Espirational Faith

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." –The Apostle Paul


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2015 in review

HAPPY NEW YEAR — Bob here: Thought some of you might like to see this report about this blog. Since I don’t do much to promote this blog it’s growing by your words of mouth. You’ve been talking to your friends about us and I want to thank you for doing so. I’ve had more visitors from a wider area than imagined; and they are not all from Rogene’s site Espirational.com which is the “front door” of our online programs.  If you haven’t visited her site, please do so. We call it a “10 minute vacation for the soul” and I suggest you follow it simply to get her daily inspirational tidbits to help you build your positive future. That’s what I do.

Thanks for reading and commenting, please continue to do so. Together we can all learn how everyone can have a united faith which gives evidence of who we truly are.

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Joshua Whitfield: Why I’ll give my life standing against hatred

(Bob’s Note: During this month I have started reposting what I believe are the best spiritual truth articles which come across my computer screen to share with Espirational’s readers. I’m doing this because I realize how difficult it is for most people to find these articles and to join them together into a consistent pattern which makes sense. I’m hoping this effort will become like a digest of best articles promoting faith, hope, love, understanding, truth and positivity.* The article here is one Rogene found in her perusing the Web’s headlines and sent to me because of other actions by confused “Christian” believers who are proclaiming that to be faithful to Christ we must take up our weapons and “kill all the Muslims.” Please take a few minutes to read this article written by a Catholic priest as a sermon, after a congregate shouted those words at him while consuming his portion of communion. Joshua starts out by giving some important background and history which explains how he got to this strong stance against violence, but please read the whole article which the link leads you to, as it is the best expression of the true gospel of peace I have seen to date. Thank you pastor.)

 

LINK TO ARTICLE

(Note: None of this article is reproduced here

as I believe it is best read without interruption to get the full spiritual message.)

Article Title: Joshua Whitfield: Why I’ll give my life standing against hatred“. Continue reading


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Shall We Do Evil So That Good Will Come?

This article by Christy T. puts the difficult decisions facing the U.S. and the world which we are all facing currently in very straight forward terms which are difficult to misunderstand. Please take a few moments to read it’s contents in its entirety for some excellently worded thoughts and ask the Spirit of the Creator for further guidance as to how you will respond.

The Thoughtful Pastor

good or bad personI watched part of the Republican debate last night (Dec. 15). I chose to listen with a more generous spirit than I have to date.

Each candidate genuinely believes that he/she is uniquely suited to be President of the US, an extraordinarily difficult job where every single action and word will be critiqued, examined, and probably slammed by those who dislike whoever the winner ends up to be. That takes guts. Or an extreme lack of caring what others think.

Nonetheless I had to stop watching when I heard declared that it would be a useful strategy against the growing menace of ISIS to arrange to torture and kill the families of ISIS members.

In other words, it is OK for us to do evil because the ends, i.e., the defeat of ISIS (which will never happen–another group will just rise to take its place) would be an unmitigated good.

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Soldiers of the Cross?

Merry December, everyone. This is the month of celebrations! The month when nearly all of mankind’s religions reminds us that we are to be light-carriers even until the time of the darkest moment of night right before dawn so as all may be able to see their way through the darkness. It is a time of celebration for the world’s period of rest, a time of hope for the germination of the birth within us as it awaits the coming spring which is filled with new life, hope and understanding.

So, if we are to celebrate, why do we hear so much shouting and bickering on the political soap-boxes? Why do we hear and read of news reports about unspeakable wars and rumors of wars not only in the Middle East but all over the world? Why are we witnessing religious leaders stand up and state that the best thing for the faithful to do is to fight fear with fear? Men like Jerry Farewell, Jr., President of the Liberty University, encouraging their students and followers to not only carry a weapon, but who are also providing the training of how best to use them.

What is faith? Is it proper to say you refuse to fear those who threaten our safety and thus to pick up a weapon to destroy our protagonists, our attackers? Or are we to stand before our opponents and “turn the other cheek,” even if it means facing possible death unopposed?

I’ve just read an article by Tim Suttle, Senior Pastor of RedemptionChurchkc.com and who has authored books like his most recent one called: Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan 2014). In this article, called:  “Falwell’s Fearful Conceal-Carry Response is Not Worthy of the Gospel,” Tim Suttle gives a complete and documented explanation of why he believes Christians should not put on violence in this day of violent aggression against us, but instead he states what he believes is the simple gospel which Jesus was trying to teach.

I have taken liberty to quote the first part of this article (below), asking you to complete it on Suttle’s blog as my blog entry for December this year. I believe that the spirit of his post is truly the spirit which should be broadcast during this season. But please don’t stop there. Please go on to read the comments posted in answer to this post. I believe you’ll be amazed, as I was, at the range of comments and beliefs expressed in this discussion which follows Suttle’s article.

I hope this article helps you find the true meaning of Christmas and the Holiday Season. Beyond that — Shalom.

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Falwell’s Fearful Conceal-Carry Response

is Not Worthy of the Gospel

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In the wake of yet another active shooter incident, evangelical leaders have been rattling the sabers, and touting the wisdom of concealed carry. In a speech made at the recent Liberty University convocation, Jerry Falwell Jr. bragged that he had a gun in his “back pocket right now.” Liberty is offering a free concealed carry class to all students because, in Falwell’s words, “If more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them.”

Why does Falwell’s argument have so much traction with evangelical Christians? Because, conceal-carry advocates like Falwell project confidence in the face of what seems to be an overwhelming threat of violence. Packing heat is a proactive response to fear, and Christians like those. But just how realistic is the fear? I was curious, so I ran the numbers.

Between 2000-2013, according to the FBI, there were 160 active shooter incidents resulting in 1043 casualties (486 killed, 557 wounded). That averages out to 80 casualties per year for 319 million people living in the U.S. This means you have roughly a 1 in 4 million chance of being a casualty in an active shooter incident. Any chance is too high, but for reference the odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 280,000.

Still, Americans are afraid, and fearful people are attracted to leaders who will strike a Toby Keith-esque “We’ll put a boot in your ass; it’s the American way,” pose even though it has little to do with true strength, and even less to do with the gospel. Falwell’s response not only shows that he doesn’t have a firm grasp on the teachings of Jesus, but that he suffers from a lack of imagination for how Christians might lead the way toward resolving conflicts without immediately resorting to violent forms of behavior.


Christian non-violence is not built on the assumption that all forms of violence are inherently evil, but on the reality that through Christ God has made possible a new way to resolve human conflict.


 

Oswald Chambers once wrote, “The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God you fear everything else.” The most rudimentary understanding of Christian scriptures involved the teaching that our future in this world does not rest upon superior firepower. When fearful people are longing for a sense of security, the mature Christian answer is not “Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition.” The answer is, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)

Christian non-violence is not built on the assumption that all forms of violence are inherently evil, but on the reality that through Christ God has made possible a new way to resolve human conflict. The church doesn’t deny that the state does some good through violence, and we can acknowledge that our fellow Christians who feel led to police and military work are able to do so in good faith, hoping to make the world less violent. However, Christians can never take the world’s violence as an absolute. Violence does not determine our future; Jesus does. We don’t enter public space carrying a concealed weapon. We enter carrying a cross. About this, Jesus was unambiguous. (Click HERE to complete article.)


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(This is on Genie’s blog, but in case you missed it I’ll put it here for you also.)

Hi Everyone, and   HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Have I got news for you.

“Gates of Heaven” by Rogene A. Robbins; Mixed Media Fabric Art  —
Available at Espirational Creations at half price (+shipping) with code.

Genie has added many of her original fabric art pieces to our online retail store which we are now calling Espirational Creations just in time for the holiday celebrations

Simply Click Here to go to the art store and Espirational Creations’ special sale entry page . We just got the store open and time is getting short to ship Christmas items. We have been giving free shipping for anyone who would buy two or more of Genie’s fabric art pieces until January 1, but now if you order before January 1, 2016, you may put this code (ENYIIAV5) in the check out area where space is provided and we’ll give you a 50% discount on your art purchases which are made by Genie instead. Do the math, that’s a much better deal! 

Please take advantage of this now. We’ve set this up specifically for our friends, relatives and readers of our blogs as a way to say thank you for your encouragement through the years, but if you know of someone who would enjoy this type of item or who is looking for art to give as a gift please forward this email on to them because right now we are opening up this offer to everyone who will come before the new year begins. But it won’t last long and we can’t afford to do it often. So now’s your chance to get some beautiful art by someone you know at a wonderfully low price.

Have a great holiday!


—Bob & Genie.