Becoming a Christian isn’t something that happens by accident. The apostle Paul tells that it’s actually a two tiered system. First, even before we were born God knew which us would believe and arranged beforehand for our salvation. Next, He draws those believers to Himself through faith in Christ. Doing so for the purpose of conforming His chosen into the likeness of His Son, Jesus. For some this can be confusing. Because if God chooses beforehand who will be saved, how does free will come into play? But in Isaiah 55:8-9 God tells us His thoughts and ways are higher than our human minds can comprehend. So even though we might not understand, how both predestination and free will work hand in hand, it’s ok. Because the wonderful bottom line is that who call Jesus Savior, will become children of God, and spend a glorious eternity by His side.
An armed Haitian gang kidnapped 17 members of an Ohio-based missionary group, including five children. Sixteen members of the group are American citizens, and one is Canadian. The Ohio-based organization Christian Aid Ministries said the group was on its way home from helping to build an orphanage when they were taken. “We are seeking God’s direction for a resolution, and authorities are seeking ways to help,” the organization said in a statement.” Read more about the kidnapping here.
Texas House Votes to Keep Transgender Girls Put Of Female Sports
A bill that would restrict transgender student athletes from playing on school sports teams that align with their gender identity is heading to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk after the Texas House accepted Senate amendments to the legislation in a 76-61 vote Sunday afternoon. Under HB 25, students would only be permitted to compete on sports teams that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificate that was assigned at or near the time of birth. Conservatives say the law, which applies to public school teams through high school, are protecting fair competition. Read more about the bill here.
China Tests New Space Capability With Hypersonic Missile
China is signaling that a stunning new missile test that reportedly surprised U.S. intelligence officials was not designed to accelerate an arms race with the West but rather to grant Beijing a strategic advantage to seize control of the Taiwan Straits and other hotly contested territory in its region. American officials have expressed grave concern in recent months that China may move to retake control of Taiwan by force in the near future. Beijing considers the isolated democracy to be nothing more than a renegade province of the mainland’s government. Read more about the new missile here.
Woman Gives Birth To 14 Pound Baby
A family’s bundle of joy turned out a little bigger than they had expected. Cary and Tim Patonai welcomed their newborn son Finnley earlier this month, and he weighed 14.1 pounds. Patonai was 38 weeks pregnant when she gave birth at the Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale, Arizona. “He was so big plus I had almost double the amniotic fluid, so to say I had a big baby belly and that I was absolutely completely uncomfortable isn’t enough,” Patonai said. “However, I would do it all over again if I had to, to get this blessing.” Read more about this super sized baby boy here.
When we confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we become new creatures, “born of God.” Adopted children of the Most High, who receive His “spiritual DNA” through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And because of this indwelling, our spiritual hearts should long for a new way of life. One that no longer yearns to walk in sin, concerned only with fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. But instead one which strives to live in God’s perfect will, freed from our old, corrupt way of life. For as John tells us, if we knowingly and eagerly live in habitual sin, we should be questioning our relationship with the Lord. As fallen beings, we all sin and fail daily. But if our hearts and lives remained unchanged as Christians, we have a problem. And if we aren’t feeling convicted, remorseful, or ashamed of our sins, we need to re-examine our faith.
One of my very favorite quotes comes from Abraham Lincoln. He famously said, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” This world is filled with troubles, and being a Christian doesn’t make us exempt. In fact it may mean even more trials, suffering, and persecution. But unlike the rest of the world, we don’t fight the battles of life in our power. Instead, we stand in the power and might of God. As Ruler and Creator of all, there is nothing that can overcome God. And nothing that can overcome us when we abide and trust in Him. Each day we need to begin by putting on the armor of God. That way, we can stand strong against the Enemy and victoriously live out God’s will.
When describing Israel, Peter calls them a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people for God’s own possession. And now, through the blood of Jesus Christ, we too are part of God’s people. And having been grafted into His family, makes us eligible for the same mercy, the same identity, and the same blessings. Once we wandered through life alone, belonging to no one, and serving our own desires. But now, like the Israelites, we belong to God. We are all one people, one nation, whose citizenship is in heaven. And as children of God, we are called by His name, and have the right to call Him, Abba, Father. (John 1:12-13) Like God did for Israel, He is doing for us, preparing a permanent home by His side. Where one day we will all, as one family, dwell with Him for eternity. We will forever be His people, and He will forever be our God.
I’m a list maker. I love to sit down with a cup of hot coffee and make a list of things I need to do for the day. My lists keep me organized, and I get a small feeling of accomplishment as I cross off each task. One Friday night I sat down with my trusted pad of paper and pen, and eagerly wrote down all of the things I planned to get done over the weekend. And as I went to sleep that night with the thoughts of all I wanted to tackle, I awoke to a son with a migraine, a dog having stomach issues, an unexpected early morning visitor, and a complete change in the plans I had so carefully laid out. Hence the quote Man plans, and God laughs. …
It is said that you can judge the character of a person by the way they treat those who can do nothing for them. Jesus uses children to hit the point home. Children are some of the most vulnerable in our society. Those who have to humbly trust others to care for them and meet their needs. And Jesus says the way we treat and value them reveals the status of our hearts. As innocents, children have no power, leading them to depend on those greater than themselves. So true believers seek to help, teach, empower, and receive them into God’s kingdom. Not for our own power or glory, but all for God’s, as we act in faithful obedience. Because Jesus calls us all to be like little children. To have a faith that is true, humble, and completely dependent on God. And most of all, our Savior came to be last and a servant to all, so when we honor and receive a child, we honor and receive Christ Himself.
The world today is obsessed with youth. And instead of growing older being seen as a gift, our society fights it tooth and nail. But when it comes to wisdom, the young are usually dismissed for lack of experience. And this was the case for Timothy. As a young church leader, Timothy needed the encouragement he received from Paul to be strong, and influential to all generations by his conduct. And the same goes for us. No matter our age, we are all valuable children in God’s family. Each of us has a specific purpose in the ministry. And like Timothy, we all are to be examples of Christ with our words, actions, love, and faith. So may we seek to display those godly, fruits of the Spirit for all to see. And may we never look down on fellow believers. Because young or old, we are all precious to God, and we are called to present ourselves as godly examples in a fallen world.
Research Shows Only 6 Percent of American Adults Have A Biblical Worldview
George Barna, the senior research fellow for the Center for Biblical Worldview at the Family Research Council and the head of the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, says research his year shows that only 6 percent of American adults have a biblical worldview, even though 51 percent believe they do. “Part of that relates to the fact that evangelical churches in America do not teach the Bible as often or as deeply as used to be the case,” Barna said. “What America is struggling with the most is a worldview crisis. It’s the thing that drives all of these other difficulties that we have in America today.” Read more about his findings here.
Thieves Steal Church Bell
Rev Martin Faulkner said thieves targeted St Matthew’s in Withernsea, East Yorkshire, last Monday. Church staff reported the break-in but failed to realize damage to a pair of cellar doors was caused by the bell being dropped from 30ft above. It “didn’t occur to us to look up”, Rev Faulkner said. He said the bell, which is controlled electronically, “has a special place in the hearts of the Withernsea community”, having been rung every week to commemorate local people who died with Covid. Rev Faulkner said fixing the damaged doors and replacing the bell was expected to cost about $10,000. Read more about the theft here.
World Leaders Blame Social Media For Rise In Antisemitism
Participants at a Holocaust remembrance conference in Sweden blamed social media Wednesday for contributing to a global rise in antisemitism. Government and social media representatives attending the International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance in Malmo vowed to crack down on hate speech, disinformation and the denial of facts both online and off. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said the company is “now removing 15 times more hate speech than we were just five years ago. And we are not going to stop.” Read more about the conference here.
Wildlife Officers Remove Tire From Elk’s Neck
For more than two years, wildlife officers tracked an elk that was spotted with a tire around its neck. Saturday, the elk was found and, at long last, it is free of the tire. Wildlife officers tranquilized the elk, sawed off its antlers and removed the tire that had been around its neck for half of its life, according to a statement from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. When they removed the tire, it was full of nearly 10 pounds of pine needles and dirt, but there was little damage to the elk’s neck, only a small wound and areas where hair had rubbed off slightly. Read more about the efforts here.
We all have a spiritual walk, and are in different places on the path of faith. And as children of God, our Father expects us to help each other make the trek to becoming mature Christians. While it’s true that we all stumble, God gives us an extra warning against causing a fellow believer to fall into sin. In fact, Jesus says it would better to be drowned in the sea, than face Him and the consequences for making a fellow brother or sister fall in faith. So in light of the seriousness, we need to be extra careful . Careful about the examples we set, the words we say, and the teachings we share. We should be constantly aware of the weakness of others, and never encourage them to act in a way that the Bible specifically prohibits. God calls us to builders of faith, not demolition crews. Brightly shining lights on the path to righteousness, so that others following don’t lose their way.