Devotional Thought for Today – 11/23/2020

How Do I Strike Back at Betrayal? | Christian Questions Bible Podcast

PSALM 55

Betrayal or Broken Trust


CONTEXT: In this individual lament psalm, the psalmist is not simply afflicted by enemies—he has been betrayed by a close friend. He begins by asking God to hear him and deliver him from his enemies (v. 1–3). He then describes his inner anguish and expresses a desire to flee (v. 4–8). He prays for justice as he asks God to destroy his enemies (v. 9–11). The psalmist then explains that he suffers because of a close friend (v. 12–14). He continues his call for justice (v. 15), confident that God will hear him and redeem him (v. 16–19). He describes the betrayal by his friend (v. 20–21). Finally, he encourages everyone to cast their burdens on Yahweh (v. 22) and expresses confidence that God will destroy his enemies (v. 23). Faithlife Study Bible 

The Betrayal: v. 1-14 For it is not an enemy who taunts me— Then I could bear it; Nor is it one who has hated me who insolently exalts himself against me—
Then I could hide from him. 13  But it is you, a man my equal and my counsel,
My companion and my familiar friend; 14 We who had sweet [b]fellowship together, Who walked to the house of God in company. 

– at some point in our lives everyone will be betrayed! Maybe not stabbed in the back like David here or as Jesus was by Judas but you can bank on it happening. Hopefully the worst experience will someone promising to do something for you and failing to follow through.  Yet far to common today is adultery, embezzlement, and even murder. 

What do we do when a close friend a co-worker, a relative greatly disappoints or “stabs us in the back?”  Do we seek retribution, take matters into our own hands? David had the answer:

Solution: v.21-22 Cast your burden on the Lord [release it] and He will sustain and uphold you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken (slip, fall, fail). 23  But You, O God, will bring down the wicked to the pit of destruction;
Men of blood and treachery will not live out half their days. But I will [boldly and unwaveringly] trust in You. 

– Our human nature demands that we get pay back for any ill we perceive against us. God says cast all those feelings of anguish (burdens) upon me and I will deal with them. The Word of God tells us to  Never repay evil with evil,  for good reason, we destroy our testimony before the nations. Besides do we think God is so small He can’t handle our individual problems? 

Maybe you are feeling betrayed today, I pray you will cast your burdens upon the Lord that He may lift you up and sustain you through this troubled time. If you are someone who has betrayed another, I pray first you repent and ask God’s forgiveness, second if possible do the same with the one you have offended and lastly cast your burden also upon the Lord asking that He may restore a right Spirit in you. 


OTHER RESOURCES

How can I overcome the pain of betrayal?
The Difference Between Judas and Peter
What does the Bible say about trusting others?

KAMALA ON LIFE

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I’ve gone back and forth, and back and forth about publishing this post. Because, let’s be honest, a lady’s not supposed to talk about politics, religion or money.

But then, when have I ever followed the rules when it comes to that.

But my final push to publish this post came when I was having a quiet hour this afternoon, preparing to write tonight’s post…which was, admittedly, not this.

But I looked up today’s gospel reading (MT 19:16-22), and in very clear, very bold, very plain-as-day letters, I was given — nay, commanded — the “green light” to put this post out into the blogosphere.

You see, Jesus was asked what one must do to gain eternal life. To which He replied “Keep my commandments.”

And when asked “which ones?” the very first commandment out of Jesus’ mouth is, “You shall not kill.”

And in that moment, I knew I had to publish this post….

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Trump Administration Accomplishments

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Hate “him” or love “him there is no denying the list of things President Trump has managed to accomplish especially considering the hostile environment congress he has been dealing with since elected. 

Personally I find him brash and many times outright obnoxious, I wish he would stop the tweets and act more presidential, yet that is not Donald Trump and that does not define his ability to lead. In fact those characteristics would have made him a great general officer in the military. – Mike

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In one of his first actions as president, Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, which blocks funding for international organizations that perform or promote abortions. He promoted the nuclear family by signing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law. And his administration has taken a special interest in protecting religious liberty on both the home and international fronts. President Trump has shown consistent concern for protecting life, the natural family, and religious liberty and has taken steps to advance our shared values unlike any other modern president.

Check out this extensive list of the Trump administration’s accomplishments. Then, share this list with your friends, family, and community to let them know why the 2020 election is so important to continuing these policies.

How to Teach Your Kids the Ten Commandments

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Although my ministry primarily sees that I work with adults, I recently had the opportunity to teach a one-hour class on the ten commandments to young teenagers. I provided a handout and back and forth commentary on the subject. Below you will find part of my teaching approach. Feel free to use it and adapt it to your audience.

How to Teach Your Kids the Ten Commandments

1. Read the Ten Commandments Aloud

The ten commandments will be found in Ex. 20:1-21 and Deut. 5:1-21. The first thing to do is to open up your Bible and read the ten commandments aloud. You read from Exodus and let your kids read from Deuteronomy (or the other way around). Either way, it’s important to start by actually reading the commandments.

You could also consider providing literary context for the ten commandments. Explain why God gave them to the Israelites, why the ten commandments are in the part of the Bible that they are in and not in another place, what happened before and after the giving of the ten commandments, and so on.

You can mention that God rescues the Israelites from Egypt first, then he provides the ten commandments. You can say that they are meant as a guide to show the Israelites how to live, that they reveal one’s need for a Savior, and that they all apply today in equal measure. This will bridge into an overview of our subject.

CONTINUED AT: SOURCE ARTICLE

 

Pro-Life News

Supreme Court Upholds Kentucky Law Letting Women See Ultrasound of Their Baby Before Abortion

The Supreme Court has upheld a Kentucky law slowing women a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn baby before having an abortion.


Nancy Pelosi: “As a Catholic… I Don’t Hate Anyone.” But Killing Babies in Abortion is Fine

Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi frequently touts herself as a Catholic when she is defending her political views.

 


 

Gloria Steinem Compares Pro-Lifers to Hitler: “Authoritarians Who Want to Control Reproduction”

Abortion is the highest expression of feminism.


 

The Food and Drug Administration warned Monday that eliminating restrictions on abortion drugs, as 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg suggested, could cause “serious complications” for women.


Leftist Assaults College Student For Posting Pro-Life Message on Facebook

A viral video shows a college Republican leader being assaulted Friday at Sacramento State University after he said he confronted a fellow student about a nasty online comment about abortion.


Catholic College Caught Promoting Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz to Students and Staff

Pro-Life Mom Beats Half-Marathon World Record While Pushing Her Baby in a Stroller

Democrats Want Women Subjected to Dangerous Abortions That Could Kill or Injure Them

30% More Babies With Down Syndrome Killed in Abortions After Hospitals Introduce Genetic Screening

5 Pro-Abortion Tweets That Will Leave You Horrified

Abortion Results From Hopelessness, But Life Inspires Hope

Pro-Lifers Demand Resignation of Ohio Health Department Director Who Kept Late-Term Abortion Biz Open

Judge Drops Six Charges Against David Daleiden for Exposing Planned Parenthood Baby Part Sales

The Pursuit of Family

BreakPoint Daily

The Pursuit of Family

family

Just Wanting It Makes You Happier

by:  &  G. Shane Morris

We’ve reached a barking point in American history. (Yeah, I’m sorry for that one.) A few years ago, for the first time ever, the number of dogs in this country surpassed the number of children under eighteen. According to Statista, there are 90 million dogs in America today, up from just 68 million in 2000. And a higher percentage of American households own dogs than ever before.

By contrast, there are just over 73 million children. That still sounds like a lot, but as a percentage of the population, children have never been rarer. In 1960, for instance, over one-in-three Americans were under the age of eighteen. According to government projections, by 2050, children will make up less than a quarter of the population.

As you’d expect, this drop in birth rates corresponds to a drop in marriages. What you might not expect is that it also corresponds to a drop in happiness. The General Social Survey in 2018 found that Americans today are more miserable than they’ve been in decades. And replacing family with dogs isn’t reversing the trend.

Of course, what we increasingly hear today, in print and on television and movies, is that what will make us happy is the freedom that can come only from singleness and childlessness. Writing in The Atlantic recently, Mandy Len Catron bemoaned “What You Lose When You Gain a Spouse.” According to her, family life is isolating and unfair to outsiders, because spouses give most of their attention to each other and to their kids. When people get married, she writes, they retreat into “socially neglectful cocoons.”

London School of Economics professor Paul Dolan goes even further in his book, “Happily Ever After.” He says the only reason married people report being happier on average than singles is that they’re lying to save face. The book was corrected, by the way, when this claim turned out to be unsupportable.

In reality, the statistics are clear: Married people really are happier than those who are unmarried—by an average of ten percentage points. But is that because marriage makes people happy, or because happy people are more likely to get married?

A new paper by the Institute for Family Studies offers a surprising answer. Instead of looking at the effect of family itself, author James McQuivey decided to look at the effect of the desire for family. He asked over a thousand men and women how much they value having an emotionally intimate relationship, sexual faithfulness, and children. He then combined these answers into a single measure, which we might call a desire for a traditional, nuclear family.

He discovered that scoring higher on this measure predicted greater happiness and overall life satisfaction—regardless of whether or not the respondent was actually married or had kids!

It’s one of those results that makes you do a double take. After all, you’d expect people who want a family life and haven’t found it to be dissatisfied. But on average, they’re not. As McQuivey says, “[i]f you merely have the desire to pair bond and procreate, you are already happier than average…”

Act on that desire, he adds, and your happiness jumps, while your life satisfaction (a separate metric) “practically leaps off the chart.”

In other words, contrary to the thesis that getting married and having kids dooms you to misery, committing to a family is one of the most effective means ever created to train people to care for others. And a cornerstone of psychology is that other-centeredness brings human beings happiness.

Look, dogs are great and all, but we were made for communion with other people. The family bond is so central to our design that merely pursuing it leads to greater happiness.

For a society like ours, one in the midst of family and happiness shortages, the solution is obvious, but it won’t be found at the dog park.

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The Church Really Can Strengthen Marriage

BreakPoint Daily

The Church Really Can Strengthen Marriage

(in fact, only the church can)

 

by:  &  

Between 2014 and 2017, the divorce rate in Jacksonville, Florida, and surrounding Duval County fell 24 percent. Of course, divorce rates are falling nationally already, possibly because fewer people are bothering to get married. Still, 24 percent is a huge number, especially compared to a 6 percent decline nationally and a 10 percent decline across the state of Florida during the same period.

What happened in Jacksonville?

The difference was the commitment of local Christians to go beyond lamenting the state of the family and to actually do something to help married people.

Behind these efforts was the unifying work of a group called Communio, whose goal is to help churches “strengthen marriages and families in their community.” The group uses a data-centered approach to identify couples in crisis, and then elevates “best practices” to offer help to these couples.

In Jacksonville as elsewhere, the data continues to show that “churches are the best at strengthening marriages.” After all, what other social institution can offer the sort of surgical precision needed to identify and connect with couples? What other institution is as scattered, de-centralized, and localized? This insight is obvious once you think about it, but unfortunately, it’s rarely put into practice, especially at the kind of scale needed to make a difference.

Communio worked closely with churches across denominations to create programs to supplement marriage preparation and marriage enrichment programs. These programs both identified and helped couples who showed signs of being at risk of divorce; signs such as “struggling with anxiety, financial stress, or substance abuse.”

Whenever couples were identified as fitting the criteria for “the greatest level of marriage difficulty,” they “would be directed into more intensive programs like Live the Life’s Hope Weekend.”

Altogether, between 2016 and 2018, 59,000 people attended a four-hour or longer program in Jacksonville. That’s nearly 12 percent of all adults between the ages of 18 and 64. In contrast, in 2015, only 300 people attended similar programs.

Because less than 20 percent of U.S. evangelical, Catholic, and mainline churches have any budget for marriage ministry,” that low 2015 number isn’t surprising. Connecting and sharing resources between churches is an absolute game-changer.

For example, consider Watermark Church in Dallas. Their intentionality to strengthen marriage in Dallas is, like Communio’s efforts in Jacksonville, a model other churches can and should follow.  In the last decade, over 100,000 people have participated in the church’s re|engage” program in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, a program that intends to change the way marriage is done in the area. And, Watermark is sharing its program widely. Chances are, there’s a church in your area that’s been trained in and is employing re|engage.

What’s happening in Jacksonville and Dallas embody an important truth summed up by Communio’s executive director J. P. De Gance, who was my guest on the BreakPoint podcast: “The federal government cannot fix marriage, but churches can.”

Indeed, we can, if we decide to light a candle instead of merely cursing the darkness. If, we do not succumb to what Jacques Ellul called the “political illusion,” which is the tendency to look to the government to fix all of our problems, and instead employ the vast network and personalized potential of the Church to the hurting and lost, we can make an incredible difference.

Strengthening marriage and the family is a task God has assigned to the Church. Delegating that task to any other institution is not only a dereliction of duty, it’s a failing proposition. And, the efforts of Communio and Watermark remind us that this task is not easy, but it is doable.

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The Gift of Children

And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.”  Genesis 1:28 (AMP)

Garth Brooks famously wrote a song entitled “Unanswered Prayer”  with the line “Some of God’s greatest gift are unanswered prayer” I would argue that God’s greatest gift (apart from Christ 2 Corinthians 9:15) is described in the verse above; children. I thank him daily for my daughters and step-sons. – Mike

BreakPoint Daily

The Gift of Children

A Call to Love, Sacrifice, and Hope

by:  &  G. Shane Morris –  14 Nov 2019

A recent open letter from the Alliance of World Scientists began this way: “We declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world…that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.”

The letter is filled with urgent language and what the authors consider irrefutable proof that human beings are destroying the planet.

And, they offer their prescription. In addition to emissions reductions, renewable energy, and carbon taxes, the authors think it’s time to say “no” to children.

World population, they write, “must be stabilized—and ideally, gradually reduced…” To this end, they urge governments and international bodies to make “family-planning services”—including abortion—“available to all people…”

If that sounds like a call for state-run population control, it is.

Ironically, the call comes at a time when developed nations are already saying “no” to children at an unprecedented rate, and not for environmental reasons. In fact, an increasing number of demographers are now convinced that we’re on the brink of a global population bust. As we’ve pointed out many times on BreakPoint, a childless society brings devastating economic, social, and spiritual consequences.

In a survey reported last year in the New York Times, one of the main reasons young respondents give for wanting fewer children (or none at all) was a desire for more leisure time. As one young woman put it, she’d rather be traveling with her fiance, focusing on her job and education, and “playing with her cats,” than having kids.

Increasingly in a culture habituated toward self-interest and sexual freedom, children are viewed as curses rather than blessings, as obstacles to achieving dreams, finding happiness, and even to keeping the planet cool.

Against this backdrop, the Christian view of children as gifts from God is as counter-cultural as it gets. Yet counter-cultural is exactly what the Church is called to be right now, especially in how we welcome and talk about the next generation.

The newest statement from Evangelicals and Catholics Together—an initiative Chuck Colson co-founded with Fr. Richard John Neuhaus years ago—points the way forward. It’s called “The Gift of Children,” and it’s a bold and detailed reminder of how God views little ones. It’s also the kind of statement that’s bound to offend modern sensibilities:

“As Evangelicals and Catholics,” the statement reads, “we agree that a society in which nearly all fertile women are, in one form or another, rendered infertile by contraceptive technologies…reflects a profoundly disordered view of sex, children, human nature, and environmental responsibility.”

Increasingly today, couples are forced to justify their desire to have children, but this statement insists that parenthood is “the most natural of things.” It’s also worth sacrifices—even if it means fewer zeros on a paycheck, less square footage in a house, or fewer cars in the garage.

More fundamentally, the statement proclaims, the birth of a child is “charged with transcendent meaning.” Children are living affirmations that God’s creation is good, and they compel us, like nothing else in life, “to serve a future we cannot control” and to trust that God is not yet finished with this world.

“The Gift of Children” offers the radically counter-cultural understanding of children that is needed right now. More importantly, it’s a challenge to the Church, to conform ourselves to our professed beliefs—to bear witness, through welcoming new life, to the love of the God who gave us life.

I hope you’ll read it in full and share it with your friends, your family, and your pastor, and use it to spark a long overdue discussion.

 

BreakPoint: Toy Box Propaganda

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Lies Too Dangerous to Ignore

Wise parents try to keep their kids from being influenced by the lies in our culture. That often means not taking them to certain movies, not letting them watch certain shows, play certain games, or listen to certain music. And we have to keep an eye on their friends too. It can be exhausting.

Still, there comes a point—and we are here—when the world around us is so saturated with false messages that ignoring them and hoping they will go away is not only impossible. It’s perilous.

A number of recent stories drives this point home. This week reports surfaced that Disney plans to out the lead character in its enormously popular “Frozen” movies as lesbian. Now, I’m not the kind of guy who spends time browsing Disney princess rumor websites, but if it does happen—and let’s get real, something like this is inevitable—anyone with a daughter knows it’ll be impossible to keep her from finding out. She’s going to hear about it, even if you never let her see the movie.

What’s the dangerous thing to do? Ignore it and hope she doesn’t notice.

Here’s another thing many hope to ignore: the redefinition of words. Last month, America’s oldest dictionary announced it’s now acceptable English to use the plural pronoun “they” as a gender-neutral singular pronoun: as in, “Bill told me they doesn’t identify as male or female.” If you think changes to language aren’t that big of a deal, you may need to re-read “1984.”

Last but not least, Barbie-maker Mattel has introduced a new line of gender-neutral dolls, complete with androgynous bodies and faces, plus mix-and-match hair and clothes. Oh, for the days when the only kid swapping toy parts was Sid from “Toy Story.”

As one senior vice-president explained, this new doll line is “designed to keep labels out and invite everyone in,” because apparently, “kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms.”

I’ve got to wonder who did Mattel’s market research. As I predicted last weekend on our BreakPoint this Week podcast, anyone with sons knows just how quickly these non-gendered toys will be gendered. The boys will send them into combat against supervillains or space aliens, and the girls will turn them into families. One of my colleagues recently wrote a column describing how his daughter tucks her brother’s toy trucks into bed. Children have to be talked out of what they innately know about gender identity.

And make no mistake, the companies behind these toys, dictionaries, and movies are doing an awful lot of talking. Perhaps a better way to describe it is as catechesis. The constant repetition of lies—through everyday cultural artifacts such as movies, language, and even toys—has now reached a religious pitch.

We may hope our kids won’t notice that Elsa has a girlfriend, or that Barbie isn’t gendered, or that pronouns are being used in bizarre new ways, but that’s the problem. If they don’t notice, it may be because these wrong ideas seem quite normal to them.

You see, culture is most powerful not where it’s loud and in-your-face, but where it’s quiet and assuming. We’ve experienced these shifts in culture. Our kids haven’t. So, the abnormal becomes normal without any arguments even being made. We might find that, before we have even taken the time to point out the lies to our kids and counter them, they’ve already accepted them as normal.

The right response to the cultural catechism all around us is a catechism of our own. As an Anglican, I mean that literally. Teach them the truths of the faith—including God’s design of male and female—with the same dedication and persistence (and hopefully before) the culture does in teaching lies.

Instead of ignoring the stuff in movies, commercials, television, and music, and hoping it goes over their heads, take the time to point it out and discuss it with your son or daughter in an age-appropriate way. Help them to understand they’re being sold more than toys and entertainment. They’re being sold a false worldview.

The best defense against a false worldview is to notice it, and to expose it for what it is.

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Resources

On Toys, Gender, and Truth: Mattel Isn’t Playing Around

  • Jared Bridges / Family Research Council, September 26, 2019
The Point: He, She, It, and They

  • John Stonestreet & David Carlson / BreakPoint, September 26, 2019

BreakPoint: Drafting Our Daughters

Forcing Women into Combat Is Wrong

One would think with an all volunteer military this would be a moot point but not in today’s world. Someone needed a reason to sue the Government and this seemed like the best idea to come along. As a Retired Army First Sergeant I am not in favor of women in combat, but I accept the fact that things have changed since I retired and women have played an ever increasing role in our military. Regardless that does not mean we need to or should draft them and force them into combat roles. – Mike

I became convinced, after watching my wife endure a 31-hour labor, that women have a kind of strength men don’t have. There’s no question in my mind that after less than five of those full-on labor contractions, we’d be crying like a baby instead of delivering one.

And yet, an incredibly obvious thing that is now somehow controversial to say out loud in 2019 is that, on average, men are physically stronger than women. In fact, it’s not even close. According to a 2009 study published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, the average male has a greater total muscle mass and strength than 99.9 percent of females.

Decades of research have demonstrated that real and biologically-ingrained differences, like the level of physical strength, exist between the sexes. Another study back in 1981 found that even if physically untrained men were scaled to the same size and weight as trained female athletes, they would still be stronger, on average, by every measure.

These scientific conclusions need to be fresh in your mind as I tell you about a ruling by Texas Federal District Court Judge Gray Miller just last week. Miller, after a suit was brought by a so-called “men’s rights” group, declared that it is unconstitutional for the United States to require only men to register for the military draft. Women, he determined, must register, too…

Continued at Source: BreakPoint: Drafting Our Daughters