A Defense for Signing the Nashville Statement

The following is a statement by Randy Alcorn, a Christian writer and blogger at: www.epm.org. The article, which appears as: Why I Signed the Nashville Statement: It Speaks the Truth in Love About Human Sexuality,  concerns his signing of the Nashville Statement which you can read at: Click HERE.
This article by Mr. Alcorn explains his rationale for his decision to sign the statement and provides a perspective on the contentious subject which in relatively recent times has become so divisive for Christians and today’s society in general. I wrestle with issues like this and seek God’s grace and “the mind of Christ”  (Philippians 2:5) to give clarity to my understanding.  Irrespective of one’s opinion of the Nashville Statement I praise God that His love is available for all and wish for all to come to a believing faith that seeks to honor God and glorify His name.  RMF 

Why I Signed the Nashville Statement: It Speaks the Truth in Love about the Biblical View of Human Sexuality
Randy Alcorn

Randy Alcorn

If you follow social media and news online, you’ve likely heard about the Nashville Statement, put together by The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Along with several dozen other Christian leaders, I’m one of the initial signatories of this statement, which seeks to provide a Christ-honoring and biblically faithful standard on homosexuality and transgenderism.

When it was posted in late August, unfortunately during Hurricane Harvey (its release was prearranged some time earlier), it caused another kind of cultural and online hurricane. Here are a couple of comments from people on Twitter who expressed disappointment at my signing it:

So disappointed in @randyalcorn for signing #nashvillestatement. He gave me hope of heaven & now he banished me for loving people.

Somehow @randyalcorn believes, from an eternal perspective, that publicly condemning LGBTQIA people who are facing persecution is good.

Redefining God’s Love

I cannot apologize for signing a statement that I believe to be true to Scripture and true to reality. As for the claim that by signing it I “banished” someone “for loving people,” I hardly know what to say. I believe that I truly love people who think and live differently than I do in terms of sexual desires and practices. I also believe God loves them far more than I, or the people who sent these tweets, do.  Continue reading

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God’s Glory

The Crippplegate website just ran a really neat Pastor Eric Davis article on the recent total solar eclipse.  See: Eclipses are Telling of the Glory of God.  The eclipse itself and the article reminded me for the many-th time how really glorious our God really is.  And He is that way all the time – not simply when He displays His creative genius in “natural” events such as eclipses — but truly His glory is there all the time for us to witness if we will but pause to consider it.
In thinking about God’s glory I decided to capture some of my  favorite words of others which tell of God’s glory and His unsearchable riches. First, however, is Pastor Davis’ The Cripplegate article which reminded me of God’s glory.  That will be followed by the words to one of my favorite hymns, How Great Thou Art by Pastor Carl Boberg.  (My favorite line in this hymn is: “I scarce can take it in”).  And then the words to Dr. S.M. Lockridge’s (that is Dr. Shadrach Meshach Lockridge’s) declaration: That’s My King.  Finally, the evening devotional for August 22, from Charles Spurgeon’s Morning & Evening. RMF

Eclipses are Telling of the Glory of God

by Eric Davis

Pastor Eric Davis

At 11:35am MST yesterday (that was August 21, 2017 RMF), the entirety of our moon’s shadow hit the Jackson Hole area. Moving at over 1800 mph, with a shadow width of 66 miles, it brought almost instant darkness, making visible the most spectacular observable event in creation; a total solar eclipse.

In God’s kindness, I’ve had the opportunity to see pristine, underwater forests while scuba diving in Roatan. I’ve sat on the spectacular, jagged peaks of the Tetons. I’ve seen Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Northern Lights; from Alaska to the tropics.

But the total solar eclipse was like nothing I have ever seen before. There were those final, eerie, darkening minutes before totality. The bizarre feeling as it went from day to night in about 90 seconds. Cows mooing hysterically in the field next to me. The beads of light peering through the moon’s craters. The diamond ring effect. The temperature instantly dropped fifteen degrees. Then, totality. The sun’s atmosphere blasting forth in praise to God; the white, jagged rays bursting from behind the blackened moon for a full two minutes. And there was the 360 degree sunset (two sunsets in one day!). It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. It was utterly stunning; a spectacle that is emblazoned in my mind forever. I’m still wondering if I really saw it as it was completely different than anything in all creation. I can almost understand why humans have venerated that ball of burning hydrogen for millennia.  Continue reading

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Solid Rock v. Sinking Sand

I love the old Edward Mote hymn, The Solid Rock.  It is a great reminder of the ultimate in peace and security – a hope that will stand the test of time and adversity; of pain and of sorrow.  I was reminded of the hymn this morning when I read the most recent blog article by my online and email friend, April Cassidy.  April blogs at: peacefulwife.com and her article appeared as: Finding Contentment in Christ Alone in Painful Trials.  If in the destruction of a relationship you have ever experienced the “darkness of  high and stormy gale, the whelming flood when all around your soul gave way,” you’ll relate to the experiences described in April’s post.  And, if you are a Christian, you will recognize the wonderful hope that comes from knowing “The Solid Rock.”  So, here then, the lyrics to the hymn (and HERE is a Hillsong version which is on YouTube),  and then April’s article.  RMF

The Solid Rock
by Edward Mote

Edward Mote

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

Refrain:
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

Finding Contentment in Christ Alone in Painful Trials
by April Cassidy (The Peaceful Wife)

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

April Cassidy
The Peaceful Wife

Three strong believers share about finding contentment in Christ alone even in very painful, difficult, lonely situations where worldly peace and contentment are completely impossible. I pray their words and stories might bless you and your walk with the Lord richly!

From Sister in Christ #1

I had to hit rock bottom and surrender everything to the Lord before I found that peace and trust in Him. I had to get to the point where I truly realized that my husband and my marriage had been an idol – that I had been depending on my husband to meet my needs, instead of God. So truthfully, the main reason I was so afraid of losing my husband (in the beginning) was because he was the one that I had been looking to – to take care of me, provide for me, love me, and fill me. I knew the Lord, but I had not been fully relying on God for these things – and I didn’t even realize that until after my husband left! Continue reading

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On Religious Liberty

Here is an article by respected theologian and religious educator Dr. Albert Mohler.  It appeared at: www.albertmohler.com as: Religious Liberty vs. Erotic Liberty – Religious Liberty is Losing.  It is a thoughtful article which deserves our attention.  RMF

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

Barely five days after The New York Times ran a major news article on the firing of Atlanta’s fire chief for his views on homosexuality, a major Times opinion writer declared that religious liberty is a fine thing, so long as it is restricted to “pews, homes, and hearts” — far from public consequence.

Kelvin Cochran

The firing of Kelvin Cochran as chief of Atlanta’s Fire Rescue Department came after the city’s mayor, Kasim Reed, determined that the chief could not effectively manage the department after he had written a book in which he cited Scripture in defining homosexuality as a sin.
The most crucial portion of the Times story includes the mayor’s rationale:
“At a news conference, Mr. Reed said that Mr. Cochran’s ‘personal religious beliefs are not the issue.’ But Atlanta’s nondiscrimination policy, the mayor added, is ‘nonnegotiable.’  Continue reading

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An Encouraging Article – In a Newspaper

If you’re like me a little encouragement is always in order, especially when the world is going crazy and seems bent on self annihilation.  Well, a little godly encouragement came my way on Monday via, of all things, a newspaper article.  It was a commentary by Rebecca Hagelin and appeared in the Washington Times as:  Millennial ‘invaders’ find unity, strength in message of Christ.  I’ve appreciated Ms. Hagelin’s writing for several years and decided I needed to get hot and share an example with you.  I hope you’re encouraged as I am by this example of unity.  RMF

Millennial ‘invaders’ find unity, strength in message of Christ
By Rebecca Hagelin

In this picture taken Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, an exterior view shows the facade of the former St. George church, physical reminder of the Little Syria neighborhood, that now serves as bar in Lower Manhattan, New York. Little Syria was a neighborhood that existed between the 1880s and 1940s in Lower Manhattan and was composed of Arab-Americans, both Christians and Muslims, who arrived from what is now Syria and surrounding countries. Little Syria was a paradise and a poor slum, a way station and long-term destination. Its merchants introduced Middle Eastern food to many in the West. Its authors, poets and journalists told stories that bridged the cultures. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

This past week, our Florida barrier island home was invaded by 10 “twentysomethings.”
I say “invaded” because their laughter, energy and noise gloriously shattered my solitude. But they were actually invited, mostly because of the joyful noise they make.
These amazing young people defy the stereotype of their generation. They are accomplished, hard-working and thoughtful. Their speech is respectful and wise.
No drugs, no cursing, no drunkenness. They are polite and helpful.
They are of multiple races; they are male and female. One is originally from Nigeria. Some grew up in the South, some the North. One just got her Ph.D. from Emory. Another is a nurse. One has his MBA, and another is a certified marriage and family counselor. Two others are educators and still more are engineers.
Despite their differences, they are the best of friends. Their love for each other springs from the love of Christ. Although the world may call them diverse, they see themselves as united.
How did they find each other? Through a sound, biblical church. Would that more Americans return to strong churches these days.
These fine young people belie the headlines of discontentment with America that the media attempts to hang on all people of their age. Yes, they are deeply disturbed by the hatred of white supremacists and the angry verbiage they hear from nearly every corner of the nation.
But they are not bitter at the world. They just want better for our country, and they know it’s partly up to them to lead the way in their own community and spheres of influence.
I joined them under the beach canopy during my lunch break, and discovered them either reading or in small groups discussing life’s big questions in whispered tones so as not to disturb their friends. Fresh from swimming in the crystal blue Gulf waters, a few were napping.
Across the towel from where I sat, an unusual sliver of metal that serves as a bookmark caught my eye. I reached over to pick it up and discovered a transcendent truth engraved along the edge: “Never let the voice of society be louder than the voice of Christ.
“Where did this come from?” I asked Carly.
“It’s Perron’s. He said it while we were here last year, and made this as a reminder for all of us,” she replied.
In a culture of venomous speech, this simple admonishment can be transformative. The phrase explodes with grace, offering sound advice in how to express outrage at injustice, and the manner in which we should engage those who disagree.
Far from calling for a feeble wallflower or “flower power” existence, the voice of Christ is both “wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove.” He spoke truth boldly, He loved unconditionally, and He was not afraid to call out injustice.
Although Christ wielded a whip against the greedy money changers in the temple, he never brandished a torch to incite fear or spew hate at people who were different than He; Jesus never carried clubs to confront his enemies.
In these days of civil unrest, may Americans across this great land gather, as these young people do, for Bible study, worship and prayer. And above all else, may we follow the example of Christ.
• Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at: Rebecca@rebeccahagelin.com.

 

 

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What is the fruit of the Spirit?

Here is a brief article on the fruit of the Spirit. It would be well for each of us to be more aware of God’s spiritual fruit in our lives and more anxious to fully ripen it. RMF

Wisdomforlife

20100423_what-is-the-fruit-of-the-spirit_poster_imgNine virtues make up the fruit of the Spirit revealed in Galatians 5:22-23.

Most translations of v. 22 open with the words, “But the fruit of the Spirit is…” This leaves it to the interpreter to decide how the fruit is “of the Spirit.”

The New Living translation (as it typically does) offers more interpretation by rendering the beginning of v. 22, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives…”

Are the nine virtues produced by the Spirit? The one balancing consideration is the fact that each virtue also appears in the New Testament as a command (or with imperatival force). Are we commanded to love? To rejoice? To peace? etc… Yes. And this reminds us that we are not passive recipients of God’s work in our lives. The fruit produced by the Spirit is also required by the commands of Scripture.

Yet, if there is a…

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Too Quick to Judge

It is rediculously easy to jump to conclusions and make judgments before all the facts are in.  I suppose we are all prone to this very human failing.  I know I am guilty and wish it were not so. You undoubtedly read about or saw TV coverage of the horrible tragedy of the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) and it’s collision at sea with the loss of seven sailor’s lives, June 17, 2017.  (you can read about the USS Fitzgerald and the collision at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Fitzgerald.)  
Having served as a naval officer and Officer of the Deck (OOD), underway, in-company (i.e., not steaming independently, but with other naval ships in formation), I can attest to the difficulties associated with that responsibility.  From my present vantage point I realize that my desire to serve in such a position should have been tempered with much greater caution and far less eagerness.  Pride, I’m embarrassed to say, played a large role in it — wanting, during the period of my four-hour OOD watches, to be in charge of the navigation, maneuvering and overall operation of the ship. (For me that was aboard the USS Richard B Anderson (DD-786, during 1965-1967.

USS Richard B Anderson (DD-786)

I now realize, as stated by the author of the following article, that but for the grace of God, I could have been in a position such as the OOD of the Fitzgerald with my Naval career in severe jeopardy.
What seems initially to be a very simple task, i.e., sail the ship safely from point a to point b, may not turn out to be such a piece of cake.  And the apparent simplicity  may lead those without relevant experience under the same conditions to leap to conclusions regarding culpability when things go terribly wrong.  In the following article Captain Kevin Eyer does an excellent job of describing the difficulties and intricacies which often attach to shipboard operations.  His article appeared at: www.usni.org as: There But for the Grace of God Go I.  RMF

Fitzgerald: There But for the Grace of God Go I
By Captain Kevin Eyer, U.S. Navy (Retired)

The Bridge Watch – Darkened Ship

Captain Kevin Eyer, US Navy (Retired)

Regarding the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62), the churn in the national media seems to have resolved to mourning the dead and wondering how things could have gone so terribly wrong. Speculation, including the ridiculous, is rife, and to most, the collision of a warship and a foreign merchant seems to be the greatest of mysteries. But to those who have navigated a crowded seaway at night, it is understood that the truth is likely to be much more prosaic, if also much more gut-wrenchingly familiar.

At this point, no one knows exactly what happened when ACX Crystal collided with the Fitzgerald , save for a few, and they will remain silent as the Navy conducts its remorseless, meticulous, and necessary investigation. Nevertheless, it may be useful for those who have not been at sea at night to consider how extraordinarily complex things can become and how safe navigation often must proceed from science to art.

USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62)

Continue reading

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