The Internal Revenue Service allegedly told two pro-life to reveal the content of their prayers and prayer meetings, according to the Thomas More Society.
An IRS office in California ordered Christian Voices for Life of Fort Bend County, Texas to explain the content of prayers “as if they were engaging in highly offensive or criminal behavior,” the Thomas More Society charged.
Agents also ordered Coalition for Life of Iowa to provide detailed information about the group’s prayer meetings.
Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) demanded that outgoing IRS commissioner Steven Miller answer questions about the incidents during Friday’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing. “Their question, specifically asked from the IRS to the Coalition for Life of Iowa: ‘Please detail the content of the members of your organization’s prayers.’”
Shock wanted to know if that was an appropriate question for the IRS to ask.
“It pains me to say I can’t speak to that one either,” Miller replied.
The agents also told one of the pro-life groups that they could not picket or protest abortion clinics.
“The IRS was concerned about advocacy,” said Sally Wagenmaker, special counsel to the Thomas More Society. “The (agent) said picketing and protesting is not allowed.”
She said the IRS’s role “should only be to determine whether organizations fit the section 501(c)(3) test for ‘charitable, religious, or educational’ qualification, not to inquire about the content of prayers, protests, and petitions.”
It’s high time that the IRS be called to account for its workers’ potential to trample on our constitutional rights, through such ostensibly innocuous means,” Wagenmaker said – hinting that this may only be the tip of the iceberg of IRS abuses.
An IRS spokesman said they would look into the cases.
Wagenmaker was representing Coalition for Life of Iowa and Christian Voices For Life of Fort Bend County, Texas. Both groups were seeking tax exempt status. Their requests were eventually granted but only after they sought legal help from the Thomas More Society.
In 2009 the Coalition for Life received correspondence from the IRS raising questions about their prayer activity – specifically outside Planned Parenthood clinics.
“You then asked … to have all Coalition Board members sign a statement that the coalition will not ‘picket’ or ‘protest’ outside of Planned Parenthood or similar organizations and will not ‘organize’ others to do so,” Wagenmaker wrote in a letter to an IRS representative known only as “Ms. Richards.”
Wagenmaker said the IRS’s demand was clearly a violation of the pro-life group’s constitutional rights.
“It really concerned me there would seem to be this protection of Planned Parenthood,” Wagenmaker told Fox News. “They had revenues of $55 million and the Coalition is just a group of volunteers.”
The attorney wrote in her letter to the IRS that their demands “come perilously close to violating the First Amendment constitutional rights of the Coalition’s supporters.”
“The IRS’s delay and questioning of the Coalition’s tax-exempt, legitimate activities constitutes unnecessary and prejudicial interference with the Coalition’s legal right to a tax-exempt determination,” she wrote.
Wagenmaker said the IRS’s dogged pursuit of the Coalition was “intimidating” and “heavy-handed.”
In the case of Christian Voices, the IRS implied that the group had to include pro-abortion balance to their programming.
They were directed to explain whether the group’s educational programs educate both sides of the issues.
“Your question implies some sort of legal duty to provide a balanced presentation of educational information,” the attorney wrote.
She said it was incredible to think that the government wanted to require a pro-life group to give equal access to pro-choice groups.
“You can’t push an organization around like that,” she said. “You can’t impose your own out-dated, improper, unconstitutional views.”
Shortly after Wagenmaker began pushing back – the groups got their exemptions approved.
“They just needed someone to stand up for their rights and push back,” she said.
It is absolutely stunning how quickly the moral foundation of our nation has been eroding away. Sometimes I have to wonder if the prophet Isaiah was being prophetic about our timeframe when he wrote, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)
A week ago, two people in the sports world made news. One was a football player who was rejected because of his strong Christian confession and the other was a gay basketball player who was praised for simply declaring his sexual preference.
The football star was Tim Tebow, who has gotten under the skin of the liberal media and other atheist groups, making himself the “poster boy” for Christianity. Tebow accomplished this task by praying on the field after a win, putting Bible verses on his eye black during games, and starring in an anti-abortion ad during the Super Bowl.
I knew when Tebow moved from Colorado to the New York Jets it would end in disaster. The left-coast press did everything they could to attack him. I remember a bunch of Salem witches casting spells on Tim Tebow to ensure he would lose the big game.
The New York Jets couldn’t have hated Tim Tebow more. They dumped him on the first Monday after the NFL draft, knowing that other teams’ rosters would be filled. The chance Tebow will find another job in the league is bleak. Their action would make sense if Tebow had an arrest record or showed up late for meetings or cost the Jets the playoffs with a bad interception. The Jets barely using him in a waste of a season─he appeared in just 77 offensive plays.
What makes the hatred of Tebow all the more hard to understand is how good he has been for the business side of football. The public has had an overwhelmingly positive view of a God-fearing quarterback. In one poll, Tebow was voted the favorite active pro-athlete. He has generated huge ratings. When he played for the Broncos, one game had the highest-rated NFL wildcard game since 1988. Tebow’s famous eighty-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime resulted in a record 9,420 tweets per second. According to Twitter, it was the most frenzied response for any sporting event.
Tim Tebow is being passed around like a bad penny, because the open confession of his Christian faith makes the establishment uncomfortable. They don’t care if he could carry them all the way to the Super Bowl. They reject him because the light in him stings their darkened souls.
The same day Tebow was being sunned, Jason Collins became the first-ever openly gay man in a major American team sport. In a first-person article posted on the Sports Illustrated website, Collins said, “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.” Collins was predictably showered with praise:
The head of the NBA said he was proud of Collins.
Former president Bill Clinton congratulated him.
President Obama called to congratulate him.
First lady Michelle Obama tweeted her support for Collins. “So proud of you, Jason Collins! This is a huge step forward for our country. We’ve got your back!”
There were a few people who chose to rain on Collins’ coming out parade. Ben Shapiro, editor-at-large for Breitbart.com got flack for saying: “So Jason Collins is a hero because he’s gay? Our standard for heroism has dropped quite a bit since Normandy.”
ESPN’s Chris Broussard had pro-gay groups asking for his head when he said homosexuality constitutes “open rebellion to God.” During a Monday episode of “Outside the Lines” he said:
Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle, or an openly premarital sex between heterosexuals … if you’re openly living that kind of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits. It says that’s a sin and if you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, [but] adultery, fornication, premarital sex, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian, because I don’t think the Bible would characterize him as a Christian.
There is no doubt in my mind that we have reached the point where sin produces a type illogical insanity. Anyone who thinks someone who has sex with his same gender is preferred over someone who prays on the field needs to be fitted with one of those white jackets that buckles in the back.
If you are someone who realizes how wicked the world is getting, there is still hope for you. Society may be doomed to suffer God’s wrath, but you can escape by seeking the grace that can only come from the blood of Jesus.
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18-19).
Christians in Muslim countries continue to come under attack from so-called “radical” Muslims, this time while police look on and in some cases help.
Pray for our Christian bothers and sisters overseas.
Newly-emerged video appears to show Egyptian police standing idly by – and even helping attackers during a deadly assault earlier this month on a Coptic cathedral where Christians were mourning five men killed in an earlier clash with Muslims.
The video shot April 7 and first obtained by MidEast Christian News, shows a men shooting guns, wielding machetes and hurling stones and possibly Molotov cocktails as mourners carry caskets out of St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in the Abbassia District of Cairo as uniformed police watch, unmoving. At one point, a police officer appears to help a gunman take aim at a courtyard full of mourners who had spilled out of the church. The attack left two Copts dead and another 84 people injured, including 11 police officers.
When it was over, the only arrests made were of four Copts. Christians, who were already outraged over a three-day attack that began April 4 attack in Khosous which saw the four men killed and homes, a nursery and a church burned, said the events show how elusive justice is for Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the nation’s population.
“Two Copts were killed during the attack on the Cathedral; four more died in Khosous, yet not one of their attackers has been arrested,” said Andrew Johnston, advocacy director for Christian Solidarity Worldwide. “These arrests come at a time when the Coptic community in Egypt is still coming to terms with an unprecedented attack on the headquarters of the Coptic Orthodox Church and the violence in Khosous. Such discrepancies in the discharge of justice contribute to impunity, and can only foster more sectarianism.”
Tensions between Egypt’s Christians and the majority Sunni Muslims have grown dramatically since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011 and replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood-led government of Mohammed Morsi.
“There is a general feeling among citizens about the absence of law and the prestige of the state,” said a report released Wednesday by the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights. “Such a feeling could push the citizens to the violence and sectarianism without fearing from any deterrence, ” reads a passage from the report.
“The recent incident proved the shrinking of the role of the state to control the actions of the individuals especially those people who think that they talk on the behalf of God,” the report continued. “There is a need for implementing the law strictly to treat such incidents.”
Continue to pray for the people affected by this situation.
The Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed Friday afternoon that 14 people have died after a fertilizer plant explosion Wednesday night in West.
Sen. John Cornyn said in a Friday afternoon press conference that 60 people remain unaccounted for, but that number was later disputed by a local official who said the number is likely much lower, MyFoxDFW.com reported.
Four firefighters died in the blast and at least 200 injured.
A fire began Wednesday evening at the West Fertilizer plant. Fifty minutes later, an explosion was reported in a frantic radio call from the scene. Authorities said there is no indication that the blast was anything but an accident.
The search and rescue operation has largely wound down, with only a handful of buildings left to check.
Continue to pray about this situation. May justice be served and may the Lord bring comfort to all the people involved in any capacity.
Out thoughts and prayers are with the victim and our gratitude is with the law enforcement officials.
A day-long dragnet for the second of two brothers believed to be behind Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing ended Friday night, with police capturing the suspect covered in blood and hiding in a boat in the backyard of a man who called 911 after becoming suspicious of activity on his property.
“We got him,” Boston Mayor Tom Menino tweeted moments later, as neighbors gathered to form a gauntlet of cheers while a phalanx of police cars departed the scene.
Police moved in on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Friday evening after a tip led them to the home on Franklin Street, where he apparently had been hiding in the back yard. Neighbors said they heard more than 30 shots one likened to “a roll of firecrackers shooting off.” Police swarmed the scene, and several explosions, possibly police concussion grenades, were heard after a robot moved in on the boat. Less than two hours later, at about 9 p.m., the suspect, believed to have been injured in a wild shootout that spanned Thursday night to Friday morning, was being taken to Beth Israel Hospital.
No police were injured when shots were fired by the boat.
“We are so grateful to bring justice and to bring closure to this case,” Massachsetts State Police Col. Tim Alben said moments later, at a staging area set up down the block from the crime scene. “We have a suspect in custody.”
Sources told Fox News the shed and the boat had been searched earlier, but a local man noticed a door to it had been opened, saw blood on the tarp and called police.
“It was a call from a resident of Watertown,” Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau said. “We got that call, and we got the guy.”
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said Tsarnaev was in serious condition and was found “covered with blood.” He did not come out from inside the boat willingly, despite the efforts of negotiators, Davis said.
“We assume that those injuries came from the gunfire the night before,” Davis said. He also said Tsarnaev did not have any explosives with him when he was taken into custody.
The hiding place was found just moments after police said their hunt for Tsarnaev, one of two radical Muslim brothers suspected in Monday’s attack, had gone cold and urged people to “go about your business.”
From Fox News:
Police surround house in Watertown, Mass., in hunt for remaining Boston Marathon bombing suspect who was identified as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, pictured, and believed to be brother of the other bombing suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev 26, who was killed late Thursday in a shootout with police.
The story continues:
Multiple explosions echoed from inside a house as police in Boston massed inside a perimeter set up to contain the remaining suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing.
The situation was fluid, and the latest development came in the city’s Watertown section after a chaotic night of mayhem that included the murder of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer and a shootout with police, authorities said early Friday.
Police believe the two suspects from Monday’s terror attack are brothers, possibly from Chechnya, according to sources who spoke to Fox News. The man on the loose was identified as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass. They are believed to have been here for ‘several years,’ sources said.
There’s a very real chance that we have, once again, been the victims of Islamic terrorist. We’ll have to wait for more details to become available before we know for sure.
Continue to pray for the victims of this horrible situation and for the people of Boston.
Please join us in praying for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
This is a horrific situation. Three people have died, including one 8 year old child, and 179 people are injured, some very seriously.
The person/people responsible need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
“We must all be tolerant of other religions!” So goes the mantra constantly hammering us from the progressive, cultural watchdogs. Even beyond that, we must, according to the loving, liberal, politically correct give special “hands-off” status to a religion that harbors at its core hatred for all who don’t accept its tenets and condones murder of whom they term infidels.
Although case after case can be made that Islam as a whole is–by its silence if not by its actions–approving of the militants among its ranks who murder and terrorize all who don’t bow the knee to Allah, we in America are supposed to smile and accept that it is a religion of love, as the guardians of political correctness demand. Sharia law, which gives women less of a place within society than animals, and which approves of family honor killings for stepping one foot outside the bounds of the Muslim prescription for living, is given preference, it seems, over the U.S. Constitution and local laws in America in places such as Dearborn, Michigan. This sharia malignancy is metastasizing and little is being done to slow its spread.
All religious thought must be respected and tolerated, the political correctness police demand. All, except the tenets of one particular religion. True Christianity is fair game, and the politically correct crowd of Christianity-haters doesn’t just look the other way when true Christianity is attacked; it joins in the fun. These people attack at every opportunity and are never condemned for their hate diatribes; rather, they are joined by the priesthood of the entertainment world at the center of their ranks.
Eyebrows are no doubt raised at the use of my term “true Christianity.” I make no apologies for the use of the term.There are a number of counterfeit forms of Christianity, and more are coming into existence each day as strange winds of doctrine blow across our nation and the world. There is but one true Christianity. It is found throughout the pages of God’s Word, the Bible. If I could choose only one Scripture to encapsulate true Christianity, it would be these words spoken by Jesus to His disciple: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
And therein lays the anti-Christian diatribe. That is why all other religions are acceptable–are tolerated–except true Christianity.
But, wait! Islam claims Allah, Mohammed’s creation, is the only way, and will even slaughter those who don’t believe or accept that religion’s god. Yet the diatribe never goes against Islam–rather always against true Christianity’s claim the Jesus is the only way to Heaven–to salvation. The hatred for Christianity runs the gamut of artistic blasphemy, such as, we remember, the crucifix submerged in urine, and, later, the actress, who upon winning an award held it up and shouted for Jesus to “**** this!” The increasing hostility becomes more blatant by the hour, with cultural crucifixion of Christ on the rise, as this excerpt of a recently reported story attests:
Last month, it was reported at various online outlets that Ryan Rotela, a junior at FAU, was suspended for refusing to participate in a class assignment from a textbook for an Intercultural Communications class titled Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition. The assignment called for students to write the name “Jesus” on a piece of paper, put the paper on the ground, and stomp on it. Rotela told local media that he went to school officials to protest the assignment. (http://www.christianpost.com/news/fla-university-puts-stomp-on-jesus-professor-on-administrative-leave-93009/#bGGbBz5MwzVTh5fi.99)
The teacher who gave the assignment has been put on leave, the school announced–but not for the blasphemous assignment. He was put on leave out of fear for his safety. The school administration obviously has true Christianity mixed up with mainstream Islam, which puts bounty on the heads of those who blaspheme the prophet Mohammed. Jesus told that culture and society would react this way to His name:
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.” (John 15:18-25)
Yet, God loves even the Jesus-haters of this world, and is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (read 2 Peter 3:9). We who are Christ’s are commanded to love sinners, as does our Lord. Let us in these closing days of the dispensation of grace lift the name of Jesus at every opportunity so that men, women, and children will be given gospel light by which to come to saving knowledge of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16).
Back in my Air Force days, one of my duties as a supervisor was to give out mid-point assessments of the airmen under my authority. If someone was doing poorly in his job, my grading on the worksheet would let him know that he needed to show improvement to avoid receiving a negative grade for his annual evaluation.
Sometimes I wish God would give out mid-point assessments. It would save a lot of Christians from realizing that their final reward is not what they imagined for themselves. Even though I’ve been slaving away at Rapture Ready for 25 years, I would like to know what God’s personal view of my work is. I just don’t trust my sin-stained mind to judge the quality of my own work.
Unfortunately, the Lord has determined that the judgment seat of Christ will be the first time we get an unbiased view of our earthly deeds. Romans 14:10-12 warns, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat…so then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Second Corinthians 5:10 tells us, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
Being an active Christian in evangelism is not just an option. It is part of what defines us as believers. You are either going down into the well to retrieve lost souls or you are holding the rope.
I once researched the great revivals of the 1700s and 1800s to see why the ones of today don’t measure up. It didn’t take me long to notice a huge difference. Back then, everyone was involved in spreading the gospel message. Once you got saved, you were given marching orders to reach out to your friends and family.
The church has become so inefficient at reaching out to people that we waste huge amounts on money on evangelism. Some of the largest organizations in this nation spend over a million dollars for each decision of Christ. The Billy Graham Evangelical Association recently admitted that whenever it holds a crusade in the US, 88 percent of the people in attendance are already believers.
The body of Christ is dying out in America and other Western nations because Christians refuse to get their hands dirty. Whenever Terry and I speak at a church, I have made a habit of asking people about contributing content to Rapture Ready. Recently, we spoke at a very wealthy church. When I asked members in a class about their involvement in evangelism, my sales pitch was met with laughter. The arrangement that they had agreed to for their Sunday schedule was an entertaining Bible class, a feel-good message in the main service, and then it was off to the golf course.
I’m sure most of you folks know that last month, we lost two dear friends in prophecy: Jack Kinsella and Ron Graham. Both of these men have submitted numerous articles to the site. What you probably don’t know is the level of commitment both of these men had right up to the end of their lives. Jack had liver cancer that put him in the hospital. He spent the last three weeks of his life sending out his daily updates literally from his death bed. Ron suffered from pancreatic cancer, but it was complications from the medicine he was taking that did him in. Ron managed to work around blurry vision and various other side effects right up to the day he died.
One of the reasons I make a regular habit of reminding people of their need to be active in evangelism is because I don’t want people to be able to says, “Todd never told me.” What keeps RR at the top of the Internet rankings is one simple fact: In the end, the kingdom of God is the only thing that matters.
The day is coming when we will all be asked what we did with our lives. If you can’t answer the question now, you won’t be able to answer it then. What helps me stay focused is living each day with a last-days perspective. Since everything in this world is headed for destruction, nothing should be able to distract us from endeavors that would please our Lord.
“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).
I am lost. The darkness surrounds me. I feel the thorns and brambles tearing into my skin; pulling at my clothes as I flail about. The evil one whispers into my ears, “worthless, forgotten, forsaken, abandoned, nothing”.
“Lord!!”, I cry in despair,”I am lost!! I don’t know where you are!!”
A soft voice issues from the darkness, “I am right where you left me.”
“Lord”, I cry again, “I don’t remember the way!!”
The soft voice speaks again, “Follow my Word.”
The voice continues…
“Be not afraid for I bring you tidings of great joy to all men…”
“With God all things are possible.”
“Come and follow me.”
“For I am the way, the truth and the life.”
“No man comes to the Father but through me”.
The voice grows strong and a light begins to penetrate the darkness, He who covers me in darkness cannot stand the light, he cannot exist in its presence, he must flee from it…
“I come not to condemn the world but to save it.”
“Whoever believes in me will not perish but have everlasting life.”
The voice is strong, commanding. The light is too bright to look in to…
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End; I was once dead but now I am alive Forever.”
“I tell you the truth, tonight you will be with me in paradise.”
The voice calls out in a shout of victory, “It is finished!!”
The evil one, the bringer of darkness and death is defeated; he flees. The darkness flees with him. The light shines on all things.
The brambles that tore at me in the darkness are revealed; they are transformed and are now gentle and fragrant lilies and lavender; flowers of unspeakable beauty.
The light grows in brilliance and I move toward it. I can not bear to look at it, so I cover my face. In my exhaustion, I stumble…
The Lord catches me. He pulls me into a loving embrace.
“My Child”, He says, “I will never leave you or forsake you. Walk with me forever.”
Lord, Master, Savior, Friend; Jesus!!
All of us would like to wish you a very Happy Easter!!
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
This post is brought to you by:
See Mr. Westbrook’s Bible Story Murals here.
If your church is looking for a unique way to bring the Word of God to it’s children and young people, take a look at Doug Westbrook’s Bible Story Murals. Each wall sized mural is based on the hand painted originals Mr. Westbrook created at Central Baptist Church in Houston, Texas and represents a different well known Bible story.
They are available on durable vinyl wallpaper for easy installation.
As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then ” ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ‘For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”
The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
Luke 23:26-49 (New International Version)
This post is brought to you by:
See Mr. Westbrook’s Bible Story Murals here.
If your church is looking for a unique way to bring the Word of God to it’s children and young people, take a look at Doug Westbrook’s Bible Story Murals. Each wall sized mural is based on the hand painted originals Mr. Westbrook created at Central Baptist Church in Houston, Texas and represents a different well known Bible story.
They are available on durable vinyl wallpaper for easy installation.
Is there a War on Christmas? Not if its observance is measured by shopping and decorations, which grow gaudier and more expensive with each passing year. But there is a war on Christ in full swing. And since Christmas is about His birthday, naturally the secularizing community has turned its full force on the holiday.
Case in point: NBC’s Chief Medical Editor Nancy Snyderman. During a Tuesday “Today” discussion of the tasks that make the Christmas season so busy, Snyderman let viewers in on what really irks her about the holiday. “I don’t like the religion part. I think religion is what mucks the whole thing up … I think that’s what makes the holidays so stressful.”
So yes, there is indeed a real “war on Christmas,” or, more accurately, it’s the winter campaign in the year-round war on Christianity.
This year’s Christmas installment of religion-purging featured the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers complaining about a school production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The play is about a Peanuts character disillusioned by the commercialization of the Christmas season, who explained to his classmates the reason for the celebration of Christmas – the birth of Christ. The play’s “religious content” irked the society, as did the fact that the school organized a voluntary field trip to the play at a church. The pastor of the church planning to host the play eventually decided to cancel the production, citing a desire for peace.
Western Piedmont Community College tried to tell its students not to use the word Christmas – to promote a Christmas tree sale. (Public outcry forced the college to reverse its decision.)
The Department of Education cancelled an annual Christmas concert for a charity helping people in Africa – because the Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of Church and State threatened to sue because the concert was held at a church.
The war on public expression of Christianity during Christmas is merely the spearhead of a larger war on publicly expressed faith in America. Secularists in the media such as Anthony Faiola of the Washington Post blast those who defend public expression of Christianity as a “small fringe” on the “far right.”
A North Carolina elementary school prevented a first grade girl from reading a poem she wrote about her grandparents during a school assembly. The reason? The poem included the line: “He prayed to God for peace. He prayed to God for strength.” The sacrosanct principle of “separation of church and state” clearly dictates that public school students must be protected from listening to first grade Bible-thumpers discuss their ancestors’ deluded customs.
The North Carolina school wasn’t the only school to join Orwell’s angels. Louisiana State University posted pictures of football fans on its website — and photo-shopped the fans’ painted crosses out of the photos. When an outcry was raised, LSU spokesman Herb Vincent explained the school’s reasoning: “We don’t want to imply we are making any religious or political statements, so we air-brushed it out. Only one of the students, who didn’t appreciate it, actually contacted us about it. So next time, we’ll just choose a different photo.” Painted crosses barely visible in the original picture apparently constitute a “religious statement.”
While LSU was forced to apologize for its censorship, more powerful entities are embracing the same tactics.
Government has taken an active role in purging publicly expressed Christianity. The White House asked Georgetown University to cover up a monogram of the name of Jesus during a May 2012 visit. (President Obama heads a party which nearly purged God from its platform.) More far-reaching is the Obama administration’s insistence that religious-affiliated institutions pay for contraception and sterilization, effectively forcing these institutions to violate their beliefs or be punished.
Secularist groups seek to purge any trappings of Christianity from public practice. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is pushing Obama not to use the Bible during his second inauguration. The American Humanist Association is pressuring new members of Congress not to join the Congressional Prayer Caucus.
At times, the secular campaign against public religion takes ridiculous turns. The FFRF sought to remove a statue of Jesus on public property in Montana. But the suit faced dismissal because, as the Christian Post reported, the FFRF “had not found an individual or group that maintained they were harmed by the statue’s presence.” (The FFRF eventually found an atheist who lived 15 minutes away from the statue to object to its presence, allowing the lawsuit to proceed.)
Perhaps these groups should read the section of the First Amendment concerning religion more closely. The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The position of secularists appears to be that any religious symbol displayed or language spoken somehow constitutes an “establishment of religion.” The mere public mention of religion is apparently capable of scorching the sensitive ears of those who deny his existence.
But such a position certainly inhibits the free exercise of faith – assuming, of course, that faith is something more than an archaic ritual to be practiced every weekend and shelved on all other occasions. (Not that the words of the Constitution matter to the secular left.) But if any public mention of God is forbidden, documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address should be purged from the public record as well.
There is a “war on Christmas:” a war on any symbol that might make Christmas more than a confectionary slop of feel-goodness to be cast aside on December 26. And this war lasts the other 11 months of the year.
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Luke 2:1-7 (New International Version)
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
” ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”
Matthew 2:1-12 (New International Version)
We hope that everyone has a very Merry Christmas. Be safe and remember the reason for the season; the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
-Steve and Missi
I head that today many stores will be open. Please be careful and enjoy the day in the manner that you enjoy the most.
I intend to help my wife cook Thanksgiving dinner, eat too much, and spend the rest of the day resting.
God Bless Everyone.
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD he is God:
it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.
OK, some of you may fall out of your chairs on this next statement from me; Obama and I actually agree on something.
Obama and I are actually on the same page as to who started the latest violence in Israel; the Palestinians.
I was pretty wrapped up in life last week and missed the onset of hostilities, so I Googled the topic to bring myself up to date. Oddly enough, I could only locate one story that mentioned that Obama was blaming the Palestinians for starting this latest round of violence. What? One article?
Normally when the President speaks, the press falls all over themselves to tout every word, to justify and even distort to avoid showing him in a negative light. This time, however, they were faced with a dilemma; support Obama as usual but in doing so, show Israel in a positive light. How conflicted they must have felt.
Being the thorough journalist that they are, they chose to almost completely ignore the President’s comments and just not report them at all. There, problem solved.
In the mean time, the New York Times took the opportunity to slam Israel as usual. They tried anyway, but backed off when the heat became too much. As reported by Warner Todd Huston:
“In a classic example of the media accepting the terrorist’s ideas that Israel is the bad actor in the Middle East, The New York Times had an interesting way to describe the more than 150 rockets that Palestinians have launched on Israeli civilians over the last week or so. The Times wrote that those attacks were “called rocket attacks” by Israel as if the Israeli’s were simply making unsubstantiated claims about the attacks.
They were “called rocket attacks” New York Times? No, they were rocket attacks, they weren’t just “called” rocket attacks. That these rocket attacks happened is not a claim but a fact.
It was in the third paragraph of its November 15 piece that the Times used the deprecating language saying, “The ferocity of the airstrikes, which Israel called Operation “Pillar of Defense” in response to what Israel called repeated rocket attacks by Gaza-based Palestinian militants, provoked rage in Gaza, where Hamas said…” (My bold for emphasis)
But, it gets worse. After being scolded for this rhetoric down in the comments section, the Times suddenly changed the whole paragraph and did so without bothering to inform readers that they’d made the change.
It now reads: (My bold)
The ferocity of the airstrikes, which Israel called Operation “Pillar of Defense” in response to repeated rocket attacks by Gaza-based Palestinian militants, provoked rage in Gaza, where Hamas said the airstrikes amounted to war and promised a harsh response. Civil-defense authorities in Israel raised alert levels and told residents to take precautions for rocket retaliation from Gaza.
Of course, there is another thing that must be noted. The premise of this story in its first important opening paragraphs is that it was Israel that “launched one of the most ferocious assaults on Gaza.” It is as if the Israelis just woke up one day this week and decided to start bombing neighbors for no reason. But the truth is that Israel has been under a renewed attack by Palestinian rockets.
The Hamas-sponsored attacks Israel has sustained without reply for some time was buried in the story and initially scoffed at as the Times characterized the attacks as something Israel was only claiming had occurred.
That isn’t the only place in the story where The New York Times sides with the terrorists by accepting their terms of the debate. In the fifth paragraph we see this bit of doggerel: (again my bold)
The abrupt escalation in hostilities between Israel and Hamas, the militant organization regarded by Israel as a terrorist group sworn to Israel’s destruction, came amid rising tensions between Israel and all of its Arab neighbors.
What? Only Israel “regards” Hamas as a terrorist group dedicated to the destruction of Israel? Uh, no, New York Times, Israel isn’t the only one that “regards” Hamas as dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Hamas also regards themselves this way.
Even the U.S. government has declared Hamas as a terror organization.
This article is a perfect example of how The New York Times sides with terrorists and those wishing genocide on Israel by accepting all their terms of debate and couching all reporting as if the terrorists are the ones on the right side of the issue at the outset.”
One might even feel sorry for the mainstream media when this type of thing happens. To be conflicted in such a way must add at least one additional counseling session with their psychiatrist. Remember, liberalism is a psychological disorder, even if the APA is hesitant to label it so. A bit of tongue and cheek on my part this morning.
I still lament our current situation with the press and long for the days when they actually had integrity and reported the facts, no matter how diametrically opposed those may have been from their personal beliefs. Gone are the “good old days” of honest reporting.
When it comes to the escalating border violence between Israel and the Gaza strip, Obama administration officials have made the U.S. position clear: Hamas is to blame.
Aboard Air Force One, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that the administration strongly condemns the on-going rocket fire from Gaza. Carney lamented the civilian casualties among both the Israelis and Palestinians over the last few days, but said it is Hamas, a U.S.-designated terror group, which governs the Gaza strip, that is instigating the violence.
“Hamas claims to have the best interest of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that is counterproductive to the Palestinian cause,” Carney said. “Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza or to move the Palestinian people any close to achieving self-determination.”
This is the worst flare-up of violence between Israel and the Palestinians in several years. After contending with a steady stream of missiles being fired by Hamas into Southern Israel over the course of this year, the Jewish state launched its own offensive on Wednesday, killing Ahmed Jabari, a Hamas military leader. In retaliation, the group launched nearly 150 more rockets at Israel on Thursday. The attack killed three Israelis in the southern town of Kiryat Malakhi, with rocket fire reaching Israel’s largest city of Tel Aviv.
In just the last two days at least 15 Palestinians have reportedly been killed, in addition to the Israeli casualties. There are also reports that Israel may be preparing for a ground operation as it moves troops near the border. A ground incursion by Israel into Gaza could signal the beginning of an all-out war.
When asked about the possibility of a ground offensive, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters on a conference call that the United States respects Israel’s right to defend itself, but would not like to see the conflict escalate further.
“Our view is the Israelis have a right of self-defense when their citizens are faced with the threat of indiscriminate rocket fire from within Gaza. Ultimately it’s up to the Israeli government to make a determination about how they are going to carry out their military objective,” said Rhodes. ”But we’ve also said the best course of action would be for there to be a general de-escalation of the violence, but the onus is on Hamas and those with influence over Hamas to help bring about that de-escalation so we don’t see a widening conflict. ”
See our articles Israeli Citizens Have the RIGHT to Live Without Terror – Stop Terror Attacks Against the People of Sderot, Israel and The Qassam Rocket – Pali Terrorist Weapon of Choice, An Overview.
The stunning reelection of President Obama has caused several of us in the field of Bible prophecy to question the possibility of him being the Antichrist. I still look for a leader to come out of the area that was once part of the Roman Empire. Since we don’t have a clear vision of the ten-horned confederation that will elect the Beast, it would be unwise to slam the door on any non-European leader.
I did a search on “Is Obama the Antichrist?” and found very little current information on this subject. One search pointed right back to Rapture Ready. So, I guess I need to provide my own answer the question.
There was once a time when you couldn’t be called a world leader unless there was some group identifying you as the Antichrist. Lately, pin the tail on the AC has become a dying art. Back in the nineties, every prophecy conference that I would visit had someone labeling a political leader as the AC. I remember attending an afternoon session at a God’s News Behind the News conference where four speakers in a row tagged Bill Clinton as the Beast.
Today, we’ve gone in the opposite direction. I was recently at a prophecy conference where Barack Obama’s name never came up once. He seems to be mysteriously coated with Teflon when it comes to any speculation of him having an end-times role. When you have someone who would have to hold a news conference while wearing horns and the number “666″ tattooed on his forehead to get the attention of Bible scholars, that is the guy you need to keep an eye on.
Robert Jeffress, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas, deserves credit for daring to state the obvious fact on this subject. He said if Obama wins the election, his victory would lead to the reign of the Antichrist:
“I want you to hear me tonight,” he said. “I am not saying that President Obama is the Antichrist, I am not saying that at all… But what I am saying is this: the course he is choosing to lead our nation is paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist.”
The statement by Jeffress became yet another example of how Obama is being shielded from any criticism. Here we have a leading pastor comparing Obama to Satan’s evil spawn, and the press turned the story into a debate on why Jeffress recommended people voting for Romney, a member of the Mormon cult. Jeffress argued back that when you have a choice between two evils, you go for the lesser one.
As Christians, we are responsible for understanding the signs of the times. One of the best ways to know how close we are to the Tribulation hour is to track how ready the world is for the rise of the Antichrist. Here is a quick overview of what the Bible says about the Antichrist:
Daniel 11:36-43: He will magnify himself above God.
Daniel 8:23-25: He will be a problem solver.
Revelation 6:2: Everyone will think he wants peace.
Revelation 13:2: Satan is behind the Antichrist’s power.
Revelation 13:5: He will have great political power.
Daniel 9:24-27: He will make a seven-year pact with Israel.
Revelation 13:7: He will wage war against the saints.
Revelation 13:8: He will be worshiped by all.
Revelation 13:16-17: He will require all to receive a mark.
Revelation 17:11-17: The Antichrist will betray the apostate church.
Revelation 19:19: The Antichrist will fight against Christ.
The devil has no way of knowing who will be the Antichrist until we reach the point that it is obvious that we are in the Tribulation. Until we reach the point of clarity, Satan will always have someone who has his unholy blessing. Right now, Obama would seem to be the front runner. When or if that mantle passes from him, time will only tell.
I’ve been surprised by how many end-times bloggers used the Obama election victory as an excuse to shutter their operations. I think this was an incredibly foolish move on the part of these people. The Bible warns that people like Obama will prosper in the last days. When you are running a race and people are dropping out or falling back, it is a perfect sign that the finish line is drawing near.
“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in God’s sanctuary, publicizing that he himself is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 HCSB).
On Tuesday, November 6, election day 2012, American voters decided our path for at least the next four years, most likely longer.
ObamaCare is a certainty now and has already begun to affect employees and employers. Not only has it affected companies like Papa John’s Pizza, among many others, but we have personally felt it. In our benefits information for 2013 there was a notice that in 2014, our current plan would no longer be available. It is being dropped because of the government mandated “excise tax” being levied against it. In 2014, our deductible and maximum out of pocket will double.
Now many of might say “well at least you have insurance”. True. We are employed and work very hard to remain that way. I do understand that many people aren’t insured and/or aren’t employed. I have sympathy for them and believe that they should be helped as they are looking a job.
What many people still can’t get their minds around is who is going to pay for all of this?
Obama claims to have a plan; tax the rich. This sounds good on the surface, but it quickly falls apart once the government attempts to define “rich”. It seems that every time we look up from our “millstones”, we discover the government has lowered the amount necessary to classify someone as “rich”. No longer encompassing “old money” and “new money”, they now include the small business owner; the sixty hour per week person who’s pinned his/her entire life and well being on making their small business a success.
Businesses, both large and small, will do whatever is necessary to remain solvent and in business. As the burdens, placed on them by an ever expanding and intrusive government increases companies will reduce headcount, reduced expansion, reduced work hours, and reduced product offerings, just to name a few. All of these things impact the average working person in the form of lost jobs, lower wages, higher taxes, fewer items on the shelves in stores and higher prices. The increased burden on the average individual and family is just beginning.
What else did we say with this election?
By voting for Obama and the Democrats, we have said that we want to encourage class warfare, a sense of entitlement, and amnesty for illegal aliens.
An exit poll cited by the Associated Press stated, “ask white voters about the proper role of government, for another, and 60 percent think it should do less. Ask Hispanics the same question, and 58 percent think the government should do more, as do 73 percent of blacks…” Entitlement and amnesty in full force.
What else did we say with this election?
From a CNNMoney article “voters in Washington and Colorado passed ballot initiatives Tuesday to legalize marijuana for recreational use…”
Although far from finalized (marijuana is still illegal at the federal level), it’s a great concern that on one hand we teach our children to live “drug free” and on the other, legalize drugs. What kind of message does that send to our children?
So what did we, the voters, say?
Would it be fair to say that we voted for evil? Too strong of a term perhaps?
Remember, we voted for class warfare and redistribution of wealth, entitlement, government intrusion and legalized drugs. Are these things not considered to “bad” or negatives? Has our moral relativism reached that point that we can no longer distinguish between good and bad?
Apparently for almost half the of the voters in this nation, a resounding “yes” is in order.
A last word to Christians. You need to remember that a vote for evil of any kind is a vote for Satan and vote against God. That’s the way God sees it anyway.
It seems like forever that we’ve been waiting for today’s presidential election. So, here we are in the midst of a moment that could put another nail in free markets, state’s rights, religious belief, and America’s greatness.
The profound notion that somehow successful people are the problem and less successful people should be rewarded is more than stupid. It’s insulting. We all know the real deal. We all know a lot of people that aren’t successful because they haven’t made the effort, the sacrifices, or took the gamble.
I’m not trying to be disrespectful. On the contrary, I love that we can choose our paths, but I hate that those who take the one less traveled and find gold at the end of the trail should have to go on the run from a posse of couch-sitters and their government attack dogs. There is legitimate frustration about how difficult it is to climb the ladder of success these days. Incomes are actually lower now than four years ago. It’s easy to lose faith in the American dream unless you understand America’s history and the history of the world. For those willing to punish their successful neighbors out of envy, it would be wise to know it erodes their own foundation even more.
If you live vicariously through the biggest robber baron in history, the United States federal government, you’re making a giant mistake.
Robin Hood is a great hero in a monarchy-setting, but in this world, stealing from those households earning $250,000 a year is just theft.
This is perhaps most obvious of all areas.
Gold ETF (GLD)
Huge debt coupled with Fed money – printing means monster inflation
Arch Coal (ACI)
Calling off the EPA would be huge for industry and American jobs
managed care companies should fare well
HCA Corp (HCA)
Administration brags about all the new clients for insurance companies but hospitals too
Initiative Surgical (ISRG)
Taxing medical device makers is a giant mistake…means lots of lives will be lost
Chairman of Fed under Romney stop printing
The weak dollar means big overseas profits for companies with large footprints and growing presence
Carnival Cruise (CCL)
Stronger dollar means travel plans long put off can be realized
People wanting to prosper or wanting to exist
Rent-a Center (RCII)
The Dropout nation continues that means fewer saving, less commitment living day to day.
Kelly Services (KELYA)
More people enter jobs market seeking opportunities to earn and get back to owning.
There is no doubt fossil fuel in tug of war
First Solar (FSLR)
There is no doubt a second term would be used to funnel gobs of taxpayer money into solar
Yingli Green (YGE)
Trade war with China over solar is dumb – real damage from intellectual property theft and currency
Can we ignore a dangerous world and second amendment
Strum Ruger (RGR)
The stock has struggled in face of amazingly great news but second term sends gun demand to record.
Company owns McDonnell-Douglas which in turn makes those planes that land on aircraft carriers that Mitt had no idea about
Heavy unionized companies
General Motors (GM)
Automakers already have perfect circumstance, 11 year old cars and lots of easy money – but fleet sales help.
United Rental (URI)
Company has perfect business model for cautiously optimistic businesses looking to rent/lease equipment.
Election day is on us. Vote the way God would want you to vote.