Mengfei Li wrote a new post, Deepwater Horizon movie: horror, heroism, fear and faith 5 months ago
Imagine you’re relaxing in your hotel room after a long day’s work. Your three-week business trip is nearly over and you’re returning home the next day. Then…
BOOM! A massive explosion rocks your world. Yo […]
Naghmeh Abedini is pulling back her public fight to see her husband Pastor Saeed Abedini freed from an Iranian prison.
Christianity Today reports the emotional stress […]
Rev Marty O’Rourke
Why are so many strong Christians succumbing to sexual sin? We must remember that we as Christians do not live in a vacuum but in a culture filled with temptations that stir lust. Many people […]
Teleological View of Marriage: Teleology is the philosophical study on evidences of design in the nature. Purpose orients the design of the product. Teleological argument strongly challenges Darwinian story – the Evolution theory, as the intelligent, rational and purposeful cause is not taken into consideration. Teleology presupposes that most of the concepts in the nature are described but not defined; they are discovered rather than invented. Doctors describe the purpose and process of various parts of human body. In the same way marriage is not invented or defined by human society; hence it cannot define it. It is marriage that makes a family and it is families that makes a society. Further, it is sum of the parts that make the whole; as bricks make a building, but not the other way – its not the buildings that make the bricks. Marriage is primarily for compatible companionship and for children; for partnership and procreation going hand in hand. Same-sex marriage can stand for neither of them. Same sex marriage is, therefore, a modern contradiction.
Theological View of Marriage: The Bible is the journey from the marriage of Adam and Eve to the marriage of Christ and the Church. Marriage is the sacred institution designed by God. God created humanity – both man and woman – in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1. 27) and therefore, man and woman, put together, make humanity and society complete. The Bible says that God created a fit helper (not a term to indicate the superiority of man) for man – a woman, so that they might unite and become one unit called family (Genesis 2.18, 24). The words “a helper fit for him” has two important characteristics – Companionship and Compatibility. Companionship has to be of the same kind and Compatibility has to provide what is missing within the same kind. Therefore, by design, a helper fit for man has to be a woman. The smallest and complete unit in this universe is a family that consists of a man and a woman. A family consisting of a man and a woman is like a “complete and healthy” cell within a human body. It is the cells that make a human body. Similarly, its is the heterosexual combined unit called “family” that makes the society.
The Bible first gave the design and the description of a family. It goes on further to provide the deviations that occurred from the original design and definition and the consequent destruction that came due to the deviations. The Bible mentions same-sex as a deviation in Genesis 19 – where the men of Sodom wanted to have sex with the two angels, who are males, when these angels visited Lot’s home. Etymologically the word “Sodomy” is derived from this context. A similar account appears in Judges 19 and it ends with the words “such things has never been seen or done…”Leviticus 18.22 calls the act of male having sex with another male as an abomination, which means that it is not acceptable, both, ethically and ritually. Leviticus 20.13 commands death penalty to such abomination. Paul takes the cue from these verses and declares, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that such people will not inherit the kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6.9-10 and I Timothy 1.10).
The most dreadful image of same-sex acts appears in Romans 1.26-27, which states that God “gave them up” to their degrading passions and calls this as unnatural (a deviation from the original design) that resulted in reception due penalty. For God, all sin (deviation) is equal, but he is equally gracious to forgive and receive the one who turns from a deviation (Romans 6.23). A same-sex act is a sin, but if the one involved in this sin turns away from it and asks God forgiveness then God is quick and eager to forgive and offer His mercy and grace. The gift of God in Christ Jesus, the eternal life is available to all those who has faith in the giver, the Almighty and gracious Father.
GROWING UP KELLY
Erin Kelly is the older daughter of Jill and Jim Kelly, NFL Hall of Famer who is historically known as the toughest quarterback in the NFL. His trademark was being “Kelly Tough” and never giving […]
Think that the problem with your love life is simply being unable to find a good catch? Think it has to do with cosmic error? Maybe it’s time to shift that paradigm and consider that it might be what you as a single woman are thinking and doing that is contrary to the full life God has in store for you.
Popular author and speaker Michelle McKinney Hammond, who has lived and written extensively on the subject of singleness, has shared her wisdom and humor in such popular titles as The DIVA Principle®, 101 Ways to Get and Keep His Attention, Sassy, Single, & Satisfied, Secrets of an Irresistible Woman, What to Do Until Love Finds You, A Sassy Girl’s Guide to Loving God, and The Power of Being a Woman. Now, the founder and president of HeartWing Ministries and cohost of the Emmy–nominated show Aspiring Women seeks to quell those common concepts that can plague a single woman in her latest book, How to Avoid the 10 Mistakes Single Women Make.
For those who are dying to know what those ten mistakes are, here is the rundown:
Placing marriage on a pedestal next to God
Using singleness as an excuse to not get on with the business of living
Embracing the Cinderella syndrome and waiting for the perfect prince to rescue you
Missing the significance of the present moment
Being short-sighted about life
Falling down on the job of life
Being completely self-involved
Neglecting the most important person in your life next to God – you
Subjecting your heart to foolish choices
Giving up and caving in
So now that you have the overview and you are curious for more, I am going to share with you the highlights of the interview I did recently with Michelle. I have divided the Q&A into three categories: reality check, reaping a good harvest, and the value of a man. Now, don’t be like most women I know and skip to the man part: You need to get the whole picture. Take it all in, and I pray that Michelle’s words of wisdom will help keep you on the straight and narrow path to a blessed life in the Lord.
Of the 10 mistakes, what is the area that most women struggle with?
I would say the biggest one is not planning for their future because they are still dwelling in the midst of the fantasy that someone is going to rescue them from the life that they are living.
It sounds like a paradigm shift is needed because the whole idea that we grow up with as girls is Cinderella. We have that receiver mentality, as opposed to a giver. How can we make that switch?
We all still dream of meeting the rich man, but there are only so many of them. But basically, necessity pushes you into accepting that and making the shift because it is just not a reality.
At one point, you had to do that yourself because there is a point where you are like, OK, God, I am 30-something. You are starting to think, Maybe I need to buy my own house. When did it hit you?
Well, my friends all pounced on me. I would say my friends all had interventions with me! Thank God for that accountability structure. About four years ago is when it set in for me. I got to the place where I had to settle into the fact that I might not get married, and that wasn’t disturbing to me anymore because I really have a very enjoyable life, but just let’s deal with the reality if you don’t get married. What would you like your life to look like? Would you like to have a stable home? What would you like in it? So I really started planning.
I was reading in Song of Solomon when the Shulamite got married to the king. She had a vineyard to give to the king, and I thought, I don’t really have anything to give to someone even if they enter my life. I have nothing to bring to the party. So even for the sake of smart financial sense and planning for your future overall, whether you are married or not, it makes sense to purchase a piece of real estate or have investments so that you have something to contribute to your life, because life isn’t cheap anymore and not many people are living it on one income.
REAPING A GOOD HARVEST
How would you define a full life for a woman?
I think that a full life is peace with God first of all; and then rich, invested relationships that make you thrive and make the people in your life thrive because you are in their lives; and then a sense of accomplishment, of fulfilling your purpose, of discovering your gifts and exploiting them to the utmost to serve other people. And somehow the windfall is that you also get blessed in the process. But the first motivation is to serve people with your gifts. Then the abundance to yourself comes from that.
What other qualities should we as women nurture in order to be a good wife?
I think that the heart of a servant is an important thing. Service is a lost art in our society today. You go to the store, and they act like they are doing you a favor when they are being paid to serve you. I think that that translates over into home life and our relationships, where we are not as sensitive to the art of being a servant anymore. Yet that is high on God’s list if we are to be the man or the woman that God has called us and created us to be. Just cultivate the heart of a servant to everyone around you. Then it will automatically be a habit once this person comes into your life – you are as busy thinking about how to serve them as opposed to getting something out of them. Love is not about what we get; it’s about what we give: ‘God so loved the world that He GAVE,’ not that He took.
We are supposed to be like Jesus. We are here to serve. And I think a lot of us women are not there. We have forgotten how to sow. What things should we be sowing into our lives?
I go back to service again – and that’s just beyond your inner circle, because I think that sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking we are serving when we pick people to serve that we get something out of. If you are going to the old folk’s home where they can’t give you anything but love, that’s a real act of service, or you are visiting children in the hospital, or you are picking someone who really has a great need but can’t give you anything back but love.
We have got to become aware of the world at large, aware of people’s needs and how we can sow into that. God says that pure religion is that we take care of the widows and the orphans, so sowing into the lives of someone we might never see is an act of service and something that brings pleasure to the heart of God.
Also, sowing into yourself, taking care of yourself. We have this habit of letting ourselves go because there is no one looking at the time. You never know who is watching. You can’t wait until the man shows up and then run to Bally’s and try to get it all off. So sowing into yourself in the area of taking good care of yourself, watching what you eat, cultivating the woman God created you to be so that you are always operating at your best.
Sowing into your workplace, sowing excellence. Sowing is about reaping a harvest that glorifies God. That reaches all fronts of our lives. Sow into your life financially, saving money, tithing, placing a value on spiritual things, not being moved by emotionalism but really making rational decisions about how you want to sow into the kingdom of God.
When you get to be a single over 30 or over 40, you can isolate yourself because so many of your friends have gotten married. How do you build authentic community in that respect?
You know what? I have had the same friends for over 20 years. I think that you don’t get rid of friends when life changes. Your friendships move to another level. People should not go away. They might go to another place inside your heart, based on their schedules and yours, but you should always have good touch points.
I have friends for over 20 years in my inner circle, and our lives have all drastically changed. Two of those ladies are married, one is getting married. So I am the last single one standing in my inner group. I travel the most. One is a pastor of a church, the other has a high-profile advertising job, and the other one is a housewife. So our lives are drastically different, yet we built a ritual for ourselves to stay in touch; that is, every four months –well, each of our birthdays actually fall within a quarter. That day is carved out. It’s our day to get together and pray for one another, to serve one another, to bless one another, and if a crisis arises, then we are there on a more consistent basis. We touch base at least once a week in a conversation. That is a ritual that we established.
THE VALUE OF A MAN
What a blessing to your future spouse when he is not the only one fulfilling your needs!
Right. Well, he can’t. I think that that is another one of the mistakes that single women make is that they expect the man to come and fill in all the blanks in their life. First of all, God is not going to allow him to do that. If that were possible, we wouldn’t need God. And God is never going to allow someone to remove the need for Himself in our lives. In the process of understanding why a man is in your life, it is certainly not for him to fill in all the blanks. As a matter of fact, he is probably going to create a few more blanks for God to fill in in your life because as iron sharpens iron, so two friends sharpen one another. Well, guess what two mates do? They sharpen each other even more. The person in your life is going to make you grow and is going to stretch you beyond where you are. You are going to encounter more blanks than the few blanks that you had.
Sometimes we check some guy off our list, even though he can be potentially growth building.
That’s why I ask people, ‘What do you want your relationship to look like? What do you want your life to look like? Is this person conducive to getting you there? OK, they are pushing your buttons, but are they pushing good buttons that you needed to push yourself?’
Accomplished, attractive, career-wise women can be completely scary to single Christian men. How can we be accomplished but not scary?
By being more interested in them than you are in yourself. A lot of times we are very impressed with ourselves, and we like to share all that we have done with everyone we meet. Perhaps that is not necessary.
I think that we should be like a good country: you just discover beautiful things about the person, and it’s not all thrown into your face at the same time. You allow people to take the journey through you and discover all those wonderful little sights along the way, that it’s not an overwhelming picture.
Because the man lives to be the important person in your world, when you meet that man, you have got to be more interested in him than you are in yourself or in letting him know how interesting you are. In the midst of that, he starts to feel really good about himself, and people get addicted to us based on how they feel when they are in our presence. So, if he knows that every time he is with you he feels important and special, then all that other stuff is not going to overwhelm him. If you make him feel first, he will latch onto that feeling.
You also mentioned the difference between men and women. Women have the power of influence, whereas guys have authority. Would you explain the difference?
Men are the head of God, and women are the heart of God, so we know that even when authority is set in a place, if I am not influenced to yield to that authority, it doesn’t make a bit of difference. In that case, influence ultimately becomes more powerful than authority, because influence changes the heart and changes the mind of a person, and that’s what relegates their behavior. So God gave us this incredible gift to touch and inspire and exhort and encourage people and make them believe that they can do anything.
Sometimes I think as women, when we get into relationships with men, because of ideas from the culture or because we are into our careers we can think, ‘I am second to this dude.’ We have this philosophy that he has all the power.
This is not a contest. It is about being a team player. And in a team, no one is ever on the same level, but they all work together to win the game. Power shifts on a team from player to player, depending on what’s most important at the time. If we can just get over this ego trip of who is the most powerful person here. That’s not even relevant to what we are trying to accomplish. That’s certainly not submitting one to another. If Jesus, who is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, can come and wash people’s feet and live like he lived, who are we to have an ego trip?
LOVE is the force that drives the world. Shah Jahan built one of the wonders of the modern world, Taj Mahal, to express his love towards his wife, Mumtaz. Akbar is said to have buried alive his son’s love, Anarkali. Many a times, for love, kings lost their kingdoms, scientists their projects, students their studies, players their goals, and some people their families.
If there were no trait called love there would not have been competitions and wars in this world!!! Am I exaggerating? Humans have the unique ability for giving and receiving love. Instead of using this unique ability, humankind chose to breed hatred. Hatred is dark and darkness can never drive away darkness. It is only light that can dispel darkness. This world needs the light of love to drive away the darkness of hatred.
Lao Tzu is right in his saying, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” This world, now ruled by hatred, has lost its strength and ability to love thereby creating and breeding fear. Love has been turned into a commodity for business and a matter for just a day, called Valentines Day. Can a human breathe for only one day and survive a whole year? Can anyone speak, share and sing of love for a day and do away with love for the rest of the 365 days?
Having understood what the world needs, let us make a difference by sharing the true love with people whom we come into contact with. How true are the words of Mahatma Gandhi – “Where there is love there is life.” This world is dead and we need to induce life through love. Scientists have attempted, without any reasonable success, to make life in a laboratory. Even if that were to succeed, we know that it is impossible to create love! Love – the driving force, the problem remover and life sustainer – is the unique trait given by the Creator God, the ultimate lover.
Love needs expression and the ultimate one is that of God’s when He became human and died on the Cross – to transform humanity from hatred to love, from darkness to light and from death to life. The one who experiences that love cannot but share. A person who is not sharing has no share in that love.
Nearly 2000 years ago the beloved and loving disciple of Jesus, John, wrote the words that are needed the most now: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (pay the price through blood) for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.” (I john 4: 7-12)
Despite all the hype and commercialism, it’s actually good for you to get involved with Valentine’s Day. Even if you aren’t married, or even part of a romantic relationship, giving love and showing love to someone such as a parent, a child, or a friend, dramatically improves your health.
The more people you love, the better. Just make sure, however, that you are giving love, not just on the receiving end.
Research shows married people live an average of five years longer than those who aren’t. They also have lower rates of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and other chronic ailments than their single counterparts.
The key here isn’t the wedding band, however, it’s being socially engaged. Therefore, if you are not married or in a romantic relationship you can still get the health benefits of being so just by connecting with other people.
So try very hard to avoid being isolated and lonely. In other words, get involved in the lives of other people. This is best accomplished by giving instead of focusing on getting, which, by the way, is what the Bible teaches. Once again, God’s commandments produce not only spiritual health, but also physical health.
Being in love produces a freer flow of blood to the brain, so the brain can regulate the rest of our body far more effectively. Being in love causes your blood vessels to relax so blood flows exactly where it’s needed in your body and brings the right chemicals, the right nutrients to the proper destinations. In short, being in love is the opposite of stress, and we all know that stress is one of the greatest enemies of good health.
Reduced stress means a stronger immune system, so people in love are less likely to get a cold or the flu. But if they do, they recover faster. People with loving relationships are more likely to survive a life-threatening illness and are more likely to exercise, floss, drink less alcohol, and get regular health screenings. They have lower blood pressure.
But don’t worry if you’re not in a relationship. Remember, there are lots of different kinds of committed love. The most important love, even more than marriage, is your love of God. Jesus even pointed that out when asked what was the greatest commandment. He said the greatest commandment is to love God. Then he said the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor.
So out of the mouth of our Savior we are comforted to know that we can have, and never lose, the greatest most important love of all, love of God. Foster that relationship, time spent in God’s word, time spent in prayer, and time spent with other believers, and you’ll see the health benefits abound.
If you are feeling un-loved, the greatest cure for that is to get connected. Volunteer at church or in your community. Do things for other people. Simply look for people who have it worse off than you do, people who need something, such as tutoring, coaching, help of some sort.
Loving relationships can even be found with animals. Studies show that owning a dog or cat reduces a person’s stress level and people with pets are less likely to suffer a heart attack.
The bottom line is this: humans are not meant to live isolated lives. If you make the effort to build loving relationships, emphasizing giving, not getting, you’ll be happier and healthier.
Barack Obama arrives for three-day India visit – New Delhi | Indian Republic Day 2015
US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle have landed in Delhi on a three-day visit to India
Unbroken movie: hope, despair, redemption By Rusty Wright
When Louie Zamperini boarded a World War II bomber in late May, 1943, unforeseen dangers awaited the Olympic runner and war hero. He later said he’d prefer suicide to repeating his castaway and POW ordeals.
Zamperini, who died last July at age 97, became close friends with director and co-producer Jolie, who earlier emphasized her “huge responsibility to get [the film] right because I love him so much and because he’s helped me so much in my life.”
The movie adroitly captures part of Louie’s fascinating journey from victim to victor – and eventually – to forgiver.
Run like mad
As author Hillenbrand notes, during his youth, chronic thievery gave Louie running experience. He became a track star, competing in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. A favorite Berlin souvenir was a “Do Not Disturb” sign, swiped from sprinter Jesse Owens.
On a WW II rescue mission, engine problems crashed his plane into the Pacific, stranding him on a rubber raft with two other survivors.
Over 47 days, they drifted 2,000 miles amid blistering sun, parched throats, empty stomachs, and circling sharks. When a Japanese bomber strafed them, the men scrambled overboard to hide from bullets, only to fight off sharks. One airman perished at sea.
Louie – not a religious person – prayed that if God would save him, he would follow and serve Him for life. After one such prayer, rain quenched their thirst. After another came a Japanese boat, and POW hell.
Japanese doctors used Louie for medical experiments. Sadistic guards stole rations and beat prisoners. One especially despised guard, nicknamed the Bird, made Louie his special target of abuse.
The War Department declared Louie dead. At war’s end, a journalist interviewing liberated POWs remarked, “Zamperini’s dead.” The emaciated Louie had to convince the writer he was the famous athlete. “Zamperini comes back from dead” read the Los Angeles Times headline.
The film touches only briefly on Louie’s postwar years. Hillenbrand fills in “the rest of the story.”
Re-entry brought: Joyous family reunion. Marriage. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, rage, alcohol abuse. Nightmares involving the Bird, about whose murder he obsessed.
Once, Louie dreamt he was strangling the Bird. He awoke to find himself strangling his screaming, pregnant wife, Cynthia. She eventually moved out.
But a 1949 Billy Graham outreach in Los Angeles inspired her. A reluctant Louie joined her at a subsequent Graham meeting.
Graham spoke about a woman caught in adultery and slated for death by stoning. Jesus invited any accuser who reckoned himself sinless to cast the first stone. Everyone departed. “I do not condemn you, either,” Jesus told the woman. “Go. From now on sin no more.”
Louie wanted nothing of personal faith and walked out. However, he returned the next evening – persistent wife! – but began to exit again during Graham’s invitation to faith.
Suddenly Louie recalled his promise on the raft, If you will save me, I will serve you forever. He turned to walk toward Graham, and toward a new life of faith.
The next day, he began voraciously reading the Bible, discovering inner peace and confidence in divine love that he believed had preserved him.
His marriage was restored. He told his story nationwide. He returned to Japan, not to murder the Bird and his captors but to offer forgiveness.
The Bird refused to meet with him, so Louie wrote him, saying in part, “The post-war nightmares caused my life to crumble, but thanks to a confrontation with God … I committed my life to Christ. Love replaced the hate I had for you. Christ said, ‘Forgive your enemies and pray for them.’ … I also forgave you and now would hope that you would also become a Christian.”
Delinquent, track star, war hero, castaway, prisoner, troubled veteran, redeemed peacemaker. This movie pays homage to Louie’s incredible story. Go, and be inspired.
Rated PG-13 (USA) “for war violence including intense sequences of brutality, and for brief language.”
These images all are Copyright © 2014 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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