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Volume 6 Number 23       July 4, 2001       Norman Bales, Editor

CONTENTS

Just Visiting

Today is an important national holiday for those who live in the United States. We have many readers in other countries who probably don't share the same loyalty we display toward the stars and stripes. If you are one of those readers, be assured that we know that the United States of America is not God's favorite nation. When we're filled with patriotic pride, it's always good to remember the words of Peter in Acts 10:34-35, "God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right." But the same God recognizes civil government as his servant according to Romans 13. We think it important to give respect, honor and cooperation to governing authorities. We've traveled in some foreign countries and have walked on streets that were named after a certain day on the calendar that was significant to the history of that country. We believe that good citizenship ought to be a part of a Christian family's lifestyle. On this day we enjoy listening to patriotic music and reflecting on our heritage. Our feature article suggests some reasons for our viewpoint. Current Thoughts and Trends is a monthly publication of the Navigators. It offers interesting summaries of current thinking in both Christian and secular thought. Dennis Cone serves as the editor. The current issue includes a reprint of one of our articles from an earlier AAF Newsletter titled, "Can Biblical Marriage Survive?" If you would like to subscribe to the magazine, the address is Current Thoughts and Trends; Subscription Services; P. O. Box 469085, Escondido, CA 92046-9085. You can also visit their website at http://www.currentthoughts.com.html

Norman and Ann

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"STAND BESIDE HER"


by Norman Bales

When I was in first grade, we opened every school day with the singing of Irving Berlin's great patriotic song, "God Bless America." A little girl named Clorita Newsom occupied the desk next to mine. When we got to the part that said, "Stand beside her and guide her," I thought that meant I was supposed to stand beside Clorita and guide her. She didn't seem to mind my standing beside her but I don't think I was able to successfully guide her.

Eventually I got the real message of the song. It contributed to a deep sense of loyalty to my country that I still feel. I've always felt that God blessed our country, although I'm not implying that we have no faults. I'm not suggesting that God hasn't blessed other countries. According to the Bible, all legitimate civil governments are God's "servant to do you good" (Romans 13:4). The government doesn't have to be perfect to be God's servant. Paul was talking about Roman government in Romans 13.

The scriptures are very clear about respect for those who lead government. In 1 Timothy 2:1-2, Paul wrote "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."

Parents can have an enormous influence on the amount of respect their children show toward those who lead government. In America, we almost consider it a virtue to belittle our public officials. We make them the brunt of our jokes and fail to realize that we are undermining respect for the institution they lead when we do it.

Independence Day is a good time for families to get beyond fireworks and picnics and work on rebuilding respect for God's servants - those who lead our public institutions. "Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king."- 1 Peter 2:17

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FROM THE E-MAILBOX


For more than six years, we have maintained this weekly ministry to families. We have been overwhelmed at the response of those who read our thoughts. Here's a sampling of the appreciation notes we receive. Thanks to all of your for your encouragement.

"I have really enjoyed receiving your e-newsletter . You and your staff are certainly dedicated to spreading information for and about family. I pray that God continue to bless you in this endeavor."

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"I am so happy I found your site 1 year ago and continue to enjoy your newsletters. Your newsletters are very motivating . . . . May God bless you now and always, and I hope you continue doing so great in helping others."

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"May God bless this great ministry, I will encourage other to subscribe. I always enjoy AAF's Newsletters."

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"Thank you for your newsletters! it's very informative and enjoyable."

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"I can hardly believe that you would have negative response to your newsletters. I think they are wonderful. I frequently pass them on to all those I minister with. Keep up the good work."

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"Thank you for your insights and your ways of keeping my eyes on Jesus."

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PERCEPTIONS

"What is the Church About?"


by Norman Bales

During the sixties a young man with an anti-establishment point of view was heard to say, "Jesus is my kind of guy, but I hate the church." He didn't seem to understand that the church was really Jesus' idea. How do you see the church? You can read some of our thoughts about the church

at

http://www.allaboutfamilies.org/sh/percep200123.html

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If you have questions about marriage and family relationships, you can "ASK THE COUNSELOR." Address your questions to Mikal Frazier. Her address is mikal@allaboutfamilies. org

Norman's e-mail address: nlbales@allaboutfamilies.org

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