Sky Links, 11-17-18


Prophetic Word: United States of America, I am Breaking The Delays!
Dutch Sheets is reading this word by Lana Vawser








How He Became a Qanon Expert

My Journey into the Q Movement -Praying Medic





TDS: Trump Derangement Syndrome 
("distortion" underlined, see next post)
Like past versions (Bush Derangement Syndrome, for example), the TDS is notable for its intense subjective distress. Persons suffering from a TDS experience high levels of agitation and fear about their own safety and about future prospects for a good life. The sufferer may also fear more broadly for the survival of whole nations and even for life on our planet. In fact, it is not unusual for a patient with a Trump Derangement Syndrome to predict apocalyptic events in the near future. These expected disasters are attributed to the predicted actions of Donald Trump in his role as president of the United States. In that role he is seen as an especially destructive individual bent on wreaking havoc on a highly vulnerable world.

In addition to fear and related symptoms, anger and rage are prominent in this syndrome. In the present case, Trump is hatefully portrayed as a diabolically villainous perpetrator of evil deeds. Calls for his death or torture or for harm to his family are not unusual and may even be displayed with pride.
What is most striking in these syndromes, however, is not the quality and degree of emotional upset. What is most striking is the extent to which individuals suffering from the syndrome distort their perceptions of real world events, especially events in economic, social and political realms. Most prominent among those distortions is the intensely negative bias in perceptions of America in general, and of Donald Trump in particular. According to TDS sufferers, neither Trump nor America can do anything good economically, socially or politically, and neither has redeeming features.
The mindset in this syndrome sees Trump as a hateful man bent on destroying lives. But there is no evidence to support this view. Trump is more than 70 years old and has no record of criminal behavior or history of destructiveness in other ways. He is certainly self-centered, egotistical and grandiose, and he is often boorish, insulting and contemptuous. He gets defensive easily and retaliates when offended in ways that are adolescent at best. He can be careless with facts and he lies too often. He has been unfaithful to his wife. There is ample evidence for all of these allegations on casual observation. But many of these traits have been prominent in other political figures. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, for instance, have engaged in far more serious wrongdoing, but have not evoked a fraction of the agitation that characterizes the TDS.
In fact, Trump is not all bad. He has several good traits that are by now well known to persons who are not prejudiced against him. Stories of Trump’s personal generosity, kindness and willingness to put forth great effort for good causes are common knowledge. His record as president for only 20 months is surprisingly impressive. Under his leadership, America is enjoying resurgent economic growth, more jobs, lower taxes, fewer regulations, increased work-force participation, reduced numbers of food-stamp recipients and greater productivity. Most Americans approve of Trump’s determination to protect our country’s borders. Most Americans are more optimistic since he took office. Trump has attacked with great vigor a corrupt, illegal and massively exploitative Deep State that has become entrenched in the bowels of Washington for decades.
By any reasonable standards, these are constructive achievements, not damaging attacks on America or Americans.

In the personal relationship realm, Trump seems to be on good terms with his several children. Most of us take this fact as an indicator of good character, not a sign of malevolence. By common sense measures, good long-term relationships with one’s children argue against allegations of malignant intent. For most of us, a record of such relationships is an important reflection on decency. The open support of Trump’s children for him, and their lack of apparent resentment toward him, suggest that he has been a caring and accessible father.
On these observations, it seems that Donald Trump is an obviously mixed bag. He is a very flawed man, but also a very talented, productive, creative man. He is many things. But he is not a criminal or a devil if we look at the facts.
But persons with Trump Derangement Syndrome don’t see a mixed human being with good and bad traits. They see instead an intensely evil man with diabolical goals. These views of Donald Trump distort the reality of who and what he is; they distort his motives and his goals for himself, for America and the world. The facts just cited about Trump, and many others that could be cited, argue that the Donald Trump perceived by those suffering a derangement syndrome with his name on it does not exist. The real Donald Trump is the mixed bag of virtues and vices just described. And, as I will argue further, what we in fact have in Donald Trump is a benign narcissist whose efforts to enhance himself as president of the United States are having a surprisingly positive effect on our country. A little reflection on this topic suggests that in his intense identification with the fortunes of America, Trump is determined to make himself great again by making America great again. By enhancing the power, wealth, prestige and influence of America, Donald Trump is determined to enhance his own grandiose self. He may well achieve that goal. If he does, he would not be the first narcissist to benefit others as he benefits himself.
Trump’s views of himself and America, stated routinely in superlatives, are of course directly opposite to the views held by persons suffering from a Trump Derangement Syndrome. Beyond their ideas about Trump himself, however, those afflicted with a TDS typically have ideas about America as a nation. It will surely surprise no one that such individuals see America in ways similar to their view of Trump. From parallel perspectives, many individuals who disparage Trump the man disparage America the country.
In fact, it is apparent that most individuals and groups on the radical political left see America as an incarnation of evil that is at least as wicked as its current president. In their eyes, our country is harsh, mean-spirited, imperialistic, racist, sexist, homophobic, indifferent to the welfare of children and determined to deprive women of their right to have an abortion. These critics believe America is also hateful toward certain ethnic groups, especially Mideast Muslims, some of whom it refuses to admit as political refugees.
The radical left sees only bad motives in the policies implicit in these allegations. It denies any benign or reasonable goals in America’s foreign, domestic or immigration policies. In their minds, there are no justifiable reasons for Trump’s policies, such as protection against terrorism or avoiding intolerable strain on American welfare, education, crime prevention and healthcare systems. In the eyes of those who hate both Donald Trump and the country he now leads, America is a bad place, especially because it once permitted slavery. The fact that it ended slavery and has fought against it heroically and at enormous cost doesn’t matter to the haters...
... The man or woman who identifies with the radical left in America or who suffers from a Trump Derangement Syndrome suffers because his distortions of the relational world construct a false picture of human relating. In particular, he or she distorts the great virtues of America and even the modest virtues of Donald Trump. Individuals so afflicted deny the psychosocial benevolence of America and the vast numbers of generous, decent and charitable people that constitute its core population....
...To the radical liberal who is blind to an entire realm of interpersonal experience, and who distorts the realities of spontaneous cooperation in every community where freedom prevails, America and Trump are devils that must be stopped from destroying the world. The radical liberal and the Trump-deranged individual see only the projections onto others of their own inner badness, greed, predation, exclusion, prejudice, bigotry, envy, jealousy and exploitative impulses. They don’t see, beyond Trump’s personality faults, his goodwill for America, his generosity toward veterans and other Americans, his grandiose but effective identification with the greatness of America. The dysfunctional families which radical liberals and Trump-deranged sufferers come from are the source of their projections of badness onto our country. What they see in present-day America are transference versions of their own early traumas.
The deeply pained, hateful, needy, greedy ‘me,’ the deprived, neglected, abused ‘me,’ the narcissistic, uncaring, callously indifferent parent I grew up with – all of these negative personas, and more, are projected onto the American people, onto Donald Trump as a particular individual, and onto America, the historical nation. Nothing fair, balanced or objective comes out of these distortions. The mixed realities of our people, our current president and our nation’s record of exceptional humanity are lost in the misconceptions of the radical liberal mind and the Trump Derangement Syndrome.
The dire consequences of these misconceptions cannot be overstated. Among them is the constant harangue of injustice that contaminates the postmodern American mood. A steady litany of grievances defines the identity politics of the contemporary left in America. But the most serious consequence of the left’s endless complaints is the campaign to “transform” America through government power, to denounce and eventually eliminate the foundational principles on which the first society of ordered liberty in all of human history was created. Persons who, for whatever reason, are afflicted with hatred for America believe her marriage, family, child rearing, ethics, education and religious institutions, as well as her principles of limited government, rule of law, capitalism and free markets must all be changed. Those changes, they believe in their hearts, will cure old wounds of deprivation, neglect and abuse from childhood that torment the radical liberal mind.
In their distorted thought patterns, all of these institutions must be attacked, punished and eliminated because they are evil. In their place, Utopia will appear: the transformations of America through big government coercion imagined by the left will end inequalities of wealth and status. Increased government power will end private property and redistribute it equally to all in need. Socializing what is now privately owned will make all citizens equal owners of the world’s most productive assets and give everyone the material security they need. The new and just society thus created will wipe out poverty and end the pangs of envy. Equality of outcomes of all kinds will end class conflict, restore a universal brotherly love in all of us, and allow everyone the freedom to be what he wishes, as Karl Marx promised. The new collectivist regime will protect the environment, end capitalist exploitation of the masses, and eliminate all injustices involving race, ethnicity, gender and social status.
These and other utopian fantasies drive the wounded minds of modern liberalism. They are the “progressive” solution to what those on the left see as existential problems to be solved by changing America’s organizing institutions. With a ruling class of superior intellects, a new and better society with the authority to make new rules will create a societal paradise.
But none of this is rational. None of it accommodates human nature. None of it respects the human condition.

TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME IS REAL – AND SERIOUS -Lyle H. Rossiter, Jr., M.D.




What are Cognitive Distortions?

  1. All-or-nothing thinking: You see things in black and white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure. 
  2. Overgeneralization: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat. 
  3. Mental filter: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors the entire beaker of water. 
  4. Disqualifying the positive: You reject positive experiences by insisting they "don't count" for some reason or other. You maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences. 
  5. Jumping to conclusions: You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion. a. Mind reading. You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you and don't bother to check it out. b. The Fortune Teller Error. You anticipate that things will turn out badly and feel convinced that your prediction is an already-established fact. 
  6. Magnification (catastrophizing) or minimization: You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else's achievement), or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow's imperfections). This is also called the "binocular trick." 
  7. Emotional reasoning: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: "I feel it, therefore it must be true." 
  8. Should statements: You try to motivate yourself with shoulds and shouldn'ts, as if you had to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. "Musts" and "oughts" are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment. 
  9. Labeling and mislabeling: This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself: "I'm a loser." When someone else's behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him, "He's a damn louse." Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded. 
  10. Personalization: You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event for which, in fact, you were not primarily responsible. 
Cognitive Distortions Adapted from the excellent book by: Burns, David D., MD. 1989:
The Feeling Good Handbook. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.



TDS and the Media
It is no secret that the overwhelming majority of news media in America is biased toward the Left. That is to be expected given the ridiculous percentage of media employees and their bosses who are lifelong Democrats.
Through the years, media studies have shown this bias reflected in the stories the MSM covers and highlights. There is a consistent bias against Republican administrations. Showing bias is not ‘abnormal’ for the leftist media.
However, since the election of Donald Trump, this particular trait has been expanded beyond the borders of normalcy. Overall, according to a Harvard University study, the media reported negatively on the Trump administration 80 percent of the time.
Compare this with the coverage of other Republican administrations. George W. Bush received a lot of negative coverage to be sure. However, his coverage was just 60 percent negative.
It is apparent that the mainstream media is engaging in abnormal behavior when it comes to this president in particular. In fact, the picture is worse than presented in the aforementioned Harvard study. If the FOX news figures featuring 52 percent negative coverage of Trump are thrown out, the remaining media is far closer to 90 percent negative coverage....
... The news media is supposed to exist to inform the public in as non-biased a manner as possible. However, especially when it comes to President Trump, the mainstream media exhibits the disturbing disordered priorities of a deranged mind.One of the earliest forays into TDS comes from CNN’s Chris Cuomo. Shortly after the 2016 election, Cuomo stated the following:

Cuomo vowed to oppose Trump’s policies, and stated he feels it is the job of the media as a whole to treat the next president of the United States with hostility. Per Cuomo, “The media cannot yield. This administration is going to demand constant fact-checking and opposition.

It is not normal journalistic policy to actively oppose any administration. Facts must be checked and reported as part of standard journalistic ethics. However, active opposition to a duly-elected president is a very disturbing and dangerous posture to assume here.

The deranged posture of the Left is also shown in the characterizations and hostile epithets hurled at President Trump particularly in the media. He has been routinely called a ‘Nazi,’ and a ‘fascist’ by leftist commentators. That is almost expected in recent times, as President George W. Bush was also labeled the same way.

This president has been insulted in the vilest of ways by leading figures in both government and media. Moreover, his nastiest critics contradict themselves with their own name-calling and fear-mongering....

...TDS began on election night 2016 when everyone in the media believed Hillary Clinton would win. Those suffering from TDS have continued to believe that Hillary should have won ever since. That is what keeps TDS alive.

What keeps TDS active is the deluded dedication of the mainstream media and its political allies to taking down Trump. It is deluded because both the Democratic party and leftist media have been losing vital support since they have taken the route of always negatively criticizing Trump and anyone else associated with him.

Essentially, the leftist media-political complex is committing a form of slow suicide with such behavior. Or, they would be if they weren’t also backed by deep pockets who wish to bend reality to a different will.
Is Trump Derangement Syndrome Real? -D.T.Osborn






Media Bias Proof?  The Harvard Study:
A deep and well researched study from Harvard University finds the media coverage of President Trump is jaw-droppingly negative.

[…] Trump’s coverage during his first 100 days was negative even by the standards of today’s hyper-critical press. Studies of earlier presidents found nothing comparable to the level of unfavorable coverage afforded Trump. (link)
Click Graphic to Review Entire Study

Harvard Media Study Finds Trump Derangement Syndrome is Very Real… -Sundance






Questions about the caravan: an investigative report






The secret life of pastors

14 surprising facts you may not know about pastors:
  1. We fight the balance between pleasing people and pleasing God every day. 
  2. We often hear more negative than positive feedback. 
  3. We say “no” because we love our sheep. Pastors have families and lives too. We have to say “no” sometimes in order to be a good dad, a present husband, a good friend or for self-care. 
  4. Our families feel the weight of our calling more than they will ever tell you. 
  5. Eating well, exercising well, and sleeping well is hard work for us. Pastors are often selfless to a fault. We will more quickly go serve someone than to work out, sleep or prioritize self-care. 
  6. Many of us are “Professional Extraverts.” Pastors have to do a lot of deep thinking and study. We are used to being alone and actually love it (most of us). 
  7. We know we could get paid better doing something else, but we don’t want to. 
  8. Spiritual warfare is a way of life. 
  9. We are always fighting our own sin too. 
  10. It takes us about 7 days to “unplug” for a meaningful and true vacation. It is REALLY hard for pastors to unplug. 
  11. It is hard for us to have friends. People assume we have lots of friends. Most of us don’t. 
  12. We work more than one day a week. People joke with me (almost weekly?) that I “only work one day a week, what is the big deal?” I know they are joking, but it is obviously not true. 
  13. Our greatest joy is when our sheep “Get it.” 
  14. We are rewarded by being invited into a full spectrum of life’s big moments. Think about it, what other roles get to be an intimate part of births, deaths, baptisms, marriages, salvations, sacred holidays, struggles and victories? 
Full post here, by Pastor Josh Weidmann






He says he's sorry, and that his book was wrong: 
Dating is ok again

I Survived "I Kissed Dating Goodbye", The Movie






Renewal in today's church

Saw this shared by Mike Frost on FB:


Renewal is visiting the Church:
1. Bringing down the Preacher as center of gravity
2. Re-centering the Priesthood of Jesus-followers
3. Awakening the 5-fold (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd, Teacher)
4. Creating Disciples not Consumers
5. Rooting deeply in neighborhood
Dan White Jr.‏ @danwhitejr on Twitter
Some of the comments (on Mike's facebook):
Ben: What does #1 mean?

Michael: Not having everything revolve around the sermon. Not having preachers as the only kind of leaders(see point 3).
Ben: What does a service look like?
Michael: The fact that you asked about the Sunday service shows the problem Dan White is addressing. In so many churches their whole life revolves around the hour-long service on Sunday. That elevates the role of the teacher over the other fivefold leadership gifting; it makes people consumers not disciples (point 4); it attracts attendees from across other neighbourhoods far and wide (see point 5). Churching together should involve a common life in a common place, led by a plurality of gifted leaders teaching and shaping us as disciples of Christ
Ben: Let me rephrase. I am in agreement with the points but what does a service look like in any building or home. Should I say the order of a meeting. How does the five fold play into a service or meeting... specifically....
Michael: There are lots of ways it could look. But I think a more challenging question would be what does the 7-days-a-week process of discipleship look like and how do the fivefold giftings contribute to it?
Ben: thanks for clarifying!

Alan: 3 is missing the point of what that passage is doing and doesn’t help us wrestle with the nature of leadership in our contexts.

John: I’d probably contextualise point 5 for Australia.
Michael: Embedding?
Josh: Incarnating?

Kim:  inhabiting (I like Embedding and incarnating more, I just wanted to join the conversation.

John:  Anything but rooting

Andrew: There is a fine line between rooting and embedding.




Unchurching


The Exodus from Institutional Forms of Church -Richard Jacobson





Have you switched to DuckDuckGo as your search engine yet?

Reasons to switch:
#1 — Google tracks you. We don’t.
You share your most intimate secrets with your search engine without even thinking: medical, financial and personal issues, along with all the day to day things that make you, well, you. All of that personal information should be private, but on Google it’s not. On Google, your searches are tracked, mined, and packaged up into a data profile for advertisers to follow you around the Internet through those intrusive and annoying ever-present banner ads, using Google’s massive ad networks, embedded across millions of sites and apps.
In fact, it’s a myth that you need to track people to make money in web search. When you search ‘car’ we can show you a car ad without knowing anything about you. That’s how we make money and it doesn't involve tracking because it is based on the keyword and not the person. Google could do this too; they just choose not to— all that tracking is to power their ad networks so that ads can follow you around the Internet using your search history and other information they have on you.

#2 — Block Google trackers lurking everywhere.

#3 — Get unbiased results, outside the Filter Bubble.

#4 — We listen.

#5 — We don’t try to trap you in our “ecosystem.”

#6 — We have !bangs.

#7 — We strive for a world where you have control over your personal information.

#8 — Our search results aren’t loaded up with ads.

#9 — Search without fear.
#10 — Google is simply too big, and too powerful.
Why should I use DuckDuckGo instead of Google? -Gabriel Weinberg




Knowledge and education versus wisdom -Dennis Pager

Prager University


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Sky Links, 11-10-18


Silent Coward Preachers: To Fail to Speak is to Fail to Love
Have you ever wondered why more pastors don’t speak out about controversial moral and cultural issues? Why it’s rare to hear a sermon about abortion or homosexuality?
I’m sure many pastors would say, “That’s not my calling. My calling is to preach and teach the Scriptures, not to be a cultural commentator.”
But doesn’t the Bible itself comment on culture? Doesn’t God’s Word intersect with society? Didn’t the prophets of old confront the evils of their day?
Other pastors might say, “My calling is not to be political. My calling is to make disciples.”
But how should disciples live? What happens when we experience injustice in the workplace? What happens when our kids come home from school crying after the latest sex-ed class? What happens when racism raises its ugly head in our community? How do we respond as disciples?






Why Some Christians Keep Voting Democrat
It is the pulpit’s fault. Believers are fed all the verses on blessing and few that relate to conscience. This is how they can walk into a voting booth oblivious to the fact that the Democratic Party has declared war on the Bible. Hillary Clinton said, “we must change religious beliefs.”
Even if you buy the myth that Trump is a white-supremacist…a charge that even his avowed enemies find hard to say with a straight face, you are not innocent from knowing what you are voting for. A vote is not a statement just of what you are against but also what you are for.
What does the Bible say about abortion? Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. The Bible clearly teaches that a fetus is a person not a glob of flesh.
Have you ever wondered why Planned Parenthood fights so hard to convince a fetus is not a person? Even they know, if a fetus is indeed a person abortion is taking a human life.
Therefore, abortion is murder. Of one’s own child! Late-term abortion is out and out savagery. The Democratic party not only defends late term abortion, they have said women “should celebrate our abortions.”...


...Many California Christians especially suffer from Biblical malnutrition. They can’t even fathom what is wrong with so many things that the Word of God calls sin.
America is seeing once again the damage done by Christians detached from their Bible. You raise your hands in worship. You sit in church and open your Bible and declare it to be the Word of God, and then you go and vote for the avowed enemy of the Bible? If you did that, then unlike the blessed man of Psalm one “who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly” you did.
In the comments:
It’s amazing the number of Christians who cite Trump’s vulgar tape from over 10 years ago as a reason not to support him who never comment on the Democrats going to the last election supporting taxpayer funded abortion up to 9 months.
Here’s a clue – one of these is merely offensive while the other has a 100% fatality rate.
-Cheryl 

It Happened Again -Mario Murillo



Mid-term results analysis from Dave Janda




Thousand Oaks Murders
Evil has such amazing power, to hurt, harm and destroy. And how someone’s unaddressed personal pain can morph into acts of such incredible evil is so hard to understand.
But as horrible as that is, Love is more powerful still. Humanity does not only have the capacity to do great evil, but also the opportunity to put love and light in the world. That, too, happens every day, and even in the midst of tragedies just like this, as a sheriff’s deputy rushes in to confront the shooter, and as people pour their lives out to help those impacted by this tragedy.
When Tragedy Comes Home -Wayne Jacobsen


Young people are enjoying themselves in a bar, and a guy walks in and blasts many of them away, including a security guard (or guards) and Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, who was called to the scene.
The shooter was an ex-Marine who is reported to have had PTSD. Or maybe he was just a garden-variety disturbed person who turned violent. He lived with his mother, and police were well aware that he was troublesome and had been called to the house about some sort of disturbance a while back:

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said that deputies were called to Ian Long’s house in April. “He was somewhat irate, acting a little irrationally,” Dean said. The deputies requested the help of mental-health specialists, who met with Long. Ultimately it was decided to not detain Long for evaluation or treatment, Dean said.
I’m not going to criticize whoever made that decision. These things are notoriously difficult to predict, and there are a lot of disturbed people who’ve had the police called on them, and we can’t lock them all up nor will they be locked up for long in any event. And I don’t think this particular perp had any serious crimes in his past, so it may be that he was able to get a gun legally.
Thousand Oaks Shooting -Neo





Escape from Paradise

But reports are that the town of 27,000 is no more, that it has been destroyed by an unusually fast-moving fire (even by California standards) fanned by high winds and drought conditions. The town had been evacuated yesterday morning and afternoon, but it’s very possible that some people didn’t get out: the elderly and/or disabled, and those who just left too late or were stopped by fires started by wind-blown embers, clogged roads, and poor visibility.

Here’s a video that shows you what they faced, taken by some residents fleeing in a car:
Paradise Lost -Neo







Drew Peterson eulogizes his grandpa






Staff infection
From time to time I’ll walk into a church and quickly learn that the team is not healthy.
...And many times the team is not healthy because the leader is not healthy.
...Because their relationships were impaired or, in some cases, completely lacking, their leadership was also impaired… or sometimes completely lacking.
...What are the symptoms that your “leadership” is creating a toxic culture?
Here are 10 signs you may be the boss but not a leader…
  1. You have to make every decision.
  2. You know people fear you… and you’re okay with that.
  3. You have an agenda for today, but you lack a vision for the future.
  4. You “lead” a team, but your life is isolated from other people.
  5. You think once you get the title you’ll have influence.
  6. You believe the volume of your words is louder than the impact of your behaviors.
  7. You blame others for mistakes and take credit for the wins.
  8. You don’t ask “your subordinates” or peers for input or advice.
  9. You are focused solely on the mission and not the people who are on the mission with you.
  10. You are the boss, but no one is following you.







Religious freedom 
Late Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized the interim exemption handed to the Little Sisters of the Poor on October 6, 2017. The ruling confirms the group’s freedom from Obamacare contraception insurance requirements.

...Two related cases remain ongoing. Two states — California and Pennsylvania — have sued the Little Sisters. Rienzi said the attorneys general for those states have been trying to prove the states “will actually be harmed somehow by the … religious exemption.” Neither state, however, has been able to find ” a single actual person who’s been deprived of contraception under these rules.”

Little Sisters of the Poor’s Interim Religious Exemption Finalized -Nancy Flory






Blexit
Its name’s a play on Brexit, Great Britain’s movement to leave the European Union. Its members believe the Democratic Party takes them for granted and does not represent their interests. They’ve become increasingly frustrated in recent years with the Democrats’ letting illegal immigrants into the country, taking jobs away from them. The movement is selling clothing to publicize its efforts.
They call their movement “Blexit.” And they come from the Democratic party’s most loyal voting group. If the group keeps growing, the Democrats are in trouble.

Blexit is a movement recently formed by black Americans leaving the Democratic Party. It follows the #WalkAwaymovement, which started earlier this year with Democrats, particularly minorities, deserting the party.
...Strangely, a Google search for “Blexit” doesn’t pull up the website in the first page of results. The site doesn’t show up until the fourth page. Negative articles about the movement dominate the top of search results. Other search engines, including Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Yahoo, show the site at the top of search results.
Democrats depend on blacks as a voting block in order to win elections. If Blexit is successful, the loss of this support will be a great blow.

Black Conservatives Building up Steam With Blexit -Rachel Alexander


Let go

(h/t, Charles Pope)





Books


















(h/t, Scot McKnight; Maria Scrivan)






Church news from Babylon Bee that isn't too far off:

Discernment Blogger Makes Compelling Case That Jesus Was A Heretic


Half Of Congregation Dies Of Starvation As Sermon Goes 15 Minutes Over Time

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Sky Links, 11-4-18

Liberal/Progressive Racism


How white liberals really view black voters



Lady thinks she understands what black people deal with better than actual black people



Brilliant teenagers







What's at stake in this election.






The Bannon/Frum Debate: The Rise of Populism



Steve Paikin:
Well here's a shocker: at the beginning of the debate, only 28% agreed with Steve Bannon that populism was the future. 72% agreed with @davidfrum. After: 57% agreed with Bannon. Given crowd reaction thru the night, that seems an impossible result. But there ya go.
(The debate was in Toronto!)





El Paso: A parable about politicians and illegal immigration





Meanwhile...






Make books great again: increase your home library
The average number at home was 115 books, though in Norway the average size was 212 books and in Turkey it was 27. Needless to say, no matter the size of the library, having books in the home was a good thing. The researches also found that literacy rates climbed as the number of books climbed, but at some point--350 books to be exact--these rates plateau’d.
In comparison, a person who had not grown up around books but had earned a university degree wound up being just as literate as someone with a large home library and only nine years of schooling.
According to Sikora, “Early exposure to books in [the] parental home matters because books are an integral part of routines and practices that enhance lifelong cognitive competencies.”
What does that bode for a more digital future? The study seems to suggest that while books are not going away any time soon, it is indeed this book-based literacy that leads many of us to online sites like Open Culture, where we spend our time reading articles like this one. (Instead of, you know, watching cat videos or playing Fortnite.)
So the next time you fret that your stack of unread books is a bad thing, don’t worry. It's doing wonders for your mental health, whether you know it or not.

Growing Up Surrounded by Books Has a Lasting Positive Effect on the Brain -Ted Mills





8 Signs that you might be smarter than everyone else




  1. You enjoy being alone
  2. You feel intense pressure, about your life: self-critical
  3. You daydream (more than others): mind wanders
  4. You are open minded, researching possibilities before deciding
  5. Your self-control (impulse control) is exceptional
  6. You are indecisive because you over-analyze: perfectionist(ism)
  7. You are dissatisfied/unhappy, feeling like you don't fit in, living in the opposite of "ignorance is bliss", and you feel guilty for "dumbing down" yourself.
  8. You see patterns and draw parallels + connections that many other people don't see: creative thinking.

________________________________

Evangelicals Who Like Trump: Answering The Irrational Critique

Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For you will be judged by the same standard with which you judge others, and you will be measured by the same measure you use. Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a beam of wood in your own eye? Hypocrite! First take the beam of wood out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye. Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them under their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.
-Matthew 7:1-6

*edited*

Progressive, liberal, or Democrat Evangelicals and Mainline Christians have been critiquing their brother and sister Evangelicals over voting for or supporting Trump. 

Eight answers:
  1. Trump does not call the media the enemy of the people, he calls the fake news media the enemy of the people.
  2. The fear, paranoia, and violence; along with loads of misinformation and bad and fake news has been coming from the left, headed by the news media and Hollywood.
  3. He is not a demagogue, but you would see his statements that way, if you were a racist.  He has nothing against any race or class of people.  He is the least racist or bigoted person. He is just like the kid in "The Emperor Has No Clothes" story, who cried out. "He's naked".  Trump's illegal immigration message resonates deeply with voters because our government has done such a bad job with it and it has been massively unjust.  The majority of voters do not want open borders.  If Mr. T likes illegal immigration and no borders, that is fine; but don't get into all the smearing of the other side with racism and demagoguery charges just for calling for law and order and justice.
  4. The "caravan" is not spontaneous, but is a political stunt.  Anyone can see that.  The proof is out there.  Sara Carter, for example, has reported on who is in the caravan.
  5. Trump does not continually lie.  We disagree.  Just like Jesus, Trump often speaks with hyperbole.  
  6. The personal attacks:  Look at the instance when Jesus called Herod, "that fox".  You can call someone a name and have it not be sinful, because it's true.
  7. Immigrants: saying that Trump is against them  Not true.  Trump cares about getting us back to being a country of law and order.  As a Biblical Christian, we know that God designed the nations and borders.  Everyone needs to come to America legally.  Illegal immigration has been out of control.  To say let's get it under control, including sealing the border, is not racist.  If you hear it that way, that is your issue.
  8. How long until we stop supporting Trump?  More and more people are waking up, taking the red pill, having their eyes opened to how bad things have been.  Trump's popularity among everyone, leading with evangelicals is going up.  There is a huge number of evangelical leaders who love Trump and what he's doing and plans to do, and they aren't stupid and they aren't racists.  They definitely are not perfect and they love Jesus, his church, and the USA.




Sky Links, 10-27-18


Morning prayer Lord, bring about a great revival that will shake this nation, awaken your people, renew the strength of those who are falling away and convict the conscience of those who have drifted too far from shore. Do it Lord Please do it Lord! @CharlieDaniels




Eugene Peterson


I had an opportunity to spend some time with Eugene back in the 1980s, and I can truthfully say this: I’ve never met a more genuine man who lived everything he wrote about...
...My favorite story about him came from a friend who invited him to come and teach at his denomination’s annual convention:
Eugene asked him how many people they were expecting. My friend responded, “Around five thousand.”
Eugene hesitated, finally concluding this wasn’t an invitation he thought he could accept.
My friend was a bit incensed that Eugene didn’t consider that a significant enough audience and let that frustration spill out in a question. “Just how many people does it take to get Eugene Peterson to speak?”
“I’m sorry,” Eugene answered, “you misunderstand me. I have discovered I’m most effective in a group of twenty-five people or less. If you can get a group of that size together, I’d love to come.”
A Man Who Touched Many Lives -Wayne Jacobsen





The Message
“For those of us who take the Scriptures seriously as the word of God and the authoritative text by which we choose to live, translation is one of the primary defenses that we have against . . . letting language inflate into pomposities or artifices that are no longer current with the way we express our ordinary lives.”
Knowing this helps me appreciate The Message for what it is. It’s a protest against arcane and impenetrable religious language. It’s an invitation for ordinary people to enter the Scriptures once again.
But writing an accessible paraphrase didn’t arise only from his pastoral vocation, it goes even deeper for Peterson. In his 1997 book on spirituality, Leap Over a Wall, he opens by telling us how his mother used to recount Bible stories to him when he was a child. In quite a moving passage, he writes:
“My mother was good with words; she was also good with tones. In her storytelling I not only saw whole worlds come into being, I felt them within me through the timbre of her voice.”
Sure, he admits, she took some liberties with the stories, adding extracanonical detail, but “she never violated or distorted the story itself.”
Here we have our primary clue to reading The Message: it’s like sitting on Uncle Eugene Peterson’s knee and listening to him tell the Bible story, which is exactly what the woman I was talking to needed—the story!

Yes, nearly every time I hear someone mention they are reading from ‘The Message’ I hear someone else pipe in. They usually say “You know it’s not a translation, right?” as if to give some sort of rebuke. Next time I will pipe in saying, “Sure, they just wanted to have the story retold from their grandma’s knee again”.
-Chad Bonawitz (in the comments)
Is The Message as bad as they all say? -Mike Frost


Philip Yancey on his friend:
I could hardly believe he grew up in the Pentecostal tradition, this gentle introvert who never raised his voice and made few hand gestures. Yet when Eugene spoke, people listened.
The median church in the United States—the point at which half the churches are smaller and half are larger— has 75 regular participants on Sunday mornings. If you take the averagechurch size, including all the megachurches, the average church still has only 186 attenders. I know many dispirited pastors of those “average” churches who look to Eugene for inspiration: whereas the media-savvy pastors of large churches get the publicity, Eugene showed that “success” in the shepherd role is measured more by faithfulness than by glitz and glamour. His life, mostly spent out of the limelight, could be summarized in one of his book titles, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.
Farewell Eugene -Philip Yancey








The leftist media's political agenda
In 2014, Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post’s Tehran Bureau Chief, was arrested and spent two years in prison. Iran kept him in one of its worst prisons, he slept on a damp concrete floor, was denied medical treatment, experienced hallucinations due to sleep deprivation and was abused by his captors. His wife was told that her legs would be cut off and her husband would be thrown off a cliff if she didn’t confess.
While Jamal Khashoggi has often been misidentified as a Washington Post journalist, all he did for the radical leftist paper owned by Amazon’s CEO is write editorials promoting the Muslim Brotherhood agenda. The Muslim Brotherhood leader and former Bin Laden pal was never a journalist. The closest he came to it was acting as a terrorist propagandist in Afghanistan, glamorizing Osama bin Laden, on behalf of a man listed by the Treasury Department as one of “the world’s foremost terrorist financiers.”

And yet the arrest and abuse of Jason Rezaian didn’t touch off a fraction of the outrage from his own paper as the possible death of Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of the Saudis. The media went through the usual formal protests, but the outrage was muted and there was no talk of sanctions. Instead, Rezaian, along with some other hostages, was illegally ransomed after two years by Obama for $400 million.

The media did not vigorously campaign to break off relations with Iran, as it now is with Saudi Arabia.

It didn’t push too hard out of fear of spoiling Obama’s dirty nuclear deal with Iran’s terrorist regime. And even the arrest may have taken place, according to some sources, because of Rezaian’s closeness with some regime figures.

The New York Times showily announced that it was suspending its pricey Saudi tours over Khashoggi, but it never stopped its Iranian tours, not over Rezaian’s imprisonment, or the killing, torture and rapes of Iranian protesters.

The Washington Post rolled out a special Jamal Khashoggi edition, but there was no special Jason Rezaian edition. There were fewer news stories about Rezaian’s imprisonment after two years than there have been after a week of Khashoggimania. The Post and the rest of the media did far less for Rezaian, one of their own, than they were willing to do for Khashoggi, a shady Islamist activist.

Why?

The answer has everything to do with the media’s political agendas. It is not concerned with human rights. And it’s even less interested in freedom of the press. It has no principles, only allegiances.

The media will always favor Islamist movements over non-Islamists.

The media underreacted to Rezaian’s arrest because it supported Iran’s Islamist government. It overreacted to Khashoggi’s disappearance because he is an Islamist leader. And under Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudis, once the hub of regional Sunni Islamism, turned against the Muslim Brotherhood.

The media is raving against Mohammad bin Salman because he opposes Iran and the Brotherhood. It repeats every piece of propaganda from Turkey and Qatar because they back the Muslim Brotherhood.
Kashoggi and Our Islamist Media -Daniel Greenfield





Sassy Sasse gets sassed by Schlichter
He’s a Republican senator in the midst of the greatest partisan struggle since the Civil War. This isn’t a “both sides are the same” situation. The Dems are neo-socialists whose announced goal is to undermine and eliminate the First and Second Amendments and to ensure we lose our ability to participate in our own governance. They have to be stopped, not hugged. We’re in a cold civil war that they started and that they intend to win, and Sasse is pouty at us because we’re fighting back.

He never fights the left. Never. When Brett Kavanaugh was getting slimed by the Dems, Sasse was on the Judiciary Committee and he…disappeared. He did nothing. Oh, he eventually voted the right way – his defenders point out that Sasse always ends up voting the right way, as if that was some sort of noteworthy achievement instead of merely meeting the bare minimum standard for a GOP senator.
But he never fights the enemy. He only fights his alleged allies. The one time Princess Miracle Whip shut his nag-hole was right when we were in the middle of a fight when we needed all hands on-deck. And after the smoke cleared, he got back on Twitter and announced that he had checked out of social media for a while and was so glad he did because it was good for his soul. The battle was joined and he went AWOL.
Oh, but then he popped up like a sanctimonious Whack-a-Mole to trash the President for defending Kavanaugh – Trump refused to pretend that the accusers weren’t full of it and, oh well I never! And, of course, he got lots of media hits off his conservaHamlet act – will he or won’t he leave the GOP? Gee, how the hell could anyone tell if he did?
Sasse’s act is to aim his outrage not at the left but at us Normals. We refuse to be as submissive and useless as he is, and we’re failing to meet his exacting standards by not being as equally unhappy that Trump is succeeding. Trump wins by virtue of his glorious refusal to lose like a gentleman, as all good Republicans should do. But Sasse’s savvy schtick was never about winning for conservatism. It was always about staking his claim as a future headliner on some Weakly Standard cruise after he gets primaried out of his Senate gig.

Ben Sasse is Everything Wrong With Elite Conservatism -Kurt Schlichter





Richard Nixon was a great President and the media took him down







If you believed any of Christine Blasey Ford's testimony,
as in, "why would she testify, if it was not true?",
hear Deborah R. Castleman explain:


________________________________

Your Enemy

You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
-Matthew 5:43-44

There are people who disagree with us, and with their words, make us their enemy.  The trap, is to let them be your enemy and to hate them.  But Jesus says not to do this and to instead love them.

What if the greatest sin was not mass murder, but self-righteousness?  Think about who Jesus' enemy was.  King Herod wanted to kill baby Jesus, but the religious rulers were not very interested to investigate his birth, as the wise men were.  

That enemy with real destructive power, like Herod and the Romans is always out there, often doing injustice.  They were probably the first ones that most of Jesus' hearers thought of.

But when our enemies become people from our our household, it is pernicious.

Listen to this hard saying of Jesus:
For I came to turn

a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and a man’s enemies will be
the members of his household.
The one who loves a father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; the one who loves a son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
-Matthew 10:35-37 
I believe we are seeing this today, in the Christian household.  What is tricky is that Jesus says that his coming will do this.  In other words, his working in your life will give you enemies, even in your own home.  And here is the crazy part: these enemies will see themselves as being on God's side and you as being evil.

Listen to another hard saying from Jesus about this very thing:
“I have told you these things to keep you from stumbling. They will ban you from the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering service to God. They will do these things because they haven’t known the Father or me.

-John 16:1-3
Who do I have in mind?  Progressive Christians who hate Christians who are Trump supporters.  They are not only 'blue pills', who are asleep, but in their dream life reality, they are agents of death; enforcers who are out to kill people who are awake and on a quest to set others free.

This is the same spirit of murder that was after Jesus.  This is the same spirit of religion that is man centered.

All of the reasoning against Trump (Trumpism or MAGA) is human based, faulty logic, with bad filters, distorted lenses, and demonic (1 Tim. 4:1).  Haters do not think critically, because they are indoctrinated with doctrines of demons and need deliverance.

Deception is real, delusion is real.  This is how believers come to hate other believers.

What Pastors Like and Don't Like To Do

When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said to him, “you know that I love you.”

“Feed my lambs,” he told him. A second time he asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said to him, “you know that I love you.”

“Shepherd my sheep,” he told him.

He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was grieved that he asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”He said, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

“Feed my sheep,” Jesus said.
-John 21:15-17

Thom Rainer surveyed 1,178 pastors about what they like to do the most, in their ministries.  Here's the rough list:
  1. Preaching, 40%. 
  2. Discipleship/Mentoring, 30%. 
  3. Evangelism/Outreach, 9%. 
  4. Leadership/Vision, 7%. 
  5. Pastoral Care, 5%. 
  6. Administration, 2%. 
  7. Community involvement, 2%. 
  8. Counseling, 1%. 
  9. Others,(respondents were asked to specify), 4%.
The list tells us that most pastors love to preach and disciple/mentor people.  Doing admin, pastoral care, community involvement, and counseling is not enjoyable for most pastors.  Congregants and search committees, and anyone involved in placing a pastor in a position, however you church is configured needs to see this list and know that pastors should be allowed to do what they love and not forced into a too wide of a role that their what is their God-given design.

Administration is a spiritual gift or a design that some people have and many pastors do not have.  Pastoral burnout and all the uglies that go with it, is the result of doing too much of what you don't enjoy doing.  Of course you can work too hard and put in too many hours, neglecting your health and family, doing what you love; but the deathly burnout syndrome is when you do work that you don't like and are not really good at.

Especially in a smaller (non-mega) church, congregations want their pastor to do and be the pastoral care, but look at the passion list above.  To me, this brings up the 'pastor/teacher' dilemma.  Some pastors can not teach and some teachers, who are called pastors can not pastor.

What I mean by that is that some people who have a passion to serve vocationally or are a good person in their churches and become an elder, come into the pastor role.  But they are not pastoral.  They may be teachers or evangelists, maybe apostles.  But they do not have good 'bedside manner'.

One man was such a good teacher, he was brilliantly smart, and he was a pastor, a senior pastor and then an executive pastor who oversaw a number of pastors.  And it was a bad fit and wrong fit, because he was not pastoral.  He loved God, loved to preach and teach and even pray for individuals.  But he did not have the gift-mix to be a pastor or an executive pastor managing pastors.

Tozer may be a person like that.  Massive passion for God, for the word of God, for teaching and preaching; but not a good husband.  He did not beat his wife and kids, nor commit adultery; but he was not pastoral with her and them.

My point is that the pastorate can not be a one size fits all box.  

This is another hard one.  Some pastors can not teach.  They don't have the gift nor the passion.  But they sure can care for people.  They are not pastor/teachers.  But they are pastors.

There is a huge variety of gift mixes (the unique gifts deposited by God in a person) that we can have.  There are healers and prophets who teach and others who minister powerfully but do not teach, because they don't have the teaching gift.

Matt Bredmond studied Eugene Peterson's books on being a pastor, this past year.  10 insights gleaned:
1. Pastoral Work does not look “busy.”
2. The hard work of a pastor is done in the quiet of study and prayer.
3. Most pastors are pragmatists because they have never seen any other kind of pastoral work done.
4. You will never get the job of pastoral work down to a science.
5. Read novels as a part of your ministry.
6. How-to sermons are rarely – if ever – helpful.
7. Don’t listen to the conventional wisdom.
8. It is so normal for bullies to fill our pulpits we can no longer recognize the problem.
9. Pastors should not seek to be part of the super-spiritual crowd but seek to be normal – only more so.
10. God and his work in Christ are our subject.

The Journey: Called, Going Out, and The Promise

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and set out for a place that he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, even though he did not know where he was going.

By faith he stayed as a foreigner in the land of promise, living in tents as did Isaac and Jacob, coheirs of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

By faith even Sarah herself, when she was unable to have children, received power to conceive offspring, even though she was past the age, since she considered that the one who had promised was faithful. Therefore, from one man—in fact, from one as good as dead—came offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and as innumerable as the grains of sand along the seashore.
-Hebrews 11:8-12

We are all on a journey.

We are all called to go out, on a journey, towards something that we are waiting for.

The text says, "By faith Abraham, when he was called".  Calling is not something for the few, but we are all called.  Put your name in that sentence.  What did you do when you were called?

It says that, "By faith", he did what he did.  What did you do?  He went out.  He left behind.

Is calling something for the few?  Is calling only for the extraordinary person, or are we all called?

If you think calling is for only a certain small percentage of people, then let me ask you a question.  How did you get saved?  Are you going to tell me how you saved yourself or are you going to tell how how God saved you?

If God saved you and God is still saving you, part of your story is how you responded to God.  God did call you and you responded.

This issue of call brings up the question of what did you do.  It brings up personal responsibility.  When you were called, what did you do?

Like Abraham, did God's call to you set into motion a chain of events that forever changed your life?  Was it like, "From this day on, everything changes"?

If you did not leave something, someone, and go out into the unknown, to follow the call of God; I might not believe that you have been called.  Because nobody stays the same after God calls them.

You might think that being called is something for the few, but that is not true.  If you are God's child, he calls you.

People that say they are God's child, but don't have a call story, are probably not really a true follower, because God calls his followers.  You can be a fan, in the crowd, investigating, researching, trying it out, a student even, and following, but not called.  You may be all those things because he is calling you.

And that's the key question, "Is God calling you, and are you answering the call?"  Then, the question is, "What are you doing to answer the call?"

Stepping back, what is the call?  In the Bible, when people are called, they leave things, they leave people, and they are forever changed.

When we are called, we leave and go; and we do it by faith.  That means, we go forward, without seeing where we are going.  That is what Abraham did, and Sarah went with him.

And the call had some specifics.  He was to go to an unknown geographic place and become a nation there.  This couple that did not have children were to become the father and mother of a nation, in a new geographic space, unknown to them.

Between the calling recognized or discerned and promise in the call being fulfilled or taken hold of, is the waiting time.  And the waiting is a journey we go on from call to realization.

And waiting is not passive.  In waiting, we are attentive to the calling becoming manifest in our life.

You can not get from hearing the call to seeing the promise come to pass unless you go on the journey that is between the two.

To hear the call and then stand by the door to the journey, but then never going on that journey, and then to complain that God's call does not work out, is foolishness.  Because the call will not become fulfilled unless we leave and go into the unknown of the journey from calling to fulfillment

Abraham and Sarah were called into the journey and were also waiting for something.  The journey also called them to look for something.

It is perhaps ideal if you hear from God when you are a child and grow up serving him for the rest of your life.  But that is not Abraham's story.  He was called in mid life.  He was 75.  He still had 100 years to go.

With today's average lifespan for men at about 80 years, Abraham would have been about 34 years old when he was called.  He and Sarah did not have kids.  They had probably been married for a while and were living among their family.  Suddenly, God called them, speaking to Abraham, to leave his dad and their hometown and go to a totally different place.

This is how it is documented in Genesis 12:
The Lord said to Abram:

Go out from your land,
your relatives,
and your father’s house
to the land that I will show you.
I will make you into a great nation,
I will bless you,
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt,
and all the peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated, and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan. -Genesis 12:1-4

Has God called you?  Where are you on a journey to? What are you waiting for? And, what are you looking for?

Abraham and Sarah had a lot of unknowns.  They did not know where they were going and they did not know when they would get there.  They also wanted to have a baby and they did not know if they would ever conceive.

As they grew older, they naturally would have given up hope.  But their story is that God intervened.  God promised them that they would conceive.

As far as I know, God only spoke to the Abraham, so Sarah had to trust that her husband had heard it right.

Our singular relationship to God comes first in our lives.  What is God showing me to do?  In a relationship there are two people who both want to obey and follow God.  Me and I becomes we and us.

We have to ask, what is God showing us to do?  What if you don't see what God has shown me?  Will you trust me or do we have to wait for God to show you?

A husband gets a revelation, a calling, he says from God, to go, to leave, to uproot.  Maybe it is the other way, and the wife gets the call.

What if one spouse gets the calling and the other spouse is comfortable where they are?

Every couple has to work this out.

But what if God calls you?

We are all on a journey where God calls us out of something or somewhere and into something else that is largely or completely unknown.  This calling may be completely metaphorical or spiritual, and will later take shape in the natural, physical realm of houses, people, vocation, ministry opportunities, and assignments.

When you are called to leave, you may very well be called, like Abraham and Sarah, to leave without knowing, without something, anything lined up.  Your destination is unknown.

The calling is clear on the leaving part and not so clear on the destination part.

As Tolkien wrote, "All those who wander are not lost".

We are all waiting for something and we are all on a journey.  We get to spend our time between now and the time of the waiting to be over.  Spending our time well is what we want to do.

We can waste time and we can not get it back, although God can redeem it.  Wasting time might be one of the worst things we can do.  Leisure and rest were invented by God.  We call it recreation.

Some Christians might think of life as spiritual and sinful.  Spiritual is devotions, Christian media, church, and edifying fellowship.  Sinful is worldliness, addictions, and fleshly things; like the list of attributes juxtaposed and antithetical to the fruit of the Spirit, described in Galatians five.

But what about life in Christ?  Did Jesus see life and live life in that bifocal way?

A wise man said, "begin with the end in mind".  What is the end of your life?  What and who do you want to be at the end and where do you want to go and to whom?

When you settle those questions and perhaps refine them before God, you can set up goals for your life.

If you read all on Hebrews 11, there is a shocking line in there, that says that many people never receive the promise they were striving towards, here in their lives.  And it says that we ought to be inspired by them and live the way they did, as sojourners or strangers here.
These all died in faith, although they had not received the things that were promised. But they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth.  -Hebrews 11:13-14
Abraham was in the middle of his life when he was called to uproot and change everything, by following God into the unknown.  And he was five years older than his dad was when he was born.  I can imagine he was already getting concerned about his progeny.

Sarah found out that God was calling her to be a mother, not a step-mom or an aunt; but a mother who would conceive and give birth and raise a son.  

Life is made up of waiting and being on a journey.  We receive promises from God and then the promise works something in us, while we wait and walk forward in life.

This is the life many of us are living.

What are the questions that drive you?

Have you begun to understand your life in retrospect?



______________________________________________
The artwork is Rembrandt, "Abraham Caressing Isaac"