Charisma News | Breaking News. Spiritual Perspective. http://www.charismanews.com/component/content/?view=featured Thu, 28 Jul 2016 13:53:19 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb A Big Change for Bernie Sanders? http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58919-a-big-change-for-bernie-sanders http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58919-a-big-change-for-bernie-sanders

The letter behind U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' name has changed from a "D" to an "I" on Wednesday.

Perhaps his "contractual obligations" to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee were completed on Tuesday. Or, maybe he's signalling to his supporters that he's abandoning the party that—according to emails released by WikiLeaks prior to the start of this week's Democratic National Convention—colluded to prevent him from winning the presidential nomination.

While the timing is certainly interesting, the move itself was far from unexpected. Sanders has spent the vast majority of his 40-year career in politics as an independent because his positions are often to the left of the Democratic Party.

In the U.S. Senate, he caucuses with the Democrats, even though he is an Independent.

Ironically, Sanders' move could be seen as somewhat of a vindication for the DNC and its former chairwoman, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. According to the emails released by WikiLeaks, Wasserman Schultz and party officials were concerned about his lack of longstanding ties to the Democratic cause.

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Bob Eschliman Featured Elections Caucus Thu, 28 Jul 2016 13:00:00 -0400
'Guardians of the Galaxy 2' Star Chris Pratt Leads Social Media Followers in Beautifully Simple Prayer http://www.charismanews.com/culture/58918-guardians-of-the-galaxy-s-chris-pratt-leads-social-media-followers-in-beautifully-simple-prayer http://www.charismanews.com/culture/58918-guardians-of-the-galaxy-s-chris-pratt-leads-social-media-followers-in-beautifully-simple-prayer

Call him Andy Dwyer, Star-Lord or Owen, but actor Chris Pratt has a name he favors above all else: Child of God.  

When a fan asked him to pray for a cancer patient, Pratt took the invitation a step further.  

"The power of prayer saved my son. This boy Sam needs a miracle. Say a prayer for Sam. Even if you never have b4.Try." Pratt told fans. 

And when asked how to come before the throne, Pratt led them all in a simple, heart-felt prayer.  

"Lord I pray for Sam. May you put your healing hand on him father. May his family find grace in this difficult time." Pratt tweeted.  

The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 star has been vocal about his faith before on social media.  

During the Easter season, he and some friends carried and erected a cross to honor their Savior. 

Pratt's prayers for the child have been retweeted thousands of times. 

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Jessilyn Justice Featured Culture Thu, 28 Jul 2016 13:00:00 -0400
Nancy Pelosi Says Uneducated White Men Vote for Trump Because of Guns, Gays, and God http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58917-nancy-pelosi-says-uneducated-white-men-vote-for-trump-because-of-guns-gays-and-god http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58917-nancy-pelosi-says-uneducated-white-men-vote-for-trump-because-of-guns-gays-and-god

During an interview for PBS NewsHour on Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was asked by hostess Judy Woodruff to explain how Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton can overcome Donald Trump's lead among white men in the November election.

"Donald Trump is doing much better than Hillary Clinton among white men, and particularly white men who have not attended college," Woodruff said. "How does Hillary Clinton counter that?"

"With an economic agenda to create jobs—good-paying jobs—increasing paychecks, the economic agenda is what is really—it's about the economy," Pelosi replied. "You know that statement; it's not a cliche, it's a fact.

"And I think that so many times white, non-ed—non-college-educated white males have voted Republican—they voted against their own economic interest—because of guns, because of gays, and because of God. The 'Three Gs,' God being the woman's right to choose.

"That is softening, and there are some of those people were never going to be voting Democratic anyway. But I believe that with the turnout that we expect to have, we will draw some of them in with our message, and enough other people to win the election."

As one might expect, conservatives have generally—and forcefully—rebuked her comments as "bigoted" and "hateful." Liberals, on the other hand, have applauded her comments.

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Bob Eschliman Featured Elections Caucus Thu, 28 Jul 2016 12:00:00 -0400
Here's What the TV Cameras Aren't Showing You http://www.charismanews.com/politics/events/58916-here-s-what-the-tv-cameras-aren-t-showing-you http://www.charismanews.com/politics/events/58916-here-s-what-the-tv-cameras-aren-t-showing-you

Watching the Democratic National Convention on television, most Americans are seeing a relatively well-scripted event in which party unity is, for the most part, on display.

But just outside the range of the camera lenses, another story is being told. Hundreds of seats at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia remain empty after supporters of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) staged a walkout.

Speculation the Democratic National Committee had hired actors to fill in for the Sanders supporters—many of whom were protesting outside the convention arena—grew when a link to a Craigslist ad began circulating. The ad has since been removed by the website's administrators, but a Sanders supporter has released a YouTube video in which he says he believes the paid actors claim is more than just a rumor.

See the video below.

 Another video, posted from the convention floor by liberal documentarian Josh Fox, shows the empty seats after the walkout. Click here to see the video.

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Bob Eschliman Featured Events Caucus Thu, 28 Jul 2016 11:00:00 -0400
Mark Driscoll Answers: Should Christians Drink http://www.charismanews.com/culture/58915-mark-driscoll-answers-should-christians-drink http://www.charismanews.com/culture/58915-mark-driscoll-answers-should-christians-drink

Want to ignite a debate between Christians? Ask them if believers should consume alcohol.  

Chances are, you'll find people firmly on both sides, convinced their position is the biblical way. 

After pastor Perry Noble resigned his megachurch post because of alcohol addiction, another fellow leader weighed in—Mark Driscoll.  

"I didn't drink any alcohol until I was 30 years of age. I abstained, I was just afraid I might get into trouble," Driscoll says. "I wanted to obey my conscience. My wife, meanwhile, there was no alcohol abuse in her family history, and so she didn't have a problem having a glass of wine with dinner early on in our marriage, and I didn't judge her, she didn't judge me." 

Driscoll says attitudes on drinking fall into three specific categories, and breaks it down in his video newsletter. 

Click here to watch the video, then let us know what you think. 

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Jessilyn Justice Featured Culture Thu, 28 Jul 2016 12:00:00 -0400
Megachurch Pastor Robert Jeffress: The Majority of People Are Going to Hell http://www.charismanews.com/culture/58914-megachurch-pastor-robert-jeffress-the-majority-of-people-are-going-to-hell http://www.charismanews.com/culture/58914-megachurch-pastor-robert-jeffress-the-majority-of-people-are-going-to-hell

Megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress said most people will go to hell and those who go to heaven will not have their animals by their side. 

"Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 3:19-21, 'Here's how we're different. The animal has no spirit, but man has a spirit that descends to heaven even after he dies,'" Jeffress preached. "That's how we're different from the animals." 

But the kicker? Most people won't go to heaven to know.  

"Everybody's spirit lives forever. Doesn't matter what you believe—Jew, Atheist, Muslim, Catholic, Baptist—everybody's going to live forever. Some are going to live forever in heaven with God. Others—the majority of people—are going to live in hell, separated from God," Jeffress said.  

Statistics indicate that just over 31 percent of the world's population adheres to Christianity. Islam is second, with 22 percent; followed by nonreligious/religious nones at 15 percent; and nearly 14 percent call themselves Buddhists.  

Salvation through Christ alone is necessary for salvation, Jeffress argues, and pets cannot go through that process.  

The controversial pastor isn't alone in his thought process. 

In a blog on pet loss, Moira Anderson Allen writes:  

The Christian concept of heaven is inextricably linked with the concepts of salvation, redemption, and resurrection. Christians don't believe that "going to heaven" happens automatically; it's the result of conscious decisions made during one's life. While the Bible is very specific about the requirements for human salvation, it says nothing about salvation for animals. This has led many to assume that, since animals cannot be "saved," they cannot possibly go to heaven.
Another way to look at this question, however, is to recall why the Bible states that redemption is "necessary" for humans. It is because, in scriptural terms, humans are "fallen" beings. Humans have free will, and thus the ability to choose between good and evil. Humans can choose salvation (and heaven), or choose to reject both.
Animals, however, have never "fallen"—and if one has not fallen, it is not at all clear that the intermediary step of "redemption" is necessary. Animals cannot "choose" between good and evil; when animals behave badly in our homes, it is generally because of a conflict between their God-given natures and our human requirements. Animals have no need to be saved because they are not considered "sinners."
This doesn't mean that we can necessarily assume that because animals have no "sin," they are automatically received into heaven. What it does mean is that the whole issue of "redemption" does not seem to apply. Whether animals go to heaven or not, the question of "redemption" does not appear to be the basis for letting them in—or keeping them out. 

Yet many disagree with Jeffress' assessment.  

Pastor John Piper addressed the issue in a podcast:  

Here is the question. Did God create a group of beings only to destroy them in the end, a whole group like animals? Let's have animals for history and no animals for eternity. I doubt it. Did He create amazing diversity in the animal realm only to simplify everything by getting rid of that diversity in the age to come so that you have stunning, amazed worship at God's diversity in creation in history, but you don't have it in the age to come. That is all gone. I doubt that. And so it does seem to me from these two texts (Isaiah 11 and 65) and from those two principles that there will be animals in the age to come.

So what do you think? Sound off!

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Jessilyn Justice Featured Culture Thu, 28 Jul 2016 11:30:00 -0400
Democrat Congressman's Speech Scratched From Wednesday Lineup http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58913-democrat-congressman-s-speech-scratched-from-wednesday-lineup http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58913-democrat-congressman-s-speech-scratched-from-wednesday-lineup

The Democratic National Committee abruptly changed their schedule Wednesday night in an effort to head off supporters of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) who still wanted to voice their opposition to Hillary Clinton as the party's presidential nominee.

Originally, U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) was slated to officially nominate U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) as the party's vice presidential nominee, and to ask for a nomination by voice vote. Instead, convention chair U.S. Rep. Marsha Fudge (D-Ohio) quickly made the motions and the house music was turned up to drown out the voices of delegates who were demanding a roll call vote.

Sanders supporters likely would've used the roll call vote to voice their displeasure with Clinton and the DNC in the wake of the WikiLeaks release of emails proving collusion between the party and the nominee's campaign to oust their preferred candidate. The move clearly signals the party's wounds are far from healed.

It could also be a prelude to even more chaos to come Thursday night when Clinton is set to formally accept the party's presidential nomination.

Scott was originally slated to speak for about three minutes about his fellow Virginian. After Kaine's formal nomination, Scott was allowed about 90 seconds to offer some remarks about his friend.

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Bob Eschliman Featured Elections Caucus Thu, 28 Jul 2016 10:00:00 -0400
Conservative Methodists Consider Breaking Away From UMC After Apostasy http://www.charismanews.com/us/58912-conservative-methodists-consider-breaking-away-from-umc-after-apostasy http://www.charismanews.com/us/58912-conservative-methodists-consider-breaking-away-from-umc-after-apostasy

Conservative Methodists will now consider breaking away from the United Methodist denomination as a whole after a married lesbian bishop was ordained.  

"In these times of great uncertainty about the future of The United Methodist Church, the Wesleyan Covenant Association stands together as an alliance to advance vibrant, scriptural Christianity within Methodism," the Wesleyan Covenant Association writes on their website.  

The group will gather in October to consider forming a brand-new denomination.  

"We are a coalition of congregations, clergy, and laity from all jurisdictions that are committed to promoting ministry that combines a high view of Scripture, Wesleyan vitality, orthodox theology, and Holy Spirit empowerment. We encompass a broad range of worship styles and ministry practices. What links us together is our desire to witness to the transforming power of God to change and redeem human lives and societies. We have come together to support, network, and encourage one another as the future of The United Methodist Church comes into clearer focus," the website continues.  

The formation came shortly after Karen Oliveto was ordained as a bishop. Oliveto is a married lesbian who has risen in the Methodist ranks despite her violation of the Book of Discipline.  

"The Western Jurisdiction has presented the rest of The UMC with a fait accompli. If it stands, then those are now the new rules—assuming there are any rules," a source close to the situation tells Charisma News.  

"If it is not to stand, then somebody is going to have to enforce the rules upon the Western Jurisdiction—by removing Bishop Oliveto, or withholding monetary support, or going to court. And if the WJ decides to break connection and leave, forming its own church? The structure is already in place to do so, only the legal battles remain to be fought over. Regardless of the particular issue Oliveto incarnates, the larger issue is whether any group can continue together unless all the members are willing to abide by the same rules," the source continued.  

One of the WCA's primary goals is to uphold the biblical definition of human sexuality and marriage.  

"We believe marriage and sexual intimacy are good gifts from God," the website reads. "In keeping with Christian teaching through the ages and throughout the church universal, we believe that 'marriage' is the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive covenant. We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other." 

Oliveto's consecration, along with the nomination of two other gay clergy members, has challenged the UMC as a whole to consider splitting. 

The source tells Charisma News:

Right now, the Wesleyan Covenant Association is a group working within Methodism. But it will soon be the formation of another denomination. The current president of the Council of Bishops in the Methodist Church recently made a statement that infuriated evangelicals. He said the rumors of schism have to do with the election of an openly gay bishop AND the formation of the Wesleyan Covenant Association. So he's trying to blame evangelicals for the problems in the UMC?

Right now the Wesleyan Covenant Association has not talked about the formation of a United Methodist church outside of the present one. But everyone knows that's what it is.

They always try to blame evangelicals for division when all we are doing is standing on the Word.

He continued

If the Bible is no longer to be considered authoritative, then we are left with whatever is currently approved by the people in robes, who are just plain making it up. And what happens, after the full inclusion of LGBTQ persons in the clergy, etc., when you have an ordinary pastor trying to meet the needs of an ordinary seeker in an ordinary congregation? When the topic isn't sexuality, but baptism, or repentance, or church membership, or prayer? Why should you trust the answers given by someone whose theology is based on such tortured reasoning as is required to secure approval of our society's current pop morality?
In the end, this is a larger question than that of the Rules. The question is: Where are you getting this from? If we are not getting our doctrine from Scripture, then we're just making it up. And if we have to stand Scripture on its head or twist it out of all context in order to get it to say what we want, then the Scripture doesn't come from God, it comes from us. Sexuality is what everyone wants to shout about these days, but sexuality is not the fundamental problem. In that sense, Karen Oliveto's election to the episcopacy only reveals our divisions, it doesn't manufacture them.
In any case, The UMC is going to go through a whole lot of changes in the very near future. It's going to be a wild ride, and a lot of people are going to get hurt, whichever way it comes out.  

And one final plea: "Meanwhile, keep praying."

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Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Thu, 28 Jul 2016 11:00:00 -0400
Deutsche Bank Profit Plunges 98 Percent as the Outlook for the 'World's Riskiest Bank' Darkens http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58909-deutsche-bank-profit-plunges-98-percent-as-the-outlook-for-the-world-s-riskiest-bank-darkens http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58909-deutsche-bank-profit-plunges-98-percent-as-the-outlook-for-the-world-s-riskiest-bank-darkens

The biggest and most important bank in the biggest and most important country in Europe continues to implode right in front of our eyes. If you follow my work regularly, you probably already know that I issued a major alarm about Deutsche Bank last September. Subsequently, Deutsche Bank stock hit an all-time low. Then I sounded the alarm about Deutsche Bank again back in May, and once again that was followed by another all-time low for Deutsche Bank. And then I warned about Deutsche Bank again in early June, and you can probably imagine what happened after that. Over the past year, this German banking giant has literally been coming apart at the seams, and in so many ways it is paralleling exactly what happened to Lehman Brothers back in 2008.

Today, we got some more bad news from Deutsche Bank. Compared to the exact same period last year, profits were down 98 percent. A nearly 100 percent drop in net income spooked a lot of investors, and Deutsche Bank shares got hit hard on Wednesday. Of course Deutsche Bank shares are already down by more than half over the past 12 months, and the financial sharks can smell blood in the water.

Just like Lehman Brothers in 2008, Deutsche Bank is essentially in panic mode at this point. They recently announced that they will be closing 188 branches and that 3,000 workers will be losing their jobs. But this could just be the beginning of the layoffs at the bank. According to some reports, the bank could cut up to 35,000 jobs by the year 2020, and CEO John Cryan recently admitted that they "may have to accelerate cost-cutting measures."

What makes all of this even more alarming is that Deutsche Bank is widely considered to be "the most dangerous bank" on the entire planet. The following comes from a CNN article posted just today entitled "The world's riskiest bank is in trouble..."

What is going on with Deutsche Bank?

Germany's biggest lender was dubbed the world's riskiest bank by the International Monetary Fund last month, just as one of its U.S. businesses failed a Federal Reserve stress test.

Its shares are down 45% this year, and on Wednesday it said second quarter profits were wiped out by a 98% slump in earnings. The stock fell 2.5% in Frankfurt.

The primary reason Deutsche Bank is "the world's riskiest bank" is because of the mammoth derivatives portfolio that is possesses. It currently has 42 trillion euros of exposure to derivatives, which is an amount of money about 13 times the size of the entire German economy.

When Deutsche Bank finally goes down for good, it is going to be "the shot heard around the financial world," and it will be a disaster many times greater than the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. Just consider what Jeff Gundlach had to say about the bank earlier this year...

"Banks are dying and policymakers don't know what to do," Gundlach said. "Watch Deutsche Bank shares go to single digits and people will start to panic ... you'll see someone say, 'someone is going to have to do something.'"

As I write this, shares of Deutsche Bank are sitting at just $13.63, and many experts are having a very difficult time finding any reason for optimism. In fact, Edward Misrahi has stated that the bank is his number one short trade, and Jim Collins says that "it is just impossible" to recommend buying shares of Deutsche Bank even at this depressed level...

As an equity analyst, it is just impossible to recommend shares of a bank that is not growing revenue. So really, Deutsche is an untouchable, and the stock market is trying— to the tune of a 58% decline in DB's market value in 12 months—to recalibrate Deutsche's market capitalization to the true value of its assets net of liabilities. That's a painful journey.

I don't mean to just pick on Deutsche Bank. Certainly there are a lot of other major banks around the globe that are also teetering on the brink right now. Just take a look at Italy. Basically their entire banking system is in the process of melting down.

But the utter collapse of Italy's banking system won't have the same kind of worldwide impact that the collapse of Deutsche Bank will.

Unlike some of his predecessors, CEO John Cryan is being honest about some of the struggles that Deutsche Bank is going through right now, and he admits that they may need to be "more ambitious in our restructuring." The following comes from Business Insider...

Cryan said in a statement (emphasis ours):

"We have continued to de-risk our balance sheet, to invest in our processes and to modernize our infrastructure. However, if the current weak economic environment persists, we will need to be yet more ambitious in the timing and intensity of our restructuring."

He said something similar in a note to employees (emphasis again ours):

"Here I would like to speak plainly. If this weak economic environment persists, we will need to be still more ambitious in our restructuring. We will do everything in our power to accelerate the measures we have already planned."

Yes, I know that the stock market in the United States has been setting all sorts of all-time record highs lately.

But that doesn't change what is going on in the rest of the world one bit.

The financial crisis that has been gripping Europe, Asia, South America and most of the rest of the planet since the second half of last year is accelerating.

And it is inevitable that the U.S. is going to be experiencing some very real pain in the not too distant future as well.

So even though things may seem a bit quiet this summer in the financial world, the truth is that there is a whole lot going on under the surface.

Deutsche Bank is one glaringly obvious example of this, but there are many others all over the globe. And not too long from now, the dominoes will begin to fall very rapidly.

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Michael Snyder Featured Opinion Thu, 28 Jul 2016 10:30:00 -0400
President Obama, Vice President Biden Offer Up a 1-2 Punch http://www.charismanews.com/politics/events/58911-president-obama-vice-president-biden-offer-up-a-1-2-punch http://www.charismanews.com/politics/events/58911-president-obama-vice-president-biden-offer-up-a-1-2-punch

President Barack Obama painted an optimistic picture of America's future and offered full-throated support for Hillary Clinton's bid to defeat Republican Donald Trump in a speech that electrified the Democratic National Convention.

He urged Democrats to enable Clinton to finish the job he started with his election nearly eight years ago in a rousing speech that capped a night when party luminaries took to the stage to contrast the party's new standard-bearer with Trump, whom they portrayed as a threat to U.S. values.

"There has never been a man or woman, not me, not Bill—nobody more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States," Obama said to cheers at the Philadelphia convention on Wednesday night.

Hillary Clinton, the wife of former President Bill Clinton, will accept the party's White House nomination in a speech to end the convention on Thursday night. The election is on November 8.

Her address will be closely watched to see if she can make a convincing argument for bringing about change while still representing the legacy of Obama, who is ending his second term with high approval ratings.

"Tonight, I ask you to do for Hillary Clinton what you did for me. I ask you to carry her the same way you carried me," Obama said. When he finished, she joined him on stage where they hugged, clasped hands and waved to the crowd.

The two were rivals in the hard-fought 2008 campaign for the Democratic nomination. After winning that election to become America's first black president, Obama appointed Clinton his secretary of state, a position she held until 2013.

Republicans have painted Clinton as a Washington insider who would represent a "third term" for what they view as failed policies under Obama, elected to a second term in 2012.

Speaking to delegates, Obama offered an alternative to businessman Trump's vision of the United States as being under siege from illegal immigrants, crime and terrorism and losing influence in the world.

"I am more optimistic about the future of America than ever before," Obama said at the Wells Fargo Center, a basketball and hockey arena.

A former first lady and U.S. senator, Clinton made history on Tuesday when she became the first woman to secure the presidential nomination of a major party. She promises to tackle income inequality, tighten gun control and rein in Wall Street if she becomes president.

Obama took aim at Trump's campaign slogan and promise to "Make America Great Again."

"America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump," he said.

"Preach!" members of the crowd shouted. "Best president ever," someone screamed.

Trump replied to Obama on Twitter, writing: "Our country does not feel 'great already' to the millions of wonderful people living in poverty, violence and despair."

Obama listed what he described as progress during his two terms in office, such as recovery from an economic recession, the Obamacare healthcare reform and the 2011 killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

He said American values, not race, religion or political preference, were what made the United States great. "That's why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end," Obama said.

Democrats for Hillary

Senior Democrats and former national security figures lined up earlier on Wednesday to describe Trump as unable to steer America through the dangerous waters of today's world.

By contrast, many prominent Republicans, alarmed by Trump's provocative comments on illegal immigrants and Muslims, were absent from the party convention that nominated Trump for the White House in Cleveland last week.

Trump has proposed temporarily banning Muslims from entering the country and building a wall on the border with Mexico to stop illegal immigrants.

After his convention Trump got a boost in opinion polls. He had a 2-point lead over Clinton in a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday, the first time he has been ahead since early May.

On Wednesday night, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine accepted the party's nomination as Clinton's vice presidential running mate and in a speech described billionaire Trump as "a one-man wrecking crew" who cannot be trusted in the Oval Office.

Trump, who has never held public office, offered his critics fresh lines of attack on Wednesday, urging Russia to find and release tens of thousands of emails that Clinton did not hand over to U.S. officials as part of a probe into her use of a private email system while she was secretary of state. Clinton has said those emails were private.

Speaking to the convention, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Trump was an opportunist who had no clue about how to make America great or to help working families.

Drawing chants of "Not a clue" from the floor of the convention, Biden took Trump, a reality TV host, to task for his trademark slogan, "You're fired."

"He's trying to tell us he cares about the middle class. Give me a break. That's a bunch of malarkey!" Biden said.

New York media mogul Michael Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-independent, assailed fellow billionaire Trump in a speech of his own, calling his presidential bid a "con" and ripping into Trump's history of bankruptcies and lawsuits.

"Trump says he wants to run the nation like he's running his business? God help us," Bloomberg, a former New York City mayor, said to roaring applause. "I'm a New Yorker and I know a con when I see one."

Trump has hammered Clinton as untrustworthy and cast America as a place where security threats abound and law and order are breaking down.

Clinton waged another hard-fought primary battle this year, beating off an unexpectedly strong challenge from the left by Bernie Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont.

Democratic leaders have sought to tamp down lingering bitterness among some die-hard Sanders supporters, and move past unruly displays of dissent that marked the convention's first day on Monday.

 

© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. 

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Jeff Mason and Alana Wise/Reuters Featured Events Caucus Thu, 28 Jul 2016 09:00:00 -0400
Fulfillment of the Dead Sea Prophecy Has Begun http://www.charismanews.com/us/58908-fulfillment-of-the-dead-sea-prophecy-has-begun http://www.charismanews.com/us/58908-fulfillment-of-the-dead-sea-prophecy-has-begun

Another discovery coming out of Israel is fulfilling Bible prophecy before our very eyes! Nearly 10 times saltier than the ocean, nothing can survive in the Dead Sea's hyper-saline environment—or so scientists have previously thought. But now, according to new findings, scientific research has proven the existence of life at the bottom of the dead sea, and due to a unique set of circumstances, signs of life have begun appearing on its very shores, precisely as it was foretold in the book of Zechariah:

"On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the Dead Sea and the other half to the Mediterranean Sea. This will happen for the summer as well as the winter" (Zech. 14:8).

Excerpt From Breaking News Israel:

A young woman on a nature hike was shocked recently when she discovered freshwater ponds with fish on the shores of the Dead Sea. Samantha Siegel, a Jewish woman living in Jerusalem, often takes trips to the desert and the ancient body of water. On a recent visit, she encountered an incongruous sight with powerful implications: a prophecy appearing before her eyes that seemed to contradict the laws of nature. {eoa}

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Ricky Scaparo/End Times Headlines Featured U.S. News Thu, 28 Jul 2016 10:00:00 -0400
WikiLeaks Had Another Surprise for the DNC http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58910-wikileaks-had-another-surprise-for-the-dnc http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58910-wikileaks-had-another-surprise-for-the-dnc

As promised, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have delivered another blow to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.

This time, if you're not into reading, there's something for you in the data they've shared. Twenty-nine voicemails to someone named "Andrew"—there are several who work for the Democratic National Committee—spanning about 14 minutes were released Wednesday evening.

Click here to listen to the calls (warning: some may contain objectionable language).

There are several calls from celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, from Hillary Clinton supporters who wanted U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) out of the race, and several calls referencing U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who just recently resigned as chairwoman of the DNC following WikiLeaks' first data drop on Friday. Assange has assured the world there will be even more leaks, which he is certain would lead to a criminal indictment of Clinton.

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Bob Eschliman Featured Elections Caucus Thu, 28 Jul 2016 08:00:00 -0400
If Everything Is So Great, Why Do Two-Thirds of Americans Say the Country Is on the Wrong Track? http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58907-if-everything-is-so-great-why-do-two-thirds-of-americans-say-the-country-is-on-the-wrong-track http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58907-if-everything-is-so-great-why-do-two-thirds-of-americans-say-the-country-is-on-the-wrong-track

Americans appear to be increasingly pessimistic about the future of America. According to a Real Clear Politics average of recent polls, 68.9 percent of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track, and only 23.1 percent of Americans believe we are headed in the right direction.

But if you have been listening to the endless parade of political speeches at the Democratic and Republican National conventions, you would be tempted to think that the greatest days for the United States are right around the corner. The politicians keep promising us that better times are coming if we will just make the "correct" choices on election day, but no matter who we send to Washington D.C. things just seem to keep getting worse and worse. Let's take a look at just a few of the signs that indicate that our country is going in the wrong direction:

The rise in violent crime: We haven't seen crime rise this rapidly in our major cities in a very long time, and according to a report that was just released this week many forms of violent crime are way ahead of where they were at this time last year...

A new report published by the Major Cities Chiefs Association said that violent crime—homicides, rapes, robberies, assaults and shootings—is on the rise nationwide.

The troubling results, though just one survey, could provide vindication to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. President Barack Obama has contested Trump's assertion—made prominently in his nomination acceptance speech last week—that crime is a national epidemic and major problem.

The mid-year violent crime survey, released Monday, shows 307 more homicides so far in 2016, according to data compiled from 51 law enforcement agencies from some of America's largest cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. There have also been 1,000 more robberies, approximately 2,000 more aggravated assaults, and 600 more nonfatal shootings in 2016 compared to this time in 2015.

Police officers are being shot at a staggering rate: The number of police officers shot in the United States during the first half of 2016 was up 78 percent compared to the exact same time period last year.

Mass shootings: In just the past few weeks we have seen the worst mass shooting in U.S. history in Orlando, and there were mass shootings of police in Dallas and in Baton Rouge.

The U.S. economy continues to crumble: We just learned that orders for durable goods fell again in June, Gallup's U.S. economic confidence index just hit the lowest level so far this year, and at this moment 43 million Americans are on food stamps.

The U.S. consumer appears to be increasingly tapped out as the middle class shrinks: Most of the country is living paycheck to paycheck these days. One recent survey found that 62 percent of all Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, and U.S. News & World Report is reporting that some analysts are projecting that we are heading for a "restaurant recession"...

Analysts are forecasting a "restaurant recession" in the U.S., which is bad news for America's food and drink establishments and potentially even worse news for the economy at large.

Paul Westra, a senior research analyst at Stifel Financial Corp., said in a research note Tuesday that he'd turned "decidedly bearish" on the restaurant industry, downgrading Stifel's stance on 11 different restaurant stocks, including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panera Bread and Cheesecake Factory.

He and his colleagues now "confidently believe" that the weak restaurant consumer spending seen in the second quarter of the year "reflects the start of a U.S. restaurant recession."

Business is not booming: The total amount of stuff our businesses have been selling has been declining since mid-2014, and it is being projected that corporate earnings will be down for a fifth consecutive quarter. Earlier today, we learned that our biggest aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, has reported its first quarterly loss in nearly seven years.

Government debt continues to explode: The U.S. national debt has hit a staggering 19.4 trillion dollars, and we have added an average of more than 1.1 trillion dollars a year to the debt since Barack Obama has been in the White House.

Our politicians just continue to go from bad to worse: If you thought that the Obama years were bad, just wait until you see what Hillary Clinton can do. The woman that the Democratic Party just nominated for president of the United States is one of the most evilwicked and corrupt politicians the nation has ever seen.

Everywhere you look, evil is exploding: The social fabric of our nation is coming apart all around us, and most of our men are hooked on pornography...

2014 national survey commissioned by the organization found one-third of men ages 18-30 admitted they are either addicted to porn (23 percent) or are unsure if they are addicted (10 percent).

"According to our survey, over one-half (52 percent) of men age 18-30 admit to risking their careers and livelihood by viewing porn at work within the past 3 months," Hesch told WND. "The numbers are even higher for men ages 31-49, with nearly three-fourths (74 percent) watching porn at work."

Sadly, most Americans are way too addicted to entertainment to bother noticing that our nation is rapidly going down the toilet: In America today, millions of people would rather spend endless hours playing video games such as Pokemon Go on their phones than get involved in their communities. And it is difficult to say that we even have "communities" anymore when most people spend far more time online than in face to face interaction with others. If you can believe it, one recent survey found that half the population of the United States and Canada uses Facebook at least once a day.

I could go on and on, but hopefully you are getting the point.

The average American spends more than five hours a day watching television, and the television is telling them that everything is going to be just wonderful and that they should go out and vote for Hillary Clinton because she would be the first woman president and that would make history.

Meanwhile, our society is falling apart in literally thousands of different ways, and most Americans know deep inside that our country is deeply, deeply broken. That is why more than two-thirds of us tell the pollsters that America is on the wrong track. Virtually all of us know that something is seriously wrong with the United States, even if we can't always agree on what the solutions should be.

Let us work very hard to wake our fellow Americans up while we still can, because time for turning this country in the right direction is rapidly running out.

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Michael Snyder Featured Opinion Thu, 28 Jul 2016 09:30:00 -0400
Do We Really Need a Christian President? http://www.charismanews.com/politics/58897-do-we-really-need-a-christian-president http://www.charismanews.com/politics/58897-do-we-really-need-a-christian-president

Commander-in-chief or pastor-in-chief? Is the man or woman who takes the Oval Office essentially stepping into the pulpit? 

As Christians, we've searched high and low for a nominee with moral fortitude, someone who will stand on biblical values in the face of rising tides of perversion.  

But as Relevant contributor Jayson D. Bradley asked: Does America Really Need a Christian President? 

We need to be honest. It's incredibly significant that the powers that be look at American Christians as people who would rather a candidate identify as one of them than have any understanding of foreign or domestic policy. But you know they've done their research, and there are hundreds of political campaign managers helping their candidates learn what to say and how to act in order to make Christians think, "He/She is a Christian just like me!"
In the meantime, evangelical leaders are being courted with state dinners and meet-and-greet events. And even if they're not being corrupted by political graft and promises, they're still falling victim to the deadly temptation of personal significance and influence that only powerful people can give them. At the same time, people are seeing these evangelical leader's social media posts and thinking, "Hey! I have that guy's study Bible. If he's hanging around with Trump, it's got to be a validation of Trump's commitment to my/Jesus' values!" 

And Trump has raked in the evangelical who's who as his faith advisers.  

For writers and speakers like John Burton, though, the next president must be a person of faith.  

The reality is that we are absolutely electing someone to lead our nation who must be first and foremost a servant of God. If they don't intimately know Jesus Christ, what god will they be receiving their inspiration from? The principalities and powers are drooling at the chance to be that god—the one who gives leadership to the president of the United States of America. If we don't have a God-fearing person in office, one who exhibits the traits of a true pastor, the alternative should terrify us. 

Cultural commentator Michael Brown says the vote for a Christian is more about how a man or woman of God would demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit while leading.  

"The president has the bully pulpit—and much more—for better or for worse," Brown writes. I am honestly not looking to elect a perfect saint as president nor am I asking the candidates how well they know the Bible or how many hours a day they pray. But I am looking for someone who, along with dealing with our budget and immigration and national security, will stand for righteousness and lead with integrity." 

Bradley is not satisfied with professed Christianity in a leader. Rather, the writer is focused on implementing the kingdom of God here on Earth and what that means in a political realm.  

But everyone seems to forget that, even though Jesus was born into a politically volatile environment, He eschewed political discourse. All of Israel was waiting for their Messiah to kick Rome out of Jerusalem and return it to the Jews. In fact, that's one of the first things that the disciples asked after the resurrection, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6)
Jesus' message was that the kingdom of God had come and that borderless kingdom existed everywhere someone's heart was submitted to Him. He wasn't interested in improving on broken earthly governments. Instead, He was calling people to draw people to His kingdom, to build His church—and that was done through the contrast of the two kingdoms, not by His followers taking control of the kingdoms of man.
Jesus tells his people to watch out for those who appear to be sheep but are really ravenous wolves. This isn't just about false teachers. It's anyone who would pretend to follow Christ while using Christians to feed their appetites. Instead He reminds us not to look at the appearance or words of these sheep but to look for their fruit.
As long as Christians are being used as shills to keep politicians in power, we might as well hang it up. We're serving no kingdom purpose.
As it is, I don't feel any obligation to vote someone into office because they tell me they're a Christian. That doesn't tell me anything about how they think. Frankly, I'm not sure I want someone with a Lahaye-style Pre-Trib theological dispensationalism making decisions about the Middle East. It feels like too much U.S. involvement in Israel/Palestine turmoil is already influenced by questionable theology. 

So once again he asks: Does America really need a Christian president?

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Jessilyn Justice Featured Caucus Thu, 28 Jul 2016 09:00:00 -0400
Pastor Perry Noble Shows Why People Are Hooked on Porn http://www.charismanews.com/culture/58896-pastor-perry-noble-shows-why-people-are-hooked-on-porn http://www.charismanews.com/culture/58896-pastor-perry-noble-shows-why-people-are-hooked-on-porn

NewSpring Church founder Perry Noble resigned his senior pastor post because of his alcohol addiction and only his alcohol addiction. 

"Let me be very clear, neither [my wife] nor I have committed any sort of sexual sin. I have not stolen money. I have not been looking at porn and there was absolutely no domestic abuse," Noble said.  

But these words infuriate XXX Church founder Craig Gross.  

In an op-ed, Gross writes

In case you haven't caught it, let me make it clear: Noble is saying that being consumed by alcohol is not as bad as having an affair or beating up your spouse.
Or looking at porn.
So in Noble's hierarchy of sins, porn is down there with cheating and/or beating. Better to hit the bottle than to hit up a porn site.
It's infuriating because I run into this kind of mindset all the time, and it's what keeps people hooked on porn. They feel like they can't come clean about their porn usage because they'll be looked at like they're some kind of abusive spouse or someone who has hooked up with a coworker.
I don't want to get into a discussion about which sins are "better" or "worse" than others. I know that all sin is the same in God's eyes, but, unfortunately, we don't always see with those eyes. We see with human eyes, and our human eyes put more weight on some behaviors than we do with others. 

According to Barna Group, 77 percent of Christian men aged 18 to 30 look at pornography at least monthly, 36 percent view pornography on a daily basis, and 32 percent admit being addicted to porn.

"Pornography serves as fuel for trafficking because of the way it grooms men to think about women and sex. Most people first experience porn as children, before developing the frontal cortex of their brain. This is the part of the brain where we learn to make judgments about things we see," Exodus Cry's Benji Nolot previously told Charisma News. "Children are literally overwhelmed by these images, and it shapes the wet concrete of their sexuality." 

Yes, pornography is bad, Gross says. Yes, it is a sin. But is it worse than the alcoholism that took down Noble? 

The difference between the sins is one is socially acceptable to discuss in church while the other is not, Gross says. 

If we want people to get free of this thing, then we need to encourage people to talk about it. And they're not going to talk about it if they think just admitting to an addiction is going to cost them friends, family or their job in ministry.
I have news for you: If every pastor who looked at porn had to resign like Perry Noble, then over half of church staff positions would suddenly become available. This is a problem in our churches, yes, but it's a problem we can deal with if we just give people the space and room to be honest about it.
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Jessilyn Justice Featured Culture Thu, 28 Jul 2016 08:00:00 -0400
When Your Child Confesses They're Gay http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58894-when-your-child-confesses-they-re-gay http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58894-when-your-child-confesses-they-re-gay

For many decades now, ministries like ours have been helping those who struggle with homosexuality. The fruit of such ministry for us has been the publishing of several books, ten years of weekly television programming and the release of an award-winning documentary.

But through all the years, one population has stood out as having very little help indeed: those with a gay loved one.

Recently, we released a documentary film just for them, which I commend to every Christian leader as well as to those who have such a loved one or suspect that they do.

The culture is brimming with inaccurate information on this subject, so allow me to share with you some of the more important points made in the film before inviting you to watch it for yourself.

The biggest problem that we see in ministry is parents who have one or more children who are homosexual. We recently interviewed a young man with an attitude who came out to his parents by saying: "I'm gay, I'm HIV positive: How do you like me now?" However, most children are scared to death to tell their parents.

The fact is that by the time your child tells you the news, he or she has probably been agonizing over that moment of disclosure for years and is therefore extremely vulnerable to the tone of your response. It will first appear in your eyes. So prepare your heart and mind now, so that your unconscious as well as conscious responses will be redemptive.

Despite what the media and all of the pride parades might have you think, no one wants to be gay! Your child did not choose to have same-sex attractions. Your children are not the enemy—Satan is (Eph. 6:10-12; 1 Pet. 5:8).

Consider also that your child may have been successfully resisting homosexual attractions for years and is due some much needed encouragement for having done so rather than responses of fear, rejection or judgment.

Can you remember how powerful youthful sexual attraction was for you back in the day? Now imagine that it had been an attraction to do something the Bible describes as an abomination? Imagine the havoc that would have done to your burgeoning self-identity and the intense suffering it would have produced. In my experience, most homosexuals are filled with self-loathing, which is a root of many additional sinful and addictive behaviors.

So be very clear on this point: Your child is not the abomination! To a holy God, sin is—in all its forms. But the child He created is loved and even embraced in their moment of repentance.

Even before repenting, they are loved, which is both a reality and a strategy. The Scriptures teach us that it is love that compels us (2 Cor. 5:14); it is grace that teaches us to say "no" to ungodliness (Titus 2:11-14); and it is God's kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4).

Remember also that your child is young and relatively new to this kind of powerful assault and probably unskilled in knowing how to handle it. They've been relentlessly lied to by the media, the culture and its significant authority figures to believe that they were born that way and that there is no healing for homosexuality.

Before responding to their confession or revelation of sinful desire, recall your own litany of sins and how Satan made mincemeat out of your identity as you suffered the slings and arrows of your own formative years.

And consider how Jesus responded when people were caught in sin (John 4 and 8, Luke 7:37) before making your first comment upon hearing the news of your child's struggle.

Common Reactions

These are some of the more common responses that parents have confessed to having when they first heard the news.

Reactions that push the child or young adult away:

• Horror—sheer disbelief and abject horror that their worst nightmare has come upon them

• Disgust—a revulsion at the thought that their child may have engaged in homosexual acts (or wants to)

• Grief 

• Anger - Parents sometimes get mad at God for letting it happen, or the child for doing whatever they imagine he or she has done to create the attractions. Such first reactions are understandable, but without reason, and should be confessed and put away. (Ephesians 4:26: "Be angry, and do not sin.") Focus your anger at sin and Satan rather than at your child.

• Denial - Yes—some parents don't believe their child and actually try to talk them out of being homosexually oriented. I will say, however, that because of the cultural atmosphere that praises homosexuality, some highly impressionable kids do imagine themselves to be gay in order to gain acceptance, but studies indicate that that phenomena vanishes away for most by the time they are 17, if not sooner.

• Bargaining with God - "I'll do this for You God, if You'll make this problem go away." It's not really helpful to try to manipulate God.

• Disappointment with the Child - Selfishly and understandably, the parent realizes that there will probably be no grandchildren or son/daughter-in-law—the death of a deeply held dream for many.

• Disappointment with Self - Many parents blame themselves for their child's homosexuality because they have heard that it could be caused, in part or in whole, by dysfunctional family dynamics. Their self-centeredness causes them to dwell on their supposed failure as a parent rather than the plight of their child.

• Embarrassment - The parent may have thoughts like: "What will our public and professional circles think of us as parents?" This issue more than many can destroy the illusion that they are "good parents" in the eyes of others. The irony is that the homosexual attractions experienced by their son or daughter may have nothing to do with their parenting skills. There are many potential factors outside the family environment that could have been the cause (e.g., sexual abuse, peer rejection, etc.).

• Fear of the Future—Many parents become afraid for their child's salvation, as if the temptations themselves are the unpardonable sin, which they are not. It is important that the child hear from the parent that temptations are not in themselves sin. It is the willful dwelling or acting upon them that is sin—sin which can be forgiven, by the way. Other fears include the possibility that their child might contract AIDS or other diseases, or that their gay child might influence the other children in the home to pursue homosexuality.

• Launching Bible Verses at Them - A huge mistake that almost every parent will eventually make. Usually the child knows those Bible verses really well and has adopted the heretical interpretations put out by so-called "gay theologians." Talk theology only after you have become well read in gay theology. Consult sources such as www.robgagnon.net to get equipped.

• Talking Science and Medicine With Them - Without having prepared to answer the claims of "gay science" (that your child has undoubtedly believed), this is a mistake. A good source for getting equipped on this topic is: www.mygenes.co.nz.

• Scheming How to Fix Them - Parents have been fixing their children's boo-boos for many years and will be strongly inclined to fix this one. However, because of the fact that family dynamics may be part of the problem, as well as the fact that by the time you find out, your child will probably be at the age when they are trying to pull away from your influence in order to become their own person, you as a parent will be among the last people that can fix this problem. It is a humbling and frightening moment to give your child over to God and to others who will be more likely to get through to them. Take advantage of the resources at: www.RestoredHopeNetwork.org.

• Kicking Them out of the House - Kicking them out because they are gay is about the worst thing a parent can do. The streets are littered with such children who are trying to stay alive by selling themselves to the highest bidder. And there is no shortage of predators waiting to do just that, as well as gay organizations that specialize in "helping" young throwaway kids.

• Disinterest - A lack of interest in your child's life and what they do is even worse. They will go out into the world in a desperate search for the love and care that they should have gotten at home.

Reactions that draw the child/young adult closer:

• Approval of their homosexual attractions and behavior may be a quick fix to harmony at home but a deadly recipe for eternal life. Nothing could be more selfish than to trade the temporal and eternal well-being of your child for a peaceful home.

• Feeling helpless at not being able to do anything about it is a very common and understandable reaction to hearing the news for the parent who hasn't prepared himself or herself for this kind of news. Now is the time to get equipped while at the same time recognizing that God must be at the center of this process and that you can do nothing without Him.

• Sympathy, empathy (if appropriate) and a physical embrace are the sorts of first and ongoing responses that parents should give a child who is in crisis. However, in his excellent article on the subject, Tim Wilkins of Cross Ministry provides a caveat for certain mothers of gay sons: "Oftentimes the gay son has unconsciously identified with his mother rather than his father. An inordinate closeness may characterize the mother-son relationship. If so, mom may need to communicate her love in a less demonstrative way; after all, what the gay son needs to learn is how to relate appropriately to the same sex."

• Understanding—truly understanding—and believing that, "but for the grace of God, so go I."

• Unconditional love is essential. Love your child as the offspring of God that he or she is. But love them enough not to embrace their sexual attractions as something good, holy or natural. They are reactions to things gone wrong in their upbringing, experience and/or environment and it is in the finding out what those things are that transformation can begin with the guidance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

• Seeking God for help and trusting Him for it: "Help us, O God!" My mother learned this while interceding for me with tears one day. As she was pleading, God spoke strongly to her, saying, "Trust Me!" In that moment she realized that she hadn't been trusting God. She had been trying to persuade Him to do something He already wanted to do. She had been trying to figure out how to get me saved through her own wisdom and manipulative powers. But in that moment, she gave me into God's hands for the first time and truly began trusting that God would do a tremendous work even without her help.

• Suggest to your child that a partnership with God in working through the issue will bring great results. This is the way of all sanctification. It is through developing intimacy with God and obeying His instructions that transformation occurs. It is also the very purpose of life. Some may object by saying that they've asked God a million times to heal them and He did nothing. I did that as a child and became angry with God for not answering. But I was making demands of a God that I did not yet know. I was throwing ultimatums at a God that I was otherwise in rebellion against. I was also young and unwilling to humble myself and become obedient to the God I expected to serve me. There are many reasons why a prayer isn't answered right away or in the manner we demand that are not God's fault. God is flawless!

* If God reveals a part that you or your spouse played in your child's brokenness, then seek God's forgiveness and the forgiveness of your child. Humble yourself. Then, receive the forgiveness that has been promised by God to every believer (1 John 1:9) and move on. To not believe and accept for yourself that God has kept His promise in forgiving you is not well-deserved punishment, but unbelief, and a hindrance to sanctification.

• Get well-educated in the subject from solid Christian sources like Joe Dallas' book, When Homosexuality Hits Home, or my books, Sexual Healing; Transformed Into His Image; Love Hunger. Find them at: http://www.masteringlife.org/index....

• Search out counseling/support group resources for your child from places like www.RestoredHopeNetwork.org, the teaching resources available at www.PurePassion.us and the documentary resources at places like www.SuchWereSomeOfYou.org and www.HowDoYouLikeMeNow.org

• Be a Barnabus—a son of hope and encouragement.

• Keep the lines of communication open even at the worst of times.

• Here's another good piece of advice from Tim Wilkins: "Focus on your child's broken image versus sexual activity!" and "Rebuild your son or daughter's broken image, remembering that masculinity and femininity are more often caught than taught."

Finally, let's take a look at some common situations that arise when a child has homosexual confusion and begins throwing monkey wrenches into the peace and safety of the home.

Difficult Situations

• Unrepentant child—Just keep pouring on the love and the joy of the Lord. Remember the father who waited for his prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). He allowed his son to learn life's lessons on his own but ran and embraced him when he returned and without any blaming.

• Bringing the gay lover home for Thanksgiving dinner? Consider the age of other impressionable children in the house and how much they might want to be like their gay brother or sister before coming to a conclusion. If it is safe on those fronts, then allowing the gay lover to come to dinner could be a good thing. Their lover needs salvation just as much as your child and may be influential in your child coming to the Lord if they respond to the gospel.

• Bringing the gay lover over to spend the night in the same room? Never! You need to protect your family and house from demonic powers that may gain entry by willfully allowing such behavior to go on in your home. If your gay child promises to sleep in a separate room and you believe that he or she will keep that promise, then it's something that should be taken to the Lord for further guidance.

Understand and be prepared for emotional manipulation from your child, which often comes in the form of: "If you don't accept me the way that I am then I will leave and never speak to you again!" What they are asking you to do is love them more than you love God and they are using the deep affection that you have for them to hold your faith for ransom. Jesus said that we must love Him more (Matt. 10:37-39). In the end, your child will respect you for having done so.

• Attending the gay wedding and/or reception? It will be extremely helpful that when declining an invitation to a gay wedding, you communicate to them your biblical reasoning, so that they see it as an act of faithfulness on your part to the Lord rather than as a rejection of them. Use Genesis 1 and 2 to describe God's creative intent for mankind as being heterosexual and monogamous. Show them the themes throughout the Old Testament prophets (e.g., Is. 62:5; Hosea) that show God as a Bridegroom and His people as His Bride, as well as passages that describe Jesus as the Bridegroom of the Church (John 3:26-30, Eph. 5:22-32 and Rev. 19:7-9). Attending a gay wedding is a denial of the sacred imagery and reality of God's intent for human sexuality and marriage. A "gay wedding" is not a wedding at all and your presence would be tantamount to affirming it as good and holy. Attending the reception could also communicate that message, but every situation is so different that consulting the Lord is always the best way to go.

Hebrews 11 teaches us that sometimes we will not live to see the answer to our prayers, but that they are answered in the perfection of God's timing. Should God drag your child out of the gay lifestyle prematurely, the child will only return. There is a precise moment in all of our lives when we are finally ready to give it all to Jesus. That is the moment when the Lord will do what it takes to bring them out and to bring healing to the issues that caused the same-sex attractions in the first place. It's not an easy answer to hear, but "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths" (Prov. 3:5-6).

"Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he is tried, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him" (James 1:12).

As promised, I want to invite you to watch the two films that we've made to help people with homosexual confusion (www.SuchWereSomeOfYou.org) and for those who have loved ones who struggle with this condition (www.HowDoYouLikeMeNow.org). You can watch the trailers and find out how to get the DVDs from these websites, or by going straight to: http://www.masteringlife.org/index.php/online-store?cat_id=3

Always remember that God loves your child even more than you do. Remember also that as one who has struck your own covenant with God through believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, your prayers are especially powerful in touching the heart of God. Now get equipped, trust the Lord and do whatever He tells you.

Dr. David Kyle Foster is the executive director of Pure Passion Media and the producer of "Pure Passion" TV, which can be seen nationwide every Saturday at 11:30pm (ET) on Dish Network #267 and Direct TV #376 and on the "Pure Passion" iPhone/Droid apps, Roku, Apple TV, AmazonFire TV & Google TV channel.

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David Kyle Foster/Pure Passion Featured Opinion Thu, 28 Jul 2016 07:00:00 -0400
Judge Roy Moore Is Ready to Make His Stand http://www.charismanews.com/politics/press-releases/58905-judge-roy-moore-is-ready-to-make-his-stand http://www.charismanews.com/politics/press-releases/58905-judge-roy-moore-is-ready-to-make-his-stand

Liberty Counsel announced Wednesday it has filed a reply to the Court of the Judiciary in Alabama, seeking to dismiss charges brought by the state's Judicial Inquiry Commission against Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.

In a press release following the filing, Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver accused the JIC of "writing a story that does not exist." The entire situation centers on Moore's administrative order to lower courts in Alabama from January of this year.

"In the three-and-a-half-page order, Chief Justice Moore plainly states, 'I am not at liberty to provide any guidance to Alabama probate judges on the effect of Obergefell on the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court. That issue remains before the entire Court which continues to deliberate on the matter,'" Staver said. "Moore never ordered the probate judges to disregard the U.S. Supreme Court's marriage opinion, but that is the slanderous narrative of the JIC.

"The JIC apparently wanted the Chief Justice to openly disobey the Alabama Supreme Court and to take matters into his own hands. The JIC's position is astounding and clearly wrong. It is no wonder why the JIC has no jurisdiction to render legal decisions. When it veers into this forbidden realm, it makes no sense.

"We have asked that these baseless charges be dismissed."

A hearing on Liberty Counsel's motion to dismiss will be held on Monday, August 8. Moore is also represented by Judicial Action Group.

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Bob Eschliman Featured Press Releases Caucus Thu, 28 Jul 2016 07:00:00 -0400
5 Things You Should Never Listen To http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58878-5-things-you-should-never-listen-to http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58878-5-things-you-should-never-listen-to

My favorite Christian author, British preacher Charles Spurgeon, always told his Bible college students that a minister must never allow people's opinions or attitudes to distract him from God's holy assignment. Spurgeon urged his disciples to adopt what he called "one blind eye and one deaf ear" so they would not allow people to hinder them from fulfilling their mission.

Spurgeon wrote: "We cannot shut our ears as we do our eyes, for we have no ear lids, ... yet it is possible to seal the portal of the ear so that nothing contraband will enter."

I have learned over the years that there are certain conversations I must shut out. Words have the power to inspire, but the wrong kind of words can also derail us. And in this era of Facebook outrage—where everyone feels they must inject themselves into every argument—we must learn to switch our ears off so we don't get pulled into a fight that's not ours.

Today, streaming TV, unlimited texts and tweets, polarizing political debate and endless communication is shaping a generation of overreactors. But not everything requires my response. Here are five things I'm learning to tune out:

1. Other people's offenses. Some people who were offended 25 years ago will never rest until they see justice served—and they will ask you to take sides in the trial. Stay a mile away from any such dispute, or you will get pulled into it like quicksand. Proverbs 26:17 says: "He who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him is like one who takes a dog by the ears." You are not the jury, and you do not have to make a ruling on this.

2. Idle gossip. I am amazed when Christians who have experienced the forgiveness and love of Jesus rudely dissect other people with their words. When the Bible refers to "malicious gossips" (1 Tim. 3:11), the Greek word is diabolos, which is actually a name used for Satan because he accuses man to God. Gossip is the work of the devil, but the knives he uses to cut people into pieces look very religious!

Churches can be torn apart when people make up lies about each other, misread motives or harbor suspicions they share as "prayer requests." Gossips are always ready to drop a hint—about where they saw the youth pastor last weekend, about Mrs. Jones' divorce, about Mr. Smith's reputation or about why the pastor's wife didn't smile at them last Sunday. Don't even taste the juicy morsel that a slanderer tries to serve you; tell him or her that gossip is not on your diet.

3. Secondhand criticism. I've tried to stay open to criticism, and my door is always open if someone needs to point out my flaws. But if I hear through the church grapevine that Mrs. Rogers didn't like my sermon, or that Mr. Williams thinks I am too harsh, I don't give it another thought. For one thing, the report is probably not true, and secondly, if these people want to criticize me they can do it to my face. Otherwise I don't need to worry about every comment someone makes about me.

Years ago, revivalist Steve Hill prayed for me to have what he called "alligator skin," because he knew I would be criticized for the things I write. Ever since then I have tried to let people's opinions and comments roll off me, as if I had waterproof reptilian scales. You can do the same. Don't spend a drop of emotional energy worrying about what people think about you; instead be more concerned about pleasing God.

4. False accusations. If you are in ministry, chances are you will be skewered sooner or later by someone who feels it is their spiritual duty to destroy your reputation. I have many pastor friends who have had to endure character assassination—either by Sauls (insecure leaders), Absaloms (unfaithful subordinates) or Shebas (rebellious critics). Still, I don't feel it is my responsibility to track down every person who has a low opinion of me.

In the case of David, he trusted God to deal with those who opposed him. He did not prosecute his enemies. Don't have such a fragile ego that you have to hunt down those who don't like you. Take the high road and let God use even your enemies to build your character.

5. Exotic but fruitless teachings. Finally, I have learned that I must turn a deaf ear to a great deal of popular Christian chatter that is disguised as truth. People often ask me, "What do you think of So-and-So's prophecy about Donald Trump?" or "Did you hear the new revelation about Russia's plans to invade Israel?" or "How do you feel about the return of the Nephilim from Genesis 6?" I always change the subject.

I'm not interested in getting on anyone's spiritual bandwagon, and I don't waste my breath talking about speculations, conjectures, unfounded revelations or spooky visions that have no biblical basis. Let's keep the main thing the main thing. If it's not about taking the gospel of Jesus to lost people, I'm shutting my ears. If we would focus on what really matters, and tune out the distractions, we'd reach the world for Christ so much faster. {eoa}

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J. Lee Grady Featured Opinion Thu, 28 Jul 2016 06:00:00 -0400
2 Ways Christians Stop Short of Fully Connecting With Israel http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/standing-with-israel/58895-2-ways-christians-stop-short-of-fully-connecting-with-israel http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/standing-with-israel/58895-2-ways-christians-stop-short-of-fully-connecting-with-israel

In Part 1 of this series, we learned that according to the Bible, "Israel" can mean: A) the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the Jewish people; B) the Jewish nation in its land: and C) the emnant of believers in Yeshua—Jew and Gentile together.

The Olive Tree metaphor of Romans 11 demands that Christians see themselves as "grafted in" (covenantally connected) to Israel in a way that reflects the fullness of all three dimensions of biblical Israel. This is God's formula for bringing about the "fullness of the Gentiles/nations," "all Israel being saved," and the Second Coming of Yeshua (Rom. 11:25-26).

Before we study what this full "grafting in" might look like in our day, I want to look at how Christians have been connecting to Israel in ways that are good, but stop short of the fullness that we are seeking.

1. A+B, without C: Connecting with Israel or the Jewish people OUTSIDE of gospel faith – Over the last several generations, many Christians have discerned in Israel the fulfillment of the many biblical prophecies concerning the in-gathering of the Jewish people and the restoration of our nation. After centuries of mistreatment of the Jews, Christians have accepted the biblical mandate to lovingly "provoke" unbelieving Israel "to jealousy" (Rom 11:11). 

Many lead tours to the Land, visit the IDF, meet with politicians, rabbis, etc.; others have donated finances or planted trees to help the nation; and many take a strong pro-Israel political stance. These are all good, but can totally miss "C"—the Israel that is the Israel of faith—the spiritual remnant of Israeli believers in Yeshua.

Romans 9:6 and 11:17-18 tell us that not all of Israel is fully Israel. If one's primary mode of connecting, of grafting into the Olive Tree, is through the unsaved Jewish majority, then one is essentially grafting to branches which are (at least at this stage) cut off from the tree! That's not a good formula for "partaking with them of the rich root of the olive tree!" It's impossible to take blessing and nourishment from the root if you're grafting into branches that aren't even connected to the tree! This error was quite forgivable a generation ago, when the believing remnant in Israel was so tiny as to be practically invisible, but today the Jewish nation is experiencing a spiritual restoration and a growing, maturing remnant of the faithful in Yeshua. It's time for the fullness of the Olive Tree grafting relationship!

2. Jewish/Hebrew "roots" Torah teaching – Today, there is much popular teaching about the "Jewish roots" of the faith. Learning about the Hebraic background of the Scriptures, Jewish culture, the Feasts, etc. can be beneficial—as long as it does not come with a promise to find through their observance spiritual benefits that we already have in Messiah. But connecting with the laws and culture of a people is different from actually connecting with them in a relational way.

Think of it like this: Eating out regularly at a sushi restaurant may help you to appreciate Japanese food, but it may not help you actually connect with the reality that is Japan. Of course, an appreciation of the national cuisine, or studying the language and history of Japan, can help foster deeper relationship with Japanese people—but it shouldn't be mistaken for the relationship itself.

The Olive Tree of Romans 11 is a "people tree," not a "Torah teaching/doctrine tree." According to Paul, the root of the tree (God's covenant people) is to be identified more with the Abrahamic covenant of faith and promise, than with the later Torah-based religious practices that came to define the boundaries of Jewish identity (Gal. 4-5; Rom. 10:4). In context, Paul's whole point is about the right relationship with other peoples in the tree—not with observing Sabbaths or Feasts.

This "tree" of the people of God is also like a rainbow, demonstrating an incredible variety of the unique cultures and identities of the nations, whom John could visibly recognize in his vision (Rev. 7:9). This mistaken way of "connecting" or "grafting" with Israel through Jewish roots teaching can actually be a great deception. One may find himself with a supposedly "Jewish," or "biblical" way of living and practicing his faith, but without any of the biblical connections with Israel—neither A, B nor C!

In the end, according to our experience, this can lead to a very unhealthy focus on the details of one's own religious practice, identity and even the deception of thinking that you have Jewish or Israelite "blood" (Rev. 3:9). {eoa}

For the original article, visit reviveisrael.org.

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Reviveisrael.org Staff Featured Standing With Israel Opinion Thu, 28 Jul 2016 06:00:00 -0400
Hillary Broke the Glass Ceiling, but at What Cost? http://www.charismanews.com/politics/opinion/58904-hillary-broke-the-glass-ceiling-but-at-what-cost http://www.charismanews.com/politics/opinion/58904-hillary-broke-the-glass-ceiling-but-at-what-cost

Dear Mrs. Clinton,

Congratulations on securing the Democratic nomination for president of the United States. It's historical! It's liberating to women! You've broken the glass ceiling!

But at what cost?

As the mother of a beautiful young daughter, my desire is to teach her every day that she is priceless, valuable and precious beyond anything else in this world. I tell her that God has placed her on this earth for a very specific reason. I make sure that she never doubts her place here.

How exciting it would be for us to celebrate the accomplishments of the first woman ever to receive the presidential nomination of a major political party! Wouldn't it be amazing if I were able to point my daughter to someone she could look up to and admire? Unfortunately for myself, my daughter and millions of other women in this nation, I can't.

Sadly, Mrs. Clinton, you have shown not only my daughter but all daughters—and not only in this country but globally—that in order to, in your words, "shatter the glass ceiling," you have to lie, cheat, abuse, insult, bully and ignore. You threaten others along with disrespecting yourself.

Mrs. Clinton, how can I possibly tell my daughter to follow you as an example after you allowed your husband to assault and demean multiple women throughout his political career? Were those women not important? Tell me, will you fight for my rights like you fought for those womens'? Ummmm, I hope not. What about the sisterhood, Mrs. Clinton? Did you expose your husband for his abuse? No! Instead, you enabled him as the abuser and tried to silence his victims. How can you live with yourself? Female empowerment? Nice try!

How can you get up and speak about income equality and then pay your own male executives considerably more than your female staff? How can you receive donations from countries that publicly abuse, shame and even execute their own women? Yet you continue to boast about how you stand for women's rights. Double standard?

You try your best to relate to those of us who work hard every day to achieve the American dream. You, however, know nothing of struggle. That $12,000 Armani jacket? Those $250,000 speaking fees? They speak volumes. Hypocrisy?

How could I possibly ask my daughter to look up to and trust you? Do you honestly think that you are an example to American children? My daughter watches the news. She has heard about the Americans who were attacked and slaughtered in a foreign land while you stood by and did nothing. Then, with their blood on your hands, you did everything you could to cast the blame on others, eventually telling Congress, "What does it matter now?" Dishonesty?

The fact of the matter is, Mrs. Clinton, that you are no champion of women. You are selling the women of this country a false bill of goods. Unfortunately, many are buying in. I don't want you fighting for me or my daughter. You have the interests of only one woman in mind here: your own. You have done nothing to bring the United States together. Quite the contrary—you have done your best to divide, and you have succeeded. Congratulations. You crave power, and you will do whatever it takes to get it. You have lied, cheated and let down your own country.

My prayer, Mrs. Clinton, is that I would be able to teach my daughter how to be a true woman. A strong woman. A self-respecting woman. A woman who sees herself through the eyes of her Creator. I pray that she would be a woman of compassion, kindness, service, selflessness. One who has integrity and looks out for the needs of others.

In a way, I guess I should thank you, Mrs. Clinton. You have made it easy to teach my daughter who she does not want to aspire to be. Now may I have the courage to stand up and show her the woman she does want to be.

Sincerely,

Helen Wickert
CEO, courageousmotherhood.net
Naples, Florida

P.S. By the way, I will pray for the next U.S. president, whether it is Donald Trump or you. God tells us to do so, and He can turn any heart toward righteousness and truth.

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Helen Wickert/courageousmotherhood.net Featured Opinions Caucus Thu, 28 Jul 2016 06:00:00 -0400
Pulse Victim's Mother to DNC: Commonsense Gun Policies Save Lives http://www.charismanews.com/politics/58906-pulse-victim-s-mother-to-dnc-common-sense-gun-policies-save-lives http://www.charismanews.com/politics/58906-pulse-victim-s-mother-to-dnc-common-sense-gun-policies-save-lives

In a bold move to propose commonsense gun control legislation, the Democratic National Convention brought the mother of a Pulse nightclub shooting victim on stage. 

"It takes about five minutes for a church bell to ring 49 times," Christine Leinonen told the Philadelphia crowd. "One minute for a gun to fire so many shots. Five minutes for a bell to honor so many lives."

Watch the video to see the rest of her speech. 

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Jessilyn Justice Featured Caucus Wed, 27 Jul 2016 20:15:19 -0400
In a Place Where Christianity Is Dying, This Man Keeps the Faith Alive http://www.charismanews.com/world/58903-in-a-place-where-christianity-is-dying-this-man-keeps-the-faith-alive http://www.charismanews.com/world/58903-in-a-place-where-christianity-is-dying-this-man-keeps-the-faith-alive

Christianity is dying across Europe. Churches are closing as growing numbers of Europeans abandon the faith.

But CBN News found a tiny nation where the opposite is happening. Thanks to the efforts of one man, Christianity is not only alive but thriving in the nation of Georgia.

On any given Sunday morning, you'll find most churches in Georgia packed with the faithful.

And one of the first things a visitor will notice is that there are no pews or chairs in most Georgian churches. That's because, unlike typical church meetings, Christians here stand during their services.  

"We say that Orthodox Christians are like candles because they stand before God in churches," Levan Vasadze, a prominent Georgian businessman and pro-family advocate, told CBN News. "It is uncomfortable to stand for two to three hours in a row, but we choose to."

The 'Most Trusted Man in Georgia'

That was the case during a service at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Georgia's capital of Tbilisi as thousands stood listening to their nation's most famous citizen.

His name is Ilia II and he leads one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.

"The history of the Georgian Church dates back to the 1st century A.D. when the apostles of Jesus Christ entered Georgia and preached the Gospel," Ilia II told CBN News.

At 83, this elder statesman has been affectionately dubbed the "most trusted man in Georgia."

"He has spent most of his life calling our nation to follow after God's heart," said Alexander, a 31-year-old Georgian priest who serves in the capital city of Tbilisi. "He's the spiritual father of Georgia and a wonderful example of what it means to be a humble servant of God."

You've probably never heard of him, but here in Georgia and in surrounding countries, Ilia II is more famous than movie stars and politicians.

"I'm really proud of him because there are attempts in Georgia to destroy the definition of marriage and the family institution and he has taken a strong position to defend both and other values we hold dearly in our society," a young Georgian woman remarked.

Patriarch Ilia II is the most respected figure in Georgian society. In fact, his favorable poll numbers are over 90 percent.

A Spiritual Oasis

In an exclusive interview conducted at his private residence, Ilia II, whose official title is "Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church," spoke with CBN News about his country's deep love for God.

"The Church's past is intertwined with the people and history of our nation," he said. "In the 4th century A.D., Christianity was officially declared as the state religion."

That makes Georgia one of the oldest Christian countries in the world. Tucked between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea, more than 85 percent here say they belong to the Orthodox Church.

And while many neighboring European countries have seen religious adherence fall, Christianity in Georgia is witnessing unprecedented growth.

"We are like a little spiritual oasis in the middle of this region," the patriarch remarked.

Reviving the Faith

Ilia II was installed on Christmas Day 1977 and since then has managed to single-handedly revive the Georgian Orthodox Church.

He took over at a time when Christianity was under severe persecution from the Soviet government.

"The Bolshevik invasion in 1921 witnessed the unmerciful destruction of churches and monasteries across Georgia," Sergo Vardosanidze, a professor of Georgian history and an expert on the patriarch's reign, told CBN News.

"In 1921, there were 1,500 churches and 1,600 clergymen active in Georgia. When the patriarch was installed, there were only 50 churches and barely 70 priests remaining," he said.

The patriarch initiated a range of reforms to rebuild the church, including an emphasis on young people.

"He reached out to the youth, encouraging them to attend church and to consider the priesthood. He also took steps to make church services more engaging and easier to listen to," Vardosanidze said.

The church showed signs of revival in the late 1980s. Men like Loane Gamrekeli, impressed by the patriarch's humility and dedication to service, decided to join the priesthood.

"The patriarch stretched out his hands to the people and the people responded," Gamrekeli, archbishop of Rustavi and Marneuli, told CBN News from his parish office in Tbilisi. "He preached God's Word and people turned to God."

Then came the Soviet Union collapse in the late 1990s, which led to Christianity's renewal.

"People turned to God and the church was once again seen as the protector of the nation, culture and history," Patriarch Ilia II said.

A Living Body Once Again

The changes have since been profound. Now there are more than 2,000 active churches, with new ones being built every year, like the massive structure rising on the outskirts of Tbilisi.

Also, more than 3,000 people have joined the priesthood, serving the spiritual needs of Georgia's nearly 4 million people.

"It's been said that the patriarch inherited a church that was severely persecuted and covered in shroud. Now it is a living body," Gamrekeli said.

In 2008, in an effort to battle Georgia's falling birthrates, Ilia II announced that he would become godfather to every third child born to married couples—and baptize them personally. Since then, he's become godfather to more than 20,000 babies.  

Praying for Revival in the West

He told CBN News that he's worried about Christianity's decline in the West and prays for revival.

"Unfortunately, faith has been lost in Europe and I pray for people to regain that faith. Christianity will save America and Europe and the entire world," he said.

Nearly three hours after arriving for the service, a slow and frail Patriarch Ilia II finally made his way through the throngs of worshippers that have gathered to hear him speak Sunday morning.

CBN News was granted unprecedented access to film as hundreds of men, women and children, lined the ornate halls of Holy Trinity Cathedral to receive a prayer or special blessing.

"The Patriarch always says that all that's been achieved during his reign is because of the Lord's will," Vardosanidze said.

After decades of religious repression, many here are grateful that the church in Georgia has not only survived but is thriving, thanks in part to one man's desire to bring his nation closer to God.

"Many kind achievements have been accomplished and I thank God for letting me undertake such endeavors for our nation," Ilia II said. {eoa}

Reprinted with permission from CBN.com. Copyright The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., All rights reserved.

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George Thomas/CBN Featured World News Wed, 27 Jul 2016 16:00:00 -0400
Church of England Priest Resigns to Marry Same-Sex Partner http://www.charismanews.com/world/58893-church-of-england-priest-resigns-to-marry-same-sex-partner http://www.charismanews.com/world/58893-church-of-england-priest-resigns-to-marry-same-sex-partner

A Church of England clergyman has resigned from his post as parish priest in order to "marry" his same-sex partner.

Rev Clive Larsen, 60, of the Diocese of Manchester, resigned on Friday to avoid facing disciplinary action. His decision follows four other clergy who defied the church's teaching and "married" their same-sex partners, but kept their licenses.

A "blessing" for his upcoming "marriage" to his partner, known only as "John," took place on Saturday at St. Agnes Church in North Reddish, Stockport—the church that he had up until then officiated in. 

'Inclusive Church'

St. Agnes church describes itself on its website as an "inclusive and evolutionary space," listing LGBT "Christian" pressure groups Changing Attitudes and Inclusive Church as some of its "guiding principles."

The website also advertises crystal bowl healing and a shamanic drumming circle on its events page. 

'Blessing' Service

A notice on the church's website describing the ceremony stated: "A ceremony of commitment and blessing ... Clive will be resigning his post in the church from the day before."

The service was conducted by Rev. Colin Coward, who is the founder of Changing Attitudes.

According to Peter Ould, writing on the Psephizo blog, the service was also attended by trustees of Changing Attitudes.

It included a liturgy that was originally designed for civil partnerships, which said: "God the giver of life, God the bearer of pain, God the maker of love, bless, preserve and keep you."

Commenting on Larsen's resignation, Christian Concern's Chief Executive Andrea Williams said:

"Clive Larsen has realized that his position is untenable within the Church of England. Others such as Andrew Cain, Simon Butler and Jeremy Pemberton who continue to hold official high profile and responsibilities should follow his lead and resign."

Not Disciplined Previously

Colin Coward said that Clive Larsen had originally had intended to "marry" his partner whilst still a priest and then resign afterwards. But a stark warning was issued by the Bishop of Manchester David Walker, through an archdeacon, that he would face disciplinary action if he did so.

Larsen had previously left a post elsewhere after his marriage to his wife ended when he identified as homosexual. He has two daughters from this marriage.

He has lived with his current same-sex partner in the rectory for seven or eight years, and has not faced discipline for doing so.

Coward accused the CofE of "double standards" for this failure. 

'Political Dimension'

In his blog post discussing the incident, Peter Ould highlights that although 'blessing services' for same-sex couples are frequently held throughout the Church of England, this particular case "is significant because of the high profile people involved."

In light of the fact that the ceremony was conducted by Changing Attitudes founder Colin Coward and other trustees, the service "had a political dimension to it."

He writes:

"The particular political dynamics of this service mean that any failure by these two members of the House of Bishops to respond appropriately and in line with the official position of the Church of England and the pastoral guidance issued by the House of Bishops cannot be interpreted as anything but a deliberate decision to allow 'facts on the ground' to overrule due process and order.

"A failure by the Bishops of Manchester and Salisbury to deal robustly with this apparently illegal service, which was deliberately publicized by the participants as a challenge to the Bishops' authority, would torpedo the good efforts of the Shared Conversations process in trying to build trust and confidence that the Church of England will handle this issue fairly as it moves forward in dealing with it." 

'Shared Conversations' a Divisive Agenda

The "shared conversations" took place earlier this month during the Church of England's General Synod in York, and were focused around the topic of human sexuality.

Andrea Williams, a General Synod member, issued a joint statement with Wilberforce Director Dr. Joe Boot after the Synod gathering. 

Andrea and Joe stated that the "shared conversations" process was in fact "an ill-conceived, pluralistic exercise that falsely placed LGBTI activism on a level playing field with the plain teaching of Scripture and the historic teaching of the church which the bishops swore to uphold—as such the "listening" agenda itself was divisive, with the sole aim of softening opposition to revisionism and change."

Andrea Williams added:

"I have participated in the shared conversations, but sadly I am left with little confidence that this process can prevent a sharp division. One vocal group in synod call what is sin, holiness. Of course, we can and we must relate to one another in our shared humanity, but we can't stay together if the church wants to bless what is not holy." 

'Lack of Confidence'

A group of 32 Synod members, including Andrea Williams, sent a letter to the College of Bishops on July 17 expressing a "a lack of confidence" in the "shared conversations."

It stated:

"Since the beginning of the regional conversations, people from all traditions in the church have bemoaned the lack of serious engagement with the Scriptures. Sadly, despite promises to correct this matter, these concerns remain at the end of the process. We hope that the Bishops will ensure that our varied experience does not outweigh the uniting power of a commitment to truth and holiness as described in God's Word.

We, the undersigned members of the General Synod, wish to express our lack of confidence in the process of the Shared Conversations. Whatever their stated purposes, the outcome has not led to a greater confidence that the Church will be guided by the authoritative voice of the Scriptures, and its decisive shaping of traditional Anglican teaching, in any forthcoming discussions."

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Christian Concern Featured World News Wed, 27 Jul 2016 14:00:00 -0400
Is the UN Trying to Rewrite the Bible? http://www.charismanews.com/politics/issues/58892-is-the-un-trying-to-rewrite-the-bible http://www.charismanews.com/politics/issues/58892-is-the-un-trying-to-rewrite-the-bible

Amid the chaos of the current American political environment, Palestinian and Jordanian representatives submitted a draft resolution to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization's World Heritage Committee.

Its goal: to rewrite history and eradicate any Jewish connection to Judaism's holiest sites.

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America isn't taking the resolution—which is clearly based on pushing a Muslim-dominant agenda for the Middle East—lightly. The organization made the following statement to American media outlets:

"Though the resolution is clearly based on falsehood and distortion, there was no guarantee that the U.N.'s cultural organization would dismiss it. After all, UNESCO had just three months earlier sided with anti-Israel forces to pass a resolution condemning Jewish visits to and policing of the Temple Mount, which it referred to only by its Arab terms—al-Aksa Mosque/al-Haram al Sharif.

"While France, a member that voted for the April resolution, subsequently apologized for this, Palestinians and Muslims were encouraged to step up their campaign. This time around, however, members of the World Heritage Committee realized they would probably lack the votes to pass the contentious resolution at their annual meeting in Istanbul, and indefinitely delayed voting on it."

CAMERA has put together a summary report that details the historical facts about the Temple Mount, as well as the implications of adopting a resolution such as the one presented recently. Click here to read the entire report.

"The demand by Palestinians and other Muslim groups to usurp Jewish holy sites through historical revisionism should not be dismissed as merely an academic or political dispute," the group said in its statement. "Were these groups to achieve their goals in expelling Israelis, Jews and non-Muslims from the site, the disastrous results would resonate far beyond the Middle East."

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Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Wed, 27 Jul 2016 15:00:00 -0400
Senators Want Answers About #DNCLeak http://www.charismanews.com/politics/issues/58891-senators-want-answers-about-dncleak http://www.charismanews.com/politics/issues/58891-senators-want-answers-about-dncleak

The chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee have sent a joint letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey, seeking answers to a number of questions related to the agency's recently announced investigation into the DNC Leak scandal.

U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in their letter they would like more information about the U.S. government's response to cyberattacks targeting American political organizations. They likewise raised concerns about the potential influence such breaches by foreign nations could have on the American election process.

"When a foreign intelligence service not only spies on American political organizations, which is bad enough, but then selectively publishes the obtained information in what appear to be attempts to affect our democratic process, it is substantially more troubling," their letter states. "The integrity of the democratic process is essential to the social contract on which our republic is formed. If foreign intelligence agencies are attempting to undermine that process, the U.S. government should treat such efforts even more seriously than standard espionage."

In the letter, Grassley and Leahy wrote they were also seeking information regarding how and when federal investigators were notified of the breach, whether the source has been determined, and what is being done in response.  Additionally, they requested information about the proactive steps taken to prevent cyberattacks against nongovernmental political organizations and whether current statutes are adequate to address similar hacking crimes.

Click here to read the entire letter.

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Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Wed, 27 Jul 2016 15:00:00 -0400
Mike Pence: The American People Have 'Absolute Proof' of Hillary Clinton's Corruption http://www.charismanews.com/politics/press-releases/58890-mike-pence-the-american-people-have-absolute-proof-of-hillary-clinton-s-corruption http://www.charismanews.com/politics/press-releases/58890-mike-pence-the-american-people-have-absolute-proof-of-hillary-clinton-s-corruption

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Republican vice presidential nominee, has stepped into his role as the campaign's "attack dog" by unleashing a brutal rebuke of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and the growing scandals that surround her.

He started off by noting the #DNCLeak scandal and the FBI's announcement of a criminal investigation.

"The FBI will get to the bottom of who is behind the hacking," he said. "If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences."

But, Pence didn't stop there. He then proceeded to unload on the Democratic Party's focus on who leaked the emails, rather than the contents of those emails. He called the hypocrisy of the situation "outrageous."

"[T]he Democrats singularly focusing on who might be behind [the leak] and not addressing the basic fact that they've been exposed as a party who not only rigs the government, but rigs elections while literally accepting cash for federal appointments is outrageous," he said. "The American people now have absolute and further proof of the corruption that exists around Hillary Clinton. It should disqualify her from office, if the media did their job."

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Bob Eschliman Featured Press Releases Caucus Wed, 27 Jul 2016 12:30:00 -0400
Democrat Congressman: Jews Are 'Termites' http://www.charismanews.com/politics/issues/58889-democrat-congressman-jews-are-termites http://www.charismanews.com/politics/issues/58889-democrat-congressman-jews-are-termites

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) has said some things during his tenure in Congress that have made jaws drop, but his most recent comments about Israeli settlers in the West Bank are just downright repulsive.

"There has been a steady [stream], almost like termites can get into a residence and eat before you know that you've been eaten up and you fall in on yourself," he said, according to The Washington Free Beacon. "There has been settlement activity that has marched forward with impunity and at an ever-increasing rate to the point where it has become alarming.

"It has come to the point that occupation, with highways that cut through Palestinian land, with walls that go up, with the inability or the restriction, with the illegality of Palestinians being able to travel on those roads and those roads cutting off Palestinian neighborhoods from each other. And then with the building of walls and the building of check points that restrict movement of Palestinians.

"We've gotten to the point where the thought of a Palestinian homeland gets further and further removed from reality.

"You see one home after another being appropriated by Jewish people who come in to claim that land just because somebody did not spend the night there. The home their ancestors lived in for generations becomes an Israeli home and a flag goes up, [but] the Palestinians are barred from flying flags in their own neighborhoods.

"The fact is the Israeli government, which is the most right-wing government ever to exist in the state of Israel in its history, the most right-wing government, you got a guy like Trump who is now the minister of defense in Israel calling the shots on defense."

Johnson said he's not the only member of Congress who feels that way. He was speaking at an event sponsored by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. That group is one of the leading supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement.

Six years ago, Johnson expressed real concern that the U.S. island territory of Guam could capsize. See the video below.

Pollster James Zogby, who took part in crafting the Democratic Party's 2016 platform, explained how the party wound up with a position statement that is still staunchly pro-Israel. He blames GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson, saying Democrats are afraid of being on the receiving end of his wrath if they adopt an anti-Israel policy.

The Anti-Defamation League demanded Johnson "apologize and retract this offensive, unhelpful characterization" of Jewish settlers via Twitter. Johnson has since tweeted an apology for his comments:

Poor choice of words—apologies for offense. Point is settlement activity continues slowly undermine 2-state solution.

The congressman's office has now issued a more comprehensive statement, saying his "termites" reference was directed at the Israeli policy, not at the people themselves. It called for a change in course that could lead to a "two-state solution":

"The corrosive settlement policies undermine the ability of all citizens in the region to enjoy healthy, peaceful lives in safe communities. We must work to promote policies that support a two-state solution and encourage trust between both sides."

Jewish donors had played a big role in helping Johnson oust his predecessor, former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, in the 2006 Democratic primary. McKinney and her father, who was her predecessor, were notoriously anti-Semitic.

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Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Wed, 27 Jul 2016 14:00:00 -0400
Rick Joyner Offers Prophetic Instruction in the Midst of Chaos http://www.charismanews.com/us/58888-rick-joyner-offers-prophetic-instruction-in-the-midst-of-chaos http://www.charismanews.com/us/58888-rick-joyner-offers-prophetic-instruction-in-the-midst-of-chaos

Prophet Rick Joyner issued a clarion call via social media as terrorism ransacked the globe.  

The issue on his heart, however, was not the increasing violence outside the United States. Rather, the internal political strife affected the prophet

Last night I had the choice of watching the DNC, or the stars from the beach I'm at. I chose the stars, and from the news this morning, I chose well. I love to just look at them and ponder how well God runs everything. When you have eternity you can really plan well. Of course, when you're God you can plan just as well in a second if you choose to, but He seems to have a special place for rest. We're even told in the book of Hebrews that entering the Promised Land is equated with entering His rest.
Man was created at the end of the sixth day, so man's first day was the day God rested from His works. So for many to have fellowship with God he had to immediately enter His rest. We're promised that all things work together for good for those who love God, and are called according to His purpose. In His universe what looks like a catastrophe even bigger than Hillary's emails, like a galaxy colliding with another galaxy, turns out to be a brilliant fix for something else that's going to happen in another couple of million years.
When I used to fly jets I especially loved flying above forty-thousand feet over the northeast. You could see from Washington to New York and it looked like a galaxy. All of the stuff happening as I looked down, the violent crimes, the relationship problems, the drama, millions of them all happening as I looked down, all looked so peaceful from where I was. It was a matter of perspective.
The Lord is not sitting on His throne wringing His hands over who is going to be elected, or what the stock market is going to do today. In fact, it says in Psalm Two that He sits in the heavens and laughs. That does not mean that He's laughing at our problems. in fact we are told that He also feels our pain, but He has a perspective of not only altitude, but of eternity. He knows it is all going to get fixed in the end.
We are told in Ephesians that we Christians are supposed to be sitting in the heavenly places with Christ. This has several implications, but one thing it certainly means is that we are supposed to view things from His perspective, which is high above the earth. We are not called to look at eternity though a temporary perspective, but we are supposed to look at the temporary from an eternal perspective. This can change everything we look at, and also help us see solutions to the temporary that won't cause us bigger problems down the road. I'm just sayin... 

Amen!

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Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Wed, 27 Jul 2016 13:00:00 -0400
Pope Francis Declares World Is at War http://www.charismanews.com/world/58887-pope-francis-declares-world-is-at-war http://www.charismanews.com/world/58887-pope-francis-declares-world-is-at-war

 Pope Francis said on Wednesday that a string of recent attacks, including the murder of a priest in France, was proof that the "world is at war".

However, speaking to reporters aboard a plane taking him to Poland, the pope said he was not talking about a war of religion, but rather one of domination of peoples and economic interests.

"The word that is being repeated often is insecurity, but the real word is war," he said in brief comments to reporters while flying to southern Poland for a five-day visit.

"Let's recognize it. The world is in a state of war in bits and pieces," he said, adding that the attacks could be seen as another world war, specifically mentioning World War One and Two.

"Now there is this one (war). It is perhaps not organic but it is organized and it is war," he said. "We should not be afraid to speak this truth. The world is at war because it has lost peace."

About 15 minutes later, after greeting journalists individually, Francis took the microphone again and said he wanted "to clarify" that he was not referring to a war of religion.

"Not a war of religion. There is a war of interests. There is a war for money. There is a war for natural resources. There is a war for domination of peoples. This is the war," he said.

"All religions want peace. Others want war. Do you understand?" he said.

He called Jacques Hamel, the priest forced to his knees by Islamist militants on Tuesday who then slit his throat, "a saintly priest", but said he was just one of many innocent victims.

He thanked the many people around the world who have sent their condolences over the killing of Father Hamel, particularly French President Francois Hollande, who spoke to the Pope on Tuesday. {eoa}

© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

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Philip Pullella/Reuters Featured World News Wed, 27 Jul 2016 12:00:00 -0400
Another Cringe-Worthy Revelation From #DNCLeak http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58886-another-cringe-worthy-revelation-from-dncleak http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58886-another-cringe-worthy-revelation-from-dncleak

Yom Hashoah, when Jews around the world remember the Holocaust, is an important date on the calendar each year for Jewish people around the world.

This year, it was celebrated beginning on the evening of May 4, ending at sunset on May 5. Then-DNC chairwoman U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz sent an email on the morning of May 5 asking why the Democratic Party had not yet released a statement commemorating the day.

The reaction to her email was disturbing.

"We aren't going to do statements for every Jewish holiday unless she wants to do them for every religious holiday and trust me, this Catholic can give you a list of them," director of the DNC chair's office Kate Houghton wrote. "Also when she does an official statement it makes very little sense to have two statements out there in her voice."

Wasserman Schultz' campaign spokesman, Ryan Banfill, wrote in response, "This is about remembering the Holocaust. Never forget."

"Yup... or Darfur or Armenia or Rwanda or Bosnia (which PS is where my husband served)," Houghton replied. "Does she want us to do one for each other those remembrance days as well?"

Ultimately, a statement was drafted, but was immediately panned by Wasserman Schultz' congressional general counsel, Sarah Farhadian. The original draft stated:

Today we honor and remember the stories of the six million Jews and millions of others who died in the Holocaust. We also celebrate the lives of those who survived, and the heroes who courageously fought the forces of ignorance, hatred, bigotry and brutality to end the Nazi regime and forge a brighter future for mankind.

Although the final days of the Holocaust are in our past, we must forever carry its lessons in our hearts and remain ever-vigilant not to repeat the same mistakes. Just last week, in my home state, the FBI thwarted a plot by a man who was trying to bomb the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center. So our work is never finished, and we must work together to confront this kind of hatred and call out those who would incite others to violence wherever and whenever they do.

The lessons of the Holocaust are especially important to remember this election season when the rhetoric of national politics will no doubt get heated, and our differences will be tested by those who wish to turn those differences into hard divisions. But the Democratic Party stands for inclusion and diversity. And we will not stand for fear-mongering or the denigration of any group of people because of their faith, race or gender. We will continue to work to stop bigotry and hatred, and our nation will be stronger for it.

Farhadian said the DNC needed to be careful not to imply "Trump is a Nazi," or "if you remember the Holocaust, you will vote for Democrats." She offered some suggested changes to the language.

The entire situation, in light of "Taco Bowl Engagement," "no homo," and making fun of an African-American's name, begs the question: Is there a demographic within the Democratic Party's "big tent" that staffers behind the scenes haven't insulted?

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Bob Eschliman Featured Elections Caucus Wed, 27 Jul 2016 12:00:00 -0400
WATCH: Holy Spirit Falls on a Child as She Prophesies Over Her Church http://www.charismanews.com/us/58885-watch-holy-spirit-falls-on-a-child-as-she-prophesies-over-her-church http://www.charismanews.com/us/58885-watch-holy-spirit-falls-on-a-child-as-she-prophesies-over-her-church

Acts 2:17 appeared to come to life at a Florida church earlier this month as a child took hold of the microphone.  

First she began preaching, then she began praying. Quickly, the Holy Spirit took over and the gift of tongues began to flow out of her mouth as she prophesied over The River at Tampa Bay Church.  

"The power of God is extreme into this video !! Incredible ! Thanks God for your Bless, your power and you grace ! ! Thanks," one commenter posted to the video. 

Another wrote: "This video was today's or my life's biggest blessing bless u little angel may u share the word of the Lord like this all the days of ur life if ur on fire for the Lord at this age I wonder when ur an adult u will get the devil in big big trouble....more sons and daughters like them Lord more !" 

And another: "I have never seen or heard anything more amazing! After the violence in my city this week, I needed something that filled my spirit with Hope from God! What an amazing young lady!"

Watch the video to see for yourself.

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Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Wed, 27 Jul 2016 11:30:00 -0400
A New Investigation Launched Into Hillary Clinton http://www.charismanews.com/politics/issues/58884-a-new-investigation-launched-into-hillary-clinton http://www.charismanews.com/politics/issues/58884-a-new-investigation-launched-into-hillary-clinton

During President Bill Clinton's two terms in office, the Internal Revenue Service was "weaponized" to go after political opponents.

It became the blueprint for the 2012 IRS targeting scandal for which Commissioner John Koskinen now faces impeachment by Congress. But in the latest verse of "Hillary's Under Investigation," that weapon is going to be turned back on the Clintons.

Two weeks ago, a group of 64 House Republicans sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey, FTC Commissioner Edith Ramirez, and Koskinen, making an official referral to investigate potentially illegal activity involving the non-profit Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. In that letter, they assert that "unresolved media reports" and recently discovered information about the foundation's initial tax-exempt filing suggest "a lawless 'Pay to Play' enterprise that has been operating under a cloak of philanthropy for years" that should be investigated.

While it's unclear what response, if any, they have received from the FBI or FTC, The Daily Caller is now reporting that Koskinen has forwarded the referral to one of his agency's investigative divisions. He said the information will be reviewed by the Exempt Organization Program—formerly led by Lois Lerner—which is the division of the IRS that regulates the operations of public foundations and charities.

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Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Wed, 27 Jul 2016 11:00:00 -0400
Now Democrats Can't Even Mention ISIS? http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58883-now-democrats-can-t-even-mention-isis http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58883-now-democrats-can-t-even-mention-isis

Halfway through the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and there's been just one reference to ISIS and Islamist terrorism.

After the first full day of the convention and more than 60 speakers, Republican Party communications director Sean Spicer noted the fact in a tweet. It was quickly picked up by a number of conservatives in the media, which triggered a "fact-checking effort" by the left-leaning Politifact.

Their verdict:

Based on our searches of C-SPAN closed-captioning text, Congressional Quarterly transcripts and other video archiving services, we couldn't find any speaker who mentioned "ISIS," "Islamic," "terror," "terrorist" or "terrorism" during the first day of the convention ... the email accurately reflects what was said—or more precisely, not said—from the podium in Philadelphia. We rate the statement True.

To be fair, on the same day, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did use the word "terrorists" once in her speech. But she was speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention—more than 500 miles to the southwest in Charlotte, N.C.—not the Democrat convention in Philadelphia.

So, on the second day of the convention, when the Democratic Party was supposed to be making its case for why the first woman to receive a major-party presidential nomination should, in fact, become the 45th President of the United States, they managed to eke out one reference to ISIS (or ISIL, Islamic State, or Daesh—pick your preferred term). That's when former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright offered a rebuke of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

"He has undermined our fight against ISIS by alienating our Muslim partners," she said. "He has weakened our standing in the world by threatening to walk away from our friends and our allies—and by encouraging more countries to get nuclear weapons."

But while she attacked Trump's policies, she offered no Democrat alternative at all. Even the Washington Post—which has never been mistaken for a Trump media ally—offered this analysis:

In contrast to her detailed denunciation of Trump's "dark vision of America," however, Albright barely touched on Clinton's approach to terrorism. She praised the Democratic nominee for her tenure at the State Department, saying she saw her "restore our country's reputation around the world," but she didn't endorse her current strategy for defeating ISIS—indeed she scarcely mentioned it.

In an election where national security has become a major issue for voters—and while the sitting secretary of state has said air conditioning is a bigger threat than ISIS—the lack of coherent messaging will likely hurt Democrats in November.

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Bob Eschliman Featured Elections Caucus Wed, 27 Jul 2016 10:00:00 -0400
After Escaping Apostasy Sentence, Nadarkhani Charged With New Crimes http://www.charismanews.com/world/58881-after-escaping-apostasy-sentence-nadarkhani-charged-with-new-crimes http://www.charismanews.com/world/58881-after-escaping-apostasy-sentence-nadarkhani-charged-with-new-crimes

An Iranian Christian leader once sentenced to death for apostasy, Youcef Nadarkhani, was charged on July 24 with acting against national security.

Nadarkhani, who belongs to the non-Trinitarian Church of Iran, was released on July 24 on the condition of raising 100 million Touman bail (US$ 33,000) within a week, or face arrest.

He was also accused of being Zionist and informed that he had no right to evangelize.

Nadarkhani was initially arrested in 2009 and charged with apostasy after questioning why his children's school only taught Islam in their religious education, which he said was unconstitutional.

His wife and he were also arrested on May 13—and released the same day—as part of a clampdown in the northern city of Rasht that saw raids on 10 Christian families (see below).

Meanwhile Christian Maryam Naghash Zargaran, serving four years in prison for the same charge as Nadarkhani, has had her request for unconditional release (on health grounds) turned down by an Iranian court; Mohabat News reports that this is because the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence says it does not want her freed.

Zargaran is 20 days into a hunger strike. She is seeking release in view of the inadequate treatment of her health issues that have left her with very low blood pressure, pain and numb feet. Prison medical staff say her condition is serious.

Zargaran has been released twice for medical treatment—in October 2015 and in June—and both times was forced to return to prison before the treatment was complete.

Original Report (June 1):

An Iranian Christian serving a four-year jail term for "acting against national security" has gone on a hunger strike to protest against the prison's refusal to allow her to receive treatment for long-standing health issues. Maryam Naghash Zargaran, a convert from Islam, is nearly three years into her sentence at Tehran's Evin prison. She was originally arrested in January 2013, in connection with her work at an orphanage alongside Saeed Abedini, who was also imprisoned, but eventually released in January this year.

A member of the Zargaran family told Mohabat News: "Maryam hasn't left her bed in four days. She is burning with fever and has been on hunger strike to raise her protest against prison authorities' indifference toward her health. She is suffering from serious health issues. Before going on hunger strike, she had lost 25 kg and her health issues had intensified. Authorities do not show the slightest concern over Maryam's health. In addition, she is suffering from depression and takes medication for it."

Middle East Concern (MEC) reported that a number of her fellow prisoners decided to forgo family visits on May 29 to show support.

On May 31, MEC reported that she was briefly taken to hospital on May 30, after which, on her return to prison, she started to drink water. 

Zargaran has a history of heart problems and has recently reported pain in her ears and head. In October 2015 she was allowed to receive a few days' treatment outside the prison, but forced to return before it was completed.

Rasht Christians Bailed, but Many Still Detained

Meanwhile, in the northern city of Rasht, two Christians have been released on bail after nearly three weeks in jail.

Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaie were arrested on May 13, alongside Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor once sentenced to death for apostasy, and his wife, Tina. The couple were released later that day, but Mossayebzadeh, Fadaie and another Christian, Mohammad Reza Omidi, were detained.

MEC reports that Mossayebzadeh and Fadaie were each forced to pay the equivalent of $33,000 for bail. Omidi was not given that option, though it is not yet clear why. UPDATE June 7: Omidi also granted bail.

Since 2015, more than 150 Christians have been detained by the Iranian authorities. Many are in jail, while others, including Mossayebzadeh and Fadaie, have been released conditionally, pending sentencing or an appeal.

MEC's Rob Duncan said the current pressure being placed on Christians in Iran is "not as much through open violence and arrests, as through fear and intimidation."

"There are fewer raids on house churches, but instead people are summoned to security for interrogation," he said. "There is a lot of pressure on people to leave the country as a result. Also, when people are arrested and charged, bail demands are high and can financially cripple a family." {eoa}

This article originally appeared on World Watch Monitor.

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World Watch Monitor Featured World News Wed, 27 Jul 2016 11:00:00 -0400
America Is a Nation Full of Mass Killers, and We Even Elect Them to the Highest Offices in the Land http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58880-america-is-a-nation-full-of-mass-killers-and-we-even-elect-them-to-the-highest-offices-in-the-land http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58880-america-is-a-nation-full-of-mass-killers-and-we-even-elect-them-to-the-highest-offices-in-the-land

These days, it seems like mass killings and terror attacks are becoming a daily occurrence. In fact, I just wrote a major article about this. But let's try to put all of this into perspective.

If the mass killings and Islamic terror attacks are unspeakably evil, and they most certainly are, then how evil are we as a nation for killing 58 million of our own babies since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973? The truth is that we are a nation full of mass killers, and those that celebrate our slaughter are elected to the highest offices in the land. The blood of our murdered children is crying out from the ground against us, and there is no possible way that America will ever be "great" again as long as we continue to ruthlessly take the lives of our unborn.

This week is the Democratic National Convention, and most people are focusing on all of the chaos and infighting that are taking place. But instead, the focus should be on the fact that the Democrats unashamedly celebrate the genocide of unborn Americans. And this time around, the Democratic Party platform openly calls for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which is supposed to keep our tax dollars from directly paying for abortions. The following comes from the Washington Free Beacon...

The proposed Democratic Party platform supports taxpayer funding for abortion. The platform committee endorsed the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which blocks the use of tax dollars to pay for abortions. The party vowed to maintain funding for the nation's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, which receives roughly $500 million, or about 40 percent of its annual revenue, from taxpayers.

"We will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman's access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment," the proposed platform says.

In America today, we call evil good and good evil. And those that are butchering babies are completely unrepentant about what they are doing. Last month, LifeNews.com published an article that featured a particularly disturbing exchange between a pro-life activist and an extremely bitter San Diego abortionist...

*****

Mel: "You gotta repent sir, for murdering babies."

Santella: "Why?" (Santella strides up to within inches of Mel, coffee cup in hand)

Mel: "Because it's a sin before God."

Santella: "Why?... Stinky breath." (Santella breathes into Mel's face)

Mel: "Pretty evil of you, sir."

Santella: "Yeah." (Santella opens mouth wide and breathes into Mel's face)

Mel: "I hope and pray, sir..."

(Santella growls)

Mel: "Wow, that's what you do to babies, huh?"

Santella: "Yeah. I love it."

Later in the conversation, Santella says he has a "darkened heart" and he will never "go to Christ" to repent for his deadly work. The exchange continued:

Mel: "All the babies that you kill..."

Santella: "I love it, I love it."

Mel: "Yeah, keep tearing the babies apart."

Santella: "Yeah, I will."

*****

But instead of putting abortionists like that in prison, officials are going after those that have been attempting to expose the horrors of the abortion industry.

In 2015, the Center for Medical Progress released undercover video after undercover video which proved that Planned Parenthood is chopping up aborted babies and selling off their organs and body parts to the highest bidder. Since that time, nobody from Planned Parenthood has been prosecuted that I know of, but authorities sure did go after the people that made the undercover videos. Fortunately, justice prevailed in this case, and the last charges against them have finally been dropped...

The last remaining charge against two California pro-life activists has been dropped.

A Texas judge dismissed the tampering with government records charge against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, who made undercover videos allegedly implicating Planned Parenthood officials in arranging the illegal sale of fetal tissue to researchers for profit.

Prosecutors claimed Daleiden and Merritt used fake driver's licenses to hide their identities when dealing with Planned Parenthood.

But this just shows how sick our society is. Once those undercover videos came out, every Planned Parenthood clinic in the entire country should have been shut down and a whole bunch of their executives should have been prosecuted.

Instead, the country as a whole just yawned and we just continued with business as usual.

And today, the Democrats nominated for president a woman that has made "abortion rights" one of the pillars of her long political career. Hillary Clinton's hands are drenched in the blood of unborn children, but we aren't supposed to mention that these days because it isn't "polite" to do so. This is a woman that has even admitted that an unborn baby is a "person", but she insists that an "unborn person doesn't have constitutional rights"...

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on NBC's "Meet the Press" today that "the unborn person doesn't have constitutional rights."

Clinton made the statement in response to a question from "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd. Clinton also said that an unborn child's constitutional rights are "not something that exists."

Sadly, most of us believe the mainstream media when they tell us that voting for Hillary Clinton is a perfectly legitimate choice.

No it isn't.

Any American that casts a vote for Hillary Clinton is committing an unadulterated act of wickedness.

But of course Donald Trump is not exactly a champion of the pro-life movement either.

Just consider his acceptance speech the other night. It was the longest acceptance speech in history, and yet there wasn't a single word in there about abortion.

Not one single word.

He was once very strongly "pro-choice", but now he says that he is "pro-life". However, that doesn't mean that he intends to change any laws. In fact, earlier this year he made his intentions very clear to CBS News...

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told CBS News this week following controversy over his remarks about abortion that "at this moment, the laws are set, and I think we have to leave it that way."

And Donald Trump has repeatedly praised Planned Parenthood and has publicly stated that it "has done very good work for many, many—for millions of women".

I know that a lot of conservatives out there are very supportive of Donald Trump these days, but he is dead wrong about this issue.

As long as we continue the mass killing of the unborn in this country, it isn't going to matter who is running this nation.

Every time we murder another child, we curse ourselves, and I don't know if there are words to describe how evil we have become.

If we were to immediately renounce our evil and stop murdering babies, perhaps we would have a chance of turning things around. But if we continue on the same path that we are currently on, then we are going to deserve every ounce of what is about to happen to us.

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Michael Snyder Featured Opinion Wed, 27 Jul 2016 10:30:00 -0400
Reagan Shooter John Hinckley to Walk Free http://www.charismanews.com/us/58882-reagan-shooter-john-hinckley-to-walk-free http://www.charismanews.com/us/58882-reagan-shooter-john-hinckley-to-walk-free

John Hinckley Jr., who wounded U.S. President Ronald Reagan and three other people in a 1981 assassination attempt, should be freed after 35 years and released to live with his mother, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said Hinckley no longer posed a danger to himself or others and could be released from a government psychiatric hospital in Washington.

Hinckley, 61, "is permitted to reside full-time in Williamsburg, Virginia, on convalescent leave, which shall begin no sooner than Aug. 5, 2016," Friedman said in a 14-page order. His mother lives in Williamsburg, about 130 miles (210 km) south of Washington.

The order includes a requirement that Hinckley meet with his psychiatrist in Washington at least once a month and notify the Secret Service when he travels for the appointment.

A jury found Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity for the attack on Reagan, which also badly wounded presidential press secretary James Brady. Hinckley carried out the attack in a bid to impress actress Jodie Foster, with whom he was obsessed.  {eoa}

© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

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Ian Simpson/Reuters Featured U.S. News Wed, 27 Jul 2016 10:15:00 -0400
Since God Hates the Shedding of Innocent Blood, Can a Christian Vote for Hillary? http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/in-the-line-of-fire/58877-since-god-hates-the-shedding-of-innocent-blood-can-a-christian-vote-for-hillary http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/in-the-line-of-fire/58877-since-god-hates-the-shedding-of-innocent-blood-can-a-christian-vote-for-hillary

There are few sins God hates as much as shedding innocent blood, especially the blood of children. Seeing that Hillary Clinton is a radically pro-abortion candidate and seeing that the Democratic platform reinforces those radical views, can a Christian vote for Hillary in good conscience?

In Jeremiah 19, God explained why the people of Judah were about to go into exile: It was because they worshiped idols and because they "filled this place [speaking of Jerusalem] with the blood of the innocent, and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into My mind" (Jer. 19:4-5).

Because of these heinous sins, Jerusalem was destroyed and the Temple of Yahweh burned to the ground, with tens of thousands going into exile.

Does God hate the shedding of innocent blood any less today, especially when it is the blood of children? Listen again to Jeremiah: "They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command them, nor did it come into My heart" (Jer. 7:31).

What, exactly, did this entail? Listen to this description from the medieval Jewish commentator Rashi, who explained that the high places of Topheth refer to the god "Molech, which was [made] of copper, and they would heat it up from underneath it with its hands spread out and heated. And they would place the child on his hands, and he would be burnt and moan, and the priests would beat drums so that the father should not hear his son's voice and take pity." What a horror!

Now stop for a moment and look at these images of aborted babies and ask yourself how the Lord must feel about the shedding of this innocent blood—the blood of innocent babies in the womb.

Can you, as a follower of Jesus, cast your vote for a candidate who supports this bloodshed? Can you vote for Hillary Clinton, one of the best friends Planned Parenthood has ever had?

Just look at the stark contrast between the RNC and DNC platforms on abortion.

As reported by LifeNews.com, "The proposed Democratic Party platform this year is more extreme than it has ever been, calling for taxpayer funding of abortion and a repeal of the Hyde Amendment. The Democratic Party platform already supports legalized abortion on demand for any reason up until birth.

"'We will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman's access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment,' it reads."

In complete contrast, the RNC platform on abortion begins with: "Faithful to the 'self-evident' truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed."

The platform supports "a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children." It opposes "using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage."

It calls for appointing judges who will uphold these values, reaffirms its opposition to partial birth abortion, and salutes "the many States that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulation."

Again, the difference between the two platforms could not be more extreme. It is literally the difference between death and life.

Let's also remember that Hillary Clinton is hardly a pacifist who would avoid the shedding of blood in war (in contrast with allegedly war-mongering Republicans). And even so, there is a world of difference between going to war to defeat terrorism and killing a baby in the womb.

Some have argued that it doesn't matter where a candidate stands on abortion since the laws never really change. After all, we're told, after 20 years of Reagan, Bush, and Bush, Roe v. Wade was still not overturned.

That's true, but one reason is that we also had 16 years of Clinton and Obama. What would have happened if we had 36 years of presidents in the mold of Reagan? What if the progress made under a pro-life president wasn't undone by a pro-abortion president? What if all presidential appointees to the Supreme Court were pro-life during the last 36 years? The answers are self-evident.

And let's not minimize the progress that has been made in different states, including requiring women to view an ultrasound of their baby before aborting. Thank God for every life saved.

The bottom line is this: Can you look at pictures of aborted babies—such as baby Malachi—and read verses about God's hatred of killing children and then vote for a candidate who aggressively defends a woman's "right" to this bloodshed, even into the ninth month?

It's one thing to be uncertain about voting for Trump (or other candidates). It's another thing to vote for a radical, pro-abortion candidate like Hillary Clinton.

I, for one, do not see how you can look Jesus in the eye, look abortion in the eye, and vote for Hillary.

Only God is your judge, and you and I will give ultimate account to Him. But if you're a regular "pro-choice" voter, I urge you to reconsider your ways.

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Michael Brown Featured In the Line of Fire Opinion Wed, 27 Jul 2016 10:00:00 -0400
Terror Attacks and Mass Killings Are Becoming a Daily Event http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58876-terror-attacks-and-mass-killings-are-becoming-a-daily-event http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58876-terror-attacks-and-mass-killings-are-becoming-a-daily-event

Terror attacks and mass killings are happening so rapidly now that it is really difficult to keep up with them all. In fact, as you will see below, so far there have been several this week alone. This latest attack in France during which radical Islamic terrorists slit the throat of a Catholic priest was particularly disturbing.

Just a few days ago I warned that churches in the western world would be targeted, and now it is happening. According to thereligionofpeace.com, there have been 1,274 Islamic terror attacks in 2016. These attacks have been spread across 50 different nations, and as a result of these attacks more than 11,000 people have been killed and more than 14,000 people have been injured. When are we going to finally wake up and understand how serious this threat really is?

Very few people would have imagined that a sleepy Catholic church in France would be the target of an Islamic terror attack on Tuesday morning, but that is precisely what happened. The following description of the attack comes from the New York Times...

Mass was ending around 9:30 a.m. when two young men with knives burst in. They forced the auxiliary priest, the Rev.Jacques Hamel, 85, to kneel. When he resisted, they slit his throat. They held several worshipers and at least one nun hostage, while another nun escaped. Officers from a specialized police unit descended on the church. A short while later, officers shot the young men dead when they emerged from the church.

We have all seen images of ISIS slitting the throats of Christians in the Middle East, but now it is taking place in Europe.

As the terrorists emerged from the church, they reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" before being shot dead by the police.

ISIS has already taken responsibility for the attack and is referring to these two young men as "two soldiers of the Islamic State". And France knew that one of them had tried to go to Syria to join ISIS twice, but still allowed him to roam free for at least part of the day ...

One of a pair of ISIS knifemen who stormed a church in Normandy before slitting the throat of an elderly priest has been named as known terror threat Adel Kermiche.

The 19-year-old 'ISIS soldier' was being monitored with an electronic ankle tag after he was arrested for twice attempting to flee France to join the terror group in Syria.

Despite having been released early from prison, Keriche's bail conditions allowed him to roam unsupervised between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., leaving him free to murder the priest in the attack which was carried out between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

This horrific attack in France came on the heels of a tremendous tragedy in Japan. Mass killings are fairly rare over there, and so virtually the entire Japanese nation is in shock at this point. The following comes from the Washington Post...

Early on Tuesday morning, a man identified as Satoshi Uematsu allegedly attacked a care home for disabled people in Sagamihara, about 35 miles west of Tokyo. Armed with three knives and tie cables, the assailant killed 19 people and wounded manybefore he drove to a police station and turned himself in.

And that mass killing in Japan came on the heels of a suicide bombing in Ansbach, Germany on Sunday...

The Syrian man who blew himself up outside a bar in Ansbach vowed the people of Germany "won't be able to sleep peacefully anymore" in a video filmed before the attack.

Investigators said the suicide bomber, known only as Mohammad D., had declared loyalty to Islamic State in the recording—and announced "a revenge act against Germans because they are standing in the way of Islam."

Further details have emerged about the 27-year-old, who injured 15 people—four of them seriously—when he detonated a backpack filled with explosives and shrapnel after being turned away from a music festival being attended by thousands of people.

Of course just prior to the suicide bombing in Ansbach, there were two other acts of terror in Germany that made headlines all over the globe...

The bombing has rattled the German public following a week of violence in southern Germany that began on July 18, when an immigrant teen, apparently also inspired by ISIS, stabbed passengers on a train in Wurzburg in Bavaria.

That was followed by a shooting spree Friday in which nine people were killed in the Bavarian state capital, Munich, before a Syrian asylum seeker killed a woman in Reutlingen, in the neighboring southern German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, on Sunday, hours ahead of the Ansbach attack.

Are you starting to get the point?

In the summer of 2016, it has been terror attack after terror attack and mass killing after mass killing.

And in this article I haven't even mentioned OrlandoDallasNice or Baton Rouge at all.

As I have written about extensively, we have entered a period of time when our world seems to be going crazy. The love of most people has grown cold, and we are being hammered with headlines about horrific acts of violence almost every single day.

The terrorists are not just going after military and political targets. In fact, they seem to take glee in hitting us where we are most vulnerable.

Just recently, I wrote about how all the members of one particular church here in America ended up on an ISIS kill list. It appears that ISIS is collecting names from church directories and synagogue directories that they find on the Internet. So if you run a church or a synagogue you should take note of this.

Even bigger attacks than we have seen so far are coming. At some point Islamic terrorists will get their hands on chemical, biological and potentially even nuclear weapons, and they will not hesitate to use them.

Many of our politicians are promising to rid the world of these terrorists, but I don't think that they even know what we are really dealing with or how to really fight this battle.

After a decade and a half of dropping bombs and spending trillions of dollars fighting in the Middle East, the threat of Islamic terror is worse than ever. And even nations that were never heavily involved in the "war on terror" are seeing Islamic terror rise to unprecedented levels.

The blind are leading the blind, and meanwhile the terror attacks and the mass killings are just going to continue to get even worse.

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Michael Snyder Featured Opinion Wed, 27 Jul 2016 09:30:00 -0400
Adviser: This Will Be Trump's Economic Team http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58875-adviser-this-will-be-trump-s-economic-team http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58875-adviser-this-will-be-trump-s-economic-team

Stephen Moore, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, admitted recently he is one of three "senior advisers" who have been working with the Republican presidential nominee on matters related to foreign trade.

The other members of the group are:

  • Larry Kudlow—a conservative economist and former host of CNBC's Kudlow & Company. He is on the advisory committee for the Kemp Institute at Pepperdine University.
  • Arthur Laffer—a conservative economist and former member of the Reagan Administration's Economic Policy Advisory Board.

"That's a pretty good team," Moore said. "I feel good about the economics people he's surrounded himself with. My friend, Sam Clovis, is the policy director. When it comes to the people, I think this is actually one of the great assets of Donald Trump.

"You know, you don't become incredibly successful in business ... without surrounding yourself with really, really good people."

Moore suggested Trump has been receptive to his economic policy advice. Donald Trump, he added, has "an important point" to make about Americans who do not believe the trade policies have not been in America's interest.

"I think this is partly a snap back from Obama," he said. "I mean, Obama, everything that he has negotiated, it was the Iran treaty, the Asia trade deal, the climate change deal, all of these things, and there are many more, they put America last rather than first. It's like on the climate change stuff.

"Okay, we're going to jump off a cliff and we're going to shut down our energy, and then the rest of the world laughs at us, saying yeah, we'll be right behind you. That's got to stop. We do have to put America first in these deals. And if we do that, you know, and I think that TPP needs to be renegotiated, in my opinion, that that deal, why does it take thousands and thousands of pages to do a free trade deal?"

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Bob Eschliman Featured Elections Caucus Wed, 27 Jul 2016 09:00:00 -0400
Democrats Really Want You to Like Hillary Clinton http://www.charismanews.com/politics/events/58874-democrats-really-want-you-to-like-hillary-clinton http://www.charismanews.com/politics/events/58874-democrats-really-want-you-to-like-hillary-clinton

When Hillary Clinton first ran for president in 2008 she was badly stung by a backhanded compliment from rival Barack Obama, who called her "likable enough" before going on to win the Democratic nomination and the White House.

Eight years later, with her party's nomination to succeed Obama firmly in hand, the question of her likability, trustworthiness and honesty still hangs over her bid to become America's first woman president, this time in a Nov. 8 election against Republican Donald Trump.

The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week is, in part, an effort to reintroduce her to American voters, more than half of whom view her unfavorably, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling.

The criticisms have dogged her for years: She can appear stiff in front of crowds, struggling to show off the compassion her supporters say she shares in private, and leaving some voters with the impression she is not giving straight answers to tough questions.

Clinton recognizes the problem, aides say.

"She knows that she has work to do to earn people's trust," said Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton's communications director. "She also realizes there aren't some magic words you can say to earn that trust overnight."

Speaker after speaker at the convention took the stage on Monday and Tuesday to offer testimonials on her behalf, including her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who filled his prime-time speech on Tuesday with anecdotes and private moments shared by America's best-known political couple.

Gay basketball player Jason Collins told of the support she offered when he went public with his homosexuality; a grandmother described how her daughter's battle with drug addiction inspired Clinton to address the drug crisis.

A parade of others offered behind-the-scenes glimpses of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state, describing how she drove through a blizzard to attend a funeral, planned birthday parties and visited survivors of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

First Impressions

Clinton's personal image, which has fluctuated during her 25 years in the public eye, slumped after a divisive Democratic primary, a lingering controversy over her use of a private email system while serving as the top U.S. diplomat, and repeated Republican attacks on "crooked Hillary."

Reuters/Ipsos polling showed 55 percent of Americans had an unfavorable view of Clinton. Trump is even less popular, with 61 percent holding an unfavorable view.

Many Americans think both candidates struggle with the truth. Some 59 percent of Americans believe she is not "honest and truthful," while 53 percent think the same of Trump, according to the poll.

Republican strategist John Feehery said it was too late to rehabilitate Clinton's image. "You only get one decade to make a first impression," he said.

Instead, a better strategy would be to focus on tearing down Trump, given that his negatives surpass her own, Feehery added.

Clinton's campaign appears to be trying just that, running an ad in which Trump can be seen in newsclips, as children watch, swearing, condemning Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers, and mocking a disabled journalist.

Pounding You

Clinton, 68, has been a lightning rod for conservative attacks for more than two decades and Republicans serenaded speakers at their convention in Cleveland last week with chants of "Lock Her Up" and signs touting "Hillary for Prison."

For many Democrats who back Clinton, the poor polling numbers are the result of those relentless attacks—along with a strong dose of sexism toward a woman seeking power.

"If you have somebody who is out there pounding you and pounding you and pounding you, eventually it's going to take a toll," Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO labor federation, said. "I've said this and I've said it publicly: Hillary Clinton has to do A+ work to get a C-."

For Democrats, this week affords perhaps their best chance before the election to fortify her against inevitable attacks by Trump that could further dent her image. Praise came from invitees ranging from party superstars (First Lady Michelle Obama) to unknowns (former White House interns).

In one video broadcast to delegates, Clinton embraces and comforts an 11-year-old girl who fears her parents will be deported. In another, shown before the appearance of the Mothers of the Movement—mothers who lost children to gun violence or in police-involved incidents—she encourages them in a private meeting to band together and speak out.

"A 30-minute meeting turned into two hours because she listened to us. Nobody else listened to us," said Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old whose fatal shooting death by a neighborhood watch volunteer in 2012 launched a series of protests around the country.

Actress Eva Longoria said it was time for Democrats to rally to Clinton's defense.

"She's had a 25-year smear campaign run against her. It's understandable Americans are confused about what is true and what is not," she told a women's delegate caucus on Tuesday.

© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. 

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John Whitesides and Amanda Becker/Reuters Featured Events Caucus Wed, 27 Jul 2016 08:00:00 -0400
Ted Cruz to Face a New Challenge http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58873-ted-cruz-to-face-a-new-challenge http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58873-ted-cruz-to-face-a-new-challenge

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is likely to have stiff competition from the Democrats in his bid for re-election in 2018.

Tuesday morning, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), the twin brother of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, told CBS News' Charlie Rose he was taking a serious look at running for the Senate in 2018. That would potentially pit him against Cruz in the general election.

"Despite any record of achievement and a liberal ideology out of touch with the majority of Texans, the Castro brothers have the full support of the mainstream media and Washington establishment willing to do everything in their power to turn Texas blue," Cruz wrote in an email to supporters. "This November, it is critical we elect conservatives up and down the ballot in order to prevent a liberal takeover of Washington D.C.

"But our opponents are already making plans to defeat us, so we cannot afford to wait to engage until 2018. Every day in the Senate, I have continued fighting for jobs, freedom and the security of 27 million Texans and all Americans across this great country. 

"In order to stop the Castro brothers' attempts to bring their liberal ideology to the halls of the U.S. Senate, I need you by my side. With liberal Democrats like the Castro brothers preparing to challenge our shared conservative values, the time to fight back is now!"

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Bob Eschliman Featured Elections Caucus Wed, 27 Jul 2016 07:00:00 -0400
Donald Trump: Ask Me Anything http://www.charismanews.com/politics/press-releases/58872-donald-trump-ask-me-anything http://www.charismanews.com/politics/press-releases/58872-donald-trump-ask-me-anything

Reddit, the online social media outlet billed as "the front page of the Internet," is a place seldom visited by political candidates—especially a major-party presidential nominee.

Just add one more check mark to the list of unconventional campaign activities for Republican Donald Trump. He was scheduled to take part in one of Reddit's famous "Ask Me Anything" sessions that was set to begin at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

Ask Me Anything sessions are notoriously difficult for participants because Reddit users take a literal approach to the word "Anything." Trump was slated to begin answering questions at 7 p.m. at https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/.

Those who are unfamiliar with Reddit should beware. The social media outlet is only very loosely moderated, and some objectionable material may be presented by the Reddit users asking Trump their questions.

The Trump campaign's "Mod Team" issued the following statement:

Just to clarify, this train has absolutely no brakes! If you thought you were tired of winning after the unbelievable success of last week's RNC, get ready for more! Get your questions ready, put on your [Make America Great Again] hats, and bring your high-energy—it's going to be TREMENDOUS!

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Bob Eschliman Featured Press Releases Caucus Wed, 27 Jul 2016 06:00:00 -0400
Clinton Makes History, Formally Named Democratic Presidential Nominee http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58871-clinton-makes-history-formally-named-as-democrats-presidential-nominee http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58871-clinton-makes-history-formally-named-as-democrats-presidential-nominee

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton secured the Democratic Party's 2016 nomination for the White House on Tuesday, becoming the first woman to head the ticket of a major party in U.S. history.

In a symbolic show of party unity, Clinton's former rival, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, told the chairwoman from the convention floor that Clinton should be selected as the party's nominee at the dramatic climax of a state-by-state roll call at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

"I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States," Sanders told thousands of delegates in the Wells Fargo Center, which erupted in cheers.

After a tough battle with Sanders during the state nominating contests, Clinton is now the party's standard-bearer against Republican nominee Donald Trump in the Nov. 8 election.

Clinton, who promises to tackle income inequality and rein in Wall Street if she becomes president, is eager to portray Trump, a businessman and former reality TV show host, as too unstable to sit in the Oval Office.

But Trump, who has never held elective office, got a boost in opinion polls from his nomination at the Republican convention last week. He had a 2-point lead over Clinton in a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday, the first time he has been ahead since early May.

Sanders has endorsed Clinton, a former first lady and U.S. senator, but some of his supporters protested in Philadelphia against the party leadership's apparent backing of her during the bitter Democratic primary fight.

Sections of the convention hall were left conspicuously unpopulated on Tuesday night as delegates from strongly pro-Sanders delegations, including California, walked out after Sanders moved that Clinton be named the nominee. {eoa}

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Lucianna Lopez and Amy Tennery/Reuters Featured Elections Caucus Tue, 26 Jul 2016 20:00:00 -0400
How Gentiles Can Demonstrate God's Faithfulness to Israel http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/standing-with-israel/58795-how-gentiles-can-demonstrate-god-s-faithfulness-to-israel http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/standing-with-israel/58795-how-gentiles-can-demonstrate-god-s-faithfulness-to-israel

Many non-Jewish (Gentile) believers are hesitant to share the Good News of Messiah with a Jewish person.

Some are nervous that they may not know what to say should they be asked a tough question. Others do not share because they believe God has rejected the Jewish people and moved on to the Gentile church (see Romans 11:1-2 in response to this).

Regardless of the issues, many are not aware of the strategic calling God has given specifically to Gentile believers, one that, when fulfilled, will serve to bring about "life from the dead" (Rom. 11:15).  

"I say then, have they (the Jewish people) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid! But through their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous" (Rom. 11:11).

Here, Paul explains that national Israel stumbled over Messiah, the stumbling stone (Rom. 9:32-33). To stumble and fall can make for great comedy. Yet, how does God feel about people who stumble? He loves us and desires to pick us up!

For these Jewish people, God chose the Gentile believers as His instrument to proclaim the only One who "is able to keep us from stumbling" (Jude 1:24). Although Scripture made this very clear, many Gentile believers chose rather to be arrogant against Israel and neglected their responsibility to reach out to the Jewish people in love. As the "apostle to the Gentiles," Paul took them to task, warning them against having an "I told you so" attitude toward the Jewish people (Rom. 11:18). 

Paul raises the issue: Did Israel's stumbling over Messiah mean the end of their place in God's plan? (Rom. 11:1) Sadly, from a Jewish perspective, many Gentile believers seem to think so. Once I was asked to speak at a church outreach in Kiev, Ukraine, around the time of the Jewish revival in the former Soviet Union.

Before I was invited to the front, the speaker before me told the Jewish people who were visiting, "You Jews missed it—and too bad for you! Sunday is the Sabbath now!" What a bizarre statement—both in its theology and attitude reflected. 

On a different occasion, a pastor in the States told me: "When we go door-to-door to share the gospel, we skip the homes with mezuzahs (a small box containing a scroll with the words of Deut. 6:4-9, often nailed to the doorpost of Jewish homes) ... We would not want to offend [the Jews living there], our people would not know what to say, and they probably would not be interested anyway." What a witnessing strategy! Shouldn't the Jewish homes have been offended that they were skipped? This non-witness, though well-intentioned, actually implies that God is finished with Israel.  

This, however, could not be further from the truth (Jer. 31:35-37; Rom. 11:1-2, 26). God's faithfulness to the Jewish people is evidenced in Jewish evangelism. Anyone can stumble, and everyone has, but the repentant sinner can be restored (Eph. 2:5; Col. 2:13). This is the Good News both for you and for national Israel. Though you may have rejected God, God has not rejected you. He proves this by His call for you to be saved through the proclamation of the Good News of Messiah.  

When I share this truth, some have asked, "You don't mean to say that God saved Gentiles just to make Israel jealous, do you?" No, not quite. God saves Gentiles because of who He is; as it is written, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16). God loves us all and He loves us all the same!

However, our salvation gives us a purpose and a calling. Even as God saved Gentiles through the means of Israel's transgression, He now gives Gentile believers an opportunity to demonstrate God's faithfulness to Israel. God intended the Good News to come to the Jewish people through faithful Gentile believers.

However, we do not often see Jewish people becoming all that jealous for what Gentile believers have in Messiah. Why is this? To help us understand, remember that God got jealous over Israel when they went after other gods (Ex. 34:14). This is because Israel belongs to Him (Is. 43:1).

In contrast, how can Jewish people get jealous over something that is not evidently theirs to begin with? Though some may be curious or even a little envious, Jewish people rightfully do not get jealous over Easter eggs or Santa Claus, because these things are not part of Jewish heritage, and actually function as a cultural substitute for that heritage.

On the contrary, when believers worship the Lord Yeshua, rejoicing in the God of Israel, and celebrating Messiah in the feasts of Israel (such as Passover and the Feast of Booths) as all the early believers did, this should provoke Israel to jealousy!  

At Antioch, when Gentiles came to faith and were first called christianoi ("Christians," Acts 11:26), the term identified them with the Messiah ("Anointed One" in Greek). Think of it: to the ears of the Jewish community, which generally spoke Greek outside of Judea, the Gentile "Christians" were really "Messianics": they were a part of the Messianic Jewish community.

In other words, unlike today, this term did not separate them out as a foreign religion; rather, it identified them with Israel! Messianic Gentiles were and are meant to be the living witness of Israel's hope, sharing with Jewish people the mercy they themselves have received in Messiah (Rom. 11:31). God's salvation of souls leads to a service of love. 

In our ministry, Word of Messiah, as we reach out to Jewish people with the Good News and plant Messianic congregations, we want to edify and encourage all believers to be witnesses to the Jew first (Rom. 1:16). In light of this, we will be launching a new radio program beginning July 29, and available online for all to listen at www.am570themission.com Fridays at 7 p.m. EST. {eoa} 

Dr. Sam Nadler is a Jewish believer in Jesus who has been in Messianic ministry for over 40 years. Sam is the president of Word of Messiah Ministries, which is bringing the Good News to the Jew first but not to the Jew only, and planting Messianic Congregations in Jewish communities worldwide. To encourage and equip the Body of Messiah in our shared calling, Sam is invited to speak in churches across the country, and has written multiple books on Jewish evangelism, discipleship, and the Feasts of Israel. For more information and resources, or to invite Sam to speak at your church, visit: www.wordofmessiah.org.

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Sam Nadler Featured Standing With Israel Opinion Wed, 27 Jul 2016 06:00:00 -0400
Why I Still Have Doubts About Voting for Donald Trump http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/the-flaming-herald/58870-why-i-still-have-doubts-about-voting-for-donald-trump http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/the-flaming-herald/58870-why-i-still-have-doubts-about-voting-for-donald-trump

History seems to be repeating itself again.

The U.S. has experienced eight years of the worst American presidency—the most anti-biblical, anti-Israel, anti-morality, anti-decency, pro-Islam, pro-gay, pro-baby killer, pro-pervert—ever! And many in America voted for him, including many professing Christians—some even believing that he was born again. What a sham!

Now not yet completing his final term in office, we have a criminal and a shrewd business mogul as the two remaining candidates to vote for as America's next president. Yay! You get to choose again, America. It's not lame McCain vs. Obama, or spineless Romney vs. Obama, but criminal Clinton vs. Trump. And once again, many professing Christians are giving a thousand reasons why we should vote for Trump.

"He's the lesser of two evils."

"If we don't vote for him, we'll get Hillary."

"It will be the end of our nation."

"Socialism, fascism, communism and every kind of ism will take over our land."

"Don't you believe what the prophets have spoken?—Trump is our Cyrus."

"Yes, God has chosen him! He will save us!"

"He's the human wrecking ball and he will destroy the Democrats and their left-wing agenda and level the playing field."

"He's his own man and is not beholden to anybody."

In Donald we trust.

And on and on it goes.

But you are wrong. Dead wrong. You are deceived—grossly deceived. You've been hoodwinked by hell.

This election should have been a slam dunk for the Republican Party. Yet, because of Donald J. Trump, uninformed and extremely gullible and un-principled voters, and so-called conservative media pundits salivating over Trump, Republicans may actually lose in November. And they will have no one to blame but themselves because Donald Trump is not and has never been a Republican.

Listen to the wise words from the blog site of Biblical Signs in the Headlines:

In what was once proudly known as the "Religious Right," the focus of many has turned to the selfish attitude of making America "rich and prosperous," or as Trump says, "great again." Many conservatives are abandoning traditional moral views and biblical values to hop aboard the "Trump Train" because everyone else seems to be doing it.

Donald's focus is not on what our focus should be, which is humbly returning and rededicating this nation to Almighty God. Instead, he's focused on making a lot of "really good deals" for America, on "building a really big wall," on making America "really rich" again so that we'll be so tired of "winning." He wants to run America like a business, but any business without God at its head is destined to fail.

For all of you conservative Christians voting for Trump, here are some serious questions I have for you:

1. How do you defend him taking the same position as liberal Democrats on the transgender bathroom issue dividing the country? His position is to the left of the most "moderate" RINOS (Republicans In Name Only).

2. How do you defend voting for a man who has said that the abortion peddler Planned Parenthood does "many wonderful things"? He also said that he desires to "rewrite" the party's stance on abortion in the Republican platform.

3. How do you defend supporting a nominee for president, whom an advocacy group for gay Republicans said, "Is one of the best, if not the best, pro-gay Republican candidates to ever run for the presidency," and would "do no harm on same-sex marriage" because of a "stand-out position" on nondiscrimination legislation?

4. How do you staunch pro-Israel conservatives defend Trump saying that he would be "neutral" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? He also pledges to give the "Peace Plan" (which divides the Holy Land of Israel and gives some of the Jewish State's holiest ancient cities to the murderous Islamists of Palestine) "one (expletive) of a shot."

5. How in the name of God and in good conscience can you vote or endorse a nominee like that? Are you taking your counsel from the holy Bible or pop culture?

And to add insult to injury, Trump's senior aide, Paul Manafort, recently told Republican National Committee members that the Donald's image is going to change now. "You'll see a different guy," he said. That sounds so eerily similar to the change Obama promised all of us. Yeah, we got change all right—just not the kind we bargained for.

In reference to this, the Fox News conservative writer, Todd Starnes, said "We were led to believe that Mr. Trump was one of us—a conservative of the gun-toting, Bible-clinging variety. But friends, Mr. Trump is no conservative. His talk is far different from his walk."

I want to hope and believe this guy; I really do! I will fulfill my civic duty and vote, and I'd like not to have to write in another candidate. But there are so many red flags. There are so many suspicions. Trump's record has been so liberal.

Can I just vote for him so Hillary won't win? Can I just vote for him because many are saying he's been born again and he's changed? Or because he supposedly said he will elect conservative judges to the Supreme Court? Can I go against biblical principles and trust Trump based on what some "thus saith the Lord" so-called "prophets" have spoken?  

I'm not completely sure. I have to see more from him that would cause me to trust in his leadership. I hope I'm wrong about him—I really do! I hope he has really changed and given his heart to the Lord. I hope some of the conservatives he has surrounded himself with will influence him for good. But as of now, I'm satisfied to vote my conscience and let the chips fall where they may. Here are some things penned by a friend of mine that I'm sure the Lord won't say to me when I stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ:

1. "You should've voted for Donald Trump because he was better than Hillary!"

2. "You sinned against Me by refusing to support Donald Trump's presidency!"

3. "You should've ignored the undeniable fact that Donald Trump was categorically disqualified to be a leader on literally every single point I gave you for choosing righteous leadership in the Bible!"

4. "Stopping Hillary was more important than carefully following My instructions in the Bible!"

5. "I sent My prophets to call you a 'Pharisee', and to denounce you for being 'legalistic'! You should've listened to their sage-like wisdom, and elevated them above My written Word, which plainly instructed you to do the opposite of their crowings."

6. "You should've used situational ethics and ignored the unambiguous point of Romans 3:8, and should've helped a wicked and unrepentant verbal abuser gain power, and rolled the dice that something good might happen afterward."

If Hillary becomes president and opens this nation up to full blown big government, appoints liberal judges to the Supreme Court, opens up an uncontested sewage of immorality, violence and terrorism in our nation, and near-communism in the future, so be it. Maybe then those who've been sleeping will finally wake up.

And that's a good thing.

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Bert Farias Featured The Flaming Herald Opinion Wed, 27 Jul 2016 09:00:00 -0400
What Max Lucado Dreamed About Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton http://www.charismanews.com/us/58869-what-max-lucado-dreamed-about-donald-trump-and-hillary-clinton http://www.charismanews.com/us/58869-what-max-lucado-dreamed-about-donald-trump-and-hillary-clinton

Author Max Lucado previously voiced his vehement apprehension of electing Donald Trump, but now, Lucado has a dream.  

Well, maybe not a dream, exactly. But a longing.

I told my wife, Denalyn, "Last night I had the strangest dream." We'd fallen asleep watching the Republican National Convention. Not the most relaxing way to drift off, right? Politicians, pundits, pollsters and picketers. Tongues wagging. Finger-pointing. Accusations. Declarations. Blah-blah-blah.
The convention is warp and woof of our system; I get that. But does it have to be so ... hostile, volatile? The country seems on edge. Every headline a heartache. Officers shot. Motorists shot. Flags at half-staff for how long?
I fell asleep with the images of the convention and the crisis in my head. When I awoke I had an image of a different convention. I mulled it over as I lay in bed. I gave it more thought as I sipped my coffee. By mid-afternoon, I was smiling at the very idea of it all. 

Lucado says he finds hope in 2 Chronicles 7:14.  

And he's not the only one.  

Cultural commentator Larry Tomczak asked his readers to cry out for our nation by praying the passage. Evangelist Franklin Graham did the same.  

The National Day of Prayer even offered up the verse on behalf of the country.  

Now, Lucado joins their rallying cry:  

God will heal broken hearts. It simply falls to His followers to repent, humble ourselves, and pray. So we do. In LA, Denver, Chicago, Miami, NYC ... the people kneel and pray. The participants don't need to be urged. They know the truth: we need help from above. The Republicans are just as befuddled as the Democrats. The Libertarians are as confused as the Independents. Politicians claim to have solutions. But the housewife in Miami isn't fooled. Neither is the truck driver in Chicago. They know the truth. Our hope isn't in politicians. It is in Jesus.
I guess that is how the dream became a longing.
In my dream a change settles over the Convention. People are quiet, reverent. Crowds gather outside, not to protest, but to witness something extraordinary. Word is out that a meeting has occurred. Trump and Hillary talked long into the night. Who suggested the meeting? What was the agenda? Did their teams huddle in corners? My dream gives no details.
But according the news report, the two candidates are going to step out at any moment and jointly address the nation. I know what you are thinking, "In your dreams." True. But they do. When they do, a fresh wind blows across the country. They've come to a conclusion; they've reached a truce. No more tackiness. No more below-the-belt stuff. Too much is at risk. People are dying, for crying out loud. The nation needs to calm down. Take a breath. Come together. And, what better place to begin than with Trump and Hillary. The election will go on, but the rancor, the arrogance, and bitterness will stop.
The dream stops here. But the longing? It goes another step. Wouldn't it be something, I mean, really something, if one or both of them said: "Here is the truth. We don't know how to heal this country. But God does." And right there, on national TV, to the shock of viewers worldwide, to the utter chagrin of the devil and the joy of almighty God, they get down on their knees and ask heaven to send mercy to our land. 

Now that would be something indeed.  

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Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Wed, 27 Jul 2016 08:00:00 -0400
Are Any of These Strange Doctrines Carrying You Away? http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58867-are-any-of-these-strange-doctrines-carrying-you-away http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58867-are-any-of-these-strange-doctrines-carrying-you-away

Remember those who rule over you, who have proclaimed to you the word of God. Follow their faith, considering the results it has produced in their lives. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Do not be carried away with diverse and strange doctrines. It is a good thing that the heart be strengthened with grace, not with foods, which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. – Hebrews 13:7-9 MEV

In the above passage the writer warns us not to be "carried away" by various and strange doctrines that would draw us away from the Word of God, the teachings of the apostles and our "Master Shepherd," Jesus Christ. Here we are in 2016 where I am seeing all kinds of weird and strange things happening in the body of Christ that has been permitted and promoted from the pew to the pulpit. Let's discuss some examples of this, shall we?

Let's begin with a strange story that comes out of Michigan where a group of pot supporters is gathering and calling themselves "marijuana missionaries" consisting of approximately 50 people gathering on Sundays in South Lansing, Michigan for the debut of a new church called "The First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason." The gathering is a kick-off for what organizer Jeremy Hall hopes will become monthly meetings celebrating cannabis' spiritual properties.

Then we move to the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. who has already has made itself controversial by its stance against Israel, and recently rose eyebrows after lifting up prayers to Allah at its General Assembly meeting recently. The prayers were: "Allah bless us and bless our families and bless our Lord. Lead us on the straight path—the path of all prophets: Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad." Now could you imagine the apostles approving of this foolishness?

Then I recently shared an article reported by Jennifer Leclaire from Charisma about a church called "Apologia Church" that recently came up with a disturbing way to raise funds for its church plant in Hawaii. In the report, it talked about Marcus Pittman, its leader, offering tattoos and a Bible conference complete with a beer flight, and sampling of beers much like a wine tasting, to pick up some cash for the church plant! Pittman even stated in says in a YouTube video, "So, it's pretty cool." As he sees it, the tattoos and beer flights are cooler than a bake sale.

Then we have the recent news of the United Methodists that recently nominated three "Openly Homosexual Candidates" for Bishop despite prohibition from the denomination. The Word of God clearly states that the time would come when many would depart from the faith and give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.

Then we have the recent controversy that has stirred from a recent appearance of Mo'nique and her husband in a recent interview on the new program called The Preachers where Mo'Nique was quite open about her open marriage with husband Sidney Hicks, and received a stamp of approval from host and "pastor" Jamal Bryant, who is the pastor and founder of Empowerment Temple AME Church in Baltimore, Maryland.

And finally, we knew it was coming, but reports nationwide are outlining how purported churches across the country are being pulled in by one of the latest societal crazes: Pokemon Go! And of course, they are using this game to draw or "attract" the masses to their church in hopes of filling the pews! What ever happened to lifting up Jesus and letting him draw all men unto Himself? What we need in this hour is not some attraction and gimmick wrapped in the latest cultural craze to attract the masses to fill the pews. What we need is to re-establish the plumb line and rebuild the altars of repentance, the preaching of the Gospel and the operation of the Holy Spirit to draw men unto repentance and salvation! Are you steadfast in Christ and His Word or have you strayed from the truth and are being carried away by strange and various "New Teachings" and "Doctrines" that are not biblically sound?

2 Timothy 4:3-5: For the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but they will gather to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, having itching ears, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn to myths. But be self-controlled in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, and prove your ministry.

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Ricky Scaparo/End Times Headlines Featured Opinion Wed, 27 Jul 2016 07:00:00 -0400
Miley Displays Artwork Showing Off False Gods All Over LA Home http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/watchman-on-the-wall/58866-miley-displays-artwork-showing-off-false-gods-all-over-la-home http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/watchman-on-the-wall/58866-miley-displays-artwork-showing-off-false-gods-all-over-la-home

I have a daughter about Miley Cyrus' age—and that's why I pray for Miley. I know it's tough to be a Millennial. I know the temptations are real. I know Hollywood can turn you out if your faith is not turned up. 

Even as rumors are turning up that Miley married Liam Hemsworth and the recent comparisons between Donald Trump's Tiffany and the pop star, I was shocked when a publicist emailed me about Miley commissioning Mister E, a Miami-based artist known for his colossal and colorful interpretations of U.S. currency, to create wall space installations throughout her Studio City home.

According to the publicist, whose name is Kat, Miley wanted to "blow people's minds" with Mister E's creative twist on art. 

That's not really troubling in and of itself. What grieves me is the actual artwork. Dubbed the #MONEYWALL project, Cyrus came up with the idea after she presented Mister E with blank canvas walls that needed a dose of innovation. His thoughts were to build something that was ever-changing and that Miley's friends, family and other visitors could be directly involved in. 

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As the publicist tells it, he printed thousands of actual sized currency, and used this as a method for viewers to write a name or message and stick it to the wall. That way, he figured, the installation would not only be interactive, but also allow people to connect and build memories.

Mister E also restored a vintage safe for Miley to house all of the money, and presented her with a gift, a gold key engraved with both of their names. This permanent installation stands from three walls in her living room spanning through the powder room.

Miley posted a photo of herself on Instagram against one of the rainbow-money-lined walls, captioned by some choice language we can't print in a Christian magazine. Of course, this is not the first time Miley has done something shameful on Instagram—or on stage or in a video.

Miley took raunchy to a whole new level at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2013, stripping down to flesh-colored rubber underwear, ultra-obscene twerking and other erotic moves on stage with Robin Thicke. Her perverted performance made Beyonce's controversial Super Bowl dance look tame and Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction appear rather innocent.  

Just after the chatter about Miley Cyrus' soft-porn twerking at MTV's Video Music Awards died down, the former child star left jaws hanging near the ground once again by stripping naked, straddling a wrecking ball and suggestively licking a sledgehammer in her video, "Wrecking Ball." Going for shock value to create a media frenzy, Miley pushed well beyond anything Madonna or Lady Gaga have done in their most perverse performances.

This latest installation demonstrates her support for gay rights and seemingly her love of money. I figure you'd really have to enjoy money to plaster your walls with rainbow currency. The Bible says the love of money is a root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10) so I hope this speaks more to her eccentric tastes in art than it does her adoration of mammon.

As for Miley, my prayer is that she will be like the prodigal son and return to her Father's embrace. God is just waiting to see her come running over the hill. Let's pray Miley—and every other prodigal we're praying for—finds her way home soon.

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Jennifer LeClaire Featured Watchman on the Wall Opinion Wed, 27 Jul 2016 06:00:00 -0400
Muslim Refugees in the UK Turning to Christ http://www.charismanews.com/world/58868-muslim-refugees-in-the-uk-turning-to-christ http://www.charismanews.com/world/58868-muslim-refugees-in-the-uk-turning-to-christ

Muslims seeking asylum in the United Kingdom are converting to Christianity at a parish church in the English Midlands, according to The Guardian.

The U.K. publication reports that three to four Muslim migrants accept Christ each week at St. Mark's church in Stoke-on-Trent. Some say they were first turned away from local mosques even though they were homeless and needed help.

On one Saturday afternoon, 15 refugees were baptized at the church.

Rev. Sally Smith presides over the congregation. She has allowed asylum seekers to stay in her own home, provided them meals, given them clothes, purchased shoes for their children and even made sure their medical needs were met. 

The church is filled with donations of what's needed to start a new home. Members provide food parcels to the refugees twice a week. Language lessons are even offered and, if needed, the Muslim migrants are given bus fare.

"It is about being part of a kingdom where there are no border agency officials, where there are no passports necessary, where there are no immigration detention centers," Smith told The Guardian. "One worldwide family where there are no dividing barriers."

Refugees who have made a dangerous trip across several continents end up being dropped off in Stoke. They learn by word of mouth that Smith will lend a helping hand.

She said the church also becomes a family to those who find themselves alone.

"With the mass movement from across the world we have got people of faith coming into secular society and faith really matters to them," Smith said. "And they are not too bothered, as bothered as we may think, about how that faith is expressed."

 

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Reprinted with permission from CBN.com. Copyright The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., All rights reserved.

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CBN News Featured World News Tue, 26 Jul 2016 17:00:00 -0400
Child Dies in Hot Car While Parents Attend Bible Study http://www.charismanews.com/us/58865-child-dies-in-hot-car-while-parents-attend-bible-study http://www.charismanews.com/us/58865-child-dies-in-hot-car-while-parents-attend-bible-study

A child died after his family left him in a hot car while they attended separate Bible studies at a Dallas church, according to reports.  

Each parent thought the other had removed the boy from the car. They discovered their mistake about 45 minutes into their studies.  

"Every kid comes out of the main service room, and they would read the Bible and sing, and they would go back into that room," fellow church member Reng Om told media. The couple's son didn't enter with the rest of the children. 

The father then ran to the car and brought his son inside. 

"He looked like bad," Om said. "He was grabbing his kid, and the kid would not move, and said, 'I need somebody, help, call the police." 

The child died later that evening in a hospital.  

Please pray for the family as they deal with this tragedy. 

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Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Tue, 26 Jul 2016 16:00:00 -0400
Indiana Republicans Pick Mike Pence's Replacement http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58864-indiana-republicans-pick-mike-pence-s-replacement http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/58864-indiana-republicans-pick-mike-pence-s-replacement

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was facing a stiff test in the November election as he faced re-election, but now that he's been tapped as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's running mate, that fight has been handed over to another candidate.

That candidate will be Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb, following a vote by the state's Republican Central Committee on Tuesday afternoon.

Holcomb just became lieutenant governor in March when his predecessor, Sue Ellspermann, resigned to become president of a college. Prior to accepting Pence's appointment, Holcomb served as an adviser to then-Gov. Mitch Daniels, as chairman of the Indiana Republican Party, and as chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.).

Holcomb had previously announced he intended to run for his boss' Senate seat when Coats announced in 2015 he would not seek re-election. He dropped that bid a few days before he was appointed lieutenant governor.

It is expected that Holcomb will do well in the November election, despite his lack of experience as an elected official. He's highly regarded by most Republicans and is well connected with all of the various factions within the party.

Pence was forced to remove himself from the race due to a state law that prohibits a candidate from appearing twice on the same ballot. Holcomb will face Pence's 2012 foe, former Indiana Speaker of the House John Gregg (D-Sandborn), whom Pence beat by 3.2 percentage points.

During Tuesday's central committee meeting, other candidates considered were U.S. Reps. Susan Brooks and Todd Rokita, and state Sen. Jim Tomes. Late last week, however, Pence endorsed Holcomb as his replacement.

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Bob Eschliman Featured Elections Caucus Tue, 26 Jul 2016 15:00:00 -0400
Why Hecklers Attacked During Preacher's Opening Prayer http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/american-dispatch/58863-why-hecklers-attacked-during-preacher-s-opening-prayer http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/american-dispatch/58863-why-hecklers-attacked-during-preacher-s-opening-prayer

Monday night in Philadelphia the Democrats opened their proceedings with a word of prayer from a Christian minister. Now that in and of itself was a miracle—right up there with the water getting turned into wine.

But when the preacher offered a blessing upon Hillary Clinton, all you-know-what broke loose.

"We have an opportunity, oh God, to give undeniable evidence to our commitment to justice and equality by nominating Hillary Rodham Clinton as our candidate for the highest office in the land," Rev. Cynthia Hale prayed.

They literally heckled the poor lady—booing and jeering right in the middle of her petition to the Almighty. At some point the jeers turned into chants for Bernie Sanders, "Bernie, Bernie ... "

To be clear—they were not chanting the name of Jesus Christ the Savior—they were chanting the name of Bernie Sanders the socialist.

They turned a moment of quiet meditation and reflection into UFC Fight Night.

Was it too much to assume the Democrats would show a little bit of reverence?

Then again, I was at their convention in 2012, when they not only booed God but they tried to vote the Almighty out of their party platform.

That's not to say the Democrats are not religious.

I personally observed vendors in Charlotte selling Obama prayer shawls and artwork that depicted the president as Jesus Christ.

In other words, the DNC only had room for one deity, but their "king of kings" was not the same one we worshipped on Sunday.

I also recall Charlotte being inundated with heavy thunderstorms not too long after their act of public sacrilege. The same thing happened Monday in Philadelphia.

I'm no theologian, but it sounds like the Almighty might be trying to send a subtle message to the liberals.

So all you Democrats, listen up!

The next time you guys pray, bow your heads, close your eyes —and stop acting like a bunch of godforsaken, no-account heathens who don't have the sense God gave a goose.

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Todd Starnes Featured American Dispatch Opinion Tue, 26 Jul 2016 15:00:00 -0400
Democrats' Drive for Unity Takes on Added Dimension http://www.charismanews.com/politics/events/58862-democrats-drive-for-unity-takes-on-added-dimension http://www.charismanews.com/politics/events/58862-democrats-drive-for-unity-takes-on-added-dimension

Hillary Clinton was set to become the first woman presidential nominee of a major U.S. party on Tuesday, a historic moment that Democrats hope will help eclipse rancor between supporters of Clinton and her rival in the primary contests, Bernie Sanders.

The party will seek to burnish Clinton's biography and make its formal nomination on the second day of a convention that began on Monday with anti-Clinton feeling among die-hard Sanders supporters on full and vocal display.

Sanders, one of the main speakers on the first evening, portrayed Clinton as a fellow soldier in his fight for economic equality, but some of his supporters booed the mere mention of her name.

He and the other main speakers on Monday, liberal favorite U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and first lady Michelle Obama, offered stirring endorsements of Clinton as the party tried to push through the discord and find a common goal in beating Republican Donald Trump in the Nov. 8 election.

The furor in Philadelphia was a setback to Democrats' hopes that their convention would contrast with Trump's sometimes chaotic White House campaign and show the party moving beyond the bruising primary battle between Sanders, 74, a U.S. senator from Vermont, and former Secretary of State Clinton, 68.

Supporters see Clinton's Washington credentials—she has also been a first lady and a U.S. senator—as showing she has the experience needed for the White House. Detractors view her as too cozy with the establishment, and with political baggage dating back to the start of her husband's first term in 1993.

Opinion polls show Clinton as deeply unpopular with some Americans. Recent polls have given her "unfavorable" ratings that average 55.4 percent, according to the RealClear Politics website. Trump has a similarly poor number, with "unfavorable" ratings averaging 56.9 percent.

The convention's second day is aimed at highlighting Clinton's work on issues such as women, families and healthcare and as the country's top diplomat, campaign officials said. It will include a prime-time speech by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and the formalities of nominating Clinton to the White House.

NBC and CNN reported on Tuesday that talks were under way to have Sanders take part in the nomination process, in a sign of party unity.

Jess McIntosh, director of communications outreach for the Clinton campaign, did not confirm this on CNN but said, "It wouldn't surprise me that talks like that are happening."

In a show-stealing speech on Monday night, Michelle Obama linked that coming landmark nomination to her own husband's role as the first black U.S. president, saying that: "Because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States."

'MORE SUBSTANTIVE' NOMINATING PROCESS

Sanders, who drew a fervent following of youth and liberals during a primary campaign that called for a tough hand on Wall Street and more aggressive steps to counter social inequality, struggled on Monday to get his own supporters in line.

At a meeting before the convention began, he was jeered by his own delegates when he urged them to back Clinton and focus on defeating Trump, a man he called a "bully and a demagogue."

"We want Bernie!" they shouted in anger at both Clinton's victory in the race for the Democratic nomination and emails leaked on Friday suggesting the party leadership had tried to sabotage Sanders' insurgent campaign.

"Brothers and sisters, this is the real world that we live in," Sanders pleaded.

Clinton representatives sought on Tuesday to put the boos and chants in a positive light.

"It's something we respect," campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri said of the Sanders delegates' noisy support for him. "It is also something that I think has made our party's nominating process ... much more substantive."

Trump reveled in the Democrats' opening day disorder, and made a pitch for Sanders voters to turn to him.

"Sad to watch Bernie Sanders abandon his revolution. We welcome all voters who want to fix our rigged system and bring back our jobs," Trump said on Twitter. Sanders had "totally sold out" to Clinton, he added in another tweet.

A Clinton campaign official noted on Tuesday that while Sanders had backed Clinton, the runner-up in the Republican primary contest, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, refused to endorse Trump at his party's convention last week.

Trump, a 70-year-old New York businessman who has never been elected to public office, has lagged Clinton in most national opinion polls for months. Benefiting from a traditional post-convention "bump," he pulled just ahead of her in at least one survey on Monday.

"We have an enormous task ahead of us," Democratic leader Donna Brazile told a gathering of women delegates on Tuesday. "This is not going to be an easy election, but it's an election we will win with dignity," said Brazile, a vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

In the opening hours of the convention on Monday, party officials struggled to carry out business as angry Sanders supporters roared their disapproval, drawing a deafening response from Clinton delegates.

Sanders tried to head off the disruptions, sending an email to delegates as the convention opened urging them not to interrupt the proceedings.

Several speakers pleaded for peace between the factions. Comedian Sarah Silverman, a Sanders supporter, said she would support Clinton "with gusto" and sternly added, "To the 'Bernie or Bust' people, you're being ridiculous."

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned, effective at the end of the convention, over the email controversy. The committee issued an apology on Monday to Sanders, his supporters, and the whole party for the email flap and said it would take action to ensure it never happens again.

 

© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. 

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John Whitesides and Alana Wise/Reuters Featured Events Caucus Tue, 26 Jul 2016 13:00:00 -0400
To Survive the Summer, Do This 1 Simple Thing http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58861-to-survive-the-summer-do-this-1-simple-thing http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58861-to-survive-the-summer-do-this-1-simple-thing

When I was a wee boy I loved to visit my grandparents who lived in a tiny fishing village in the north of Scotland. Their home was very small, and my brothers and I slept upstairs in bedrooms with sloped ceilings. Lying in bed I loved to hear the sound of the rain on the skylight which was the only window in the bedroom.

When the rain and wind stopped I could hear the sound of the surging sea only a few yards away. The other common sound was the noisy screech of the herring gulls. Even today these sounds bring back fond memories of my boyhood vacations.

Other than the sounds of the rain, the wind, the sea and the birds, there were not many other noises in the village. This was long before the invention of cell phones. Even the boom box was a foreign concept! So in a sense, we were forced to listen to the noises of nature.

My life now in south Charlotte is very different! It is true I still hear birds chirping outside my home, but when I get into my car I automatically put on Sirius radio to listen to CNN or FOX or BBC World News. When I stop at a traffic light I often hear the loud beat of rock music from someone's car, and on the few occasions when I go shopping the music blares not only within the store but from speakers outside the store. When I pump gas, I am surrounded by voices and music. A few feet away someone may be talking loudly into her cell phone.

There is no escape from all the noise.

One of the joys of summer is getting away from it all. While I love people, I also love solitude. It is tough to think or meditate or strategize in the middle of noise. I realize that God is so powerful His voice can be heard in the middle of a thunderstorm, but often I am so busy and living in such a noisy world (much of it of my own doing) that I don't take time to listen to God. One of my goals this summer is to spend more time not only away from noise, but listening to God as I read His Word and pray.

On one occasion in the Gospels, the Lord rose very early in the morning and went to a desolate place where He prayed. The disciples tried to get Him to return to the town to heal people, but our Lord, whose love for people is infinite, knew the importance of solitude, of prayer, of communing with His Father and His God.

So during the summer be more intentional in seeking times of solitude and quietness. These times will renew and refresh us. Then we will be less likely to be irritable or anxious. In the middle of our noisy world may we hear the Lord, as well as listening to the voices of those around us who need an encouraging word and a helpful hand. "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10).

Dr. John Munro is Senior Pastor of Calvary Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.  His blog is http://www.johnhmunro.com/category/blog/ and you can follow him on Twitter at @pastorjohnmunro.   ‬

 

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John Munro Featured Opinion Tue, 26 Jul 2016 14:45:00 -0400
Only Two Miles From DNC 2016, Kermit Gosnell's Clinic Brings Abortion Industry Horrors to Forefront http://www.charismanews.com/us/58860-only-two-miles-from-dnc-2016-kermit-gosnell-s-clinic-brings-abortion-industry-horrors-to-forefront http://www.charismanews.com/us/58860-only-two-miles-from-dnc-2016-kermit-gosnell-s-clinic-brings-abortion-industry-horrors-to-forefront

Hailed by media commentators including Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper on CNN, award-winning documentary 3801 Lancaster: American Tragedy will release on iTunes and Amazon Video on August 2. The hour-long film chronicles the true story of Kermit Gosnell—the convicted doctor whose shuttered abortion clinic still stands, only two miles from the bustling city center hosting the Democratic National Convention this week.

Film director and citizen journalist David Altrogge cannot help but express outrage after careful research of the facts. "Real women and babies lost their lives—because the Pennsylvania Department of State and the Department of Health chose to look the other way," he said in a recent interview. "Whether you're pro-life or pro-choice, can't we at least agree that women deserve better?"

Interviewing Gosnell over seven months, Altrogge developed a relationship of sorts with the notorious abortion doctor—who is currently serving three life sentences in a Pennsylvania prison for involuntary manslaughter of a woman seeking an abortion at his clinic and first-degree murder of three infants born alive (among other criminal charges). Gosnell himself narrates many scenes in the 3801 Lancaster documentary.

Now Altrogge shares his response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the practices of Planned Parenthood ... and why citizens should not stay silent.

Bound4LIFE: What is your reaction to the Supreme Court's decision last month, striking down the Texas law that would have provided higher clinic safety standards?

David Altrogge: I'm disappointed by the Court's decision. It was my hope that, as a nation, we would learn from what happened in Philadelphia at Dr. Gosnell's clinic and implement common sense clinic regulations to prevent it from happening again in Texas and elsewhere. 

The Grand Jury Report in the Gosnell case specifically recommended the implementation of ambulatory surgical center standards to protect women seeking abortions, which is what Texas did through state law HB 2. This Supreme Court decision makes it clear our country hasn't learned what happens when we make women's access to abortion a higher priority than women's safety. It's only a matter of time before our nation has another abortion clinic disaster like we had in Philadelphia.

Bound4LIFE: After spending hours upon hours interviewing Kermit Gosnell personally, why do you believe he subjected women to such poor medical treatment?

David Altrogge: Before actually meeting him, the media reports I heard about Kermit Gosnell were that he's a monster. Then when I started talking to him I realized, Oh my gosh! He's thought through what he's doing and he has rational reasons for it.

It is much easier if we view him as like a "B movie" monster and an aberration. It makes us feel better to think, OK, that was one crazy guy, but thank goodness he was an outlier and there aren't others like him.

What's so troubling is you look at him and you have to ask the questions: What did he believe? What ideas did he buy into over the years that allowed him to be okay with what he was doing?  

Here we have a man who is very intelligent, very successful—who has bought into certain ideas that lead him to some incredibly dark places. They led him to hurt people. That's one of the most disturbing things about this story.

Bound4LIFE: Why did you choose to tell this story from the vantage point of Gosnell's former patients, his family and the investigating officials?

David Altrogge: The making of this film was a very evolutionary process. We knew from the outset we had to tell it from the vantage point of some of his patients—who were some of the first people we found and interviewed for the film.

We also had this incredible document, the Grand Jury Report, that so clearly laid out the case. After reading it, we thought it would be amazing to be able to interview the investigating officials—the crime scene investigators and the narcotics officer who broke the case. But when we started the film in 2011, there was a gag order on the case so no one involved was allowed to talk about it.  

Instead, we started by interviewing former patients, people who had known Gosnell, neighbors and some reporters. After the trial, we had the incredible opportunity to finally do those interviews with those police officers and with the crime scene detectives—all those really powerful interviews.

Bound4LIFE: As you've researched the abortion industry more broadly, do you see the practices of Gosnell's clinic as the exception or the rule? 

David Altrogge: I don't believe that Kermit Gosnell is an outlier in the abortion industry. If you look at the amount of money he made doing what he was doing, there's no way that he's the only guy doing it.

In the film, we also look at another clinic that also had some really dangerous practices going on in Delaware. The similarities between this Delaware case and Gosnell are striking as far as the Delaware Department of State not responding to complaints, just like the Pennsylvania Department of State failed to respond. Just incredibly similar.

Now, are all other clinics as filthy and unsanitary as Dr. Gosnell's clinic? I don't think that is an accurate statement either. But it would be naïve to say there are no others like Kermit Gosnell, who was making a significant profit providing abortion services.

Bound4LIFE: Tell us more about the Planned Parenthood of Delaware story. Why did you include perspectives of pro-choice women on the practices of abortion clinics?

David Altrogge: Right in the middle of our documentary production, this whistleblower story breaks in Delaware and we realized we had to go out there and tell this story too.

It was important to include the perspectives of pro-choice nurses because what we found and what they shared was powerful. You don't have to be pro-life to stand up and say: What's happening here is wrong.    

Even when we disagree on abortion, we should at least agree that women who go into these abortion clinics should expect some level of safe treatment for themselves. It's mind-blowing and unfathomable to me how people who claim to be pro-women can be against any sort of regulations.

To the people who are so vehemently pro-choice, I'd say, Look at what happened at Planned Parenthood of Delaware and at Gosnell's clinic, and what is happening elsewhere. Why can't you at least say this is wrong, and we have to put a stop to that?

Bound4LIFE: As a filmmaker who happens to be a Christian, how do you address fellow believers who choose not to be aware or speak up for the most vulnerable in our society? 

David Altrogge: I would encourage you to look at where Jesus said: "Do for others as you would want them to do for you." When you look at abortion, if you were a potential victim, how would you want others to treat you?  

Turning a blind eye is not an option for Christians. We have to look at this. We have to ask, "What am I called to do as a Christian? How am I called to stand and speak up?" I know it makes us so uncomfortable, but we have to address this issue.

Available now for pre-order, 3801 Lancaster: American Tragedy will release August 2 on iTunes and other video platforms.

For over a decade, Terri Shepherd has taken part in pro-life advocacy with Bound4LIFE International — a grassroots movement to pray for the ending of abortion. She graduated from TheCall Institute at the International House of Prayer University in Kansas City, and earned a degree in social work from the University of Central Florida. Living in the Washington, DC area with her husband, Terri works at a leading Christian public policy organization.

Reprinted with permission from Bound4LIFE.

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Terri Shepherd/Bound4Life Featured U.S. News Tue, 26 Jul 2016 14:30:00 -0400
Is This Undeniable Proof of Matthew 24? http://www.charismanews.com/world/58859-undeniable-proof-of-matthew-24-everything-is-being-done-to-trigger-a-war-of-religions http://www.charismanews.com/world/58859-undeniable-proof-of-matthew-24-everything-is-being-done-to-trigger-a-war-of-religions

Assailants linked to Islamic State slit the throat of an elderly priest and took several worshippers hostage in a French church on Tuesday before police shot the attackers dead.

It was the latest in a wave of attacks in Europe inspired by the Islamist militant group based in Iraq and Syria that is on the defensive against a U.S.-led military coalition in which France is a major partner.

Police said the knifemen entered the church during morning mass near the northern city of Rouen, west of Paris, killing Father Jacques Hamel, an 85-year-old parish priest, and taking four other people hostage, one of whom was seriously wounded.

Police shot the attackers dead as they emerged from the church with their hostages.

Speaking at the scene of the attack in the Normandy town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, President Francois Hollande said Islamic State had declared war on France and the state should "use all its means" within the law to fight the militant group, against which France has launched air strikes in Syria and Iraq.

The president called it a "dreadful terrorist attack" and told reporters the attackers had pledge allegiance to IS. The IS news agency Amaq said two of its "soldiers" were involved.

"The threat remains very high," Hollande said.

The attack was the latest in a string of deadly assaults including the mass killing in Nice, southern France, on Bastille Day 12 days ago and four incidents in Germany, most recently a suicide bombing at a concert in Ansbach on Sunday.

IS has called for its supporters to take action with any available weapons targeting countries that it has been fighting.

The investigation was handed to the anti-terrorist unit of the Paris prosecutor's office.

Several French media reported that one of the knifemen was a local man who had spent a year in jail on his return from Turkey after being intercepted trying to travel to Syria, but had been freed on bail with an electronic tag pending trial for alleged terrorism offences.

The prosecutor's office said the identification of the two suspects was still under way and it was too early to jump to conclusions about a possible link.

Police said one person had been arrested in connection with the attack.

SLAIN PRIEST

Without waiting for such details, ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, expected to enter a conservative primary soon for next year's presidential election, jumped on the latest incident to accuse the Socialist government of being soft on terrorism.

"We must be merciless," Sarkozy said in a statement to reporters. "The legal quibbling, precautions and pretexts for insufficient action are not acceptable. I demand that the government implement without delay the proposals we presented months ago. There is no more time to be wasted."

The center-right opposition wants the government to put all Islamist suspects subject to a confidential security notice under administrative detention to avert potential attacks.

Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, also expected to run for the presidency, said both major parties had failed on security. "All those who have governed us for 30 years bear an immense responsibility. It's revolting to watch them bickering!" she said on Twitter.

Hollande insisted that the government must stick to the rule of law, which was what the hallmark of a democracy.

Pope Francis condemned what he called a "barbarous killing".

"The fact that this episode took place in a church, killing a priest, a minister of the Lord and involving the faithful, is something that affects us profoundly," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said.

The attack heaped yet more pressure on Hollande to regain control of national security, with France already under a state of emergency 10 months ahead of a presidential election in which he is widely expected to seek a second term.

The Normandy attack came less than two weeks after a 31-year-old Tunisian, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, plowed his heavy goods truck into a crowd of revelers in the French Riviera city of Nice, killing 84 people. Islamic State claimed that attack.

"Everything is being done to trigger a war of religions," tweeted Jean-Pierre Raffarin, a former conservative prime minister who now heads the Senate's foreign affairs committee.

Hollande visited the Normandy town with Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, meeting survivors of the church attack and members of the emergency services.

Cazeneuve has come under fire from conservative politicians for not doing enough to prevent the Nice attack, which prompted lawmakers to approve a six-month extension of emergency rule. {eoa}

© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

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Noemie Olive/Reuters Featured World News Tue, 26 Jul 2016 14:00:00 -0400
Leader in Atheistic Nation Offers Stern Warning for US http://www.charismanews.com/world/58858-leader-in-atheistic-nation-offers-stern-warning-for-us http://www.charismanews.com/world/58858-leader-in-atheistic-nation-offers-stern-warning-for-us

As the culture wars continue across the United States, a leading Australian public relations specialist who deals with churches and faith-based organizations across the world has urged American churches not to be afraid to speak out about their values.

Lyall Mercer, Managing Director of Mercer PR, revealed that Australian schools are increasingly taking gender-neutral positions on issues like names, dress and behavior despite the opposition of the vast majority of Australians, and believes that "America isn't far behind."

He said that many churches seem reluctant to stand up for their traditional values because they are too afraid of the potential backlash on social media and in the mainstream media.

"As a public relations adviser, I would say this concern is reasonable and churches must be careful what they say; however, there is an argument that churches should take a stand because it is the right thing to do.

"If public comments are made in a respectful and measured manner, any criticism will be countered by the vast weight of public support."

Mr. Mercer said the so called "silent majority" is real and are just waiting for someone to take the lead.

"Unfortunately in Australia—and increasingly in the USA—labels like bigot, dinosaur, homophobe and intolerant are tossed around, usually by those who are displaying their own intolerance against any position they don't agree with and are trying to prevent a legitimate debate of issues that everyday people care about."

He said churches and faith-based organizations are still held in high regard in America and should use this position to influence the debate.

"I lived in the USA for almost seven years and I was amazed at how much respect the church still has compared to other parts of the western world, so when the American church speaks it does so from a position of strength not weakness.

"The lack of a voice by the church continues to cede ground to those with alternative agendas and views, so church leaders should not be fearful of standing up for what they believe."

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Lyall Mercer/Christian Newswire Featured World News Tue, 26 Jul 2016 13:00:00 -0400
David Daleiden Is Having a Great Day http://www.charismanews.com/politics/issues/58857-david-daleiden-is-having-a-great-day http://www.charismanews.com/politics/issues/58857-david-daleiden-is-having-a-great-day

Appearing in court Tuesday with his attorneys, who were set to argue that felony charges against him and another Christian pro-life activist should be quashed, David Daleiden got some unexpected good news.

All charges against him have now been dropped by the Harris County (Texas) District Attorney's Office. Daleiden and investigator Sandra Merritt had each faced up to 20 years in prison for their part in exposing Planned Parenthood's sale of aborted baby body parts and tissue for medical research purposes.

Instead, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress gave an impromptu press conference with his attorneys to celebrate their win.

"The dismissal of the bogus, politically motivated charges against CMP project lead David Daleiden and investigator Sandra Merritt is a resounding vindication of the First Amendment rights of all citizen journalists, and also a clear warning to any of Planned Parenthood's political cronies who would attack whistleblowers to protect Planned Parenthood from scrutiny," they said. "Planned Parenthood tried to collude with public officials to manipulate the legal process to their own benefit, and they failed.

"A year after the release of the undercover videos, the ongoing nationwide investigation of Planned Parenthood by the House Select Investigative Panel makes clear that Planned Parenthood is the guilty party in the harvesting and trafficking of baby body parts for profit."

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Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Tue, 26 Jul 2016 12:00:00 -0400
Biblical Garden of Eden Discovered in Iraq's Marshes http://www.charismanews.com/world/58856-biblical-garden-of-eden-discovered-in-iraq-s-marshes http://www.charismanews.com/world/58856-biblical-garden-of-eden-discovered-in-iraq-s-marshes

A wetland in southeast Iraq, thought to be the biblical Garden of Eden and almost completely drained during Saddam Hussein's rule, has become a UNESCO world heritage site, Iraqi authorities said on Sunday. 

Fed by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the marshlands of Mesopotamia are spawning grounds for Gulf fisheries and home to bird species such as the sacred ibis. They also provide a resting spot for thousands of wildfowl migrating between Siberia and Africa. 

Saddam Hussein, who accused the region's Marsh Arab inhabitants of treachery during the 1980-1988 war with Iran, dammed and drained the marshes in the 1990s to flush out rebels hiding in the reeds. 

After his overthrow by the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, locals wrecked many of the dams to let water rush back in, and foreign environmental agencies helped breathe life back into the marshes. 

The marshes, which covered 9,000 square kilometers (3,500 square miles) in the 1970s, had shrunk to just 760 sq km by 2002 before regaining some 40 percent of the original area by 2005. Iraq has said it aims to recover a total of 6,000 sq km. 

Vast, remote and bordering Iran, the marshes have been used in recent years for drugs and arms smuggling, receiving stolen goods and keeping hostages for ransom. 

The Marsh Arabs have lived in the wetlands for millennia, but are on the fringes of Iraqi society. A study put their population at 400,000 in the 1950s but several hundred thousand fled Saddam's repression or become economic migrants. 

Estimates of the numbers returning vary wildly. Many Marsh Arabs are illiterate and have struggled to find work outside the marshes. 

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday praised UNESCO's decision, which he said "coincides with the consecutive military victories in the war against" Islamic State. 

The militant group, which has been pushed back from about half the territory it seized in 2014, controls some of the world's richest archaeological sites in northern Iraq but has not come close to the country's south. {eoa}

© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

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Stephen Kalin/Reuters Featured World News Tue, 26 Jul 2016 12:00:00 -0400
If Donald Trump Doesn't Win, Here's What Will Happen http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58855-if-donald-trump-doesn-t-win-here-s-what-will-happen http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/58855-if-donald-trump-doesn-t-win-here-s-what-will-happen

If Donald Trump does not win the American presidency, televangelist Jim Bakker believes it will be the end of his show—and public evangelism as we know it.  

"Anybody outside the church, they'll shut all religious activity down," Bakker tells pastor Ramiro Pena. 

For the two, the election is more about how the person with the presidential reins will execute his or her power; specifically, who they will put on the Supreme Court. 

"Listen to me, church," Pena says. "With Donald Trump," here's what we get. Watch the video to see.  

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Jessilyn Justice Featured Opinion Tue, 26 Jul 2016 11:30:00 -0400