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.

10 hours ago

Birmingham-Southern College to impose fee on unvaccinated students

Unless students of Birmingham-Southern College are vaccinated against COVID-19, those who attend the private liberal arts school will be forced to pay a $500 fee “to offset continual weekly antigen testing and quarantining.”

In an email sent to students, the college announced its pandemic protocols for those returning to campus for the fall semester. In what appears to be an effort to encourage students to receive the vaccine, BSC told students it will levy a monetary charge against those who are unvaccinated. The school cited the need for funding to be applied toward COVID-related mitigation measures as a reason for the charge.

The email reads in part, “Due to the lack of federal funds for pandemic precautions this term, all students will initially be charged $500 for the fall term to offset continual weekly antigen testing and quarantining. Students who are fully vaccinated prior to the beginning of fall term will receive an immediate $500 rebate.”

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The college announced in the email that it has also set separate move-in dates for vaccinated and unvaccinated students.

The College Republican Federation of Alabama (CRFA) has condemned the move as discriminatory against students who have chosen not to receive the vaccine.

“The College Republican Federation of Alabama condemns this obvious attack on students who are not vaccinated,” says CRFA chairman Clint Reid. “While vaccines are an important tool in the fight against COVID-19 we are still a free society where one should not be held at ransom to the tune of $500 if they do not feel the vaccine is the best course of action for them. We call on Birmingham-Southern College to drop this outrageous fee.”

The college’s email goes on to direct students who have been immunized against the virus to complete a “Vaccination Report Form.” BSC stated that the school’s goal is to achieve an 85% vaccination rate among students, faculty and staff.

Portion of the email sent to BSC students as follows obtained by Yellowhammer News: 

Birmingham-Southern College did not respond to a request for comment. Yellowhammer News has inquired with the Attorney General’s Office regarding the legality of BSC’s guidelines and will provide updates accordingly.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

11 hours ago

Tim James: A house divided against itself cannot stand

Last week the discussion of COVID vaccination burst into the news and ripped the scab right off the wound exposing the divide among Alabamians about whether to vaccinate or not. We all know there can be tense moments among friends and family when the vaccine topic comes up especially when there are differing opinions in the room.

Well, last week the discussion hit a fever pitch on a grand scale and landed on the front pages of the national news outlets. According to news reports, in Alabama, there are about 2.5 to 3 million people that have CHOSEN NOT to take the vaccine out of the state’s population of 5.1 million. Approximately 60% of all Alabamians have made this their personal health choice.

I am writing this letter today to express my distaste for those bent on shaming people in which they disagree on the vaccine issue. They divide Alabamians into two classes: the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. The media’s contempt is in overdrive for anyone that dares to disagree and not blindly follow the government directives. So, they shame by spewing their poison proclaiming the unvaccinated are the problem. Their assertion of “Blame” by extension means the unvaccinated are responsible for the spread of COVID. If you want to blame someone or something, blame the virus and the makers of it. As everybody knows, it was not the bats.

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The problem is not the unvaccinated, but rather those spawning division among the population. It’s the BLAME GAME.

They shake their fingers in the face of millions of Alabama citizens for refusing to take the vaccine and are beside themselves when everyone does not fall in line like sheep. I guess the unvaccinated are the “New Deplorables.”

I’ve listened to their shaming long enough and felt it was time to stand up for millions of Alabamians that have made their decision, over the many months, NOT to take the vaccine. I fall into this category; however, like most families I have family members that have chosen TO take the vaccine. Alabamians know full well what is going on in their communities, local hospitals, nursing homes and churches. They are not ignorant to the medical realities and associated risks. Neither are they reckless or selfish.

Every unvaccinated person has considered whether to take the vaccine for months. They have discussed the matter with others, prayed about it and even may have tolled back and forth on the decision. In the end, their “call” was to not take the vaccine for their own personal reasons. I can’t help but wonder why so many vaccinated people lecture everyone else when they themselves have marginal health risk as they are the vaccinated class.

Has it occurred to them that their shaming is certain to follow children into the classroom in the form of bullying? Do they care about young women in childbearing years who are rightfully cautious about what goes into their bodies? It’s ironic that people that CHOOSE NOT to take the vaccine are labeled dissenters even though they are the majority in Alabama and cross all races and political lines.

Going forward I want to encourage people to take a deep breath and stand back from the situation. COVID, of course can be lethal, but at the same time the odds of fatality are extremely low. This is one of those times when we must not succumb to fear. Fear is the root from which anxiety and worry bud.

Fear is a weapon used to manipulate the public, and the press is its enabler. The Lord speaks to the issue of fear through the Apostle Paul. “For God hath not given a spirit of fear but of power and sound mind” – 2 Timothy 1:7

I also would like to take this opportunity to say something about Governor Ivey’s statement last week concerning unvaccinated Alabamians. She said, “It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.”

The unvaccinated people represent approximately 60% of the population in our state. The Governor’s comments triggered uncontrollable elation and gaiety from politicians and news anchors at CNN, NBC and others. As one could expect, President Biden and Dr. Fauci were ecstatic at Alabamians being scolded by their Governor over this issue. I believe the Governor’s comments were off-base. I also believe she likely misspoke in the heat of the moment; something any of us could do. As we navigate forward, we need to lower the tone and not take the bait of those whose goal is to sow seeds of division amongst Alabamians.

I have a message for the American press corps concerning their hysterical, fear-based coverage of the pandemic.

It’s a quote from Edward R. Murrow, the great broadcast journalist during the first half of the 20th century.

He effectively warned his fellow journalists what would happen if the free press became compromised. He wrote: “No one can terrorize a whole nation unless we are his accomplices.”

Tim James, the son of former Gov. Fob James, is a Greenville, Alabama businessman. He was a 2010 GOP candidate for governor.

11 hours ago

Regions names Jason Isbell senior vice president of state government affairs and economic development

Regions Bank has tapped one of the state’s foremost experts on banking law and government affairs to serve as senior vice president of state government affairs and economic development.

Jason Isbell comes to the Birmingham-based bank brandishing nearly two decades of legal and government affairs experience in the public and private sectors.

Elizabeth Taylor, head of government affairs and economic development for Regions, highlighted Isbell’s depth of knowledge and relationships throughout the industry.

“Regions Bank has a strong history of working with government leaders and other stakeholder groups on issues impacting our associates, customers and communities,” Taylor said in a statement to Yellowhammer News. “Jason Isbell brings a wealth of knowledge and experience on a variety of financial services matters to this role. His work building relationships and navigating a myriad of legislative issues will serve us well. We look forward to his service advancing economic development opportunities that move our communities forward while also building on the strong relationships we have in the areas Regions serves.”

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Isbell most recently worked with Maynard Cooper & Gale where he represented a wide array of clients, including Regions, as an attorney and lobbyist in the firm’s Government Solutions Group.

Prior to his time at Maynard Cooper, he held the position of vice president for legal and governmental affairs at the Alabama Bankers Association (ABA). Isbell was charged with implementing ABA’s legislative and regulatory agendas at both the state and federal levels. He honed his skills in public policy during his 11 years in state government, first as a fiscal analyst for the Alabama Legislative Fiscal Office and then as general counsel to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Isbell is a member of the Faulkner University board of trustees and is a graduate of the school’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law.

Regions Financial Corporation recently reported $748 million in second quarter earnings. The company cited strategic decisions in high-growth areas, such as Florida, Texas and Tennessee, as contributing to those earnings.

Isbell noted the momentum of the bank’s growth and influence throughout its footprint as he prepares for this new endeavor.

“I’m excited to represent an institution with such a rich history and stellar reputation,” he told Yellowhammer News. “Regions Bank is poised to continue making a positive impact on communities in Alabama and beyond. I’m grateful for this opportunity and look forward to being part of the Regions team.”

Isbell is set to officially join the bank in mid-August.

RELATED: Joia M. Johnson appointed to Regions board of directors

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

12 hours ago

State Rep. Wes Allen: Biden administration’s mixed message on COVID shows he doesn’t put Americans first

The Biden administration is issuing warnings to Americans regarding the increasing number of COVID cases across the country. Calls for a return to mask-wearing and social distancing are becoming more frequent from the President and his advisors.

Businesses, large and small, fear the possibility of mandated shutdowns that plagued our nation last year. Parents are wondering if they will be forced to face the inadequacies and challenges of remote schooling again. These are all worries that are being forced upon law-abiding, tax-paying Americans by the Biden administration.

But it goes further. Our northern border with Canada remains closed to non-essential travel for fear of spreading the virus. Biden and his team cited concerns over the Delta variant as the reason for banning travel from 26 nations including most of Europe, South Africa and Brazil.

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This all seems like a concerned President who is trying to save our nation from the death and damage of a pandemic. But a closer look at Biden’s policies proves that his concern is not for Americans and he has little to no desire to stop the spread of COVID from coming across our border.

His policy that allows thousands of illegal immigrants to move freely across our southern border and into our towns, neighborhoods, restaurants and schools without any regard for their immigration status or their COVID test results prove that the Biden administration doesn’t care about America or Americans. Is the health of Americans, the success of our economy and the fate of our schools and health care system of any concern to this President or his advisors?

I think not.

State Rep. Wes Allen is a Republican candidate for Alabama Secretary of State.

12 hours ago

Alabama League of Municipalities launches Economic Development Academy

The Alabama League of Municipalities (ALM) on Thursday announced the creation of its Economic Development Academy, which will partner with local leaders in an educational capacity to offer their assistance regarding business and industry recruitment practices.

Developed in conjunction with the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) and supported by an advisory council of industry leaders, the Academy will engage local leaders and help them further understand their role in the economic development process.

The Academy is specifically designed to educate and engage municipal officials and designated community business leaders on best practices and strategies for successful economic and community development. Additionally, the ALM says the Academy will focus on the role of elected officials regarding evaluating abatements, legal processes and implications, correctly marketing the community, gaging the community’s expectations, workforce development as well as other key aspects of the development process.

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ALM says the Academy is unique from other economic development programs in that it is tailored to municipal officials using a team model. The mayor or another designated elected or administrative official and at least two council members are required to participate from each community to form a team of up to five members.

In promoting the new program, ALM executive director Greg Cochran conveyed the importance of economic development efforts that take place at the local level.

“Our organization is pleased to collaborate with the Alabama Community College System and Neal Wade to launch the ALM Economic Development Academy,” said Cochran. “It is our goal for the Academy to develop intentional programming and identify resources to empower our municipal officials so they can create legacy programs and projects within their cities and towns. Municipalities are the foundation of our state’s economy, and it is the League’s mission to provide our members the necessary tools to build a community where citizens can live, work, play and prosper and where businesses can thrive.”

The Academy will take place over a full year and consists of an orientation; four one-day sessions that include community assignments; and a special graduation ceremony. To graduate, participants must conduct an economic vitality survey of their communities; complete a community assessment/project; and attend all sessions.

At the conclusion of the year-long program, graduates will be presented a certificate of municipal economic development from the League and ACCS.

Neal Wade, former head of the Alabama Development Office as well as a consultant for Alabama Power, The St. Joe Company and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, has been tapped to develop the Academy’s curriculum and conduct the classes.

“The objective is for Alabama communities to be the best they can be and competitive for growth and new revenue,” Wade said. “Setting realistic expectations for each community will be foremost.”

In addition to working with Wade, the League has developed a partnership with ACCS to provide classroom space and workforce development resources for Academy participants. The four mandatory sessions for selected municipalities will be conducted at ACCS campuses throughout the state based on each region.

Chancellor Jimmy Baker praised the partnership and expressed his optimism on the potential growth opportunities he believes can stem from the Academy.

“At Alabama’s community colleges, everything we do is workforce development – from education and training to providing wraparound services and hosting community events,” Baker said. “We are honored to work alongside the Alabama League of Municipalities to launch the Economic Development Academy and host its participants at our campuses across the state. Education is so often the linchpin to positive change and the resources and training this effort will provide will have a positive impact on Alabama for years to come.”

An Academy Advisory Council has been developed to add input, assist with training and provide additional resources to the process. The Council consists of state and federal government agencies, ACCS presidents, utility partners, League strategic partners, local economic developers and statewide business associations.

Academy applications will be accepted via the League’s website July 29 – August 31. Applicants will be thoroughly evaluated and candidates chosen by mid-September. There is a community fee to participate.

Those interested in attending the Academy may apply via online application at almonline.org.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL