Two likely related terror attacks were carried out in Spain yesterday. Fourteen people were killed in the attacks and more than 100 were injured. ISIS took responsibility for the attacks.
The first attack occurred in Barcelona when a vehicle plowed into a crowd gathered on Las Ramblas, a popular pedestrian street. Thirteen people were killed in this attack.
The second attack occurred in Cambrils, 75 miles from Barcelona, where five armed attackers drove a vehicle through the streets. One woman was killed in this attack and others were injured.
Spanish police are treating both attacks as acts of terror and say they are likely related. The five armed suspects in the second attack were killed in a shootout with police.
According to CNN.com, police have said that they are investigating whether one of the Cambrils attackers may have been the same person who drove the vehicle into the crowd in Barcelona.
Many tourists were affected by the attacks. The victims are from 34 different countries.
One man, Cobb Oxford from South Carolina, was visiting Barcelona for a Clemson University exhibition game. He spoke with CBS News after the attack occurred and reported that he witnessed the chaos of the attack and its aftermath. He said he saw a police officer carrying a bloodied child. Like many others who were out on Las Ramblas yesterday, Oxford was shaken up by the attack. He and others made their way back to their hotel rooms and were told they couldn’t leave until police secured the area.
In addition to the five suspects who were killed in the shootout with police, four suspects have been arrested.
Joseph Prince, the renowned preacher and senior pastor at the New Creation Church in Singapore, has a heartwarming and encouraging message about what ‘Abba’ really means to our relationship with the Father in Christ.
On a video posted to his Facebook page, Prince shares how significant it is that, when Jesus cries out ‘Abba’ (Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6), it was not translated into Latin originally, but remained in Aramaic, Jesus’ native tongue. Prince credits this translation choice directly to the Holy Spirit.
It is so that it would remain the familiar ‘daddy’, and that that denotes a closeness we have with God that was unprecedented in Scripture.
There are many names for God in Scripture, but not until Christ came to earth, this name for God had not yet been revealed.
“The greatest name, that Jesus came to reveal,” he says, “encompasses all these names, is the name “Daddy” God, ‘Abba.'”
He then refers to Romans 8:15, which says, “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'”
He explains that what this means is to not be caught up in the fear and bondage of the Old Testament, because in Christ we have this newfound familiarity with God.
“Do not receive the fear of bondage of the Old Testament again,” he explains, “but you have received the spirit of sonship, by which you cry ‘Daddy, Abba.'”
What he means by this is that our closeness with God should be a constant comfort to us, and cast down any fears we might have, no matter how great.
“You may have had a bad childhood, you may have grown up in a family where your father was either physically or emotionally abusive,” he says, “but listen, the Father God is not like that, and He wants to be your Father. I don’t care how old you think you are, you will always be a child.”
Even if we can’t articulate our prayers or our needs, this simple cry of “daddy” is all we need to experience the love of our Father.
“Even when our only prayer is ‘Daddy God’, I will tell you this, fears, guilt, depression, will melt like butter in the presence of Daddy God.”
Jim Denison | Denison Forum on Truth and Culture | Tuesday, August 15, 2017
The world’s oldest man died yesterday. Yisrael Kristal was 113 years old. Remarkably, he was the only member of his immediate family to survive the Holocaust. The rest were among the six million Jews murdered by Nazis. More than a million of them were children.
I have visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, many times. Each time I weep anew for those lost to such senseless violence. I have also visited Germany numerous times. Last week, my wife and I spent a day in Berlin, where we were deeply impressed by the sophistication of the city and its culture.
Germany has produced some of history’s greatest minds. Albert Einstein, Immanuel Kant, Albert Schweitzer, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, Max Planck, Johannes Kepler, George Frideric Handel, Johannes Brahms, Wernher von Braun . . . the list goes on. How could such a brilliant society fall prey to the lies of Nazism?
The ideology of Hitler
“Nazi” is an abbreviation for “Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei,” the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. After their defeat in World War I, Germans were suffering economic deprivation and desperate for new leadership. Adolf Hitler promised to pull them from the Depression and restore them to their “rightful place” as a world power.
He followed the tried-and-true three-step political formula: (1) Convince people that they have an enemy; (2) convince them that they cannot defeat their enemy; (3) convince them that he will defeat their enemy if they vote for him. In this case, the primary “enemy” was Judaism.
Hitler told Germans that the so-called “Aryan” people (primarily North Europeans) were the superior race. Their supposed superiority granted them the right and obligation to rule other races and peoples for the benefit of mankind.
Jews, by contrast, were identified as the enemy holding back this “master race.” Hitler blamed them for Germany’s loss in World War I and its resulting economic deprivation. He also accused Jews of inventing Communism, another threat to Germany’s future.
Hitler’s anti-Semitic political agenda gained a wide following in Germany, leading to his appointment as German chancellor on January 30, 1933. Later that year, the Nazi regime established its first concentration camps and began imprisoning political opponents, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others it deemed “dangerous.” Over the next six years, the regime enforced more than four hundred decrees and regulations restricting all aspects of German life. And it began the military expansion that led to World War II.
The popularity of Nazism today
In significant ways, world events today parallel those that led to the rise of Nazism eight decades ago. Some view the rise of immigration in Europe and America as a threat to their economic future. They argue that programs intended to help racial minorities have victimized white people and jeopardized their future.
And they claim that Jews continue to monopolize the global economy to their benefit and the oppression of others. Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve chair, is Jewish, as is Jack Lew, the former Treasury secretary. Sergey Brin (cofounder of Google), Michael Bloomberg (former mayor of New York City), Michael Dell (founder of Dell Computers), Jeff Zucker (president of CNN), Larry Ellison (founder of Oracle), Steve Ballmer (former CEO of Microsoft), and billionaire George Soros (founder of Soros Fund Management) are all Jewish. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and personal advisor, is Jewish as well.
Any time a country faces an uncertain future, some turn to the past. Neo-Nazis are rising in popularity wherever white people feel threatened and victimized. But there’s more to the story.
Racial prejudice is one way inferior people justify themselves. They find a group of people to blame rather than taking responsibility for their struggles. And they decide that they are innately superior to others on the basis of unchanging factors such as skin color and racial heritage.
For instance, if a white person decides that black people are racially inferior to him, he can go through life feeling superior to an entire population class. No matter his educational, financial, or social failings, he considers himself innately superior to blacks. This is the perverted promise Hitler made to his “Aryan” people. It is the same perversion racists of all categories claim for themselves today.
How to respond to Nazis and other racists
What biblical truths should guide us as we respond to the rising racism and Nazism of our day? Consider three principles.
One: God made only one race—the human race.
Every human is created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). We are all descendants of Adam and of Noah. Caucasians, Africans, Arabs, Indians, Jews, and Asians are not different races—they are different ethnicities of the same human race.
Two: Our Father loves all his children and calls us to do the same.
The most famous verse in Scripture teaches that God loves “the world” (John 3:16). Jesus commanded us to love each other as he loves us (John 13:34). Those who act with prejudice are “judges with evil thoughts” (James 2:4).
Three: We need God’s help in loving God’s children.
Whether motivated by racism or not, we all struggle to love everyone. No one goes through life unscathed by humanity. We have all been hurt by someone, just as we have all hurt someone. We cannot forgive fully without the power of the One who forgives us. The good news is that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).
Corrie ten Boom, the famous Holocaust survivor, once experienced such a miracle. Here’s how she told the story:
“It was at a church service in Munich, Germany, that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. Suddenly it was all there—the roomful of mocking guards, the heaps of clothing, Betsie’s pain-blanched face.
“He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming. ‘How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein,’ he said. ‘To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!’
“His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often . . . the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side. Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.
“I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. Again I breathed a silent prayer, Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.
“As I took his hand, the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand, a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.
“I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”
Yisrael Kristal was not the only famous person connected to the Holocaust to die this week. Seventy-six years earlier, a Catholic priest named Maximilian Kolbe was executed by the Nazis. Here is his story.
Father Kolbe was a Polish priest sent by the Nazis to Auschwitz. In July of 1941, a man escaped from their barracks. As punishment, ten prisoners were chosen to die in the starvation bunker. They would receive no food or water. Their throats would turn to paper, their brains to fire, until finally their suffering ended in a horrible death.
One of the ten began grieving loudly for his wife and children. Suddenly there was a commotion in the ranks. A prisoner had broken out of line, calling for the commandant—cause for execution.
The prisoners gasped. It was their beloved Father Kolbe, the priest who shared his last crust of bread, who comforted the dying, who heard their confessions and fed their souls. The frail priest spoke softly and calmly to Nazi Camp Commandant Fritsch: “I would like to die in place of one of the men you condemned.” He pointed to the weeping prisoner grieving for his wife and children.
Fritsch compared the two; this priest indeed looked weaker than the man he had condemned to death. He looked at his assistant and nodded. Father Kolbe’s place on the death ledger was set. The men were made to remove their clothes, then herded into a dark, windowless cell. “You will dry up like tulips,” sneered one of their jailers. Then he swung the heavy door shut.
As the hours and days passed, the camp became aware of something extraordinary happening in the death cell. Past prisoners had spent their dying days screaming, attacking each other, clawing at the walls. But now, coming from the death box, they heard the faint sounds of singing.
On August 14, 1941, there were four prisoners still alive in the bunker, and it was needed for new occupants. In the light of their flashlight, the Nazi soldiers saw Father Maximilian Kolbe, a living skeleton, propped against one wall. His head was inclined a bit to the left. He had a smile on his lips, his eyes wide open, fixed on some faraway vision. He did not move. The Nazi doctor gave lethal injections to the first three prisoners, then to Father Kolbe. In a moment, he was dead.
Today, visitors to the starvation bunker at Auschwitz find on its floor, next to a large spray of fresh flowers, a steady flame. It is burning today. It will burn forever. (Adapted from Charles Colson and Ellen Santilli Vaughn, The Body: Being Light in Darkness [Dallas: Word Publishing, 1992] 318–27.)
What price will you pay to love those for whom Jesus died?
Photo: The statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee stands behind a crowd of hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the ‘alt-right’ during the ‘Unite the Right’ rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Emancipation Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.
Photo courtesy: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Publication date: August 15, 2017
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
Do you want to live a life in whole-hearted pursuit of loving God and others?
Read today’s First15 at www.first15.org.
Vice President Mike Pence has called on Americans to pray and to focus on eradicating racist groups from the public sphere in some powerful remarks delivered during a joint press conference with the Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos. Pence also criticized the media for focussing so strongly on President Trump’s words, instead of seeking to disavow the words of those hate groups who started the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“What happened there is in no way a reflection of the good and decent people of Charlottesville or of America,” Pence declared.
“Yesterday President Trump clearly and unambiguously condemned the bigotry, violence and hatred which took place on the streets of Charlottesville.”
“Our hearts go out to the victims of violence that ensued. The family of the young woman who lost her life. The families of the two police officers that fell in the line of duty and all of those that were injured.”
“We have no tolerance for hate and violence, white supremacists, neo-nazis or the KKK. These dangerous fringe groups have no place in American public life and in the American debate and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms.”
“The President also made clear that behavior by others of different militant perspectives are also unacceptable in our political debate and discourse,” Pence continued.
“The President’s call for unity was from the heart,” Pence declared.
“I take issue that the national media spent more time criticizing the president’s words than they did criticizing those who perpetrated the violence to begin with.”
“We should be putting the attention where it belongs. These extremist groups need to be pushed out of the public debate entirely, and discredit for the hate groups and dangerous fringe groups that they are.”
Then, Pence, who is a devout Christian, made a remarkable request of the American people.
“In the aftermath of yesterday’s violence, and on this Sunday here in Columbia I think it’s a good time to pray,” Pence said.
“To pray for those who lost their lives, to pray for their families, to pray for the injured. Also to pray for greater unity in America, that I believe will come.”
A Christian family did exactly the opposite of what Jesus commands of us this week when they refused to tip a lesbian waitress because of her ‘pride’ tattoo. Server Samanta Heaton was horrified when she read their receipt which noted a $0 tip and a message: “Can’t tip someone who doesn’t love Jesus! Bad tattoo.”
“I went above and beyond for this couple, and for them to leave that kind of hurt,” Heaton told the Rock River Times. “Like, I have bills to pay too.” Heaton did not discuss her sexuality with the family, and feels as if the children are being taught how to discriminate from a young age.
“The kids are going to be under the impression that it will be okay to discriminate against anybody.” Samantha also clarified that she does, in fact, “love Jesus.” “I myself am a Christian. And, as a Christian, ’thou shall not judge.’ No matter how someone looks, you should love them for what’s in their heart and how they treat you—not for what is on the outside.” She called the note “plain rude and uncalled for.”
“I am sorry this happened,” wrote one woman on Heaton’s Facebook post detailing the incident.
“A true Christian would not do this.”
*What are your thoughts? Please post your comments below…