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Thursday, 23 November 2017

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  1. Dear Alabama Christians,

    In my 50 years of following national political races I don't know if I've ever seen one as strange as the current U.S. Senate race in your state.

    First, we had the national Republican Party in the September Senate run-off working against the state's more popular candidate Judge Roy Moore in favor of their establishment candidate, and former D.C. lobbyist, Luther Strange. The D.C. Republicans flooded Strange with money only to see him lose by a significant nine-point margin.

    Then, in the general election, this very same GOP-Washington establishment continues to undermine Moore in favor of electing a senator from the Democratic Party. We might have to go all the way back to Goldwater to find anything that resembles these unusual political circumstances.

    In their attempt to destroy their own candidate, the Republican hierarchy has colluded with their media nemesis, The Washington Post, to promote a smear campaign against Judge Roy Moore.

    GOP–Washington Post Collusion

    On Nov. 9, 2017, the Washington Post broke the story of four women with their alleged accounts of their 38-year-old dating experience with Roy Moore. As soon as the story broke, the usual cast of "swamp" creatures surfaced with feigned outrage demanding that Moore step down from the race. McConnell, McCain, Flake and Romney issued their immediate demand without any examination of facts. Their instant condemnation of Moore gave evidence of their orchestration. Within days, other GOP establishment elites including Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, chimed in to condemn Moore.

    The Washington Post describes the accusers claims of dates they went on with Moore when they were in their late teens. The more serious charge of the four was given by Leigh Corfman who alleged that, when she was 14, Moore sexually assaulted her.

    Corfman would have been the key witness in bringing down Moore, but within days, substantial credibility issues of this witness were uncovered when it was found out that Corfman had been married three times, filed bankruptcy three times and had accused three pastors of sexual misconduct. The last of these points completely discredited her testimony, but the national press and the GOP establishment continue to repeat the allegations as though they were true.

    The Post story further crumbled when one of the accusers, Debbie Gibson, turned out to be a Democrat operative, having worked for Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and at the time was campaigning for Doug Jones.

    So, when the initial round of accusers lacked the hoped-for effect, the establishment rolled out one Beverly Young Nelson on Nov. 13, accompanied by none other than the infamous feminist, Gloria Allred, all set for a prime-time New York City press conference. Should we expect anyone less than Ms. Allred for such an event?

    Ms. Nelson produced a tearful scene of Moore taking her in his car when she was 16 years old behind a restaurant and sexually assaulting her. It was compelling theater complete with a yearbook signature, tears, tissues and comforting hugs from Ms. Allred. So convincing was the display that at the time it moved some conservatives away from Moore.

    But like Ms. Corfman, upon closer examination of the evidence, Ms. Nelson's accounts also started crumbling. Within hours, photos of the yearbook were examined and found to be a forgery. Ms. Nelson's stepson went public, declaring his stepmother's allegations to be "100-percent lies" and on the following day, evidence surfaced revealing that Judge Moore had presided over Mrs. Nelson's 1999 divorce without her objection. A second Moore accuser totally discredited!

    By this time, the citizens of Alabama were starting to awaken to the lies and smear campaign against Judge Moore.

    Saul Alinsky Tactics

    The tactics used against Judge Moore are right out of the Marxist, Saul Alinsky's playbook in his Rules for Radicals.

    "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon."

    "If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside."

    "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it."

    "Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)"

    The opposition to Judge Roy Moore used a classic Alinsky approach of destroying the man, not his ideas. They know they cannot win the election debate over issues that affect the people of Alabama so they sought to destroy the person.

    The False Witness Business Model

    Throughout human history, a deep pool of false witnesses has been available anytime and at any price, and 2017 Alabama is not an exception.

    Usually, in the more public high-profile cases where corrupt men procure their liars, they do a more thorough job of vetting their false witnesses. Ms. Corfman and Ms. Nelson's credibility was destroyed so quickly that we can conclude that their organizers have been very sloppy in their recruitment and orchestration.

    Alabama Christians, do you think that the four women who came out at the same time on Nov. 9 to give their story to The Washington Post did this spontaneously after 38 years had elapsed? Do you think Ms. Nelson also, after 38-plus years, had a sudden inspiration to call Gloria Allred to help ease her pain?

    No and no. All of this has been orchestrated by political agents looking to destroy a good man. Can you imagine the expense, time and research these men must have gone through to coordinate these attacks on Judge Moore?  We also know from our own biblical history that false witnesses do not come without a cost.

    Let me also ask you your thoughts on The Washington Post. Do you think that this deep-state paper which has continually labored to keep the pedophilia and assorted sexual perversions of their political associates under wraps, now on Nov. 9, suddenly became concerned with the welfare of women in Alabama dating from 1977? Has The Washington Post suddenly seen the light about the moral condition of the country and its politicians?

    No, not at all. But they know you do.They know that the Christian people of Alabama demand character in their political leaders while across the political aisle; issues of character are mostly irrelevant.

    Thus, we have the real purpose of the Washington Post article: to orchestrate a smear campaign against Moore in order to suppress the Christian vote in the Alabama Senate race.

    These people know the mind of the average Christian and their desire for godly character and public morality. If they can take the experience of dating younger women and turn it into the perception of an under-age sexual assault, then they would have driven a permanent wedge between Christian voters and their Christian candidate.

    My call to the Christian community in Alabama is to stop being naïve. Seek to know how the world works. You are being played. Being played is defined as:

    "Lied to, set up to be taken advantage of. To be cheated by a setup of actions or circumstances that have been deliberately planned."

    Do you think that instead of being emotionally manipulated by false reports, it would be prudent to reserve judgment until the facts are discerned?  Do you think the proverb applies to the circumstances regarding Judge Moore?

    "The first one to plead his case seems right, until another comes forward and examines him" (Prov. 18:17, NASB).

    Bearing False Witness 38 Years Later

    In times past, bearing false witness (or more commonly known today as 'slander') came with severe penalties. In the case laws of the Bible, slander came with a greater civil penalty than many sexual sins and thievery. One can always restore a stolen bike or a car, but how can a good name be restored after it is dragged through the mud with lies and deceit?

    As a Christian, should not your outrage and anger be directed at these false witnesses and those who have orchestrated such lies?

    For these women to bring up accusations based on an alleged incident 38 years ago is on its face, absurd. This is why in the Christian West we have "statutes of limitation" written into our legal system.

    Sir William Blackstone, the most respected jurist who greatly impacted early American jurisprudence, wrote in his Commentaries on the Laws of England:

    "The use of these statutes of limitation is to preserve the peace of the kingdom and to prevent those innumerable perjuries which might ensue if a man were allowed to bring an action for an injury committed at any distance of time."

    If the ruling establishment is successful in Judge Moore's election defeat, then what Christian man in Alabama or the nation would not be susceptible to the same defamation when allegations, by themselves, become the new standard for guilt?

    Conclusion

    Conservatives across the country have written much about the out of state influences in your Senate race. There is an ever-growing number of Alabamians who realize that their Senate election is being manipulated by political operatives in Washington, D.C. They do not view this kindly.

    The tide has taken a turn in the second week after the Post story broke. Many national commentators including President Trump are now taking a more reserved position, declaring: "Let the people of Alabama decide their own election."

    Christian, naiveté is not a virtue. Be aware of the deceptions of this world and the devices of how corrupt men manipulate both mind and emotion for their political purposes. Use your common sense and biblical wisdom to understand the recent events in your state.

    Your Senate race has garnered national attention because it is one of the most important ones in decades, important because it will help determine the leadership and future direction of the Republican Party and to the eventual restoration of the American republic.

    This election goes beyond a battle between two opposite political views and candidates of Moore vs. Jones. It is also a battle against two forces with two different visions for the future of the GOP. The players are McConnell and Ryan on one side, representing the older establishment, globalist, Bush wing of the Republican Party vs. Steve Bannon and President Trump, who embody the America-First, anti-globalist, economic nationalism movement.

    Not voting for Judge Moore on Dec. 12 is a vote for partial-birth abortion, same-sex marriage, globalism, open borders and a liberal Supreme Court.

    Finally, remember the account in Genesis 39 when Joseph was falsely accused of a sexual assault by Potiphar's wife. Joseph spent two years in an Egyptian prison before he was vindicated. We don't have two years to wait. Judge Roy Moore needs to be vindicated by the people of Alabama on Dec. 12. {eoa}

    Tom Ertl is a home builder in Tallahassee, Florida and is a member of a local Presbyterian Church (PCA). For over three decades Tom has worked with various Christian political organizations, including Freedom Council in the 1980s. He is a former member of The Council For National Policy and has sat on various Christian ministry and political boards. He is also a publisher of Christian historical and theological works and is a columnist for NewsWithViews.

    For the original article, visit newswithviews.com.

  2. Twice in the New Testament believers are referred to as "pilgrims." The apostle Peter addressed his readers, "Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul" (1 Pet. 2:11, NKJV), warning them to avoid carnal cravings which would hinder their spiritual progress.

    The author of Hebrews also used this term to describe Old Testament Patriarchs: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland" (Heb. 11:13).

    By definition, a pilgrim is "A person who journeys, especially a long distance, to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion." A pilgrim is also "a traveler, a wanderer, a wayfarer, one who stays in a place only temporarily, but who normally has a set destination."

    If we are indeed pilgrims, then our motto should be: "Just passing through." In other words, don't get too attached to the things of this world, because this is just our temporary home. Life is a journey, and earth is not our final destination. We, like Father Abraham, are looking for our permanent, eternal home—"For he waited for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Heb. 11:10).

    Like fish out of water, pilgrims are misfits. We don't blend in with the trends and fads of this present world. We don't fit the mold of the world because we are not of this world. Everything a true Christian believes runs contrary to the carnal mindset. C.S. Lewis reasoned, "If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world." A pilgrim's perspective enables us to see the temporary nature of earthly things and the permanent nature of heavenly things.

    The Pilgrims of 1620 fame were a group of separatists who "separated" from the Church of England due to its corruption. Fleeing persecution, they relocated from England to Holland, where their congregation grew to a few hundred members under the leadership of Rev. John Robinson. As their children grew up, they were lured by the loose Dutch lifestyle. Wanting a fresh start free from religious persecution, they made plans to sail to the New World on a quest to worship God and live as they saw fit based on the Bible.

    Originally, they set sail on two ships: the Speedwell and the Mayflower. Three days into the journey, the Speedwell proved to be unseaworthy and, as some sources suggest, may have been sabotaged by the captain. Consequently, 102 pilgrims, plus crew members, were crammed aboard the overcrowded Mayflower. Imagine a 66-day voyage on rough seas with that many people in roughly the space of a volleyball court. Seasickness was common among these landlubbers who were mostly farmers, merchants and craftsmen. The crew members harassed them for their nausea and singing, and gave them the derisive nickname "psalm-singing puke stockings." The meanest, most vocal sailor, who said he couldn't wait to make them all fish food, suddenly became ill, mysteriously died and was buried at sea. Was that a coincidence or providence?

    Their original charter was for the land of Virginia. Storms and navigational errors blew the Mayflowerhundreds of miles off course. Most of the coastline was inhabited by hostile natives. A few years before, a plague wiped out an entire tribe of Patuxets. Other tribes were wary of the region fearing it was cursed by the gods. When the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, it was one of the few safe places to land on the entire Eastern Seaboard. Again, was that coincidence or providence?

    During the first brutal winter, 47 of the 102 Pilgrims died due to exposure, disease and hunger. One author noted, "The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than those—who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving." Legend has it that their rations dwindled to five kernels of corn per person per day. They might have all starved to death if it wasn't for two God-sent Indians. In the spring, Samoset showed up speaking clear English and brought another friend, Squanto, who Governor William Bradford called, "A special instrument sent from God for their good... ." These Indians taught the settlers how to grow and fertilize crops, hunt, fish and decipher poisonous from edible plants. Squanto further assisted the Pilgrims as a guide and interpreter to help negotiate peace with the Wampanoag Tribe.

    After the plentiful harvest of 1621, Governor Bradford declared a 3-day feast of Thanksgiving. Chief Massasoit and about 90 warriors brought venison, wild turkeys, hoecakes, cornmeal and maple syrup pudding and an Indian delicacy—popcorn. The Pilgrims pitched in vegetables from their gardens. Between meals they had shooting contests, foot races, wrestling and other activities. It is speculated that before gorging themselves on the sumptuous feast, the Pilgrims placed five kernels of corn on their plates as a vivid reminder of how God brought them back from the brink of starvation.

    The Continental Congress appointed the first national Thanksgiving Day in 1777. Then, in 1864, President Abraham Lincoln designated the last Thursday of November as the annual holiday. But Thanksgiving should be more than a holiday observed once a year, it should be a lifestyle observed every day—"In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thess. 5:18, MEV).

    This holiday season may we realize just how blessed we are in America compared to most of the world. Let us pause and remember the true source of our blessings. Let us develop and maintain a genuine attitude of gratitude and learn to be grateful for what we havebefore time forces us to be grateful for what we had.

    By the way, the first baby born on the Mayflower while itwas still anchored in Cape Cod was named Peregrine White, meaning "pilgrim or one who has made a journey." Let us never forget that we too are pilgrims on a journey—a journey beyond this temporary, natural world to an eternal, spiritual world. "But they desired a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them"(Heb. 11:16). {eoa}

    Note: Historical material was gleaned fromThe Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall and David Manuel. Ben Godwin is the author of four books and pastors the Goodsprings Full Gospel Church. This article is an excerpt from Ben's book A Pilgrim's Perspective. To read more articles, visit his website atbengodwin.org and take advantage of his 4-book bundle for $25.00.

  3. Iran is establishing bases in Syria, but according to some sources, its preparations to engage Israel are motivated far more by Messianic aspirations than military or political ones.

    Iran has frequently stated its desire to destroy Israel, claiming the Jewish state as the focus of its nuclear and long-range missile program. Iran has also funneled millions of dollars into proxy enemies of Israel, like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    According to Debka, a Middle-East military analysis site, Iran is now stepping up its pace, having established 13 military installations in Syria. Some experts see behind this a sinister desire for the end of the world—Islam style.

    Indeed, the escalation of Iranian military efforts in Syria are religiously motivated, Ryan Mauro, a political analyst for the Clarion Project, explained in a recent interview.

    "This isn't normal competition between hostile powers, this isn't even the normal Iranian sponsorship of terrorism or attempts to expand their military presence," Mauro said. "To the Iranian regime this is the fulfillment of prophecy."

    To read the rest of this article, click here.

  4. Almost seven years ago, I suffered a miscarriage during a holiday weekend.

    For me, that holiday was Easter, not Thanksgiving or Christmas. Yet, the fact that others celebrated while I mourned wasn't lost on me.

    As other families enjoyed egg hunts, ham dinners and rejoiced that "Jesus is Risen!" I struggled to pull myself out of bed, heat up microwave mac n' cheese for my kids and not cry constantly.

    Being aware of the grief-free festivities of others was difficult. I wished that I too could celebrate. But I couldn't. Easter that year—and for many years after—was marked with sorrow.

    Perhaps you understand, and this holiday season is hard for you. Or, it could be that it's difficult for someone you know and love.

    Maybe it's a friend who's lost a loved one to death. It might be a family member who is in the midst of unemployment and the financial instability that results. Perhaps someone in your life faces a health challenge that limits their energy and ability, or has recently walked through a divorce or unresolved family conflict.

    How can you support someone who grieves during the holidays? Here are five ways you can be there for them.

    1. Be patient

    I've observed that we don't all grieve in the same way or in the same timing. Perhaps you've noticed this too.

    Take my husband Ted and me. I'm a feeler and verbal processor; he's a helper and a doer. It takes me longer to grieve, while his process is shorter. We've had to learn to understand this and be patient with each another.

    You can do the same for those in your life who are grieving. Make an effort to understand how your loved one mourns and to respect how long it takes them. Don't expect their process to be identical to your own.

    Also, be prepared for the fact that they may experience a range of emotions during the holidays. There may be moments of joy and festivity closely followed by tears and sadness. Be patient and allow them to feel both extremes. Don't expect them to fit into one box.

    1. Be a listener

    In my book Braving Sorrow Together,I share how listening is one of the best gifts we can give someone who's grieving. This holiday season, make it your goal to actively practice the words of James 1:19, which is "be swift to hear, slow to speak."

    Too often, we want to offer unsolicited advice or even share Scripture passages that they aren't ready to hear yet. This can include the words of Romans 8:28b, which says, "All things work together for good to those who love God" 

    Instead, it's best to say "I'm sorry" or "I don't know what to say," and choose to simply listen. If you do decide to offer them encouragement from the Bible, pick verses from the Psalms, such as "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted" (Ps. 34:18), that offer the comforting reminder that God isn't blind to their pain and neither are you.

    1. Be practical

    After our miscarriage, as well as several job losses Ted and I walked through, I felt most loved when others met our practical needs. We had friends bring us dinner, help us pack, watch our kids and even paint the house we were trying to sell.

    This holiday season, reflect on the loss your loved one is facing and ask yourself what practical needs you can meet. For example, if it's unemployment, consider giving them a grocery store gift card or surprising them with the turkey or Christmas tree you know they want but can't quite afford.

    1. Be inclusive

    While writing Braving Sorrow Together,I talked to two friends who walked through painful divorces. Both shared with me how they still wanted to be invited and included by others.

    Whatever loss your family member or friend is facing, look for ways you can include them in your holiday festivities. It's possible they won't be able to say "yes" to your invite, but I guarantee your remembrance of them will remind them that they are loved.

    1. Be flexible

    The holidays are a time for traditions. Many of us have activities and events we look forward to every year. When someone faces loss, though, it's helpful if we can find ways to be flexible with our plans in order to support them.

    If someone you love is suffering from health issues, maybe they don't have the energy to attend a Christmas party or event. However, they might love to sit on the couch, watch a holiday movie and drink eggnog or hot chocolate. Look for ways such as this that you can adapt your plans in order to love and support them.

    This holiday season, you can show the love of Jesus to others by actively supporting and being there for them as they grieve. These five ways will help you remind those you love that they don't have to brave sorrow alone. {eoa}

    Ashleigh Slater is the author ofBraving Sorrow Together: The Transformative Power of Faith and Community When Life is Hard (Moody Publishers, October 2017). For more on Ashleigh, visitAshleighSlater.com.

  5. Thanksgiving is a time of family, food and fellowship. Whether you are cooking a homemade feast or eating out at your local Golden Corral, or even joining others at neighborhood soup kitchen, Thanksgiving has long been a time for Americans to remember the blessings of living in a land of freedom.

    But in light of all of the recent natural disasters our nation has faced in Texas, Florida, California and Puerto Rico, this year might be the time to do things a little differently. So many of our friends and family living in areas affected by hurricanes and fires may not have a home to celebrate Thanksgiving in. Or some of them might not feel so thankful due to the loss of important people in their lives.

    So, what could you do during this season to spread the Thanksgiving spirit? You might host Thanksgiving in your house this year. Yes, your mother's house in Houston was nicer, but right now, she might be feeling guilty that she isn't up to the task this year. It's a big effort, but it will be worth it to see your mom enjoying herself this year after so many hard months. You could make a family donation to a charity that is still doing disaster relief work. This wouldn't infringe on your holiday plans, but it could make a huge difference for others. Or you could change up Thanksgiving completely by volunteering in rebuilding efforts.

    We at LiveBeyond are still providing reconstruction assistance to families in the Houston area in conjunction with Grace Crossing Community Church of Christ in Conroe, Texas. We have been honored to host teams from all over the U.S. who are willingly putting in work to help people get back to normal. And we are not alone in this effort. Other organizations and churches like the J.J. Watt Foundation, St. Luke's Methodist Church and Impact Church of Christ are still spearheading efforts to rebuild communities.

    So many organizations are still doing well in terms of funding and budgeting, but they lack the manpower to accomplish very much during this critical time. And what greater way to go out into all the world to spread the good news (Matt. 28:19-20)? People tend to have a better grasp of the sacrifices of Jesus when they see His followers willing to sacrifice for them personally.

    We all know the saying that "it takes a village" to raise children. But in this time of desperation, it will take a nation of willing volunteers and donors to rebuild lives across the country.

    Devin Vanderpool is the Director of Communications for LiveBeyond. To find out how you can partner with LiveBeyond or donate to their relief efforts visithttp://livebeyond.org/waystohelp/.

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