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Just sharing.

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
“I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Luke 19:40

But could the stones cry out? Assuredly they could if he who opens the mouth of the dumb should bid them lift up their voice. Certainly if they were to speak, they would have much to testify in praise of him who created them by the word of his power; they could extol the wisdom and power of their Maker who called them into being. Shall not we speak well of him who made us anew, and out of stones raised up children unto Abraham? The old rocks could tell of chaos and order, and the handiwork of God in successive stages of creation's drama; and cannot we talk of God's decrees, of God's great work in ancient times, in all that he did for his church in the days of old?

If the stones were to speak, they could tell of their breaker, how he took them from the quarry, and made them fit for the temple, and cannot we tell of our glorious Breaker, who broke our hearts with the hammer of his word, that he might build us into his temple? If the stones should cry out they would magnify their builder, who polished them and fashioned them after the similitude of a palace; and shall not we talk of our Architect and Builder, who has put us in our place in the temple of the living God? If the stones could cry out, they might have a long, long story to tell by way of memorial, for many a time hath a great stone been rolled as a memorial before the Lord; and we too can testify of Ebenezers, stones of help, pillars of remembrance.

The broken stones of the law cry out against us, but Christ himself, who has rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre, speaks for us. Stones might well cry out, but we will not let them: we will hush their noise with ours; we will break forth into sacred song, and bless the majesty of the Most High, all our days glorifying him who is called by Jacob the Shepherd and Stone of Israel.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
The search

Where are you?
The daily search of my life.
The only one who I will give my heart to.
The one I have been looking for, and always will, until that day comes.
The day when I find you.
You are… unexplainable, unpredictable, unimaginable.
How I wait to know you.
Know your name.
Know who you are.

For I pray the day come soon.
The day I discover you.
The day when all searching is over, and I know you are “the one”.
How I long for this day.
Wanting it, to keep me from the tears at night.
Save me the pain inside, of loving anyone but you.
Stop me from wanting it.
Keep me from the desires of the world.

In my prayers, will you remain.
Praying for you, whoever you may be.
And will continue to, until the day you are found.
Asking the God of my soul to watch over you all the days of your life.
Praying your heart be dedicated to Jesus Christ,
so through you, I will richly be
strengthened in the faith I live my life for.
In you, I pray God will remain always.

The search will go on.
The day has yet to come.
My soul waits for you, longing for you.
Never giving up, I have faith.
I believe.
I will find you.
God will send you to me.
So the search will go on, until you, my love, is finally discovered
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset

Thief or Terrorist: What Kind of Criminal Was Crucified With Jesus?


“Thief” is too mild a word in the verse where we are told that Jesus was “crucified between two thieves” (Matthew 27:38). The same is true in John 18:40, where we are told, “Now Barabbas was a robber.” The language is too mild. Not even “bandit” has enough kick to translate the word lēstēs. Barabbas and his buddies who were crucified with Jesus would be better described as revolutionaries, guerillas, pirates (the landlubber variety), or (to use a modern term) “terrorists.”


The difference becomes clear when we look at the alternative Greek terms. Kleptēs is the term for a burglar, someone who steals by being sneaky (Matthew 6:19-20). Jesus compares his coming to being like a kleptēs in the night (Matthew 24:43, Revelation 3:3, 16:15). Likewise, the New Testament compares the day of the Lord to such a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4, 2 Peter 3:10).

Paul’s sin list in 1 Corinthians 6:10 includes not only kleptai, but also harpages. A harpax is a literally a “snatcher,” a mugger, someone who steals openly by force. The verb form is “to snatch,” the same verb Paul uses for the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (harpagēsometha, “we shall be snatched up”).

Our daughter describes the three Greek terms for thief as “sneaky, grabby, and stabby.” “Sneaky” is the kleptēs. “Grabby” is the harpax. Now, it’s time for the “stabby.”

We might call the lēstēs a harpax on steroids. Today’s ISIS fighters would be an excellent example, who combine robbery, pillaging, and murder with political revolution. Josephus uses lēstēs and its related adjectives and substantives 143 times. He pairs the lēstai together with the stasiōdes (insurrectionists, as in for example Jewish War 5.53). He explicitly describes as lēstai the Sicarii, men who circulated in the 50’s AD with short hidden daggers which they used to assassinate anyone who was not part of the anti-Roman resistance (literal “cloak-and-dagger!”

See http://www.ancient-origins.net/hist...ii-jewish-daggermen-thirst-roman-blood-008179). Josephus also speaks of the rebels who tyrannized Jerusalem through the horrors of 68-70 AD as lēstai. He uses the term lēstrikos polemos for “guerilla warfare” (Jewish War 2.65).
In the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30, the traveler to Jericho is attacked by lēstai. The attackers not only strip him (the robbery component), but also beat him and leave him half-dead. There is no political revolution component (of course, Jesus probably intends the story as fiction), but here it is the gratuitous violence that marks the attackers as lēstai and not simply harpages or “snatchers.”


Two lēstai were crucified with Jesus. Barabbas (John 18:40) would have been the third, if he had not been freed by the Good Friday mob. Barabbas was being held for insurrection and murder (Luke 23:19), not stealing. We must note that neither Jewish nor Roman law prescribed the death penalty for mere theft. These men next to Jesus at Calvary were not being crucified for stealing, but for being violent revolutionaries.

It was a death so hideous, that both Gnosticism and Islam tried to wiggle out of the scandal thereof by claiming that God engineered a substitute for the real Jesus. For Gnosticism, they needed a substitute for the physical pain. For Islam, they needed a substitute for God’s prophet to avoid the ultimate injustice.

Nice try, but it flies in the face of honest history. Who was there on the ground who was in a position to take Jesus’ place, or to make it happen? Simon of Cyrene could be commandeered to carry the cross, but none of those who were carrying out the crucifixion would have allowed a substitute for the victim.

The scandal was unavoidable. It was part of the total price Jesus paid for the sins of an entire planet. The physical and emotional pain was bad enough. Cicero calls the cross crudelissimi taeterrimique (the “most cruel and terror-inspiring” penalty), while Origen calls it turpissima “(most obscene”). But the real pain was the penalty of hell placed on him for every one of us that was squeezed into those few hours of earthly time.

How degrading, for Jesus to suffer Rome’s most hideous punishment with such dangerous, violent men! Here we have a vivid picture of the depths to which Jesus humbled himself (Philippians 2:8), from whence God highly exalted him, and gave him the name at which every knee shall bow. Let us ponder the humiliation Jesus suffered by being crucified between two terrorists, as we commemorate Good Friday and celebrate Resurrection Sunday.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Jared had been brought up on a very unusual diet—or I should say unusual to us. In the prison in which he was born to one of the prisoners, it was the standard fare. All of the inmates were fed poisoned food. Yes, that’s right—the food had poison in it—the sort of slow poison that gradually weakened and killed over many years.

The amazingly good news was that Jared was no longer a prisoner. He’d been ransomed and set free. In fact, he’d been adopted by the most wonderful father you could imagine.

So you might imagine Jared’s brother Ethan’s surprise when he walked into the room and saw Jared eating poisoned food.

“Jared, why are you eating that again?” his brother Ethan asked.

Jared shrugged. “I just can’t help it,” he mumbled. “I’ve always eaten this.”

Ethan grabbed the plate out of his brother’s hands. “You can to help it!” he replied. “Father set you free—you’re not a prisoner. You don’t have to eat this anymore. There’s lots of good food to be had.”

Jared reached for the plate. “Just leave me alone for now. I’m just so tired—I need this.”

“You’ll only get more tired eating that,” Ethan remarked. “Come on, Jared, don’t you remember how this poison works? It messes with your mind, so you can’t think clearly. It takes away your energy, so you’re unable to accomplish anything of value. It slowly destroys you.”

Jared did remember. Oh, why was he swallowing poison again?

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2 (ESV)

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Ephesians 6:1-4 (ESV)
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
“When he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Mark 8:38

If we have been partakers with Jesus in his shame, we shall be sharers with him in the lustre which shall surround him when he appears again in glory. Art thou, beloved one, with Christ Jesus? Does a vital union knit thee to him? Then thou art to-day with him in his shame; thou hast taken up his cross, and gone with him without the camp bearing his reproach; thou shalt doubtless be with him when the cross is exchanged for the crown.

But judge thyself this evening; for if thou art not with him in the regeneration, neither shalt thou be with him when he shall come in his glory. If thou start back from the black side of communion, thou shalt not understand its bright, its happy period, when the King shall come, and all his holy angels with him. What! are angels with him? And yet he took not up angels — he took up the seed of Abraham. Are the holy angels with him? Come, my soul, if thou art indeed his own beloved, thou canst not be far from him. If his friends and his neighbours are called together to see his glory, what thinkest thou if thou art married to him? Shalt thou be distant?

Though it be a day of judgment, yet thou canst not be far from that heart which, having admitted angels into intimacy, has admitted thee into union. Has he not said to thee, O my soul, “I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness?” Have not his own lips said it, “I am married unto thee, and my delight is in thee?” If the angels, who are but friends and neighbours, shall be with him, it is abundantly certain that his own beloved Hephzibah, in whom is all his delight, shall be near to him, and sit at his right hand. Here is a morning star of hope for thee, of such exceeding brilliance, that it may well light up the darkest and most desolate experience.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous ? Actually, who are you not to be ? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world.

There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
The Scary Storm

A little girl walked daily to and from school. Though the weather that morning was questionable and clouds were forming, she made her daily trip to school.

As the afternoon progressed, the winds whipped up, along with thunder and lightning. The mother of the little girl felt concerned that her daughter would be frightened as she walked home from school, and she herself feared that the electrical storm might harm her child. Following the roar of thunder, lightning, like a flaming sword would cut through the sky.

Full of concern, the mother quickly got in her car and drove along the route to her child's school.

As she did so, she saw her little girl walking along, but at each flash of lightning, the child would stop, look up and smile. Another and another were to follow quickly, each with the little girl stopping, looking up and smiling.

Finally, the mother called over to her child and asked, "what are you doing?" The child answered, "smiling, God just keeps taking pictures of me."
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Don't cheapen the Cross

With Easter just around the corner, there is no better time to focus on the meaning of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many people are fascinated by this phenomenon,whether or not they are Christian or regular church attenders. In fact, Easter is a holiday that leads many of those individuals to church for a variety of reasons. Regardless of the reason, this is a good thing – we Christians should want people to come and join us on the most holy holiday of the year.

The question is: What message will they hear? What message will we hear?

The truth of the Gospel? How Jesus lived? How he loved? How he died? How he came back to life? Will we hear about His radical grace, along with His radical expectations of His followers?

Will we hear about the reason Jesus died on the cross? Or will we hear a cheapening of the cross.

Anytime we make Jesus out to be someone who was more concerned about anything other than our souls, we cheapen the cross.

Anytime we make Jesus out to be someone who would engage in sin or support others in their sin, we cheapen the cross.
Anytime we make Jesus out to be anything other than GOD, we cheapen the cross.


Yes, we cheapen the cross when we don’t speak the entire truth about who Christ is. Why he died. Why he arose! People need to know the truth. The truth is that God so loved the world that He sent His only son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). What’s so amazing about this is it’s all-inclusive! As the saying goes, the ground is level at the foot of the cross.

Christians are called by Jesus to deny ourselves, take up our own crosses daily, and follow Him. If we are true believers, we cannot twist the Bible into what we want it to say or mean.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
If Jesus came to your house
To spend some time with you,
If He came unexpected,
I wonder what you’d do.

Oh, I know you’d give your nicest room
To such an honored guest
And all the food you’d give to Him
Would be the very best.

And you would keep assuring Him
You’re glad to have Him there–
That serving Him in your home
Is joy beyond compare.

But when you saw Him coming,
Would you meet Him at the door
With arms outstretched in welcome
To your heavenly visitor?

Or would you have to change your clothes
Before you let Him in
Or hide some magazines
And put the Bible where they’d been

Would you hide your worldly music
and put some hymn books out?
Could you let Jesus walk right
in, or would you rush about?

And I wonder – if the Saviour
spent a day or two with you,
Would you go right on doing, the
things you always do?

Would you go right on saying, the
things you always say?
Or would life for you continue
as it does from day to day?

Would you take Jesus with you
everywhere you go?
Or would you maybe change your
plans for just a day or so?

Would you be glad to have Him
meet your closest friends?
Or would you hope they stay away,
until His visit ends?

Would you be glad to have Him
stay forever on and on?
Or would you sigh with great
relief when He at last was gone?

It might be interesting to know,
the things that you would do,
If Jesus came in person, to spend
some time with you.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
“I will accept you with your sweet savour.”

Ezekiel 20:41

The merits of our great Redeemer are as sweet savour to the Most High. Whether we speak of the active or passive righteousness of Christ, there is an equal fragrance. There was a sweet savour in his active life by which he honoured the law of God, and made every precept to glitter like a precious jewel in the pure setting of his own person. Such, too, was his passive obedience, when he endured with unmurmuring submission, hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness, and at length sweat great drops of blood in Gethsemane, gave his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked out the hair, and was fastened to the cruel wood, that he might suffer the wrath of God in our behalf.

These two things are sweet before the Most High; and for the sake of his doing and his dying, his substitutionary sufferings and his vicarious obedience, the Lord our God accepts us. What a preciousness must there be in him to overcome our want of preciousness! What a sweet savour to put away our ill savour! What a cleansing power in his blood to take away sin such as ours! and what glory in his righteousness to make such unacceptable creatures to be accepted in the Beloved! Mark, believer, how sure and unchanging must be our acceptance, since it is in him!

Take care that you never doubt your acceptance in Jesus. You cannot be accepted without Christ; but, when you have received his merit, you cannot be unaccepted. Notwithstanding all your doubts, and fears, and sins, Jehovah's gracious eye never looks upon you in anger; though he sees sin in you, in yourself, yet when he looks at you through Christ, he sees no sin. You are always accepted in Christ, are always blessed and dear to the Father's heart. Therefore lift up a song, and as you see the smoking incense of the merit of the Saviour coming up, this evening, before the sapphire throne, let the incense of your praise go up also.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Open the Rose

A young, new preacher was walking with an older, more seasoned preacher in the garden one day and feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was inquiring of the older preacher. The older preacher walked up to a rosebush and handed the young preacher a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing off any petals.

The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older preacher and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the WILL OF GOD for his life and for his ministry. Because of his high respect for the older preacher, he proceeded to TRY to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact…It wasn’t long before he realized how it was impossible to do so.

Noticing the younger preacher’s inability to unfold the rosebud while keeping it intact, the older preacher began to tell the following poem…

It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of GOD’s design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.

GOD opens this flower so sweetly,
When in my hands they fade and die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of GOD’s design,
Then how can I think I have wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?

So I’ll trust in Him for His leading
Each moment of every day.
I will look to Him for His guidance
Each step of the pilgrim way.

The pathway that lies before me,
Only my heavenly Father knows.
I’ll trust Him to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Good Friday or Bad Friday, You Decide


Millions of Christians across the world will be celebrating this weekend starting on the somber holiday of Good Friday in various ways including fasting and church services. But why is it called good when it is about the death of Jesus, our Lord and Savior? In fact, I just learned that in Germany, Good Friday is also called Sorrowful Friday. And how appropriate since this day is commemorated as the day that Jesus, the unblemished lamb of God, died from painful crucifixion in order to atone for the sins of humanity.

What about you—do you believe it is Good Friday or Bad Friday?

Bad: Jesus is make believe and not God’s son. There is no Creator and if so, he is not actively loving you.

Good: For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). God loves us so much!

Bad: There was a lunatic claiming to be the Messiah, but the real one has yet to come if the Scriptures is even true.

Good: Jesus came to Earth as the long prophesied Messiah.

Bad: If He came, they killed him and he is dead like everyone else who has lived in history.

Good: They tried to kill Him but the grave could not keep Him down for long!

Bad: No one can save us from our actions but ourselves. We have to pay the consequences, up to and including death.

Good: Jesus died to save us from the ultimate consequence of our sin nature—condemnation by God in eternal separation from Him upon physical death.

Bad: Jesus could not have suffered for He is God.

Good: Jesus suffered a physical death and a momentary spiritual separation from God the Father. He suffered while in the flesh wearing the crown of thorns, carrying the cross to Calvary, to the spitting, mocking, and his clothes stripped from his nail pierced body, to hanging with thieves at his final hour…

Bad: If Jesus suffered, it must have been his fault, his own wrongdoings.

Good: Jesus, Himself God and without fault, was persecuted, scorned, and nailed to the cross to die as foretold in the book of Isaiah. Just like in the Old Testament where each human sin had to be atoned for by sacrificing the blood of a spotless animal, such as a lamb, so Jesus became the literal atonement for our sins so that anyone who believes can have a personal relationship with God the Father, and eternal life upon our own physical death.



Bad: If it was Jesus who was crucified, then his body was possibly stolen to keep the story alive (who knows why).


Good: He was dead and His body buried in a cave for 3 nights until God raised Him up on the third day. Several women and men gave eye witness accounts.

~~~~~~~~<<<<<>>>>>~~~~~~~~~

Bad: We are still under works and the law. Forgiving others is optional. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Be ashamed of yourself if you do badly. Shame others mercilessly if they wrong you. Forgiveness has to be earned!

Good: God was showing us mercy and love on the cross that we would not be forever penalized for our sins. With one great act of sacrifice, God freed us from being under man’s laws. His great love overrides the law of life and death, an eye for an eye. He demonstrated forgiveness of sins with one final atonement for all. We have been forgiven, not because we have earned it or can possibly earn God’s forgiveness through any amount of works, even seventy times seven times. So we, too, are to forgive others in the same gracious way.

Bad: Expect nothing good apart from your works and innate abilities. May the toughest, shrewdest, fiercest among us win! Good luck and tough luck if you are born with low IQ or few talents for you will be undoubtedly worth less than others in this competitive world. It is a survival of the fittest world.

Good: We have hope that God is good and He loves each created being! His mercies are new every morning and His blessings abound! We can trust His gentle yoke and His promises to provide for, redeem, and restore us in His time. No sickness can break this body that the Spirit cannot restore. No disease or relationship dysfunction can separate us from the love that is found in Christ Jesus, our Lord!

Bad: There is no resurrection. It’s all a fairy tale for kids and gullible adults.

Good: Sunday is coming! Jesus is coming in power, prepare to receive the risen Lord!

Based on the list above, which Friday do you believe in? How have your beliefs served you or others well in life? For me, I believed and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior on April 23, 1993, just after Easter earlier that year. So, my first Good Friday was in 1994. And there have been many good days of hope and power since then.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Broken dreams

As children bring their broken toys
With tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my friend.

But then instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.

At last I snatched them back and cried,
“How could you be so slow”
“My child,” He said, “What could I do?
You never did let go.”
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
“Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.”

Lamentations 3:40

The spouse who fondly loves her absent husband longs for his return; a long protracted separation from her lord is a semi-death to her spirit: and so with souls who love the Saviour much, they must see his face, they cannot bear that he should be away upon the mountains of Bether, and no more hold communion with them. A reproaching glance, an uplifted finger will be grievous to loving children, who fear to offend their tender father, and are only happy in his smile.

Beloved, it was so once with you. A text of Scripture, a threatening, a touch of the rod of affliction, and you went to your Father's feet, crying, “Show me wherefore thou contendest with me?” Is it so now? Are you content to follow Jesus afar off? Can you contemplate suspended communion with Christ without alarm? Can you bear to have your Beloved walking contrary to you, because you walk contrary to him? Have your sins separated between you and your God, and is your heart at rest?

O let me affectionately warn you, for it is a grievous thing when we can live contentedly without the present enjoyment of the Saviour's face. Let us labour to feel what an evil thing this is — little love to our own dying Saviour, little joy in our precious Jesus, little fellowship with the Beloved! Hold a true Lent in your souls, while you sorrow over your hardness of heart. Do not stop at sorrow!

Remember where you first received salvation. Go at once to the cross. There, and there only, can you get your spirit quickened. No matter how hard, how insensible, how dead we may have become, let us go again in all the rags and poverty, and defilement of our natural condition. Let us clasp that cross, let us look into those languid eyes, let us bathe in that fountain filled with blood—this will bring back to us our first love; this will restore the simplicity of our faith, and the tenderness of our heart.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Two visitors

Two visitors came to see me, both at the same time,
Both were trying to win control of my body, heart, and mind
One was dressed quite plainly, one dressed fit to kill,
I couldn’t see the battle they were waging for my will.

One promised to give fame, friends and riches beyond compare,
Anything I wanted, it seemed, and while I was standing there,
He showed me how life could be, for a little while at least,
I couldn’t see beneath the clothes, to recognize the beast.

The other told of hard times, of sacrifice and pain,
Ridicule and persecution, nothing much to gain,
But there was something deep in this visitor’s eyes
That made me feel to choose Him, somehow would be wise.

I guess you know the outcome, I hope my life reflects,
The one I picked, the path I chose, the one that He directs.
But now at last I see Him, as He truly is THE KING!
So, did I choose so poorly, I wonder as I sing…

Eternal praises to my God at last in heaven’s city.
Could I have been richer, more popular, what a pity-
For now all I have to show for the pain and unkind laughter,
Is a crystal mansion on a street of gold, living happily ever after.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Free Range Parenting: A Clear And Present Danger

What is “free range parenting?” Why is it suddenly becoming so popular, and is it safe for children?

Utah’s Law
When Utah introduced the first free-range parenting law, the very first state in the nation to do that, it opened up a whole new frontier for young children, and not a good one, and one that could be more like Pandora’s Box than what we might have imagined. What is “free-range” parenting? If you’ve seen any of the old westerns, you might be familiar with the free rangers who brought in cattle to range in the open territories.

Some didn’t accept the free rangers because their cattle grazed on their land, so free ranging eventually came to an end, but it’s back. No, we’re not talking about free ranging cattle but about human beings, and children at that! One example is Lenore Skenazy who let her 9-year-old ride the subway home alone by giving him a map, a MetroCard, twenty dollars, and some quarters for a pay phone call in case he needed help, but Skenazy says that it was all his idea, and her son begged her to just leave him somewhere and let him find his way back all by himself, so finally, on a spring day in 2008, Skenazy finally let him do it, allowing her 9-year-old to ride the subway home…alone. [1]. I was astounded when I read that. Letting a 9-year-old alone in New York City because he begged his mom to do it? Who is the parent here, I would ask. Why let a 9-year-old decide what’s best for them?

Clear and Present Danger
Free-range parenting is one of the most dangerous parenting styles I have ever heard about. To me, it sounds more like parental negligence. If they get lost, can you really trust a 9-year-old to know what stranger to approach and what stranger not to approach? Would you allow your own son, daughter, or grandchild to try that if they asked you?

The mother said if he needed help and got lost, she “trusted him to ask a stranger. And then I even trusted that stranger not to think, ‘Gee, I was about to catch my train home, but now I think I’ll abduct this adorable child instead.’” [1]. Sorry, but I’m not about to let my 9-year-old child or grandchild decide what’s best for them and then trust society enough that they’ll help them if they need it. That’s almost asking for an exploited or kidnapped child.


Marriages
I’m sure you’ve heard of open marriages. Several Hollywood couples have publically stated that they have open marriages, so I guess that means they are free to roam wherever their hormones take them, so it’s a little like a “free-range marriage.” At least it seems like it because the spouse can roam wherever they wish to find whomever they wish, and there are no commitment or fidelity issues involved, however, there could be issues after all.

For example, there may be issues with things like STD’s? If you are involved with another person’s spouse or a single person and have sex with them, aren’t you really having sex with the people they’ve had sex with, and the one before that, and the one before that? You have no idea what disease that person on the “free range” might have. Since anything goes in many open marriages, anything and everything the spouse comes in contact with can be passed on to their own spouse, so free range marriages are not free. In fact, they might be very costly; STD’s or other diseases which may lead to sterility or other sexually transmitted diseases, so it’s not really free sex if it cost…in health, relationships, families, and more. If you go to bed with someone, you’re actually going to bed with all their previous partners, at least in a physical sense.

Free Ranging
I can see letting animals free range in an area where they can find food and water, but not so much with children. Free range is a farming method that allows animals to roam the range freely, without restrictions, control or confinement, and that works well for some animals, but it’s not a good way to raise children.

Children, if left to themselves, and especially at a young age, don’t have the maturity to make the right choices, and there are far too many sexual predators out there for them to just range freely, at their own liking, and hope they find their way home or can call their parents if they get lost. This is not like being home alone, but about getting home alone and alive, so clearly it’s a dangerous parental trend, and it’s a mystery to me is why Social Services or Child Protective Services doesn’t get wind of this and declare it to be a dangerous practice. Where are the sociologists in this? Do they believe it’s fine or dysfunctional?

If so, speak up! Why is there no public outcry? What happened to responsibility in parenting? Have “free range” parents relegated their child care to the way we take care of our pets? That is, making sure they’re fed and watered and then let them freely roam anywhere they want to? Most of us don’t even do that with our pets! Is this a dangerous precedent or not? I thought open marriages were a threat to our society, but free-range parenting? All I can say is, Wow!



Problematic Issues
I cannot believe a state (Utah) would pass a law that protects the freedom of parents who want to let their children fend for themselves in some cases. Being the first state in the nation to pass this law may mean it won’t be the last. In fact, as you have read, there have already been free-range parents, and the numbers of the free-range children will only grow now that it’s legal (at least in Utah).

The Utah law specifically says, it is not a crime for parents to allow kids who display maturity and good judgment to do things like walk to school alone or play outside without supervision, however, no age limit or minimum was established, so how will parents know when their children are “ready” to range freely without restrictions and without supervision? The Bible clearly warns parents that “a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (Prov 29:15b), so “Give me a home where the buffalo roam, and the deer and the antelope play,” but my children and grandchildren are not free to roam where the buffalo roam, and they won’t have to find their own way home. Of course, I gave them increasing responsibility as they matured, but I could not imagine letting my 9-year-old son take the subway home in any big city, not just New York City.

Conclusion
It wasn’t that long ago (2015) when a Maryland couple was accused of neglect for letting their two children, ages 10 and 6, walk home without adult supervision. Now, it’s legal in Utah, and other states may follow suit. If so, then we will have a new generation of young people who have been allowed to decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong, and not having the wisdom of adults, they can easily choose to trust someone whom they shouldn’t trust at all.

What kind of society will we have when children make the decisions based upon what they want (begging or not), and then parents relent? Who’s the parent here?! I say, be the parent. Parents are meant to nurture, feed, provide, and protect their children into adulthood. I won’t apologize for that. I do not believe children, especially a 9-year-old boy living in New York City, should be left to find his own way home. He’s not in a position to protect himself.

He doesn’t possess the maturity or wisdom necessary to know who to approach and who not to approach for help, and neither does he have the strength or ability to defend himself against an adult. In my opinion, free-range parenting is parenting at its worst…and I’d say, it comes dangerously close to criminal negligence and endangerment of a child. I know there’s a law against that…at least for now.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
There is a great battle that rages inside me.

One side is the soaring eagle. Everything the eagle stands for is good and true and beautiful, and it soars above the clouds. Even though it dips down into the valleys, it lays its eggs on the mountaintops.

The other side of me is the howling wolf. And that raging, howling wolf represents the worst that’s in me. He eats upon my downfalls and justifies himself by his presence in the pack.

Who wins this great battle?

The one I feed of course.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
ISN’T IT STRANGE?

Isn’t it strange how a $100 dollar bill seems like such a large amount when you donate it to the church, but such a small amount when you go shopping?

Isn’t it strange how endless an hour seems when we are serving God, but how short it is when we watch a Football game for 60 minutes?

Isn’t it strange how 2 hours seem so long when you’re at the church and how short they seem when you’re watching a good movie?

Isn’t it strange that you can’t find things to say when you’re praying, but you have no trouble on thinking what to talk about with a friend?

Isn’t it strange how difficult and boring it is to read one chapter of the Bible but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a popular novel?

Isn’t it strange how everyone wants front-row-tickets to concerts or games, but they do whatever is possible to sit at the last row in the church?

Isn’t it strange how we need to know about an event for the church 2-3 weeks before the day so we can include it in our agenda, but we can adjust it for other events in the last minute?

Isn’t it strange how difficult it is to learn a fact about God to share it with others, but how easy it is to learn, understand, extend and repeat gossip?

Isn’t it strange how we believe everything that magazines and newspapers say, but we question the words in the Bible?

Isn’t it strange how everyone wants a place in heaven, but they don’t want to believe, do, or say anything to get there?

Isn’t it strange how we send jokes in e-mails and they are fowarded right away, but when we are going to send messages about God, we think about it twice before we share it with others?

IT’S STRANGE ISN’T IT?
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Easter Monday

I have friend who teaches New Testament at a nearby graduate school. She’s articulate, well studied and insightful in her writings about the Jesus and His first century context. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from her and count her a trusted friend.

Did I mention she was Jewish? While she admires Jesus for His teachings and His understanding of human nature, she doesn’t believe Jesus is the Messiah and she doesn’t believe in the resurrection. Needless to say, we have some very interesting conversations and challenging debates. I will give her this, she keeps me on my toes.

One day, we were talking about how pastors should be prepared for their ministries and we got on the subject of the weaknesses and strengths of seminary educations. Without any warning, she turns to me and says, “If you were the president of a seminary, could I teach on your faculty?”

I looked back at her and said, “No, you could not.”

She wanted to know why not. I had come to expect that kind of follow up from her. You’re not just going to give an answer without having to explain the process that allowed me to arrive at my decision. She reminded me she was better qualified than most people I would hire. True. She told me she had been published more than most people I could hire. Again, true. She told me she was a better professor, a better teacher, than most I could hire. Again, all true.

“Then why wouldn’t you hire me?”

“Because you don’t believe in the resurrection. How can we train Christian ministers to work in Christian churches if you tell them the resurrection didn’t happen?”

That led to an intense discussion about the alternative viewpoints of the resurrection, how the church has historically understood the resurrection and what it meant to follow the Risen Christ.

I know all of that, I said. I know all of the alternative suggestions and reasons given by some why the resurrection couldn’t have happened. I know about the confusion of the gospel accounts. I know all of that and yet, I’ve come to the conclusion that Christ was indeed raised from the dead and conquered death in the process. I believe Jesus is alive now and able to bring life from death through the Spirit of God.

You can’t stand up on Easter Sunday morning and preach, “Maybe…” You have to be able to declare, “He’s alive!” with every fiber of your being. If you can’t do that, then don’t preach. Don’t preach on Easter or any other Sunday for that matter.

Easter matters.

Easter matters because if Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead, if Jesus is still dead then He can’t help and we need His help. We desperately need His help…
…because we’re all dying. In big ways and little ways, but dying just the same. That’s why all of love the ending of Romans 7. Is there anyone who can help us? Right here? Right now?


It’s not just Easter that’s at stake. It’s every day. One of the things I love about being the pastor of a local church is that you get close to people’s lives. The one thing I hate about being the pastor of local church is that you get into people’s lives. There are a lot of days I walk around wishing I didn’t know what I know.

The old preachers used to tell me to preach “as a dying man to dying men.” It would be several years until I fully understood the truth of that statement.

All of my people are dying…some in big ways. They’ve been to the doctor during the week and been told there’s nothing more the doctor can do. They’ve buried a husband or a wife in the past several days. They’re struggling with the hardest questions of life. Does living mean anything? Is death the final word?

What does Easter mean to them?

Some of my people are dying in little ways. A marriage is fraying. Despite all of their efforts, this couple can’t find love again. Something very precious is slipping away. Who can help? What’s left to say?

An addict starting using again. He knows his habit is killing him, but he can’t find the strength to get free. Can Jesus still defeat death? Even when death is in the pill bottle by your bed?

One of students didn’t get into graduate school. Now what? All of the dreams, all of the promises of the future are now in the trash can wadded up in the last rejection letter. What’s left? Get a job and work until you die? Can Jesus defeat death when it kills you one dream at a time?

This Sunday, I’ll stand in the pulpit and read a familiar passage of the disciples being surprised by the resurrection of Jesus. We once again hear the story of despair giving way to hope, of death being buried by life. I will tell them that Jesus was raised from the dead and that He’s alive now!

Yes, that means nothing can separate us from Him or His love for us. It means when we die, He’ll bring us to be with Him. He won’t allow death to have the last word in our lives.

And he won’t allow death to have the final word in of our days. Christ has defeated death – the final and ultimate destroyer of our lives and meaning and Christ has defeated all of the little deaths we experience in the days until then.

Broken marriages can be healed.

Addicts can be set free.

Dreams can be put back together into better dreams, dreams we would have wanted if we had known they were even possible.

No, you can’t preach on Easter Sunday if you don’t believe in Easter.

In fact, you can’t live on Monday or Tuesday or any other day of the week if you don’t believe Death has ultimately been conquered and all of the little deaths in between.

Happy Easter. Jesus is alive. And that makes all of the difference.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Life with Jesus

Jesus is with me every hour, every day,

Guiding me, leading me, showing the way.

Since I decdied to believe on his name,

Nothing in life has ever been the same.

The addictions I suffered are soothed by his hand

My anguish of heart drifted off like fine sand.

I live every moment with guidance from above;

Every part of my heart is squeezed full of God’s love.

Once all was too hard and I despaired of all peace,

But when I took His offer all despair was released.

No problem today cannot be overcome;

My job is to pray; God gets the rest done.

What glorious relief to be under God’s shield—

Why not, my dear friend, won’t you also yield?

Give up your fight to keep walking alone;

Submit to your Savior; He’ll welcome you home.
 
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