Tuesday September 18, 2018

Sunday September 16, 2018
September 16, 2018
Out of Office
September 24, 2018

Plight of American Farmers

Dear Father, American farmers are facing a crisis. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, net farm income is at the lowest since 2002. About half of all farmers earn less than $ 10,000 a year, necessitating many to take on non-farm work. Many farmers are in financial trouble, unable to pay their bills. There are many reasons for this crisis. Soybean, corn, and milk prices have fallen, in some cases below the costs of production. A sea of tall corn stalks in a field may be more an ominous indicator of looming financial duress than an indicator of bounty. Farmers take out loans early in the season they expect to pay off after harvest at the end of the season. If they aren’t able to generate sufficient revenues from their harvest, they will default on the loans. Another factor in the farm crisis is a government policy of farm consolidation that began in the 1970s. To put simply, American agriculture policy effectively put the small farmer out of business in favor of large corporate farms with greater efficiency and productivity. Controls on production and price stabilization, that helped many small farmers compete, have been abandoned in favor of free market competition that favors the largest farms. In addition, the cost of an acre of farm land has gone through the roof. This prohibits small farms from expanding to increase yields, prevents young people from moving into farming, and increases the temptation to sell the family farm, especially in the midst of a financial crisis, to real estate moguls who will turn the farm into housing. On top of all of this, the farmers have been hurt by the trade wars the Trump Administration is having with other countries. Foreign markets for American grain have been impacted, not only reducing sales but also causing an excess inventory of grain which further drives down pricing. The struggles with farmers threatens the jobs of farm workers and the health of other businesses that provide goods and services to farms.  It threatens to continue to shrink our rural communities. The Trump Administration has offered $ 12 billion in farmer assistance. However, many farmers never expect to see any of that money.  Father, I’m asking You to attend to the needs of the small American farmer today.  There are certainly many farm families in turmoil.  They need Your grace and mercy.  Father, I ask You to answer the prayers of those farmers who have dedicated their lives to You.  Give them plenty of reasons to thank You and to praise You for Your deliverance and goodness.  I also ask that You use this crisis to lead many farmers, who don’t know You, into a personal relationship with You.  Use Your church to show Your love for farmers, especially those who are in the greatest crises.  Father, save families.  Save relationships.  Save lives.  While I ask for You to perform rescue operations today, I also ask that You will take action to solve the small farmer’s problems in the long-term.  Show Your mercy to thousands of American farmers and their families this very day.  Amen.

Harvard Report on Spirituality

Dear Father, Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health has released a study that says that people who are religious or spiritual have healthier lives than those who are not. The study followed 5,000 people over 8 to 14 years. It discovered that those who practice religious beliefs are generally happier, are more likely to volunteer, are less likely to suffer from addiction, and are less likely to experience sexually transmitted disease.  Father, this is not news.  Your Word has been telling us for thousands of years that those who seek to please You and to have a personal relationship with You will be blessed.  Personal and family dysfunction is not the result of people surrendering their lives to You.  It’s always the result of people refusing to surrender their lives to You.  Galatians 5:22-23 tell us that those who seek to put You at the center of their lives can expect to experience more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Father, there are many who claim to be believers who never surrender their lives to You.  Religious people can have very dysfunctional lives.  However, their dysfunction is because their religious activity is a cover up for their continued rebellion from You.  Those who truly confess their rebellion and repent will experience changes in character that will make their lives less difficult.  Father, use this report in some manner to call people to turn their lives back to You. Amen.

Christine Blasey Ford

Dear Father, Brett Kavanaugh’s appeared to be all set last week to become a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. He had performed well in the Senate hearings and a vote in his favor seemed a certainty. Suddenly, Senator Diane Feinstein announced that an anonymous woman had come forward accusing Kavanaugh of attempted rape when they were both students in college in Maryland in 1982. Kavanaugh has vehemently denied anything remotely like that happened. People who were present at the party where the alleged sexual act took place have denied that Kavanaugh was involved in anything. Over 60 women have come forward, including co-workers and former girlfriends, to say that Brett is an honorable and decent man who has never been abusive to women. Facing mounting support for Kavanaugh, the anonymous woman fought back and came forward in an effort to energize support for her allegation. Christine Blasey Ford, 51, is a research psychologist and an operative for the Democratic party. She is also the member of a family that lost a case that Kavanaugh’s mother presided over as a judge. Many believe there is sufficient reason to suspect that Christine’s accusation, perhaps motivated by personal revenge, has more to do with a “hail Mary” political attempt to derail the Kavanaugh nomination at the last second. Regardless of the authenticity of her accusation, many in opposition to another constitutionalist being appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court are taking advantage of Christine’s charge to assassinate Kavanaugh’s reputation.  His good name may never recover.  Father, if the accusation is true, I ask for justice for the victim.  If Kavanaugh’s denial is a lie, I ask for evidence to back Christine’s story.  However, if the accusation is true but Kavanaugh has become a godly man over the last 30 years, I pray that You will protect and defend Kavanaugh, giving us all hope that our past mistakes can be forgiven and put behind us.  If the accusation is false, motivated by perhaps revenge or politics, I pray for justice for Kavanaugh.  Provide evidence that proves the fallaciousness of the charges.  Defend Kavanaugh’s honor.  In either case, I ask for Your grace and mercy to be abundant in the life of Christine Blasey Ford.  Lead her into a personal relationship with You.  May she experience Your goodness in such a way that she bursts with praise and thanksgiving.  Transform her heart and mind.  May she become a voice that inspires others to turn their hearts over to Your loving care.  Father, rescue her, and her loved ones, spiritually.  Amen.