December 31, 2015

Abortion

Planned Parenthood Attempts To Blame-Shift Onto Pregnancy Centers by Catherine Glenn Foster – “The nation’s abortion giant accuses pregnancy centers of doing the exact same thing it does: misleading women.”

Six Celebrities Who are Pro-Life on Abortion by Micaiah Bilger

Creation

Who Is Jesus and What Did He Believe About Creation? by Simon Turpin

Secular Fantasies by Regis Nicoll – “The Golden Rule Is Powerless Without Judeo-Christian Presuppositions”

Family Living

Soul Mates? Bad Theology, False Expectations, & Deep Disappointment by Eric Metaxas – “You want to know one reason why so many Christian marriages end up in divorce?”

Orphan Care

Video: 2015 Year in Review – What is God’s answer for vulnerable children? by the Christian Alliance for Orphans

Worldview and Culture

Ultra-feminist founder of Femen Brazil declares herself pro-life, apologizes to Christians by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas message perhaps the best of all world leaders by Steve Jalsevac

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The Upward Call: Prize or Surprise?
by James M. Kushiner, The Fellowship of St. James

Jesus repeatedly warns his followers about the avoidable surprises awaiting them. They won’t be surprised, however, if they would stay awake and pay attention. But they won’t for the most part. When he describes how those events will unfold, it is apparent that the Lord expects most people will be utterly surprised.

Consider one of his most important and direct predictions: the Son of Man will be betrayed and crucified, then rise from the dead. In Luke 9:44, Jesus prefaces the prophecy of his betrayal with, “Let these words sink into your ears.” He repeats the prediction of his death several times; in no case is it accepted or understood by his followers.

Consider the Olivet Discourse as the longest extended example in Scripture. It is repeated in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. His Second Coming and a final divine judgment are among the clearest themes of Jesus’s teaching. Corollary is his prediction that most people will be caught unawares, and his instruction or warning that his followers, in order to be saved, must remain awake, aware, and watching.

In Advent, when we sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” we are affirming the truth that world history is not yet completed and a great Visitation is in the making. We usually think of the terms “Lord” and “King” when we think of Jesus; less often, perhaps, do we think of “Priest,” but I dare say even less often do we think of “Prophet.” John writes in Revelation 19:10 that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Why are we so tone deaf and prone to sleep, not awake to the coming glory and judgment? St. Nikolai Velimirovich (d. 1956) wrote in his devotional book, Prayers by the Lake:

“The world incessantly asks for the hand of my soul, in order to be wedded to her. The world offers my soul all its treasures, if only she will abandon her waiting for You. The world whitewashes its sepulchers, just to entice my soul. The world sets all its ashes out in the sun and pours flattery and pomposity all over it, just to seduce my soul.

“Manifest all Your splendor, O Holy Spirit, so that my soul may recognize whose bride she is.”

“Come closer to me, closer still, O Power of the Holy Trinity. Enter into my consciousness more deeply than thoughts and emblems of the world can. In the same way as a wise mother, when she conceives, prepares and embellishes a cradle for her child, so prepare and embellish my mind for that which will be begotten from You, O Beauty and Purity.”

“… Come closer to me, closer still, O majestic Son of God. Descend deeper into my heart than any emotion, or desire, or passion of the world can descend into it. Protect my heart from the countless merchants, from the numerous buyers and sellers, who are forever swarming in legions around my young and inexperienced heart. And teach my heart not to be crazy about the motley illusions of people and things.”

“Take up Your abode in the bottom of my heart, as the master of a house does in his own home, my beloved Son, and be for me a merciless judge and a sagacious counselor.”

Rejoice! The Lord–Prophet, Priest and King is near!