Last weekend the world suffered an incredible loss of talent. As Kobe Bryant’s helicopter lay smoldering at the foothills of the mountains, people gasped in disbelief and choked back tears. Social media and our television sets covered the headlines to report on the death of nine great lives. It will forever change the surviving families as the Lord anoints them with hope and peace.
And the God of all grace, who
called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little
while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
1 Peter 5:10
Facebook posting caught my attention about this tragedy, and it sparked me to
write today’s message. The posting spoke of the horror Kobe must have felt in
those last seconds when he recognized they would all die.
is the inevitable destiny of mankind. It’s not a pretty sight or an engaging
act for those left behind to pick up the pieces. Most people never want to
think about this unpleasant topic until faced with a funeral or a deadly
illness. Yes, it’s scary to think only Jesus could conquer death as He rose
from the dead. Our loved ones submit to their fate, and we are assured their
body will never walk on this land again, unlike Jesus… yet the irony is
not sure of the other passenger’s backgrounds on the helicopter, but I know
Kobe Bryant was an active Catholic. He attended mass and Holy Communion hours
before the crash, at an Orange County church. Much of his tumultuous past was
shaded in gray. Marital discord and loss of sponsorships plagued him for many
years. But, just like of all of us, he had sins to conquer before the Lord. He
knew only God could forgive him, so in 2003 he turned to the church for
consolation and hope.
love for the welfare of mankind surpassed all dignity. In December, he
witnessed a horrible car crash in Newport Beach, California. Videos captured
the moment he ran to the cars and pulled everyone to safety. He stayed by their
side, speaking comforting words of love until paramedics arrived at the scene.
supported seven charities and fourteen causes. His dedication to children and
their future was always at the front seat of his life. There is a lesson to be
learned from Kobe about compassion and spreading God’s love!
practicing Christians should always be ready for their inevitable destiny. If I
were a betting man, I’d place a wager Kobe prayed, like never before, in those
last few seconds of his life. God heard his prayers because He, too, grieved
the unjust execution of His Son, Jesus. He understands our pain. But, the Lord
is rich in mercy, and He opened His arms to all those passengers on the
is part of living – it is our fate set in stone by Adam and Eve. In my opinion,
though, nothing is sadder than the death of an adult who never accepted Christ
into their life before their mortality. As Jesus taught us, we are to confess
our sins, pray for forgiveness, and never return to them. If we commit these
deeds, we are assured of living with our Father in heaven. Christians should
rejoice in knowing God has lovingly addressed our need for forgiveness. It
clears the way for those we leave behind, and they can celebrate our eternal
life with Christ.
comfort in knowing God is the one in full control of our lives. He pre-planned
our birth and death. Nothing and no one on earth can change our fate. It is
futile to place blame for a person’s death because it was our destiny from the
very beginning of life. Take solace in knowing physical death is just the start
of our spiritual journey with Jesus Christ. I can’t think of a better way to
celebrate a good Christian’s life!
May the surviving families of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli, Payton and Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan rest in peace in the arms of our Lord.
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Thank you to our personal friend, President Donald Trump!! My wife and I have been in close contact for several months, with the President about the illegal bootlegging of our book, “There in God’s Grace” and other authors, by Amazon, Walmart, and other companies.
On Thursday, he signed an Executive order to involve the Federal Trade Commission and Homeland Security to investigate and possibly shut down these companies! Read the story here…
If you think God doesn’t look out for the well-being of His people, think again!! NO ONE is bigger than the Lord!! Amazon and Walmart think they are above the law but they are not!!! God bless you our sweet friend and Melania too!!!
by Anne Bicks, Editor and Marketing of Bicks Books LLC
Last Monday, I watched an event unfold in my (almost) home state of Virginia. The people I admire and love were under attack for their 2nd Amendment rights and guns. Flashbacks whizzed through my memory as if it were yesterday. I recall my dad and brothers spending many hours cleaning their guns in the living room. My oldest brother, an NRA board member, has won many medals in target shooting over the years. However, my father was a real stickler about gun safety. His words resounded in my mind – “never point it at someone” and “don’t go near the gun case without someone being with you.”
When I moved to Virginia as an adult, most of my friends belonged to hunting clubs. Some may classify them as “rednecks,” but they were the kindest human beings I ever knew, regardless of the stigma assigned to them by outsiders. Murdering others, and disrespectful, threatening behavior was not in their dialogue. So, why are these law-abiding citizens now considered the anti-Christ?
studied the Bible for information about guns and Christians owning weapons.
Many scriptures condone the use of weaponry, such as in Luke 22:37-39, where Jesus
affirmed it is sometimes necessary to be armed for self-defense. In biblical
times, militaries were commanded to carry something for self-defense. Nowhere
does the Bible tell a soldier to give up his weapon for a life of peace.
there is a glitch to ponder about God and guns. Though God encourages a
believer to own weapons for hunting and protection, weapons are still to be
governed by civil authorities and the will of God.
does this mean to gun owners?
we purchase a gun, we should consider our motivation for owning one. Is it to
harm someone else, or is it to protect our life and family? After all, Jesus’
greatest commandment is to love God and love others. Exodus 22:2-3 shows that
self-defense must be proportional. We can fulfill the strength of God, often,
just by our faith, not self-defense.
inherently understand there is plenty of evil in the world. Jesus understood
this because he allowed one of his disciples to carry self-protection. Murders
and mass murders existed long before rifles were invented, and it still exists
today in countries where firearms are illegal. Explosives and box cutters committed
the worst school massacre in 1927 in America, not guns.
History has proven we will never live in a violence-free society through the laws of man. Our government is mistaken to think they can control those who walk the earth intending to harm innocent people. Mankind can never control the mentally ill or those possessed with an evil spirit. We must understand that only God can protect our life, for He had a plan for us before we were born.
a Christian should take steps to protect his life and family, or trust in God
for protection, will always remain a debate. I’m sure a believer’s opinion on
guns will be based on cultural issues more than biblical mandates. It is
unfortunate one side or the other will be hurt by a government who is falsely
misleading its citizens. Maybe we should pray for the officials’ peace of
Strengthen us in the power of Your might, O God. Dress us in Your armor so that we can stand firm against the schemes of the devil. We know that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
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July 20, 2019, is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon. Neil Armstrong was the first to tread on the moon’s surface and he and co-pilot ‘Buzz’ Aldrin’s initial act was to plant the American flag into the moon’s soil, stand at attention and salute it.
Americans who were alive at the time look back at that moment with nostalgic pride in our nation and how we rose to the challenge of President John F. Kennedy in 1961.
The challenge was put forth and America got behind what was called the “Space Race” which focused on beating the Russians to the moon. Unfortunately, President Kennedy did not live to see the culmination of his challenge as he was assassinated two years later in Dallas, Texas.
How is that breathtaking unprecedented historical achievement viewed today as compared to when it took place a half-century later? Let’s look at how this epic adventure was received in 1969.
[Almost] Worldwide Adulation for America
Most of the world was in awe of how America had accomplished what many considered impossible. Congratulations and glowing headlines were seen around the globe.
The whole world was excited and sent congratulations, including the Soviet Union which had been beaten there.
However, the leaders of the Soviet Union also responded denying that they were even trying to get to the moon! That claim was proved to be a lie twenty years later.
But have you heard the one about how the moon race was itself a hoax, because the Soviet Union was never trying to get to the moon in the first place? Or at least, that’s what the Soviets claimed to cover up their unsuccessful lunar-landing program. It was a lie that held fast until 1989, when a group of American aerospace engineers went to Moscow and finally saw the Soviets’ failed lunar-landing craft for themselves.
Yet, even though the world acknowledged the fact that Americans had done this, they were somewhat hesitant to call it an ‘American’ achievement. Moreover, America was also hesitant to make that claim wholeheartedly even then.
As proof of that attitude, here are the words that were etched on a plaque left on the moon by the Apollo 11 astronauts.
HERE MEN FROM THE PLANET EARTH FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON
JULY, 1969 A.D.
WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND
While the gist of that statement would be approved by the vast majority of Americans and non-Americans today, it is certain that many segments of society would not approve of the wording. Today’s modern ‘progressives’ would object to the use of the words “men” and “mankind” as well as the designation “A.D.” for the year.
If NASA was so concerned that the “planet earth” be recognized as humanity’s home, why was it decided to plant an American flag on the moon? How did that decision come about?
Why Did We Decide to Plant the American Flag?
When the “space race” of the 1960s was in full swing the world saw it as a contest between two superpowers, the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. However, officials in charge at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA] originally planned not to display the American flag.
Many thought this should be understood as an ‘international’ mission, and that planting an American flag would be akin to claiming the moon as an American possession, especially in light of an international space treaty we had signed onto in 1967. Therefore some asked for many flags of various nations to be included or suggested perhaps a world peace flag be designed, while some thought it should be a United Nations flag set on the moon.
Apollo 1 crew in training
Others pointed out that not only had Americans executed the moon landing and carried out the Apollo program alone, but American lives were also lost in the process and American taxpayers had footed the entire bill.
Not to be forgotten are the three Americans who gave their lives in the pursuit of the dream of putting a man on the moon. Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger B. Chaffee perished in a tragic fire during the Apollo 1 mission, marking the first fatalities suffered by NASA…
For most those facts were more than enough justification for using an American flag and it was understood that,
Planting the American flag was not perceived as the USA claiming the Moon as their territory. No more than Amundsen planting the Norwegian flag at the South pole was a claim on the South Pole for Norway.
The argument was finally settled by Congress with threats to withhold funding for NASA, and a resolution after the fact to justify the decision to plant the American flag on the moon.
A House and Senate conference committee agreed on the final version of the bill on 4 November 1969 which included a provision that “the flag of the United States, and no other flag, shall be implanted or otherwise placed on the surface of the moon, or on the surface of any planet, by members of the crew of any spacecraft … as part of any mission … the funds for which are provided entirely by the Government of the United States.” The amendment, in deference to the Outer Space Treaty, concluded with the statement “this act is intended as a symbolic gesture of national pride in achievement and is not to be construed as a declaration of national appropriation by claim of sovereignty.”
Though the flag ‘controversy’ generated some heat, once Congress stepped in the dissenting voices were quiet. What might be the reactions in the present day about planting an American flag upon the moon?
A Modern-day Response to America’s Flag on the Moon
Astronaut Neil Armstrong
Readers may recall that in October of 2018, less than a year ago, a film entitled “The First Man,” was released based on the life of Neil Armstrong. It was directed by a French-Canadian man who decided to omit the planting of the flag in the film.
Many people were understandably upset about this gross omission. The movie came under severe criticism from the start because of this.
One might wonder why anyone would choose to leave out one of the most patriotic and iconic scenes ever in a film about the man who actually stuck the flag into the lunar landscape. Ryan Gosling, the actor who plays Armstrong in the flick, defended the omission to reporters at the Venice Film Festival.
“I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that’s how we chose to view it,” Gosling told reporters at the film festival. “I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible.”
Gosling, who is also Canadian, and the director have the right to their opinion. They also have the right to make the film in any fashion they please even if certain parts are left out.
However, it is also my right, and anyone else’s right, to point out that purging critical facts from what purports to be a true story is not the right thing to do, even when you don’t like those facts. To not include the planting of the American flag on the moon in a film like this is also to distort history outright, and no one has the right to do that!
That someone outside of America didn’t want the flag scene included in their movie should not surprise anyone. Moreover, it wouldn’t be that surprising in this present political climate of the country if an American director had done the same.
The Left Hates the American Flag
It is certain that the Kapernicks and Rapinoes in this nation would applaud removing the American flag from the moon or from history altogether if they had their way. Heck, they couldn’t even handle the Betsy Ross flag on a pair of shoes!
I also do not doubt that certain Leftists in Congress, some of whom are running for President in 2020, would be in lock-step with them. How can I be so sure of this?
I am certain because of the non-outrage of the Left toward a despicable act which took place at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or I.C.E. detention facility in Aurora, Colorado. There on July 12, protestors went on facility grounds and took down the American flag, and raising the Mexican flag in its place!
Authorities in Colorado restored an American flag to its place Friday evening after protesters demonstrating outside a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility pulled down the star-spangled banner and flew the flag of Mexico in its place. The protesters also removed a “Blue Lives Matter” flag, honoring law enforcement, spray-painted it with the words “Abolish ICE,” then raised the flag upside-down, on a pole next to the Mexican flag, according to local media.
The Aurora Police did not attempt to stop this from happening. Why not?
Aurora Chief of Police Nick Metz said it was to protect safety of the large majority who were acting peacefully and the safety of officers. He added that his folks were ready to decisively engage if they witnessed assaultive behavior or damage to the building or surrounding property that could jeopardize its security or public safety.
So, let me get this straight. It was ok to damage and deface the property of the U.S. Government as long as it was the flag!?
Is it not an assault on national sovereignty when the American flag flying on American soil is replaced by the flag of another nation? Soldiers have faced death all over the globe spurred on by the Stars and Stripes and the Aurora police won’t risk confrontation with a group of unarmed protestors tearing it down! Seriously?
July 20, 1969, is indeed a day which should be recognized as a monumental achievement all around the globe. But we should not forget that without American effort, sacrifice, ingenuity and faith, there would be nothing to recognize or celebrate at all.
That was the impetus behind placing the American flag on the moon six times during the short time we sent astronauts to the moon. The program ended in 1972 with the Apollo 17 landing.
Eugene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, still holds the distinction of being the last man to walk on the Moon, as no humans have visited the Moon since December 14, 1972.
The first, last and only human beings to walk on the moon were Americans. Each mission planted an American flag to mark their presence.
It all began 50 years ago, and both the event and the flag under which it happened deserve acknowledgment and respect. Moreover, I hope and pray we will also understand that the greatness of America need not be a thing of the past if we will both stand for Old Glory, and kneel only before our LORD.
But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. Romans 11:4-5 [ESV]
Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001
The Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Bamenda Michael Miabesue Bibi has called on Christians of the Five zones of Balikumbat Parish not to relax on their faith despite the difficulties they encounter in their daily lives.
The Bishop made the call during a 3-day pastoral visit to the Parish from Friday April 12th to Sunday April 14th 2019 .
The visit took the Bishop to the 5 zones of the Parish namely the Main Mission Zone in Balikumbat village, Small Market zone, Bamunkumbit Zone , Baligashu zone, and Bafanji zone.
Upon arrival on Friday April 12th after braving the odds on his way there was a waiting crowd of Christians of diverse ages in their Various uniforms waiting for the Prelate. He alighted from the car and was handed a bouquet of flowers and accorded warm words of welcome by a young cadet of about 3yrs old.
From there the Bishop was led to the Parish house by the groups singing and dancing.
Later, the Bishop went straight to Small Market zone where he celebrated his first Mass with the Christians of St Pius Mission station Small market .
In his homily the Prelate enjoined them to be great ambassadors of Christ by getting close to Jesus especially during this time and also to live exemplary lives. He called on them to trust in God by remaining faithful to him during this trying time of socio-political crisis in the region.
The day ended with the Bishop paying a visit to the new church project site .
Report and pictures by Paschal Chengeng.
The Auxiliary Bishop of t Archdiocese of Bamenda Michael Miabesue Bibi has called on Christians of the Five zones of the Parish not to relax on their faith despite the difficulties they encounter in their daily lives.
The call was made by Bishop Michael Bibi during a 3days pastoral visit to the Parish from Friday April 12th to Sunday April 14th 2019 .
The visit took the Bishop to the 5 zones that the Parish is stratified in, that is Main Mission Zone in Balikumbat village, Small Market zone, Bamunkumbit Zone , Baligashu zone, n Bafanji zone.
Upon arrival on Friday April 12th after braving the odds on his way there was a waiting crowd of Christians of diverse ages in their Various groups uniform waiting for the Prelate. He alighted from the car n was handed a bouque of fresh beautiful flowers n accorded warm words of welcome by a young cadet of about 3yrs old.
From there the Bishop was led to the Parish house by the present groups singing n dancing.
After briefly resting the Bishop went straight to Small Market zone were he celebrated his first mass with the Christians of St Pius Mission station Small market .
In his homily the Prelate enjoined them to be great ambassadors of Christ by getting close to Jesus especially during this time n also to live examplary lives. He called on them to keep trust in God by remaining faithful to him during this trying time amidst the the current socio political crisis in the region.
The day ended with the Bishop paying a visit to their new church project site .