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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

 

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CLARITY – 7-31-18 Presumption of Guilt

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 7-31-18

 

Presumption of Guilt

 

What’s Happening:  “Today, a hearing will be held at 9:00 am (ET) to determine whether testimony and evidence from Ukraine can be presented in the Paul Manafort trial…voir dire (jury selection) will begin at 10:00 am (ET). Manafort, 69, pled not guilty to these charges (of not paying taxes on unreported offshore accounts) and to charges of money laundering he’ll face in a later trial. He was Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign manager for three months (https://www.yahoo.com/news/ex-trump-aide-manafort-faces-charges-first-trial-101031671.html’While prosecutors have said they will not present evidence of collusion at this trial, they are seeking to provide details of Manafort’s work in Ukraine, raising the possibility that new information about his Russian connections could emerge,’ quoting Nathan Layne, author of the above article.’”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “What if there’s no evidence of collusion?”

 

Biblical Response:  “So? What if there is? Collusion is not a crime. Obstruction of justice and conspiracy? Well, that’s another story…and collusion is a step closer to those, for sure. Do I, as Trump claims, think it’s a ‘witch hunt’? Probably. I don’t have enough information…and neither do you! As much, politically, you’d like! Oh well, we’ll just have to suspend judgement until the jury comes back.

 

“Christians? Oh, the jury’s already back on us…and we’re all guilty (Rom. 3:23). Thankfully, Someone’s already paid the price (Heb 7:27). In America, we have the ‘presumption of innocence.’ Of course, that’s on unproven charges. All men have the proven charge of some sin…and that’s what is meant by today’s title: ‘Presumption of Guilt.’”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us not try to earn (or lie) about the charge we all have…for which You’ve already paid; 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 – 7-30-18 It’s Anybody’s Guess

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 7-30-18

 

It’s Anybody’s Guess

 

What’s Happening:  “100 days out and it still depends on whom you talk to…blue ripple or red (nobody’s talking wave). What’s at stake? Only the economy, the Supreme Court, immigration policy, our relationship with Iran, the denuclearization of North Korea, etc. If you think it’s hard for the Congress to get anything done now, just wait until the Executive branch and the Legislative branch are of differing parties! Right now, it looks amazingly like November of 2016 (http://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/399399-buckle-your-seatbelts-for-100-days-of-political-drama-before-midterms).  Quoting the above article by Lloyd green, ‘Already, 2020 Democratic hopefuls, such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders have embraced the siren song of abolishing or reexamining ICE. If their views become dominant between now and November, the Republicans may yet snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.’”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “What does it really matter, anyway?”

 

Biblical Response:  “Did you not pay attention to what I said about what is at stake? This election may be the most pivotal one since…since…the last one. Actually. the most accurate predictor-poll may be the “Right Track-Wrong Track”poll. Most folks like the track we’re on.

 

“Christians? Although I’m not a fatalist (someone who believes the die is already cast – that we can’t affect an inevitable future), the Scriptures do talk about God determining who’s in charge (Prov. 16:9, 33) and where the king’s focus shall be (Prov. 21:1). Sure, He may know what decision we’ll make, but what has that got to do with free will? When you put time in the mix, it changes everything!”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to be proactive, regardless of our political bent; 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 – 7-28-18 The Cure for Rust

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 7-28-18

 

The Cure for Rust

 

What’s Happening:  “The announcement that the 2nd Quarter’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) was at 4.1% was almost immediately followed by predictions that this was not sustainable. The GOP wants to take credit for a robust economy, the Democrats want to warn of impending doom…both hope their message will resonate with mid-term voters (https://www.investors.com/news/economy/gdp-expanded-41-annual-rate-in-q2-best-since-2014/ ‘I wouldn’t want to overstate the underlying strength in GDP growth based on Friday’s numbers, There was a big boost from trade, but that’ll go away,’ said Omair Sharif, senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale ”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “What’s the difference between 3.1 and 4.1? I think it’s all hype anyway!”

 

Biblical Response:  “Actually, about 1 Trillion Dollars…as far as hype is concerned, it depends on which side you land politically…conservatives point to the lowest unemployment rate since 1969 (lowest ever for blacks and hispanics) and raises and bonuses, ad nauseum…liberals want to point away from the economy…to Cohen…to Stormy…to Manafort…ANYWHERE but the economy!”

 

“Christians? The cure for materialism (read: ‘rust’ – Matt. 6:19-21) is use. And, if we are put on earth for anything, it is to fulfill God’s purpose. What is His purpose? In a word: giving., which, by the way, is what all you capitalists need to do with excess (Socialists want to give what is not theirs – Capitalists realize you can only give what is yours).”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to glorify You in giving praise (and excess) where it can never rust; 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 – 7-27-18 Honor and Respect

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 7-27-18

 

Honor and Respect

 

What’s Happening:  “The flight that left North Korea with 55 sets of U.S. servicemen remains  (5,300 are thought to exist) from the Korean War marked several things: a promise made and kept (both Trump’s and Kim’s), the 65th anniversary of the armistice signed which ended the conflict, the renewal of hope that denuclearization of the peninsula will continue,  etc. (https://www.yahoo.com/news/north-korea-returns-remains-55-034657808.html). ‘It is a solemn obligation of the United States Government to ensure that the remains are handled with dignity and properly accounted for so their families receive them in an honorable manner,’ White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee-Sanders said.”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “55 of 5,300! Big deal!”

 

Biblical Response:  “It is a big deal to the families belonging to those remains…and although there are still a lot to go, it’s a start. Also, if this is any sign that NoKo is still interested in denuclearization, I’m all for it. We’ve got a long way to go for sure, but the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”

 

“Christians? While we are for all due honor and respect shown those who gave their ‘last full measure of devotion’ (quoting the Gettysburg Address), the remains are only what’s left of the servicemen’s physical bodies. Their souls and spirits are already where they should go (Heb. 9:27). It’s too late for many of them, but we should redouble our efforts to those who survive these men. Is anyone ministering to them?”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, let us give honor where honor is due, and effort where effort is due; 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 – 7-26-18 Like Father Like Son

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 7-26-18

 

Like Father Like Son

 

What’s Happening:  “A boy, 10, was held to the ground by officers when he lunged at police in an emotional outburst at his father’s arrest on a domestic violence call in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia. Authorities, promising transparency, released the body cam’s video which seems to corroborate an earlier video shot from a different perspective and that went viral (https://www.yahoo.com/news/body-cam-captures-boy-10-pinned-police-dad-arrested-033527909.html). ‘He didn’t shoot nobody,” the boy yelled.”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Excessive force may have been used.”

 

Biblical Response:  “Actually, lack of sufficient force by the parents may be the cause in the first place. Is it natural to want to defend your father? Of course. It is also natural to want to defend your mother…unless you have been programmed that there is nothing wrong with  a man beating up on a woman. Maybe the father needs to retake that class on Parenting 101.”

 

“Christians? We are quick to defend kids, when they might need good parents in the first place. Is some discipline excessive. Yes, sadly…and administered in anger. But all discipline is not bad. In fact, it’s a proof of love (Heb. 12:5-6). Is discipline unpleasant? Yes (Heb. 12:11)…or it’s not discipline. However, a little unpleasantness now, may forestall more later.”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us all to take the time to act…not react. Give us the wisdom not to overreact, either; 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