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CLARITY – 2-29-20 Negotiating with Terrorists

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 2-29-20

Negotiating with Terrorists 

What’s Happening: “Though we said we’d never negotiate with terrorists it kind of is what we are doing…of course, the Taliban has to agree to sever their ties with Al Qaeda…which may not happen. If it does, the historic peace agreement signed  earlier today, will bring the remaining 13,000 American troops home, create a power-sharing government of the Afghan government and the Taliban, and fulfill a campaign promise for Trump…but we’ve got a long way to go yet (https://www.yahoo.com/news/historic-peace-deal-afghanistan-reached-132254895.html). ‘If the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan live up to these commitments, we will have a powerful path forward to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home,’ Trump said in a statement released ahead of Saturday’s signing ceremony in Doha.”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “I thought we’d made a hard and fast rule: ‘we never negotiate with terrorists.’”

Biblical Response:  “Never say ‘never.’ Islamic terrorists, if they are to gain legitimacy, have to do one of two things. Either keep terrorizing or negotiate. At some point, their promises of 72 virgins begin to ring hollow (not being able to do more than promise – I mean, nobody has ever come back to verify reality). People tire of sacrifice if reality is not borne out. doubt. Unverifiable promises are okay for the short game, but negotiation might work better for the long game. We’ll see. Hopefully, the Taliban will give it a whirl. They want governance and culture change…and, up to this point, have chosen terrorism to effect it…and it hasn’t worked out so well.” 

We want culture change, too. Though a change to a culture the Taliban would find unacceptable. I don’t hold out much hope for the current efforts, but Christianity, and its accompanying cultural changes will win out in the long run (Rev. 5:10-14).”

“Christians? What kind of culture change do we want? The kind that would have been produced by the Christian consensus of our Founders day. Benjamin Franklin, a deist, said during his day, that it was not possible to walk a single block in Boston – night or day – without hearing hymns coming from some house. Am I saying that a Christian consensus has produced what we have today? Yes…and no. We had a Christian consensus, but we don’t anymore. And whose fault is that? Have you looked in the mirror lately?”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help our leaders to be wise and to not have unreasonable expectations…and help me to be part of the solution, not part of the problem;  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.’  Copyright © 2020 Alan E. Sargent

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CLARITY – 2-28-20 What Just Happened…?

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 2-28-20

What Just Happened…? 

What’s Happening: “Stunned horror may be the best way to describe a grandfather’s reaction to losing his 18-month-old granddaughter out the 11th story window of a cruise ship (Royal Caribbean), anchored near Puerto Rico.. The toddler, Chloe Wiegand, playing in the children’s water park area, went over to the window/glassed-in-area followed by her grandfather, who was there to supervise while the infant’s Mom attended to another matter. Although the accident happened last July, the grandfather, Salvatore (Sam) Anello announced this week he was accepting a plea deal in his child-negligence charge so his family could begin mourning Chloe. His plea agreement included probation in his South Bend, Indiana home and no jail time. The Wiegands said they are suing the cruise line  (https://www.yahoo.com/news/grandfather-toddler-died-falling-cruise-015900498.html). ‘I took a plea deal today to try to help end part of this nightmare for my family, if possible,’ said  Salvatore.”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “He should have watched her more closely!”

Biblical Response:  “No doubt…I’m sure he’s played that mental video a million times since then, rehearsing to himself over and over that life-changing scenario. As a grandfather, there is no more sacred a charge than to be a blessing to my grands, but sometimes accidents happen…and sometimes with deadly results. Is the grandfather at fault? Is the Mom? The cruise line? We want to assign fault somewhere…we sure don’t want that tragedy to ever happen again. All you can say is that Chloe is with Jesus now (Heb. 9:27). The length of her days were up. The Holy Spirit didn’t nudge the Father in surprise and exclaim,’Look what happened!’ We live, tragically, in a fallen world (Gen. 3). God’s just as upset by this tragedy as the Wiegands.”

“Christians? Oh, God’s got a plan. In His outside-of-time nature, He didn’t plan it that way,  knew it would happen, and made a provision for it (1 Pet. 1:18-21)”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us weep (Rom. 12:15) and comfort (2 Cor. 1:4); in person, if we are close geographically, and in prayer, if not (remembering there is no distance in the Spirit); 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.’  Copyright © 2020 Alan E. Sargent

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CLARITY – 2-27-20 Making Molehills Into Mountains

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 2-27-20

Making Molehills Into Mountains 

What’s Happening: “‘The sky is falling! The sky is falling!…Chicken Little warned.’ Everyone seemed to be trying to outdo one another yesterday as the coronavirus panic continued to spread…perhaps faster than the disease. COVID-19, as the official name is known, has infected more than 80,000 worldwide, causing more than 2,700 deaths (compare that with the Bubonic Plague of the 14th Century, killing over 100 million, or the Asian Flu or AIDS or the Flu Pandemic of 1968 – each killing their millions in the last century [https://www.mphonline.org/worst-pandemics-in-history/], and the blur of fear comes into sharper focus. The left-leaning news is full of criticism of this leader or that leader’s reaction to the event (and Wall Street’s plummet of over 1,900 points seems to underscore fears…what they actually confirm is that people have short memories and context is susceptible to the latest disaster (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/02/27/coronavirus-live-updates/). ‘Since setting an all-time high on Feb. 19, the S&P 500 has exhibited the glide path of a crow bar by dropping 8 percent in only five trading days,’ Sam Stovall of CFRA Research said. ‘Cascading concerns over the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, combined with the apparently inappropriate level of concern and response by U.S. authorities, is adding pressure to today’s pre-market activity.’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “So maybe we’re over-reacting?”

Biblical Response:  “There’s no maybe about it. The Democrats (perhaps yesterday’s blog [subdeo.com] should have been titled: ‘Pan-DEM-ic’) have tried to control the narrative in this country, not being happy with President Trump’s response – criticizing the amount of money he wants to commit, and his lack of appointing a ‘Czar’ to direct efforts. Perhaps it is a welcome distraction to the ‘shout-fest’ into which the Tuesday night South Carolina Democrat Debate devolved. The making of a mountain out of a molehill will have huge economic repercussions: not just in the stock market (short term), but in the slowing of world economies (long term).”

“Is reality ever going to catch up with perception? Yes…eventually. The truth always defeats a lie (Prov.12:19). There is a price to pay, however, anytime someone is deceived. How expensive depends on the length of the time of deception.”

“Christians? We believe in the truth and it’s ultimate liberating nature (John 8:32). We also believe in ultimate justice. It may take a while, but eventually justice is served…God sees to that (Num. 32:23)…and time is a multiplier.”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to discern the truth, not be unduly concerned (all tragedy is, however, local and should be recognized and empathized [Rom. 12:15]), and not be part of the problem, but part of the solution; 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.’  Copyright © 2020 Alan E. Sargent

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CLARITY – 2-26-20 Panic-Demic

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 2-26-20

Panic-Demic 

What’s Happening: “The coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing fear and panic across the world: the stock market fell 1,800 points in Monday and Tuesday’s trading…the jumping from 39 cases in the U.S. Friday to 53, after you figured in the repatriation of those infected on a cruise ship docked Japan didn’t help….the attendance at Shen Yun (‘Chinese’ dance troupe) performances in Utah might also be affected. Currently the number of confirmed cases worldwide is nearly 80,000, with deaths numbering over 2,600. Is the fear worse than the reality? (https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-coronavirus-cases-jump-again-195046974.html) An undated press release dispelled the rumors: “Shen Yun Is Not From China, Shows In No Way Affected By Coronavirus.” You could see how the fears sparked by rumors have created their own reality.”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “I’m getting a mask!”

Biblical Response:  “Far be it from me to discourage that…but it’s probably just a fear-filled reaction. Sure, the deaths are over three times what SARS was, but there were only 15 deaths outside the epicenter in Africa (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone). Who profits from panic? News organizations and stock-market-short-sellers. Bad news sells much better than good news. Why? Probably the instinct to survive. The Bible says ‘fear hath torment’ (1 John 4:18). It’s this torment that ignites our fight-or-flight reaction. And it’s easier to run than it is to develop a vaccine.”

“Christians? No need to panic. We believe we’ll have exactly the number of days we are supposed to (Ps. 39:4). This is no blind optimism that would have us taking unnecessary risks, but a quiet confidence that yields to the peace of the Lord’s purposes.”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us not to give into the temptation of the world’s panic, but rather show others our hope for a better tomorrow; 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.’  Copyright © 2020 Alan E. Sargent

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CLARITY – 2-25-20 Creating “A House Divided…”

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 2-25-20

Creating “A House Divided…”

What’s Happening: “In a resolution read yesterday by the U.N. as an apparent reaction to the 3-week old peace plan the Trump administration presented (without actually mentioning it or Palestinian objections), the Security Council, including the U.S., reiterated its support for a two-state solution. The much-touted Trump administration proposal called for Israeli control of the area with a limited Palestinian-controlled test area and did not call for the expulsion of the 700,000 Israeli settlers in that region, a precondition of previous Palestinian plans (https://www.yahoo.com/news/un-reiterates-support-2-state-193845255.html).  Special U.N. coordinator for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov said,  ‘They [the Trump administration] would close the door to negotiations, have negative repercussions across the region, and severely undermine opportunities for normalization and regional peace.’ A difference of opinion?”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Don’t the Palestinians have a right to their own territory?”

Biblical Response:  “Actually, no. In the first place, the Israelis did not cede what they won in the 1967 War to anyone (for fear that another attack would be launched from the Golan Heights – a reasonable reaction). Secondly, God, who owns the whole earth (Ex. 19:5), gave that land to the Israelis (Lev. 25:2). Besides, a two-state solution flies in the face of reason and Scripture (Luke 11:17). A two-state solution is only inviting conflict.”

“Christians? The angels may have promised ‘peace on earth’ (Lk. 2:13-14), but there will never be Peace on Earth until the Prince of Peace rules in the heart of every man (Luke 12:51; Rom. 10:9-10). We believe in peace, but real peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of God.”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to seek earthly peace (the absence of conflict) WHILE we seek real peace; 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.’  Copyright © 2020 Alan E. Sargent

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CLARITY – 2-24-20 It’s Not How Many, But Who

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 2-24-20

It’s Not How Many, But Who

What’s Happening: “In what may be the largest crowd ever assembled in India (or maybe even the world), ten million people lined the street from the airport to the world’s largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad in Modi’s home state of Gujarat where Prime Minister Modi of India and President Trump of the United States greeted a capacity crowd of 100,000 earlier today. Although relations between the two countries has been cordial in the past, this visit may yield a trade deal Trump promises to be “very very major –among the biggest ever – trade deals” (https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-set-biggest-rally-crowd-020303212.html).  ‘Despite all the differences, the ratcheting up of diplomatic and military attention to strategies that could counter Chinese expansionism is something that’s been pretty consistent,’ said Milan Vaishnav,  the head of the South Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Wow! That’s a ‘huge’ crowd, by anybody’s standard!”

Biblical Response:  “Yeah, but it’s not how many, but Who. The problem with popularity…it’s fickle. You are popular one day…the crowds cheer you…they try to make you King (Matt. 14:14-21; Jn, 6:15)…then they crucify you (Mk. 15:13-20). Ask Jesus? Popularity is not all goodness and light. Perhaps that’s why the Savior got away to Himself (the last part of Jn. 6:15). Jesus preferred his twelve (or even just His three: Peter, James and John – witnesses to the Transfiguration.-.Matt. 17:1-5). Smaller crowd, but crucial audience. Even those guys pale in significance to God Himself, Who, by the way, is an eye-witness to every event (Ps. 139).”

“Christians? We know how untrustworthy man can be. In his fallen state (Gen. 3), he is never to be trusted (Is. 53:6; Ps. 118:8; Jer. 17:5). God, on the other hand, is faithful and true (Jer. 42:5: Rev. 19:11). While crowds may please the flesh, it’s what pleases the spirit and soul of man that’s more important (John 12:43).”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to keep our eyes focused on Your approval, not on the fickle approval of men; 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.’  Copyright © 2020 Alan E. Sargent

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CLARITY – 2-22-20 Myths, Legends, and Facts

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 2-22-20

Myths, Legends, and Facts

What’s Happening: “Yesterday, archaeologists announced they had found a memorial to Romulus, the legendary Founder of Rome, in the old part of Rome and the site, though originally discovered in the early part of the 20th century, just revealed its true significance. Romulus allegedly was raised by a mother wolf, was found with his twin brother Remus (whom he later killed), and became the first king of the city he founded and that bears his name. How much is true? Well, we don’t know (https://www.yahoo.com/news/archaeologists-unveil-possible-shrine-romes-161901703.html). ‘This area is highly symbolic. This surely cannot be Romulus’ tomb, but it is a place of memory, a cenotaph,’ Alfonsina Russo, head of the Coliseum Archaeological Park,  said to Reuters TV.”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Maybe it’s true…”

Biblical Response:  “Probably not. Most myths and legends are retellings of some distorted rumor that was embellished to make it more sensational (think Fake News on steroids). That’s one of the reasons the Jews had a leg up on their surrounding civilization competitors. They were known as the ‘People of the Book,’ as their heritage was recorded – an almost unique attribute (most peoples only had oral tradition). Add to that the fact that their story was rendered by 66 earthly authors over several centuries, has never been found to be ultimately contradictory, and has been found to be consistently authoritative and factually trustworthy, and you begin to understand why believers consider the texts of Scripture with such reverence (2 Tim. 3:16-17).”

“Do Christians support the work of archaeologists? Absolutely! In fact, many archaeological finds support the testimony of Scripture (there have been many that originally thought they had uncovered  scriptural inconsistency…only to later discover corroboration, not contradiction).”

“Christians? We believe that ‘Truth stands the test of time. Lies are soon exposed.’ (Prov. 12:19 LB) Whether the find above is factual or not will be determined by time…and whether it contradicts what Scripture may have to say.”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to discern between fact and fiction, to be suspicious of things that at first appear contradictory, and to pursue truth doggedly; 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.’  Copyright © 2020 Alan E. Sargent

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CLARITY – 2-21-20 Fear and Respect…Coronavirus Update

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 2-21-20

Fear and Respect…Coronavirus Update

What’s Happening: “As of today (Friday – 2-21-20), there over 76,000 globally that have tested positive for coronavirus and over 2,200 that have died. There are cases in more countries than there were last week (the virus continues to spread – deaths are nearly three times the SARS pandemic which rattled the world in 2003). Report of a huge influx of cases in Chinese prisons, South Korea, and Japan (especially on cruise ships) seem to show the virus radiating from its epicenter in Hubei Province in China. Fear seems to control some as Ukrainian officials detained 24 objecting to forced quarantines (https://www.yahoo.com/news/coronavirus-updates-south-korea-reports-112000109.html). On a positive note (at least in America), quoting the article by Todd Miyazawa: ‘The Public Health Department continues to work closely with healthcare providers, hospitals, and its partners to address novel coronavirus. Currently, there is no evidence that novel coronavirus is circulating in Santa Clara County and risk remains low.’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Should we all be wearing masks?”

Biblical Response:  “No, Chicken Little, but a little investment in companies that manufacture masks might be profitable. Seriously, it may not be ethical to profit from the fears of others, though the proper respect ought to be shown to health workers (and the disease they are fighting).”

“The scripture says that “fear has torment” (1 John 4:18)…and it’s easy to let fear get the best of us. Realizing we are in the hands of a merciful God is helpful (Ps. 116:5; 2 Chr. 30:9). Still, proper respect should be shown. Likely, this is more evidence we live in a fallen world (Gen. 3).”

“Christians? We believe God is bigger than any virus. This is not to say that death is not tragic, or that those stricken with this (or any disease) are more wicked, but life is short. Opportunities for repentance are finite. Sure, God may “work all things together for good” (Rom. 8:28), but we certainly don’t have the wisdom to determine what that is. We need to pray and submit to God’s will.”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to weep with those that weep (Rom. 12:15), fight the paralysis of fear, pray for the sick…and leave the final outcome to 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.’  Copyright © 2020 Alan E. Sargent

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CLARITY – 2-20-20 Pardoned

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 2-20-20

Pardoned

What’s Happening: “There were nearly a dozen pardoned or had their sentences commuted yesterday by President Trump. Among those was former Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, who had served 8 years of a 14-year sentence. He was convicted of trying to sell an Illinois Senate seat that was vacated when Barack Obama became President. Also pardoned was former 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo, Jr. He was convicted of corruption against former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards. Among those whose sentences were commuted, were Tynice Nichole Hall, Crystal Munoz, and Judith Negron, the first two serving time for drug charges and Negron was convicted of Medicare fraud (https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-pardons-blagojevich-barr-roger-stone-chief-law-enforcement-officer-203952347.html).  .When asked by reporters about the pardons/commutations, Trump responded, ’I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country. I could be involved if I wanted to.’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Who gave him the right to set aside the sentence of a duly-convicted criminal?”

Biblical Response:  “Uh, the Constitution. You see, our Founding Fathers foresaw a possibility of someone imprisoned for mostly political reasons or for crimes they had served sufficiently. Presidential clemency is the cure for that. Is the clemency deserved? I’ll leave that for those of a higher pay grade than mine.”

“The concept of a pardon is nothing new. When Christ went to the cross, He pardoned all of us (1 Pet. 3:18)…not all accept that, but it is offered to all (Rom. 3:22; 6:23).”

“Christians? Oh, we believe in pardon alright. He is the payment-in-full (Rom. 3:25), and the Divine Substitute (1 Cor. 5:7). Does anyone deserve it? NO! But that’s what grace and mercy are all about!”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to rejoice with those who have received freedom, not mentally relitigate their crimes; 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.’  Copyright © 2020 Alan E. Sargent

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CLARITY – 2-19-20 Sacred Trust

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 2-19-20

Sacred Trust

What’s Happening: “In an NBC News article appearing yesterday, James Alex Hurley, a twelve-year-old Montana boy, was found tortured to death, and his 14-year old uncle and his grandparents are being charged with the crime. Cellphones confiscated show recordings of the torture that apparently began over two years ago, All the food was locked up and the boy had become emaciated. He was given to the grandparents to care for when his father, the grandparents’ son, died (https://www.yahoo.com/news/grandparents-uncle-charged-beating-death-172800284.html). The grandparents, James Sasser, Jr., 47, and Patricia Batts, 48, are being held for $500,000 and $750,000 bail, respectively. The teen-age uncle is being held and charged as a minor.”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “If you can’t trust family, who can you trust?”

Biblical Response:  “I don’t have an answer to that (well,actually,  I do…trustworthiness comes from God, when his people allow the transformation – Phil. 2:5 – that God intended by His Holy Spirit). It seems that the sacred trust of children was not a principle by which that family lived! All the details will no doubt come out at trial, but there’s one background truth: the family is under assault. Parents are too busy pursuing personal pleasure or career success to accept the challenge of kids. They’d rather the screen be the baby-sitter. It’s no wonder kids are still living in the basement of their parents’ home…some past thirty years of age! And no wonder so many marriages end in divorce…couples were not prepared by their parents for the kind of maturity required for relationships. Sure, family is hard work and discipline unpleasant (Heb. 12:11; Eph. 6:4), but children are like arrows shot into the future and we are to fill our quivers full of them (Ps. 127:3-5)”

“Christians? We believe that family is important and consequences for not raising children properly is far-reaching: 

‘I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.  I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected— even children in the third and fourth generations.’ (Ex. 34:7)”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to consider children the sacred trust that they are; 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.’  Copyright © 2020 Alan E. Sargent