Archive for the ‘David’s Blog’ Category

Celebrated by most media, by Hollywood, the National Education Association, People Magazine, and a vast number of other publications, transgender TV star and teen role model, Jazz Jennings is preparing to undergo what is being called, “gender confirmation surgery” next week on June 26. Jazz is a seventeen year-old male – and surgeons are creating female parts for him.

This is the wacky world kids are growing up in today, and activists are pushing to make it the new normal. In fact, things are quite upside down. For instance, I do believe that too many kids are obsessed with video games, but the World Health Organization now says being transgender is no longer a mental disorder – but playing video games is! Wow.

So with full support from his parents, Jazz Jennings started using hormone blockers at age 11 so he never went through puberty. The blocker was an implant in his arm preventing testosterone in order to avoid further development of male characteristics such as facial hair and a deep voice.

They used to call it a sex change. Then, in blatant rebellion against God, the Creator it was sexual reassignment surgery. But the latest is being touted as “gender confirmation surgery.” The procedures are said to help transgender people have an outward appearance that matches how they feel inside.

To most of us, this is tragic and heartbreaking! Jazz said, “This is something I’ve wanted my entire life…” Jennings explained he’ll be undergoing a new experimental procedure where doctors will take tissue from his stomach to form the inside of a vagina.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), this surgery gives “transgender individuals the physical appearance and functional abilities of the gender they know themselves to be;”

For a male-to-female transition, that may include facial surgery, top surgery (for breasts) and/or bottom surgery, to reconstruct male genitalia to female genitalia. In 2016, 3,200 gender reassignment surgeries were performed in the US, an increase of 20% from the previous year.

I hope you’re not shocked we’re talking about this. Children as young as six years-old are now hearing about it at school. Just like homosexuality, gender identity and transgender individuals are being normalized. In a recent interview, Jazz proudly exclaimed, “I’m going to have a vagina!”

But wait a minute. Let’s set aside biology, chromosomes, DNA, science and of course, the Bible for a minute. They’re now blaming those who disagree with this twisted ideology for increasing suicide attempt rates.

Adults who undergo sex reassignment—even in Sweden, which is among the most LGBT-affirming countries—have a suicide rate nearly 20 times greater than that of the general population. Clearly, sex reassignment is not the solution to gender dysphoria.

The promoters of this agenda have people referring to males such as Jazz Jennings as “she.” Surgery is going to remove part of his male anatomy in order to construct a part of the female anatomy. If she is already a she, why would there need to be such a serious cosmetic procedure to make her into who she already insists she is?

Often left out of this discussion are parents. Some impose this dangerous ideology on their children while others allow their child to choose whatever he or she wants to be. These are life-changing, destructive decisions so what is the parent’s role in this? Professionals including the American College of Pediatricians have strongly warned that “transition-affirming protocol is child abuse.”

Its president, Michelle Cretella, M.D. stated:

I have witnessed an upending of the medical consensus on the nature of gender identity. What doctors once treated as a mental illness, the medical community now largely affirms and even promotes as normal.

A person’s sex is an objective biological fact determined genetically at conception in the womb by the allocation of X and Y chromosomes. This is permanent – throughout a person’s lifetime – and not a social construct.

Next, the Christian Medical and Dental Association states:

“Among those who identify as transgender, use cross-sex hormones, and undergo sex reassignment surgery, there is well-documented increased incidence of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, and risky sexual behaviors.”

Confused? So are those who have forgotten what the Bible teaches about how God designed us, about marriage, procreation, and the distinctions between male and female.

Is there any hope? Always; but it depends on what you place your hope in!

Former transgender, Walt Heyer talks about his painful past including a lost childhood, failed marriage, a family ripped apart, and a ruined career not to mention health and physical issues due to cosmetic surgeries.

Take not that TV shows, magazines, and media fail to interview any of the scores of people who left the homosexual or transgender lifestyles. Truth is not good for LGBTQ business. Heyer said decades of gender confusion persisted even after his sex transition. We rarely hear about those suffering long-term consequences of transgenderism.

Fortunately, Walt Heyer found freedom and peace in Jesus.

“I turned to Christ and away from transgenderism. …I had to stop living in defiance of God and stop demanding that the church, God, and everyone else make accommodations for my delusions. Demanding that people use my preferred female pronoun name was childish.”

The transgender “T” in LGBTQ was custom built into the agenda decades ago, patiently waiting for the right time to be rolled out. That time is now; a time in which truth is being redefined.

We need to respond with compassion to those who are struggling with gender dysphoria and anyone immersed in sinful lifestyles, but know the facts, and be prepared to offer the hope of Jesus Christ to those who are lost.

WATCH & SHARE VIDEO!

Advertisements

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.

Vice President Mike Pence made a surprise appearance at the Watchmen on the Wall conference in our nation’s capital last week and implored pastors to share the good news of Jesus Christ. God bless him. But it’s what he said about the Johnson Amendment that we should peak our curiosity.

I don’t remember any president or vice president talking so openly and frequently about the Christian faith. Mike Pence boldly implored the people:

“Keep preaching the good news. Keep preaching in season and out of season as the Bible says. Always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have,” (2 Tim. 4:1-2, 1 Peter 3:15)

Pence also received a standing ovation when he emphasized the fact President Trump is the most pro-life president in American history.

Because the Trump administration is strong on religious liberty, it makes sense he mentioned the unconstitutional Johnson Amendment, which restricts religious leaders when it comes to talking about politics.

Mike Pence stated:

“We are going to fight until we fully repeal the Johnson Amendment from the Internal Revenue Code, but it will no longer be enforced under this administration,”

No longer enforced. What a statement! So, what exactly is the Johnson Amendment and is there really an agenda to silence Christians?

The Johnson Amendment was passed in 1954 by Congress as an amendment to section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code… stating that entities that are exempt from federal income tax (such as non-profit groups) cannot “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements) any political campaign on behalf of – or in opposition to – any candidate for public office.”

This flawed law paved the way for the growing censorship of conservatives, particularly when it comes to restrictions on what can be said during church services.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Then Texas Democrat, Lyndon B. Johnson, was a powerful liberal running for reelection as Senator, but two [conservative] tax-exempt groups were opposing him and passing out literature during the campaigns. He complained to the IRS but found what they were doing was perfectly legal, so he sought other options to fight them.

Johnson shrewdly appeared on the Senate floor on July 2, 1954, and offered his amendment to a pending, massive, tax code overhaul bill. Records indicate an absence of committee hearings on the bill. No legislative analysis took place to examine the effect the bill would have, particularly on churches and religious organizations.

The amendment was simply created to protect Johnson. Why this horrendous law has not been repealed yet is mind-boggling.

Sadly, due to confusion, hype, and misinformation about the Johnson Amendment, religious leaders in America have been unnecessarily self-censoring for decades! The Left uses it to bully Christian pastors and groups with threats of losing their nonprofit status, and they wrongly insist religious leaders must not speak about the Bible as it relates to political and social issues – which are moral issues!

As a result, freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion have been trampled on. A huge amount of people now think the Bible (church) has nothing to say about politics (state) and that it’s illegal for pastors to address candidates and where they stand in light of Scripture or church doctrines.

We need to understand something here: the IRS has never fined a pastor or church. In fact, every year thousands of Christian leaders across the country purposely talk about politics during church services on what is called Pulpit Freedom Sunday.

This of course won’t stop those bent on removing Christian influence from society. President Ronald Reagan once said:

“The Constitution was never meant to prevent people from praying. Its declared purpose was to protect their freedom to pray.”

The truth is every time a law is passed, someone’s morality is legislated. Government affects every one of us. Man’s greatest problem is sin and our greatest need is forgiveness, and have every right to speak the truth in love.

The annual Watchman on the Wall conference hosted by the Family Research Council operates under the belief that problems facing America and this world ultimately require a spiritual solution. This could not be truer because the good news of Jesus Christ is the power of God to salvation.

If our hope is in people, politics, or possessions, we will eventually wind up empty. If however, we place our trust in the only One who can forgive and save us, we will have an unshakable hope and a secure future inheritance.

Are we willing to speak the truth to this generation including what the Bible teaches about sin, repentance, and salvation through faith in Jesus?

The IRS is not a true threat nor is government the ultimate authority! Quite frankly, if a pastor is worried about his non-profit status or being fined, then who is he serving, Caesar or Christ?

For the rest of us, real Christianity cannot be confined behind the walls of any church.

Originally published at Freedom Project Media!

Comments are closed.

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

You may have heard Grace Cathedral, an Episcopal church in San Francisco, held what was called a ‘Beyoncé mass’ last week, and at an evening service where fifty people typically attend, about 900 turned out to hear music by Beyoncé featured.

People are free to worship however they want, but doing this at a church was both confusing and controversial. The Bible teaches Christians to be set apart from the world, not to blend in. And Jesus said if we love the things of this world, God the Father’s love is not in us (1 John 2:15).

The Beyoncé mass was inspired by a guest Reverend, Yolanda Norton, and by an actual class she teaches at San Francisco Theological Seminary: ‘Beyoncé and the Hebrew Bible.’ 

Some might argue, ‘It’s just entertainment,’ right? The question is do secular entertainment and unbiblical themes belong in a place of Christian worship where the focus should be to exalt the name of Jesus?

…Good Fight Ministries did an expose on Beyonce and her 2013 Super Bowl halftime show when she mimicked the Hindu goddess Kali Kali – often associated with darkness of death – displayed the devil’s triangle, goat-headed Baphomet, and flashed the Illuminati symbol. You can actually see a transformation during that Super Bowl performance as her face distorts, appearing “fierce” and even masculine at times.

The spirituality behind contemporary feminism often comes in the form of goddess worship, and the fact many have a desire to overthrow the patriarchal structure in society. It is rebellion against God as “Father.”

During the actuaBeyoncé mass, an alternate, feminist perversion of the Lord’s Prayer was printed in the program for attendees to read out loud.

Our Mother, who is in heaven and within us, We call upon your names. Your wisdom come. Your will be done. In all the spaces in which you dwell… (more)

Referring to morality, Reverend Jude Harmon said “conservative Christians see a high wall separating the Church from the world; progressive Christians do not.” Grace Cathedral identifies as progressive and has a web-page noting that it is proud of its LGBT advocacy. Of course they are.

But is ‘Queen Bey’ an appropriate role model for African American women, particularly for women who do seek to follow the Bible’s teachings on holiness, morality, sanctification, and truth? These are not bad people; they’re just wrong. And this is another gospel.

Read the full post at DavidFiorazo.com:

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.

Just a week ago I was in the hospital after having a procedure on my heart and guess what? Here I am, thank God! But not everybody makes it through surgery. In fact, not everybody makes it home from work.

It brings up the question of the ages: What happens to us after we die? Well, that depends.

What if I died on the operating table? First of all, this video wouldn’t exist. My body would’ve been prepared for a funeral, and my spirit would be on its way to be with my Master and Savior in Heaven; the One who created us all.

You may be thinking, ‘how can I be so sure?’ Faith. The Bible offers assurance of eternal life with Christ in Heaven for those who believe.

I realize most people would rather not think about it, but ten out of ten people die. Life comes to an end for people from every country, of all different ages, for various reasons. No one is exempt.

It’s just a matter of time.

Almost everyone has heard the Bible verse, John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Jesus died on the cross to bridge the gap between us and a holy God. Every one of us has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, and when Jesus returns, He will judge those still living as well as those who have died.

For better context, let’s keep reading. Here’s John 3:17 and 18:

“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.”

Faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ can save us from our sins.

Prior to my surgery last week, I had to sign a consent form. Even before that, I was told of all the possible risks and complications including a torn heart muscle, punctured lung, torn artery, partial paralysis, stroke during the operation or even death.

The list of possible risks was long, but the absolute greatest risk we can take in this life is denying God by refusing to believe in His Son, Jesus, and not accepting the free offer of the forgiveness of our sins.

Acts 4:12 states: “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.”

And Philippians 2:9-11 says:

“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

One day, even those who refused to believe will bow before the King of Kings upon His return.

I was at peace going in to surgery because I trusted Jesus with my life years ago, and knew regardless of the result, it would be a win win. This life is a vapor and for the Christian, we live for Him and to die is gain!

Forgiveness for our sins is mankind’s greatest need. In America, we’ve heard so much about a loving God and rarely hear about His coming judgment. It’s true God is loving, but He is not tolerant of sin in any form.

We’ve also heard the man-made idea God just wants us to be happy, problem-free, and give us favor so that every day’s a Friday and we can live our best life now.

Do you really believe the Bible teaches about personal gain and happiness rather than about denying ourselves and holiness? In addition, if every day were a Friday, let’s just party like it’s 2099. Finally, if we could live our best lives now, here on earth, then why would we need God and what’s Heaven for anyway?

Now, plenty of people think all it takes to go to Heaven is to be a good person, but the question is, ‘good’ by whose standards? Jesus said, “No one is good except God alone.” (Luke 18:19)

Sure, we can do good things, but can we truly be good without God?

The Bible teaches there is nothing we can possibly do to earn salvation. If we could do it on our own, then Jesus didn’t have to be die for our sins and be raised from the dead. In Ephesians chapter 2 it says,

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

Open your hands and receive the free gift of life. Salvation is not a result of good deeds – but of faith. It’s true God prepared good things for us to do, but – what we do doesn’t save us; it’s who we believe in and why.

So repent of your sins, confess them to God. Trust in Jesus Christ, and tell others this good news, the gospel, the power of God to save us (Romans 1:16). He will be faithful to complete the work He began in us and then, take us to glory when our time here is done.

*Originally published at Freedom Project Media

Hollywood loves money, and the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil. But faith-based films typically do extremely well at the box office and they don’t seem to care. It doesn’t add up. What does Hollywood love more than money? Mockery, perversity, and rebellion perhaps?

If you haven’t seen the new movie, I Can Only Imagine based on the #1 song by Christian band MercyMe, make sure you bring enough Kleenex. It’s a true story of forgiveness and redemption, and one memorable line from the movie’s main character is:

“My dad was a monster, and I saw God transform him.”

It took Bart Millard ten minutes to write the song “I Can Only Imagine,” but as Amy Grant said at the time, “It didn’t take you ten minutes, Bart; it took a lifetime.”

Many people can relate to life’s ups and downs; in some cases, abuse; hurts, healing, fears and failures, broken hearts, and finding true joy and peace in God.

It shouldn’t surprise us when Christian-themed movies do well at the box office.

The most obvious example was the 2004 blockbuster by Mel Gibson, The Passion of the Christ. Starring Jim Caviezel, it holds the record for Christian films after bringing in nearly $84 million its first weekend! It grossed over $611 million worldwide and cost $30 million to produce.

The Christian blockbuster is the third highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time, and the #3 film of 2004.

In comparison, the #2 film from the same year was Spider-Man 2 which only took in a few million more than The Passion of the Christ (in the U.S.) but, get this: Spider Man 2 cost a whopping $200 million!

I don’t have time to get into the massive marketing budgets Hollywood feature films often blow through, but it’s pretty clear many Christian films are money-makers. Why do you think this is?

A lot of people are tired of the trashy, godless, profane products Hollywood typically puts out. Numbers indicate there’s an enormous audience across the country desperate for clean, positive, redemptive, God-centered entertainment.

Let’s look at three movies released on the exact same day just weeks ago: I Can Only Imagine has already raked in over $70 million despite costing only $7 million to make. (Did you get that?)

The movie is the fourth-biggest opening for a faith-based film, and it only debuted in limited cities, playing on only 1,600 screens. I Can Only Imagine came in third among movies with ten times the budget; movies playing in twice the number of theaters.

Critics raved about the openly gay-themed coming-of-age movie, Love, Simon, which has only made $37 million and cost $17 million to produce.

Thirdly, also released March 16 was Warner Brothers’ Tomb Raider which has grossed about $55 million at the box office, but cost $94 million to make!

Finally, the high-budget Hollywood favorite, A Wrinkle In Time, based on the book, practically bombed in theaters. It had star power and marketing, but producers replaced Christian themes that were in the book and put New Age, politically-correct ideology in the movie.

I agree with author and blogger Matt Walsh, who suggests Hollywood is choosing to leave lots of money on the table because unfortunately, they seem to hate Christians more than they love profits.

“A lot of people …have no interest in the raunchy stuff. And practically no one wants to watch a gay romance, no matter how much Hollywood insists…  Faith is the driving force in the lives of millions… and people like stories they find relatable.”

Also in theaters now is God’s Not DeadA Light in Darkness, and Paul, Apostle of Christ starring Jim Caviezel.

Spiritual warfare is escalating, sin is celebrated, and darkness seems to be increasing. People need hope! These are just signs of the times, but maybe a few of Hollywood’s’ out-of-touch decision makers will get the message from the success of Christian films at the box office. For now however, we can only hope for more inspiring, family-friendly content rather than all the soul pollution.

*originally published at Freedom Project Media

 

Historical, prophetic, and archaeological evidence confirms the resurrection of Jesus Christ – and it has absolutely nothing to do with the Easter bunny, chocolate or pastels! 

The Case for Christ movie came out last year based on the outstanding bests-selling book by author and former atheist, Lee Strobel. He was a Chicago Tribune journalist who set out to disprove Christianity and traveled the world in an effort to do so. 

He did meticulous research and interviewed the world’s top historians, theologians, and medical experts while examining the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Disappointed because he accumulated so much evidence supporting the Bible and none to refute the claims of Christianity, he sat in his office one day and a co-worker said to him:

“Lee, when is enough evidence enough evidence?”

His investigation was completed and Strobel became a born-again believer. 

Many historians outside the Bible wrote about Jesus, about His followers, Pontius Pilate, key events and places; they wrote about the crucifixion – including the solar eclipse occurring for three of the hours Jesus was on the cross, a great earthquake, and the persecution of countless disciples of Christ. 

Jewish non-biblical historian, Josephus writes about Jesus in “the Antiquities of the Jews.” Josephus was an eyewitness to much of what he recorded in the first century A.D. Under the rule of Roman emperor Vespasian, Josephus mentions the execution of James and describes him as the brother of Jesus the Christ, and describes Jesus as a wise man and the messiah. 

Sources outside the Bible could be reconstructed this way: 

“Now around this time lived Jesus, a wise man. For he was a worker of amazing deeds and was a teacher of people who gladly accept the truth. He won over both many Jews and many Greeks. Pilate, when he heard him accused by the leading men among us, condemned him to the cross, (but) those who had first loved him did not cease (believing). To this day the tribe of Christians named after him has not disappeared…” 

And according to Old Testament scholar, Gleason Archer: 

“As I have dealt with one apparent discrepancy after another and have studied the alleged contradictions between the biblical record and the evidence of linguistics, archaeology, or science, my confidence in the trustworthiness of Scripture has been repeatedly verified and strengthened…” 

Those who are open to the truth can research for themselves. You’ll learn about the early dating of the New Testament documents compared to other ancient literary works; overwhelming archaeological evidence, hundreds of fulfilled prophecies listing specific details about Christ, and of course, plenty of eye-witness testimony not to mention the thousands of people through the centuries willing to die for the faith. 

Acts 1:3 says Jesus presented Himself alive to the apostles after the crucifixion, by many convincing proofs, AND appeared to them over a period of forty days! What did Luke mean by “Many Convincing Proofs”? 

To answer this question we need to go to the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15. 

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 

Why didn’t the Jews and Romans squash Christianity before it took off? First of all, we just read Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies and that He appeared to more than 500 believers at the same time! 

If this weren’t enough, Paul testified to the fact most of these people were still alive at the time this was written (verse 6) so it could not be refuted! There were far too many eye-witnesses of the risen Christ. 

then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 1 COR. 15:1-7 

Weeks earlier, James was a skeptic. About the half-brother of Jesus, the Bible says “even His own brothers didn’t believe in Him.” But this James became a pillar in the early church and leader of the Jerusalem Council. Tradition holds that James was martyred for his faith in Jesus Christ. 

What changed his mind and radically transformed his life? The truth of the resurrection; Jesus appeared to James personally. Eye-witness testimony is critical in a court of law. 

Others the risen Christ appeared to included Mary Magdalene, the other women, Peter, the disciples including Thomas, Cleopas and one other on the Emmaus road, in Galilee to over 500 people, and to Paul on the Damascus road. These are just those we know of from Scripture. 

Then there’s prophecy: Seven hundred years before Christ was born, the prophet Isaiah said Jesus would be like a lamb led to slaughter, and: 

He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. Isaiah. 53:45 

Christ offered Himself, voluntarily enduring brutal torture and death, so why do we call it ‘Good’ Friday and ‘Easter’? Because His shed blood washes us clean and because He lives, so will we! Those who believe are assured an everlasting Hope that anchors our souls.

Moreover, on what we know as Palm Sunday, the very gate Jesus rode through on a donkey the week prior to being crucified, the Eastern Gate, will be the gate through which He enters Jerusalem when He returns. 

Who could have ever manufactured such an intricate story – a masterpiece combining thousands of years of historical events, written by at least 40 different authors on three different continents, including prophecies in perfect and specific detail? Who could have created and insured the carrying out of such an elaborate plan in advance? 

It had to be God! Fulfilled prophecy reinforces the truth of Scripture. 

Before His death on the cross, Jesus told His followers over and over what He came to accomplish and how it had to happen. In Luke’s gospel, after Jesus’ resurrection: 

He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:44-48 

Examine the evidence – and believe!