Sunday, February 18, 2018

School Shootings in Florida. Presidents Day. Dog Food Recall. Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”:

School Shootings in Florida, Why Again?

FloridaSchoolShooting-AP-900x600-e1518706472622

“Has your mind become desensitized to the violence in our culture today? It’s time to look at yourself, change your behavior and seek to have the right relationship with God.

YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDsoMhGwIHg

Transcript:

[Darris McNeely] “I was about to board a flight in Minneapolis coming home yesterday when I saw the newsflash on my Twitter feed that another school shooting was taking place in Florida. Unfortunately, it was all true. Seventeen people died and several more wounded in another mass shooting in an American high school. Certainly our thoughts and prayers and beyond today go out for all the victims and their families and everyone that…in the community that has been impacted by this.

The natural question, of course, is why. Unfortunately, we have institutionalized violence in our culture today in so many different ways. It is a part to our medium, it is a part of movies and music. It is a part so much of our culture and we have desensitized ourselves to that and unfortunately that has impacted the minds of adults and many young people leading them to act out whatever thoughts, fantasies, whatever vengeance, whatever is in their mind and heart upon innocent people. And that reflects our society.

There is a scripture that we keep going back to and I refer to quite often in our public appearance campaigns with Beyond Today . It’s in Romans 1:28 with the Apostle Paul talking of his day but also setting a prophetic tone down into our day when he talks about a culture then and now that has forgotten God and not kept God in their knowledge. And in so many ways we have done that and we are paying the penalty as a result of this. Regardless of all the discussion that goes on over guns and gun control and the debate in who will…who is to blame, who should act, what should be done, here’s what it boils down to. You begin to do something. You change your life. You think about your behavior. How far has violence come into your life? How much has it become a part of entertainment for you and your family, for your children? How has your mind been conditioned to accept more violence perhaps than is necessary? Think about yourself.

I think it’s time that we stopped necessarily seeking others to do something to stop this and look inside ourselves and see what we can do and what we should stop in terms of our own behavior and changing ourselves to come around to a better relationship with God and a better understanding of how we should be and start there to make the change to effect a better world, a better society, a better neighborhood, better family and a better you.

A few years ago when we had another mass shooting at a high school, we on the Beyond Today crew, Steve Myers and Gary Petty and I sat down and we did a program called “When Evil Walks In “. I would encourage you to go onto our beyondtoday.tv site this weekend perhaps and review that and watch that program where we go in depth in talking about the impact of such events like this upon our culture and help put it into context for you to understand why. That’s what we do at Beyond Today the best and I think it would be very effective and very helpful for you.

That’s BT Daily . Join us next time.”

Watch Beyond Today program “When Evil Walks In”

_________

Presidents Day - What Does It Mean to You?

YouTube: https://youtu.be/vzX4vkXaq7c

MP3 Audio(680.06 KB)

mount_rushmore

“The meaning of Presidents Day may have largely been forgotten. Should it remind us of certain significant things?

Transcript:

[Steve Myers] What does Presidents Day mean to you? It is Presidents Day here in America and many people have forgotten what Presidents Day is all about. Most people just seem to think it’s a day off. It’s extra time with the family. I don’t have to go to work. I can relax.

[Darris McNeely] Or time to go buy new furniture.

[Steve Myers] Yeah, time to shop. Time to do other things that you just want to do rather than really reflect on what Presidents Day is really all about. Do you know?

[Darris McNeely] Most people really don’t. It used to be something that was separated here in February, Lincoln’s birthday, Washington’s birthday. A few years ago it was combined into one, became a federal holiday. And, like so many other days on the American calendar, it’s become a big holiday, an excuse for just whatever people need to do, but not really understanding why and the reasons behind.

[Steve Myers] I was talking to a couple of people this morning and they couldn’t name the presidents that the day was supposed to honor. And so I was a little bit surprised by that, that we’ve forgotten that and forgotten really some of the history of the United States.

[Darris McNeely] Let’s take the opportunity on Presidents Day in the United States to reflect about what the Bible says about our relationship and our attitude toward leadership, no matter who they are, in what nation, what country, at any time. In 1 Timothy chapter 2 the Apostle Paul wrote this, he said as he was writing to the members, “I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is a good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

So the Apostle Paul, the Bible, encourages us to pray for all people in authority—for kings and leaders—that they would have the wisdom to make the right decisions so that all peoples, regardless of their political persuasion, prosper underneath. But most of all, I think Steve, as well, so that really the work of God may be able to have the opportunity to be disseminated and given wherever it needs to be given.

[Steve Myers] One of the ideas behind Presidents Day is just that—that, where do our blessings come from? Why do we have these wonderful opportunities, especially here in the United States, Australia, Canada, places like this? We have been amazingly blessed and it is because of the blessings of God that He’s poured out upon us. So, let’s not forget that on Presidents Day and pray for those who are in leadership so that we can continue to honor and praise God and give Him the thanks for the wonderful blessings He’s given us.

[Darris McNeely] That’s BT Daily . Enjoy your day. Join us next time.”  From: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/beyond-today-daily/presidents-day-what-does-it-mean-to-you

_________

BREAKING NEWS: Euthanasia Drug Found In Major Pet Food Forces Recall

BY ANDREA POWELL

“With all the recent recalls on pet food, pet parents are starting to really worry about what is in their pet’s food. They should be!

Just in the last week, there have been 4 recalls by major pet food brands due to Salmonella. However, this new issue is deadly.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating a study that was performed on Big Heart Pet Food, owned by Smucker’s. The brand under investigation is Gravy Train. A report states a study on Gravy Train food found it contained the drug pentobarbital, a drug used to euthanize animals.”

Photo:Gravytrain.com

Photo:Gravytrain.com

Continued at: https://blog.theanimalrescuesite.com/smuckers-euthanasia-drug/?gg_source=ars&gg_campaign=Ad%20-%20468x250news-sliderrecallgravytrainfebruary2018ars&gg_medium=house&gg_content=2018-02/468x250newsslid_180215072420.jpg

From me:  This is why we shouldn’t feed our pets any pet food which has “By-Products” in the ingredients.

__________

Update

On Tuesday, my granddaughter, Michelle and I took my van to Elliots, a very well recommended car repair place in Willis.  It nearly didn’t start again, but a tap with a hammer on the ignition got it going.  But it wouldn’t flub up at the repair place.  They said until it did it again, they couldn’t diagnose it.  

The doctor ordered another blood test as my white blood cell count was low. My friend Chris took me to get it, as she was going into Conroe to tend to the Petco Cat Habitat.   So I saw and petted my foster cat “Puddin’” who is still in the habitat.  She is so timid that she just won’t come out of her bed and interact with the folks trying to give her attention.  She will be home with me again soon, if she doesn’t get adopted.  I will be so glad to have her back home with me, though I would like to see her happy in a forever home, too, so I am torn both ways.

I had a mystery wet spot on the carpet next to my bed.  I thought maybe my Siamese foster cat, Luna had spilled her water dish.  I had Zack come over here and run my carpet cleaner machine over it.  But the next day, Friday, it was still wet, so I thought maybe Zack hadn’t sucked it dry enough.  I managed to get the big carpet cleaner machine back out of the garage into my bedroom, and sucked up a huge amount of water.  Oh, Oh!  Saturday, it was wet again.  I looked at the other side of that wall which is the back wall of the garage, and there is a pipe leaking that goes to my washing machine.  Not the supply lines, I have the good braided stainless steel ones, it is in the PVC pipe above the connection box.  I went up in the attic to see if the break was up there, but it wasn’t, so I will have to tear out part of the garage wall to find it.  There is no cut-off for that part of the plumbing, so I had to turn the water off as it was time to go to church, but that’s OK, I have lots of water stored for an emergency.

On Thursday, I had some items to mail, and no van, so Chris took me into Willis as she had to go to the Post Office anyway.  We also went to Elliots car repair place and finally made my van do it’s ‘non-starting-thing’ where the key wouldn’t turn far enough to make the starter engage.  The mechanic knew exastly what that was, and they had it ready late Friday afternoon.   Claudia’s neighbor was going to see her in the nursing home on Saturday, and was going to give me a ride to church, so he gave me a ride to Elliots which is on the way.  The van started right up, and so I got to church under own steam for the first time in three weeks.

For the church potluck, I had made crockpot scalloped organic potatoes and veggies, (squash, carrots, onion, bell pepper, banana pepper, spices) in a golden mushroom soup base.  It was popular and there wasn’t any left over for me to bring home.  There were plenty of other dishes, lasagne, home-made tamale pie, home-made organic chicken alfredo, home-made macaroni cheese, home-made potato salad, green saled, home-made brown rice and tomato, and several cakes and cookies. As usual, I was given food for my neighbor, Zach, who still doesn’t have an income.

The Bible readings were Ex. 21:1-24:18, Jer. 34:8-22, 33:25,26, Mat. 5:38-48, and 17:1-13.  The teaching was about True Wisdom, based on Isa. 40:12-14.

When I left church, I drove around the corner to the nursing home and visited with Claudia, (Jay’s Mom), and she recognized me.  Some days she does, and some days she can’t remember anything.  But they just let her lay in bed all day, getting weaker and weaker, so it would be great if a therapist would come and help her exercise, like they did at the other nursing home. 

I was glad that I had bundled up, as it was a blustery chilly, windy day.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Before You Ask Someone to Be Your Valentine...

For “Scripture Sunday”:

Before You Ask Someone to Be Your Valentine...

“Millions send Valentine’s Day cards to express their affection for someone special. But how did this holiday originate? And does Valentine’s Day represent what true love is all about?

A person drawing a red heart with a crayon.kaboompics.com

Does Valentine's Day really celebrate true, caring love?

Every year, more than a billion Valentine cards are bought and sent throughout the world. The act of sending a nice card seems to fill a natural yearning to express how much we care for someone.

But does Valentine’s Day really celebrate true, caring love? Or does this popular holiday actually promote something else?

Origins of Valentine’s Day

When we think of Valentine’s Day, we call to mind hearts, chocolates, flowers and expressions of love. Yet before joining in the fun, wouldn’t it be wise to know where this tradition came from?

Valentine’s Day may be acceptable to millions of people, but not to God.

First, we should understand that Valentine’s Day began when the early Roman Catholic Church tried to Christianize an ancient pagan Roman holiday called Lupercalia. That celebration was a licentious festival that honored Lupercus, the hero-hunter of wolves. This festival was so immensely popular among the Roman people that church leaders included it in their calendar, hoping to retain their new parishioners and turn them from sexual licentiousness to morality by linking it to a saint.

The saint they chose for this mid-February Roman festival was St. Valentine. One source explains:

St. Valentine is believed to have been a Roman priest who was martyred on this day [February 14] around [A.D.] 270. How he became the patron saint of lovers remains a mystery, but one theory is that the Church used the day of St. Valentine’s martyrdom in an attempt to Christianize the old Roman Lupercalia, a pagan festival held around the middle of February.

“Part of the ancient ceremony entailed putting girls’ names in a box and letting the boys draw them out. Couples would thus be paired off until the following year. The Church substituted saints’ names for girls’ names, in the hope that the participant would model his life after the saint whose name he drew.

“But by the 16th century, it was once again girls’ names that ended up in the box. Eventually the custom of sending anonymous cards or messages to those one admired became the accepted way of celebrating St. Valentine’s Day” (Helene Henderson and Sue Ellen Thompson, editors, Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, “Valentine’s Day,” 2005, p. 576).

Although all historical sources contain some of the same notions about how Valentine’s Day developed, each one highlights another facet of the story. Another states:

Some people have tried to connect the historical Saint Valentine with the later practices of Valentine’s Day by saying that the saint married couples despite the emperor’s prohibition, or that he sent a note signed ‘from your Valentine’ to the daughter of his jailer.

“However, the early Christian saint Valentine probably had nothing to do with the traditions later celebrated on his feast day; it is simply by his placement in the Christian calendar that his name became associated with it. Later, the word valentine may have been confused with the Norman French word galantine , meaning lover of women, as the g and v were often interchangeable in common pronunciation.

“In any case, February 14 gradually became a traditional date for exchanging love messages, and Saint Valentine became the patron saint of lovers” ( Macmillan Profiles: Festivals and Holidays, 1999, p. 363).

Theories differ as to how a holiday for lovers developed in February. Some think the mating of birds at that time of year is connected with the tradition:

One is based on the belief throughout rural Europe during the Middle Ages that the birds began to mate on February 14. Chaucer, in his ‘Parliament of Foules,’ refers to the belief in this way: For this was Seynt Valentyne’s day. When every foul cometh ther to choose his mate” (Stephen Christianson, The American Book of Days, 2000, p. 139).

Regardless of the varied sources and ambiguous history of Valentine’s Day, a few identifiable points continue to surface: Valentine’s Day originated with an ancient pagan Roman feast called Lupercalia. That festival was based on fertility and sexual licentiousness. In the third century, the Roman Catholic Church attempted to Christianize the ancient festival practice by naming it after a martyr.

The hope was that the festival adherents would thereafter follow the examples of church saints, no longer engaging in the ancient practice of free sex while honoring an ancient god. Despite some success, the holiday still contributes to immorality among many and promotes a wrong view of love.

A counterfeit holiday

Something that is counterfeit always indicates there is something real that it stands in place of, the genuine article. Could the same be true of a holiday? The roots of Valentine’s Day lie in a pagan festival, not the Bible. In the Catholic Church’s efforts to “Christianize” a pagan festival to gain adherents, did it overlook the real thing—holidays that reflect God’s perspective on love and giving?

In fact, what was overlooked in the adoption of pagan holidays was God’s true Holy Days and what they mean. We can find all of God’s Holy Days or festivals listed in Leviticus 23. And you can also find in the New Testament that Jesus Christ, the apostles and the entire early Church all kept those exact same festivals. Jude is apparently referring to these when he writes of “your love feasts” in Jude 12.

In contrast, the holidays that are widely celebrated in modern Christendom, including Valentine’s Day, are not found in the pages of the Bible. Instead, they are largely rooted in ancient pagan holidays that have been given a veneer of Christianity.

Where does God stand on Valentine’s Day?”    Continued at: https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/before-you-ask-someone-to-be-your-valentine

(If you want to know more about God’s festivals, please request or download our free booklet God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind .)

_________

Valentine's Day

“What's Wrong With Showing Love?     Valentine's Day has long been hugely popular as a romantic tradition despite its ancient and unseemly origins. So what's wrong with celebrating this holiday?

A round red heart laying on wood table.Thinkstock

Valentine's Day it is definitely not a holiday with true Christian values.

Valentine’s Day is all about showing “love,” giving a card or flowers or chocolates to a loved one. All of that’s good, right? Wrong.

Valentine’s Day is big business. According to the National Retail Foundation, Valentine’s Day for 2012 added around $17.6 billion to the U.S. economy—making retail spending for this day the second-largest behind Christmas.

It does matter to God how we worship Him.

For a lot of people it’s the holiday to express your love to someone special. According to Kemberly King, a business instructor at South University, young adults ages 25 to 34 spend the most on Valentine’s Day gifts. Interestingly, men will outspend women—almost 2 to 1—with the biggest categories for all spending being restaurants, candy, romantic getaways and flowers.

A quick Web search for the origins of Valentine’s Day will give you the basics of the accepted history of the day. A deeper search will acknowledge its pagan origins. The Good News has published a variety of articles on both of these aspects of the holiday.

While Valentine’s Day is the most promoted holiday after Christmas and Easter even among traditional Christian churches, it is definitely not a holiday with true Christian values.

How can “love” be wrong?

There’s nothing wrong in showing love to others—after all, isn’t that the most valued Christian characteristic? But what’s been lost in how we go about it, and how we worship God for that matter, is whether we are actually following what God teaches in the Bible.

It’s like an automobile manufacturer telling you to put only gasoline in the fuel tank, but then you decide that diesel fuel is just as good! It just won’t work.

Here’s a quick review of the background of Valentine’s Day—before exploring a deeper point about this holiday.

By most accepted historians, Valentine’s Day was an adaptation by the Catholic Church of the ancient pagan Roman celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival. The Catholic Church updated and connected it to a “Saint” Valentine sometime late in the third century A.D. (though there is some confusion as to who this person actually was). It really took off commercially as a holiday in the late 1800s, promoted as a day to show your “love” to others—especially romantic love to your special someone.

So what’s wrong with that? Here’s the problem: Lupercalia was an immoral fertility festival also featuring gluttony and drunkenness. At the end of the festivities young men would draw the name of a young lady from a box, and the two were considered a pair (sexually and otherwise) for the coming year.

As a festival, Lupercalia was dedicated to the Roman god Pan, recognized as the god of fields, groves and wooded glens—and pictured as having the hindquarters, legs and horns of a goat. This pagan deity was connected to fertility and the season of spring. None of what is connected to the feast of Lupercalia is worthy of a Christian’s observance.

But what’s wrong with a little paganism?

What about showing love on Valentine’s Day if I’m not doing it for pagan reasons? Isn’t that okay? No, because the expression of that kind of “love” is still rooted in a former pagan holiday. True Christians must not adopt pagan festivals as holidays, for they are to strive to please God in everything they do.

Even when you think you’re innocently observing a holiday like this, you’re still advancing the origins and meanings of the day—especially from God’s perspective, as He certainly knows where it came from. God said not to do this. He told the Israelites entering the pagan land of Canaan:

“When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise . You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods” (Deuteronomy 12:29-31, emphasis added).

When we merge pagan teachings with what God instructs through the Bible, we weaken the truth and violate God’s clear command.”  Continued at: https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/valentines-day-whats-wrong-with-showing-love

________

It was explained to me thus: If you offered The Lord a glass of clear water, but there was a drop of sewage in it, he would not want it.  Please don’t have any paganism, (sewage) in your worship.

________

Update.

For several days I took Jay to the nursing home to see his mother, but one day his sisters were there and he was really rude to them, and me, because they wouldn’t let him have his mother’s car.  He doesn’t have a drivers license, and he always has more month than money, so how is he going to pay for insurance?  His sisters said that he needed to show to be responsible before he got behind the wheel again, as he has so many DWI and PI tickets.  He kept on turning the AC on in my van, even on winter days, because of his bad diet which causes him to have high blood pressure.  One day, he was so rude to me that I just left him at the nursing home, and haven’t had anything to do with him since.

Yes, I  missed posting and church last week.  I had got really cold and had congestion in my chest and stayed with my electric blanket most of the week.  My friend took me to the doctor and they did xrays, blood work and put me on antibiotics and steroids.  I didn’t have a fever, but they said it was a type of pneumonia.

Jay’s neighbor was going to the nursing home near the church, so he gave me a ride this last Saturday, and a couple in the congregation gave me a ride home.  The ignition is still acting up on the van, and so I am not driving it especially as I am not up to full strength yet.  I took a big crockpot of spaghetti bolognese to the pot luck.

The Bible readings were Ex.18:1-20:23, Isa. 6:1-7:6 and Mat. 5:8-20 and the Teaching was more about The Reformation and Martin Luther as it is near the anniversary of his death on February 18, 1546. Also about Tindale who was put to death by “Bloody Mary”.

I hope you are all well and this changeable weather hasn’r got you down to.  Hurrah for electric blanket days!

Monday, January 29, 2018

World InSight: China’s Dream. Dealing With Doubt. 5 Reasons NOT to Celebrate Valentine's Day. Update.

       

For “Scripture Sunday”:

World InSight: China’s Dream

LISTEN TO THIS ARTICLE

DOWNLOAD

“With an increasingly ambitious foreign policy and a leader newly infused with unprecedented power, China aims to restore its historical dominance in Asia and beyond. The global implications of this vision are immense.

As recently as 2005, China’s economy was less than half the size of the U.S., but it is on pace to be 40 percent larger than America’s by the end of Mr. Xi’s second term. The shift in power and confidence is noticeable.

The new Silk Road

Forming the backbone of China’s audacious economic and political agenda is the titanic venture Mr. Xi announced in 2013, introduced as the “One Belt, One Road Initiative” (OBOR). Expected to become the greatest public works project in history, this unparalleled geopolitical and geo-economic game changer—still in its early stages—aims to link countries along the ancient Silk Road trade route with high-speed rail system that will cut the time required to move freight from Beijing to Rotterdam from a month to two days!

At a cost exceeding $1.4 trillion (the equivalent of 12 Marshall Plans), it will incorporate more than a thousand megaprojects spanning three continents and connecting 65 percent of the world’s population to strategically draw countries and companies more into China’s orbit while providing arteries for Chinese goods flowing into Europe.

The “One Road,” or maritime Silk Road, extends from coastal southeast China, touching nearly every country bordering the Indian Ocean, rounding the Horn of Africa, to the Mediterranean. To penetrate the struggling but affluent European market—China’s largest trading partner—Beijing is even financing the upgrade of the Greek port of Piraeus.

Similarly, the “One Belt” will be a colossal network of railroads, pipelines, highways and land bridges forming high-speed economic corridors to commercialize all of Central Asia—Pakistan, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Indochina and India.

China’s Dream Xi and Trump

“China,” Napoleon once remarked, “is a sleeping lion. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will shake the world.” In 2014, while in Paris, Chinese President Xi Jinping invoked Napoleon’s remark and triumphantly declared that the lion had already awakened.

Mr. Xi has thrown out the “lay low” doctrine of Deng Xiaoping: “hide our capabilities and bide our time; never try to take the lead.” Instead, he has hailed the start of a new era—China’s Dream—with recovery from its “century of humiliation” at the hands of colonial powers like Japan, Britain and France. In a recent address to the Communist Party, He declared that the country “stood up” under Mao Zedong and became rich under Deng, but under Xi it has grown powerful and now seeks to shape the global system.

Exalting the new “emperor”

“Never before has a nation risen so far, so fast, on so many dimensions, as China has over the past generation,” according to Destined for War author Graham Allison. “The same could be said of Mr. Xi, who went from a politically exiled peasant … to ‘Chairman of Everything’” (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 16, 2017).

China’s recent 19th Party Congress—normally an opaque, twice-a-decade reshuffling of uncharismatic technocrats—emphatically ended an era of collective leadership by exalting Xi Jinping, who was already the most powerful Chinese leader in decades, to a second five-year term without an obvious successor, effectively crowning him China’s 21st-century emperor.

Now described as the party’s lingxiu—an honorific title meaning supreme leader that has not been used since the Mao era—Mr. Xi was elevated to the Chinese Communist Party pantheon with “Xi Jinping Thought” officially embedded into the party charter alongside Mao’s, making him politically untouchable.

Princeling, peasant, president

Because of his illustrious roots—born in Beijing in 1953 to a trusted revolutionary colleague and vice premier under Mao—Mr. Xi is seen as a princeling, a child of elite senior officials who has risen through the ranks.

However, shortly after his ninth birthday his father was purged prior to the Cultural Revolution and imprisoned, and his mother was assigned to hard labor on a farm. The younger Xi was sent to the remote countryside for “reeducation” through hard labor for seven years where he was forced to denounce his father while shoveling dung and living in a flea-infested cave. His older half-sister hanged herself because of the abuse, but the exceptionally ambitious young Xi, according to a longtime friend, “chose to survive by becoming redder than red” and clawing his way back to prominence (Evan Osnos, New Yorker, April 6, 2015).

Exhibiting incredible persistence, Mr. Xi—today the leader of a Communist Party with 89 million members—was actually rejected time after time when he sought to join the party. Later, as China grew richer, the unassuming Tsinghua University chemical engineering graduate grew adept at keeping his head down and avoiding ostentatious displays of wealth as he climbed the provincial political ladder, but he was always credited with overseeing spectacular growth.

After election to the presidency in 2013, he was expected to be a bland figurehead and technocratic spokesman of the collective leadership, but Mr. Xi moved with stunning skill, speed and determination, wielding a highly visible anticorruption campaign to purge dozens of powerful rivals and consolidate power.

As former Australian prime minister and noted China expert Kevin Rudd puts it, Xi has a “deep sense of national mission, a clear political vision for the country,” and is “very much a man in a hurry” (as quoted by Graham Allison, Destined for War, 2017, p. 118).

Winning without a fight 

With Mr. Xi tasking his military to be able to “fight and win” any military encounter, focus has been on the buildup of conventional forces and the transformation of reefs, rocks and sandbars in the South China Sea into forward-based military installations. America’s top military officer, General Joseph Dunford, recently sounded an alarm, telling the U.S. Congress that China is likely to be the “greatest threat” of any foe to the U.S. within the decade since “China is focused on limiting our ability to project power and weakening our alliances in the Pacific.”

Ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tzu’s maxim “subdue the enemy without fighting” reveals China’s primary direction today. As former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger explains in On China,victory for Sun Tzu was “not simply the triumph of armed forces,” but “the achievement of the ultimate political objectives” that a military clash would be intended to secure. “Far better than challenging the enemy on the field of battle is … maneuvering him into an unfavorable position from which escape is impossible” (2011, p. 28).

Excerpts from: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/discern/jan-feb-2018-discern/chinas-dream/ 

_________

Dealing With Doubt

“Spiritual doubt is common, even among those who want to believe. But the Bible shows us how to deal with doubts and grow in faith.

Dealing With Doubt

Our modern world seems designed to foster doubts about God and the Bible. Evolution discounts the need for a Creator. Scholars question the accuracy of the Bible. Public opinion redefines the biblical standards of right and wrong. Religious leaders too often show appalling hypocrisy. Evil grows, and yet God seems to be in hiding.

And religious people struggle with doubt.

For example, a Barna study showed:

“Just over one-quarter (26%) [of American adults who self-identify as Christian] say they still experience spiritual doubt, while four in 10 (40%) say they have experienced it in the past but have worked through it. Only about one-third (35%) claim to have never experienced it at all. …

“Having come of age in a more secular and pluralist culture, Millennials (38%) currently experience about twice as much doubt as any of the other generational groups (23% Gen-Xers, 19% Boomers, 20% Elders). Men are also more likely than women to actively experience doubt (32% compared to 20% women). Those who have been through college and encountered an array of ideas, philosophies and worldviews are twice as likely to experience doubt as those who have a high school education or less (37% vs. 19%).”

But though it seems to have grown in the modern age, doubt is nothing new.

Biblical doubters

When we have doubts, we can consider ourselves in good company. Jesus said to Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). Of course, Peter did have faith to step out of the boat to walk on water! But as the wind hit him, so too did doubt.

However, over the years Peter did learn not to doubt and taught others to “not be afraid,” as he wrote in 1 Peter 3:14.

Then there was the disciple, soon to be apostle, whose name has become associated with doubting. After the resurrection, doubting Thomas said, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).

However, when the resurrected Christ did appear and speak to him, Thomas responded in verse 28: “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus pronounced a blessing on us today who face even more of a challenge. Jesus said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

But how do we claim that blessing? How can we deal with doubts and strengthen our beliefs?

How to deal with doubts

God is the Creator, and the Bible is His message to us today. He cares about us and is working out a plan that provides opportunities for every human who is alive or who has ever lived. But how can we prove these things and build the faith to deal with the overwhelming challenges and storms of life that can cause us to doubt? How can questioning our faith help it to grow?

Here are some biblical principles for dealing with doubts…….

Continued at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/change/faith/dealing-with-doubt/

_________

    

5 Reasons NOT to Celebrate Valentine's Day