| Why Did Chicago Public Schools Just Quietly Drop Transcendental Meditation? |
Three years ago, as a part of its mission to teach Transcendental Meditation to a million at-risk kids, the David Lynch Foundation partnered with the University of Chicago’s Urban Labs and Chicago Public Schools(CPS) to test whether Transcendental Meditation (TM) could reduce crime and improve school performance.
Two thousand students in five high schools located in high crime Chicago neighborhoods participated in the $3 million study through its “Quiet Time” (QT) program. Earlier this month, in response to a direct email inquiry, RD was notified by a CPS official that “CPS is no longer allowing for the official Quiet Time Program through David Lynch Foundation to be offered in CPS schools.” But why would CPS quietly drop such a high-profile program?
Though CPS decline to elaborate further, a July 26, 2019 article in the Chicago Tribune provides a clue. Hannah Leone’s article includes some disturbing information about the program based on the harrowing recollections, before the Chicago Board of Education, of Dasia Skinner, a substitute teacher, and Jade Thomas, a fourteen-year-old high school student. After hearing their testimony, the CPS chief education officer noted that while she personally visited the QT program at Bogan High School, none of the information reported in the presentations was shared with her. So what didn’t they tell her about this “simple… non-religious technique,” as the David Lynch Foundation’s brochure describes TM?
According to Skinner, the 60 students she spoke with shared a similar experience, Jade Thomas among them. Thomas told the Chicago Board of Education that her experience began with a mandatory “initiation into the meditation program” (elsewhere in TM materials referred to as a puja, a ceremony performed by Hindus, as well as many Buddhists and Jains). Students are taken by a QT “facilitator,” two at a time, to a dark, incense-filled room with all the windows covered.
According to Thomas, they were made to hold flowers in their hands while the instructors “chanted in a foreign language, threw rice, seasonings, [and] oranges on a pan in front of a picture of a man, ”after which they were to place the flowers on the pan. Following the ritual, they were given their mantras and were told “don’t tell anyone else your word.”(Keeping one’s mantra a secret, it should be noted, is common in some sects of Hinduism.) Thomas also notes that students were told they would be sent to the dean’s office if they declined to participate and that they would be threatened with reduced grades if they talked during the twice-daily QT sessions. She describes feeling uncomfortable about her participation because the ceremony went against the Christian religion she practiced in her home.
Unless this ceremony departed from the standard TM puja, as described by Business Insider, the man in the picture was likely Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, or ‘Guru Dev,’ with whom the founder of TM, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, “studied the Upanishads, the segments of the four ancient Sanskrit books of scripture known as the Vedas that focus on the self and its relationship to God.” And yet this is “an act that the Maharishi did not consider to be compromising to his practice’s secularity.”
According to Professor Candy Gunther Brown, author of Debating Yoga and Mindfulness in Public Schools, the federal appellate case of Malnak v.Yogi (1979) ruled that teaching TM in public schools constitutes an impermissible “establishment of religion.” Indeed, the court’s ruling against TM left little room for debate: Although defendants have submitted well over 1500 pages of briefs, affidavits, and deposition testimony…defendants have failed to raise the slightest doubt as to the facts or as to the religious nature of the teachings of the Science of Creative Intelligence [TM’s Hindu underpinnings] and the puja.
The teaching of the SCI/TM course in New Jersey public high schools violates the establishment clause of the first amendment, and its teaching must be enjoined. TM proponents argue that the case is over 40 years old and no longer relevant. In an exchange in the Wall Street Journal 3 years ago, Lynch Foundation CEO Bob Roth wrote, “TM is not a religion. Over 8 million people of all religions practice TM. It is taught in public schools, on military bases, and in large and small businesses. In each case, a team of legal experts has done due diligence and researched the accusations and claims and found them to have no basis.”
When I pointed out in response that the puja ceremony is exactly the same today as it was in 1977, and that the establishment clause has not changed, Roth responded, “In the nearly 40 years since the 1979 court case you cite, tens of thousands of students have learned to meditate as part of voluntary Quiet Time programs with the full support of school boards and parents.” That may be strictly true, but given what we’re learning about the Chicago case, that support may be largely due to the fact that TM isn’t entirely forthcoming in what it shares with school boards and parents regarding the explicitly religious content that permeates the program.
But not all is bliss in the TM world. For example, TM teachers created “checking notes,” as a guide to handle pain and discomfort that might arise even within the first days of TM instruction. The existence and use of the checking notes document that the TM organization is well aware of these potential problems. Shaking and body movements, as well as overpowering thoughts, are frequent enough even during the first few meditations that an entire section of the checking procedure is devoted to these severe symptoms.
More generally, a non-profit called Cheetah House, which is affiliated with Brown University, Harvard, and a number of other prestigious institutions, exists to provide “information and resources about meditation-related difficulties to meditators-in-distress.” And this is a major part of the mission of a proponent of meditation. In addition, while the UK’s National Health Service notes that meditation can be very helpful in many cases, “The serious, long-lasting nature of some of the negative experiences reported [in a recent study], however, are cause for concern.” These potential issues may be perfectly acceptable for adults voluntarily participating in TM workshops, but for children and adolescents required or even urged to participate it hardly seems appropriate.
It took three years for CPS to conclude that TM is more than a secular relaxation method to reduce stress. And while it’s still unclear whether they dropped the program due to issues with the establishment clause, potential risks to students’ health, or both, one thing that is clear is that TM proponents will not be deterred from approaching other school systems and institutions. You might say that their belief in the benefits of TM is… religious. https://religiondispatches.org/exclusive-why-did-chicago-public-schools-just-quietly-drop-transcendental-meditation/
Source: Berean Call
We all feel this way at times. The way out of the valley is to start giving God thanks; remembering all the good He has done for you. That will lead into praising and worshipping Him for who He is and how great He is. Soon you have risen to an elevation above the worries of this world. Remember, you are not alone. The Holy Spirit has not left you and the world is full of your brother and sisters who are going through the same things you are. Refocus on the Father and Jesus and away from the worries of the world. Click on the following link to join in with Maverick City Music, a Christian music group, as they extol God’s miraculous love for His children: Love Is A Miracle.
“The hypocrite is like the waterman*, that looks one way and rows another; the true Christian like the traveller, that has his journey end in his eye. The hypocrite soars like the kite**, with his eye upon the prey below, which he is ready to come down to when he has a fair opportunity; the true Christian soars like the lark, higher and higher, forgetting the things that are beneath.” A Commentary On The Whole Bible – Matthew Henry (1721)- Vol. 5, page 81
“If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Paul in Colossians 3: 1-3
*The person rowing a boat ** Eagle-like bird of prey feeding predominately on fish
Desire is not merely a simple wish; it is a deep seated craving; an intense longing, for attainment. In the realm of spiritual affairs, it is an important adjunct to prayer. So important is it, that one might say, almost, that desire is an absolute essential of prayer.
A sense of need creates or should create, earnest desire. The stronger the sense of need, the greater should be the desire, the more earnest the praying. The “poor in spirit” are eminently competent to pray.
Hunger is an active sense of physical need. It prompts the request for bread. In like manner, the inward consciousness of spiritual need created desire, and desire breaks forth in prayer. Desire is an inward longing for something of which we are not possessed, of which we stand in need –something which God has promised, and which may be secured by an earnest supplication of His throne of grace.
Desire is the will in action; a strong, conscious longing, excited in the inner nature, for some great good. Desire exalts the object of its longing, and fixes the mind on it. It has choice, and fixedness, and flame in it, and prayer, based thereon, is explicit and specific. It knows its need, feels and sees the thing that will meet it, and hastens to acquire it.
Spiritual desire, carried to a higher degree, is the evidence of the new birth. It is born in the renewed soul:
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”
The absence of this holy desire in the heart is presumptive proof, either of a decline in spiritual ecstasy, or, that the new birth has never taken place.”
“Bless are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
These heaven-given appetites are the proof of a renewed heart, the evidence of a stirring spiritual life…spiritual desires belong to a soul made alive to God. And as the renewed soul hungers and thirsts after righteousness, these holy inward desires break out into earnest, supplicating prayer.
One might well ask, whether the feebleness of our desires for God, the Holy Spirit, and for all the fulness of Christ, is not the cause of our so little praying, and languishing in the exercise of prayer? Do we really feel these inward pantings of desire after heavenly treasure? Do the inbred groanings of desire stir our souls to mighty wrestlings? Alas for us! The fire burns altogether too low. The flaming heat of soul has been tempered down to a tepid lukewarmness. This, it should be remembered, was the central cause of the sad and desperate condition of the Laodicean Christians, of whom the awful condemnation is written that they were “rich, and increased in goods and had need of nothing,” and knew not that they “were wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind.”
Again: we might inquire–have we that desire which presses us to close communion with God, which is filled with unutterable burnings, and hold us there through the agony of an intense ands soul-stirred supplication? Our hearts need much to be worked over, not only to get the evil out of them, but to get the good into them. And the foundation and inspiration to the incoming good , is strong, propelling desire. This holy and fervid [i.e. very hot] flame in the soul awakens the interest of heaven, attracts the attention of God, and places at the disposal of those who exercise it, the exhaustless riches of Divine grace.
The dampening of the flame of holy desire, is destructive of the vital and aggressive forces in church life. God requires to be represented by a fiery Church, or He is not in any proper sense, represented at all. God, Himself, is all on fire, and His Church, if it is to be like Him, must also be at white heat. The great and eternal interests of heaven-born, God-given religion are the only things about which His Church can afford to be on fire. Yet, holy zeal need not to be fussy in order to be consuming. Our Lord was the incarnate antithesis of nervous excitability, the absolute opposite of intolerant or clamorous declamation, yet the zeal of God’s house consumed Him; and the world is still feeling the glow of His fierce, consuming flame and responding to it, with an ever-increasing readiness and an ever-enlarging response. ” Source: The Necessity of Prayer – Edward M. Bounds, p. 44-48
Father, we praise your name. Please increase our desire for You. Set our souls aflame for You and Christ. Forgive us for our coldness and lukewarmness. Forgive us where we have let the “worry of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for other things” choke out your word in our lives and make us unfruitful. Cause us to be consumed with your zeal so that we may be pleasing to you and effective in witnessing to this lost and adulterous generation. We ask this in the precious Name of Jesus. Amen.
Dear Reader the following was written by Richard Wurmbrand (1909-2001) who was imprisoned in communist Romania for fourteen years because of his faith in Christ. In 1965, he and his family was ransomed out of Romania for $10,000 and eventually moved to the U.S where he started a global ministry that became known as The Voice of the Martyrs. He testified before the U. S. Congress to the cruel treatment of Christians under communism. Removing his shirt, he showed the Senators and Representatives the stripes and wounds he received from the communist. Pray for those who are suffering everyday for Christ. Pray that the comfort of the Holy Spirit would be with them and they would be faithful unto death if need be. Be encouraged, do your part for the church, and prepare yourself. Carl
“Jesus promised “not peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34), and ever since He uttered those words, committed Christians have been targeted relentlessly by pagan and religionist alike: crucified, burned at the stake; tortured on the rack; hunted in mountain passes, forests and caves; starved; beaten; brainwashed; tormented.
Only a devil could brew the consummate evil that has been meted out to Christ’s humble disciples over the centuries, reaching a horrendous climax in our own bloody era.
Is suffering, whether intended or circumstantial, a waste, or can it be redemptive? How should Christians respond? Jesus said, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44) — but can you love the devil incarnate in another human being, evil personified?
I would like to propose that today’s Christians in repressive countries can provide a model for those of us in the free world.
Christians in the West often quote the text, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13), giving it a positive spin. But Paul had just said he had learned to endure all things –humiliation, hunger and want, as well as the satisfaction of his needs. Persecuted believers take Paul’s words as a promise that Christ will strengthen them to endure suffering, because they know a Christian can’t escape tribulation.
I think of a young girl of our Romanian underground church whose activities were discovered by the secret police. She had been guilty of secretly distributing Gospels and teaching children about Christ. To make her arrest as painful as possible, they decided to wait a few weeks for her wedding day.
When she dressed for the event every woman looks forward to, the police suddenly broke in. Anticipating their intentions, she held out her hands, which they handcuffed roughly, looked lovingly at her groom, then kissed the chains, saying, “I thank my heavenly Bridegroom for this jewel He has presented to me on my marriage day. I thank Him that I am worthy to suffer for Him.”
She was dragged off to prison, leaving behind weeping Christians and a weeping bridegroom. Five years later she was released, haggard, broken, looking 30 years older. She had remained faithful. And her intended had waited for her.
A Soviet prisoner who was mocked unmercifully said, “Many fear suffering: in the past, I too feared. But the presence of the Lord in jail has given me so many happy experiences that I would not have changed them for years of easy living in freedom.”
How impressive is the prayer of a woman in a Siberian camp: “O God, accept all my sufferings, my tiredness, my humiliations, my tears, my nostalgia, my being hungry, my suffering with the cold, all bitterness accumulated in my soul….Dear Lord, have pity also on those who persecute and torture us day and night. Grant them, too, the divine grace of knowing the sweetness and happiness of Your love.”
How do the persecuted view their torturers, who often take fiendish delight in inflicting maximum pain? May are able to look at them with love, knowing that without Christ they are eternally lost. Believers exemplify what Jesus preached: “Love your enemies … pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” And they practiced what He taught: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Once when I was in prison, a pastor was thrown into our cell. He had been horribly beaten and was covered with blood. Some prisoners cursed the communists. Half dead, groaning in pain, he said, “Please don’t curse them. Be quiet! I want to pray for them.”
Once I was in the same cell with a man I had brought to Christ. He left behind a wife and six starving children. I asked him, “Have you any resentment toward me for bringing you to Christ and for the fact that your family is in such misery?”
His reply typifies the attitude of so many martyrs down through the centuries: “I have no words to express my thankfulness that you have brought me to the wonderful Savior. I would not have it any other way!”
In Ukraine, the Christian Terelya was put in a psychiatric asylum. The sadist psychiatrist told him, “The fact that you call yourself a Christian shows already you have a serious and irremediable sickness. Faith in God is a mass psychosis, a kind of schizophrenia.”
But instead of brooding about his suffering, Terelya brought officers of the secret police to Christ. They provided him with paper and pencil and smuggled out a whole notebook of his with joyous poems praising God.
Out of the mire of suffering grows the lily of joy in the Lord. ”
Richard Wurmbrand–faithful witness and pastor under Stalin’s communism, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs
“Buddhism is more than 2,500 years old, but it came to widespread prominence in Europe and the U.S. only about 50 years ago. Since then, Buddhist thought has become deeply rooted in American popular culture through music, books and films. Many American’s encounter the teachings of Buddhism’s founder, Siddhartha Gautama, when seeking a way to empty themselves of desire and attachment while embracing peace of mind through meditation.
Gautama is called the Buddha (enlightened one) by his followers. The simple response God’s Word gives to the notion of human enlightenment is that our Lord Jesus Christ is the true light and life. Without Him, there is only darkness and death (see John 1: 1-13).
How enlightening is Buddhism? Having been a witness for Christ in Buddhist contexts both overseas and here in the U.S. for more than 20 years, I have come to view the Buddhism practices in the U.S. as a trick or illusion that contains just enough truth to provide false hope. Rather than offering its adherents truth with the power to save or set them free, it merely helps them marginally reduce the stress that overwhelms their peers who have succumbed to this world’s strivings and vanity. Jesus sets us free for eternity.
While Buddhism in the West is darkness masquerading as light, a very different kind of Buddhism is widely practiced in parts of Nepal and throughout Tibet. The spiritist Buddhism in the part of the world where Gautama was born is not disguised as false light –it openly reveals itself as the blackest darkness. There, Buddhists work to appease spirits whom they know to be evil.
When those of us who have served among Nepali and Tibetan Buddhists describe them as intentionally serving evil spirts and seeking to be filled with their power, it may sound to some as if we are overstating the religion’s dangers. Sadly, however, out description is no exaggeration, and millions of lost Buddhists remain enslaved to evil throughout Nepal and Tibet.
People in the U.S., including Christians, are also astonished when we describe the persecution of Christians in these countries by Buddhists. But it is important understand that children in these areas are forced to leave their families and enter Buddhist monasteries, that young adults who come to faith in Christ are disowned by their Buddhist parents, and that Christian families are driven from their home in Buddhist areas. All of this is done explicitly to appease and court favor with evil spirits we know to be demons — the fallen angels who, like their master, work only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).
The stories in this magazine help us to understand the dark side of this supposedly “enlightened” belief system. And we hope they will encourage you to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who are willing to pay the price to see Buddhists set free by the gospel’s power.
Source: Cole Richards, President —The Voice of the Martyrs
“A dear friend of mine who was quite a lover of the chase, told me the following story: ‘Rising early one morning,’ he said, ‘I heard the baying of a score of deerhounds in pursuit of their quarry. Looking away to a broad, open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn making its way across, and giving signs, more-over, that its race was well-nigh run. Reaching the rails of the enclosure, it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood. A moment later two of the hounds came over, when the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast, and swinging round and round, fought off the dogs. I felt, just them, that all the dogs in the West could not, and should not capture that fawn after its weakness had appealed to my strength”. So is it, when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God. Well do I remember when the hounds of sin were after my soul, until, at last, I ran into the arms of Almighty God.” — A.C. Dixon – The Necessity of Prayer by Edward M. Bounds (1976)
Yes, lost soul or hurting Christian, run in the right direction…into the arms of Almighty God. Oh, how we are tempted to run to some temporary crutch that sin tells us will solve our problem, make us happy, but it is deceit. We were all created to worship and serve God Almighty and we will never be truly happy or fulfilled until we are properly related to Him. Jesus Christ died on the Cross and was raised from the dead so that we could be reconciled to this holy, loving God.
“He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. For while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” Romans 4:25,5:10-11
Yes, run to Him today.
“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” Jonathan Swift –
“Some of the meanest people are church people.” –Anonymous
“Minister, we been praying for revival of religion. And now God poured out his Spirit, we all ‘fraid for it.” –A Believer participating in the 1860 Jamaica prayer revival
Religion is dangerous in the sense that it is unregenerate man’s attempt to reach God by church membership, rituals, sacraments, obeying man’s commandments and teachings and performing other good works. It can only reform man, not change him. Religion can not cause man to be born again; therefore, it does not free man from his enslavement to sin. It still dominates him; therefore, though religious, he still hates and can be as mean as a snake. Listen to Brother Paul writing to the Christian church in Colossae concerning the keeping of religion’s commandments:
“These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.” Colossians 2:23
Religion can not give us victory over our sinful nature. Paul said this about religious people: “…holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power…” (2 Tim. 3:5). The power to radically change our sinful life only comes when we are born again by the Holy Spirit (John 3).
Flee to Jesus Christ, and to Him alone, to escape man-made religion s0 you can experience true life. Ask Him to save you today and to forgive all of your sins and be your Lord and Savior. He will cause you to be born again and the Holy Spirit will come to you and be your Comforter and Guide in this life. And He will change you by causing you to will (desire) and do of God’s good pleasure, bringing freedom from the human sinful nature.
Flee to Jesus today!
Thank you for your precious time. God bless! Carl
It is true that historic Christianity is in conflict at many points with the collectivism of the present day; it does emphasize, against the claims of society, the worth of the individual soul. It provides for the individual a refuge from all the fluctuating currents of human opinion, a secret place of meditation where a man can come alone into the presence of God. It does give a man courage to stand, if need be, against the world; it resolutely refuses to make of the individual a mere means to an end, a mere element in the composition of society. It rejects altogether any means of salvation which deals with men in a mass; it brings the individual face to face with his God.
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
Source: Berean Call
"When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to thee, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord", and Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin." King David in Psalm 32:3-5
God Almighty is the perfect Father to His children, the born again ones. In love He disciplines us for our good so we can share in His holiness (Hebrew 12: 5-12). He also desires to spend time with us, to fellowship with us. The Creator and Sustainer of all things wishes to spend time with us, His redeemed, yet still flawed creatures.
In this Psalm David describes how miserable he was when he did not confess his sins to the Lord. His body was wasting away through his groaning all day long. The literal translation says ” My life juices were turned into the drought of summer” (v4). All because “day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me” (v4).
Are you groaning? Is your vitality dried up? Are your life juices all dried up? Are you miserable? Is some unseen pressure bearing down on your soul day and night? Could Almighty God’s hand be heavy upon you like it was on King David?
If your a biblically born again believer, before you increase your daily vitamins/ supplements or tack on another 15 minutes of exercise in an attempt to relieve this miserable condition, answer this. When was the last time you confessed your sins to God?
Your choices are to stay proud, rebellious and miserable or humble yourself, confessing and forsaking your sins. I promise you, cleaning the slate will turn your groaning into joy. Do not let any sin come between you and your God. He wants to fellowship with you. We must fellowship with Him. He is our life.
“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3
What say ye?
…attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with persuasive arguments.” Colossians 2: 2-4
“In short, he says, “You are fabulously rich in Christ; and don’t you let anyone ever tell you otherwise.”
” Do you know how rich you are? The richest man is the one who understands truths the world’s greatest minds have never understood–that the wise and successful life is one focused on Christ. The richest woman is the one who grasps, that at the heart of all God’s plans for the future is, Jesus. We may read about CEOs on enormous salaries, but we are richer.
Do not let anyone, inside or outside the church, tell you differently with “fine-sounding arguments” (v4). Do not be swayed by entertaining preachers who tell you that life is all about you and your happiness when it is really about Christ. Do not be charmed by highly qualified teachers who try to persuade you that Christ is anything less that the glorious divine being we met in Colossians 1: 15-20. As long as we hold on tight to this Jesus, then our faith will remain strong (v5). I pray that everyone, especially those I love, will never let go of Jesus. ” Journey Through Colossians and Philemon –Mike Raiter
Dear Reader the following Scriptures tell us who this Christ is:
“And He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities –all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things and in Him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church, and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” Colossians 1: 15-20
Do you know this Jesus? Are you fabulously rich because you understand who He is? Are you going to spend eternity with Him or do you have reservations somewhere else? I pray you are holding on to Him. If not, why not today? Tell Him all your sins and ask Him to forgive you. Then ask Him to be your Savior and Lord based on what He did for you on His cross where He took the guilt and penalty (death) for your sins and mine. You will never regret it.
Thank you for your precious time. May God’s blessings be on your life. Carl
Suffering – it’s never pleasant, and we do our best to avoid all forms of it, but suffering is inescapable in this fallen world. The biblical view is that believers should expect sufferings, not simply because they live in this fallen world, but because God uses various forms of afflictions to discipline us, test our faith, and cause us to have an eternal perspective. As a result of false teaching, many have the view that all suffering is a sign of deficiency at our end of the equation. What should be seen as a privilege (suffering that God permits us to endure) is seen as a curse. Suffering that God permits his children to endure, is not harmful, but beneficial. “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.”(Psalm 119:67).
—Rick Becker, who with his brother minister in apologetics in South Africa
From Berean Call
“It seemed clear to me from the teaching of the Bible that Christ’s people should be separate from the world in everything which denoted character and that they should not only be separate but appear so.”
― Catherine Booth (17 January 1829 – 4 October 1890, co-founder of The Salvation Army, along with her husband William Booth.
“Entrance into the Kingdom of God is by the new birth, Matthew 18:3; John 3:5, for nothing that a man may be by nature, or can attain to by any form of self-culture, avails in the spiritual realm. And as the new nature, received in the new birth, is made evident by obedience, it is further said that only such as do the will of God shall enter into His Kingdom, Matthew 7:21….
Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old And New Testament Words – kingdom, p.344 (Emphasis added)
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Lord Jesus Matthew 7:21
Let us pray for ourselves as Paul did for the Colossians: that we ” would be filled with the knowledge of His will in spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that” we ” may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…” Colossians 1:9-10
Since someone not versed in true, biblical salvation may be reading this, let us share what Paul said about not being saved by good works:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
When we come to Christ as lost sinners, trusting only in His finished work on the cross, He causes us to be born again (John 3: 1-16). He gives us a new nature that is radically different from our human, sinful nature. Plus, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. We can now conduct ourselves in “newness of life” (Romans 6:4) and “do the will of the Father ” through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit Who works in us “to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). The good works come after we are born again and not before.
Obedience is now a natural characteristic of our lives and disobedience is unnatural. The Christian is not perfect (sinless) but God begins a process of removing sin from His life which will go on until he departs this earth.
Glory be to God for His great plan of salvation!
If you are not born again as the Bible teaches in John 3:1-16, please ask the Lord to save you from the guilt and penalty of your many sins and to make you a new person in Christ Jesus. You will never regret it.
Blessings of God on each of you! Thank you for your valuable time. Carl
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. “ Colossians 1:21-23
“In these few verses (Colossians 1: 21-23) we have the most amazing summary of the gospel and, indeed, the most compact summary of the whole Christian life. It can be summed up in three very simple words: once…but…if.
“Once you were alienated” (v21). Paul sums up the entire unbelieving world in these words. They are essentially aliens, and it is a relational alienation due to sin. And like all people, we willfully chose to cut ourselves off from God before we were Christians.
“But now he has reconciled you” (v22). Enemies are now friends, aliens are now family, all because of Christ’s death on the cross. Jesus’ death does not just bring us back to God; it also has a future focus–that he might present us holy in His sight, without blemish, free from accusation. The image here is of judgement day, when the bride of Christ is presented to her husband. The question is: are you worthy to enter the kingdom? The psalmist says only the one with clean hands and a pure heart can ascend His holy hill (Psalm 24:4). The good news is that you can confidently reply, “Yes, I am worthy.” On that day we will not fear any voice challenging our claim, because Jesus has died for us to make us worthy.
“If you continue in your faith (v23). Of course, our salvation is secure, but we must continue in this gospel. We have been reconciled to God, and we must not go back to being His enemy. His death has made us holy , so we do not deliberately or willfully give ourselves to a life of ungodliness.
This is our spiritual biography: once…but…if. “
Journey Through Colossians and Philemon by Mike Raiter, p18
Dear Reader: After sharing about Saint Bartholomew’s Massacre and the Huguenots (French Protestants) in the pervious post, I wanted to share why they fled to various nations, including America. The following article is from The One Year Christian History by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten.
God bless you. Carl
“Why is France today considered a mission field?”
The Wars of Religion began in France in 1562 between the Roman Catholics and the French Protestants called Huguenots. The Huguenots were led by the family of Henry of Navarre, a minor kingdom including a small portion of southern France and the present Spanish province of Navarre. Henry inherited the throne of Navarre from his staunchly Calvinist mother. When his cousin King Henry III of France died in 1589, he became heir to the throne of France. His Calvinism made him an unacceptable candidate in Catholic France until he embraced Catholicism in 1593. He was then crowned King Henry IV.
Once he became king, however, he did not forget his Huguenot roots, and in 1598 he issued the Edict of Nantes. This agreement gave the Huguenots freedom of religion in certain areas of the country, civil equality, and fair administration of justice. It provided the Huguenots with a state subside for their troops and pastors and allowed them to retain control of approximately two hundred towns. The Edict of Nantes was historically unique in that it was the first time freedom was granted to two religions to coexist in a nation.
By the late 1600s Henry IV’s grandson, Louis XIV, was king of France. But Louis XIV shared none of his grandfather’s empathy for the Huguenots and on October 18, 1685, he revoked the Edict of Nantes. All Huguenot churches were either destroyed or turned in Catholic churches. Huguenot clergy were given fourteen days to leave France, but the remaining Huguenots were forbidden to emigrate. All children within France were to be baptized by a Catholic priest and raised as Catholics.
[Dear Reader: As time drew near for Louis XIV to meet his Maker, he inquired of his Roman Catholic priest as to what could he do to atone for the wicked things he had done in his life. The priest told him to exterminate the Protestants. To read about this time of persecution read “Six Centuries of Carnage” on this blog. If you scroll down under this blog, you will find it. ]
Mounted soldiers were housed in the homes of Huguenots. The troops were given license to do anything they pleased, short of murder. They forced their hosts to dance until they collapsed. They poured boiling water down their throats. They beat the soles of their feet and pulled out the hairs from their beards. The soldiers burned the arms and legs of their Huguenot hosts with candles and made them hold red-hot coals in their hands. They forced women to stand naked in the streets.
Some four hundred thousand “converts” were forced to attend Mass and receive the Eucharist. Those who spat out the wafer as they left the [Catholic] church were sentenced to be burned alive. Obstinate Huguenot men were imprisoned in dungeons and unheated cells. The women sometimes fared better as they were sent to convents, where they often receive unexpectedly sympathetic treatment from the nuns.
Of the 1.5 million Huguenots living in France in 1660, over the next decades 400,000 risked their lives by escaping across the guarded borders. Geneva, a city of 16,000, welcomed four thousand Huguenots. Although they were Catholic, English kings Charles II and James II aided the Huguenot immigrants in their country. An entire quarter of London was soon populated with French workers. The elector of Brandenburg gave such a friendly reception to the Huguenots that over a fifth of Berlin was French by 1697. Holland welcomed thousands and gave them citizenship. Dutch Catholics joined Protestants and Jews in raising money for Huguenot relief. Many Huguenots fled to South Carolina and to the other colonies as well.
At the height of the Reformation nearly half of the population of France was Huguenot. But as a result of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes and the intense persecutions that followed, today less than one percent of the French shares the faith of the Huguenots, making France a mission field for the gospel.”
The above history is from The One Year Christian History by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten. If you are looking for a daily, historical devotional, I strongly recommend this book.
Considering all of this, is it any wonder that some of the early American colonies prohibited Catholics from settling in their colony? And that the Huguenots risked it all to reach a tolerant nation where they would have freedom of religion.
Today, Christians are being persecuted in many nations. It is our responsibility as born again believers and children of Almighty God to remember out brothers and sisters who are being prosecuted, tortured, kidnapped and murdered for their faith in the Muslin countries, Nigeria, Vietnam, Communist China, Hindu India, Mexico, Central America and other countries. Hebrew 13:3 says:
“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated , since you yourselves also are in the body. “
Pray for the comfort of the Holy Spirit to be with them and that they may persevere in the Faith, even unto death if necessary. Pray that their persecutors would be saved by the grace of God.
Thank you for your time.
“The time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing God a service. This is because they have never known the Father or me.” John 16:2-3
My ancestors from Guernsey Island, France were Huguenots (French Protestants). Following is an account of Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, one of the most horrible days in the history of Christianity, when an estimated 70,000* Huguenots were murdered just for being Protestants.
“In Paris on August 18, 1572, there were hopes for peace between the warring Catholics and Protestants. On this day a royal wedding between the Protestant king Henry of Navarre and the Catholic Margaret of Valois brought together the two hostile factions. Margaret was the sister of young King Charles IX of France and the daughter of Catherine de Medici, the powerful Queen Mother. Protestant and Catholic nobles who had fought each other for ten years turned out for the celebration. Thousands of Protestants came to Paris for the wedding. The festivities lasted for days.
Calvinism had come to France in 1555. Soon there were two thousand French Reformed Churches, and nearly half of the population had embraced the Reformed faith. French Protestants became known as Huguenots.
Fighting broke out in 1562 with the massacre of Vassy, in which twenty-three Huguenots were killed and one hundred wounded. The Huguenots fought back in three successive “wars of religion.” Between 1562 and 1572 there were eighteen massacres of Huguenots, five of Roman Catholics and thirty assassinatons.
While Catherine the Queen Mother was planning her daughter’s wedding, she had also been plotting the assassination of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, a popular French war hero who had become a leader of the Huguenots.
On August 22 the assassination attempt failed. This ignominious plot so soon after the royal wedding threatened to embarrass the royal family. Near midnight the following night the twenty-two-year-old French King, brother of the bride, shouted to his mother in a fit of rage, ” If you are going to kill Coligny, why don’t you kill all the Huguenots in France, so that there will be no one left to hate me.”
Following this impetuous directive, Catherine ordered the murder of all the Huguenots leaders currently in Paris, including those who had attended the wedding. The massacre began August 24, 1572, which was St. Bartholomew’s Day. The gates of the city were closed so that no Huguenot could escape. Admiral Coligny was murdered first as he knelt in prayer.
Many of the Huguenot nobles who were guests at the royal wedding were lodged at the Louvre. They were called into the courtyard and shot one by one as the appeared. King Charles watched approvingly.
During the night the homes of Paris Huguenots had each been marked with white crosses. Before daybreak messengers were sent throughout the city screaming, “Kill! Kill! The king commands it.” A murdering frenzy fell on the whole city. Whole Huguenot families were taken into the streets and murdered. Unborn children were cut from their dead mother’s bellies and smashed on the pavement. The dawn of St. Bartholomew’s Day revealed thousands of martyred Huguenots.
But the savagery was not without cost to the king, Charles IX soon began having nightmares about the massacre. In less than two years at the age of just twenty-four he was dying. His last days were plagued with visions of his victims. “What bloodshed, what murders!” he cried to his nurse. “What evil counsel have I followed? O my God, forgive me! … I am lost!”
Reflection: The St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre was one of the worst days in the history of Christ’s Church. But Jesus warned that another day is coming that will be worst than this day. Are you ready for it if you live to experience that future awful day?
“For that will be a time of greater horror than anything the world has ever seen or will ever see again.” Matthew 24: 21
(Source: The One Year Christian History – E. Michael and Sharon Rusten (2003))
Dear Reader: The Pocket Bible Handbook by Henry H. Halley states the following concerning the Roman Catholic Pope’s reaction to the Massacre:
“There was great rejoicing in Rome. The Pope and his College of Cardinals went, in solemn procession, to the Church of San Marco, and ordered the Te Deum to be sung in thanksgiving. The Pope struck a medal in commemoration of the Massacre; and sent a Cardinal to Paris to bear the King and Queen-Mother the Congratulations of Pope and Cardinals.”
* Pocket Bible Handbook -Henry H. Halley (1954)
Shocking isn’t it! Done all in the name of God! But what about you? Are you ready to meet your Maker. Are you at peace with God through Jesus Christ? For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We need a Redeemer. For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourself, not of works lest any man should boast. No church can save you. It is by Christ alone, by faith alone, through grace alone, to the glory of God alone. Cry out to Him now while there is still breath in your lungs. May you be ready.
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you….And if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same…But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Jesus The Messiah Luke 6: 27, 32, 35-36
Lord Jesus in Luke is speaking to people who were living under the iron hand of the Roman Empire. These words must of been shocking to them….just as they were to me when I reread them last week. Yes, shocking I say. So against my human sinful nature which wants to rail, condemn and hate the anarchist, Marxist and communist who are working tirelessly to destroy my America.
But Lord Jesus says “And why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)
It is ONLY our responsibility to obey and not argue with Him. To submit to his Lordship and not rebel. Therefore, let us repent of hate and put aside our “old man” or “old self” and put on our “new man” created in Christ Jesus and conduct ourselves in newness of life by the power of His Spirit. Then we can love our enemies just as He loved us …… when we were His enemy, ungrateful and pernicious (evil).
“…that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new self which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth….and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us…” Ephesians 4: 22-24, 5:2
They will fight against you but will not overcome you. Jeremiah 1:19
1878: If there were a prize for Christian Group That Has Been Persecuted The Longest, the Waldensians would win it. Their story begins in 1173 when Peter Waldo, a wealthy merchant in Lyons, France, began to take his faith seriously. He sold his estate and gave the money to the poor then had two priests translate the Bible from Latin into French and began to memorize passages. He began to attract followers who wanted to know the Bible, preach it, and put it into practice. His followers called themselves the Poor in Spirit, and they went about in pairs, preaching in the marketplaces. Their lives of poverty and service were an obvious contrast with the wealth and immorality of the [Catholic] church’s officials. Despite the fact that they were doing nothing wrong, they were branded as heretics and excommunicated. In the Middle Ages, thinking outside the box was dangerous.
The Poor in Spirit —- or, to use the more familiar name, the Waldensians —- were active in the Piedmont, the region where France, Italy, and Switzerland meet. In this isolated, mountainous area they found shelter from persecution —- but never for long because now and then, a ruler, with the approval of the [Catholic] pope, would launch a crusade against these Bible-centered people. In 1487 the [Catholic] pope decreed that anyone killing a Waldensian could receive pardon for all sins and confiscate the dead man’s property.
In the 1500s the Waldensians joined forces with the Protestants —- after all, Waldo and followers had been ahead of the curve in emphasizing the Bible as a guide to life. But since they lived in a area that was technically Catholic, persecution continued. King Louis XIV of France detested the Waldensians and in 1685 ordered his cousin who ruled the region to exterminate them.
(A side note on King Louis XIV: from another book on the Waldensians, I learned that toward the end of the Kings life, he asked his priest what he could do to atone for the horrible acts he had done in his life. The priest’s answer was: exterminate the Protestants. )
Finally, on February 17, 1848, came the Edict of Toleration, issued by Charles Albert, king of Piedmont. The Waldensians could finally live and worship in peace
The Christian History Devotional — J. Stephen Lang
Reader, Revelation 6: 9-11 says “And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth? And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, should be completed also.”
A terrible day of Judgement is coming when the Lord Jesus moves off the throne of grace onto His throne of Judgement. Those who have slaughtered God’s children will be Judged for eternity and placed in the lake of fire, which is the second death.
Is Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ alone, your Shelter from this horrible day? I pray so. Thank you for your time. Carl
This booklet is from Lighthouse Trails and sheds light on what is behind certain actions in the USA and other countries at this time. God bless and remain free in the grace of Almighty God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Carl
— Read on www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/