Judeo-Christian Worldview: Time to be a Spiritual Warrior, Salt of the Earth

Judeo-Christian Worldview:

Time to be a Spiritual Warrior, Salt of the Earth

In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost. ~Russell M. Nelson

Spiritual warfare in the culture

Ed Vitagliano

American Family Association Journal

January-February 2019 – It is clear that America is in the midst of a moral, political, and cultural upheaval that rivals that of the 1960s – or perhaps even the Civil War era.

Furthermore, a Christian would have to be totally devoid of discernment to miss the clear signs of a devastating spiritual war engulfing our land and its people.

Here are seven principles outlining the reality of the spiritual warfare that exists behind the curtain of the culture chaos.

1. There is a spiritual reality behind earthly conflict.


Of course, the most obvious place to start is in Ephesians 6:10-18, arguably the most familiar spiritual warfare passage in the Bible. Paul teaches that Christians are enveloped in a “struggle.” However, the struggle appears to exist only in the realm of the physical world – i.e., people and circumstances. But our struggle is “not against flesh and blood.” It’s actually a much deeper battle.

When you consider the ongoing culture war in our nation, it’s not about what we might think it is. It seems as if the natural world is all that matters, but it’s not. It’s not simply the politics, the trash coming out of Hollywood, or the hundred other things that are convulsing our country.

There are evil powers assaulting the church and the truth. That’s what this is all about. They are enslaving millions in thick chains of darkness and dragging them away into ruin.

2. That spiritual conflict requires a heavenly perspective.


Notice that Paul says these demonic powers dwell “in the heavenly places.” Who else is in the heavenly places? Of course, Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God – far above all wicked spiritual rulers (Ephesians 1:20-21).

The church is also seated “with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:5-6). What is the church doing up there in the heavenlies? Positionally, we are seated in heavenly places because Christ is there, we are in Christ, and wherever He is, we are.

However, despite the fact that we live natural lives down here, we must view our battles from up there. In other words, we must have a heavenly perspective. We must have God’s perspective – an eternal perspective.

Psalm 2 offers a perfect example of that reality. The nations rage against the Lord and His Christ. They scheme and conspire to break away from
His restraints.

We might see that and get very, very angry. Like Jesus’s disciples, we might want to call fire down from heaven and devour sinners. We forget that we, like our spiritual enemies now, were once rebels and blasphemers.

But God sits in heaven and laughs at their strategies – because He knows the final outcome. In fact, God knows that some of those very same rebels will one day repent and join themselves to Him. In the midst of the battle, Christians should also be encouraged that our God is sovereign – and in control of history.

3. The coming of Jesus Christ brought light into darkness.


In Matthew 4:12-17, we see that those who dwelled in darkness and “the shadow of death” saw a “great Light” – the coming of the Son of God to earth. The core message of Jesus Christ was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

It is hard for us to comprehend the spiritual state of the world when Jesus came. Other than Israel – and a few scattered Jewish communities – everywhere one traveled, from one end of the earth to the other, there were only idolatry, false religion, and spiritual darkness. There was not a single lamp lit by biblical truth. There was no temple other than those occupied by demons. There were no priests or priestesses other than those who counseled people away from the One true God.

The oppressive grip of darkness was broken the moment Jesus was born. He was and is the Light of the world, and His coming, like the invasion of Normandy in 1944, was an invasion of occupied territory.

4. Christians carry on the work established by Christ.


We are the follow-up to this invasion – and we push ever forward into the darkness. Matthew 5:13-16 declares that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

For 2,000 years, a faithful portion of the church has taken seriously the words of Christ that we be salt (opposing decay and death) and light (opposing darkness and delusion).

Proof of this is found in a simple fact: The earth is no longer in complete and total darkness, as the light continues to blaze brightly!

5. The “empire always strikes back.”

 

by Carl Bloch

Wherever light goes, however, it immediately comes into conflict with darkness. Remember the core message of Jesus as He entered the world system? “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).

That is absolutely a challenge to the darkness. Jesus is announcing that the authority of heaven has come, and all people are commanded to cease their wicked ways.

In Acts 17:30, Paul says, “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent.”

However, the powers of darkness do not slink away, whipped, into the shadows. Those “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” that Paul mentioned in Ephesians 6? They are ferocious and totally depraved demonic entities, with seething hatred for all things and all people that point to God.

This means we can always expect a satanic response as we move to shine the light of God’s truth in the darkness.

6. There are only two sides in this war.

He that is not with me is against me. ~ Jesus Christ, Matthew 12:30


Therefore, as we might expect, there’s no demilitarized zone. People must choose their side. There is no room for wimpy Christians who will not stand for the truth or who worry about offending people. We don’t have to be jerks, but we do have to be warriors.

This is one of the powerful messages of the book of Revelation, where we see but two choices – the Lamb of God and the beast from the sea; two women – the bride of Christ and the harlot of Babylon; and two cities – the New Jerusalem (the holy city) and Babylon (the great city).

As a result, there are only two destinies for the souls who inhabit this battlefield: those who have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life and those who do not. There is no middle ground.

7. We are an expression of that war – right now in America.


We are to resist the dark lies of this hierarchy of demonic leadership using every spiritual weapon at our disposal. However, “spiritual” doesn’t mean there is no accompanying natural effort.

We can stand for righteousness and God’s truth in a hundred different ways. Obviously we can pray, preach, and teach, but we can also write a letter to the editor, rebuild a flooded home, serve food in a soup kitchen, offer counsel in front of an abortion clinic – or vote!

If Christians can’t see that the culture war is a manifestation of a spiritual war, they’re blind. If Christians can’t see that this is a time to be salt and light, they’re disobedient.

This is a day when every soldier of light must put on the full armor of God and stand in the gap for America – because if she falls, all of Western Civilization falls with her.

Action Plan to Equip Your Family for Spiritual Warfare—START HERE

 

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YouTube Music: Spring Awakening with Music of the Heart

Dinner Topics for Friday

YouTube Music: Spring Awakening with Music of the Heart

All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator. ~Alma 30:44

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Louis L’Amour Books: Classic Western Fiction Quotations

Classic Western Fiction Quotations

From unforgettable author: Louis L’Amour

2nd Amendment

You will remember that we won our freedom because we were armed. We were not a simple peasantry unused to weapons. The men who wrote our Constitution knew our people would be safe as long as they were armed. (Lonesome Gods, 216)

Western Civilization

keyIf men are to survive upon the earth there must be law, and there must be justice, and all men must stand together against those who would strike at the roots of what men have so carefully built. (Lonesome Gods, 415)

Here in these western lands men were fighting again the age-old struggle for freedom and for civilization, which is one that always must be fought for. The weak and those unwilling to make the struggle, soon resign their liberties for the protection of powerful men or paid armies; they begin by being protected, they end by being subjected. ~ Louis L’Amour (Man Called Noon)

Appeasement

We have a saying that power corrupts.

It does. Such rulers begin by demanding a little and end by demanding all. Power not only corrupts he who  wields the power but those who submit to it. Those who grovel at the feet of power betray their fellows to hide themselves beyond the cloak of submission. It is an evil thing. (Haunted Mesa, 293)

You cannot submit to evil without allowing evil to grow. Each time the good are defeated, or each time they yield, they only cause the forces of evil to grow stronger. Greed feeds greed, and crime grows with success. Our giving up what is ours merely to escape trouble would only create greater trouble for someone else. (Man Called Noon)

LAmour-cherokee-trailThere’s pushy folks around this country, and if they start pushing you, you have to push back. If you don’t they’ll soon push you out of the country. (Taggart)

Character

They had never learned how to rationalize, and their world was a simple one where right and wrong were quite obvious. Where the Long Grass Grows, 145

To die is not so much, it is inevitable. The journey is what matters, and what one does along the way. (Ferguson Rifle, 97-98).

Pride can be a dangerous associate, and a thinking man should beware of it.  (Ferguson Rifle, 165)

We’re not talking about what’s fair or unfair. We’re talking realities. (Comstock Lode, 49)

Uncommonly shrewd? no. Possibly not shrewd at all. Perhaps only a man who moved into whatever opening appeared, taking every advantage. Often the man appears shrewd who is only ruthless and without scruples.  (Comstock Lode, 331)

But I am somebody. I am me. I like being me, and I need nobody to make me somebody. I need no setting. As for a home, I can build my own. As for position, each of us finds his own.  (Comstock Lode, 333)

Generations will follow who must themselves live from that land …It would not be enough to leave something for them; we must leave it all a little better than we found it. (Lonesome Gods, 373)

Hatred is an ugly thing, more destructive of the hater than the hated. (Lonesome Gods, 371)

All he would say was to ask me, “Do you think you did the right thing?”

A question like that sticks in a man’s mind, and after awhile I judged everything by it, deciding whether it was the right thing, and often if there was no other way. I expect it was a good lesson to learn, but a man in his life may have many teachers, some most unexpected. The question with the man himself: Will he learn from them? (Fast Draw)

For a man to be at peace with himself was important, Will said, not what people say. People are often wrong, and public opinion can change, and the hatreds of people are rarely reasonable things. I can hear him yet. He used to say there was no use a man wearing himself out with hatred and ill-feeling, and time proved it out. First Fast Draw, 27

Me, I was never likely to build anything. A no-account drifter like me leaves no more mark behind him

than you leave a hole in the water when you pull your finger out. Every man could leave something, or should. Well, maybe it wasn’t in me to build much, but I surely could keep the work of other men from being destroyed. Nobody had the right to take from them what they had built. (Ride the Dark Trail, 101)

The thing to remember when traveling is that the trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast and you miss all you are traveling for. (Ride the Dark Trail, 53)

A man had to see, not just look. (The Quick and the Dead, 18)

It’s the way with women. [They] fall for a man, then set out to change him. Soon’s they got him changed they don’t like him no more. Never seen it to fail. (Outlaws of Mesquite, 32)

The man had charted his own course, followed his own trail. If it led to death … he had probably saved himself from a bullet or a noose, for he was headed for one or the other. When a man begins a life of violence, or when he decides to live by taking something away from others, he just naturally points himself toward one end. He can’t win—the odds are too much against him. (Mustang Man, 93)

Walking opens the mind to thought.

LAmour-western2We have to earn our place, just like all the others. There’s no special sun that shines on any man, regardless of religion, philosophy, or the color of his skin. There’s no reason why any man should expect a special dispensation from pope or president. In this country, more than any other, you have to make your mark. You’re not going to be treated like something special until you are.

Some men become outlaws. They can’t make a living honestly, so they try to do it by force and strength.

That is the hardest question of history, the question people have asked in every age, in every time. Many men want what other men have. Men are often greedy, jealous, and vindictive. Or they look across the fence at what they think is greener grass.(Dry Side)

LAmour-brionneThe wood with which we work has strength, it has beauty, it has resilience! If it is treated well, it will last many, many years! If you build, build well. No job must be slackly done, no good material used badly. There is beauty in building, but build to last, so that generations yet to come will see the pride with which you worked. (Rivers West, 113)

Remember this. If you stop pushing on, you lose. It is always a little further to the top than you think. (Reilly’s Luck, 17)

Riding the wild country gives a man time to think, and Will Reilly had encouraged thinking. “You have to be objective,” he had said. “Each problem must be taken by itself, and you have to leave emotion out of it. Be stern with yourself. Don’t pamper yourself.” (Reilly’s Luck, 94)

Think nothing of treasure and stories of treasure. You will have in this world just what you earn … and save. Remember that. Do not waste your life in a vain search for treasure that may not exist. (Rivers West, 64)

A mill does not turn upon water that is past, nor does a ship sail with the winds of yesterday. (Rivers West, 5)

LAmour-skibbereenI am a poor man, and no fortune will come to me unless I earn it with me two hands. The hands and the will, they’re all I have. (Man from Skibbereen, 39)

“I could come to hate them!”

“Don’t. Isn’t worth it, Molly. I don’t hate anybody and never have. A man does what he has to do, and sometimes it’s not what I believe he should do. There’s no reason to use up energy hating him for it.

“If a man comes at me, I defend myself. If he hunts me, I figure I can hunt some myself.” (Milo Talon, 156)

There was something else, too, that was not generally recognized—that just as the maternal instinct is the strongest a woman has, just so the instinct to protect is the strongest for a man. (Mountain Valley War, 10)

They know who they are, they know what they believe in, and their kind will last. Other kinds of people will come and go. The glib and confident, the whiners and complainers, and the people without loyalty, they will disappear, but these people will still be here plowing the land, planting crops, doing the hard work of the world because it is here to be done. (Mountain Valley War, 12)

LAmour-ben-shafterYou’ve a good mind, too. Don’t let it go to seed. A brain is only as good as you give it a chance to be. (Mountain Valley War, 65)

There was a cold, bitter anger within him. For a moment he looked back, felt the weight of the guns at his hips, and remembered the contempt of Cub Hale, the arrogance of his father. No … now was not the time. Jody was gone, and Wilson too, but what they had fought for must not be lost. The surest way to make Hale pay was not to kill him but to destroy him and what he had done, to win so the rest of them could keep their homes. (Mountain Valley War, 130)

Sometimes a man’s ego gets so inflated that other people … are to be brushed aside. Well, he destroyed himself … when he brushed a man aside the other day who will haunt him the rest of his life. (Mountain Valley War, 141)

Do not let yourself be bothered by the inconsequential. One has only so much time in this world, so devote it to the work and the people most important to you, to those you love and things that matter. One can waste half a lifetime with people one doesn’t really like, or doing things when one would be better off somewhere else.” (Ride the River, 35)

Courage

LAmour-westernDo not be afraid. A little fear can make one cautious. Too much fear can rob you of initiative. Respect fear, but use it for an incentive, do not let it bind you or tie you down. (Lonesome Gods, 218-219)

They had come upon me in a mob, too cowardly to face me alone, and no man deserves to be beaten and hammered by a mob, and the men who make up a mob are cowards. First Fast Draw, 36

They had mobbed me, beaten me, and for no reason. Yet they had declared war, I had not. First Fast Draw, 38

There’s some who will remember you and be afraid, and men try to destroy anybody they are scared of.  First Fast Draw, 45

Only a fool takes chances. That isn’t bravery, not one bit. The good fightin’ man never takes chances he can avoid. You have to take plenty you can’t help, and only a fool would go to gambling with his life.

When I was a kid they told me I was scared for not walkin’ a small log over a high canyon. The other kids all did it, but not me. Now if there had been something on the other side I wanted, I would have gone over after it if there was no other way to get it. I never did see any sense in taking chances that weren’t necessary. There’s a sight of difference between being brave and being a dang fool. (Rustlers of West Fork, 131)

Trouble? All my life there’s been trouble, and where man is there will be trouble to the end of time, if not of one kind, then another. But I take my trouble as it comes. (Showdown at Yellow Butte, 86)

Culture

Men destroy what they do not understand, as they destroyed the son of God when he chose to walk among them. (Lonesome Gods, 512)

LAmour-quick-n-deadIs it to be a place where only business is done? Simply a marketplace, or is it to be a place of beauty? The great cities, the remembered cities, are the cities known for their beauty. (Lonesome Gods, 218)

Because a custom is old is no reason for junking it. (Long grass, 56)

The empty people, they wanted nothing more; they chafed at bonds because they were not mature enough for discipline, the kind of discipline one gives himself. He had seen too many of them, sad, misguided people, railing at institutions and ideas they were too juvenile to accept. The important thing in life called for maturity, for responsibility. Too many fled from it, wanting to be back in childhood when somebody else coped with the problems. Long Grass, 86

I had no grudge against any man, nor did I know what it meant to hate. To be wary, yes, for I knew there were hating folks about, but for myself, I hated no man. Only there was a point beyond which I’d not be pushed. First Fast Draw,15

The good people …made less noise and attracted less attention. (Rustlers of West Fork, 211)

Defend Right and Truth

LAmour-utah-blaineYou have to fight for most of the things worth having … or somebody does. (The Quick and the Dead, 116)

A man can get killed taking things for granted. (Ride the Dark Trail, 52)

Me, I was never likely to build anything. A no-account drifter like me leaves no more mark behind him than you leave a hole in the water when you pull your finger out. Every man could leave something, or should. Well, maybe it wasn’t in me to build much, but I surely could keep the work of other men from being destroyed. Nobody had the right to take from them what they had built. (Ride the Dark Trail, 101)

Education

He who ceases to learn is already a half-dead man. And do not be like an oyster who rests on the sea bottom waiting for the good things to come by. Search for them, find them. (Lonesome Gods, 39)

Family

There’s nothing better than two, a man and woman, who walk together. When they walk right together there’s no way too long, no night too dark. (Ride the Dark Trail, 49)

Long ago we had come from England and Wales, but the family feeling within us was older still, old as the ancient Celtic clans I’d heard spoken of. It was something deep in the grain, but something that should belong to all families …everywhere. I did not envy those who lacked it. (Ride the Dark Trail, 65)

“Her? Really? But she’s nobody. She’s just a broken-down nester’s daughter.”

“Everybody is somebody to me.” (Ride the Dark Trail, 202)

Government

There is no greater role for a man to play than to assist in the government of a people, nor anyone lower than he who misuses that power. (Lonesome Gods, 373

LAmour-flintA man is only king as long as folks let him be. (Ride the Dark Trail, 87)

You’ve got to make a stand somewhere. We are making a decision here today whether this community is to be ruled by justice and by law or by force and crime. (Law of Desert Born. 218)

What we have most to fear, I believe, are those within our own borders who think less of country than of themselves, who are ambitious for money, for power, for land. Some of these men would subvert anything, anything at all, for their own profit. They would even twist the laws of their own country in their desire to acquire wealth or power. Such men are always prepared to listen to a smooth-talking man with a proposal. (Rivers West, 27)

You must remember that if we leave the governing to others, then others will govern, and possibly not as we would like. In a country such as this, none of us is free of responsibility. Good government is everybody’s business. ~ Louis L’Amour (Rivers West, 29)

You know, Jack, there’s a clause in the Constitution that says the right of an American to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged. The man who put that clause there had just completed a war that they won simply because seven out of every ten Americans had their own rifles and knew how to use them. They wanted a man to always be armed to defend his home or his country. Right now there is a man in this area who is trying to take away that liberty and freedom from some men. (Mountain Valley War, 13)

One could not yield to the lawless and the ruthless, or soon there would be no freedom. It was among men as it was among nations. (Mountain Valley War, 85)

Davy was said to be a sort of Robin Hood bandit who took from the rich to give to the poor. If he was like most of those Robin Hood bandits I’d heard tell of, the poor he gave to was himself or over the bar in the nearest tavern. (Ride the River, 59)

History

All history is important to us. From each we learn a little about survival, a little about what causes peoples to decay and nations to die. We try to learn from others so we shall not make the same mistakes, but many of us learn simply for the love of knowing. (Haunted Mesa, 159)

LAmour-ride-riverMen needed stories to lead them to create, to build, to conquer, even to survive, and without them the human race would have vanished long ago. (Lonesome Gods, 142)

Not until 1818 had a firm boundary been established between the United States and Canada along the forty-ninth parallel from the Rainy Lake to the Rockies.

Only recently had the treaty been signed with Spain ceding Florida to the United States and defining the western border of the Louisiana Purchase at the forty-second parallel. The Untied States had renounced claims to Texas, and rights to many parts of this great new land were openly disputed.

The changing status of the slave trade had caused a number of slave traders to abandon the sea. In 1808 a law had been passed forbidding the importation of slaves into the United States, and even now a bill was before Congress that would make foreign slave trade an act of piracy punishable by death. Although the smuggling of slaves would almost certainly continue, many of those traders who wished to take no chances were leaving the trade and looking for a fresh area for their talents. (Rivers West, 39-40)

“I cannot believe this is happening to me. I cannot believe that those men would be as brutal as you say.”

“Nobody ever believes it until it is too late. Everyone has the same idea: that it could not happen to them. It is always happening to somebody else, and you see it in the papers and don’t credit it.”

~Louis L’Amour (Man from Skibbereen, 48)

Liberty

Are you prepared to lose all this? To have someone else reap where you have sown? You must fight or be enslaved. (Haunted Mesa, 270)

You will remember that we won our freedom because we were armed. We were not a simple peasantry unused to weapons. The men who wrote our Constitution knew our people would be safe as long as they were armed. (Lonesome Gods, 216)

He had breathed the free air of a free country too long and had the average American’s fierce resentment of tyranny. (Desert Born, 201)

LAmour-westward-tideMobs must be anonymous. Most men who make up mobs act under influence of the crowd. Singled out and suddenly alone, they become uncertain and uneasy. Deliberately, he let them know that he knew them. Deliberately, he walked among them, making each man feel known, cut off. He must break their shell of mob thinking and force each man to think of his own plight and the consequences to himself. He must make each man sure he was recognized, known. As a mass, thinking with one mind, they were dangerous, but if each began to worry …(Desert Born, 226-228)

Any man can run a town with killings, if he is fast enough. To clean up a tough town without killing, that takes a man!” (Desert Born, 232)

They were God-fearing, stern, and fierce to resent any intrusion on their personal liberty. It was such men as these who had destroyed Major Patrick Ferguson and his command at King’s Mountain. Not understanding what manner of men he dealt with, Ferguson had threatened them with fire and hanging, and they had responded by coming down from the mountains with their long Kentucky rifles. These were the sort of men who had been the backbone of the early American armies.

They were like Ethan Allen, Daniel Boone, the Green Mountain boys, Kit Carson, and Jim Bridger. There was also a fierce resentment for those who abused their power. (Mountain Valley War, 19-20)

Propaganda

They believe too hard. Men will give up anything rather than what they want to believe. And hate you for telling them there’s nothing to believe. And even if you prove it to them, they’ll continue to believe, and hate you for proving them foolish. ~Louis L’Amour

Critical Thinking Topics: Judgment and Decision Making

Critical Thinking Topics:

Judgment and Decision Making

Discernment

Sometimes people feel that it is wrong to judge others in any way. While it is true that you should not condemn others or judge them unrighteously, you will need to make judgments of ideas, situations, and people throughout your life.

The Lord has given many commandments that you cannot keep without making judgments. For example, He has said: “Beware of false prophets. . . . Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16) and “Go ye out from among the wicked” (D&C 38:42). You need to make judgments of people in many of your important decisions, such as choosing friends, voting for government leaders, and choosing an eternal companion.

Judgment is an important use of your agency [free will] and requires great care, especially when you make judgments about other people. All your judgments must be guided by righteous standards.

Remember that only God, who knows each individual’s heart, can make final judgments of individuals. (Revelation 20:12; 3 Nephi 27:14; D&C 137:9)

How to Make Righteous Judgments

Your righteous judgments about others can provide needed guidance for them and, in some cases, protection for you and your family. Approach any such judgment with care and compassion.

As much as you can, judge people’s situations rather than judging the people themselves. Whenever possible, refrain from making judgments until you have an adequate knowledge of the facts. Always be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, who can guide your decisions. True to the Faith, 90-91

How Do We “Judge Righteous Judgment”?

By Tyler J. Griffin

Associate Professor of Ancient Scripture, Brigham Young University

Jesus is not telling us never to judge. He is commanding us to make sure the judgments we make are righteous.

Have you ever been in a situation where somebody tried to correct another person by saying, “Judge not, that ye be not judged”? (Matthew 7:1). Few of Jesus’s teachings are more widely known than this one. Unfortunately, this phrase is not always correctly understood or applied. Our ability to benefit from this command will increase as we examine how Jesus Christ used it in His teachings and how His prophets have reiterated it through time.

In the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 7, we read, “Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged; but judge righteous judgment” (Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 7:2 [in Matthew 7:1, footnote a]).

According to Joseph Smith’s addition to this passage in Matthew, Jesus is not telling us never to judge. He is commanding us to make sure the judgments we make are righteous.

Our Judgments of People

Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “God cares a lot more about who we are and who we are becoming than about who we once were.”5

Our own sins and lack of perfect understanding disqualify us from being able to pass final judgments on anyone, including ourselves. We must, however, make constant intermediate judgments. We are to righteously judge actions, not condemn people.

 

Related post:

Critical Thinking Definition: Discernment and Judgment

Critical Thinking Definition: Discernment and Judgment

Critical Thinking Definition: Discernment and Judgment

Critical-thinking

keyWho says freedom is morally superior to bondage? And why is it wrong to hurt someone else? Who says? To injure or hurt someone else goes against biblical teaching. That is where the idea of it being wrong to hurt someone comes from in the first place. The Golden Rule was given to us by Jesus Christ. ~Tim Wildmon

“You have no right to judge me!” Really?

Tim Wildmon, American Family Association President

discernment-christianDo you know the favorite Bible verse of those who don’t believe in the Bible’s authority? Think about it. It’s not hard. The favorite Bible verse of those who do not believe in the Bible is: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Now these folks cannot tell you where this verse is in the Bible, because they don’t read it. But they have heard it is in the Scriptures somewhere, so if they don’t like something you say when you pronounce something right or wrong, they whip out Matthew 7:1, and that is supposed to be the end of the discussion.

One of the problems is, if you tell others they have no right to judge someone else, you have thereby judged them for judging. You have done precisely what you claim to be against – judging. That makes you a hypocrite.

But that then begs the question – why is it wrong to be a hypocrite? Who made that judgment? We just assume that to be a true statement, which is a presupposition. But presuppositions need a foundation to be authoritative. For example, the teachings of Jesus Christ are authoritative for those who believe He is the Son of God.

Each one of us has a worldview on which we base our lives, presuppositions we operate under and make decisions on. Because of our country’s Christian heritage, most Americans, either consciously or subconsciously, derive their presuppositions about life and morality from the Bible.

Ask an average man on the street if lying is right or wrong behavior, and he is going to tell you it’s wrong. Ask him who decided lying was wrong, and he will either say, “It just is” or “My parents taught me it was wrong” or “The Bible says so.” However, “It just is,” is not an answer to the question; it is an opinion. Neither is “My parents taught me.” Parents are an authority figure, but they do not define morality in any absolute way because they are humans whose opinions are subject to change. “The Bible says so,” is a legitimate answer because if you believe the Bible is God’s Word, then you want to obey God so you don’t fall into disfavor with a supreme being who controls your eternal destiny.

bible1Many Americans will say they subscribe to the idea that a person should be free to do whatever he wishes “as long as it does not hurt anyone else.” This view is based on the presupposition that freedom is good, and it is morally wrong to hurt someone else. Who made these rules? Who says freedom is morally superior to bondage? And why is it wrong to hurt someone else? Who says? To injure or hurt someone else goes against biblical teaching. That is where the idea of it being wrong to hurt someone comes from in the first place. The Golden Rule was given to us by Jesus Christ. 

Some societies use an atheistic state government as the agent for defining what is right or wrong behavior. It’s called totalitarianism for a reason. In Muslim countries, Islamic law and teaching dominate the people’s behavior. Islam defines good and evil, wrong and right. Most European countries have what’s left of their Christian heritage to guide them, although the continent today is mostly secular with Islam rising as a possible replacement to secularism in the coming decades.   

It is a healthy exercise to ask ourselves where we get the moral values that govern our lives. Is it each person for himself, or do we acknowledge a higher power with authority to declare such? God calls on all men to submit to His will and authority. Let us pray that America will become a God-fearing people again. In Matthew 10:28 Jesus declared, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both body and soul in hell.”

http://www.afajournal.org/recent-issues/2015/june/you-have-no-right-to-judge-me-really/

Critical Thinking: Biblical History, Moral Compass, Why the Bible Matters

YouTube Music: Classic Vivaldi

Dinner Topics for Friday

keyAnything unattempted remains impossible.

Antonio Vivaldi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

vivaldiAntonio Lucio Vivaldi (4 March 1678 – 28 July 1741), nicknamed il Prete Rosso (“The Red Priest”) because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, Catholic priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe. Vivaldi is known mainly for composing instrumental concertos, especially for the violin, as well as sacred choral works and over forty operas. His best known work is a series of violin concertos known as The Four Seasons.

Many of his compositions were written for the female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned children where Vivaldi had been employed from 1703 to 1715 and from 1723 to 1740. Vivaldi also had some success with stagings of his operas in Venice, Mantua and Vienna. After meeting the Emperor Charles VI, Vivaldi moved to Vienna, hoping for preferment. The Emperor died soon after Vivaldi’s arrival.

Though Vivaldi’s music was well received during his lifetime, it later declined in popularity until its vigorous revival in the first half of the 20th century. Today, Vivaldi ranks among the most popular and widely recorded of Baroque composers.

Childhood

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was born in 1678 in Venice,[1] then the capital of the Republic of Venice. He was baptized immediately after his birth at his home by the midwife, which led to a belief that his life was somehow in danger. Though not known for certain, the child’s immediate baptism was most likely due either to his poor health or to an earthquake that shook the city that day. In the trauma of the earthquake, Vivaldi’s mother may have dedicated him to the priesthood.[2] Vivaldi’s official church baptism did not take place until two months later.[3]

Vivaldi’s parents were Giovanni Battista Vivaldi and Camilla Calicchio, as recorded in the register of San Giovanni in Bragora.[4] Vivaldi had five siblings: Margarita Gabriela, Cecilia Maria, Bonaventura Tomaso, Zanetta Anna, and Francesco Gaetano.[5] Giovanni Battista, who was a barber before becoming a professional violinist, taught Antonio to play the violin and then toured Venice playing the violin with his young son. Antonio was probably taught at an early age, judging by the extensive musical knowledge he had acquired by the age of 24, when he started working at the Ospedale della Pietà.[6] Giovanni Battista was one of the founders of the Sovvegno dei musicisti di Santa Cecilia, an association of musicians.[7]

The president of the Sovvegno was Giovanni Legrenzi, an early Baroque composer and the maestro di cappella at St Mark’s Basilica. It is possible that Legrenzi gave the young Antonio his first lessons in composition. The Luxembourg scholar Walter Kolneder has discerned the influence of Legrenzi’s style in Vivaldi’s early liturgical work Laetatus sum (RV Anh 31), written in 1691 at the age of thirteen. Vivaldi’s father may have been a composer himself: in 1689, an opera titled La Fedeltà sfortunata was composed by a Giovanni Battista Rossi – the name under which Vivaldi’s father had joined the Sovvegno di Santa Cecilia.[8]

Vivaldi’s health was problematic. His symptoms, strettezza di petto (“tightness of the chest”), have been interpreted as a form of asthma.[3] This did not prevent him from learning to play the violin, composing or taking part in musical activities,[3] although it did stop him from playing wind instruments. In 1693, at the age of fifteen, he began studying to become a priest.[9] He was ordained in 1703, aged 25. He was soon nicknamed il Prete Rosso, “The Red Priest”, because of his red hair.[10] “Rosso” is Italian for “Red”, and would have referred to the colour of his hair, a family trait. Not long after his ordination, in 1704, he was given a dispensation from celebrating Mass because of his ill health. Vivaldi only said Mass as a priest a few times. He appears to have withdrawn from priestly duties, but he remained a priest.

At the Conservatorio dell’Ospedale della Pietà

In September 1703, Vivaldi became maestro di violino (master of violin) at an orphanage called the Pio Ospedale della Pietà (Devout Hospital of Mercy) in Venice.[1] While Vivaldi is most famous as a composer, he was regarded as an exceptional technical violinist as well. The German architect Johann Friedrich Armand von Uffenbach referred to Vivaldi as “the famous composer and violinist” and said that “Vivaldi played a solo accompaniment excellently, and at the conclusion he added a free fantasy [an improvised cadenza] which absolutely astounded me, for it is hardly possible that anyone has ever played, or ever will play, in such a fashion.”[11]

Vivaldi was only 25 when he started working at the Ospedale della Pietà. Over the next thirty years he composed most of his major works while working there.[12] There were four similar institutions in Venice; their purpose was to give shelter and education to children who were abandoned or orphaned, or whose families could not support them. They were financed by funds provided by the Republic.[13] The boys learned a trade and had to leave when they reached 15. The girls received a musical education, and the most talented stayed and became members of the Ospedale’s renowned orchestra and choir.

Shortly after Vivaldi’s appointment, the orphans began to gain appreciation and esteem abroad, too. Vivaldi wrote concertos, cantatas and sacred vocal music for them.[14] These sacred works, which number over 60, are varied: they included solo motets and large-scale choral works for soloists, double chorus, and orchestra.[15] In 1704, the position of teacher of viola all’inglese was added to his duties as violin instructor.[16] The position of maestro di coro, which was at one time filled by Vivaldi, required a lot of time and work. He had to compose an oratorio or concerto at every feast and teach the orphans both music theory and how to play certain instruments.[17]

His relationship with the board of directors of the Ospedale was often strained. The board had to take a vote every year on whether to keep a teacher. The vote on Vivaldi was seldom unanimous, and went 7 to 6 against him in 1709.[18] After a year as a freelance musician, he was recalled by the Ospedale with a unanimous vote in 1711; clearly during his year’s absence the board realized the importance of his role.[18] He became responsible for all of the musical activity of the institution[19] when he was promoted to maestro di’ concerti (music director) in 1716.[20]

In 1705, the first collection (Connor Cassara) of his works was published by Giuseppe Sala:[21] his Opus 1 is a collection of 12 sonatas for two violins and basso continuo, in a conventional style.[16] In 1709, a second collection of 12 sonatas for violin and basso continuo appeared, his Opus 2.[22] A real breakthrough as a composer came with his first collection of 12 concerti for one, two, and four violins with strings, L’estro armonico Opus 3, which was published in Amsterdam in 1711 by Estienne Roger,[23] dedicated to Grand Prince Ferdinand of Tuscany. The prince sponsored many musicians including Alessandro Scarlatti and George Frideric Handel. He was a musician himself, and Vivaldi probably met him in Venice.[24] L’estro armonico was a resounding success all over Europe. It was followed in 1714 by La stravaganza Opus 4, a collection of concerti for solo violin and strings,[25] dedicated to an old violin student of Vivaldi’s, the Venetian noble Vettor Dolfin.[26]

In February 1711, Vivaldi and his father traveled to Brescia, where his setting of the Stabat Mater (RV 621) was played as part of a religious festival. The work seems to have been written in haste: the string parts are simple, the music of the first three movements is repeated in the next three, and not all the text is set. Nevertheless, perhaps in part because of the forced essentiality of the music, the work is one of his early masterpieces.

Despite his frequent travels from 1718, the Pietà paid him 2 sequins to write two concerti a month for the orchestra and to rehearse with them at least five times when in Venice. The Pietà’s records show that he was paid for 140 concerti between 1723 and 1733.

Mantua and The Four Seasons

In 1717 or 1718, Vivaldi was offered a new prestigious position as Maestro di Cappella of the court of prince Philip of Hesse-Darmstadt, governor of Mantua.[33] He moved there for three years and produced several operas, among which was Tito Manlio (RV 738). In 1721, he was in Milan, where he presented the pastoral drama La Silvia (RV 734, 9 arias survive). He visited Milan again the following year with the oratorio L’adorazione delli tre re magi al bambino Gesù (RV 645, also lost). In 1722 he moved to Rome, where he introduced his operas’ new style. The new pope Benedict XIII invited Vivaldi to play for him. In 1725, Vivaldi returned to Venice, where he produced four operas in the same year.

During this period Vivaldi wrote the Four Seasons, four violin concertos depicting scenes appropriate for each season. Three of the concerti are of original conception, while the first, “Spring”, borrows motifs from a Sinfonia in the first act of his contemporaneous opera “Il Giustino“. The inspiration for the concertos was probably the countryside around Mantua. They were a revolution in musical conception: in them Vivaldi represented flowing creeks, singing birds (of different species, each specifically characterized), barking dogs, buzzing mosquitoes, crying shepherds, storms, drunken dancers, silent nights, hunting parties from both the hunters’ and the prey’s point of view, frozen landscapes, ice-skating children, and warming winter fires. Each concerto is associated with a sonnet, possibly by Vivaldi, describing the scenes depicted in the music. They were published as the first four concertos in a collection of twelve, Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione, Opus 8, published in Amsterdam by Le Cène in 1725.

During his time in Mantua, Vivaldi became acquainted with an aspiring young singer Anna Tessieri Girò who was to become his student, protégée, and favorite prima donna.[34] Anna, along with her older half-sister Paolina, became part of Vivaldi’s entourage and regularly accompanied him on his many travels. There was speculation about the nature of Vivaldi’s and Giro’s relationship, but no evidence to indicate anything beyond friendship and professional collaboration. Although Vivaldi’s relationship with Anna Girò was questioned, he adamantly denied any romantic relationship in a letter to his patron Bentivoglio dated 16 November 1737

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Biblical Worldview News: Capitalism Benefits the Poor; Media Effects on Children; Trail Life USA succeeds

Biblical Worldview News:

Capitalism Benefits the Poor; Media Effects on Children; Trail Life USA succeeds

March 2019 – According to Star Parker (photo above), founder of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, President Donald Trump is using capitalism quite effectively to help America’s poorest citizens. Parker believes Trump’s policies are helping low-income Americans who have not previously been participating in the nation’s economic prosperity.

With unemployment at historic lows, Parker is excited over Trump’s executive order to establish the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council to implement Opportunity Zones previously created in the 2017 tax bill.

Opportunity Zones are designated areas within all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories where poverty often stands at twice the national average. Private investors in these zones will receive preferred tax treatment, thereby encouraging economic growth.

During remarks at the White House signing ceremony for this executive order, billionaire BET network founder Bob Johnson said the president’s new tax programs “will cause people to invest money where before they saw risk, now they will see opportunity. And that combination of putting money into communities will allow for those communities to become vibrant, to become safe, to create ownership, and, most important, to contribute to the well-being of this country.”

 

President Trump helps American poor through capitalism

 

Study examines  media effects on children

March 2019 –By the time a child is 17 years old, he or she will have been exposed to an average of 60,000 hours of media. In December 2018, the National Institutes of Health began a study to examine the impact of screen time using smartphones, tablets, and video games on 11,000 children ages 9 and 10. The study will follow them for 10 years to determine the long-term effect of media exposure.

The first round of MRIs conducted on subjects in this study found significant changes in the brains of kids who had more than seven hours of screen time daily. For example, researchers found a premature thinning of the outer cortex of the brain in these children, which may indicate earlier brain maturation. This early in the study, the impact of such changes is uncertain.

movieguide.org, 12/11/18

Issues@Hand

Scouts stumbling, Trail Life thriving

March 2019 – Boy Scouts of America is facing bankruptcy. BSA embarked on a downward spiral with its 2013 decision to welcome homosexual boys to its troops. Soon thereafter, it opened the door to homosexual leaders, and then quickly added girls to the mix.

In December 2018, BSA announced it would remove the word boy from its name and become Scouts BSA in February 2019.

Ironically, Girl Scouts of America has sued BSA for changing its name.

“Families have voted with their feet,” said Rob Swarzwalder, senior VP at Family Research Council. He said BSA membership dropped by almost one-third from 2014 to 2018.

In contrast, Trail Life USA (traillifeusa.com), a Christian scouting group for boys founded in 2013, is growing steadily, offering many of the same outdoor adventures and character development components once taught by BSA.

Trail Life CEO Mark Hancock ob-
served, “As organizations that help boys, we’re either going to bring clarity to that or we’re going to contribute to the moral confusion boys are experiencing.”

He attributes Trail Life’s 35% membership jump in 2018 to the group’s unapologetic Christ-centered mission.

onenewsnow, 12/28/18; stream.org, 12/16/18

Scouts stumbling, Trail Life thriving

Issues@Hand

AFR helps disciple kids, save unborn lives

March 2019 – Last fall, American Family Radio partnered with Samaritan’s Purse to urge listeners to send more than 6,200 Christmas Shoeboxes to needy children.

Furthermore, AFR listeners pledged funds to provide more than 11,000 copies of The Greatest Journey Bible and discipleship studies for children.

“Please pray that the children who participate in TGJ really will find Christ and begin their greatest journey,” said AFR general manager Jim Stanley.

Featuring Pre-Born Ministry, in mid-January, AFR listeners pledged to provide 2,949 ultrasounds for pro-life pregnancy resource centers. Pre-Born reports that 80% of the abortion-minded women decide to give their baby life after experiencing an ultrasound.

 

AFR helps disciple kids, save unborn lives

 

Biblical Worldview News: Pro-Life Views upward shift; Victory for Religious Freedom

Biblical Worldview News:

Pro-Life Views upward shift; Victory for Religious Freedom

Abortion Poll: 17-Point Shift Toward Pro-Life Views in Single Month

Dr. Susan Berry

A Marist poll released Monday reveals recent legislation to make abortion a fundamental right and allow the procedure even moments before birth has led to a “sudden and dramatic shift” toward the pro-life position.

 

Abortion Poll: 17-Point Shift Toward Pro-Life Stance in Single Month

 

Ohio pro-life legislation – pass and fail

March 2019 – Two important pieces of pro-life legislation passed both houses of Ohio’s legislature in December. But one was vetoed by then Governor John Kasich (R).

By a landslide vote, state legislators passed SB 145, a bill banning dilation and evacuation procedures – dismemberment abortions. Kasich signed that bill into law on December 21.

In 2017 alone, approximately 3,500 babies were killed through dismemberment abortions in Ohio.

“Essentially, the abortionist dilates the woman’s cervix and then rips the baby limb from limb using sterile instruments,” explained Jamieson Gordon of Ohio Right to Life.

Conversely, after both houses of the legislature passed HB 258, known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” Gov. Kasich vetoed it before his term ended in January. While the House successfully voted to override his veto, the Senate failed by one vote.

Janet Porter of Faith2Action said pro-lifers will work with Gov. Mike DeWine (R) who has stated that if HB 258 passes again, he will sign the bill banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected – usually after six weeks of pregnancy (four weeks gestation).

“[W]e believe that is a very strong line to draw for the first evidences of life,” said Barry Sheets, spokesperson for Right to Life Coalition of Ohio.

Victory for Religious Freedom: Obama recess appointee ousted

March 2019 – Chai Feldblum (photo above) was a 2010 Barack Obama recess appointment to serve on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency charged with protecting freedom of religious expression. Feldblum, however, was an outspoken opponent of religious freedom.

“Sexual liberty should win [over religious liberty] in most cases,” Feldblum has said.

Surprisingly, President Donald Trump renominated her to serve another term, but an uprising of conservative opposition moved him to reconsider.

AFA Action was among groups leading a campaign that moved the president to rescind the nomination.

“It’s a real victory for the U.S. Constitution and religious liberty in America!” exclaimed AFA Action director Rob Chambers.

Bible Stories: Enoch, Zion, Holy Spirit, and Journey of Faith

Bible Stories:

Dinner Topics for Monday

Enoch, Zion, Holy Spirit, and Journey of Faith

Walk with Me

Behold, my Spirit is upon you. (Moses 6:34)

And it came to pass that Enoch journeyed in the land, among the people; and as he journeyed, the Spirit of God descended out of heaven, and abode upon him.  And he heard a voice from heaven. (Moses 6:26-27)

What is it like to hear a voice from heaven? What is that voice like, and how can we hear it?  Elijah learned that the Lord was not in a great and strong wind, not in an earthquake, not in a fire, but in a still small voice.

So this still small voice said to Enoch, “Enoch, my son, prophesy unto this people, and say unto them—Repent, for thus saith the Lord: I am angry with this people, and my fierce anger is kindled against them; for their hearts have waxed hard, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes cannot see afar off.”(Moses 6:27)

The Lord spoke to Enoch, because Enoch heard Him, and the people did not.  What can cause people’s hearts to wax hard, and their ears to become dull of hearing, and their eyes unable to see?  The Lord is not in the shriek of cell phones, not in the din of TV, not in the fake social media, not in the roar of the crowd, but in a still small voice.

And the Lord told Enoch, “Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you. Behold my Spirit is upon you . . . and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me.(Moses 6:33-34)

And Enoch walked with God, and built a great city, and it was called Zion.

And from that time forth there were wars and bloodshed among them; but the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness.(Moses 7:16)

And all the days of Zion, in the days of Enoch, were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, ZION IS FLED. (Moses 7:68-69)

 

Dinner Talk Topic:

Enoch accepted the invitation to walk with God.  Will we?

 

Copyright © 2010 C.A. Davidson