Archive for the ‘Faith and Life’ Category

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.

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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

Vice President Mike Pence says God speaks to him, but some call it mental illness. Oprah says God will speak to her if He wants her to run for president, and liberals cheer. Is this glaring double standard the new normal?

It’s not just Joy Behar. Christianity is generally not tolerated in Hollywood and the entertainment industry. And they’re not shy about it.

But in a recent interview with Ann Silvio on 60 Minutes Overtime, billionaire entrepreneur, Oprah Winfrey said she hasn’t heard God’s call to run for president, “Because if God actually wanted me to run, wouldn’t God kinda tell me?”

And on The View recently, a clip was played of disgruntled White House staffer Omarosa Manigault trashing Mike Pence as an “extreme Christian” who has conversations with Jesus. The View panel then proceeded to mock the VP’s faith.

Behar ignorantly cackled,

“It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That’s called mental illness if I’m not correct. Hearing voices.”

One of the best responses I’ve heard was from Fox & Friends co-host, Ainsley Earhardt, a Christian herself:

“…she [Behar] doesn’t know Christ. She doesn’t know the joy and the love that He provides to so many people, so it just made me feel sorry for her.”

By the way, Pence didn’t say He heard voices. He said what millions of us believe regarding our relationship with Jesus Christ and how God speaks to us in various ways.

Speaking of double standards, what about Hillary Clinton who apparently still communes with the dead? Even hubby Bill reminded an audience several years back that she hears from Eleanor Roosevelt frequently. I haven’t heard a peep on that, have you?

So, on last week’s episode, after claiming people in Indiana hate the Vice President, View co-host, Sunny Hostin stated:

“When you have a Mike Pence who now puts this religious veneer on things and who calls people values voters, I think we’re in a dangerous situation.”

Dangerous? We’re not talking about ISIS here; not bomb threats, a viral outbreak, rape, or a shooting rampage. These women are referring to the Christian faith.

Mike Pence responded saying “it’s just simply wrong for ABC to have a television program that expresses that kind of religious intolerance.”

Aside from religion, on previous episodes, Hostin referred to Pence as incompetent, and Whoopi Goldberg once compared Mike Pence to a member of the KKK who wanted to hang her on a tree. Seriously?

At least one person confronted the twisted dialogue on The View. Meghan McCain said:

“I understand, if you’re a liberal, obviously you have certain problems with Mike Pence. …We see the world through very different veneers.”

Some people do have wrong ideas about what it means to be a Christian. Joy Behar once said Timothy McVeigh was a Christian, and Goldberg actually claimed:

“There have been a lot of horrifying – there have been a lot of monster Christians. Hitler was a Christian.”

Sorry ladies. Wrong on both counts. Do some research.

Remember when Masterpiece Cake Shop owner, Jack Phillips was on The View and said endorsing a same-sex wedding and baking a cake for it would contradict Jesus’ teachings. Speaking for the Lord, Behar declared,

“Oh come on. Jesus would have made the cake.”

And in June 2017, the entire lineup on The View blamed Christians for taking away free contraception. I’m not kidding. Joy Behar asked, “How is it different from the Taliban? Let’s not forget they are trying to keep women in their place, barefoot and pregnant.”

I’m almost speechless.

Back to Oprah for a moment. Over at CBS on Sunday, 60 Minutes devoted 11 minutes to Oprah Winfrey’s conversation with Michigan voters. She asked people about accusations against Donald Trump and, of course, his mental health.

“There have been some members of Congress, including Republicans, questioning his stability and fitness for office. What do you think of that, and do you believe he has the temperament to be president?”

Regarding her “mental illness” comments, Franklin Graham weighed in saying all believers should be alarmed by the anti-Christian rhetoric on The View. He continued,

“For Joy Behar to say that all Christians are mentally ill is like suggesting we need to lock them up. They need to be taken out of society…”

Bigotry against any group is absolutely wrong, but if Joy Behar had said that about gays, feminists, or Muslims, she’d probably be fired on the spot. Criticizing Christ followers however, now gets a pass.

This is what often happens when someone on the left doesn’t understand something, especially spiritual things: they tend to attack or criticize it.

This may explain why many don’t even try cracking open a Bible.

 

Here’s Mike Pence’s first response to the debacle:

“I actually heard that ABC has a program that compared my Christianity to mental illness. And I’d like to laugh about it, but I really can’t. It’s just wrong; and it’s an insult …to the vast majority of the American people who, like me, cherish their faith. My Christianity is the most important thing in my life.”

“But I just think [this] demonstrates just how out of touch some in the mainstream media are with the faith and values of the American people that you could have a major network like ABC permit a forum for invective against religion like that…”

Isn’t it nice to have someone in the White House defending Christians?

At the risk of stating the obvious, for centuries, millions of believers have claimed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He speaks to us in various ways including through Scripture.

We shouldn’t expect unbelievers to have biblical morals. They need the gospel and ironically, they need to talk to Jesus and confess their sins.

The good news is Americans are not only calling out ABC over this, but thanks to Brent Bozell and the Media Research Center, over 25,000 phone calls have been made so far demanding an apology.

Unless advertisers back out of sponsoring The View, I’m not holding my breath. Jesus said,

In this world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have overcome the world. John 16:33

 

 

*A shorter version of this article originally appeared at Freedom Project Media.

It’s hard to run the race and press on to what lies ahead without forgetting the past. For some of us, it’s about time to let go of excess baggage – and that includes idealizing parts of our past. According to the Bible, our best days are yet to come! Do you believe this? We must not fall into a trap of dwelling on the past – good times or bad – or we might miss what God wants to do today (Is. 43:18-19).

Every day we’re alive is one day closer to Heaven and the return of Jesus Christ. But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

With all that’s going on in this country, things can appear darker than ever. Biblical morality, common decency, and Godly values have eroded over many decades and religious freedom has been chipped away. But our faith does not rest in the things of this world.

When we make the quality decision to give our anxieties, past experiences, and concerns to the Lord, we can have that peace that passes all understanding, the peace which can guard our hearts and minds in Christ (Phil. 4:6-7).

…For those tempted to think about the good old days, God gives us some wise instruction:

Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this. Ecclesiastes 7:10

Be honest. Have you heard someone reminisce about a fond memory and ask, ‘why were the old days better?’ Maybe you’ve done so yourself, perhaps with a sigh.

We fall into this trap of the temporary when we lose sight of the eternal. We think we should be comfortable, prosperous, and pain-free. This is the abundant life, we are told, which is a residual effect of American churchianity (not biblical Christianity) and “Your Best Life Now” theology. Where does Scripture support these ideas?

Are we living for Christ with eternity in view, concerned about people’s souls or are we living for self and things of this world? The reality is life isn’t all fun, games, roses, vacations, and laughs. Let’s regain our biblical perspective, grow in the grace of the Lord Jesus and understand our days are numbered.

…Hold memories loosely, set your mind on things above, and live in the present – in His presence – so you can do the work God prepared for you to do. (Col. 3:1-2, Eph. 2:10)

Be thankful for how far God has brought you and for what He has allowed in your life. Keep the faith and always remember you and I are (still) here to glorify the name of Jesus and point people to salvation through Him.

Read the full post by David Fiorazo: