Posts Tagged ‘discernment’

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

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A favorite Scripture of mine is Psalm 90:12 which states, “Teach us to number our days that we might gain a heart of wisdom.” As world events unfold and division in America increases, Christians need discernment today more than ever. With all that’s happening around us, it is so easy to want to avoid reality or become comfortable and complacent in life, but we must not.

At the end of each calendar year, it is reasonable and wise to look back and acknowledge God’s faithfulness, evaluate where we are as individuals and as a church, and learn from any mistakes. It is also imperative we have a sense of urgency and recognize the spiritually desperate condition of many around us. One priority should be to consider how we can be more effective in advancing the kingdom of God by sharing the gospel and living out our faith as we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18).

We don’t need to be news junkies, but we should be informed and knowledgeable so we can watch, pray, and be ready for whatever the Lord will bring. In no particular order, here are some key subjects to consider:

  1. Keep your eyes on Israel.

After decades of little change in the “peace process” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, President Trump decided to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Of course, the UN Security Council rejected this resolution, and the U.S. took a bold stand for Israel and against the United Nations. This is yet another sign we are living in the most prophetic times in history.

Around this same time, Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Israel would follow the United States in withdrawing from UNESCO. Along with signs including earthquakes, famines, wars and rumors of wars, 2018 will see increased opposition to Israel and America. Intensifying spiritual warfare is a given, and just as predicted, a coalition of nations is ready to attack Israel. For students of the Bible, times are exciting indeed.

  1. Religious Freedom teetering on the brink.

The Supreme Court case of Colorado baker, Jack Phillips will be a catalyst for future decisions as well as the direction of free speech in America. Many on the extreme Left would make it illegal to practice Christianity if they could, but that is essentially what is happening with nondiscrimination laws and “inclusive” policies giving special rights to protected classes (LGBTQ). And when Christians refuse to play the game and celebrate what is considered sin, activists and radicals often bully, intimidate, or sue them into silent compliance.

In a breaking story, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided Thursday in favor of activists that sued Christian owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa for not baking a cake for their gay wedding ceremony. Aaron and Melissa Klein are now forced to pay the lesbian couple $135,000 for alleged “emotional distress.” Justice was not found here.

3. Sex outside of marriage the new norm?

Seeing the increase of abortion, cohabitation, divorce, homosexuality, the gender identity debate, and sex trafficking, it’s no wonder some of us believe we are a nation in crisis. Nearly 70% of Americans now say it’s acceptable to live with their partner before getting married. In addition, only about half of professing evangelical Christians think abortion and sex outside of traditional marriage are sins. This should greatly alarm us. Hollywood has played a leading role in the promotion of promiscuity, sexual deviance and the normalization of homosexuality; government schools have co-starred, but we often forget so-called “higher education.”

Commenting on Young America’s Foundation survey of new courses offered at 50 top colleges in America, author Frank Turek said they “promote a dogmatic secularism with a kind of religious fervor intent on urging students to abandon reality and live in their own sexual fantasy world.” He concludes the article by saying “professors who teach these courses may have the best of intentions. They may think that what they are doing is right and true (all the while declaring truth and gender are relative). But you don’t have to support their dogmatic delusions.”

4. The Critical Fight For Life

There was some good news in 2017. Survey’s indicate today’s youth are more pro-life than the previous generation. Abortion clinic closures far outpaced newly opened abortion facilities, and forty-nine abortion facilities — 35 surgical and 14 medication only clinics — closed or halted abortion servicesThe common sense “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” passed in the House 237-189, and Trump promised to sign the bill into law. We are told the Senate will vote as well. The bill bans abortion at the point that science increasingly shows that unborn children feel pain.

America is just one of only 7 (out of 198 nations) that allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

President Trump did sign a bill allowing states to withhold money from Planned Parenthood, and the DOJ recently launched a federal investigation into Planned Parenthood’s practices and the sale of fetal tissue. But perhaps one of the most interesting pro-life moves the president made was a three-word change to an obscure HHS document that defines life as “beginning at conception.” According to Al Perotta, the Trump administration added that phrase and:

“HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.” If the U.S. government says life begins at conception and its job is “serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life” then it has a duty to protect the unborn by any legal means necessary.

5. The American (Laodicean) Church will keep conforming to culture.

New research not only indicates liberalism has infected Christianity, but more people now prefer to consider themselves “spiritual but not religious.” Abandoning the institutional, traditional church, some claim they love Jesus but not the church. Since the church is the bride of Christ, is it biblical to love one and not the other? Surveys also show more professing Christians accepting moral relativism while pursuing comfort and self-fulfillment.

Just as disturbing, there is a segment of Americans who consider their faith important and attend church regularly, but do not hold to biblical perspectives such as the inerrancy of Scripture and essentials of the faith. Abandoning truth, they prefer to be “inclusive and welcoming.” Because of this hypocrisy, the Christian worldview has been distorted and confusing to a watching world.

  1. Christians will continue to be hated and discriminated against.

We cannot and should not compare the treatment of American believers with persecuted Christians in restricted nations around the world, but things are intensifying. Bullying and discrimination are wrong no matter who is involved, but often overlooked is the blatant intolerance toward Christians by the very people touting inclusion, diversity, and “tolerance.” Public opinion has shifted revealing an acceptance of this double standard. Jesus told His followers that since the world hated Him they will hate us as well (John 15:18).

While Christians recently celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ, atheists and scrooges took their rebellion up a notch this year attacking nativity scenes and putting up billboards. Books have been written with examples, but I’ll mention one. The liberal Washington Post came out with an article for Christmas suggesting Jesus didn’t really exist because the evidence doesn’t add up. (What evidence could he possibly be looking at?) The Post didn’t even bother to fact check nor did they provide any new research – so – why do you think they happened to publish the anti-Christian piece on Christmas?

  1. Media Malpractice: epidemic and rampant.

All through 2017, the liberal media consistently and irresponsibly parroted negative news angles on President Trump, the GOP tax cuts, the economy, borders and immigration, national defense, transgender rights, etc. The average for the year was 91% negative coverage of Trump. We’ve never seen anything like this; liberals are not even trying to hide their allegiance to the Democrat Party any longer.

That same media ignored most positive news including job growth, the Dow rising 5,000 points in a year for first time in history, unemployment for African Americans dropping to a 17-year low, and Christians freely celebrated Christmas in parts of Iraq and Syria formerly under ISIS control. But all this generally isn’t good news to the mainstream media because we have a Republican president.

  1. Lawlessness and worldliness will increase even more.

Character, integrity, and morality took a hit in 2017 as sexual assaults, misconduct and scandals rocked the headlines. Billionaire George Soros shifted $18 billion from his hedge fund to his network of godless liberal foundations. Media silence. Ready to ramp up the chaos and division, “the resistance” increased via professional protests with Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and even pro athletes protesting (Trump) the National Anthem.

Finally, our obsession with technology is in danger of becoming an addiction. Today’s kids know more about social media, gaming, entertainment, and technology than they do the Bible, the Constitution, and American history, but they sure can take great selfies! These are tomorrow’s leaders of our nation. Sadly, many adults are not far behind. It is true technology can be used for good purposes, but it is often used for meaningless, mindless entertainment. We must not conform to the world’s ways (Romans 12:2). The Internet has seduced many within the church as well.

Overall, it was a faith-testing year for many of us. Good will continue being called evil and truth will continue to be attacked and redefined. If America stays on course down this destructive road where there is no longer an objective truth or fixed standards of morality, we’re in big trouble. But thank God He always causes us to triumph in Christ (1 Cor. 15:57)! Christians have an eternal, secure hope which anchors our soul (Heb. 6:19) as well as a true peace found only in Jesus Christ. We serve a Mighty God, and we can be confident no matter what happens, God will be faithful to the promises in His word.

 

*Read more from author, David FiorazoHis top selling book The Cost of Our Silence, Eradicate (Blotting Out God in America), and his latest – Redefining Truth (Oct. 2017)