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CLARITY – 7-31-19 Bluster

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events -7-31-19

Bluster

What’s Happening: “In a display of anger/warning, North Korea launched two additional missiles about 150 miles, splashing into the Sea of Japan yesterday (they launched another a week ago). Although these are only the 2nd and 3rd missiles launched since Trump’s much-ballyhooed impromptu meeting with Chairman Kim at the DMZ, many think they are to send a message of displeasure at the U.S.’s  resumed military exercises with South Korea – till recently, annual. (https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-49173514). ‘North Korea will continue to vent its anger by testing missiles… in the coming days before [the] drills begin in early August, It’s a message to Washington and Seoul: stop joint exercises or we will continue to show off our own offensive military capabilities,” said Harry Kazianis of the Washington think tank, Center for the National Interest.”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “So you’re saying I shouldn’t retire to Hawaii just yet, right?”

Biblical Response:  “No, I’m not really saying anything. If ‘Chicken Little’ would quit getting his ‘knickers in a twist’ every time somebody threatened…well, maybe there would be a few less anti-anxiety pills sold! (Phil. 4:6)  Seriously, these moves are just like many of Kim’s others…just so much bluster. Maybe he thinks it gives him leverage against the sanctions or a bargaining chip at some future summit, but he has yet to understand Trump (no condemnation, as few do). Maybe Kim just wants Japan or Europe or whoever to pressure Trump into relaxing sanctions – they don’t understand Trump either. He just backs up rhetoric with actions.”

“Christians? Oh, we believe in integrity. Sure, we’d like the President to be more accurate, but you can’t fault him for lack of action…or for taking someone else’s bluster too seriously. As Christians, we are to guard ourselves against hypocrisy (Matt. 23:13-31) …and baseless fear (1 Jn. 4:18).”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to be as wise as serpents, but gentle as doves (Matt. 10:16); 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:subdeo.com.’ 

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CLARITY – 7-30-19 So You Want to Go Back to Egypt

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events -7-30-19

So You Want to Go Back to Egypt

What’s Happening: “In today’s Washington Post is an article that has Rand Paul (NOT President Donald Trump) volunteering to pay Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s ticket for a trip back to Somalia, where she was born. A naturalized citizen, Ms. Omar apparently does not appreciate all America has done for her…at least not to please Senator Paul. While not exactly defending the President’s ‘go back where they came from’ remarks, he does appear to share his sentiments. Rand’s remarks were distinctly similar to those made by Trump last week (https://www.yahoo.com/news/rand-paul-offers-buy-ilhan-095304573.html). ‘While I’m not saying we forcibly send her anywhere, I’m willing to contribute to buy her a ticket to go visit Somalia, and I think she could look and maybe learn a little bit about the disaster that is Somalia – that has no capitalism, has no God-given rights guaranteed in a constitution, and has about seven different tribes that have been fighting each other for the last 40 years,’ Senator Paul said.”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “I don’t see people lining up to get in Somalia!”

Biblical Response:  “Exactly! We have a border crisis here. People try to get in America…legally or illegally. They have a border crisis in Somalia, too…but it’s from people trying to get out. Of course, the grass is always greener...over there. Nobody likes their present circumstances. Even Ilhan’s propositions are an attempt to create what isn’t. Improvement is one thing…wholesale change is something else.”

“The sentiment to return to the familiar is nothing new. Moses and God fought it for forty years in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land (read Exodus). Many times people wanted to return to Egypt (the only thing blocking them was Moses…and God…and the Red Sea – the parting was only one way.”

“Christians? To be content (Phil. 4:11; Heb. 13:5) is not a license to like things the way they are, just a mandate to realize our true contentment is not external, but internal. We are to be appreciative of our blessings, but seek to make things better. If this is Ilhan’s true motivation, she can’t be faulted, she might, however, just be trying to effect change that God Himself doesn’t want.”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to see what You are doing and get on the same page; 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:subdeo.com.’ 

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CLARITY – 7-29-19 Appearances

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events -7-29-19

Appearances

What’s Happening: “When state Rep. Robert Foster (a candidate for Governor of Mississippi) required another man to be present if Larrison Campbell. a reporter from Mississippi Today, interviewed him, the hue and cry was deafening. Some defended the ‘Billy Graham rule’ (Rev. Graham was a prominent evangelist in the 20th Century who in 1948 implemented a rule in his ministry that a man never be alone with a woman who was not his wife), but mostly he was criticized for the statement the left thought he was making about women (https://www.yahoo.com/news/billy-graham-rule-safe-or-sexist-233903691.html). An editorial in the L.A. Times laid out one argument: ‘”Forgive us from stating the obvious, but the best way to not be accused of sexual misconduct is to not engage in sexual misconduct. Avoiding women to keep your reputation clean is more punitive than noble. In fact, it’s sexism.’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Make the wife happy or make the press happy…hmmm…no choice here!”

Biblical Response:  “As the old saying goes, ‘If mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy’ (of course, that, too, would be labeled sexist today). You have to decide whom to please. I think Rep. Foster chose wisely. Sure, an argument could be made that women ought to be more trusting, but in this day of ‘guilty until proven innocent,’ can you blame men? I used to work with a ministry that wouldn’t even let our head ride the elevator without one of his male assistants. He just wanted to avoid the appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:22). Of course, in today’s tolerant-of-LGBTQ culture, just having another guy travel with you is no guarantee.” 

“Christians? We, in leadership, have an obligation to not give the devil a reason to accuse (in fact, he’s called the ‘accuser of our brethren’ – Rev. 12:10). Whether in leadership in public office or in the church, gender segregation is a good policy…we just need to make sure it’s for the right reason. We should not fear what the left might say, but what God might know, The scripture also says, ‘Give no opportunity for the flesh…’ – Gal. 5:13). Any man (or woman) not thinking he (or she) is capable of being tempted, should think again.”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to make those policies that please You, and let the others sort themselves out…or be sorted out by You; 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:subdeo.com.’ 

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CLARITY – 7-27-19 It’s Back on the Table

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events -7-27-19

It’s Back on the Table

What’s Happening: “Last Thursday, Attorney General Barr ordered the death penalty be reinstated. Last used in 2003,  it will immediately put five death-row inmates (murderers convicted of the most heinous crimes and who have exhausted their appeals), in the crosshairs. Not completely outlawed, the Furman v. Georgia Supreme Court decision took that option off the federal table in 1972. The death penalty for those convicted of federal crimes is now back on the table through Congress and the AG, though it will be by the lethal injection of one drug rather than three (https://www.iheart.com/content/2019-07-25-ag-barr-orders-federal-death-penalty-reinstated/). ‘The Justice Department upholds the rule of law — and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by the justice system,’ said AG Barr.

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Whatever happened to ‘Vengeance is Mine?’Doesn’t God have that exclusive right?”

Biblical Response:  “Apparently not…ask the victims? Oh, that’s right. You can’t. They’re dead. Seriously, some have said this is an act of human vengeance. But God is eternal. Temporal matters he left to us (of course, He does provide us guidance on this issue – Deut. 19:21, etc.). Others will argue that was a cultural matter. Can you name me a time in history when more died unjustly than have in the last 100 years? No one in his right mind could possibly name a more corrupt and evil time than right now (and that’s not to mention the deaths of the unborn). Still others say the threat of death is not a deterrent. If that were so, the death penalty.would not be a murderer’s first appeal for removal off the bargaining table.” 

“Christians? We believe it is a last resort (and rightfully so) to impose death on anyone. But we also believe in evil. We further believe in the second death…- Rev. 21:8 – …and that only the Righteous Judge has jurisdiction over that. We are all deserving of this, but, thankfully, for those who confess Jesus as Lord (even those on death row), His death on the cross paid that debt in full (Rom. 10:9-10). Let me just say that there’s a huge difference between the First Death and the Second, between temporal and eternal.”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to use this awesome power carefully and rarely…and with wisdom; 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:subdeo.com.’ 

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CLARITY – 7-26-19 When Heroes Become Villains

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events -7-26-19

When Heroes Become Villains

What’s Happening: “Two stories caught my eye…and made me sad. First, there was the story that 16 Marines were arrested during a routine training exercise at Camp Pendleton on suspicion of human smuggling and drug-related activities (not to be confused with the two Marines arrested at Camp Pendleton 3 weeks ago for allegedly smuggling three illegals across the southern border into the US). Talk about taking some of America’s finest down a notch! (https://www.stripes.com/news/us/16-marines-arrested-at-camp-pendleton-suspected-of-human-smuggling-drug-crimes-1.591885). Then, there was the news that a US Navy seal team was being re-deployed back to the US early from Iraq because of off-duty drinking and sexual allegations. This, after two navy seals were in court earlier for wrongful death allegations (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/navy-seal-team-platoon-sent-back-us-iraq-allegations-sexual-misconduct-drinking-deployed/). U.S. Special Operations Command said in a statement: ‘The platoon was redeployed early to San Diego due to a perceived deterioration of good order and discipline within the team during non-operational periods. The Commander lost confidence in the team’s ability to accomplish the mission.’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “I guess I can ask my teenager to rip those posters of Navy Seals off his bedroom walls, huh?”

Biblical Response:  “Yeah, maybe so…we make heroes of sports stars or movie legends or soldiers…only to create an image no one can live up to. Maybe we shouldn’t lift them so high as EVERYBODY has an event or two in their background for which they are not proud (Is. 53:6; Rom. 3:23). Still, everybody needs heroes, people after which we common folks can model our lives. The problem comes when these heroes become villains. Our standards are confused. Maybe that’s why Paul said, ‘Follow me AS I follow Christ’ (1 Cor. 11:1). 

“Christians? If we call ourselves after the King of the Universe, we must do only those things that befit royalty…and when we fail…as we inevitably will…we must keep short accounts (1 John 1:9).”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to model You properly and to help our youth to pick worthy, humble heroes; 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:subdeo.com.’ 

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CLARITY – 7-25-19 Reaping the Whirlwind

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events -7-25-19

Reaping the Whirlwind

What’s Happening: “By now the video has gone viral, for sure…the one where four NYPD police officers are being doused with water, one even having a bucket tossed at his head while making an arrest. If you watched that video as a law-abiding citizen (as I did), you felt somehow violated. Some blamed it on the conspicuous absence of Mayor/Presidential-hopeful Bill DeBlasio…out on the campaign trail. Others on the lackadaisical ‘rules of engagement’ that are being promulgated by the Mayor’s office. If that’s the case, this may be normal reaped reward (https://www.yahoo.com/news/videos-water-being-dumped-police-155621440.html).The president of the Police Benevolent Association union, Patrick Lynch, was quoted as saying: ‘Our anti-cop lawmakers have gotten their wish: the NYPD is now frozen, Disorder controls the streets, and our elected leaders refuse to allow us to take them back.’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “It’s hot outside. Maybe they were just trying to cool them off…”

Biblical Response:  “Yeah, right…apparently the video you watched didn’t have the jeering onlookers audio included. Though I will agree with the article linked above in one matter…the non-responsive officers are partly to blame. Their sheepish retreat, no doubt a posture they felt obligated to assume, is demoralizing to anyone who respects authority. As citizens we should obey AND RESPECT those in authority over us (Rom. 13:1-4). Of course, if you sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind (Hos. 8:7). 

“Christians? We are not to be part of the problem, but part of the solution (1 Pet. 3:1). I know the previous scripture is really a recommendation to wives to be a godly influence on their husbands, but we, as Christian citizens, could apply this advice also. I’m not saying we should run toward danger, as cops are trained to do…maybe just teach our children to respect authority…that there’s a responsibility all spectators have to stand up for those who daily risk their lives for us. We are quick to wag our heads in disappointment at our declining culture, but not too quick to make the difference we can.”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us not to throw up our hands in disgust and walk away…You didn’t; 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:subdeo.com.’ 

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CLARITY – 7-24-19 And the Winner Is…

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events -7-24-19

And the Winner Is…

What’s Happening: “By the time this is posted, we’ll probably already know – the announcement is due in London about midday Wednesday – namely, whether London Mayor Boris Johnson or Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (both Conservatives) will be the UK’s new Prime Minister (Theresa May, unable to successfully negotiate a trade deal with the EU for exiting Britain – hence ‘Brexit’ – recently resigned). The prevailing theory is that flamboyant Boris will prevail in the 160,000 Conservative Party vote ( https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-49078864). Conservative MP Sir Michael Fallon reflected the near-universal expectancy toward Johnson when he told the BBC: ‘One of the great attractions of Boris taking over our party is that he is optimistic and ambitious.’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “That’s ‘across the pond.’ What difference does it make?”

Biblical Response:  “Probably not much, though Boris Johnson promises to effect Brexit whether a trade deal is reached with the EU or not…by the October 31 deadline. Unilateral trade deals can then be made (Trump has said the US will certainly be first in line). This will have a world-market affect…and probably a good one. ‘As goes the king, so goes the kingdom’ has long been a principle that is usually in operation and this will likely be no different. Besides, it is the Lord who directs the hearts of kings anyway (Prov. 21:1). Not to say Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt is a king, but I’m sure this applies to all world leaders irrespective of their title (King, Prime Minister, Premiere, or whatever). 

“Christians? Oh we believe in the Lord directing world events. Read Acts 17:26. Does that remove free will? Hardly. Though the Lord can sovereignly orchestrate events, He often works through our actions to effect His will (Rom. 8:28). It would be impossible for us to know the end from the beginning (eternally – Is. 46:10) and NOT let that influence our actions (temporally).  We always would try to help God out.”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to let go and let You…do whatever you’re going to, and use us however You like;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:subdeo.com.’ 

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CLARITY – 7-23-19 Promises Stymied

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events -7-23-19

Promises Stymied

What’s Happening: “Recently, it was revealed by the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) that the Trump administration has not built a single mile of new wall – they have only repaired 51 miles of existing fence. The CBP said, however, they will continue to build 205 miles of wall from funds seized by Trump earlier this year from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund after the partial government shutdown. Some say obstructive Democrats are to blame (https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-not-built-single-mile-084326790.html). A senior official in the Trump administration said, ‘The wall projects are moving along as quickly as practicably possible given the unprecedented obstruction from Democrat lawmakers to protect and prolong open borders.’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Sounds like promises were too easy to make…too hard to keep.”

Biblical Response:  “Perhaps, but it could also be as the official said above. That, and a Democrat majority in the House. Unless you control the Congress and the Executive Branch, it’s hard to get anything done…except for bi-partisan infrastructure projects – oh, that’s right; a House preoccupied-with-impeachment won’t even address that. ‘The Squad’ and the other newly-elected freshmen (or should I say the more PC ‘freshpersons’), despite Speaker Pelosi’s warnings, seem to have collusion and obstruction blinders on. Now, who’s guilty of obstruction?”

“Christians? We are not unacquainted with promises made…(Deut. 28)….it’s just that we are used to promises being kept. God is faithful to His promises (Ps. 71:22), but power is necessary. Faithfulness and power go hand in hand…a power perhaps Trump assumed, but was taken away in the election of 2018.”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, let us be slow to promise, but faithful to look to Your power; 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:subdeo.com.’ 

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CLARITY – 7-22-19 Preventing the Inevitable

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events -7-22-19

Preventing the Inevitable

What’s Happening: “Iran moved closer last week to war as they seized the British-flagged oil tanker Steno Impero. Although Britain has registered a complaint with the UN,  there is little that can be done about the seizure. The tanker and its crew of 23 lies in a heavily militarized port in Iran. Iran claims the Impero hit a fishing boat; Britain denies this allegation and says it was just sailing in international waters in the Strait of Hormuz when gunboats surrounded it and boarded.  The British frigate, HMS Montrose, was 60 minutes away…too far to intervene in the seizure (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-audio-shows-british-navy-ship-was-too-far-away-to-prevent-iran-from-seizing-tanker-2019-07-21?siteid=yhoof2&yptr=yahoo). Quoting British Foreign Minister Heiko Maas: ‘This is about preventing war.’

Knee-Jerk Response:  “So? I mean, I’m sorry for the Brits, but what does that have to do with me?”

Biblical Response:  “Everything. When a bully rules the schoolyard, even the spectators are eventually pulled into the conflict. Sure, they may start on the sidelines, cheering on one or the other of the combatants. But upending peace has its consequences…sometimes the playground monitor wisely intervenes and both are sent to the Principal’s Office to ascertain the truth. When the truth is revealed, someone’s going to be suspended. Of course, we’re not really talking about non-lethal bullying. Real lives will be lost… energy markets will fluctuate…and, in the case of the world’s leading state sponsor of terror with nuclear ambitions (who, by the way, think they have a mandate from Allah)…we’re looking at mass destruction. We may have a reluctance (and naturally so) to go to war, but time is a multiplier.”

“Christians? There is much more going on here than meets the eye. The real conflict is in the spiritual realm (Eph. 6:12). Meanwhile, though we may be assured of final victory (Matt. 16:18-19), there are bound to be casualties…at least temporally. We should pray for peace…and prepare for the inevitable.”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, give us the courage of our convictions, protect the innocent, and help us to embrace the principle of time’s multiplication; 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:subdeo.com.’ 

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CLARITY – 7-20-19 Selective Memory

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events -7-20-19

Selective Memory

What’s Happening: “50 years ago today, our perceptions changed forever..Man first walked on the surface of the moon. When Neil Armstrong quipped his famous quote (‘One small step…’), he and his two fellow astronauts, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, were making history, about a decade since the first orbit of Earth by a human being (John Glenn). Those were heady days…and they are being commemorated today all over the world…now 50 years later (https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/apollo11.html). There is a plaque on the lunar lander that announces that it was done for all Mankind: ‘Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Wow! Anything is possible! I am so proud!”

Biblical Response:  “In a sense, I am too. Still, I have two caveats: 1) As much as I appreciate the millions who contributed to that feat, I know that God really made it possible and 2) While this may have been a great thing to remember, things like Auschwitz and 9/11 might just be things we want to forget…capabilities we don’t want to admit, let alone herald. We all have a tendency toward ‘selective memory.’ We want to remember our great achievements and forget our past mistakes. The Passover celebration is full of great calls to remember how the Lord rescued His people from the bondage of Egypt (Ex. 12:11-20), Yet Paul famously wanted to forget his past treatment of Jews who had converted (Phil. 3:13). Sometimes remembering serves us, sometimes forgetting serves us. What we must do is to resist the temptation to please our flesh when we remember or forget.”

“Christians? Pleasing the flesh is….well, pleasing, but it’s not a recommended activity (1 John 2:15-16).”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to remember what we should remember, and forget only what we should forget: 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:subdeo.com.’ 

Something else you might like reading: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/one-small-step-for-man?utm_campaign=Daily%20Email&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=74768928&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–2NaSIMp80gzUOrnf1n7sXqiG9z4yY1n2xeVLuFXwNnclqRW9jv9_JUJtPZmeOOBFnpsrAqVHztb9NBkBmWTk3ZcRTAw&_hsmi=74768928