A Prayer For Friday (August 16, 2019)

O Sovereign Lord,
Make us holy as You are holy. Cleanse us of our sin. Put in us a clean heart. Lead us by Your Spirit. Purify us, O Lord.

Links To Go (August 16, 2019)

Most Churchgoers Say They Spend Their Day Seeking God

Around 2 in 5 churchgoers (38%) say they set aside time for private worship, praise or thanksgiving to God every day. Another 29% say they do so a few times a week, while 13% set aside the time once a week, 7% a few times a month, 4% once a month, and 9% rarely or never.

Why You Should Resist Conspiracy Theories

This kind of reasoning undermines rational thought, our intellectual obligation to weigh evidence, and, in the end, our ability to think critically. As a Christian, if you sincerely believe in these outlandish conspiracies, you are undermining your witness for Christ, undercutting your own case for the resurrection and giving people a reason not to listen.

Jeremiah 29:11

Even in the midst of this prophecy of punishment, there was a sliver of hope: the exile would be long, but it would not be permanent. God purposed to chasten His people, but He would not destroy them utterly. He would in fact bring them back to their land—after seventy years (v. 11).

Reading Makes People Feel Happier and Smarter, According to New Poll

55 percent of respondents said they only need to read for 15 minutes to feel like they’ve accomplished something. (Fun fact: People who read books for 30 minutes every day may live an average of 23 months longer than non-readers according to a 2016 study.)

White Arkansas woman pulls gun on 4 black fundraising teens

Police in the eastern Arkansas city of Wynne, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) northeast of Little Rock, said the incident happened Aug. 7. Police responding to reports of “suspicious persons” found the four children on the ground, with Jerri Kelly, who is white, standing over them holding a gun, Memphis TV station WMC reported.

Jeffrey Epstein kept painting of Bill Clinton in drag at his house

Among the most unusual of works is an oil painting of Mr Clinton, dressed in a blue dress similar to the infamous one worn by Monica Lewinsky, and wearing red stilettos. Mr Clinton is shown lounging in a chair in the Oval Office, and leering at the camera.

A Security Researcher’s Attempt to Prank the DMV Backfired in a Spectacularly Expensive Way

His hypothesis proved partially correct: The systems didn’t properly process his “NULL” license plate, but the outcome was basically the opposite of what he was hoping for. First, upon trying to renew his tags, the DMV website informed him that his license number was invalid. Then he was hit with a barrage of parking tickets that totaled more than $12,000, because a processing center had used “NULL” for all parking misdemeanors committed by unidentified vehicles, and the system mistakenly attributed them all to Droogie’s car.

Pumpkin Spice Spam arrives just in time for fall, uh, ‘flavor’?

“True to the brand’s roots, SPAM® Pumpkin Spice combines deliciousness with creativity, allowing the latest variety to be incorporated into a number of dishes, from on-trend brunch recipes to an easy, pick me-up snack,” a Spam spokesperson told NBC.

Links To Go (August 14, 2019)

Make Sunday Mornings Uncomfortable

So, this Sunday, let’s take a risk. Let’s reach across the small divides to others as we imitate the one who spanned the great divide for us. And let’s urge our friends to do the same, because the harvest in our gatherings is plentiful.

Expat . . . With a Drill — How Living Cross-Culturally Messes With Your Values

It’s funny how we set our parameters around what’s essential and what’s extravagant based on the people around us. It’s even funnier to see it from two sides.

I Made Myself Lose My Phone

Over the years I’ve grown used to walking away. In the last decade, I have left countries, jobs, people — at times to my detriment. Three weeks before jumping on that plane to Thailand, I deleted my Facebook account. Two months later, in South Africa and still without a phone, I turned to my girlfriend and said, “You know what, I’m getting rid of Twitter.” Sometimes, you just have to rip off the band-aid. In the months that followed, there came a sense of security and serenity I hadn’t felt for a long time. Humans may be tool-using animals, but there are some tools we simply don’t need.

When The U.S. Government Tried To Replace Migrant Farmworkers With High Schoolers

“There’s nothing you can say to us that [migrant laborers] are rapists or they’re lazy,” he says. “We know the work they do. And they do it all their lives, not just one summer for a couple of months. And they raise their families on it. Anyone ever talks bad on them, I always think, ‘Keep talking, buddy, because I know what the real deal is.’ “

A Dallas-born citizen picked up by the Border Patrol has been detained for three weeks, his lawyer says

Galan said she met with CBP officers last week and presented them with Galicia’s birth certificate and some other documents but was unsuccessful in getting him released. She plans on presenting the same documents to ICE officers later this week.

Trump immigration official offers rewrite for Statue of Liberty poem

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, was asked by NPR whether the words of Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus,” inscribed on a bronze tablet exhibited in the museum at the statue’s base, remain “part of the American ethos.” “They certainly are,” Cuccinelli said. “Give me your tired and your poor — who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”

Too easy or too tough? Voters split on Trump media coverage

Thirty-seven percent of respondents believe the media is “too tough” on Trump, while the same percentage believe the media is “not tough enough.” Fifteen percent think the media’s treatment of Trump is “just right,” while 11 percent don’t know or have no opinion. The responses are split sharply along party lines, with 75 percent of Republicans polled finding the media is “too tough” on the president, and 69 percent of Democrats finding the media is “not tough enough.” Among independent voters, 32 percent believe the media is “too tough” and 31 percent believe they are “not tough enough.”

I’m one of the rare few who needs only 4 hours of sleep per night

When I tweeted about being a natural short sleeper, someone asked me how they can make themselves one. I said to them, “I was born like this. I inherited this from my parents.” I don’t encourage people to do that. If you need to sleep, you must sleep. Otherwise, you’ll be grumpy and irritable and start making mistakes. Get your six to eight hours in, and make it good sleep. Don’t try and force yourself to run on little sleep.

How Mosquitoes Changed Everything

In total, Winegard estimates that mosquitoes have killed more people than any other single cause—fifty-two billion of us, nearly half of all humans who have ever lived. He calls them “our apex predator,” “the destroyer of worlds,” and “the ultimate agent of historical change.”

Are the choices only two?

When listening to political discussions among Christians, I realize that we’ve accepted as true the idea that there are only two choices. You are red or you are blue. Democrat or Republican. Conservative or liberal.

The two political parties are after power. They want to win elections. Many individual politicians have strong personal convictions, but they face enormous pressure to conform to “the party” and vote according to what will get the most votes in the next election. The party wants to gain or maintain power, so they want everyone (candidates, party members, voters) to always stick to partisan lines.

We believers must not allow ourselves to be sucked into this game. We need to look at each situation, each issue, each political question and ask, “What is right? What is best for the Kingdom of God?”

When I do this, I can question a political stance held by Democrats without throwing my unquestioning support to the Republicans. I can challenge Republican politicians without backing their political rivals. I can even vote for some candidates from one party and other candidates from another party. (I might even vote for a third party or [gasp] choose not to vote for anyone!)

The world wants you to opt to follow the elephant or the donkey. I say always follow the Lamb.

A prayer for Friday (August 9, 2019)

“Woe to me that I dwell in Meshech, that I live among the tents of Kedar! Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. I am a man of peace; but when I speak, they are for war.” (Psalms 120:5–7)

O Lord,

Too long have we lived as aliens in a foreign land, too long among people of lying lips and violent hearts. We long for the gates of the New Jerusalem, the shalom that you have prepared for us there.

May our hearts yearn for our homeland. May we never feel at home away while we live in Meshech and Kedar, as we wander the banks of the rivers of Babylon.

Heal our world. Bring peace to our nations. Let every knee bow and every tongue confess.

Come, Lord Jesus.