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Reblogged with permission. Yes, we MUST pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all her people.

With President’s historic yet controversial decision on Jerusalem, Evangelical leaders call Christians around the world to pray for the peace of Jerusalem as never before. [Here’s the statement we just released from the Alliance For The Peace of Jerusalem.]

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

Joel-TempleMount2

Time and again, Jerusalem lies at the Epicenter of the momentous events that are shaking our world and shaping our future. This week is no exception.

As a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen — and a Jewish Evangelical — and most recently as a new resident of Jerusalem where my wife and kids and I now live, these issues are not just theological or theoretical for me. They’re personal.

Lynn and I love Jerusalem — we love both Israelis and Palestinians. We love them dearly and equally, as we believe God does. We don’t want to see any more divisions or violence or terror or injustice of any kind. There has been too much suffering, too much bloodshed. We long to see peace between the two sides. We pray and work for the day when both peoples can truly live side by side, and amongst each other, in safety and security and…

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Contrasts

Thanksgiving has again ushered in
the Christmas season.
I am sobered
not so much by the calories I consumed
or the prices in the mall
(although both are too high)
but by the contrasts I see.

There is plenty and want,
joy and grief,
love and hatred,
hope and despair,
the real and the artificial.

Father, please help me to see You
and to share Your love.
Move me to give as Your Son gave
when He willingly went
from the manger to the Cross.

Let there be a difference in me
that is visible and credible—
that points others to Jesus Christ,
who came and is coming again!

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A Thanksgiving Hymn

Come, All Christians

Marlene Bagnull
To the tune
“Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”

Come all Christians join in song
Praise our God the whole day long
Not just on Thanksgiving eve
But throughout eternity
Thank You God for all You’ve done
For Your Spirit and Your Son
And Your Word that points the way
To bear fruit for You each day

Thank You for this land we love
For Your watch care from above
For countless ways that You have blessed
Giv’n Your strength when we are stressed
Help us never to forget
That in You our needs are met
Change our hearts, our faith renew
Help us serve and honor You

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Christmas peace

It’s been over 35 years since the traumatic Christmas Eve I wrote about below. Thank You, Father, for bringing Your peace to these strained relationships and for the assurance that my mother and stepfather are now home with You. Please bring Your peace – Your shalom – to families in conflict. Restore estranged relationships and help us to love others as You love us.

~ * ~ * ~

How fast the year has flown, I reflected as I took the photographs off the mantle to decorate it for Christmas. A charred mark on the paneling behind one of the photos instantly reminded of a Christmas when our home had been anything but peaceful.

My mother and stepfather were visiting. The relationship was strained, but we had been trying to keep the peace. On Christmas Eve the tension erupted into a bitter argument. The smell of burning wood stopped me from saying things I would have later regretted. A candle had tipped over on the mantle causing the paneling right near the thermostat to smolder. Trembling with fear of what might have been, I soaked the wall with water and later hid the damage with a photo. The damage in the relationship with my parents was not so easily hid.

Painful memories have a way of refusing to stay camouflaged. At Christmas we are forced to face the fact that all is not always “calm” and “bright” in our relationships with a brother or a sister, a parent or a child, an in-law or cousin. This season of joy can turn into one of misery as we have no choice but to spend time with people who go out of their way to avoid us the rest of the year.

When our homes are filled with conflict, what can we do to have “peace on earth, good will to men”?

1. Keep our eyes on the One whose birth we celebrate. The Gospel of John opens with the poignant words: “His life is the light that shines through the darkness–and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John l:5 TLB). The reality of that first Christmas was not just the angels’ song, but Herod’s decree that every baby boy two years old and under be slaughtered (see Matthew 2:16). The shadow of the cross was already hanging over the Holy Family as they fled to Egypt.

Jesus never promised us problem-free relationships, but He has promised to give us the wisdom to know how to love those who may be anything but lovable. Difficult relationships do not have to spoil the joy of Christmas if we follow Jesus’ example and respond with love and forgiveness.

2. Try not to put unrealistic demands on ourselves. Christmas Eve I typically am still racing to complete my “to-do” list and end up too tired to enjoy Christmas much less to cope with difficult family members. We need to learn when to make a good night’s sleep a priority so that we’re able to handle added emotional pressures.

3. Avoid having unrealistic expectations of others. It is unlikely that people who have been less than pleasant throughout the year will suddenly become nice just because it is Christmas. Yes, I believe God works miracles, but it is just as great a miracle to learn not to set ourselves up to be hurt through our unrealistic expectations.

I cannot remove that charred area of paneling without replacing the entire wall, but it can serve as a reminder that if I want peace in my family, it must begin with me. Truly, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Cor. 5:19 NIV). Because Christ came, we can be reconciled to one another.
___________

The above article was first published in the December 1986 issue of Decision. It has been reprinted by Our Family, Messenger of St. Anthony, Christian Standard, Sunday Digest, Family Forum, The Gem, and ASSISTnews.net.


To encourage you to write about a God who is real,
who is reachable, and who changes lives
CDs of two workshops I taught this spring at ECPA.

Only $6 each – including handouts!
Click here to order securely online. (Scroll down to #8 & #9.)

#8 CD – Writing Articles that Touch Lives
If we hope to touch lives through the articles we write, we need to know the Lord, know what His Word says and means, know ourselves, and know our audience. Practical pointers for writing powerful, life-changing articles. You’ll discover the Habakkuk 2:2 blueprint to effectively “Write His Answer” and learn how to pass the “So what?” test.

#9 CD – Hook ’em from the Get-Go; Hold ’em to the End
With other 1,000 sales to Christians periodicals, Marlene has developed a checklist to help you create, rewrite, and edit your articles so that you can be certain you’ll hook ’em from the get-go and hold ’em to the end. You’ll learn how to capture and how your reader’s attention and how to use a checklist to polish your articles until they shine.
 
Hot-off-the press!
The Christian Writers Market Guide 2017
Includes “Topics and Types” indexes
to help you find markets for your articles.
Retail – $22.99
Special price – $17.99
Click here to order securely online.

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christmas-gifts
Thanks to an unexpected home improvement – we discovered a leak in our bathroom and spent two weeks with contractors coming and going – I’m far from ready for Christmas even though I’ve had 356 days to prepare. What can we do if our doing is way past what needs to be done?

  • In the midst of the rush to get caught up choose not to miss reflecting daily on the miracle of the Word becoming flesh (John 1:14).
  • If you’ve not yet mailed your Christmas cards (I haven’t!), instead of just signing your name to a store-bought Christmas card, why not enclose a letter? Family and friends you rarely see will appreciate an update even though it’s a copy of a mass-produced letter. But more than just the “news,” ask Father how you can encourage them through sharing something He has taught you this year. Choose to be real.
  • Write a Christmas poem or story and post it on your blog.
  • Post Scripture promises to your social media pages.
  • Write a Letter to the Editor to address efforts to take Christ out of Christmas. Write an intelligent, well-informed response and avoid preaching.
  • Give books by your favorite authors to family and friends.
  • Give yourself the gift of Tyndale’s The One Year Study Bible.
  • cwmg-2017Another must-have gift for yourself – the hot-off-the-press Christian Writers MarketGuide 2017. I just received two boxes of the newly designed and much easier to use guide. Thanks, Steve Laube and Lin Johnson for your work on this needed resource. It retails for $22.99 but is available through the Write His Answer Ministries bookstore for only $17.99 plus $4.00 shipping. There is NO charge for shipping if your order for additional titles from the WHAM bookstore is $35 or more. Click here to order.
  • Plan now to make 2017 the year of growing your writing skills by saving May 17-20 for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference or July 26-29 for the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. I’m praising God for how both conferences are coming together. Be watching for an update on the websites by the end of the year. Why not drop a hint that a conference would make a wonderful Christmas gift?pc-2017-cwcs

Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son. Thank You for the promise that “His life is the light that shines through the darkness – and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:5 TLB). Help us to be bearers of His light through the words we write and lives we live.

New WHA cover
My gift to you: You’ll find several free chapters from Write His Answer, now in print 25 years, at http://bit.ly/2h1qgs2.

“This book changed the way I write. I plan to read it again.”  ~ Danni Andrew

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I confess! I should have changed the headline on the post I shared on my Facebook page Friday, but I didn’t know how to. I did not intend for it to be a political statement. But duh! How else could the headline be interpreted: “This video is the LAST thing Democrats want you to see right now – and it’s going viral.”

The headline did create attention. With 72 “shares” on my Facebook page alone, I can’t help but wonder how many would have read it had I created a more accurate headline like: “He’s not everything the media says he is. Another side of Trump.”

Posted on Allen B. West’s website, the video tells the story of a Puerto Rican boxer whose life was changed because of Donald Trump. I shared it not to rub salt in the very real wounds of those who are grieving over the results of Tuesday’s election. Rather I shared it to show another side of Mr. Trump that we have not seen covered by the media.

Our nation is deeply divided. Yes, I know that’s an understatement. Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, and other minorities are genuinely fearful for their safety.  So are white evangelicals who are being accused of putting a bigot in office.

A dear black friend in my critique group was run off the road by a white man screaming “Trump.” She shared a link to the must-read blog below that I also posted on my Facebook page. Sadly there have been only two shares.

Christians bear the distinct responsibility to love and care for our neighbors,
even if we don’t fully understand them or agree with them.
DESIRINGGOD.ORG

The author, Anthony Bushnell, wrote: “One of the central teachings of Christianity is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37–40.) The Bible exhorts us to ‘weep with those who weep’ (Romans 12:15); it doesn’t lead with telling us to ‘judge whether they should be weeping,’ says pastor H.B. Charles, Jr. The same is true for those in fear. We don’t have to agree with the intensity of their fear in order to empathize with them. Compassion doesn’t require us to be convinced another person is entirely correct. It requires us to care about how he is feeling. Even if you think the danger won’t come to pass, the fear is certainly real….”

I witnessed this fear In July when I spoke in an African-American church in Baltimore after a beautiful black man was killed in Minnesota. I said that day, “The battle is not with people made of flesh and blood but with the principalities and powers seeking to divide our nation and the church.”

I have also experienced fear as a white woman when I’ve driven through the black inner-city neighborhood where my son and daughter-in-law used to live. The rioting in Portland and threats calling for the assassination of President-elect Donald Trump cause me much fear that our nation could descend into anarchy.

The shouting and name-calling coming from both sides is deafening our ears to really hear one another. Who is listening? Certainly the world is. No doubt their opinion of Americans has fallen. God is listening and, I’m just as certain that He is not pleased, especially with those who profess to be Christians. Hopefully we are not spitting out hateful and angry words, but our silence can be just as loud and divisive.

Friends, we are called to be reconcilers through and because of His amazing love. Father, let peace begin with me and my decision to listen and to love.

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Father, I grieve
for my nation that I love
and for Your people who are caught up
in the angry rhetoric that is dividing our nation.
I grieve even more for those who choose
to ignore the issues, to remain silent,
and not to exercise their responsibility to vote.

Father, I plead with You
to help us discern what is most important.
Give us the courage to stand
for the sanctity of life,
for marriage between a man and a woman,
for the nation of Israel surrounded by enemies.

Father, help us to recognize
that we are not fighting against people
made of flesh and blood
but against principalities and powers
intent on fueling angry thoughts and words
into explosive actions to destroy our nation.

Regardless of what happens tomorrow,
help us to trust that You are able
to work all things together for good.
Bring our nation back to You.
Help Your scribes to live
and to write Your answer!

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