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Culture Wars: Left-wing Agenda vs. Moral Compass, Accountability for Actions, Judeo-Christian Ethics

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Culture Wars: Left-wing Agenda vs. Moral Compass, Accountability for Actions, Judeo-Christian Ethics But the reason for no God on the left is with no God, there’s no morality, and there’s no right or wrong that anybody else gets to proclaim. … Continue reading

Christian Books: CS Lewis, and Mere Christianity

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

keyExpert Children’s Book Reviewers tell us there is a great dearth of good literature for children and young adults. They are not being taught about God in schools, or even the Universal Morality that Lewis refers to. If we want our children to have good character, which is founded upon Judeo-Christian principles, we need to teach them ourselves. C S Lewis’ work  will bless families for generations to come.  Let’s start today to strengthen our families—turn off the TV and reach for these timeless classics.  ~C A Davidson

Related post on moral compass

From Wikipedia

C.S._Lewis,_BelfastClive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963), commonly called C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as “Jack”, was a novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist. Born in Belfast, Ireland, he held academic positions at both Oxford University (Magdalen College), 1925–1954, and Cambridge University (Magdalene College), 1954–1963. He is best known both for his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy, and for his non-fiction Christian apologetics, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain.

Lewis and fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien were close friends. Both authors served on the English faculty at Oxford University, and both were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the “Inklings“. According to his memoir Surprised by Joy, Lewis had been baptized in the Church of Ireland (part of the Anglican Communion) at birth, but fell away from his faith during his adolescence. Owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, at the age of 32 Lewis returned to the Anglican Communion, becoming “a very ordinary layman of the Church of England“.[1] His faith had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.

In 1956, he married the American writer Joy Davidman, 17 years his junior, who died four years later of cancer at the age of 45. Lewis died three years after his wife, from renal failure, one week before his 65th birthday. Media coverage of his death was minimal; he died on 22 November 1963—the same day that U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the same day another famous author, Aldous Huxley, died. In 2013, on the 50th anniversary of his death, Lewis will be honoured with a memorial in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey.

Lewis’s works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies. The books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia have sold the most and have been popularized on stage, TV, radio, and cinema.

Christian apologist

In addition to his career as an English professor and an author of fiction, Lewis is regarded by many as one of the most influential Christian apologists of his time; Mere Christianity was voted best book of the twentieth century by Christianity Today in 2000.[58] Due to Lewis’s approach to religious belief as a sceptic, and his following conversion, he has been called “The Apostle to the Skeptics.”

Lewis was very interested in presenting a reasonable case for Christianity. Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain, and Miracles were all concerned, to one degree or another, with refuting popular objections to Christianity, such as “How could a good God allow pain to exist in the world?”. He also became known as a popular lecturer and broadcaster, and some of his writing (including much of Mere Christianity) originated as scripts for radio talks or lectures.[59][page needed]

According to George Sayer, losing a 1948 debate with Elizabeth Anscombe, also a Christian, led Lewis to reevaluate his role as an apologist, and his future works concentrated on devotional literature and children’s books.[60] Anscombe, however, had a completely different recollection of the debate’s outcome and its emotional effect on Lewis.[60] Victor Reppert also disputes Sayer, listing some of Lewis’s post-1948 apologetic publications, including the second and revised edition of his Miracles in 1960, in which Lewis addressed Anscombe’s criticism.[61] Noteworthy too is Roger Teichman’s suggestion in The Philosophy of Elizabeth Anscombe[62][page needed] that the intellectual impact of Anscombe’s paper on Lewis’s philosophical self-confidence should not be overrated: “… it seems unlikely that he felt as irretrievably crushed as some of his acquaintances have made out; the episode is probably an inflated legend, in the same category as the affair of Wittgenstein’s poker. Certainly Anscombe herself believed that Lewis’s argument, though flawed, was getting at something very important; she thought that this came out more in the improved version of it that Lewis presented in a subsequent edition of Miracles – though that version also had ‘much to criticize in it’.”

Lewis also wrote an autobiography titled Surprised by Joy, which places special emphasis on his own conversion. (It was written before he met his wife, Joy Gresham; the title of the book came from the first line of a poem by William Wordsworth.) His essays and public speeches on Christian belief, many of which were collected in God in the Dock and The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, remain popular today.

His most famous works, the Chronicles of Narnia, contain many strong Christian messages and are often considered allegory. Lewis, an expert on the subject of allegory, maintained that the books were not allegory, and preferred to call the Christian aspects of them “suppositional“. As Lewis wrote in a letter to a Mrs. Hook in December 1958:

If Aslan represented the immaterial Deity in the same way in which Giant Despair [a character in The Pilgrim’s Progress] represents despair, he would be an allegorical figure. In reality however he is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question, ‘What might Christ become like, if there really were a world like Narnia and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?’ This is not allegory at all.[63]

“Trilemma”

Main article: Lewis’s trilemma

In a much-cited passage from Mere Christianity, Lewis challenged the view that Jesus, although a great moral teacher, was not God. He argued that Jesus made several implicit claims to divinity, which would logically exclude this:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.[64]

This argument, which Lewis did not invent but developed and popularized, is sometimes referred to as “Lewis’s trilemma“. It has been used by the Christian apologist Josh McDowell in his book More Than a Carpenter (McDowell 2001). Although widely repeated in Christian apologetic literature, it has been largely ignored by professional theologians and biblical scholars.[65]

Lewis’s Christian apologetics, and this argument in particular, have been criticized. Philosopher John Beversluis described Lewis’s arguments as “textually careless and theologically unreliable,”[66] and this particular argument as logically unsound and an example of false dilemma.[67] Theologian John Hick argues that New Testament scholars do not now support the view that Jesus claimed to be God,[68] New Testament scholar N. T. Wright criticizes Lewis for failing to recognize the significance of Jesus’ Jewish identity and setting – an oversight which “at best, drastically short-circuits the argument” and which lays Lewis open to criticism that his argument “doesn’t work as history, and it backfires dangerously when historical critics question his reading of the gospels,” although he believes this “doesn’t undermine the eventual claim.” [69]

Lewis used a similar argument in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, when Digory Kirke advises the young heroes that their sister’s claims of a magical world must logically be taken as either lies, madness, or truth.[61]

Universal morality

right-wrongsignOne of the main theses in Lewis’s apologia is that there is a common morality known throughout humanity. In the first five chapters of Mere Christianity Lewis discusses the idea that people have a standard of behaviour to which they expect people to adhere. This standard has been called Universal Morality or Natural Law. Lewis claims that people all over the earth know what this law is and when they break it. He goes on to claim that there must be someone or something behind such a universal set of principles.[70]

These then are the two points that I wanted to make. First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.[71]

Lewis also portrays Universal Morality in his works of fiction. In The Chronicles of Narnia he describes Universal Morality as the “deep magic” which everyone knew.[72]

In the second chapter of Mere Christianity Lewis recognizes that “many people find it difficult to understand what this Law of Human Nature … is”. And he responds first to the idea “that the Moral Law is simply our herd instinct” and second to the idea “that the Moral Law is simply a social convention”. In responding to the second idea Lewis notes that people often complain that one set of moral ideas is better than another, but that this actually argues for there existing some “Real Morality” to which they are comparing other moralities. Finally he notes that sometimes differences in moral codes are exaggerated by people who confuse differences in beliefs about morality with differences in beliefs about facts:

I have met people who exaggerate the differences, because they have not distinguished between differences of morality and differences of belief about facts. For example, one man said to me, “Three hundred years ago people in England were putting witches to death. Was that what you call the Rule of Human Nature or Right Conduct?” But surely the reason we do not execute witches is that we do not believe there are such things. If we did – if we really thought that there were people going about who had sold themselves to the devil and received supernatural powers from him in return and were using these powers to kill their neighbours or drive them mad or bring bad weather, surely we would all agree that if anyone deserved the death penalty, then these filthy quislings did. There is no difference of moral principle here: the difference is simply about matter of fact. It may be a great advance in knowledge not to believe in witches: there is no moral advance in not executing them when you do not think they are there. You would not call a man humane for ceasing to set mousetraps if he did so because he believed there were no mice in the house.[73]

Lewis also had fairly progressive views on the topic of “animal morality”, in particular the suffering of animals, as is evidenced by several of his essays: most notably, On Vivisection[74] and “On the Pains of Animals.”[75][76]

Legacy

Lewis continues to attract a wide readership. In 2008, The Times ranked him eleventh on their list of “the 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.[77] Readers of his fiction are often unaware of what Lewis considered the Christian themes of his works. His Christian apologetics are read and quoted by members of many Christian denominations.[78] In 2013, on the 50th anniversary of his death, Lewis will join some of Britain’s greatest writers recognized at Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey.[79]

Lewis has been the subject of several biographies, a few of which were written by close friends, such as Roger Lancelyn Green and George Sayer. In 1985 the screenplay Shadowlands by William Nicholson, dramatising Lewis’s life and relationship with Joy Davidman Gresham, was aired on British television, starring Joss Ackland and Claire Bloom. This was also staged as a theatre play starring Nigel Hawthorne in 1989, and made into the 1993 feature film Shadowlands starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. In 2005, a one-hour television movie entitled C. S. Lewis: Beyond Narnia, starring Anton Rodgers, provided a general synopsis of Lewis’s life.

Read more about C.S. Lewis

 

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

Critical Thinking:

Biblical History, Moral Compass, Why the Bible Matters

Why the Bible Matters: Defining Right and Wrong

keyThere is a right and wrong to every question—Paying attention to your conscience is what helps you develop good character.

Do what is right; be faithful and fearless.

right-wrongsignOnward, press onward, the goal is in sight.

Eyes that are wet now, ere long will be tearless.

Blessings await you in doing what’s right!

Do what is right; let the consequence follow.

Battle for freedom in spirit and might;

and with stout hearts look ye forth till tomorrow.

God will protect you; then do what is right!

~Anonymous; The Psalms of Life, Boston, 1857

 

See More Defining Moments

 

 Birthright Covenant Series

birthright_cvr

Birthright Covenant Series-Young Adult Christian Books

picnicwyouthIn this excerpt from the historical  Birthright Covenant series college history professor Jacob Nobles uses discovery teaching and ancient ruins at a historic site to lead his students in a discussion of truth, and discerning right from wrong.

      “Okay—” Preston spoke with caution. “I’ll give you that the Bible is actually a history. But why does it matter?

                “That is the million-dollar question …” Jacob smiled. “And you can find the answer here—for free!

                Jacob held up the Bible. “Now, Preston, you have asked why the Bible matters. Would you agree that the Bible is a history of God’s dealings with man?”

creationhands                “I guess you could say that. Apparently, somehow God’s version of the creation was given to Moses, and Moses wrote it down,” Preston commented carefully.

                “It makes sense to take God’s word for it,” Allison remarked with her usual bluntness. “After all, He was there when it happened—a distinction the rest of us cannot claim.”

                Preston shook his head. “Still, none of us were there for the creation process—not even Moses.”

                “That’s true.” Jacob chewed thoughtfully on his ham sandwich and inclined his head. “Hmm. So we have here two explanations for the Creation process—to keep it simple, we’ll call them two different stories. Since we were not present for the event, we’re forced to accept either one story or the other—on faith.”

                Puzzled, Preston tilted his head.

“What is faith, anyway?”

  “Well now, faith is to hope for things which are not seen but which are true,”[1] Josiah Bianco said.

 shepherdboy               Folding his arms across his chest, Preston surveyed the surrounding hills and glimpsed a boy leading a few sheep. “Are you saying that everybody just blindly follows …” He paused. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to offend.”

                “No offense taken.”

                “Don’t worry,” Ben said. “We all have done the same thing.”

                “Really?”

                “Of course. It’s called academic freedom.”

  “Sure. Bring it on!” Allison took a sip out of her can of grape juice. “Only frauds and liars are afraid to answer questions.”

                “Why is Dr. Marlow so afraid of other points of view?” Nola asked.

                “He doesn’t want to lose the debate!” Allison interjected.

“Yes. Debate is an important part of academic freedom, but anyone can win an argument without teaching truth. A friendly discussion with free exchange of ideas is more effective in discovering truth.” Jacob chuckled. “However, when you prefer to control what others say and think, truth can get in your way.

   “Now that we are away from the university, we can actually look at more than one point of view! We will look at two stories of the Creation—one, in the Bible, and the other, Dr. Marlow’s version.”

                “The Bible version seems too simple,” Preston said.

                “Well, what is Dr. Marlow’s version called?” Nola inquired.

                “Dr. Marlow believes in a theory called Natural Selection which, simply put, proposes that everything somehow creates itself by chance,” Jacob replied.

                “That doesn’t make sense.” Nola frowned in disagreement. “The human body—and mind—are complicated. Something can’t be produced by nothing.[2] My experience has shown me that nothing worthwhile happens by chance. Everything takes work, and effort, and planning.

                “Yes, Nola. That’s why some scientists say that the Bible history discloses an intelligent design, a purpose, or an orderly plan.”

                “Aren’t Bible stories for children?” Preston wondered.

                “Men struggle to explain their philosophy. The Bible explains the Creation so a child can understand—so that parents can teach their children through the ages. Who is more intelligent?” Jacob shrugged. “Anyway, the important thing is, who is telling the truth—Man, or God?”

                “Can you just assume there is a God?”

Preston asked.

Jacob laughed. “We can look at some evidence. Where is evidence of chance?”

            No one answered for a moment.

            Josiah Bianco chortled. “Shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not?” he quipped, quoting Isaiah.[1]

[1] Isaiah 29:16

“What about evidence of design?”

                “The ability to think, for one thing,” Allison said, “ …one of many.”

                “As I said, the human body,” Nola added, “and life itself. I know many very intelligent scientists and doctors, but no one can earimageduplicate an eye or an ear.”               

  Preston’s gaze rested momentarily upon Nola’s face—round blue eyes, delicate sculpted features like a work of art. “All right,” he said. “Let’s say God is the intelligent Creator. Couldn’t He have made man out of apes?”

“Of course, He could, but would He? He is a God of order. As Creator of earth and all living things, He set up the rules for justice and science. Why would He violate His own laws?”[3]

         “What do you mean?”

                “Okay, if the Bible is really a history, and if it is true that we humans are created in the image of God, how are we different from animals?”

                “We can reason, while animals use instinct,” Preston said. “You’ve already established that.”

teotihuacanserpent               “Humans can draw, read, and write,” Allison said. “I have yet to see an animal who could carve something like this creature.” She poked her finger into the big teeth of the dragon carving, but withdrew her hand quickly. “Yikes! I don’t think an animal would make something this weird, even if it could!”

Free Will

  Jacob grinned. “True. Also, you chose to come here today, others did not. Ruben left early; the rest of you stayed. What does that mean?”

                “People have the power to choose,” Ben said.

                “Yes, that’s called Free Will. We have no empirical evidence of such a thing, but let’s suppose we have here a creature who is half man and half ape—by whose laws would this creature live—by the laws of man or nature? You’re the law student here, Preston. What do you think?”

   “Uh …”

                “If the creature is half man, would it be fair to make him live like an animal? Or if he is half animal, and cannot reason fully as a man, would it be just to impose upon him the laws of men?”

                “This is really getting confusing!”

   “Yes, Preston, it is confusing. But when He had completed the creation, God blessed human beings and all living things to multiply, each after their own kind.[4] There is nothing confusing about that.”

                A flutter of wings announced the arrival of a dove which lit next to his mate upon a limb of the tall tree.

How Do You Know What Is True and Right?

“The human soul can never die. So you see, it is created, not evolved, because God is not the author of confusion.[5] Therefore, to avoid confusion, would you agree we need some kind of law to bring order and justice to our lives?”

                “Absolutely,” Preston said. “We must have justice.”

 KJV Bible              “Let’s think for a moment about the two kinds of laws—which law provides true justice? Dr. Marlow makes no distinction between humans and animals. His law is simple: those who are strong rule and prevail over everything and everyone else.” Jacob placed his right hand firmly upon the rock and continued. “The law of Nature requires animals to kill other animals for food. In the law of the Bible, on the other hand, God tells us not to kill or eat other people. Why not?”

“It’s wrong!” The students exclaimed indignantly, in vigorous unison.

                “How do you know it’s wrong?”

                Jacob waited.

                “Well,” Preston began slowly. “There simply is no justice in murder and cannibalism. I don’t know why … Somehow I just know that.”

compass liahona   “Men often create laws to try to change God’s commandments,” Jacob continued, “but God’s laws never change. When He created our eternal souls, He planted those unchangeable moral laws in our minds and hearts. It’s called—”

                “Our conscience.” Preston nodded. “Of course! I see that now.”

                “Yes. The Bible contains our true moral compass in writing. And that, Preston, is why the Bible matters.”

More About Birthright Covenant series

[1] Isaiah 29:16

[2] John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding; Great Books of the Western World, vol.35

[3] These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the Creator Himself in all His dispensations conforms. William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1:59-60

[4] Genesis 1:22,24

[5] 1 Corinthians 14:33

Critical Thinking: Moral Compass, Morality Definition

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking Skills

Moral Compass, Morality Definition

September 2018 – After decades of being fed tolerance and relativism, people are less interested in discerning what they should believe and more compelled by why they should care about their beliefs. This is the premise from which author and apologist Josh McDowell wrote his latest book, Set Free to Choose Right.

The what of morality
“In this generation there is such emphasis on asking, not what is true, but how does it feel?” McDowell said in an interview at AFA*. “People used to say, ‘Prove to me it is true.’ Now you hear something more like, ‘What right do you have to say that?’”

This is brought to light in Set Free, which deals with teaching kids to make proper moral judgments, using a storyline that centers on a son and father teaming up together to conquer the issue of pornography addiction. McDowell chose pornography as the subject of his case study for a reason.

“When rating moral issues, 56% of Christian young people say not recycling is a moral issue. But only 32% say pornography is a moral issue,” McDowell said. “Almost all Christian kids and adults I meet say they know what is wrong and what is right, but I almost never find anyone, including pastors, who can explain to me why it is wrong or right.”

Why the Bible Matters

The why of morality
Communicating the rationale of moral judgments, as with the issue of pornography hashed out in Set Free, begins with properly understanding the Bible.

“If your only answer [to moral questions] is ‘the Bible says,’ or ‘the Bible says thou shall not,’ you’re teaching legalism,” McDowell said.

“Absolutely nothing is morally right or wrong because of the Bible, but because of the God of the Bible. The Bible was given to us that we might know God. We learn morality to understand the character of God.”

 

For example, McDowell described, faithfulness is moral because God is moral. Justice is moral because God is just. Lying is immoral because God is truth. Killing is immoral because God is life. The Bible reveals these attributes of God and the morality of practicing them in Christian living.

The Who of morality
“It’s so important that one of the first things we do is get to know who God is by His attributes, and then start relating that to others,” McDowell said. “That is why I wrote the book Set Free – to help people understand why things are right or wrong and how to communicate that to their children. Because if you don’t get to the issue of why something is wrong, you’re raising your children legalistically, and there’s no faster way to rob kids of their joy in Christ.”

McDowell added: “I cannot remember ever saying to one of my four children, ‘Because the Bible says,’ but instead, ‘Why does the Bible say that?’ Then I would explain about the person, nature, and character of God, and what the Bible says about Him. That is the difference between raising your children legalistically and raising them in relationship with God.”

Character Education: Moral Compass, Holy Spirit, and Good vs. Evil

Character Education:

Moral Compass, Holy Spirit, and Good vs. Evil

Beware of the Evil behind the Smiling Eyes

Neil L. Andersen

 

keyAs we increase our understanding and love for the Savior, His light will illuminate everything around us. We will then see evil for what it is. ~Neil L. Andersen

I’d like to tell you of an experience of a faithful Latter-day Saint who is a good friend of mine. I’ll refer to him only as “my friend” for reasons you will understand.

fbiWorking as a special agent for the FBI, my friend investigated organized crime groups transporting illegal drugs into the United States.

On one occasion, he and another agent approached an apartment where they believed a known drug dealer was distributing cocaine. My friend describes what happened:

“We knocked on the door of the drug dealer. The suspect opened the door, and upon seeing us, tried to block our view. But it was too late; we could see the cocaine on his table.

“A man and a woman who were at the table immediately began removing the cocaine. We had to prevent them from destroying the evidence, so I quickly pushed the drug suspect who was blocking the door to the side. As I pushed him, my eyes met his. Strangely, he did not appear angry or afraid. He was smiling at me.

drug-dealer-smiling-eyes“His eyes and disarming smile gave me the impression that he was harmless, so I quickly left him and started to move toward the table. The suspect was now behind me. At that instant, I had the distinct, powerful impression come into my mind: ‘Beware of the evil behind the smiling eyes.’

criminal-gun-smiling-eyes“I immediately turned back toward the suspect. His hand was in his large front pocket. Instinctively I grabbed his hand and pulled it from his pocket. Only then did I see, clutched in his hand, the semiautomatic pistol ready to fire. A flurry of activity followed, and I disarmed the man.”2

Later, in another case, the drug dealer was convicted of murder and boasted that he would have also killed my friend had he not turned around at that very moment.

I have often thought of the communication that came into his mind: “Beware of the evil behind the smiling eyes.” This is what I want to talk to you about tonight.

christ-good-vs-evilLet’s begin with what we know. Good comes from God; evil comes from the devil.3 They are not, however, equal forces that are fighting each other in the universe. At the head of all that is good is the Christ—He who is the Only Begotten of the Father, who created our world and numerous others. Our Redeemer is a resurrected and perfect being.4 I know He lives.

The devil, on the other hand, “persuadeth men to do evil.”5 “He [has] fallen from heaven, … [has] become miserable forever,”6 and now works “that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”7 He is a liar and a loser.8

The power of the Savior and the power of the devil are not truly comparable.9 On this planet, however, evil has been allowed a position of influence to give us the chance to choose between good and evil. The scripture says: “God gave unto man that he should act for himself. [And] man could not act for himself … [unless] he was enticed by … one or the other.”10

The choice between good and evil is at the very heart of our experience on earth.

Sailor w-Jesus by Warner Sallman

Sailor w-Jesus by Warner Sallman

The choice between good and evil is at the very heart of our experience on earth. In the final review of our lives, it will not really matter if we were rich or poor, if we were athletic or not, if we had friends or were often forgotten.

We can work, study, laugh and have fun, dance, sing, and enjoy many different experiences. These are a wonderful part of life, but they are not central to why we are here.11 The opportunity to choose good over evil is precisely why we are here.12

Not one of us would say, “I want to choose evil.” We all want to choose the right. However, the choice of good over evil is not always easy, because evil frequently lurks behind smiling eyes. Listen to these warnings:

“Take heed … that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God.”13

“Ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you.”14

“Satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you.”15

The message is: Beware of the evil behind the smiling eyes!

I have known a few young men who began with every intention to stay firm in their loyalty to the Savior but who slipped from the path because they did not see the evil behind eyes that appeared quite harmless. They saw the fun, the pleasure, the acceptance, but they did not see the other consequences.

How, then, can we discern the evil behind something that doesn’t appear evil?

You already know the answers, but here are a few thoughts:

parentsFirst, talk to your parents. Does that sound like a revolutionary idea? We fathers know we are far from perfect, but we love you, and along with your mothers, have a deep interest in your choosing the right.

Next, follow the prophet. These 15 men we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators are given divine power to see what we sometimes do not see. President Hinckley has given us clear and specific counsel about the evil behind the smiling eyes.16 And you have the inspired guidance in the booklet For the Strength of Youth.17 As you apply President Hinckley’s counsel, the Lord has promised that He “will disperse the powers of darkness from before you.”18 You will see the evil behind the smiling eyes, and its appeal will leave you.

Let the Holy Spirit be Your Guide

forgiveness4doveVery importantly, let the Holy Ghost be your guide. The Lord has promised us that as we live righteously, the still, small voice will come into our mind and into our heart.19 You have felt this influence. You know this voice.20

The gift of the Holy Ghost is a spiritual gift. It is sensitive and will not be associated with unworthiness. You cannot offend or ignore it one day and expect it to strengthen you the next day. But as you heed its promptings and remain righteous, it will grow stronger within you. The Holy Ghost warned my friend of physical danger; the Holy Ghost will also warn you of spiritual danger.

Finally, gain your own testimony of the Savior. Pray passionately. Read the Book of Mormon when no one is watching. Take time alone to think about who Jesus really is and how His life and sacrifice are important to you.

As we increase our understanding and love for the Savior, His light will illuminate everything around us. We then will see evil for what it is.22

I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. Words cannot describe His greatness and glory, His majesty and magnificence. As we remain worthy, we will be blessed to see the evil behind the smiling eyes.

Judeo-Christian Culture: Moral Compass Theme Quotes

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Moral Compass Theme Quotes

Moral Compass Quotes

He that thinks absolute power purifies men’s blood and corrects the baseness of human nature, need only read history to be convinced to the contrary. ~John Locke

Courage to Stand

Christ has not called us to be nice but to be good. Nice people never confront evil, but good people do. ~Bryan Fischer

“It is a time of permissiveness, with society in general routinely disregarding and breaking the laws of God.” ~Thomas S. Monson

Always and ever, there must be an exercise of discipline—moral discipline founded on faith in God the Father and the Son and what They can achieve with us through the atoning grace of Jesus Christ. ~D. Todd Christofferson

But behold he doth not command us that we shall subject ourselves to our enemies, but that we should put our trust in him, and he will deliver us. Therefore, . . . let us resist evil. ~Alma 61: 13-14

We have lost our moral compass completely, and, unless we find it, we’re going to lose our civilization. ~John Rhys-Davies (Gimli in Lord of the Rings)

Discernment and Judgement

“We live in a time when even the wisest will be hard-pressed to distinguish truth from clever deception.” ~Henry B. Eyring

Remember: sin, even if legalized by man, is still sin in the eyes of God! ~Russell M. Nelson

We live in an age of appeasement—the sacrificing of principle. Appeasement is not the answer. It is never the right answer. ~Ezra Taft Benson

Evolution has a lot of holes filled with Silly Putty, but the one gaping wound they cannot hide is the Moral Law. ~Keith Merrill

Judgmentthe spirit of wisdom . . . .enabling a person to discern [choose] between right and wrong, good and evil. ~Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828,

¶Beware of afalse prophets, which come to you in bsheep’s clothing, but cinwardly they are ravening dwolves.  Ye shall aknow them by their bfruits. ~Matthew 7:15-16

For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.~  2 Nephi 28:20

Therefore my people are gone into captivity because they have no knowledge.

~Isaiah 5:13

Integrity

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. ~James 1:8

Disregard for the commandments has opened the way for what I consider to be the plagues of our day. They include the plague of permissiveness, the plague of pornography, the plague of drugs, the plague of immorality, and the plague of abortion, to name just a few. ~Thomas S. Monson

We need to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation. we need [to have] a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and [to] use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation. Russell M. Nelson

“True greatness is never a result of a chance occurrence or a onetime effort or achievement. Greatness requires the development of character. It requires a multitude of correct decisions in every day choices between good and evil that Elder Boyd K Packer spoke about when he said, ‘Over the years these little choices will be bundled together and show clearly what we value.’ “Those choices will also show clearly what we are.” ~Howard W. Hunter

Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. ~Edmund Burke

The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him. ~Proverbs 20:7

All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; my lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. God forbid. Till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. ~Job 27:3-5

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” ~Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
~Abraham Lincoln

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” ~John Adams

 

Truth vs. Deception

We need [men and] women who can detect deception in all of its forms. ~Russell M. Nelson

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. ~Matthew 24:24

Beware of the evil behind the smiling eyes. ~Neil L. Andersen

“The face of sin today often wears the mask of tolerance. Do not be deceived; behind that facade is heartache, unhappiness, and pain. … If your so-called friends urge you to do anything you know to be wrong, you be the one to make a stand for right, even if you stand alone.” ~Thomas S. Monson

Tolerance for behavior is like a two-sided coin. Tolerance or respect is on one side of the coin, but truth is always on the other. ~ Dallin H. Oaks

Perhaps the best example [of moral relativism] is the self-esteem movement. It has had an almost wholly negative effect on a generation of Americans raised to have high self-esteem without having earned it. They then suffer from narcissism and an incapacity to deal with life’s inevitable setbacks. But self-esteem feels good. ~Dennis Prager

We believe in absolute truth, including the existence of God and the right and wrong established by His commandments. We know that the existence of God and the existence of absolute truth are fundamental to life on this earth, whether they are believed in or not. We also know that evil exists and that some things are simply, seriously, and everlastingly wrong. ~ Dallin H. Oaks

 

 

Character Education Defining Moment: Biblical Values and Moral Compass vs. Liberal Hypocrisy

Character Education Defining Moment:

Biblical Values and Moral Compass vs. Liberal Hypocrisy

Morality Is NOT Determined by Individual Choice!

Rush Limbaugh

               The left mocked “family values” for fifty years and now they’re stunned to discover brutes among them. They tore down every standard of decency and now they’re dismayed to see they’re drowning in sewage. They’ve spent decades sneering at the traditions and institutions that served as societal guardrails and now they’re astonished they’ve gone off a cliff.

Yes, the absolute filth and reprobate behavior oozing from every corner of liberalism is nauseating. But . . .

  • We did not stop protecting and respecting women; you on the left did.
  • We did not stop believing in morality and virtue; you on the left called it prudery and utterly rejected it.
  • We did not stop treasuring honesty, and integrity, and character, and God; you on the left spat on all of it.

Back in 1987 when I was in Sacramento, I wrote a weekly newspaper column. One day I had writer’s block. To overcome it, I started jotting down one-sentence thoughts, hoping to inspire myself. These were pithy philosophical statements I knew were right: undeniable truths. Such as: “Communism kills.” And: “Freedom is God given.” I kept going until I looked at the collection of sentences and said, “Know what? This is the column.” They became the “35 Undeniable Truths of Life.”

My Undeniable Truth of Life No. 22 was:

                “Morality is not defined and cannot be defined by individual choice.”

               Morality is not defined by what you want it to be, by what you’d rather have it be. You don’t get to define what’s moral and not. What’s right and wrong, just and unjust, is established by God. (Undeniable Truth of Life No. 20: “There is a God.”)

Well, how’s that working out? This is exactly how we ended up with what we see all across the liberal culture: debauchery and abuse.

Choices Have Consequences

There are inescapable consequences for wrong behavior, which always, always carries a price. Conversely, morality is a protection, and striving for it (though we all fall short) is a blessing.

George Washington: Keep Moral Compass Alive

George Washington compiled his own list of undeniable truths, which he called “Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.” The bookend to my 22nd Undeniable Truth is Washington’s last rule, No. 110:

 “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”

That, my friends, holds the secret to a good life.

The Limbaugh Letter, January 2018, p.3

How to keep their moral compass alive!

Biblical Worldview, Moral Compass: Judgmental? Who Decides Right and Wrong?

Biblical Worldview, Moral Compass:

Judgmental? Who Decides Right and Wrong?

Who decides right and wrong?

Tim Wildmon

American Family Association President

In order to make a moral judgment about something, we must appeal to a power much higher than man’s opinion.

You know, a lot of left wing celebrities owe their success to God-fearing, patriotic Americans. By that I mean – if not for a standard of right and wrong based on the Judeo-Christian worldview that held sway over our country for two centuries, those who rail against that worldview would have nothing to rebel against. If you think about it, this is very ironic indeed.

 

September 2017 – I was watching the news a few weeks back when a story came on about Madonna, the singer. It centered on her comments at the rally against President Trump back in January on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Remember? That was when she ranted that she was so outraged that Mr. Trump was elected that she said, “I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.”

As shocking as that was, it barely got any criticism from the liberal media. Now if a conservative celebrity singer had said he or she was thinking about “blowing up the White House” while Barack Obama was president – then we would have seen the liberal media swing into action demanding that the FBI go after the celebrity, concerts be cancelled, etc.

You know, a lot of left wing celebrities owe their success to God-fearing, patriotic Americans. By that I mean – if not for a standard of right and wrong based on the Judeo-Christian worldview that held sway over our country for two centuries, those who rail against that worldview would have nothing to rebel against. If you think about it, this is very ironic indeed.

Moral Relativism

Most of the people who yell and scream that we conservative Americans are “racists,” “bigots,” “homophobes,” etc. don’t believe in God. Therefore, these people (sometimes called secular progressives) condemn us when we claim that there are moral absolutes found in the Bible. They say we are “judgmental” – all the while judging us with free rein and self-righteousness. Again, a profound irony. Evidently, they alone (liberals) are able to determine if someone (or a class of people) is bigoted.

One question I would ask, if I could have a reasonable conversation with these people, is this: Assuming you are correct about me, why is it wrong to be a bigot? What makes bigotry morally wrong? According to whom?

The vast majority of liberals don’t have an answer for such questions. And the reason they don’t have an answer is that there is none. If they say, for example, the moral judgment is made based on their opinion, then I can say it’s not my opinion, and what makes your opinion superior to my opinion? In order to make a moral judgment about something, we must appeal to a power much higher than man’s opinion.

I define morality here as “principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.”

While I don’t agree with the religion of Islam, at least I know where they get their morality from. It’s the Koran. As for secular progressives, they just make up morality as they go along, often based on the trends of popular culture. But the things liberals or progressives believe almost always run contrary to the Word of God, the Bible.

Moral Absolutes from the Bible

I’m not sure why this is, except the Bible is true when it states the heart of man is at war with God. So if you have a whole lot of people who are rebelling against God, then they are going to behave this way. The most obvious way the popular culture shows its disdain for Christianity is when it comes to sexual morality. It is really popular today to bash those who proclaim morality which comes from the Bible, especially if it involves sexual behavior. People don’t want God telling them how to live, and they get angry if you say something such as homosexuality is wrong.

More irony. Most of these secular progressives (liberals) also claim to be agnostics or atheists. I have a friend who says the unspoken mantra of a high percentage of these atheists is this: “I don’t believe in God, and I hate Him.”

In other words, it’s not really that many of these people don’t believe in God. No. It’s that they don’t want to believe in God because, if they do, He might require that they give up living for themselves and begin living for Him. So they rebel against a God they say doesn’t exist.

 

Culture Wars: Obama Bathroom Decree vs. Moral Compass

Culture Wars:

Obama Bathroom Decree vs. Moral Compass

When a culture rebels against God

 

Tim Wildmon –

North Carolina’s rough road isn’t because of HB 2 but Romans 1:28.

moral-relativism-bathroomAll was quiet in the home state of Andy Griffith until February 22 of this year when the Charlotte City Council passed an ordinance requiring all government agencies and private businesses to ensure that men could use women’s bathrooms if they want to.

The legal problem with that move was that the state constitution of North Carolina requires all “public accommodation” laws to be handled at the state level. In other words, what Charlotte did was not within their authority, so the governor and the state legislature responded by passing HB 2 on March 23, which “mandates people use the bathroom corresponding to their biological sex in public buildings, places, and schools.” Simply put, everything was fine – Charlotte enacted a law they had no authority to enact, and the state of North Carolina put everything back like it was.

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” (Romans 1:28)

For this simple common sense law, the state of North Carolina has become the whipping boy for the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender political machine and their many powerful supporters in big business, academia, the liberal media, and the entertainment industry. No single group of people holds more power in America today than the LGBT lobby, despite the fact that they represent a relatively small number of people. It is estimated that two percent of Americans are lesbian or gay and 0.3 percent are transgendered – i.e., a person who is a male but says he is a female or vice versa.

Even the National Collegiate Athletic Association punished North Carolina by taking away sporting events scheduled for the Tar Heel state. NCAA leadership is made up of university presidents. So, very smart people who have reached the highest levels of academia sat around in a room somewhere and decided that because North Carolina wants to keep men out of bathrooms reserved for women and young girls, the state must be punished. And this law applied only to bathrooms, showers, etc. that were state property.

In other knee-jerk reactions, PayPal Corporation withdrew its plans for building a large office complex in North Carolina over this issue. PayPal is the same company that built their global operations center in Malaysia where homosexual behavior is against the law, punishable by whipping or prison time. The NBA pulled their All-Star game out of Charlotte. Christian sports celebrities Russell Wilson and Stephen Curry condemned their home state for wanting to keep women’s bathrooms for women and girls only. Legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said what North Carolina did was “embarrassing.”

What is going on here? Why is the whole world coming down on North Carolina over something like this? Even if you thought welcoming men into women’s restrooms and showers was a good idea, does the penalty fit the “crime?” You would think North Carolina has reinstated slavery.

What is going on is a country in rebellion against God Almighty. This is about putting the final touches on the sexual revolution. The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is unnatural, immoral, and unhealthy. Everyone knows that a man who thinks he is a woman has a mental disorder, not to mention a spiritual one.

Bruce Jenner will always be a man – even if he wears a dress and heels the rest of his life. Yet, his confusion is lauded by the media and popular culture as brave and heroic. What’s really going on here is demonic. It’s a culture shaking its collective fist at God and shouting: “Don’t tell us how to live! We will not listen to your rules!”

What we are watching in America today is Romans 1 being played out before our very eyes.

Tim Wildmon (contact@afa.net) is president of the American Family Association in Tupelo, MS.

Gospel Teachings: Character Education, Discipline, and Moral Compass

Gospel Teachings:

Character Education, Discipline, and Moral Compass

Moral Discipline

  1. Todd Christofferson

keyMoral discipline is the consistent exercise of agency to choose the right because it is right, even when it is hard.

During World War II, President James E. Faust, then a young enlisted man in the United States Army, applied for officer candidate school. He appeared before a board of inquiry composed of what he described as “hard-bitten career soldier[s].” After a while their questions turned to matters of religion. The final questions were these:

CTR“In times of war should not the moral code be relaxed? Does not the stress of battle justify men in doing things that they would not do when at home under normal situations?”

President Faust relates:

“I recognized that here was a chance perhaps to make some points and look broad-minded. I knew perfectly well that the men who were asking me this question did not live by the standards that I had been taught. The thought flashed through my mind that perhaps I could say that I had my own beliefs but did not wish to impose them on others. But there seemed to flash before my mind the faces of the many people to whom I had taught the law of chastity as a missionary. In the end I simply said, ‘I do not believe there is a double standard of morality.’

“I left the hearing resigned to the fact that [they] would not like the answers I had given … and would surely score me very low. A few days later when the scores were posted, to my astonishment I had passed. I was in the first group taken for officer’s candidate school! …

“This was one of the critical crossroads of my life.1

freewill1President Faust recognized that we all possess the God-given gift of moral agency—the right to make choices and the obligation to account for those choices (see D&C 101:78). He also understood and demonstrated that, for positive outcomes, moral agency must be accompanied by moral discipline.

By “moral discipline,” I mean self-discipline based on moral standards. Moral discipline is the consistent exercise of agency to choose the right because it is right, even when it is hard. It rejects the self-absorbed life in favor of developing character worthy of respect and true greatness through Christlike service (see Mark 10:42–45). The root of the word discipline is shared by the word disciple, suggesting to the mind the fact that conformity to the example and teachings of Jesus Christ is the ideal discipline that, coupled with His grace, forms a virtuous and morally excellent person.

The Moral Discipline of Jesus

Jesus’s own moral discipline was rooted in His discipleship to the Father. To His disciples He explained, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). By this same pattern, our moral discipline is rooted in loyalty and devotion to the Father and the Son. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ that provides the moral certainty upon which moral discipline rests.

We would not accept the yoke of Christ, so now we must tremble at the yoke of Caesar. ~Fulton J. Sheen

christ-yokeThe societies in which many of us live have for more than a generation failed to foster moral discipline. They have taught that truth is relative and that everyone decides for himself or herself what is right. Concepts such as sin and wrong have been condemned as “value judgments.” As the Lord describes it, “Every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god” (D&C 1:16).

As a consequence, self-discipline has eroded and societies are left to try to maintain order and civility by compulsion. The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments. One columnist observed that “gentlemanly behavior [for example, once] protected women from coarse behavior. Today, we expect sexual harassment laws to restrain coarse behavior. …

“Policemen and laws can never replace customs, traditions and moral values as a means for regulating human behavior. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Our increased reliance on laws to regulate behavior is a measure of how uncivilized we’ve become.”2

In most of the world, we have been experiencing an extended and devastating economic recession. It was brought on by multiple causes, but one of the major causes was widespread dishonest and unethical conduct, particularly in the U.S. housing and financial markets. Reactions have focused on enacting more and stronger regulation. Perhaps that may dissuade some from unprincipled conduct, but others will simply get more creative in their circumvention.3 There could never be enough rules so finely crafted as to anticipate and cover every situation, and even if there were, enforcement would be impossibly expensive and burdensome. This approach leads to diminished freedom for everyone. In the memorable phrase of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, “We would not accept the yoke of Christ; so now we must tremble at the yoke of Caesar.”4

Moral Compass needed to deal with Societal Decay

moralcompass1In the end, it is only an internal moral compass in each individual that can effectively deal with the root causes as well as the symptoms of societal decay. Societies will struggle in vain to establish the common good until sin is denounced as sin and moral discipline takes its place in the pantheon of civic virtues.5

Moral discipline is learned at home. While we cannot control what others may or may not do, the Latter-day Saints can certainly stand with those who demonstrate virtue in their own lives and inculcate virtue in the rising generation. Remember from Book of Mormon history the young men who were key to the Nephite victory in the long war of 66 to 60 B.C.—the sons of the people of Ammon. Their character and discipline were described in these words:

“They were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.

“Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him” (Alma 53:20–21).

“Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them” (Alma 56:47).

“Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually” (Alma 57:27).

Here we find a standard for what should happen in our homes and in the Church. Our teaching should draw upon our own faith and focus first and foremost on instilling faith in God in the rising generation. We must declare the essential need to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before Him in soberness, or in other words, with reverence. Each must be persuaded that service and sacrifice for the well-being and happiness of others are far superior to making one’s own comfort and possessions the highest priority.

Jesus-bcome-disciple-lds-churchThis requires more than an occasional reference to one or another gospel principle. There must be constant teaching, mostly by example. President Henry B. Eyring expressed the vision we strive to attain:

“The pure gospel of Jesus Christ must go down into the hearts of [our children] by the power of the Holy Ghost. It will not be enough for them to have had a spiritual witness of the truth and to want good things later. It will not be enough for them to hope for some future cleansing and strengthening. Our aim must be for them to become truly converted to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ while they are with us. …

“Then they will have gained a strength from what they are, not only from what they know. They will become disciples of Christ.6

I have heard a few parents state that they don’t want to impose the gospel on their children but want them to make up their own minds about what they will believe and follow. They think that in this way they are allowing children to exercise their agency. What they forget is that the intelligent use of agency requires knowledge of the truth, of things as they really are (see D&C 93:24). Without that, young people can hardly be expected to understand and evaluate the alternatives that come before them. Parents should consider how the adversary approaches their children. He and his followers are not promoting objectivity but are vigorous, multimedia advocates of sin and selfishness.

You Can’t Be Neutral about the Gospel

Seeking to be neutral about the gospel is, in reality, to reject the existence of God and His authority. We must, rather, acknowledge Him and His omniscience if we want our children to see life’s choices clearly and be able to think for themselves. They should not have to learn by sad experience that “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10).

I can share with you a simple example from my own life of what parents can do. When I was about five or six years old, I lived across the street from a small grocery store. One day two other boys invited me to go with them to the store. As we stood coveting the candy for sale there, the older boy grabbed a candy bar and slipped it into his pocket. He urged the other boy and me to do the same, and after some hesitation we did. Then we quickly left the store and ran off in separate directions. I found a hiding place at home and tore off the candy wrapper. My mother discovered me with the chocolate evidence smeared on my face and escorted me back to the grocery store. As we crossed the street, I was sure I was facing life imprisonment. With sobs and tears, I apologized to the owner and paid him for the candy bar with a dime that my mother had loaned me (which I had to earn later). My mother’s love and discipline put an abrupt and early end to my life of crime.

 by Carl Bloch

by Carl Bloch

We Need Not Yield to Temptation

All of us experience temptations. So did the Savior, but He “gave no heed unto them” (D&C 20:22). Similarly, we do not have to yield simply because a temptation surfaces. We may want to, but we don’t have to. An incredulous female friend asked a young adult woman, committed to living the law of chastity, how it was possible that she had never “slept with anybody.” “Don’t you want to?” the friend asked. The young woman thought: “The question intrigued me, because it was so utterly beside the point. … Mere wanting is hardly a proper guide for moral conduct.7

In some cases, temptation may have the added force of potential or actual addiction. I am grateful that for an increasing number of people the Church can provide therapeutic help of various kinds to aid them in avoiding or coping with addictions. Even so, while therapy can support a person’s will, it cannot substitute for it. Always and ever, there must be an exercise of discipline—moral discipline founded on faith in God the Father and the Son and what They can achieve with us through the atoning grace of Jesus Christ. In Peter’s words, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2 Peter 2:9).

Strength for the Future

jesus-rock1We cannot presume that the future will resemble the past—that things and patterns we have relied upon economically, politically, socially will remain as they have been. Perhaps our moral discipline, if we will cultivate it, will have an influence for good and inspire others to pursue the same course. We may thereby have an impact on future trends and events. At a minimum, moral discipline will be of immense help to us as we deal with whatever stresses and challenges may come in a disintegrating society.

As we prayerfully consider what we have learned and relearned, I believe that the Spirit will shed further light on those things that have particular application for each of us individually. We will be fortified in the moral discipline needed to walk uprightly before the Lord and be at one with Him and the Father.

I stand with my brethren and with you, my brothers and sisters, as a witness that God is our Father and that His Son, Jesus, is our Redeemer. Their law is immutable, Their truth is everlasting, and Their love is infinite.