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American Christian Connection
August 1, 2022

Religious Liberty Firm Goes Global with 1,500 International Cases
The Christian legal advocates with Alliance Defending Freedom are now working in over a hundred countries

Religious liberty won a victory this month in the United Kingdom. Prosecutors there dropped charges against 76-year-old Rosa Lalor, who was arrested in 2021 for praying silently outside an abortion clinic. A police officer said Lalor, though socially distanced, masked, and outside, was protesting and didn’t have a “reasonable excuse” to be outdoors during COVID-19 restrictions. She was put in a police car and fined for violating public health measures. Lalor’s case isn’t an isolated incident. But the British grandmother only had her penalty dismissed after a yearlong legal battle in which Lalor was backed by the religious freedom advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom International (ADFI). Though Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has drawn more publicity for bringing religious liberty cases to the US Supreme Court , its international arm has won more than 1,500 cases in 104 countries since 2010.

Prayers Needed: Death Toll from Severe Flooding in Eastern Kentucky Rises to 30

Severe flooding in Eastern Kentucky has claimed the lives of 30 people, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear shared in an update Monday morning. "If things weren't hard enough on the people of this region, they're getting rain right now," Beshear said, noting that as of Monday morning, four counties were under a flash flood warning. "There is severe storm potential today in all of the impacted areas, and that is just not right. The most risk is on the northernmost point of the impacted areas, but it is very unstable." As Christian Headlines previously reported, Beshear declared a state of emergency across six counties last Thursday due to the flooding.

Scripture engaged Americans most likely to demonstrate 'neighborliness': poll

Americans who regularly read the Bible are the most likely group to demonstrate “neighborliness” in addition to placing higher premiums on civic participation and mental health than their less religious counterparts, according to a recent report.  The American Bible Society released Chapter 4 of its 12th annual “State of the Bible” report Thursday. The chapter, titled “A Nation of Neighbors,” examined Americans’ embrace of “prosocial priorities,” “civic involvement and life care,” “intellectual humility” and other qualities associated with “neighborliness.” 

This Week's Thought

by Brad Campbell

Just a thought to help start your week.

Because of a meeting my wife was attending, I got to spend some time in New Orleans last week.  While she worked, I walked.  She later calculated that I had roamed probably eleven miles by foot in a forty-eight hour period, all within one square mile.

I walked the paths along the Mississippi River and around Jackson Square, the aisles between the pews in the St. Louis Cathedral, the streets in and around the French Quarter, the sidewalks of Canal Street, and the nearby storefronts.  But one place I did a lot of walking was inside the Audubon Aquarium, where I met the little fellow pictured here.

This penguin and his buddies are used to the crowds, and they love to dance around in the water and entertain.  This one nosed up to the glass to get a good look at me.

Funny.  I paid to enter the place, to roam its halls and exhibits, staring at every creature within its walls.  And yet the tables were turned here.  The penguins seemed to be the ones staring at us.  I wonder if I had the experience backward.  Were the animals there to entertain me, or was I there to entertain them?

We get life backwards like that as well.  For some reason, we seem to think that God’s purpose is to be here for me.  He’s to be at my beck and call, to speak when I ask, to provide me with what I want, and to keep me entertained.  Actually, we are here for His purposes.  We are to serve Him, to worship Him, to bless Him, to walk and talk and live for Him.

As long as I remain here on this earth, along with all of its other creatures, I am here to do all I do for my God, Who watches me constantly, cares for me always, and will never leave me behind.

Enjoy this new perspective on your aquarium of life this week.  Oh, and keep your noses off the glass.  Somebody has to clean up behind the penguins.

Just a thought.

4 Practical Ways to Respond to Discouragement with Triumphant Faith 

by Jim Denison

One of the problems with writing a Daily Article of a certain length is that I must sometimes leave out stories I wish I could tell. For example, in my reporting on the Mega Millions lottery yesterday, I had no space to tell you one of the great stories related to Tuesday night’s drawing: the founder of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers purchased fifty thousand Mega Millions tickets at a cost of $100,000. The reason: if any of Todd Graves’s tickets had been a winner, he would have split the jackpot among his fifty thousand employees. 

I have seen no word yet on whether Graves has purchased more tickets for tomorrow night’s $1 billion Mega Millions drawing, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he did, and for the same purpose.

His restaurants give more than 25 percent of their profits to the communities where they operate. His company supports more than two thousand educational institutions, organizes massive food drives, and supports hundreds of events that promote an active lifestyle. Raising Cane’s is actively involved in more than seventy-five professional organizations and works with more than fifty humane societies.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Graves temporarily closed only thirty-three of his five hundred restaurants. Rather than laying off employees, his company hired five thousand new crew members and distributed $2 million to its current workers to make up for reduced hours during the crisis. He did not take a salary when sales were down.

At his restaurant in downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana, employees volunteered to make face masks instead of chicken fingers. As a result, about a thousand masks were donated to a local hospital and another thousand to health care workers.


As we noted yesterday, discouraging events are a daily reality in a fallen world. From a major earthquake in the Philippines, to an out-of-control Chinese rocket predicted to crash back to Earth within a few days, to the global monkeypox outbreak, we don’t lack reasons for alarm in today’s news.

However, as Todd Graves’s generosity during the pandemic and these financial hard times illustrates, we can also choose to respond to adversity with redemptive initiative. Christians of all people should be especially positive and gracious since we know that we are the children of God and have the privilege of paying forward the transforming grace we have received. 

On the other hand, Christians can especially struggle with discouragement, for two reasons.

One: Because we trust and serve the King of the universe, we can become discouraged when he does not meet our needs as we wish he would. As we discuss often, the existence of evil and suffering is the perennial challenge facing those who believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God.

Two: We can blame God for not keeping promises he never made. For example, his word promises to “supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19), but it does not tell us how he will do this.

We can fall into a transactional religion, assuming that if we do what we think God wants us to do, he will be obligated to do what we want him to do. But he reminds us, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lᴏʀᴅ. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).


In yesterday’s discussion from Philippians 4, we learned to expect hard times and to seek the joy of Jesus in every circumstance. Today, let’s focus on four other practical ways we can respond to discouragement with triumphant faith. (For more biblical help with finding the courage to go on, please see my latest website article: “Jimmy Hoffa is still missing: The power of persistence and privilege of kingdom service.”) 


Consider these imperatives: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, my emphases).

Are you “anxious about anything” today?


Paul continues: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (v. 8). Marcus Aurelius advised, “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

How happy will your life be today?


Paul testified, “I have learned in whatever situation I am in to be content” (v. 11). This is because, as he noted, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (v. 13). According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, our most basic needs are for air, water, and other physical essentials. The same is true of our souls: “With you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light” (Psalm 36:9). Spiritual water and air come from the Spirit.

How close are you to your Source today?


Near the end of his letter, Paul wrote, “All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household” (Philippians 4:22). The apostle had written earlier, “It has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ” (Philippians 1:13). 

The “imperial guard” was the special guard of the emperor. It is hard to imagine how Paul the missionary could have gained an audience with them. However, when he became their prisoner, they became his audience. His extended time in Roman imprisonment also (perhaps through the imperial guard) opened doors to “Caesar’s household.” God redeemed Paul’s experience in Rome in ways unique to his experience in Rome.

Where is your “Rome”?

Charles Spurgeon noted, “Blessed are the waves that wash the mariner upon the rock of salvation!”

What “waves” are you encountering today?

Encountering Storms Even in the Center of God's Will

by Shane Idleman

When I came back to the Lord in my late twenties, one of the biggest surprises I encountered was that following God is not easy. We get sick and even go through financial, relational, emotional and mental 

My life actually became more difficult but a hundred times more rewarding. As I poured over the Word of God, I was constantly reminded that God is for us, therefore, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?

In short, nothing can prevent God from working in and through you. Even though demons are against you, the world hates you, carnal believers mock you and friends and family may ridicule you, God is with you!


A storm may be a time to build strength and endurance, or it could be a test. Although God's sovereignty is my sanity, following His plans often brings challenges.

We should have peace in the center of God's will but not freedom from difficult circumstances. At times, we may fight bouts of anxiety, depression and fear. Many biblical heroes fought hardship and anxiety while being in the center of God's will.

How can we determine if a challenge is the result of being in God's will or because of disobedience? First, check your motives. Why are you doing what you're doing? Second, focus on obeying God's Word. This is the only way to truly stay on course. Third, is there a besetting sin that God wants to deal with? Like Jonah, sometimes storms are the result of disobedience. 

Fourth, seek biblical counsel from those who will shoot it to you straight. Fifth, try to see challenges as opportunities for growth. Being in the center of God's will does not prevent challenges; it often creates them.


In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus tells the story of a wise man who built his house on solid rock (God's Word) rather than on shifting sand (man's philosophy). As a result, his house withstood the storm, but the foolish man who built his house on sand lost everything. Remember, both men encountered the storm; one was prepared, the other was not. Adversity comes to all of us. We should expect storms, but we can only weather them successfully when we look to God for strength. 

Genesis 25:21-24 gives a good example of this. Isaac pleaded with the Lord for his wife "because she was barren; and the Lord granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived." But it appears that Rebekah had a difficult pregnancy, as the children struggled within her. She said, "If all is well, why am I like this?" In other words, if I'm in God's will, why is this happening to me?


Rebekah's story is a great reminder that God's will is not about our comfort. He often gives us a crisis to conform us and a challenge to change us. The Lord told her that two nations were in her womb, and the fulfillment of that promise would not be easy.

Submitting to God's will can be challenging for most people. But Rebekah and Isaac submitted to God's plan. Submitting is yielding, and it's a crucial piece of God's will. What happens if you don't yield at an intersection? You wreck your car, and you may wreck your life, too.


I remember watching a news story about an enormous oil tanker that sprung a leak off in the ocean. Because the tanker was full of oil, millions of gallons gushed into the sea; it was a horrific sight and an environmental disaster. In the same way, when we're hit by a storm, what's inside spills out. When you're jostled or shaken, is anger, pride, unforgiveness, or selfishness exposed, or does adversity reveal patience, humility, forgiveness, and self-control?

Natural storms bring nourishing rainfall, and spiritual storms also nourish our souls when they deepen our walk with God. Natural storms break up toxic bacteria in water, and spiritual storms can break sin out of our lives and clean the landscape of our souls through repentance. This is why endurance is so important – it helps us keep the course during spiritual hurricanes. 


From time to time, you may feel like giving up and returning to your familiar comfort zone. Don't! Instead, press through. You are exercising a very important spiritual muscle called perseverance. There is a saying that ships are safest in the harbor, but they are not made for the harbor. Remember, you were designed to weather storms successfully. When life becomes difficult and challenging, set your sights on the goal, not on the challenge. You were not created to fail; you were created to succeed—make sure that you remember the true meaning of success.

Romans 5:3-4 tells us to "rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope." And Galatians 6:9 adds, "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."

One thing is certain, God will hold your vessel together even in the darkest and deepest storm as you cling to Him: "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).

To watch my sermons about knowing God's will, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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American Christian Association

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