Blog: Quote for Sep. 22nd, 2018

"If you want to see God’s power at work, you must get out of the church and into the world. Watch the extravagant lengths which God will go to reveal Himself to people who don’t know Him. Then you will learn how truly awesome our God is."

—Author Unknown

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Source: Quotemeal from Heartlight

Carrie Underwood Talks about God Hearing Her Prayers after 3 Miscarriages

In an interview with Tracy Smith from CBS Sunday Morning, Carrie Underwood opened up about her three miscarriages in 2017.
Smith was covering Underwood’s new album Cry Pretty when she asked the country singer what she meant by the title track speaking to “a lot of the things that have happened in the past year.”
In 2017, Underwood took a hard fall while walking her dogs, landing on her face. As a result of the fall, the singer said she had to get between 40 and 50 stitches, but this was only the beginning of her trials that year. With tears in her eyes, Underwood told the reporter, “2017 just wasn’t how I imagined it.”
The reporter inquired asking the singer to elaborate. Underwood responded saying that she planned for 2017 to be the year where she worked on new music and had another baby.
“We got pregnant early 2017, and it didn’t work out,” Underwood said, holding back tears. “It happens. And that was the thing in the beginning — it was like, ‘Okay, God, we know this just wasn’t your timing, and that is all right. We will bounce back and figure a way through it.’
“Got pregnant again in the spring, and it didn’t work out. Got pregnant again early 2018 — didn’t work out. So, at that point, it was just kind of like, ‘Okay, what’s the deal? What is all of this?’”

Smith then asked Underwood if there was ever a point when she was looking up and asking God “’What are you doing to me?'”
Getting choked up again, Underwood said, “I had always been afraid to be angry.
She continued, “Because we are so blessed. And my son, Isaiah, is the sweetest thing. And he’s the best thing in the world. And I’m like, ‘If we can never have any other kids, that’s okay, because he’s amazing.’ And I have this amazing life. Like, really, what can I complain about? I can’t. I have an incredible husband, incredible friends, an incredible job, an incredible kid. Can I be mad? No.
Still, she said, “I got mad.”
Smith reported that one night after what Underwood thought was another miscarriage, she curled up next to her son Isaiah and prayed like Underwood says she has never prayed before.
“I was like, ‘Why on Earth do I keep getting pregnant if I can’t have a kid? Do something. Either shut the door or let me have a kid,’” she recalled saying to God.
“For the first time, I feel like I actually told God how I felt. And I feel like we’re supposed to do that,” the country sensation continued.
Underwood said a couple of days later she went to doctor to confirm that she had had what she thought was her fourth miscarriage, instead, she learned her pregnancy was just fine.

“He heard me,” she said, exclaiming that God heard her prayers.

Underwood and her husband Mike Fisher are now expecting their second child.

The Chief Cause of Our Social Maladies

Rarely has the nation’s debate shifted with such breathtaking speed. Polls continue to show a significant shift in concern from fiscal to social deficits. In spite of its economic greatness, America is increasingly embarrassed in the eyes of the world for its social conditions. It is humbling for the world’s richest industrial nation to have a poverty rate twice that of any other industrial nation and to be singled out by international agencies as a world leader in child poverty and youth homicides.
At the risk of oversimplifying complex social problems, evidence continues to mount that father absence is the chief cause of most of our costly social maladies: poverty, educational failure, teen suicide, drug abuse, illegitimacy and violence. While growing numbers now agree that fatherhood has been devalued and are prepared to accept that it has some social utility, few are clear on the actual scale of father absence, why fatherhood really matters, or why its restoration is so central to American progress.
To appreciate the scope of father absence, consider that 40%–nearly four of every ten–now goes to bed in a household where the biological father is absent, and that one in every two children will spend at least some time before the age of 18 with one parent. Father-absence is already competing with father presence for the norm, and the trend is expected to worsen by the turn of the century. If out-of-wedlock births is a harbinger of the future, a visit to almost any maternity ward in America, urban or rural, presents a portrait of a fatherless and Dickensonian America in the year 2010.
Free societies can endure a lot of challenges–dramatic economic dislocation and a decline in educational achievement, public health and competitiveness. With the right mix of sound policy and collective resolve, many of these problems can at least be ameliorated. What free societies cannot survive is widespread crime and disorder, and the fear that violence generates.
Who is it that is responsible for the mayhem, and who is it that we fear precisely? It is males, and predominantly fatherless males who have not been properly socialized. Sixty percent of America’s rapists, 72% of adolescent murderers, and 70% of long term prison inmates grew up without fathers.
James Q. Wilson reminds us that human progress depends upon the socialization of males, a simple fact that was recognized throughout all recorded human history and only forgotten recently.
Neither child well-being, nor societal well-being is likely to be significantly improved until fathers are recognized as unique and irreplaceable. Reconnecting them to children would do more to restore a happy and healthy childhood to every child, and dramatically reduce our nation’s most costly problems, than all of the pending legislation in America combined
So What Do We Do?
For starters, recognize the danger of putting too much stock in national policy agendas. While policy changes are welcome, their effects are ultimately marginal. If greater prosperity and broader income distribution were the sole answer to America’s social problems, America would be on the verge of a renaissance.
The chief ingredients in America’s social regression involve factors that are less susceptible to fiscal and programmatic adjustments. America’s new frontiers lie in the realm of social change. A good many social problems are explained predominantly by a shift in social norms, norms which can change again. We have seen profound changes in recent decades in social attitudes on gender, race, physical fitness, smoking and our treatment of the environment.
Americans are more prone than ever to sanction behaviors that are protective of the natural ecology. By contrast, in the realm of social ecology, our language turns to personal choice and expressive individualism. When it comes to human conduct that is most injurious to child well-being, America practices an unfettered Laisse Faire.
Fatherhood is predominantly a cultural, not biological, institution, which means its functioning requires social support; its dysfunction only needs social opprobrium. To suggest, as we have, that it’s all negotiable, will only ensure its demise.
Fathers must be reconnected to their children by rediscovering historically masculine traits of strong male nurturance. As author Richard Louv has said, “Men will not move back into the family until our culture reconnects masculinity and fatherhood, until young men come to see fatherhood, not just paternity, as the fullest expression of manhood.”
Restoring fatherhood and reversing the decline in child well-being will require social change, promoted predominantly through the value-shaping institutions in the civic sector: churches, charities, and civic organizations.
A new social movement must be launched to strengthen parenting, particularly to restore the necessary social norms of responsible fatherhood. Without moral overkill, without vilifying good single mothers or decent men who have been less than perfect fathers, a new ideal for fatherhood must be resewn into the social fabric.
American’s public and private institutions should be called upon to reinforce a simple and consistent message that is heard by all, beginning at an early age: becoming a parent is important business and it requires responsibility, respect and readiness for the care of children. It is the well-being of children, after all, that must again be our highest priority.

Adapted from Author, “Restoring Fatherhood: The Key to Social Renewal“

Don E. Eberly is an American author and researcher in the study of civil society. He earned master’s degrees from George Washington University and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
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4 Reasons to Remember your Creator in Middle Age

Although it’s young people that are specifically commanded to remember their Creator (Eccl. 12:1), it’s probably assumed that middle-aged people will have the sense to do the same. Surely by then we have accumulated enough experience to realize that remembering we have a Creator and that we are creatures is basic wisdom. How then do we respect and remember our Creator in busy, striving, stressed-out middle age?
1. Remember that we are complex creatures
The body is a complex mix of physical material and physical forces – electricity, chemistry, physics, biology, plumbing, gasses, pumps, siphons, lubrication, buttons, switches, receptors, etc.
Then there’s the soul, way more complex than the body and completely inaccessible to empirical research methods. Although we have some Biblical data to mine and research, yielding us some basics about the soul’s capacities and abilities, so much about the soul remains a mystery.
And then you put complex body and complex soul together and what do you get – multiple complexities!
The interconnectivity of human nature means that the health of the body affects the health of the soul and vice versa, and it’s not easy to figure out the contribution of each to our problems! One thing is for sure, we cannot neglect one realm and expect the other not to suffer the consequences.
2. Remember that we are limited creatures
Hopefully none of us think that we are unlimited. However most of us think we are less limited than we actually are. We vastly over-estimate our physical strength, emotional stamina, moral courage, spiritual maturity, volitional muscle, and conscience steel.
Underestimating our limitations and over-estimating our abilities can only have one outcome – weakness, fraying, and eventually breaking. Try it with anything – your car engine, a towrope, your computer, etc. Underestimate the limitations and over-estimate the abilities and you will eventually blow the engine, break the rope, and crash the computer.
We must find out our limits – physical, spiritual, emotional, moral – and work within them. And we must not impose our limits on others, despising those with lower limits or envying those with higher limits.
3. Remember that we are dependent creatures
Even before the fall, Adam and Eve were dependent upon their Creator. They leaned upon him for everything. That was their most basic human experience, and in a fallen world it’s even more necessary.
Many of us are theologically dependent but experientially independent. We depend on God with our lips but not with our lives. We say we lean upon Him for everything but He rarely feels our weight. If we don’t live as dependent creatures, we are not worshipping our Creator. By our independence, we are worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator.
4. Remember that we are fallen creatures
As part of the curse upon us for our first parent’s first sin, death entered the creation and even the greatest creature – humanity.
If you thought we were complex before, we are even more complex now. I enjoy fishing, and like all anglers, I “know” that the most complicated and sophisticated reels catch more fish. But, when they break down they make a much bigger mess than standard reels.
That’s why complex humanity is in a much worse state than any other creature. That’s why nature films focus on animals rather than humanity. Who wants to look at ugly human creatures in all their brokenness when you can see much more beauty in the animal kingdom!
But that’s not the end of the story. Remember, middle-agers, our Creator is in the business of re-creating. In salvation, He begins the process of making all things new, including His creatures. In fact, the Creator lived as a creature in the midst of His creation to save His creatures.

David Murray is Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.