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The following is a prayer invoked by Pastor Robert DiSalvio on September 22, 2001, following the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center terrorist attacks:

“We thank you Father for the beauty of your creation that we see around us. Grass, trees, blue sky and Your loving touch in the kiss of the sun’s warmth on our face. But, dear Father, our hearts are not as peaceful as our bucolic surroundings would suggest. Seventy-five miles from here there is a scar in the ground - A wound so deep and wide it has become a vortex into which our nation’s thoughts, emotions and fears have been drawn.

Hear our prayer, O Lord, for mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, and children who have lost loved ones in New York City, Washington DC and Somerset, Pennsylvania.

Hear our prayer, O Lord, for even one missing to be found.

Hear our prayer, O Lord, for the thousands injured, especially for those still in hospital beds.

Hear our prayer, O Lord, for heroes, who with bloodied hands and heavy hearts, dig through broken and pulverized concrete, shattered glass, twisted steel, and God help us, broken pieces of humanity.

Hear our prayer, O Lord, for men and women of the Armed Forces being transported, even as we pray, to meet their mission and their fate. Give them courage, strength, and Grace to do what their nation has called them to do.

Hear our prayer, O Lord, for our nation and its leaders. Give them wisdom. Be with our president George W. Bush as he makes decisions no man wants to make but leadership, by definition, demands.

Be with those who are tearful. May they seek You, the God who wipes away tears.

Be with those who are fearful. May they be reminded to “Fear no evil; for You are with them.”

Be with those who are angry and would strike out at innocents. Help them to be angry and sin not.

Hear our prayer, O Lord for Delaware Township blessed with so much natural beauty, material resources and spiritual heritage. Help us to reach out to those in need with our bounty and Your love.

Be with our children. Protect their minds and hearts. Be with their parents, clergy, faculty and staff at Delaware Township School and Hunterdon Central High School as we all seek to surround those little ones with a sense of love and security. Be with our township leaders, police, firefighters and all the others who serve the citizens of this oasis off the banks of the Delaware River.

O Lord, You are our refuge in times of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, even though we mourn let us not be terrorized into immobility. Even though we have been viciously attacked let us be judicious in our response. Even though innocents have been killed, reveal ways for us to avoid striking innocents.

We are a people of peace who look forward to a day You promised when “Nation shall not lift up sword against Nation. Neither shall they learn war anymore.  I ask those things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

God Bless America"

The apostle James offers some valuable inspired insight into human nature which, I believe sheds light into what is happening in America in 2020-21.

James 3:13-16; 17,18 — The King's James Version (KJV); He writes:

13 "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work."

A shortlist of characteristics enumerated in the text indicates how we often approach thorny, troubling issues and situations: bitterness, envy, animosity, lying, selfishness, ego, devilish behavior, sensuality, confusion. evil.

These negative behaviors seem to permeate what we see being acted out on our city streets.

Tensions were already high on one Saturday in April 2021 in Brooklyn, N.Y. after the shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man by police. A prominent Washington member of Congress grabbed a megaphone to speak to growing number of protesters. — Here is her “wisdom” on the situation: “we’ve got to stay on the street, and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more controversial! They’ve got to know that we mean business!”

That kind of angry, bitter, language has turned many “peaceful” protests violent as it did that Saturday in Brooklyn.

We’ve seen how the violence has destroyed private property and businesses primarily in black communities robbing families of their homes and dreams of a better life. Violent protests have become the order of the day while non-violent protests a la Dr. Martin Luther King are unacceptable. Why? As one commentator observed: Because the issue is never the issue. The Revolution is!”

As another example of man’s dogless wisdom, we hear a lot about Critical Race Theory (CRT) and The Black Lives Matter movement (BLM).

At a recent school board meeting in a city in Virginia, parents were speaking out passionately against the teaching of CRT. One woman a parent and recent immigrant from Russia spoke out:

“I grew up under the communist system which promotes the philosophy that the oppressed working class must overthrow the oppressors. The Capitalists! Critical Race Theory exchanges race for class where an oppressed racial minority (people of color) must overthrow their white oppressors and the oppressive system they have created!”

Black Lives Matters (BLM) was co-founded by a person name Patrisse Kahn-Cullors. She is a self-identified trained Marxist (Communist). BLM makes skin color everything. How far we have come since Dr. King aspirations that all people would be: judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character!”

If you say white lives matter too —you are asking for trouble! That statement is “unacceptable” to BLM!

To say racism is wrong is not strong enough — it is sin!

America is not “great” because of the skin color of its founders. America became “great” because the Judeo-Christian Biblical values many of them held — values that are shared by any who will accept them.

America’s history is marred by slavery and discrimination — But those terrible things have marred almost every continent throughout history.

Commentator Dennis Prager: “if it were given the ubiquity of slavery throughout worlds history every country and ethnic group on Earth would be hated. America is hated for its values and its successes”.

So, what has human “wisdom” with all it’s anger, violence, vitriol and hatred accomplished in it’s quest to solve America’s problems!

Recent surveys show murder rate higher than it has been since the 1990’s.

Recent Gallup Poll informs race relations at their lowest in 20 years.

Disappointing, right? Remember the characteristics that James wrote (v13-16) are the driving forces behind so much of what we humans do?

Let’s compare them to what James writes are the characteristics of divine wisdom.

17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Did you see them — utterly pure, peace-loving, gentle, approachable, tolerant, kind actions, no favoritism or hypocrisy… Peacemakers who find: Peace. I’m no prophet, but I believe if we don’t change from the wisdom that has brought us so much negativity and exchange it for divine wisdom, we will continue to be at war with ourselves — you know how wars end? Death and destruction — innocent people die or are hurt— can’t we end this madness?

Call your state, local, Federal representatives, write to your local newspaper editorial sections — speak to those in your sphere of influence. Christ's salvation is the answer, and it is free to all: Red and Yellow, Black and White. We are precious in his sight!

It finally dawned on you, there is something to be said about healthy eating and exercise. So you decided the best route to the exercise piece was to get a bike.

You went to Amazon-- found the bike for you and ordered it. Since you're on Amazon Prime shipping was free and expedited. Three days later a big truck pulled up to your driveway -- Two men proceeded to unload a huge box, which upon your instruction and with your supervision, they deposited in your garage.

You immediately noticed two brightly colored stickers one which read: "Handle with care" and the other which made your heart sink, read "Assembly Required".

Upon opening the box you discovered" two tires, a seat, handlebars, a frame, a box containing the pedals, a chain, brakes, other assorted gears nuts, bolts, and brake components.

You breathe a sigh and prepare to assemble those various components part which on their own are not a bike until they are put together.

Exercise on the road to healthy living will not be yours until all the parts are assembled.

This illustration given to me by my brother in Christ Arne Abrahamson brings to light that each believer is a component that when fit together form the church of Christ.

The Apostle Paul has given a very fitting admonition for the believer today- Hebrews 10: 25a "Not forsaking the assembling of our selves together as the manner of some is..."

Covid, the CDC, and government edits have caused many churches and ours as well to close meeting houses out of an abundance of caution so as not to spread the virus. We shut down for a relatively short period of time but immediately began our growing telephone ministry.

God has used that technology not only to keep us together as a spiritual family but also to expand our ministry beyond the walls of the meeting house.

Several months ago we opened our doors to let in any who would worship together, to assemble together physically. Manyhave done so. "Praise the Lord!"

Psalm 68:6 "God setteth the solitary in families..."

We are members of the human family and require the love and compassion of others. The members of Christ's family need, no require the fellowship of one another. We cannot survive in the oppressive atmosphere of America's secular society for a long period of time before we suffocate from its constant bombardment of their antichristian philosophies and worldview!

Hebrews 10:25 told us "not to forsake assembly"
10:25b tells us why: "but exhorting one another and so much more as ye see the day approaching"

If you have been listening to the Amwell Bible Study of Revelation on Wednesday evenings you know we are fast approaching the Rapture!

There is safety, blessing, nourishment, strength, and joy in the assembling of ourselves together. It is spiritual exercise we desperately need to carry on each day.

If you are reading this blog and you are not sick, not distant geographically. I invite you to begin the process of coming back to "church".

Do it in a manner that is safe for you-- don't look to what others do or how they do it.
Pray, fear not, trust the Lord.

After more than a year apart it's time to claim the truth of Psalm 118:8: "it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man".

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool”.

In admonishing Israel for her sin, He extends an amazing three-part olive branch to the people:

• Repent of your sin and I will erase the stain of your sin.
• With that done we can re-establish our relationship.
• Then you and I can talk the situation over.

Imagine, The Great Creator is willing to discuss the issues of the day with His creation.

It boggles the imagination to think we have come to the point in American history when college campuses and in other major institutions those of us with Judeo-Christian traditions, values and a God-centered worldview are being censored and “canceled” from the public forum of ideas!

The precious right given under the first amendment to the constitution of free speech is being replaced by the Chinese and Russian approach to speech. Under those political systems, there is acceptable speech and unacceptable speech, and the government is the arbiter of what is acceptable!

If debate and discussion between man and God is promoted by God Himself what are secular progressives afraid of? Students at the university level have created safe spaces whereby they can avoid hearing ideas that may offend them. Consequently, the free speech of some is being over-run by the hurt or angry feelings of others.

In the 1960s as I was growing up secular liberals were protesting because profanity, vulgarity, and pornography had no place in main street America. They rallied under the banner of the first amendment’s protection of speech. When the supreme court eventually decided speech offensive to the traditional values of the majority was legal it opened the floodgates of depravity. But now 60 years later those same liberal folks are all in for banning, censoring, and canceling speech they don’t agree with.

Make no mistake, however, in my opinion, the real target and focus by government, social media, big business, big tech, and who knows who else stands in it shadows is directed on banning The Bible!!

Can you see a day when words in scripture will be judged “unacceptable”? Can you see the day when various doctrines will be deemed “offensive”? Let me give some examples:

“All have sinned”- offensive

“The only way to God is Jesus” – offensive

“Various sexual practices are sin” – offensive

“Hell is real” – offensive

Not only offensive they will be labeled “hate speech” politically incorrect and in time illegal!

Then we will be warned not to speak those words or teaching. We will not follow those because we have been given a command that spans 3,000 years – Psalm 107:2 “let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” That principle would be embraced some 2,700 years later in the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution – December 15, 1791. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech…”

But I wonder- have we come to that moment in time where our country is operating as did the fascist of Europe and the communist of China and Russia where the right can be arbitrarily removed. The scripture makes it clear the freedom of speech is an unalienable right given to all by God our Creator.

Do elected officials, titans of big business, big tech, and wild-eyed extremists on social media now believe they alone have the authority to rip that right from our lips?

I think in their arrogant rebellion against the Lord…. They think they do. Unlike with God, however, there is Comeno reasoning with those in power.

Thoughtful observers of the current state of our nation, regardless of political ideology agree on this point – There is an atmosphere of bitter anger permeating the country. Of course, politicians and partisan pundits blame "the others" of being the angry ones.

What has led to this hostility? I believe the answer is complex-— I believe just about everything in our society has become politicized and polarized: the air we breathe, the climate, our beliefs and traditions, education, news, sports, skin color, gender and national origins.

People have become passionate about the issues of the day and the influencers who dominate the public airwaves throw fuel on these divergent passions emphasizing or demonizing those who hold opposing viewpoints.

One top social media executive giant is reported to believe the country is so polarized along political lines that we are literally in a second civil war! He is a Democrat who advocates drastic steps be taken to eliminate the Republican Party because he disagrees with their politics.

The anger of those on opposite ends of issues has led to ugly comments peppered throughout with obscenities, vulgarity, name-calling, demonizing, shaming, marginalizing, and shutting down honest, open debate.

Ironically, the God of the universe encourages debate: Isaiah 1:18, "Come now and let us reason together with the Lord…"

Todays’ white hot heated anger will not allow cooler heads to prevail as such truth and civility has become victims and when that happens the loss of freedom can't be far away.

God instructs a husband and wife: Ephesians4:26 "Be ye angry and sin not let not the sun go down upon your wrath.

Those two injunctions may seem mutually exclusive, but they are not. They are in fact the broad outlines of a process for heading off potentially overheated passions – not letting the sun go down on one’s anger advice to talk out issues and not letting them fester and grow as to bring closure to disagreements.

The verse also says we’re not victims of our anger – we have a measure of control over our thoughts and feelings. As hard, as it is to work out disagreements God tells us we have the capacity with His help to do just that! Working through angry feelings keeps them from degenerating into negative behaviors.

The angry hate fest we see happening before our very eyes and ears demonstrates the very real consequences of disregarding the wisdom and admonition of God’s Holy word: In giving permission to fridge base left or right public figures are opening a door to the hell of unbridled negative human behavior which God labels sin – we can’t allow ourselves to be drawn in or unmoved and apathetic to this latest downgrading of our traditional Biblical values.

French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville noted “America is great because America is good” Are we? In my heart, I want to believe there is a wide swath of middle Americans who are still trusting God and His word. But on America’s fringes, our reputation is in tatters!

Proverbs 11:11 “By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted but is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.”

God admonishes that even our words have the power to destroy – tear apart a nation.

As Christians, we must bring salt and light to the conversation of the day.

Pray for our country – Christ alone is the answer – whatever the question may be!

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