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Purity  

Purity.

It’s big in today’s America.

Pure Fitness is opening a ton of new workout centers across the country. And when showering after your workout, you can rely on Dove soap. It’s “99 and 44/100% pure,” we’re told.

Thirsty? Grab a bottle of Pure Leaf Tea or Mr. Pure orange juice. And every well-equipped home should consider installing a Pur brand water filter system (not sure why they dropped the “e”).

Today, we insist on pure diets, foods, and workouts. We might purchase Pure brand olive oil or Pure Food protein powders and supplements. And let's not forget about Pure Food coated chocolate chips.

Dieticians everywhere extol the virtues of pure eating. And did you know there's even a Pure Healthy diet? Move over, Paleo!

Even animals are getting on board with Pure brand dog and cat food!

It all sounds good. Except there's a weird cultural disconnect. We seem to want purity in everything—except our morality. How odd.

We’re okay with dirty movies and novels.

We’re comfortable with filthy language of all kinds.

We’re good with smutty magazines (online or in print).

How could we be so careful about what we allow into our mouths—and so careless about what we allow into our souls? Where is our concern for the purity that matters most?

If we claim to follow Jesus, we must follow His standards. Ephesians 5:3 urges, "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or greed, because these are improper for God's holy people."

There is nothing wrong with wanting a pure diet—as in something you can get from Amazon. But as Christians, our appetite must always be sourced in what we get from the Word.

“Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.” 

1 Timothy 5:22b

 

 

 
Please and Thank You  

Nope. It’s not just your imagination.

People are saying please and thank you less and less. UCLA researchers suggest the word please is going the way of the corded phone and VHS tapes—quaint if you have shelf space.

In their now-published study of one thousand "request attempts," adults used "please" just 7% of the time. Among children, it was used in 10% of requests. According to a 2023 report, just 52% of US adults consider politeness an essential quality for kids.

Here’s the kicker. “When ‘please’ is used, it's typically to stave off resistance from the requestee. Turning down a polite request? Now, that would be rude.

Please and thank you have indeed fallen on hard times. But why should it be otherwise?

Using the word please implies, "I'm not entitled to this…but am respectfully asking for it." Which undermines a core value of a generation that feels absolutely entitled—to just about everything.

That same generation—having been given so much by their parents who asked little of their children in return—feels no need to say thank you.

To say thank you implies a sense of obligation or indebtedness. They feel none. So why go through the verbal charade?

Every generation has “bent places,” so none of us has a license to point fingers. But young—or old—Christ followers are called to “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor (Romans 12:10).Which includes saying please—and thank you.

It’s not a Boomer thing.

It’s a Bible thing.

 

 “Show perfect courtesy toward all people.”  -Titus 3:2b

 

 

SOURCE: https://nypost.com/2024/05/24/lifestyle/americans-have-forgotten-their-manners-how-to-say-please/?_hsenc=p2ANqtz--cu9SWzPclE_Y6CG3dLG9inhJ5X85j-Fsr2AAr23XIJO7D-dJt9xiBnwQjEF2gKQWHyt1RhyB_PobRtd5rjhpVNnUHbw&_hsmi=309521129

 

 

 
How Many Bless You's?  

The morning was cold, the ground was hard, and Emma's nose was runny. She and her sister Ava had spent the night at our camper. Though they'd set up chair cushions for mattresses, they'd slid off onto the trailer's hard floor by morning.

That's when five-year-old Emma began to sneeze. "Bless you," came big sister Ava's reply. Emma sneezed again. "Bless you!" I replied. Less than a minute later, a third and a fourth sneeze followed.

But a fifth sneeze awakened Emma’s curiosity: “Wait! How many ‘bless you’s did I get?”

“Five,” I answered, unable to stifle a chuckle.

Then, I started doing a personal inventory. How many “bless you’s” did I get this week?

That's a path I invite you to walk with me momentarily.

  • You didn’t miss a meal this week for lack of food? That’s a “Bless you.”
  • You say you have a job (even if it’s not great) that helps pay the bills? That’s a “Bless you.”
  • You have clothes in your closet? (I’ve met plenty of folks who own just one outfit--the one they're wearing). That’s a “Bless you.”

With minimal effort, you and I could list a hundred "bless you's” we’ve enjoyed just this week. So why aren’t we more thankful? Is it possible the real reason we "forget" to count our blessings is that having done so, we are reminded of our indebtedness—which is humbling?

Ironically, God seems to have hard-wired gratitude to a boost in our mood. In other words, having given God the credit for His past gifts, He gives us even more, including a happier frame of mind.

McKinsey and Company estimates Americans spend $450 billion annually on wellness products and services—with an annual growth rate of 5%. But you don't have to pay a penny.

Want to boost your mood—without taking any drugs? Thank God for three “bless you’s” you’ve enjoyed today. Like the old chorus urges, "Count your many blessings--name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done!"

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

-1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

 
Three Warnings from the Hamas War with Israel  

What does Hamas feel about their war with Israel? In America, we get a heavily filtered look at the facts. However, the actual sources reveal at least three chilling alarms many Christians overlook.

 

Alarm #1: Hamas intends to repeat the October 7 Attack.

During an October 24, 2023 interview on Lebanese television, Hamas member Ghazi Hamad declared: “Israel is a country that has no place on our land […] because it constitutes a security, military, and political catastrophe to the Arab and Islamic nation.”

But there's more! Hamad vowed to repeat attacks like October 7 "time and again until Israel is annihilated."

Consider the preamble to Hamas' founding charter, which quotes the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna:

“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it" (Preamble to Hamas Charter).

 

Alarm #2: Hamas Intends to Eliminate the State of Israel.

You often read—or see on television—viewpoints that suggest the war would stop and peace would come if only there were a sense of economic parity in the region.

The truth: Hamas has no—zero—interest in a two-state solution. In the radical Muslim hearts controlling Gaza, there is room for only one state—one devoid of every last single Jew.

In 2020, Ismail Haniyeh, regarded as the political leader of Hamas, affirmed, "We cannot, in exchange for money or projects, give up Palestine and our weapons. We will not give up the resistance... We will not recognize Israel. Palestine must stretch from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea."

In an April 2023 sermon, Hamas official Hamad Al-Regeb prayed for "annihilation" and "paralysis" of the Jews, whom he described as filthy animals: "[Allah] transformed them into filthy, ugly animals like apes and pigs because of the injustice and evil they had brought about." Al-Regeb also prayed for the ability to "get to the necks of the Jews."

 

Alarm #3: Hamas has bigger goals after Israel.

Their larger targets include Europe, then America in general—and Christians in specific.

Their goal of a worldwide caliphate—where Islam rules and reigns over all—demands they destroy Europe and then the United States.

Does this mean Israel has handled every detail of this (and past) wars with complete integrity? No!

Does it mean that everything Israel says and does is right? No!

It does mean that Americans are often not told the truth about this war. It also means there is a sense in which our survival as a nation depends on Israel's success in winning the war that Hamas began. Read more of what Hamas has said at this link: https://www.adl.org/resources/blog/hamas-its-own-words

Bottom line: Jesus was Jewish. And if you call yourself a Christ follower, you must care about what happens to Israel and the Jewish people—and their God-given land.

Photo by Kamran Aydinov, Freepik.com

There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. (Hamas Charter, Article 13).

 

"And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you, all the families of the earth will be blessed."  Genesis 12:3

 
Just Looking the Part  

As I walked through a Jacksonville airport store, I was confused. On the table was a stack of red and white lifeguard shirts. But since when can just anybody buy and wear a lifeguard shirt? Don’t you have to first be trained? Certified?

Looking closer, I realized the shirts were merely souvenirs for a popular swim spot known as Jax Beach (shown in much smaller print). No doubt the shirts sell well because our age is consumed with “looking the part.”

Going into a sporting goods store these days, you'll find very little sports equipment. It's primarily athletic wear, or "athleisure," because (in addition to being comfortable) people are fixated on wanting to look the part.

This desire to look the part has also affected us spiritually. For example, when it comes to sharing our faith, many of us can readily quote John 3:16. So we sound right. We "look" like spiritual lifeguards. Yet many haven’t spent time—let alone shared the gospel—with an unsaved friend for years, if ever. Plenty of us could use some training because real lives are at stake.

When the Bible uses the word "saved" or "salvation," this is not a bland theological lectureship. Think of a drowning victim in his last conscious moment desperately reaching out for a life ring.

That’s what’s in the balance—life and death! That is why it's not enough to merely "wear the tee shirt.” My apologies for shouting here, but this is absolutely that important.

I can assure you, there is someone in your life who desperately needs to hear the simple gospel from you. Someone who is spiritually drowning. Do you feel a sense of urgency? Enough to join Jesus in His urgent, life-saving rescue mission?

When it comes to sharing the life-saving message of Jesus and His death on the cross, are you a lifeguard? Or do you just wear the tee shirt?

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Jon Gauger Media 2016