No, Joy Behar, it’s not a ‘mental illness’ when the Lord speaks to us through his Word


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ABC NEWS AFFECTED BY NEWS ANCHOR’S ATTACK ON CHRISTIANS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, in the ABC News Department, they’ve got a program that, many may be surprised to know, it’s a part of their news department, “The View”. One of their panelists on this show, Joy Behar, recently made a comment concerning Mike Pence and his Christian faith. She said she understood how Christians prayed to God, but she went on to say, “When God starts talking to those people, don’t they call that mental illness?”

This bruhaha recently came to the ABC shareholders’ meeting in which Bob Iger, who is the president of ABC News, said he was happy to report that Joy Behar made a personal phone call to Mike Pence and apologized for her comments. However, while the White House is saying while he appreciates the apology, Joy Behar needs to apologize to the millions of Christians she insulted over the program.

DR. REEDER: Now are there some Christians that believe God is directly speaking to them with special revelation? Yes. Has God done that? Yes, that’s how we got the Bible — 40+ human authors through which God spoke. When they write, they don’t write, “Thus says Paul about God,” but they write, “Thus says the Lord,” so God has engaged in revelation, that is, He through divine inspiration, has given us His Word, praise the Lord.

GOD SPOKE DIRECTLY TO PROPHETS IN OLD TESTAMENT

But, now, most orthodox Christian theology believes that God has, quote, Book of Hebrews, “finally spoken in His Son.” this revelation has ceased, but God’s illumination continues, that God, through teachers, through your Bible reading, through your prayer life, through your reflection, through your meditation can “speak” to His people.

Now, what is meant there is not a direct revelation of God’s Word that goes beyond the Scripture, but an understanding of God’s Word to our heart to give us wisdom as to how we are to live.

THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD CONTINUES TO GUIDE HIS PEOPLE

To Ms. Behar, I would only mention to you the Book of James, for instance, tells me that, “If you lack wisdom, pray for it and God generously gives wisdom.” Now, how does He give wisdom? He gives wisdom by His Spirit, the same Spirit of God who gave the ability to bring forth the Word of God to the prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles in the New Testament. Now that same Spirit is within us and He who reveals God’s Word through the word now illuminates God’s Word when we go to God’s Word. In the preaching of the Word, God speaks to the hearts of his people.

Here’s what the Bible says, “Whoever should call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” How should they call upon Him in whom they have not believe? How should they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear them without a preacher?” Faith comes by hearing the Word, the Spirit-born Word of Christ.

Part of our theology is that God speaks to us from His Word by His Spirit. We speak to God in prayer. God’s wisdom, when we pray, can actually lead us to some good public theology in life and that what we need to do is to listen to the Lord through His Word and by His Spirit.

She has decided that that’s a mental illness; we have decided that’s wisdom. In fact, we believe that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord and, in the fear of the Lord, you seek the wisdom of the Lord. “God, would you speak to my heart from Your Word and by Your Spirit so I can have wisdom as to how to lead my life?”

I am so thankful that God has spoken to me in His Word. I was in South Florida and I did a series of talks there in a conference. Tom, I was sitting there listening to a talk from the Scriptures by Dr. Peter Lillback and it was amazing all of the insights that came, that God began to speak to my heart showing me my sin, showing me the way of obedience, showing me what needed to be removed, showing me what I needed to accomplish. God was speaking and showing it — that’s what we call Christian Doctrine of Illumination and that’s how God works in our heart.

GREAT TIME TO LEARN ABOUT REPENTENCE AND RESTITUTION

Let’s go back to her broadside against Mike Pence. Well, it was tacky, it was ill-mannered, but I love the way Mike Pence said, “It didn’t offend me” — but he was right to say this — “I’m glad to receive your private apology.” He said, “What I think you really need to do, if you really believe in that apology, is that, by coming after me, there are millions of Christians who believe the same thing I do. I speak to God in prayer; God speaks to my heart through His Word in my prayer life and in the preaching of the Word and in my reading of the Word.”

Let me go to another issue here. This is a wonderful time for us to learn something about the Doctrine of Repentance. The Bible says that, when we are saved, we are saved by faith and repentance. Repentance is turning from sin to Christ and it’s making a 180-degree turn and, when there is true repentance, a couple of things happen.

One thing that happens is confession: we confess our sins. We actually say, “I did this. This is a sin. I confess it. I agree with God that this is sin so I confess it.” Then the Bible says that we do deeds appropriate to repentance. Now, this is not penance that we do to get right with God.

Tom, if I say something against you publicly, then I’m not only called to come to you and say to you, privately, “Tom, would you forgive me?” I’m also required to go to that same public arena and tell all those other people, “I was wrong.” That would be deed-appropriate to repentance. If I steal something, I want to pay it back. If I have broken someone’s relationship with someone else through my sin, I want to restore it. Restoration, reconciliation, restitution — those are deeds appropriate to repentance.

REPENTENCE AND RESTITUTION ADVICE FOR MS. BEHAR

Therefore, Ms. Behar, it’s fine that you called Mike Pence, but I would remind you, you did not privately criticize him — you publicly criticized him. You don’t need to give him a private apology; you need to give him a public apology. That would be appropriate. Let your repentance match your sin.

And then, secondly, by attaching Mike Pence because of the Biblical doctrine of guidance — of how God guides His people when they’re making decisions in life — you attacked millions of Christians at the same time so, if you really think what you said was wrong when you called the Christian Doctrine of Divine Guidance mental illness, then you need to respond to all of them. You did it on a public venue, so you need to repent and ask for forgiveness in a public venue.

Why is it important to learn repentance? Let me give you two reasons and we’ll close with this, Tom. Reason No. 1 is you can’t be saved without repentance. The Bible says faith is believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Repentance is the Siamese twin of faith. If you have come to Christ for forgiveness of sins because He lived the life you couldn’t live and died the death for you that you couldn’t die in making atonement for your sins, if you come to Him by faith, then you need to turn from your sins and that’s what repentance is.

Repentance is 180-degrees — not turning from sin to do better, but you’re turning from sin to put your trust in Jesus. And, when you turn to put your trust in Jesus, you do the deeds appropriate to repentance. And, for all of those who are listening to us, Tom, let me tell you where you need to start is the same place that God, by His Grace, called you and me to start: turning from our sin and coming to Christ, Who is ready to forgive you and make it right. He has paid for those sins therefore, you’re forgiven and He will give you His Spirit and His Word and begin to speak to your heart so that you can walk away from sin and walk in the glorious truth that Christ is Lord and Savior.

COMING UP TUESDAY: ANOTHER CHRISTIAN AMPUS GROUP DISCIPLINED

Tom Lamprecht: Harry, on Tuesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, we recently covered the fact that, at Harvard, there was a Christian group that was removed from campus because of a leadership issue. A very similar situation happened at Wayne State University. However, this time, there is both bad news and good news.

DR.REEDER: Let’s take a look at what happened there and maybe some lessons that are inevitably going to have to be learned by Christian organizations in the public square, in general, and in schools, in particular.

(Image: The View/YouTube)

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.

52 mins ago

Wetlands, crops can mitigate storm damage to coastal cities, study led by UAH finds

Coastal cities can be spared some wind destruction from intensifying hurricanes or tropical storm systems if they have functional wetland ecosystems and agricultural croplands in the area, according to new computer modeling research led by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

“Our study was about how changing land cover in coastal areas affects rain from tropical storms,” says Emily Foshee, co-author of the research and a research associate at UAH’s Earth System Science Center who analyzed the models. Dr. Eric Rappin from Western Kentucky University ran the numerical model experiments.

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The paper was published in Scientific Reports in November. UAH teamed with Western Kentucky University, the University of Nebraska, the University of Georgia, the University of Colorado Boulder, Purdue University, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to conduct the study.

Scientists used the model with a simulation of a flooding storm over Baton Rouge as a control and then modified the type of land the storm passed over to assess the effect. They modeled three land types: healthy coastal marshland, marshland that had become saturated or turned to open water and coastal land that had been converted mostly to agricultural use.

The ground moisture and vegetative buffering of healthy marsh impede storm intensification but increase rainfall in the model.

“If you want to keep the marsh ecology intact because you don’t want to lose all the other benefits of marshland such as preventing soil erosion and the wildlife and aquatic life benefits, and if you are concerned about how to have less damage from storm winds, then you must keep the wetlands,” says Dr. Udaysankar Nair, UAH associate professor of atmospheric science and the paper’s lead author, whose research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

“When you have a landfalling hurricane, if you have wetlands there, then there is a greater chance that the storm or hurricane will weaken,” Dr. Nair says.

Scientists modeled the effects on the Baton Rouge, La., region by using NASA land surface model data and data from an actual large flooding storm. Study findings, which support preservation and restoration of healthy marshes, may be especially important in Louisiana, which loses the equivalent of a football field of land to water every hour.

Agriculture continues to convert wetland in Louisiana to crop uses, and those practices tend to dry soils. Cut off from a source of water vapor, storms in the model that passed over cropland were less intense and windy. But there’s a tradeoff. Single crop agricultural lands don’t possess the erosion control and biodiversity benefits of marshland, Dr. Nair says.

The combined effect of healthy wetlands transitioning to cropland reduced storm intensity in the model no matter what soil moisture conditions were present.

The research says that if current trends continue, a substantial portion of Louisiana wetlands will transition to open water in coming decades, likely making the studied region even more vulnerable to heavy rain events from future tropical systems.

Marsh that has become super-saturated or has turned to open water, known as a brown ocean, produces the most damaging winds in the model, while at the same time spreading out rainfall. That’s because saturated wetlands or open water continue to feed energy into a hurricane’s system.

Air spirals in toward the eye of a hurricane, and as it does it has a tendency to cool, Dr. Nair says. While the storm is over warm open ocean, over open water resulting from conversion of wetlands, or over the brown ocean of a saturated marsh, the energy from the wet and warm surface offsets the cooling effect with warm humid air and the storm can continue to grow stronger.

“What happens when a hurricane comes ashore is that the land cuts off that source of energy,” Dr. Nair says. “Different forms of land cover affect the storm. What we found out is that it’s not just the water vapor that affects storms.”

The natural vegetation in healthy marsh has more buffering friction than if it has been converted to open water or agriculture, he says.

“If all these marsh regions are instead filled with water, essentially that is like the open ocean coming right to land,” Dr. Nair says. “Then you see more wind and more spread out rain, and more damage out of the storm. The storm will continue to intensify as it comes in.”

The work points to other areas for further study.

“If we do more of these kinds of studies,” Dr. Nair says, “then we can potentially be able to say something about how the patterns of land use change and land management affect landfall in hurricanes.”

(Courtesy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville)

2 hours ago

Watch: Bicentennial video tells the stories of Alabama’s great people

The finale of the ALABAMA 200 bicentennial celebration is on Saturday, with the public celebrating with elected officials, celebrities and dignitaries in the state’s capital.

However, even if you cannot make the festivities in person, you can still take time remotely to honor Alabama becoming a state 200 years ago to the day.

A video put together by WBRC and posted by Governor Kay Ivey is a great way to relive the state’s vibrant history.

Entitled, “Alabama Bicentennial: The Stories of Our People,” the approximately 50-minute special looks back on the state’s past 200 years, hearing from some of its most memorable voices in the process.

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In an introduction to that video, Ivey says, “As we celebrate our state’s bicentennial, I want to recognize my fellow Alabamians. As governor, I’m proud to be from a state that has remained steadfast through good times and bad.”

“Our resiliency and southern spirit have allowed us to grow and become the great state we are today,” she continues. “To put it simply, Alabama is defined by its people, and we have some of the best. I look forward to the future generations of Alabamians who will help take us to even greater heights. Happy birthday, Alabama!”

Watch:

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 hours ago

Alabama’s ‘white gold’ draws worldwide interest

Ruth Beaumont Cook’s latest book started 10 years ago as a brochure request from Sylacauga‘s B.B. Comer Memorial Library in advance of the city’s first marble festival.

“They asked me to put together a brochure about the history of the marble,” Cook said. “It was overwhelmingly successful, so the next year they asked to me write a book.”

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New book celebrates Sylacauga’s marble legacy from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Nearly nine years and dozens of interviews later, Cook celebrates the natural resource that nurtures both the economy and the cultural heritage of Alabama’s “Marble City” in her new book, “Magic in Stone: The Sylacauga Marble Story.”

“Whenever you start working on a book, you have all of this information but you look for a story thread through it,” Cook said. “I had no clue when I started what that was going to be.”

Cook said the clues starting coming together as she started talking to people who grew up mining marble.

“There are so many people who grew up in Gantts Quarry,” Cook said. “Most people have good memories of growing up there and work they are proud of. Telling those stories was the most interesting part of it.”

Commercial marble quarries began in Sylacauga in the late 1800s. Cook said the marble was initially used by sculptors such as Giuseppe Moretti, the Italian who created the Vulcan statue on Red Mountain in Birmingham.

“His Vulcan won gold prize at the 1904 World’s Fair, but what most people don’t know is he also took another piece with him, ‘The Head of Christ,’ which he had carved from Sylacauga marble,” Cook said. “It won a silver medal.”

The notoriety caught the attention of construction managers around the world who were seeking dimension marble for their projects. By the 1930s, Sylacauga’s creamy white marble had been used in hundreds of buildings, including the U.S. Supreme Court building and the ceiling of the Lincoln Memorial.

“It was chosen for the Lincoln Memorial because it can be cut very thin and still be strong,” Cook said. “They cut it thin enough to be translucent and then rubbed it with beeswax and put it in the ceiling.”

Despite the marble’s beauty and strength, Cook said the demand for dimension marble in construction dropped dramatically by the 1950s.

“It became obvious that granite was much easier to withstand pollution than marble,” Cook said. “Marble is still great if it’s thick enough, but if you make a facade of it on a building, it’s probably not going to last because it deteriorates from the pollution.”

Instead of closing the mines and laying off employees, Cook said the Sylacauga marble companies survived and thrived thanks to a growing need for calcium extracted from marble deposits and used in hundreds of products, such as cosmetics, paints and glue.

“They turned to industry and began to grind up the marble into fine powder – called GCC, ground calcium carbonate – which industry had a strong demand for,” Cook said.

Cook said Sylacauga continues to be a rich marble resource more than 70 years later.

“I’ve been told there’s enough marble there for sculpture and industry for at least another 200 years,” Cook said. “The vein of marble is 35 miles long, a mile and a half wide and goes down quite a ways — 300 or 400 feet I believe. It’s a very valuable resource.”

Sylacauga Marble Festival

Since 2009, the city has celebrated its heritage through the Sylacauga Marble Festival, a 10-day event drawing sculptors from around the world to work alongside an Italian master sculptor. Visitors can watch, tour local quarries and purchase sculptures. Cook said the festival brings Sylacauga’s rich heritage full circle.

“It came from art, up through all of these others, and now you have this wonderful balance,” Cook said. “You still have major industry but you also have major art appreciation. It’s a great story.”

The 12th annual Marble Festival will be March 31 to April 11, 2020.

The 2019 Marble Festival, which was one of several events highlighted by the Alabama Bicentennial Commission as part of the state’s 200th birthday celebration, was sponsored by the Alabama Power FoundationAlabama State Council on the ArtsAlabama Tourism DepartmentAmerican Legion Post 45 SylacaugaArchitectural Stone ImportsB.B. Comer Memorial LibraryBlue Bell CreameriesBlue Horizon TravelCity of Sylacauga, Conn Equipment, Coosa Valley Medical CenterCurtis and Son Funeral HomeImerysIsabel Anderson Comer Museum and Arts CenterJ. Craig Smith Community CenterMiller Lumber CompanyMorris Custom Marble & GraniteNemakOmya, Inc.Pizza & Pint, Representative Ron Johnson, SouthFirst BankSylacauga Arts CouncilSylacauga Chamber of CommerceSylacauga Housing Authority, Sylacauga Marble Quarry, Towne Inn, 21st Century Signs and Utilities Board of Sylacauga.

To learn more about “Magic in Stone: The Sylacauga Marble Story,” visit newsouthbooks.com/magicinstone.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

6 hours ago

Birmingham Business Alliance reveals new mission, economic development approach

The Birmingham Business Alliance revealed a new mission and a new approach to economic development as it heads into 2020.

The BBA’s 2019 Chairwoman’s Annual Meeting was at the Lyric Theatre in Birmingham Dec. 11. Chairwoman Nancy Goedecke passed the gavel to Jim Gorrie, president and CEO of Brasfield & Gorrie.

Gone is Blueprint Birmingham, which guided the BBA through its first 10 years. In its place is a strategy that keys in life sciences, advanced manufacturing and technology. Those are some of the main industries the Alabama Department of Commerce is expected to emphasize in its revision of Accelerate Alabama, the state’s economic development plan.

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“Those are the three areas that we’re going to focus on,” said Fred McCallum, interim CEO of the BBA. “I will tell you that when you look at our state plan, there are a lot of similarities.”

Birmingham Business Alliance announces new direction from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

A main component to Blueprint Birmingham was a set of metrics that measured Birmingham’s success against a cluster of peer cities. Doing so often looked too broadly, McCallum said.

“Blueprint was a good plan at the time,” he said. “It was very wide and in some ways it was successful and in other ways it wasn’t so successful. I think what we’ve come to now is a point in time where we’ve got to focus in on jobs and economic growth.”

There will be a new set of metrics created and benchmarked in a new BBA strategic plan, McCallum said.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin did highlight one comparison between Birmingham and other cities.

“Since the great recession around 2008, 60% of all jobs have only gone to 25 cities in America,” Woodfin said. “You need to know that Birmingham is not on that list.”

Woodfin feels Birmingham should measure itself against its own potential instead of comparing itself to others.

“We don’t have to be like Nashville or Chattanooga or Atlanta or Austin,” he said. “We need to be the best version of ourselves. But that is going to require us to shake off the way we’ve always done things.”

Woodfin said the companies and organizations that make up the BBA should be prepared to take greater risks and push boundaries.

“Being risk-averse at this time as we move into 2020 … will not work for us – as an organization or for our city,” he said. “So the question becomes when you walk out of this room, are we prepared to invest in our competitiveness? Do we want to compete? Do we want to set ourselves apart, not be like any other city in America?”

A primary goal for the BBA is to find a new CEO. McCallum has led the organization on an interim basis after former CEO Brian Hilson stepped down at the end of March. Hilson now works on rural economic development initiatives in the state.

Other changes will include aligning the BBA’s internal strategy to execute the new strategic plan, updating its governance structure to be more effective and efficient and aligning the funding model to support the BBA’s new strategic plan.

“I think the organization will be more focused on specific strategies and focused on doing what we do well,” McCallum said.

McCallum believes Birmingham leaders and economic developers can tell the region’s story more forcefully and proactively.

“We’re on a good trajectory. I feel good about where we are as a community,” McCallum said. “Our leadership is strong. Our public leadership is strong. Our private leadership is strong. I feel good about where the BBA is focused.”

This year’s annual meeting was more a call to action than the rah-rah sessions of the past.

“Usually I would get up here and give you all some stats about what we’ve done and what we’ve accomplished,” Woodfin said. “I think it is fair to say that 2019 has been a good year for many of your organizations individually and collectively for our Birmingham Business Alliance.”

It was a good 2019 in the Birmingham metro area. Halfway through the year, the region reached and surpassed its pre-recession height of employment. There were 32 projects with 1,180 jobs and $492.2 million in capital investment announced in the region in 2019.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

The biggest birthday party in Alabama history is TODAY!

The biggest birthday party in Alabama’s history is taking place today, December 14, and you are invited! Join us in Montgomery for the grand finale celebration of our state’s 200th birthday.

Watch the parade, listen to concerts and performances, visit open houses and much more.

This is sure to be a day you don’t want to miss. The event is free to the public and lasts all day starting with an elaborate parade at 10:00 a.m. The parade will travel from Court Square Fountain in downtown Montgomery up Dexter Avenue to the State Capitol. There will be marching bands, city floats and unique displays of Alabama history on wheels, such as the USS Alabama and U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

The parade is a great opportunity for families to enjoy the celebration together – and it’s only the beginning of a packed day. Following the parade, Governor Kay Ivey will dedicate Bicentennial Park. The afternoon will offer performances, exhibitions and open houses throughout downtown Montgomery. The day will conclude with a concert featuring popular musicians from Alabama and the history of Alabama presented in a never-before-seen way.

Visit Alabama 200 Finale for a complete rundown of the day’s events.

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