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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.

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When I was twenty-eight, YHWH blessed me with a son and and a couple of years later a neighbor, a renter moved in, Pitbulls and all.  ¿Contained? by a four foot chain-link fence, I knew they were not contained, not at all.  I and my neighbors bore down on the family until they moved to escape the pressure.

 

A couple of years ago my critter was approaching 11 years old and the Heart Murmor she was born with had not improved.  Being on a fixed income I began to pray for our LORD to arrange for Him to use some of the evil people that have been known drop their cats and dogs off on our Dead End Street to bring me  a replacement before Delilah passed away... He did.

 

The dog weighed 6 pounds and had been beaten black and blue.  She was Dark Chocolate in color and I could see the Retriever in her but six pounds at six weeks, she had to be mixed with some sort of Terrier.  Her head had been forced into a plastic Peanut Butter jar.  She could not eat, could not drink and her air, that day, contained little oxigen until my wife pulled the jar off her sholders and head.

 

Now weighing 56 pounds I have a record setting, hugh. Lap Dog that is terrified of people other thaqn my wife, my daughter and myself.  And she is half Terrier, Pitbull Terrier.  She grew.up on my lap, kissing my ears and licking my glasses off my face.  My LORD brought me the requested Lap Dog to love and to be loved by but I also learned a great deal about love and judgement from my half blooded Pitbull/Retriever baby.

 

In Churches around the world, people sit to express love for their God hatingosg Mexicans, Gringos, Wet Backs, Wops, Square Heads, Ruskies and on and on.  In Matthew 22:34-40 we discover that the two greates Commandments are to love YHWH without reservation and to love that Drunken Bum on the corner at least as much as we love ourselve. and in the little book of James we are taught to considers others more important than ourselves

 

But do we really give the best piece of cake to a stranger we know not or do we secret it away?

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    • ‘American Gospel’ Blows a Hole in the Prosperity Gospel

      After years of watching the prosperity “gospel” advance in America, Africa, and beyond, a backlash is coming—one grounded in the Word of God and the gospel of grace. It’s thrilling to see. The new documentary American Gospel: Christ Alone, directed by Brandon Kimber, takes aim at this scourge. America has always been a pragmatic, can-do kind of country, and the film argues that the material focus of the prosperity “gospel” suits American culture. In offering this searing critique, which applies not merely to “them” out there but to us (for many of us love money and ease more than we might be comfortable admitting), Kimber first establishes what the true gospel is: good news centered in the finished work of Christ. Standing in the place of sinners like us, Jesus has absorbed the perfect wrath of the Father and made a way out of hell and into heaven. When we trust Christ as our Lord and Savior by God-given faith, we are instantly justified and counted righteous in God’s sight, the very merit of Christ’s now being our own (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 5:1–2; Eph. 2:8–9). Numerous evangelical theologians and pastors comment on this truth in the film, together building a clear and potent case for faith in Christ. True Stories of True Faith American Gospel traces the stories of real Christians whose lives have intersected with prosperity teaching in some way. One woman sobs as she recounts how health-and-wealth teaching ripped her life apart, piece by piece, until she had nothing. The film also introduces us to Katherine Berger, a woman suffering from numerous dreaded illnesses—one after another, it seems—who nonetheless radiates bright faith in God. Also prominent in the film is Costi Hinn, nephew of faith-healer Benny Hinn. Costi served on his uncle’s team as a “catcher” who witnessed apparent miracles around the clock. His testimony—soon to release as a book—takes us into the seamy experience of the faith-healer, an enterprise that preys on the poor and suffering to enrich the flush and covetous. The moment that crystallizes the shameful nature of faith-healing comes when Costi discusses how Benny Hinn would (and does) “heal” people with minor ailments. When it came to terminally ill children and other sufferers facing profound challenges, the “healer” refused. This was the first jarring note in Costi’s young life that eventually led him out of prosperity religion (and that’s what it is—a different religion than biblical Christianity). American Gospel does not hold back; the camera pans back to the outer boundaries of auditoriums at Hinn crusades, where desperate parents cradle diseased children, ignored, unwanted, and unhealed. We watch this, and we hear Justin Peters testify to this experience personally, and we cannot help but feel both sadness and righteous anger—Christ’s own anger. The money-changers are still in the temple, still making God’s name a mockery. This is an exact parallel of what Jesus did not do. He did not enter the ministry to make money. He did not work in the name of God to be popular and liked. He did not heal those who could do anything for him. Rather, he came to the physically and spiritually poor and made eucatastrophes of them all—not only addressing their bodies but, in many cases, saving their souls. He was not in it for himself; he was in it for the Father’s greater glory and the sinner’s true salvation. “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (John 17:4). Sadly, Christ’s name is invoked by “faith healers” like Hinn and others whose ministries don’t reflect him. Call Your Skeptical Friends American Gospel succeeds in its mission. It shows the spiritual and even eternal stakes of prosperity religion. It reveals the danger of allowing any endeavor, however virtuous on the surface, to seep into the preaching and application of the biblical gospel. The movie champions the true, saving gospel, and it unpacks this message with clarity and conviction. Here’s hoping many viewers will come across American Gospel on various streaming platforms (iTunes, Amazon, Vimeo), and that Christians will find opportunities to watch the film with unbelieving neighbors and friends. The prosperity “gospel” is a great foil by which to evangelize, for it is patently a sham to many outside of the church. A film like this could be a great apologetic for those with a skeptical bent, for example. Though nicely shot and edited, the film could be a bit tighter, and the summation of the gospel message takes some time to unfold. So many voices speaking to different issues can begin to send the brain whirling, though I did appreciate how Kimber mixes in Christian leaders both well known and also lesser known. As is not uncommon today, American Gospel presents the gospel message primarily in terms of justification, which is the heart of the euangelion but not the doctrinal sum. The film references the local church but could say more about its importance. Similarly, the moral implications of the gospel are somewhat muted in American Gospel. If we must not make the moral dimension of Scripture the point of every passage, neither should we lose sight of it. But these are small critiques, not major ones. High Stakes The prosperity gospel comes with a terrific cost, as all false teaching does; it does not merely ruin intellectual systems, it ruins individual lives. We see this firsthand in the film. American Gospel does not merely “destroy arguments” of the prosperity kind in keeping with apostolic aims (2 Cor. 10:4–5). It also shows us that the natural man craves miracles: healing, wealth, favor, better “benefits” and sales “commissions” (this is literally what a Bethel pastor leads a congregation to ask God for), a life stripped free of suffering and challenge. But the miracles God brings in most of our lives are often quite different: quieter, less showy, but powered by the saving gospel. Instead of immediate healing, Christians may well be called to persevere in suffering. Instead of wealth, we may be called to learn contentment in our situation. Instead of coming back from the dead as in “heaven tourism” books, we must all face death and square with mortality. Instead of the cessation of trials upon the exercise of faith, we may be called to endure trials over the long haul. Instead of undimmed favor with power-brokers, we may be called to anonymity and unappreciated toil. Instead of a life of globe-hopping circuit-riding, we may be called to tuck in with our families (especially our children) and love them well, normal day by normal day. Instead of experiencing an unbroken string of personal triumphs, we may take many hits as we await the ultimate cosmic triumph of our warrior-savior, Christ Jesus. These are “ordinary miracles,” the very work of God in us. God will do as he wishes with each one of us. True believers may prosper in earthly terms (this is not uncommon, and our God is a very, very generous and wonder-working God)—or they may not. The point is this: Let us be careful about which gospel we follow. Let us follow the true gospel, not the American one. Let us not believe in secular Christianity, which is what prosperity religion really offers. To this and every other counterfeit we offer not faith, but truth spoken in love—truth calibrated to destroy the lies of the Devil and to rescue the ones who are perishing. View the full article

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    • American Psychological Association Deems 'Traditional Masculinity Harmful'

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    • Support For Border Wall Jumps As More American Blame Trump For Shutdown

      By Chris White - Support for a proposed border wall has increased since January 2018, even as more Americans are blaming President Donald Trump for the partial shutdown, according to a Washington Post poll published Sunday. Trump’s wall is winning adherents as support has increased over the past year. Nearly 42 percent of subjects say they support a wall, which is up from 34 percent currently last year. Slightly more than half of Americans (54 percent) oppose the idea, down from a high of 63 percent in 2018. The debate is a partisan one, the poll shows. Nearly 27 percent of the 54 percent of people who oppose the wall say Democrats should continue to resist Trump’s demands for $5.4 billion for the barrier, while another 23 percent believe Democratic lawmakers should compromise. Democrats appear more willing to compromise. Slightly more than 42 percent of Democrats who oppose the wall say lawmakers should resist, while 37 percent say they should be more conciliatory. About 58 percent Republicans support the wall and say Trump should demand funding, compared with 22 percent who say he should cave on the barrier. Trump should refrain from championing the new level of support, however, as the poll notes areas of concern for the president. For instance, more than half of Americans (53 percent) say Trump and the Republicans are at fault for the government shutdown, and 29 percent blame the Democrats in Congress. The president told Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that the shutdown could last nearly a year. The WaPo-ABC poll was conducted Jan. 8-11 among a random sample of 788 Americans – the results had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected] Support For Border Wall Jumps As More American Blame Trump For Shutdown is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more. View the original full article

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    • American Psychological Association Claims ‘Traditional Masculinity’ Is ‘Psychologically Harmful’

      The Story: An influential psychological organization claims that “traditional masculinity” can be psychologically harmful. But in criticizing masculinity they reveal the danger of androgyny. The Background: The American Psychological Association (APA) is the largest professional and scientific organization of psychologists in the United States. The APA possesses a significant influence over the field of psychology through such actions as accrediting college degree programs, overseeing more than 70 professional journals, and hosting professional conferences and meetings. Another way APA wields influence is by providing resources for continuing education (CE). Licensed psychologists are required by their state licensing boards to meet annual mandatory CE requirements, which can often be met by using APA’s resources, such as “CE Corner.” For example, to earn CE credit a psychologist can read an article, complete an online learning exercise, and then take a CE test. In the most recent CE Corner, one of the “learning objectives” states, “After reading this article, CE candidates will be able to: Discuss the research that suggests that aspects of ‘traditional masculinity’ can be ‘psychologically harmful.’” As the article notes, “The main thrust of the subsequent research is that traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful.” APA’s new Guidelines for Psychological Practice With Boys and Men strive to recognize and address these problems in boys and men while remaining sensitive to the field’s androcentric past. Thirteen years in the making, they draw on more than 40 years of research showing that traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful and that socializing boys to suppress their emotions causes damage that echoes both inwardly and outwardly. [. . . ] Gender and sexual minorities, too, must grapple with societal views of masculinity. This is an ever-shifting territory. When Levant and Rabinowitz launched the guideline-drafting process in 2005, only Massachusetts recognized same-sex marriage. Today, transgender issues are at the forefront of the cultural conversation, and there is increased awareness of the diversity of gender identity. “What is gender in the 2010s?” asks Ryon McDermott, PhD, a psychologist at the University of South Alabama who also helped draft the men’s guidelines. “It’s no longer just this male-female binary.” The APA’s Guidelines for Psychological Practice With Boys and Men, released last August, says, “The present document articulates guidelines that enhance gender- and culture-sensitive psychological practice with boys and men from diverse backgrounds in the United States.” However, by “boys and men,” they are referring to gender identification, and not to anything rooted in biology. As the document clarifies, “These guidelines address conflict that cisgender, transgender, and gender-nonconforming individuals may experience due to societal expectations regarding gender roles.” Why It Matters: The APA article has rightly drawn criticism for its pathologizing of “traditional masculinity” (see, for example, David French and Rod Dreher). While this is certainly a valid objection, it can lead us to miss the underlying trend the APA is promoting. In focusing solely on the anti-masculine propaganda we may miss the even more pernicious pro-androgyny agenda. Androgyny often refers to a manner of presentation that mixes masculine and feminine characteristics. Outwardly, this often results in a more gender-neutral appearance. When we think of androgyny today we often associate it with a “unisex” look, made famous by David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust phase. But androgyny is more than mere fashion. It’s a mixing of characteristics in a way that almost always privileges men. Two years ago, in writing about how transgenderism is about redefining reality, I said: Those who accept the idea that we can ignore biological sex for the mental construct of “gender identity” are endorsing metaphysical subjectivism, the view that “our own mental activity is the only unquestionable fact of our experience.” They are not only disagreeing with those of us who believe reality is created by God, but are attempting to make metaphysical subjectivism the standard that trumps all others in determining norms and ethics. An inevitable result of metaphysical subjectivism is the domination of the strong by the weak and vulnerable. Androgyny gives the appearance of promoting equality and egalitarianism between the sexes. What is really does, though, is to provide men with numerous advantages associated with being female while allowing them to reject any obligations of being a biological male. For example, the “traditional masculine” perspective holds that because of differences in physiology (e.g., men tend to be physically stronger than women because we have, on average, more total muscle mass) men have certain obligations of behavior (e.g., “Never hit a woman.”). But the androgyny of transgenderism, rooted in metaphysical subjectivism, says that since what really matters is our mental activity we can reject biological reality. This allows men to retain their physical advantages in competing against women—even if it leaves women bloodied and broken. It’s why we find “trans women” (i.e., biological men pretending to be women) beating up women in mixed-martial arts (MMA) fights yet never see “trans men” (i.e., biological women pretending to be men) fighting against biological men. We miss the point if we think the objection to “traditional masculinity” by the APA and others is simply about making men more feminine. The indoctrination efforts are also attempts to allow men to reject normative standards of behavior. By co-opting aspects of femininity, androgynous men are able to shirk their “traditional” responsibilities as men. Because these responsibilities were often put in place to protect women, discarding all aspects of traditional masculinity ultimately harms women. As Brian Attebery observes, “To critics of the androgynous vision, the integration of masculine and feminine into a single self is another, sneakier way to eliminate the feminine.” An astute observer of this phenomenon is Camille Paglia. She is an academic who has been studying androgyny for decades. 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We don’t need much distance to see the post-Christian culture of the West “no longer believes in itself.” What we need is a plan to counter our androgynous future by showing the world that beauty is found in the binary gender design as male and female (Gen 1:26–28). What we need is a renewed commitment to showing all men and women that their only hope in life and death can be found in our Savior Jesus Christ (Rom. 15:13). View the full article

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    • Brother Of American Detained In Russia For Espionage Says There’s No Way He Could Be A Spy

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