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Posts tagged ‘Arts’

Caring for human good…

By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing…And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:3,13

Remember these words: Emotions make great slaves but terrible masters. Are the emotions of your life – especially the emotion of love – mastering you? Do they govern your life? Are you a total slave to your emotions? Or, do you transcend your emotions and make decisions that cause your emotions to follow you?

The first step to controlling the emotion of love is to know that love, primarily, is an action. When you put your hand on someone’s shoulder and say, “Can I pray for you?” Or, when you say to someone, “Hey, can I give you a glass of water or something to eat?” When you help out the poor, when you help those who are struggling, when you see somebody working in the cubicle next to you and you say, “How you doing?” and he says “Fine,'” but you can tell he’s not, and you say, “No, really. How are you?” That’s love. When you live with grace and forgiveness for those you around you, that is love. Men, when you buy flowers for your wives, and women, when you bake cinnamon rolls for your husbands, that’s love.

Love is an action. It’s what you do for people. Love is something you can have for a complete stranger, because love is care for human good. So, if you say to a person, “I love you,” that means you care about their wellbeing even though you don’t even know them.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I relinquish the mastering of my emotions to you. I no longer want to be a slave to them, but to be a servant only of you. Take my feelings of love for others and help me to stabilize those emotions through actions of love. Amen.

Devotion: Have your emotions ever felt out of control? What happened to stabilize them? Did God play a part?


Senators Urge China to Lift Defense Zone Over Islands.

Image: Senators Urge China to Lift Defense Zone Over Islands

By Drew MacKenzie

A bipartisan group of senators is asking China to lift the air defense zone it created in November over three deserted islands that both Beijing and Japan claim as their own, going further than what the Obama Administration has requested.

Vice President Joe Biden expressed “deep concerns” to Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to Beijing in early December about the Air Defense Identification Zone. But he apparently did not ask China to lift it, even though the deserted islands in the East China Sea were actually purchased by Japan. China has requested that it be informed of all flights through the new zone, and the administration has recommended that U.S. commercial carriers comply with that request, The Hill is reporting.

“I don’t think anyone should be reporting to them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

“If the Chinese are willing to shoot down a civilian aircraft on an illegitimate claim, then they’re a criminal government,” the Florida senator told The Hill. “Airlines are free to do whatever they choose, but I don’t think our government should be telling them to do that because it sends confusing messages.”

When China laid claim to the Senkaku islands and declared the air defense zone, the U.S. immediately flew two B-52 bombers right through it. The U.S. has also sent more ships and has opened more outposts in the region. China is feeling threatened by the move.

While efforts have been made by both Chinese and U.S. officials to calm tensions, neither country has backed down.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said he thought it was a mistake that Biden didn’t make the issue central to his meeting with the Chinese leader.

Rubio, along with three Democratic and Republican committee leaders, sent a letter earlier in December to China’s ambassador to the U.S asking Beijing to back off.

“We urge your government not to implement this ADIZ as announced, and to refrain from taking similar provocative actions elsewhere in the region,” the group wrote. “There is nothing for China to gain by undermining regional stability and threatening the peace and prosperity that is the shared object of all Asia-Pacific nations.”

The White House has not taken an official position on the territorial dispute, but Chinese officials say the U.S. has long sided with Japan, citing the fact that the islands are mentioned in the 1960 Defense treaty with Japan.

“It seems absurd that [the U.S.] would commit itself to defend a few small islands it has no position about,” said one Chinese military official.

Related Stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Nelson Mandela: The Soul Of Africa Has Departed, And There Is Nothing Miraculous Left In The World-Wole Soyinka.


By Saharareporters, New York

In a rare and short tribute to former South African president and anti-apartheid hero, Nelson Mandela, Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka had this to say ”

“The soul of Africa has departed, and there is nothing miraculous left in the world.”

Behind the mask…

By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-5

We live in a culture where love is a bit confusing. We say, “I love you, wife.” “I love you, girlfriend.” “I love you, dog.” “I love you, chocolate cake.” Love can mean that we want to devour a person. Love can mean something we enjoy watching on television.

However, love can also mean, “I would do anything to make this person’s life better.” Now, that’s real love. Real love doesn’t care about beauty or funniness. Love doesn’t care about education. Love doesn’t care about skills. Love goes much deeper. It’s care for human good. It’s the willingness to sacrifice things that you like so that somebody else can have it better. That’s love.

Often, to receive that kind of love, we build masks to try to trick people into loving us. And what we’re really doing is trying to get people to consume us, as they would consume a product. To look at us, analyze us, and say, “Yes, I want that. I want to consume that.” That’s not what real love does. Love doesn’t consume someone else. Love gives.

The greatest love, then, is love that goes beyond the mask. Real love is comes from someone who knows what mask you’re wearing, doesn’t really mind it, and says, “I love you anyway just the way you are.” The greatest love is love without masks, beyond the masks, beyond the fake things that you feel that you have to do to earn love. The greatest love is the kind that goes beyond that.

The greatest love is unconditional…the way God loves us his children.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to be my true self, just as you have designed me. Help me to see myself, and others, as you see and love us. Amen.

Reflection: What mask do you wear to encourage people to love you?

Vampires in the Bible.


Grave at NightImage: © Bill Fairchild

What Does the Bible Say About Vampires?.

You won’t actually find a vampire in the Bible. Werewolves, zombies, vampires, and other such fictional beings are creatures originating from medieval folklore and ancient mythology.Legend suggests that vampires are corpses who leave their graves at night to drink the blood of sleeping humans. Another term for vampires is the undead. Although technically dead, they have the ability to animate.In today’s culture, especially among young people, fascination with vampires is very much alive. Wildly popular Gothic novels, television shows, and romance films like The Twilight Sagaseries have transformed this traditionally repulsive creature into a mysterious and seductively powerful (albeit dark) hero of our day.

A Vampire Theory in the Bible

One rather imaginative theory claims that vampires originated from two verses in the book of Genesis:

The legend of Lilith derives from a theory that Genesis has two creation accounts (Genesis 1:27 and 2:7, 20–22). The two stories allow for two different women. Lilith does not appear in the Bible (apart from a debatable reference comparing her to a screech owl in the Hebrew text of Isaiah 34:14). Some rabbinic commentators, however, refer to Lilith as the first created woman, who refused to submit to Adam and fled from the garden. Eve was then created to be Adam’s helper. After their expulsion from the garden, Adam reunited for a time with Lilith before finally returning to Eve. Lilith bore Adam a number of children, who became the demons of the Bible. According to kabbalistic legend, after Adam’s reconciliation with Eve, Lilith took the title Queen of the Demons and became a murderer of infants and young boys, whom she turned into vampires.Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (5). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Among respectable Bible scholars, this theory would never see the light of day.

Christians and Vampire Fiction

Perhaps you’ve come here wondering, Is it okay for a Christian to read vampire books? I mean, it’s only fiction, right?Yes, from one point of view, vampire tales are only stories. For some they are just harmless entertainment. But for many teenagers and young adults, the vampire attraction can become an obsession. Depending on the person’s mental and spiritual condition, self-image, and family relationships, an unhealthy and potentially dangerous interest in the occult might easily develop.

Indeed, most scholars include vampirism in the occult category, along with witchcraft, astrology, spiritualism, Tarot card and palm reading,numerology, voodoo, mysticism, and the like. Over and over in Scripture God warns his people to stay away from involvement with occult practices. And inPhilippians 4:8, we have this encouragement:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (NLT)

Dabbling in Darkness

In spite of our current-day glamorized vampires, it’s difficult to deny the connection between their “world of the dead” stories, the powers of darkness, and evil. So, another clear peril in delving even casually into this shadowy fantasy world is the tendency to become desensitized to the real powers of darkness in our world.Ephesians 6:12 states:

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (NLT)

Jesus Christ is the light of world, and he asks us to walk in his light:

“I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12, NLT)

And again, in John 12:35 our Lord said:

“Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going.” (NLT)

Parents are wise to prayerfully consider the risks of allowing a child unsupervised exposure tovampire fiction. At the same time, labeling this a forbidden topic may create even greater temptation for a child.Ultimately, the best response for a parent whose child shows an interest in vampire tales, might be to allow the child to discover through thoughtful discussion both the merits and the damaging elements in these stories. As a family you might talk about the details of the plot, and then hold those details up to the light of truth in Scripture. In this way, the allure of vampirism is dispelled and the child can learn to wisely judge truth from fiction, light from darkness.


‘Supernatural Childbirth’ Author Jackie Mize Dies.


Jackie Mize
Jackie Mize

Harrison House author Jackie Mize died Oct. 14. Mize’s 1993 book, Supernatural Childbirth, is an international best-seller with more than 40 print runs.

Supernatural Childbirth has been translated into Italian, Korean, Polish and other languages during the 20 years since its initial publication. In 2005, Harrison House also released Prayers & Promises for Supernatural Childbirth, a pocket-sized version of the original book.

Mize and her husband, Terry—also a Harrison House author—ministered to churches, Bible schools and conventions domestically and led overseas mission projects and evangelistic efforts through Terry Mize Ministries.

“We count it an honor to have partnered with Jackie Mize to get the wonderful message of Supernatural Childbirth to women all over the world,” Julie Werner, managing editor at Harrison House. “Almost daily, we receive praise items through our website about this wonderful message. Our prayers are with Terry and his family as they walk through the days ahead.”

Mize is survived by her husband and their children.



Wanting to Be Noticed.

by Mark Snoeberger

We live in a hyper-sexualized and semi-pornographic culture. The problem dominates popular advertising, pervades our entertainment choices, and even weasels its way into our churches. The concept of modesty is no longer a legitimate standard for censure, but an object of censure. We’ve come to the point that modesty is sincerely regarded as a vice and not a virtue. To advocate for modesty is to advocate for legalism, intrusiveness, outdated traditions, and overbearing patriarchy: don’t tell me what to wear and don’t tell me what to do.

Stunning as it has been, though, the triumph of immodesty and hyper-sexuality is not itself the root problem. Instead, these problems are symptomatic of a more serious one: the problem of celebrity. The English word celebrity derives from the Latin word celebrer, “to frequent” and more remotely from the Latinceler, “to hasten.” The desire for celebrity is, at its heart, the desire of a person to be “frequented”—to turn heads and command the notice of others. To become a celebrity is simply to succeed in being noticed regularly.

The bestowal of esteem or “notice” is a ubiquitous practice among humans, and is intrinsically unobjectionable. What makes the bestowal of esteem good or bad is the basis upon which it is awarded. Traditionally, one earns the right to be noticed, heard, and otherwise esteemed through modest means (a carefully constructed, holistic montage of age, experience, education, wisdom, gravity, industry, skill, refined rhetoric, etc.). In our electronic age, however, it is possible to turn heads apart from any of these. One can be noticed without any sort of success at all. I can become an instant e-celebrity (or is it an iCelebrity?) almost by accident. The modest path to earning notice is no longer honored; indeed, those who take this route are fools. There is a shorter way.

Perhaps nowhere is the desire to be noticed more evident than in social media, where a single question infects us all: Will anyone notice? Every regular user of social media, no matter how virtuous, has asked this question at some point. This guiding question can be subdivided into sub-questions such as “How many friends do I have?” “How many ‘likes’ have I received?” and the gold standard, “How many comments (positive or negative, it really doesn’t matter) have I generated?” And it doesn’t take long to discover that the most reliable way to be noticed is by shocking others through immodesty.

We tend to associate immodesty with the quest for celebrity through the inordinate visual exploitation of that which should remain secret. And when all other means of celebrity fail, this particular form of immodesty remains the best way to generate celebrity (ref. Miley Cyrus). But immodesty is not limited to the exploitation of one’s visual qualities; it really encompasses in its scope every inordinate exploitation of self designed to accelerate personal celebrity. And it is a virus that infects us more deeply than any of us imagine.

So what are we to do?

  • First, we must confess our pride—this is, after all, what immodesty and the desire for celebrity truly are. Life is not all about me; I have a larger purpose.
  • Second, we must identify and purge immodesty in all of its forms from our lives, not only from what we wear (though it may include this), but also from what we do, what we say, what we tweet, and even how we worship and evangelize.
  • Third, we must self-consciously divert our own attention away from that which is immodest and instead value what legitimately earns our notice through sober and dignified means.
  • Finally, we must make room in our lives for seasons of withdrawal from public discourse to cultivate chaste thoughts, affections, and good works that are entirely secret. In other words, we need to break away from the debilitating need to be seen by men and instead practice living without distraction for the God who sees the heart.

The world sees the call to modesty as a call to counter-culturalism, to traditionalism, to introversion, or worse. And we must admit that sometimes modesty can take on these illicit forms. But at its heart, the call to modesty is nothing more than a call to humility—a call to take the attention that has unduly accrued to me and redirect it to that (and ultimately to That) which truly deserves our attention.

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