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CLARITY – 8-7-18 Lombok Lamblasted

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 8-7-18

 

Lombok Lambasted

 

What’s Happening:  “The tectonic plates beneath Indonesia have shifted again making yesterday’s 6.9 quake centered in the Lombok region one of the century’s six greatest quakes in this area (anything above 6.5). Immediate death tolls were about 100, but more than 20,000 were affected. The devastation and homelessness will be extensive (from a report by Trevor Nace) (https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2018/08/06/indonesia-magnitude-6-9-earthquake-leaves-lombok-in-rubble-and-thousands-without-homes/#6aff33713327).  Trevor Nace is a PhD geologist, founder of Science Trends, Forbes contributor, and explorer.

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Indonesia is half a world away – I’ve got my own problems!”

 

Biblical Response:  “Don’t we all…still, concern with other people’s problems often puts ours in perspective. We all have a tendency to be a bit myopic…our own problems loom large to us because we’re too close to them. I know all tragedy is local…but only because we make it so. We reduce our own difficulties by identifying with the difficulties of others.”

 

Christians? Of course, prayer is important (Phil. 4:6)…and easier when we identify with the plight of others (Rom. 12:15), but we should also give (Luke 6;:38). I have facilitated that by giving you the following link to World Vision Indonesian Earthquake Relief Fund . Please give now to help meet the urgent needs of earthquake survivors.

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help me to be sympathetic to others’ needs…I sure need You to be sympathetic to mine; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

 

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CLARITY – 8-6-18 Siberia, Siloam or Switzerland

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 8-6-18

 

Siberia, Siloam or Switzerland

 

What’s Happening:  “Death is a fact of life…you’ll get no argument from the families of those aboard the Russian chopper that went down over the weekend in Siberia, killing all 18  (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45068113) or from the families of the 20 that were killed in a plane crash in Switzerland last weekend, a 79-year-old aircraft (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/switzerland-plane-crash-latest-news-swiss-alps-passengers-dead-a8478571.html)  or from the 73 that were shot in Chicago (11 killed) (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-chicago-weekend-violence-20180806-story.html). Is there a point besides the randomness of these tragedies?”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “It was too cold or the plane too old or folks just just got in the way of bullets.”

 

Biblical Response:  “Perhaps…I’m sure those were contributing factors…of course, each event must be considered separately. To these we can add the countless people who died in car accidents or at a hospital after a last-hope procedure failed or whatever? Where was God in all this? Indeed, why do bad things happen to good people? Although I don’t pretend to understand God’s mysteries or purposes, I have learned a few things:

 

  1. We live in a fallen world (Gen. 3:17-19)
  2. Some things happen to us because we’ve brought them on ourselves (Gal. 6:7)
  3. Sometimes we are someone else’s collateral damage (1 Cor. 15:33)
  4. God is trying to say something to us (Job 33:14)

 

“Christians? Jesus’ teaching about the 18 that were killed when the Tower of Siloam fell comes to mind (Luke 13:4-5). Oh, that none of these calamities would befall us. Still, we have this promise from God: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:29 NASB)”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, while we want to be sympathetic to the tragedies of others, we also need to realize You ALWAYS have an agenda; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

 

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CLARITY – 8-4-18 Freedom of Opinion

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 8-4-18

 

Freedom of Opinion

 

What’s Happening:  “Is a Tweet an order?…Or just an opinion? That seems to be the question in the brouhaha caused by the left’s reaction to a recent Tweet by the President. In it the President said the AG ‘should’ end the Mueller probe, which the President repeatedly Tweets is a ‘witch hunt.’ Are his Tweets protected by the First Amendment or do they represent obstruction? (https://www.yahoo.com/katiecouric/yahoo-news-explains-obstruction-tweet-152033182.html). Adam Schiff Tweets:’The President of the United States just called on his Attorney General to put an end to an investigation in which the President, his family and campaign may be implicated.This is an attempt to obstruct justice hiding in plain sight. America must never accept it.’”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “So the President has chosen social media to express his angst…don’t we have freedom of opinion in this country?”

 

Biblical Response:  “I’m with you…though technically we have ‘freedom of speech’…what’s speech is for the courts to interpret…though I think Tweets are to be included if burning the American flag is. Like the old saying goes, ‘Opinions are like noses…everybody’s got one.’”

 

“Christians? That’s different for us…Americans may have freedom of speech, but we don’t (Eph. 4:22-32; 5:4). We are to exhibit a little more self control than what we might like to.Things might be lawful for us, but not all things are expedient (1 Cor. 6:12). License to express comes with some responsibility, too…at least for us.”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us not to judge too quickly in those areas where we find ourselves often guilty; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

 

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CLARITY – 8-3-18 Reputation Is Not Everything

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 8-3-18

 

Reputation Is Not Everything

 

What’s Happening:  “Steve Bannon, Trump’s trumpeter, gave a two-hour interview to The Hill recently and cast reprobation on everyone: from the ‘con artists’ Koch Brothers (David and Charles), ‘lame duck’ Speaker Paul Ryan, and ‘diminished’ Chief of Staff Gen John Kelly to former Judge Roy Moore (whom Bannon doggedly supported), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Paul Manafort…and that’s just the Republicans. Democrats fared no better (http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/400188-exclusive-bannon-blasts-con-artist-kochs-lame-duck-ryan-diminished). ‘You’re not going to be able to hide Trump. The opposition is going to force this anyway…You have to go all-in. If you try to go in half-baked, it’s not going to work,’ Bannon said.”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Who made Steve Bannon the exclusive arbiter of reputation?”

 

Biblical Response:  “Nobody. Still, his position as former editor of Breitbart News (and his pro-Trump stance) has made him newsworthy. The real problem with reputation is that it is chased by so many. In fact, this lust can often be the reason for much compromise and hypocrisy. The solution is not to care? Not really. Just not to care too much. Reputation is fickle anyway.”

 

“Christians? In His sacrifice for us, Jesus was made of ‘no reputation’ (Phil. 2:7). Imagine…the King of the Universe…the Creator of all (John 1:3)…took on the form of human flesh! It’s hard to fight for the truth when how you are perceived by others matters so much.”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to find the balance between the pursuit of truth and the pursuit of an accurate reputation…hopefully, they’re the same; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

 

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CLARITY – 8-2-18 Learning Vicariously

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 8-2-18

 

Learning Vicariously

 

What’s Happening:  “The recent past has been rough in Venezuela…food and medicine shortages, no running water, no power…even President Nicolas Maduro realizes that Socialism has failed…yet Democratic Socialism seems to be where the whole Democratic Party is headed…at least if Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have their way (https://www.westernjournal.com/ct/venezuelan-president-finally-admits-that-socialism-is-broken-economy-is-destroyed/?utm_source=Email&utm_medium=CTBreaking&utm_campaign=breaking&utm_content=conservative-tribune). An inflation rate of 1 million percent puts most purchasing out of reach. Hear what President Maduro told his ruling congress Tuesday: ‘The production models we’ve tried so far have failed and the responsibility is ours…’”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Yeah, but Venezuela is in South America and I live in North America.”

 

Biblical Response:  “So? There’s no geographic limit to learning from others, is there? People and economic systems are the same the world over. Capitalism works in this world precisely because fallen man is out for number one. Socialism doesn’t work because that would require a benevolent dictator who never made mistakes, an endless supply of someone else’s money, and complete unselfishness. Anybody think that’s possible in this world? (Crickets) I didn’t think so.”

 

“Christians? While there was a need for sharing “all things in common” in the early church (Acts 2:44-45), that was not practised anywhere else for a reason (others apparently learned it was only for then and there). Sure, Jesus could have taken us with Him when He ascended, but He chose to leave us here because He was “not willing that any should perish” (2 Pet. 3:9). Living in and being sent to a fallen world (Mark 16:15) requires us to approach people from their own self interest. There’ll be plenty of time to share (and limitless resources) in the kingdom to come. Here, we share what we have, by God’s grace, acquired. He never calls us to share what others have acquired.”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, give us the wisdom to not have to repeat the mistakes of others; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

 

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CLARITY – 8-1-18 Comparing Tragedies

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 8-1-18

 

Comparing Tragedies

 

What’s Happening:  “Whether you speak of the lady who lost all nine members of her family on the Duckboat that swamped recently in Branson, Missouri or the fireman who lost his home to fire in the Carr blaze near Redding, California last week while fighting the  Ferguson wildfire near Yosemite, you almost have cry for their loss…even if it wasn’t your own (https://www.yahoo.com/news/california-firefighter-apos-home-burned-000246141.html). ‘It’s just hard ― it’s so overwhelming, it’s hard to put into words,’  Shyla, the firefighter’s wife, lamented.”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “What can I do?”

 

Biblical Response:  “Pray…then give (I know the firefighter’s got a GoFundMe page…the woman who lost her family to drowning probably does too). It’s just too easy to read about these tragedies, shake our heads in amazement, and take another sip of coffee, but practical help is so appreciated. Sure, all tragedy (like politics) is local, but nonetheless real!What is needed is practical sympathy. Let me illustrate it this way:

 

An aged man led his tired and ancient horse down a cobbled street making deliveries at first one house and then another. The wagon the horse was pulling seemed overloaded, but the horse struggled on. Suddenly the horse just laid down and breathed his last…almost in relief. People began to gather around the old man weeping on the curb. Finally, a man from the crowd took off his hat,and passed it around. He had put a couple of coins in it and said, “I care this much. How much do you care?

 

“Christians? We are called to weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15). But more than just weeping or wagging our heads in sympathy. we need to help where we can. There is a tragedy a week it seems. And I know that God is speaking words of comfort and instruction in these dire circumstances, but some practical sympathy from us is also called for (James 2:16-17). What an opportunity for the Church to shine!’”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to identify with the circumstances of others and fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2); in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent