1. The Abyss of Hate Versus Hate

But I did make time to watch the full 100 minutes of YouTube footage that covered the scene in front of the Lincoln Memorial long before, during, and after the smirk that was seen across the world.

What I saw was extraordinary bigotry, threats of violence, hideous misogyny, disgusting racism, foul homophobia, and anti-Catholicism — not by the demonized schoolboys, but by grown men with a bullhorn, a small group of self-styled Black Hebrew Israelites. They’re a fringe sect — but an extremely aggressive one — known for inflammatory bigotry in public.

MY TAKE: Christians, of all people, should not rush to judgment.

This story and the false narratives surrounding the 19 January event has gone on for far too long. So long, in fact, that it has now fallen far below the fold and is generally buried deep beneath heaps of other stories designed to further alienate people.

But the story and the division it exposes continues to this day.

Despite the story’s absence from the front pages, the Covington High School kids and their families are still suffering the negative effects of being the focal point of the divided nation’s ire, the heat of which was stoked greatly by carefully edited videos and and commentary that focused on just a few minutes of time while ignoring the context for the “smirk heard round the world.”

When we dig deeper, we see clearly that the students from Covington High School acted with tremendous restraint and a maturity that is lacking in most of the adults covering the event.

The students were victimized that day and they’re still being abused today by people who are either uncaring or uninformed about what really went on that day.

Andrew Sullivan’s piece at nymag.com provides the context we need to understand this story.

2. Trump to Meet China’s Xi to Try to Seal Trade Deal, Progress Reported

Trump, speaking at the White House during a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, said he was optimistic that the world’s two largest economies could reach “the biggest deal ever made.”

The Chinese trade delegation said in a statement that the talks made “important progress,” China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.

No specific plans for a meeting with Xi were announced, but Trump said there could be more than one. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were invited to bring a U.S. negotiating team to Beijing around mid-February, with dates still pending.

The White House also said in a statement that its scheduled March 2 tariff increase on $200 billion of Chinese goods was a “hard deadline” if no deal was reached by March 1.

MY TAKE: This story is focused on trade and economics, but the bigger story for God’s people has to do with the ways in which our country’s international relationships shed light on other nations’ treatment of their citizens. Of particular importance in this case is how China treats the Christians that live there.

Some 3 to 5 percent of China’s 1.4 billion citizens identify as Christians — a relatively small percentage, but in raw numbers, China is on its way to having more Christians than any other country by 2030.

China’s treatment of Christians within its borders varies between moderate tolerance and outright hostility. Sadly, the nation is in a period of open hostility right now and officials are banning Christian gatherings, demolishing church buildings, and confining Christians in “education” camps where they’re tortured and otherwise abused to force them to renounce Jesus Christ.

While international negotiations and trading deals sometimes lead to greater transparency and increased light on how nations treat their citizens, that isn’t always the case. Let’s pray that a side-effect of greater cooperation between the U.S. and China is greater tolerance for our Christian brothers and sisters.

3. The Devil and Scott Morrison

Belief in Satan and the imminent return of Christ also helps explain the prime minister’s less-than-passionate response to the most pressing environmental issue of our time. It is not surprising that Pentecostal activism about climate change is non-existent — the end of the known world is not a matter for mere mortals to decide. When Morrison proudly showed off a piece of coal in parliament, there is no reason to doubt that he believed what he held in his hand was a gift from God.

It is also likely that Morrison has a level of scepticism about empirical science in general. One of the core doctrines of the ACC is that “all original life forms, including humanity, were made by the specific immediate creative acts of God … and that all biological changes which have occurred since creation are limited to variation within species”. In other words, humans and other animals were created by God in their essential form. If Morrison does not believe this, it should be easy enough to say so.

Because Pentecostals also generally believe that specified events outlined in the Bible have to occur in Israel before Jesus can return, the decision by President Trump to move the American embassy to Jerusalem has been widely interpreted as a concession to his evangelical supporters. Securing Jewish votes in Wentworth is an incomplete explanation for the PM’s rush of blood regarding the Australian embassy. It would be most surprising if Morrison’s uncritical embrace of the short-term political advantages of an embassy shift did not accord with what he has long believed to be the will of God.

My Take: This is a fairly long article that gives a fascinating glimpse into how the secular world views Christians.

Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister of Australia, is an evangelical Christian of the Pentecostal persuasion, which in the secular mind opens him and his religion up to contempt and either incidental or purposeful ignorance.

This article is written by a secularist who obviously misunderstands the scriptures, in general, and Christianity specifically. As you read through — and I hope you will — the author will give you a rare peek into the mind of how unbelievers really view Christians with a subtle mixture of fake pity, amusement, and open contempt. The pokes are sometimes hard to see, but if you pay special attention to the words and phrases the writer puts between quotation marks, they’ll jump right out at you.

This is good-to-know information because we live in an increasingly secular society and we’re usually outnumbered at work, school, and play.

4. ‘Everyone’s Life Is Valuable’: Ashton Kutcher Sends Powerful Pro-life Message to Millions of People

Actor and anti-human trafficking activist Ashton Kutcher posted a moving pro-life video on his Facebook page last week.

The video features Special Olympian and actor Frank Stephens addressing Congress in 2017 and giving a case for why children born with Down syndrome should not be aborted.

“I am not a research scientist; however, no one knows more about life with Down syndrome than I do,” Stephens said in the video. “Whatever you learn today, please remember this: I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living.”

MY TAKE: There are a lot of well-known people who are decidedly NOT on Jesus’ side so it’s nice to see people who have the platform of celebrity for causes that recognize the intrinsic value of mankind and honor God’s crowning creation.

5. Country’s Largest Christian University Blocks Ben Shapiro From Speaking on Campus

“By caving to an unseen mob and ignoring the popularity of Shapiro among its student body, Grand Canyon University just played itself and deserves whatever negative response this brings,” Brown said, arguing the faith-based college “blindly accepted the left’s ludicrous argument that Shapiro’s presence somehow damages students, campuses, or debate.”

MY TAKE: This story is worth noting because it shows the ways in which walls of support for conservative principles are crumbling around us. Grand Canyon University, an outwardly Christian university, has chosen to surrender to secular-progressives by banning a speaker who has a conservative message.

6. 4 Pros and 4 Cons for the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall

The government shutdown may have temporarily ended, but conversations about the U.S.-Mexico border are far from over.

According to the New York Times, the government will remain open only until February 15, unless House and Senate Democrats and the President can come to an agreement on funding for the southern border wall.

MY TAKE: The wall on our southern border is a contentious issue, and like all conflicts, this one has two sides (maybe more!). I know where I stand on the wall and why I stand there — I believe we need a wall to help us manage the flow of immigration and control who we allow into our country — but this article caused me to consider the potential downsides to the structure and gave me a little more insight into the objections of those who fall on the other side of the issue.

7. Disney Will Host its First Ever LGBTQ Pride Parade

Disney is bringing LGBTQ pride to one of its theme parks for the first time in its history.

The event is called “Magical Pride” and will take place on June 1, 2019, at Disneyland Paris.

Queerty reports Disney will be sponsoring its very own LGBTQ diversity parade, complete with photo opportunities and musical performances.

MY TAKE: As a kid who grew up in the shadow of Disneyland — I don’t mean the literal shadow but we did live within about a 30-minute drive of the original Disneyland — the increasing promotion of homosexuality and other deviant sexual behaviors by the company is troubling. What used to be known as “The Happiest Place on Earth” no longer is. Sad.

9. Mom Finds Out Her Adopted Son and Foster Daughter Are Biological Siblings

Only days after adopting her son, a Colorado single mother was asked to take in a second child, and what she learned next can only be described as a miracle.

MY TAKE: There is a lot of troubling news out there so I don’t want you to forget that there are also millions of sweet and happy stories as well. This story falls into the happy category.

8. A Super Bowl Title Didn’t Bring Him True Joy, but Christ Did

A former NFL player and Super Bowl champion describes in a new video the moment he realized winning a championship would not bring him the happiness he had sought.

Gresham, a long snapper and an outspoken Christian, played six seasons in the NFL, including five with the Seattle Seahawks, where he won a Super Bowl in 2014.

“I remember I was in the hot tub for practice with a couple of guys, and we were just talking about winning the Super Bowl,” Gresham recalls. “I’m like, man, I keep waiting for it to sink in that we won the Super Bowl — and we all were saying that.

“What I realized all of us meant by that was, ‘I keep waiting for this thing to make me happy the way that I thought it would.’ And it hasn’t and now I’m actually kind of scared about that because I have made this my life pursuit. And I got [a Super Bowl championship] and I’m still wanting more.”

MY TAKE: This is Super Bowl Weekend so, of course, I had to share a couple Super Bowl stories (see also number 10 below). These stories are both happy and sad.

We can be happy because these stories show us that even huge earthly victories are unfulfilling. And we can be happy because there are Christians in the National Football League.

However, there is also a certain sadness in these stories because there are so few men in the league who are willing to profess their faith in Jesus that it’s newsworthy when some do.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s wonderful to see these men share their stories of faith, but it would be even more so if their stories were so common that only the stories of unbelievers were noteworthy.

10. ‘I Think About Jesus Christ’: These 4 NFL Players Are Keeping Faith at the Forefront of This Super Bowl

Still, many of these Super Bowl hopefuls tell CBN there’s something more important than winning the Lombardi trophy. There’ll be one winner and one loser in this. So how do these players cope with keeping things in perspective?

These 4 Players Keep Their Focus on Faith…

MY TAKE: See number 9 above.

And Finally…

Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

Ephesians 6:23–24

That’s all for this week. Thank you for reading. Please:

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DO GOOD | DO WELL | HONOR GOD | Christian living, leadership, remote work, travel, boating // Writer, investor, teacher // GuyEWood.com

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GuyEWood

DO GOOD | DO WELL | HONOR GOD | Christian living, leadership, remote work, travel, boating // Writer, investor, teacher // GuyEWood.com