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Good News: Goodwill find makes its way back to owner

After finding a purple heart medal awarded to a World War II Vet at the Goodwill store he worked at, Richard Zuehlke knew what he needed to do.  After agreeing with his bosses that the store was not a place for a purple heart to be floating around he put his plea on facebook to help find the man that it belonged to.  The Patriot Guard Rider was able to find the man’s family after about a month of searching.  To read more about this story, click here.

God Saves From Tornado

Who will be the next Pope—and—a man credits God with saving him from a tornado!

With Pope Benedict’s surprise announcement that he will step down at the end of February, Vatican-watchers are already trying to figure who will take his place.

The Vatican will hold a conclave before Easter to elect a new pontiff.  About 115 cardinals will vote to decide who will lead the world’s 1-billion Roman Catholics.

Possible candidates include Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian head of the Vatican’s Office for Bishops. There’s also Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana.  Arguments for a pope from the Third World are also expected, given that half of all Catholics now live south of the equator.

Since the traditional period of mourning that follows a pope’s death won’t have to be observed, the cardinals can convene quickly. They’ll vote twice each morning and twice each evening until a two-thirds majority is reached.

There’s no time limit, but the cardinals would like to have a new pope in place by March 24, when the Holy Week before Easter begins.  While Benedict won’t vote on his successor, he has hand-picked most of the cardinals who will.

As you may have heard in the news, several tornados struck the town of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, last week.

Jeff Revette is a National Guard soldier from Hattiesburg, and as a tornado roared toward him, he ran from his car and lay face-down in the grass next to the brick wall of a church. Debris scattered everywhere and electrical transformers were exploding all around him.

Twenty seconds later, bricks were strewn across a flattened pickup truck a mere 10 feet away and Jeff looked up to see toppled trees and downed power lines. But Jeff stood up, unharmed.  He told a reporter: “God is real. I am one blessed man.”

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM

Click here for the audio version of this article.

Americans Concerned About Losing Religious Freedoms

Millions of Americans, particularly evangelicals, feel religious freedoms have grown worse in the US during the past 10 years.  They also foresee further restrictions in the years to come.

According to a new study reported by ChristianPost.com, slightly more than half of adults say they are very or somewhat concerned that religious freedom in the U.S. will become more restricted in the next five years.

The study, conducted by the California based Barna Group, shows that those who are religious are more concerned than those who aren’t.

Examining religious groups separately, the survey found that 71 percent of evangelicals, 46 percent of practicing Protestants, and 30 percent of practicing Catholics are “very concerned” about their religious freedoms.

David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group, believes that societal changes are creating increasing tension about how freedom of religion ought to work itself out in the real world.

The study found that more than half of Americans  believe “religious freedom has become more restricted in the U.S. because some groups have actively tried to move society away from traditional Christian values.”

So how should we respond to research like this?  Well, certainly we should make sure that our First Amendment rights are never violated, and learn about what Christian legal groups are doing to protect those rights.  But I also thought about these words from the Apostle Peter:

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Click here for the audio version of this article.

Good News Story: Hope Rises From The Ashes

Ben and Norma are an elderly couple that spent last Thanksgiving in New York City.  They took in something like 6 plays, 3 jazz clubs, and a comedy club.  On their last day, they went back to their hotel, only to learn that their house had caught fire and they lost almost everything.  Read the story of how a community rallied around this couple to give hope, healing, and a fresh start.

Mini-Resolution No 18: Share Your Story

Today’s mini-challenge is to share your story with someone.  Now, this could mean sharing your entire testimony or just what you’re going through right now.  I’ll go first.

I’m working through a book that challenges me to make a list of 1,000 gifts that God has given me.  Not the obvious gifts, like family and friends, but the moments of blessing.  This has really helped me change my perspective because I’m always looking for the next gift to write down.  This morning, I opened a new jar of peanut butter and it struck me: this moment is a gift from God!  Call me crazy, but I LOVE being the first one to take a scoop out of the peanut butter jar.  I have always loved it, but it wasn’t until this morning that I saw it as a small moment of blessing from God.

It’s your turn!  Share your story by commenting below — or tell a friend today!