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What The Bible Says - Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
By Evangelist Russell Kiddman
Murmuration - it is something amazing to see.
No one knows why they do it. Yet each fall, tens of thousands of starlings dance in the twilight above England and Scotland.
The birds gather in shape-shifting flocks called murmurations,
having migrated in the millions from Russia and Scandinavia to escape winter's frigid bite.
Scientists aren't sure how they do it, either.
The starlings' murmurations are manifestations of swarm intelligence, which in different contexts is practiced by schools of fish, swarms of bees and colonies of ants.
As far as I am aware, even complex algorithmic models haven't yet explained the starlings' aerobatics, which rely on the tiny birds' quicksilver reaction time of fewer than 100 milliseconds to avoid aerial collisions and predators in the giant flock.
Two young women were out for a late afternoon canoe ride and fortunately one of them remembered to bring her video camera. What they saw was a wonderful murmuration display, caught in this too-short video.
Link: https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/10/kelvin-cochran-religious-liberty-case/Format: Web PageTopic(s): Contemporary IssuesAuthor(s)/Speaker(s): David French
Dear Friends,By now, you have no doubt heard the wonderful news about the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson, an American who was wrongly imprisoned in Turkey while spreading the Gospel to the Turkish people. During an interview on Good Morning America, Pastor Brunson related a wonderful insight on how God increases the work of His servants’ hands in unexpected ways: “We’re not known people. We’re not very important people. We’ve been working in Turkey in obscurity for a number of years. But then, around the world, I think millions of people in many countries were praying for us. Even though [being imprisoned] caused us a lot of hurt, I think that God is using this, was planning to use this to bring blessing to Turkey. Now there are millions of people who have prayed for Turkey.”This is an important lesson for all of us who are striving to live out our faith as Christians. As I know I have experienced, there are days (or maybe even weeks or months) during our faith journey when we feel like we are living in obscurity, seemingly unable to accomplish anything of importance and feeling like we don’t matter. I’m sure there were times during Pastor Brunson’s 23 years in Turkey when he perhaps felt discouraged in this way. But day in and day out for 23 years, Pastor Brunson kept the faith and ministered to the Turkish people in “obscurity.” And then, seemingly out of nowhere, he was thrust into the spotlight and into a situation he never could have imagined or asked for. And as Pastor Brunson has pointed out, God used his physically and mentally anguishing experience of imprisonment for a greater good that only He could have imagined.Following Pastor Brunson’s courageous example, we too are called to live out our faith, day in and day out, even when we feel like we are living in obscurity. When we do this, we are preparing ourselves for the day when God will call us forth to perform a mighty work for His glory.Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.Sincerely,Dan Hart Managing Editor for Publications Family Research Council FRC ArticlesThe Kavanaugh Circus Shows The Supreme Court’s Political Power Is Out of Control – Travis WeberMan Steals Gold Medal From Top Woman in World Cycling Race – Cathy RuseAllied for Truth and Freedom Regarding Unwanted Same-Sex Attractions – Peter SpriggHacksaw Ridge and the Value of Conscientious Objectors – Alexandra McPheeWe’re In a Spiritual Battle of Good vs. Evil. Gosnell Proves It. – Patrina MosleyChristians Should Be Fearless in Living Out Their Faith. Even Supreme Courts Agree. – James SelveyPakistani Christian Woman’s Fate Hangs in the Balance – Travis WeberMillennials and the Future of Marriage – Caleb SutherlinReversing Roe—Or Ignoring Her? – Alexandra McPheeThe Unity of Body and Soul: Why It Matters – Caleb SutherlinAmericans Can “Afford to Not Care” About Voting. Yet We Should Still Care. – Travis Weber Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareDefining The Thing – Dan Hitchens, First ThingsTrump Signs Bill Expanding Criminal Code on Church Vandalism to Protect Religious Nonprofits – Samuel Smith, The Christian PostSenior Google Search Engineer Advocates for Censorship of ‘Terrorist’ Marsha Blackburn – Allum Bokhari, BreitbartComplaint prompts Utah’s Dixie State University to remove Bible, Book of Mormon from hotel rooms – Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake TribuneChurch Ordered to Pay $13,000 in Property Taxes Heads to Court – Emily Jones, CBN NewsSwastikas painted on Northern Virginia JCC – Jared Foretek, Washington Jewish WeekAmericans By a 2-1 Margin Say Media Coverage Was Biased Against Kavanaugh – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNewsVICTORY! Atlanta Pays Ex-Fire Chief $1.2 Million in Religious Liberty Lawsuit – ToddStarnes.comInternational Religious FreedomPastor Freed by Turkey Kisses American Flag, Prays for Trump – Chuck Ross, The Daily SignalChina Trying to 'Rewrite the Bible,' Force Churches to Sing Communist Anthems – Samuel Smith, The Christian PostHindu Attacks Against Christians on the Rise in Southern India – Steve Warren, CBN NewsHundreds of Chinese Christian Schoolchildren Forced to Declare They Follow ‘No Religion’ – Will Maule, CBN NewsPakistan’s Supreme Court Reserves Judgment in Asia Bibi’s Final Appeal – Persecution.orgIran: Two Christian converts receive prison sentences – Middle East ConcernUK High Court Rules That Declining to Bake ‘Gay Cake’ Isn’t Discrimination – Troy Worden, The Daily Signal LifeAbortionWhen the abortion industry fights regulations, it proves it isn’t pro-woman – Cassy Fiano-Chesser, Live ActionFact Check: Tweet Shows Exponential Growth in Planned Parenthood Campaign Contributions From 2014 to 2018 – Emily Larsen, CheckYourFactAGAIN? Another pro-abortion activist violently attacks pro-lifers in Canada – Cassy Fiano-Chesser, Live ActionChicago Planned Parenthood botches at least six abortions in under a year – Nancy Flanders, Live ActionBioethics15 Celebrities who are showing us how to welcome people with special needs – Cerith Gardiner, AleteiaThe Expansion of Assisted Suicide North of the Border – John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera, BreakPoint FamilyMarriageThe Best Marriage Ever – Nancy Guthrie, CrosswayEvery marriage has its rocky patches. And given good sense, survives – Harry Benson, The Conservative WomanHow Moving In Together Makes It Harder to Know If He’s the One – Galena Rhoades, Family StudiesParentingLord, Teach Us—and Our Kids—to Pray – Megan Kennedy and Jared Kennedy, The Gospel CoalitionIn light of Brett Kavanaugh, an indepth look at how and when character is formed in kids – Jennifer Graham, Deseret NewsRegaining the Joy of Family Life: A Review of How to Be A Happier Parent – Naomi Schaefer Riley, Family StudiesThe Kanye-Trump Bromance Highlights Our Culture’s Yearning For Fathers – Melissa Langsom Braunstein, The Federalist6 Ways to Ruin Your Children – Jeff Robinson, The Gospel CoalitionEconomics/EducationHigher Rent, Fewer Babies? Housing Costs and Fertility Decline – Lyman Stone, Family StudiesFaith/Character/CultureRejecting Second-Wave Feminism: A Review of Mona Charen’s Sex Matters – Ashley McGuire, Family StudiesFormer Nightclub Owner Addicted to Drugs, Porn, Gambling Now Brings Life-Saving Water to 8 Million – Michael Gryboski, The Christian PostObey God with Your Creativity – John Piper, Desiring GodOn Moments – Tod Worner, Word on FireA Morning with Big Brother – Joseph Pearce, Intellectual TakeoutWhy Christians Don’t Go to Church (and Why They Must) – Joe Carter, The Gospel CoalitionHuman SexualitySchool District Changes Its Restroom Policy – Then Ignores the Sexual Assault of a Five-Year-Old Girl – Sarah Kramer, Alliance Defending FreedomHow can we discuss sex ed without talking about marriage? – Andrea Mrozek, Hamilton SpectatorBiological Male Wins World Championship Event in Women’s Cycling – Peter Hasson, The Daily SignalHuman Trafficking123 missing children found in Michigan during sex trafficking operation – Emily Jacobs, New York PostAmnesty International Expels Member for Standing Against Prostitution – Ben Miller, National Center on Sexual ExploitationPornographyThe Shame-Free System This All-Guys’ College House Has To Fight Porn Is Brilliant – Fight the New Drug
Seventy-three years ago today, on October 12, 1945, President Harry S. Truman awarded Private First Class (then-Corporal) Desmond T. Doss the Medal of Honor for his heroic efforts during his service in the Pacific theater of World War II. He was the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor.Doss was a Seventh-day Adventist. When he entered the military as a conscientious objector, he did so with the convictions that his faith required that he take a sabbath and that, under the biblical commandment “Thou shalt not kill,” he must never touch a weapon to kill another man, even in war.The deeply-rooted, American value of religious liberty protected Doss’s beliefs. Rights of conscience have been considered a component of religious freedom since the origins of this nation. Indeed, from the time of the Colonies, the government has exempted conscientious objectors from service or from the bearing of arms.When Doss entered the service during World War II, the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 protected those “subject to combatant training and service . . . who, by reason of religious training and belief, [were] conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form.”The Act thus enabled Doss to participate in the war to the extent he believed his faith permitted. As his biography states, “He believed his duty was to obey God and serve his country. But it had to be in that order.”While serving as a medic, Doss continually carried the wounded to safety during battle in the Philippines, Guam, and Japan, all without using any weapons. In Okinawa, Japan, Doss saved the lives of 75 men over the course of a single day. American soldiers had faced an unexpected counterattack by the Japanese and were ordered to retreat. Only one-third of the soldiers were able to escape from the counterattack. Despite the order to retreat, Doss remained, and he took each of the 75 men, one by one, off of the battlefield to safety.Doss’s feats in Okinawa were detailed in his Medal of Honor Citation and were the subject of the award-winning 2016 film Hacksaw Ridge, which Doss’s son said represents his father faithfully.Thomas W. Bennett and Joseph G. LaPointe Jr. were also conscientious objectors, and they posthumously received the Medal of Honor for their acts of valor in the Vietnam War.These men are proof that we do not accomplish freedom by boxing conscientious objectors or religious expression out of military service or the public square.As Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone once said, “liberty of conscience” is “vital . . to the integrity of man’s moral and spiritual nature,” and “nothing short of the self-preservation of the state should warrant its violation.” Even then, “it may well be questioned whether the state which preserves its life by a settled policy of violation of the conscience of the individual will not in fact ultimately lose it by the process.”By defending the rights of conscience, we enable individuals like Doss, Bennett, and LaPointe to contribute, in accordance with their beliefs, towards the common good and the preservation of our country.
For Christian bakery owners Amy and Daniel McArthur, one chapter of their fight for religious freedom has come to a close. The owners of the Ashers Baking Company in Northern Ireland received a unanimous ruling from the UK’s highest court that they were entitled to decline baking a cake that spoke a message of support for same-sex marriage.In 2014, Gareth Lee, a gay rights activist, approached the Belfast branch of the bakery with a request for a cake that would include a slogan that read “Support gay marriage” along with the Sesame Street characters Ernie and Bert. While the bakery had initially taken the request, it later canceled the order and refunded Lee’s money. Immediately, the Northern Irish Equality Commission stepped in, inciting that Lee had been discriminated against based on his sexuality. The bakery stated it didn’t want to make a cake that displayed a message that was against their Christian beliefs. Originally, a Belfast court had ruled favorably for Lee, but the case was taken all the way to the Supreme Court, where all five justices ruled in favor of the McArthurs. One of the judges, Brenda Hale, wrote in her decision: “In a nutshell, the objection was to the message and not to any particular person or persons.” The general manager of Ashers, Daniel McArthur, said “I want to start by thanking God … he has been with us during the challenges of the last four years."This case comes only a few months after Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood Colorado, won his U.S. Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. As with Jack Phillips, the McArthurs have no issue with serving Mr. Lee, as they have said, “We didn’t say no because of the customer; we’d served him before, we’d serve him again. It was because of the message. But some people want the law to make us support something with which we disagree.” It isn’t an objection to Mr. Lee’s character or sexual orientation, but rather the context of the message of his order. The McArthurs are implementing their business by living out the values they conscientiously believe in. They are free to run their business as a Christian business, and there should be no one who can tell them to work differently.The Bible says in James 1:23-25 that “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” The McArthurs are laboring to use their liberty and religious rights to serve Christ in all capacities of their lives, not just in private. Let us pray that they will continue to be strong in obedience to God in what He is calling them to do, as it is highly probable that the McArthurs have not heard the last of this case.We’re all called as Christians to live in the world, but not to live like it. We all have a commitment to God to live as He is calling us to live. In a time where many schools and businesses are curtailing the freedom to live out one’s beliefs, this calling will become more of a challenge. But when we stay committed to following Jesus Christ and trust that He is the Savior, we see the fulfillment it brings to our lives and further confirms the truth of God’s laws. President Ronald Reagan said it best: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” May we fight for these freedoms in each of our unique callings for our children and future generations.James Selvey is an intern at FRC Action.
Dear Friends,Do you ever have moments in your life when your mind wanders far into the future, prompting feelings of anxiety about all of your responsibilities and inevitable hardships you will have to endure in the months and years ahead? I know I do. If unchecked, this kind of thought pattern can lead to a nervous churn in the pit of my stomach as I begin to feel overwhelmed with the weight of the future and what might happen.Our Lord knows unhealthy human tendencies like these very intimately. He loves us so much, in fact, that He has given us specific spiritual direction numerous times throughout Scripture to remind us of how we are called to live in the moment and not to worry about the future. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus entreats us to “not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” Even the Lord’s Prayer includes a very specific entreaty: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). Notice that Christ does not instruct us to ask for our “monthly” or “yearly” bread. In teaching us to pray for our “daily bread,” Jesus is reminding us that our primary focus should be on doing what He is asking of us in our present moment, in this one day that we have been blessed with in His Creation.This teaching from our Lord goes to the very heart of Creation itself. In the beginning of the book of Genesis, we read that “God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” Our Lord designed Creation so that we only have to worry about one day at a time. When the day is over, the night comes so that we can rest and recharge for the next day. In other words, God is trying to tell us something with how He has designed the earth to operate: live for today, for the present moment. Existence itself is pure gift; the present moment is all we will ever have. Let us use it for the greater glory of God.Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.Sincerely,Dan Hart Managing Editor for Publications Family Research Council FRC ArticlesIs this cross too Christian? Only the Supreme Court can save these war monuments – Alexandra McPheePlanned Parenthood is Not Pro-Woman – Patrina MosleyTrump: Expected to Advance Religious Liberty at the UN – Ken BlackwellAn Answer to This Generation’s Identity Crisis: “Love Thy Body.” – Patrina MosleyCalifornia’s Campus Abortion Legislation Has Been Vetoed – Here’s What It Had Wrong – Patrina MosleyThe Image of God and the Pursuit of Truth in the Kavanaugh Hearing – David ClossonHundreds of College Students Travel to DC In Support of Kavanaugh – John Wesley ReidWorld Congress of Families Seeks to Strengthen the Family UnitU.S. Courts of Appeals: No Vacancy – Alexandra McPheeAnother Attack on Kenyan Christians Brings Us Back to Watu Wote – Travis WeberFive Myths About “Gender Identity” – Peter Sprigg Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareMichigan school district pulls video of family circle after critics claimed it promoted prayer – Ryan Gaydos, Fox NewsBlack Pastor: I Get 'Hate and Racism' From the Left 'For Being a Bible-Believing Christian – Tyler O’Neil, PJ MediaMilitant LGBT Group Wants to Run Texas Mega-Church Out of Town – ToddStarnes.comPlanned Parenthood Forces Hyatt Hotel to Cancel Screening of New Kermit “Gosnell” Movie – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNewsInternational Religious FreedomHopes Rise for Release of U.S. Pastor Being Held in Turkey – David Gauthier-Villars and Dion Nissenbaum, The Wall Street Journal12 Churches Destroyed, Shut Down by Myanmar Rebels – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian PostMore Chinese Pastors Sign Statement Affirming Religious Freedom as US Govt Holds Hearing on Persecution – Steve Warren, CBN NewsClosure of Syrian Schools: Another Bleak Sign for Christians in Syria – Marlo Safi, National ReviewPakistani Christian Woman Thrown Off Roof for Refusing to Convert to Islam, Marry Muslim – Will Maule, FaithWire LifeAbortionAbortion On Trial – John Waters, First ThingsPodcast: Be a voice for life: Developing a compelling pro-life message – Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionHere’s a List of Everything a Baby Can Do in the Womb – Grace Carr, The StreamGovernor Brown vetoes abortion pill bill – Pablo Kay, AngelusYes, Down Syndrome Is A Life Worth Living, And A Life Worth Saving – Dan Bartkowiak, The FederalistU.S. Expected to Fight Back Against Abortion as a Humanitarian Right – Stefano Gennarini, C-FamAdoptionHow Foster Care Became a Christian Priority—Just in Time – Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, The Gospel CoalitionMy Long, Messy, Beautifully Complicated Path to Adopting My Son – Claire Gibson, Marie ClaireBioethicsAussies Block Euthanasia – John Stonestreet & David Carlson, BreakpointMass Human Cloning May Soon be Upon Us – Wesley J. Smith, National ReviewMaking Death Easier Makes Life Harder – Richard Stith, Public DiscourseChild Euthanasia without Parent Approval Pushed for Canada – Wesley J. Smith, National ReviewHHS feels pressure, ends contract with fetal tissue harvester – Live ActionObamacareAs Obamacare Premiums Continue to Rise, Time to Look at Real Health Care Solutions – Robert Moffit, The Daily Signal FamilyMarriageMillennials Are Causing the U.S. Divorce Rate to Plummet – Ben Steverman, BloombergHumility Matters in Marriage, Too – Rebecca Spohr, HerViewFromHomeReducing Divorce Through Community-Level Marriage Initiatives – Alan J. Hawkins, Family StudiesU.S. Fertility Rate Drops to All Time Low, Cut in Half Since 1950s – John Binder, BreitbartCoping With Financial Crisis and Maintaining Your Marriage – Cherie Lowe, Focus on the FamilyWhen Grandparents Divorce, Everyone Hurts – D. Scott Sibley, Family StudiesThe Wages of Infidelity – Hugo Schwyzer, Family StudiesParentingRaising Kids With Religion Or Spirituality May Protect Their Mental Health: Study – Alice G. Walton, ForbesOur Infertile Future – Melissa Langsam Braunstein, Family StudiesMaking of a Mom: Birth as a Creative Act – Laura Khan, VerilyModeling Grace and Courtesy – Mattias A. Caro, Ethika PolitikaWhen Adult Children Don’t Share Your Values – Marci Seither, Focus on the FamilyWhy Friendships Are Important for Boys’ Health – Maryam Abdullah, Greater Good Magazine7 Ways to Teach Children About the Conscience – Andy Naselli, The Gospel CoalitionEconomics/EducationDo Schooling and City Living Equal Fewer Babies? – Lyman Stone, Family StudiesIs student debt keeping Americans away from marriage? – Science DailyFaith/Character/CultureGod Will Sustain You a Day at a Time – Vaneetha Rendall Risner, Desiring GodEight Reasons Why Awe Makes Your Life Better – Summer Allen, Greater Good Magazine9 People with Down syndrome who are changing the world – Cerith Gardiner, AleteiaHow Prison Fellowship helps prepare prisoners for release – Emily Greene, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionWe Weren’t Made for Endless Work – Gracy Olmstead, The American ConservativeWhy churches matter in the fight against addiction – Ericka Andersen, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionHow to Bring Your Whole Self to Work – Mike Robbins, Greater Good MagazineHuman SexualitySame sex relationships: Should we just agree to disagree? – Sam Allberry, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionChanging Society’s View on “Hooking Up” – Arthur Goldberg, Public DiscourseAmerican Academy of Pediatrics’ new guidelines support gender change for kids – Lisa Bourne, LifeSiteNews$5.7 Million in Taxpayer Funds for Study to Justify Sterilizing Children Who Are Gender Confused – Susan Berry, BreitbartGuttmacher Reports Conflicting Findings on Trends in Teen Sexual Activity – Michael J. New, National ReviewHuman TraffickingWhat Happens To Sex Trafficking Survivors After They’re Rescued? – Fight the New DrugBy The Numbers: Can Porn Production Be Connected To Sex Trafficking? – Fight the New DrugHundreds of Sex Buyers Arrested as Part of Nationwide Initiative – Ben Miller, National Center on Sexual ExploitationProtections for Sex Traffickers Being Snuck into US-Canada Trade Negotiations – National Center on Sexual ExploitationPornographyWhat you should know about women and pornography – Mikayla Simpson, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionStudy Links Porn Consumption To Higher Levels Of Objectification And Tricking Partners Into Sex – Fight the New Drug
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