Archive for the ‘Christianity in America’ Category

Government education in America kicked God, prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments out of public schools over fifty years ago leaving a massive spiritual void. The doors were then flung open to Atheism, evolution, Humanism, witchcraft, Islam, Liberalism, sexual promiscuity, the LGBTQ agenda, and recently, Buddhism. 

Our tax dollars now support the teaching of an ABC curriculum: Anything But Christ. All the religions in the world cannot possibly be true, but in a secular culture influenced by postmodernism, people don’t want to hear there is only one way to God. But if you’re sincerely seeking truth, I suggest you take a look at Jesus before trying everything else. 

The coexist slogan was actually created to oppose Christianity, and demand that we keep our beliefs to ourselves. Public schools follow this philosophy and insist we conform and tolerate all behavior as well as other religious claims.

Just last year, middle school students were asked to write the Islamic declaration of faith known as the “shahada,” which pledges allegiance to the prophet Muhammad and the Muslim god, Allah. 

And now, the American Center for Law and Justice has received complaints from parents in eleven states so far about the growing practice of teachers incorporating Buddhism-based mindfulness practices into everyday curriculum of elementary school age children.

“Some students are required to participate in as many as three meditation or mindfulness sessions each school day. Most of the programs include audio recordings encouraging children to empty their minds or watch their thoughts float away on a cloud. Others encourage children to be one with the universe; …several teachers, upon learning of the undisputable religious connection between mindfulness and Buddhism, have ceased using the curriculum and practicing mindfulness in their classrooms.”

Christian-based teachings however, have been expelled from public schools. But wait. Isn’t it intolerant to give a pass to every other religion except Christianity? All religions make exclusive claims, but people hate Jesus because He is the only one to claim He is God. And yet, He predicted and accomplished His own death and resurrection!

It is disingenuous to just ignore these historical facts. C.S. Lewis once stated:

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.”

The inescapable question is who do you say Jesus is? Neutrality is not an option. Jesus said He is “the way, the truth and the life,” and that no one comes to God the Father except through Him (John 14:6).

Most people think their way is right. But when Christians say Jesus is the right way and the Bible is true, we’re often mocked and called hateful, intolerant, or judgmental. Hold on. Isn’t it hateful to mock and disrespect someone’s religious beliefs? And aren’t you judging by accusing Christians of being judgmental for saying we’re all sinners and only God forgives sins?

Christianity is the only religion founded on historical events that can be evaluated; events that were witnessed by thousands of people – most of whom were still alive when many New Testament books were written! Compelling evidence is available supporting the Bible as being reliable, accurate, and true.

But there’s a problem: recent Barna Group research shows nearly 60% of Americans agree with the philosophy:

“Many religions can lead to eternal life; there is no ‘one true religion.’

One reason might be we think we can be good without God. Ask a person if they’re going to heaven when they die and most will say yes, but it’s not because they believe in Jesus. They think they’re a good person and can be saved by working hard and doing more good than bad in this life.

To claim all religions are the same is either denial or ignorance. Similarities, perhaps; sameness, absolutely not. Every religion at its core is exclusive. Apologist and author, Ravi Zacharias said:

“All religions are not the same. All religions do not point to God; …At the heart of every religion is an uncompromising commitment to a particular way of defining who God is or is not, and accordingly, of defining life’s purpose.

Like it or not, it all comes down to what we believe about Jesus. And what about other belief systems? Who do other religions say Jesus is? 

  • Bahai teaches that Jesus was a messenger, a manifestation of God; that heaven and hell are not real, there is no Trinity, and all the different religions are part of one single plan by God. 
  • Buddhists say Jesus was just an enlightened man, that we will be reincarnated, and we can work our way to salvation or higher consciousness. There is an eight-fold plan to enlightenment, and a few goals of Buddhism include avoiding the extremes of pain and pleasure, and to eradicate worldly desires.
  • Christian Science rejects Jesus’ sacrifice and teaches that sin doesn’t exist so there’s no need for a savior. God is referred to as “the Father-Mother,” known as the Divine Mind, having no personhood or personality.
  • Free Masons believe in a “Supreme Being” also referred to as GAOTU, the “Great Architect Of The Universe, but the name of Jesus is prohibited in formal lodge ceremonies. 
  • Hinduism teaches reincarnation, karma, and that Jesus was a holy man and wise teacher, but one of millions of gods. There are many paths to God; Brahman is the source of all things and we all have divine nature.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus was Michael the Archangel, a created being, and that the cross is a pagan symbol. They deny Christ as God, deny the resurrection, and the Trinity. (Their own version of the Bible is the NWT)
  • Judaism teaches that Jesus was a false prophet and a liar. While many confirm Jesus did miracles, they claim that His power was from the Devil. (By the way, Jewish records affirm the execution of Jesus.)
  • Latter Day Saints Mormons believe that God was once a man, Jesus was created as the spirit brother of Lucifer; and that we can all become gods. The Book of Mormon is subtitled, “Another Testament of Jesus Christ” but it is clearly another Jesus.
  • Muslims think Jesus was just a prophet and healer. Islam also teaches that Jesus wasn’t crucified and did not really die on the cross (Judas took His place), that good works are needed for salvation; man is not made in the image of God, and the Qur’an and Hadith are authoritative in a Muslim’s life.
  • Roman Catholics believe salvation includes a process ranging from faith in Jesus – to faith plus good deeds and adherence to Church sacraments including confirmation, and the authority of the pope as well as Roman Catholic Church tradition and Catechism. (Catholic friends, please see below!) Your Church called me “anathema.”
  • Seventh Day Adventists teach that Jesus is Michael the Archangel, and SDA founder and prophetess Ellen G. White was a messenger of God, Satan will bear our sins, and when we die we will not exist anymore.
  • Unitarians think Jesus was no more divine than you or me but was a great teacher and a faith healer, they hold to the universal redemption of all mankind, deny the Trinity, and profess to have no real dogma. Unitarian Universalists use many biblical concepts and terms, but with non-biblical meanings. They are not Christian. 

Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord and God. No one measures up to God’s standard of righteousness.

Every one of these contradict essential teachings in the Bible. So who is Jesus? When He asked the Apostle Peter that question, he answered Him,

“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” (Matt. 16:16)

Just months after seeing Jesus resurrected, Peter stated:

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

No man or religion measures up to God’s perfect standard of righteousness. Psalm 18:30 states:

As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians saying that by Christ, “all things were created,” and that, “He is before all things;” (Col. 1:16)

Jesus is the Creator and He pre-existed with the Father and the Spirit. The Apostle John stated:

God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (1 John 5:11-12)

Only Jesus can free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you, and give your life eternal purpose. Stop striving and come back to God, repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. 

Though Paul wrote that Christians are God’s masterpieces and we were created to do good works (Eph. 2:10), we clearly understand, “the just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17),” and: 

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 

Other religions teach you to work, work, work, and do, do, do. Christianity teaches it’s done! Jesus’ last words on the cross were “It is finished.” He completed the work, the mission for which God sent Him to secure the eternal salvation for those who believe in Him.

There are many paths, but one way and Truth: Jesus. This is important to understand because we’re being bombarded with ideologies and false teachings today in schools, media, academia, Hollywood, and throughout our culture. Discern, test the spirits, and watch.

More blogs, videos, and resources at DavidFiorazo.com

Advertisements

Lovers of the Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge want to snuff out Christmas for the majority of Americans. Sure, you’re allowed to sing about Rudolf and Frosty, you can make it all about Santa and presents, jingle some bells or roast chestnuts by an open fire, but don’t you dare mention Jesus Christ and the real meaning of Christmas! 

It should be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the season that atheists and activists feverishly push the agenda to blot out God. 

Their hearts are so hardened, they not only refuse to believe in Jesus and Christmas, but since misery loves company, they don’t want anyone else to believe it either! They don’t mind the commercialism and greed around the holiday; they just insist you to say ‘happy holidays’ instead of Merry Christmas.

This joyful season began because God so loved the world, but they want to censor the celebration and eradicate Christ from Christmas. But is that even possible?

You cannot divorce the true, historical event of the Child born in Bethlehem from the God of creation and the reason we celebrate Christmas. But that doesn’t mean the atheists and God-haters won’t try.

After all, they were successful removing Christianity from public schools so they figure, why not ban Christmas as well?

More news stories are on the way, I’m sure. But here are a few to consider.

  • A middle school in Virginia recently decided not to allow any holiday songs that mention the name of Jesus.
  • In Newaygo, Michigan, secularists demand the elementary school remove three wise men displayed on the top of the school building.
  • A principal at a Nebraska school has banned Christmas carols, the colors red and green, candy canes, and Jesus.

This next one may be hard to believe,

  • Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer is being called “seriously problematic” for bullying, racism, sexism, and homophobia. 
  • Just one more: the Huffington Post and other far-left outlets are telling people that saying “Merry Christmas” excludes people, so teach children to say “Happy Holidays” instead. I agree with Paul Bois at the Daily Wire who says it’s hypocritical for business owners and managers to decorate their stores or websites in red, green and all the rest, play Christmas music and then say “Happy Holidays.” He adds:

Christmas is the national holiday; the reason for the season. The ornaments, the lights, the music, the food, the shopping even, all reflect that; …If it looks like Christmas, smells like Christmas, sounds like Christmas, then just say Christmas.

But the annual war on Christmas is here, like it or not, and we need to decide how to respond.

First, remember that these people are lost and are far from God. They hate Christmas and often Christians as well, and need our patience and prayers because they have no real hope or peace. They’ve not yet experienced the love God has for them if they’d just turn to Him and confess their sins. That’s why Jesus was born – “the Word became flesh…(John 1:14)” and preached, “Repent! The kingdom of God is at hand (Matthew 3:2).”

Second, make no mistake: this is a war on Jesus Christ. Those who are trying to blot out reminders of God by removing Christmas traditions like manger scenes and joy filled greetings simply don’t want to answer to the One who Scripture refers to as “Mighty God.”

The prophet Isaiah wrote about Jesus nearly 700 years before He was born:

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Apart from Jesus Christ, there is no lasting peace in this world. Know Jesus, know peace. What did Isaiah mean by referring to Him as Everlasting Father? Jesus is Lord and eternal, along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. There was never a time when Jesus did not exist. He continues from generation to generation, and His kingdom will never end.

The meaning of Christmas is based on true, actual events including angels appearing to shepherds (Luke 2) and a baby born at just the right time in history in order to redeem mankind (Galatians 4:4). Wishing someone a Merry Christmas is saying we desire for them to know the love, joy, and forgiveness of God as we do.

President of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins said:

Why is something as simple as saying “Merry Christmas” so important? It reminds a hurting world of the greatest gift we can receive in Jesus Christ, and it symbolizes the freedom to celebrate that gift.

Don’t just remember the reason for the season; that Christ was born to save mankind by His sacrifice on the cross. Share the good news of salvation and let your light shine by loving others and wishing them a heartfelt, “Merry Christmas!” And make sure to have one yourself!

This Thanksgiving season, there’s good news and there’s bad news and it may depend on your perspective. As you know, most of our founders came to this bountiful land to live in freedom from religious persecution, and their standards were based on the principles in the Holy Bible. And yet, here we are in 2018 – hanging on by a thread to the religious freedoms this nation has enjoyed – and has taken for granted. 

Though we’re seeing a toxic increase of hatred, we can be still thankful for our history – and especially for hope.

The very first Thanksgiving took place almost 400 years ago—long before the nation was even born. But prior to arriving on these shores, William Bradford, the founder of Plymouth colony settlement wrote:

“…Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honor of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony.”

God is a big part of our history and always has been. The United States Congress once issued an official Proclamation of Thanksgiving and Prayer on October 18, 1780, calling on Americans “to cause the knowledge of Christianity to spread all over the Earth.”

Sadly, true American history has been edited or even deleted from public school text books. We have forgotten that the good news of Jesus Christ was once foundational to our liberties as well as our lives and as a result of our forgetting, the nation has gone from spiritual to secular. Proverbs 14:34 states:

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God.

We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.

Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

Lincoln was right. He implored the people to confess their sins, and to pray for forgiveness and God’s mercy on America.

Today, we are plagued by political correctness and moral relativism, lawlessness, people calling good evil and evil good, a loss of values, and the breakdown of social order. Moreover, Hollywood and the culture have a far greater influence on the church than the church has in and on our culture.

Signs of the times indicate this nation is in rapid decline, but how long do we really have? This is up for debate and speculation. But let’s consider some of the cultural, social, and spiritual symptoms common to nations that have fallen or have been destroyed:

  • Increasing rebellion against God
  • A loss of economic discipline
  • Greed; increased materialism
  • Rising government bureaucracy and taxes
  • Declining education in quality, morality, and in measurable results
  • Lack of respect for authority
  • Policies based on feelings over facts
  • The acceptance of foreign gods and empty religious practices
  • The promotion of sin and perversion
  • A decline in value of human life leading to abortion and euthanasia

Perhaps instead of asking God to bless America we should be asking Him to save us! Repentance must come first, and Christians must lead by example. If your heart is heavy reading some of this, know there is a God who loves you and wants you to turn back to Him.

If you tend to be on social media or look at the news a little too much, at government, public schools, the corporate world, the entertainment industry or culture in general, it can be quite discouraging. But if we look at all the things we each have personally and at this country in which we’re blessed to live, we can be thankful and we can take heart.

First, there’s always hope in the promises of God which the Bible describes as an anchor to our souls during storms in life. Second, if Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of your faith, your foundation won’t be shaken as it is built upon the Rock and you know all this is temporary.

Third, as imperfect as it is, we still live in one of the most amazing countries on earth. We have countless blessings, conveniences, and advantages as citizens of this beacon of freedom. Why do you think millions of less fortunate people dream about living in America? Many still risk their lives to come here.

And fourth, if you woke up today, opened your eyes and got out of bed; if you generally have your health, family in Christ, food on the table or in a refrigerator; if you have clean, running water, electricity, a house to live in, a car to drive, a job to go to and even some bills that are paid, you are abundantly blessed more than 75% of people in countries around the world.

I am particularly grateful for each day because by the grace of God, I had a successful heart operation in April of this year.

Every day we have so much to be thankful for, so let’s –

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His mercy endures forever.Psalm 136:1

O God, restore us and cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved. Psalm 80:3

In Texas of all places, a few public school students sat down at an empty table in the lunchroom to quietly pray for a classmate who was in an accident. The school principal, Lee Frost, immediately walked over to them and warned them: “Don’t do that again.” It’s as if they just dropped f-bombs, looked at porn, vandalized something, or bullied another student.

But sadly, at plenty of schools – funded by our tax dollars – the environment isn’t exactly supportive or friendly to expressions of the Christian faith, the Bible, or the name of Jesus. Students shouldn’t be forced to go outside or pray in secret, especially when they’re on their own time. 

Jesus taught Christians to let their light shine before others so people might be drawn to Him. But the postmodern, progressive education system and liberal teachers today (not all, but most) have been on a collision course with the Bible and the Constitution.

The school principal went so far as to tell these eighth-grade students to hide behind the curtain on the school cafeteria stage if they prayed again during lunch. In other words, Christians should stay out of sight.

Lawyers with First Liberty Institute, representing Hannah Allen, one of the students, stated:

“By mandating that Hannah and the other students hide when they pray, Principal Frost sends a message to Hannah and all the other students in the school that prayer is illegitimate, disfavored, and should not occur in public; By quarantining the praying students as if to shield the other students form an infectious disease, Frost acts with religious hostility impermissible under the Constitution and demeans the religious beliefs of Hannah and her friends.”

It’s worse with each passing decade; there is less and less tolerance of the light of Christianity within the increasing darkness of the public school system. 

What would happen if a few Muslim students gathered in the same way and prayed? I think you know the answer to that. In fact, more schools across the country have openly allowed religious instruction on Islam while practically banning the Christian faith. 

In this Texas case, the offending prayer took place during lunch, not during class instruction time. Students are allowed to talk and move around the cafeteria. The problem is many children and parents don’t know their rights.

The Constitution hasn’t changed, even though some would love to rewrite it – just like today’s history text books have been rewritten. Fortunately in this nation, our speech is still protected by the First Amendment. 

This is perhaps a double-edged sword: on one hand, going back to the 1960s there has been an agenda to remove God from public schools and the culture. On the other hand, too many Christian leaders and parents have quietly backed out of culture, avoiding any controversial issue and choosing not to take a stand for the faith, the gospel, and for truth. 

When will we learn that if we do not use our precious religious freedoms, we’re in danger of losing them?

The Bible hasn’t changed and Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Let’s follow the example of the early church: after being threatened and told not to speak the name of Jesus, His disciples said, “We must obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29).”

Bold faith is contagious, and it stiffens the spines of other believers. Pray for these kids and young Christian students across the U.S. in government schools who are dealing with discrimination and intolerance. And let’s remember to be good examples of Christ (shine) and speak up ourselves.

*originally published at Freedom Project Media

If Jesus rebuked many of the early churches for straying, leaving their first love, putting up with false doctrine, or for being lukewarm, how could we, American Christians, think He wouldn’t harshly rebuke many of our seeker-sensitive, shallow, lukewarm churches today?

Some might claim the Church is thriving here in the United States of Entertainment. I would ask them why then doesn’t it translate out into society. Who is driving culture today, Christians or atheists and secular progressives? Biblical morality or godlessness?

The truth is too many professing believers have generally conformed to the world and have failed to defend and preserve culture through Judeo-Christian values. We are to be salt in society: to not only flavor and enhance culture but to influence it as well. Salt is a preservative, but it can also irritate, especially if it touches an exposed wound. Paul told believers at Ephesus to walk as children of light and,

Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; (Eph. 5:11)

Too many in American churches do just the opposite! We accommodate popular sins (abortion and homosexuality). Why? Because the Supreme Court ruled they are legal, of course. But just because something is legal does not make it moral. Has the Supreme Ruler and Judge changed His mind on certain sins? Not at all!

We have watered down the Word of God and have lost our saltiness and power to transform society for good. Some larger churches have a reputation for being alive, but their discipleship and doctrine is rather ineffective. I attended a megachurch for several years and kept running into unregenerate and unconverted people, many of whom thought they were saved. 

God woke me up at 3 AM recently and this message is the result. My heart was heavy; we were wrapping up our Bible study on the book of Colossians – a church Paul commended for their faith and love, by the way – and we were examining the geography of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) and many cities that had Christian churches in the first several centuries.

*The following is a partial transcript to the sermon from video:

In Revelation chapter two and three, Jesus harshly rebuked five out the seven churches within the same area. I couldn’t help but wonder what He would think of churches in America today. It’s a sobering thought.

Would Jesus rebuke us, Christians in the United States of Entertainment, the way He did several churches in Asia Minor? 

Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3 So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. Revelation 3:2-3

This quote has been attributed to several people, one of whom is Dwight L. Moody:

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.”

We will all stand before the Lord one day and be judged for how we spent our time. Your husband or wife won’t be there, neither will your children, coworkers, or friends on social media. It will be you alone before Jesus. And that should sober up every one of us in this room.

Here are some important QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  1. Is your life bearing fruit for the Lord Jesus Christ? JN 15:8
  2. Are we passionate about eternal and spiritual things? COL 3:2
  3. Who or what is our first love? What’s our main focus? 6:33
  4. Have you conformed to our culture – or to Christ? ROM 12:2
  5. Do we love this world more than we love God, His Word? 1 JN 2:15-17
  6. Are you prepared for persecution when it comes? 5:11-12

Are we, individual believers in Jesus who make up the church in America, succeeding at what’s most important? Are we loving the Lord God, loving our neighbors, preaching the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ alone, making disciples, raising godly children, impacting culture, and encouraging the faith of other believers?

Or are we just giving God lip service?

American churches, especially many of the larger, higher profile mega-churches, often have a good reputation simply due to their popularity, numbers or size (quantity). But this is often a very inaccurate picture of the overall health, discipleship, and maturity (quality) of a church. Is the body of Christ being built up in faith and equipped for ministry? (Eph. 4:11-12)

According to Barna research and several other studies and surveys, it appears American Christianity is producing the most biblically illiterate church members in history, confused about what the Bible teaches, unable to fully understand let alone explain and defend the essentials of the faith. What ever happened to discipleship? We can learn from the earliest Christian churches that it doesn’t take long to stray from truth.

Revelation 3:1  “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.

Wake-up! Repent! Notice what Jesus also says to the church in Sardis:

5 He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

*We all have ears – but – are we listening? What is Jesus saying to the churches in America who have grown comfortable and complacent? What is He saying to individual believers? Do YOU have ears to hear from God?

Is your life bearing fruit for the Lord Jesus Christ?

We just finished the book of Colossians in our weekly Bible study and looking at the geography at that time, we talked about the many early Christian churches in Asia Minor which is modern day Turkey.

…The Colossian church was just 12 miles from the church of Laodicea and about 95 miles from Ephesus, a booming city at the time. Laodicea was also prospering and growing, located next to a new trade route, they had it made.

But that’s what lots of people would say about America, which is why we’re making this comparison today. We are prosperous, proud, and self-sufficient. Look at our big and many churches!

May we take to heart the warnings to the early churches:

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked; …19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

READ FULL POST, SERMON TEXT & SHARE!

There are some bizarre, outrageous, and flat-out unbiblical things going on in lots of churches. One so-called church sells beer, another worships Mother Earth, others use secular music during worship, others ordain gay leaders, and still others offer yoga. People are free to do whatever they want to try and make God fit their ideas and to offer services that cater to the desires of their congregations, but is this what church is supposed to be? 

What happened to the emphasis on teaching God’s word of truth including sin and repentance, justification, God’s wrath, prophecy, future judgment, and sanctification?

Last week I reported on one of the most heart-wrenching stories I’ve tackled in quite some time. The Roman Catholic Church is reeling from the massive scandal involving homosexuality among priests and the rampant cover-up of sexual abuse that has continued for many decades.

But many Evangelical and Protestant churches have leadership problems of their own. This includes the progressive, seeker-sensitive Willow Creek Church in Chicago whose lead pastors and elders resigned in light of the Bill Hybels allegations of sexual harassment.

Countless churches seem to have lost focus and have gotten off track. We have lost our reverence for a holy God, and practically abandoned the once-solid foundation of the teaching of Scripture which is the primary purpose of the church.

Many conferences and church services today barely resemble the early church and what the Bible teaches, let alone point to Jesus Christ. Some people create gods and church services to suit their own interests while others rewrite Scriptures to justify their lifestyles.

Last month in St. Louis, a controversial conference took place calledRevoice,” apparently aiming to normalize homosexuality and affirm those claiming to be “LGBTQ Christians.” Can you say, oxymoron?

Christian talk show host, Janet Mefferd called for the unbiblical movement to be repudiated, saying:

“Revoice is incremental gay activism, designed to eventually lure conservative evangelicals into accepting ‘gay Christianity,’” 

Next, there’s a progressive church in Santa Cruz, California that not only sells beer, but plans to donate proceeds to big abortion business, Planned Parenthood. Maybe the consumption of alcohol helps the pastor’s sermons sound better. This is a guy who preaches that Jesus was a Palestinian “killed by white supremacy.”

And who can forget our expose back in May on the San Francisco church that hosted what they called aBeyoncé Mass?” It was quite an interesting take on worshiping, “Our Mother who is in heaven,” and endorsing Beyonce as a role model for young girls.

Then there’s a church in Atlanta that put a new twist in their Sunday morning worship show by adding scantily-clad aerialists as a regular part of their services. ‘Why in the world?’ you may ask. Self-appointed “Apostle” Bryan Meadows actually said:

“Because they shouldn’t have to go to the circus to use the gifts that God gave them!”

Just one more or we’d be here all day. Serita Jakes, wife of controversial, megachurch minister, T.D. Jakes, gleefully posted photos on social media of women doing yoga at the church during a women’s event on wellness.

Never mind the practice of yoga is a rooted in Hinduism, a 5,000-year old polytheistic religious system. Its purpose is to bypass the mind and yoke or “unite” a person’s spirit with the Hindu god, Brahman.

Heather Clark at Christian News Network reminds us:

 “… Even the traditional Hindu greeting, Namasté, that is said at the end of yoga classes, is spiritual. When translated, it means, ‘The god in me bows down to (or salutes) the god in you.’”

The Spirit of Christ bows down to no one; He alone is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the only true, living God who is worthy of our true worship.

Romans 8:9 states:

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

And Exodus 20:3 states:

You shall have no other gods before Me.

Prior to building one of America’s first mega-churches, author, pastor, and motivational speaker, Robert Scheuller literally went door to door in the 1970s in Orange County, California, and asked people what they wanted in a church. Not what lost, hurting sinners need, but what they ‘want.’ This of course, has led to the “mega-church” and emergent church movement.

Men focused on church growth took a cue from Schueller and the rest is history. This has been a recipe for disaster in the American church, and it has led to well-deserved comparisons with the lukewarm church of Laodicea in Revelation chapter 3, and a better understanding of why Paul wrote a second letter to Timothy. In the last days, men would be:

“treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power…” (2 Timothy 4:4-5)

Rather than be active participants in learning and sharing God’s Word, too many church members have been conditioned to sit back and listen to a program or presentation, and perhaps to a bunch of funny stories or analogies instead of being challenged by sound doctrine and the harder teachings of the Bible. Then there’s the music. Lots of talented praise teams are themselves being praised for performing entertaining, although often heartfelt music rather than leading the people to the Throne in the worship of a holy God.

A.W. Tozer once said:

“The church that can’t worship must be entertained. And men who can’t lead a church to worship must provide the entertainment. That is why we have the great evangelical heresy here today–the heresy of religious entertainment.”

We need to get back to the basics.

True disciples of Jesus Christ in the early church focused on four primary things: teaching the word of God with a focus on Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection, prayer, communion, and fellowship with other Christians (Acts 2:42). They made disciples and they went out and shared the good news. They didn’t care about the approval of people – they sought to obey God. Their faith in Christ cost most of them their lives.

Today, too many churches use entertaining concepts and gimmicks to attract people, but then a new problem arises: in order to keep them in the comfy seats (and giving their tithes), you need to avoid controversial issues and often dilute the gospel so they won’t be offended.

What happens when you give people what they want instead of what they need which is Christ and His truth? Rather than being fed and equipped, countless hungry souls are walking out of many American churches feeling empty and unprepared to do God’s work. This must change.

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Is. 40:31 

Two famous people took their own lives last week, and the same week, 850 others committed suicide in the U.S. alone. Every human being is equally valuable and created by God for a purpose, so how many more deaths will it take for us to admit we have an epidemic of hopelessness? Maybe it’s time we address it in a different way.

In less than twenty years, suicide rates in America have increased more than thirty percent in half the country; it’s on the rise in almost every state. Nearly 45,000 Americans died by suicide in 2016, and unlike the rich and famous, you will never know their names. 

TV personality Anthony Bourdain and designer Kate Spade took their own lives, and both were famous and wealthy. Why are we surprised when things of this world fail to satisfy?

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. – and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s one of only three causes of death (Alzheimer’s, drug overdoses) that are increasing. Worldwide, someone dies by suicide every forty seconds! This is beyond tragic.

A recent CDC study suggests more than half of those who commit suicide did nothave a mental health condition. Over half. Some had problems involving relationships, finances, health, or substance abuse while others didn’t have any of these. But the end result was the same.

Books and articles have been written, studies done, articles published. I don’t mean to over simplify a very serious and complicated issue here, but as important as it is to diagnose and treat (counseling, meds, etc.) mental illness, it’s even more important to acknowledge the often ignored spiritual aspect.

There’s a reason we can be in a room full of people and still feel lonely. We’re just passing through this life, and our true citizenship is in Heaven (Philippians 3:20).

C.S. Lewis once stated:

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

…In a culture that has embraced narcissism and moral relativism in which there are no fixed absolutes, we end up seeking our own happiness and meaning. Most of us end up living by a morality of shallow self-fulfillment and temporary pleasure.

From the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly to the addict, the jobless, homeless, or hopeless, every human being is worthy of dignity and respect. It’s time we address the problem God’s way…

Read full post at DavidFiorazo.com

You’ve probably heard the U.S. Supreme Court decided in favor of Colorado baker, Jack Phillips; that the State violated his religious freedom when they punished him for operating his business according to his Christian faith.

Even though the Court ruled 7-2 Monday in favor of Phillips who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, we must not relax. This is good, yes, but it is an incremental victory in the religious freedom battle. Expect LGBTQ activists to regroup and react with force.

Unbelievably, Colorado Civil Rights Commissioner, Diann Rice once compared Phillips to a Nazi because he believes in natural marriage. Ironically, Phillip’s father was a WWII veteran who helped storm the beaches of Normandy and liberate Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany.

Regarding the decision, Justice Kennedy wrote:

“The Commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,”

Unfortunately, the court said the broader issue of whether a business can deny service of gays and lesbians “must await further elaboration.”

But for now, as Justice Clarence Thomas added:

“Because the Court’s decision vindicates Phillips’ right to free exercise, it seems that religious liberty has lived to fight another day.”

Good for Jack Phillips, but it seems the Court lacked courage to tackle the First Amendment question which is why some are calling the 7-2 ruling “narrow.”

This battle is spiritual and Satan is a defeated foe, but at the same time, expect the bullying of Christian business owners to increase. Preachers of tolerance have no problem forcing others to live in a way that goes against deeply held beliefs.

For example, an Oregon business filed a lawsuit last week against a church that turned down hosting an LGBT event in a building owned by the church due to its “morals clause.”

This just months after a Christian couple, also in Oregon, lost their bakery over their refusal to bake a cake for a gay wedding and were forced to pay activists $135,000 by court ruling. Former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Aaron and Melissa Klein, had their freedoms trampled when they lost their appeal last December. 

In this new case, Holy Rosary Church of Portland, is being sued by Ambridge Event Center, who claims their business was damaged by the decision. Ambridge once rented out a space for various events but the church rejected a request from an African-American LGBT support group.

But churches in America can no longer freely abide by the moral teachings of the Bible. And if you fail to comply, look out! They are seeking – get this – $2.3 million in damages!

Christians seem to have two options: go along with and celebrate sinful behavior that is against biblical teachings, or pay the penalty – whatever price they see fit to enforce. So what now?

The late theologian, John Stott summed it up well when he said:

“We should not ask, ‘What is wrong with the world?’ for that diagnosis has already been given. Rather we should ask, “What has happened to the salt and light?”

How did we reach this present darkness where the foundations of not only culture but the church in America are crumbling? I’ve written a few books on the topic, but these things are certain: leftists will not relent on their agendas, and though God is still on His throne, Christians clearly do not have the influence we used to have on the nation. If we did, things such as the definition and meaning of marriage would not be debated.

We sure could use more watchmen on the wall willing to speak the truth in love and stand against evil at the same time. It is possible and necessary to do both.

Don’t think this is just another isolated incident where Islam is being favored in public schools. The point here is simple: either teach on all religions equally or don’t teach on any of them.

Since God, the Bible, the name of Jesus, and the Ten Commandments have been expelled from government-run schools in America, mounting evidence proves – decade after decade – every other belief system including atheism, humanism, secular progressivism, and Islam have been allowed.

A new report out of West Virginia says Mountain Ridge middle school students in Gerrardstown were asked to practice writing the Islamic declaration of faith known as the “shahada” in Arabic calligraphy. Translated into English, the statement claims, “There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

As part of the world religions unit of the class, the lesson plan leads students to profess the socio-political religion of Islam as true and to lead them to think Allah is God, the Creator.

Apparently, the 30-page section “Islam in the World Today” contains anti-Christian sentiment and required seventh graders to read segments of the Qur’an, learn Muslim prayer poses, and understand the Five Pillars of Islam.

The Muslim faith is both controversial and in direct contradiction to Christianity, so parents were outraged, especially after hearing students would be given a detention slip if they didn’t do the assignment, according to reports. The teacher now claims the assignment was optional.

Both Christianity and Islam promote a standard of morality and doing good deeds, but the god of Islam is not the same as the living God of the Holy Bible. The Muslim holy book, the Qur’an, considers Jesus a prophet, but not Lord or the Savior. There is also no Trinity in Islam so the Holy Spirit is irrelevant to them.

Allah had no son, but the Bible teaches Jesus is God’s Son. He was “with God in the beginning (John 1:1),” the Word who became flesh (John 1:14). Muslims deny that Jesus died on the cross to sacrifice Himself for our sins – a foundation of the Christian faith – as is His resurrection from the dead after three days in a tomb.

Packets were previously handed out to students on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Judaism, but one parent pointed out that the Islam packet contained passages from the Qur’an. Not surprisingly, no Bible verses were included in the packet on Christianity.

More parents across the country have also objected to a Department of Education program called “Access Islam.” According to the Clarion Project, the federally-funded program is directed at children from grades 5-12 and is also featured on various websites, including PBS Learning Media. The Smithsonian also promotes the course as does the United Nations.

A video from the course prominently features a Christian convert to Islam, who declares emotionally how he found the true religion without any “intermediaries.” Concerned parents have noted the U.S. Department of Education provides no comparable study or promotion of any other religion.

One high school homework assignment obtained by a news outlet revealed the question: “How did Muslim conquerors treat those they conquered?” The correct answer was, “With tolerance, kindness and respect.” So, invading armies annihilated their enemies with tolerance, kindness, and respect? Wow.

The prophet Muhammad was a violent warrior who led the slaughter of many people. Islam means “submission” and many were executed because they did not submit to Allah. For those open to truth, just do a little research.

In a breaking story out of New York City, parents are outraged after a public school held a moment of silence last Tuesday for the people killed in Gaza. A Beacon High School public address announcement urged students to pause and honor those who died in the clash at the Israeli border during protest of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. The terrorist organization, Hamas publicly confirmed 50 of the 62 people who dies were members of their militant Islamic group.

What about statements about peace in the Qur’an? “Abrogation” is a recurring theme whenever conflicting verses of the Quran are discussed. It means to cancel, repeal, or officially revoke something. In this context, the later or more recent verses calling for jihad and Holy War override earlier verses counseling tolerance or peace.

A few years ago in Olmstead Falls, Ohio, parents tried for years to raise awareness and get the school board to change some lessons and history textbooks that stated Muslims historically “practiced religious tolerance” by requiring Christians and Jews to pay extra taxes. There was no mention that the alternative was often death. They conveniently left those facts out.

Jenny McKeigue was notified by her oldest son that during class his teacher played a reality TV episode of “30 Days: Muslims and America” about converting to Islam.

Author and executive editor of The Federalist, Joy Pullman reported in 2016:

In “30 Days: Muslims and America,” an imam tells a Christian man attempting to live as a Muslim for 30 days that Muslims and Christians worship the same god. The Christian struggles with that idea but ultimately accepts it.

And in Maryland, La Plata High School was also accused of favoring Islam by forcing children to profess the Muslim statement of faith and requiring them to memorize the Five Pillars of Islam, according to a 2015 federal lawsuit filed by the Thomas Moore Law Center. In this case, John and Melissa Wood accused the school of Islamic indoctrination and propaganda, and when Mr. Wood complained, the school banned him from campus! 

There have also been similar stories in California, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Virginia, and others – all receiving extremely little attention in the politically-correct, progressive media.

Discriminating against those holding to the Christian worldview while promoting other religious views is unconstitutional. So where is the Freedom from Religion foundation when it comes to Islam being taught in government schools?

There should be no confusion over the stark contrasts between the worldviews of Christianity and Islam. It is misguided to focus on a few common teachings without acknowledging major doctrines that are diametrically opposed to one another.

Open Doors reports on persecution worldwide  and the following are monthly averages: 255 Christians are killed, 104 Christians are abducted, and 180 Christian women are raped, sexually harassed or forced into marriage. 

I am not suggesting the Christian faith should be the only one allowed in public schools – although that is what took place for over a hundred years in America when our country was very different morally and spiritually. I am asking for fairness and justice.

If schools discuss one religion, then others should be allowed as well.

But the left won’t go for that because they believe in the total separation of Christianity and state. Keep Jesus out, and anything else goes. Maybe they know if the Bible is allowed back in schools, more children will end up believing it. Why? Because it’s true.

*Originally published at Freedom Project Media

Five recent news stories indicate a concerning trend in America; a shift from disagreeing with Christians to discriminating against them. Sadly, these attacks are slowly becoming accepted.

With a campaign of redefined words such as ‘intolerance,’ it often starts with mild persecution.

New Yorker magazine recently suggested Chick-fil-A, the third largest restaurant franchise in America, doesn’t belong in their blue state because of the alleged “infiltration” of what one writer called “pervasive Christian traditionalism.”

That’s right, a corporation built on family values, hard work, and integrity, and whose stated mission is to “glorify God,” who also donates thousands of pounds of food to the homeless is somehow a threat to the liberal stronghold of New York.

Down south, a Miami Dolphins cheerleader went public because she was discriminated against for not only being a Christian, but apparently a virgin as well. As a cheerleader, Kristin Ann Ware was also criticized for posting a Bible verse on social media with a photo of her baptism.

Over in Minnesota, a school bus driver and pastor was recently removed from his route for praying with students on the way to school, even though students would volunteer to lead prayer. 

Next, you probably heard liberal Democrat and anti-Christian Senator, Corey Booker, actually believes that those who have a biblical worldview are unfit to serve our country.

At a confirmation hearing for Secretary of State, Booker grilled Mike Pompeo, but it wasn’t about foreign policy or any of the most pressing national concerns. He demanded to know Pompeo’s stance on homosexual sex and asked, “Do you believe gay sex is a perversion?” Can you imagine a Muslim, Jew, or anyone else being asked this kind of question?

Ben Shapiro of the Daily Wire writes:

Here’s the real issue: when your religion is government, and government is god, you cannot tolerate any other God before it — and you assume that all those who believe in God wish to mobilize government in order to impose God’s will.

Booker’s line of questioning was flat-out unconstitutional, but did you hear the media mention it – if they reported on it at all? The Constitution clearly forbids religious tests for public office. Period.

But here’s the most disturbing story: a bill was passed in California that could ban counseling services and the sale of books expressing orthodox Christian views about sexual immorality. This pro-homosexual bill would ban the Bible! (Images of Nazi’s burning books in the 1930s may come to mind.)

Assembly Bill 2943 would make it unlawful to engage in transactions offering to pursue “sexual orientation change efforts with an individual.”

National Review’s David French says California state law would lock in a sexual-revolution orthodoxy that hurts the very people they seek to protect. The bill defines “change efforts” as “any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions…”

French adds, “…no state legislature should be permitted to ban a “good” (such as a book) or a “service” (like counseling) that makes these arguments and provides them to willing, consenting consumers.”

This would not only outlaw certain speech, but California seems willing to ignore the constitutional guarantee of the free exercise of and enjoyment of religion without discrimination.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration, and if they pass it, radical CA Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign it. And if the bill becomes law, we know from past history what happens in California doesn’t stay in California.

In recent years, Christians believing in the Bible and natural marriage have been suspended or fired from their jobs, sued and taken to court, slandered, some have lost businesses, savings, and have been viciously attacked in the press and on social media.

How can we respond? Stay the course. Don’t fret and don’t be surprised by any of this. Jesus told His followers they would be hated because of Him, and we cannot compare what’s happening in America with what our brothers and sisters in Christ endure in hostile nations. Press on, my friend; God is faithful.

*Originally published at Freedom Project Media.