Author Archives: Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield
By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield Editor, FaithInspires.Org
In today’s world we are surrounded by more information, more often than any other time in history. The set of thinking skills we use to determine what is true or useful is called discernment. This set of thinking skills is more important in regards to our faith than any other part of our lives. Consider what the Bible says at Leviticus 10:10” “ And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;” (KJV) So obviously if the Bible addresses it directly it is very important.
Even as adults we can fall subject to what is called peer pressure. Our actions are sometimes ruled by our need to be popular. They of course should be guided by God’s word instead. Look at what is said in Proverbs 21:2. “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.”(KJV) Everybody wants to feel independent, to be an original. But are these desires the best way to grow our faith ? Not in a vacuum they are not. Navigators at sea always take care to consider error and deviation. Magnetic deviation has to do with the earth’s magnetic field being different in different parts of the world. Error on the other hand has to do with every compass being different. In much the same way when we looking to guide our thinking and decisions, we need to make sure that the information we are using is accurate. We also need to make sure we are using the right information to get us where we want to go. Without God’s word, and his leading through the Holy Spirit we lack a vital perspective in our decision making. So how are we to make the right choices ? Psalm 119 verse 125 tells us, “I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.” (KJV) So the obvious answer in this case is the right answer. If we want help correctly aligning our thinking with God’s thinking we should ask him directly ! It may seem odd that we keep coming back to prayer. However we cannot overstate the importance of prayer and the connection to God that it feeds.
Often when people want to learn a new language they use what is called “immersion” training. How this works is they bring their new language into every part of their life. They literally surround themselves with what they are trying to learn. We as Christians are not trying to just learn a new language, but a whole new way of thinking and behaving. If that is true, why do we think we can get so much more done, with so much less effort ? After we pray for discernment we should surround ourselves with God’s word. We should “immerse” ourselves in God’s way of thinking to the point that our thoughts become one. 1 John 2:15-17 sums it up quite nicely. “ Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” So when you are looking for discernment to guide your decisions in life, make sure you are using the right “compass.” Always remember to the Christian the only compass needed is God’s word prayerfully considered.
WASHINGTON, March 20, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — This Sunday, “60 Minutes” will air Lara Logan’s report on the plight of the Christian church in Iraq. Among those interviewed for the program was Bishop Bashar Warda whose flock has expanded by 60,000 as Erbil has abandoned thousands of those displaced by the Islamic State.
21Wilberforce also met with Bishop Warda and other faith leaders during a January visit to northern Iraq and issued a report entitled “Edge of Extinction” (21wilberforce.org). Just as Bishop Warda’s flock has grown exponentially, dozens of priests from Mosul and surrounding areas have seen their flocks decimated with a reported 12 Christian families leaving Iraq daily due to the violence and desperate circumstances of their prolonged displacement.
“I am pleased to see 60 Minutes shining a bright light on the existential crisis facing Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq—a crisis which increasingly looks like genocide. As we approach April, Genocide Prevention Month, we must not let the words ‘Never Again’ ring hollow,” said former Congressman Frank Wolf, co-founder of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative.
Yesterday the United Nations human rights office released a report which found that the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) may have committed genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in its attacks against ethnic and religious groups in the country. Specifically the UN mission gathered information regarding acts of violence perpetrated against civilians because of their affiliation with an ethnic or religious group and then surmised, “It is reasonable to conclude that some of these incidents, considering the overall information, may constitute genocide.
“The church in the West must stand in solidarity with our beleaguered brothers and sisters in Iraq, Syria and throughout the Middle East who find themselves in the murderous crosshairs of the Islamic State,” remarked Wilberforce president and co-founder Dr. Randel Everett.
DANBURY, Conn., March 16, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — May We Pray for You? The Guideposts OurPrayer Ministry, announces its 45th annual Good Friday Day of Prayer event, scheduled for 7-5pm, Friday, April 3 at Mizzentop Day School (formerly Peale Center) 66 East Main Street in Pawling, NY. As in years past, OurPrayer invites the public to attend or submit prayer requests online at www.ourprayergoodfriday.org where each prayer request will be prayed for by OurPrayer staff and volunteers.
This Good Friday Day of Prayer, we welcome you to join the hundreds of people near and far as we gather for a day of reflection and prayer. This occasion benefits so many who attend, as a day of personal contemplation and renewal, as well as a time for unity and fellowship, joining together to intercede for individuals, friends, family and the world. “We are not short on problems in our homes, schools, on our streets, or in our world. What better time than Good Friday, to make a sacrifice and intercede on behalf of others just as Christ did for us,” commented Ty’Ann Brown, Manager of OurPrayer. Join us as we make this day a time of prayer and community, lifting up thousands of prayer requests by name and need. This event is free and refreshments will be provided.
Those who are unable to attend the event can still participate by submitting prayer requests as well as praying for others at www.ourprayergoodfriday.org. Our Prayer Line will be open for personal prayer from 7am-10pm EDT at 203-778-8063. Caring people volunteer their time to support those in need, offering prayers of hope and inspiration in response to the millions of requests received annually. Please additionally visit OurPrayer on Facebook, and Twitter.
OurPrayer is a service of Guideposts–a non-profit organization that touches millions of lives every day through products and services that inspire, encourage, and uplift. Through magazines, books, prayer network and outreach programs, Guideposts helps people connect their faith-filled values to their daily lives. For more information on Guideposts, please visit www.guideposts.org and follow Guideposts on Facebook and Twitter.
WASHINGTON, March 12, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — Warner Bros. Pictures “American Sniper” follows the life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most deadly sniper in American history, and his Navy SEAL Team 3 brothers. The blockbuster was adapted from Chris Kyle’s New York Times #1 best-selling book of the same name, which was dedicated to Kyle’s Navy SEAL teammate and close friend Ryan “Biggles” Job, a central character in both works.
Chris Kyle and Ryan “Biggles” Job (pronounced Jobe) went through grueling SEAL training together where Ryan earned his nickname “Biggles” because of his size. Once deployed to Iraq, the two were stationed on a rooftop in Ramadi when Job was shot in the face and gravely wounded by an enemy sniper. Job miraculously survived, but was permanently blinded.
Shortly after returning stateside for facial reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation, Job became involved in wounded veteran’s causes and befriended Robert Vera. Vera, a former US Senate aide on military affairs, trained with Job in the hills around Phoenix, Arizona for Job’s unprecedented blind hike to the summit of Washington’s Mt. Rainer, one of the tallest and deadliest peaks in America.
Tragically, after surviving the deadly attack in Iraq, Ryan Job died of an accidental medical overdose at Maricopa County Medical Center, just two days after a round of surgery. At the time, Ryan’s wife was pregnant with their first child.
Robert Vera pays tribute to his fallen friend in “A Warrior’s Faith,” a newly released book from HarperCollins Publishing. In the book, Vera introduces the uncanny similarity between Ryan Job and Job from the Bible. Besides the pronunciation of their names, Vera also describes the “amazing parallels” between their lives. Ryan is tested, as Job was, after he was blinded on the rooftop in Ramadi. When Job would ask Vera how he looked, Vera always answered: “You’re golden.” Vera explained the reference to Job 23:10: “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
“A Warrior’s Faith: Navy SEAL Ryan Job, a Life-Changing Firefight, and the Belief That Transformed His Life” is now available online in hardcover and in both eReader and Audible format. Robert is available for book signings and speaking engagements to pay tribute to his fallen friend and American hero.
“The slaughter of Christians and other minority communities by ISIS has awakened many Christians to persecution of the global Church. Sudan’s Christians and other marginalized peoples are also under attack. For decades they have been starved, enslaved, and killed. Churches, schools, and hospitals bombed regularly by the Islamist government.” — Faith J. H. McDonnell, IRD Religious Liberty Program Director
WASHINGTON, March 6, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — Sudan’s Khartoum-based regime has ramped up its attacks on the people of the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile State.
The journalists of Nuba Reports chronicle bombings that continually have been taking place since June 2011. According to the latest count, 3740 bombs have been dropped on civilians in the Nuba Mountains since April 2012. Nuba Reports journalist Yassin Hassan writes that this new ramping up by the Sudanese government is “the largest offensive since the new stage of Sudan’s civil war started in 2011.”
Sudan’s Air Force has been accused of a number of atrocities this year:
- On January 7, Albanin Butrus, age 7, died from shrapnel that ripped through his body after a fighter jet attacked his village Abu Layla in South Kordofan.
- On February 3, a bomb hit a foxhole in Um Dorian County where nine children were sleeping. A sixteen year-old girl was killed immediately. The explosion lit a nearby house on fire which fell on the group of children. Two were killed.
- Morningstar News reports that on February 6, Sudan’s bombing of another civilian area killed Naheed Saeed Komi, 25, who was nine months pregnant. Another girl from the same church, Nour Kalowas, was also killed.
- On January 20, the Sudan Air Force bombed the only functioning hospital in the Nuba Mountains, run by Doctors Without Borders in Frandala. Two bombs hit the compound. Thankfully, only one patient and one staff member were injured.
IRD Religious Liberty Program Director Faith J. H. McDonnell commented:
“At IRD just this week we received a tragic report from our friend and colleague, a priest in the Diocese of Kadugli and Nuba Mountains of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan. His cousin had just lost five of his children when a plane bombed their village of Sharf-Jamus, Acheron. The man and his remaining child were also seriously injured. Another family in the same neighborhood lost 2 children.
“Through the usual moral equivalence, many of the world’s leaders and others think that ‘both sides’ need to ‘stop fighting.’ If the SPLA-N stopped fighting, the forces of Khartoum would wipe out the men, women, and children of the Nuba Mountains.
“Sudan’s government acts with impunity. The weak response of the U.S. government and the world community to its genocidal actions have emboldened it into believing that no one cares enough to stop them.”
Worry and anxiety by themselves are not bad things. They are very natural feelings in certain situations. They are a part of God’s plan. In fact, the fact that we worry about something is a direct result of how much we care about that thing. If there were no thing or situation we cared about, we would probably never worry. However anxiety can become a paralyzing, destructive thing if we do not manage it properly. It is at such times that we as Christians rightly turn to our faith for help, and direction.
What then does the Bible say about worry and anxiety ? Let’s start with the words of Mathew 6:27 “ Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Later in Mathew 6:34 it adds this, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” The main thought here is that worry should not be allowed to remain with us. The great 19th Century Baptists Pastor Charles Spurgeon said much the same thing when he taught, “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.”
However our worry will not just simply disappear. Would that life were that easy. So what then are we to do with our feelings of worry, and anxiety ? Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” R.C. Sproul mentions this very verse when in March of 2008 he wrote, “The apostle Paul in writing to the Philippians gives them the admonition to be “anxious for nothing,” telling them that the cure for anxiety is found on one’s knees, that it is the peace of God that calms our spirit and dissipates anxiety (Phil. 4:6). “ Notice that Sproul tells us that it is the peace of God which dissipates our anxiety ! Here we have a practical formula which we can use in our times of anxiety. First of all we as in all things should pray. In doing so we should be grateful for that we have been given in the past. Thirdly we should present our current needs to God. Only the peace that comes from God has the supernatural power to overcome the worries of this world.
Why would God take on our worries, and anxieties ? 1 Peter 5:7 answers this quite plainly. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Because he cares for each one of us that’s why ! Think of it like this. Many of us have been parents, grandparents etc. If one of our children were beset with worry, would we not take those concerns onto ourselves if we could ? Would we not wish their anguish on us instead of them ? Why would our heavenly father behave differently than any other parent ?
So it is clear. God is there for us in our times of worry and anxiety. We are to seek the comfort of our heavenly parent, just as our own children would seek our lap, or our arms, when in need of comfort. His peace is our solution for such troubling times. It is not for us to slay our anxieties, they are his to bear and to conquer !
By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. “ Isaiah 53:6
We are all imperfect people living in an imperfect world. Add to that the many distractions of our popular culture, and it is no surprise that we stray from God’s path now and then. As I often tell people, its a good thing God always allows for a”do over.” This is made even clearer in Mathew 18:12-14,
“How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” God will always leave open a path from where we are, through Christ, back to him and his way.
Think about this in terms of the classic story of the prodigal son. The prodigal son as you may remember demanded his inheritance immediately. He then left his father’s house and went on his own way. He had a great time, and squandered his inheritance in the process. His money all gone he could only survive by becoming a servant to others. He concluded if he were to be a servant, he may as well be one in his father’s house. So he returned home, and told his father he would gladly be a servant, if only he could be allowed to return. Did the father agree to this ? Not at all ! He immediately ordered his servants to clothe his son in HIS finest robe, and that a ring be put on his finger. He even ordered that his finest calf be butchered and prepared for the feast celebrating his son’s return. Our heavenly Father sees us as his prodigal son when we stray from him, and waits to celebrate our return.
Now lets look at the 23rd Psalm, and think about what it has to say to us in terms of what we are studying. “ The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
The reason a Shepard worries so much when a sheep goes astray, is he can only protect it if it is under his direct authority. The way this relates to us as Christians is that we cannot stray from God’s way, without straying from his protection. God gave man alone the gift of free will. But the advantages of submitting to his authority do not go with us if we leave him. But if we stray, his heart aches waiting and hoping we will return. If we return, sincerely repenting for anything we may have done to offend him he will happily welcome us home.
But does this mean that we can do anything we want, tell God we are sorry, and its all good ? Not quite.
Consider what the Apostle Paul had to say in Romans 6:1-3, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” To truly return to God our repentance must be sincere. Part of that sincerity is to make changes in our life to bring us closer in line with his way.
But the point of it all remains this. If we truly want to return to God and his way, he will always make a place for us !