Merry Atheistic Nothingness By Bradley Abramson , Op-Ed Contributor

For more than half a century the city of Santa Monica, Calif.,  allowed local churches to place nativity scenes in one of the city parks during  the Christmas season.

However, this practice was stopped after Christmas 2011 when Santa Monica  atheist Damon Vix secured a permit to place an atheist display near the nativity  scene – for he constructed not a “celebrate atheism”  display, but one that disparaged and attacked Christianity.

Thus ended the long history of the City of the Christmas Story, as Santa  Monica had come to be known, and thus began the realization of what everyone but  atheists already know – namely, that atheism is a nihilistic and dangerous  philosophy incapable of making any positive contributions to either individuals  or society.

As a result of Vix’s attack on Christianity and Christmas, the city banned  all holiday displays in the park beginning in 2012. Tellingly, this is an  outcome which Vix and his fellow atheists certainly find satisfying, as the  purpose of the atheist display was never to celebrate atheism but rather to  mount an attack on religious beliefs in general and on Christianity in  particular.

Unlike the Nativity display, which simply celebrated the birth of Jesus  Christ and denigrated no one else’s belief or unbelief, Vix’s display did not  celebrate any positive attributes of atheism, any praiseworthy contributions  atheists have made to society, or any great moments in the history of atheism.  Rather, Vix’s display consisted solely of a banner calling Jesus Christ a “MYTH”  and comparing him to Poseidon and Santa Claus.

According to atheism, there is no God. Consequently, there is no meaning to  (let alone any explanation for) the existence of the universe or the life that  exists in it. Nor is there any transcendent basis for moral judgments, leaving  us in a world where the actions of a murderer are no more immoral than the  actions of a saint; indeed, there is not even any basis to trust in reason  itself, since reason presupposes a meaningful universe, which atheism denies.

While atheism has neither created nor provided human society with anything  other than despair and the unparalleled mass murders perpetrated by the  atheistic totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, Christianity has for  thousands of years taught and spread the Judeo-Christian precept of loving your  neighbor as yourself; created and maintained schools, hospitals, orphanages, and  charities; and provided the theological underpinnings necessary for the  recognition of values that have kept the human race from descending into the  abyss of self-destruction, including the sanctity of life, the equality of man,  unalienable human rights,  and limited government.

In banning the Nativity display, Santa Monica has inadvertently advanced, in  a very tangible way, the false and dangerous philosophy of atheistic  nothingness. Where for a few weeks every year there used to be an illuminated  celebration of the Good Shepherd, the Prince of Peace,  God with us, the Light of the World – there is now nothing, but empty space and  darkness.

A Nest of Them: A Soul-Winning Story By Rev. Mark H. Creech , Christian Post Columnist

Archie Ratliff, currently the pastor of Bethel Free Will Baptist  Church in Kinston, North Carolina has rightly said, “David Paramore is one of  the greatest leaders that the Free Will Baptist denomination  has ever known…” In my estimation, Ratliff understates the case. Paramore, who  previously pastored Bethel before retiring and has never had a national  following, nevertheless, I believe is on a scale with the great preachers of  yesteryear like D.L. Moody and Billy Sunday. He was my pastor during my  formative days of spiritual maturation and everything I strongly believe about  doctrinal integrity, a passion for souls, and showing moral courage as a  minister was modeled for me in him.

I am not a Free Will Baptist today, but a Southern Baptist. Still, Paramore  is paramount in my mind as the kind of minister that makes a mark for  eternity.

Not long ago, someone brought me a copy of his recent autobiography, To  God Be the Glory: Sketches from the Life and Ministry of David Paramore. I  sat down and read it with sheer delight, devouring every page. But there was one  humorous story in the chapter, Soul-winning Stories, that not only made me laugh  but also just as reflective.

In that chapter, Paramore tells about an experience with one of his  parishioners, Clifton. Clifton was a hard-working welder with a personality that  could be abrupt and direct, yet, he was also a man of deep and tender  affections.

As Paramore tells it, One Sunday morning in the late 1960s after preaching a  message on soul-winning, Clifton came to him and said he wanted to go  soul-winning with his pastor. ‘Preacher, I know where there’s a whole nest of  them,'” Clifton excitedly told Paramore. So he and Clifton set out one day  together to find “a whole nest” of people who needed the Lord.

While on their way to a local crossroads, Paramore says that Clifton flagged  down an old pick-up truck. He thought maybe Clifton was trying to warn the man  about something being wrong with his pickup or perhaps he had been trying to get  up with him about some matter unrelated to their plans for the day. “I was  wrong,” says Paramore. Clifton looked at him and said, “Preacher, this is our  first prospect. I know this man; he needs to get saved. You talk to him.”  Paramore says he got out of the car to greet the man and couldn’t help thinking,  “My goodness…right here on the side of the road in front of a nice brick house?”

Clifton then boldly escorted the man to the tailgate of his own truck, saying  to his friend, “Bill, you need to be saved. This is my preacher, and he’s going  to tell you how.” Paramore sat down beside the man on the tailgate and “with  cars whizzing by,” he showed him from the Bible how to commit his life to  Christ. “Bill bowed his head and asked Jesus to save him.” Later Paramore would  baptize the man, who would become a faithful follower of the Savior.

After Clifton, Paramore, and Bill got off the tailgate of the truck and said  their goodbyes. Paramore says he noticed someone looking out the window of that  nice brick house. “Although I was thrilled that Bill had just gotten saved,”  said Paramore. “I was also relieved that we were getting into our car before the  folks in that house called the law on us for disturbing the peace or trespassing.”

That’s when Clifton pulled into the driveway of the brick house (to turn  around, Paramore thought). But Clifton cut off the engine and said, “Preacher,  these folks need to be saved.” Paramore says he couldn’t believe they were  actually walking up to the front porch of this brick house, where only minutes  before someone had been curiously peering out the window at them. A lady  answered the door and Clifton called her by name. “This is my pastor”, Clifton  said, “and he’s here to tell you how to be saved.” The woman responded,  “Clifton, I’m saved, but my husband’s not. Ya’ll come on in.” Her husband came  in from another room and sat down, says Paramore. Clifton reiterated their  purpose for the visit, but the husband side-stepped the issue, saying, “Clifton,  I’m glad you came, but I’m a Methodist.” Clifton retorted, “That’ don’t matter.  God can save you anyway.”

After the Gospel was presented to him, the man decided that despite his  church affiliation he really didn’t know Christ. Some years later this same man  was stricken with a terminal case of cancer and Paramore went to see him on his  deathbed. The man gratefully reminisced about that pivotal day when Paramore  came by to see him and he gave his heart to the Lord.

Paramore says he thought the day’s visitations would end after leaving the  nice brick house. But instead of going home as he expected, Clifton drove his  preacher to see one more – this time one of Clifton’s relatives – a man Paramore  had witnessed to on several occasions before with no success. When the man  answered the door, Clifton got right to the point. “Joe,” Clifton said, “You’ve  messed around long enough, and if you keep on, you’re going to Hell. You need to  get saved.” Joe then hesitated for a moment and said, “I reckon you’re right.  Ya’ll come on in.” Within a few short minutes of the visit, Joe had prayed to  receive Christ.

The chapter concludes with Paramore recalling, “Clifton and I finally made  our way back to the church.” He “had led us to the nest…and the Lord had  blessed. Before Clifton passed away years later, he was used of the Lord time  and time again to bring souls into the kingdom.”

I must confess that after years of study I have not read anything more  precious. I have laughed and even shed tears at the audacity of the story. It’s  a tale of the power of simple faith and simple obedience. Though some might  recoil at its lack of sophistication, it conveys the heart of the evangel.

It is said that Karl Barth once came to the United States to present a series  of lectures at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. Following one  of the lectures and a time of discussion, a student asked the renowned  theologian, “Dr. Barth, you are the most preeminent theologian in our century.  You have changed much of the course of theological understanding in our  generation. Could you in a single sentence summarize the essence of your  theology?” Barth paused, seemingly in deep thought, and said: “The essence of my theology is this: ‘Jesus loves  me this I know; for the Bible tells me so.'”

Yes, that’s the plain, unadorned, unfussy, unpretentious message that changes  the world. It’s the same message that will save our nation from its moral  free-fall. It’s the one that declares that God loves sinners, Hell is real,  Jesus saves and changes lives, and eternal life is granted freely to those who  believe.

The need of the day is not so much the gift of eloquence, the prestige of education, or the power of  personality. The need of the hour is for Christian men and women like Clifton  and Pastor Paramore who have the mettle and passion to share that simple  message.

Max Lucado’s Prayer in Response to Conn. School Shooting

Dear Jesus,

It’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have  a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.

These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil  demonstrated.

The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of  chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from  annihilation?

Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas.  But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were  nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in  the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was  dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.

Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into  Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.

Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours?  We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We,  like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.

This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.

Hopefully, Your Children

And So It Goes? by Michael Youssef

There used to be a saying that went: “As goes England, so goes America.”

But I can hear people who love and pray for the United States saying, “Oh, no! Please, Lord, may that never be the case.”

In England today, public Christianity is relegated to a ceremonial festivity alongside royal weddings and other royal celebrations. If you visit a church in the denomination I once belonged to—the Anglican Church (also known as the Church of England)—there’s a good chance you’ll be able to count the worshipers on one hand.

As attendance at Anglican churches has plummeted, however, the number of Mosques has grown at an alarming rate—to say nothing of Islamic influence in culture, whether perpetuated through fear or choice.

In the December 11, 2012 issue of The Telegraph, it was reported that the number of Christians in England and Wales has fallen by four million since 2001. At the same time, the number of nonbelievers has almost doubled—one in four now self-profess as a nonbeliever.

Meanwhile, the number of nonbelievers in the United States has also grown, although not in such a drastic fashion. If the trend continues, however, one in every six Americans will soon claim no faith.

There are many factors contributing to the situation in the UK, but it is clear that the root of England’s secularization lies with the Church of England’s leadership.

For example, the Archbishop of Canterbury recently made a statement symptomatic of the Church’s illness after its General Synod barely voted down the ordination of women bishops. He complained that the Synod’s action—which was carried by only six votes—was “willfully blind to some of the trends and priorities” of society as a whole.

In essence, Archbishop Williams believes the church needs to accommodate cultural trends, not biblical fidelity. Meaning, as the culture has moved into a secular orbit, the church should imitate it, not transform it.

But one must ask, what’s the need for a church, faith, or belief when the populace can see no distinction and no added value? A church that closely mirrors society is irrelevant and unhelpful.

It’s amazing that a church that wants to adhere to secular belief and practice still holds to the custom of wearing “funny clothes.” I suppose that gives them a sense of distinction without requiring any theological substance.

So if this is the way England is “going,” can the United States be far behind?

Some states in America, such as California and Washington, actually lead the UK in their drive for secularization. When Washington residents recently celebrated the dawn of legal marijuana as if they were celebrating the New Year, it seemed clear that parts of the US had already crossed into the secular Rubicon.

If I see a silver lining in England, it comes from my observation of African and Asian Christians infusing once-dying churches with new life. On September 29 of this year, 70,000 believers gathered in Wembley Stadium to pray for the UK. I had the joy of participating by satellite. The event was lead by a very thoughtful and dedicated Christian immigrant from Nigeria, Dr. Jonathan Oloyede.

Also, during my regular preaching at Kensington Temple—where five services are held every Sunday—I have witnessed how African and Asian believers have brought such joy and life to an old church.

Could modern-day immigrants—who are the products of past glorious missionary movements from England and the US—be used by God to bring an awakening to both sides of the Atlantic?

May it be so.

Celebrate Winter

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? . . . Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. Psalm 42:5

I love living where there are four seasons. But even though I love settling down with a good book by a crackling fire when it’s snowing, I must admit that my love for the seasons grows a little dim when the long gray days of winter drone on into February.

Yet regardless of the weather, there is always something special about winter: Christmas! Thankfully, long after the decorations are down, the reality of Christmas still lifts my spirits no matter what’s happening.

If it weren’t for the reality of Christ’s birth, not only would winter be dark and dreary, but our hearts would be bleak and have nothing to hope for. No hope for the freedom from guilt and judgment. No hope of His reassuring and strengthening presence through dark and difficult times. No hope for a future secured in heaven.

In the winter of a troubled life, the psalmist asked, “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” The remedy was clear: “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance”.

In C. S. Lewis’ tales of Narnia, Mr. Tumnus complains that in Narnia it is “always winter and never Christmas.” But for those of us who know the God who made the seasons, it is always Christmas in our hearts!  —Joe Stowell

When our lives are heavy laden, Cold and bleak as winter long, Stir the embers in our hearts, Lord; Make Your flame burn bright and strong.  —Kieda

Let the reality of Christmas chase away the blahs of winter.

“Approved to God”

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth —2 Timothy 2:15

If you cannot express yourself well on each of your beliefs, work and study until you can. If you don’t, other people may miss out on the blessings that come from knowing the truth. Strive to re-express a truth of God to yourself clearly and understandably, and God will use that same explanation when you share it with someone else. But you must be willing to go through God’s winepress where the grapes are crushed. You must struggle, experiment, and rehearse your words to express God’s truth clearly. Then the time will come when that very expression will become God’s wine of strength to someone else. But if you are not diligent and say, “I’m not going to study and struggle to express this truth in my own words; I’ll just borrow my words from someone else,” then the words will be of no value to you or to others. Try to state to yourself what you believe to be the absolute truth of God, and you will be allowing God the opportunity to pass it on through you to someone else.

Always make it a practice to stir your own mind thoroughly to think through what you have easily believed. Your position is not really yours until you make it yours through suffering and study. The author or speaker from whom you learn the most is not the one who teaches you something you didn’t know before, but the one who helps you take a truth with which you have quietly struggled, give it expression, and speak it clearly and boldly.

Purpose Statement: What We Believe

As part of our bylaws we include the following Purpose Statement.

Purpose Statement – What We Believe:

The American Decency Association is an overtly Christian organization directed by a Biblical worldview. We believe that God’s desire for His people is that they be not conformed to this world, rather, transformed by the renewing of their minds unto Christ. Being a light in a darkened world does not imply a selfish retreat from that world, but an activism within it proceeding from love for God and our neighbor.

How has that purpose unfolded in day-to-day ministry?  Below are just some of the on-going ministry efforts, the special projects, and activism we’ve been engaged in within 2012.

We provide resources to assist others to be a “light in a darkened world,” through:

*   Researching and writing daily email alerts, reaching tens of thousands of people across America, that encourage, inform, challenge and rally hearts, giving tools and opportunities for activism.  We regularly prepare and provide a “take action” link in our daily emails, allowing readers practical tools to respond to the various societal issues in which we are engaged – contacting advertisers, retailers, government leaders, etc.

*   Our website, updated daily, offers a wealth of information and resources advancing the battle for righteousness and an individual pursuit of holiness.  Included on our site are: action alerts, a recommended reading list of timely articles updated daily, informative video clips, and access to our “ADA store” featuring numerous educational resources.

*   Writing and compiling our monthly newsletter that we hope is not only informative, but also challenging and edifying on a variety of timely issues such as: pornography, homosexuality, indecency in enter-tainment, attacks upon religious liberty, the threat of radical Islam, the undermining of marriage and family and the push for gay marriage.

*  The production of a monthly church bulletin insert, American Decency Update, providing articles to exhort and encourage Christians.  Our insert is free to download from our website or is mailed upon request for church use.

*  Educational and spiritual resources useful for the building up of individuals and the church in relationship to the spiritual battle in which we are engaged.  This past year we’ve distributed countless resources such as One Nation Under God; Agenda: Grinding America Down; America’s Godly Heritage; Why Christians Must Vote and many others.  These are all distributed at or below our cost.

For example, we distributed over 3,000 DVD copies of One Nation Under God and Why Christians Must Vote this past year and gave away many of them free of charge or asked just the cost of shipping of these vitally important messages.

In addition to these ongoing activities, with the help of God and your support, this past year has given us opportunity to take stands on numerous and varied issues and concerns, some of which are listed below:

*  Began a one minute radio program “A Decency Minute” that currently airs nationally, Monday – Friday,on Sirius XM’s “Family Talk” satellite radio and also airs in West Michigan on American Family Radio (91.7 FM).  This broadcast gives a tremendous opportunity to speak into the hearts and minds of listeners on a variety of spiritual and salt and light topics.

*  Continued our aggressive television monitoring against targeted shows and influenced the cancellation of All American Muslim, Are You There, Chelsea?, and GCB after numerous corporations dropped their ads.

Our monitoring list in 2012 has included:  All American Muslim; the debauched Are You There, Chelsea?; GCB – (“Good Christian B—ches”) – blatant Christian bigotry; Sister Wives which promotes polygamy; Glee  – targeting our youth; The New Normal – pushing the gay agenda; the perverse Fox shows –  Family Guy,  American Dad, and The Cleveland Show; Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23; and numerous others.  Staff members monitor the programs for content, make record of the advertisers, research corporate contact information and email addresses, and update our advertiser database.  We warn parents and viewers of concerning content and urge corporations not to support destructive, immoral messages with their advertising.

*  Informed and educated on the threat of radical Islam, stealth Jihad, and the insidious efforts to slowly implement Sharia Law within our judicial system.

*  Worked diligently within the boundaries of our C(3) non-profit status to encourage Christians to register to vote and to vote for biblical values during the 2012 election season and distributed over 4,000 voter guides locally.

*  Made concerted efforts to rally pastors (sadly, with little success) encouraging them to speak into the issues of the day in keeping with God’s Word  and urge their congregation to be salt and light in the culture and political arenas.

*  Held our annual summer event featuring Curtis Bowers, producer of the powerful documentary Agenda:  Grinding America Down, and Rev. Don Wildmon, Founder of American Family Association.  Both stirring presentations were enthusiastically received.

*  Hosted a conference of grave importance on the topic of “Political Islam, Sharia Law, and the American Constitution,” featuring premier experts Frank Gaffney and William Wagner.  This was a rare opportunity to learn about this vital concern and the large audience in attendance most definitely had their eyes opened to this stealthy, yet very real, threat America is facing today.  The overwhelming response was very affirming.

*  Targeted JC Penney for their embrace of the homosexual agenda with their Mother’s Day and Father’s Day ads promoting lesbian and gay parents.  Shed light on other corporations also pushing the homosexual agenda such as Starbucks, General Mills, Walt Disney World, Google, Fifth Third Bank, and UPS through their corporate policies. Opposed Macy’s policy which allows transgender men to change in women’s dressing rooms.

*  Personally monitored the Detroit area Motor City Pride homosexual parade to determine corporate sponsorship.  Having discovered that Fifth Third Bank was a major sponsor of this event, we researched the company to discover that Fifth Third Bancorp has a long record of endorsing and promoting the homosexual agenda. This was of special concern to ADA as our ministry bank accounts had been with Fifth Third Bank for decades.  After several futile communications both with our local bank and the corporate headquarters, ADA closed its accounts with Fifth Third and raised this concern via our newsletter.  We know of numerous others who closed their accounts with Fifth Third as a result – including an area church which  is raising this concern with other churches within its denomination!

*  Raised alarm and educated others about the highly concerning, moral relativistic themes of the widely-popular movie, The Hunger Games.  Of great concern was the embrace of this secular-humanistic film by the Christian community.  Movie Guide echoed our concern by describing The Hunger Games as exceptionally dark movie where the audience literally watches as children kill each other in a bloody maniacal fashion …”

*  Responded to current events and issues that arise on a variety of fronts – sexual trafficking, the homosexual agenda, Internet pornography, the sanctity of life, attacks upon family and marriage, etc.

*  Continued to stand against the display of the pornographic Cosmopolitan magazine in family shopping centers, urging our readers to speak out in the places they shop.

*  Opposed corporations such as Hardee’s/Carl Jr. restaurants and Victoria’s Secret for their extremely erotic advertising ploys.

*  Monitored and spoke out against the salacious “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” aired yearly on CBS, urging corporations not to sponsor it.

*  Have faithfully opposed the yearly pornographic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, urging businesses not to carry it and targeting the advertisers that empower it.  Dr. Mary Anne Layden, Director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology program at the University of Pennsylvania, has personally thanked us for being virtually the only national ministry to speak out regarding this concern.

*  Continued to shed light on the pornographic objectification of women.  For example, we urged concerned citizens to contact The Panama City, Florida Tourism Council in response to their promotion of a “Bikini Parade” to draw tourists to their city.*  Monitor the Super Bowl advertisements each year, shedding light on the corporations using sex and lewdness to sell products during this family event.

*  Reach out to this generation via social media with an American Decency presence on Facebook and Twitter. *   Was given opportunity to speak before several Michigan churches with a salt and light message.

*  Spoke with and gave counsel to numerous individuals who sought our help regarding a personal struggle with pornography or have a spouse or family member who are struggling with this concern.  These calls came as a direct result of our radio broadcast, church bulletin insert, or daily email alerts. Keeping a list of recommended Christian counselors who specialize in this area, we also refer individuals to a professional counselor.

*  At the request of a local concerned citizen, testified at a city council hearing in Mt. Pleasant, MI regarding a gay rights ordinance.  Out of hundreds in attendance, Bill Johnson, representing ADA, was  the only one who spoke in opposition.

*  Continued our biweekly “Free Movie Nights” showing thought-provoking, informative documentaries and inspiring family films in our auditorium.  Outreach is broad across our county and beyond as visitors have traveled 30+ miles to attend.  Examples of films shown include:  October Baby; Sarah’s Choice; The Grace Card; Flag of Our Father; IndoctriNation:  Public Schools and the Decline of Education in America; Kirk Cameron’s Monumental; 2016: Obama’s America.

Other details regarding movies:  2016: Obama’s America drew our largest attendance for a single showing with over 160 attendees at our evening showing.   We also showed 2016: Obama’s America as a Friday afternoon matinee with 62 in attendance.  We then had a powerful and very meaningful discussion afterward.  It was clear that many were ministered to. We also used this movie and others as a vehicle to distribute voter guides.  A number of new people signed up to receive our email alerts, newsletters, etc.

The prolife film Sarah’s Choice  was shown in correlation with the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade and an offering was taken to support a local Right to Life group which was invited to present information after the movie showing.

The Friday following the presidential election we showed our DVD recording of Frank Gaffney from our event “Political Islam, Sharia Law, and the American Constitution” with a matinee and evening showing. This was quickly planned and timed to allow kindred spirits to come together after the election.  Several people asked for many copies of the Gaffney DVD to distribute it.  During the discussion time following the Gaffney DVD showing, a 76 year old former Marine whom we’d never met shared his love and concern for children, family and nation.  He was a patriot who clearly loved the Lord, weeping for our        nation’s lack of discernment – he needed to get it off of his chest.  With him was his granddaughter, a young high school student, also burdened over what is happening in our country.  This teen shared her heartache that a teacher mocked her subject choice when she said she wanted to write a research paper on terrorism.  Fellow students in the critique time after the oral presentation of her paper thought it funny that she would write on terrorism.  This teen asked to get involved in community service with ADA.

*  Offered numerous simulcast conferences in our auditorium, including:  Chuck Colson’s Breaking the Spiral of Silence and Men of Honor featuring the producers of the film Courageous.

* Continued our annual organization of a community National Day of Prayer event and also hosted a Fourth of July commemoration.

*  ADA’s Bill Johnson  was the featured speaker at a National Day of Prayer breakfast event in Coldwater, Michigan which included nearly 80 individuals including state and local government officials and public school administrators.

The Voice From The Burning Bush

After a long time the king of Egypt died. Moses was taking care of the flock of Jethro his wife’s father. Once he led the flock to the other side of the pasture and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of Jehovah appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a thorn bush. As he looked, the bush flamed up without being burned. Moses said, “I will stop here and see this wonderful sight, why the bush is not burned up.”

When Jehovah saw that Moses stopped to look, he called to him from the midst of the bush, “Moses, Moses.” Moses answered, “Here am I.” Then God said, “Do not come near; take your shoes off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” He also said, “I am the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses covered his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

But Jehovah said, “I have certainly seen the suffering of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry of distress because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them out of that land into a land that is beautiful and wide, to a land with plenty of milk and honey. I have heard the cry of the Israelites and I have seen how they suffer at the hands of the Egyptians. Come now, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He answered, “I will surely be with you; and this shall be the sign to you that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God upon this mountain.”

Then Moses said to God, “If I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your forefathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I answer them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHAT I AM“; and he said, “Declare to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ Go and gather the leaders of Israel together and say to them, ‘Jehovah the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to me and said, I have surely remembered you and have seen what is being done to you in Egypt, and I have declared that I will bring you up out of the suffering in Egypt to a land with plenty of milk and honey.’ They will listen to your voice; and you, together with the leaders of Israel, shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews, has appeared to us. Now let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may offer a sacrifice to Jehovah our God.’ But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless he is made to do so by a mighty power. Therefore I will use my power and overwhelm Egypt with all the marvellous deeds that I will do there. After that he will let you go.”

Moses said to Jehovah, “O, Lord I am not able to speak well; for I am slow to speak and slow in saying what I think.” Jehovah said to him, “Who has given man a mouth? Or who makes one deaf or dumb, or blind or able to see? Is it not I, Jehovah? Now go, and I will be with you and teach you what you shall say; and your brother Aaron shall speak for you to the people.”

Then Moses went back to Jethro, his wife’s father, and said to him, “Let me go again to my people in Egypt to see whether they are still alive.” Jethro answered Moses, “Go, with my blessing.”

Love Perfects Service

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life–Jud 1:21

Think of some young man a hundred years ago drafted into the service of the navy.

Caught by the press-gang and torn away from home, how intolerable that service must have seemed! For a time, it would be the bitterest drudgery performed with many a muttering and curse.

There was no escape–it had to be performed–the lash and the irons followed disobedience; that, in the harshest and extremest sense, was the service of necessity. But can we not imagine that young man rousing himself into a worthier mood?

At the call of danger he would forget his bondage and think of the peril of his native land. And patriotic feelings would arise and duty to his country would awake, and now his service would be a nobler thing because it was the service of duty. Then suppose that a young man like that had sailed in the same vessel with Lord Nelson and had learned to love Nelson with that devoted love which filled the breast of every man who sailed with him.

How different would his service now become! How gladly would he toil and fight and die! The thought of duty would be absorbed in love, and love would make his service perfect.