The 2 ungodly reactions to politics, current events that Christians must avoid


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TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on today’s podcast, I’d like to do a follow-up to Monday’s program, as well as Tuesday’s program. Monday, we talked about the Doug Jones/Roy Moore election out of Alabama. Yesterday’s broadcast, we talked about the fact that American citizens are starting to lose trust in their government. We see it through the fallout of partisan politics at the Department of Justice and the FBI.

Today, I want to ask how does the believer react? So often when we’re faced with these situations where we’re disappointed, we’ll see fear, we’ll see despair, and we’ll see believers losing hope. Harry, obviously, that’s not God’s intention for us, so how do we react to these news stories?

DISPLACED TRUST

DR. REEDER: Yesterday, we talked about how the believer does not assign trust to a government, although they want a trustworthy government, but let me say something else now. Our hope isn’t in government, our hope is not in a pastor, our hope is not in an elected official, our hope is not in any institution – that’s not our hope. Our hope is in Christ. I have met people who, during the election of President Obama – what it represented with the Democratic platform – they were just utterly angry, fearful or they were utterly in despair.

DON’T INDULGE FEAR

Let me just say to every Christian, no matter what happens in this world, we are never allowed to fear. There is only one fear we have and that is the wonderful blessing of the fear of the Lord.

The Bible says to us, “Perfect love cast out all fear,” so we’re not allowed any of that. What you fear will control you. You’re not allowed to fear the outcome of an election, you’re not allowed to fear the demise of the government and, if you do fear that, that tells you that you hold the government at a higher place than you hold your God.

What you fear indicates what you have worshipped. I understand concern. The same Paul that says that we are never to fear – “Be anxious for nothing” – is the same Paul who says to us that he had concerns for the churches so sanctified concern is fine.

Fear must be banished. Believers out of this past election or out of the shenanigans that are going on in Washington – we can’t fear because the Lord, our God, is our refuge and our mighty fortress. What happens in this world does not affect us. He is sovereign over it and our trust is in Him.

DON’T INDULGE SINFUL ANGER

Secondly, we are not allowed the anger of man. There is a place for God-given sanctified outrage. I’ve got it over abortion – that evokes within me an outrage and I believe there’s a place for lament and I believe there’s a place for outrage.

Therefore, as a believer, I am not saying don’t have lament over the brokenness and sinful acts in this world. I am not saying we don’t have outrage, but the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. We ought to be anti-phobia except for the fear of the Lord, which brings wisdom.

And, thirdly, while we may have sanctified outrage over sin and its consequences, we do not let the anger of man control our lives because it will not achieve the righteousness of God.

HOW THEN DO WE RESPOND?

What do we do? First of all, we nurture our hope in the Lord and we realize that our God is not shortened by bad elections. We do not fear because, “The Lord, our God, has a hedge around His people and He will protect them and what He allows into their life of adversity is ultimately for their good,” Job 1:10.

We do not let the anger of man direct us and control us because it will not promote the righteousness of God, so what do we do? Well, No. 1, we pray and, No. 2., we nurture our hope in the Lord, we nurture our confidence in the Lord and then we nurture our passions for the Lord, not for ourselves.

FOLLOW THESE BIBILICAL EXAMPLES

Tom, let me try to illustrate this two ways. You’ve got a young man of great promise who is dearly loved by his father and his brothers are jealous and they sell him into slavery. And he gets sold into slavery so when he shows up, the guy that owns him, he becomes the best slave the guy’s ever had and rises up over his entire house.

His name was Joseph and the guy that owned him was Potiphar. The wife that tried to seduce him and he said, “I will not sin against my master and I will not sin against the Lord,” what does that get him? A kangaroo court. He is disciplined by Potiphar and now he is put in a place of destitution so what happens to Joseph?

Well, eventually, he becomes the prime minister of Egypt and he saves that nation of Egypt, he saves the people of God, God uses his people to bring his people there for discipline and then, with the memory of Joseph in their mind, 400 years later, they’re brought out for the promised land.

But, in the midst of all that, his brothers who realized what they had done and how they fearfully, in despair, come to Joseph and they say, “Joseph, now that our father is dead, what are you going to do to us?” and he says, “I’m not going to do anything. I’m going to provide for you,” – I’m paraphrasing but – he said, “I know what you did was evil, but what you meant for evil, God meant for good.”

When Paul got arrested and thrown into prison, he didn’t go die in a self-pity pile. He started worshipping with Silas and the result is the conversion of prisoners and the conversion of a Philippian jailer.

One of my favorites is Daniel and the three youths that were with him, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, when they were brought into slavery by the Babylonian Empire, they would have been in my junior high youth group. And so they get there and, what happens?

They treat the King Nebuchadnezzar and his officials with respect, but they are faithful to the Lord and the result is King Nebuchadnezzar gets converted. Instead of fearfulness, instead of despair, God gives them hope and direction, God becomes their confidence and, even when they’re going to get thrown into a fiery furnace, “Hey, King, you can throw us in the furnace, but our God is going to deliver us either from your hand or through your hand. Our God isn’t shortened by you.”

Ultimately, Nebuchadnezzar, I believe, is converted as revealed by Daniel, Chapter 4, but let me tell you something else that happens. Daniel and, perhaps the three young men – although we don’t know – he now is in a position to affect two pagan empires, the Babylonian Empire and then the Mato-Persian Empire. He not only affects two empires, he becomes a primary counselor to pagan kings and he serves in five dynasties through two empires.

Through this, the people of God are disciplined, and refined and sent back to the Promised Land and men like Nehemiah are developed through the courts of these pagan kings who God will use and men like Ezra, Joshua, and Nehemiah – who become a key part of the restoration of God’s people, the line of the Redeemer that we celebrate at Christmas – the line of the Redeemer is preserved, the Temple is rebuilt, the city of Jerusalem is rebuilt.

And God uses these men because they refuse to be in despair. They lived unto the Lord and for the Lord in the midst of a culture gone bad. They didn’t go die in a pile – they just did the next right thing and put their trust in the Lord. Their hope did not waver because of their circumstances. The anger of man did not dominate them, but the fear of the Lord is what surrounded them.

That’s the way they lived and the result is some of their own number, hundreds of years later, show up at the stable of Jesus. They were the royal counselors of what was left over of the Persian Empire, royal Magi, that showed up at the birth of Jesus and, by the way, they get converted.

THE RESULTS?

That’s what happens when you make the Lord your hope, not the last election. That’s what happens when the fear of the Lord is in your life, not the fear of man – when, instead of the anger of man, the love of the Lord fills your heart and your soul and we go to our knees in intercessory prayer for God to bring revival and Gospel awakenings to us and to our land.

Tom, I believe that’s the way we ought to respond. Let’s never let fear guide us, never let the anger of man destroy us and never let despair find a place in our life. Our hope is in the Lord. The love of the Lord casts out fear and our service to the Lord leads us to passion for Jesus, not the anger of man.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

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11 hours ago

AUDIO: ‘The University of Alabama showed great courage in its defense of open debate and free speech’ — J. Pepper Bryars

Earlier this week J. Pepper Bryars, editor of Yellowhammer News, appeared on WYDE’s “The Ford Faction” to discuss a speech that was scheduled to be given by a “race realist” this Thursday at the University of Alabama.

“The University of Alabama showed great courage in its defense of open debate and free speech through its willingness to allow this speaker on campus,” Bryars said, adding that “the only cure for hate speech is more speech.”

The details:

— An obscure student group invited self-described “race realist” (aka: a racist) Jared Taylor to deliver a lecture on campus.

— The university initially approved the event because the group had followed the required process, although administration officials made clear Taylor’s message ran contrary to the school’s values.

— Eventually, however, the student group was found to be in violation of key requirements (having a faculty advisory, etc.), and after officials gave the students time to come into alignment, the group failed so the invitation was rescinded.

“Had the group met the requirements and followed the process like any other, Alabama was prepared to allow its students to hear the racist arguments this man makes, and that’s a great thing,” Bryars said. “Because the only way our society can refute such claims is to know of their existence and how to properly dispose of them … like the garbage they are.”

LISTEN NOW:

@jpepperbryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of American Warfighter

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12 hours ago

Alabama man charged after hunters find remains of missing woman

An Alabama man has been charged with murder after hunters found the skeletal remains of a missing woman.

News outlets report that 58-year-old Kenny Darity of Montgomery is charged in the strangling death of Christina Bloss.

Darity was arrested and charged Tuesday, and bond was set at $150,000. Jail records on Wednesday did not show whether he is represented by an attorney.

Bloss was reported missing Feb. 28, 2017, in Montgomery County. Authorities now think she had been killed 10 days earlier.
A Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department captain, George Beaudry, says Darity and Bloss were acquaintances.

Hunters found her remains Thursday in Lowndes County, which is just west of Montgomery County.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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13 hours ago

Michael Knowles featured at Alabama Policy Institute’s 19th annual dinner event in Mobile

On Tuesday, the Alabama Policy Institute held its 19th annual Mobile dinner event in the airplane hangar at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park.

“I cannot think of a better place to discuss freedom and liberty than at the U.S.S. Battleship Memorial Park and Aircraft Pavilion, a place that holds so many reminders of the sacrifices that thousands of Americans have paid to guarantee our freedom and liberty,” Caleb Crosby, President and CEO of API, told Yellowhammer News.

The “Evening with the Alabama Policy Institute” included keynote speaker, Michael Knowles.

Knowles is a talk show host and former managing editor of The Daily Wire, who is most well-known for his best-selling (and blank) book Reasons To Vote For Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide.

Part of a generation of young-ish conservatives that includes the Wire’s, Ben Shapiro, Knowles spends much of his time traveling to universities and rebutting their brand of “illiberal liberalism,” as Frank Bruni of the New York Times has called it.

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“I feel that here we’re in a safe space,” Knowles opened his speech last night, mirroring Crosby’s sentiment by ironically appropriating the campus buzzword.

“We’re definitely in a safe space because there are lots of guns and battleships. This is the perfect safe space for conservatives to be on tax day.”

Knowles’s speech before API and guests was as much about making the case for conservatism and for President Trump as about rebutting progressivism.

He began by reminding everyone in the room of all the good that the Trump presidency has accomplished: tax cuts, deregulation, originalist judges.

“Now you might be having déjà vu,” he said, “because I could have given that exact same [list] in 1981.”

Pointing out similarities between Reagan was Knowles’s primary way of arguing that Trump has governed as a conservative. In some ways, it also seemed to be his way of coaxing those never-Trump conservatives to embrace the president, or at least to encourage those conservatives supportive of — but still apprehensive — about him.

“Take the victories that we can get today,” Knowles said.

His chief point was that politics is about the now.

“Politics changes all the time,” he said. “There are different circumstances. There are different public policy challenges. There are different public policy prescriptions. There are timeless principles. And of course the hope, is that we conservatives can maintain the bedrock of timeless principles that we can apply to new circumstances and new challenges and make America great again, again.”

“Political victories are never permanent,” Knowles continued. “Political successes are never permanent. That’s why you always need to be making America great again. It’s because otherwise, it’s going to revert to its natural state of decay and destruction.”

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

13 hours ago

Why the Alabama Legislature holds the power — and a breakdown of interesting open seats

Our antiquated 1901 Constitution was designed to give inordinate power to the Legislature. During the Wallace years, the King of Alabama politics, George Wallace, usurped this power and controlled the Legislature from the Executive Branch of Government. Over the last couple of decades the Legislature has wrestled this power back and pretty much excluded the Governor from their bailiwick. Governors Bob Riley and Robert Bentley were ostracized and pretty much ignored. Their proposed budgets were instantaneously tossed into the nearest trashcan.

Legislative power is derived from controlling the state’s purse strings. Thus the old adage, “Those who have the gold set the rules.” The Legislature has gotten like Congress in that incumbents are difficult to defeat. Therefore, the interest will be on the open Senate and House seats. Most of the Montgomery Special Interest money will be focused on these Legislative races.

Speaking of Montgomery, two open and most interesting Senate seats in the state will be in the Montgomery/River Region. One is currently in progress. Montgomery City Councilman, David Burkette, Representative John Knight and Councilman Fred Bell are pursuing the Democratic seat vacated by Senator Quinton Ross when he left to become President of Alabama State University. Burkette has already bested Knight and Bell in a Special Election last month. A rebound race is set for June 5.

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The Republican Senate seat in the River Region held by Senator Dick Brewbaker is up for grabs. This seat was expected to attract numerous well-known aspirants. However, when the dust settled at the qualifying deadline two relatively unknown candidates were the only ones to qualify. Will Barfoot and Ronda Walker are pitted against each other in a race that is considered a tossup.

The Etowah County/Gadsden area was considered one of the most Democratic areas of the state for generations. However, in recent years it has become one of the most Republican. State Representative, Mack Butler, should be favored as a Republican. Although, polling indicates that veteran Democratic Representative, Craig Ford, could make this a competitive race in the Fall. He is running as an Independent.  

Veteran State Senator Harri Ann Smith has represented the Wiregrass/Dothan area admirably for over two decades. She has been elected several times as an Independent. However, she has decided not to seek reelection. Her exit leaves State Representative Donnie Chesteen in the catbird seat to capture the seat.

Republican State Senator Paul Bussman, who represents Cullman and northwest Alabama, is a maverick and very independent. This independence makes him powerful. He will be reelected easily.

State Representative David Sessions is predicted to win the seat of Senator Bill Hightower who is running for Governor.

Most of the state Senate’s most powerful members are unopposed or have token opposition. Included in this list of incumbent State Senators are veteran Senate leader and Rules Chairman, Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia, Senate President, Del Marsh, R-Calhoun, Senate Majority Leader, Greg Reed, R-Jasper, veteran Senator Jimmy Holley, R-Coffee, as well as Senate leaders Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, Clay Scofield, R-Marshall, Clyde Chambliss, R-Autauga, Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, Tom Whatley, R-Lee, and Shay Shelnutt, R-Gardendale. The Senate leadership will remain intact, as will the House leadership.

Almost all of the House leaders are unopposed or have token opposition. This prominent list includes: Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-Madison, Budget Chairmen, Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, Speaker Pro-tem, Victor Gaston, R- Mobile, Rules Chairman, Mike Jones, R-Covington.

In addition, there are numerous Veteran lawmakers, who will be reelected, including Lynn Greer, Mike Ball, Jim Carnes, Howard Sanderford, Kerry Rich, and Jimmy Martin; as well as rising leaders: Nathaniel Ledbetter, Kyle South, Connie Rowe, Tim Wadsworth, April Weaver, Paul Lee, Terri Collins, Danny Garrett, Dickie Drake, Chris Pringle, Randall Shedd, Allen Farley, Becky Nordgren, Mike Holmes, David Standridge, Dimitri Polizos, Reed Ingram and Chris Sells.

Even though there are 22 open House seats and 10 open Senate Seats, the leadership of both Chambers will remain the same.

There are some competitive House seats that will be interesting. In the Pike/Dale County Seat 89, Pike Probate Judge Wes Allen is pitted against Troy City Council President Marcus Paramore. Tracy Estes is favored to replace retiring Mike Millican in Marion County. Alfa is going all out for Estes. David Wheeler is expected to capture the open House seat in Vestavia.

See you next week.

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.

 

13 hours ago

Alabama aging death row: Is executing old or infirm inmates cruel?

Vernon Madison has spent decades on Alabama’s death row. Now 67, Madison has suffered from strokes and dementia and his lawyers say he no longer recalls the crime that put him there: the 1985 killing of a police officer.

His speech is slurred, he suffers from confusion, and once thought he was near release and talked of moving to Florida, according to his lawyers. This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to review the claims by Madison’s defense team that executing someone in his condition would violate the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

“Killing a fragile man suffering from dementia is unnecessary and cruel,” Madison’s attorney, Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative, said in January, when the justices stayed Madison’s execution the night he was to receive a lethal injection.

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The U.S. death row population is aging, and that leaves courts increasingly likely to grapple with questions of when it becomes unconstitutionally cruel to put someone to death who is mentally frail — or whose medical conditions could complicate the execution procedure.

“That is going to be an increasing issue in carrying out the American death penalty,” said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington. “We are reaching a stage, as death row inmates age, we’ll see this more frequently.”

About 2,800 people are on death row in prisons nationwide, and about 1,200 of them over age 50, the non-profit group said. An Associated Press review of the group’s data shows the median age of an executed inmate in the U.S. rose from 34 to 46 between 1983 and 2017 — a fact observers attribute to appeals taking longer — sometimes decades.

One of the oldest, 83-year-old Walter Leroy Moody, is scheduled to be executed Thursday in Alabama for the 1989 package bomb killing of a federal judge. If the sentence is carried out, Moody would be the oldest person and the first octogenarian put to death since U.S. executions resumed in the 1970s, Dunham said.

“Many of these defendants have done terrible things. People are torn between wanting to punish severely and the belief it is beneath us as a nation to kill a frail person who is already dying. It’s a challenge to our morality and our sense of humanity,” Dunham said.

Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the pro-death penalty Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, supports steps to reduce the time between an inmate’s sentencing and execution.

“There is no constitutional issue from age alone, though dementia does, of course, become more common with age. The underlying question about what kind and degree of mental illness will prevent an execution is not new. It is ancient.”

Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing in Madison’s case, noted the growing number of aging prisoners on death row and said, “Given this trend, we may face ever more instances of state efforts to execute prisoners suffering the diseases and infirmities of old age.”

Age by itself isn’t the issue, but rather the illnesses more common with old age.

Take Alva Campbell, 69. He died last month in an Ohio prison of natural causes after his 2017 lethal injection procedure was halted when a usable vein couldn’t be found. Alabama similarly aborted last month’s execution of Doyle Lee Hamm, 61, who has battled lymphoma. His lawyer said Hamm had at least 11 puncture wounds from attempts to find a vein.

“It was precisely Doyle’s old age and illness that raised all the problems. The state of Alabama was not prepared,” Hamm’s attorney, Bernard Harcourt, wrote in an email.

Yet 75-year-old Tommy Arthur, who had argued that his cardiovascular disease would complicate execution, was put to death without obvious incident last year in Alabama.

Madison was convicted of killing Mobile police officer Julius Schulte.

Schulte responded to a missing child report on April 18, 1985. Arriving at a home, he found the child had returned but Madison and his girlfriend were embroiled in a domestic dispute. According to court records, Schulte interacted briefly with Madison, telling him to “just to go on and let things cool down.” According to prosecutors, Madison left but then crept up behind Schulte as he sat in his police car, shooting him twice in the head.

The Supreme Court has ruled inmates must have a rational understanding of why they’re being executed, faculties which Madison’s lawyers say he doesn’t possess.

His attorneys argue strokes have left Madison frequently disoriented with no independent memory of his crime. They also say he is legally blind, cannot walk independently and has urinary incontinence from his brain damage.

The state’s lawyers counter that Madison was found competent at a 2016 hearing, hasn’t presented new evidence and is aware he received the death sentence — even if he doesn’t remember killing Schulte.

“What happened to my dad was cruel and unusual punishment,” said Schulte’s son, Michael. “He was shot twice in the head while he was trying to help somebody.”

Schulte, 59, has suffered health problems of his own, including a stroke and heart attack. Yet he said Madison’s protracted legal fight has been hard on his family and doesn’t “do my dad justice.”

Said Schulte: “Somebody needs to make a decision. Either we are going to have the death penalty or we’re not.”

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)