Friday, March 27, 2015
Home is the center of my being where I can hear the voice that says: “You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests”— the same voice that gave life to the first Adam and spoke to Jesus, the second Adam; the same voice that speaks to all the children of God and sets them free to live in the midst of a dark world while remaining in the light. I have heard that voice. It has spoken to me in the past and continues to speak to me now. It is the never- interrupted voice of love speaking from eternity and giving life and love whenever it is heard. When I hear that voice, I know that I am home with God and have nothing to fear. As the Beloved of my heavenly Father, “I can walk in the valley of darkness: no evil would I fear.” As the Beloved, I can “cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils.” Having “received without charge,” I can “give without charge.” As the Beloved, I can confront, console, admonish, and encourage without fear of rejection or need for affirmation. As the Beloved, I can suffer persecution without desire for revenge and receive praise without using it as a proof of my goodness. As the Beloved, I can be tortured and killed without ever having to doubt that the love that is given to me is stronger than death. As the Beloved, I am free to live and give life, free also to die while giving life. (from The Return Of The Prodigal Son)
Lost Dogs? Have you lost your mind? No, I haven't, but WE have. We have lost our minds, our souls, our freedom, our integrity and a lot more than that.
Oh yeah, back to dogs. You've seen them in your neighborhood and on the bulletin board at your local grocer. That sad picture of a poor little pooch that has been lost and is being sought out by a distraught owner or master. (Wow, what terrible language to use of a creature that's just as valuable as you are, right? Are we the master of the animals and they our slaves? I'll let you sort that on your own, for now, unless you let PETA do your thinking for you.- P.C. Brain) Perhaps you've seen that cartoon, the one with the rather portly lady, the beleaguered owner of the lost pet, placing her lost dog sign up on the local public spot. But you notice that the sad thing is unfortunatley placed directly between both of her rather plump hind quarters. Poor pup!
She was not aware what she had lost, all the while still diligently seeking for it.
I really get the sense that the entire world has gone insane, or have I? If I were really going crazy is there someone who could actually tell me how to get back to reality? Or would my fellow travelers just say something like, “Hey, this is just a new view in your life experience, and who am I to judge you about that? Perhaps you are evolving?” Is it all relative? Really?
We’ll start with a cute little story from last month about the eighteen year old girl who got a call from a friend who was in the process of ending his life by asphixiating himself in his truck at a K-Mart parking lot. He had rigged a gizmo to emit gas into the cabin of his truck, but got out before he finished the deed and contacted his “friend.” who promptly texted him to “get back in.” He did, and that was that. She probably will go to jail for this, for a long time, I hope, but I’m mentioning this story just now to bring out something that’s missing and not just what was done, or not done.
What was missing? There were actually many possibilities in this scenario, but the one thing I was thinking of was a value for human life. Now I could go on and on about slippery slopes and various horns of all kinds of dilemmas, but this is just plain out good old fashioned evil. People have insisted on a right to choose and screaming for the freedom to act any way they wish, but there just might be a limit to these so-called rights. But I believe that what you see in this scenario is the logical conclusion of our cultural presuppositions. When we teach our young people that you can, in certain circumstances, elliminate a human life then they will take you seriously and promptly act out on what they have been told.
As they say, one generation’s ceiling is another’s floor. Where the crusaders for the death of “fetuses” succeeded in getting their “rights,” and could therefore engage in any sexual escapades without consequence, eventually someone was going to see this as license to devalue all forms of life, except the ones we deem worth living. "I thought that people weren't suffering anymore. So, in a sense, I thought I was helping.’” That’s a quote from Charles Cullen, who murdered at the least 40 people with injections as a health care worker. Charles was just helping these folks out, doing what the the government will eventually have to do, right? You know, as a form of cost control in health care, like Obamacare. “But that’s not a death panel, it’s a quality of life panel, right?” Right. (The death panel thing’s a joke, right?…maybe.)
|March 23, 2015 - Texas Senator Ted Cruz Announces Bid For White House|
So if you have been visiting another planet lately and haven’t heard, the presidential race for 2016 has truly begun with the first entrant being one Senator Ted Cruz from the fabulous state of Texas.
He announced his candidacy at Liberty University, that most sacred of all places both Christian and Conservative. Somewhere, probably heaven, Jerry Falwell was smiling approvingly as his school was used to be not only a starting place for a presidential campaign, but a symbol of what the candidate wanted to communicate as his core values of faith and liberty.
But of course there was that earlier pre-campaign release of the masterpiece of country music videography know as “Stand Up With Hillary,” in which we learned that she is “a daughter and a mother,” as well as all of the other things that Hillary Clinton has in common with most country music fans, like the fact that she is “a daughter and a mother.” And by that I must insist that it is meant in the purely biological sense.
So here we are, at the beginning of the end of the dark time we must affectionatley call the Obam-ocalypse, or if you prefer, the Great Regression, or the time of community organizing run amok. Whatever you can call a time of stagnating wages, eroding morals and ethics, and a near total loss of respect around the world, absolute breakdown of trust between races, and a new level of general malaise brought about by a complete loss of confidence in any kind of leadership, then call it that if you want. My word for it in the english language is C-R-A-P. But I digress, having given in to the temptation to say what is on my mind, instead of going to the good news.
Yes, the good news. Which is that we will get a new leader in a scant, short twenty or so months. Enjoy your time on Airforce One, Barack, because your ticket has an expiration date, and that’s a good thing. (Cue theme music, "Leavin' On A Jet Plane.")
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Saturday, November 1, 2014
The Man Who Fell To Earth
I saw a blog post last week on a San Francisco area website that asked the question "Is Obama an ascended being?" The exact quote was something like is he an "enlightened" person. You see, back in 2008, that is the kind of questions those in the blogosphere and media were asking. They were wondering if he was a gift from the gods or even a god himself. What exacty had he done to deserve such considerstion? Was he a great healer and restorer of people, or neighborhoods, or states, or anything else? Did he impress people with his incredible thinking or rhetorical skills? Had he come up wth some compeling, new, way to do things in the world? Had he fundamentally chaged any area of the places he had lived and worked? Just exactly what had he done to deserve all of the worshipful adulation and speculation?
Do you remember all of the art and photography that depicted him as the likeness of FDR, JFK, Teddy Roosevelt, and even Ronald Reagan? Not to mention regularly being compared to Abraham Lincoln, and other great men of our country's past.
He was GIVEN a Nobel prize before his first year in office was past, based on, well, good feelings, because he had not done anything yet. Certainly nothing to the level of deserving a Nobel peace prize. It was just for being Barak Obama. And that's my problem, and yours, in fact.
I'll tell you why. Because a sane man, a truly great man, would refuse to be portrayed in these obscene ways. A truly visionary leader would have eschewed this kind of adulation. But see Barak Obama in front of Greek columns declaring the time of healing the earth itself and calming the rising tides. Taking to himself larger than life importance and receiving adulation and worship instead of calling people to humility and hard work, and something even somewhat measurable to some standard whatsoever.
This is the greatest failing of Barak Obama, his own hubris. Allowing people to see him as some savior, some kind of messianic figure that will singlehandedly change the very fabric of the times we live in without all of that baggage from, you know, actual achievement.
I'll finish with the best quote to sum this all up: "Shame on you, Barak Obama!" Thanks, Hillary, you were more right than you could know.
Why shouldn't we go through heartbreaks? Through those doorways God is opening up ways of fellowship with His Son. Most of us fall and collapse at the first grip of pain; we sit down on the threshold of God's purpose and die away of self-pity, and all so called Christian sympathy will aid us to our death bed. But God will not. He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His Son, and says - "Enter into fellowship with Me; arise and shine." If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, then thank Him for breaking your heart.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Your Heritage Of Grace
There is a heritage of grace which we ought to be bold enough to win for our possession. All that one believer has gained is free to another. We may be strong in faith, fervent in love, and abundant in labor; there is nothing to prevent it; let us go up and take possession. The sweetest experience and the brightest grace are as much for us as for any of our brethren; Jehovah has set it before us; no one can deny our right; let us go up and possess it in His name.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
The truth is dying in America.
Outspoken ESPN host Stephen A. Smith commented during a recent on-air discussion about the NFL’s two-game suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, following charges Rice assaulted his girlfriend.
Smith strongly emphasized that it is never acceptable for a man to hit a woman, and then said women should also make sure they don’t do “anything to provoke wrong actions.”
Soon enough, the predictable feigned outrages came. Smith’s colleague Michelle Beadle attacked him with a series of tweets: “I was just forced to watch this morning’s ‘First Take.’ A) I’ll never feel clean againB) I’m now aware that I can provoke my own beating.” Beadle also called Smith’s remarks “irresponsible and disgusting.”
Smith apologized, saying it was the most “egregious” mistake of his career. He said it wasn’t his intention to say that women could be responsible for their own abuse. A day after his apology, Smith was suspended by ESPN.
What’s ironic is that before his suspension, Smith defended former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy, after Dungy came under fire for saying that he would not have drafted Michael Sam (the first openly gay NFL player) because it would be too much of a distraction. Dungy was criticized; then he caved and walked his comments back.
There was nothing wrong with what Dungy or Smith said. And I will not walk that back!
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/08/the-death-of-truth/#pbuZIhEtfI15etca.99
It’s not uncommon for shopping malls to have rules of conduct. Some places ban saggy pants. Others won’t let you ask people for money. But a mall in Georgia may have one of the most unusual rules -- they won’t let shoppers pray – not even over their meals.
Meet Tammy Brantley of Dublin, Ga. She’s a wife, a mom and an avid power walker. She’s also a person of deep faith in God.(read more by Todd Starnes at Foxnews.com)
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
"Those who are willing to see shall see; it is because we shut our eyes that we become so sadly blind."
C. H. Spurgeon
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Well, I don't know what your excuse for not blogging much lately is, but here's mine. I wrote a book on the process of discovering your destiny, cleverly called, The Kingdom Way: Discovering The Path To Your Destiny! Don't believe me? Here's the cover:
Want to know more? Go to Amazon.com to look at and/or purchase it, for a modest $19.99, which is a heck of a deal for a 398 page book.
Had to use my pretentious author name, C. Wayne Stewart. That sounds better than Cliff Stewart, right?
The book is a twelve week study of the aspects and steps to discovering your destiny, and takes you from the place of not understanding your own path and worldview to having a focused life and passing on a multi-generational vision and call. Basically, it's a book about everything, as in, life, the universe and everything.
The Kindle version will be out in a month or so. I'm workin' on it!
Here is the back cover blurb about the book:
Who am I?
Why am I here?
What am I here to do?
Is there a God?
If so, does He have a plan for my life?
The Kingdom Way is a book intended to help those on the path of life to begin to answer these important questions for themselves. The book is designed as a twelve week course, equivalent to one season of your life, with five studies per week and questions to answer that develop into a treasure trove of information about your particular life call and path. Join author C. Wayne Stewart as he explores the amazing possibilities available to those willing to take the journey called
The Kingdom Way.
Along the way, you will discover:
- The skills and information necessary to honestly seek God
- How to truly see God through creation and His personal attributes
- That when you meet God, you are finally able to see yourself
- That you can hear the voice of God and what that means in your life
- The incredible power that is released when your will and God’s will are aligned
- What it means when God has spoken to you for a specific purpose, or call
- How God’s dream and vision for you unfolds into a compelling life of effective impact
- The wonderful gifts, talents and motivations God has given you to accomplish your life purpose
- The skill and ability to perceive processes, times and seasons
- An understanding of what it will take to fight for your dream and to persevere until it is done
- What it might look like to live in the preferable future of a fulfilled dream, call, vision and destiny
- How to live as a visionary leader
Whether you use it for personal or group study, The Kingdom Way will help you to know what God has uniquely designed you to do, what He is doing in the lives of others and how you can make a profound difference in the world. Take the challenge. Take
The Kingdom Way.
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
About the Author
C. Wayne Stewart is founder and president of Restoration Ministries in Centennial, Colorado and also serves on staff of Plumbline Ministries (Kansas City) with Brian Fenimore. He is a jazz fan, a lover of coffee, and an admitted Jesus Freak. His vision is to see people walk out their call and destiny in God to the full.
The Hound of Heaven
By Francis Thompson (1859–1907)
I FLED Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter. 5
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase, 10
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—
‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’ 15
I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
Trellised with intertwining charities;
(For, though I knew His love Who followèd,
Yet was I sore adread 20
Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside).
But, if one little casement parted wide,
The gust of His approach would clash it to.
Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled, 25
And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,
Smiting for shelter on their clangèd bars;
Fretted to dulcet jars
And silvern chatter the pale ports o’ the moon.
I said to Dawn: Be sudden—to Eve: Be soon; 30
With thy young skiey blossoms heap me over
From this tremendous Lover—
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!
I tempted all His servitors, but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy, 35
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,
Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue;
Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.
But whether they swept, smoothly fleet, 40
The long savannahs of the blue;
Or whether, Thunder-driven,
They clanged his chariot ’thwart a heaven,
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o’ their feet:—
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue. 45
Still with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
Came on the following Feet,
And a Voice above their beat— 50
‘Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me.’
I sought no more that after which I strayed
In face of man or maid;
But still within the little children’s eyes
Seems something, something that replies, 55
They at least are for me, surely for me!
I turned me to them very wistfully;
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair
With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair. 60
‘Come then, ye other children, Nature’s—share
With me’ (said I) ‘your delicate fellowship;
Let me greet you lip to lip,
Let me twine with you caresses,
With our Lady-Mother’s vagrant tresses,
With her in her wind-walled palace,
Underneath her azured daïs,
Quaffing, as your taintless way is, 70
From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring.’
So it was done:
I in their delicate fellowship was one—
Drew the bolt of Nature’s secrecies. 75
I knew all the swift importings
On the wilful face of skies;
I knew how the clouds arise
Spumèd of the wild sea-snortings;
All that’s born or dies 80
Rose and drooped with; made them shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful or divine;
With them joyed and was bereaven.
I was heavy with the even,
When she lit her glimmering tapers 85
Round the day’s dead sanctities.
I laughed in the morning’s eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine; 90
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
I laid my own to beat,
And share commingling heat;
But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven’s grey cheek. 95
For ah! we know not what each other says,
These things and I; in sound I speak—
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;
Let her, if she would owe me, 100
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me
The breasts o’ her tenderness:
Never did any milk of hers once bless
My thirsting mouth.
Nigh and nigh draws the chase, 105
With unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy;
And past those noisèd Feet
A voice comes yet more fleet—
‘Lo! naught contents thee, who content’st not Me!’ 110
Naked I wait Thy love’s uplifted stroke!
My harness piece by piece Thou hast hewn from me,
And smitten me to my knee;
I am defenceless utterly.
I slept, methinks, and woke, 115
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,
I stand amid the dust o’ the mounded years— 120
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.
Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist; 125
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.
Ah! is Thy love indeed 130
A weed, albeit an amaranthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?
Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it? 135
My freshness spent its wavering shower i’ the dust;
And now my heart is as a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
From the dank thoughts that shiver
Upon the sighful branches of my mind. 140
Such is; what is to be?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?
I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds;
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity; 145
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then
Round the half-glimpsèd turrets slowly wash again.
But not ere him who summoneth
I first have seen, enwound
With glooming robes purpureal, cypress-crowned; 150
His name I know, and what his trumpet saith.
Whether man’s heart or life it be which yields
Thee harvest, must Thy harvest-fields
Be dunged with rotten death?
Now of that long pursuit 155
Comes on at hand the bruit;
That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
‘And is thy earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me! 160
Strange, piteous, futile thing!
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught’ (He said),
‘And human love needs human meriting:
How hast thou merited— 165
Of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest clot?
Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save Me, save only Me? 170
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home: 175
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!’
Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
‘Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest, 180
I am He Whom thou seekest!Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.’
Sunday, August 12, 2012
For example, let's remember that, according to the Dems, Mitt Romney is so powerful and diabolical that he can leave a job in 1999, go into the future and give a woman cancer and cause her death in 2006, and then come back into reality and space-time just in time to kill off the rest of the poor and deject huddled masses. He then, of course, would finish it off with a nice cigar and a cognac. He then would reappear in our time continuum in time to save the 2002 winter olympics and plan his eventual takeover of the world while daily dining on babies and drinking the tears of depressed sweatshop workers.
Perhaps I am exaggerating the Democrat's fears of Mitt Romney. But what else would explain their willingness to follow and support a man who has utterly failed in each and every possible way to live up to the goals he set for himself. I refer you to one statement to the effect of "Well, if I don't turn things around in three years we'll be overrun by baby eating, cancer causing super-villains!"
And what about the plans Romney has to sell all non-Mormons to a group of space aliens for the cost of settling all of the United State's debts. Oh, wait? That was the Israelis. Uh, no, it was actually some hidden professor in the halls of Obama's past that he won't let us know about. Does that ring a Bell? Maybe a Derek Bell? Must be hidden in the closet with all of those pictures of the dead Usama, Barack's first communion Quran and all of the pictures of those freaky "composite" people he mentions in his biographies. Didn't that used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder?
So what's the point of all of this? In all of the attempts to JUMP THE SHARK today, I haven't even come close to what Barack, David Plouffe, Bill Burton, Stephanie Cutter and all of his other hench-type persons did this week. Not even close.
Friday, August 10, 2012
This is a parody of a song by a group called Gotye called "Somebody That I Used To Know."
It is a an excellent parody, and you can see the original here if you are haven't heard it.
This tells the story of all the young hope-and-changers and what happened after they voted for O. Just like the original song, they feel like jilted lovers, left out in the cold and not just forgotten, but coldly rejected. Oh, where is that Obama they used to know? He never really was...
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
A breakthrough is waiting for those who persevere. If you have stopped praying, receive fresh grace to pray again.
George Mueller, the great 19th-century British evangelist, prayed in more than $7 million during his lifetime to feed the thousands of orphans in his care. He didn't believe in telling people about his financial needs, yet he always had enough to pay his enormous grocery bill because God supernaturally provided.
But Mueller’s faith was stretched in other ways. He prayed regularly over a list of five people he wanted to see converted to faith in Jesus. The first man was saved after five years. The second and third men converted to Christ after 10 years. The fourth man was saved after 25 years of consistent prayer.
“Sometimes construction crews in my city erect large flashing signs along the highway near my house. All drivers groan when they see the message: ‘EXPECT DELAYS.’ Life is littered with these signs, and Jesus said they are part of our training process.”
But here’s the clincher: Mueller prayed for the fifth man’s conversion for a whopping 52 years. The friend made a profession of faith in Christ a few months after Mueller’s funeral!
This story challenges me to the core because I’m so impatient. I’m guilty of revving my engine at stoplights and tapping my foot when my Internet connection is slow. Technology is a blessing, but it has also spoiled me into thinking I can get spiritual results as fast as I want them.
Would you pray about something consistently for 52 years if there was no sign an answer was coming? I started praying about some big requests three years ago, and I realized recently that I had grown weary of the process. Prayer had become painful. Doubts began smothering my dreams. I felt like giving up, but God spoke three simple truths to my heart. They might help you:
1. God never said this would be easy. Jesus gave us many wonderful, rosy promises, but He also said: “In the world you have tribulation” (John 16:33, NASB). That’s not a Scripture you will find embroidered on a pillow or inscribed on a flowery greeting card. But it’s a guarantee. Anybody who attempts something great for God will face difficulties.
Sometimes construction crews in my city erect large flashing signs along the highway near my house. All drivers groan when they see the message: “EXPECT DELAYS.” Life is littered with these signs, and Jesus said they are part of our training process. If Abraham and Sarah had to wait 25 years for the birth of their promised heir, why do we think our answers should be instant?
2. You must persevere if you want to receive. Perseverance is one of those archaic words we’ve stripped from our vocabulary. Waiting is a weird concept for people in the 21st century who have movies-on-demand. If someone tells us to wait, we just find an app on our phone to speed up the process.
But there is no shortcut when it comes to receiving God’s answers. The definition of perseverance is "steady persistence in a course of action or purpose, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement." Faith is painful because God is stretching our spiritual capacity to receive. Press through the pain! There is gain on the other side.
Speaking of prayer, Jesus said: “Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7, AMP). In other words, don’t stop praying no matter how long the answer takes.
3. The end result of faith is a larger territory. When Isaac sojourned in the land of Gerar, the Bible says he re-dug the wells of his father and then dug new wells. After he dug the first two, the Philistines quarreled with Isaac and tried to claim ownership of the water. But when Isaac dug a third time, the fighting stopped and he named the new well “Rehoboth,” which means “a broad place” (see Gen. 26:18-24).
Isaac could have become discouraged after the first well-digging fiasco. Many people back off at the first sign of a fight, but Isaac didn’t let the quarrels stop him. He dug a second time and hit yet another roadblock. But he kept on digging. When the breakthrough occurred, Isaac declared: “At last the Lord has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land” (26:22, NASB).
The lesson Isaac learned is still part of our faith curriculum today. There is no getting around it. We must keep on believing when circumstances tell us to quit. We must stretch our faith when it feels like we have no more stretch left. We must pray beyond the delay.
George Mueller said: “God delights to increase the faith of His children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God's hands as a means. Trials, obstacles, difficulties and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith.”
If you have grown weary, or even if you have quit believing, receive fresh grace to pray again. Let patience have its perfect work. God will fortify your faith and empower you to receive a miraculous breakthrough.
J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma and the director of The Mordecai Project. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
According to a recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, almost one in three Americans under the age of 30 doubt that God exists, while, in contrast, the figure for Americans over the age of 65 is less than one in ten. Could there be a connection between the fatherlessness of this younger generation and their struggles with faith? According to a theory called “the psychology of atheism,” the answer might well be yes.
But first, some caveats. 1) There are many reasons why people struggle with the issue of faith, so it would be wrong to think that “one size fits all.” 2) The highest percentage of fatherlessness is found in the African American community, and yet African Americans tend to be more religiously oriented than other population sectors. 3) It cannot be denied that a large portion of contemporary American Christianity is often superficial, hypocritical, and powerless (in terms of radical life transformation), and these serious defects certainly account for some of the faith struggles experienced by American young people. That being said, it is important to probe the connection between fatherlessness and faithlessness.
In 1999, New York University professor Paul C. Vitz, a former atheist himself, wrote a book entitled Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism. In it, he argued that the absence of a father or the presence of a defective father (say, a weak, cowardly father or an abusive father) often played a major role in the development of the atheism of the child (or grownup). A similar argument was made by journalist John P. Koster, Jr., in his 1989 book The Atheist Syndrome.
To be clear, these authors are not denying that atheists claim to have strong, rational reasons for their atheism. Instead, Vitz and Koster argue that what lies at the root of atheism is often the lack of a solid father figure, thereby allowing unbelief to become dominant later in life (or even in childhood).
According to Vitz, “an atheist’s disappointment in and resentment of his own father unconsciously justifies his rejection of God,” a theory Vitz developed while reading the biographies of well-known atheists. He calls it the “defective father” hypothesis.
Under the category of “Dead Fathers,” Vitz lists famous atheists like Nietzsche, Hume, Russell, Sartre, and Camus; under “Abusive and Weak Fathers” he lists Hobbes, Voltaire, Freud, and Wells, among others. He then compares their stories with the stories of theists like Pascal, Wilberforce, Kierkegaard, Chesterton, Buber, Barth, Bonhoeffer, and others, before reviewing apparent exceptions to his theory.
Speaking of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, Vitz notes that her son, William, “claims that he did not know why his mother hated her father so much – but hate him she did. In the opening chapter of the book, he reports a very ugly fight in which O’Hair attempted to kill her father with a ten-inch butcher knife. She failed but screamed, ‘I’ll see you dead. I’ll get you yet. I’ll walk on your grave.’” Does this remind you of her desire to eliminate God from American life?
Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, “I have absolutely no knowledge of atheism as an outcome of reasoning, still less an event; with me it is obvious by instinct.” As a young boy, Nietzsche was very close to his father, who was a pastor, but he died shortly before Nietzsche’s fifth birthday, having suffered the previous year from a brain disease.
In his early teens, Nietzsche wrote about the agony he experienced when his father died, noting that, “In everything God has led me safely as a father leads his weak child. . . . Like a child I trust in his grace.” So, for the teenage Nietzsche, God was just like a loving father. Unfortunately, Nietzsche also remembered his father as weak and sickly, and it was this image, Vitz claims, that Nietzsche “also associated, naturally enough, with his father’s Christianity. . . . It is therefore not hard to view Nietzsche’s rejection of God and Christianity as a rejection of the weakness of his father,” a father who abandoned him by death when he was but a little boy.
As for H. G. Wells, he was raised by an irresponsible and often absentee father (named Joe) and by a mother whose faith collapsed when her 9-year-old daughter died suddenly from appendicitis two years before Wells was born. Vitz notes, “Whether it was Joe the father or God the Father who gave no answer seems to make no difference to Wells, because for him both were equally absent.”
Describing his mother’s faith struggle in his autobiography, Wells wrote, “My father was away at cricket, and I think she realized more and more acutely as the years dragged on without material alleviation, that Our Father and Our Lord . . . were also away, playing perhaps at their own sort of cricket in some remote quarter of the starry universe.”
Returning to our day, the U. S. Census Bureau reports that as of 2011, one third of American children are growing up without their biological father, and over the last 50 years, the number of babies born to unwed mothers has jumped from 5 percent to 40 percent.
Could it be, then, that there really is a connection between the lack of fathers and the lack of faith among young Americans?
Seems like Michael Brown is really getting to the core of what is really going on in our culture, especially lately. The Vitz book he mentions is excellent, by the way. - Cliff @the Triangle
Most political predictions are made by biased pollsters, pundits, or prognosticators who are either rooting for Republicans or Democrats. I am neither. I am a former Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee, and a well-known Vegas oddsmaker with one of the most accurate records of predicting political races.
Neither Obama nor Romney are my horses in the race. I believe both Republicans and Democrats have destroyed the U.S. economy and brought us to the edge of economic disaster. My vote will go to Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson in November, whom I believe has the most fiscally conservative track record of any Governor in modern U.S. political history. Without the bold spending cuts of a Gary Johnson or Ron Paul, I don’t believe it’s possible to turnaround America.
But as an oddsmaker with a pretty remarkable track record of picking political races, I play no favorites. I simply use common sense to call them as I see them. Back in late December I released my New Years Predictions. I predicted back then- before a single GOP primary had been held, with Romney trailing for months to almost every GOP competitor from Rick Perry to Herman Cain to Newt- that Romney would easily rout his competition to win the GOP nomination by a landslide. I also predicted that the Presidential race between Obama and Romney would be very close until election day. But that on election day Romney would win by a landslide similar to Reagan-Carter in 1980.
Understanding history, today I am even more convinced of a resounding Romney victory. 32 years ago at this moment in time, Reagan was losing by 9 points to Carter. Romney is right now running even in polls. So why do most pollsters give Obama the edge?
First, most pollsters are missing one ingredient- common sense. Here is my gut instinct. Not one American who voted for McCain 4 years ago will switch to Obama. Not one in all the land. But many millions of people who voted for an unknown Obama 4 years ago are angry, disillusioned, turned off, or scared about the future. Voters know Obama now- and that is a bad harbinger.
Now to an analysis of the voting blocks that matter in U.S. politics:
*Black voters. Obama has nowhere to go but down among this group. His endorsement of gay marriage has alienated many black church-going Christians. He may get 88% of their vote instead of the 96% he got in 2008. This is not good news for Obama.
*Hispanic voters. Obama has nowhere to go but down among this group. If Romney picks Rubio as his VP running-mate the GOP may pick up an extra 10% to 15% of Hispanic voters (plus lock down Florida). This is not good news for Obama.
*Jewish voters. Obama has been weak in his support of Israel. Many Jewish voters and big donors are angry and disappointed. I predict Obama's Jewish support drops from 78% in 2008 to the low 60’s. This is not good news for Obama.
*Youth voters. Obama’s biggest and most enthusiastic believers from 4 years ago have graduated into a job market from hell. Young people are disillusioned, frightened, and broke- a bad combination. The enthusiasm is long gone. Turnout will be much lower among young voters, as will actual voting percentages. This not good news for Obama.
*Catholic voters. Obama won a majority of Catholics in 2008. That won’t happen again. Out of desperation to please women, Obama went to war with the Catholic Church over contraception. Now he is being sued by the Catholic Church. Majority lost. This is not good news for Obama.
*Small Business owners. Because I ran for Vice President last time around, and I'm a small businessman myself, I know literally thousands of small business owners. At least 40% of them in my circle of friends, fans and supporters voted for Obama 4 years ago to “give someone different a chance.” I warned them that he would pursue a war on capitalism and demonize anyone who owned a business...that he’d support unions over the private sector in a big way...that he'd overwhelm the economy with spending and debt. My friends didn’t listen. Four years later, I can't find one person in my circle of small business owner friends voting for Obama. Not one. This is not good news for Obama.
*Blue collar working class whites. Do I need to say a thing? White working class voters are about as happy with Obama as Boston Red Sox fans feel about the New York Yankees. This is not good news for Obama.
*Suburban moms. The issue isn’t contraception…it’s having a job to pay for contraception. Obama’s economy frightens these moms. They are worried about putting food on the table. They fear for their children’s future. This is not good news for Obama.
*Military Veterans. McCain won this group by 10 points. Romney is winning by 24 points. The more our military vets got to see of Obama, the more they disliked him. This is not good news for Obama.
Add it up. Is there one major group where Obama has gained since 2008? Will anyone in America wake up on election day saying “I didn’t vote for Obama 4 years ago. But he’s done such a fantastic job, I can’t wait to vote for him today.” Does anyone feel that a vote for Obama makes their job more secure?
Forget the polls. My gut instincts as a Vegas oddsmaker and common sense small businessman tell me this will be a historic landslide and a world-class repudiation of Obama’s radical and risky socialist agenda. It's Reagan-Carter all over again.
But I’ll give Obama credit for one thing- he is living proof that familiarity breeds contempt.