Editorial: Democrats’ immigration stance is going to cost them

Critics are correct: President Trump was wrong when he threatened to release tens of thousands of asylum seekers into sanctuary cities.

Here’s a link to the story at Fox News.

Pastor Rick Warren: You are called to be free

You Are Called to Be Free
by Rick Warren

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free” (Galatians 5:13 NIV).

God wants you to live in freedom. Let that sink in for a bit.

In fact, the Bible says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free” (Galatians 5:13 NIV). Freedom is your calling. God doesn’t want you to live a buttoned-down, constrained life. He wants you to have an abundant life.
Jesus says, “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10 NLT).
If you’re not living a full and satisfying life, it’s not because God doesn’t want you to have it. He wants to set you free from:
The pain from your past. This is the regret or resentment that keeps you from being all God wants you to be.
The pressures of your present. This is the stress or exhaustion you face trying to manage the complexities of everyday life.
The pessimism about tomorrow. These are the worries about your future or the futures of those you love.
God wants you to be free of all of that.
To do so, plug in to the power of Easter. God has made available to you the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead 2,000 years ago.
The Bible says, “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead” (Ephesians 1:19-20 NLT).
The same power that blew the door off Jesus’ tomb will blow open the prison doors that hold you back.
PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick
Talk It Over

What past regrets and resentment have kept you from knowing God’s best for your life?
What worries and stress do you want Jesus to free you from today?
How do you plug in to the power of the Resurrection?

Give hope, prayer, and encouragement below. Post a comment & talk about it.

Op-Ed: Lawmakers crack open Pandora’s box with graduated income tax amendment

The cornerstone of J.B. Pritzker’s political career has arrived. A graduated income tax is moving.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

Column: Ald. Burke should have taken his own advice. But he didn’t.

Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, is a wake-goer, a practitioner of a Chicago political tradition of Irish Catholic Democrats, one that comes with its own strict rituals:

Here’s a link to the editorial at the Chicago Tribune.

Editorial: The opioid crisis in Illinois: How to combat drug overdoses

The United States is in the grip of a relentless, lethal epidemic. More than 70,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2017, twice as many as in 2006. Two of every three of the fatalities involved opioids — including heroin, prescription painkillers and fentanyl. It’s a devastating crisis that has been felt in both rural towns and big cities.

Here’s a link to the editorial at the Chicago Tribune.

Editorial: As Trump soars higher, Dems reach their lowest point yet

Predicting what history will decide was significant is always dicey. But in the context of our fractured nation and the nonstop Washington tumult since 2016, events in the last three weeks have been nothing short of ­remarkable.

Here’s a link to the editorial at Fox News.

Your Daily Prayer: A Prayer of Release to God for What We Cannot Control

By Debbie McDaniel

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22
So often in life we may find this to be true: we hold on too tightly to things we were never meant to control. It’s hard sometimes, to let go.
We struggle to change things. We strive hard to maintain order and keep all in line. But when problems mount high and pressures feel overwhelming, we begin to understand more fully how little control we really have.

Maybe we look all different places for help, yet forget we can press in towards our Savior. Maybe we forget that He never changes, and He still holds the power to heal and set free. Maybe we don’t believe that He can, or wants to, work on our behalf. Maybe we forget at times, that He’s still the God of miracles, that He can act “immediately,” that He can do in a moment what might take years for us to work through on our own.
Let’s set aside our fears and move towards Him today, in faith. Let’s press in close, and reach out to the One who is All-powerful, compassionate, loving, and kind. He knows already, the wounds and troubles we’ve carried, He knows the pain and worries we’ve felt, He knows how much we’ve tried to let go, and fix things in our own power. Let’s choose to believe that our situation or circumstance is never too big for Him to bring healing and freedom. He is Able. Nothing is too difficult for Him.

He is always within reach.
He is never far away.
He is close.
He is with us.
He cares.
He heals.
He restores.
He redeems.
Go in peace.
Walk in His freedom and healing.
May His huge grace cover you this day…
Dear God,
We confess our need for you today. We need your healing and your grace. We need hope restored. We need to be reminded that you work on behalf of those you love, constantly, powerfully, completely. Forgive us for trying to fix our situations all on our own. Forgive us for running all different directions and spinning our wheels to find help, when true help and healing must be found first in You. Forgive us for forgetting how much we need you, above everyone and everything else. We come to you and bring you the places we are hurting. You see where no one else is able to fully see or understand. You know the pain we’ve carried. The burdens. The cares. You know where we need to be set free. We ask for your healing and grace to cover every broken place. Every wound. Every heartache. Thank you that you are Able to do far more than we could ever imagine. Thank you for your Mighty Power that acts on behalf of your children. We reach out to you, and know that you are restoring and redeeming every place of difficulty, every battle, for your greater glory. Thank you that you will never waste our pain and suffering. We release to you this day every need and problem we’ve carried or tried hard to control. We believe in your goodness to see us through. We love you. We need you today.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Pastor Rick Warren: There is only one way to be free

There Is Only One Way to Be Free
By Rick Warren

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved” (John 10:9 NASB).

You’ll encounter lots of doors in your life. You’ll find doors to happiness, doors to sadness, doors to success, and doors to failure. Some doors are traps, and others are opportunities.

Your success in life largely depends on which doors you decide to walk through. The Bible has a lot to say about these doors. In fact, you’ll find the word door throughout the Bible, often used as a metaphor for opportunities.
We often go through the wrong doors, or maybe we miss the right ones. But there’s one door you just can’t afford to miss: the door to freedom.
Freedom is a big deal to God. He doesn’t want you enslaved to guilt, resentment, grief, or anything else. He wants you to live free.
The biggest prisons in life aren’t physical. They’re the mental prisons in your mind. Maybe it’s a relationship you feel trapped in. Maybe it’s debt that you can’t escape. Maybe it’s a habit you can’t seem to shake. Maybe it’s a tradition that holds you back. Maybe it’s a painful memory you can’t forget.
No matter what kind of prison you’re in, you need a way out. You can’t enter the doors of opportunity God has planned for you until you walk out of the prisons that hold you back and through the door to freedom.
In John 10:9, Jesus says something really important about the door of freedom: “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved” (NASB).
Jesus doesn’t just want to show you the door to freedom. He is the door to that freedom. He is the only way to live free!
PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick
Talk It Over

What makes it hard to determine whether a door is a trap or a positive opportunity
What does freedom mean to you? Where in your life do you need to find freedom?
What’s holding you back from accepting the freedom that Jesus offers through faith in him?

Give hope, prayer, and encouragement below. Post a comment & talk about it.

Your Daily Prayer: A Prayer to Renew Your Mind

A Prayer to Renew Your Mind – Your Daily Prayer – April 9

A Prayer to Renew Your Mind
By Remi Roy
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Romans 12:2
What changes when we surrender our hearts to Jesus? Certainly, not our outward appearance, our income or the people in our families or at work. On the outside, we look the same. So, what changes?

The more we give in to the flesh the more our lives stay the same. The more we yield to the Spirit the more we begin to look like Christ. It is important to note that we cannot and do not change our ways first before we come to Christ. Hard as we try we do not have the power to do that and if God required that no one would be saved.
Paul, however, instructs us to renew our minds.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Romans 12:2
Paul knew that it takes a sincere desire to want to obey God to resist the lure of the world, hence his admonition to not copy the ways of the world. The same temptations we experienced in the past will come our way as new creations in Jesus Christ. We will face the same hardships, deal with the same emotions and circumstances. What makes the difference is our sincere desire to please God. Our desire, fueled by God’s grace and love makes real change possible.

Philippians 2:13 says, ‘For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.’
But how do we carry out Paul’s instruction to renew our minds in the practical sense?
It’s all in the Word. God’s Word empowers us and enables us to go all the way in our pursuit of Him.
Our job is to study and apply the Word. It is our weapon against everything that comes against us; whether sickness, fear or evil thoughts. God’s Word is the standard by which we measure our lives and conform to His will.

Lord, help us to study and apply your Word to our lives each day. Help us make this a discipline of the mind and heart, empowered by Your Spirit, transforming us each day more and more into your likeness. Help us have self-awareness of when we’re falling into temptation and turn quickly back to you. Thank you for your tender mercy and love, ever leading us onward. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!

Pastor Rick Warren: Love People from the Heart

Love People from the Heart
by Rick Warren — April 10, 2019

“It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart” (Philippians 1:7 NIV).

I’ve discovered that if people are not on my heart, they’re on my nerves. If you don’t have your kids in your heart, they get on your nerves. If you don’t have your spouse in your heart, guess who gets on your nerves?

The reason so many marriages struggle is that mates are reacting to each other from their mind rather than their heart. When your wife says, “I feel depressed,” listen to her; it’s legitimate. When your husband says, “I don’t feel this is the right thing to do; we ought to do it this other way,” listen to him.
Heart love begins with understanding why someone feels the way they do. Ask questions and then listen. Hear the hurt, look for the problems, know what makes your mate tick. You need to understand the moods of the people closest to you, why they act the way they do. If you care, you’ll be aware.
How do you love people that you find unlovable, even when you do understand them and their moods? “God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:8 NIV). In Greek, the word affection is the word for intestines. In Greek society, the Greeks thought that the seat of the emotions was in your stomach, your liver, your internal organs.
Paul was saying, “I’ve got a gut feeling of love for you.” That is not a natural kind of love. It is a supernatural kind of love. That’s why Paul said it’s not from himself, but it’s the affection of Christ Jesus. Human love wears out and dries up and dies on the vine. The only kind of love that lasts in spite of heartache and difficulty in tough circumstances is God’s love—the affection of Jesus Christ.
So how do you get this kind of gut love? “God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to us” (Romans 5:5 GNT). God’s love is not something you work up. It is something that is poured into you by the Holy Spirit as you let him live in you day by day.
PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick
Talk It Over

What does loving the unlovable look like? When have you seen that kind of love displayed?
What are ways you can listen better to hear the hurt, understand problems, or know what makes your spouse (or close family members) tick?
What are ways you can listen better to hear the hurt and understand problems other people in your life may be experiencing?

Give hope, prayer, and encouragement below. Post a comment & talk about it.