Charisma News | Breaking News. Spiritual Perspective. Tue, 09 Feb 2016 10:30:51 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Why You Need to Add Israel to Your Top 10 Prayer List Right Now

Praying for Israel should be in every Christian's top 10 most important prayer items, said Eliyahu Ben-Haim, chairman of the Intercessors for Israel (IFI) in Jerusalem.

"You don't have to have Israel as your No. 1 burden. The Lord gives people all sorts of burdens, but it should be in your top 10 list, somewhere, even if it's No. 10," Ben-Haim told CBN News.

It's important to pray for Israel, he said, because it's "God's proclamation to the world that the Word of God, the Bible, is true, and it's God's proclamation to the world that Yeshua (Jesus) is returning ... maybe even soon."

Praying for Israel, he said, is at the center of the Bible.

"It is actually even more talked about in the Bible than the Lord Himself, and what was His title on the cross? 'This is Yeshua, King of the Jews,'" he noted.

More than 200 intercessors from some 40 nations gathered in Jerusalem recently for the annual IFI conference to pray for Israel, the Jewish people, the nations and the fulfillment of God's Word.

This year's conference theme was taken from Isaiah 59: "Truth Is Fallen in the Streets."

According to the conference brochure, the "two most flagrant examples of 'truth fallen in the streets' are the 'evil' Iranian nuclear deal signed last summer and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year 'that homosexual marriage was a right given under' the U.S. constitution.

"We are witnessing not just the destruction of justice, righteousness and truth, but the rapid decline of Western civilization as we have known it for the past 2,000 years," Ben-Haim wrote.

Ben Haim said at IFI they pray according to 1 Timothy, which commands Christians to pray for those in authority. Political leaders are the shepherds of a nation, he said.

"If we aren't praying for our government, we have no right to complain," he said.

Regarding Iran, it's a "world-class threat to everyone," he said.

They're working toward obtaining a nuclear bomb and ushering in the reign of the Mahdi, a false messiah, who according to Islamic tradition is "supposed to return when either a third of the world has died and at a time of enormous violence and chaos."

"The Muslims have always said they're going to defeat Israel because we love life and they love death," he said. "In Isaiah 28, even though it was spoken to the people of Israel, the Lord's talking about people who made a covenant with death, and that is Islam."

Ben-Haim also referred to current wave of Palestinian terrorism against Israel, called by some the "knife intifadah" (or uprising).

"These people are going out not just to kill, they're going out expecting to die," he said.

But there's hope.

"Isaiah 28 ends with God's promise that His flood will overcome this covenant with death, even as Yeshua has already done that Himself on the cross," he said.

"I would just encourage people to pray. Pray what you read in the Scriptures," Ben-Haim said. "God is working out His Word in this country (Israel) in a very obvious and startling manner, and He's not coming back to New York or Moscow or Charlotte. He's coming back to Jerusalem. We should have a focus on this country and on this city."

(IFI provides updates and scriptural prayer points year round on its website.)

CBN News Featured World News Tue, 09 Feb 2016 10:30:00 -0500
What Did Saturday's Debate Do to Marco Rubio's Chances to Win in 2016?

A week ago, it looked like the stars were aligning for Marco Rubio. Now, as New Hampshire holds its pivotal primary on Tuesday, the Republican presidential contender has to hope the sky does not come crashing down on him.

After a surprisingly strong third-place showing in last week's Iowa caucuses, Rubio came into New Hampshire hoping for a top-tier finish in the state to buttress his argument he is the candidate around whom the party establishment should rally.

But a debate performance on Saturday night that was widely mocked by Republicans and Democrats as well as legions on social media might have changed the equation for the U.S. senator from Florida.

Now Rubio must worry that anything less than a robust performance in New Hampshire will further fuel the suggestion that his campaign suffered a critical blow at the debate.

Dante Scala, an analyst on local politics at the University of New Hampshire, said that if Rubio did not do well in Tuesday's primary, "it isn't fatal necessarily, but it makes the road to the nomination longer and riskier."

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump is widely expected to win Tuesday's contest in New Hampshire, whose primary is part of the state-by-state process of picking party nominees for the Nov. 8 election to replace Democratic President Barack Obama.

But after Rubio finished far ahead of mainstream rivals Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich in Iowa, he appeared to be best positioned to place second in New Hampshire, perhaps knocking Christie or Kasich out of the race and emerging as the party's best hope to derail Trump's insurgent bid.

Rubio's debate showing, in which he helped further the perception he is an overly scripted, even robotic, candidate, has been cited by other contenders as proof he is not ready to shoulder the leadership mantle.

"When the lights get that bright, you either shine or you melt," Christie, the New Jersey governor, said at a campaign event in Hudson, New Hampshire, on Monday. "We can't afford to have a president who melts."

Battle for Second Place

Rubio, in an interview with CNN on Monday, dismissed the torrent of criticism that has come his way since the debate and said his potential to be a strong general election candidate against the Democrats made him a target.

"We raised more money after this debate than any debate we've ever had and we're excited about it," Rubio said. "And there's a reason they attacked me more than anyone else."

A WMUR-CNN poll released on Monday showed Trump leading in New Hampshire with the support of 31 percent of those planning to vote in the Republican primary. Rubio was in second place at 17 percent, followed by Ted Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas, at 14 percent.

Kasich, the Ohio governor, had 10 percent, Bush, a former Florida governor, was at 7 percent, and Christie at 4 percent, according to the poll conducted from Wednesday to Sunday, with a margin of error of plus or minus 5.2 percentage points.

The New Hampshire race promises to be dramatic on the Democratic side as well.

Bernie Sanders has a strong lead in state opinion polls over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who narrowly beat him in Iowa.

Clinton has sought to play down expectations for her performance in New Hampshire, noting that Sanders is a U.S. senator from neighboring Vermont. But a big loss in New Hampshire to Sanders, an underdog candidate and self-described socialist, would be an embarrassment for Clinton.

Fighting for Traction

Among Republicans, Christie has become Rubio's chief antagonist and hopes to benefit from any loss of Rubio's momentum. A finish below the top three could force Christie's exit from the race.

Kasich, who has been rising in the polls in New Hampshire, is another candidate seeking to profit from Rubio's troubles. He has long staked the viability of his campaign on the outcome in New Hampshire, and he has a deep organization in the state, with 800 volunteers manning phone banks and going door to door to court voters.

He is counting on attracting independents who can vote in the Republican primary. At an event in Windham, New Hampshire, on Monday, one undecided voter told Kasich she was trying to decide whether to support him or Democrats Clinton and Sanders.

A Rubio stumble might also be a huge boon to Bush, the son and brother of former presidents, who has had to endure calls from party elites that he drop out of the race rather than keep competing with Rubio.

Rubio's organization on the ground in New Hampshire is not as extensive as Kasich's or those of some other mainstream candidates. His strategy has long been to leverage his telegenic presence on cable news channels to build support.

His third-place Iowa finish seemed to validate that decision. But it has also left him more vulnerable to mood swings among the New Hampshire electorate.

There remains the possibility that Rubio will silence the doubters on Tuesday, demonstrating that his debate mishap meant little to voters.

Cruz was considered to have turned in a poor showing at a debate before the Iowa caucuses. Three days later, he won them.

(Editing by Caren Bohan and Peter Cooney)

© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

James Oliphant/Reuters Featured Primaries Caucus Tue, 09 Feb 2016 10:00:00 -0500
Prophetic Voice James Goll Battling Serious Health Issues

Last week James Goll was admitted to St. Thomas Mid Town Hospital in Nashville for surgery with Dr. Hubbard, a well-respected neurosurgeon. Not only is Dr. Hubbard an excellent surgeon, he is also a committed believer who was extremely encouraging in the entire the process of the surgery. Throughout the day, James was very encouraged by the entire staff at St. Thomas Hospital, many of whom, we found out, were also believers.

Following the surgery, Dr. Hubbard very optimistic and reported that he successfully removed the L5 disc and replaced it with a porous titanium spacer that James's body will grow into. He was also able to remove much of the scar tissue that was present. 

Within hours after the surgery, James was already able to get up and take a short walk in the hospital hallway. This is remarkable in contrast to his status following the previous surgery in June 2014. All of this is of course very encouraging, and we continue to believe for a full and complete healing.

Recovery Process

James was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday afternoon and is now home recovering. James continues to express gratitude for how well he seems to be doing. Obviously he still has pain due to the surgery, but this is expected to lessen dramatically as the healing process continues. For the next several weeks he will continue to limit any rigorous activity and in time will begin physical therapy.

Due to the recovery process, James has canceled all travel for the next three months and will be slowing his ministry schedule for the remainder of the year. This will clearly impact the primary income streams for the entire ministry of Encounters Network with its many expressions. But God always sees our need, and He is faithful to provide!

Update From James: Encouraging Dream

In the midst of his recovery, James was reminded of a dream he had on Sunday before being admitted to the hospital on Monday. Here is the dream in James' own words: 

"In the dream, when the surgeon cut me open he saw written in gold on my backbone the words 'Never, Never, Never Give Up!' The doctor was amazed and left my open back exposed for a while as people filed into the room to witness the sign and wonder, resulting in worship to the Lord.

"The dream was not literal in that when the doctor did the procedure, he obviously didn't see these words written on my backbone. But in praying about this, I believe that it is a testimony that the Lord wants to release. Etched in the finest gold on the backbone of who I am are words of perseverance to encourage myself and others no matter what they face ... keep your hand to the plow and never give up."

Jeffrey Thompson Featured U.S. News Tue, 09 Feb 2016 10:00:00 -0500
Pastors Rally Together to Fight Radical LGBT Movement

Pastors will bridge denominational and racial lines to seek a solution to a recent Dallas ordinance that allows men who identify as women to use the women's restrooms.  

"This threat of personal safety and privacy against women will also criminalize Christian business owners is the same threat we're trying to address," The Pastors' Council Dave Welch says. 

Welch is part of a pastors group set to meet behind closed doors on Feb. 9 to discuss how to fight the ordinance.   

The U.S. Pastors' Council is the same group who fought the Houston Bathroom Bill last year.  

What makes the group special, though, is how they move beyond denominational lines to fight for biblical standards. 

"The primary reasons, benefits of pastors getting involved on these issues and leading the efforts—in particular because they are interdominational and interracial—keeps our effort anchored to Great Commission. (We are) Christ-centered, biblically grounded, spiritually led and accountable to one another and to our call. This is not political action." 

The ordinance, an updated version of an amendment passed in November 2014, defined the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity. 

According to the Dallas Morning News, the City Attorney released the following statement about the ordinance: 

Dallas's anti-discrimination ordinance was approved by the city council in 2002 and had not been amended since. The primary purpose of today's amendment was to distinguish between the terms "sexual orientation" and "gender identity and expression," which were grouped together in the definition of the term "sexual orientation" when the original 2002 ordinance was passed. The ordinance as originally approved in 2002 prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity; today's amendment simply defines gender identity separately from sexual orientation, and changes the wording of Chapter 46 of the Dallas City Code to reflect these separate definitions. With this change, the definitions of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity and expression" in Chapter 46 now match the definitions in the city's personnel rules. 

But Welch of the Pastors' Council wants to take a stand—and not just for Dallas. 

"It's just another in the latest sequence across the nation, being implemented by the Human Rights Council and radical LGBT movement, forcing (LGBT regulations) on the local community," Welch says. "Often because we simply have not paid attention to who we put into office at city level, they're too easily manipulated by emotional rhetoric. It's time to stand up and turn back to Judeo-Christian framework, morality and law."

Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Tue, 09 Feb 2016 09:30:00 -0500
And the First New Hampshire Results Are In

Promptly at midnight, three tiny communities in northern New Hampshire gathered and cast their votes in the first-in-the-nation primary. And, as one might expect, the results were anything but conclusive.

The first to report was Dixville Notch, which included four year-round employees of the Balsams Resort. The resort was closed for renovations, prompting fears the nearly 50-year tradition of midnight voting might end there, but five construction workers who are living at the resort agreed to participate, as well.

After the final votes were tallied, on the Republican side, John Kasich received three votes to Donald Trump's two. Bernie Sanders swept all four Democrat votes, repeating what happened eight years ago when President Obama shut out Hillary Clinton.

The nearby town of Millsfield joined in the midnight voting as part of the centennial celebration of the Granite State's first-in-the-nation primary. There, the voting results were much more widely distributed.

Ted Cruz led on the Republican side with nine votes, followed by Trump's three. Kasich, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio each received one vote. On the Democrat side, Clinton received two votes to Sanders' one.

Hart's Location, which actually began the midnight voting tradition in New Hampshire in 1948, was the last location to report its results. Kasich and Trump again led the Republican side with five and four votes, respectively, while Christie picked up two more, and Bush, Rubio and Ben Carson each received one vote.

On the Democrat side, Sanders padded his lead with 17 votes to Clinton's nine. Meanwhile, a little-known local candidate—a long-standing feature of the New Hampshire Primary—picked up two votes.

Polls across the state opened at 6 a.m. EST, and will remain open until 7 p.m. The first meaningful results should be available before 9 p.m. In the meantime, these are the official vote tallies:

Republicans: Cruz 9, Kasich 9, Trump 9, Christie 3, Bush 2, Rubio 2, Carson 1, Fiorina 1, Paul 1

Democrats: Sanders 17, Clinton 9, Others 2

Bob Eschliman Featured Primaries Caucus Tue, 09 Feb 2016 09:00:00 -0500
Dot-Com Bubble 2.0 Bursting

Do you remember how much stocks went down when the first dot-com bubble burst?

Well, it is happening again, and tech stocks are already down more than a half-trillion dollars since the middle of 2015. On Friday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped to its lowest level in more than 15 months, and it has now fallen more than 16 percent from the peak of the market.

But of course some of the biggest names have fallen much more than that. Netflix is down 37 percent, Yahoo is down 39 percent, LinkedIn is down 60 percent, and Twitter is down more than 70 percent. If you go back through my previous articles, you will find that I specifically warned about Twitter again and again. Irrational financial bubbles like this always burst eventually, and many investors who got in at the very top are now losing extraordinary amounts of money.

On Friday, tech stocks got absolutely slammed as the bursting of dot-com bubble 2.0 accelerated once again. The following is how CNBC summarized the carnage:

The Nasdaq composite fell 3.25 percent, as Apple and the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) dropped 2.67 percent and 3.19 percent, respectively.

Also weighing on the index were Amazon and Facebook, which closed down 6.36 percent and 5.81 percent, respectively.

LinkedIn shares also tanked 43.63 percent after posting weak guidance on their quarterly results.

Overall, LinkedIn is now down a total of 60 percent from the peak of the market. But they are far from the only ones that have already seen their bubble burst.

Many of the biggest names in the tech world have gotten mercilessly hammered over the past six months of so. Just look at some of the famous brands that have already lost between 20 and 40 percent of their market caps.

Yahoo (YHOO) shares are off 39 percent, and Netflix (NFLX), the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 last year, is now off by 37 percent from its 52-week high.

Likewise, (PCLN) is off 31 percent and eBay (EBAY), 22 percent.

But there are other very big tech companies that have seen stock collapses that completely dwarf those numbers. Here are some more absolutely stunning statistics from USA Today:

Twitter and Groupon are the biggest dogs of this boom, both off 70 percent from 52-week highs and well below their IPO prices.

FitBit shares have collapsed 70 percent, while Yelp's valuation has shrunk by two-thirds.

Box, which has the distinction of posting quarterly net losses in excess of revenue, is down by half., the holding company for dating sites owned by parent Interactive Corp. that went public late last year, is down 39 percent from its high.

When your stock loses 70 percent of its value, that is a complete and utter collapse.

In the past, I have specifically singled out Twitter, Yelp and LinkedIn as tech stocks that were irrationally priced.

Hopefully people listened to those warnings and got out while the getting was good.

At the top of this article, I mentioned that tech stocks have already fallen in value by more than $500 billion. The financial crisis that began in the middle of last year is now greatly accelerating, and Wall Street is starting to panic.

As stocks crash, many hedge funds are being absolutely pummeled. The following are just a few of the high-profile names that are experiencing massive losses right now:

Some of the biggest names to get trounced include:

►Pershing Square Capital Management, the publicly traded investment vehicle of billionaire hedgie Bill Ackman, fell 11 percent last month following a 20 percent decline last year, data from the website shows.

►Larry Robbins' Glenview Capital, famous for picking stocks that could benefit from Obamacare, dropped 13.65 percent in January following a decline of 18 percent last year, according to data from HSBC's Hedge Weekly report, a copy of which was obtained by USA Today.

►Marcato International, a well-known activist fund run by Ackman protege Mick McGuire, fell 12.1 percent last month following a 9 percent loss last year, according to HSBC.

When you lose more than 10 percent of your money in a single month, that is not good.

And if I am right, this is just the beginning of our troubles.

And of course I am far from the only one warning that big problems are on the horizon. In fact, analysts at Citigroup just made international headlines by warning that the global economy was now trapped in a "death spiral":

Some analysts—including those at Citi—have turned bearish on the world economy this year, following an equity rout in January and weaker economic data out of China and the U.S.

"The world appears to be trapped in a circular reference death spiral," Citi strategists led by Jonathan Stubbs said in a report on Thursday.

"Stronger U.S. dollar, weaker oil/commodity prices, weaker world trade/petrodollar liquidity, weaker EM (and global growth) ... and repeat. Ad infinitum, this would lead to Oilmageddon, a 'significant and synchronized' global recession and a proper modern-day equity bear market."

Signs of a significant economic downturn are all around us, and so many of the same patterns that played out during the last two stock market crashes are happening again, and yet most people continue to refuse to acknowledge what is taking place.

If you are waiting for this new dot-com bubble to crash, you can stop waiting, because it has already happened.

When your stock falls by 50, 60 or 70 percent, the game is already over.

But just like 2001 and 2008, many people out there will end up being paralyzed by indecision. Once again the mainstream media is insisting that there is no reason for panic and that everything will be just fine, and once again millions upon millions of ordinary Americans will be wiped out as the financial markets implode.

This is now the third time this has happened since the turn of the century.

How clueless have we become? The exact same thing keeps happening to us over and over and yet we still don't get it.

Only this time around there isn't going to be any sort of a "recovery" afterward.

This is essentially our "third strike," and the years ahead are going to be extremely bitter and painful for most people.

But if you want to believe that one of these politicians is going to come along and save America, you go ahead and keep on believing that.

Most people believe what they want to believe, and the capacity that many Americans have demonstrated for self-delusion is absolutely remarkable.

Michael Snyder Featured Opinion Tue, 09 Feb 2016 09:00:00 -0500
Bible, Framers Agree That Women Don't Belong in Combat

It's neither meant as a commentary nor an indictment, but I have more military experience than all 10 of the remaining major-party presidential candidate. That's just a fact.

I bring that up not because I served, but rather to point out when I served.

I enlisted in the U.S. Navy through the Delayed Entry Program in March of 1991. I attended boot camp later that year at Recruit Training Command Orlando—those of you who are familiar with the area know that it was located near the present-day Baldwin Park—and I joined the fleet as full-fledged sailor on Dec. 31 of that year.

A little more than 12 months later, Bill Clinton became the commander in chief, bringing with him an era of social experimentation in the military that was unprecedented, and continues to have far-reaching negative impacts on our national defense to this day. Among the more famous was "Don't Ask Don't Tell."

But I also witnessed other, less reported, changes. Among them:

• When I attended boot camp, unless you had a medical excuse from a doctor, you did everything in your steel-toed safety boots (boondockers) and your enlisted cover (for the guys, we called them "Dixie cups" or "dog dishes"). Under the "kindlier, gentler Navy," they switched to sneakers and baseball caps.

• When I attended boot camp, everyone qualified for marksmanship in boot camp at the on-base firing range. A few months later, it was shut down for repairs, but never re-opened once Clinton took office.

• Mandatory "gender sensitivity" training for everyone, regardless of rank, which resulted in a three-fold increase in (mostly unfounded) claims of sexual harassment. The irony there wasn't lost on anyone in the room; we all knew the "stories" about Bill Clinton.

But the biggest change, by far, was the "integration" of male and female boot camp companies. Previously, companies (now called divisions at RTC Great Lakes) were segregated by gender. Under Clinton, they ate, drilled, and attended classes together, but slept and showered separately.

On paper, it probably sounded pretty simple, but in practice, it was anything but. For starters, the men's and women's physical fitness requirements were completely different. "Meeting in the middle" meant reducing the force readiness of men in order to allow women to work alongside them.

But it was much more than that. Part of the discipline training one receives in boot camp includes learning how to march in formation. But men's and women's "stride lengths" were different. Once again, they decided to meet in middle, which resulted in some rather comical situations as the companies attempted the transition.

They haven't so much worked out the kinks in the 20-some years since then, but rather came to accept the results. But when your goal is to make the Navy a "force for good" rather than a projection of your nation's military might (as a warning) for the rest of the world, that's what you get.

The U.S. Navy has never been the same since.

Now, before you hit "send" on that email denouncing my misogyny, let me make it clear that I don't have a problem with women volunteering to serve their nation's military in a support role. I do, however, have a problem with lowering the standards in order to facilitating the change of our military into a force for social change.

But now the social-change geniuses at the Pentagon want to take it a step further. After putting women in front-line combat roles, they now want to require women to sign up for the draft through the Selective Service Act.

I will go to prison, gladly, before I allow my daughters to be forced to serve in the military ahead of any able-bodied man.

That's a position that is fully supported in the Bible. And it's a position fully supported by the Framers of the Constitution, the document every member of the military swears to defend upon enlistment or commissioning as an officer.

For starters, let's look at the biblical side of this. My good friend, Cary Gordon, pastor of Cornerstone World Outreach in Sioux City, Iowa, recently laid out these passages of Scripture, which support this view:

Only men were counted to go to war (Num. 1:2-3).

Only sons were chosen for war (1 Sam. 8:11).

Only men went to war (Gen. 14:14-15).

Daughters served in domestic roles (1 Sam. 8:13).

Wives and children did not go to war (Deut. 3:19–20).

Women welcomed men back from war; never did they return with them (1 Sam. 18:6-7).

And now for the Framers. Keep in mind, these were men of immense knowledge by today's standards. It's been suggested Thomas Jefferson quite possibly knew everything a human being could possibly know in the late-18th and early-19th centuries. And judging by the fact his personal library was donated to replace the Library of Congress when it was lost in the burning of Washington, it's altogether possible.

The overwhelming majority of those men knew the Bible inside and out. Jefferson, having studied Hebrew and Greek, had attempted—probably poorly—to create a true English-language translation that could serve as the American version. He never finished it, but the point is that the Founders were very well-aware of what the Bible said about self-governance.

Jefferson's protege was a young Virginian named James Madison. He, too, had an immense wealth of knowledge, which he put into practice in the political arena. In many ways, you could say he was the early 19th-century version of Ron Paul (minus the left-of-center libertarian social views).

He was a chief architect of the Constitution. And like Jefferson, he understood government never has the authority to commit or sanction evil. The Framers all understood that, which is why they, too, would have opposed placing women—much less conscripting them—on the front lines of war.

Bob Eschliman Featured Opinions Caucus Tue, 09 Feb 2016 07:00:00 -0500
The Super Bowl Commercials That Drove Abortionists Absolutely Crazy

The Doritos Super Bowl commercial has the abortion industry absolutely losing its mind.


The commercial shows a baby in an ultrasound.

NARAL—the abortion industry's top lobbyists—immediately took to Twitter in outrage, fuming, "#NotBuyingIt - that @Doritos ad using #antichoice tactic of humanizing fetuses..." That "anti-choice tactic of humanizing fetuses" is called an ultrasound, which shows a baby human inside the womb.

Yet this wasn't the only commercial big abortion was flipping out about Sunday.

The NFL released a series of ads during the big game on that premise that "Data suggest 9 months after a Super bowl victory, winning cities see a rise in births." They are known as Super Bowl Babies.

NARAL again couldn't stand the idea of babies actually being born, tweeting, "Super Bowl Babies? Use protection, sports fans."

The abortion industry was actually going out of its mind about these fun Super Bowl commercials because they promoted the simple idea that life is precious and should be celebrated. I guess an idea can be a dangerous thing.

Matthew Clark/ACLJ Featured Culture Tue, 09 Feb 2016 08:00:00 -0500
Jeb Bush, Donald Trump Continue War of Words

White House hopefuls Donald Trump and Jeb Bush opened political hostilities on Monday as Republican and Democratic candidates stormed across New Hampshire in a final flurry of events before the state's crucial first-in-the-nation primary.

The stage was set for the vote on Tuesday, with New York billionaire Trump enjoying a big lead in opinion polls of Republican voters in the state and a host of rivals jockeying to emerge as his chief challenger for the Republican presidential nomination in the Nov. 8 election.

In the race for the Democratic nomination, Senator Bernie Sanders from neighboring Vermont sought to hang on for a much-needed victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a week after a razor-thin loss to her in the Iowa caucuses.

Polls showed his big New Hampshire lead tightening. Clinton hoped to make the finish close in a feat much like her husband's, former President Bill Clinton, in 1992 when he declared himself "the 'Comeback Kid.'"

"For those of you who are still deciding, still shopping, I hope I can close the deal," Clinton said at Manchester Community College, campaigning with her raspy-voiced husband and daughter Chelsea.

A snowstorm swept across the state but it did not slow down the last, tense full day of campaigning ahead of the primary.

Trump, still rankled that Bush hit him hard at a candidates' debate in Manchester on Saturday night, peppered his stump speeches with attacks on the former Florida governor at an event in Salem.

"This stiff, Jeb Bush," Trump said. "He's a total stiff. ... If you had a company, you wouldn't even hire him. He's like a child, like a spoiled child."

Bush fired off a tweet referring to Trump's comment last summer that Senator John McCain, the party's 2008 presidential nominee who spent 5 1/2 years in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp, was not a hero because he got captured.

"@realDonaldTrump, you aren't just a loser, you are a liar and a whiner. John McCain is a hero. Over and out," Bush said.

Senator Marco Rubio's shaky performance at Saturday's debate gave hope to his rivals that the Floridian's rise after a strong third-place finish in Iowa could be blunted.

Bush, Ohio Governor John Kasich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are fighting to finish strongly enough in New Hampshire to justify staying in the race and taking their campaigns to South Carolina, which holds its primary on Feb. 20.

As the New Hampshire polls stand now, Trump would win and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who won Iowa; Rubio; Kasich; Bush; and Christie would end right behind him in a tight bunch. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and businesswoman Carly Fiorina are also in the race.

Rubio wilted under an attack by Christie at the debate, repeating rehearsed lines from his stump speech in defending himself against criticism that he is not experienced enough to be president. The moment triggered commentary comparing Rubio to a robot, both in the news media and on social media.

Rubio's point was that even though he is a first-term senator, he should not be compared to Democratic President Barack Obama, who was a first-term senator when elected in 2008. He said at the debate that Obama has pushed the country in the wrong direction because of his political beliefs, not from inexperience.

"The core of this campaign is that statement, and I am going to continue to say it: Barack Obama is deliberately carrying out a strategy to change America: He wants to redefine this country," Rubio said on CBS's "This Morning."

"I look forward to continuing to say it - I hope they keep replaying those lines," he said.

(Additional reporting by James Oliphant in New Hampshire and Doina Chiacu in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Steve Holland and Amanda Becker/Reuters Featured Primaries Caucus Tue, 09 Feb 2016 08:00:00 -0500
Why in the World Did NASA Just Ban the Word 'Jesus'?

The name of Jesus is not welcome in the Johnson Space Center newsletter, according to a complaint filed on behalf of a group of Christians who work for NASA.

The JSC Praise & Worship Club was directed by NASA attorneys to refrain from using the name "Jesus" in club announcements that appeared in a Space Center newsletter.

"It was shocking to all of us and very frustrating," NASA Engineer Sophia Smith told me. "NASA has a long history of respecting religious speech. Why wouldn't they allow us to put the name Jesus in the announcement about our club?"

Liberty Institute, one of the nation's largest religious liberty law firms, threatened to file a federal lawsuit unless NASA apologizes and stops censoring the name "Jesus."

The JSC Today newsletter is distributed electronically and includes a number of Space Center events—from salsa dancing lessons to soccer camp. 

NASA's media team tells me they are looking into the matter.

Since 2001, employees had gathered during their lunch hour to pray and sing and read the Bible. There had been no censorship issues until last year.

Liberty Institute attorney Jeremy Dys told me the club had placed an announcement in the Space Center's newsletter—announcing the theme of their meeting, "Jesus is our life."

Following is the complete posting that appeared in the May 28, 2015 edition of JSC Today:

Join with the praise and worship band Allied with the Lord for a refreshing set of spring praise and worship songs on Thursday, June 4, from 11:15 a.m. to noon in Building 57, Room 106. (The theme for this session will be "Jesus is our life!") Prayer partners will be available for anyone who has need. All JSC civil servants and contractors are welcome.

"Soon after that, the legal department called the organizers and told them they could not use the name Jesus in their announcements," Dys told me. "They said no Jesus."

The club's leadership was told that "NASA would be censoring all future club announcements that featured the name, 'Jesus,'" Liberty Institute alleged in its complaint letter.

NASA's legal department explained that including the name "Jesus" within the club's announcement made that announcement "sectarian" or "denominational."

They also alleged such announcements would cause NASA to violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Dys said the club organizers offered to provide a disclaimer, notifying readers that the announcement was private speech and was not endorsed by NASA or any other government agency. However, that offer was rejected as "insufficient."

"The club members knew right away that NASA was censoring them and they were not comfortable with that," Dys told me.

And so began a long process to resolve the matter.

"The bottom line is that NASA should not be censoring this club just because they use the name 'Jesus' in an employee advertisement," Dys told me. "That is blatant religious discrimination."

And NASA's behavior is quite frankly baffling.

On Christmas Eve, 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 read the Creation story as they orbited the moon. Astronauts Jim Lovell, Frank Borman and Bill Anders took turns reading from the book of Genesis.

NASA defended the astronauts after atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair filed a federal lawsuit. The Supreme Court dismissed the suit due to lack of jurisdiction.

And astronaut Buzz Aldrin received Communion on the lunar surface during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission.

"NASA should continue its tradition of protecting the great religious expression of its employees," Dys told me.

I'm not quite sure why NASA is getting all worked up over a group of scientists and engineers who want to worship Jesus.

If they can worship the Almighty in outer space, they ought to be able to worship Him back on Earth.

After all, He is the Maker of heaven and Earth.

Todd Starnes Featured American Dispatch Opinion Tue, 09 Feb 2016 07:00:00 -0500
Apologetics Expert: Evangelicals Must Vote Their Convictions

Evangelical voters are still the largest and most reliable voter bloc.

The church has the power to elect the nation's next president—and that's a fact. The more the faithful speak their minds at the polls, the better chance we have of seeing a values-driven leader at the helm of our country.

And the issues important to evangelical voters are certainly the hot-button issues for this election: religious liberties, life, marriage and foreign policy. No longer can the faithful remain silent when it comes to the leadership of our country.

The evidence of taking a back seat in politics is clear; no longer can we sit idly by as constitutional, foundational and biblical principles are swept under the rug.

In The God You Thought You Knew: Exposing the 10 Biggest Myths About Christianity, McFarland dispels the myths and untruths about Christianity and replaces that with the truth of who God really is.
  • Myth No. 1: Christianity is intolerant and judgmental toward others.
Truth: Christianity teaches to love neighbor as self and to share the love of Jesus with others.
  • Myth No. 2: Christianity cannot be true because of the evil and suffering in our world.
Truth: Christianity offers the best hope and power to deal with suffering.
  • Myth No. 3: Christianity is untrue because it is based on faith instead of facts.
Truth: The claims of Christianity are based on historical facts that can be tested.
  • Myth No. 4: Christianity has been disproven by modern science.
Truth: The latest scientific evidence points to an intelligent designer behind all creation.
  • Myth No. 5: Christianity is not a religion for the educated.
Truth: Many of the world's top past and present scholars are Christians.
  • Myth No. 6: Christianity is boring and would be a waste of my time.
Truth: Christianity is the most adventurous life a person can experience.
  • Myth No. 7: Christianity isn't real because it didn't work for me.
Truth: The Christian faith is difficult yet also the most rewarding way of life.
  • Myth No. 8: Christianity is false because it is based on the Bible, which is filled with errors and contradictions.
Truth: The Bible is the most accurately preserved book in history.
  • Myth No. 9: Christianity can't be true because it is based on a dead man coming back to life.
Truth: If the best explanation for the empty tomb of Jesus is the resurrection, then Christianity can be true.
  • Myth No. 10: Christianity isn't real because a loving God wouldn't send anyone to hell.
Truth: God has made great efforts to make sure many will spend eternity with Him. {eoa}

Dr. Alex McFarland is Director for Christian Worldview and Apologetics at the Christian Worldview Center of North Greenville University in Greenville, South Carolina.

Dr. Alex McFarland Featured Opinions Caucus Tue, 09 Feb 2016 06:00:00 -0500
Would Christian TV Dare to Air This Bible Truth?

When Pastor Shane Idleman looks at the religious leaders of the Bible, he says he doesn't know whether to laugh or cry.  

"Of all the tragedies, this might take the cake," Idleman says of the Pharisees. 

But how many of us are modern-day Pharisees, saying all the right things but lacking the truth in our hearts? 

"The atheists will realize that they were wrong. The agnostic will realize that there is only one way. The doubter and scoffer will all be silenced, and those who continue in their sin will know why they didn't enter, but this person will be shocked." 

Talk about tough love. Watch the video to see more. 

Shane Idleman Featured Opinion Tue, 09 Feb 2016 06:00:00 -0500
Michigan Man Arrested on Suspicion of Plotting ISIS-Style Attack on Churches

A 21-year-old accused of plotting an ISIS-inspired attack against a church in Detroit is behind bars Monday.

Khalil Abu-Rayyan, a resident of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, has not been charged with any terrorism-related crimes, but he has been under investigation since May and is facing marijuana possession and concealed weapon charges. 

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Abu-Rayyan has been under continual FBI surveillance.

He was arrested because of recent threats he made against the church and conversations with an undercover agent posing as an Islamic State supporter.

Abu-Rayyan reportedly said he wanted to carry out a "martyrdom operation" and wanted to behead someone.

CBN News Featured U.S. News Mon, 08 Feb 2016 17:00:00 -0500
8 Hours to Go: One Last Look at the New Hampshire Polls

The vote tomorrow may be the "only poll that matters," but the polls taken recently may at least offer a glimpse of what is to come.

Here is a summary of the final polls taken in New Hampshire on the eve of the first-in-the-nation primary. There are now just eight hours to go before the first votes are cast in Dixville Notch, Hart's Location, and Millsfield.

The Polls

Boston Herald/Franklin Pierce University — 1. Trump 31, 2. Cruz 16, 3. Rubio 15, 4. Kasich 11, 5. Bush 10, 6. Christie 5, 7. Fiorina 4, 8. Carson 3

CNN/WMUR-TV — 1. Trump 33, 2. Cruz 16, 3. Rubio 14, 4. Kasich 11, 5. Bush 17, 6. Fiorina 6, 7. Christie 4, 8. Carson 2

Monmouth University — 1. Trump 30, 2. Kasich 14, 3-t. Bush 13, 3-t. Cruz 13, 5. Rubio 12, 6. Christie 6, 7. Fiorina 5, 8. Carson 4

American Research Group (Tracking) — 1. Trump 30 (down), 2-t. Rubio 16 (down), 2-t. Kasich 16 (down), 4. Cruz 10 (up), 5. Bush 9 (steady), 6. Christie 6 (up), 7. Fiorina 3 (up), 8. Carson 1 (steady)

University of Massachusetts/7 News (Tracking) — 1. Trump 34 (down), 2-t. Cruz 13 (steady), 2-t. Rubio 13 (down), 4-t. Kasich 10 (up), 4-t. Bush 10 (steady), 6. Christie 5 (up), 7. Fiorina 4 (steady), 8. Carson 3 (steady)

RCP Average

The following are the average ranges predicted by the Real Clear Politics averages and the combined margin-of-error for the polls (4.9 points):

1. Trump     36.5 - 26.7%

2. Rubio      19.5 -   9.7%

3. Cruz        17.9 -   8.1%

4. Kasich     17.3 -   7.5%

5. Bush       14.7 -   4.9%

6. Christie   10.1 -   0.3%

7. Fiorina      9.3 -   0.0%

8. Carson      7.5 -   0.0%

Bob Eschliman Featured Primaries Caucus Mon, 08 Feb 2016 16:00:00 -0500
5-Year-Old Declares 'War' Against the Enemy in Fierce New Song

You may remember Heavenly Joy Jerkins as the precious child who charmed America's Got Talent judges by telling them she had Jesus in her heart.  

But now, get ready to know her as a soldier on the frontlines for Jesus. 

In her new single with Charles Jenkins Heavenly Joy is going all out against the enemy: 

I got joy in my soul
God is in control
I got Satan on my trail
But I'm singing all is well
He's attacking everyday
But I'm watching while I pray
No matter the attack
I won't turn back
This means war---This means war
This means war---This means war

Watch the video to see the rest.

Jessilyn Justice Featured Culture Mon, 08 Feb 2016 16:00:00 -0500
The Temptation Called Success

Leading an organization to success is a slippery slope.

By whatever definition a leader accepts as success, he is sure to find that success is simply a bus stop. The entropic process is a daily reminder that all organizations move toward disorder. Our closet may be clean and in order today, but soon and very soon, disarray will appear as if by design.

"Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10:12, MEV).

Success can easily slip into idolatry. It is easy for a leader to begin to believe his own press clippings. When goals are accomplished and quantitative evaluations are glowing, it is a very critical juncture for a leader.

The temptation is to forget the favor of the Lord. When this happens, man begins to believe that he is independent of the impartation of favor. The tempter wants us to believe we did it on our own. While we may never stoop to say, "I don't need God," we may begin to reduce our desire for His presence and reduce or eliminate prayer.

We begin to drift or slip away. We leave the cross in baby steps.

I recall my years in broadcast television and radio marketing. As I would go to work in a new television market, the first thing I would determine was the "number one" ranked station in terms of audience size. I learned early on that the market leader was the most vulnerable company to competitive intrusion. The market leader frequently ceased to learn and grow. Market leaders were too busy being number one to recognize their organization had developed vulnerability.

I found it much easier to grow into the position of market leader than it was to remain the best in the market. It is very difficult for the champion of anything to hold on to the title. A portion of the title is given away by the resting champ and the other portion is chomped by a hungry challenger.

It seems to me that the heart of a leader is the key to maintaining a leading, thriving organization. I believe a successful leader will pursue God and remain close to Him and seek to be closer, yet. Trials and tests will surely come, but the committed leader will seek to follow direction provided by the Holy Spirit.

A leader's temptation is to trust the work of man. Our response to this temptation is to speak as Jesus spoke:

"Get away from here Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve'" (Matthew 4:10, MEV).



Platform Tip No. 57

How can you be more valuable to more people? How many people can you impact from a single platform?

Find your next platform. Then, show up every day and deliver value.

How does your audience define value? You won't need to look further than how you are helping them with their felt need.



Do you want to learn more about developing your personal platform?

Send for my free series of lessons titled, "The Fundamentals of Creating, Curating and Developing Content for Multiple Platforms." Send your request to:

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Dr. Steve Greene Featured Marketplace Mon, 08 Feb 2016 15:15:00 -0500
Planned Parenthood Tries to Silence Peaceful Protestor

Liberty Counsel filed a motion over the weekend to dismiss a legal complaint from Two Rivers Public Charter School against veteran pro-life advocate Larry Cirignano for his peaceful, lawful, constitutionally protected speech for unborn children.

Planned Parenthood is constructing an abortion clinic in between an elementary and middle school. Larry and others have been peacefully informing the public of the abortion clinic sandwiched in between these two schools. Seeking to suppress the information from the public, the Two Rivers School filed suit against Larry and others seeking to silence them.

Larry has never trespassed on school property or otherwise broken any laws. Obviously, the charter school does not want parents to know of the abortion clinic.

"This lawsuit is outrageous. It is shocking that a school entrusted with the care of young children would want an abortion clinic adjacent to its property. Planned Parenthood is brass to construct a death camp beside an elementary and middle school. Parents should be forewarned of the dangers which lurk behind the four walls. School officials should be ashamed for trying to hide the clinic from the parents and the public. Our client will not be intimidated and deterred in the exercise of his freedom of speech," said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

Liberty Counsel Featured U.S. News Mon, 08 Feb 2016 15:30:00 -0500
What Christians Should Know About the New Hampshire Primary

For Christians who are just becoming acquainted with the presidential nominating process, there's a lot to learn—and to pray about.

Yes, there are issues that should be important to every Christians, but there are factors in the process that should be considered and prayed over, as well. So, here are six things you need to know about the first-in-the-nation primary election, and what it means for the future of the 2016 race to the White House.

1. It's a Primary, Not a Caucus

Unlike Iowa, New Hampshire voters participate in a primary, which is just like a regular election, except you are choosing among several candidates from the same party. It's an all-day event, not a short-duration event like the Iowa Caucuses. And, there are actually more candidates on the official ballot than were on Iowans' caucus ballots.

2. This Is the Centennial Year

The first New Hampshire Primary Election was held in 1916, making this year's primary the centennial event for the Granite State. There has been a big push to celebrate this historical legacy throughout the election year. Fun Fact: The winners of the 1916 primary were former President Theodore Roosevelt (R) and incumbent President Woodrow Wilson (D).

3. Weather Is a Factor

Weather could be a factor, as well. The National Weather Service says New Hampshire, and much of New England will be impacted by winter weather through Wednesday afternoon. That's not unusual for February, and with record-setting turnout expected, that means many will be traveling about the Granite State.

4. Voting Begins in 9 Hours

The voting process begins at midnight in three very tiny villages in northern New Hampshire: Dixville Notch (nine voters), Hart's Location (42 voters) and Millsfield (29 voters). State law allows for the midnight vote if the voters unanimously choose to do so. While Dixville Notch is most recognized for this tradition because it has been doing it longest, but Hart's Location actually started the tradition in 1948. They will be the first locations to vote in the U.S. in November, as well.

5. Upsets Aren't Unusual

The old saying, "Iowa picks corn, New Hampshire picks presidents," is good for maintaining a friendly rivalry between the two early voting states, but it's hardly accurate. Upsets and unconventional results are just as much a part of the Granite State's legacy as it is Iowa's. For instance, in 1920, Herbert Hoover won all of New Hampshire's Democrat delegates. In 1952, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower knocked off the GOP favorite, Robert A. Taft, en route to the White House. New Hampshire is also famous for having knocked out incumbent presidents Harry S. Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson.

6. New Hampshire's Demographics

One reason why Iowa and New Hampshire's results have differed so greatly over the last few decades is a byproduct of the latter's spiritual decline. In 2000, roughly 25 percent of GOP voters identified as evangelical Christians. In 2008, that fell to 20 percent. Today, it's less than 15 percent. New Hampshire is usually at the bottom of the list of states ranked by percentage of citizens who identify as Christian. In 2010, it was right around 35 percent—only Vermont was worse.

Putting it all together, for Christians who are praying over tomorrow's primary election, the time to begin praying is now. Prayers need to go all around, for the candidates, the voters, the campaign staffs, for the media covering it and for the state of New Hampshire as a whole.

And if you're discouraged because the polls say your candidate won't do well, don't give up. New Hampshire is far from decided. So, "Keep Calm" and keep praying.

Bob Eschliman Featured Primaries Caucus Mon, 08 Feb 2016 15:00:00 -0500
Dr. Michael Brown: CNN's Indignant Condemnation of Cruz Reveals Their Fatal Flaw

It is unfortunate that the Ted Cruz campaign and Rep. Steve King sent out misleading and even erroneous information about Dr. Ben Carson's campaign plans, for which Cruz and King have apologized. But CNN is also to blame, and its self-righteous, overly indignant condemnation of the Cruz campaign exposes its own hypocrisy.

Bill O'Reilly blasted CNN's "breaking news" report, calling it "false" and "flat out untrue," also stating that the "news agency screwed up big time and apparently doesn't care ... ." (He also rebuked the Cruz campaign.)

While O'Reilly's criticism of CNN is clearly exaggerated, it is certainly deserved, as Mark Levin and others have pointed out.

To repeat: Jake Tapper, Dana Bash and Wolf Blitzer (or at the least their people) had access to the truth, yet they didn't feel the need to tell the whole world, "While we find this hiatus highly significant, we want to underscore that our man Chris Moody also reports that Dr. Carson is not suspending his campaign and that he plans to be in New Hampshire later this week."

Why, then, were the actions of the Cruz people so deplorable while CNN has no culpability at all?

Watch the video to see Michael Brown's complete response. 

Michael Brown Featured In the Line of Fire Opinion Mon, 08 Feb 2016 15:00:00 -0500
New Hampshire's 'Liberty Wing' Shifts to Ted Cruz

One of the under-reported stories leading up to Ted Cruz' win in the Iowa Republican Caucus was his ability to attract libertarian-leaning members of the GOP base.

With Rand Paul in the race, it seemed unlikely he would be able to convince New Hampshire's decidedly more libertarian "liberty wing" to follow suit. Paul dropped out of the race last week, and this week seven of the Kentucky senator's biggest Granite State supporters announced they are backing Cruz now.

State Rep. J.R. Hoell was among the first to switch. The mechanical engineer now in his third term serving New Hampshire House District 23 said:

"For years, I have worked very diligently to protect and advocate for the natural and constitutional rights of the gun owners of the state of New Hampshire. In reviewing the remaining candidates in the field, there is only one candidate that has a proven track record in defending the gun owners from further erosion of their rights, and that is Ted Cruz. I have grave concerns that other candidates would be willing to bargain our rights away and fail to support us when the time came to stand strong in defense of the second amendment. With that in mind, I stand with Gun Owners of America and agree that Cruz is our remaining best shot at electing a president to protect the rights of the gun owners of our great nation."

He was joined by the following New Hampshire GOP libertarians:

Rep. Max Abramson is serving his first term in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Rep. Abramson represents district 20, Hampton Falls and Seabrook.

Rep. Eric Eastman is serving his first term in the New Hampshire House, representing district 28, Nashua and Ward 1.

Rep. Harold French is also serving his first term in the New Hampshire House, representing district two. He's currently a real-estate broker and auctioneer as well as a folk art sculptor.

Rep. Larry Gagne is serving his fourth term in the New Hampshire House, representing district 13. Rep. Gagne served in the United States Navy from 1961 until 1966, he is also a lifetime member of the NRA and Pro-Gun NH.

Rep. Mark McLean is serving his first time in the New Hampshire House, representing district 15.  He is a member of the Deering, Fish and Game Club and senior engineer at Osram Sylvania.

"I am thrilled to announce such an outstanding group of leaders committed to cause of liberty and the Constitution," Cruz said. "They join an impressive group of Liberty Leaders for Cruz that our campaign has assembled across the country. The U.S. government is crushing liberty at nearly every turn. Our constitutional rights are under attack like never before and we must fight back."

Less than 24 hours later, on Monday morning, the Cruz camp announced the endorsement of former Rand Paul New Hampshire state chair State Sen. Kevin Avard. He said he was proud to endorse Cruz for president:

"This election is so critical for our nation and it is time we send a principled, conservative leader to the White House. Ted has fought tirelessly to protect our constitutional rights, especially our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. I have watched him stand up to the Washington establishment in the fight against Medicaid expansion and his unyielding leadership to repeal Obamacare and give states and the American people greater control over their health care instead of Obamacare bureaucrats and profiteers in Washington, D.C. He has been a strong defender of property rights and has fought to protect our liberties from government overreach. Because of his proven record in fighting for our men and women in the military, I have the confidence Ted is ready to be the commander in chief we need to restore America's leadership in the world."

Avard is serving his first term as the State Senator from District 12. Before being elected to the New Hampshire Senate, he served in the House from 2010-2012 and on the Franklin City Council from 2000-2002.

The Cruz campaign notes Avard is a self-employed contract cleaning manager. He has "fought to tighten government spending, lower taxes, promote local control of education, protect property rights and ensure that all government agencies are held accountable to the people."

"Kevin has spent his time serving in the New Hampshire House and Senate fighting hard for the liberties of his constituents," Cruz said. "He has fought to curb out of control spending, help promote growth and job opportunities in the Granite State and free the private sector from the harmful government regulations that are stifling businesses. I am thrilled to have Kevin's support and look forward to working together to unite conservatives behind our campaign."

Bob Eschliman Featured Primaries Caucus Mon, 08 Feb 2016 14:00:00 -0500
Despite LGBT Protests, Religious Freedom Firmly Rooted in Constitution

Alliance Defending Freedom filed a brief Friday with the Washington Supreme Court that answers arguments the state and the American Civil Liberties Union have made in favor of government discrimination against a floral artist, whom they sued for acting consistently with her faith.

ADF attorneys asked the state high court to take up the case in June of last year after a lower state court ruled that Stutzman, owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, must pay penalties and attorneys' fees for declining to use her artistic abilities to design custom floral arrangements for a long-time customer's same-sex ceremony. Rather than participate in the ceremony, Stutzman referred the customer, whom she considers a friend and had served for nearly 10 years, to several other florists in the area who would provide high-quality arrangements and wedding support.

"Barronelle and many others like her around the country have been more than willing to serve any and all customers, but they are understandably not willing to promote any and all messages," said ADF Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner. "No one should be faced with a choice between their freedom of speech and conscience on one hand and personal and professional ruin on the other. Americans oppose unjust government actions that strong-arm citizens to create expression against their will."

As the ADF reply brief explains, "The case boils down to this question: Is there room in our tolerant, diverse, and freedom-loving society for people with different views about the nature of marriage to establish their 'religious (or nonreligious) self-definition in the political, civic, and economic life of our larger community...?' The trial court's and [the state's and the ACLU's] answer is 'no.' Their view is that those who seek to establish their self-identity based on the millennia-old view that marriage is solely between a man and a woman may be coerced by law to express different views or be silenced. This is contrary to the best of our historical and constitutional traditions, which mandate that citizens who hold non-majoritarian views be given room to express them and not be coerced, punished, and marginalized through force of law."

"The trial court's and [the state's and the ACLU's] view—that there can never be a free speech exception to public accommodation laws—endangers everyone," the brief continues. "If correct, then the consciences of all citizens are fair game for the government. No longer could a gay print shop owner decline to print shirts adorned with messages promoting marriage between one man and one woman for a religious rally. Nor could an atheist painter decline to paint a mural celebrating the resurrection of Christ for a church. Indeed, no speaker could exercise esthetic or moral judgments about what projects to take on where a customer claims the decision infringes on his or her rights under the WLAD [Washington Law Against Discrimination]."

"People in creative professions regularly have to make decisions about where they lend their artistic talents and the events in which they will participate," Stutzman said. "For me, it's never about the person who walks into the shop, but about the message I'm communicating when someone asks me to 'say it with flowers.' The government should respect everyone's freedom—including our artistic freedom and core religious beliefs about marriage—and not force us to create expression that violates our conscience."

Washington attorneys George Ahrend, John Connelly and Alicia M. Berry are also counsel of record in the lawsuits, State of Washington v. Arlene's Flowers and Ingersoll v. Arlene's Flowers.

Alliance Defending Freedom Featured U.S. News Mon, 08 Feb 2016 14:30:00 -0500
Marco Rubio Continues to Shore Up GOP Establishment Vote

On the stump, Marco Rubio has distanced himself from the Republican Party establishment, talking more like a Christian grass-roots conservative.

But the flood of recent endorsements—former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal notwithstanding—suggests quite the opposite. And his shoring up the support of the GOP establishment likely precipitated the attacks from other "establishment" candidates, such as Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich during Saturday night's debate.

Among the latest endorsements:

U.S. Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel who once carried President Ronald Reagan's "nuclear football" — "Marco Rubio offers bold and conservative plans to the challenges our country faces today which is why I am proud to endorse him for President. After the failures of the past seven years, Republicans need to get behind a candidate that will govern as a conservative but can also win a general election, and Marco Rubio is that candidate.

"As a member of the Marine Corps for 25 years, I understand the most important job of a president is keeping our country safe and standing with the men and women who serve. I know Marco Rubio has the skills, intelligence and leadership capabilities to be a strong Commander-in-Chief that will protect our country at home and make sure we are strong abroad.

"I was privileged to have the opportunity to work for Ronald Reagan, whose vision about the greatness of America and the American Dream inspired so many. Marco Rubio has that same vision, and with him as President, I know he will make sure that the American Dream can continue to be passed down to future generations of Americans."

Former New Hampshire Gov. Craig Benson — "There is a lot to like about Senator Rubio. But things I like best about him is he has a real vision for America. He believes in this country. He knows he can make this country great. He also knows in order to make America great, we also have to make our states great.

"He was the former Speaker of the House in Florida. He has a lot of experience in the state legislatures making things happen. So he understands the federal government and the state government. He can make places like New Hampshire or Massachusetts strong again on their own, which makes this country great as a whole."

U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) — "I would say to you that Nebraskans and I believe Americans aren't really focused on how that was said. They're focused on what Marco Rubio does. He inspires people.

"He is strong on national security. He understands the threats to this country. I do serve on the Armed Services Committee and I chair the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats. I know what the challenges are out there that we face. And no one knows these threats better, no one knows the challenges that we have in the world today, the dangerous world we face than Marco Rubio.

"That's why I'm supporting him. He will be a strong commander-in-chief. He will keep us safe. He will keep our country safe. He will keep our families safe."

Bob Eschliman Featured Primaries Caucus Mon, 08 Feb 2016 13:00:00 -0500
Ted Cruz: It Would Be 'Immoral' to Do This

During Saturday night's Republican presidential debate, three of the candidates were asked about the Pentagon's call that women be required to sign up for the draft through Selective Service.

They all voiced their approval of the plan. However, a number of Christian voters were unhappy other candidates—particularly Ted Cruz—didn't get a chance to answer the question. So, during a town hall in Peterborough, New Hampshire, on Sunday afternoon, he answered it anyway.

"We have had enough with political correctness, especially in the military. Political correctness is dangerous," he said. "And the idea that we would draft our daughters to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close combat, I think, is wrong. It is immoral."

His campaign followed up with a complete policy statement a short time later:

"It was striking that three different people on that [debate] stage came out in support of drafting women into combat in the military. And I have to admit as I was sitting there listening to that conversation, my reaction was: 'Are you guys nuts?'

"Listen, we have had enough with political correctness, especially in the military. Political correctness is dangerous. And the idea that we would draft our daughters to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close combat, I think is wrong. It is immoral, and if I'm president, we ain't doing it.

I'm the father of two little girls, I love those girls with all of my heart, they are capable of doing anything in their heart's desire, but the idea that their government would forcibly put them in a foxhole with a 220-pound psychopath trying to kill them doesn't make any sense at all. It is yet one more sign of this politically correct world, where we forget common sense.

"We got to get back to common sense. We've got to get back to a president that says, 'No, that doesn't make any sense.'"

Bob Eschliman Featured Primaries Caucus Mon, 08 Feb 2016 12:00:00 -0500
Sunday Talkers Dissect Saturday Night's Debate

The ink is barely dry on the Iowa Caucuses, and we're already focused on what may happen next week in New Hampshire. Saturday night's Republican presidential debate was a major piece of all the Sunday talk shows, but so were questions about whether or not Hillary Clinton could stage a comeback in the Granite State.

Don't worry if you missed it, though. We've got it all right here.

ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos

ABC's Sunday morning talker opened with a review of the previous night's Republican presidential debate, which aired on ABC. It also featured interviews with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio. The roundtable gave their predictions and analysis for the New Hampshire Primary.

CBS's Face the Nation

CBS's Sunday morning politics program featured interviews with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, as well as a preview of Super Bowl 50—which aired that evening on CBS. NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith also discussed concussion trends in football. The roundtable also discussed the New Hampshire Primary.

NBC's Meet the Press

NBC's signature Sunday morning program featured interviews with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. There was analysis of Saturday night's Republican presidential debate. And the roundtable provided their analysis and predictions for the New Hampshire Primary.

FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace

FOX's Sunday program featured interviews with "The Governors"—Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich—regarding the battle to win New Hampshire. It included analysis of Saturday night's Republican presidential debate. The roundtable focused on predictions for Tuesday's New Hampshire Primary.

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:00:00 -0500
What the Bible Says About the Zika Virus

Millions stand in the line of fire of the Zika virus, an explosive mosquito-borne disease that has the power to alter world population.  

Experts consider the virus especially horrific for pre-born children, who once infected, could be born with "no foreheads and very strange heads." 

International governments are pleading with couples to avoid pregnancy for the foreseeable future in a move that could fall under Revelation's fourth seal.  

"When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, 'Come!'" Revelation 6 prophesies.  

"So I looked, and there was a pale horse, and the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed him. Power over a fourth of the earth was given to them, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth," the passage continues. 

Watch the video to see more of the connection. 

Jessilyn Justice Featured World News Mon, 08 Feb 2016 14:00:00 -0500
114 Million Super Bowl Viewers Blatantly Ignore God's Word

Last night I was at church watching the Super Bowl with a bunch of young adults in the student ministry. We had a concert planned for the halftime show, and I was in the sound booth watching hundreds of young people enjoy contemporary music that glorified Jesus. My phone started to buzz over and over with friends of mine asking if I saw the Super Bowl half-time show. I knew instantly that it had to do with gay awareness and homosexuality.

The moment I looked at the live TV screen, I saw an entire football stadium designed in rainbow colors that read, "Believe In Love." Over 114 million people tuned in around the world to be made more aware and celebrate homosexuality from the largest single platform on the planet.

The world is celebrating a definition of love that has no biblical foundation. The Bible tells us that "love does not delight in evil but rejoiced in the truth" (1 Cor. 13:6). If the Bible refers to homosexual practice on all account as evil (ungodly) behavior, then it can't be love as God defines it or intended it. It's a carnal love, a deceptive love, a love of the world masquerading as the love of God. They can wrap their slogan of gay awareness in the rainbow, but that doesn't make their love godly.

In my new book, Gay Awareness, I write about the revelation God gave me on the rainbow and why the gay community uses it as their banner.

Over the years, it has grieved me that the gay community has adopted the rainbow as their emblem. This was the sign to the people of God that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood. Genesis 9:13 says, "I have set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth." The interesting part is the relationship between the rainbow on the banner of the gay community and a sign of the promise of God related to God's judgment on the world. The people who don't want to be judged chose the sign of God's promise against the backdrop of God's judgment of the world.

I began to pray and ask God to speak to me concerning why the gay community chose the rainbow as their own. One day, in the middle of my daily Bible reading, I came across the reason. Revelation 4:3 says, "And He who sat there appeared like a jasper and a sardius stone. There was a rainbow around the throne, appearing like an emerald." Follow me on this. In Revelation 4, God was showing the disciple John a vision of heaven and the throne room of God. John puts into words what he saw in the presence of God, and describes it and all of its colors like a rainbow.

I believe the gay community unconsciously chose the rainbow as their banner because, on some level, they desire the presence of God without passing through the judgment of God. The flood of judgment came first. The rainbow of the presence of God followed.

Gay awareness continues to sweep across the world, with America leading the way. Tens of thousands participated while hundreds of millions watched as our nation waved the banners of judgment celebrating our belief in love while denying the God of love.

Landon Schott and his wife, Heather, founded The Rev Ministries in 2008 and launched a 24/7 online youth and young adult network dedicated to turning the heart of a generation to Jesus through Christ-centered media. Landon received his Bachelor Of Arts from Trinity Theological Seminary and authored Jezebel: The Witch Is Back, a spiritual warfare book. His new book, Gay Awareness, is set to be released March of 2016. Connect with Landon on Instagram or Twitter @LandonSchott

Landon Schott Featured Opinion Mon, 08 Feb 2016 13:00:00 -0500
What Tim Tebow Wants in a Wife

The former football superstar and current commentator is single and ready to mingle, as he told Ellen DeGeneres in a recent interview.

But Tim Tebow's not looking for just anyone to date.

"There has to be more there, there has to be depth" beyond physical attraction, Tebow told DeGeneres.

Watch the video to see what else he said. 

Jessilyn Justice Featured Culture Mon, 08 Feb 2016 12:00:00 -0500
Ex-Muslim: Obama Wrong About Islam

At a Baltimore mosque Wednesday, President Obama again spewed the fiction that Islam is a religion of peace. That same silly fiction was spewed by George W. Bush after 9/11. Speaking at the mosque which some have tied to extremism, President Obama said, "For more than a thousand years, people have been drawn to Islam's message of peace. And the very word itself, Islam, comes from salam—peace." 

Wow. Mr. Obama, with his family background in Islam, should know better and probably does. "Islam" means "submission"—not "peace." Islam has been spread by the sword, beginning with Mohammed's conquests of Arabia, and followed by Muslim conquests of Egypt, Iran, India, North Africa, Spain and all the way to the gates of Vienna. 

The president needs to chat with Brother Rachid. Brother Rachid is a Moroccan Christian convert from Islam whose father is still a well-known and respected Imam. He is hosts a weekly live call-in show on Al hayat TV called Daring Questions where he compares Islam and Christianity and debates Islamic scholars. His views have been featured in the New York Times.

Brother Rachid, like most former Muslims, believes Islam is a dangerous ideology and not peaceful.

Dale Hurd/CBN Featured Culture Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:30:00 -0500
Christians Weigh in on 8th GOP Presidential Debate

The eighth Republican presidential debate was held Saturday night in New Hampshire, and aired on ABC television affiliates around the country.

A group of Christians gathered from all across the U.S. to discuss the debate on social media. Afterward, they stuck around for an extra hour to answer some questions about what they watched. Here's a transcript of that conversation.

First question: What was your overall impression of tonight's debate?

Doug Goff—Slow start for everyone. Toward the end, Rubio picked it up and overall turned into a good night for him. Cruz and Trump were rather unimpressive. Christie was his typical whiny self. I loved Carson's answers, but I just cannot get over how boring he is.

Tom Nichols—Didn't really learn anything new. I didn't change my opinion about any of them, except maybe Bush and Christie. I despise them even more than I did for their answer on abortion.

Michael Leotta—Lackluster. No clear winner. Each had at least one fair moment. Trump got booed the most. Cruz enjoyed laying low. Rubio repeated himself a lot.

Cathy Little—Rubio said all the right things. Trump was OK ... just so ... arrogant. I liked Ted ... and I really like Carson, but like I said, I don't want to wish the presidency on him. I don't like Christie. He buddied up to Obama after Hurricane Sandy and was all about Obama then. I don't trust him.

Second question: Did any candidate improve his position in your mind?

Cathy Little—Rubio improved. I was pro Cruz ... but now ... I don't know. Rubio really said everything I believe in unless I missed something. I came in late.

Michael Leotta—Rubio slightly ... but they all still fail on the life issue for supporting regulations.

Tom Nichols—No. I didn't see any change. I do wish Cruz would have had to answer the selective service question. That might have affected my opinion on him.

Doug Goff—My mind's never gonna change. I truly believe Rubio resonates with my views the most. But Carson improved, in my opinion. I do really like him; he's just boring.

Next question: The debate opened with Trump vs. Cruz and then Cruz vs. Carson. Did anyone win either of those "controversy" discussions?

Tom Nichols—Not really.

Doug Goff—No, in my opinion, those debates make us look petty.

Michael Leotta—I didn't think so. It was an overblown issue anyway ... typical media.

Cathy Little—I agree with Michael.

How would you rate the questions from the moderating panel?

Doug Goff—They weren't as bad as they have been. That lady was rather argumentative with them. Wasn't a fan of her.

Tom Nichols—Pretty decent questions. I wish they would have made all of them answer every question.

Michael Leotta—After the initial high school he said xyz about you questions ... they stabilized and we're mostly on point with the issue at hand.

Cathy Little—The panel did a good job but, unless I missed something, I don't know why they asked Bush about bringing back the draft. I didn't hear him say anything like that ... it was like she was trying to lead into something.

On the issue of national defense, how do you think the candidates did?

Michael Leotta—Cruz and Rubio both strong as expected. The rest below expectations. Trump's thoughts are not solidified.

Tom Nichols—If Cruz helped himself at all tonight, it was in this area. He explained that his comments about carpet bombing were not indiscriminate bombing, and that they should go in, win and get out.

Cathy Little—Rubio and Cruz did a good job ... Trump? His arrogance just scares me like he will think he is a God and just blow up stuff just because.

How did they do on the economy questions?

Tom Nichols—Fine, as far as they went? Not near enough detail.

Cathy Little—I think I missed those questions.

Michael Leotta—This was a weak area ... I honestly don't even remember most of them. Fixing the broken tax system seemed to tie in nicely for those that worked it in the answer. No real standouts, but Cruz is strong on this topic.

Surprisingly, the life question came up. First question: How did they do, in general, with the issue?

Tom Nichols—I will complain again that all of them did not have to answer it. I'd have like to (have) heard Cruz respond. And Carson. Christie and Bush were horrific. Did Kasich have to answer that one? I don't remember.

Cathy Little—Rubio answered excellent. Christie? He's for self-defense for the woman if she's raped so ... kill the baby in her defense?

Michael Leotta—This is my No. 1 issue. If you are willing to compromise on thou shall not murder, then what aren't you willing to compromise on? They all fall short on the life issue for their support of regulations that each end in ... and then you can kill the baby. Unless you protect all innocent life, you are not pro-life ... you are pro-choice with exceptions.

Cathy Little—I'm a woman. I've come close to being raped ... but I wasn't ... I can honestly say I would NOT kill an innocent being because I was a victim of another person. That baby had nothing to do with it! Anyway. It's just not right.

Follow-up question: Do you think that question will resonate with NH voters who are notoriously secular?

Tom Nichols—Don't know enough about NH to answer that.

Michael Leotta—No.

Cathy Little—Just in opinion ... no.

Doug Goff—Don't believe so, no.

I'm going to go back for just a moment to an earlier question. During the debate, CNN took the unprecedented step of issuing a press release during the debate saying Ted Cruz was misleading voters about the Carson rumor. The media certainly isn't letting that controversy die. Do you think it helps Carson or hurt Cruz at all in NH?

Doug Goff—Definitely hurts Cruz. The polls have shown that. And I think it makes him look bad in the eyes of some voters.

Tom Nichols—It certainly didn't help Carson, he would have to be awake for it to help him. Probably hurt Cruz, because most people won't take the time to investigate whether or not CNN is lying.

Michael Leotta—Having read through the timeline, it really was a non-issue made into a molehill. It may sway some who were on the fence, but overall, I don't think it hurt Cruz much and Carson is too far gone anyway.

Cathy Little—OK ... I didn't follow up on that ... but didn't Cruz apologize to Carson?

Michael Leotta—If I were Cruz, I would not have apologized.

Cathy Little—I'm thinking it's water under the bridge. The media and the moderators just like to get things heated for ratings. The American people should be offended to be manipulated like that.

Carly Fiorina wasn't on stage and never got mentioned. She was polling below 2 percent as of this morning. Is she done Tuesday night?

Cathy Little—I really liked her ... I would vote for her over Christie any day.

Michael Leotta—She's done ... along with Carson, Kasich, Bush and Christie.

Tom Nichols—Yes, along with Bush, Christie and Gilmore. Depending how many people Kasich fools, he might drag it out for another month. Carson is done and just won't admit it yet.

Cathy Little—I agree.

Based on everything leading up to this moment, not just this debate, how do you think the vote will go Tuesday in New Hampshire?

Michael Leotta—Honestly too tough to call for me ... would not be surprised if Trump edged out the rest.

Tom Nichols—Trump will win, by a much smaller margin than the polls say, maybe about the 28 percent that Cruz got in Iowa. Rubio hurt himself tonight I think in the early part of the debate and may not finish second. Kasich, Cruz, Rubio will occupy the next three positions although I don't have any idea on an order. All of them around 20 percent give or take 3 points. That's as far as my prognostications go.

Cathy Little—Trump, Rubio, Cruz. The rest? Kasich ... Christie and Carson. But I don't want Trump on top ... lol I personally like Rubio ... Cruz/Trump.

That's all my questions. Any final thoughts?

Tom Nichols—I really would have liked to see Cruz answer the life question and the selective service question. Disappointed that I didn't get to learn his position on those issues.

Michael Leotta—At this point, I think most following the race have a clear favorite. These debates are not helping, but rather exposing weaknesses, which is a good thing.

Bob Eschliman Featured Primaries Caucus Mon, 08 Feb 2016 10:00:00 -0500
28th Child in Polygamist Family Reveals Biggest Struggle

"I wanted to feel significant. I wanted to feel important to someone."

Brian Mackert was an outsider in his own home. His father was a Mormon polygamist who had four wives and 31 children. As one of the youngest, Brian was an easy target for his other siblings and their mothers.

"I was constantly dumbed down, told that I wasn't smart," he says. "I was labeled by one of my mother's as a pathological liar. I was whipped with a wire coat hanger until I would confess to a crime I hadn't committed." 
Still Brian tried his best to earn his father's affection.

Brian says, "There was nothing that I could do that was right. I strove to be worthy, to be accepted, but I could never be worthy enough. I was afraid if I moved in the wrong direction or in the wrong way or made a noise, I'd be in trouble." 

Then, when Brian was 13 years old, his mother decided to leave his father. She asked Brian to go with her and told him why.

"And she said the words I'll never forget. 'Brian, your father has been sexually abusing your sisters,'" he says.

"It was shattering because my father has raised me with this code of honor where women are to be revered, respected and protected. And it turned out that the– the man my sisters needed protection from the most was the man who taught me this code of honor and so brazenly violated it."

After they left, Brian stared using drugs and alcohol to cope with the anger at his father and himself.

Brian tells us, "I loved my father, but I hated the fact that I loved him. There was anger welling up inside of me because of what he had done to my sisters and his inability to take any responsibility for that."

After high school, he joined the navy. After four years of serving and struggling with his addictions, it was time for a change. He got off the drugs and enlisted in the Marine Corps. The night before he set off for boot camp, his sister Mary, who had become a Christian, came to visit him.

Brian says, "She's sharing with me her faith in Christ and how in Scripture it says 'God is the Father of the fatherless.' And that's what I've been all my life is fatherless, and God can be the Father to me that I've always wanted and always needed but never had. And I looked at her and I said, 'If there is a God, if He does exist, I will curse Him to His face for the things He has allowed to have happen in my family."

Later, Brian married, and even though she was a Christian, he still managed to keep God at a distance. At least until he found out he was going to be a father.

Brian says, "That changes everything. When you're suddenly responsible for the life of another person and their development, what are you going to teach them about God?" 

Having walked away from his childhood faith, Brian turned to Christianity. For him, that meant going to church with his wife, praying and reading the Bible. But none of those things gave him what he was really looking for—to become a better man and find healing from his past.

Brian says, "Every time I looked in the mirror, I saw the same ugly person I'd always been."

One morning, on the way to the base, he confronted God.

Brian tells us: "I said, 'My life's a mess. You said You'd make a new creation out of those who come to faith in You. And I see no evidence of that in my life. And I want to know why.' And God said, 'I can't fix what you haven't given Me, Brian.' And I knew in that moment what God wanted was my life. I said, 'God, I'm a sinner and I'm in need of salvation and I believe that the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ, is enough, and I accept Him as my Lord and Savior.'"

Then later, while running with his platoon, Brian understood what his sister had been saying.

Brian says, "God was now my Father. And I could cry out, 'Abba Father.' I could come boldly to Him with any care, any concern. I was just overwhelmed by all of it."

In the following years, Brian forgave his father and reconciled with his siblings. Now a pastor and a founder of a prison ministry, he shares how God changed his heart.

Brian says, "God took the ugliest thing in my life and He made it beautiful. I have peace, I have security, I have safety in the knowledge of who I am. I'm no longer a number. I'm adopted. I'm His adopted son."

Cheryl Wilcox/CBN Featured Culture Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:00:00 -0500
Broncos Duo: 'Christ Has Everything You Need'

Denver punter Britton Colquitt has an answered prayer. The Broncos won Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers after a devastating loss two years ago.

The Broncos' 43-8 blowout loss to the Seahawks that day infamously, sloppily began with a snap over the head of quarterback Peyton Manning and into the end zone, resulting in a two-point safety for Seattle.

That brought Colquitt onto the field—with just 12 seconds elapsed—to kick the ball away to the Seahawks.

He knows, however, that in football or in life, difficult starts and adversity—even the self-imposed variety—don't have to result in devastation.

And he'd get a high-five on that from teammate Virgil Green, a tight end.

Colquitt and Green are both believers in Christ who look back to troubling times in their college days being turning points that God used to draw them much closer to Himself.

For Colquitt, it was a matter of falling into the party scene at the University of Tennessee that belied his Christian upbringing.

For Green at the University of Nevada, it was a health scare—a risky knee surgery that could have prevented him from ever making it into the NFL.

In both cases, they turned aggressively toward the Lord and have been delivered by His faithfulness.

Colquitt, with the witness of his parents and Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer, repented of his sins and recommitted his life to Christ.

"Looking back, I wasn't active in the Word and growing in my spirit at that time, so I let the flesh take control," he said. "I try to be on the other side of that now, to stay in the Word and do whatever I can to keep Him close and to stay in prayer."

One of Colquitt's primary aims now is to be a God-honoring spiritual leader of his family. He and his wife, Nikki, have three young children, ranging in age from 2 1/2 weeks to 4.

"I try to focus on the audience of One because, otherwise, it's so easy to get distracted," Colquitt said. "If you're in a stadium with all those people, and many more watching on television, it's easy to say, 'I've got to please all these people.'

"But when it really comes down to it, God is my only audience. It's not about performance or anything like that. It's about your heart. So you can turn it into an act of worship because He's called for everything we do in life to be a matter of worship, including sitting at the table having dinner with your family."

Green's knee condition was like that of a much older person during only his freshman season at Nevada. He underwent microfracture surgery to help slow degenerative cartilage damage.

He was told that he might never play football again.

His parents, who were strong Christians, prayed for and supported him, but it was at that time that Green realized he had to go forth in his own faith and fully surrender his life to the Lord.

"It really helped mold my faith and show me that God is real," Green said.

Now, more than eight years later, he has experienced an almost total healing in his knee. He's a valued blocker in the Broncos' offense from the tight end and fullback positions and has scored one touchdown as a receiver.

"The Lord means everything to me," Green said. "I understand the platform that I'm on, and I never would have made it to this point without Christ.

"I like to work with kids and tell them: 'You don't have to follow what the world wants you to do. Christ has everything you need.' That's what I stand firm on."

Green has part of Psalm 121 tattooed on his right arm because he loves the passage that answers the question "Where does my help come from?" with "My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."

Colquitt feels the same way. He comes from a family of punters: His father, Craig, filled the role with the Pittsburgh Steelers' Super Bowl championship teams of the 1970s, and his brother Dustin punts now for the Kansas City Chiefs. They've all learned only God provides what football and championships could never deliver.

"When it's all said and done, these things are going to be gone," Britton Colquitt said. "What matters is [eternal] life and what we're doing in this life to prepare for that."

Charles Chandler/Decision Magazine/BGEA Featured U.S. News Mon, 08 Feb 2016 10:30:00 -0500
College Makes Bold Stand on Difference Between Christianity and Islam

A professor at an evangelical university near Chicago who got in trouble after saying Muslims and Christians worship the same God will leave the school, according to a joint statement released by Wheaton College on Saturday night. 

Larycia Hawkins, a tenured political science professor, had been scheduled for a disciplinary hearing in five days to determine whether she would be allowed to remain at Wheaton. 

A joint statement said Hawkins and the college had "found a mutual place of resolution and reconciliation" and that the two sides "will part ways" after reaching a confidential agreement. 

The controversy began on Dec. 10, when Hawkins wrote on Facebook that she would don the hijab head scarf during the period of advent before Christmas as a sign of solidarity with Muslims. 

"We worship the same God," she said in her post. 

The post drew criticism amid a broader debate regarding the role and treatment of Muslims in the United States following the November mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, which U.S. authorities have said was inspired by the militant group Islamic State.

The college placed Hawkins on administrative leave as a result. Last month, the school's provost recommended Hawkins be fired. 

The school previously said Hawkins was disciplined not because she chose to wear a hijab but because her "theological statements seem inconsistent with Wheaton's doctrinal convictions". 

Both sides struck a conciliatory tone in the statement, which also said neither Hawkins nor school officials would offer any further comment until a scheduled news conference on Wednesday morning. 

"I appreciate and have great respect for the Christian liberal arts and the ways that Wheaton College exudes that in its mission, programs, and in the caliber of its employees and students," Hawkins said in the statement. 

The college president, Phillip Ryken, said the school "sincerely appreciates Dr. Hawkins' contributions to this institution over the last nine years." 

Many members of the faculty had expressed support for Hawkins. Bill Struthers, a Wheaton psychology professor, posted a photo on Facebook on Saturday night of himself holding a handwritten sign reading, "I support Larycia." 

Wheaton, founded in 1860 and located in the Illinois town of the same name, has approximately 2,400 undergraduate students and 480 graduate students. {eoa}

© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Joseph Ax/Reuters Featured U.S. News Mon, 08 Feb 2016 10:00:00 -0500
Why the Texas Governor Wants Crosses on Police Cars

The governor of Texas supports police putting cross images on their patrol cars, saying they are part of U.S. historical practices, and symbols of service, his office said on Friday. 

Governor Gregg Abbott, a Republican, offered his support for the crosses in a brief filed to the state's attorney general. He was responding to a sheriff's office in Brewster County that received a complaint about images of a Christian cross with a horizontal thin blue line displayed on its patrol vehicles. 

"In addition to its religious significance, the cross has a long history in America and elsewhere as a symbol of service and sacrifice," Abbott wrote, adding in his opinion, the display does not violate U.S. constitutional provisions preventing the establishment of religion. 

The governor's office did not respond to a request if Abbott also supported the display of other religious symbols on patrol cars. 

Abbott said the cross has been used at revered places including the Arlington National Cemetery to honor the sacrifice of members of the U.S. Armed Forces and on military medals. 

"The symbol of the cross appropriately conveys the solemn respect all Texans should have for the courage and sacrifice of our peace officers," Abbott wrote. 

At the end of last year, the Brewster County Sheriff asked state officials if his deputies in the sprawling and sparsely populated west Texas county could keep the cross decals displayed on the rear windows of their patrol vehicles. 

The request followed a complaint by the Freedom From Religion Foundation which called on the sheriff to remove the crosses, arguing no government official has the right to promote his or her religious belief on government property. {eoa}

© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Jon Herskovitz/Reuters Featured U.S. News Mon, 08 Feb 2016 09:45:00 -0500
Pro-Abortion Radicals Have Lost Their Hearts and Minds

Two tweets in the last week, one from Cosmopolitan and one from NARAL, reveal the depravity of these radical pro-abortionists.

Although the tweet has now been removed, Cosmopolitan sent out this message on Feb. 4: "Texas women are having more babies since Planned Parenthood was defunded," followed by a sad face. This was linked to a picture featuring the graphic #StandwithPP.

C:\Users\Dr.MichaelL\Downloads\Cosmopolitan supports PPH.png

Oh, the tragedy!

Texas women are having more babies.

More children are being spared the horrors of abortion—being sliced up, burned up and sucked into pieces in the womb—and are seeing the light of day.

More mothers and fathers are holding precious little human beings in their arms, crying with joy at the new life they have produced.

What could be more terrible?

But it gets worse and, if possible, even more absurd.

NARAL, the National Abortion Rights Action League, took strong exception to a silly Doritos commercial during the Super Bowl. (Yes, the same Doritos that produced the rainbow-colored, gay-honoring Doritos last year.)

As summarized by Dave Urbanski on The Blaze, "The humorous clip showed a pregnant woman getting an ultrasound of her 'beautiful baby'—while Dad munched on Doritos chips.

"'Really? You're eating Doritos?' the now-annoyed mother said to him.

"Soon the unborn child on the ultrasound screen was sensing when the chuckling father waved a Doritos chip near Mom's belly—and the baby instinctively reached for it in the womb."

And then?

"Bad idea.

"The child had only one place to go, presumably setting a birth in motion (as everyone in the room started to scream)."

Now, before I share what NARAL tweeted, let's think about this like rational human beings.

What could be so offensive about this comical ad?

Nothing graphic or distasteful appears on the screen; the commercial is clearly meant in fun; it shows a normal ultrasound; the big surprise is apparently a baby being born ahead of schedule.

That's how good Doritos are.

End of subject.

But not for NARAL, which tweeted through the Super Bowl, calling out ads it identified as "sexist" or "transphobic."

For NARAL, the Doritos' commercial crossed a line: "#NotBuyingIt - that @Doritos ad using #antichoice tactic of humanizing fetuses & sexist tropes of dads as clueless & moms as uptight. #SB50"

You might be saying to yourself, "Someone obviously made this up. No one in their right mind thinks like this, not even NARAL."

I do agree that no one in their right mind thinks like this, but NARAL, sad to say, is not its right mind.

We'll ignore the ridiculous attack on "sexist tropes of dads as clueless & moms as uptight," as if it is "sexist" to have fun with the image of a dad who is not quite used to being in the doctor's office with his wife during an ultrasound and with a mom who might be just the tiniest bit "uptight" during the process. Oh, the rank sexism of it all!

But what NARAL said about the "antichoice" (= pro-life) "tactic of humanizing fetuses" reminds us that, even more tragically, NARAL does not have a heart.

There's a reason that the vast majority of women who see their ultrasound choose not to abort their babies.

There's a reason that expectant moms send out pictures of that ultrasound with the exciting news, "It's a boy!" (or, "It's a girl!"), pointing out the little hands and feet and nose and ears.

There's a reason the wife grabs her husband's hand and puts it on her stomach as the baby jumps inside so he can experience a little of what she's feeling as that bundle of new life moves around.

There's a reason many parents pick a name for their child as soon as they hear whether they're having a boy or girl, even though there are a few months to go before the little one makes its appearance.

There's a reason some women will mourn for years over a miscarriage, even if took place in the early months of a pregnancy.

And there's a reason that pro-abortionists fight so strenuously against laws requiring abortion clinics to show the mother an ultrasound before going ahead with the murderous act.

It's because that fetus is a human being, carefully formed and made, full of life and potential, the unique creation of God and that mother and father.

And "humanizing fetuses" is no more an "antichoice tactic" than wanting to humanize Jews during the Holocaust in Germany or wanting to humanize Africans during the slave trade in America.

But there is a silver lining to the moral depravity evidenced in these two tweets.

It reminds us of how deeply the pro-abortionists need an encounter with the Lord and how deeply this battle is spiritual more than anything.

The reality is that the heartlessness and mindlessness and anger and depravity of their position comes not only from many rebellious hearts. It also comes from many broken hearts, from the hearts of women masking their deep wounds and pain.

And so, as we expose their lies and work to save the lives of the unborn, let's also pray for a wave of repentance and salvation to sweep through the people of NARAL and Cosmopolitan and Planned Parenthood and their supporters, both female and male.

Jesus died for their redemption too.

The saving of their lives could result in the saving of many more lives in the womb. 

Michael Brown Featured In the Line of Fire Opinion Mon, 08 Feb 2016 09:30:00 -0500
GOP Establishment Candidates Slug It Out in New Hampshire Debate

Republican White House contender Marco Rubio struggled at a debate on Saturday at the worst possible time, potentially confounding his bid to emerge as Donald Trump's chief rival in New Hampshire and giving hope to three rivals desperate for a strong showing.

Under assault from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie over his level of experience as a first-term U.S. senator from Florida, Rubio retreated time and again to canned statements from his stump speech and looked uncomfortably rattled for the first time after seamless performances at seven prior debates.

"Marco, the thing is this," Christie said during one heated exchange early in the night, "when you're president of the United States, when you're a governor of a state, the memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end of it doesn't solve one problem for one person."

While Rubio recovered later in the debate, the timing of his performance was terrible, coming three days before New Hampshire Republicans register their choices on Tuesday in the nation's second nominating contest. The debate at St. Anselm College was the last face-off of the candidates before the vote.

Rubio's tough moments may breathe new life into the campaigns of Christie, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Ohio Governor John Kasich, three experienced politicians who, like Rubio, represent establishment Republicans.

All three have suffered from the dominance of front-runner Trump in the Republican race. They are badly in need of a breakout moment to change the trajectory of the battle in New Hampshire, where the polls show Trump in the lead, Rubio in second and Texas Senator Ted Cruz in third place.

Trump did not have his best debate. He looked flustered in a fight with Bush over the use of eminent domain in advancing the interests of public use projects and private industry.

But he seemed to do well enough to possibly win on Tuesday in what would represent his first victory of the 2016 race, erasing the pain from a loss in the Iowa caucus last week, where he finished second to Cruz and just ahead of the surging Rubio.

A victory in New Hampshire could put Trump on track for more wins in South Carolina on Feb. 20 and beyond on the way to the Nov. 8 election.

Appealing to Establishment

For the second debate in a row, Bush looked polished and sounded like the candidate many establishment Republicans had pinned their hopes on. His problem is it may be too late.

Kasich, likely to end his candidacy if he does not do well on Tuesday, delivered a positive message that could appeal to New Hampshire Republican voters, who famously make up their minds late and never seem in the mood to follow the lead of the Iowa caucuses, won by Cruz.

The trouble for Rubio began soon after the debate started when the ABC News moderators asked Christie about Rubio's experience in the U.S. Senate, and Christie pressed his case.

Rubio critics have made much of the fact that his experience is akin to that of much-derided Democratic President Barack Obama, elected in 2008 when a first-term senator.

Rubio's defense was that his and Obama's world views are different, not that Obama has simply led the country down the path it is on because of inexperience.

"Let's dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing," Rubio said.

When Rubio repeated the same line again, Christie sought to reinforce the charge that Rubio is so inexperienced that he relies on well-worn talking points and cannot think on his feet.

"There it is. There it is. The memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody," Christie said.

Rubio repeated the line enough that someone created a Twitter profile called @RubioGlitch that repeated his line about Obama.

Bush Tussles With Trump

Bush attacked Trump for using eminent domain, which allows governments to seize private lands for projects for the public good, to help him build casino complexes in Atlantic City. Eminent domain is a frequent target of criticism from conservative and anti-government groups.

"What Donald Trump did was use eminent domain to try to take the property of an elderly woman on the strip in Atlantic City. That is not public purpose. That is downright wrong," he said.

Trump said eminent domain was "a good thing" and was necessary to building roads, bridges, schools and hospitals. "Certainly, it's a necessity for our country," he said.

"He wants to be a tough guy, and it doesn't work very well," Trump said of Bush, telling the son and brother of former presidents to be quiet.

When the crowd booed, Trump said, "that's all his donors and special interests out there."

Trump, known for his tough stances with calls to ban Muslims from visiting the United States and deport immigrants without the proper documents, also called for a more empathetic view of the Republican call to repeal Obamacare insurance coverage for Americans.

"There will be a certain number of people who will be on the street dying, and as a Republican I don't want that to happen," he said.

Trump captured the biggest share of the conversation on Twitter during the debate, winning 33 percent of the conversation followed by Rubio at 20 percent and Cruz at 15 percent.

(Additional reporting by Ginger Gibson and Alana Wise in Washington; Writing by Steve Holland and John Whitesides; Editing by Mary Milliken, Paul Simao and Robert Birsel)

© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Steve Holland, Emily Stephenson and James Oliphant/Reuters Featured Primaries Caucus Mon, 08 Feb 2016 09:00:00 -0500
President Obama Engaged in Syncretism During Mosque Visit

Last week President Barack Obama addressed the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. He told the story of a Muslim man in Chicago who was afraid to lay down his prayer rug and pray at a public park the day following the murder of 14 innocent people by Muslim terrorists in San Bernardino, California.

The president said, "I can't imagine a clearer expression of Jesus' teachings. I can't imagine a better expression of the peaceful spirit of Islam than when a Muslim father filled with fear drew from the example of a Baptist preacher and a Jewish rabbi to teach his children what God demands."

President Obama is a high priest of the holy sacraments of syncretism. Syncretism is the combining of different, often seemingly contradictory beliefs, melding practices of various schools of thoughts and religion. The Bible strictly forbids syncretistic worship; the mingling of biblical and pagan religions is a violation of the First Commandment and brings judgment on a nation. What happened at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., was not just unholy, but an abomination.

As an aside, to a president who refuses to call Muslim terrorists "terrorists," who pals around with communists (Frank Marshall Davis), terrorists (William Ayers), criminals (Tony Rezko) and anti-American racists (Jeremiah Wright), let's make this clear, Islam is not a peaceful religion. There may be peaceful Muslims, but Islam is not a peaceful religion. Like it or not, the 9/11 attack was about Islam.

Solomon gave the advice that when the wicked are in power and control of the affairs of state, where violence and injustice flourish unchecked, then fools become more brazen.

The wise must expose President Obama's distortions to serve his own interests at the expense of the nation. "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit" (Prov. 26:5). Christians must not sit silently as President Obama fabricates tall tales leading to a topsy-turvy telling of history.

For example, consider his statement last year (Feb. 18, 2015): "Here in America, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding."

In truth, Islam had zero impact in the founding of America, for what little the Founder's understood of Mohammedanism they despised. Of course, since secularism has scrubbed America's Christian history from public education, our children have no idea that at Jamestown the Founders erected a cross, knelt, took Communion and prayed, "We do hereby Dedicate this Land, and ourselves, to reach the People within these shores with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to raise up Godly generations after us, and with these generations take the Kingdom of God to all the earth. May this Covenant of Dedication remain to all generations, as long as this earth remains, and may this Land, along with England, be Evangelist to the World."*

Following the 9/11 Muslim terrorist attacks on America, Gene Edward Veith wrote following:

"Perhaps more dangerous in the post-postmodernist era is what may happen to religion. Suddenly the cultural hostility to faith went up in smoke, when Americans faced real pain and real spiritual need. This was a good sign. And yet, in the well-intentioned 'interfaith prayer services,' a more disturbing note was sounded. Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus were all worshipping together, praying, it was said, 'to the same God.'

"The Bible strictly forbids syncretistic worship, the mingling of biblical and pagan religions, a violation of the First Commandment. When the Israelites brought idols of Baal into the Temple, presumably because they thought they and the Canaanites worshipped 'the same god,' the real God was not pleased."

"Such multifaith worship may be the beginning of the much-anticipated 'one-world religion,' which, though filled with pious emotionalism and religiosity, will be far different from Christianity."**

The antidote: A return to prayer and the teaching of the Word must be re-established as priority in America's churches.

America is in desperate need of an event like Pentecost, an occurrence to cause masses of people to wish to belong to the Living God. To accomplish this, prayer must be resurrected as priority in America's churches, asking Jehovah God to pour out His spirit on His people. Once a spiritual resurrection begins to bloom, the nation will then deal with the catastrophe that brought about the moral collapse of America: secularism.

It is the writer's position that outside of a resurrection of prayer in America's churches, and a return to the Word, there is little chance that America will once again draw the whole world to the Light.

Will a Gideon or Rahab make a stand? {eoa}

* Founder Robert Hunt, Jamestown, April 29, 1607

** Gene Edward Veith,

David Lane/American Renewal Project Featured Renewing America Opinion Mon, 08 Feb 2016 08:00:00 -0500
Does God Have a Zodiac? Is the Gospel in the Stars?

This is the first in a 13-part series entitled, "God's Zodiac: The Gospel in the Stars."

What if everything you were ever taught or believed about astrology, horoscopes and the Zodiac were false? What if the original Zodiac was perverted, distorted and changed to such an extent that no one knew its original meaning imprinted in the sky?

The daily horoscopes printed in newspapers, magazines or online are actually perversions of the original horoscope God inscribed in the heavens when He created the world.

In Primeval Astronomy, "The Gospel in the Stars," Joseph Augustus Seiss explains the purpose of the stars and their constellations in their original context. In a lecture titled "The Starry Worlds," first published in 1882, he attests:

"Such wonderful creations of almighty power and wisdom were not without a purpose."

Seiss explains that stars and groups of stars, constellations, were created to fill the galaxy—in a particular order for a very specific purpose. God created the stars (Gen. 1:16) and positioned them in their exact places in the universe (Ps. 8:3). Stars were "to indicate seasons, and days, and years. Let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth" (Gen. 1:14-15).

Stars were so important that God named them. 

"He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by their names" (Ps. 147:4).

"Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing" (Is. 20:26).

Consider the stars' names and their meaning, which "all declare the Glory of God" (Ps. 19):

  • Orion: "Coming as light," the Prince of Light;
  • Rigel: "The foot that crushes" [the serpent], and
  • Saiph: "bruised" [the serpent];
  • Betelgeuse: "The coming of the branch" representing "the shoot from the stump of Jesse" (Is. 11:1);
  • Bellatrix: "Swiftly destroying," the Prince who avenges His people; and
  • Al Nitak: "The wounded," who redeems His people.

In fact, the 24 brightest stars seen from Earth, are referenced in verses from Genesis to Revelation.

These constellations are undeniably evident to everyone, Seiss argues, as does David throughout the Psalms.

Scripture is not silent: Everything in God's creation, He ordered with a specific purpose.

Mathematicians and scientists have discovered exact distances between the Earth and the sun. The Earth completely revolves around the sun in increments of 12—at an angle—every 365.25 days. The Earth routinely, every year, tilts nearest the Sun (perihelion) in early January and farthest from the Sun (aphelion) in early July. These increments of 12 are not coincidences. 

The 12 signs of the Zodiac mark something significant about specific periods of time. Avah, Hebrew for "signs," and Moed, Hebrew for "seasons," indicate that the stars mark something fixed and/or appointed—specifically prophetic and historical events.

Pointing to the writings and work of Cicero, the Chaldeans, Egyptians, Phoenecians, and to some of his more contemporary counterparts, Richer, Roberts, Dupuis, Clarke, Smith and Syce, Seiss explains that this mathematical precision, the artistic illustration connecting each star, tells the gospel story. He notes that even before these men, others had "observed, classified, grouped and designated the starry worlds, assigning them their names, marking their courses, and making them the bearers of wisdom the dearest and most precious ever made known to man." Because of their research and precision, he remarks, "the stellar glories took order, shape and readable meaning, which the depravities of the after ages have not been able to set aside."

Meaning there is a traceable, original purpose.

Any story anyone ascribes to these constellations other than their true gospel meaning is false. Seiss argues:

"Evil is always perverted good, as dirt is simply matter out of place. It is the spoilation of some better thing going before it. And so there is reason to think that there is, after all, some great original, divine science connected with the stars, which astrology has prostituted to its own base ends, and which is our duty to search out and turn to its proper evangelical use."

Additionally, not only are the star groups "intensely symbolic and significant" they also are founded on "indisputable astronomic truth."

In fact, the same star groups are recognized universally among all traditions, cultures and faiths. Through these symbols the story of the gospel was made known to everyone in every generation.

Throughout his lecture, Seiss describes in detail the purpose of the constellations, the 12 signs of the Zodiac, the planets, the alphabet and the desire of nations. He also references the discoveries of one of the foremost scholars of ancient classics, Frances Rolleston, whose work, Mazzaroth, was published in 1863. Rolleston's pioneering research provided much of the insight knowable today, connecting ancient meanings to modern vernacular.

However, despite these textual translations, the gospel is laid out in pictures throughout the constellations of: a serpent, a cross, a dragon, a virgin, a seed, the serpent's destroyer, conflict with the dragon, a lamb, a prince and kings, water, fish, sheep and a shepherd, warriors and a lion.

The stars are a continual reminder that the Seed of the woman will ultimately triumph over the Serpent (Gen. 3:15). God's revelation is constantly told in the stars (Ps. 19)—which is a message of salvation—available to every generation who professes faith (Rom. 9-11; book of Joel; book of Isaiah). The entire ancient world received the gospel prior to Christ ever being born—through the stars.

The next 12 articles will explain the biblical meaning behind each of the 12 signs of the Zodiac, their star groupings, and their part in telling the gospel story:

Virgo: Seed, Incarnate Son

Libra: Redeemer

Scorpio: Sufferer

Saggitarius: Conqueror

Capricorn: Sacrifice

Aquarius: Living Water

Pisces: Liberator

Aries: Glorious Lamb

Taurus: Judge

Gemini: King

Cancer: Protector

Leo: Victor

Bethany Blankley Featured Opinion Mon, 08 Feb 2016 09:00:00 -0500
5 Things We Wish We Could Tell the Girls on 'The Bachelor'

For years, our friends have dedicated every Monday night to watching what we consider to be the silliest show on television: The Bachelor.

As sisters, we pretty much like and dislike the same TV shows. We would occasionally tune into the final episode of the season and laugh at our friends serious involvement into it and the show itself. However, it is now the 20th season of the franchise, and we have found ourselves completely submerged in it. We started watching because Ben Higgins happens to be a friend of a friend, (I know, such a good reason to watch). The Bachelor has quickly become our guilty pleasure, and Monday night is now officially the most anticipated night of the week. What has happened to us?

The whole concept of the show is mind boggling in and of itself; 28 girls are competing for one bachelor.

It is completely insane, yet it is entertaining and addicting. We really hate to admit it, but it is oh, so addicting. As first time Bachelor watchers, something really took us both by surprise early on in the show. As episode one concluded and the girls left in tears, we were shocked. So shocked that we may have been yelling at the girls through our TV screens: "What! Why are you crying?! You don't even know the guy!"

As quickly as those words spewed out of our mouths, a gentle thought came to mind—the heart of a woman. She longs to feel beautiful, secure, and desired. As these women leave without a rose, they feel far from all of these qualities. After that realization when we watched the first episode, our eyes have been opened, and our hearts have been softened. As fun as this show is to watch, it is equally heart breaking.  It saddens us to listen to how these girls talk about themselves. They are putting all their hopes, dreams, and futures into one man. With that being said, here are the five things we wish we could say to the girls on The Bachelor and to the girls reading this who may have been rejected.

  1. You are beautiful and unique in every way. Don't you know how special and precious you are? Your personal story and background make you who you are. You are a perfectly, uniquely crafted creation; no two fingerprints are the same. You don't have to be anybody but yourself.

  2. Comparison is the thief of joy. Try not to compare yourself to the other girls in the house. If Ben doesn't like you how you are, then you are not right for each other. It is easy to look at your every imperfection when you are surrounded by a bunch of beautiful girls. Don't focus on that; instead work on your inner beauty and that makes your outer beauty even that much more beautiful. Let's not be like the Evil Queen in Snow White who can't handle the beauty of others. Instead of staring into the mirror of comparisons, take joy in what you can personally bring to the world.

  3. Being a virgin should not make you the black sheep of the house. Becca is known as the virgin on the show, and good for her! Go Becca! Our culture often considers virgin as a bad word as if something is wrong, dirty, or even unhealthy about you if you haven't had sex yet. Waiting is beautiful, and it is something you should be proud of. As someone (Alyssa) who was a virgin on my wedding night, I am sitting here 10 years later and am still so thankful that I saved myself for my husband.  At the same time, being a virgin should not be the only thing that defines who you are as a person. So much is said on social media and on the show about how Becca is the virgin of the house, but there is so much more to Becca than that!

  4. Your past does not define you. So many of these girls have been cheated on and hurt in more ways than we could know. When I (Samantha) met my now fiance, I was so afraid to share with him the secrets of my past. I was afraid of being vulnerable and exposed and even more scared of the rejection that could have followed. At the end of the conversation, he just sat there and looked at me with love in his eyes. In that moment, I knew he would have forgiven me and loved me through anything I could have done short of a felony because I am not my mistakes, my pains, and my past. What matters is how you move on and allow these things to shape you into a better person.

  5. You are lovable. Rejection is simply redirection. Just because Ben rejected you, it does not mean you will never find a good guy. He just isn't the guy for you, and that's OK. Actually, that is better than OK! He is dating a dozen women at once, so be thankful that you don't have to be in the emotional game anymore. You deserve better! You will find a man who will love you! You don't want to be second place in any man's eyes. It is the most amazing feeling to me (Alyssa) that my husband has eyes only for me.

Nothing is more heartbreaking than hearing these beautiful women say phrases such as, "I am the most unlovable girl," and "If Ben doesn't love me, then what good man ever would?" Dust off your shoulders, lift up your head, and walk in the confidence of who you are! Love will find you, and it will probably happen when you are least expecting it. Ben may have rejected you, but don't go and reject yourself too!

If I had a crisp new $100 bill and offered it to you, would you take it?

Would you still take it if I crushed it, stomped on it, spit on it, wiped my sweat on it, and offered it back to you in a scrunched up ball? The answer you are probably thinking is, YES! Why? Because the value never changed even though it experienced some damage. You are that $100 bill to God. Even though you've been through rejection, things may have been done to you, or you've made some poor choices that have left you feeling dirty, your value hasn't changed. Your value is set by God, not by what you have done or what has been done to you. You are fully lovable by your Creator and by the right person for you!

"Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that" (Eph. 5:2, MSG). {eoa}

Alyssa Shull is the founder of The Pink Lid, a conference for teen girls about self-worth, identity, value, and purity. She graduated in 2008 from Oral Roberts University with a degree in multimedia productions. Alyssa, alongside her husband, Matt, have been in full-time ministry for over 10 years. She recently released her first book Purely Beautiful. Alyssa and Matt have one daughter, and they live in Miami, Florida.

Samantha Saputo is on staff as art director at a church in Michigan. She graduated in 2013 from Oral Roberts University with a degree in graphic design. Samantha recently got engaged to the man of her dreams and is planning her wedding!

Alyssa Shull and Samantha Saputo Featured Culture Mon, 08 Feb 2016 08:00:00 -0500
6 Things That Must Happen to Bring Revival

With a culture saturated by political correctness and relativism, we are inclined to ask if there is any hope for America. If we continue down this slippery slope, there is little hope.

Apart from a national spiritual awakening, it will be difficult to turn the Titanic around—the vessel has been struck; what's inside is spilling out. But if God brings revival ... if we once again set our hearts and minds on Him, there is tremendous hope.

In churches across America, crowd appeal and pleasing the masses tends to be the goal rather than calling out destructive lifestyles, which can result in revival and renewal.

Here are six things that must occur:

1. Recognize the desperate need for truth: Absolute truth is a hill on which to die. In battle, there are key strongholds that must be taken, or kept, at all costs in order to win—these are "hills on which to die." Today, absolute truth is one such hill. A weapon of destruction has set its sights on our nation, our homes, and our families.

Relativism/postmodernism continue to challenge truth, but to their own destruction. Attacking absolute truth is like waging war on a lighthouse. It cannot be negotiated, bargained with, or debated.

When people, groups, denominations, or movements depart from absolute truth, and thus, quench and grieve the Spirit of God, they become mechanical in their approach to Christianity and lose the ability to guide. The Word of God is not "in their hearts like a burning fire," but relative, powerless, and debatable. This is what we see today; many are not truly worshiping God, as Jesus said, "in spirit and in truth."

Unfortunately, Christians who are sounding the alarm are often categorized as irrational, judgmental, bigoted, and intolerant. But how can we warn if we won't confront? We are not called to make truth tolerable, but to make it clear.

2. Recognize the desperate need for love: Will others know that we are Jesus' disciples by how well we translate the Greek or unravel the Hebrew? Will they know by how many Scriptures we quote, or how often we read the Bible? The answer is a resounding, "No". Jesus said that love, not knowledge, is the characteristic of a genuine disciple.

Please don't misunderstand, I love theology, but it's possible to be "Bible taught," but not "Spirit led"—straight as a gun barrel theologically, but just as empty—"the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." This is fertile ground for modern-day Pharisees. How often are we taught to fast and pray for wisdom? How often are we taught the need for brokenness and repentance instead of how to dissect and translate the Greek—more concerned about a Master's Degree than a degree from the Master? We must equally balance truth and love.

3. Recognize the desperate need for holiness: Holiness is not a prudish, outdated word. It means being set apart, or separated from anything that causes us to sin, whether mentally (in what we think), or physically (in what we do). Holiness begins in the heart. We should continually strive for holiness in all that we do and say. "The Holy Spirit is first of all a moral flame. It is not an accident of language that He is called the Holy Spirit, for whatever else the word holy may mean it does undoubtedly carry with it the idea of moral purity" (Tozer).

Why walk willingly into the enemy's camp? Why quench and grieve the Spirit of God? It's impossible to develop a deep respect and desire for God if we repeatedly fill our mind with things that oppose Him. "The gratification of the flesh and the fullness of the Spirit do not go hand in hand" (R.A. Torrey). "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34). What goes in, ultimately comes out. It's time to recognize the desperate need for holiness, beginning within our homes.

4. Recognize the desperate need for prayer: A prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian. Where are those with uncompromising spiritual power in the church today? Granted, there are some, and I so appreciate them, but as a whole, the church is lacking.

E.M. Bounds, who was born in 1835, began his three-hour prayer routine at 4am. To him, prayer was not a prelude; it was a priority. Edward Payson, who ministered during the Second Great Awakening, was said to have wore grooves into his hardwood floors as a result of prayer. Adonia Judson attributed his success in Burma as a missionary to a life of prayer, as did J. Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission. George Mueller petitioned God for millions of dollars to fund his orphanages in the 1800s. John Fletcher, one of the leaders of the Methodist movement, "stained the walls of his room with the breath of his prayers" until his death in 1785. The men, and women, who do the most for God are always people of prayer.

5. Recognize the desperate need for power: The Holy Spirit is not some weird, mystical force; He's part of the triune nature of God. He enables and empowers us to hunger and thirst for righteousness and to boldly live for Christ. God's Word becomes living and active in the life of the believer who is continually filled with the Holy Spirit. Charles Spurgeon said it best, "What can a hammer do without the hand that grasps it, and what can we do without the Spirit of God?"

D.L. Moody was deeply saddened by Bible teachers in his day, asking, "Why don't they see that the power of the Holy Spirit is the one thing that they themselves need?" Like many today, they did not recognize their need for a mighty filling of the Holy Spirit.

Why don't many see their need for the Spirit's power? Perhaps the most common answer is pride. Many do not want to admit that there may be something lacking. It's difficult to endorse what we've never experienced. I believe that we have all of the Holy Spirit, but does He have all of us? This is a crucial step to experiencing revival.

6. Recognize the desperate need for Christ: If current statistics hold true, many will continue to reject Christ, never to return; or, they will embrace a glamorized Christianity, both to the same end. Life is a battleground, not a playground! Who is Jesus? How you answer this question is the difference between right and wrong, light and darkness, heaven and hell. When asked this question, the apostle Peter gave the correct response: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). Jesus Himself confirmed this by saying: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).

Jesus said that whoever believes in Him will (not might) experience "rivers of living water" flowing out of them (cf. John 7:38). This is revival. If you are not experiencing this abundant life, you're not fully connected to the true source of spiritual life. Fully surrender your life today and experience personal revival.

Why don't we experience revival? Here is a sermon outlining seven things needed for it to happen. {eoa}

Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, just North of Los Angeles. Shane's sermons, articles, books, and radio program can all be found at or Follow him on Facebook at:

Shane Idleman Featured Opinion Mon, 08 Feb 2016 07:00:00 -0500
There's More Bad News to Be Found in the Budget of 2015

Not only does the new Republican-passed budget fail to stop Obama's executive amnesty known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), which two federal courts have said are illegal, but it quadruples the controversial H-2B program, which imports low-skilled foreign workers for blue-collar jobs that millions of Americans can do. That provision violates Paul Ryan's pledge not to push for higher immigration levels until the next president takes office. "There is a reason that GOP voters are in open rebellion," Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said when he learned of the surreptitious intentions behind this budget.

Despite the recent massacres in Paris and San Bernardino, both of which were committed by Muslims loyal to ISIS who crossed national borders with impunity, the Omnibus continues full funding for the resettlement of Syrian refugees without additional screening. Despite the deaths of Kate Steinle and other Americans murdered by Mexicans who had previously been deported, there is still no limit on federal subsidies for sanctuary cities. The Omnibus also failed to block the EPA's Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States rule, but it provided plenty of money which Obama can reallocate to the U.N.'s Green Climate Fund.

Paul Ryan's surrender was so complete that it's no wonder Obama sent "kudos to him." As Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Steve Israel explained, "We ended up with a bill today that has all the good stuff in [that the Democrats want] and most of the bad stuff out. That's the definition of victory." Republican leaders' failure to make use of their historic majority, to make good on their promises, supports Rush Limbaugh's theory that Republican leaders "are willing to throw away their current base."

Meanwhile, some excellent candidates are lining up to challenge the Republican incumbents who forgot why the voters sent them to Congress. Find one of those candidates in your area and give him or her your full support.

Phyllis Schlafly is founder of the Eagle Forum and among those who launched the modern conservative movement in America.

Phyllis Schlafly/Eagle Forum Featured Opinions Caucus Mon, 08 Feb 2016 07:00:00 -0500
3 Ways America Could Repeat History and Succumb to Islam

The thousand-year Byzantine Empire was one of the most powerful and vast empires the world has ever known, and it was Christian. During its lengthy reign, it produced a mass trove of Christian art, architecture, legal jurisprudence, theology and culture. It built, perhaps, the most magnificent church building ever built, the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, which is said to have changed the history of architecture.

Yet, the mighty Byzantine Empire fell to Islam in the 15th century and serves as a reminder to us that we must not trust in our advanced technology, stock market wealth, or military might, but our trust must be in the Lord. As David said in Psalm 20:7, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God."

Why did the Byzantine Empire fall to Turkish Ottoman invaders in 1453? I will address three reasons in this article—three trends that weakened the church and Empire and made both vulnerable to the Islamic invaders. They are (1) The church's preoccupation with political power; (2) the loss of personal faith to outward ritual and liturgical formalism; and (3) theological rigidity and strife.

Reason #1

The Church's Preoccupation with Political Power

The mighty Byzantine Empire began around A.D. 330 when Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to the small city of Byzantine near the eastern edge of the Empire. There may have been logistical reasons for making this major move, but ego was obviously involved for he renamed the city Constantinople after his own name and made it the capital of the Empire. Today, the city is known as Istanbul.

Constantine, though he had not been baptized, convened the famous Council of Nicaea in 325 in the nearby city of Nicaea. Although the stated reason was to address the Arian heresy that denied the full deity of Christ, many historians believe that Constantine had political reasons for calling this council.

With the Empire beginning to unravel, it is likely that Constantine saw Christianity as the cord by which he could pull the Empire together, for the one common thread running through all the varied people groups of the Empire was Christianity. If he could strengthen that cord, it would strengthen and bind together the Empire.  

Constantine thus began favoring the Christians, building them elaborate buildings and underwriting the salaries of their bishops whom he also exalted into positions parallel to the provincial governors of the Empire. Hans Kung, the most widely read Catholic theologian in the world today, says:

Constantine used this first council not least to adapt the church organization to the state organization. The church provinces were to correspond to the imperial provinces, each with a metropolitan and provincial synod. In other words, the empire now had its imperial church!

Christianity thus became politicized and this continued with increasing intensity with Constantine's successors. This led to much political wrangling for church offices and power, often involving banishments and even death. At the Council of Ephesus in 449 physical violence broke out and the presiding bishop, Flavian, died of the wounds received at this council (Eddie Hyatt, Pursuing Power, 52).

It was these political pursuits of power that caused Gregory of Nazianzus (325-389), Bishop of Constantinople, to come to disdain church councils. He wrote:

For my part, if I am to write the truth, my inclination is to avoid all assemblies of bishops, because I have never seen any council come to a good end, nor turn out to be a solution of evils. On the contrary, it usually increases them. You always find there love of contention and love of power which beggar description (Eddie Hyatt, Pursuing Power, 52).

In such a politicized setting, it is no wonder that the power of the simple message of Jesus was overlooked. The church and its leaders relied on the political power of the state to advance its cause rather than the power of the message itself, which Paul said, is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).

This preoccupation with political power and the divisions it produced weakened the church and the Empire and made both vulnerable to the Muslim invaders. In this election year, let us remember that a politician will not save us. There must be a turning to God Himself. Let us remember the words of Isaiah 33:22, "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us."

Reason #2
Personal Faith Replaced with Liturgical Formalism

With the politicization of the church there came a corresponding loss of the personal aspect of the Christian faith. Instead of a heart relationship with God through faith in Christ, Christianity became institutionalized and formalized. Gifts of the Spirit that flowed freely in the New Testament church were gradually replaced with outward form and ritual.

Constantine initiated the construction of church buildings to accommodate the religious gatherings of Christians, who had previously gathered primarily in homes. The architecture of these new buildings, with their elevated throne-like seating at the front for the bishop and rows of seating for the congregation, made significant congregational involvement impractical. In addition, the liturgy and worship style, once plain and personal, were now adorned with the pomp and practice of the Imperial court.

Bishops, inspired in part by both Old Testament and pagan precedents, began wearing distinctive clothing to indicate their superior rank. Kung says:

Bishops were accorded secular titles, insignia and privileges which up to then had been reserved for the emperor or high officials: candles, incense, a throne, shoes, the maniple, the pallium and so on (Hyatt, Pursuing Power, 49).

How far the church had removed itself from Jesus! And the institutionalization continued resulting in the church becoming more and more a complex religious system with a multitude of offices, titles and regulations, all foreign to the New Testament.

The formalizing and ritualizing of the church's worship marked the end of dynamic gatherings where spiritual gifts would flow freely in the congregation. A. J. Gordon, Baptist pastor and founder of Gordon College in Boston, was correct when he wrote:

It is not altogether strange that when the Church forgot her citizenship in heaven and began to establish herself in luxury and splendor on earth, she should cease to exhibit the supernatural gifts of heaven (Hyatt, 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity, 36).

Lacking a church with the strength and vitality of a personal, dynamic faith in Jesus, the Empire found itself weakened and vulnerable when Islam came with its armies. I confess that I am alarmed when I see how Europe and North America have dispensed with a Christian worldview and replaced it with a secularist mindset that denies objective truth and attempts to be accepting of everyone and critical of no one. Such a politically-correct mindset cannot withstand the millions of Muslims who are committed to an Islamic worldview and dedicated to imposing that worldview on the rest of humanity.

Reason #3
Doctrinal Rigidity & Strife

The church's rise to political affluence and power marked the beginning of many fierce doctrinal battles. Free from the threat of persecution and enjoying the favor of the emperor, church leaders now gave their attention to theological questions that usually became litmus tests of one's orthodoxy.

Many violent struggles ensued, producing sharp divisions in the church. Basil of Caesarea, bishop of Cappadocia (A.D. 370–379), likened it to a great naval battle being fought by men who "cherish a deadly hate against one another." He wrote:

But what storm at sea was ever so wild and fierce as this tempest of the churches. In it every landmark of the Fathers has been moved; every foundation, every bulwark of opinion has been shaken; everything buoyed up on the unsound is dashed about and shaken down. We attack one another. If our enemy is not the first to strike us, we are wounded by the comrade at our side (Eddie Hyatt, 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity, 36).

One of the most famous and destructive doctrinal controversies was over the filoque clause in the creed of the Roman (Western) Church. After Constantine removed the government apparatus of the empire to Constantinople, the Roman bishop (later known as the pope) filled the power vacuum that was left with claims of supremacy. There thus developed a rivalry between Old Rome and the New Rome of Constantinople, and this rivalry was expressed in conflicting claims of authority and in doctrinal controversies such as the filoque controversy.  

Filoque means "and from the Son" and the Western Church, centered in Rome, confessed the Holy Spirit to have proceeded from both the Father and the Son. The Eastern Church, based in Constantinople, insisted that the Holy Spirit proceeded only from the Father.

This seemingly trivial doctrinal difference became a major source of strife and division and eventually led (along with political strife) to a formal division of East and West when, in 1054, Rome and Constantinople formally excommunicated each other.

Both were drastically weakened by this separation but Byzantine would suffer the most from this division. When the Ottoman Turks began rattling their swords toward Constantinople in the fifteenth century, the city, in desperation, signed an agreement with Rome in which it agreed to recognize the authority of the pope in return for Rome's help against the Turks.

But when the Muslim invaders attacked the city, Rome did not send help and after a long siege the great city of Constantinople fell to the Muslim invaders. For three days the city was plundered and many of its inhabitants slaughtered. Priceless art and manuscripts were destroyed. Magnificent churches were turned into mosques and all Christians who were unwilling to convert to Islam were placed under a heavy tax known as the jizya. The great Byzantine Empire came to an end after a thousand years of existence. The region—now present day Turkey—is under Islamic control to this day.

How We Must Respond

I do not write this to create fear, but to inculcate a seriousness and soberness about the time in which we live. I write that we might learn from the past and not repeat the same mistakes and suffer a similar fate. I write this to hopefully inspire Christians to rise up and be the church. It is not enough to "find" a church or "go" to church; this is a time when we must "be" the church. 

Finally, the churches of North America, Europe and every nation must pray for a great spiritual awakening that will produce in its members a new heart commitment to the truth that is in Jesus. Only the truth will set us free and only the truth presented in the power of the Holy Spirit will change the hearts of Muslims all over the world for whom Christ died and rose again. {eoa} 

This article was derived from the books 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity and Pursuing Power, both by Dr. Eddie Hyatt and available from Amazon and from his website at Learn more about his ministry and his vision for another Great Awakening at his website,

Eddie Hyatt Featured Opinion Mon, 08 Feb 2016 06:00:00 -0500
Floors of Israelis Shake as Hamas Digs Tunnels Under Them

You are Israeli. You are eating dinner with your family and suddenly the floors start shaking.

Your son asks you, "Dad, what is that? Why is the food moving on the table?" Do you tell him? "Avi, that is just Hamas rebuilding tunnels so they can attack us here in the kibbutz."

Shaking Floors

That's right. Residents of Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip "complained that tunnel digging into Israel from Hamas-run territory has come so close to their homes that it has caused their floors to shake" (

Stealing From Their Own People, Again

This came to light about a week ago on several television news shows and, until just a few days ago, our government had done little to stop it. Hamas is digging tunnels into Israel—by the way, using materials that are supposed to go to rebuilding the city—in order to carry out terror attacks, and we are doing almost nothing to stop them.

Hamas is taking the 3.5 million tons of building materials donated to the people of Gaza and instead of rebuilding homes (the intended purpose of the aid), they are building terror tunnels into Israel. The E.U., which often criticizes Israel when a Palestinian stubs his toe, has been largely silent in condemning Hamas.

Iran confirmed the resumption of tunnel digging by posting a video Sunday of a Hamas terrorist in one of the tunnels, boasting that it is 3.5 kilometers long and goes into Israel. The Iran report was clear, celebrating the intended goal of the tunnel—to carry out acts of terror.

The Israeli Left Demands Action

Only after massive criticism from the left-leaning opposition here in Israel, as well as a national outcry for the Netanyahu government to act, did the government begin to do something. Well, we assume it is the government—it may just be the hand of God.

Major General Yoav Mordechai warned Hamas today of consequences if the terror tunnel digging continues, "The tunnels that Hamas is digging will bring disaster to the Gaza Strip. They are tunnels of death" (

IDF or the Hand of God?

This week three different tunnels collapsed on terrorists. Two terrorists have been confirmed dead and eight others missing. A week ago, seven terrorists were crushed to death as a tunnel collapsed upon them. Ironically, as 250,000 Gazans came out to honor the dead terrorists at their funerals, a roof collapsed as several young men were standing on it, injuring many more.

It is unclear if these tunnels collapsed on their own, due to rains (as Hamas claims) or because of action from the IDF.

"When asked whether or not Israel has had a hand in the collapse of the terror tunnels in recent weeks, [General] Mordechai responded saying 'God only knows'" (

This is a serious escalation and, despite the fact that the Islamic terror problem is growing globally, the E.U. still sees Hamas as a legitimate representative government of the Palestinians in Gaza. Instead, they should be viewed just like ISIS. Silly Western cowards believe the Hamas rhetoric and not their actions. Today Hamas denied that it has any interest in renewing the fight with Israel.

If that is true, then why is Avi's kitchen table shaking? {eoa}

Ron Cantor is the lead pastor of Tiferet Yeshua congregation in Tel Aviv, a Hebrew-speaking outreach to Israelis. He is also the author of Identity TheftLeave me Alone—I'm Jewish and his newest book coming out this spring, The Jerusalem Secret, a novel about the first Jewish believers. Ron blogs at

For the original article, visit

Ron Cantor/ Featured Standing With Israel Opinion Mon, 08 Feb 2016 06:00:00 -0500
Is It Important for the Next President to Promote Spiritual Renewal?

As Americans make their way through this election season, there is one question that is not being asked of those who would be president. This question is more important even than questions about social policy, domestic policy, foreign policy and fidelity to the Constitution, as important as all those questions are. 

The question is this: how badly do you think America needs spiritual awakening and what will you do to promote it and support it? 

The Scriptures are filled with stories of statesmen who used their political influence to promote revival. Nehemiah, for instance, was both the mayor of Jerusalem and the governor of Judah. While he made his mark on history for a great infrastructure project, the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, he was also keenly aware of the even greater need for rebuilding his nation's spiritual infrastructure. 

In the prayer that begins the book, he confesses through tears and sorrow that the people of Israel had brought destruction upon themselves through their own rejection of God. "We have acted very corruptly against you, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses" (Neh. 1:7).

When Ezra came to the land as both a priest and a teacher of God's book of truth, Nehemiah used his political influence to give him a platform to teach the people the abiding truths of the Scripture. The people "gathered as one man" in a giant open square, and Ezra "opened the book in the sight of all the people." He and the Levites "read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense so that the people understood the reading" (Neh. 8:8). 

This led the people to a time of genuine repentance and renewed faith in God. "They confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers ... (and) made confession and worshiped the LORD their God" (Neh. 9:2-3). This spiritual renewal soon led to a renewal in marriage and the family. 

It's worthy of note that Nehemiah himself, as a statesman, did not feel the need to personally conduct the revival. That was a task for Ezra and his fellow members of the clergy. But Nehemiah knew that his task, using the political authority God had given him, was to support, promote and facilitate the work of spiritual renewal. 

The Founding Fathers understood the need for our people to be spiritually strong as well as politically and militarily strong. George Washington, for instance, called for a national day of prayer and thanksgiving the day after the First Amendment had been adopted by Congress, thus shattering for all time the illusion that the First Amendment somehow prohibits public prayer and the public acknowledgement of God. 

Washington knew that unless the nation was spiritually strong, it could not be politically strong. "Of all the habits and dispositions that make for political prosperity," he said, "religion and morality are indispensable supports."

As we survey the field of current candidates for the presidency, it is unlikely that we will find the leader we are looking for on the Democratic side of the aisle. This, after all, is the party that literally booed God out of its convention in 2012. 

On the Republican side, there are three viable candidates at this point: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. It is unlikely that Donald Trump will be an agent of revival, since he seems to need a spiritual awakening of his own. But both Sen. Cruz and Sen. Rubio are men of sincere and robust Christian faith. 

Republicans seem to be cognizant of the significant difference of spiritual temperament among the three top GOP candidates. In a January survey of adults who identify as Republicans, just 5 percent identified Mr. Trump as "very religious" while 76% and 70% respectively said Sen. Cruz and Sen. Rubio were either "very religious" or "somewhat religious." 

While a Google search for "Marco Rubio, call for revival" returned very little, the same search did result in numerous hits for Sen. Cruz. For instance, in an interview with CBN's David Brody, the Texas lawmaker was quite direct about the need for a spiritual awakening. 

"David Brody: Do you believe that spiritual revival is needed in this country? 

"Sen. Ted Cruz: Without a doubt. I think we're at the edge of a precipice. If we keep going down this path we're risking losing our nation. We're risking losing the incredible oasis of liberty." 

The Senator himself even described a December, 2015 campaign stop in Nashville as "one part political rally, one part prayer revival." 

Evangelicals, as they should, are driven by 2 Chronicles 7:14 to hunger for a nationwide move of God to bring us in humility and repentance to our knees before God so that he may hear our prayer, forgive our sin, and heal our land. 

If we are looking for a modern day Nehemiah to provide statesmanlike leadership for spiritual renewal, no one may fit the profile better than Sen. Ted Cruz.

Bryan Fischer is host of the two-hour radio program "Focal Point" on American Family Radio.

Bryan Fischer/American Family Association Featured Opinions Caucus Mon, 08 Feb 2016 06:00:00 -0500
When the Church Ignores Immorality

Why would anyone actually choose to accept deception over truth?

It makes no sense, or does it?

A person's morality will always determine their theology. When people make the choice to follow Christ casually and to loosen their moral standards, they must adjust their theology accordingly.

We are living in such a time. Many professors, pastors and church leaders are teaching and publishing that the infallible Holy Bible "contains God's Words." According to them, many of the facts are inaccurate and many of the principles are cultural ethics of ancient times and cultures.

The creation story is replaced with theistic evolution, opening the way for the devaluing of human life.

Mankind is not a special creation made in the image of a loving heavenly Creator but the product of spontaneous generation.

The principles of divine design, purpose and destiny are removed, and every person has the right of self-determination.

This opens the gateway for women to discard unexpected fetal tissue to protect their future and career from unwanted encumbrance. A woman has the right to determine what happens within her own body. Couples may enjoy "hooking up" and living together without the demands of outmoded marriage ceremonies. A man might be born with the desires and passions of a woman and seek relations with another man. A woman may have desires for another woman. Sexual orientation is no longer a divinely prescribed moral standard.

Should any of this be questioned, sociology, psychology and junk science will ensure enough disinformation is reported to verify these new truths. Pastors and teachers who do not accept the infallibility of the Holy Bible are subject to such distortion and will give way to the "new truth" and avoid the labels of intolerant, homophobic and bigoted.

These "new truths" will not bring about a "Great Society" but create a "Brave New World" filled with greater hatred, bigotry and a moral landslide.

These "new truths," and their accompanying freedoms, become addictions and bring new forms of sickness, creating a broken society that mankind cannot cure. The social epidemic quickly becomes pandemic and will become a moral tsunami of proportions not seen since the Roman Empire. All of this is made possible by a church that has turned their ear from hearing the true Word of God and built upon sand.

The church is becoming a social club embracing political correctness and historical rewrite.

Authentic worship is being replaced with performance and very professional music.

Entertainment is being delivered instead of powerful spiritual awakening.

As the church adopts this "new truth," they also adopt the medical model for dealing with moral issues. "Disease" replaces the old teaching of sin; this to prevent further emotional damage from being inflicted upon the broken.

Twelve-step programs replace "a broken and contrite spirit."

Years of counseling and psychotherapy take the place of repentance and cleansing of the heart through the blood of Jesus. Universal grace replaces redemption and salvation through new birth.

The great danger of deception is one does not know when they are deceived unless someone loves them enough to show them the truth. That is the great responsibility placed upon the church. Jude challenged the apostolic church. "Beloved, while I diligently tried to write to you of the salvation we have in common, I found it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. For there are some men who secretly crept in, who were marked long ago for this condemnation. They are ungodly men, who pervert the grace of our God into immorality and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 3-4).

May God move the heart of spiritual leaders to seek Him earnestly; commit their hearts to love and honor the infallible inerrant Word of God; then boldly teach, preach and publish the uncompromised Holy Word with anointing that will convict and purity the hearts of men and women.

Dr. F. Dean Hackett has served in full-time Christian ministry since October 1971. He has ministered throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, serving as pastor, conference speaker and mentor. He has planted four churches, assisted in planting 15 others, and currently serves as lead pastor of Living Faith Church in Hermiston, Oregon. Dr. Hackett founded Spirit Life Ministries International in 2001 to facilitate ministries in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina and to open a training center for workers in those nations. You can find him at F. Dean Hackett - Foundational, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Dr. F. Dean Hackett Featured Opinion Sun, 07 Feb 2016 17:00:00 -0500
2 Reasons You May Not Be Seeing Fruit in Your Life

We are designed to produce fruit in our lives, manifesting the ways of God through changed lives and relationships that display His ways. Yet there is nothing more discouraging than feeling like your life is not producing any fruit.

If we are honest, a lot of accusation and condemnation can pummel the mind, keeping us wondering whether our lives even make a difference.

Although I never try to answer questions with pat answers, I do think there are two critical things to keep in mind if you honestly feel that you are not seeing the fruit you believe God can manifest in your life.

1. Your investment needs more time. In the natural, we all understand that when you plant a seed in the ground it is utterly foolish to expect fruit the next morning. But we tend to treat our spiritual lives as though the fruit should show right away.

It doesn't work that way in the natural, nor does it in the spiritual. Seeds need to grow into plants. Then plants over time begin to blossom and produce fruit. A lot of time and care go into the full process.

There are seasons of growing a harvest and you need to know what season of life are you in. If you are an overcoming believer, odds are you are planting seeds everywhere. You would never drop a seed in the ground and expect to eat fruit the next day. But we tend to do this with our spiritual life.

The quick results mindset of today does not fit into the Kingdom of God. Most major changes often work through a lifetime of investment. Even bigger changes can take generations to take place. So we must keep the bigger picture in mind of what we are contending for, long term.

We also need to find who we are in the process of what God is doing. If we connect to our role effectively, the overall work that God is doing will increase in effectiveness.

There is no overnight success, no matter what people may think. Those who appear to manifest overnight success have years of investment and faithfulness that brought about the fruit. It appears to others that fruit just appeared overnight. Yet behind the scenes, there was a lot of prayer, contending, disappointment and tenacity involved.

Fruitfulness takes steady perseverance, the ability to hang in there when everyone around you has quit. It also takes resilience, the ability to bounce back from falling down or being hurt.

The most fruitful people learn to live as overcomers. They don't let life push them back from their potential. They keep the big picture in mind and they daily invest into that larger vision.

I have a hunch that you may just need to stay it and not quit. Millions start strong, but a minuscule amount of people remain to see it through.

2. You are being pruned. As pruning helps a tree in the natural, so does it in the spiritual. Our Father in heaven is the vinedresser, who loves us deeply. He cares for us so much that He prunes off areas that are not who God made us to be. He also prunes off areas that can be hindrances to us producing the maximum amount of fruit over the long term.

Most believers hate pruning, but it doesn't need to be a dreaded process. The reason the pruning process is so painful for some is that the areas God is pruning have become so much a part of their life that living without these areas becomes painful.

It's hard when God starts causing us to face our fears rather than running from them. We get pruned when God wants us to stop blaming other people and grow up into greater maturity.

Pruning gets hard when we have to let go of our addictions as comforts for our life. The anger has to go. The false coping has to go. The pity parties have to stop.

God is so loving. He knows exactly how to prune us, because He is the perfect vinedresser. He doesn't condemn us, use guilt or accuse us into conformity. He knows in the beauty of love how to address the areas of our life that will hurt us in the long run.

But most avoid this process at all costs.

A lot of our coping patterns and reliance agents become idols. We focus on them so much we cannot see God in our situations. We lean on them for life, but they are killing us in the long run. Our self-loathing, fears, unworthiness and addictions, to name some, seem to serve us, but are destroying our fruitfulness.

Pruning only works well if you get to the root of that particular branch. Otherwise it just grows back. So many waste their time trying to clip the ends of the branches, when God needs to get to a deeper root system. When we hit the root system, we address the areas that get to the heart. It exposes what we live by to cope, heal and function. Our Father wants us firmly rooted in Christ and established in the love relationships He has for us as the perfect Dad. Everything else is a cheap imitation.

The issues that God did not create us with all need to eventually die and burn away. As a planting of God, we must know there are areas of our life that are not in alignment with who God made us to be. The pruning addresses this.

During pruning seasons, things seem slow and fruit doesn't seem to be popping up everywhere. But just wait. If you let the process of transformation have its effect, you will have more fruit than you will know what to do with!

Many people try to avoid or medicate away their pruning process instead of letting a loving Father teach them into the next stage of breakthrough. We wander around the mountain over and over.

Why avoid it, when amazing fruitfulness is right around the corner? {eoa}

Mark DeJesus has been equipping people in a full-time capacity since 1995, serving in various roles, including teaching people of all ages, communicating through music, authoring books, leading and mentoring. Mark is a teacher, author and mentor who uses many communication mediums, including the written word, a weekly radio podcast show and videos. Out of their own personal renewal, Mark and his wife, Melissa, founded Turning Hearts Ministries, a ministry dedicated to inside-out transformation. Mark also founded Transformed You, a communication platform for Mark's teachings, writing and broadcasts that are designed to encourage people in their journey of transformation.

For the original article, visit

Mark DeJesus Featured Opinion Sun, 07 Feb 2016 15:00:00 -0500
How to Avoid Self Deception in Your Walk With Christ

For most of my adult I life, I believed James 1:22-25 didn't apply to me. I had convinced myself that I was a "doer" of God's Word and not simply a "hearer."

After all, I went to church. I tithed. I listened to well-known preachers and agreed with what they said. Here and there, I told people about Jesus.

Wow, did I buy into Satan's lies. And he did a fantastic job of selling it, too.

Over the past year of my transformation as a believer, however, I slowly began to realize that I was the epitome of James 1:22, which says, "Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" (MEV).

Every Sunday I would hear a good sermon at church, and every Sunday it would be the same. I got fired up and knew I was going to have a great week after being filled with a good word and great fellowship. But then something would happen in traffic or my children would say something that shouldn't have upset me but did, or I would worry about our family finances, and my joy would dissipate.

Immediately, I had forgotten what kind of man I was. I was a "hearer" of the Word and not a "doer." Immediately, I had become exactly like the sower in Matthew 13:20-22, "But he who received the seed on rocky ground is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, eventually he falls away. He also who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, but the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful" (MEV).

As a believer in Jesus Christ, you've heard the good news of the gospel. Most know of God's promises of provision and protection, and most know they have the ultimate victory in Jesus. Yet when trials and tribulation come, and they deceive themselves into believing that God doesn't really care for them. They deceive themselves by thinking he's distant and isn't listening to their problems. The word is choked from them as the weeds have grown among the good seeds that were planted.

In other words, if I hear the word of God but do not do what it says, I am treating the Word as if it were useless. I am deceiving myself about the very nature and purpose of the Word of God.

"... for the hearers of the law are not justified before God, but the doers of the law will be justified" (Rom. 2:13, MEV).

So what can you do to make sure this doesn't happen to you, that you don't become a "hearer" only and deceive yourself?

* Realize that trials WILL come in this life, and let your faith be tested, because it produces patience (James 1:3-4). It's all part of the growing process.

* Get connected with a small group at church. I'm not saying that you can trust everyone, but find people within that small group to discuss your life issues—people with whom you can be transparent and vulnerable.

* Pray that God will teach you how to be a "doer" of His Word and not simply a "hearer." Pray that you will know better than to deceive yourself. 

* Adhere to Proverbs 3:5-6 and trust God "with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding." Don't be one of those nominal Christians who simply won't allow that.

* Continually seek wisdom. Don't just read your Bible every day, study it. Realize that the Bible reveals God's wisdom to us (Prov. 2:10).

* When you make sinful or mistaken choices, learn from them, repent and recover. God will be right there with you. 

Rather than be the sower from Matthew 13:19-22, don't you want to be the sower from verse 23? "He who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit. Some produce a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown" (MEV).

Bearing fruit is what your walk with Christ is all about. It's all about being a "doer." 

And as I always like to say, "there is that." {eoa}

Shawn A. Akers Featured Opinion Sun, 07 Feb 2016 13:00:00 -0500
'I Am Raising Up the Unlockers'

I hear the Father saying that He is raising up the "unlockers!"

Those that have been given keys of: authority, revelation and assignment. They are being released to unlock plans and purposes in regions—territories. They have been commissioned by the Spirit of the Lord.

As they move into their assigned places, there is divine ability in them to bring release of things in the spirit that have seemingly been locked. These things have not been locked away from the children of God but reserved for the children of God.

"And the key of the house of David will I lay on his shoulder. Then he shall open, and none shall shut. And he shall shut, and none shall open" (Is. 22:22, MEV).

There has been a "timing element" upon some of these plans. Those that have been mantled with the assignment to unlock will step into a divine timing and alignment moment. They are being released in the timing of the Father. They go with His keys in their hands!

I see prophetic keys being given to the servants of the Lord in this hour. I see key revelations being provided that access realms of deliverance and breakthrough for the people of God.

Embrace His Mighty Exploits!

He is writing great exploits upon the hearts of His people. He is releasing dreams and pictures of destiny to fuel faith and unlock potential. Open the eyes of your inner man and begin to see what He is declaring over you.

Some are not able to embrace the exploits because they are trapped in the stinging memories of past disappointments.

I hear the Father saying, "My healing balm is available for those. They have not understood why it did not work, they have not been able to escape the pain and the bitter waters, but I have fresh waters of redemption to release over them. I am calling My bride forth to 'dream with Me'—to move up higher and allow Me to write My exploits upon their hearts. I have great adventures of faith and powerful glory to reveal."

Some have been unable to embrace the exploits because they are looking through the lens of limitation. They are seeing what they can or cannot do but there is immeasurable power available in the inner man! There is power for exploits, breakthrough and wonder. Begin to live, move and advance from the spirit realm. "I have provided FULL ACCESS—nothing lacking."

Be Free of the Enemies Lies!

"Some are operating under the weight of condemnation and lying accusation. Have I not said that your righteousness is of Me?"

2 Corinthians 5:21: "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."

"I have desired to paint visions of powerful exploits upon your heart, but you were unable to see them because of lying accusations. The enemy has been hurling his lies at your mind, speaking of past failures and present struggles.

"You must boldly stand upon My promises of freedom and appropriate the wonder-working power of My Blood! Your righteousness is of Me and is appropriated by faith. His accusations must be met with My redemption so that your heart can go free!

A free heart is: free to love, free to dream, free to soar! Free hearts take My hand and run forward with Me. Free hearts are blank canvases for My dreams of exploits."

It is time to navigate the exploits of God and unlock His plans for us. It is time to let go of the past hurts, wounds and pain in order to embrace His powerful plans for the hour.

The unlocking mandate is upon us! The keys have been given. Now it is time to run forward with Abba.

Ryan LeStrange started in ministry after training and serving under his spiritual father Dr. Norvel Hayes. Ryan and his wife, Joy, lead Impact International Ministries based in Bristol, Virginia, which consists of several local churches and revival ministries. Through Ryan LeStrange Ministries, he travels the globe preaching, igniting revival, and moving in the power of God. Ryan can be seen weekly on his television program, Power 4 Today, airing around the world on GodTV. He is the founder and apostle of Impact International Apostolic Fellowship, networking and fathering ministers around the world. Ryan has authored several books releasing an apostolic and prophetic perspective to the body of Christ. Please visit

For the original article, visit

Ryan LeStrange Featured Opinion Sun, 07 Feb 2016 11:00:00 -0500
Could Thought Curses Be Oppressing Your Mind?

If you're a charismatic believer, you've probably heard of word curses. A word curse is a form of witchcraft that taps into the power of death that's in your tongue—or someone else's tongue. This spirit of Jezebel can work through people to release thought curses.

When we speak negatively over someone's life—"They will never hold down a job acting like that," "Their marriage is bound to fail the way he treats her," "The doctors said he's going to die in 30 days. Isn't that sad?" "I catch that flu every year!" "I'll never get a raise at this dead-end job"—we are agreeing with the enemy's plan and giving power to it with our anointed mouths. When we speak word curses over someone's life—or our own lives—we are opening the door to the devil.


Remember, Proverbs 18:21 says the power of death and life are in the tongue. Unfortunately, I hear many people speaking continual death over their lives, their children, their finances—and other people. Since words come from thoughts, word curses actually begin as thought curses.

The Reality of Thought Curses

Recently, as I was praying to break word curses, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the reality of thought curses. One of my prophetic mentors instructed me about 15 years ago that someone was releasing thought curses against me and it was causing me emotional distress. I forgot all about that until the Holy Spirit brought it back up again—and then I found theology to back up the theory.


The preacher said, "Even in your mind do not curse the king; and in your bedchamber do not curse the rich; for a bird in the sky may carry your voice, and a winged creature may declare the matter" (Eccl. 10:20).

The word "curse" in that Scripture means, "to make despicable, to curse, to make light, to treat with contempt, bring contempt, or dishonor," according to the KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon. The Bible says even in your mind—another translation says in your thoughts—not to curse people. Even in your mind! A word curse gives voice to an evil thought, but how can a thought take voice in the spirit realm?

From Thought Curses to Word Curses

When we think wrong thoughts about people—or about ourselves—we're violating Scripture. Paul tells us, "Whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things" (Phil. 4:8).

When we're thinking wrong thoughts about people—or ourselves—we're agreeing with the Accuser of the Brethren. We're getting on the devil's side and allowing him to feed our minds ammunition that will eventually come out of our mouths and become a word curse. Think about it for a minute. If you meditate on how angry and upset you are about someone because they wronged you, how long will it be before you speak out those thought curses and transform them into word curses?

Have you ever walked into a room and the atmosphere was tense or gloomy? And then when you speak to the person in the room, you discover they are tense or gloomy. Could it be possible that their thoughts have impacted the atmosphere in the room? I believe so. I believe if thoughts are powerful to change our own mind, they must be powerful enough to change the atmosphere around us and may be powerful enough to release witchcraft at people.

What I do know is this: Witches believe in negative thought forms. Negative thought forms are described as "structured interdimensional energy" that witches work up against victims for a specific purpose. These are intentional psychic attacks that come through negative thinking, jealousy, anger, fear, revenge and other negative thoughts. If there is power in positive thinking, there must be power in negative thinking.

Combating Thought Curses

As Christians, we need to obey Scripture. Second Corinthians 10:5-6 talks about casting down imaginations, but we often forget the part that says to bring "every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being willing to punish all disobedience when your obedience is complete."

Combating thought curses starts with our own thoughts. If we're cursing ourselves in our thoughts, we need to intentionally think the opposite of what the enemy is telling us, what people say about us, or what we think about our own shortcomings. We need to declare the truth out of our mouths. By the same token, we need to guard our thoughts about others. We don't want to be used of the enemy against anyone and violate the law of love.

Now, if you discern thought curses are coming against you, move in the Luke 6:28 principle—bless those who curse you even if you don't know who they are. Next, bind thought curses and word curses in the name of Jesus with the Matthew 16:19 key. Finally, take authority over every demonic thought that has been formed against your life and gird up the loins of your mind, for that is where the root of the battle really lies.

Have you read my new book, Jezebel's PuppetsCheck it out and determine to drop the curtain on Jezebel's show.

Jennifer LeClaire Featured Opinion Sun, 07 Feb 2016 09:00:00 -0500
WATCH: One Ultimate Act to Silence Satan's Accusations—Forever!

Our adversary, Satan, launches temptations and obstacles designed to cause us to slip up, trip up or fall flat. He then comes as the accuser with arguments as to why we're no longer good enough or deserving of God's affection.

"Look what you've done!" he torments. "Who do you think you are?"

Who you are. This is precisely what the enemy attempts to put in to question. Scripture reveals that his "imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5). The "knowledge of God" is the truth that God says in His Word. To put it personally, it's the reality about who we each are in Christ: made new (2 Cor. 5:17) and declared righteous (2 Cor. 5:21).

Satan: The Original Identity Thief

As I explore in my book, Silence Satan, the devil is scared stiff of anyone armed with the knowledge of who he or she is in Christ. Satan knows that a man fully convinced about God's love holds himself with a confidence that poses a huge threat to plundering his sham kingdom. He realizes that a woman assured that her past is crucified lives with a boldness that neither he nor his minions can counter.

And so, Satan comes as the great identity thief, seeking to conceal or steal your identity in Christ and replace it with his defeated one. He often does it by insisting, "You'll always be who you always were."

Perhaps you've heard one of these arguments:

  • "You were abused by men all of your life; you can't trust any man.
  • "You are a victim."
  • "Drugs and alcohol will always be a temptation; you can't ever overcome it. You are a junkie."
  • "You'll always live with bouts of sadness. You are depressed."

Using situations from the past or feelings from the present, Satan attempts to define who you are. The moment you confess, "I am ___________" (fill in the blank with a negative feeling, symptom or situation), he succeeds.

My Story

Like so many, I was a victim of Satan's identity theft long after my salvation. The devil used the effects of rejection in my childhood to create a lens through which I viewed my everyday situations. If I walked into a room and people were laughing in the corner, I instantly became insecure, believing that the people must be laughing at me. I was so accustomed to being laughed at as a child that I expected it to continue as an adult. "I am a reject," I pitifully thought.

For more than a decade, I constantly lived with the tension of, "I'm supposed to be a new person in Christ, yet I still feel like the old me." Thankfully, God heard my cries. Nearly 13 years after my salvation experience, in the climax of a profound revelation at Christ's cross, He revealed to me the key to finally end the tension and the torment—to finally identify with my newness in Christ.

The key? I had to "put on Christ."

Putting on Christ

At my salvation at 16 years old, I came to the cross and confessed my sins. With this, I certainly was forgiven and my record of wrongs was erased. But God showed me that forgiveness of sin is only half the significance of the cross.

I saw that during the events of crucifixion, Jesus was disrobed. Yes, He hung on the cross naked. Scripture informs that His robe laid at the foot of the cross where the soldiers cast lots for it (John 19:23).

This robe that the soldiers celebrated as a trophy to their "accomplishment" that day actually represented Jesus' identity—His perfection and righteousness. This is what Isaiah prophesied: "He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness" (Is. 61:10).

Through this, God revealed to me that Jesus' robe of righteousness still lies at the foot of the cross for whoever will go there to pick it up and put it on. The meaning of this is profound! Jesus takes our old identities of sin and offers us His identity of sinlessness. This is the second half of the significance of the cross. And this is the part of God's salvation transaction that I had to go back to receive and "put on." But when I did, I heard God declare me righteous (2 Cor 5:21). "It is finished!" He assured.

An Identity No Devil Can Accuse

Perhaps you too need to return to the cross to put on Jesus' identity. Why don't you do this now? It's simple. Envision yourself at Calvary; not an inch of you is untouched by Jesus' blood. Now declare this aloud: "I clothe myself in You, Jesus. I put on Your righteousness."

Hear Jesus reply, "It is finished!" Slavery to sin is finished. Guilt and shame are finished. The question of "Does God love me?" is finished.

God wants you to know this: You are not your past, your feelings or what anyone has ever spoken about you. His Word is your reality. And covered in Christ, He declares that you are spotless, clean, pure, holy and righteous. This is incredible! To God, you look like Jesus because you're covered in Jesus. Yes, you have an identity that no devil can accuse, because it's not about you, but about Him in whom Satan can find no fault.

Here's a new "I am" to confess: "I am the righteousness of God in Christ!"

For the rest of Kyle's message, watch this video:{eoa}

Kyle Winkler equips people to live in victory. His mobile app, Shut Up, Devil!, is the No. 1 spiritual warfare app; and his recent book, Silence Satan, has helped thousands shut down the enemy's attacks, threats, lies and accusations. Kyle holds a Master of Divinity in biblical studies from Regent University. Get daily encouragement from Kyle on Facebook and Twitter.

Kyle Winkler Featured Opinion Sat, 06 Feb 2016 17:00:00 -0500
When You Can't Pray Anymore

What is your heart longing for? A godly mate? The return of a prodigal? A satisfying job? You are waiting. You are praying. You are fasting. You are forgiving. You are doing everything you know how to do, yet the longing remains unfulfilled. Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Prov. 13:12, NKJV).

I love this compelling Scripture: "You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing ... And, He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him (Ps. 145:16, 19, NKJV). You can trust the Lord God.

Launch Into the Deep  In Luke 5, we read the story of Simon Peter fishing. He had been up all night fishing and had caught nothing. NOTHING! He, a professional fisherman, had worked all night for nothing. His livelihood was fishing. His friends were into fishing. He lived in a fishing village. If anyone could make a catch, surely it was Peter. But he fished all night in vain.

You can easily relate to Peter. You have been up all night fishing unsuccessfully – the loneliness continues, the rebellious child has not returned home, the bills keep piling higher. ... and, you know how to fish! Your heart feels sick.

Jesus arrives on the scene. He is not known for being a bass pro. He was a carpenter's son from landlocked Nazareth. Jesus did not own a boat. Had He ever cast a net? In this fascinating story, He has the audacity to tell the fisherman two things to do – launch into the deep and let the nets down for a catch (Luke 5:4).

Might He be saying the same to you? Launch into the deep. Let your net down. What is this deep? What is the net you need to lay down? Can you trust Him with these most vulnerable heart longings? These questions demand an answer.

The Mighty Lion of Judah  Some years ago, I had a heavenly encounter in which I saw the Mighty Lion of Judah. He was a magnificent Lion, strong and all-powerful. He was slowly walking around His throne in heaven. In this encounter I knew deep in my being that He was fully aware of all things on earth, both good and bad. Yet, He was unshaken. The Lion of Judah was strong. He was in control. Following this experience I am much better at trusting Him regardless of what things look like in this physical realm. Dan (my husband) and I even had a serious car wreck in which we easily could have been killed. We were totally at peace as the car rolled again and again.

The Lion was there with us, fully in control. He was, He is, and He will be trustworthy. You can trust Him with the deep things – the wounds and disappointments in your past, the fears and uncertainties in your present, the heart desires and hopes for your future. Dare you launch into the deep?

Drop Your Nets – It's Fishing Season  And the nets? The secure nets – the default actions and reactions, the personal traditions and habits, the independent way of thinking – these nets need to be dropped. Letting down our nets releases another wave of insecurity or fear, doesn't it? Sometimes layer after layer of nets must be released until we get to the secure place of, yes, you guessed it – trust.

Peter reminded Jesus that they, the pros, had been fishing unsuccessfully all night long. Then he makes the all-important statement, "... at Your word I will let down the net" (Luke 5:5). And you know how this story ended, they caught a great number of fish, so many that their nets were breaking from the tremendous catch.

Simon Peter heard the clear directive given by Jesus. He immediately responded in spite of his own experience with fishing. He then pulled in a massive, astonishing load of fish. Peter's desire was abundantly fulfilled.

It is fishing season. The Holy Spirit is granting fishing licenses to all. Trust God in the deep. Release your net to Jesus. Listen. Hear. Obey. And, you will be astonished as you realize the desires of your heart.

In Jesus' mighty name I decree:

• You will trust in the Lord, and He will give the desires of your heart (Ps. 37:3-4).

• As a righteous one, you will not lean on your own understanding, trusting God to direct your steps (Prov. 3:5-6).

• You will heed what you hear (Mark 4:24).

• You will hear swiftly (James 1:19).

• You will walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16).

Reprinted from The Elijah List. Linda Wilson, along with her husband Dan are the co-founders of Supernatural Marriage & Missions. They have taken their message of Spirit-led intimacy to numerous countries throughout the world in an effort to encourage the kingdom and prepare the bride for the bridegroom's return. Together they have published five books, including 7 Secrets of a Supernatural Marriage and Lovemaking. Dr. Dan & Linda were also executive producers of the popular worship album "CHOSEN." The Wilsons have been happily married 34 years. Email Linda at

Linda Wilson Featured Opinion Sat, 06 Feb 2016 15:00:00 -0500
6 Steps to Bringing Your Prodigal Home

I can see it in their faces. They are parents who cry and pray for prodigals but nothing seems to work.

They privately long for a rebellious son or daughter to turn from their sin and start serving the Lord. They live for the day when their wayward child comes home.

In the story of the Prodigal Son, the father did everything right. His example gives us insight into what we should do for the Lord to get the attention of the one we love.

Here are six things you can do to help bring your prodigal child back to Christ.

1. Stop feeling guilty and start walking in victory. As parents, we often feel we are responsible for the sinfulness of our children. It is easy to think that perfect parenting equals perfect kids. Then we assume the opposite must be true: imperfect kids are the result of imperfect parenting.

Satan, who is the accuser of believers, takes that thought and starts inflicting guilt on us. We start spending our time wondering, "What did I do wrong?" The answer is probably nothing.

God didn't do anything wrong with Adam and Eve but they rebelled. Judas walked with perfect love for three years and still betrayed Christ. You can be the world's greatest parent and still have a child who walks away. Until the Holy Spirit reveals your error, you must spiritually walk as though you did nothing wrong. If you don't, guilt will destroy your joy and will enable your prodigal to manipulate you.

2. Remove the barriers. Sometimes we know what we did wrong. The Holy Spirit convicted and showed us our sin. We pleaded for His forgiveness and He granted it. Yet, we never went to our rebellious son or daughter and asked for their forgiveness.

Satan often uses our inability to seek forgiveness as a spiritual barrier between our children and the Lord.

The way to remove the barrier is to be honest, admit your sin to your child, and ask for their forgiveness. Be warned: they may not grant it but you have removed the barrier by acknowledging your sin. They no longer have an excuse.

3. Extend unconditional love. Unconditional love says, "I love you for who you are, not for what you do." It sounds easy, but it's not. How do you react when your child's name is mentioned? Ever secretly wish your son was dead? Or wished your daughter belonged to someone else?

In the days of Jesus, a Jewish boy dishonored his family when he fed pigs. If the story of the Prodigal Son occurred today, the boy probably would engage in sexual sins, become addicted to every known drug, commit as many crimes as possible, and publicly humiliate his parents every chance he got.

Jesus set the example. Unconditional love bears the shame, endures the pain, and hopes for the best.

4. Let consequences occur. Rescuing your prodigal every time they get in a pigpen is not unconditional love. No, love allows a person making wrong choices to face the consequences of their sins. The father in Luke 15 could have sent a servant with some money for his son. But he didn't. Rescuing the son would get him out of the embarrassing pigpen but it would not get him home.

The father allowed his son to leave with his inheritance. He refused to follow him and he refused to rescue him from the pain his decisions caused. Discomfort caused by their decisions often is the tool the Holy Spirit uses to break prodigals. Real love stays out of the way.

5. Guard your words. Too often we give Satan ammunition for keeping our prodigals in the far country. It is the words we speak.

Don't like the pastor at your church? Keep it to yourself. Dislike the music or the leader of the student ministry? Tell the Lord but not your prodigal.

The person you criticize the most may be the one person God can use in the life of your rebellious child. If you aren't careful, your criticism of others will destroy any impact they are having, including their influence in the life of your child.

6. Pray specifically for friends. Nothing impacts a wayward son or daughter like a friend who has a heart for God! Ask God to bring godly people into your prodigal's life.

Pray for the Lord to bring co-workers into their workplaces that love Christ. Pray for God to put godly neighbors next door and to put kids on the same sports team with parents who seek the Lord. Pray that your prodigal will develop friendships with people controlled by the Holy Spirit and for their friendships to have an impact on your prodigal.

The Gospel of Luke omits the amount of time between the prodigal leaving home and his return. Like you, the father prayed for the day his son returned. The father, however, never lost hope and neither should you.

Keep your eyes on the road because one day your prodigal is coming home.          

Phil Waldrep leads Phil Waldrep Ministries based in Decatur, Alabama. He is the author of Reaching Your Prodigal: What Did I Do Wrong? What Do I Do Now? (Worthy Publishing, February 2016).  

Phil Waldrep Featured Opinion Sat, 06 Feb 2016 13:00:00 -0500
No Matter What, Don't Say These 5 Things To Your Wife During a Fight

When I was young, like most teenagers, I could be brash and blunt with little wisdom to guide my words.

One particular night, I was out with a group of friends (guys and girls) when a female friend and I started to make fun of each other. The verbal jousting quickly got competitive, even heated. Finally I said something regrettably cutting, hurtful, and humiliating towards her.

What I said is unimportant, but immediately after saying it, I wanted to grab it all back.

The worst part about it was that before I said it, I thought about it, calculated its impact, and even then, I still said it. I cared more about winning than I did about her at that moment. Thinking about her running out of the room crying still makes my stomach sink.

Words have a powerful impact, particularly in relationships. In marriage, the impact is even deeper because of the level of intimacy. Words are released at close range by the person in life whose opinion matters most.

In the midst of a disagreement, we have the power with the words we choose to either escalate or disarm the situation. Saying the wrong thing can be like pushing an escalation button. With that in mind, here's what not to say to your wife during a fight.  

1. "At least ..." This is normally an attempt to quickly move beyond the issue at hand with a superficial silver lining. It belittles something she feels is important, disregards her feelings, and ultimately, it lacks empathy. Anything that follows these two words will only serve to deepen the conflict and disconnection.

2. "I don't care." If this one comes out in the heat of an argument, it can cause significant damage. It will end all communication for the night. These three words have actually started more conflicts in our house than anything else I've said. She might want help with a decision or my opinion. I say, "I don't care," meaning, "I don't have an opinion. I could go either way." What she hears is, "I don't want to do this with you. I don't care about you."

3. "You're being ridiculous." She might be. She may be swept up in so much emotion and hurt that she is ignoring all reason and facts. However, she's not going to be able to see it at this moment no matter how clearly you explain it, but especially if you say it this way. All it will do is throw gasoline on the crazy. It's best to listen and acknowledge her feelings. Reason with her later when she has calmed down.

4. "I may have done that, but you ..." This is nothing more than a deflection from taking full responsibility and making amends. Throwing an accusation at her while she's doing the same will only intensify the conversation because it shows our desire to win rather than reach a resolution. When we have done something wrong, then we need to show leadership by owning it and apologizing. This disarms the fight.

5. "Other people wouldn't react the way you are." Never compare your wife to anyone, particularly other women. It devalues her as a person and it will rub some significant insecurities lurking below the surface. And if you ever compare her to your mother, it was nice knowing you.

BJ Foster is the content manager for All Pro Dad and a married father of two. For the original article, visit

BJ Foster/ Featured Opinion Sat, 06 Feb 2016 11:00:00 -0500
How to Release Supernatural Power Through Your Words

I am honored each day to work with Johannah Clark Leach, daughter of evangelical apostolic minister, Randy Clark, who has devoted her life to teaching excellence in dance while mentoring, pastoring, and sowing into the lives of the youth in our community.

It is a joy to see someone so dedicated to empowering others to be the best versions of themselves, launching people into their greater purpose and destiny in Christ. Truth is, this is God's will for every believer. This is His will for you.

He wants you to speak words that empower others to be the best versions of themselves and fulfill their divine assignments.

Your Words Shape Futures and Call Forth Destiny

I work daily with Johannah, and her father Randy, but by training, I am a social worker, specializing in direct clinical practice. Truthfully, I utilize my skills every day, but more formally I use them by co-leading a social skills group for adolescents. During my time in graduate school, I had never intended to work with children. In fact, I had verbally said I would never work with youth. Adolescents are at a critical time in life. They are in a growing period with many obstacles to overcome, and I felt overwhelmed by the prospect of being an instrumental part of shaping young lives.

Now, however, I view that role as a privilege, and as God has revealed more of His plan for me, I find myself feeling quite rewarded in all that I do. I often find myself praying to God that through my work, lives would be changed and people's hearts would be touched. I have certainly felt at times that I cannot possibly be making a difference, but over the years I have seen great fruit.

I have witnessed entire families come to follow Jesus. I have seen a young person who for quite some time struggled just to participate in a classroom setting, thrive in advanced level courses and attend a youth group regularly.  It brings me immense joy to see people step out in faith, meet God, and walk fruitfully forward. It's amazing to think that this kind of transformation often begins with the kinds of words we speak to and over the people we come into contact with in our unique spheres of influence.

So I want to ask you, what are you speaking over the people in your world? Are your words calling out hidden treasure? They certainly have the potential to!

Your Words Release Power and Hope

Over the past year, I encouraged Johannah to write down her own experiences, which we then compiled into our first book, Created with Purpose. Johannah and I have both seen so many lives transformed. I felt that our stories must be shared to encourage others that when you walk in faith with the Lord and step into His destiny for you, you are not only propelling yourself forward, but you are empowering others and bringing them with you as well.

Just as we feel called to share our story, you too have a story to share. You're not merely opening your mouth and talking about some personal life experience. When it was an incident where God broke in, empowered you to accomplish the impossible and equipped you to fulfill a dream, that story is a testimony, and that testimony carries a unique, supernatural grace. Your words literally release the power and hope of Heaven—hope that your experience can become someone else's experience, and power through calling forth what is possible, rather than what seems impossible.

The words we speak have such power. I really do believe that. I have spoken to numerous youth who have told me that they have felt victimized or the target of bullying behaviors, such as name-calling.

I have been told, through tears, about how they have been labeled by peers, or even adults, as "bad kids" or "troubled youth." Sometimes I think they go on to act as such simply because of what has been spoken over them. They start to believe these lies, that they can never be anything other than a disappointment, but what I say instead is that God's truth should be your truth. He has called you for great purpose, and you cannot fall into believing such lies.

Your Words Release Truth that Dismantles Lies

When we speak light and life into someone, they can rise up, become empowered, and speak life into others.  We must speak the truth that even if someone does something that is considered "wrong" or "undesirable," that does not necessarily make them a bad person, unable to be redeemed.

God is waiting for you with open arms, no matter how many times you turn away.

Recently, I had a challenging time working through some stories I had been told by a young man, who had started to believe great lies about himself. I heard God tell me he was a leader, and I spoke encouraging words over him that he was compassionate and kind and strong.  I encouraged him to unburden himself from lies and believe only truths. After that experience, I recall praying to God asking Him if I was really making a difference. I felt Him say to me, "Yes, you are speaking My truth where there are lies, and You are building up my children who have been so torn down. You are speaking purpose over them.

Your Words Release the Worth and Value of Heaven

Over the years I have realized that God has been showing me how truly impactful knowing our worth in Him is. He has demonstrated His truth to me and pointed out the lies of the enemy. He has made me believe that we each have a godly purpose and identity in Him, and it is my heart, and Johannah's heart, to speak into the lives of others. I encourage you to be mindful in everything you say, speaking God's truth into others.

I make a point when I am out just running errands or picking up coffee to say something positive to the checkout clerk or barista. I have noticed that when doing this I always get a very bright smile. It is God's desire to see us happy, to see us built up, strengthened, and empowered. Your life has purpose, and I encourage you not only to fulfill your own purpose but to speak into others as well, leading them to find their own God given purpose and identity in Christ.

Victoria West Henady is the personal assistant of Randy Clark and the administrator of Dance Revelation. She has a formal background in counseling and a Master's Degree in Social Work. Victoria has a passion for non-profit ministry and volunteers with several youth ministries. She is co-author of Created With Purpose (Destiny Image).

Victoria West Henady Featured Opinion Sat, 06 Feb 2016 09:00:00 -0500
Former Super Bowl MVP Explains Winning in Defeat

Kurt Warner was the quarterback of the Super Bowl 34 Champion, St. Louis Rams.

The 1999 Rams were the NFL's highest scoring offense, nicknamed "the greatest show on turf." The team's quick-strike passing game was led by Warner's sudden rise from undrafted backup — to the league's celebrated newcomer. Kurt explains, "That kind of success, that early, was I think the surprise to me. Just how quickly it came in my first season in the NFL, but here I am at 28 and it was like God sped up the whole career."

His impact was immediate, turning a last-place team into a division winner and leading the Rams to their first playoff appearance in St. Louis as the NFC's top-seeded team. His ascent launched him to stardom and led him to the first of three Super Bowls.

So how difficult is it to reach that game? Kurt emphasizes: "It's so difficult. So many things have to go in your favor. It's such a special thing when you put it all together. The chemistry that we had in the locker room with one another, the unselfishness amongst players."

It led to Super Bowl 34 — and a matchup against the Tennessee Titans — two 13 and 3 teams — contending in one of the most dramatic 4th quarter finishes ever. A game Kurt savored from the start saying, "Running out of the tunnel, being announced at that Super Bowl, and seeing the flashes go off, was really the first moment for it to really sink in what had happened that year. It was just about the journey that God had taken me on."

But the journey was just beginning after taking a storybook turn when the Titans kicked a game-tying field goal. Kurt recalls, "I just remember talking to Coach Vermeil on the sideline and he looked at me and just said, 'you know, this is how you write it. You know, this is what you want. Two minutes to go, quarterback, ball in your hands, lead your team down to win a Super Bowl.'"

Kurt did, on the Rams first play, a 73-yard pass to Isaac Bruce, saying, "It was called trip's right, ace right, 999, F-Seam, H Balloon. Everybody's running deep. I left it a little bit behind Isaac. And he adjusts to it and makes the catch. From there I was laying on the ground. And listened to the crowd go crazy. Now we're ahead with a chance to win it." 

Kurt watched from the sideline as the Titans took their final drive down the field against the Rams defense. Kurt acknowledges, "That's always the hardest thing. We always want to have it in our control. But the hardest part about football is it's a team sport, in that you can't do it by yourself. Everybody will remember the reach by Dyson for the end zone, a one-yard difference between winning and losing. Those are the games that ultimately will be remembered."

The goal-line tackle preserved the Rams win. Kurt was named the game's Most Valuable Player — to go along with his MVP season. Just two years later, the Rams lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl 36. Is there a consolation in defeat?" Kurt answers, "It's not all about winning. You can win in losing. Success isn't defined by whether you have more points than the other guy. That's not how God defines it. It's defined by the journey; it's defined by where you find yourself and how far you've traveled and who you've become along the way."

Along the way, Kurt became one of only three NFL quarterbacks to start for two different Super Bowl teams. Resurrecting his career at 37 with the 2008 Arizona Cardinals who lost to the Steelers in the game's final 35 seconds, Kurt earned a beloved place in Phoenix. Kurt says, "You know, I was done, my career was over, he can't play anymore. Arizona will never win! We'll never go to a Super Bowl! It's just not going to happen. And we found ourselves in a place where nobody saw themselves. When we were able to take that journey here, a community came together around a football team."

The prolific quarterback still holds three Super Bowl passing records and hits the mark on defining his place among wins and losses. Kurt says "What happened on the cross ultimately defines Jesus and defines all of us. And what many saw as a loss, was our greatest win. He won. And that speaks to our everyday lives. But it also speaks to our Savior. That's what He created us for, was for relationship. And without that, what, at the end of the day, do we really have?

Tom Buehring/700 Club Producer Featured Culture Fri, 05 Feb 2016 17:00:00 -0500
How One Man Was Delivered From Homosexuality and Drug Addiction

Pastor and speaker Kegan Wesley lives a lifestyle of love. But years ago, he expressed those same sentiments by a different standard: As a gay man addicted to drugs.  

It started when he was raped and molested at a birthday party when he was 9.  

"I didn't know where to go or who to go to," Wesley says. "... but I didn't know if they would believe me, so I began to believe that lie in my heart."  

But at 18, he encountered God. 

 "I was borderline atheist. I didn't believe because I didn't know Jesus," Wesley says. "Long story short, I went to the altar that night, didn't know what to say, or how to pray." 

Watch the video to see the rest of his testimony.

Jessilyn Justice Featured Culture Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:30:00 -0500
Ben Carson Invokes Biblical Reference During Press Conference

Dr. Ben Carson spoke at a press conference Wednesday afternoon at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

During that 13-minute event, nearly three-fourths of which was a question-and-answer session with the press on hand, there was only one topic: the passing of a rumor by the Ted Cruz campaign on Monday night during the Iowa Caucus that he was dropping out of the GOP presidential race. Carson opened the press conference with a brief statement in which he urged the press and voters to evaluate all of the candidates—himself included—by a biblical standard.

"I make no bones about the fact that I am a person of faith," he said. "I believe what it says in Matthew 7:20 in the Sermon on the Mount, 'By their fruit you will know them.' You know people not by what they say, but by what they do, and how their lives are led. I hope people will judge me by those same standards. Not what I say, but what I do."

During the statement, Carson never made mention of Cruz, or any other candidate, by name, but was immediately asked by a member of the media if his statement indicated he felt Cruz was a hypocrite. Carson tried to avoid discussing Cruz directly, but was eventually drawn in with questions about the Caucus Night rumors.

"It's clear that there were people who tried to take advantage of a situation, who tried to distort information, there's no question about that," he said. "Senator Cruz said he was not aware of that when I talked with him, and that he did not agree with that kind of thing. We'll wait and see what he does to demonstrate that."

Asked to clarify what that meant, Carson said he had to "dig deep" into his own campaign during the course of the election cycle, and when he found problems he didn't agree with, he made changes. He said he expected Cruz to do the same.

"I think that's what a good leader does," he said. "If there are things going on that you don't agree with, you have to make changes. Now, if he agrees with it, he doesn't need to make changes."

At points during the press conference, members of the media turned argumentative with Carson, pressing him on whether or not he believed Cruz, and why he would make a biblical reference about the matter. Carson, instead, accused the media of trying to create a distraction.

"You know, this is what is wrong with America," he said. "We've become like ancient Rome. Everybody wanted to go to the Coliseum and see the blood and the gore—'Oh, this is exciting!'—while their society was crumbling around them. I think I've stated very clearly what people need to look at, and how they need to make their evaluation."

He further explained the biblical reference like this:

"What I am saying is that you—the press, and we, the American people—have a perfectly good way of evaluating people. We've always had a good way of evaluating people. Will we use it, or will we ignore it? Go back to the previous president, or the current president, when he was running. Were there things there that could've been evaluated that would've told us a great deal, if we had chosen to look at them? Probably there are."

Carson said Cruz did apologize to him over the incident, and that he said he didn't know what the people in his campaign responsible for it had done. He also said the Texas senator said he didn't agree with what was done.

Another figure in the controversy was U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a national co-chair for the Cruz campaign, who was known to have spread the rumor of Carson dropping out on Caucus Night. Carson said his Iowa state campaign chair, state Rep. Rob Taylor, has reached out several times to King, but has not yet heard back from the congressman.

Bob Eschliman Featured Primaries Caucus Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:00:00 -0500
Barbara Bush on Jeb: 'He's Almost Too Polite'

Jeb Bush brought out his famous family four days before the crucial U.S. presidential primary in New Hampshire, tapping his mother on Friday to scold Republican front-runner Donald Trump over his use of profanity and treatment of women.

In a last ditch attempt to make a mark on a Republican primary campaign he was supposed to own, Bush lashed out at both Trump and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, the one-time protege who has eclipsed Bush as the party's establishment candidate in the 2016 White House race.

New opinion polls following Monday's Iowa caucuses showed Trump retaining a double-digit lead in New Hampshire's primary next Tuesday with Rubio rapidly rising into second place in the state as Republicans battle for the nomination in November's presidential election.

Bush, the former governor of Florida, leaned on his well-known family for support.

While former President George W. Bush appeared in a new ad praising his brother as having "a good heart and a strong backbone" and being able to unite the country, Jeb Bush sat with his mother for an interview with CBS show "This Morning."

The two attacked Trump as misogynistic and vulgar after he used a four-letter word in a recent campaign appearance.

"I don't think a president would have ever shouted profanities in a speech in front of thousands of people with kids in the crowd," Jeb Bush said. "He does it all the time."

His mother lambasted Trump for criticizing Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly after she had quizzed him at a Republican debate in August. Trump made comments widely interpreted as referring to her menstrual cycle.

"I don't know how women can vote for someone who said what he said about Megyn Kelly," Mrs. Bush said. "It's terrible. And we knew what he meant, too."

Much loved by today's Republicans, the former first lady herself raised eyebrows in 1984 when she reportedly made a derogatory reference to Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman on a major party ticket, saying, "I can't say it, but it rhymes with rich."


Trump has dismissed Jeb Bush as a "low-energy" loser. The son and brother of U.S. presidents who was expected to glide to the Republican nomination, Bush has struggled to seize the offensive and trails in the single digits in many national polls.

Mrs. Bush, who was campaigning for her younger son in New Hampshire, said "America needs" Jeb and drew an implicit contrast to the brash swagger of Trump. "He's got the same values that America seems to have lost. He's almost too polite."

While rivals took aim at him, Trump was forced to miss a rally on Friday in Londonderry, New Hampshire because of a snow storm. He returned to New York and Thursday, a spokesman said, and could not get back to the state. Trump has eschewed much of the one-on-one retail politicking of typical campaigns in favor of large rallies. But in New Hampshire, where voters are used to having candidates' close attention, the strategy could hurt.

Jeb Bush also stepped up attacks on Rubio as lacking in experience and accomplishments, saying on MSNBC the first-term Florida lawmaker had done "nothing" in the U.S. Senate.

Rubio got a bounce from his Iowa performance with a WMUR/CNN poll showing him rising 7 points to 18 percent. Trump held steady at 29 percent, while Cruz gained 1 point for 13 percent. An NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist survey showed Trump with 30 percent, Rubio at 17 percent and Cruz 15.

For the Democrats, opinion polls show U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont with a double-digit lead in New Hampshire over rival Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state. Clinton went on the attack against Sanders on Thursday in their most contentious presidential debate yet.

© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Doina Chiacu/Reuters Featured Primaries Caucus Fri, 05 Feb 2016 14:00:00 -0500
Five Things to Expect From Saturday Night's Debate

A lot has changed in the Republican presidential race since the last time the candidates gathered for the FOX News Channel debate in Des Moines.

For starters, the field has been winnowed down from 11 candidates—12 if you count the nearly invisible campaign of former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore—down to eight. So, there won't be an "undercard" debate followed by a "prime time" debate.

This time around, it's just the debate.

The debate will begin at 8 p.m. Eastern Time Saturday evening on ABC, making it the first GOP debate to be televised on regular broadcast television. It will be moderated by World News Tonight anchor David Muir and This Week with George Stephanopolous co-anchor Martha Raddatz, with additional questions from WMUR-TV political director Josh McElveen and conservative journalist Mary Katharine Ham.

Here are five things you can expect from Saturday night's debate:

1. No Carly

ABC and the Republican National Committee made it clear what the criteria would be to get into the debate: placing among the top three finishers in the Iowa Caucuses, placing among the top six in an average of national polls, or placing among the top six in an average of New Hampshire polls. Carly Fiorina, despite having more cash on hand, and having beat out several of those who did qualify for the debate, didn't make the cut.

Her response: "I've been telling you the game is rigged. And here's even more proof: The people of Iowa voted in an election this week, and I beat the establishment's guys. Tens of thousands of you stood with us yesterday to demand a fair debate. But Disney's ABC and the RNC have decided to keep me off the debate stage this weekend, caving to pressure from the same establishment candidates we beat who are afraid to debate me.

"This isn't about me. It's about you. It's about the people of New Hampshire who are about to vote. This is emblematic of the power that is being taken away from you every day — by the political class, the media establishment, and the bureaucracy. They don't want your votes to count. They don't want your voice to be heard. The network of George Stephanopoulos wants to tell you to sit down and shut up and elect Hillary Clinton.

"Well, guess what? ABC and the RNC and other candidates may keep me off that stage. But I will not be silenced. Our government is broken, and we know the establishment isn't going to fix it. It's time to stand together and say we won't back down."

Someone is bound to mention it—probably one of the other candidates (Carson or Cruz, most likely)—and turn it into an opportunity to bludgeon the media for its bias. It might score them some points with a few Fiorina supporters, but it's unlikely to have a huge impact on Tuesday's primary vote.

2. Ghosts of Iowa

The other white elephant in the room will be the rift between Ben Carson and Ted Cruz that emerged following the Iowa Caucus. Fueled by mainstream media reporting, it has yet to die down with a little more than 24 hours to go before the debate.

Expect one of the moderators to bring it up, but don't expect it to create the fireworks everyone has been looking for. Both camps would love for the whole thing to disappear, even if the issue isn't fully resolved between to two men.

The candidates jockeying for second place, and clawing for the front spot in the "establishment lane" have little to gain from bringing it up. Neither Carson nor Cruz supporters are likely to line up with them, anyway. Trump could throw in a dig or two, but it wouldn't help him to do so, either.

3. Establishment Fistfight

It's been a very long time since there was a battle within the establishment of the Republican Party, and for several candidates within that group, Saturday night will be a make-or-break, do-or-die moment for their campaigns. So, expect a lot of back-and-forth between Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Chris Christie.

There already exists a lot of animosity between Rubio and Bush, and to a lesser extent Christie and Rubio. But, the 11th Commandment will have to go away if any one of them is going to put distance between himself and the other three.

If there is no clear establishment winner in New Hampshire, the three-ring circus will continue into South Carolina. The RNC certainly doesn't want that to happen, and many experts agree the discussion would be better served with a smaller field.

4. Protecting Clinton

Anyone who watches just a little bit of Stephanopolous' coverage of the presidential election process knows he's protective of his former boss' wife. And while he won't be involved directly with the debate Saturday night, you can be sure he's had some hand in the questions that have been prepared.

So, you can expect the moderators—particularly Raddatz—to go after the Republican candidates on issues that the Clinton camp thinks will help their candidate. Expect issues like gender inequality, homosexuality, Muslim persecution, and pay disparities to make up a much bigger portion of the debate than they have in previous debates.

As Christians, this may seem like a turnoff, but it does offer an excellent opportunity to weigh the biblical merits of the candidates' responses. While the debate will be tailored to New Hampshire, one of the least Christian states in the U.S., it can still be useful to Christian voters in other states.

5. Trump vs. Cruz

The top two candidates nationally have little to gain in New Hampshire by attacking one another. In fact, they have much more to lose by doing so. So, don't expect it to happen, even if the moderators try to drag them into one.

There might be a shot here or there, but nothing like what we saw before the Iowa Caucus.

Bob Eschliman Featured Primaries Caucus Fri, 05 Feb 2016 13:00:00 -0500
'The Blind Side' Player's Remarkable Road to Super Bowl 50

Most of us remember Michael Oher as the subject of The Blind Side. The inspirational movie told the story of his childhood poverty, adoption by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, and eventual career as an offensive tackle in the NFL. Now Michael Oher is playing in the Super Bowl for the Carolina Panthers, protecting quarterback Cam Newton from Denver's defense, the best in the NFL.

But only because Newton asked him to. Here's their remarkable story. 

Oher played several years for the Baltimore Ravens, then was signed by his home state Tennessee Titans. His season there was disastrous—he allowed six sacks and twenty-six quarterback hurries in eleven games during a 2–14 season. The Titans later cut him. What he didn't tell anyone was that he was playing with a torn bicep and an injured toe.

Cam Newton's brother had played with Oher in Baltimore and thought Michael could help protect the Carolina quarterback. So he notified Newton, who texted Oher to say he needed his help. The Panthers then signed Oher to a two-year contract that was widely criticized. But Oher had an outstanding season for the team that is widely favored to win the NFL championship.

You're familiar with the story of Peter walking to Jesus on the stormy Sea of Galilee. Here's a part of the story I had not noticed before today: After Jesus rescued his drowning disciple, "they got into the boat" (Matt. 14:32a).

Peter needed the boat, but Jesus clearly did not. He got into their boat to provide the comfort and security his disciples needed. Then "the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, 'Truly you are the Son of God'" (v. 32–33). 

Wherever you face a storm today, you'll find Jesus there. He may call you out of the boat or join you in it. Either way, when you worship him, you'll find his power and peace. And others in the storm will be drawn to your Savior. Whatever His providence allows, His grace redeems.

What does Michael Oher want us to think about when we see The Blind Side? Leigh Anne Tuohy answers the question: "Talk about the message of the movie. Talk about that there's Michael Ohers in every city in the United States, and if we all turned around and did one simple random act of kindness, it would change the world. Talk about how there's 145,000 kids, adoptable kids, in foster care right now that will age out in the next ninety days and that there's 250,000 faith-based churches and if one church took one kid, we would wipe out the need for foster care.

"Talk about that and the reflection of what the movie gives off. That's what he wants." I would say that's what God wants as well.

Jim Denison Featured U.S. News Fri, 05 Feb 2016 15:00:00 -0500
5 Great Republican Leaders We Called 'Mr. President' – Part 5

Publisher's Note: Today's "Greenelines" is part 5 of a five-part series on Republican presidents noted for their leadership skills. The order of presentation does not reflect a ranking. Read part 1part 2 , part 3 and part 4.

William H. Taft was the 27th president of the United States. He served from 1909-1913.

The most notable takeaway from his presidency is how Taft led in the shadow of one of the greatest presidents ever to serve—Theodore Roosevelt. Biographies of Taft headline the opinion that he did not have the necessary skills to be president. Many write that Taft didn't have the passion needed to serve.

A similar fate awaits many leaders as they follow such a forceful, energetic and capable leader as Roosevelt. It's always difficult to measure up to a powerful predecessor.

Many ministry leaders can testify about attempting to replace a loved and effective leader.

Taft accomplished much. Republicans mounted against him as he continued to trust bust companies such as Standard Oil and American Tobacco Company. Roosevelt was progressive and so was the Republican Party. But Taft talked progressively while he prosecuted trusts and increased tariffs. Perhaps this explains why he was thumped in his bid for re-election by Woodrow Wilson.

President Taft led the fight to pass the 16th amendment. I'm sure we all recall the 16th amendment to our Constitution:

"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

Taft was quoted to have said, "I am afraid I am a constant disappointment to my party. The fact of the matter is, the longer I am president, the less of a party man I seem to become."

Transition periods in successful organizations are often more difficult than a transition in the midst of success. When things are going well, people are slower to accept change and less likely to need the voice a leader. I've been handed keys in more than one transition with the admonition, "Please try not to mess it up."

People cry out for strong leadership, mostly in desperation. 

It seems to me the best approach in leading in the shadow of greatness is to move slowly and work hard to understand the grass roots of factors affecting the success of the organization.

"Things" are rarely as good or as bad as it seems.

I'll close this series about presidential leadership with my favorite Taft quote, "Don't write so that you can be understood, write so that you can't be misunderstood."



Today's Scripture

"No king is saved by a great army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. ... The eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His lovingkindness" (Ps. 33:16, 18).


Platform Tip No. 56

Platform building requires sustained consistent effort. Perhaps this is why there are so few powerful platforms in ministry.

Daily effort is difficult. Doing something every day without feedback or metrics requires faith and a long-term view.



Do you want to learn more about developing your personal platform?

Send for my free series of lessons titled, "The Fundamentals of Creating, Curating and Developing Content for Multiple Platforms." Send your request to:

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Dr. Steve Greene Featured Marketplace Fri, 05 Feb 2016 14:30:00 -0500