The Denison Forum exists to thoughtfully engage the issues of the day with biblical truth. This is your go-to resource to help you discern the news differently.
America has lost its moral compass while a great spiritual revolution is sweeping other nations of the world. More people are turning to Christ today than at any time in history – more than 82,000 a day, according to recent surveys. However, only 6,000 are in Western Europe and North America, combined. At the same time that faith is increasing dramatically in developing nations, research shows tha
Operating as usual
Most newlyweds receive their wedding photos within weeks of their ceremony. But one British couple received theirs forty-six years later. They saw the photos only once after they got married and ordered prints but didn’t see the photos again until last week.
The photographer died in February, and his nephew came across the album of photos while going through his uncle’s boxes. “They looked like they had never been touched since the day they were put in the album. They were pristine and looked like brand new photographs with so much color. The box was a bit tatty and covered in dust and dead spiders, so I wasn’t expecting much.”
He tracked down the couple in the photos through social media and reached out to them.
Though now divorced, the couple didn’t remarry and have remained friends. They were surprised to receive the photos after so many years. Their daughter, who now has two daughters of her own, was thrilled. “The excitement of looking through the photos of my mum, dad and family members looking so young, the vintage clothes, and being able to share an important piece of my family history with my two daughters is really a bit of a miracle,” she said.
In house fires, people have always tried to rescue precious photos and albums. Why? They represent a heritage and foundation of values.
But, preserving family history is more than saving photos. It’s more than laughing at the vintage clothes, cars, hairstyles, and homes of the past. It’s more than fond memories that pop up on social media. Or posts showing smiling faces.
It’s building a foundation for future generations which will survive the years. A foundation that will survive the fires, storms, and trials. It’s creating memories that will be etched in hearts and minds and shared over the years.
And God’s word is our album, our “picture” of the One who loves us most, that holds more value than any others we can share.
Wedding album arrives forty-six years after ceremony: Creating memories in hearts, not albums - Denison Forum Most newlyweds receive their wedding photos within weeks of their ceremony. But one British couple received theirs forty-six years later. They saw the photos only once after they got married and ordered prints but didn’t see the photos again until last week. The photographer died in February, and ...
Benjamin Netanyahu has been prime minister of Israel since 2009. He previously served three terms as prime minister in the 1990s.
Now it appears that his time in office may be over.
In what is being called "a seismic event in Israeli politics," Mr. Netanyahu's rivals announced yesterday the creation of a coalition government that would replace him. Yair Lapid, who leads the centrist Yesh Atid party, and Naftali Bennett, who heads the right-wing Yamina party, will team up with six other parties.
Mr. Bennett will serve as prime minister for two years, followed by Mr. Lapid, who will first serve as foreign minister. Blue and White's Benny Gantz will be defense minister; New Hope's Gideon Saar will be justice minister; Yisrael Beiteinu's Avigdor Lieberman will be finance minister; and Yamina's Ayelet Shaked will be interior minister.
However, some of the coalition agreements are not yet final. They will need to be presented to the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) within twelve days. Today, we'll look at how the Israel government works and how we can pray for this transition.
Government formed to oust Benjamin Netanyahu: An explanation and three ways to pray for Israel - Denison Forum A political coalition announced yesterday that it has formed a government that would oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from office. In The Daily Article for June 3, 2021, Dr. Jim Denison explains what has happened and why it is so significant, then he offers three biblical ways to "pray...
Austrian artist Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller created a painting called The Expected One. It depicts a woman standing or walking toward the viewer while holding what looks very much like an iPhone in her hands. If the picture were painted today, you would think she was reading or texting on her device.
Dutch artist Pieter de Hooch painted Man Handing a Letter to a Woman in the Entrance Hall of a House. It depicts a woman sitting in the corner of a room while a man steps toward her. The object in his right hand looks just like an iPhone. Again, if the picture were painted today, you would think that he was reading from the device.
Historians assure us that neither is the case. The first picture was painted in 1860, the second in 1670.
The woman in the first painting is holding a religious tract of some kind such as a hymn book. The man in the second picture is holding a letter, as the title of the painting suggests. But the iPhone and other technologies have become so ubiquitous in our lives and culture that we tend to see them even where they could not exist.
There’s a larger lesson here.
Is an iPhone depicted in an 1860 painting? Time travel and the truth of God - Denison Forum Austrian artist Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller created a painting called The Expected One. It depicts a woman standing or walking toward the viewer while holding what looks very much like an iPhone in her hands. If the picture were painted today, you would think she was reading or texting on her device...
Debby Neal-Strickland recently married her longtime sweetheart, Jim Merthe, at their Florida church. Two days later, she donated a kidney to Jim’s first wife, Mylaen.
Jim and Mylaen have been divorced for nearly two decades, but they have gotten along well as they raised their two children. Mylaen has long struggled with kidney disease. By last year, the Associated Press reports that “she was ghostly pale with dark circles under her eyes, dragging herself through the workday with no energy.” She was admitted to the hospital last November when her kidneys were functioning at only 8 percent.
Debby had watched her brother die of cystic fibrosis while awaiting a double lung transplant. “When somebody needs an organ, if they don’t get it, they’re probably not going to make it. I know it’s something that you do quickly,” she said.
So Debby volunteered to be a donor for Mylaen. She passed the initial match for blood and tissue and began more complex testing while juggling their house filled with six children, including a six-year-old girl with autism and five teenagers. Some of the children are Debby’s biological grandchildren and some they are fostering.
After months of testing and COVID-19 delays, the transplant was set for two days after Debby’s wedding. They married on November 22. Debby said, “It was the most amazing day of my life, until two days later. That was also the most amazing day of my life.”
As soon as Debby regained consciousness following the surgery, she asked about Mylaen. A few floors below, Mylaen was also pleading with the nurses: “I need to see her.” Despite strict COVID-19 protocols, Jim was eventually allowed to wheel his new wife into the hospital room to see his ex-wife.
The two now call themselves kidney sisters. They pray for each other and are planning a big family trip this summer. “This is what the world is about. Family. We need to stick together,” Mylaen said. “She saved my life.”
Mylaen is right.
In a recent website article, I stated that community is a vital component in mental health. Now let’s note an additional step: unconditional community requires sacrifice.
Woman donates kidney to husband's ex-wife two days after wedding: How to find the community we need - Denison Forum Debby Neal-Strickland recently married her longtime sweetheart, Jim Merthe, at their Florida church. Two days later, she donated a kidney to Jim’s first wife, Mylaen. Jim and Mylaen have been divorced for nearly two decades, but they have gotten along well as they raised their two children. Mylaen...
Mother Violet Fletcher was seven years old when the Tulsa Race Massacre began. At a recent event, she described what happened to her. “I still remember all the shooting and running,” she said. “People being killed. Crawling and seeing smoke. Seeing airplanes flying and a messenger going through the neighborhood telling all the Black people to leave town.”
Then she stopped speaking. Even after one hundred years, the memories of that horrible day can still overwhelm her.
As another sign pointing to the enormity of this tragedy, a full excavation of Oaklawn Cemetery in Tulsa began yesterday. Searchers are looking for mass graves from the 1921 massacre. Researchers found twelve unmarked graves in the cemetery last year. Authorities expect the current excavations to take weeks or even months due to the number of burials they expect to find.
These stories remind us that long after this week’s centennial remembrance of the massacre, its consequences will persist. What can you and I do to combat the sin of racism and heal its wounds?
Yesterday we learned from Acts 6 that our first step must be to recognize discrimination in our own hearts and respond to it with repentant hearts and redemptive actions. Today we’ll discuss our second biblical step, one that can help to heal our nation.
Survivor remembers the Tulsa Race Massacre: A redemptive step that can help to heal our nation - Denison Forum A survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre recently shared what she remembers from that horrific day. In The Daily Article for June 2, 2021, Dr. Jim Denison tells her story, then we focus on Acts 6 and a step every church and organization in America can take to help heal our nation and our souls.
Dr. Denison is currently live with GodLife discussing what the Bible says about joy.
Watch now, and consider answering the question posed on GodLife's original post.
Tennis champion Naomi Osaka announced recently that she would not speak with reporters during the upcoming French Open. After organizers fined her $15,000 over her decision, she stated Monday afternoon that she would withdraw from the tournament for mental health reasons.
Currently ranked No. 2 in the world, she said on Twitter, “I never wanted to be a distraction.” She added that she’s “suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018” and gets “huge waves of anxiety” before speaking at press conferences.
Nike and other major sponsors have come out in support of her following her decision to withdraw. “Our thoughts are with Naomi,” Nike said. “We support her and recognize her courage in sharing her own mental health experience.”
In related sports news, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott made today’s news with his statements to a reporter regarding depression and anxiety. He told ESPN’s Sage Steele that during the pandemic, “I was going through depression and anxiety, and I was learning what it was, I was talking to friends and trying to figure out why I was feeling the way that I was.”
His brother Jace went through bouts with mental health before his death. Prescott said that he told his family and friends, “We’ve got to talk. We’ve got to talk to one another, because I didn’t know [Jace] was feeling that way, I didn’t know he was like that.”
He added: “That’s why I come out in front of the mental awareness thing and tell people, men, women, powerful, not powerful, whatever you are, we’ve got to talk. And it’s an obligation for all of us to listen and to help.”
My purpose today is emphatically not to offer mental health therapy. I am in no sense a professional counselor and would urge anyone struggling with mental health issues to see someone who is. God calls people into this ministry just as he calls people to be missionaries and pastors. I am deeply grateful for the godly counselors I know and would strongly recommend that anyone facing mental health challenges seek the help of such professionals.
My purpose today is to respond to Dak Prescott’s statement calling for us to “listen” to each other. The outpouring of support Naomi Osaka has received from sponsors and fellow athletes is an example of the kind of communal encouragement we are each created to need from each other.
Naomi Osaka and Dak Prescott: The urgency and power of community - Denison Forum Tennis champion Naomi Osaka announced recently that she would not speak with reporters during the upcoming French Open. After organizers fined her $15,000 over her decision, she stated Monday afternoon that she would withdraw from the tournament for mental health reasons. Currently ranked No. 2 in t...
On May 30, 1921, a young Black man entered an elevator in downtown Tulsa. At one point he was alone with its white female operator. It’s unclear what happened next, but the operator screamed and the man fled the scene. He was arrested the next day.
Rumors spread through Tulsa’s white community. A story published in the Tulsa Tribune on May 31 claimed that the man had attempted to rape the woman. An angry white mob gathered in front of the courthouse, demanding that the man be turned over to them. Seeking to prevent a lynching, a group of seventy-five Black men arrived on the scene, some of them World War I veterans who were carrying weapons. A white man tried to disarm a Black veteran; the gun went off and chaos broke out.
Over the next twenty-four hours, thousands of white rioters poured into the Greenwood District, a prosperous area known as “Black Wall Street.” It was home to more than three hundred Black-owned businesses, including doctors’ offices, pharmacies, and two movie theaters. The white rioters shot unarmed Black citizens in the streets and burned an area of some thirty-five city blocks. As many as three hundred people were killed in the rampage, which destroyed more than twelve hundred Black-owned houses, numerous businesses, a school, a hospital, and a dozen churches.
By noon on June 1, the Greenwood District lay in ruins.
I hope to persuade us to take two biblical steps in response to the racial divisions, discrimination, and violence that persist in our nation. We will explore the first step today and the second step tomorrow.
The Tulsa Race Massacre a century later: "If we are the body, why aren't his arms reaching?" - Denison Forum The Tulsa Race Massacre ended a century ago today. In The Daily Article for June 1, 2021, Dr. Jim Denison tells this tragic story, then he focuses on the first biblical step Christians must take to confront the sin of racism in our culture and our souls.
B. J. Thomas died Saturday of complications from lung cancer. He became famous with country and pop crossover hits in the 1960s and 1970s, including “Hooked on a Feeling” and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.”
However, he fell into a spiral of substance abuse that nearly ended his marriage. On January 28, 1976, he gave his life to Jesus, less than a month after his wife came to faith. He and his wife reconciled, and he was sober to the end of his life.
After his conversion, he wrote an autobiography about his new faith, Home Where I Belong, and released his first Christian album by the same name. He went on to release at least fourteen more Christian albums.
In other celebrity news, actor Gavin MacLeod died Saturday at the age of ninety. Best known for playing Murray on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and Captain Stubing on "The Love Boat," his acting and musical career spanned six decades.
The deaths of B. J. Thomas and Gavin MacLeod: Four ways to honor our military heroes - Denison Forum Singer B. J. Thomas and actor Gavin MacLeod died over the weekend. In The Daily Article for May 31, 2021, Dr. Jim Denison tells their faith stories, then he connects their legacy to today's Memorial Day commemoration and invites us to take four biblical steps in response.
“The first season, I had a major crush on Jen,” David Schwimmer says. “We were both crushing hard on each other.” Jennifer Aniston agreed. However, as Schwimmer explained, “It was two ships passing, because one of us was always in a relationship. We never crossed that boundary—we respected it.”
The show was so popular in large part because it seemed so true-to-life for a generation of young adults. Hearing that the adults nearly did in their real lives what they did in their pretend lives apparently adds to the allure.
Psychologist Carl Rogers taught that our personality is composed of the Real Self (who we actually are) and the Ideal Self (who we want to be). Like actors on a stage, many of us spend our lives trying to convince others that our Ideal Self is our Real Self.
However, we know the truth.
Ross and Rachel on "Friends" nearly had a real-life romance: Bridging the gap from our Real Self to our Ideal Self - Denison Forum The sitcom Friends aired from 1994 to 2004. Its finale was watched by 52.5 million American viewers, making it the fifth-most watched series finale in the history of television and the most-watched episode of the 2000s. The cast has reunited in a special now streaming on HBO Max. They are making new...
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