Spiritual

FOR THE SAKE OF TOLERANCE, ARE WE WITNESSING A MORE ANTI-CHRISTIAN GOVERNMENT?

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The Denver City Council is stalling consideration of allowing Chick-fil-A, an openly Christian based company, to open a location at Denver International Airport due to comments made by company CEO-Dan Cathy about his opposition to the LGBT community and his beliefs as a Christian, as well as the companies donations made to charitable groups opposing LGBT causes.

 

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This is an absolute violation of the First Amendment as it pertains not only to freedom of religion and belief, but freedom of speech; it is a direct prejudicial and discriminatory attack on a business because of their religious (Christian) stance.

 


 

Freedom of Belief

The First Amendment does not expressly speak in terms of liberty to hold such beliefs as one chooses, but in both the religion and the expression clauses, it is clear, liberty of belief is the foundation of the liberty to practice what religion one chooses and to express oneself as one chooses. 169”If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” 170 Speaking in the context of religious freedom, the Court at one point said that while the freedom to act on one’s beliefs could be limited, the freedom to believe what one will ”is absolute.”


 

Despite ardent assurances from the concessionaires — who have operated other DIA restaurants — that strict nondiscrimination policies will include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Councilman Paul Lopez called opposition to the chain at DIA “really, truly a moral issue on the city.” Robin Kniech, the council’s first openly gay member, said she was most worried about a local franchise generating “corporate profits used to fund and fuel discrimination.” She was first to raise issue with Chick-fil-A leaders’ politics.

 

While the Denver City Council delays its decision over whether to allow Chick-Fil-A to operate a business in its airport because of its “Christian values”, the city has become a hotbed of debate across America due to the recent undercover footage shot at a Denver Planned Parenthood clinic. At the center of the debate are questions about Planned Parenthood’s abortion practices and the harvesting of human organs for profit. Congress is currently scheduled to vote as early as next week on whether to pull federal funding from the nonprofit, while several states have already taken it upon themselves to pull their state dollars from the corporate health giant. Colorado Democrats recently voted down a bill that would’ve defunded Planned Parenthood in their state.

 

Are the same concerns over corporate profits being used to fund or fuel racial hate groups, radical terrorist groups, or other such organizations, being raised by governmental officials when considering other such businesses? What about those companies and corporations that openly contribute to groups like Planned Parenthood, which has recently come under Congressional investigation after videos of PP corporate CEO’s and others were released showing a blatant disregard for not only the law as it pertains to abortion practices, but a vile apathy for the babies as well? Perhaps Colorado views the rights of the LGBT community to be more important than those of an unborn child?

 

Colorado isn’t alone when it comes to what appears to be an unwritten “anti-Christian” stance. City leaders in Chicago attempted to block a new Chick-fil-A location for similar reasons three years ago, ultimately backing down after reaching an agreement with the chain. Mayors in both Boston and San Francisco vowed to fend off any foray by Chick-fil-A into those cities as well. It appears that if a Christian business owner wants to setup shop in any of these locations, it is best to keep your Christian beliefs to yourself.

 

 

Footnotes:

[Footnote 169] West Virginia State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943); Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 303 -04 (1940); United States v. Ballard, 322 U.S. 78 (1944); Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488 (1961); American Communications Ass’n v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382, 408 (1950); Bond v. Floyd, 385 U.S. 116, 132 (1966); Speiser v. Randall, 357 U.S. 513 (1958); Baird v. State Bar of Arizona, 401 U.S. 1, 5 -6 (1971), and id. at 9-10 (Justice Stewart concurring). – See more at: http://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment1/annotation11.html/#f169
[Footnote 170] West Virginia State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642 (1943) – See more at: http://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment1/annotation11.html/#f171

Is America Becoming an anti- Jesus Nation?

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“Jesus loves the little children…
All the children of the world…
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight…
Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

This little song; or nursery rhyme as some believe it to be, was written by a preacher named Clare Herbert Woolston (1856–1927). I can recall singing it along with the other children in Sunday school. It may be the very first song I ever learned by heart, probably because it is very short and repetitive, but also because of its simplistic phrases and terms, which makes it easily understandable for young minds. Its message is clear; Jesus loves us all! He is not concerned with what color our skin is or what part of the world we may inhabit. In His sight, we are all equal, and equally precious. His love for us is unconditional. What that means is that there is nothing that we must do, or say, or change to get Him to love us. Children seem to grasp this fact far easier than some adults. It is as though we, as adults, often cannot accept that something like the freely given, unconditional love Jesus has toward us could really be real. After all, we learn very quickly that very little in this world is truly free. There are almost always strings attached, or fine print at the bottom of the page, or prerequisites’ that must be met, but such is not the case when it comes to Jesus’ love.

Psalms 71:5-6
“For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth. By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.”

When I was very young and attended church with my parents, it never occurred to me that there might be people in the world who had no interest in Jesus or the love He had for them. I had no idea that there were some who either simply chose not to believe in anything beyond themselves and their own existence, or who knew and believed in the existence of Jesus but rejected His love for whatever reason. I mean, in my young mind, if Jesus loves you no matter what, why wouldn’t you love Him back? It would be like rejecting the love of your own mother or father – sadly, I have since realized that this too happens in our world far too often.

There is a benefit to being young in my opinion, one of unconditional trust. A newborn trusts its mother to nurture and to protect it, to teach it and help it grow. That trust is not something necessarily earned, which is evident when we see a child neglected or even abused by a parent and yet that same child continues for a great deal of time to trust their parent regardless of how they are being treated. Distrust is something that is earned. Over time, the neglected or abused child’s trust in the parent committing the offense begins to break down, eventually becoming non-existent. So then, how is it that Jesus could be so despised by those whom He loves? Why, if He has done nothing to earn or merit their distrust, do so many reject Him?

One answer may revolve around the concept of resentment. Often we have heard that all things are possible with God. Jesus is capable of answering anyone’s prayer; even those things for which we are unaware that we have need of, and yet His answer to some prayer is not what is expected or desired. Just as a parent who does not give a child whatever they ask for, Jesus is sometimes held in contempt for not giving a person what they want when they want it. What they fail to understand, or in some cases accept, is that Jesus knows the heart and mind of every individual. He knows what we need, as opposed to what we may want. If a child asks to have a bottle of poison to drink not knowing that it could potentially harm or even kill them, would a loving parent grant them that desire? What of those prayers which seem to go unanswered for a new job, or for happiness, or even for a dying loved one? Surely these things, being good and being requested for the most well intentioned reasons are prayers which should be answered in the affirmative. What we must recognize again is that Jesus does answer those prayers, but in His own time and in a way that meets our needs and the needs of others as opposed to our wants.

Hebrews 9:27-28
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”

As for the death of a loved one: My wife and I lost our eldest son to a drowning accident a year and a half ago. It was the hardest thing we have ever endured in our lives. We prayed daily for protection over our children as many parents do, and yet we still lost him. There is not a single day that goes by that we do not think of him or wish he were still here with us. For awhile, after the accident, we both were upset and angry with God for allowing it to happen, and we went through struggles trying to reason with and understand a seemingly unreasonable and confusing event. We have since come to the conclusion that it was something that, at least for now, we simply must trust that God had good reason for allowing. There is no way for us to know what that reason is as we are not able to see things the same way that God sees them. What we do know is that it is not God’s desire that anyone should have to die, but it is the result of sin having entered into the world through disobedience. It is a fact; living in this world means that, at some point unknown to us, we have an appointment with death as a result of sin. However, knowing Jesus Christ as our personal savior, accepting His love and showing love back by seeking to trust and obey Him, grants us the assurance that death will only touch us once.

1st Corinthians 1:18-19
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

Another reason some have chosen to reject Jesus has to do with human intellect. As the years have passed and our world has become more advanced and technological, some hold to the premise that if they can’t see something it doesn’t exist. That, even if it did exist at some point in time, its absence in the here and now means that it is no longer relevant. Much like the old manual typewriters or 8-track tapes, which were popular decades ago, they are no longer wanted much or needed in a world where I-pods, I-phones, and I-pads exist. They have had their moment in the spotlight and have since been retired. Many people today have never even seen a manual typewriter or an 8-track tape. To them, they do not exist. However, Jesus Christ is not an object that can be dismissed; he is the one, true Savior of a lost and dying world. Without Jesus, there is no hope of Salvation. This is as truthful a statement as stating that the Holy Bible is not something that can be replaced by technology. The Bible is the Holy Word of God. It has been tested by time, trial, and fire. It has survived those tests and it continues to be the most inspiring, controversial, best selling, and life changing book ever written. Those who believe that they are far too wise to believe or to have faith in a creator simply because they cannot see Him are perhaps far too wise for their own good.

Matthew 18:2-4
“And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

There are also those who choose not to believe in Jesus because it interferes with their concept of having fun and enjoying life. Following the Bible and showing obedience to God means having to put aside many of the things that are popular in today’s world. It means having to strive to obey the laws, rules, and desires of God. The Bible is abundantly clear when it comes to what is forbidden by God, and yet in our society there are so many who either misinterpret, attempt to change, or flat out choose to ignore those things in the name of pleasure or political correctness.

the Ten CommandmentsThe Ten Commandments are the very foundation of many American laws and have also served as a moral compass for centuries, and yet there are those who protest the very idea of having them displayed in a public place, why? They would have us to believe that it is all about constitutional law; separation of church and state, but the truth is that those who take issue with these types of things do so because they do not want to be reminded of the fact that they have rejected Jesus Christ. There are many groups in this Christian founded nation – a nation that accepts all types of religious and spiritual beliefs, or even the lack thereof – who seek to remove God and Jesus Christ or any reference of them from every aspect of our public lives. They do not object to other spiritual or religious groups, but rather seem to have set their sights on the Christian community alone. The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), and the American Humanist Association (AHA), two of the most widely known secular organizations, consistently take up battles and file suits in court over Christian based issues such as seeking to remove the words “under God” from our nation’s Pledge of Allegiance and “In God We Trust” from our nation’s currency. Those individuals who oppose reference to God or Jesus Christ in our courts, our schools, our motto’s and oath’s, are not doing so because they are being harmed in any way by them, but rather because they do not like to see or hear about God and Jesus. They have even filed suits against the public display of Nativity scenes at Christmas – and many have even attempted to have the word “Christmas” itself struck from our vocabulary because they find it offensive and not “politically correct”. Most recently, atheists protested to remove a cross on a war memorial located in an Indiana state park. These individuals are at war with a God that they claim not to recognize. It is a war that they cannot win!

Many American’s look at the shape of our nation and the world right now, and they wonder how it ever became so chaotic, dangerous, and seemingly irreparable. They have lost hope in things ever becoming better. Washington seems to only care about special interests and power. Church leaders seem to argue with one another over the meaning of doctrine and what is acceptable in God’s eyes. Our enemies are more emboldened and set on our destruction. Our economy seems to be getting worse all of the time, meanwhile our deficit soars out of control and good jobs are hard to come by. Even we, our friends, and our neighbors seem so busy trying to keep up in this increasingly fast-paced world that they have very little time to take a deep breath let alone visit with one another or help each other. It is true. The things in this world are moving more rapidly than they ever have before, but some things are not as irreparable as they may seem.

2nd Corinthians 3:17
“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

Our freedoms may appear to be eroding, but they are not. They still exist, provided by a loving God, and the sacrifice of so many brave men and women who have fought and died throughout history to secure and to protect them. There still remains hope regardless of how dire things may appear. That hope cannot be found in any person in Washington, nor can it be found within one’s self. It is a hope that can only be found in Christ Jesus.

2nd Corinthians 7:14
“…if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”

So long as we; the Christian community, continue to accept Jesus Christ, do not turn away from God, and refuse to allow a small percentage of individuals who are at war with Christ destroy our right to believe in Him and share His message with others, there is still hope. Even so, there is the knowledge that this world is but temporary, and that ultimately we are nothing more than travelers on a journey – as the song goes: this world is not our home.

There is one simple truth that rings clear for each and every person in this world, including those who choose to reject the Lord Jesus Christ or deny His existence – He loves them. He will continue to love them until the day that they stand in judgment, and even then it will break His heart that they chose to rebel against the love He has for them. Until that day comes, and no one knows when that will be as it is different for each individual, they are still being given the opportunity to change their hearts and minds and accept the free gift they have been given. It is my humble prayer that they seek the truth before it is too late.

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal savior and would like to know how you can change that, please click here to discover more about how to become a Christian. The Romans Road to Salvation explains how you can receive the free gift of salvation through the acceptance of Jesus Christ. After accepting Christ into your life and beginning your relationship with Him, I highly encourage you to locate a Biblical Based Church in your local area and speak to them about your knew found faith in Christ. There, you can receive baptism and begin to grow more as a Christian, learning more about the wonderful promises of God and fulfilling God’s intended purpose for your life! God bless.

Garbage In – Garbage Out

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Have you ever considered the truth behind the phrase, “you are what you eat?”

Granted, this is generally used to reflect the importance of good eating habits so a person can lead a healthier lifestyle, but the significance of the phrase can be applied to other aspects of our lives as well.

During a 2005 triple-murder trial in Alabama, the defendant’s lawyer argued that his client should not be held responsible for the murders of two police officers and a 911 dispatcher because he had suffered psychological influence from a popular video game. According to the defense, the video game played by the defendant, which depicted violence and brutality directed at law enforcement, had hard-wired him into carrying out the heinous acts that he committed; in effect, the game ultimately made the defendant steal a car, made him attempt to escape police custody, and made him gun down the officers.

A video game cannot make a person do something they do not want to do, but studies have proven that they can influence behavior. Much like movies, television shows, books, comics, and even social media, video games can have an impact on the way we think and interact with the real world. What we consume with our minds is just as important – perhaps of even greater importance – as what we ingest with our mouths.

Consider what Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees in the 15th chapter of Matthew:

…Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”              – Matthew 15:17-20

Although Jesus was answering a question posed to him about why his disciples did not adhere to the ritualistic act of washing their hands before eating, the scripture serves to show that those things which find their way into our hearts and minds can certainly defile us and have a negative impact on who we are and what we say and do.

Of course, it seems nearly impossible today to think good and pure thoughts when we are constantly bombarded with immoral images, stories, and suggestions. Very little entertainment today is free from the “big three”; profanity, “adult sexual themes,” and violence. In addition, many books, magazines, and newspapers focus on those “big three,” in one way or another. Many people defend violent, obscene, and sexually explicit media on the grounds that they do no harm. They say that watching violent television doesn’t make people violent, just as playing a violent video game does not. But they miss the point. The evil lies in our thinking. Untrue, bad, wrong, impure, ugly, coarse, and contemptible thoughts all corrupt our hearts and minds, and whatever exists within our hearts and minds will always have the potential to escape through our words or actions. Whether or not we become monsters, we all think monstrous thoughts. Even if all the negative thoughts never corrupt our behavior directly, our minds can still become filled with violent, evil images, and that is an evil in itself.

A good friend of mine, who has spent much of her life trying to be a good and Godly influence on children, used to teach them to apply the phrase, “garbage in – garbage out” to all that they said and did. She understood that what they allowed to enter in through their ears and eyes could, and probably would ultimately result in what came out of their mouths as well as through their actions. It is a very good lesson that we should all pay heed to.

The defendant, whose attorney claimed a video game was responsible for his client’s actions, was ultimately found guilty of the crimes he’d committed. He was held responsible for his actions regardless of what may have influenced his decisions and behavior. We are all responsible for our decisions and behavior. What we choose to allow into our lives may have an impact on who we are, what we do and say, and where we end up. We should be careful to avoid allowing garbage into our hearts and minds. I leave you with the words of Paul the Apostle:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”                     – Philippians 4:8-9

Super Bowl XLVIII: Faith and Prayer VS Luck and Skill

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o-SUPER-BOWL-570As millions of viewers tune in to watch this years Super Bowl match between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, there will undoubtedly be those on both sides of the field who will not only cheer on their favorite, but who will pray for a victory over the opposing team. The Super Bowl, one of the most anticipated and widely watched sporting events in our nation, has always revolved around competition among players and fans, but in recent years it has become a competitive backdrop for another type of battle, the battle over religious belief. This year, directly across from Met Life Stadium, where the two teams will face off, a large billboard has been erected encouraging game patrons not to waste their time with prayer.

Advertisements bordering on the mundane, hilarious, intriguing and even ridiculous are nothing new to the Super Bowl, but this particular posting (paid for by The American Atheists) goes a bit farther than most by seemingly mocking the Christian faith and its values in order to promote the Atheist belief. Though this is not the first time that a religious message has been promoted during a Super Bowl, it does appear to be a first for ridicule or mockery of another groups belief on such a grand scale.

The question many are asking is whether or not the message goes too far. After all, in a society that seemingly promotes acceptance of anyone and everyone’s ideals, beliefs, lifestyles, and choices, why is it that Christians seem to be the target of so much ridicule and hatred?

By and large, most people watching this years Super Bowl will probably not see the billboard or its message, and those attending in person will undoubtedly have their thoughts on the game and not even notice it, but that does little to change the fact that what it is attempting to do is dissuade people from their personal beliefs and promote division at a time when our country has already suffered enough division among its citizens. Trying to promote and share ones beliefs is one thing, but attacking another persons, or mocking them in order to be heard, is nothing short of bullying.

In an American Atheists press release, David Silverman, the groups President said, “Prayer is superstition, plain and simple. It’s 2014; it’s time to stop believing that prayer works. Give credit where credit is due and celebrate what this is really about—coming together to cheer on hard-working athletes doing what they do best.”

The idea of an athletes hard work, training, and skill being responsible for his or her abilities is without a doubt true, but Christian believers might argue that the opportunities and skills that the athletes have and develop were given them by God. A great number of professional athletes admit to having faith in God and praying before, during, and even after games to ask for protection, ability, and to offer thanks. So what is wrong with this? If a person believes such to be true, why does the idea of prayer and thanksgiving seem to frighten or anger some people? Shouldn’t a person be able to practice their belief without fear of persecution, mockery, or other forms of abuse?

From a Christian standpoint, I will say that I do believe in the power of prayer. I have seen first hand what prayer can do, not just on a physical level, but emotionally as well. Even many Psychiatrists and doctors tell us that having a strong spiritual faith in God can help keep us mentally fit and emotionally stable. I cannot imagine going through life with nothing more to believe in than myself, because I am far from perfect. My belief in God and my faith in Jesus Christ is unshakable and it is something that cannot be taken from me. It’s unfortunate that events like the Super Bowl, events that are meant to be fun and exciting for our nation, are often places where some choose to inject their hatred and fear. I hope that all in attendance, and those watching around the world, truly enjoy the game. God bless America, and may God bless you dear reader.

“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”

                                                                               – Matthew 21:22 (KJV)