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The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., has called for an independent investigation of the fatal shooting of Joshua Brown, who testified against former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger. A¬ jury convicted Guyger guilty in the 2018 murder of Botham Jean.
By Makia Freeman THE STORY: On September 17th 2019, Facebook released a charter for a new Oversight Board to moderate its content, known colloquially by...
‚ÄúHong Kong needs to win this fight. Or else it will soon be like China.‚ÄĚ This was one student‚Äôs answer when asked why he participates in pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong even as the risks increase.Pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong have captured international attention and their movement isn‚Äôt fading away, even in the 12th week of protests. Last Sunday, 1.7 million Hong Kongers took to the streets to protest in the rain‚ÄĒfor reference, the total population is only 7.3 million.¬ The protests were sparked by a proposed extradition bill that would allow people from Hong Kong to be extradited to China. Critics of the bill believe that it would provide a legal excuse for China to pick up anyone from Hong Kong and detain them in mainland China, where the legal system is corrupt and judges follow the orders of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The protests have since evolved to represent a larger pro-democracy movement as the city fears the possibility of mainland China‚Äôs encroaching influence in Hong Kong.Those fears are not unfounded. Hong Kong has thrived with a high degree of autonomy since the city was returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997 under the ‚Äúone country, two systems‚ÄĚ principle. It currently enjoys an independent judiciary, more protection of basic rights, and fewer restrictions on freedom of expression than mainland China. Churches in Hong Kong experience the same level of religious freedom experienced in the West, and Christian activists have been at the forefront of Hong Kong protests.¬ Those in mainland China, meanwhile, are subject to the tight control of the Chinese Communist Party and human rights abuses. Nothing is sacred to the CCP‚ÄĒincluding religion. The CCP allows legal status for some religious organizations, but these state-sanctioned churches encounter government interference. Minors and college students have been barred from entering all churches. The government has also started to install surveillance cameras in churches.Last year, the Chinese government started a ‚Äúthought reform‚ÄĚ campaign to promote what they call ‚ÄúChinese Christianity.‚ÄĚ The plan includes retranslating the Bible to find its similarities with socialism. China is fine with allowing Christianity as long as it can be used as a platform to advance the Communist party.House churches, which lack government approval, are completely shut down by the government.In 2018 alone, it is estimated that 100,000 or more Christians were arrested for violating China‚Äôs strict regulations for religious affairs.Unlike their neighbors in mainland China, Hong Kongers have free access to information. They know what‚Äôs going on in China. And Christians in Hong Kong fear that if the Chinese government exerts more control over Hong Kong, they will begin to face the same religious freedom restrictions Christians face there.Across the bay from Hong Kong, in China‚Äôs Shenzhen province, hundreds of armed Chinese police have been deployed in a show of force. Chinese officials warned that Beijing will forcibly suppress the protests if they become more chaotic. If China‚Äôs People‚Äôs Armed Police crackdown on Hong Kong protests, it would signal a significant loss of Hong Kong‚Äôs autonomy. To silently allow the encroachment of Chinese government control into Hong Kong would be to watch a regime that abuses human rights take over a flourishing city. And that would be a tragedy. As Hong Kongers cry out for democracy, their pleas should not fall on deaf ears.There is a deep longing within mankind to be free. People throughout the ages have been willing to fight and die for their freedom. Yet, the communist-led Chinese regime believes its residents are fundamentally materialistic and can therefore be easily manipulated and controlled. In defiance of this, Hong Kong is now in its 12th consecutive week of protests.U.S. leaders shouldn‚Äôt ignore this issue. Ultimately, we don‚Äôt want to see Hong Kong subject to the same human rights and religious freedom violations seen elsewhere in China. At the very least, that means sending the message to China that the U.S. would not look kindly upon Chinese intervention in Hong Kong. There‚Äôs too much at stake if we look the other way.
When We Love God, He Gives Us Love for Others In writing to one of his converts, Gaius, John commended him for many things. First, John was pleased that Gaius knew the truth. If we are to be true to God, we must know the truth. In our day with so many tools available to us, there is no reason for any Christian in America to be ignorant of the Word of God. It is vital for our spiritual growth that we read, study, memorize, and meditate on the Bible.It is sad to say, but many who know the truth do not practice the truth. John commended Gaius, not only for knowing the truth, but also for walking in the truth. ‚ÄúFor I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth‚ÄĚ (3 John 3‚Äď4).We who know the truth must be careful to practice that which we know. One of the saddest things to witness is the horrible sins of people who know the truth. Biblical knowledge is important, but it is of no profit if it is not practiced.John also commended Gaius for his care for missionaries. ‚ÄúBeloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles‚ÄĚ (3 John 5‚Äď7).Gaius had extended hospitality toward the itinerant evangelist/missionaries who had ministered in his church. John pointed out that these missionaries labored ‚Äúfor his name's sake.‚ÄĚ They had one driving motive for serving the Lord‚ÄĒthe name of Jesus Christ. I have often been asked, ‚ÄúDid you love the Japanese people when you went to Japan?‚ÄĚ The fact is that I did not know any Japanese people when we went to Japan. Missionaries do not go to the unevangelized people because they love the people. They go because they love the Lord.After we began to minister to the people of Japan, God gave us a great love for the Japanese people which abides to this day. The faithful missionary does not have an ulterior motive. His or her motivation is the love of the Lord. ‚ÄúFor the love of Christ constraineth us‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ (2¬ Corinthians¬ 5:14).John said those missionaries labored while ‚Äútaking nothing from the Gentiles.‚ÄĚ In other words, they purposely made themselves dependent on God's people. One of the most difficult things in missionary life is to be recipients of the goodness of others. But this is God's plan for missions.It has been my joy for the past forty years to visit missionaries all around the world. I have watched as God knit the hearts of missionaries with the people with whom they were working. As a result, missionaries and their churches have cared for widows and established homes for orphaned and abandoned children. Through the years, missionaries serving with Baptist International Missions, Inc. have been used of God to provide for those who could not help themselves. This is the pure religion of which James 1:27 speaks, ‚ÄúPure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.‚ÄĚ Wherever there is biblical missions, you will see Christians practicing pure religion.Bill and Terry Craig went to Japan as missionaries in the mid ‚Äė70s. They had two daughters, but their third child was stillborn. When they were told they could not have any more biological children, they began to explore the possibility of adoption. Within a few years, they had adopted three children. They now have twenty-one adopted Japanese children. What God has done for and through the children adopted by the Craigs is amazing. These young people are now pastors, missionaries, business people and godly examples of Christians. That is pure religion. The last time my wife Virginia and I were in Japan, we had lunch with Bill and Terry and two new children they had recently adopted.Missionaries with a passion to evangelize the lost and to establish independent Baptist churches have also seen the need to minister to the physical needs of the people to whom they are ministering. Our son, Tim, and his wife Donna adopted an abandoned Indian girl in Bolivia. They started homes for boys and girls in Bolivia that, as of last month, care for 150 sweet children. In Romania, Ed and Carole Hembree were greatly used to start churches and train leaders in that needy country, and they also started a home for homeless children. In Uganda, missionaries have been used of God to start churches and to train workers for God's kingdom, and they have a very successful ministry to orphans in different parts of the country.A person with a tender heart cannot see the physical suffering of others and turn a deaf ear to their cries for help. I am proud to be associated with godly missionaries around the world who‚ÄĒby their godly lives and their benevolent spirit‚ÄĒhave been the hands, the feet and the heart of their Saviour to those in need. This is ‚ÄúPure¬ Religion.‚ÄĚ
The Short Answer‚ÄĒI Can't Do Anything Else Proverbs 19:27 ‚ÄúCease, my son, to hear the instruction that causes to err from the words of knowledge.‚ÄĚIn 1976 God spoke to my heart about starting a Christian school. I was then pastoring a small, rural church in Northeast Missouri. When I say rural, I mean way out in the middle of nowhere. When I went to the church with my burden, the people I pastored, whose lives incidentally were integrally tied into the small public school there, did not have my burden.A few months later I was ousted from the church and I and several families started a new church about 18 miles away. From the very beginning, everyone knew that a Christian school was in the works. I made a vow to the Lord that my children would never go to a public school.In September of 1978 God fulfilled my burden and the Monroe City Christian School opened its doors with 17 students. If I had had 1700 students that first day, I could not have been prouder. My wife and I bought a huge home there in the city of Monroe City and the church met in our house and we redecorated the basement for the school. Oh, what the Lord did that year.Well, it is now 20 years later, and I believe more in Christian education today than I did 20 years ago in that first ACE classroom.Let me be honest though. There have been times in these 20 years, when it has been tough to continue in this ministry. Finding good, qualified teachers and administrators with the same burden is not easy. The Christian school movement itself has not always been as popular as it was 20 years ago. On many occasions the financial burden has been a great strain on the churches I have pastored. But if something is right and God-ordered, then we should keep doing it even when it is not easy to do it.On a couple of occasions I said to the Lord, kind of in a complaining way, ‚ÄúLord, would You let me pastor a church without a Christian school?‚ÄĚ But God has always answered me, ‚ÄúNo, I have given you this responsibility‚ÄĒyou carry it.‚ÄĚ During times when my burden has grown lax or problems with the Christian school have engulfed me, I have reminded myself of 3 reasons why I believe in the Christian school.Philosophically, I Cannot Do Anything Else.Our text says for us to command our children to stop hearing those who teach them contrary to the Bible. My faith is the most precious thing that I have. I cannot send my children to a Catholic Sunday School because the teachers there would teach them contrary to my faith. Neither can I send my children to a humanist Monday school because the teachers there will teach them contrary to the scriptures.Proverbs 22:15 says, ‚ÄúThe rod and reproof give wisdom but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.‚ÄĚ The older my children get, the gladder I am that I did not give up during the tough times! I see in my grown, older children a worldview that comes from their training at home and at school.It is sad to me when parents give their children a choice about one of the most important things in their life: their education. God gave parents the duty of ‚Äúbringing up their children‚ÄĚ not of allowing them to bring themselves up. As a parent, I am to guide my child, I am not to allow them to guide me. (By the way, parents, that means that you have to know where you are going and what goals you have for your children).Christian schools are not found in the Scriptures. However, the command is that we are to train our children in our faith and not to allow others to teach our children (who are so moldable) contrary to our faith. Christian schools and home schools are simply a way to fulfill those commands.Practically, I Cannot Do Anything Else.One million girls will become pregnant outside of wedlock before graduation day. Before they leave high school, 1.2 million boys will become sexually active. One third of all school children will be so poorly educated they will function under their own intelligence capabilities. All public school students will be taught the untenable and unbelievable theory of evolution. Few will learn the undeniable truth that there is more evidence to support the belief that man was really created by God.Most public school students will not learn to read well and many will not learn to write and think clearly at all. Only about 50% will learn enough geography to identify the location of places like Chicago, Miami, Forth Worth, etc. Fewer will learn to locate Germany, Spain, or Saudi Arabia.They will be exposed to violence, crime, cursing to an extreme, drugs, and sexual promiscuity. Often these things will be condoned by teachers and the administration itself! Many school districts now are exposing their kids to homosexuals and will be taught by sensitivity training that alternative lifestyles are a matter of choice.If I did not have the conviction from the scriptures, even practically, I cannot send my children into that system.Purposely, I Cannot Do Anything Else.I am afraid that most parents do not raise their children on purpose. They simply have no driving purpose that guides their decisions with their home and children. I have one driving desire for my children and that is that they love and serve the wonderful God that I have loved and served.My prayer and aim is that they either serve the Lord in a full time capacity or be used in a good, Bible believing independent Baptist church to further God's work. I want them to be ambitious and do well in whatever vocation God calls them into, but business is second in my mind, God's work comes first.We only have one life and it will soon be past. A hundred years from now it will not make any difference how much money I made. It will make a difference how many souls I led to Christ, how many people I helped guide along the way, and how I served Him for Whom I was made and redeemed!Ps.127:3 says, ‚ÄúLo, children are an heritage of the Lord.‚ÄĚ The word ‚Äúheritage‚ÄĚ means ‚Äėloan.' My children are not mine to raise for myself, they are on loan from the Lord and I must raise them for Him. With these things in mind, I must choose a school that helps me toward my purpose. I must help my children choose a college that will help me toward my purpose. Money should not be the primary consideration. The will of God must be the driving factor. I would sell my house rather than have my children trained contrary to my faith. I know many, many people who live very sacrificially in order to train their children according to their faith.We only get one chance to train our children. Their faith and values cannot be taken for granted. They will learn faith and values. The question is, ‚ÄúWhose faith and whose values will they learn?‚ÄĚFrom the Daily Manna.
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