Category Archives: Prayer Need

The job of publishing the Bible is not complete

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BreakPoint: Mourning in the Wake of Las Vegas Weeping for the Suffering, Calling Evil by Name

 

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Our nation is faced with another act of horrific evil. This time, a mass shooting in Las Vegas. What do we say? What do we do?

For the third time—by my count—since Eric and I became the voices of BreakPoint, I find myself using the phrase, “the worst mass shooting in U. S. history,” this time to describe the massacre of—at the time of this recording—58 people, with an additional 500 people wounded, at a country music concert in Las Vegas.

It’s horrific. What can even be said?

In today’s politically divided landscape, we’re tempted to simply retreat to a standard list of explanations to try to explain what happened or to assign blame—like on guns or mental illness or “them”—i.e. those that are across the political or religious aisle from us.  But this gut level response misses the core issue at hand.

Back in 2007, after 32 innocent people were gunned down at Virginia Tech, Chuck Colson talked about the importance of acknowledging the reality of evil. He started by describing a visit to a prison in Norway:

I witnessed an extreme example of this therapeutic thinking during a visit to a Norwegian prison years ago. Throughout the tour, officials bragged about employing the most humane and progressive treatment methods anywhere in the world. I met several doctors in white coats.

That prompted me to ask how many of the inmates, who were all there for serious crimes, were mentally ill. The warden replied, “Oh, all of them.” I must have looked surprised, because she said, “Well, of course, anyone who commits a crime this serious is obviously mentally unbalanced.”

Stated differently, there’s no such thing as sin and evil, and the only reason why people might commit serious crimes is that they’re mentally ill. Thus the best—and perhaps, only—response to crime is behavior modification and all those other up-to-date psychological techniques.

While the Norwegian approach would strike most Americans as very naïve, the difference between them and us is one of degree, not kind. We also blame crime on external factors, like mental illness, culture, dysfunctional childhood, and the like.

We’re uncomfortable attributing events like this to human evil, much less to a kind of evil that seeks to undo God’s creation—what Christians call the demonic.

Yet without this idea, events like this massacre can never be understood.

You know, Chuck is right. Evil is real and it resides—not just “out there” in the world, or the culture—but “in here,” in the human heart. Seeing it played out so hideously in Las Vegas leaves us only at the place of saying, with other followers of Christ throughout history, “Kyrie Eleison,” or Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy upon us.

And how might we, as Christians, respond?

First, as Ed Stetzer wrote in Christianity Today, prayer is a powerful response to suffering and evil. So pray for the victims and their families, for civic leaders and first responders. Pray that Christians in Las Vegas will be effective in their ministry and service.

Second, God’s people must remember the exhortation to “mourn with those who mourn.” Facebook and Twitter might tempt us to forget that there are very real people mourning the death of real people, and to offer lines of political agenda or ideological simplicity or even to offer Bible verses wrapped up in a nice little bow. Better than all of that is that we join our tears with those who weep.

Third, we run into, not away, from this brokenness. Whether it’s in giving blood, providing care, or jumping into that conversation with our neighbors that we’d rather not, we emulate Christ by—like Him—joining the suffering of those around us.

And finally, we cry out with the Psalmist, “How long, O Lord?” Groaning together with all of creation for that day when God Himself will “wipe away every tear,” and “death shall be no more.”

Condemning another ( a thought on the Bible )

Listen to a  thought on the Bible by clicking here or read it below.

Hi friends: Should we condemn people. I’m Billy David Dickson with a thought on the Bible.
I believe most of us if not all of us would agree we should not condemn others. Sadly some are condemning someone in a high position.
I want to have a discussion with those of you who have been putting President Trump down as a person. It doesn’t matter if you voted for him, or not. It doesn’t even matter what political party you embrace.
In the Bible in John 3:17 it says Jesus didn’t enter the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
My friend Cal Thomas did an awesome radio commentary awhile back.Here is what Cal said.” I am a newspaper columnist and a commentator. I am also – first and foremost – a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. The two are not contradictory.”
“As a columnist I comment on public policies and private morals. As a follower of Jesus I try not to condemn people. The difference can be a fine line at times and I admit I don’t always get it right, but I try.”
“Some fellow believers are urging me to condemn President Trump. I can criticize policies and language I may not like, but I refuse to condemn him. I am praying for him that God will make of him what God wants. All power and authority belong to the Father and he puts people in power for His purposes – from Saul, to Clinton, Obama, Bush and Trump. Anyone disagree? If not, pray for the President.”
Amen Cal. I recall when Bill Clinton was in the White House I had a shirt which read Jesus Christ loves Bill Clinton, and you too. ( Romans 5:8. ) It is one thing to disagree with policy. Which we can do, but we should not condemn President Trump, or any other leader, or anyone for that matter. If we are condemning President Trump, we might trying praying for him instead.
That is a thought on the Bible.
Until next time,
I’m Billy David Dickson

All Rights Reserved, 2017
This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Billy or read more commentary on https://billydteacher.wordpress.com/.

Cal Thomas won’t condemn President Trump even though some are trying to get him to ( he is right )

SOME FELLOW BELIEVERS ARE URGING ME TO CONDEMN PRESIDENT TRUMP. I CAN CRITICIZE POLICIES AND LANGUAGE I MAY NOT LIKE, BUT I REFUSE TO CONDEMN HIM. I AM PRAYING FOR HIM THAT GOD WILL MAKE OF HIM WHAT GOD WANTS. ALL POWER AND AUTHORITY BELONG TO THE FATHER AND HE PUTS PEOPLE IN POWER FOR HIS PURPOSES – FROM SAUL, TO CLINTON, OBAMA, BUSH AND TRUMP. ANYONE DISAGREE? IF NOT, PRAY FOR THE PRESIDENT. I’M CAL THOMAS IN WASHINGTON.

( Billy’s thoughts – Right on brother Cal. Read the rest of this commentary right here or listen to the audio.)

Please pray for Houston, Tex

 

Please pray for Houston. For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

The images coming from Houston, south Texas, and Louisiana are absolutely staggering. We must pray for them, that God would protect those in danger. That He would provide shelter, clothing, and food to all those in need. Pray for the police, firefighters, the National Guard, and all the volunteers. Pray for local and state and federal officials that are coordinating relief efforts.

And please pray for churches in Houston and the surrounding areas and states, that they’ll do what Christians throughout history have always done in the face of disaster—run into it, and not away from it.

Even now, let’s pray: God of compassion, You hear the cries of all those who are in trouble or distress; accept our prayers for those whose lives are affected by storms and flooding: strengthen them in their hour of need, grant them perseverance and courage to face the future and be to them a firm foundation on which to build their lives. This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


 

 

North Korea, Nukes, and President Trump The Prudential and Moral Considerations of a Just War

BreakPoint: North Korea, Nukes, and President Trump
The Prudential and Moral Considerations of a Just War

by: John Stonestreet & G. Shane Morris

The war rhetoric between North Korea and the U.S. turned nuclear this week, literally. Thankfully, Christians have thought about these things before.

U.S. intelligence now believes that North Korea—currently under the rule of a despicable, evil, irrational dictatorship—has capability to mount a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Kim Jong Un has said he’ll never give up his pursuit of nuclear weapons, and just this week, he threatened attacks on the U.S. mainland and the
U. S. territory of Guam.

In response, President Trump warned that if these threats continue, North Korea will face “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Rhetoric aside, the President does face a very grave dilemma: how to prevent North Korea from following through on its threats. The prudential and moral considerations here are colossal. He and our entire national security team need our prayers.

What he doesn’t need is bad advice. One evangelical advisor made headlines saying that the president had been anointed by God to “take out” Kim Jong Un by “by any means possible.”

“By any means possible” is a Machiavellian response, not a Christian one. And I know Chuck Colson would have said so too.

Chuck, a former Marine Captain and advisor to President Nixon, was no pacifist. But he was a disciplined Christian thinker who talked frequently about “just war theory.” He knew the rich wisdom about war from those who had gone before was an antidote to hyper-emotional reactionism.

To give you a taste, here’s Chuck, from 2009:

Chuck Colson: For nearly two millennia, Christian thinkers starting with Augustine… have developed what is known as the just war theory. For a war to be seen as just, it must meet several conditions. It must be waged by legitimate authority. The cause itself must be just, as well as the intention behind going to war. War must be a last resort, waged by means proportional to the threat. We must not target non-combatants, and we must have a reasonable chance of success.

John: Let’s unpack this criteria. First, the intent of the war has to be just. Is preventing an irrational dictatorship from using nuclear weapons a just cause? Yes, but it raises other questions. Is a preemptive strike morally just? Chuck felt so in certain cases and he cited Christian precedent. But in the years after the preemptive invasion of Iraq, he admitted that hindsight showed the intelligence leading to the attack was faulty. So U. S. intelligence must be correct about the status of North Korea’s capabilities.

Second, for a war to be just, there must be a reasonable chance of success. That means success must be achievable, and it must be defined. In this case, is it the toppling of Kim Jong Un, or just removing his capability of producing and delivering nuclear weapons?

Third, is war a last resort? Are all other avenues closed? This is almost always the final hinge on which a just decision swings.

Fourth, we must not target non-combatants. A U. S. attack on North Korea should focus on their leadership and nuclear facilities. But we must also consider civilian cost to our allies. If North Korea has time to retaliate against an attack, experts warn of hundreds of thousands if not millions of South Korean, perhaps even Japanese, civilian casualties.

Fifth, is our response proportional to the threat? “Fire and fury like the world has never seen” is a vague answer to that question. Are we talking cruise missiles here, or tactical nuclear weapons?

As Chuck said back in 2009, these are tough questions for any leader. And he knew, having served in the White House at the side of a president.

So Christian, we must pray to the God of history and nations for wisdom for our leaders and for a just end to the evil regime in North Korea. And, in our words, whether we’re advising the President or own children about this situation, we must be thoughtful and morally considerate, not emotionally reactive.

A church started by teens

Have you ever heard of a congregation planting a new church through teenagers?
( Read more )

State Senator not happy with birthday card

Here in Nebraska a State Senator is not happy with birthday card he got from the governor. The state senator, Ernie Chambers who turned 80 in June says the birthday card from Governor Pete Ricketts was “sour sarcasm.”
The governor sends birthday cards to state senators, and their spouses according to spokesman Taylor Gage.
Chambers, and Ricketts have often clashed. Isn’t a birthday a time to put politics away. It looks like one Nebraska leader was willing to do that. Too bad another state leader wasn’t willing to do that.
Pray for Senator Chambers who is very much anti God, and faith. Pray as he grows older he would see his need for a Savior. His brother is a born again believer.

McCain’s daughter on her daddy having cancer

I do not always agree with Sen. John McCain. I do know he loves America, and is trying to do the right thing even when some Americans don’t agree with him.

All of us who are people of faith should take his battle with cancer to the Lord.No matter our politics. Read a statement from his daughter.

UK government is not little Charlie’s mommy, or daddy ( sure you want this kind of healthcare system here in America )

Little Charlie

Anyone looking for another reason not to leave life-and-death issues to the state need look no further than the conflict between the British government and the parents of 11-month-old Charlie Gard.

Governments, including the British courts and the European court of human rights have refused to allow Charlie’s parents to take him to the U.S. for what they believe is life-saving treatment. In what many will regard as a cynical decision, UK judge Nicholas Francis gave Charlie’s parents just two days to present new evidence as to why their son should receive experimental treatment. A final decision will be handed down in a hearing on Thursday.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital where Charlie is on a ventilator, his brain reportedly damaged from a rare genetic condition, argue that he should be removed from life support and allowed to die. President Trump has offered help. Pope Francis also supports the parent’s right to determine what is best for their child.

Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, believe an experimental treatment known as nucleoside therapy might work on their son. British doctors say it won’t improve the child’s “quality of life.” They want him to die. Apparently that’s OK with the state-run National Health Service (NHS), which is always looking for ways to cut costs.

The parents have raised enough money to take Charlie to America for treatment. Wouldn’t most parents do all they could for their child, especially one so young who is helpless and at the mercy of adults? I know I would for my grandson, who is also named Charlie.

( Read the rest of this spot on column by Cal Thomas. )