this indicates how far we’re willing to go in order to dodge the consequences of choices made poorly.

Liberty requires responsibility. Our pursuit of death is an attempt to exchange responsibility for faux-freedom, which is no freedom at all.

Dead people aren’t free.

//

Tags:                 A Culture of Life            ,                                    Abortion            ,                                    Planned Parenthood            ,                                    Pro-Life
Alan Sears

Alan Sears

Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor in the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defense Fund, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

Be the first to read Alan Sears’ column.  Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.

http://townhall.com/columnists/alansears/2011/12/11/chasing_death/page/full/