How to Heal Addiction

Hope for the Hurting and Trapped

Written by Dan Lee on 29/11/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Temptation, Addiction, Sin
I have the right to do anything,” you say — but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” — but I will not be mastered by anything.

1 Corinthians 6:12
Addiction is a loaded word with many meanings. We tend to think of it as extreme, however, anyone can suffer from addiction, and it’s far more common than you think.

The World Health Organization tells us that worldwide, 6 million people die every year due to tobacco use, and 3.3 million die due to alcohol related causes.

Alcohol, drugs, and smoking have caused much misery for years. But now, we can add pornography, TV binge-watching, overeating, shopping, and video games. For instance, one woman in New Mexico, USA, was spending over 12 hours a day playing a multiplayer video game — and let her 3-year-old daughter starve to death. Clearly, our world needs to healed from addiction.

Even normal activities can harm us when taken to extremes. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:12, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say — but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ — but I will not be mastered by anything.” An addiction means we have let ourselves be “mastered” by something.

Perhaps other believers have told you to “Flee from youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22) or to “Resist the devil” (James 4:7). But addictions come with mental, emotional and physical components that together exert a much more powerful pull than a regular temptation.

Here are three things that can put you on the road to healing addiction…

1. Cry out to God
First things first — are you a follower of Christ? Even before asking for help with addiction, you must get right with God.

During a time of extreme trouble, David wrote: “I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me” (Psalm 18:3-4). God did not answer David until he had called on Him.

Start by acknowledging that you cannot conquer your addiction in your own strength. Jesus said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26).

2. Get Help from Others
When trapped in sin, our impulse is to isolate ourselves from other believers. This is what Satan wants as well! Spending time with caring believers and sharing your struggles is an important step in escaping it. Yes, it can be humbling, and even humiliating, but your Christian brothers and sisters can help you with prayer. “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16). Also see Hebrews 10:24.

3. Cut it Off
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke of sexual temptation this way: “So if your eye — even your good eye — causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” (Matthew 6:29).

Jesus was telling us that if any object or person consistently leads us to sin, we need to get that thing out of our lives. For example, if your friends want you to take drugs with them, you need to find some new friends. If you tend to look at women with lust, don’t go to the beach in summertime. If you can’t resist pornography on the Internet, you need to install filters on your computer — or get rid of the computer altogether.

If you have struggled with an addiction, please know that there is hope, and that the God who made the universe is ready to help deliver you when you cry out to him.

Pray this week:

Lord, I am tired of being mastered by addictions. Please show me the way out, and give me strength from Your Holy Spirit to go that way. Help me to help others who need this help as well.

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Georgia on My Mind (Or…Go East Young Man)

Georgia on My Mind (or Go East Young Man)

Actually I've been thinking I should write some more articles just to be sure my skill doesn't get completely rusty. Being in that state of mind, it was easy for a recent article I read to make me want to write this article. The article confirmed an opinion I've developed over the last year or so. That opinion is that….:

The more I hear about Eastern Europe, the better it sounds to me as a region that's relatively safe, civilized, affordable, and a place I'd like to see.

For almost a year now I've had a friend, named Ferenc, who is from Hungary. He says great things about Hungary. He grew up there, moved to Norway and lived there for a while, then for the last 6 years he's lived in Kiev, Ukraine, where he says he says he likes the ambiance and lives pretty well on his internet-based MLM income.

Ferenc, by the way, is also the top earner in Wavescore, the social media platform I've gotten to like a lot lately. Odds are that sometime next year he's going to be running their Customer Service.

Anyway…..my hobby is latin dancing, i.e. Salsa, Bachata, Cha-cha, and Kizomba. I've long known those styles of social dancing are very popular in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Slovakia, and other Eastern European countries. Since the top two things I look for in a country I might consider visiting is a strong local social-dancing community and a good internet, most Eastern European countries would qualify. 

But there are other countries in Eastern Europe that are not as well-known as the aforementioned. 

Georgia is one of them and it's the one I just read about.

Any news-junkies we have in the crowd will remember that Georgia was in the news several years ago for some border problems they had with Russia. That tension eventually blew over and, according to the article I read just now (here), things have been very pleasant in Georgia since then.

According to the article I read, Georgia also has a very lucrative but still off-the-radar business investment opportunity situation. I googled the country to get a general idea of where it was and what it looked like and it seemed very nice.

So…that't it. I hear that many of those Eastern European countries have pretty good internet, taxes are low or non-existent, local costs are very cheap, the people are nice, and the available facilities are more than good enough. I think I'd like to see Georgia.

On a completely different topic, I would encourage you to check out Wavescore. Think about it….if you're putting Youtube videos on Facebook and other social media, you know that they're monetizing that content and making money off of it, don't you? You're just giving money away to them.

Wavescore is putting some finishing touches on their User Interface but their platform generally works very well right now. And yes… you can make some money if you want but their don't see it as an MLM. Basically, it's a services-site monetized with advertising….(which they have't even started yet). 

Their primary service now is quick and easy sharing YouTube videos. They also just recently started their Chat Feature Beta (which I'm a member of) and which is working very well. It allows us to share documents, videos, geo-location, etc…similar to Skype.

Coming next will be audio chat, video chat, and then a conference room. So…the game plan is…ad revenue sharing from social media platform monetization…just like YouTube and Facebook have been doing for years. Except that YouTube and Facebook share little or none of their revenue with the people who actually provide the content. 

And that's all I've got to say. Now that I've done an article I feel better. Got any questions about Wavescore..? Call me.

Art Williams
713 701 1853

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What do You, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Bono have in common?

It's easy to tell you what you likely DON'T have in common with them – fame, fortune, and good looks

…Okay, Fame and fortune… 

… but here's what you DO have in common with Bill, Warren, and Bono.

24 hours in a day, and a sphere of influence.  

The same thing every human on the planet gets.

It's what you do with those 24 hours, and that sphere of influence that matters.

As a leader, or an aspiring leader, we study successful people and look to emulate them.  Too often however, we limit our perspective of what makes them successful to money, position, titles and influence.

"Work hard and get rich" are goals that will leave you empty.  How will you know you've arrived?

Each of these people are highly successful in what they do, have earned a great deal of money in the process, but have followed their passions and have individually committed to using their resources to make a difference in this world.

Dan Pink, in his latest book Drive:The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us highlights the research that shows that in cognitive based tasks, money is a poor motivator for increased performance.  What does drive performance (or results) is the amount of Autonomy ( the desire to direct our own lives), Mastery (the urge to get better and better at something that matters), and Purpose (the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves) we have in our careers and lives. (If you would prefer the animated version of the book, check out RSA Animate's treatment of the book below or at the link here)

What do You, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Bono have in common?

Which gets me back to the things you have in common with Bill, Warren and Bono.

Each of these men have, and have had, 24 hour days to accomplish what they did. Just like you do.

Granted, they may have had connections and resources that you don't, but they didn't have any more time than you do.

They also had passion which motivated them. If you look at them now, you will see how their passions now drive actions that are having a profound influence in our world.  These guys are PASSION DRIVEN, and you should be too.  And they are working to something bigger than their careers. They choose to spend their time doing impactful things that align with their passions – both in their career and personal life.

If you are a leader (or want to become one), and can't articulate WHY you are in this career, then perhaps it's time to reconsider. If you are spending 100% of your time, energy and resources on making money, then perhaps it's time to reconsider. 

If you are not impacting your sphere of influence to do something in the service of something larger than yourself, perhaps it's time to reconsider.

Sorry to sound preachy. As always, this blog post is written primarily to myself. Consider this my public journal. If I've given you pause to think today, then it has certainly been worth my time to share… and follow my passion, and leverage my sphere of influence.

So… armed with at least two of the things that have made Bill, Warren and Bono "successful", what are you going to do about it?

My final thought is a quote from Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life  

"Killing time is suicide".
Rick Warren

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10 KEYS – WHAT DO YOU SEE ?

LIFE LESSONS FROM THE BOOK OF JOHN 8:38 

"I speak that which I have seen with my father : and ye do that which ye have seen with your father"

 

10 KEYS – WHAT DO YOU SEE ?

1.If you fail to speak what you see by faith , you will always fail to receive , what the lord has prepared for you by faith . 2 Cor 4:13 (NIV)"It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak,"

2.What you see becomes spiritual reality , when you speak it . Gen 1:2 (NIV) " And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light."

3.Never speak what the enemy is showing you .Prov 31:32."If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth." Is a trap.

4.Never believe the thoughts from the enemy. lest you begin to speak what he is showing you. Prov 4:23 (NIV)"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."

5. The enemy will show you the facts, but God will always remind you of the truth .John 14:26 (NLT) "But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the Holy Spirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you."

6.. In the Kingdom of God we are not ruled by our circumstances , but by what we see with the eyes of faith. Hab 2:4 "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith." We live by what we see with the eyes of faith !

7. What we see by faith , is as "real" as what we see in the physical .Matt 9:22 (ESV) "Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well." Once you see it , it is yours!

8.What you see by faith has the power to change the fact into the truth. Luke 2:7 (NIV) "Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim." Jesus never considered the fact , but worked with the truth.

9. What you see with the father is as real as the written word . John 1:1(NIV) "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." No difference. period!

10. If you delight in what the Lord shows you , you would receive what he has prepared for you . Isaiah 64:4"For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him."

BONUSES:

11. When God shows you a thing , he expects only one thing in return "believe only " so you can receive it . Luke 8:50 "But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole."

12. If you celebrate what you see , God will celebrate you .If you fail to celebrate what you see , you limit God from celebrating you. Matt 14:31 (NLT) "Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. "You have so little faith," Jesus said. "Why did you doubt me?" Don't doubt what you have seen with the father !

 

Personal quote:

 

" What you see , is what God has done , you only receive it by faith , if you believe it"

Prayer: Father help me to believe what I see with you in Jesus name , Amen.

You are blessed!

tony buwawa in Life lessons, 

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Get better than youtube

****THW Global Pay Plan:****
Up to $25 per hour watching Better Than YouTube Type Videos. Also huge management 6 figure opportunity. International advertising giant needs over fifty thousands people over the age of 21 to invest up to 10 hours weekly giving comments on commercials, TV pilot programs, movie trailers, video surveys and so much more. Over 90% can be done from any smart phone or computer anytime / anywhere 24/7. From the comfort of your home or on the road.

It's YouTube in reverse. At YouTube they pay out mega millions to people who get high traffic of people coming to their posting. THW Global does just the opposite by paying millions to the viewers who watch content not place content. There is no fee or gimmicks to start working with our company. This is a Global offer so if you know anyone anywhere pass this message on to them. In fact when you register with THW Global you will get a welcome letter with a personal URL in case you wish to recommend others to work with us. THW Global will reward you up to $5 for every person who earns up to $25 an hour that you personally recommended. This means if someone you recommended worked 10 hours they would earn up to $250 and you would earn up to $50. and this goes on for as long as the person you recommended works with THW Global. See even more incentives below. Advertising is the 4th largest global industry.

THW Global needs over 50,000 IVs which stands for International Viewers. They also need people from every race and language. This will be a Billion $ Division in this $650 Billion Dollar Industry. So if you know anyone who would also like to do this. As long as they are over 21 with a HS Diploma send this to them. You will be rewarded for doing so by receiving $5 for every $25 they earn.
 Geldsack.THWglobal.com

Some Advertising Facts You Should Know:

    In 2016 TV Commercials are averaging 15 minutes per hour and According to Nielsen, advertisers spent $78 billion on TV commercials in 2013, compared to $64 billion in 2009." It is expected to grow to over $100 billion by 2017 just in the USA.
    The Global TV Advertising Market is multiple times more than the above numbers. http://www.statista.com/statistics/259974/tv-advertising-revenue-in-the-us/
    The Top 5 Advertising Agencies Do Over $50 Billion In Sales "THEY MANUFACTURE NO PRODUCTS" All They Do Is Charge Companies To Advertise.
    Global Advertising Is Expected To Top $650 Billion in Annual Sales in 2016. That Is More Than A $200 Billion Increase In Annual Sales From 2010.
    YouTube Alone Was Worth 70 Billion To Google – That's a higher value than all but 66 of the companies listed on the S&P 500, according to Bloomberg. Did You Know Google Bought YouTube for 1.65 Billion In 2006. http://fortune.com/2015/05/27/youtube-google-value

THW Global Advertising Pays More:
Imagine not only being paid up to $25 An Hour To Watch BetterThanYouTube Type Videos. But also being paid up to $5 for each person you personally sponsor for each hour they spend watching BetterThanYouTube Type Videos and earning up to $25. and they're willing to pay more. An additional $1 For Each Person Up To Ten Levels Of Referrals for each hour they spend watching BetterThanYouTube Type Videos and earning up to $25 an hour.

Here Are Some Examples:

    You spend 10 hours a week watching BetterThanYouTube videos you would earn up to $1,000 a month!
    You find 10 others to do the same and you would earn up to $2000 a month + your $1,000 a month!
    You build a 10 level team of thousands or more to do the same you would earn up to $40 Monthly for each person within ten levels!

THW wants to be bigger and better than YouTube and become one of the worlds largest Advertising Giants. Think about it most companies would pay a minimum of $1.50 a minute and sometimes more for a subscriber to watch their advertised content. Which comes out to a minimum of $90 per hour for which THWglobal will be paying up to $40 of such $90 back to it's IVs who are doing the viewing of such content. THWglobal plans on taking 90% of any money in excess of the $40 per hour they pay out to the field and spending it on new TV, Radio and Print Ads to build the New Internet Brand of YouTube Type Videos.

 

Join here: http://power4seniors.THWglobal.com

 

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A Few Hobbies to Make Endless Holiday Gifts

A Few Hobbies to Make Endless Holiday Gifts

Learning these crafts can help you create beautiful holiday gifts for friends and family.

 

Help your loved ones feel cozy and cared for by creating a set of knitted items.

If you're still scratching your head as you put together your gift list for the holidays, don't overlook the opportunity to make gifts for your nearest and dearest. You don't have to be a professional artist, baker or gardener to produce heartfelt gifts that everyone will enjoy. Now is the perfect time of year to put your skills to good use and share your passion for crafting, baking or other hobbies by making some handmade gifts – and maybe even save some money in the process.

These hobbies can help you make an endless amount of holiday gifts for friends and loved ones.

Soap making
Homemade soaps will be a welcome gift for any spa lovers on your list – and a welcome relief for those overwhelmed with holiday cheer. If you're experienced with using the "cold process" to make homemade soap, you can experiment with different textures and holiday fragrances to create your own signature holiday collection. Package these in hand-painted gift boxes or wrap them in pretty ribbon and tissue paper so that their appearance matches the beauty of their fragrance.

Canning fruits and vegetables
If you made the most of this harvest season by canning some fresh fruits and vegetables, consider creating cheerful, bountiful, baskets. Many people on your gift list will appreciate the gift of food, especially if the food is from your own garden. From jams and jellies to canned veggies, these food items can make for a great holiday gift this season.

Origami
Who knew that folded paper could bring so much cheer? Grab some holiday-themed paper or other decorative origami sheets and create fun Christmas decorations or eye-catching gifts using your paper-folding skills. Challenge yourself with a new creation or make a series of origami figures or unique designs to give as a gift. You can make holiday tree decorations or gifts that simply sit on the mantel or desk year-round.

Baking
Tis the season for baking enthusiasts to step things up as holiday celebrations get underway and dessert is a priority item at the holiday table. Make the most of that hot oven this season by baking some extra batches of cookies, brownies, bars and even cakes. Homemade baked treats can be great gift items for friends, co-workers and family members. Put together a gift basket with hot cocoa, tea, coffee and chocolate to complement your sweet treats.

Beaded jewelry making
If you have a large collection of beads in your craft box and some basic jewelry-making skills, consider giving away some of your handmade beaded creations this holiday season. Bracelets, necklaces, chokers and headbands can make beautiful gifts for some of the people on your gift list. Present these items in a hand-painted gift box or a mesh gift bag with a handwritten message for a personal touch.

Flower arranging
If you're a florist at heart or just enjoy putting together flower displays and centerpieces, consider giving away some of your creations during the holiday season. Seasonal flowers that are sure to put anyone in the Christmas spirit include poinsettia, winter jasmine, amaryllis, paperwhite narcissus and the Christmas rose. You can make beautiful arrangements for a special event or create a centerpiece using artificial flowers for gift-giving.

Sewing
You probably use the sewing machine year-round and the holidays can be a great time to jump in to put your skills to the test with a challenging project. From sewing felt Christmas decorations to designing custom pillow cases, you could make some unique fabric gifts for friends and loved ones. Be sure to check out the inventory at your favorite arts and crafts store for holiday-themed add-ons, such as buttons, sequins, beads and other accents.

Knitting
Help your loved ones feel cozy and cared for by creating a set of knitted items, such as blankets or scarves. Your knitting projects can be as simple as a hat for a newborn to a scarf for a good friend. You could also create a set of knitted tree decorations, wreaths or holiday decor. Wrap up your gifts in tissue paper, gift boxes and ribbon with a handwritten card as a thoughtful and festive gift this season.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor


 

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The Problem of Evil and Suffering

To many, the most powerful positive objection to belief in God is the fact of evil.

Written by Luis Palau
Tags: Evil, Hope, Hurt, Jesus, Pain, Suffering
When asked what questions they would like to ask God if given the opportunity, forty-four percent of Americans said they want to know, "Why is there evil or suffering in the world?"

John Hick noted, "To many, the most powerful positive objection to belief in God is the fact of evil." Peter Kreeft agrees, saying, "The strongest argument for atheism has always been the problem of evil." That’s been the case the past twenty-five hundred years, since the days of Buddha’s "enlightenment."

The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus (342?-270 B.C.) stated the problem in four parts: "God either wishes to take away evil, and is unable, or He is able, and unwilling; or He is neither willing nor able, or He is both willing and able. If He is willing and is unable, He is feeble, which is not in accordance with the character of God; if He is able and unwilling, He is envious, which is equally at variance with God; if He is neither willing nor able, He is both envious and feeble, and therefore not God; if He is both willing and able, which alone is suitable to God, from what source then are evils or why does He not remove them?"

What Epicurus failed to consider is that, in light of his eternal purposes, God may choose to allow evil for a time. It wasn’t his idea, it’s certainly not his ideal, but he’s not going to instantly obliterate the universe to eradicate it, either.

Still, many atheists cite this problem as proof positive that they know better than God. Nietzsche, for one, called God "the greatest immoralist in deeds that has ever existed" and decried the religious theories that attempt to explain human suffering as equally immoral, especially those theories that infer that suffering is rightly brought on as a divine punishment of Humanity’s supposed sinfulness.

Some writers claim the problem of evil and suffering actually is the source of humanity’s varied religious impulses. Echoing Feuerbach, Holbach, and Freud all in one breath, Michael J. Buckley remarked recently that the aboriginal source of religion "is ignorance and terror, and the model on which the imagination fashions its creations is the human person writ large. Once fashioned, this chimerical agent is open to prayers and sacrifices, appeal of penitence and self-denial, which will disarm his anger and control the outrages of nature. Religion is the magical way of controlling the causes of human tragedy."

The implication? Buckley is blunt: atheism evolves into antitheism, actively seeking to destroy religion, which he sees as opposed to his "scientific" way of thinking. "Take, for example, the attribute of ‘goodness,’" writes Buckley. "Theologians call god ‘good,’ and human beings have some idea what is contained in that predicate. Then realize that this god is also omnipotent. Try to combine these two predicates in the face of human pain, the desolation of war, the destruction of earthquakes and disease. It makes no sense to say that this omnipotent god is good…. The goodness of an omnipotent god is contradicted at every turn of human history."

Buckley claims it makes more sense to say this life doesn’t make any sense at all; nature alone calls the shots, arbitrarily, certainly without any reference to morality, necessity, or purpose.

Hans Küng observes that "even in antiquity, philosophers strove in the name morality to deprive the gods of power, a tradition that can be traced up to Nietzsche, Sartre and Camus.

Albert Camus, the French writer and philosopher, rejected God for allowing the world to be a place "in which children suffer and die." His answer, then? Indiscriminate rebellion – as if that could possibly make things better.

What about classic Christianity?
Philosopher Mortimer Adler says: "Christianity is the only logical, consistent faith in the world. But there are elements to it that can only be described as mystery."

In writing about the origin of evil, John H. Gerstner admitted: "This is the most difficult problem in all of theistic theology and philosophy." Yet to be honest to reality, we must consistently avoid the irrational options of denying the existence of evil or of God.

If any period of history has conclusively proved the reality of evil, it’s the twentieth century. Albert Einstein said it bluntly: "I do not fear the explosive power of the atom bomb. What I fear is the explosive power of evil in the human heart."

Thomas E. Dewey stated: "Our problem is within ourselves. We have found the means to blow the world physically apart. Spiritually, we have yet to find the means to put together the world’s broken pieces."

More recently, Arthur C. Clark lamented, "This is the first age that has paid any attention to the future; which is a little ironic seeing that we may not have one."

In the face of such actual and potential evil, does religion offer any hope?
Actor Richard Gere says he was disappointed by what he found in Christianity: "I was raised a Methodist but found that Christian religions failed to answer crucial questions like, What is the nature of suffering and where does suffering come from? How can suffering exist? Why does evil exist? Why did God create good and evil? I finally found [in Buddhism] a system willing to engage those questions and many more."

For Gere, as a Buddhist, suffering is the result of an evil act and bad karma. What he missed back in Sunday school, had he read his Bible, is that Christianity takes the issue of suffering very seriously. Only four chapters in all the Bible – the first two in Genesis and the last two in the book of Revelation – say nothing about sin and its terrible consequences.

The scope of this article doesn’t allow me to address Gere’s questions at length. Others already have covered this subject well. In his book, The Problem of Pain, for instance, C. S. Lewis wrote: "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

In A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken in turn asked God some tough questions when his young wife died: "How could things go on when the world had come to an end? How could things – how could I – go on in this void? How could one person, not very big, leave an emptiness that was galaxy-wide?"

Still, let’s briefly consider the crucial questions Gere raises.

What is the nature of suffering?
The Bible says both humanity and nature suffer the consequences of humanity’s sins against God and hurtful deeds against each other. We both sin and are sinned against.

Novelist Harriet K. Feder suggests that in times of great evil and suffering, the question we should ask is not "Where is God?" but "Where is man?"

Stanley Hauerwas, professor of ethics at Duke University, says that when a disabled child is born, the religious question we should ask is not "Why does God permit mental retardation in His world?" but "What sort of community should we become so that mental retardation need not be a barrier to a child’s enjoying a gratifying life."

Dr. Harold O. J. Brown, director of the Rockford Institute Center on Religion and Society, observes that "an unfocused, intuitive awareness of God, without knowing Him personally, leaves us totally bewildered by and unprepared for the suffering of this world."

Much suffering is the result of sin, whether our own transgressions or the iniquities of others. Brown says: "The scope of human sin from Adam to the present, the pain it caused and continues to cause, is an incredible burden. As the Lutheran theologian Paul Althaus expressed it, the burden would be too much to bear except for two world-transforming facts: first, the victory Christ won on the cross over Satan and sin; second, His impending return in glory."

Brown continues: "These truths do not solve the problem of evil or answer all of the questions it forces on us here in time, but they do put everything in perspective. Philosophers and theologians can help us deal with the problem of evil, but the ultimate answer will come only when `God will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes’ (Revelation 7:17)."

Where does suffering come from?
The Bible gives four specific answers.

First, from natural disasters, such as an earthquake or a large storm. The suffering that results from these disasters happens to both the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45).

Second, from man’s inhumanity to man, including armed conflicts. Because of greed and pride, individuals try to hurt others (James 4:1-2).

Third, from our own erroneous actions. If I walk off the roof of my office and fall to the ground, breaking my leg, I am suffering because I broke God’s laws of physics. We also suffer when we break God’s moral laws. Some, not all, suffering is allowed by God as a punishment for sin. Often, God simply lets us live with the consequences of our actions (Galatians 6:7-8).

Fourth, from the unseen hand of Satan, our adversary. The abiding lesson of the book of Job (one of the oldest Hebrew Scriptures) is that even the wisest of men and women cannot always comprehend in a purely rational manner where evil, suffering, and pain come from. Often it can be understood only from a divine perspective, from the propositional revelation that God is far above us, God is good, God is in control (even though Satan opposes us), God has his purposes, and God will gain the victory through our perseverance.

The one mistake we dare not make, Philip Yancey reminds us, is to confuse God (who is good) with life (which is hard). God feels the same way we do – and is taking the most radical steps possible (Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, and more to come) to redeem the present situation.

How can suffering exist?
The Bible presents a paradox. In a remarkable exercise of his sovereignty, God has given humanity the freedom to make moral choices. In more than twenty passages, the Bible clearly states that every person makes wrong moral choices. Because by nature we tend to choose our will over and against God’s will, "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Such acts of rebellion against God produce most heartaches and suffering.

An atheist may rightly reject such an answer, but only if he or she is first willing to face a much more difficult question. Harold Kushner describes the atheist’s dilemma this way: "He has to explain why there is love, honesty, generosity, courage, and altruism in the world, and why it feels so good and so right when we let those qualities into our lives."

Scott Peck concurs: "Dozens of times I have been asked by patients or acquaintances: ‘Dr. Peck, why is there evil in the world?’ Yet no one has ever asked me in all these years: ‘Why is there good in the world?’ It is as if we automatically assume this is a naturally good world that has somehow been contaminated by evil…. The mystery of goodness is even greater than the mystery of evil." Whether due to a brain tumor or debilitating syndrome, no one ever has uncontrolled fits of goodness.

Still, Why does evil exist?
Contrary to Gere’s thinking, the Bible makes it clear God did not create evil. Evil entered the universe through the fall of Satan, an archangel who dared to rival the Almighty.

The prophet gives us a picture of this: "You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit" (Isaiah 14:13-15).

Another prophet writes: "‘You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you…. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings" (Ezekiel 28:15-17).

Jesus himself said, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:18).

But before his expulsion from heaven, Satan drew perhaps a third of the angels into his rebellion. Ever since, the Devil has schemed against God and His people. Satan knows he’s doomed, but, like any common criminal, he wants to take as many with him as he can. Misery loves company, but the tragic irony is that hell will be the epitome of loneliness.

Some joke that they want to spend eternity in hell so they can party with their friends. Yet hell, by definition, is separation from relationship with God and others forever. In the words of Lewis, "The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell."

No wonder Jesus warned, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28).

So, while the problem of evil and suffering is a serious problem, it certainly isn’t sufficient cause for unbelief or rebellion against God. Instead, it should drive us to God, humbly asking for his will to "be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).

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Dear Clinton supporters: Recall wont matter

Dear Clinton supporters: Recall wont matter

News that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has requested a recount in Wisconsin, and will likely do the same in Michigan and Pennsylvania, has raised faint hopes among Hillary Clinton supporters that somehow Donald Trump will not become the next president of the United States.

Now that Clinton's campaign has said it will participate in the recount efforts, those supporters' hopes have been lifted even higher.

To put the matter bluntly: They should give up that hope.

There is essentially zero chance that the recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania will change Trump's lead, which number in the thousands, not hundreds, in all three states. Trump is winning Wisconsin by a little more than 27,000 votes; his lead in Michigan sits at around 11,000; and his lead in Pennsylvania is insurmountable at over 68,000.

This is not Florida 2000. On Election Night in 2000, George W. Bush held a 1,784 vote lead over Al Gore in Florida's election for president, representing just 0.031 percent of the 5.8 million votes cast in the state. After a recount — which the US Supreme Court halted by a 5-4 vote — Bush ultimately won Florida by 537 votes, securing the presidency. Yet even if the Court had allowed the recount to proceed, the margin would not have swung by much.

This is not Washington 2004, where a recount reversed the result, handing Democrat Christine Gregoire a 129-vote win over Republican Dino Rossi after he initially had a 261-vote lead on election night.

This is not Minnesota 2008, where a recount gave Democrat Al Franken a 225-vote win over Republican Norm Coleman, reversing Coleman's initial lead of 215 votes.

All of these recounts had one significant fact in common: the margin of victory was in the hundreds, not thousands. And the shifts in vote totals after the recounts were very small.

In the past 15 years, a statewide recount has reversed the winner from the election-night tally only three times — in the Washington 2004 governor's race (a 390-vote shift), the 2008 Minnesota US Senate race (a 440-vote shift), and a 2006 election in Vermont for Auditor of Accounts, which initially had a 137-vote margin on election night that changed to a 102-vote win for the other candidate after the recount (a 239-vote change).

FairVote, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for electoral reform, found that from 2000-2012 there were only 22 statewide recounts across the country, and the average shift in those recounts was just 0.026%.

But, a Clinton supporter might say, what if the machines were hacked? What if the election was actually rigged? It is an ironic sentiment given that Trump was the one claiming widespread election rigging before the election and Clinton supporters blasted Trump for refusing to say whether he would honor the results.

Irony aside, there is simply no evidence of election hacking, as Clinton's top lawyer, Marc Elias, himself conceded. Of course, now that Stein has begun the process, it is perfectly reasonable for Clinton and her lawyers to stay involved. But her supporters should not take that fact as a sign that the election is still in question.

Prolonging the campaign by seeking a recount breeds unwarranted doubt about the legitimacy of our elections — without any real evidence to back it up. Our democratic system relies on everyone accepting the result. That legitimacy suffers when mere speculation calls the result into question with little evidence of rigging and Electoral College vote totals that decisively determine a winner.

Moreover, all of this talk of recounts and election rigging obscures the more important fact about our elections: We impose too many obstacles on voters for no good reason. We need to work harder to eliminate onerous voting laws and make voting easier, not focus on long-shot recounts that provide only false hope. For instance, this recount effort does nothing to address issues surrounding Wisconsin's controversial voter ID statute, which improperly prevented some people from voting.

While Stein's futile recount effort should give no solace to Clinton supporters, there is a silver lining to the current debate: It might finally prompt Congress and state legislatures to devote greater resources to election technology.

We desperately need better voting equipment and stronger post-Election Day audits. Going into this election, experts warned about the woefully out-of-date equipment that most states use. Indeed, old machines — especially if they do not allow for a paper trail — raise the possibility, however small, of election hacking. Old machines can lead to long lines, lost votes, and other Election Day problems.

Updated voting technology can increase turnout by making voting easier. As just one example, Doña Ana County, New Mexico uses Voting Convenience Centers instead of precinct-based polling places, meaning that anyone in the county can vote at any of the 40 centers instead of having to go to their assigned home precinct. This makes it easier to vote near work or school and eliminates the possibility of having to vote via a provisional ballot — which could potentially not count — if a voter shows up at the wrong place.

This system shows that improved technology can both enhance the integrity of our election system — a standard Republican talking point — and also make voting more accessible to more people, thereby increasing the electorate — something Democrats usually strive to achieve.

The recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania will do nothing to assuage the fears of Clinton supporters who recoil at the thought of a Trump presidency. But at a minimum, they should force politicians on all sides to re-examine how we run our elections.

Like it or not, Donald Trump will become our next president. Hopefully, when he runs for re-election in four years, we will have a stronger election system that makes voting easier, more convenient and accessible, less susceptible to manipulation, and more easily verifiable. That's the closest to a "win" that Clinton and her supporters can expect.

Reprinted From CNN

Thomas Prendergast
 

 

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God’s Forgiveness of Your Sin

Sin ruins your life – Who is powerful enough to forgive and renew you?

Written by Hope on 11/10/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Creation, Forgiveness, Power, Sin
God, who raises the dead to life and creates new things…

Romans 4:17b
It’s no secret that we live in a fallen world of sin. From infidelity in relationships, to cheating, to lying, to stealing, sin is everywhere! This sin ruins our life and tears us down.

However, though we live in a world of sin, God is powerful enough to forgive us! But why would he forgive us? And how does he do it? Here are the three pillars to understand about God’s forgiveness of your sins.

God Is The Omnipotent Creator
The Bible teaches us that with His wisdom and power He created the earth and spread out the heavens (Jeremiah 10:12). The prophets praised Him: God said “I am Powerful” (Psalm 62:11) and “Lord God, you stretched out your mighty arm and made the sky and the earth. You can do anything” (Jeremiah 32:17). The Lord says of Himself, “I created everything from the sky above to the earth below” (Isaiah 44:24), and He created all things to be good, in His own estimation – perfect, like Himself, without sin.

God Cannot Stand Sin
But people did sin. And since God “can’t stand sin or wrong” (Habakkuk 1:13a), the sin separated people from God. This is the natural order of Creation, just as darkness cannot exist in the presence of bright light. When you know you have done evil and are disconnected from your Creator, “Your sins are the roadblock between you and your God. That’s why he doesn’t answer your prayers or let you see his face” (Isaiah 59:2).

He Is Powerful Enough To Declare you Innocent
In the book of Exodus 34: 6-7, God declares that He is a fair judge. Just like He is merciful and patient with His people, He also has the power to punish those who sin. “But if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away” (I John 1:9). In His great love, He “is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him” (Daniel 9:9).

God promises this miracle through Jesus Christ alone. When you believe in Him, you can pray, “I have sinned against; I have disobeyed you and have done wrong. So it is right and fair for you to correct and punish me” (Psalm 51:4) … “Wash me with hyssop until I am clean and whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7a). No matter your sin or shame, no matter who has come against you, we can be confident of His power to “keep you from falling and make sure and joyful in His glorious presence. Before time began and now and forevermore, God is worthy of glory, honor, power and authority. Amen.” (Jude 1: 24)

Pray this week:

Dear God, I have sinned against You. I believe that You alone have the power to forgive me and make my life right in Your ways. Please forgive me, in Jesus’s Name, amen.

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Some of the Top Benefits Of Social Media Marketing

Some of the Top Benefits Of Social Media Marketing

To some entrepreneurs, social media marketing is the “next big thing,” a temporary yet powerful fad that must be taken advantage of while it’s still in the spotlight. To others, it’s a buzzword with no practical advantages and a steep, complicated learning curve.

Because it appeared quickly, social media has developed a reputation by some for being a passing marketing interest, and therefore, an unprofitable one. The statistics, however, illustrate a different picture. According to Hubspot, 92% of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing was important for their business, with 80% indicating their efforts increased traffic to their websites. And according to Social Media Examiner, 97% of marketers are currently participating in social media—but 85% of participants aren’t sure what social media tools are the best to use.

This demonstrates a huge potential for social media marketing to increase sales, but a lack of understanding on how to achieve those results. Here’s a look at just some of the ways social media marketing can improve your business:

Increased Brand Recognition. Every opportunity you have to syndicate your content and increase your visibility is valuable. Your social media networks are just new channels for your brand’s voice and content. This is important because it simultaneously makes you easier and more accessible for new customers, and makes you more familiar and recognizable for existing customers. For example, a frequent Twitter user could hear about your company for the first time only after stumbling upon it in a newsfeed. Or, an otherwise apathetic customer might become better acquainted with your brand after seeing your presence on multiple networks.

Improved brand loyalty. According to a report published by Texas Tech University, brands who engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. The report concludes “Companies should take advantage of the tools social media gives them when it comes to connecting with their audience. A strategic and open social media plan could prove influential in morphing consumers into being brand loyal.” Another study published by Convince&Convert found that 53% of Americans who follow brands in social are more loyal to those brands.

More Opportunities to Convert. Every post you make on a social media platform is an opportunity for customers to convert. When you build a following, you’ll simultaneously have access to new customers, recent customers, and old customers, and you’ll be able to interact with all of them. Every blog post, image, video, or comment you share is a chance for someone to react, and every reaction could lead to a site visit, and eventually a conversion. Not every interaction with your brand results in a conversion, but every positive interaction increases the likelihood of an eventual conversion. Even if your click-through rates are low, the sheer number of opportunities you have on social media is significant.

Higher conversion rates. Social media marketing results in higher conversion rates in a few distinct ways. Perhaps the most significant are it's humanization element; the fact that brands become more humanized by interacting in social media channels. Social media is a place where brands can act like people do, and this is important because people like doing business with other people; not with companies.

Additionally, studies have shown that social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing, and a higher number of social media followers tends to improve trust and credibility in your brand, representing social proof. As such, simply building your audience in social media can improve conversion rates on your existing traffic.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

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