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Instead of leaving it as one, long paragraph, I split up our first president’s proclamation into more easily read paragraphs:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor;

and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be;

that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation;

for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;

for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;

for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;

and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; 

to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually;

to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord;

to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

President George Washington

 

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A very dear friend just gave me an encouraging word a few days ago from Is. 43:19, and I hope that you’ll be encouraged as well as you ponder the meaning of this simple, yet profound Hebrew word (hadash).

More than a chronological word, it means to renew; to rebuild; to refresh; to repair.  Thus, when the LORD does something “new” in our lives, this is the kind of result we can expect, and of course, we rejoice greatly.

However, in a sense, we don’t need to wait for a certain time for Him to do that something “new”: repeatedly in the Psalms, we’re called to sing to Him “a new song” (cf. Ps. 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9), where in each of these verses, the Hebrew word for “new” is the same as that in Is. 43:19 (hadash).

Thus, when we engage with our triune God in praise and worship – and if we come expecting – we can be assured that the Holy Spirit will be involved in bringing His renewal, His refreshing, His repairing, and His rebuilding.

You see, when the LORD calls us to sing to Him, there is a very good reason for it!  Of course, there are many good reasons for it, but in our step of faith and obedience, we can know that He will do His part to respond in one or all the ways the meaning of hadash implies.

In fact, why not ask Him to do these very things before you enter into praise and worship – individually or corporately?  Is that a prayer He wants to answer?  You know it is!

I’m studying Ps. 33 this morning, and I want to share with you from just one word in this section an important insight about the vitality of praise and worship for the believer in Jesus Christ.  But first, please read Ps. 33:1-4:

Sing for joy in the Lord, O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming to the upright.
Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
For the word of the Lord is upright,
And all His work is done in faithfulness.

Throughout my walk with the Lord since about 1980, He has used praise and worship greatly in my growth in Him.  I greatly appreciate that He puts a song in my heart when I wake up in the morning, and I always benefit supremely from that song – and especially “new” songs.

Also throughout the years, a certain song or two ministers greatly to me during different seasons that I’m in.  I believe this is likely what David had in mind when he wrote in v.3, “Sing to Him a new song.”

This “new” song goes beyond merely singing a song which has just come out; it goes beyond chronology to a decisive moment or quality in time.

There is a “sound” from the new song that resonates in our hearts, and more importantly, the truth it brings from the Word of God (v.4) has transforming power for us.

Here is why the “new” song is so important for us: the Hebrew word translated “new” means “fresh; to rebuild; to renew; to repair.”

Those descriptions are things we all need, and so often, each day.  And therein lies the power and the vitality of praise and worship: God intends to use it for us in a way that brings us renewal, in a way that rebuilds our spirit.

He wants to use praise and worship to bring a freshness to our relationship with Him, and to repair the things in our lives that need repairing.

And now we can understand the purpose of David’s opening exhortation to “sing for joy in the LORD,” and for why he says that “praise is becoming (better, “fitting”) to the upright” (v.1b).

Friend, do you engage in praise and worship as part of a regular lifestyle, so that God can use this powerful tool to do in you what He desires to do in you – to refresh you, renew you, rebuild you and repair you?

Far too many evolutionists and atheists openly depart from intellectual and academic honesty, only to reveal their true motives in holding to their worldviews.  I will show — from their own words from this brief blog — that with such people, their worldview is not intellectual, but moral.

They simply do not want anyone to have authority over them; indeed, they love their sin more than they love God (John 3:19; 5:42; 7:7; cf. Rom. 1:18-23, 28-32).

Even a cursory study of evolutionist and atheistic writings bears this view out.  Instead of arguing their points on merits alone, they constantly resort to ad hominem attacks against Bible believing Christians.

In fact, many of these writers are quite open about why they hold to an evolutionary worldview.

For example, one woman, grossly ignorant of what Scripture really teaches, writes, “It is wonderful not to have to cower before a vengeful deity, who threatens us with eternal damnation if we do not abide by his rules.”[1]

Aldous Huxley argued,

I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning: consequently I assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption…For myself, as no doubt for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation.  The liberation we desired was…liberation from a certain system of morality.  We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.[2]

In another profoundly ignorant comment of what Scripture actually teaches, Bertrand Russell wrote, “The worst feature of the Christian religion is its attitude toward sex.”  The title of his book says it all: Why I Am Not a Christian.[3]

A plethora of similar statements can be read in recent books from evolutionary atheists Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Peter Singer and Steven Pinker.

Bioethicist Peter Singer invokes Darwinism to make the claim that there is no essential difference between people and animals.  As such, animals should be given the same rights that people have.

He argues that since man is the product of evolution, and not the special creation by God, then the entire structure of Judeo-Christian morality is discredited.

As a consequence, abortion, euthanasia and infanticide all become permissible and in some cases, desirable.[4]

Another atheist and evolutionist, Steven Pinker, advocates openly that women should be able to kill their newborn children.

After a teenage girl gave birth to her baby in a bathroom during her high school prom — and promptly dumped the baby in the trash — Pinker wrote an article in the New York Times in support of her actions.

He wrote that evolution has enabled us to have “a capacity for neonaticide [that] is built into the biological design of our parental emotions.”[5]

Moreover, he added that many cultural practices are “designed to distance people’s emotions from a newborn” so that the child can be killed without too many qualms.

In his book The Blank Slate, Pinker complains that the problem with humanity is not enough morality, but too much of it.[6]

This is the fruit and disgusting, logical outcome of evolutionary philosophy.

Such Neanderthal views (pun intended) are merely right out of the playbook of one of the most wicked philosophers of modern times — Friedrich Nietzsche – who fancied himself an “immoralist.”

Nietzsche is famous for his writing on “the death of God” — not so much that He actually “died” – but that man justly killed Him in order to win for himself the freedom to make his own morality.

And what would that look like? Nietzsche answers that question with his famous “will to power” statement: the strong (read evolution) get to rule over the weak, no matter what the cost.

By removing God from life, there is no more morality from above — only that which those in power legislate. Thus, all appeals to dignity, compassion and equality no longer apply.

The entire purpose of this is to remove human guilt, enabling us to live beyone “good and evil,” which requires a remaking of morality, what he calls “transvaluation.”[7]

This playing and twisting of words is quite popular in postmodern writing and philosophy: no moral absolutes.

[1] Karen Armstrong, A History of God: The 4,000-Year Old Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (New York: Ballantine Books, 1993), 378.

[2] Aldous Huxley, Confessions of a Professed Atheist, Report, June 1996.

[3] Bertrand Russel, Why I Am Not a Christian (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1957), 26.

[4] Peter Singer, A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000).

[5] Steven Pinker, “Why They Kill Their Newborns,” New York Times, November 2, 1997.

[6] Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (New York: Viking, 2002), 269.

[7] Quoted from Dinesh D’Souza in What’s So Great About Christianity (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2007), 268.  These themes D’Souza writes about are advanced in Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power (New York: Vintage, 1968); see especially 129, 136.

It’s a special joy to me – through the answered prayer of so many – that through our teaching and ministry, the Lord opened the eyes of so many more pastors to a biblical understanding of the Father and how to relate to Him.

Moreover, they gladly, eagerly and reverently received a biblical worldview of marriage; they agree that the way even Christian men treat their wives is unbiblical.  Danny and I taught extensively through Gen. 2:18-25, some of 1 Cor. 7, and then verse-by-verse from Eph. 5:21-33.

The pastors consistently indicated they had never been taught these things, that they can’t wait to implement what they learned, and that they know they’re going to be persecuted for treating their wives the way God wants them to treat them (Eph. 5:1).

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We dealt with very difficult theological issues, with matters of biblical interpretation and application, with the greater need for character and Christ-likeness and with a great deal of practical matters in every-day living and in church and ministry.

At the same time, we all experience an ongoing amount of laughter; our meetings are full of life and joy!

Once again, passing out 15 NLT Study Bibles to those who have never owned a Study Bible was a major highlight; the same goes for giving the students 32 Luo Bibles, updated in 2017 from the most recent translation from 1970!

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I never want to overstate anything; too many in ministry do that.  On the one hand, we must believe in faith for God to do great things, but on the other, we must wait for Him to move to glorify His name.

That said, I do have the confidence that He has found a group of men and women in Siaya, Kenya to work through to bring His reformation to His Church in Kenya and in Africa.

From what the pastors tell me, a substantial portion of the Church in Africa is essentially a mockery of New Testament Christianity, and instead of bringing the Lord honor, it blasphemes Him.

This is especially true of Church leaders – so many of whom worm their way into leadership, so that they can reap financial reward and enjoy a place of honor in society.  Others are extremely unscrupulous; still others are rampant adulterers and wife-beaters.

Heresy and false doctrine abound.  Some in Missions say we should only focus on reaching unreached people groups with the gospel, but I’m of the opinion that God sends His people where He wants them to be and where He knows they can make the greatest difference for Him.

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I like the “both/and” approach to life and ministry, rather than the “either/or” approach, and I believe this pertains to Missions as well.

I shared with the pastors that if the Church in Kenya is weak, corrupt and greedy, how can we expect the government to be righteous, and free from corruption and greed.

The comment “stung” — in the best way — and we prayed fervently for God to bring His righteousness through men and women of integrity in His Church in Kenya (there is an expectation of great violence in the coming presidential election).

I also shared that if we can get the Church in Africa thriving, Islam is weakened.  But if the Church is weak, the lie of Islam is strengthened.  Moreover, where the Church flourishes in sound doctrine and behavior, all of society benefits.

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However, a stunning number of families are child-led, because AIDS has killed off both parents.  Every day I see children working very hard to survive; they cannot afford to go to school, so they labor.  Approximately one-third of children in Kenya are orphans…

On a different note, I see a common sight: farmers plowing their fields behind oxen!  Kenyan society in rural areas is about 100-125 years behind America.  That opinion comes from one of the leading Kenyan pastors we have the privilege of ministering to.

Friends, together, we’re bringing tangible hope to a people without hope and who struggle greatly to survive.  In fact, this same pastor tells me that in the rural areas, the average life expectancy is about 40 years old!

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Where the gospel is proclaimed and lived out in truth, humility, sound doctrine and in the power of the Holy Spirit, society is greatly blessed.  This is the legacy of the Christian faith for the United States and Great Britain; my prayer is that one day soon, we can say the same for Kenya.

 

Ruoth ogwethu ahinya jotich Nyasaye; amosou osiepena mageno!  I just said, “the Lord bless you all greatly, servants of the Lord; greetings, dear friends!

Apwoyo ahinya to all of you (I am grateful to all of you); your partnership in prayer and financially has resulted in an extremely successful time for Danny Gilbert and me in partnering with our Lord to bring depth to His Church in Siaya, Kenya.

On Friday, Danny and I finished an outstanding week of teaching and ministry by serving Communion to the pastors.  Of all the Communion services that I’ve ever led, this was the most powerful and meaningful, since Danny and I co-led it, and served Communion to each other (we’ve never led and served Communion together).

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In addition, the presence of the Lord was something I’ll never forget; the Lord ministered to me in a way I’ve never been ministered to before by Him.

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And, as soon as we finished, a cool breeze entered the room – a breeze we had not experienced the entire week!  It seemed to us like the wind of the Holy Spirit.  I can say we felt and enormous amount of encouragement from the Lord.

Moreover, it also rained when we finished our teaching.  But again, all week long it rained at night, while we were sleeping – but never during the day.  The Kenyans believe that when it rains after an important event, God is indicating His blessing and pleasure upon that event.

In today’s update, I thought I would share some of the written testimonies from the pastors we teach; they wanted to express to you their own gratitude as well.

Tomorrow, I’ll share pictures with you from the Bibles we passed out, plus more information on other things the Lord did among us.

Comments from some of the students and pastors of our Bible Institute, written on Friday, March 3, 2017:

I’m quite impressed with one young leader and pastor, Manasses Ombima.  He wrote that until he enrolled in our Bible school, his life and ministry had stagnated, “but since I joined the school, I have been empowered and received sound teachings to run God’s work.”

Manasses added,

I was glad to receive a gift of a Bible; I love it! Pastor Brad and Daniel teach the word of God in simplicity but with power.  This week, we witnessed the move of the Holy Spirit on Wednesday, people being set free, healed and God speaking powerfully.  Words cannot express how much I am happy and grateful for what God is doing through this noble task (Empowered Living International Bible Institute)!

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John Opiyo wrote that he received his first-ever Study Bible!  In addition, he is extremely grateful for his reading glasses, and the teaching he received on biblical marriage.

During a prayer and ministry time on Wednesday, Jennifer Obita received a powerful healing for her shoulder, which had been in extreme pain for the last two months.  She wrote this two days later: “NO PAIN!”

On Friday, March 3, Eunice Obare writes, “As Pastor Brad and Pastor Daniel led in worship [and ministry] on Wednesday, the Holy Spirit moved and I found myself freed from depression that had disturbed me for a long time.”

Claris Adhiambo said she had a migraine headache for an entire week leading up to our seminar, but during the powerful time of ministry Wednesday morning, her headache was healed!

A very godly young woman, Silvia Atieno, writes,

It was in the year 2015 that Pastor Brad prophesied to me that I will serve God freely and in peace without any boundary [i.e. limitations from leaders who had oppressed and mistreated her], and I have seen this prophecy come true.

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Pastor Philip was extremely skeptical about attending our seminar this week for the first time, or of sitting under any teaching from “theologians,” because he had witnessed too many of his peers enroll in theological education and end up losing all passion for the Lord.

But he heard me preach at his church on Sunday, and he changed his mind as, he writes, “The Lord moved powerfully during the time of ministry.”

He then adds,

I was so much amazed to hear servants of the Lord who are also theologians used mightily of God with a mighty move of the Holy Spirit…when Pastor Daniel and Brad ministered I saw the move of God mightily and [it] made me to know that to be carnal is not caused by theology but by one’s choice.

Pastor Alex Atiende says that through our emphasis on principles of Bible study “The Lord has opened my understanding and now I can teach the sound doctrine.”

Joshua Omondi admits that his marriage has been failing rapidly and he has had no hope of a turnaround.  But through our teaching on biblical marriage, he repented of his attitude toward his wife and can’t wait to put what he learned into action.

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Opak Ruoth (praise the Lord)!

Sunday Preaching

Greetings, friends, and thank you for your interest in reading this report!  And another “thank you” to all of you who partner with me in this ministry in so many ways.  Today’s report is brief, covering ministry from Sunday and Monday.

I had the joy of preaching at two different churches on Sunday; the first service was at the church of one of the leaders of the pastor’s group I teach and train (Christ Minister’s Fellowship, or CMF).

The church is a pretty good size – perhaps 150?  They must have about 50 young children!  They asked me to speak to the kids for 10 minutes (before the service began), and they didn’t move; they paid careful attention.

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I gave a salvation invitation, and perhaps 20 hands went up.  With young children, one can never be sure if they fully understand what has been asked of them, even though I explained everything very carefully.

Still, if only a few were first-time responders, well, that’s already an incredible beginning to the service!

In the main service, I was asked to preach on faith, which went very well, and I had a significant time of personal ministry for the people afterward.  Before I share specifics, I’ll wait to hear from the pastor about the results as he talks to the people who were ministered to.

I find that whenever I preach here in Kenya, I bring a significant level of ministry to the kids.  I laid my hand on a large number of them to bless and pray for them.

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But with one child, I prayed for physical healing.  I stopped mid-sentence and asked if the child was sick, and they said he was.  It sounded serious; I’ve already asked the pastor to report back to me what happened as soon as possible.

the late afternoon, we drove about an hour to visit a church that listens to my radio broadcasts each week.  I met the pastor of the church and the people for the first time and preached a message from Titus 2:11-14.

Although we ate with the pastor and a few of his associates, I never felt comfortable with him or with his church.  Something doesn’t quite “seem right,” and two of the pastors I’m in good relationship with from CMF also felt the same way.

Nevertheless, it was good to make the effort to go.

Monday’s Ministry

In the first two hours of our Monday session, we got so far in-depth into teaching on the Father heart of God that I was in awe to see what the Lord was doing in the hearts of the people; I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

I think it’s one of those things that is just hard to put into words without having been there to witness it.  I’m seeing how God is unveiling His true nature – through His Word – to the Kenyans.

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One pastor said, “the African father is like a lion in the family; he is to be feared.  So how can we truly come to know Him?”

That question alone – which came two hours into our teaching – just opened up an even deeper discussion.  It was clear the Holy Spirit was doing a significant work in the pastors, and they spoke a great deal, with great emotion, about our topic.

In addition, we handed out the reading glasses to the pastors and they were extremely grateful to the partners who donated the glasses!

Finally, the pictures show that we’re meeting in a new location; it’s at a new hotel in town – a bit different than what we might know as a hotel.  We’re meeting in what will become a conference room.

While I’m extremely grateful to the family who rented us our facility on their farm for three years, the place we’re in now is much larger and has a great deal of cross-breeze.

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It was extremely hot on Monday (I’m writing this during a break Tuesday morning), but NOT where we were meeting!  Yes!!!!!