I know its different from what I usually do, but I thought those here might enjoy one of my first published works. It is a poem called Love Is. It was originally published in Hearts on Fire: A Treasury of Poems on Love, by The American Poetry Society. I forget the exact year, I believe it was 1983.
By Robert A. Crutchfield
A man for his chosen woman.
A woman for her chosen man.
A child for its loving parent.
Love is a most unpredictable thing.
Sharing is a large part of it
Caring is a large part of it.
Being together is a large part of it.
Love is a most unpredictable thing.
It comes in lots of shapes and sizes.
The bounds of logic it does not heed.
Love’s bond cannot easily be broken.
Love is a most unpredictable thing.
People may study its various episodes.
They can try to interpret its signs.
History’s greatest minds have tries this and failed.
Love is a most unpredictable thing.
FRC’s Tony Perkins Wraps up Visit to Israel as a part of ‘Christians in Solidarity with Israel’ Trip
JERUSALEM, Aug. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Family Research Council President Tony Perkins is wrapping up a visit to Israel this week as a part of the “Christians in Solidarity with Israel” trip, hosted by the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). He met with several high level Israeli officials including Nir Barkat, Jerusalem’s mayor and advisors to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Perkins’ national radio show, Washington Watch, broadcast live from Jerusalem during Perkins’ trip.
Perkins made the following comments about his trip during which he observed missile attacks on Israel:
“We came to see first-hand what is happening in Israel, show our support for Israel’s right to defend itself, and remind Christians to pray for Israel.
“Near the Gaza border, I met an Israeli man in a bomb shelter whose recently vacated house was hit and destroyed by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip. Tragically, missile attacks have become a way of life. However, it is not the missile attacks they fear the most but the underground tunnels of terror.
“During our meeting with the mayor of Jerusalem, we read Psalms 122:6. This Scripture took on a deeper meaning sitting with the mayor of Jerusalem knowing that he was leading the city we have been instructed by God to pray for. We prayed for him and then walked outside on the terrace overlooking the entire city. Psalm 122 does not have an expiration date. This is why we continue to emphasize the need for American Christians to remain steadfast in prayer for the peace of Jerusalem so that all the people of that region, Jewish and Palestinian, can live without fear. In addition, we must not forget the many Palestinian Christians who are under the control of Hamas. We also stand with those in the West Bank and Gaza who truly desire peace.
“Evil unleashed is the only way to describe what is taking place in the Middle East. Thousands of missiles are raining down on Israel at the same time Christians are being slaughtered across Iraq and Syria. Sadly, we are seeing the ongoing consequences of the failed foreign policy of the Obama administration.
“Israel is truly an oasis of freedom in a bad neighborhood. It’s the only place in the Middle East where Christians can live out their faith without persecution. America’s commitment to Israel’s security is and must remain sacrosanct – especially now as it defends itself from terrorism,” concluded Perkins.
Those joining Mr. Perkins and Dr. Johnson included Kay Arthur, Co-Founder, Precept Ministries; William A. Blount, President, Blount Communications Group, and Chairman, NRB Board of Directors; Richard P. Bott II, President & CEO, Bott Radio Network; Annette M. Garcia, President/GM, Son Broadcasting Co. Inc.; Richard Land, President, Southern Evangelical Seminary; Anne Graham Lotz, President, AnGeL Ministries; Katie Pavlich, News Editor/Fox News Contributor, Townhall.com/Townhall Magazine; Jerry K. Rose, President & CEO, Total Living Network; and Chelsen A. Vicari, Evangelical Action Director, The Institute on Religion & Democracy.
BALTIMORE, Aug. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has committed an initial $1 million in private funding to help victims of the escalating violence in northern Iraq. With the help of our partners in Iraq, CRS is currently providing food, water and essential living supplies to families in desperate need of the essentials. Over the next six months, CRS hopes to more than double our initial $1 million commitment and help an additional 30,000 people with social support and trauma counseling, education for children and preparation for longer-term resettlement.
The situation is horrific, said Kris Ozar, CRS emergency response coordinator in Iraq. People are completely traumatized after being forced to flee their homes under threat of death. Many have nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Some who tried to pack their belongings were stripped of everything–even the rings off their fingers–at mandatory checkpoints,” he said.
With support from our Catholic Church partners in Iraq, CRS has provided immediate, life-saving assistance to almost 4,000 families forced to flee their homes by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Religious minorities including Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen and Shia Muslims have been singled out for attack. Many are living in empty houses, schools, clinics, church compounds and abandoned buildings, with living conditions deteriorating.
“Every day, I meet brave but frightened people who have no idea what the future holds. Recently I met a young mother with a three-week-old baby living in a school. Then, I met a man who took in 20 orphaned children from Mt. Sinjar. Another day, I met a former humanitarian aid worker from Caritas Iraq huddled with his family under the shade of a lone tree in the desert. This man, who used to help people, now needs help himself,” said Ozar.
Pope Francis launched an appeal for unity, calling for “security, peace and a future of reconciliation and justice, where all Iraqis, whatever their religion, could build their nation together, creating a model of coexistence.” For more information about how CRS is assisting persecuted minorities in Iraq, visit crs.org.
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. CRS eases suffering and provides assistance to people in need in 93 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. Our programs touch nearly 100 million lives. CRS has been helping people in need for more than 70 years. For more information, please visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org.
Brant equips readers with the knowledge and understanding to defend their faith.
MAITLAND, Fla., Aug. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Within his new book, Setting the Record Straight, ($28.49, paperback, 9781629524900; $40.49, hardcover, 9781498402606; $9.99, e-book, 9781629524917), James R. Brant provides Christians with the knowledge they need to be able to refute the claims the secular world makes against Christianity. The author takes readers on a riveting journey into the mind of God, while separating Christianity from other religions by proving Jesus’ resurrection to be a factual event in history.
“The most important feature of this book is that the ultimate law of cause and effect will be the key to understanding how to successfully refute the world’s claims,” states the author. He wants his readers “to know the specifics that are needed to defend the Christian faith. This can make sharing their faith easier and allow them to conduct their lives in a way that will draw others to Christ.”
When asked about his credentials in authoring Setting the Record Straight, James R. Brant shared, “I believe that I offer a unique and fun way of revealing irrefutable facts and an ease with which the reader can apply these ‘tools’ to their endeavors.” Brant has accumulated facts for his book from over twenty years of research. He believes the key to his book lies in the idea that anyone can do what needs to be done.
Xulon Press, a division of Salem Communications, is the world’s largest Christian self-publisher, with more than 8,000 titles published to date. Retailers may order Setting the Record Straight through Ingram Book Company and/or Spring Arbor Book Distributors. The book is available online through xulonpress.com/bookstore, amazon.com, and barnesandnoble.com.
By Andrew Starnes:
“While we were yet sinners Christ died for us” Romans 5:8
In life, we are often wounded deeply by individuals and even more so by those close to us. These events lead us to feel bitter, hurt, and justified in feeling anger towards them. We even go as far as condemning them.
The great contradiction in the fire service is that we are willing to lay down our lives for a complete stranger but we refuse to forgive a fellow firefighter that we work with.
Take a moment and look at forgiveness from another perspective.
What if we caused someone great harm?
What if we went out of our way to persecute, ridicule, condemn and falsely accuse this person?
And our actions ultimately lead to their death. Would we feel that we deserve their forgiveness?
Consider the life of Jesus:
Jesus led a life of love, teaching, and healing everywhere He went. He committed no wrongs yet others condemned Him because of His message. It made them feel uncomfortable and exposed their sinful ways. So what did they do?
They falsely accused Him, paid witnesses to lie about Him in a trial, and then He was tortured, ridiculed. and He was made to carry the very thing He would be killed on for a half a mile.
When we think of every face in the crowd that were shouting “crucify Him” and suddenly we see our own face staring back at us.
We often ridicule and say bad things about others who make us feel uncomfortable by their good works. We look for chinks on their armor because we feel inferior. When they mess up; we call them hypocrites and gloat at their misfortune.
We then tear others down at their expense to make us feel better. Yet, we call ourselves good and some of us even claim to be Christians. It is our bad example that causes many non-believers to reject Christianity.
Jesus spoke about this in Matthew 15;
“These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” Matthew 15:8-9
“How are we to share the love of God if our own methods aren’t loving?” (Ravi Zacharias)
Are we truly “loving one another?”
Jesus chose to die for us even though “we were sinners.” He forgave us and He even goes a step farther. He wants a close and personal relationship with each of us!
When we take a new look at the cross and realize that our sin put Him there…We don’t feel worthy of forgiveness. Yet, He forgave us.
So let us take a look back at our own lives for a moment from the perspective of Jesus:
Despite those who have wronged us, hurt us, and betrayed us we now can realize that we need to Forgive them for we have been forgiven much.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each another, just as in Christ, God forgave you” Ephesians 4:32
If we fail to forgive others when we ourselves have been forgiven so great a debt; we are actually condemning ourselves.
Jesus said “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14
As Christians, we must forgive and show God’s love to others no matter how difficult. For if we fail to do so we are actually leading others away from Christ and condemning ourselves.
Let’s speak the truth in love and live out our beliefs by forgiving others as Christ forgave us.
As firefighters, shouldn’t we already understand this principle? He has written it on our hearts.
Virginia-based Nonprofit Works with Honduran Government to Address Child Welfare, Juvenile Violence, and Border Crisis
NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Aug. 11, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — Orphan Helpers commended today the new Department of Children, Youth and Family (DINAF) in Honduras for taking important steps to improve the lives of children in government custody, as the government also deals with children involved in the border crisis.
DINAF was established in June by the President of Honduras aimed at improving services and conditions for abused and neglected children and at-risk youth. During the past several weeks, DINAF has taken several key steps, including:
- Working to provide homes at private, non-governmental organizations for more than 300 children currently living in substandard government institutions.
- Planning to outsource the administration and operation of juvenile detention facilities that have been wracked by violence.
- Expediting hearings on reports of child abuse and neglect to address family issues immediately or provide protective services.
- Launching public service campaigns to warn parents about the dangers and penalties for risking their children’s lives and attempting to smuggle them across the U.S. border.
“Orphan Helpers has been working for more than a decade to provide services and programs for the orphaned, abused, and incarcerated children of Honduras. While much work remains, the recent steps taken by the government are the most promising structural changes we’ve seen to improve the lives of these children,” said Greg Harris, Orphan Helpers Executive Director, who met recently in Honduras with government officials, non-profit leaders, churches, and business owners.
“The Department of Children, Youth and Families is making much-needed reforms in the child welfare system. On top of that, they’re doing it while trying to deal with the huge numbers of children coming back to Honduras after being deported from the U.S. and Mexico. Orphan Helpers is pleased the government is reaching out to non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups, and churches to be part of the solution.”
In addition to its regular day-to-day work inside the government-run orphanages and detention centers, Orphan Helpers is assisting DINAF at the government center in San Pedro Sula where children are returning from the U.S. and Mexico. Orphan Helpers also is serving on a government advisory panel to provide recommendations for improving programs and conditions at juvenile detention centers.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Coptic Solidarity condemns the grossly inadequate and slow response by the international community to the ongoing genocide and humanitarian crisis in Iraq driven by ISIL Jihadists against religious and ethnic minorities. The founding words of the United Nations, “Never Again” ring hollow as the UN and powerful member states lack the will-power to intervene and stop the genocide of religious minorities, yet again.
As ISIL seeks to establish a Sunni Caliphate in the Middle East, their advances “bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide“ against communities and individuals who do not share their faith. Hundreds of thousands of Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities have been forced to convert, pay jizya and live in submission, or flee empty-handed. There are plentiful videos and firsthand accounts of the massacring of minority men, the kidnapping, rape, and selling of minority women, and even the murder of innocent minority children. Cultural cleansing has reached unprecedented levels. With such abominable barbarities, humanity is facing a real incarnation of evil.
The UN Security Council’s statement last week, condemning ISIL actions and calling on member states to provide humanitarian aid, rings hollow and shows duplicity when compared with others. The effacement of Europe on the international scene at this tragic moment is shameful.
President Obama has finally started to react, by authorizing limited air strikes to defend “American interests” in Iraq, bolster the threatened Kurdish region, and deliver some humanitarian aid. Yet, the response is woefully inadequate. It falls far short of what the catastrophic situation on the ground requires. Essentially preserving the status quo, this response fails to make it an objective of driving the dark forces of ISIL into retreating. It also fails to recognize that ISIL is an international, not just Iraqi, problem, as a hotbed of terrorism makes roots in such a vital area.
In response to the current genocide and humanitarian crisis, Coptic Solidarity makes the following recommendations to the UN and its member states, especially the United States:
- Authorize air strikes against ISIL forces, by NATO or an alliance of willing countries;
- Refer all ISIL leaders to the International Criminal Court under Chapter VII;
- Immediately create safe havens for the minority communities in Iraq and Syria;
- Provide arms to the Kurdish Peshmerga for their self-defense and protection of the minorities who have sought refuge in the Kurdish-controlled region;
- Expose and block the financial networks that support ISIL terrorists;
- Develop a plan and provide assistance and protection for refugees to return to their homes.
The West has blood on its hands by its past actions and inactions that helped “create” the current situation. Leaders of the international community bear responsibility for the agony and deaths of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. Now is the time for immediate action, not for more empty, feel-good, statements and posturing by the international community.
Coptic Solidarity is non-profit organization dedicated to leading efforts to achieve equal citizenship for the Copts in Egypt and minorities in Middle East.
SOURCE Coptic Solidarity
Metro-area church joins national nonprofit in the effort to beautify one of Detroit’s west central neighborhoods
PLYMOUTH, Mich., Aug. 7, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — More than 10,000 of the expected 20,000 volunteers are signed up for a great restoration project happening this month in the city of Detroit. Among the ranks will be NorthRidge Church of Plymouth, Mich. On their website Life Remodeled describes theirs goals this way, ” Our strategy includes remodeling a Detroit Public School each summer in order to create academic and athletic improvements. Additionally, we believe that if we partner with the local residents to remove blight in the surrounding area and create safe and inspirational pathways to the school, we will help to sustain and build up a neighborhood that radiates hope to the rest of the city!”
Life Remodeled, a nonprofit organization devoted to “remodeling lives — one neighborhood at a time,” will focus their 2014 efforts on Cody High School and the surrounding Detroit area neighborhoods during the week of August 11-17. NorthRidge Church volunteers will provide and serve the food for all volunteers during the six-day event, as well as participate in general areas. The church plans to have 900 volunteers dedicated to food efforts alone.
“We love the idea of NorthRidge attenders serving the Detroit community, and Life Remodeled is helping make this more possible,” said Michael Miller, Director of Stewardship and Outreach for NorthRidge Church. “Our hope is to see something sustainable come from this; we want to see our spiritual influence continue well beyond just this week.”
With its main location at 49555 N. Territorial Road in Plymouth, Michigan, NorthRidge Church is a non-denominational ministry that serves approximately 20,000 southeastern Michigan residents. Senior Pastor Brad Powell has led the congregation for the past 24 years. NorthRidge offers six services each weekend; four at the Plymouth location and one at each of their satellite locations. For more information, visit NorthRidgeChurch.com.