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The Best-Dressed Drug Dealers
« Reply #384 on: November 26, 2016, 07:07:58 AM »

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The Best-Dressed Drug Dealers

Pharmaceutical companies may be to blame for the current opioid crisis.


Dramatic stories of dangerous drug deals and deadly overdoses are true. But at least one root of the opioid crisis reveals that some of the most dangerous “drug dealers” in our country wear suits and ties to the office each day.


One large reason for the opioid epidemic in the United States has been the irresponsible information supplied by pharmaceutical companies about their opioid drugs. For decades, the companies downplayed the addictive nature of opioids and suppressed or ignored evidence of their dangers. Tragically, the rise in sales of prescription opioids has correlated directly with the rise in overdose deaths, so that today 44 percent of all drug overdose deaths and 73 percent of opioid-related deaths come from prescription opioid pain relievers.


In 2007, the top executives of Purdue Pharma pled guilty and were subject to over $600 million in fines for intentionally misleading doctors and the public by labeling their prize drug, OxyContin, “abuse resistant.” Representatives meeting with doctors were shown to have often encouraged “off-label” uses of the opioid while downplaying the “high” patients would get and dismissing concerns about addiction.


Though the company has now been sued in relation to the drug more than 1,000 times, all of the fines and penalties for consistent wrongdoing have not made a significant dent in over $30 billion in sales. Litigation and investigations into other drug companies suspected of doing the same are continuing across the country.

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CFamily

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How Realizing My Addiction Had Chosen Me Began My Road to Recovery
« Reply #385 on: November 27, 2016, 07:06:45 AM »
How Realizing My Addiction Had Chosen Me Began My Road to Recovery

Framing addiction as a chronic disease gives a broader framework for understanding.


I can’t remember much about the day when everything went wrong. No obvious moment indicated that the standard outpatient procedure would lead to weeks in the ICU, months in the hospital, and almost a year out of work.


Memories of a dark hospital room and slowly blinking lights come back in fevered fits. Dislocated voices from intrusive floating faces were saying that things would be alright.


I had known pain before: crutches, casts, and stitches. But until this moment, pain had always been experienced as something outside of myself. Now it was all that was left of me.


The day turned into night turned into day turned into night. I had given up on crying for the pain to subside. My soul had turned to the guttural moan of Job. Dear God, if this is my fate, may I never have been born at all.


I remember hearing the words “acute respiratory distress” and being moved to the ICU. I remember how my IV stand became a tree that blossomed with multi-colored ornaments hanging from stainless steel branches with cascading ripples of wires and tubes falling to my nose, arms, and chest.


Also hanging there was a clear plastic box containing a small bag marked hydromorphone—an opioid pain medication. The only moments that I remembered I was still a person and pain was an experience I was having—and not my entire existence—was the moment every 15 minutes when I pressed a small button that sent a pump whirring and boosted the normally slow trickle of the blessed, blessed, blessed analgesic already flowing.


Over the course of this medical odyssey, my 5’ 10” frame dropped below 130 pounds, the whites of my eyes turned yellow, my stomach became distended, fevers spiked and dropped. There was vomiting, diarrhea, ...

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Source: How Realizing My Addiction Had Chosen Me Began My Road to Recovery

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Wrestling with Eternity
« Reply #386 on: November 28, 2016, 07:15:25 AM »
Wrestling with Eternity

For many, predestination is a struggle to accept; for Paul, it’s a doctrine of love.


Let’s just admit it: the Bible makes us uncomfortable at times. We recoil when we read about the destruction of the Canaanites or Father Abraham pimping his sister/wife, Sarah. But these stories are right there on the pages of the Bible, and we have to grapple with its sometimes shameful narratives and unsettling ideas. Sooner or later, every thoughtful Christian has to come to terms with an inscrutable Creator they do not and cannot fully comprehend. Because we live in the yawning gap between the already and the not-yet in the unfolding of God’s eternal plan, we inevitably find ourselves struggling to understand the ways of God.


Actually, I am inclined to think one of the spiritual requirements for being a follower of Jesus is that you must wrestle with God. After all, when God gave a new name to Jacob and his descendants, he called them “Israel,” or God wrestlers: “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, for you have wrestled with God” (Gen. 32:28, paraphrase mine). Wrestling with God is in our spiritual DNA.


There is plenty of wrestling to do in the early section of Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians. This remarkable letter begins with a lavish outpouring of affection. But Paul throws us a curve when he employs what many Christians consider a “repulsive” idea. There is one word in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians that has given heartburn to millions of Jesus followers for a very long time—for much of the last 2,000 years. To make matters worse, Paul uses this disturbing word twice in the same passage for emphasis. That word is “predestination.” For many this word conjures up images of the dark side of the “force” and the malevolent ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/Xtxm3b1ybYc/wrestling-with-eternity.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/73883.jpg?w=460
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/december/wrestling-with-eternity.html
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CFamily

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News: Gleanings: December 2016
« Reply #387 on: November 29, 2016, 07:23:06 AM »
News: Gleanings: December 2016

Important developments in the church and the world (as they appeared in our December issue).


Evangelical Church Shopping, Explained


Two-thirds of Americans who attend churches in evangelical denominations have looked for a new congregation (67%). According to the Pew Research Center, that’s higher than any other US religious group (the national average: 49%). Pew asked 700 evangelicals why they wanted to leave their church and how their search went.


Turkey: Killers of Malatya martyrs finally convicted


After a nine-year legal saga, a Turkish court sentenced five men to life without parole for torturing and murdering three Christians at a Malatya publishing house in 2007. News of their conviction—after 115 hearings that local Christians felt just “repeated postponement of the punishment they deserve,” according to Turkey’s Association of Protestant Churches—came at a welcome time. The Muslim-majority nation has been cracking down on Christians and many other sectors of society since an attempted political coup in July. Coup leaders said their motivation, in part, was Turkey’s slipping secularism. Since then, the government has tightened regulations on Christian publications and detained foreign Christians or denied them visas.


Nigeria: Chibok girls freed from Boko Haram


This fall, Nigerians eagerly anticipated the likely liberation of 83 more schoolgirls from Boko Haram after 21 were released in October. The girls were the first to be let go since 276 of them were kidnapped from their Chibok boarding school in April 2014. (One girl escaped in May.) Many of the girls are ashamed to return to their homes, fearful of the stigma that comes from capture by Boko Haram. “We would prefer that they are taken away from the community and this country,” Chibok Development Association ...

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Source: News: Gleanings: December 2016

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/-vEKMZ5D_n0/gleanings-december-2016.html
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http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/september/why-1300-christians-left-old-chose-new-church-shopping-pew.html
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http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/october/21-chibok-girls-released-in-trade-for-boko-haram-prisoners.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/december/gleanings-december-2016.html
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News: Should Your Favorite Ministry Become a ‘Church’?
« Reply #388 on: November 30, 2016, 07:30:28 AM »
News: Should Your Favorite Ministry Become a ‘Church’?

Why more parachurch groups are telling the US government they’re not like other nonprofits.


Among Billy Graham’s many legacies is leading ministries to greater financial transparency. Now two major organizations led by the evangelist’s eldest son are ditching the most common way nonprofits disclose their finances.


This fall, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) confirmed that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had approved the ministry’s request to reclassify its decades-old tax status from a traditional nonprofit to an “association of churches.” A similar request by sister organization Samaritan’s Purse remained pending.


The change means that the BGEA will no longer need to file Form 990, the primary way that nonprofits convey their financial accountability to both donors and the US government. This in turn means that Franklin Graham, president and CEO of both the BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse, will no longer be required to make public his $1 million dual salaries—a point of some controversy in recent years.


The IRS has a 14-point test for defining church, asking whether there are “established places of worship,” “regular congregations,” and “regular religious services.” The BGEA is not claiming it is a church, but rather an “association of churches.” The ministry says it “has been operating as an association of churches for years, as virtually everything we do is done in cooperation with individual local churches.” Spokesman Mark DeMoss told CT that “association of churches” is “an IRS classification, not BGEA’s.”


Christian ministries are increasingly worried about the impact that lengthy Form 990 disclosures can have on their First Amendment rights [see “Sorry 666: ...

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Source: News: Should Your Favorite Ministry Become a ‘Church’?

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/BOQPpAWFY-s/should-parachurch-become-church-bgea-franklin-graham-irs.html
http://www.thenonprofittimes.com/news-articles/irs-reclassifies-billy-grahams-organization/
http://religionnews.com/2016/09/29/irs-changes-status-of-billy-grahams-ministry/
http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2016/october/why-billy-graham-evangelistic-association-asked-for-irs-status-change
http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2009/10/franklin_graham_moves_to_addre.html
https://world.wng.org/2009/10/franklins_purse
http://www.religionnews.com/2015/08/18/franklin-grahams-salary-raises-eyebrows-among-christian-nonprofits/
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/religion/article30505932.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/december/should-parachurch-become-church-bgea-franklin-graham-irs.html
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Psalm 100: A Call to Give Thanks
« Reply #389 on: December 01, 2016, 07:07:42 AM »
Psalm 100: A Call to Give Thanks

Behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.


One of the first chapters of scripture I memorized was Psalm 100. It was actually easy to memorize because it was put in the form of a song. It started, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye, all ye lands.”


This psalm reminds me of the importance of thanksgiving in general, and perhaps more so, thanksgiving today, on American Thanksgiving Day. This time of year gives us the opportunity to be thankful for so many things. We look, for example, to the words of the Psalmist, who tells us to “make a joyful noise,” “serve the Lord,” “come into His presence,” “know,” “enter,” and “give thanks to [and] bless His name.”


I find, however, that thanksgiving is one of the first things to be smothered when life deals us hard blows and the world seems to be crumbling around us. Our prayers, if they exist during times like these, take the form of pleas instead of praise. We lose sight of God’s goodness in the midst of the dark.


But the Psalmist’s words were a call to shout triumphantly because they were not fighting for victory, but they were fighting from victory. The same is true today.


It may not seem like it, but the Lord has won the battle. Our battles. We put on His armor and follow Him into the hard places. Yes, when we’re in the midst of uncertainty, it may not seem as though God has won, but scripture reminds us over and over again that He has. That’s a promise we cling to.


So what do we do with this knowledge? We are called to serve the Lord with gladness, to come before Him with joyful songs. We do so because God has made us new in Christ. He has transferred us from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of his beloved ...

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Source: Psalm 100: A Call to Give Thanks

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/UfmjyqDNTcE/psalm-100-call-to-give-thanks.html
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I’m Trying to Forgive Fidel Castro
« Reply #390 on: December 03, 2016, 07:05:14 AM »
I’m Trying to Forgive Fidel Castro

As the daughter of a Cuban refugee, I feel torn between hate and grace.


Last Friday, Fidel Castro passed away. World leaders have responded with a variety of statements. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement about Castro’s death that praised Castro’s love for the Cuban people. President Obama’s statement was somewhat neutral and, instead of condemning Castro’s actions, focused on restoring the relationship between Cuba and the United States. President-elect Donald Trump issued the most scathing—and dare I say most truthful—statement, saying, “Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty, and the denial of fundamental human rights.”


As a first-generation Cuban American and a Christian, my response has come in the form of a question: How do I respond to the death of a man whom I was taught to hate for so long?


When I was a kid, every night before bed, my dad would tell my little sister and me dramatic stories from his life—how he was blacklisted; how he escaped the island; how he settled as a political refugee in the United States. What every story had in common was Castro, the villainous dictator. He was the man who turned their island paradise into a totalitarian hell where personal freedom was hard to come by and everyone but the politically powerful struggled to have enough to eat. We abhorred Castro and joked about how someone with such a lovely name—Fidel means “faithful” in Spanish—could betray his country and kill thousands. Our bedtime ritual was like the Jewish custom at Purim: During the reading of the story of Esther, the mention of Haman’s name brings boos and hisses. There was no room in my heart for Castro’s redemption, so much ...

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Source: I’m Trying to Forgive Fidel Castro

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/VV80dIaPuwA/im-trying-to-forgive-fidel-castro.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/74310.jpg?w=460
http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2016/11/26/statement-prime-minister-canada-death-former-cuban-president-fidel-castro
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/11/26/statement-president-passing-fidel-castro
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/11/26/here-is-donald-trumps-reaction-to-fidel-castros-death/
http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2016/november/im-trying-to-forgive-fidel-castro.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=VV80dIaPuwA:D8TLvVAutTU:yIl2AUoC8zA
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Thriving at the Edges of the World
« Reply #391 on: December 04, 2016, 07:00:35 AM »
Thriving at the Edges of the World

E. Stanley Jones calls us to radical conservatism and a conservative radicalism.


The edges of the world capture our attention. Think of frontiers such as the frozen mountains of Antarctica, the Australian outback, or the Amazon jungle. They are places of great opportunity and, at the same time, filled with unknown threats.


As Americans, we have long been cast in the mold of the pioneer, thriving at the edges. Think of Benjamin Franklin creating the first public library, the Wright brothers taking flight, or innovators such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs bringing us into the digital age. The interesting thing about the pioneering spirit is that it is equally conservative and progressive in its outlook. “How so?” you say.


Well, first let’s define these terms (as delivered by Google):


Progressive: a person advocating or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas.


Conservative: a person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes, typically in relation to politics.


With these definitions in mind, think about pioneers in innumerable fields who innovated in creative ways. Their drive to come up with new solutions required innovation and progressive approaches. Yet, at the same time, they innovated to conserve their independence, values, and the opportunity to determine their own destiny.


I am sure that not every pioneer felt drawn to each perspective equally, but they both needed to be present to thrive on the edges of the world. It was not possible to affirm only one way of thinking. It was the combination of these two perspectives that made thriving possible. The progressive perspective kept them moving forward into new possibilities, and the conservative perspective kept them grounded in their values. Together, both of these perspectives made these innovators a ...

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Source: Thriving at the Edges of the World

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/bgOGxI1LYpc/thriving-at-edges-of-world.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/74316.png?w=460
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2016/november/thriving-at-edges-of-world.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=bgOGxI1LYpc:-ADVCBIxZwM:yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=bcOpcFrp8Mo
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