What I am thankful for today

I have as much to be thankful for as any man that ever lived.  But today I am gripped, stunned and collapsing beneath a weight of gratitude.   I am thunderstruck with thankfulness over this one thing: God’s mercy on America.  Seven times in our history when we would have been destroyed, and by all accounts should have been destroyed, God intervened.  Read on.

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Seven Miracles that Saved America

 “In the beginning of the contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine protection — Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. … I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs the affairs of men!”

—Benjamin Franklin, 1787

“There is no overwhelming proof, but deep inside we know. And to those who believe, it also seems clear that these events took place with the direction and purpose. Despite our weaknesses, which are many, and our failings, which have existed since our inception, God has been willing to intervene so that this nation might survive.”

– Chris and Ted Stewart, 2009

The Founding Fathers regularly wrote that they considered themselves to be doing God’s work in establishing the United States. This habit was not just confined to the conspicuously devout, such as Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams but also to such secular saints as Jefferson and Franklin, the so-called Deists.  More to the point, they fervently believed — and often asserted — that God in his Providence actively intervened in events to make their efforts successful.

Today, we often dismiss such rhetoric as “just the way people talked back then” and explain how politicians of a certain era used it to rally an overwhelmingly religious populace behind them.

In their terrific new book, Seven Miracles that Saved America: Why they Matter, Why We Should Have Hope, former Air Force officer Chris Stewart and his brother, U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart, argue forcefully that the Founders not only meant what they said, but they were right.

The Stewarts look at seven instances in which overwhelming odds had to be beaten for the United States to exist in its current form. While some might argue over their meaning or the significance of some of their “miracles,” the unlikely circumstances that saved the day in several cases will have even a hardcore secularist taking a second look:

  • The extraordinary unlikelihood that America was colonized due to the efforts of an ambitious navigator with humble beginnings  – rather than perhaps the greatest fleet ever assembled for just such a purpose– which “discovered” North America about 70 years before Columbus.
  • The million-to-one odds that saved the English colonization of America as a fleet crossing the Atlantic arrives in Jamestown minutes before it was to be abandoned.
  • The fortuitous fog that saved Washington’s army that was as well-timed — and accurate — as any artillery smokescreen.
  • The discovery of the Japanese fleet heading toward Midway in the vastness of the Pacific during World War II by an American reconnaissance airplane extending its search well beyond its operational range.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While this book makes a theological and political point, the emphasis in Seven Miracles that Saved America is on storytelling. The Stewarts employ an unusual device — novelizing part of each chapter, much like the Shaaras or Alan Eckert — while sticking to known facts and actual quotes. This makes for an extremely engaging, if rather quirky, narrative.

The authors open with the fascinating — and not well known account — of how America should have been colonized by the Chinese, rather than by Western Europeans.  Even if the Chinese did not discover the American continents, though it seems likely they should have, with their massive fleet and more advanced technology.

However, the glorious fleet that was sent on a mission of discovery, returned to a China that had changed and become inward-focused and xenophobic. The records of the exploration were burned, and the fabled fleet was left to rot, along with China’s expansionist ambitions.  (For more on this, check out last year’s interesting, if flawed, book, 1421.)

The next chapter, The Miracle at Jamestown, continues the discussion of the religious and cultural nature of those who colonized America and why it was important. While the Stewarts propose the obvious, that those who followed Columbus were culturally very different than the navy of Zheng He, the authors assert it was also very important that a Protestant presence be established in America. They contend the competition among Christian sects led to the religious diversity and tolerance that formed the basis of the United States.

Their story of how close Jamestown came to failure and abandonment is gripping reading.  How it was saved is one of the more convincing cases for the word “miracle” in the book—along with the “mysterious fog” that saved Washington’s army in New York in the Revolutionary War, allowing him to pull off a Dunkirk-like evacuation and live to fight another day.

Many might put the circumstances of extraordinary events down to the American character that results from free men, for the first time in history, being allowed to operate on principles of liberty.  It’s not unusual, for instance, to hear the term “the miracle of the Constitution.”  It’s just unusual — today, at least — for it to be meant as literally as the Stewarts’ assert.

This is particularly true in the chapters in which the authors see the hand of God in the timing of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan assuming the presidency in times of crisis.

Easily the most controversial chapter — and the most likely to raise the ire of some country club Republicans, much less Democrats — is the chapter saying that Ronald Reagan not only won the Cold War but also saved America.

The Stewarts, however, point out that George H.W. Bush, while a good man, did call the Reagan economic agenda “voodoo economics” during the Republican primaries. Even if Bush 41 truly was aboard, he would not have had the political oomph to push it through a Democrat-controlled Congress.GodBlessAmerica

More importantly, Bush was from the “realist” foreign policy tradition, which would have looked for “stability” and détente over real change. The most persuasive point the authors make here is to remind us that, after all of Reagan’s successes in putting the USSR on the ropes, Bush ordered a “reassessment” of U.S. relations with the Soviets upon taking office.

While the first Bush administration was “reassessing,” communism collapsed, and 41 was too surprised to even celebrate the Berlin Wall coming down, as Reagan had predicted.

Of course, such pivotal battles as Gettysburg and Midway had hundreds of little moments that one could argue “changed the course of history.” In the case of Midway, for example, the authors are persuasive in their argument that nearly every one of those moments miraculously went the Americans’ way.

In the case of Gettysburg, for instance, they could easily have titled the chapter, “The Miracle of Friendly Fire.”  Had Stonewall Jackson, the South’s best tactician and Lee’s greatest commander been with him at Gettysburg … who knows?  Jackson was easily the most important figure in American military history to be mistakenly shot by his own troops.

Those of a determinedly secular mindset may be apt to dismiss this book too quickly.  Even if you reject the premise out of hand and prefer to think of it as “Seven Statistically Wildly Improbable Coincidences that Saved America,”this book is worth your time.

In each case, the Stewarts do a masterful job of setting the stage of not only why the odds were stacked against the outcome we take for granted but also in reminding us of what was at stake.  Each chapter, it could be argued, is as good a one-chapter treatment of a momentous time as you are likely to find anywhere—particularly setting the stage for the Civil War, and demolishing the notion that slavery was a side issue.

Which brings us to the authors’ ultimate point. As bad as things seem now, America has been much closer to the precipice in its history. The Stewarts write that if God did not let the nation fail, or fall to its enemies then, there is no reason to suppose he is done with America yet.

The end may not be near after all.

P.S.  I am gripped by hope but equally sobered by the fact that today is unique in our history.  This is the first time that America has been led by God haters.  That hatred extends to every vestige of Christian influence on America.  Our leaders are, in fact, shaking their fists at God.

We are in desperate need of a new mercy, a mercy unlike any that we have ever known.  Today I am stunned by the fact that we will be shown mercy.  It will not be easy, it will be costly and we can certainly expect that God will even allow crisis that will, in the end, save the Republic.  It begins today with hearts full of gratitude for past mercy and a new passion to repent and pray.  Your prayers are powerful.  We must cease with lukewarm intercession and graduate into prevailing prayer for America.  MM

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Christian rapper Jackie Hill-Perry comes out as ex-gay firebrand

Christian rapper Jackie Hill-Perry comes out as ex-gay firebrand

Jackie Hill-Perry
Jackie Hill-Perry
– The Washington Times – Monday, October 27, 2014

Jackie Hill-Perry considers herself not merely an agent of change, but its embodiment as well.

A Christian spoken-word poet from Chicago, Ms. Hill-Perry professes to be a former lesbian — a change she ascribes to God.

God, she says, “not only changes your affections and your heart, but He gives you new affections that you didn’t have.” Now married to a Christian man, the 25-year-old poet is pregnant with the newlyweds’ first child, which is due Dec. 13.

Her debut spoken-word album “The Art of Joy” will be released for free on Nov. 4 by Humble Beast record label.

Ms. Hill-Perry’s experience runs counter to pronouncements by gay rights groups that exclaim sexuality as an inherent, immutable characteristic. What’s more, her assertions come amid wide-ranging reports about the psychological dangers of so-called “reparative therapy,” which aims to change the orientation of homosexuals.

But she remains steadfast in her belief that anything is possible with God as she meets criticism — and outright contempt — for speaking out about her experience. And thanks to her nearly 65,000 followers on social media, as well as encouragement from famed Baptist theologian John Piper, Ms. Hill-Perry’s story has been far-reaching.

“The word of God itself, apart from Jackie Hill, testifies that people can change,” she said in a July 2013 report on Wade-O Radio, a syndicated Christian hip-hop broadcast based in New Jersey.

She was criticizing a lyric in rapper Macklemore’s Grammy Award-winning song “Same Love” that says “And I can’t change even if I tried, even if I wanted to.”

“I think we’ve made God very little if we believe that He cannot change people,” Ms. Hill-Perry said on Wade-O Radio. “If He can make a moon, stars and a galaxy that we have yet to fully comprehend, how can He not simply change my desires?”

Thousands of people on social media shared her comments — with approving or condemning remarks of their own. She estimates that about 40 percent of the messages she has received have been negative.

“On Twitter, this girl wrote me like 15 different tweets, pretty much saying that I was delusional, in denial and brainwashed,” Ms. Hill-Perry told The Washington Times.

After she married Preston Perry, another Christian spoken-word poet, in March, another Twitter critic accused them both of being gay and marrying to “play God to a bunch of ignorant people.”

Ms. Hill-Perry says she was sexually abused by a family friend when she 5. Around the same time, she experienced gender confusion that had coalesced into an attraction to women when she turned 17. She became sexually active with her first girlfriend, and then another. She became a regular at gay clubs and at gay pride parades in St. Louis.

While lying in bed in October 2008, she reflected on her lifestyle and had an epiphany that she addressed in her spoken-word piece “My Life as a Stud”: “Then, one day, the Lord spoke to me. He said, ‘She will be the death of you.’ In that moment, the scripture for the wages of sin equal death finally clicked.”

“What I had been taught in church until the age of 10 coincided with the truth in my conscious that a holy God and just God would be justified in sending me, an unrepentant sinner to hell,” she said, “but also that this same God sent His son to die on my behalf and forgive me if only I believe.”

She left her girlfriend and returned to church. The next year, she met her future husband at the first spoken-word event where she performed “My Life as a Stud.” Over time, she lost her attraction to women and gained an attraction to Mr. Perry, who she began dating three years later.

Now pregnant with a girl, Ms. Hill-Perry is concerned her daughter will face persecution for sharing her beliefs by the time she reaches 25 years old.

“I think we’re moving toward a time in our society when, in the next 20 to 25 years, Christians are going to see a massive amount of persecution when it comes to the topic of homosexuality, and there will be no such thing as tolerance for Christianity,” she says. “[People will believe that] if you’re a Christian, you are a horrible human being, period.”

“The true church of Jesus Christ will still stick to the Scriptures,” Ms. Hill-Perry says. “Now, those buildings that have people in them where the authority of God doesn’t trump their own feelings and emotions, I see a whole bunch of turning away from the faith — turning away from truth.”

 

Is it politics or is it fear?

politics or fear

Is it politics or is it fear?

By Mario Murillo

 

What would you do if they expelled your young daughter from school for being a Christian?  What if it had nothing to do with bad behavior?  She was expelled for her beliefs…pure and simple.  What would you do?  You would storm down to the principal’s office and demand your rights.

You could also understand your neighbor doing the same thing if this happened to one of their children.  One thing you would not do is accuse your neighbor of being judgmental, political or “not walking in love.”

Many Christians think that speaking out against Obama, Eric Holder, the IRS, and the NSA is “different” than parents protecting their children against coercive schools.  Oh really?  How is it different?  The only thing I can see that is different is that it hasn’t hit home yet.  So far we have seen executives fired for defending traditional marriage; the IRS attacking Billy Graham; healthcare hijacked and all of our phone calls monitored.  If they do all of this today what will they do tomorrow?

You say, “If my child is banished for being Christian I would act!”  The problem is that by that time it is too late.  The local school is usually the final stop for tranny.  Before there can be a blatant attempt to ban Christianity at school a lot of other bad things must first take place, and they are.   

The public must be reprogrammed to accept the loss of freedom. Tranny trickles down through several layers like acid eating its way down to the hull of a ship.

But Romans 13 tells Christians not to speak out against rulers right?   Verse 2 says,  “Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.”

The ruling authority of the United States is the Constitution, something the White House swore to uphold and protect. Instead, it has been this administration’s unswerving passion to undermine the first 4 amendments to the Constitution; setting aside everything from freedom of speech to the right to privacy.

In my opinion, they are the ones that Romans 13 says is resisting authority.  This administration has crossed a dangerous threshold!

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There are tens of millions of Americans who would take it one step further and say that they even question the validity of the last election.

This is not the first time that Christian leaders have had to reach a painful point of opposition that was not popular.  In the 20th century Christian heroes opposed tyranny:

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Pastor Richard Wurmbrand stood alone among more than 1,000 leaders to denounce the control of Romanian communism.

Dietrich Bonheoffer was a German theologian famous for his stand against Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party. His beliefs and convictions ultimately cost him his life in a Nazi concentration camp.

Corrie Ten Boom violated German law by hiding Jews in her home.

Watchman Nee was persecuted and imprisoned for his faith by Chairman Mao and spent the last twenty years of his life in prison.

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Each one of these heroes had that moment of denial that said, “This can’t be happening!” Each one came to that point of clarity in their conscience.  Each one said, “This is the right thing to do.”  Each one faced rejection for trying to convince others of impending coming tyranny.

It is ironic that each is honored as a hero but if they were alive today most Christians would reject open opposition to political leadership. 

Today there is a greater danger because when Hitler, Mao and Stalin raised their evil empires there was a free America that could intervene.  Where will you or anyone else go for freedom if America itself is overtaken by tyranny?

For a growing number of Christian leaders and me it is time to speak out.  The silence we see today is not because of politics but because of fear.  It is time to quit hiding behind that excuse.

It is not my place to order any leader to speak out.   I can only tell you what I believe passionately; I believe that the leadership of the American Church should unite to stop this administration and hold them legally accountable for the damage they have done to our freedoms.

Tomorrow I want to talk to you why my stance is not going to hinder my ability to win youth to Christ and why it is not too late for effective action.