VIDEO House Opening Prayer

Republican Pennsylvania State Rep. Stephanie Borowicz outraged Democrats by mentioning Jesus 13 times in her invocation on the day of Pennsylvania’s first female Muslim representative’s swearing-in.

Borowicz thanked Jesus, “the King of Kings; the Lord of lords; the great I Am; the One who’s coming back again; the One who came, died, and rose again on the third day,” for the honor of being His ambassador, asked forgiveness on behalf of America for forgetting Him and for Him to heal the country, praised Him for President Donald Trump’s support of Israel and declared that “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow.”

Democratic Pennsylvania State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, the first female Muslim representative in the state’s legislature, decried the Monday prayer as offensive, as did state Democratic leadership. (RELATED: New Zealand Goes Full Islam After Mosque Attacks)

“I thought that for the most part, the entire invocation was offensive,” Johnson-Harrell said, according to The Associated Press.

Johnson-Harrell also asserted that Borowicz used Jesus “as a weapon” to target her because she is Muslim.

“I knew I was going to receive some discrimination because of my religion,” Johnson-Harrell said according to WHYY. “Because I’m a hijabi woman. And I am the first…but I did not think it would come on the actual day of my swearing-in.”

An Islamic prayer called Takbir was recited before the legislature during Johnson-Harrell’s swearing-in, but ended just before the prayer’s traditional last line, which repudiates the belief that God begat a son, thereby rejecting the Christian understanding of Jesus.

House Minority Leader Frank Dermody also denounced Borowicz’s prayer as “beneath the dignity of this House.”

Dermody proposed developing guidelines to ensure that the prayer delivered before voting sessions will be one that “is meant to inspire us, that is meant to bring us together so we can have, at least, an opportunity at the beginning of the day to think sure that we can get something done here together.”

Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf also decried the prayer.

The state’s legislature, by contrast, applauded Muslim Democratic Pennsylvania State Rep. Jason Dawkins’ Tuesday invocation, in which he recited from the Quran.

—-
Advertisements

Remembering My Father

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.  Colossians 3:23

 

When I remember my dad, I picture him best outdoors hammering or gardening or downstairs working in his cluttered workroom, stuffed with fascinating tools and gadgets. His hands were always busy at a task or project—sometimes building (a garage or a deck or a birdhouse), sometimes locksmithing, and sometimes designing jewelry and stained-glass art.

Remembering my dad prompts me to think of my heavenly Father and Creator, who has always been busy at work. In the beginning, “[God] laid the earth’s foundations . . . [and] marked off its dimensions . . . while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy” (Job 38:4–7). Everything He created was a work of art, a masterpiece. He designed a breathtakingly beautiful world and pronounced it “very good” (Genesis 1:31).

That includes you and me. God designed us in intimate and intricate detail (Psalm 139:13–16); and He entrusted us with and instilled in us (His image bearers) the goal and desire to work, which includes ruling and caring for the Earth and its creatures (Genesis 1:26–28; 2:15). No matter the work we do—in our job or in our leisure—God empowers and gives us what we need to work wholeheartedly for Him.

In everything we do, may we do it to please Him.

By Alyson Kieda

Today’s Reflection

What has God worked out in your life recently? How does it change your view of even mundane tasks to see them as opportunities to serve and honor Him?

Hearing God Accurately

Mark 4:9-13

In reading the Word of God, we may think we come with no preconceptions, but that’s not really the case. Just as the expectations of the disciples affected how they heard and understood Jesus’ teaching, so too our perception of God’s voice is shaped by our experiences.

Let’s consider how some of the people and events in our life helped define how we hear God speak through His Word and His Spirit.

Our Parents. Our self-concept is shaped early by the way we were treated in childhood, and that in turn affects how we perceive our heavenly Father and His love for us.

Our Teachers. If we had a teacher who was a harsh taskmaster, we may have a similar image of the Lord. But if our instructor was kind and patient, then God may seem more approachable to us.

Our Friends. Having one loyal friend can help us view the Lord in that same light. But if we’ve ever been betrayed, seeds of doubt about God’s faithfulness may be sown in our minds and affect how we hear Him speak in His Word.

Our Experiences. Whether our life has been pleasant and free of turmoil or painful and traumatic, everything we’ve experienced has shaped our understanding of the way God treats us.

This is why it’s critical to let the Word of God rather than our experiences become the filter through which we see life and understand the Lord. Before picking up the Bible or praying, let’s ask God to strip away any misconceptions so we can hear Him accurately.

Must Contend for the Faith

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 1:3)

Jude long ago addressed a problem in his day that is still very real in our day among Christians. It is easier and more comfortable just to teach and preach about the blessings of our common salvation than it is to contend for the faith, but the latter is more “needful.” The word conveys the idea that he was so constrained, evidently by the Holy Spirit, as actually to be in distress about this compelling need. Similarly, his exhortation to “earnestly contend” does not mean to “be argumentative,” but rather, to “agonize with intense determination.” It is one word in the Greek, epagonizomai (literally, “agonize over”). Defending and contending for the faith is serious, urgent business.

That which we are to defend is “the faith”—the whole body of Christian truth, wherever it is under attack. It would, of course, be especially important to contend for the doctrine of special creation, which is the foundation of all others, and which is the doctrine perpetually under the most concerted and persistent attack by the adversary.

That faith has been, long ago, “once delivered” to the saints. The sense of these words is “once for all turned over for safekeeping.” The Lord has entrusted us with His Word, completed and inscripturated, and we must keep it, uncorrupted and intact, for every generation until He returns, preaching and teaching all of it to every creature, to the greatest extent we possibly can.

Finally, note that the safeguarding of the faith was not merely to specially trained theologians or other professionals, but to “the saints.” Every Christian believer is commanded to “earnestly contend for the faith.” HMM

Some New Mystery

(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)

—Acts 17:21

The temptation to forget the few spiritual essentials and to go wandering off after unimportant things is very strong, especially to Christians of a certain curious type of mind. Such persons find the great majors of the faith of our fathers altogether too tame for them. Their souls loathe that light bread; their appetites crave the gamy tang of fresh-killed meat. They take great pride in their reputation as being mighty hunters before the Lord, and any time we look out we may see them returning from the chase with some new mystery hanging limply over their shoulder.

Usually the game they bring down is something on which there is a biblical closed season. Some vague hint in the Scriptures, some obscure verse about which the translators disagree, some marginal note for which there is not much scholarly authority: these are their favorite meat. They are especially skillful at propounding notions which have never been a part of the Christian heritage of truth. Their enthusiasm mounts with the uncertainty of their position, and their dogmatism grows firmer in proportion to the mystery which surrounds their subject.   NCA012-013

Lord, keep me faithful to Your Word, give me understanding of the unfathomable truths contained therein, but deliver me from that danger of seeking some new insight to enhance my reputation as some kind of brilliant scholar. Amen.

 

Not as I will, but as Thou will

Not as I will, but as Thou wilt.—Matthew 26:39.

 

Thy will, not mine, O Lord, However dark it be! Lead me by Thine own hand, Choose out the path for me. I dare not choose my lot, I would not, if I might, Choose Thou for me, my God, So shall I walk aright.

Horatius Bonar.

 

Choose but the will of God, and thou wiliest with His wisdom, thou choosest with His all-perfect choice; thou enterest into His counsels; thou lovest with His love. Be this our watchword, brethren, for the Church, for those we love, for our own souls. He this our rule in action, “not what I will, but what Thou;” this, in suffering; “not what I, but what Thou.” This shall hallow our hopes; this shall hush our fears; this shall ward off disquiet; this shall preserve our peace; this shall calm anxieties; this (if so it must be) shall soothe our heart-aches; this shall give it-pose to our weariness; this, the deeper our trouble, shall be the deeper foretaste of everlasting peace and rest. “Lord, not what I will, but what Thou “; not what I, in my misery, and ignorance, and blindness, and sin, but what Thou, in Thy mercy, and holiness, and wisdom, and love.

E.B. Pusey.

 

Draw Nearer to God

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you James 4:8

The nearer we come to God, the more graciously will He reveal Himself to us. When the prodigal comes to his father, his father runs to meet him. When the wandering dove returns to the ark, Noah puts out his hand to pull her in unto him. When the tender wife seeks her husband’s society, he comes to her on wings of love. Come then, dear friend, let us draw nigh to God who so graciously awaits us, yea, comes to meet us.

Did you ever notice that passage in Isaiah 58:9? There the Lord seems to put Himself at the disposal of His people, saying to them, “Here I am.” As much as to say — “What have you to say to me? What can I do for you? I am waiting to bless you. How can we hesitate to draw near? God is nigh to forgive, to bless, to comfort, to help, to quicken, to deliver. Let it be the main point with us to get near to God. This done, all is done. If we draw near to others, they may before long grow weary of us and leave us; but if we seek the Lord alone, no change will come over His mind, but He will continue to come nearer and yet nearer to us by fuller and more joyful fellowship.