Malankara World Journal
Malankara World Journal

Focus: Freedom, Independence and Government

Volume 2 No. 84 July 5, 2012

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Lightning and thunderstorms in the sky
Let Us Welcome the Monsoon

by Dr. Alex Joseph

This is the time to enjoy monsoon.
What a nice time..
The heavy downpour of water...
The mist coming down and embracing the mountains..
The trees stand huddled together...
They dance as the wind blows..
The birds are never seen outside...
They also sit inside the nest and watch the rain..
It is the time to enjoy the nature..

Table of Contents
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1. Bible Readings for This Sunday (July 8)

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

2. Sermons for This Sunday (July 8)

http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_6th-sunday-after-Pentecost.htm

3. Inspiration for Today

All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.

4. Featured: True Freedom Offered by Jesus Christ Can Transform the World - Archbishop Chaput

5. Independence Day Message

Just as those colonists opposed the King of England for their freedom, Christ opposed Satan for our freedom. And every sinner that accepts Christ signs a spiritual Declaration of Independence that declares war on the enemy of their soul. ...

6. Mapping 'Fault Lines' in America

In Micah 3, the prophet wants his nation to know that the God they serve is not only a God of love, mercy, and grace, but also a God of judgment…and though God would rather bless and demonstrate love, and continue to extend His grace and mercy, that there does indeed come a time when, because of sin and rebellion, God's patience is exhausted. ...

7. Celebrate Your Freedom

We have to declare our freedom and be determined to stand against the opposing forces of darkness in our lives. We have to declare our freedom from addiction, poverty, sickness and lack. We have to stand and fight until we fully experience His freedom and the peace that He has promised. ...

8. Reclaim America (Poem)

9. What America Really Needs

One of the saddest things, I believe, about many in the Church today is that they're putting their faith in the people and politics of our nation and setting up an idol for themselves. They believe everything will be okay as long as we get this or that person elected. But the reality is that there's no one person who can transform a nation… only Jesus can. ...

10. Health: 10 Tips for Preventing Heartburn

Heartburn affects about 60 million people in the United States, but there are steps you can take to minimize your chances of experiencing it. The best part is that by following these suggestions, you will not only reduce the chances of suffering from heartburn - you will also promote the health and well-being of your entire digestive system. ...

11. Family Special: For The Good of Your Kids

Several studies have proven the devastating effects divorce has on children showing that children of all ages deal with negative impact on their emotions, behavior patterns, compliance with rules, and self-image, to name a few. ...

12. Humor: Who Broke Down the Walls of Jericho?

About Malankara World

This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for This Sunday (July 8)
Sermons for This Sunday (July 8)
We have greatly expanded our Sermon Resources. The sermon collection now includes general and classical sermons. This will give a broader appeal to the Gospel Reading for the week. We also added bible commentaries for the bible reading to facilitate study and meditation. Please check it out.

Sermons for the Sixth Sunday After Pentecost

http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_6th-sunday-after-Pentecost.htm

More Sermons

This Week's Features

Inspiration for Today
All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. -- I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. -- Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.

My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

PSA. 145:10. Psa. 103:1,2. ‑Psa. 34:1. -Psa 145:2. Psa. 63:3-5. Luke 1:46,47. Rev. 4:11.

Featured: True Freedom Offered by Jesus Christ Can Transform the World - Archbishop Chaput

by Benjamin Mann

Government cannot give or take away the ultimate freedom found in obedience to God, Philadelphia (Catholic) Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said at the closing Mass of the U.S. bishops' "Fortnight for Freedom."

"True freedom knows no attachments other than Jesus Christ," Archbishop Chaput said in his July 4 homily at Washington, D.C.'s National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

"True freedom can walk away from anything – wealth, honor, fame, pleasure … It fears neither the state, nor death itself."

"We're free only to the extent that we unburden ourselves of our own willfulness and practice the art of living according to God's plan. When we do this, when we choose to live according to God's intention for us, we are then – and only then – truly free."

"This is the kind of freedom that can transform the world. And it should animate all of our talk about liberty – religious or otherwise."

In his sermon, the Philadelphia archbishop taught that the human right to religious freedom is needed "to create the context" for the "true freedom" offered by Jesus Christ, which involves liberation from sin and the gift of eternal life.

While religious liberty "is a foundational right" and "necessary for a good society," it is not "an end in itself." Rather, it must be used to find and live out the truth in order to attain to holiness, the highest form of freedom.

This higher form of freedom, found through God's grace, "isn't something Caesar can give or take away," Archbishop Chaput taught.

"In the end, we defend religious liberty in order to live the deeper freedom that is discipleship in Jesus Christ," he reflected.

The right to religious freedom only finds its fulfillment when believers "use that freedom to seek God with our whole mind and soul and strength."

Among the Scripture readings for the July 4 Mass, was the confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees on the subject of taxation. As Christ observes Caesar's image on the Roman coin, he tells his listeners to "repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God."

Archbishop Chaput, whose 2008 book "Render Unto Caesar" took inspiration from the same Bible passage, told the congregation at the national shrine that Jesus was not merely "being clever" or offering "political commentary."

Christ's reasoning, he said, harkens back to the creation of mankind in the "image of God." While the coin "bears the image of Caesar" and "belongs to Caesar," the human person bears the image of the creator rather than the governing authority.

In this way, the archbishop said, Jesus is "making a claim on every human being. He's saying, 'render unto Caesar those things that bear Caesar's image, but more importantly, render unto God that which bears God's image' – in other words, you and me. All of us … We belong to God, and only to God."

"Caesar is a creature of this world, and Christ's message is uncompromising: We should give Caesar nothing of ourselves."

While patriotism has its place, as an expression of justice and charity, believers cannot ultimately identify themselves with an earthly homeland. God, as Archbishop Chaput reminded the congregation, "made us for more than the world. Our real home isn't here."

As believers commit themselves to securing the Church's freedom in society, they must also ask themselves "some unsettling questions" about what they "really render to God" in everyday life.

"The political and legal effort to defend religious liberty – as vital as it is – belongs to a much greater struggle to master and convert our own hearts, and to live for God completely, without alibis or self-delusion," Archbishop Chaput observed.

"The only question that finally matters is this one: Will we live wholeheartedly for Jesus Christ? If so, then we can be a source of freedom for the world. If not, nothing else will do."

"When we leave this Mass today, we need to render unto Caesar those things that bear his image. But we need to render ourselves unto God – generously, zealously, holding nothing back."

In this way, he said, Christians will fulfill their legitimate civic duties – while also, "much more importantly," offering their lives "as disciples of Jesus Christ."

Source: CNA/EWTN News

Independence Day Message

By Robert D. Pace

This week America celebrates its birthday. On July 4, 1776 fifty-six members of the Continental Congress, representing thirteen colonies, signed the Declaration of Independence proclaiming autonomy.

Our forefathers were willing to risk their lives by signing the Declaration of Independence. They believed freedom was infinitely more desirable than slavery and bondage. Freedom was worth fighting for.

And just as those colonists opposed the King of England 233 years ago for their freedom, Christ opposed Satan for our freedom. And every sinner that accepts Christ signs a spiritual Declaration of Independence that declares war on the enemy of their soul.

I'm not talking about a battle with scud missiles and nuclear weapons. I'm talking about spiritual warfare.

A Person's Conversion is a Declaration of War

There is no place in the Christian life for spiritual pacifism. You and I are at war against the devil and he will defeat and repress us if we refuse to engage him. Maybe someone here is thinking of the Scripture that says, "Blessed are the peacemakers," but those that understand Scripture know peace isn't obtained without action. It's obtained by taking up spiritual arms and claiming your territorial rights.

That's why Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household."

You know how scenarios like this play out. One member of a family accepts Christ as their Savior and because Christianity sets forth a completely different set of values than the world, arguments and even persecution occur from unsaved members of the family. That's because conflicting ideas create controversy!

Listen to what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: "the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."

Paul described one part of the Christian life as "destroying" the works of the devil! He said we are called to tear down "speculations . . . knowledge [and] thoughts" that conflict with the teachings of Scripture. It's a battle for the mind, and, as a direct result it's a battle for the souls of men.

You and I cannot ignore that we are at odds with much of what the world perceives as truth. And it's amazing how diametric secular thought is to Christian thought. For example:

It's perfectly normal for a Christian to think everyone should attend Church. The Bible teaches that. But there are many non-believers that classify fundamental Church-going people as intolerant, homophobic, culturally deranged bigots that menace society.

Christians believe that human life is created in God's image and sacred. And because we believe in the sanctity of human life we cannot condone the indiscriminate aborting of unborn babies. But to the world, abortion is but a ‘choice.'

Christians believe in the morality revealed in the Ten Commandments and Christ's Sermon on the Mount. On the other hand, the world writes its laws in the sand and is willing to reprise them as often as necessary. Even the Supreme Court exercises its liberality in upholding the Constitution and what was unlawful twenty years ago is permissible today.

Saints of God, we are in a war of ideas. And we must never forget to uphold the standard as set forth by God's Word.

But secondly, like our country's Declaration of Independence indicates, A Christian's conversion is a Declaration of Separation.

Conversion is a Declaration of Separation

In the Declaration of Independence, the colonists made it clear that they wouldn't be tied to Britain.

The Patriots of the American Revolution knew they couldn't be free and yet remain colonies of the British Empire. They had to overthrow England's tyranny if they were to be fully free. And that's what they did. They declared their sovereignty and under the leadership of George Washington fought against the forces of British oppression until they won separation.

That's how it is with Christians and their posture toward the world. When we accept Christ we have to break with sin and everything God considers unclean or wrong. And this is done by a willful, continual resistance to Satan. Paul wrote in Galatians: "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." (6)

How do you stand firm and reject the yoke of sin?

1. You pray! (The Lord said to pray, "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.")

2. You make up your mind to reject and resist sin whenever it appears!

3. You read the Scripture and allow its power to seep into every part of your being—your spirit, soul, mind, and body!

4. You invite the living presence of the Holy Spirit to envelope and empower you.

The only way to obtain freedom in your soul is to make full allegiance to Christ and constantly resist the encroachment of sin. If you don't break from evil, then evil will break you!

I want you to notice the warning Jesus issued to the Church of Laodicea in Revelation 3. "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth." (5) They were lulled into a condition that couldn't resist evil!

The greatest threat to the Church's welfare isn't atheism, communism, or political oppression.

The greatest threat to the Church losing the culture war isn't lack of money or fronting the right spokesman for prime time TV.

The greatest threat to repressing revival and preventing God's glory from filling the church isn't liberal theologians or even carnal Christians that don't believe in the divine inspiration of Scripture.

The foreboding threat to the Christian Church is do-nothing, lethargic, complacent Christians!

Christians must stand up and take their place in the kingdom of God! Each person has a place in the kingdom and the Church marches forward in power when we are all working together under the Spirit's anointing.

(Illustration) I read the story of an eagle that was captured at a young age. It's captor put a restraint on it so it couldn't fly, and then let it roam the barnyard. It wasn't long till the eagle began acting like the chickens, scratching and pecking at the ground. This bird that once soared in the air was satisfied to live like a chicken. One day a shepherd came to the farm. Seeing the eagle he said, "It's a shame to keep that bird hobbled here in your barnyard! Why don't you release it?" The farmer agreed and they cut off the restraint. But the eagle continued to wander around, scratching and pecking as before. The shepherd picked it up and set it on a high stone wall. For the first time in months, the eagle saw the expanse of blue sky and the glowing sun. Then it spread its wings and soared into a tremendous flight upward. At last it was acting like an eagle again.

If you're going to be free to soar and do what God intended, you have to break with the barnyard. You cannot live in both places. You have to "Come out from their midst and be separate,'

Conclusion

There was once a sage that lived a secluded life in the mountains. Two foolish men plotted a scheme to discredit him in the eyes of his followers. Coming before the wise man they tested his wisdom. "Old man, I hold a sparrow in my closed hand. If you're so wise is it alive or is it dead?"Their plan was that if he answered "alive" they would crush it to death. If he answered "dead" they would release it. The audience was silent as they awaited the old man's answer. Finally, he answered, "Son, its life is in your hands."

The life of freedom in Christ Jesus is in your hands. You can crush it or set it free. You can kill it with mediocrity and lukewarmness, or you can possess it with courage and conviction. It all depends upon the action you take.

Endnotes

Much material was taken from Dave Redick's sermon "Independence Day," Church of Christ, Sweet Home, OR

Copyright © 2009 by Pulpit Today

Mapping 'Fault Lines' in America

By Jerry Shirley

I love America, and make no apology for doing so. I enjoy her freedoms, especially in being free to worship the true and living God. I would like to continue living here if at all possible. I still believe the United States is the greatest country on the face of the earth in terms of God's blessing upon it. But I reserve the right to change my mind about the matter, just as our God does. I love America, but I don't have to like the direction she is heading in. Might our country actually be facing God's judgment for its offenses against him? If so, who is at fault?

I believe terrorism is a great threat to the USA. But it is not our greatest threat. I know we have powerful enemies around the world, but the most powerful are much closer by. Yes, evil exists and is growing rampantly. But it may not be concentrated in the part of the world we think it is. I believe America's greatest threat is not from without but from within. We are our enemy and I am convinced that God is generally displeased with us as a nation. He is assigning blame for sin and we must answer.

In Micah 3, the prophet is concerned about something. He wants his nation to know that the God they serve is not only a God of love, mercy, and grace, but also a God of judgment…and though God would rather bless and demonstrate love, and continue to extend His grace and mercy, that there does indeed come a time when, because of sin and rebellion, God's patience is exhausted.

Eventually God will give a nation [or an individual] what they are demanding. It happened in the pre-diluvian world of Noah's time, and again at Sodom and Gomorrah. It even happened to God's people, Israel. Will He make an exception for our nation?

Micah speaks by the Spirit of God and points a bony finger at three distinct groups of people and says, "It's Your Fault!":

1. Corrupt Politicians
2. Compromising Preachers
3. Complacent People

Micah desperately wants the people to understand that the God who loves sinners still hates sin. And sin must always be judged. His holiness demands that. Praise God that if you're saved you will never be judged for your sin; they were judged 2,000 years ago on Calvary's cross! But that does not mean we can live a careless, haphazard Christian life. The same Bible which teaches that we will not be judged for our sins also tells us that we will indeed be judged for how faithful we have been. All individuals will one day be judged, and there is such a thing as the judgment of a nation.

Micah 3:12 talks about a nation being "plowed as a field," a metaphor for judgment.

No nation was as pure in its inception as the nation Israel— by God Himself in Genesis 12. And yet even Israel went corrupt, and the vast majority of the people were ignorant or indifferent concerning that corruption. For this reason the prophets of judgment came along, like Micah, calling the people to repentance, and making the people aware that the God who would rather bless will blast if his hand is forced.

I'm optimistic about our nation's possibilities for the future, but I think we should be realistic. And part of loving America is wanting to save it from a corruption that most people are seemingly ignorant of…or at least indifferent to.

Fault Line #1 - Corrupt Politicians

Micah 3:1-3: And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment? Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones; Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.

Reading these verses is like watching the nightly news. NBC's Tom Brokaw used to do a weekly segment called "The Fleecing of America." It highlighted the price Americans pay at the hands of leadership gone awry. I think you could have put these three verses into his teleprompter and no one would have known the difference!

Here are six requirements God recommends for government leaders:
[From Proverbs]

1. Righteousness

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. (Proverbs 29:2)

It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness. (Proverbs 16:12)

Why is it that today we just look for skills and credentials, and not look to morality?

2. Wisdom

I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions...by me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. (Proverbs 8:12-16)

3. Absolute Honesty

Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince. (Proverbs 17:7)

Leaders and liars are not the same thing!

4. Separation from bad influences

Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer. Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness. (Proverbs 25:4-5)

A leader must focus on what is right, not just public opinion or lobbying pressures.

5. Personal Purity

Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. (Proverbs 31:3)

If a man will not honor his marriage vows, what's he going to do with those "piddly little vows" of public trust?

6. Protection of the weak and the defenseless

Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

A leader is to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, and defend those who cannot defend themselves.

A Biblical leader should stand tall on behalf of the unborn. Some would say, "Abortion is legal. And a leader is supposed to uphold the law!" Certainly being legally right doesn't make something morally right.

Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law? ( Psalm 94:20)

And I should add those who stand for the unborn but turn a blind eye to the poor offend God as well.

When Micah warns the people that God is about to judge, he points first at the corrupt politicians, and says, "It's your fault." And until we own our faults there is no hope for a change.

Fault Line #2 - Compromising Preachers

Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him. (Micah 3:5)

Should they be preaching peace when judgment is coming? Should they preach to the offering plates, altering their message so as not to offend? And do we today really need to drag Jesus down to a lower level in an attempt to make Him more palatable? Did not Jesus Himself say, "Come unto Me"? When a preacher invites someone to Jesus, he must present Jesus and all he is without compromise.

We must preach the truth at all times and no matter the cost. And it is vital that we practice what we preach. As people of God, we must, at times, look inside ourselves with humility. I must confess I have spent several hours in reflection since I wrote the last sentence, and though I am young and inexperienced, I feel led of God to share something from my heart:

Concerning ministers such as myself, I believe the Lord is not as concerned about where we are as where we are headed. Which way are we facing? Are we going forward for him or regressing? In short, our present is more pertinent than our past. This principle applies not only to those of us in the ministry but our church members as well. It applies even further to our nation. But, in keeping with our point, what does this mean for me?

To use a crude but potent illustration, this means that there have been times that God has been more pleased with a drug addict than with me. I know he has seen something in a wife beater that he wished he could see in me. He has hoped I would learn something from someone who has had many extramarital affairs. "How could this be true?" you may ask. It IS true, because all of those mentioned got saved in our church and began allowing God to conform them to His image. They were improving, and meanwhile I was only going backward down Satan's subtle slope of sin. Oh sure, if I were counting our crimes or stacking our respective sins on a scale then I may (or may not!) come out ahead. But that's not what God is looking at. He's not comparing me to them; he's comparing my today with my yesterday.

When Micah warns the people that God is about to judge, he points at not only the corrupt politicians, but also the compromising preachers and says, "It's your fault." And we must own our faults before God.

Fault Line #3 - Complacent People

The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? No evil can come upon us. (Micah 3:11)

The word "they" is where the complacent people appear.

The people of Israel said, "We know the politicians are corrupt, we know the preachers are compromisers, but it will be ok, because we're ok. The economy is strong, we're happy, and it's alright. Is not the Lord among us? No evil can touch us." And many ignorant Americans make a similar claim: "Our nation has a Christian heritage. We have Godly roots." So did Israel! And so did many other nations which God has judged, or wiped out completely. We must pursue hard after God or destruction will certainly overtake us as well.

Where do we go from here?

We should do our part to elect leaders that seek to fulfill God's righteous requirements. And what do we do if and when corrupt politicians come to power? We may not be able to absolutely control such a situation, but we certainly can focus on ourselves and make sure we aren't compromising preachers, and we can do our job in proclaiming the truth to complacent people in our pews, remembering the promise of II Chronicles 7:14: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

It is true: I think our nation is in trouble. But I also know that Jesus Christ is the hope of our nation and the world. He stands as a light for us to follow. His arms of mercy are open to those who will turn from selfishness and evil to him. Certainly he extends his own righteousness to us as a free gift. But our acceptance of that righteousness will certainly be evidenced by a life marked by that righteousness. My prayer is that my preaching - and yours - be marked by the righteousness, justice, and mercy embodied by Christ himself.

Ultimately, the hope of America is not found in the White House or the State House, nor in the Courthouse. The hope of America is found in God's House, and your house, and my house!

©Copyright Jerry Shirley and Grace Notes Ministries®

Celebrate Your Freedom

by Joel Osteen

"You have been set free from sin…" Romans 6:18, NIV.

July 4, 1776 was the day America declared its independence, but the battle for freedom went on until 1783 - seven years later. Even though the people declared their freedom in 1776, they had to stand and fight for many years before the British would accept and recognized the United States of America.

In the same way, we have to declare our freedom and be determined to stand against the opposing forces of darkness in our lives. We have to declare our freedom from addiction, poverty, sickness and lack. We have to stand and fight until we fully experience His freedom and the peace that He has promised.

I love what the early colonists did once they signed the Declaration of Independence. They read it out loud in public. They published it in the newspaper. They spread the word. They continued to declare and celebrate even though they were in the midst of the battle.

Today, no matter what battle you may be facing, declare that you are free and celebrate your freedom because the victory you seek is on the way!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for setting me free in every area of my life. I declare today that nothing can hold me back. I declare that I am free from sickness, poverty, lack and addiction. I declare that You have set me free and thank You for freedom and discipline in every area of my life in Jesus' name. Amen.
 

Reclaim America

by Eddie De Garmo and Dana Key
(From their 1994 CD To Extremes)

The doomsday sayers are crowding in the streets
They say it's over, it's too late
Our land is crying, we have sown and now we reap
But there's a difference we can make

As helpless as it seems
The Lord can still redeem
So don't lose hope, don't lose faith

[Chorus]
Stake your claim and reclaim America
Stand your ground, stand up for the Lord
Stake your claim and reclaim America
I still feel it's worth fighting for

We all can see it, the lights are dimming fast
The troubles just won't seem to leave
Our God in heaven loves every race of man
How He must weep at what He sees

Let us not grow faint
Pray for love not hate
Together we all must believe

[Chorus]
Stake your claim and reclaim America
Stand your ground, stand up for the Lord
Stake your claim and reclaim America
I still feel it's worth fighting for

What America Really Needs

by Dr. Jack Graham

Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.
Psalm 146:3-4

I once had the opportunity to meet Dr. Bill Bright, who was the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ and a real patriot for our nation. Dr. Bright told me about a time when he was visiting with a man who was wondering about America and asking questions like, "Who do we need to elect to get us out of the mess we're in as a nation?"

Dr. Bright said it seemed that God gave him an answer so quickly. So he said to that man, "There is nobody to elect to get us out of the mess we're in. What is it going to take for our nation to get right with God?"

One of the saddest things, I believe, about many in the Church today is that they're putting their faith in the people and politics of our nation and setting up an idol for themselves. They believe everything will be okay as long as we get this or that person elected. But the reality is that there's no one person who can transform a nation… only Jesus can.

Jesus is the hope for America and the world. He is what our country really needs. So while it's good to be involved politically, remember that only Christ can truly transform our nation!

FIND YOUR HOPE IN JESUS, NOT IN THE LEADERS OF THE WORLD. HE'S THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN TRULY TRANSFORM OUR NATION!

Source: PowerPoint Devotional

Health Tip: 10 Tips for Preventing Heartburn
Heartburn affects about 60 million people in the United States, but there are steps you can take to minimize your chances of experiencing it. The best part is that by following these suggestions, you will not only reduce the chances of suffering from heartburn - you will also promote the health and well-being of your entire digestive system.

Eat small, frequent meals

To achieve optimal digestion, eat four to five small meals per day, without increasing overall caloric intake. Small meals put less pressure on the intestines, reducing the risk of heartburn and minimizing stress on the digestive organs.

Include foods rich in fiber

Fiber is important for the health of the digestive system and can be found in fresh fruits, raw vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, nuts and beans.

Choose lower-fat foods

Fatty foods can slow down digestion and make you more prone to constipation and heartburn. When you can, choose leaner cuts of meat like pork, chicken and turkey - they contain less fat, which may reduce digestive discomfort. If you do consume high-fat foods, try to eat add extra fiber to your diet at the same time to reduce the stress on your digestive system.

Incorporate probiotics into your diet

Certain probiotics - the good bacteria that are found in dairy products like yogurt and cottage cheese - may improve intestinal function. For a great way of incorporating probiotics into your diet, try a yogurt such as Activia® with Bifidus Regularis®, which helps naturally regulate your digestive system as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

Drink plenty of fluids

Fluids are needed to alleviate and prevent constipation and ease digestion of foods through the digestive tract. A good way to make sure you’re getting enough fluids is to drink a glass of water with every meal.

Limit Alcohol and Caffeinated beverages

Alcohol and caffeine both increase the production of stomach acid, which can lead to reflux. In addition, alcohol relaxes the muscles that usually prevent the contents of the stomach from rising into the esophagus.

Don't rush eating

Eating slowly and chewing food properly encourages a 'full' feeling, which prevents the overeating that can upset the digestive tract.

Stop smoking

The chemicals from cigarettes can weaken the muscles of the esophagus, increasing the risk of heartburn. Smokers are also more likely to suffer from peptic ulcers and Crohn's disease.

Exercise regularly

While most people know that exercise offers overall health benefits, most people don't know that it's good for your digestive tract, too. Exercise increases blood circulation and enhances the flow of oxygen throughout your body, helping all systems function better—including your digestive system.

Maintain a healthy body weight

A Body Mass Index that indicates obesity or unintentional weight loss may have a negative impact on digestive health. The Centers for Disease Control have a handy BMI Calculator you can use to determine your BMI.

These simple tips are more than a way to keep heartburn at bay: they're the beginning of a lifestyle change that leads to a healthier, happier you. Choose one or two actions to perform over the next few weeks and gradually incorporate more and more behaviors into your life. You'll be glad you did.

* This article is for information purposes only and is not intended as health or nutrition advice. For more information please contact your health care specialist or nutritionist.

Source: Healthy Living - © 2000-2012, Sam's West, Inc. All rights reserved.

Family Special: For The Good of Your Kids

by Stuart Briscoe

"Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."
-Wesley in The Princess Bride

"I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage – they've experienced pain and bought jewelry." –Rita Rudner

At the risk of sounding callous and insensitive, let me state something obvious: marriage is painful. It's part of the design, as God created this permanent covenant relationship to strip away our flesh and make us more like Jesus. If we bail on marriage to get away from this pain, however, we actually cause more of it.

Lie 6: The kids will be better if we divorce.

Several studies have proven the devastating effects divorce has on children showing that children of all ages deal with negative impact on their emotions, behavior patterns, compliance with rules, and self-image, to name a few.* And that's just short-term. The truth is the kids will be worse off if you divorce.

Instead of seeing a couple give up on each other, it is far better that children see parents who:

Focus on Christ

Christ is the only one who can mold the heart fruitfully. Kids need to see authorities be faithful to Christ and see how He is conforming them to Himself.

Seek outside help

It's often hard for people to look for help from others. Kids need to know that it's okay not to know all the answers. They need to see parents seeking out and confiding in others who can help bring answers.

Crucify their flesh

Our fleshly desires for personal satisfaction come at the expense of people around us. Kids need to see adults look to others with compassion, even if it's inconvenient and painful.

Break old patterns

Things don't have to be the same. Kids need a role model that removes their bad habits and focuses on Jesus and the things He has planned for their lives.

Forgive forever

Often our hearts and love are compromised by grudges towards our spouse. Kids need to see parents who forgive and forget, who are willing to work on past hurts, even to the point of forgiving despite lack of regret on the other person's part.

Trust in Christ

It's easy to try meeting our own spiritual needs with "stuff" or "better circumstances." Kids need to learn that Christ is the only one who always provides and always supports us.

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up….
…A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.--Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Our kids need to live in a loving, nurturing home with both parents working through the hardship of marriage together. Surrendered to Christ, they exemplify for their kids that marriage is hard (just like life), but so, so very worth the commitment now and in the long run.

God, for the good of my kids and everyone around me, I place myself in Your hands now. I hold my children dear in my heart. Reveal to me how I can be a better spiritual leader to them by walking in Your Spirit today. Amen.

* http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/fcs/pdfs/fcs482.pdf

Source: Experiencing LIFE Today Devotional

Humor: Who Broke Down the Walls of Jericho?
The school inspector is assigned to the Year 4 class in one of the local state schools. He is introduced to the class by the teacher.

She says to the class, "Let's show the inspector just how clever you are by allowing him to ask you a question."

The inspector reasons that normally class starts with religious instruction, so he will ask a biblical question.

He asks: "Class, who broke down the walls of Jericho?"

For a full minute there is absolute silence. The children all just stare at him blankly. Eventually, little Bruce raises his hand. The inspector excitedly points to him.

Bruce stands up and replies: "Sir, I do not know who broke down the walls of Jericho, but I can assure you it wasn't me."

Of course the inspector is shocked by the answer and the lack of knowledge of the famous Bible story and he looks at the teacher for an explanation.

Realizing that he is perturbed, the teacher says: "Well, I've known Bruce since the beginning of the year, and I believe that if he says that he didn't do it, then he didn't do it."

The inspector is even more shocked at this and storms down to the headmaster's office and tells him what happened, to which the headmaster replies : "I don't know the boy, but I socialize every now and then with his teacher, and I believe her. If she feels that the boy is innocent, then he must be innocent."

The inspector can't believe what he is hearing. He grabs the phone on the headmaster¹s desk and in a rage, dials David Cameron's telephone number and rattles off the entire occurrence to him and asks him what he thinks of the education standard in the UK.

The PM sighs heavily and replies: "I don't know the boy, the teacher or the principal, but just get three quotes and have the wall fixed!!"

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