Charisma News | Breaking News. Spiritual Perspective. Tue, 03 Mar 2015 22:15:11 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb 'Pro-Life' Governor Vetoes Pain-Capable Abortion Bill

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed House Bill 2568, aka the "pain-capable abortion" bill this morning, citing constitutional concerns.  

However, the Republican-dominated House has enough support to override his veto. 

"He claims he's pro-life, but vetoes this bill that would protect an unborn child," says Melody Potter, Republican national committeewoman for West Virginia.

This is the second time Tomblin has turned down such a bill. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would have banned abortions after 20 weeks, when the baby can feel pain. 

"Outraged," Potter says of the feeling of those in the state. "It's overwhelming. You see what the people want because of senators and House of Reps., and the governor is trying to override the will of the people." 

"As reflected in my voting record during my time in the Legislature, I believe there is no greater gift of love than the gift of life. As governor, I must take into consideration a number of factors when reviewing legislation, including its constitutionality. At the start of the regular session, I urged members of the Legislature to consider a compromise that would help us establish legislation that would pass constitutional muster. Having received a substantially similar bill to the one vetoed last year on constitutional grounds, I must veto House Bill 2568," says Tomblin. 

The bill received overwhelming support in both state chambers. 

"We had a bill that actually made it through the entire legislative process, two committees on each side and the floors without any amendments, but still I guess the Governor received some advice that lead him to veto the bill," House Whip John O'Neal tells the West Virginia MetroNews

"I heard today House of Delegates is going to push forward to have a vote. I haven't talked to Senate, but I believe they will push forward for a vote," Potter said this afternoon. "If Republicans alone vote to override the veto, we would have enough votes to override." 

The governor cited Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa v Casey as his Constitutional reasoning, as well as Isaacness v Horne, which ruled the baby is incapable of feeling pain at 20 weeks.

Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:00:00 -0500
Obama Rebukes Israel's Netanyahu Over Iran Speech to Congress

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the United States on Tuesday that it was negotiating a bad deal with Iran that paved the way to a "nuclear nightmare," drawing a rebuke from President Barack Obama and exposing the depth of a U.S.-Israeli rift. 

Delivering dueling messages within hours of each other, Netanyahu made his case against Obama's Iran diplomacy in a speech to Congress that aligned himself with the president's Republican foes. Obama responded in the Oval Office, declaring in a frustrated tone that Netanyahu offered "nothing new." 

In its response, the Iranian government denounced Netanyahu's 39-minute speech as "boring and repetitive," the state news agency IRNA said. 

"If the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran, that deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons—it will all but guarantee that Iran will get those nuclear weapons, lots of them," the Israeli leader said, offering a point-by-point critique of Obama's strategy. 

In an appearance boycotted by dozens of Obama's fellow Democrats, Netanyahu said Iran's leadership was "as radical as ever," could not be trusted, and the deal being worked out with world powers would not block Iran's way to a bomb "but paves its way to a bomb." 

"This deal won't be a farewell to arms, it will be a farewell to arms control ... a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare," Netanyahu told lawmakers and visitors in the House of Representatives. His speech drew 26 standing ovations. 

Netanyahu both inveighed against the emerging terms of a deal and suggested broadening the scope of negotiations to require a change to Iran's regional posture—an idea swiftly rejected by the Obama administration as de facto "regime change" in Tehran. But Netanyahu also avoided any call for new U.S. sanctions now or for a total rollback of Iranian nuclear technologies—a signal that Israel might be able to resign itself to less. 

In a 10-minute rebuttal to Netanyahu's address, Obama said the prime minister offered no viable alternatives. "The alternative that the prime minister offers is no deal," he said. 

Netanyahu's speech culminated a diplomatic storm triggered by his acceptance in January of a Republican invitation that bypassed the White House. Many Democrats considered it an affront to the president. 

Obama refused to meet Netanyahu, saying that doing so just ahead of Israel's March 17 general election would be seen as interference. The president, who has a history of testy encounters with Netanyahu, said he did not watch the speech, which was broadcast live on U.S. television. He said he did read the transcript. 

Underscoring the partisan divide over Netanyahu's address, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said afterwards that as a friend of Israel, she was near tears during his speech. She called the speech "an insult to the intelligence of the United States" and said she was "saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran." 

As many as 60 of the 232 Democratic members of Congress sat out the address. 

Netanyahu entered the chamber to a cacophony of cheers and applause, shaking hands with dozens of lawmakers, including House Speaker John Boehner, before taking a podium and telling lawmakers he was deeply humbled. 

At the start of the speech, he sought to defuse the intense politicization of his appearance, which has hardened divisions between Republicans and Democrats over the White House approach to stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. 

Netanyahu said he was grateful to Obama for his public and private support of Israel, including U.S. military assistance and contributions to Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system. 

"I regret that some see my appearance here as political," he said. "I know that no matter which side of the aisle you sit on, you stand with Israel." 

Although given the cold shoulder by the U.S. administration, Netanyahu on Monday offered an olive branch, saying he meant no disrespect to Obama by accepting an invitation orchestrated by the Republicans.

Charisma's Jennifer LeClaire is calling for urgent intercession over Netanyahu

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Dan Williams and Matt Spetalnick/Reuters Featured U.S. News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:00:00 -0500
Israel’s Netanyahu Sends a Powerful Message to Congress, but Where Is the Obama Administration?

Today Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a powerful message to Congress.

It was a much needed warning about the dangers of a nuclear Iran.

Prime Minister Netanyahu understands firsthand the dangers posed by a nuclear Iran—the very lives of the Jewish people and the future of the nation of Israel itself hang in the balance.

It is disturbing that President Obama met with Muslim leaders with ties to the radical terrorist group the Muslim Brotherhood, but refuses to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

The administration should be embarrassed by the way it has snubbed the leader of Israel—our most trusted and important ally in the Middle East.

It is both troubling and disappointing that the Obama Administration chose to ignore this vital opportunity to stand with our ally in speaking out against terrorism and to assure the American people that securing a deal with Iran will not create a nuclear Iran.

It is clear that the American people stand with Israel. It's about time our president makes clear that he does too.

The bullying tactics must end. Israel is our friend—our ally in the fight against terrorism.

As we work through our offices in Jerusalem, at the United Nations, and on Capitol Hill to defend Israel's right to defend itself, we want to send a message to the White House and Congress. America stands with Israel.

Jay Sekulow Featured Opinion Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:00:00 -0500
WATCH: Brave Muslim Woman Warns of Islamic State's Apocalyptic Mission


The terrorist group known as Islamic State, or ISIS, has issued a call on jihadis around the world to kill Twitter employees over blocked accounts. Among those on the target list include Twitter's founder Jack Dorsey.

"Your virtual war on us will cause a real war on you," an online post released by ISIS said. "We told you from the beginning it's not your war, but you didn't get it and kept closing our accounts on Twitter, but we always come back."

Twitter is taking the threats seriously. In recent weeks, Twitter and YouTube have deleted posts and shutdown accounts that released ISIS videos.

Meanwhile, one brave Muslim women said President Barack Obama's insistence that ISIS is not Islamic is "completely wrong" and that his reluctance to label the enemy will have dire consequences.

Asra Nomani is author of Standing Alone: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam.

Nomani recently wrote an article for The Daily Beast titled, "Will It Take the End of the World for Obama to Recognize ISIS as 'Islamic'?" in which she argues that the president's "verbal tap dance around Islamic theology and extremism" is "completely wrong."

"We have to own the issue of extremist Islamic theology in order to defeat it and remove it from our world. We have to name it to tame it," Nomani wrote.

She describes herself as a Muslim feminist and is a contributor at The Daily Beast.

In an in-depth interview with CBN News, Nomani also warned that ISIS is on an end-of-days Islamic apocalyptic mission. She said the world must grasp their evil ideology to even try to defeat them.

If the world doesn't wake up to their spiritual and territorial ambitions, she warns the consequences for the region and especially for Christians of the Middle East will be dire.

Watch her insightful comments here. You can follow George Thomas on Facebook  and on Instagram.

George Thomas/CBN News Featured World News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 14:00:00 -0500
WATCH: Intercessor Punished for Praying 'Too Loudly'

The pastor's wife makes her way up and down the streets of Lisbon, North Dakota, praying and singing to bring God glory. 

But according to police, her prayers were "unnecessary noise."  

Is the woman making a joyful noise unto the Lord or just being a public nuisance. Watch the video to decide for yourself.

Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 13:00:00 -0500
North Korea Warns US About Pre-Emptive Strike 'if Necessary'

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong said on Tuesday that his country had the power to deter an "ever-increasing nuclear threat" by the United States with a pre-emptive strike if necessary. 

His rare speech at the U.N.-backed Conference on Disarmament drew a rebuke from U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood, who urged Pyongyang to stop making threats and rid itself of nuclear weapons. 

Ri said joint military exercises currently being staged by South Korea and the United States were "unprecedentedly provocative in nature and have an especially high possibility of sparking off a war." 

"The DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) cannot but bolster its nuclear deterrent capability to cope with the ever-increasing nuclear threat of the U.S.," he told the Geneva forum. "Now the DPRK has the power of deterring the U.S. and conducting a pre-emptive strike as well, if necessary." 

North Korea fired two short-range missiles off its eastern coast on Monday, South Korean officials said, in a move seen as a defiant response to this year's U.S.-South Korean military exercises. Pyongyang regularly denounces the annual drills, which it views as a preparation for war. 

The missiles landed in the sea between the Korean Peninsula and southern Japan early on Monday after travelling for about 490 km (305 miles), according to South Korea's Defence Ministry. 

Ri, speaking in Korean, did not refer to the firing. 

Takashi Uto, Japan's parliamentary vice-minister for foreign affairs, told the forum the missile firing was a "clear violation" of U.N. Security Council resolutions. 

U.S. envoy Wood said the exercises with South Korea, held for almost 40 years, were "transparent and defence-oriented". 

"We call on the DPRK to immediately cease all threats, reduce tensions and take the necessary steps towards denuclearization needed to resume credible negotiations," Wood said, referring to six-party talks that collapsed in 2008. 

"We will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state and we will do what is necessary to defend ourselves and our allies," he added. 

Later at the U.N. Human Rights Council, Ri rejected the findings of an inquiry last year based on testimony from defectors and people still in North Korea. Its report said violations committed by the state may amount to crimes against humanity and called for prosecutions. 

"The hostile forces are only interested to hear from such scum of mankind as the so-called 'defectors from the North' who fled abandoning their parents, wives and children after committing crimes at home," Ri said. 

He called on the forum to address "brutal torture crimes" he said were committed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

 © 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Stephanie Nebehay Featured World News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 12:30:00 -0500
Franklin Graham Thanks Politicians Who Voted Down This Dangerous Bill

How big of an issue was the transgender restroom ordinance vote on Monday night at the Charlotte City Council?

For more than four hours, a packed city chambers and 11 city council members listened to some 120 people express their feelings on the ordinance that would allow biological males to use any female public restroom.

After a marathon meeting and a very spirited, emotional debate, the City Council voted to remove the transgender bathroom provision from the ordinance proposal. The Council then voted on an amended ordinance that would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories.

That new proposal was voted down 6-5 shortly before midnight.

Council members Michael Barnes, Kenny Smith, LaWana Mayfield, Ed Driggs, John Autry and Greg Phipps voted against it. Voting for the ordinance were council members David Howard, Claire Fallon, Vi Lyles, Patsy Kinsey and Al Austin, all Democrats.

"A big thank you to the council members who stood against this proposition," Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said.

Had the ordinance passed, all restrooms in both public and private business in Charlotte, North Carolina, would be required to allow men who identify themselves as women—and women who identify as men—to use any women's restroom, locker room and showers without repercussions.

The ordinance would apply to all Charlotte restaurants, stores, bars, gas stations, parks, zoos, libraries, bowling alleys, theaters and many other public places.

"I cannot see why City Council would even consider this," Franklin Graham said earlier of the proposal. "It is not only ridiculous, it's unsafe.

"Common sense tells us that this would open the door, literally, to all sorts of serious concerns including giving sexual predators access to children. It violates every sense of privacy and decency for people of both sexes, adults and children."

A peaceful protest was held before the City Council meeting, drawing hundreds, including pastors Mark Harris and Michael Brown, Tami Fitzgerald of the North Carolina Values Coalition and the Benham Brothers, whose HGTV show was pulled because of their religious beliefs.

BGEA Featured U.S. News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 12:00:00 -0500
Native American Apostle Jay Swallow Passes Away

Dr. Jay Swallow has gone home to be with the Lord.

Swallow was a Cheyenne-Sioux and a U.S. Navy veteran who preached, taught, fed, clothed and prayed for native people from the Arctic Circle to Central America for over 50 years.

Swallow was widely regarded as an apostolic father to Christians of all colors and backgrounds. In recent years he traveled to other continents to minister to indigenous and non-indigenous people, with the intent of healing their lands and nations through the redemptive power of Jesus Christ.

"Another general in the body of Christ passed into heaven early this morning, Apostle Jay Swallow of the Southern Cheyenne tribe," says Rebecca Greenwood, co-founder and president of Christian Harvest International. "We will truly miss him. He was a great man of God who brought unsurpassed supernatural healing to the land, between First Nations people and us, the white man. He was a true father in the faith and great lover of Jesus. Please pray for his wife, Joan, their children and grand children during this time. Greg and I love and honor you Apostle Jay Swallow!"

Swallow served as an instrumental adviser to 253 Native American tribes. As a direct descendant of two notable Cheyenne Nation Chiefs, Chief Black Kettle (Peace Chief) and Chief Little Bear (Military Chief), he is remembered as one of the leading influential men of the Cheyenne Nation.

"Today many reservations, isolated geographically from the mainstream of city life are still pressing toward establishing churches in their part of the world. Dr. Swallow saw the need to train leaders who could be a support to pastors," reads a bio on his website. "These leaders could travel to remote areas and assist pastors in their efforts to effectively reach their communities with the gospel. In 1997, Dr. Swallow and Dr. Bigpond realized that by combining their visions they could reach more people. In 1998 Two Rivers Native American Training Center was formed and officially opened its doors."

Swallow was awarded an honorary doctorate of Divinity from Jacksonville Theological Seminary in Florida. He played an active role in the development of a joint resolution of apology to Native peoples for ill-conceived policies by the U.S. government regarding Indian Tribes, frequently traveling to Washington, D.C., to work with former Senator Sam Brownback, who is now Governor of Kansas.

In light of his tireless work with the resolution, Charisma magazine named Swallow one of the Ten Most Influential Christian Leaders of 2006. 

Jennifer LeClaire Featured U.S. News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:30:00 -0500
The Strangest 'Hate Crime' You've Ever Read About Takes a Twist

Sixteen members of a breakaway Amish group were resentenced on Monday after an Ohio appellate court ruled in August that they did not commit a hate crime when they cut the beards and hair of fellow members of their religious faith. 

Eight members of the group, who already have completed their prison sentences, will not be given additional time, according to an email that U.S. District Court Judge Aaron Polster sent to defense attorneys last week. 

It was not clear what would happen to the other eight Amish men and woman from Bergholz, a rural community southeast of Cleveland. 

Wendi Overmyer, attorney for Samuel Mullet, 69, leader of the sect, has asked for time served for her client. Mullet is three years into a 15-year sentence, the longest of the group. 

Federal prosecutors argued that the remaining conspiracy and obstruction convictions warrant even longer sentences for some of the Amish still incarcerated. 

Amish women do not cut their hair or wear jewelry. After marriage, Amish men grow beards. 

In the original trial, prosecutors called Mullet a "cult leader" who orchestrated the hair-cutting attacks as retaliation for personal and spiritual disagreements he had with Amish in other groups. During the trial, which was held in Cleveland, several victims said they were humiliated when the defendants sheared their hair. 

As the Amish bishop of Bergholz, Mullet was considered by prosecutors to be the ringleader even though he was not present at any of the five separate attacks on nine different individuals in 2011. 

The victims had religious and personal ties to the Bergholz community. 

A jury found in February 2012 that four of the five attacks amounted to a hate crime under the Hate Crime Act. But, in August 2014, the 6th Circuit Appellate Court reversed and remanded convictions in the hate crimes. The conspiracy to conceal evidence charges remained. 

Overmyer claimed in a Feb. 20 sentencing memorandum that, "The 39 months served to date by Samuel Mullet is a proportionate sentence to other obstruction cases. 

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Kim Palmer Featured U.S. News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:00:00 -0500
Megachurch Pastor Goes Missing During Mission to North Korea

A head pastor of large Canadian church has failed to return from a humanitarian mission to North Korea, and the Canadian government has reached out to try to locate him, his Toronto-based church said on Monday. 

Reverend Hyeon Soo Lim, 60, has made hundreds of trips to North Korea, where he helps oversee a nursing home, a nursery and an orphanage in the Rajin region, said Lisa Pak, a spokeswoman for the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in suburban Toronto. 

North Korea and China have clamped down on Christian groups in the last year, and several American Christians have been detained by North Korea. 

Pak said they have not heard from Lim since Jan. 31 but were not initially worried because he is an experienced traveler and knows the country well. They also thought he could be caught up by North Korea's quarantine of foreign travelers who may have been exposed to Ebola. 

North Korea ended the quarantine program on Monday. 

"This is not an unusual trip for him ... he's not a tourist who got lost, he speaks Korean, he's been there many times," said Pak. "We didn't want to cause unnecessary hysteria, just make sure he is OK. He's very non-political; he just wants to help the people." 

The 3,000-member church, where Lim has been head pastor for 28 years, has done humanitarian work in North Korea since about 1997, Pak said. Lim immigrated to Canada from South Korea in 1986 and has a wife and grown son, she said. 

Lim left Toronto on Jan. 27, flew to South Korea, and planned to visit China and North Korea during his trip, Pak said. After hearing from Lim on Jan. 31, the church expected him to be out of contact until Feb. 4. When he did not contact the church, it waited another 21 days to allow for a possible Ebola quarantine. 

The Canadian government said consular officials are in contact with Lim's family members and have offered consular assistance but declined to comment on Lim's situation. 

Ottawa advises against all travel to North Korea. 

The North Korean government takes a hard line against proselytizing, seeing religion as a threat to the Kim family, which has ruled it since the end of World War Two and been portrayed as demigods in state propaganda. 

A U.N. report this year cited estimates that between 200,000 and 400,000 of North Korea's 24 million people are Christians. The number is impossible to verify because most Christians cannot worship openly.

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Andrea Hopkins/Reuters Featured World News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 10:30:00 -0500
Iran Calls Obama's Nuclear Demand 'Unacceptable'

Iran on Tuesday rejected as "unacceptable" U.S. President Barack Obama's demand that it freeze sensitive nuclear activities for at least 10 years, but said it would continue talks aimed at securing a deal, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported. 

"Iran will not accept excessive and illogical demands," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted as saying by Fars. 

"Obama's stance ... is expressed in unacceptable and threatening phrases ... ," he reportedly said, adding that negotiations underway in Switzerland would nonetheless carry on. 

Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sat down for a second day of meetings hours after Obama had told Reuters that Iran must commit to a verifiable halt of at least 10 years on sensitive nuclear work for a landmark atomic deal to be reached. 

The aim of the negotiations is to persuade Iran to restrain its nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions that have crippled the oil exporter's economy. 

The United States and some of its allies, notably Israel, suspect Iran of using its civil nuclear program as a cover to develop a nuclear weapons capability. Iran denies this, saying it is for peaceful purposes such as generating electricity. 

Kerry and Zarif met in the Swiss lakeside town of Montreux as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepared to criticize the diplomacy in a speech to Congress in Washington. 

Despite the tough tone of Zarif's remarks quoted by Fars, the Iranian struck a more conciliatory tone when he spoke briefly to reporters after about two hours of talks with Kerry. 

Asked if the two sides had reached an agreement, Zarif replied: "We'll try, that's why we are here." 

"There is a seriousness that we need to move forward. As we have said all along, we need the necessary political will to understand that the only way to move forward is though negotiations," he added. 

Speaking after the morning round of talks, Kerry told reporters: "We're working away. Productively." 

The two sides have set a deadline of late March to reach a framework agreement and of June for a comprehensive final settlement that would curb Iran's nuclear activity to ensure it cannot be put to bomb making in return for the lifting of the economic sanctions. 

Iran wants a swift end to sanctions in any deal -- one of the sticking points in the high-level negotiations. 

While the United States has played the lead role in the talks with Iran, it is representing five other major powers: Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia -- a group collectively known both as the P5+1 and the E3+3. 

Speaking in Geneva, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier sounded an upbeat note, saying the negotiations had made more progress in the past year than in the previous decade. 

"The talks between the E3+3 and Iran are also advancing well," he told the U.N.-backed Conference on Disarmament. "I would even go so far as to say that in 10 years of negotiations, we never achieved as much progress as we have made this year."

 © 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Arshad Mohammed Featured World News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 10:15:00 -0500
I Was There When the World Went Mad

I heard it with my own ears. If I believe I'm a woman, even though I'm a male in every other way, then I'm a woman and can use the women's restroom. And if I believe I'm a horse, I can use the stable. After all I'm not hurting anyone.

I heard it with my own ears.

The LGBT protesters in Charlotte, North Carolina, were chanting, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, transphobia's got to go."

They were seeking to disrupt our Christian rally where we called on the City Council to vote "no" to the so-called nondiscrimination bill, one which would actually discriminate against Christians and other people of conservative moral values and one which would make all public bathrooms and locker rooms gender neutral.

I had just finished speaking and tried to engage some of the protesters, asking them what "transphobia" was.

When I didn't fit their definition of having an irrational fear of individuals who identify as transgender, I was told that my failure to embrace their identity made me transphobic.

I asked one young man, an African-American, if he would consider me black if I really believed I was black.

He explained that skin color was outwardly determined but that it was "primitive" to claim that gender was determined by one's biological and chromosomal sex. Primitive!

No, gender was determined entirely by how you felt in your own mind, regardless of biology and anatomy.

When I pressed him on the matter of racial identity, he conceded my point. If I genuinely believed I was black, then I was black.

That prompted me to ask the City Council members when I had my turn to speak later that night (I was one of more than 115 people who signed up to address the issue) if I should be entitled to minority housing benefits if I was convinced I was really black.

This was not meant to mock but to underscore the absurdity of dismissing all external tests and claiming that reality is determined by whatever I believe it to be. How can human society even exist with such social madness?

Most frightening of all was the passion with which these protesters presented their views. To call them intensely close-minded and dogmatic would be a severe understatement.

When I asked a young lady if I could use a stable if I believed I was a horse, she said "yes" without slightest hesitation. And while she didn't have children of her own (she said she's unable to) she wanted me to know that she teaches 90 young children and would be perfectly at home with them sharing a bathroom with, say, a biological male who believed he was female.

For me even to question her was absurd in her eyes, and yet this young woman is influencing our little ones.

As for the comments about being a horse, there are actually people who suffer from what is called "species dysphoria," being convinced that they are part animal.

What makes this all the more bizarre is that they don't believe they have a disorder. They actually celebrate their animal identity.

If you don't believe me, just do a search for "Otherkin," defined on Wikipedia as "those who identify as partially or entirely nonhuman. They contend that they are, in spirit if not in body, not human." (Some also believe they are part extra-terrestrial.)

And they are dead serious about it, also claiming that their numbers are in the hundreds of thousands. There was even a reality TV show about them that aired on a gay channel in 2013.

Of course, I've known about these subjects and written on them for some time now, but it was still a bit of a shocker to hear people arguing with me so passionately about the meaninglessness of all physical realities—and it was all quite sad to see.

It really feels like the world is going completely mad.

I was there when it happened.

 Michael Brown is the author of 25 books, including Can You Be Gay and Christian? and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show "The Line of Fire." He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience.

Michael Brown Featured In the Line of Fire Opinion Tue, 03 Mar 2015 10:00:00 -0500
Embracing Mothers in Need Is the Way to End Abortion, says Director of 'The Drop Box'

Brian Ivie has wanted to make movies since age 9. Accepted into the University of Southern California-School of Cinematic Arts, he saw an L.A. Times headline one day and dreamed that directing an unconventional documentary could be his ticket to Sundance Film Festival. Then God intervened ... as the student began his film shoot in South Korea.

Instead of Sundance, Ivie now partners with Focus on the Family and his film The Drop Box has already achieved a noteworthy feat in the digital age: over 8 million trailer views online, showing significant audience interest in a documentary.

Following a screening of The Drop Box in Washington, D.C., he shares his story of abandonment, rescue, disability, unconditional love ... and why our culture finds it compelling.

: In a recent interview, you said of your early years in film school: "Movies were god to me." Tell us about that season in your life. 

Brian Ivie: For me as a kid, movies were larger than life. Every summer, I would knock on doors and wrangle all the neighborhood kids together to film our own versions of The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or James Bond. We didn't mean for them to be spoofs, but they ended up being complete spoofs.

At the start, it was never really about the end product. We didn't have a script. We found the story, kinda like a treasure hunt. But that was more of the point anyway. It was never about art. It was about adventure and getting caught up in a battle with your best friends. After we finished editing, we'd put on a screening with every family in the neighborhood.

My parents didn't know it then ... but I was planning to make that circus the rest of my life. And that was a good thing, until it became an ultimate thing.

Bound4LIFE: You've shared often about the L.A. Times article on Pastor Lee, and how that led you to head to South Korea. What about that story inspired you to action?

Brian Ivie: I read that article over breakfast, about this man in South Korea who had built a depository for disabled babies. I couldn't believe it. I was haunted by the image of this man holding a baby inside a box.

At the same time, I was compelled. The images got into my bones—the way the best stories did when I watched one movie per day in high school.

It was like I was seeing real courage for the first time in my life. Courage displayed on a battlefield that I actually understood: a normal neighborhood. Not Gettysburg, not Iraq. Just someone's neighborhood. But the stakes were life-and-death, like this man had built a bunker for babies and was defending it with his life, saying, "No one dies here. Not in my town."

It was a story that actually made my food grow cold. I had to have it. In a selfish way, I had to use this story—maybe even use these people—to get where I had always dreamed of going.

A month later, I got an email from the pastor himself, which basically invited us to stay with him (though he didn't know what a documentary was). On Dec. 15, 2011, 10 friends and I flew to South Korea to make a documentary about saving Korean babies. I had no idea that God was planning to save me.

 So you landed in the city of Seoul, South Korea. How would you compare it to California? 

Brian Ivie: South Korea is like a place they built with Legos if they had lost the instruction manual: miles and miles of greens, blues, and orange-colored coffee shops, stacked one on top of the other.

It was like a whole other planet to me at first, at least in the poorer parts. But that was mainly my fault. I never wanted to see the world; I had wanted to live near the things that made sense to me, that were comfy and cozy.

But Korea ... Korea felt more alive, more real. Like people actually felt pain and went through the thick of it. It was even dangerous. I say that especially because our taxi driver was watching TV while he drove us to Pastor Lee's house for the first time. 

 Turning to what you encountered in that home, you really grounded the documentary of this unique rescue ministry in Pastor Lee and his wife's love story.

Brian Ivie: Before making this film, I loved weak-at-the-knees Hollywood stuff. I loved love. But what I learned from Pastor Lee is that affection can never set somebody free from porn addictions or rage or abusive patterns. It has to be a higher love, a sacrificial love. 

At the same time, I think part of my intention was to maintain the romance and gentleness of God's love. Don't get me wrong, I'm not skittish about hell, justice and wrath. I believe that I was running toward the fire and that Jesus saved me.

But God is also deeply kind. He's deeply romantic, in soft ways and in tough ways. The Bible is the most romantic book in the world. And even on the frontlines of war, there's always room for two people to look at one another, and smile. 

Bound4LIFE: You take it from that personal level to a bigger picture, featuring many leading South Korean voices on adoption. Were there common answers on how to solve this epidemic of abandoned children

Brian Ivie: It's clear in the film that we don't believe building more boxes is the solution to abandonment. It's obviously an act of compassion in a desperate situation. Many people, of course, made other compassionate suggestions, such as increased welfare for mothers and sex education for students that could curb the problem.

However, no matter the political stance, every person agreed that the solution would be found in building a culture of life. Not just for children, but also for unwed mothers. 

 It's an idea we're seeing take root in the pro-life movement: "To end abortion, the adoption movement must grow."

Brian Ivie: That's spot on. The Drop Box is the story of one man who did more than tell women not to abort or abandon. He actually offered to embrace their suffering. He actually adopted their disabled kids.

Embracing mothers, especially by making ourselves available to them—even to the point of taking the difficulties upon ourselves—is the only way forward. Otherwise, our screams and Facebook posts and marches feel like big, empty promises.

My hope is that this film would unify the pro-life movement underneath that same banner of promise. The one that reads, "We love you and we'll suffer with you both."

Bound4LIFE: Your journey to knowing God has encouraged so many people. Were other film crew members impacted? 

Brian Ivie: Well, my brother also became a Christian after making the film with me. He was the closest thing to an atheist our family has ever had. At 18, he told my dad that he could make his own decisions, and was therefore deciding to leave the church.

After seeing Pastor Lee, I think that started to change. 

Bound4LIFE: Now, it's difficult to make a documentary, but that must be multiplied with the language barrier. What was the process for producing this film? 

Brian Ivie: Even after 5 separate trips to Korea, I speak essentially no Korean. It's rather embarrassing, but it just goes to show how this movie was made blindly.

I had no idea whether any of my questions were resulting in good answers. It's hard enough to draw out emotionally resonant responses from subjects when you share a common language and culture. It's another thing entirely to try and guide an interview via a translator, who may or may not be providing the nuance, emphasis and empathy necessary to make the subject feel comfortable and safe.

All that to say, this movie was made on faith. In my mind, whatever we missed wasn't meant to be in the final piece.

Bound4LIFE: There's buzz building online about your next project, partnering with the Erwin Brothers, who directed October Baby and Moms' Night Out with Sean Astin. What's the scoop?

Brian Ivie: So, in 1971, Jesus made the cover of Time magazine. It was a hippie Jesus, mind you, with a purple mane.

But Jon Erwin handed me that magazine several months back and said he wanted me to tell the world about it. Through a movie. So right now, he and I are writing a script called The Jesus Revolution. It's a true story about how God used legitimately messed-up people to do legitimately loving things. People like Jon and me.

That's the next story and it's not going to be corny, obvious or fake. Because neither is God. 

Bound4LIFE: You've gone from a film about working toward a culture of life, to one about spiritual revival. Are the two connected? 

Brian Ivie: Yes, they are. I tell stories about Jesus because He goes where laws can't go: into the hearts of men. When we're talking about abortion or abandonment or sex slavery, the greatest victory wouldn't be only that laws are overturned, but also that clinics are empty, drop boxes close down, and pimps ask for forgiveness and become new men altogether.

Jesus goes where diplomacy cannot go and revival is about Jesus doing just that in a group or even in a nation. Revival is first and foremost about heart change, which leads to culture change. 

The gospel has always and will always have the greatest long-term impact on the most heinous crimes and tragic issues of our day.

Bound4LIFE: Why is it important for pro-life advocates to get out to theaters on March 3, 4 and 5 to see The Drop Box

Brian Ivie: In a throwaway culture, underpinned by abortion on demand, I know this fight can be disheartening.

But what this story offers, without the distraction of political language, is a precious insight into what it would look like if one family embraced the suffering of its neighbors and asked that no one get thrown away ... even kids with serious deficiencies and disabilities ... even kids that are inconvenient or unplanned. 

It doesn't write the world an easier story. But it does write a better one. To me, the only way forward is by showing these moms that we're willing to suffer for them, not just scream at them.

I'm willing to suffer for a better story. Are you? 

Josh M. Shepherd serves at Bound4LIFE International, a grassroots movement to pray for the ending of abortion and for revival worldwide. This Bound4LIFE article reprinted with permission.

Josh M. Shepherd Featured Opinion Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:45:00 -0500
Starnes: Will You Stand With Israel or Obama and the Iranians?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the United States this week, sounding the alarm on a potential nuclear deal between the United States and Iran that could threaten the survival of Israel.

It's no secret that the Islamic Republic of Iran wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. These are the same people President Obama deems trustworthy enough to negotiate a nuclear deal. And for reasons that are yet unclear, the White House seems to think Israel is the bad guy.

The White House says their relationship with Israel is just peachy. And they promise they will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, period. But their period is sounding more and more like a question mark.

This administration's contempt for Israel was on full display last October when an unnamed official used a barnyard epithet to describe the prime minister—which is ironic considering the amount of fertilizer spewing out of this White House.

And you wonder why the prime minister wants to plead his case to Congress? It's beyond disgraceful how President Obama and his administration have treated one of our most trusted allies.

It's time to choose sides, America. You can either stand with Israel or President Obama and the Islamic Republic of Iran. As for me and my house—we stand with Israel.

Todd Starnes is host of "Fox News & Commentary," heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter. His latest book is God Less America.

Todd Starnes Featured American Dispatch Opinion Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500
An Urgent Call for Intercession Over Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is addressing Congress today—and the intense spiritual warfare against him has manifested in the natural realm.

At this point, it's almost come to a literal gnashing of teeth. The vitriolic verbiage his opponents are spewing against him reveals a hatred that goes beyond the natural mind. The mainstream media is pulling out all the stops to paint Netanyahu as an enemy instead of the ally he is.

Bibi is under a spiritual attack. We need to enter into intercession over him and continue after he exits Washington, D.C. Consider the backdrop:

Naturally speaking, 40 Democrats and counting are refusing to attend Netanyahu's speech because they view his coming as a Republican strategy to damage President Barak Obama's foreign policy, particularly as it relates to nuclear talks with Iran.

Obama told Reuters Netanyahu's speech was a "distraction" and called it a "mistake for any prime minister of any country to come speak before Congress a few weeks before they're about to have an election, it makes it look like we are taking sides."

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, called the Republican invitation a "tawdry and high-handed stunt that has embarrassed not only Israel but the Congress itself." Harsh words.

Why Bibi Won't Hold Back

Netanyahu may have some harsh words of his own for the Obama administration—though they come from a different spirit than the evil campaign launched against the prime minister's prophetic assignment.

Certainly, Bibi will tell it like it is. He won't hold back on his thoughts about an American president's willingness to negotiate with a nation that breeds terrorists—and whose leadership denies the Holocaust and wants to see Israel wiped off the map.

There's been plenty of debate about Netanyahu's motivation. He's being accused of addressing Congress for political gain. Those are lies from the enemy. Netanyahu feels a moral obligation to speak out against a nuclear-armed Iran while there is still time to stop them.

"I'm going to Washington on a fateful, even historic, mission," he said as he boarded his plane in Tel Aviv, according to Reuters. "I feel that I am an emissary of all Israel's citizens, even those who do not agree with me, and of the entire Jewish people."

Netanyahu: The Ultimate Intercessor

The mainstream media, the Democratic Party, Muslim nations and others are mounting attacks against the prime minister. Netanyahu is standing in the gap for the future of his nation to avert a nuclear holocaust. He is taking a page from the book of Esther, putting himself at risk to save a nation.

Netanyahu is serving as the ultimate intercessor. As he sees it, for 2,000 years the Jewish people were "stateless, defenseless and voiceless"—and he refuses to stand silent. He intends to use his voice to protect the Jewish people. He's bold like a lion and refuses to bow to political correctness or political agendas.

Netanyahu is a praying man and is wearing the mantle of a prophet— a man who knows what time it is—according to the definition of Abraham Heschel. He was pictured praying at the Western Wall ahead of his speech to Congress. God has called him for such a time as this. Let's stand in agreement with Netanyahu's prayers for the salvation of his nation.

Let's enter intercession for this man God is using as a voice of reason in a volatile Middle East. Let's pray without ceasing for this brave soul who's risking more than we know to, as he puts it, stand as "an emissary of all Israel's citizens, even those who do not agree with me, and of the entire Jewish people."

The cutting comments and accusations are manifestations of a spiritual battle against Netanyahu that demands all those who stand with Israel to enter into intercession—and even fasting—for the nation's prime minister. I'm calling for urgent intercession over Netanyahu—and not just today. Who will pray?

Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual AwakeningMornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still Small Voice of God, The Making of a Prophet and Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Jennifer LeClaire Featured Watchman on the Wall Opinion Tue, 03 Mar 2015 08:25:02 -0500
Franklin Graham: Are There Limits to Religious Mockery?

The chilling news that two Islamic gunmen had walked into the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo magazine and systematically executed a dozen people in cold blood quickly reverberated around the world.

The almost surreal hunt, chase and shootout death of the radical militants by the French police played out dramatically in minute-by-minute media coverage.

The streets and squares of Paris were soon filled with more than a million people voicing their heartfelt support and sympathy for the slain designers and editors of Charlie Hebdo. Joining them were prominent world leaders who linked arms and walked in unison down the Boulevard Voltaire.

In the emotional aftermath, the questions began. Could this have been prevented by French intelligence? How did these home-grown terrorists become so alienated?

I have a few questions of my own that may lend some additional perspective to the tragic events.

The first may seem somewhat provocative, but it needs to be asked.

Was Charlie Hebdo wrong?

Charlie Hebdo is a far left weekly that makes its living satirizing and lampooning just about everything in French national life. Virtually no facet of French government, politics or economics is spared.

But there is one particular domain that persistently has been at the bull's-eye of its derisive satire—religion.

Islam and its revered figure Muhammad have been ridiculed often. After one cartoonish cover poking fun at Muhammad in 2012, Charlie Hebdo's office was firebombed, prompting the magazine to relocate to another section of Paris.

That didn't stop them from taking irreverent aim at virtually every major religion, including Judaism and Christianity. Cartoons mocking Christ, the Trinity, the Pope and nuns were—and I suppose will remain—standard fare.

Speaking shortly after the brutal attacks, Pope Francis said it was wrong to gratuitously insult religion. "You can't provoke, you can't insult, you can't make fun of the faith of others," he said. "You can't make a toy out of the religions of others ... in freedom of expression there are limits."

Even former French President Jacques Chirac—not noted as a staunch defender of religious liberty—spoke out against the anti-religious bent of Charlie Hebdo after a caricature of Muhammad created a huge controversy in 2006.

I fully and completely support freedom of speech and freedom of the press. I also believe we must recognize that this freedom can be abused. Like shouting fire in a theater, certain strains of public expression can have serious consequences.

I'm not sure why Charlie Hebdo chose to make religion the primary object of its scorn. Perhaps the magazine simply represents the thought of so many radical, liberal elites who view religion as nothing more than humorous or foolish.

But I do know this: The gunmen who killed a dozen people at Charlie Hebdo while shouting "Allahu Akbar!" were not martyrs defending a prophet's honor; they were just murderous Islamic thugs bent on killing innocent people.

Which brings me to another question.

Why do followers of Islam and Christianity react so differently to the public ridicule and mocking of their respective faiths? Christianity has been repeatedly lampooned by Charlie Hebdo, but there have been no riots, assassinations or murderous threats.

Here is what I believe is the fundamental distinction: Christianity has a Savior who has been beaten and battered. A Savior who endured the public ridicule and mockery of crowds as He was stripped and hung on a Roman cross for our sins. A Savior who was betrayed and spat upon and who endured shame and derision so that we might be redeemed.

Our God does not need to be defended. He is holy, all-powerful and eternal. He needs no man to protect His honor. He is the sovereign of the universe who does whatever He pleases, and whose counsel and purpose can never be thwarted. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Creator, Sustainer and End of all things. He will have the last word on the Day of Judgment when all men will bow before Him.

No world religion—not Islam, not Buddhism, not Hinduism—knows anything of such a glorious Savior as Jesus. Not even close.

As followers of Christ, we should expect no less. Since our Lord has been so ill-treated, should not His servants anticipate the same kind of contempt? When attacked by our enemies, we pray for them. When ridiculed by our friends or acquaintances, we heap coals on their heads by loving them. When wronged, we never take vengeance into our own hands, but leave the matter squarely with the Lord, knowing He alone will make all things right one day soon.

Weeks after the Charlie Hebdo killings, Islamic adherents and militants rioted across a number of countries, most notably in Africa. In the country of Niger, which is predominantly Muslim, more than 60 Christian churches were torched by angry mobs.

Thankfully, no one was hurt or killed, but out of the ashes, a quiet miracle occurred. Some peaceful Muslims came to the aid of the Christians (for which I am thankful), and then something amazing happened.

A number of the Christian pastors came together and forgave those who torched their churches. They extended grace and forgiveness to the perpetrators. The powerful, overcoming love of Jesus Christ was on open display.

Christians are commanded in Scripture to love our enemies, to do good to those who persecute us, to bless and not retaliate. Christ loved us when we were enemies of God (Rom. 5:10). He sought after us when we were rebellious and dead in our sin (Eph. 2:5).

That's the fundamental, world-changing difference between Christianity and the religions of man.

There is no other Savior besides Him or like Him. He alone is God.

©2015 BGEA

Franklin Graham Featured Opinion Tue, 03 Mar 2015 08:00:00 -0500
Netanyahu: A Winston Churchill Moment

Will Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu soon be walking in the footsteps of the great British statesman Winston Churchill?

In a few hours, Prime Minister Netanyahu will be delivering his much anticipated presentation about the nuclear threat from Iran to the joint houses of the United States Congress. This significant speech, controversial as it has become, will indeed be the speech of a lifetime for Netanyahu, with significant military and political ramifications on both sides of the ocean.

In recent days, the political darts have been flying fast and furious, and have been aimed at Netanyahu from three primary directions, each with a not-so-altruistic interest in minimizing the impact of his presentation:

1. The Obama administration. The pressure in the form of not-so-veiled attacks on Netanyahu has been intense from President Barack Obama through his surrogates, who are hoping that the imminent nuclear deal between the P5+1 powers and Iran will be the shining crown achievement of his second term in the White House. As the March 31 deadline for an agreement with Iran approaches, reports coming out of Jerusalem have made it clear that the proposed deal will enable Iran to gradually achieve nuclear weapons capability. Obama is concerned that Netanyahu's speech may actually succeed in exposing the danger to Israel and the free world, thus torpedoing the deal.

2. The Zionist camp (Labor-Tnuah) political party. In fear of the boost that a powerful speech to Congress might give Netanyahu's Likud in the March 17 elections, the Israeli Left is having political conniptions over the Netanyahu speech. Despite the fact that Zionist Camp co-leader Herzog has stated that he shares Netanyahu's views on the Iran issue, he and his colleagues are vigorously stoking the political flames by publicly criticizing the speech, as well as Netanyahu's character.

3. The Iranian regime. Even though the Iranian leadership has been quoted as saying, "The Americans are begging for an agreement," the mullahs who control Iran are, in fact, quite eager for a deal that will enable their nuclear weapons program to go forward, albeit with some restrictions that will essentially only affect the timing of its implementation. Therefore, they are very concerned about the potential impact of the speech to Congress.

An Opportunity For Greatness

In summation, Congress can be very influential in approving or disapproving of the impending deal and that is where the Prime Minister's focus must be. Secretary of State John Kerry's announcement that he will be in Geneva negotiating with Iran during the Netanyahu speech speaks volumes about the Obama administration's general abandonment of one of America's closest allies.

Despite, or maybe because of this very public drama, all eyes will be on Washington tomorrow when Netanyahu delivers what promises to be the speech of a lifetime. The late and great British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was known for his powerful speeches warning the free world about the Nazi threat, as well as the need to stand up to the danger of Islam, even though the Muhammadan religion was then at a much earlier stage in its Jihadist actualization.

For Netanyahu, in the age of almost nuclear Iran, ISIS, Hamas, and Hezbollah, this will truly be a Churchill moment, an opportunity to inspire the world to action, and indeed, to greatness. The message is much greater than the petty politics on both sides of the ocean, and hopefully, he will boldly rise to the occasion. Will his message be heeded? 

David Rubin is former mayor of Shiloh, Israel. He is founder and president of Shiloh Israel Children's Fund, and the author of four books, including The Islamic Tsunami and his latest, Sparks From Zion. His writings can be found at or at

For the original article, visit Used with permission.

David Rubin Featured Standing With Israel Opinion Tue, 03 Mar 2015 07:00:00 -0500
Radical Islam and 2 Other Threats to Our Nation's Future

Let's get right to the point.

In cities across America, advocates of the well-funded and well-organized "Yes we Cannabis!"  movement are in full swing.  So too are the proponents of "Marriage Equality Through Same-sex Unions" and "Islam is a Religion of Peace" promoters.  They are aggressive in advancing their cause.

Today many want to simply live and let live by avoiding conflict and controversy in these areas. "I may not agree, but it really doesn't affect me or my family."

What happens when it does?

Five years ago I began work on an educational video, "Is Gay Okay? 10 Things Everyone Needs to Know" [Go to to view]. Initially people scoffed at the warnings regarding loss of religious freedoms and changing of laws to accommodate the LGBTQ agenda. A church in which I was involved actually told me it would be a "deal-breaker" if I released it!  Now the prophetic alert has become reality.   Ask the Atlanta Fire Department chief just fired after 30 years of service when things got personal for him!  How about pastors reading in Time magazine of an evangelical megachurch (ten minutes from my home) announcing, "We're opening the door for gays in all aspects of the church - marriage, communion, leadership, etc."

Likewise, the political ideology of Muslims to bring about global domination through deception, violence, sharia law and purging is slowly being recognized and even liberal atheist Bill Maher is correcting prevalent misconceptions. (Islam means "submission" not "peace" as some claim.)  1400 years of relentless activism is "coming to a neighborhood near you!"  We just heard from a 43 year scholar on Islam in our city and folks were sobered with the facts on what the late Derek Prince, international Bible teacher, prophetically called "the greatest threat to Christianity" over two decades ago.

Yet the White House continues to insult our intelligence by refusing to call the Islamic threat by its name and instead labels it, "not a terror group but instead, an armed insurgency."   Retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, former head of our Defense Intelligence Agency, said last week, "You cannot defeat an enemy you do not admit exists!"

Remember Ishmael, the father of Arabs, was born of Abraham's unrighteous, extramarital relationship with his wife's handmaiden, Hagar. Later God declared this man would be a "wild donkey of a man;"  "his hand will be against everyone;" and, "he will live in hostility toward all his brothers" (Gen. 16:11-12). Without stereotyping and while acknowledging exceptions, honest observers see the DNA of this patriarch present throughout history and in present-day Islam.  Do you?

This impacted me last week when a cluster of Muslims were disturbing the atmosphere of a respectable restaurant and when asked politely to respect the other patron's lunchtime, they became indignant, shouted and I for one experienced a water glass thrown at me before I slipped out the door and police arrived!  I'm not making this up.

Writing an Op-ed in Your Newspaper

I just returned from a gathering of prophetic, activist leaders in South Carolina called the "Roundtable".  Rick Joyner, Mike Bickle, Gen. Jerry Boykin, Cindy Jacobs, John Dawson, Bob Weiner and twenty others gathered for prayer and hearing God's "marching orders" amidst our cultural crisis.

One repeated emphasis was "proclaim truth and speak it loudly!" to counter prevalent societal lies.  Making this very simple and practical:  Are you willing to invest time to research and write articles to educate those in your locality?

Recently a local attorney put forth his pot promotional piece in our state newspaper. What follows is my submitted rebuttal to his published op-ed.   For those who say, "I want to do something but I don't know where to start," how about following this example in your newspaper!


Young Frederick Agee, 30plus lawyer, wrote in "Tennessee Voices" that our Legislature should legalize marijuana. His argument is primarily a financial one telling us that Colorado legalized marijuana and "collected $40 million last year in marijuana taxes while saving another $40 million from not prosecuting and incarcerating marijuana users."

He conveniently leaves out the myriad of social problems and unintended consequences emerging like the number of children treated annually for accidental pot consumption in Colorado just reached double digits!

Consider other realities:

  • An end of the year study conducted by the "National Survey on Drug Use and Health" revealed 1 in 8 Coloradan's over 12 years of age are now smoking cannabis regularly.

  • The office of Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper fooled the public with glowing projections of $100 million in revenue accrued from recreational marijuana taxes when state economists now forecast the figure at somewhere over half that amount (WSJ 1/10/15). Now the good Governor has released a statement admitting it was a "mistake" to go ahead with legalization when they did.  Unbelievable!

  • Nebraska and Oklahoma are bringing lawsuits against Colorado for dumping dope into their states. "The influx has led to more arrests, more impounded vehicles and higher jail and court costs while forcing law enforcement agencies to spend more time and dedicate more resources to handling marijuana related arrests" (NYT 12/19/14).

  • The Washington Post just published a major report that as marijuana laws are relaxed, Mexican drug dealers are turning to heroin and meth production and distribution (easier to conceal) to compensate for the drop.  There is a surge in harder drugs according to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Here's the Deal:  Pot promoters are masters at manipulating facts while minimizing harmful effects on individuals, families and society at large. Just look over the horizon to California where even ultra liberal Gov. Jerry Brown said, "How many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation?"

Pot friendly Los Angeles has already closed over 400 "marijuana clinics" discovering, amidst some legitimacy to the medicinal argument, the ruse of trumped up pain relief is, for the majority, a clever way to get pot legalized, get stoned, avoid jail, party and make fast cash.  Look out bankrupt Detroit as thousands of these phony dispensaries are popping up there!

CBS news in L.A. ran an investigative report showing adults buying marijuana, selling it to kids in broad daylight and the kids then smoking the dope just minutes after leaving school!  Is our Nation's Capital with its terrible drug problems ready for this as they've just legalized dope?

Fred tells us that "The state of Tennessee should wave the white flag on the war against marijuana now and put the tax dollars spent on trying to defeat the cannabis plant to better use."  Nonsense.

Hey, maybe there are other areas we could curtail spending like dealing with drunk drivers, prostitutes and HIV/AIDS needle-sharers! Even though their behavior jeopardizes their lives and others, is money what matters most?

Our Founding Father, George Washington once warned us, "An uninformed populace is easily enslaved."  We need to awaken!

Dr. Edward Gogek, addiction psychiatrist wrote in the New York Times, "I've spent 25 years as a doctor treating drug abusers...they're excellent con artists...marijuana activists use phony science (like telling us it was good for glaucoma and never apologizing when research found it makes it worse). They still insist weed isn't addictive, despite every addiction medicine society saying it is."

We institute laws for public safety and yes, that costs something, but it's an investment that provides for the common good. When 33,000 Americans are killed yearly in traffic accidents,1/3 because of drunk drivers, and automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for teens, should we then compound the problem by legalizing pot?  Should we also increase deaths coming from smoking (nicotine is "harmless"-recall?) by legitimizing even more people inhaling toxic fumes?

Jack Smith, a director at one of the most successful drug rehab programs worldwide, Teen Challenge, states, "Our experience is that marijuana is a gateway drug leading to harder and more damaging drugs. Well over half our students indicate the first drug they really were involved with was marijuana."

Holland, Portugal, Zürich, Switzerland are now changing liberal drug policies because of exploding societal problems, but gullible citizens should "wave the white flag" as our op-ed writer suggests?

Joseph Califano, Head of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, warns: "Marijuana is a dangerous drug that is addictive and adversely affects the motor skills of users as well as produces serious damage to a person's brain over the long term."

Should our community risk our future by listening to potheads, pop stars and politicians who glamorize a drug whose active component, THC, is today 8 times as potent as the "weed" of decades ago for so-called economic benefits?

Should we send a message to youth and believe our liberal, once drug-taking President that pot is "harmless" like a beer? The National Institutes of Health says: "1 in 6 youth who try marijuana before age 18 either abuse it or will become addicted"?  Is this what you want for your children and grandchildren?

An ancient proverb gives us a heads up: "The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it" (Prv. 22:3).

Won't we do better heeding the wisdom of Solomon than young, money- saving Fred?

This is personal for me as my best friend growing up believed the lie that drugs and alcohol were the ticket to fun, freedom and fulfillment.  Like Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, he died in his youth.  Let's wake up and not be deceived by pot pied pipers.

You now know one effective way to stand up to pot, Gay and radical Islamic propaganda in your city and state.  

Remember, "All that's required for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."   -  Edmund Burke

Larry Tomczak Featured Here's the Deal Opinion Tue, 03 Mar 2015 07:00:00 -0500
What Smith Wigglesworth Taught Me About Loving God

The following quotes were taken from my personal studies of the life and ministry of Smith Wigglesworth. They speak of the deep personal love and devotion that this choice servant of God possessed for the Lord. These quotes define what it really means to love the Lord with all our hearts.

"Move into a greater hunger for holiness and purity. The moment you look up when you are in the place of affection with the Lord Jesus, the heavens are opened."

"If you can be fascinated by anything else in the world you don't have what God wants you to have."

"To hunger and thirst after righteousness means that nothing fascinates us so much as being near to God."

"Worldliness is anything which cools my affection toward God."

"When a child of God ceases to hunger after righteousness and purity, Satan gets in."

There are many things that will rob, steal, and plunder our love and affection for the Lord Jesus. It is not just obvious sin and acts of carnality and disobedience which spoil us of the nearness of His presence, but it is the good and acceptable things, which while having their proper place in the Christian life, have a tendency to make one devoid of the real mind of Christ. Such things as meetings, communions, baptisms, buildings, programs, doctrines, finances, or other things that concern the church system, apart from the mind of Christ, will dry up the real heart of the Christian life. Often it's these very things which rob us of the hallowing intimacy which we are to experience with God's throne of grace and seat of mercy.

Here is the question you must ask yourself in evaluating your love and devotion to God: What are you doing on the inside? Where do your innermost energies flow?  Toward what are you directing your will and desire? That is what marks your life in relation to God.

"Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God's place in your hearts." (John 5:21 LB)

We are admonished in scripture to guard our hearts (Pr 4:23), to seek God with our whole heart (Ps 119:2), to sanctify the Lord in our hearts (1 Pet 3:15), to return to our first love (Rev 2:4-5), and to beware of being cheated in our relationship to Christ (Col 2:8). There are a lot of things we can do in this life to gain success, wealth, prestige, a name and reputation, a church and a ministry, but there's nothing more fulfilling to the human heart than having an intimate, personal, and growing relationship with the Lord Jesus. Spiritual hunger and thirst is the place of affection with the Lord Jesus.

The following utterance was received during a time of ministering to the Lord. Let it speak to you and edify your inner man.

"I love you, son. How could you think for one minute that I would even fail you? Take time always to praise and to love Me this way in song. For this is the entrance into My treasures, the most precious treasures hidden in My divine nature. This nature shall be manifest in thee as a result of your praise and worship to Me. A well of life, a fountain of life, and waves of glory shall flood your heart and soul as you pull away from life's turbulences, and concentrate on Me. There you will find rest and refreshing, pleasure satisfying to thee, and peace. Then direction shall spring forth even in the minor details of life as you wait on Me. I AM your Source of all you need. The wisdom of men is foolishness to Me, and their days are shortened because they do not take time to wait on Me. But if you will continue this delightful practice, it shall not be so for you. No, I say instead that your days shall be lengthened, your revelation of Me shall be wider, and your wisdom deeper."

God has made it real simple for us, hasn't He?  See the simplicity of the greatest secret of the Christian life. Love the Lord with all your heart. That's it. But love is not just words. Neither is it just deeds. Love is the very motive of your life. It's not only what you say and do, but who you are in your heart of hearts that reflects your love for Jesus.

May He multiply His grace in your life to hunger and thirst for Him, to know Him, to love Him, and to seek Him until you come to abide ...

In His place of affection.

 Bert M. Farias, revivalist and founder of Holy Fire Ministries, is the author of several books including The Real Spirit of Revival and the newly released My Son, My Son—a beautiful father-son book co-written with his son Daniel for the purpose of parenting and training up a holy generation. He is also the co-host of the New England Holy Ghost Forum, a school of the Spirit. Follow him at Bert Farias and Holy Fire Ministrieson Facebook or @Bertfarias1 on Twitter.

Bert Farias Featured The Flaming Herald Opinion Tue, 03 Mar 2015 06:00:00 -0500
Phil Robertson Prophesies Over the Future of America

Phil Robertson rolled his passion for God and morality into his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week.  

While accepting the Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award, Robertson prophesied over the future of America, saying the lack of immorality is sickening the country.  

"Phil has the guts to do and say what most politicians in Washington won't," Stephen Bannon, Breitbart News Network executive chairman, tells the International Business Times. 

"I don't want you, America, to get sick," Robertson said. "I don't want you to become ill. I don't want you to come down with a debilitating disease. I don't want you to die early!" 

He said the country's increase in sexually transmitted diseases is a result of "Sex, drugs and rock'n'roll (having) come back to haunt us." 

And it's up to the politicians to carry their Bibles to protect their hearts -- and their country from war.  

"Unless we get spiritual men in the White House to turn (the U.S.A.) around, we're going to lose it," he said

Otherwise, without Jesus, the country could be turned over "murderers." 

Nazis, ancient Japanese Shintoists and now "this ISIS thing and these Muslims. What are they into? Territorial conquest ... and murder."  

And the way to avoid that?  

"God help us."

Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:00:00 -0500
After 24 Minutes Under Water, Surgeon Claims Trip to Heaven

The surgeon found herself caught between two conflicting arguments: The scientific explanation of renewed life vs. supernatural healing. 

"I really need to figure out what I experienced," says Dr. Mary Neal, who claims she went to Heaven in the 24 minutes her body was without oxygen after a kayaking accident.  

Watch the video to hear her miraculous story.

Jessilyn Justice Featured World News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 16:00:00 -0500
Do These Microchips Hint at the Revelation Mark of the Beast?

With the wave of a hand, office workers in Sweden have the power to open doors, print and pay for lunch, among other things, with an embedded microchip.

"We want to be able to understand this technology before big corporates and big government come to us and say everyone should get chipped - the tax authority chip, the Google or Facebook chip," Hannes Sjoblad, BioNyfiken's chief disruption officer, tells BBC.  

"We call it augmented humanity," tech trends expert Faith Popcorn tells the New York Daily News. "We foresee a future in which everyone will have an implanted chip that will benefit our personal lives as well." 

Some believe that microchips such as these are the Mark of the Beast, a sign of Christ's coming return.  

Revelation 13:17 states that no man will be able to buy, sell or trade without the mark. Could these implanted microchips be the sign of the times.

Jessilyn Justice Featured World News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:00:00 -0500
Franklin Graham Says This One Thing Will Lead to Christian Persecution in America

Evangelist Franklin Graham says President Obama is sympathetic to Islam and is giving Muslim groups access to influence U.S. foreign policy, which eventually will lead to persecution of Christians and Jews in America. In an exclusive interview on CBN's 700 Club Interactive program, Graham told host Gordon Robertson that the president's upbringing is the reason he favors Islam. 
"We're going to see persecution in this country because our president is very sympathetic to Islam and the reason I say that, Gordon, is because his father was a Muslim, gave him a Muslim name, Barack Hussein Obama. His mother married another Muslim man, they moved to Indonesia, he went to Indonesian schools. So, growing up his frame of reference and his influence as a young man was Islam. It wasn't Christianity, it was Islam," he said.
Graham, who heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the Christian relief agency Samaritan's Purse, has been outspoken in his criticism of President Obama. He said the president has opened the doors of the White House to Muslim groups who are shaping foreign policy, including how the administration views the war on terror and especially U.S. relations with Israel.
"There are Muslims that have access to him in the White House. Our foreign policy has a lot of influence now, from Muslims. We see the Prime Minister of Israel being snubbed by the President and by the White House and by the Democrats and it's because of the influence of Islam. They hate Israel and they hate Christians, and so the storm is coming I believe Gordon," the evangelist said.
Graham agreed it was President Bush who first sought out Muslim groups for advice after the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001.
"After 9-11 the Bush Administration began to allow Muslims to come into various governmental agencies to advise us how to respond to Muslims and how to respond to Islam. ...What's happened is you now have radical Islamists who are advising various levels of government and it's going to get worse and nobody seems to be alarmed about it. Nobody is saying anything about this and we as Christians are going to lose."
Viewers can see the full interview on the 700 Club Interactive on Monday, March 2 on the ABC Family at 9:30 am EDT.
Click here to see watch the entire interview.

CBN News Featured U.S. News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 14:00:00 -0500
California Republicans Betray Party Values With New Gay Rights Wing

California Republicans broke from their own platform on Sunday and voted overwhelmingly at their state party convention to give official recognition to a gay rights wing of the GOP that has long been marginalized.

Endorsement of the Log Cabin Republicans as a charter volunteer organization within the nation's largest Republican statewide party apparatus marked a turning point of sorts for CaliforniaRepublicans on a key chunk of their social policy agenda.

Delegates to the California Republican Party voted 861-293 in favor of the move during the party's three-day annual convention in Sacramento, the state capital, a party spokeswoman said.

Party leaders sought to play down the action, dismissing the notion that recognition of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group founded in 1977 under a moniker that refers to the first Republican U.S. president, Abraham Lincoln, signaled a retreat from conservative principles.

"I don't think anything that occurred this weekend changes the fact that we are a conservative party," said California Republican Party Chairman James Brulte, who voted for the charter.

The group's chairman, Charles Moran, told the Los Angeles Times, he was "personally overwhelmed" by Sunday's vote. 

The Log Cabin Republicans, established to fight a proposed statewide ballot measure to ban gay and lesbians from teaching in California public schools, has long been at odds with mainstream Republican opposition to same-sex marriage and related issues.

The state party's platform declares: "We believe public policy and education should not be exploited to present or teach homosexuality as an acceptable 'alternative' lifestyle."

It goes on to specifically oppose spousal benefits, child custody and adoption rights for same-sex couples, though it is silent on the issue of gay marriage itself. 

Endorsement by the delegates at large came after the party's Volunteer Organization Committee said it voted unanimously to recommend a charter for the group, which consists of at least 200 members in California.

"The Log Cabin Republicans California's primary purpose is supporting and promoting the Republican principles and platforms and is not based on special agendas," a committee report said.

Sunday's action entitles the organization to representation on the state party's executive committee and at least two delegates to the California Republican Party as a whole.

The move comes amid growing momentum in favor of gay matrimony across the country since a June 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that requires the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages for purposes of spousal benefits in states where it has been legalized. In a separate decision at the time, the high court also cleared the way for lifting a ban on gay marriage in California. 

California is now one of 37 states where marriage rights have been extended to gay and lesbian couples, and the Supreme Court is expected to make a definitive nationwide ruling on the matter by the end of June.

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Brendan O'Brien/Reuters Featured U.S. News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 13:00:00 -0500
Police Arrest Fugitive Cultish Pastor for Shocking Crime

Brazilian police have arrested a fugitive self-styled church leader wanted in Minnesota for allegedly sexually assaulting dozens of young girls, a police spokeswoman said on Saturday.

Victor Barnard, a 53-year-old self-proclaimed pastor, was arrested late on Friday at Pipa beach in the northern state of Rio Grande do Norte, a military police spokeswoman said. The officers were acting on orders from federal police, she said.

Barnard is wanted by the Pine County, Minnesota, Sheriff's Office on charges of abusing young girls while acting as their pastor from 2000 to 2009, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

He was placed on the agency's list of 15 most-wanted fugitives in November. 

Barnard founded the River Road Fellowship, recruiting followers to a camp site in rural Minnesota and convincing some to allow their young daughters to live with him, the Marshals Service said.

He allegedly kept the girls in a housing area known as Shepherd's Camp, it said.

After some adult members began questioning what he was doing, Barnard moved his family and the church to Washington state. A number of his followers, including the young girls, left with him, the agency said.

Barnard was charged with the assaults in April 2014 and dropped from sight. He faces 59 counts of criminal sexual assault and a charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

The military police spokeswoman said any decision on extradition would be made by the judiciary. 

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Caroline Stauffer/Reuters Featured World News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 12:00:00 -0500
ISIS Sets 19 Christian Captives Free

Islamic State released 19 Assyrian Christian captives in Syria on Sunday after processing them through a sharia court, a monitoring group which tracks the conflict said.

More than 200 Assyrians remain in Islamic State hands, said the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, captives from an Islamic State advance last month that overran more than a dozen villages inhabited by the ancient Christian minority near Hasaka, a northeastern city mainly held by the Kurds.

Islamic State has not claimed any of the abductions. The Observatory tracks the conflict using a network of sources on all sides of the civil war which spiraled as security forces used violence to suppress protests against President Bashar al-Assad's rule in 2011.

It said 17 men and two women were released. 

Islamic State has killed members of religious minorities and Sunni Muslims who do not swear allegiance to its self-declared "caliphate". The group last month released a video showing its members beheading 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Lybia.

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Oliver Holmes/Reuters Featured World News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 11:30:00 -0500
Christian Colleges' Biblical Stance on Homosexuality Stirs National Controversy

A small, Christian college in South Carolina said on Friday it had not banned gay students or homosexuality from its campus under its controversial new "Statement on Human Sexuality," which calls the practice sinful.

Erskine College has received scrutiny for its board of trustees' decision last week, characterized by some media outlets as a ban on homosexuality. It comes as many religious organizations seek to respond to the national debate over gay rights and same-sex marriage.

The college, affiliated with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, held that sexual intimacy is only appropriate between a man and woman who are married.

"We believe the Bible teaches that all sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage is sinful," said the statement adopted by the college in Due West, South Carolina.

Two gay volleyball players at Erskine had been profiled last year on, which wrote a follow-up piece on the statement that was picked up by national media outlets. 

The statement was not adopted in response to specific students and was not intended as a ban, said Erskine spokesman Cliff Smith.

"Because this is an issue of debate, both within and without religious communities, it gives us a point of reference to have a conversation," he said.

The attention prompted Erskine to post a clarification on its website Friday that said it does not discriminate.

"This statement describes a position. It does not prescribe a policy and does not 'ban' any individual or class of individuals from attending Erskine. No students have been asked to leave Erskine based on this statement," the college said.

Other Christian colleges have also adopted positions on homosexuality and sexuality, Smith said. 

On the Erskine campus, the stance has raised concerns within a close-knit community of 575 undergraduates, Smith said.

"The release of this statement makes me disappointed because I have never received anything but kind treatment from everyone at this school, and my sexual orientation is no secret. So it took me by surprise," Juan Varona, one of the volleyball players profiled, wrote on the site Thursday.

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Letitia Stein/Reuters Featured U.S. News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 11:00:00 -0500
US Judge Rules Nebraska Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

A federal judge on Monday ruled Nebraska's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional in a decision that could allow same-sex couples to marry in the state within a week.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Batallion issued a preliminary injunction in the case brought by seven same-sex couples in the state, calling Nebraska's ban an "unabashedly gender-specific infringement of the equal rights of its citizens."

Bataillon denied a state request to stay his decision but said his injunction would take effect on March 9 to assuage Nebraska officials' concerns of possible administrative turmoil.

The Nebraska Attorney General's Office was studying the decision and was expected to have a statement later.

Nebraska voters in 2000 adopted a state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as only between one man and one woman and does not recognize civil unions, domestic partnerships or similar relationships for same-sex couples.

The plaintiffs include Sally Waters, who has stage four breast cancer that has spread and wants Nebraska to recognize her 2008 marriage to Susan Waters in California in part to provide critical financial protections for their children.

 © 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

David Bailey/Reuters Featured U.S. News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 10:45:00 -0500
Watchdog Group Releases Anti-Christian-Bigotry Map

In 2007, and with that same nauseating arrogance that has come to define him, then presidential candidate Barack Obama duplicitously quipped, "I am absolutely convinced that culture wars are just so '90s. Their days are growing dark."

Dark, indeed. America's soon-to-be cultural-Marxist-in-chief would then spend the greater part of a decade waging war against our nation's Judeo-Christian culture and heritage at levels, and in ways, unseen in our storied history. Today, his anti-Christian crusade continues unabated. In fact, and with less than two years left to complete his baleful conspiracy, this neo-pagan extremist has begun to rapidly accelerate his unravelings.

Chief among his targets for destruction are conservative and Christian organizations and individuals who pose a threat to his envisaged "fundamental transformation" of our once-Judeo-Christian nation. The Obama vision? A godless, Euro-socialist dystopia crafted in his own secular-humanist self-image.

We're well on our way.

Still, even the president of the United States, alone, cannot destroy an entire nation with spiritual deceptions.

To accomplish the larger "progressive" dream of unmaking America, this man, this cagey figure of whom we still know very little, finds himself flanked by powerful comrades in arms—by hundreds of equally extremist and very well-funded anti-Christian groups.

That's why I was so encouraged this past week to see one of America's largest and most effective mainstream Christian organizations fighting back. The Mississippi-based American Family Association (AFA) has developed and released a tremendous resource for the fair-minded American public. It's an interactive "Anti-Christian bigotry map," which identifies "more than 200 groups and organizations that openly display bigotry toward the Christian faith."

The AFA has also announced that it will be monitoring these anti-Christian segregationists' activities, reporting on those activities to the general public and further warning the tens of millions of Christian Americans of specifics relative to their radical campaign of religious cleansing.

"The website includes an interactive map that identifies groups whose actions are deeply intolerant of the Christian religion," notes AFA. "Their actions, for example, have endorsed efforts to silence Christians and to remove all public displays of Christian heritage and faith in America."

Among the over 200 anti-Christian organizations exposed by the Christian watchdog group are some of the most strident atheist, humanist and "LGBT" extremist outfits in America. The ironically named Human Rights Campaign (HRC), for example, is listed among them. The HRC's co-founder is accused homosexual pedophile Terry Bean. He was arrested a few months ago for allegedly raping a 15-year-old boy.

Another of the more high-profile groups listed is the hard-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC's propagandist activities have been linked by the FBI to anti-Christian domestic terrorism (something I long ago predicted would happen).

Also on the list are the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and many more.

"A common practice of these groups is threatening our nation's schools, cities and states," said AFA President Tim Wildmon.

"By threat of lawsuit, they demand that prayer be removed from schools and city council meetings, that Ten Commandments monuments be stricken from courthouses, and that memorial crosses be purged from cemeteries and parks," he added.

"Families and businesses that express a Christian worldview on social issues often face vicious retaliation from anti-Christian zealots, and it's time to call them out for their intolerance," urged Wildmon. "Because of anti-Christian bigotry private business owners have been sued and forced to close their businesses."

AFA is warning Christian Americans to be vigilant in that some associated with the 200-plus anti-Christian groups have actually "committed violent crimes against Christians and faith-based groups," and that "physical and profane verbal assaults against Christians" have been, and continue to be, regularly used as "angry methods of intimidation."

In 2012, for instance, SPLC supporter and homosexual activist Floyd Lee Corkins entered the Washington, D.C., headquarters of another of America's largest mainstream Christians organizations, the Family Research Council (FRC), armed with a gun and a backpack full of ammunition. He also had 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches he intended to smear in the faces of FRC employees after he slaughtered them all (FRC had recently defended the food chain's COO, Dan Cathy, for pro-natural marriage statements).

Thankfully, Corkins' designs on mass murder were thwarted by FRC facilities manager and security specialist Leo Johnson. As Corkins shouted disapproval for FRC's "politics," he shot Johnson who, despite a severely wounded arm, managed to tackle Corkins and disarm him. (Of course, this is all impossible as it's illegal in Washington, D.C., to carry a concealed weapon.)

Of Johnson's actions, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said, "The security guard here is a hero, as far as I'm concerned."

No doubt.

Court documents and FBI evidence later revealed, as many had suspected, that the SPLC was, while indirectly so, at least to some degree complicit in this particular act of anti-Christian terrorism. Corkins had used, and confessed to having been incited by, the SPLC's anti-Christian propaganda.

Thankfully, the SPLC, the HRC and hundreds more of these anti-Christian organizations are now being called out and held accountable. Understandably, they've begun scrambling for damage control. They're on the defensive.

And yet they continue to defend the indefensible.

Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).

Matt Barber Featured Clarion Call Opinion Mon, 02 Mar 2015 10:30:00 -0500
Kerry Rebukes UN Rights Council as 'Obsessed' With Israel

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry accused the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday of being obsessed by allegations of Israeli abuses and said the United States would defend Israel against efforts to isolate it.

In a speech to the Council in Geneva, Kerry also exhorted the 47-member-state group to look into what he described as severe abuses in separatist-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine as well as in Crimea, annexed by Russia from Ukraine last year.

He also condemned North Korea's human rights record as "appalling" and said tens of thousands of people there lived "as virtual slaves". Kerry added, "There is no freedom of expression, worship or political dissent.

"Kim Jong-un executes those who disagree with him, purging his country of anyone he knows, or imagines, to be disloyal. For decades the government has subjugated its citizens, starving and torturing and incarcerating them or worse."

Kerry offered a strong defense of Israel against what he called the council's unbalanced focus on the country.

"It must be said that the HRC's obsession with Israel actually risks undermining the credibility of the entire organization," Kerry said.

"The United States will measure these things, I hope, fairly and dispassionately but we will oppose any effort by any group or participant in the U.N. system to arbitrarily and regularly de-legitimize or isolate Isreal."

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Arshad Mohammed/Reuters Featured World News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 10:15:00 -0500
Why I Support Netanyahu's Speech (After I Didn't Support It)

I began writing this article about three weeks ago and had been unable to finish it. I have gone back and forth regarding the Prime Minister's upcoming speech on Iran. However it was a poll I saw today on that encouraged me to finish this blog and publish it. I'll get to the poll in a minute, but first, the article.

When I first heard that John Boehner had extended an invitation to Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress, I was uneasy. For a head of state to bypass the head of state of another country in order to speak against the policies of that leader, before Congress or Parliament, is unheard of. Imagine Obama going to Israel, at the invitation of the opposition, to speak before the Knesset, in order to convince them to give up Jerusalem or negotiate with Hamas. We'd be up in arms here in Israel.

Historic Breaking of Protocol

Many people have pointed out that this is an historic breaking of protocol. And I agree. In most cases it would be wrong. In fact, many of Israelis are concerned over their PM going head to head with U.S. President. The center/left party leaders have accused Netanyahu of ruining Israel's historic relationship with the U.S. Susan Rice, Obama's hatchet-woman, agrees, "calling the move 'destructive of the fabric of the relationship,' between the United States and Israel."

Of course the Prime Minister's enemies at home have something to gain with elections around the corner—and something to lose if he hits a home run. And let's not forget, Obama has been the aggressive one in this relationship. The turmoil began many years ago with the president refusing a photo-op with Bibi on his first visit to Obama's White House and then continued with Obama storming off in anger to eat dinner with his family, leaving Netanyahu's delegation to fend for themselves. Talk about a break in protocol. You have the head of state of your closest Middle East ally in your home and instead of eating dinner with him, you lose your temper and march out. I bet he wouldn't do that to the Supreme Leader of Iran! So let's be clear, the break in protocol cuts both ways.

Two years later Bibi was invited to speak to Congress. In the history of the United States of America, I do not believe that a foreign head of state has given a speech before Congress, in which he blatantly disagreed with the president, and then was given nearly 30 standing ovations! The New York Times wrote,

"Mr. Netanyahu received so many standing ovations that at times it appeared that the lawmakers were listening to his speech standing up."

Congress Needs Bibi

The relationship between Netanyahu and Obama has been frosty for a long time. But Congress loves him and now needs him as the president has shut them out regarding Iran. The president has emasculated Congress as he is simply making up laws, because he can't get what he wants [immigration, gun control] via the constitutionally outlined process. Now, Obama is seeking to make a weak deal with the radical fundamentalist regime of Iran. These Islamic fanatics are not far from ISIS in ruthlessness. Obama fails to understand that attacking the west, for Iran, is an Allah-given call.

Change of Heart

However, I have changed my initial opinion on this issue and for one simple reason. President Barack Obama is guilty of dereliction of duty when it comes to upholding the law of the land. You cannot pick and choose which laws you will enforce. Regarding the terror threat, he is simply in denial.

  • He refuses to name our enemy—Radical Islam.
  • He refuses to deal decisively with ISIS.
  • He is being soft on Iran and is willing to allow the hardline regime to have a "nuclear program" if it "is for exclusively peaceful purposes."
  • He is not willing to arm states like Jordan, who are willing to defeat ISIS.
  • He was angry at Egypt when they responded powerfully against ISIS in Libya for killing 21 Egyptian Christians.
  • He went against U.S. Law in making a deal for the accused deserter, Sgt. Bergdahl.
  • He recently authorized a secret meeting with reps from the Muslim Brotherhood [that Jen Psaki referred to merely as former Egyptian Parliamentarians] and our State Department. In other words, he has a frigid relationship with Egypt's elected President, but reaches out to Islamic radicals in the same country.
  • He took time at the Prayer Breakfast to chide American Christians regarding events that happened 1,000 years ago by so-called Christians, reasoning that their actions should keep us from judging Islamic fanatics.
  • And the latest bizarre behavior is hosting a Summit on Violent Extremism that focused primarily and extoling the virtues of Islam and defending the terrorists, saying that they have, "legitimate grievances" [against the West].

(Amazingly, most of the items listed were added since I began writing this article!)

Does Obama Love America?

All this led America's Mayor Rudy Giuliani to say, probably out of utter bewilderment at Obama's behavior, what so many of us sadly feel: He doesn't believe that the president loves America. It certainly seems that way ... at least not in the patriotic way that presidents, Republicans and Democrats, before him did.

It appears that President Obama is asleep at the wheel. Each day I am more and more dumbfounded at his lack of decisiveness. I see no outrage at terrorism. A Jordanian soldier is burned alive and Jordan acts within hours against ISIS. Americans are beheaded and our president is back on the golf course within six minutes of ending his press conference—six minutes!

Most Americans Want Bibi to Speak

Even Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar are expressing deep concern at Obama's reluctance to deal firmly with Iran. And this morning I saw this. A recent poll "found that 59 percent of Americans support Netanyahu's speech to Congress and only 23 percent oppose." The poll also revealed that 36 percent strongly supported the speech while only a mere 11 percent, less than one-third (one-third of what?), strongly opposed it.

If the American people have no problem with Boehner and Netanyahu breaking protocol because of the dire situation with Iran, then I guess I don't either. How much worse can it get?

Wait ... it just got worse! As I am sitting here, I just heard an Obama administration official tell a Senate committee that one primary reason that we must close GITMO is because ISIS is clothing hostages in the similar orange prison uniforms. In other words, if not for GITMO, this would not be happening. Fortunately, a senator grilled the official asking, "How many prisoners were in GITMO when terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center on 9/11"?

"None," came the sheepish answer from the Obama team official.

Ron Cantor Featured Standing With Israel Opinion Mon, 02 Mar 2015 10:00:00 -0500
It Is Black and Blue, But Must Be White and Gold

The biggest story to hit the Internet this past week wasn't the fact that after beheading 21 Christians on the shores of Libya, ISIS has kidnapped another 220 Christians. Without a miracle, those precious souls are likely to suffer a similar fate. ISIS has made their message clear. They are at war with the "Nation of the Cross" (1, 2). Are we listening?

In northern Nigeria, Boko Haram added another 100 deaths to the tens of thousands they've slaughtered and that barely made the headlines either. Like ISIS, their continued genocide is part of their own radical push to turn all of northern Africa into an Islamic state ruled by Sharia law (3). Do we notice that our Christian brothers and sisters in Nigeria are suffering?

This week the U.S. discussed arming Ukraine while continuing to push sanctions on Russia (4). Is all of Europe headed for war? Does our future involve sending our children off to fight in another global conflict?

Our strongest ally in the Middle East is visiting the US to address congress about the prospect of Iran, a sworn enemy of the U.S., obtaining nuclear weapons. Our president refuses to meet with Israel's prime minister but will be sending our Secretary of State to negotiate with Iran (5). Do we understand this is a partisan fight we cannot afford to engage in?  

We are facing significant history making crises at this moment, yet few are paying attention.  Instead we have been focused on a debate of greater significance; is this dress blue & black or white & gold?

Time magazine called it "The dress that broke the internet" (6). It certainly had my social media feeds buzzing. From the celebrities in Hollywood to the soccer moms in the midwest, everyone was willing to boldly opine. I laughed when I saw a news outlet bring a "vision expert" to break down the science of how we perceive color. Not since Monica Lewinsky has a single dress been so talked about.

Why is it at a time when our nation's attention should be focused on the color of red in the sands of Libya we are caught up in a pointless debate on social media about the color of a dress and what does this say about us?

Are we the ones who are "black and blue"?

Our world is broken and spiraling out of control.  Yes, we see the brutality and injustice around the world and our hearts hurt, but what can we do?  When everything seems beyond our reach it is natural to turn towards the things that entertain and offer an escape.  The dress debate is simply a distraction from the harsh realities of a cold and brutal world.

Look further what is it revealing about us?  

Just like the dress, are we not the ones who are black and blue? Each of us bear the bruises from living in a fallen world. Similar to the church of Laodicea so many refuse to recognize their own spiritual sickness and the treacherous position they currently occupy.

The nation, as well as many churches, are in a state of spiritual and moral decline. The clear voice of truth to address sin and true injustice is largely silent. Instead we trumpet messages that fill the sanctuary but don't truly heal the soul. The bold truth that sets men free is ignored or softened for fear of losing influence with a depraved world.  

Oh what irony to live in a culture where we foolishly call black, gold and blue, white! Right is now wrong and wrong is right. Truly we have eyes to see, but refuse to see our own poverty. We ignore our nakedness while we parade about as if we are richly adorned. It is time to open wide our eyes!

Until we are willing to face our own brokenness, we can offer little hope to a broken world. The answer isn't to hide our bruises but to let them be revealed in the light of the father's fire. Just as Jesus counseled to the church at Laodicea may we also heed his words.

Revelation 3:18-19, "I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments, that you may be dressed, that the shame of your nakedness may not appear, and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore be zealous and repent."

Yes the dress is black and blue, but it must be white and gold!

The dress debate was settled when someone went to the source and picked up the actual dress. It was black and blue.  

There is a lesson for us all to learn. Return to the source! It is time that we as a nation and more importantly as a people return to God. We can no longer hide ourselves from the truth; not around us and certainly not within us.  

The hope of the nation and the world is not found in Washington. It is found in Jesus and in Him alone. We must not be ashamed to say it and when needed shout it.

Truly our garments are black and blue but they must be white and gold. Let us come before Christ and purchase gold refined in his fire and find garments that are white with His righteousness. Repent of our sins and be zealous for the Lord. The greatest force for good in the world is the church, but she must rise up in this hour and be healed before she can offer hope to a hopeless world.

Time is far too precious in these last days to be distracted by a material dress, let's focus on a spiritual one. I for one am unwilling to stand in eternity before a martyred Iraqi saint who was crucified upon a cross in the desert sands and tell him I looked the other way while he bled out. I want him to know I was standing with him in prayer as He gave his life for Christ. How could we do any less?

Daniel K. Norris is an evangelist who worked alongside Steve Hill bringing the message of revival and repentance to the nations. Together, they co-hosted a broadcast called From the Frontlines. Norris also hosts the Collision Youth Conference that is broadcast all over the world. He can be contacted at

Daniel K. Norris Featured From the Frontlines Opinion Mon, 02 Mar 2015 09:30:00 -0500
Adoption by Same-Sex Parents Recognized by Appeals Court

An Alabama appeals court ruled on Friday that the state must recognize the out-of-state adoption of three children by the estranged wife of their birth mother, lawyers for the plaintiff said.

The decision comes as a handful of Alabama judges have refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of a federal ruling, and as another same-sex couple in Mobile has sued seeking similar adoption rights.

Alabama this month became the 37th state where gay marriage is legal after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay a federal ruling that struck down 's ban on same-sex marriage. Despite that, Roy Moore, the conservative chief justice of the state's Supreme Court, has directed judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 

The  will by the end of June decide whether states can ban gay marriage. 

Friday's ruling applies to a case involving an Alabama couple who married in Georgia. One of the women, both of whom are referred to in court documents by their initials, gave birth to three children via insemination, and the other legally adopted them in Georgia.

When their relationship ended, the biological mother kept her former spouse from seeing the children, and the latter sued for visitation rights in Alabama, where they both lived, lawyers for the plaintiff said. 

Separately, a plaintiff in the case in which a federal judge last month overturned Alabama's gay marriage ban is suing a local judge in Mobile who has refused to finalize her adoption of her wife's biological son until after the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on gay marriage.

A hearing in that case has been scheduled for March 2.

The same local judge began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples only when he was ordered to do so by U.S. District Judge Callie Granade, after he had defied her initial ruling. 

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Jonathan Kaminsky Featured U.S. News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 09:15:00 -0500
Prophetic Words Guiding Student Awakening in Mississippi Schools

Fourteen years ago, music evangelist Steve Waldrip embarked on a campaign to place "In God We Trust" posters in classrooms in Mississippi's DeSoto County, according to a then-new law.

Passed in 2001, the House Bill 51 requires any place of student assembly, such as a classroom to display the national motto at 11-by-14 inches with a framed background. The same law "allows children a moment of quiet reflection at the beginning of each school day which they can use to pray if they so desire," letting prayer return to the hallowed halls of education.

"We feel like when we walk into classroom and put God's name back on these classrooms, we give him back ownership of where's he's been thrown out," Waldrip says. "Teachers are happy students are getting to pray and God's name is in their classroom."

Waldrip says the work he does is part of a greater prophecy. "There's a prophecy that says Mississippi was a small rudder for a large ship. (This law) is like the prophecy."

The prophetic guidance goes beyond words—Waldrip and his wife have the support of prophet Clay Nash, who works largely with the "Appeal to Heaven" movement.

"We find people doing grass-roots work," Nash says of his involvement with the Waldrips. "We come along beside them, co-labor, partner ... to help these godly endeavors."

And the team is seeing what could be a great awakening.

"There's a bit of wind blowing on ember and the flame's starting to show," Nash says.

Though mandated by law, some of the Mississippi schools have failed to post the motto.

Fearful of threats from the American Civil Liberties Union and Freedom From Religion Foundation, certain districts have dragged their feet toward compliance. A 2013 audit of schools revealed less than half the schools—41 percent—had the motto posted.

Waldrip renewed his effort, and with the help of Nash and other leaders in the state, "In God We Trust" is appearing on more school walls.

"Right now, 40,000 children saying God's name in every classroom in all counties because of what God has us doing," Waldrip says.

The progress is God marking the state according to prophetic revelations.

"Let me help you understand, you are living in a state that has a history that is not all that pretty," prophesied Derrick McCoy, Bishop Harry Jackson's assistant. "Because of that I hear God saying I can turn the ship and this state will be a spiritual rudder into the stern of the spirituality of America."

A similar word was given to Jim Hodges in 2007.

"And I'm telling you this region is a key, it's like a rudder on a ship, it's a rudder—God is going to use this area to turn some things, like a rudder in Jesus name."

Even Nash himself gave prophetic words over the state—and the schools.

"The universities and campuses will become the melting pot for my Spirit causing the forces that seek to redefine truth to once again accommodate their weaknesses to be overthrown by the righteous cry of those liberated by grace," he wrote in 2009.

So Waldrip walks by faith that these campuses will be "ground zero" for an awakening.

"People praying for revival, school districts call us and tell us that prayer is breaking out in the school, and they can't explain it," Waldrip says. "Students are praying without anyone telling them. (This is) Ground Zero (for revival). Students are starting to get more in touch with God, being very vocal with their prayers. Look at the next generation! God is going to come back with a force in America because of the generation that's coming up."

What to know more about the next great move of God? Click here to see Jennifer LeClaire's new book, featuring Dutch Sheets, Reinhard Bonnke, Jonathan Cahn, Billy Graham and others.

Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500
Arabs and Jews in Israel: Piercing the Hard Shell of Hatred

I love to drive. Preferably, alone.

I pick up travelers from time to time, but given a choice, I go solo. Driving is my peace, it is my prayer, and it is a sacred experience for me—it always has been. It's a time for me to just listen, to just think without distraction.

No road is better for this solitude than the central part of Highway 90, affectionately called "The Bik'ah." It's a long, windy, desert road that stretches 480km in her full glory north to south along the Jordan River.

It's one of those roads that teach you about life. It's poetic; the kind of road that great writers intended when they wrote about roads worth traveling. It's one of my favorites in the world. I had the honor to drive it alone this past Tuesday morning.

I drove down from the central Golan Heights towards Jerusalem on my way to a speaking engagement. The hills were rolling and bright green, peppered with peek-a-boo purples and yellows from wild flowers that can't seem to wait until spring. This view always makes me think that the phrase "G-d's Land" was first spoken here. The green gives gentle way to camel-colored brown as I drive deeper in to the Jordan Valley and the sand storm I had been warned about starts to reveal the first version of herself. Golden-toned sand rises like fog, clouding the landscape and dirtying the car windows.

About an hour out of Jerusalem, the two-lane highway is a little more congested than usual, nothing too crazy—but enough to pull me out of my wide-lens revelry of "me and the open road" and into a sharper, more immediate focus of the traffic around me; trucks, a few tractors and shepherds, and a disproportionate amount of Mercedes Benz.

I was behind a black Mercedes with green and white Palestinian plates. The sandstorm was rising, making it hard to see, but it seemed like there were three people in the back seat vying for my attention. I inched a little closer and saw that there were three little kids in the back seat. They were all facing me and staring.

I waved to them. They waved back. They kept waving, so I kept waving.

Then I did a slightly over zealous two-handed wave, quickly bringing my hands back to the wheel to right myself.

They giggled and each responded with their own version of a double wave.

I bumped it up a notch and waved my fingers next to my ears; a driver friendly version of silly jazz hands. They mimicked me.

I flashed them my brights.

They were delighted, and turned forward towards their driver, quickly turning back to me, with unbridled joy and continued their sweet, childish waving ...

This went on for some time, five minutes maybe. I was actually thinking to myself, "How much longer can we keep this up?" Just then the driver put on her blinker and made a sharp right off the road towards the big sign that said nothing but "Jericho."

We waved until we couldn't see each other anymore and I continued on my way towards Jerusalem. That's it. That's the whole story.

It's not even a story, just a snap shot really; a small, maybe altogether insignificant scene ... but something in me wanted to tell it anyway.

I believe if Ansel Adams could have captured this moment on film, it would be worthy of a frame. It is a scene that belongs on a wall somewhere, maybe in someone's study, maybe above a chair, next to a lamp; a wide-smiling, traditionally dressed, Jewish woman in an old white Mazda with dented Israeli plates waving like an enthusiastic preschool teacher at three, cute Arab kids in a black Mercedes on their way to Jericho.

I have no moral conclusion to offer. I do not propose that this little exchange is a vital seed of peace planted in an otherwise hostile region. I do not believe that if every Jew and Arab would engage daily in happy, silly car-sign-language that we'd see major shifts in our political climate.

But, still, it was a wonderful moment. It was simple and it was pure. It's a moment I'd like to remember, especially when tensions run high as they often do in these parts. I'd like to remember that Israel is a lot of things ... and some of those things, maybe even a lot of those things, are not so complicated at all.

Sarah Zadok is a Jewish educator, lecturer and writer. Sarah loves good music, good wine and Ba'al Shem Tov stories (in any order). She currently lives in the Golan Heights with her husband and their five children. For more from Sarah, check out her blog.

For the original article, visit

Sarah Zadok Featured Standing With Israel Opinion Mon, 02 Mar 2015 07:00:00 -0500
Former Call Girl's Take on 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

Clearly, Fifty Shades' mastermind E.L. James is not an expert on dominance and submission. Yet her books and now the movie based on the books glamorize that lifestyle to millions across the globe.

I first encountered the BDSM lifestyle when I received a request from my escort agency to fill a call for a dominatrix role. The phone girl didn't have anyone to fill this request and asked if I would do it.

At this point in my life, I had been sex trafficked, beaten profusely by my pimp, and finally left him for good. My pimp would beat me and then force me to have sex with him. I never enjoyed the pain—rather I was completely freaked out, afraid, and emotionally and physically hurt. This behavior never turned me on; I was completely disgusted by it.

I was pretty bitter from the abuse that I experienced from my sex trafficker and in revenge mode on men. Greedy and hungry to finally be in control, I was curious and wanted to see what this BDSM lifestyle was all about, so I decided to take the call and try my hand at being the dominant. I demanded money and did what was expected of me, channeling "Fallen," my sex industry name and call girl persona.

What a twist of fate and irony—the severely abused now becoming an abuser and getting paid to do it.

Many of my clients were obsessed with me and continued to call, because in their minds, a fantasy love/relationship had started. As this progressed, I got to know many of them and asked why they enjoyed BDSM. The answers varied: as "a way to let off steam"and "to let go of control."

Some described mother-to-son abusive relationships, physical and sexual relationships with other men, and a handful of important CEOs explained the need to surrender the control they had over others running their stressful companies.

With many of my clients, the more they practiced BDSM, the more intensity they wanted. And like a drug, they were never satisfied—they always wanted a more severe beating. Once they tried one thing, they wanted to explore another. That's where it got really scary for me. What if they end up getting really hurt?

In all of my experience over the years with these men, one thing stands true: Underlying their desire to be dominated was a deep-seated hunger and need for love. Many times their sexual desires stemmed from childhood abuse. They wanted to be cared for, watched for, disciplined and admired. Just like a child.

I believe these men were looking for love through BDSM, and missing the mark—and this is why it never satisfied. Real Love doesn't dominate. Love doesn't push. Love's intent isn't to create pain. Love's intent is to create a relationship of peace, safety and security, emotionally and relationally when it comes to intimacy. We know from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 that:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

When you cross the line and hurt someone emotionally and physically, it throws unknowns into the picture: a loss of security, a loss of trust, a loss of honor, a loss of commitment. Broken vows. If you are willing to hurt me physically and emotionally, what else are you willing to do to me? And if I ask you to stop—will you?

BDSM blurs these lines of love. It turns them upside down, and it teaches what we thought was love to become boring and old fashioned, while what we once thought was abuse is sold off as exciting and erotic. These thought processes in the wrong hands can lead us down treacherous roads of accepting abuse as the norm. Normalizing abuse is not the answer to our pain, and it eventually leads to a darker road of more severe abuses.

Spoiler alert: In Fifty Shades Of Grey, Christian Grey was a scared and lonely child who witnessed the murder of his sex-trafficked mother at the hands of her pimp. At 15, he was sexually abused by a woman who taught him the BDSM lifestyle, redirecting his drinking habits and anger issues from his childhood. He eventually becomes a dominant, finds a female whom he dominates, humiliates, and by the end of the three books, he marries her, has children with her, and together they live happily ever after.

But the roots of his childhood abuse are not dealt with; instead they are excused as the reason for his dominance.

Can someone find true love and happiness while participating in this lifestyle? According to E.L. James they can. But as she's admitted, she is no BDSM expert, and this story was written as fiction, not truth.

Realistically—are there happy endings? From my personal experience, no. Should you read the books and go and see the movie? Will it enrich your life if you do?

I am not here to tell you what to do, only to give you the truth that I experienced and to remind you that while Fifty Shades glamorizes BDSM, this story is 100 percent fiction. Fifty Shades of Grey didn't enrich my life; it only revealed a very broken society desperate for answers and relief from pain deep inside their souls.

Annie Lobert is a former high-class escort, a sex trafficking survivor, wife to Oz Fox of Stryper, and the author of Fallen (February 2015).

Annie Lobert Featured Opinion Mon, 02 Mar 2015 08:00:00 -0500
10 Reasons Some Pastors Develop a Superstar Mentality

From the outset of this article I do not want to convey the thought that just because leaders have name recognition or become popular that they are not people of God. Many of my close friends in the ministry are also celebrities in their own right but do not exhibit the below traits. However, it would be less than honest for those of us in the church not to admit the aberrant behavior of some of our own.

The following are ten reasons why some pastors develop a superstar mentality:

1. They have a sense of entitlement.

Some folks think more highly of themselves than they ought to think and believe in their hearts that they deserve better treatment than any other human being (Romans 12).

2. Because of their celebrity status they think they are above the law.

When a celebrity leader (it could be a celebrity in a small church as well as a large church, based on the adulation of the people and their own self-deception) gets used to having sycophants around him then they are used to getting what they want, when they want. Hence, they push aside boundaries and live a life that satisfies their fleshly inclinations.

3. They are unaccountable.

Superstar pastors often think no one is qualified to speak into their lives. Some pastors and leaders think that, since they are so spiritual and successful, they have reached a point that no one is able to speak into their lives or teach them anything. When someone attempts to speak into their lives, they may ask the question in their minds: Is this person as wealthy as me? Or do they have as many people in their church as I do? before they even consider hearing what they have to say!

4. They don't trust anyone.

Many superstar pastors are really projecting a false self of confidence and aloofness, because they don't trust enough to have intimate relationships with anyone, including their spouses and children.

5. Their self-identity is subsumed by their ministry identity.

Some start off okay but eventually their success, fueled by their driving ambition to be respected and known, becomes the primary way they view themselves. Thus, they lose their core essence and live through a false sense of success and power.

6. They become narcissistic to medicate the pain of their past.

Many superstar leaders abuse their leadership privileges by manipulating others for their own advantage. Or, they are involved in substance abuse, adultery, excessive entertainment, frequent vacations and other lusts of the flesh to medicate the pain they have from the great responsibilities, intense lifestyle, and other pressure-cooker items that make them feel trapped with no outlet. Thus, they succumb to temporary fixes that give them a reprieve from their miserable reality.

7. They erroneously equate the anointing to minister with God's personal favor.

Some believe that, because they preach great messages and experience the power of God when ministering, that this is a sign of God's favor upon them, even if they are not living a life of holiness. Scripture teaches us, through the narrative of Samson, that prioritizing anointing and power before the fruit of the Spirit will eventually catch up to you and result in an untimely end to your ministry.

8. They preach a Christ without a cross–a gospel centered on self rather than on sacrifice.

Some superstar leaders preach a "rights-centered" gospel that is centered upon self rather than on Christ. This results in living a life of indulgence that has no boundaries to limit their desire for the physical amenities of life.

9. They associate with other superstar pastors who reinforce this superstar culture.

The old saying "birds of a feather flock together" is a truism; people tend to congregate mostly with others who believe like them and reinforce their belief systems and lifestyles. This can either be a force for good or evil. Demigod leaders tend to associate with other spiritual divas and even have them preach in their churches because they don't want a dissident voice that will call them to account and bring a standard of holiness.

10. Those closest to them don't challenge them.

Often, the person with the most influence to speak into the pastor is his/her spouse. Unfortunately, often the lavish superstar lifestyle can abate the conscience of the spouse because of all the goodies and bling that come to them. When the voice of the spouse is either ignored or silent, then the person with the greatest chance of correcting them is non-existent. The same goes for their inner circle and close friends and family who may also benefit from this opulent lifestyle.

In closing, this article was not written with the intent to arouse a critical spirit in the body of Christ, but to offer a prophetic correction so that we can turn back to the way of Jesus and the apostles. If some read this and use it as an excuse to gossip and be critical of their leaders, then they are missing the point and are just as guilty as the ones they are judging. Also, as a pastor for over 30 years, I have seen these traits in leaders of all stripes, both in the marketplace and in the church. Furthermore, all believers have the same sinful root issues as these superstar pastors. Hence, we need to abstain from personal judgment. Allow these 10 principles to convict our own souls.

Joseph Mattera is overseeing bishop of Resurrection Church and Christ Covenant Coalition, in Brooklyn, New York, and author of numerous books, including Ruling in the Gates: Preparing the Church to Transform Cities. Follow him on Facebook or visit him online at

Jospeh Mattera Featured The Pulse Opinion Mon, 02 Mar 2015 07:00:00 -0500
Don Colbert: Inflammation Reversal Basics

How many times have you heard someone make the simplistic statement "Losing weight isn't rocket science. All it takes is eating less and exercising more?" Many of my obese patients would like to wring the necks of all the well-meaning but insensitive people who offer this as a word of "advice." As if these patients never tried that.

When it comes to weight loss, it is true that to shed pounds, we usually need to eat less and exercise more. However, what happens when doing these things doesn't work? What do you do when you have followed every diet and exercise program to the letter and still haven't seen results?

If this describes you, first let me remind you that you are not alone. As we explore the various reasons why people get stuck in their efforts to lose weight, you will see that many of these factors are reaching epidemic proportions. If you suffer from one or more of them, you are in the company of millions—and the club is growing.

Second, know that you may be metabolically compromised. All that means is that your metabolism is sluggish. Somehow—usually through chronic weight-loss diets and binge eating—it has become impaired to the point of barely working. This means your body isn't burning fuel the way it should be.

This can happen for a myriad of reasons, several of which you can find at However, the overall result is that your body gets locked into storing fat instead of burning it. Sadly, many obese and metabolically compromised Americans are unaware of the factors that have contributed to their condition.

With that in mind, let's examine some of the major factors that can severely affect metabolic rate.

Chronic Stress Lowers Metabolic Rate

Our bodies are designed to secrete two stress hormones when we are stressed: epinephrine and cortisol. A "fight or flight" hormone, epinephrine works immediately by racing through our bodies when triggered by such stressors as an emergency, running late for an appointment, or an argument with a spouse. When our bodies are unable to fight or flee, we become like rush-hour commuters stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the interstate—we are left literally stewing in our own stress juices.

Epinephrine revs up the stress response by raising our blood pressure and increasing both our heart rate and our breathing. When the perceived stress is over, the epinephrine level typically drops back to normal.

On the other hand, cortisol works more slowly, giving us stamina to cope with long-term stress. However, when the stress response becomes stuck as a result of long-term stress, the ongoing elevation of cortisol causes the body to continually release sugar from glycogen into the bloodstream. Glycogen is simply stored sugar, generally held in the liver and muscles.

When glycogen is released into the bloodstream, it causes insulin levels to rise, which in turn lowers the blood sugar. Low blood sugar causes more cortisol to be released, leading to weight gain.

Certain foods and beverages will raise cortisol levels, including everyday items such as caffeinated beverages and coffee. In fact, drinking two cups of coffee raises your cortisol levels by approximately 30 percent within a single hour. I am not recommending that you stop drinking coffee, since it does have health benefits. However, I recommend a maximum of two cups a day.

Eating excessive amounts of sugar, white bread and other high-glycemic foods without the proper ratio of protein, fats and fiber can cause hypoglycemic episodes. These are bouts with low blood sugar that also raise cortisol levels. Whenever your blood sugar drops, your body is naturally signaled to increase cortisol production. Another way this can happen is through food allergies and sensitivities and by skipping meals and snack times.

Your Gender Plays a Part

Women typically have a higher percentage of body fat and lower metabolic rate than men. There is currently no consensus on a specific "healthy" range of body fat percentage, and ranges vary according to age. However, most studies indicate a good goal for women is to keep your body fat under 30 percent (for women, obese is defined as a body fat percentage—not BMI—greater than 33 percent; 31–33 percent is borderline). For men, that goal is less than 20 percent (for men, obese is defined as greater than 25 percent; 21–25 percent is borderline).

Inactivity and Muscle Loss

Sedentary individuals as they age have a significant loss of muscle mass. Adults naturally lose 5 to 7 pounds of muscle every 10 years after age 35; as you might guess, inactivity further accelerates this process. The less active we are, the more body fat we keep—and, naturally, the more muscle we lose. By age 60 most people have lost about 28 pounds of muscle and have replaced most of that with much more fat.

I have found this to be especially true among women. I check body fat measurements on all my weight-loss patients and have commonly encountered women with 50 percent body fat or more. Yet it is extremely rare to find this among male patients. Most high-body-fat cases stem from a combination of gender and lack of exercise, plus metabolic compromise.

Could Your Medication Be to Blame?

A common side effect of certain medications is weight gain. These medications include birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, prednisone and other steroids, various antidepressants, antipsychotic medications, lithium, insulin and insulin-stimulating medications, cholesterol-lowering medications, some anticonvulsant medications, some antihistamines and certain blood pressure pills, such as beta-blockers. Ironically, many physicians treat diseases caused by obesity such as hypertension, diabetes, depression and elevated cholesterol with the very medications that lower the metabolic rate and result in more weight gain. That is why I typically use vitamins, supplements and other nutrients in conjunction with a sensible eating plan to treat obesity-associated problems rather than just medications.

Half the Equation

Every overweight individual has a reason for his or her overweight condition. Yet sadly, most who have struggled unsuccessfully with diets over the long haul never discover the underlying reasons for their inability to shed pounds. I have touched on many of these various causes as they relate to metabolic rate, ranging from skipping meals to chronic dieting to chronic stress to aging to medications to low thyroid. In doing so, I have tried to help you understand the many ways your metabolic rate can be affected—which you now know directly influences maintaining weight loss and blood sugar levels.

This is only half the equation, however. Revealing how metabolism works is essential for understanding how to lose pounds and keep them off. Just as important is knowing the solution: developing a low-glycemic lifestyle.

The preceding is an excerpt from Reversing Inflammation

Don Colbert, M.D. has been board certified in Family Practice for over 25 years and practices Anti aging and Integrative medicine. He is a New York Times Bestselling author of books such as The Bible Cure Series, What Would Jesus Eat, Deadly Emotions, What You Don't Know May Be Killing You, and many more with over 10 million books sold. He is the Medical Director of the Divine Health Wellness Center in Orlando, Florida where he has treated over 50,000 patients.

Don Colbert, M.D. Featured Opinion Mon, 02 Mar 2015 06:00:00 -0500
12 Verses to Wage War With for Your Destiny

Regardless of what you are going through, God is fully aware of it. Not only that, He is also with you. He cares deeply about you right now, and His Word offers you hope for victory in every situation, trial and challenge you face.

If you want to see God's powerful promises manifested in your life, you must seek the guidance of His Spirit through prayer. His Word, His Spirit and His will are always aligned. Take hold of His promises and learn to walk with Him by faith for life-changing results.

Find victory over your problems in the following Scriptures:


READ: Ps. 119:89; 2 Cor. 1:20; Heb. 10:23; James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:7; 2 Pet. 1:3-4.

HEART ISSUE: Take time to dwell on God's assurances for victorious outcomes in every area of your life. Choose to believe they are intended for you.

PRAYER FOCUS: Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank You for Your powerful promises. You always hear and answer me. Regardless of how things have gone in the past, or how they look today, I can overcome any obstacle because You are completely victorious in me. Amen.


READ: Ps. 66:18; Jer. 1:12; Jer. 33:3; 2 Cor. 5:7; 2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 6:12.

HEART ISSUE: Tell God all about your dreams and desires. Then take time to listen to Him and receive His direction.

PRAYER FOCUS: Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank You for hearing my prayers, spoken and unspoken. Thank You for answering every time and for giving me my heart's desires. I give You all the glory. Amen.

Read a companion article.

Sandra Clifton D. Min. Featured Opinion Sun, 01 Mar 2015 17:00:00 -0500
1 Possible Reason You Haven’t Birthed Your Prophetic Dream

I've had a series of baby dreams over the last decade. One seemed to build upon another but I recently had one that was out of sequence and I believe it explains a lot for many in the body of Christ.

As I travel to minister, hold prayer calls or meet at Awakening House of Prayer, I get more and more confirmation of this reality: Many believing saints feel like they are about to pop wide open with whatever they are carrying—they are pregnant with some purpose, some ministry, some mission that God has given them and that spiritual bun in the oven seems long past ready to come out.

I was in Pensacola in October during the Pioneers of Awakening Conference with Dutch Sheets, Rick Curry, Ken Malone and Ron Teal when I had a significant dream that expressed the frustration so many feel. In part one of this series on birthing your prophetic purposes, I'm going to give you a key that may bring some relief. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you can get part two delivered in your inbox next week.

In the Waiting Room

In my dream, I was in the waiting room with many other people. I was about as pregnant as pregnant can be and very uncomfortable. Notice I saw many other people—men and women. These ones were also in the waiting room and had been there even longer than me, as they were there when I got there.

I was sitting in a chair waiting to go into the delivery room to give birth. I was extremely uncomfortable in just about every way. My back was hurting. My ankles were swollen. Sitting in the straight back chair was awkward but walking was no better. And nobody was moving. No one was coming in and no one was coming out. That's when I spoke up.

"Let me go in. I need to deliver this baby."

"No, it's not time yet," said the attendant.

I sat a while longer and the scenario repeated.

"Let me go in. I need to deliver this baby."

"No, it's not time yet," said the attendant.

"Yes, it is. Can't you see I'm about to bust wide open? I'm going to have this baby right here in this delivery room!"

My urgent pleas did not move the attendant. He would not let me go in. I remember feeling frustrated and starting to grow angry. Couldn't they see that I was overdue and this baby was ready to come out? Why wouldn't they let me deliver?

Easing Your Frustration

The next morning, Dutch was preaching a message and in it he said something that eased my frustration. Of course, he had no idea I had this dream. I didn't tell him until the luncheon. It was as if God was speaking through him to give me the answer to why the attendant would not allow me to go into the delivery room.

Dutch explained that sometimes it's the enemy stopping us from birthing the thing God has given us to carry. That, of course, is what I assumed was the issue and why I was so frustrated in the dream. But sometimes, Dutch said, you haven't delivered because the body of Christ is not yet ready to receive what you are birthing. I bore witness with those words and it eased my frustration.

If you've been frustrated because you haven't seen the purposes and plans of God He has given you to birth—because you haven't seen the prophetic words come to pass—it could be the enemy. But it could very well be God's timing is not yet just right. So, by all means, ask Holy Spirit if there's a demonic hindrance but also prayerfully consider that God's timing has not yet arrived because He's preparing the body of Christ to receive what He's birthing through you.

In part two of this series, I'll share what happened to me on an airplane less than a week after I had this dream. Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get the next installment.

Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual AwakeningMornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still, Small Voice of God; The Making of a Prophet and Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Jennifer LeClaire Featured Opinion Sun, 01 Mar 2015 15:00:00 -0500
We Must Keep the Revival Fires Burning

Blow the ram's horn in Jerusalem! Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting. Gather all the people—the elders, the children, and even the babies. Call the bridegroom from his quarters and the bride from her private room. Let the priests, who minister in the Lord's presence, stand and weep between the entry room to the Temple and the altar. Let them pray, "Spare your people, Lord! Don't let your special possession become an object of mockery. Don't let them become a joke for unbelieving foreigners who say, 'Has the God of Israel left them?'" (Joel 2:15-17)

Many believers across the country have just finished a time of fasting and prayer. A time that was set aside to seek the face of God and ask the Lord to align us according to His will. There is no doubt, as I travel the country that a major breakthrough has been won in the Spirit from this time of consecration. Everywhere I go and every minister that I speak with are saying the same thing. Revival is breaking out! Souls are being saved and miracle reports are coming in that is shaking entire cities.

As much as this stirs my heart, I've witnessed these revival fires die out just as fast as they were started. We fail to sustain what God births in us during times of consecration. My question for you today is, when was consecration a seasonal thing? We are to live our lives consecrated, or set apart, to the Lord daily. If we are to see lasting impact of revival fire, we must keep the fire burning.

In Leviticus 6:9 God gives Moses instructions for Aaron and the priests concerning the law of the burnt offering. This offering was a whole sacrifice consumed on the altar. Everything had to be placed upon the altar, and it represented the fullest form of Israel's worship and consecration. The message of the burnt offering is really complete consecration. Paul taught us in Romans that we are to present our bodies as living sacrifices unto God. This is our daily and personal responsibility.

God also revealed to Moses in Leviticus 6:13 that the fire on the altar shall never go out it shall be kept burning at all times. So each morning the priests had to carry out the old ashes of yesterday's fire and place fresh logs to keep it going. We can't live off of yesterday's move of God, but we must daily place new logs on the fire by presenting ourselves before the Lord in daily devotion. God doesn't want seasonal sacrifice, this is a daily responsibility for each believer.

So I'm thankful for the leaders who "sounded the alarm" and called a fast during this difficult time as a nation. I pray that it's not just a fad that we do at the beginning of each year, but rather it sets the tone for our consecration all year long. God knows we desperately need a divine reversal and outpouring of the Holy Spirit in America. However, it will not come until we as the body of Christ turn back to God through prayer and fasting.

The call is still the same. "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chr. 7:14) We have a responsibility to humble ourselves. Humility is best revealed through utter dependence on God through prayer and fasting.

But I want to go back to the verse I began with. "Call the people together for a solemn meeting ..." We must have our personal devotion to the Lord, and we must gather together with our local church for corporate fasting. But America needs to see Solemn Assemblies again! Notice that when Joel calls for these sacred assemblies he says, "Call the bridegroom from his quarters and the bride from her private room". There are literally thousands of believers all across this country praying for revival in their private rooms each day. I believe the prayer movement in America is bigger than we actually think. Prayer networks are popping up all across America. Yet we still lack one important element: Solemn assemblies.

I was in Nashville, Tennessee, for the Call on 07-07-07 for a solemn gathering. I was one of thousands in the crowd at LP Field asking God to forgive us as a nation for our sins and to turn our hearts back to the Lord. It was in those moments where I felt we as the body of Christ were actually making a statement. It was a moment where we began to see the church more unified than ever before.

From that time, I know that more solemn assemblies had taken place and I know many lives were impacted by it. But as I was praying the other day I felt the Lord say that was only the beginning! Those gatherings even as massive as they were, were only "humble rumbles" of what God wants to do in this hour! It's time for a Third Great Awakening! I'm glad our churches are in revival but let's come together for solemn assemblies and let the world know we are serious about turning back to God.

With that being said, I want to make a challenge as a next-gen leader to those in current leadership in the church today that we are in desperate need to mobilize the bride from her private room back to stadiums all across America for solemn assemblies. What if whole states would rally their churches, prayer networks, television ministries, and social media to college stadiums across America? I hope that as you read this you begin to see God's vision in this hour for massive gatherings of believers in all 50 states in America making an appeal to heaven. The call is going forth in this hour and my prayer is this simple challenge could inspire a movement of solemn assemblies in America again.

We have the best of the best media, ministries, gifts, and talents. If we would just drop our agendas and hear the voice of God calling us together to rally the bride from her private room to stadiums across America I believe we can reach the tipping point for the Third Great Awakening in our nation. Now is the time, you are apart of God's call and vision. Please start taking the steps and forming the meetings and let's see God do what only He can do. Don't wait on the big names to make plans, start mobilizing prayer meetings and rallying people until the solemn assembly leaders of the past begin to recognize God's call for solemn assemblies again.

Finally, to those who have lead solemn assembly meetings in the past. I have been praying for you. I know many people have tried to discourage you in this endeavor and the enemy has even lied to you and said, "What's the use?" But hear the cry of David's in this generation, "Is there not a cause?"

We need these solemn assemblies and gatherings of the masses more today than we ever have. Will you step up and come together once again for national repentance. I feel that the church has never been more ready for this moment, now we are waiting on your leadership. Will you answer the call ... again?

Want to know more about the next great move of God? Click here to see Jennifer LeClaire's new book, featuring Dutch Sheets, Reinhard Bonnke, Jonathan Cahn, Billy Graham and others.

Mark Casto Ministries has a clear and precise mission: To engage the culture and transform the mind by declaring the truth of God's word, and calling all men and women into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and demonstrating the power of God to rescue a generation. Casto has led Omega Center International in Cleveland, Tennessee, since 2008, and says he has been called to "stir revival" in America.

Mark Casto Featured Opinion Sun, 01 Mar 2015 13:00:00 -0500
Unsaved Christians: Do We Understand the Threat of Sin in the Life of Christians?

Note: This is the first in a series of articles by John Burton. Part 2 on Monday will explore the salvation of Christians who persist in a life of "minor" sin.

There is a glorious salvation to be had, and the enemy has tainted powerful, life-giving theologies in an attempt to counterfeit them—and draw people away from the one true God. God's passion is for people to be wildly in love with Him, and that is what the enemy is afraid of. Instead of radical intimacy and passionate obedience, people are falling for a lesser, false doctrine that communicates God's apparent affirmation of them and affection for them—and it is resulting in a faux closeness to him for millions of "Christians."

Our salvation is glorious and it is also weighty. We can't presume upon it or take it lightly. I suggest it's possible that most people who are convinced of their position in Christ would actually be in Hell if they died today. I will share some convincing and powerful stories that speak directly to further down in the article. People like Corrie Ten Boom, John Mulinde and Daniel Ekechukwu have a perspective that few others do.

The concept of unsaved Christians seems contradictory. I understand that. A Christian is a follower of Jesus. I am suggesting that there are many followers of Jesus, many who name the name of Christ, who are living their lives following him in an unsaved condition.

"To the angel of the church in Sardis write: 'He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars says these things: I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain but are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfected before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not soiled their garments. They shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments. I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches'" (Rev. 3:1-6).

But, are we not free from condemnation if we are in Christ Jesus? Yes. But, let's look at that verse:

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1a).

A massive and increasing number of Christians have been lulled into a slumber regarding the reality of salvation. They have a reputation of being alive, but are dead because of their sin. The common presumption is now that if we read our Bible, go to church and identify ourselves as Christians we are automatically exempt from condemnation. The problem? Too many have understood just what it means to be in Christ Jesus.

Tragically it's true that countless professing Christians are actually living in a place of condemnation because they aren't truly in Christ Jesus. We can't just call ourselves Christians and presume that we are truly in Christ.

"To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace, for the carnal mind is hostile toward God, for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can it be, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom. 8:6-8).

The last 24 years my life and ministry have been marked by a troubled spirit and an unrelenting passion for extreme surrender, zealous prayer and an unapologetic call for passion, repentance and holiness. I understand just how separated, intense and broken we must be to truly be counted among the saved—or, I at least have an understanding of the type of deception that is causing people to remain careless in their walk with Jesus.

To be a true follower of Jesus requires more than today's theologies are communicating, and that does indeed both anger and wreck me. This is why I just cannot lead a church or ministry without an intense, burning edge to them. Anything short of radical just can't be promoted anymore!

Why is my spirit troubled? Because I am convinced both by Scripture and by a horrifying encounter I had with the terror of Hell over two decades ago that a shocking percentage of professing Christians are on their way to Hell. We must exhort one another into radical faith.

" Be attentive, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, and you depart from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called 'Today,' lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" (Heb. 3:12-13).

The risk of falling away is very real, and very terrifying:

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to be renewed once more to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and subject Him to public shame" (Heb. 6:4-6).

In my encounter, I was dragged toward Hell as a praying, worshipping, professing Christian—and I almost went mad. The terror is beyond anything I could ever describe and I wouldn't wish it on anybody. When people tell others to go to Hell, they have no idea what they are saying.

When I came out of the encounter I received the most troubling message that God has ever given me: Many Christians will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day. My life-long mandate is to shout this truth and awaken the sleepers.

These are people who believe they are in Christ Jesus—but are not—and who are heading to a judgment day that will stun them. This is why continual warnings and messages of awakening must pierce our church culture. This is why anything less than a white hot, high-bar atmosphere of fervent prayer, repentance and brokenness must be rejected in our churches. It's time for Ichabod churches to be made known so it become clear who the martyr-minded true believers are. Those who are willing to take up their cross are those that make up the true church.

Today the world is watching millions of people following Jesus with no cross on their backs, and this is the heretical deception that must be exposed. God will, in time, reveal the wheat and the tares.

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it'" (Matt. 16:24-25).

John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 20 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored nine books, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. Additionally, he planted two churches, has initiated two city prayer movements and is currently directing a prayer and revival focused ministry school in Detroit called theLab University. John's mandate is to call the church in the nations to repentance from casual Christianity and to burn in a manner worthy of the King of Kings. He is equipping people to confront the enemies of God (established religion, Jezebel, etc.) that hinder an extreme, sold out level of true worship.

For the original article, visit

John Burton Featured Opinion Sun, 01 Mar 2015 11:00:00 -0500
Mike Bickle: Why We Must Pray

We begin our journey of growing in prayer by acknowledging that prayer is not only for beginners but also for mature believers. Otherwise there would be no point in trying to grow in it!

The Lord calls every believer to a life of prayer—no matter how long he has been saved or how experienced he is in this discipline. The best thing all of us can do to improve ourselves, our lives and our relationships is to grow in prayer.

Prayer is a means of connecting with the Holy Spirit, who energizes us to love God. Our love for God then causes us to overflow in love for others. Jesus made an absolute statement about our inability to walk in the fullness of our destinies in God without growing in prayer. He said that unless we abide in Him, we can do nothing related to bearing fruit or maturing in our spiritual lives: "He who remains in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit. For without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

Because we are not the source of spiritual life ourselves, we cannot generate it, nor can we receive it unless we abide in Christ. Just as it is impossible for us to jump a hundred feet even if we push ourselves, it is impossible for us to generate spiritual life. It is not an issue of practice; we were not created to be able to jump a hundred feet! And neither were we created to have Spirit-life while living independently of the Spirit. We must abide in Christ and grow in prayer to make our lives work.

The Holy Spirit will move in a new and powerful way in your heart and life as you take time to grow in prayer. The change may not happen overnight, but it will most certainly happen. The discipline of prayer will eventually become delight in prayer. Dryness in prayer will gradually be replaced by a vibrant dialogue with God that will change your life and result in many answered prayers.

I invite you to begin the next stage of your journey in prayer right now. There is no better time than today. Do not wait for a special spiritual experience to begin to grow in prayer. We grow in prayer by actually praying. Beginners in prayer mature by praying more. It is the same principle we embrace when learning to play a musical instrument—we become better the more we practice.

From Duty to Delight

In my younger days I loved Jesus, but I dreaded spending time in prayer. I saw prayer as a necessary duty that I had to endure if I wanted to receive more blessing. I never dreamed that I would one day be one of the leaders of a 24/7 prayer ministry such as the International House of Prayer of Kansas City.

I endured that dreadful hour of prayer night after night. I did not like it at all. I enjoyed activities such as going to worship services and attending Bible studies to hear teaching. I liked engaging in ministry activity and going on missions trips. But when I got alone to pray or read the Bible, I found it confusing and boring. However, I really wanted to grow in God, so I knew I had to stick with this "prayer thing" until I developed a real life in prayer. I was determined—but not very hopeful that it would work for me.

A New View of Prayer

To be successful, I needed a new perspective on prayer: I needed to know what prayer is and why the Lord insists on it. As I discovered answers to these questions, I began to see prayer as so much more than a religious duty to endure. I learned that it is a place of encounter, a way to receive blessing, an act of partnership with God, and much more.

A Place of Encounter

The call to prayer is a call to participate in the love that has forever burned in God's heart. From eternity past the Father has loved the Son with all His heart, and the Son has loved the Father with the same intensity. The primary factor in the Father's relationships, both within the Godhead and with His people, is wholehearted love. The family dynamics among the Father, Son, and Spirit are based on and flow in this wholehearted love. This love is the foundational reality of the kingdom of God. It is this very reality that we participate in as we grow in prayer, and it is what prayer is mostly about—that is, participating in the family dynamics of the Godhead. We do this by receiving God's love and responding to the Lord and people in His love.

We were created to receive and express the burning love that originates in God's heart. God created the human race to share His love. Why? Simply because "God is love" (1 John 4:16). No lack in the fellowship within the Trinity prompted God to create humans. The Father was not lonely, and He had no needs. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are fully satisfied in the joy of the love they have shared together from eternity past. Yet the Lord created us to share the joy of His love with us. He created us in His image, for love—to receive His love, reflect it back to Him, and share it with others. Love is at the core of our relationship with God, the essence of salvation, and the foundation for understanding prayer.

The preceding is an excerpt from Growing in Prayer (Charisma House, 2014) by Mike Bickle. Copyright © 2015 by Mike Bickle. All rights reserved.

Mike Bickle is the director of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City and the founder of International House of Prayer University, a four-year ministry school. He is the author of several books, including Passion for Jesus, Growing in the Prophetic, The Pleasures of Loving God and After God's Own Heart.

Mike Bickle Featured Opinion Sun, 01 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500
25 Things a Daughter Needs From Her Dad

As you probably know, I am a first-time author. The part you may not know, however, is that I never set out to be an author. That part just kind of happened.

One thing I was clear about from the start was that I wanted to write a book that would be a field manual for dads. I hoped it would appeal to a wide range of men, from those who like to read all the way to those who don't care too much for books or have the time but want answers that yield positive, guaranteed results in relating to their daughters.  

And the best part now is that I have the privilege of hearing feedback from dads who are putting things into action and seeing a significant turn around in their relationship with their daughters! Three words: All worth it!

When the book title was finally selected—Dad, Here's What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter's HeartI decided to do a little of my own field research, a bit of data collection, I guess you could say. I started by asking this question to as many girls and women as I could find:

What do you really need from your dad?

Then I added a short addendum to my request: 

"This is your opportunity to use your voice to help dads across America by answering this question and telling me the top five things you really need from your dad. Feel free to pass this on to any women you know who may want to help me gather information."

Not only did the responses start pouring in, but surprisingly women took me up on my suggestion and started sending the questionnaire to their friends and family. I honestly hadn't expected that level of enthusiastic response!  

The youngest participant was 9 years old while the oldest was 89, again reflecting the relevance of this topic to girls and women across the lifespan. This question seemed to spark something in the hearts of females that spurred them to want their voices to be heard.  

So here is a profound look inside the inner world of women. I trust that you'll hear their hearts and not just see a list of entitled requests from demanding females. 

The truth is that these aren't just wants. These are needs. Their honest, heartfelt feedback is here to let you know what girls and women are really thinking and what they are really longing for from their dads.

Here are the 25 most-mentioned things that a daughter really needs from her dad:

1. Time ("To show interest and involvement in my life," "To be available").

2. Affirmation ("Approval," "Praise," "Hear him say out loud, 'I love you'").

3. Affection ("Hugs," "Physical touch").

4. Unconditional love ("For who I am regardless of my failures").

5. Apologies.

6. Be proud of me ("To know I'm not a disappointment to him," "No judgment," "Less criticism," "Faith in me").

7. Tell me I'm beautiful ("Compliment me, especially about my looks").

8. Talk to me and open up about himself, his pain, his faults, his hopes ("Let me see that he is human, that he fails, that he makes mistakes, and then show me how to make it right," "Time alone where I get to know him and his childhood"). 

9. Pursue me ("Desire to get to know me," "Interactive conversation where he is asking me questions about myself," "To actively seek me out and find out what I am doing, what I am interested in, WHO I am").

10. Prayers.

11. To work on his temper so I can feel safe ("Not to crush my spirit").

12. Not to change me ("To let me be me," "Be accepted for myself—not for what I did or failed to do").

13. Honesty ("I need him to be honest with himself. When he's honest with himself, it frees him to be honest with me").

14. Just listen.

15. Guidance.

16. Protection.

17. Sense of humor.

18. Teach me about things.

19. Be an adventurer ... with me. 

20. Instead of not being there, please be there ("Instead of handing me money, ask to come with me and take me shopping or out to lunch").

21. Tell me you love being my dad.

22. Believe in me.

23. Never give up on our family.

24. Show me how a real man treats a woman.

25. Support my ideas and dreams.

Raw. Vulnerable. Honest. And every single response comes from a daughter's heart longing for connection and relationship with dad coupled with love and affirmation from dad.  

My deep and passionate desire is for dads across America and the world to step up and step into their roles as fathers. We can't go one more day without every dad being all that his daughter needs him to be in her life. Because a daughter who knows she is loved and adored by her dad will pass along that same gift to the next generation.  

Dad, I implore you to take five things from this list, the ones that most strongly resonate with your core values, and put them into action right away.  

Be the dad your daughter needs you to be ... today.  

Dr. Michelle Watson has a clinical counseling practice in Portland, Oregon, and has served in that role for the past 17 years. She is founder of The Abba Project, a 9-month group forum that is designed to equip dads with daughters ages 13 to 30 to dial in with more intention and consistency, and has recently released her first book entitled, Dad, Here's What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter's Heart. She invites you to visit for more information and to sign up for her weekly Dad-Daughter Friday blogs, where she provides practical tools so that every dad in America can become the action hero they want to be and their daughters need them to be. You can also follow or send feedback on Facebook and Twitter.

For the original article, visit

Michelle Watson Featured Opinion Sat, 28 Feb 2015 17:00:00 -0500
Where are the Josephs, Daniels and Esthers for Our Day?

When traveling by train from the Frankfurt, Germany region to Rossenheim in southern Bavaria in the middle of the night, I kept hearing the Holy Spirit speak to me over and over, "Where are the Daniels, the Josephs and the Esthers?" 

As I have pondered deeply on this word for years, I believe the Holy Spirit is searching. Yes, He is on a quest to find believers who dream dreams at any cost, have a discerning spirit to properly interpret the times, and who learn to intercede out of a posture of revelation. Where are the Josephs and Daniels for this generation? Perhaps some of them are those reading this message studying to show yourself approved as a workman for God.

Interpretations Belong to God

1. From the life of Joseph (Gen. 40:8)—"And they said to him, 'We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter for it.' Then Joseph said to them, 'Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.'

2. From the Life of Daniel (Dan. 1:17, 20)"As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and skill in every branch of learning and wisdom. And Daniel had understanding in all kinds of visions and dreams. ... In all matters of wisdom and understanding which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm."

3. From the Life of Issachar (1 Chr. 12:32)"From the sons of Issachar, those having understanding of times and what Israel should do: two hundred of their captains with all their brothers at their command."

4. First Corinthians 12: 7, 8"But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to everyone for the common good. ... To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit."

5. SummationWhat God did before, He wants to do again!

Basic Points for Interpreting Dreams

Revelation Is Full of Symbolism

As dreams, visions and revelations are full of symbolism, they need to be viewed much the same as parables. Ask the Lord to show you the central issue. When dreams, etc. are broken down into too many details, the meaning becomes increasingly obscure. Frame it our like a giant jigsaw puzzle and the rest of the pieces will fall into place and the picture will be seen.

Dreams are the often language of emotions and therefore contain much symbolism. We must learn to take our interpretations first from Scripture, and then from our own life. How God spoke in Genesis will be similar to the symbols and types in the book of Revelation. This holds true in our own lives as well.

Three Realms for Interpretation of Symbols

The first place to look is in Scripture. The Bible is full of parables and allegories from which to draw types, shadows and symbols. Examples like the mustard seed being faith; incense being the prayers of the saints, seed representing the "Word of God," and the candlesticks being the church.

Secondarily, Dream symbols are often colloquial expressions which fill our memory bank. They become turned into pictorial language by the Holy Spirit. God takes the "sayings and idioms" and uses them to speak spiritual truth. An example is Gideon in Judges 7:9 -15, where a barley cake appears. Gideon grew up as a thresher of wheat and barley. The barley cake therefore was a symbol from his colloquial spiritual alphabet with distinct meaning to him.

The third realm of symbols comes from our own personal revelatory alphabet. In this case, the object or symbol does not mean the same to you as it would to others. Every believer has a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. So the Holy Spirit also has a personal relationship with you and He will speak to you out of symbols from your own very life.

Major Points for Greater Understanding

Reduce the Dream to Its Simplest Form

1. With too much detail you will lose the interpretation. Keep it simplewith too much detail and you will obscure the meaningtake the dream to the simplest form and build on that.

2. Context determines interpretation. The meaning is not always the same. An example: a seed can mean faith, the Word, the kingdom of God, a future harvest, etc. There are no formulas1 Cor. 2the things of the spirit are spiritually discerned, not naturally discerned.

3. Scenes of dreams or repetitious dreams. Is it four dreams or is it different aspects of the same issue? More than one dream in the same night is often a different look or version of the same message.

4. The First Questions to Ask

a. Are you observing? Where are you in the dream? If you are in the observation mode, then the dream is not about you. It is about someone or somewhere else. God does nothing without a witness observing issues. 

b. Are you participating? Are you participating but still not the main figure? This dream is not about you as the center figure, but includes you.

c. Are you the focus? Is everyone watching you? First – where am I located in the encounter?

5. What are the objects, thoughts and emotions in the dream? Are there words in the dream? What impressions and thoughts are you left with when you are awakened or recall the dream? What is the intensity of the dream—the main emotion? You will know intuitively what are more important issues.

6. The cultural interpretive process. West vs. EastNorth vs. South There are cultural and social interpretations that must also be brought into our understanding. It depends on the sphere of one's influence how much they must consider these things.

7. Meditating on the Laws of God. Psalms 63:6, 77:12, 119:15, 143:5. We must gain understanding of the principles or metaphors of scripture – meditate on them day and night. They can have layers of meaning! 

Keeping Interpretation Simple

Summary of Things to Remember

1. Most of all, dreams should be interpreted on a personal basis first (John 10:3).

2. Most dreams should not be taken literally. They need interpretation (Dan. 1:17; Gen. 40:8).

3. God will use familiar terms you know (Matt. 4:19).

4. Ponder on the dream or revelation and ask the Holy Spirit for insight (Dan. 7:8; 8:15-16; Luke 2:19; 1 Cor. 2:10-12).

5. Ask the Holy Spirit what the certain thought, word or issue is in the revelation. Reduce the dream to its simplest form. What is the main thought? What object or thought occurs most often? Frame it out like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Once you get the frame, the rest of it will fit together.

6. Search it out in the Word. Dreams from the Lord will never go against His word (Prov. 25:2).

7. What did you sense and feel from the dream? Was it a good or evil presence, fear, love, concern, hopelessness, disappointment? What was the primary emotion?

8. Relate the dreams to your circumstances and spheres of influence.

9. Consecutive dreams often have the same or similar meaning (Gen. 41:1-7; 25-31). God will speak the same message more than once.

10. Interpretations can be three levels

  • Personal
  • Church—Congregation; city church; church in a nation; global body of Christ
  • National and international, these can be governmental in nature.

11. More than one interpretation can come forth from one dream. Just as with Scripture, there is the historical context as well as the personal, present implication. So it is with dreams, etc. It might be a general word for the church with specific applications for yourself (or others).

12. Some dreams may only be understood in the future. They unfold over time. Details will make sense down the road.

13. Write down the summary, date it, where you were, the time if you woke up from it, the main emotions and a possible interpretation in a journal.

14. The key to proper interpretation is question, question, question. See Zechariah 4 as an example of "how to respond" to a revelatory experience. Humility is marked by being teachable.

Life Is More Than Dreams! 

"If we idolize that primary mental image and cling to it too tenaciously, we may well despise the realization of the dream when it finally arrives. An overly cherished fantasy has the capacity to steal our joy and even blind us to the dream for which we have longed." —Mark Rutland from Dreams, page 38.

Ecclesiastes 5:7 says not to base your life on dreams alone, "for when there is an abundance of dreams and futilities, then words increase too. Therefore it is God you should fear."

May dreams be multiplied unto You!

James W. Goll is the founder of Encounters Network and Prayer Storm. He has written over 50 books and study guides and taken the power, presence and love of God to over 50 nations. Visit for more information.

For the original article, visit

James W. Goll Featured Opinion Sat, 28 Feb 2015 15:00:00 -0500
WATCH: We Need a Different Definition of Sex

The biblical definition of sex brings more depth, joy and beauty than the worldly view of sex.

Leilani Haywood Featured Opinion Sat, 28 Feb 2015 13:00:00 -0500
3 Types of People You Don't Want to Pray for You

Job's friends are an example of what not to do when friends are suffering. What can we learn from them about how to pray for those we love?

Those of you who know the story of Job, the righteous man God bragged about to Satan, will remember that God gave Satan license to afflict Job. Job lost his possessions and his health. His seven sons and three daughters, for whom he had interceded daily, pleading their cases before God as a defense attorney might plead their cases in court, were killed in a freakish windstorm (see Job 1:18-19).

His wife lost her confidence in the Lord and any respect she had for her husband. She eventually encouraged him to forget his integrity, to "curse God and die" (Job 2:9).

But one of the greatest losses to Job was the loss of relationships. Job's friends became a burden rather than a blessing. Those who should have been sensitive to his need and supportive in their actions during his time of trial only added to his burden. Interestingly, each of them represents a type of friend no one wants when going through trial.

Let's look at Job's friends. Perhaps in them we will learn the behaviors to avoid when our friends are suffering trials. We can develop an earnest desire to become effective prayer advocates when others have walked away.

Job's Religious Friend

When Job needed loving, practical friends to assist and support him in his hour of need, his friend Eliphaz decided to be "super-spiritual" instead. He took it upon himself to bring correction to Job:

"Job, I know you're in a lot of pain right now, but I'd like to have a word with you. You've offered counsel and encouragement to lots of troubled people in the past. And you've been the first to support those who have stumbled.

"But now it's obvious you're discouraged regarding the trouble that has come to you. I know you think you're a righteous man. But let me ask you a question: When have you ever heard of an innocent man being destroyed?" (adapted from Job 4:2-7).

Eliphaz was out of touch with the reality of Job's intense suffering. The unsettling truth about friends who manifest the "I can hear God better than you" syndrome is that many of them have never personally experienced a genuine breaking from God. People with a religious spirit speak out of their soulishness and not from true brokenness.

Job didn't need religion. He needed relationship. He needed a listening ear, not a sermon. Job needed an intercessor, not an instructor. Eliphaz thought he was serving God, when in fact he was an unknowing pawn of Satan. When called to the witness stand to defend Job, he became a star witness for the prosecution instead.

When we are suffering, may God deliver us from religious friends. Decide right now that when your friends are suffering, you will relate to them with compassion and empathy.

Bildad, Job's Idealistic Friend

An idealist is defined as "one who adheres to philosophical theories of perfection and excellence and concepts of flawless morality." This may sound good, but real life isn't quite this pristine.

When suffering life's trials, we need neither religious, holier-than-thou friends to scold us nor idealistic friends to rebuke us. Hearing Job's explanation, Bildad replied: "Job, what you are saying about your situation is nothing but 'hot air.'

"God doesn't pervert justice. You know your children died because of their sin. So, I think it's high time that you plead with God for your own life. If you are the righteous man you think you are, He will restore your health and other losses. If history teaches us anything, it teaches us that God won't reject the righteous or bless the wicked" (adapted from Job 8:1-7).

Many Christians today have overlooked the powerful process of suffering and trials that God has designed to produce godliness in each of our lives. Let's not forget that Timothy says, "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12, KJV).

If we overlook that process, when suffering befalls our friends, we are apt to assume it is God's judgment for sin. When trouble befalls us, we are apt to be totally confused (see 1 Pet. 1:7-9; 2 Pet. 1:3-10; 2:9; James 1:2-4 for the purpose of suffering).

Sometimes God, for His own reasons, allows an idealistic friend to add to our test. At times we all need false and idealistic concepts to be broken. Perhaps through an idealistic friend we can see our blindness and resolve to fully surrender our hearts to God (see Ps. 51:17).

 Zophar, Job's Legalistic Friend

A person who lives a life of legalism adheres to a literal and excessively religious moral code. The New Testament Pharisees were the legalists of their day. They monitored themselves and others by the Levitical law. Yet Jesus reprimanded them for neglecting "the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness" (Matt. 23:23, NIV).

No doubt the whole spirit of their religion was summed up in self-righteousness, not in confession of sin or humility. This was the kind of friend Job had in Zophar, the legalist!

Zophar said: "How I wish God would tell you the truth about your situation, Job! He knows deceitful and evil men when He sees them. If you repent and put away your sin, then God will remove your shame" (adapted from Job 11:4-6,11,13-15).

With friends like these, who needs enemies? Apparently there was no one to plead the case for Job. His wife and friends all testified against him in court!

Let's not allow ourselves to become "Job's friends." When our friends are going through trials, let's not be a religious Eliphaz, an idealistic Bildad or a legalistic, know-it-all Zophar who is out of touch with his own pain. Let's agree to be spiritual defense attorneys, those who come alongside to bring carefully prayed-over and gently presented godly counsel, loving support and encouragement.

Defendant Becomes Defender

When God finished the work He was doing in Job, He promoted him from the role of suffering defendant to that of defense attorney once again. "After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, 'I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as my servant Job has'" (Job 42:7). What a turnaround!

Job's friends had failed to defend him in his trial. They had criticized, mocked and accused him. His friends had not understood the process of trial. Under Satan's cross-examination in court they inadvertently served as witnesses for the prosecution. In so doing, they had even falsely accused God. Now the Court's judgment weighed heavily upon them. Judge Jehovah was about to pass sentence on them.

Then our merciful Judge gave Job's friends these surprising instructions: "So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of Me what is right, as my servant Job has" (v. 8).

What was the result? "So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job's prayer" (v. 9).

Wow! The Judge gave Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar a court-appointed attorney--Job! As their attorney, Job was to plead their cases in prayer. And Job was no novice! Having defended his children and stood trial himself, Job the intercessor would not be praying detached, unfeeling, lifeless, ineffective prayers.

**He understood the pain and agony someone experiences when standing trial.

**He knew the fear, loneliness and severity of facing trial without a godly support team.

**He would represent his friends well before the Judge of heaven.

Friend, the trials you have suffered, when understood in the context of God's overall purposes and properly applied, can be used to a kingdom advantage as you intercede for others who are standing trial today. For Job's friends, the best part was that their victory was guaranteed before their case even came to trial!

That's right...guaranteed! Judge Jehovah said to Job's wayward friends, "I will accept his [Job's] prayer and not deal with you according to your folly."

Job Passes the Test

As long as Job remained the self-absorbed defendant, primarily concerned with his own need, he was a victim. It was only when he became a God-conscious, God-ordained, anointed defender of others that he experienced his own victory! "And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends" (Job 42:10, KJV).

Yes, Job's captivity was turned when he prayed for his friends. When Job focused on God and others, his own captivity was turned! This is what Jesus taught us to do when He gave us the two greatest commandments: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength...Love your neighbor as yourself'" (Mark 12:30-31).

Are you currently enrolled in "the school of suffering?" Perhaps you have been experiencing some Job-like trials of your own. When will they end?

That's really the wrong question. The question we should ask is, "What will they produce?" And that, friend, is largely up to you. If you are facing trial today, look for another person who needs a good defense attorney and become that person's advocate before the throne of God in prayer.

It could be that your captivity, like Job's, will be turned as you pray for your friends! Immerse yourself in their victory, and you will likely discover your own! "So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning" (Job 42:12). May this also be said of you!

Eddie Smith is the founder and president of the U.S. Prayer Center, and his wife, Alice, is executive director. Eddie also coordinates Pray USA!, an annual fasting and prayer initiative that mobilizes millions of Christians to fast and pray. Alice is an intercessor and internationally known conference speaker and author.

Eddie & Alice Smith Featured Opinion Sat, 28 Feb 2015 11:00:00 -0500
How to Revive Your Prayer Life

Jesus said in Matthew 21:13, "My house will be called a house of prayer." Today, it seems like the church is anything but a house of prayer.

We have more programs and plans for the church today, but not many prayer meetings. The prayer meeting is the most important service of the week and it's also the most neglected service of the week.

The church of today says let us know your needs and we will cater to them and make a structure to meet your desires and needs. The Bible says in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
You see, all that we are and all that we will ever need is found in the abiding presence of God. Far too many times the church has tried to meet supernatural needs with natural remedies. Psalms 91 says, "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."

When we learn to abide in His Power and protection, true peace and joy follow. I love the example Jesus set before us on prayer in Mark 1:35 which says, "Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed." 

Before the SUN was up, the SON was up. This is a scripture God laid on my heart years ago. Get up early and seek Him first thing in the morning. Grab hold of a fresh word from God first thing in the morning. Getting into the presence early in the morning is the best way to start your day. Ask the Lord to speak to your heart a very specific word each day. Then be quiet and allow him to speak to you. There is no limit to God's power that comes from prayer and listening.

Most all Christians want to taste the fruits of revival, but only a few will do what's necessary to achieve it. To achieve personal revival you must put time into it. What is it?

The place of prayer, your secret place. Matthew 6:6 says, "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." God wants to speak to you more than you want Him to speak to you. Take time to make God the priority of your life; not just one of the priorities.

Leonard Ravenhill said, "A man who is intimate with God is not intimidated by man." In his presence you lose your fear and insecurity. You will replace it with peace and confidence in him.
The more time we spend with God the Father the more He reveals himself to us. He shows us who we really are and takes away the fake us that we portray to everyone. The Lord gives and takes away. He give us more of his DNA and takes away the worldly characteristics we have taken on.

The world needs more believers to be full of God and have been lost in his presence hidden in the Secret Place. Ephesians 3:19-20 says, "To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us."

When you enter into the secret place you get to know your Father God past mere knowledge and will receive a fuller revelation of who He is. Then we are never ashamed or nervous to approach His throne with fear but with courage knowing first hand who we are talking to, our father, GOD the FATHER.

Joe Joe Dawson is the president of Burn Texarkana Revival center and House of Prayer. Pastor Dawson also serves as staff evangelist for First Assembly of God in Texarkana, Texas, where he also is now the Tribe College/young adult pastor. Burn Texarkana has one revival/awakening service a month at First Assembly and also has Burn on the Road meetings in neighboring cites monthly. There are four Burn Texarkana prayer meetings each week! Joe is married to the love of his life, Autumn, and together they have three kids: Malachi, Judah and Ezra.

Joe Dawson Featured Opinion Sat, 28 Feb 2015 09:00:00 -0500
Sarah Palin to Obama: ISIS Wants Your Head but Christians Praying for You

Sarah Palin called out U.S. president Barack Obama for ignoring the Islamic threat while Christians fight spiritual battles for him.  

"Wake up, Mr. President," the Former Alaska governor said at the Conservative Political Action Conference. "While Christians bow our heads and pray for you, radical Islamists want to cut off your head." 

Obama has shied away from equating the Islamic State with Islam, going as far as saying that the West's war on Islam is an "ugly lie." He also equated Islamic terrorist groups to the Christian crusades.  

"Lecturing Christians to get off our high horse about radical Islam won't stop the Islamists from killing Christians," Palin said in her CPAC speech.

Ignoring the threat, though, doesn't make it go away, she said.  

And prayer may be the only shot to save this country while militants make bold and gruesome threats against its leader. 

Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:00:00 -0500
Franklin Graham: Muslims Have Infiltrated Washington, D.C.

When Bill O'Reilly brought Billy Graham's son onto his show, Franklin Graham was unafraid to speak candidly about why the West cannot unite to fight the Islamic State. 

"One of the problems we have in the West is our governments, especially in Washington, have been infiltrated by Muslims who are advising the White House," Graham tells O'Reilly.  

"I'm not saying they're sitting next to the president whispering in his ear, but they are in the halls, and they are speaking to the staffers." 

While Graham could not immediately provide names, he said he's been told by multiple sources Muslims walk the halls of power. 

Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:00:00 -0500
8 People Found Dead in Murder-Suicide

Eight people were found dead overnight in an apparent mass murder and suicide and one person was shot and wounded in a sparsely populated area of rural southern Missouri, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said on Friday. 

All eight people were believed shot by one man, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to a statement by the highway patrol. One elderly woman was found dead of what appeared to be natural causes as authorities searched homes during the investigation. 

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch quoted Texas County Coroner Tom Whittaker as saying the victims were three women and four men, and that the elderly woman who was found dead was the shooter's mother. 

"It's heartbreaking," said Todd Haley, senior pastor at Ozark Baptist Church, located about three miles from Tyrone. "Anytime you see families that go to this level of violence, it's a shame." 

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called the shooting spree a "horrific tragedy." 

The events unfolded around 10 p.m. Thursday night when the Texas County Sheriff's Department responded to a call of a disturbance involving a weapon at a residence in the unincorporated community of Tyrone. A girl called authorities, saying she had fled to a neighbor's house after hearing gunshots at the home. 

Deputies found two dead in that residence. After further investigation, authorities said they found five more victims and one person who was wounded in three other homes in Tyrone. The wounded person was taken to an area hospital. 

A 36-year-old man from Tyrone, believed to be the suspect in the case, was found dead in a vehicle in nearby Shannon County. It appeared the man shot himself, the highway patrol said. He was not immediately identified. 

"In our job we see a lot of bad stuff and this is bad," said Highway Patrol spokesman Jeff Kinder. 

Kinder said authorities were notifying relatives of the victims. Police did not yet know how the victims were related and were seeking a motive for the killings. 

Houston School District Superintendent Scott Dill said the killings shocked the small community. 

"My students and my teachers are very upset. I have a lot of very upset children," Dill said. "Everybody knows everybody here. We all cry together." 

The Houston School district in Texas County has about 1,100 students. Texas County has a population of roughly 24,000 people. 

The killings took place in a thinly populated, rural part of the state, near the Mark Twain National Forest. The region is known to attract tourists for its hunting, camping and river rafting. 

Sheila Wright, treasurer of the Wellspring Church in Houston, Missouri, about 10 miles from Tyrone, said the area is plagued with drug use, crime, divorce and other problems. 

"We get a lot of people praying for changes in this county and it seems like the more we pray the more it gets stirred up and crazy again," Wright said. 

Nixon said the state's Department of Mental Health was working with local officials to provide counseling for students and other citizens if needed.

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Carey Gillam/Reuters Featured U.S. News Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:30:00 -0500
Star Trek's 'Mr. Spock,' Leonard Nimoy, Dies

Leonard Nimoy, famed for his portrayal of Mr. Spock on the Star Trek science fiction TV series and movies, has died after battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the New York Times reported on Friday. He was 83. 

The paper, citing confirmation from his wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, said Nimoy, who had grappled with a love-hate relationship for his logical human-alien screen self, died Friday morning at his Los Angeles home. 

Last year, Nimoy disclosed on Twitter that he had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a progressive lung disease such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis. 

"I quit smoking 30 years ago. Not soon enough," he tweeted to his 810,000 followers. "Grandpa says, quit now!!" 

Nimoy had other roles during a long career in TV, film and theater and directed successful movies, wrote books, composed poetry, published photographs and recorded music. But he will be forever linked to the half-Vulcan, half-human Spock in the original 1960s "Star Trek" TV series and subsequent movies. 

Known for suppressing his emotions and using strict logic to guide his actions, Spock became one of the best-known and most beloved sci-fi characters of the late 20th century. 

For years, Nimoy resented that Spock defined him but came to accept that his life would be intertwined with the alien who inspired a fervent fan following for "Star Trek." 

Nimoy had often battled Star Trek creators during the original series over their conception of Spock, and his input was responsible for developing many aspects of the character. 

He came up with the Vulcan nerve grip that rendered foes unconscious, as well as the split-fingered Vulcan "live long and prosper" salute, which he said was inspired by a gesture he had seen worshippers make in his synagogue when he was a boy. 

Nimoy signed off his tweets with "LLAP," an abbreviation of Spock's trademark phrase "live long and prosper."

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Will Dunahm/Reuters Featured U.S. News Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:00:00 -0500
Why Won't Obama Call ISIS 'Muslim'?

So, it turns out that at least some ISIS supporters believe that our government's persistent refusal to understand or acknowledge their Islamic roots—instead preferring to rely on standard "legitimate grievances" or "root causes" explanations for jihad—actually grants ISIS a significant tactical advantage.


Writing in The Atlantic, Graeme Wood collected reader reactions to his widely-acclaimed cover story about ISIS's Islamic theology, and the response from ISIS sympathizers was fascinating. A number of them forwarded his article on social media, and one ISIS supporter "noted nervously that the guy who wrote it must be spying on their tweets." Others were "delighted that [he] had taken their ideology seriously and concluded that ISIS is an Islamic group." 

But the most ominous response was the final response, a lengthy email from a self-described ISIS supporter describing the distinct advantage ISIS enjoys over willfully ignorant enemies:

What stands out to me that others don't seem to discuss much, is how the Islamic State, Osama [bin Laden] and others are operating as if they are reading from a script that was written 1,400 years ago. They not only follow these prophecies, but plan ahead based upon them. One would therefore assume that the enemies of Islam would note this and prepare adequately, but [it's] almost as if they feel that playing along would mean that they believe in the prophecies too, and so they ignore them and go about things their own way. ... [The] enemies of the Muslims may be aware of what the Muslims are planning, but it won't benefit them at all as they prefer to either keep their heads in the sand, or to fight their imaginary war based upon rational freedom-loving democrats vs. irrational evil terrorist madmen. With this in mind, maybe you can understand to some degree one of the reasons why many Muslims will share your piece. It's not because we don't understand what it is saying in terms of how to defeat the Muslims, rather it's because we know that those in charge will ignore it and screw things up anyway.

Fighting the "imaginary war"—it's hard to come up with a better description of combat based on politically correct notions of what ISIS wants and what motivates its supporters. We've been fighting this "imaginary war" for a long time, beginning with the Bush-era imaginations of an Iraqi nation ready for a democracy continuing to the Obama-era imaginations of "legitimate grievances" and doomed efforts to ally with the Muslim Brotherhood and other jihadis. 

It's easy to see the appeal of imagining things to be other than they are. After all, the imaginary world of latent democracy and productive appeasement is so much kinder and gentler than the real world of jihad. But jihadis thrive on our imaginings—postponing their day of reckoning, and hastening ours.

This article is crossposted on National Review.

David French Featured Opinion Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:00:00 -0500
ISIS Takes Sledgehammer to Biblical Artifacts in Iraq

Ultra-radical Islamist militants in northern Iraq have destroyed a priceless collection of statues and sculptures from the ancient Assyrian era, inflicting what an archaeologist described as incalculable damage to a piece of shared human history. 

A video published by Islamic State on Thursday showed men attacking the artifacts, some of them identified as antiquities from the 7th century BC, with sledgehammers and drills, saying they were symbols of idolatry. 

"The Prophet ordered us to get rid of statues and relics, and his companions did the same when they conquered countries after him," an unidentified man said in the video. 

The smashed articles appeared to come from an antiquities museum in Mosul, the northern city which was overrun by Islamic State last June, a former employee at the museum told Reuters. 

The militants shoved stone statues off their plinths, shattering them on the floor, and one man applied an electric drill to a large winged bull. The video showed a large exhibition room strewn with dismembered statues, and Islamic songs played in the background. 

Lamia al-Gailani, an Iraqi archaeologist and associate fellow at the London-based Institute of Archaeology, said the militants had wreaked untold damage. "It's not only Iraq's heritage: it's the whole world's," she said. 

"They are priceless, unique. It's unbelievable. I don't want to be Iraqi any more," she said, comparing the episode to the dynamiting of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Afghan Taliban in 2001. 

As well as Assyrian statues of winged bulls from the Mesopotamian cities of Nineveh and Nimrud, Gailani said the Islamic State hardliners appeared to have destroyed statues from Hatra, a Hellenistic-Parthian city in northern Iraq dating back around 2,000 years. 

Eleanor Robson, professor of Ancient Near Eastern History at University College London, also said on Twitter that statues from Hatra and Nineveh had been wrecked, though she added that some objects shown in the video were modern replicas. 

The director of UNESCO's Iraq office, Axel Plathe, would not comment on the content of the video, saying it has yet to be verified. But he described the damage to Iraq's heritage since Islamic State overran Mosul last year as an attempt "to destroy the identity of an entire people". 

Plathe said UNESCO was working with Iraqi authorities and governments of neighboring countries to crack down on the smuggling of artifacts from areas under Islamic State control, and had alerted auction houses to be on the lookout for stolen items. 

Islamic State espouses a fiercely purist school of Sunni Islam, deeming many other Muslims to be heretics. Its fighters have destroyed Shi'ite and Sufi religious sites and attacked churches and other shrines in the parts of Syria and Iraq under their control. 

"Muslims, these relics you see behind me are idols that were worshipped other than God in the past centuries," the unidentified man in the Islamic State video said. 

"What is known as Assyrians, Akkadians and others used to worship gods of rain, farming and war other than God and pay all sorts of tributes to them." 

Last week, Islamic State released another video showing a pile of books in flames. 

An employee of the Mosul museum said he feared these books were manuscripts from the library of endowments, although the library itself was still in tact last week.

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Isabel Coles and Saif Hameed Featured World News Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:00:00 -0500
Most Republicans Convinced Obama Is a Muslim 'Deep Down'

A new study reveals a staggering amount of Americans believe U.S. President Barack Obama is a Muslim.  

The survey, conducted by Alex Theodoridis with the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, bluntly asked participants what Obama believes "deep down." 

"By asking 'What [does] Obama believe deep down?' I was intentionally granting respondents license to stray from the president's self-reported Christian faith. This reveals a prevalent willingness to distrust this president or categorize him as 'the other' in terms of religion," Theodoridis writes. 

And the results reveal that even the president's own party fail to believe the president. Less than half of Democrats surveyed—45 percent—believe Obama is a Christian like he says. 

In total, 60 percent of the respondents said either they do not know what Obama believes or that he is a Muslim.  

Though Theodoridis' survey shows a significant difference than previous polls, it follows the trend of Americans growing increasingly suspicious of the president's professed versus practiced religion. 

Pew Research Poll released in 2010 showed a 9 percent increase from 2009-2010 of Americans who thought Obama is a Muslim.

Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:30:00 -0500
Jessa Duggar’s Post on God’s Judgment Stirs Massive Debate

Jessa Duggar Seewald just dropped a plumb line in the United States. Duggar, of 19 Kids and Counting Fame, is turning heads and stirring the spirits of her Facebook followers this week with a post about God's judgment.

In Duggar's opinion, one of the most quoted verses from the Bible is Matthew 7:1 "Judge not!" But she believes that's misinterpreted because folks don't like other folks to criticize how they are living their life.

"I will speak to you a hard truth. I do not write this because I think that it will bring me popularity. It won't. But it is Truth from the Word of God: the Bible. To not tell people this is to hide the truth from them. To keep silent is to not care for their eternal destiny! I care about you, and this is why I am speaking out!" Duggar wrote on her Facebook page.

"In this world, people have seared their consciences. The standard of what is 'ok' or 'permissible' in our society today, hardly reflects God's standard.

"People are content to live on in lying, cursing, pride, anger, bitterness, disrespecting of parents, lust, pornography, fornication, adultery, and other sexual sins-- and if anyone tries to confront them, their attitude and response is, 'You live your life, I'll live mine. Don't you tell me what to do! Only God can judge me!'

"They don't even realize what they're saying. God's judgment isn't something to be taken lightly! It should scare you! Man's 'judgment' is a 1000x lighter... usually just a voicing of disapproval. But when unbelieving, sinful men die and stand before God, He justly condemns them to hell."

Duggar went on to say that people disregard the Bible, using "all kinds of human logic" to try to justify their lifestyles. She gives examples of those who claim they've been living sinful lifestyles for years and don't believe God is angry with them; that a loving god would not send people to hell; that they have peace about their lifestyle and are listening to their heart; and that if God disapproved why doesn't He strike them dead?

But people disregard the Bible, and instead use all kinds of human logic to try to justify their way of living:

"First off, our human hearts are bent toward sin and not righteousness. We shouldn't follow the inclinations of our heart, but rather we know what is right and wrong according to what we find in God's Word: the Bible," Duggar wrote.

"This should be concerning to you. I know it was for me! When I saw myself in light of God's standard, and I knew that I fell short. But I found hope in the Gospel—the 'good news' of Jesus Christ! I would still be lost today were it not for His grace!

"Repent! Turn away from sin, and to Jesus Christ today! Be saved from the wrath to come. The believing man has Christ's perfect record put to their account. God gives him a new heart and new desires. If you find yourself a sinner in need of Jesus, then open your Bible today and begin to read the books of John and Romans. Let the Word of God root out the sins of your heart. Do not let up until you have found Salvation for your soul!"

The reactions were mixed. Some used the false justifications Duggar offered. Others thanked her for being bold enough to speak the truth.

"He is the only one that knows what circumstances have happened in that person's life, and what they have gone through. This is why we are not to judge lest we be judged. We cannot know the heart of another person," wrote Cindy Griggs. "So when you look down at a person for lying or being caught up in a sexual sin, you don't know what life they had to lead to that."

Oscar Yturriaga applauded Duggar for using her platform to share the truth of the gospel. He finds it "curious" how people can be so defensive and hateful toward someone who isn't preaching anything to others that they haven't first preached to themselves.

"I don't get the sense that you think you're better than anyone or more deserving of God's grace and mercy. You're identifying with the human condition of sin and sharing the only known cure, which can spare them from much pain and torment," Yturriaga wrote. "There's nothing more loving a person can do for another."

Jennifer LeClaire Featured World News Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:00:00 -0500
5 Nutrients That Can Reduce Blood Pressure Naturally

High blood pressure kills. That's a hard fact. High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects about 1 in 3 adults, and, according to the American Heart Association, is listed as a primary or contributing factor in around 350,000 deaths every year.

High blood pressure damages the heart, blood vessels and kidneys, as well as other organs, often with no obvious symptoms. Some risk factors for developing high blood pressure, such as age and family history, can't be altered, but you are in control of other factors, including your weight.

Most doctors use medication to control hypertension, but many patients don't stick to meds because of side effects. Fortunately, there are also all-natural ways to help get your blood pressure under control. Check out these nutrients that can help you bring your pressure levels down naturally and without side effects.

Hawthorn. "Hawthorn is accepted by cardiologists to be as effective as powerful drugs," says Dr. Russell Blaylock, author of The Blaylock Wellness Report. "In addition to lowering blood pressure, hawthorn extract also increases the strength of the heart muscle." A British study found that giving hawthorn to hypertensive diabetic patients lowered their diastolic blood pressure readings significantly.

Hawthorn berries are loaded with flavonoids and are used to treat several cardiovascular conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic heart failure and irregular heartbeat. Some experts recommend a form of hawthorn called Crataegus oxyacantha. The most common dosage used in hawthron studies range from 160 mg to 1800 mg.

Quercetin. Studies of individuals sensitive to salt found that the flavonoid quercetin lowered elevated blood pressure better than a common antihypertensive drug. In a study published in the journal Pharmacological Reports, the authors wrote: "Since raised blood pressure is the major cause of stroke as well as an important risk factor for ischemic heart disease, we propose that the blood pressure-lowering effect of quercetin could be an important mechanism contributing to the reduced risk of myocardial infarction and stroke observed with fruit and vegetables-rich diets, and possibly with flavonoid-rich diets."

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that giving healthy men a quercetin supplement of 200 mg a day increased their blood levels of nitric acid, which helps vessels dilate and lower blood pressure.

Melatonin. The "sleep hormone" melatonin may increase the normal drop in blood pressure that occurs during sleep, perhaps protecting the heart from damage. Italian researchers recruited healthy women and also women with high blood pressure. They were divided into two groups, and one group was given melatonin for three weeks while the other group was given a placebo. After three weeks, the two groups switched treatments. The study, which was published in the American Journal of Hypertension, found that blood pressure dropped more at night when the women were taking melatonin, but had no effect on daytime blood pressure.

Celery. According to information published by the National Institutes of Health, celery reduced high blood pressure in more than 87 percent of patients participating in a Chinese study. Patients mixed celery juice with honey and took the mixture three times a day for up to a week. The difference in blood pressure after treatment with celery—both systolic and dystolic—was significant, says the NIH.

Celery contains phthalides, a type of phytochemical that relaxes muscle tissue in arteries, and lowers blood pressure by increasing blood flow. Like some prescription blood pressure drugs, it also increases urine flow. Some experts recommend eating four stalks or one cup chopped celery (about 4 ounces) daily.

Pomegranate juice. Drinking pomegranate juice can significantly lower blood pressure. Researchers at Scotland's Queen Margaret University found that when patients with high blood pressure drank about 16 ounces of pomegranate juice daily for four weeks, 90 percent of them experienced a "significant" drop in blood pressure. Another study found that drinking about eight ounces of juice daily reduced the blood pressure of patients with hardening of the arteries from an average of 174 systolic to an average of 162 mm Hg in only one month. After a year, it had fallen to an average of 152 mm Hg.

And while patients on placebo saw an increase in the thickness of their carotid arteries after a year, those drinking pomegranate juice reduced the thickness of their carotid arteries by 35 percent. (Check with your doctor since pomegranate juice can react with some medications.)

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Sylvia Booth Hubbard/Newsmax Health Featured Opinion Fri, 27 Feb 2015 10:30:00 -0500
6 Pentecostal Denominations Unite to Discuss Crises Facing Christians

Leaders from six global Pentecostal denominations, representing over 90 million members combined, recently met in Los Angeles to discuss a wide range of international and domestic topics. The Pentecostal Leaders Summit convened for three days last week in Los Angeles, California to discuss a number of topics including the effects of terrorism, the church's role in racial harmony, religious freedom and same-sex issues facing the church just to name a few.

The leaders in attendance included Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., Presiding Bishop, Church of God in Christ; Dr. George O. Wood, General Superintendent, Assemblies of God; Dr. Glenn C. Burris President, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel; Bishop Doug Beacham, General Superintendent/Presiding Bishop, International Pentecostal Holiness Church; Dr. Mark Williams, General Overseer, Church of God; Rev. Randall A. Bach, President, Open Bible Churches and Dr. Jack W. Hayford, Former President, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. Additional persons in attendance were elected officials from each organization, including other members of the Church of God International Executive Committee: David Griffis, J. David Stephens, Wallace Sibley and M. Thomas Propes. 

A goal of the summit was to provide an opportunity for each leader to listen and discuss the various national and international crisis-facing Christians around the globe, while also seeking to help bring unity to the body of Christ globally.

Charles E. Blake Sr. says, "This gathering of Pentecostal leaders has provided each person with a unique opportunity to come to Los Angeles and dialogue with their contemporaries in other denominations, with similar beliefs, about issues that are confronting us all."

He further states, "This summit has shown us what we, as Christian leaders, have said and known for some time now: We are all better when we come together as one."

George O. Wood states, "This was truly an historical meeting. We are all the grandsons and granddaughters of the Azusa Street revival, and in these days, the Holy Spirit is drawing us together in united witness, fulfilling the prayer of Jesus that the world would know us by our love for one another."

Glen Burris emphasized, "There is a strong sense that the conversations among us have resonated much like the early church, that experienced a 'one accord' dynamic. An African proverb says, 'If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.' Finishing the Great Commission will require all of us."

The last discussion topic of the summit was how the six denominations can continue in dialogue with one another and provide opportunities to include additional Pentecostal denominations and enlarge the representation from each group.

Doug Beacham shares, "People are so thankful that we are meeting like this. Whatever steps we take are important for us, for our country and for revival ... ."

Mark L. Williams declares, "Our shared history along with the collegiality and genuine respect we have for one another holds great promise and unlimited potential for fulfilling the mission for which Jesus died. Only a united church can reach a divided world. We must be one."

Randall A. Bach explains, "It is always meaningful to gather with leaders of like faith. It is particularly joyful, however, to fellowship and collaborate with leaders of like experience, who love and pursue the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Our family of ministers and churches embrace and value our sister fellowships with love and respect. Unity in the Spirit glorifies the Lord." 

Faith News Network Featured U.S. News Fri, 27 Feb 2015 10:00:00 -0500
Boehner Defends Netanyahu's Upcoming Congressional Speech

 U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Thursday challenged an assertion by the Obama administration that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming speech to Congress about Iran's nuclear program would be destructive to U.S.-Israeli relations. 

"The president's national security advisor says it's destructive for the prime minister of Israel to address the United States Congress. I couldn't disagree more," Boehner said at his weekly news conference. 

"The American people and both parties in Congress have always stood with Israel and nothing, and no one, could get in the way," the Republican leader said. 

Boehner broke precedent by inviting the Israeli leader to address Congress without consulting the White House or Democratic lawmakers. President Barack Obama and other Democrats have accused Netanyahu and Republicans of using the speech to inject partisan politics into the U.S.-Israel relationship. 

Tuesday's speech will be the third by Netanyahu to a joint meeting of the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Britain's World War Two prime minister, Winston Churchill, is the only other international leader to have done so three times. 

Several Democrats have said they will skip the speech. Some said, like Obama, that it is inappropriate for Netanyahu to address the U.S. Congress just two weeks before Israeli elections. Others said they do not want a foreign leader weighing in on U.S. foreign affairs. 

U.S. lawmakers could have an impact on the course of the nuclear talks. The Senate is due to vote within weeks on whether to impose extra sanctions on Iran. The White House has said this could harm the talks. 

Secretary of State John Kerry met behind closed doors with Senate Democrats on Thursday. Lawmakers said he was not overly optimistic about the Iran negotiations but he opposed new sanctions and a proposal to have Congress vote on any nuclear agreement. 

Several senators said Kerry told them to make up their own minds about whether to attend Netanyahu's speech. 

As partisan rancor over the speech rose this week, Obama's national security adviser Susan Rice said in a television interview that it would be destructive to reduce the U.S.-Israeli relationship to a partisan political issue. 

There was one sign of bipartisanship on Thursday when Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that Netanyahu would meet with him and Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid after the speech next Tuesday. 

The White House said Rice and U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power would address the annual convention next week of the AIPAC pro-Israel lobby group, where Netanyahu is also speaking. 

Boehner expressed doubts about the nuclear talks as he defended the invitation to Netanyahu. "What is destructive in my view is making a bad deal that paves the way for a nuclear Iran. That's destructive," he said. 

Boehner said it was important for the U.S. public to hear Netanyahu talk about the "grave threats" facing Israel. "I'm glad that most of my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, will be there to hear what he has to say," he said.

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Patricia Zengerle/Reuters Featured U.S. News Fri, 27 Feb 2015 09:45:00 -0500
My Gender Is 'Fill in the Blank'

Now that Time magazine has told us that transgender is the new black, I'm going to say something politically incorrect: Your gender is not whatever you think it is. Put another way, there is no such thing as, "My gender is 'fill in the blank.'"

Unfortunately, Facebook didn't get the memo, and so, according to AP's Martha Mendoza, "Facebook users who don't fit any of the 58 gender identity options offered by the social media giant are now being given a rather big 59th option: fill in the blank." (Yes, I know this sounds crazy, but it's true.)

One year ago, I reported on Facebook's new policy which offered American users 50 ways to describe their gender, including up to 10 different descriptions simultaneously.

Unknown to me, that number somehow increased to 58, as noted in the most recent report. But 58 "gender identity options" were obviously not enough. Some people needed another option, one they could quite literally make up themselves.

As Mendoza explains, "Facebook software engineer Ari Chivukula, who identifies as transgender and was part of the team that made the free-form option, thinks the change will lead to more widespread acceptance of people who don't identify themselves as a man or woman."

Come again? By allowing people to describe their gender however they imagine it to be, this will lead to "more widespread acceptance" for them? And you can be a human being without having to identify "as a man or woman"?

In the vast majority of cases here, we're not talking about someone with a serious, biological or chromosomal issue, because of which their gender identity is debatable.

We're talking about people who are biologically male or female but are convinced in their minds that they are something other than their biological sex—either the opposite of their biological sex (and so, a man trapped in a woman's body or vice versa) or some other variation (no fixed gender; alternating genders; multiple genders; no gender).

Now Facebook is making room for that option: My gender is "fill in the blank," and so the sky is literally the limit.

But lest you think Facebook is introducing some cutting-edge innovation, they are actually late to the party.

According to a document dated Feb. 5, 2005—and so, more than 10 years old—the Los Angeles Unified School District Reference Guide stated that, "'Gender identity' refers to one's understanding, interests, outlook, and feelings about whether one is female or male, or both, or neither, regardless of one's biological sex."

Your gender is whatever you perceive it to be, regardless of your biological sex, to the point that, if you believe you are both male and female or neither male nor female, that's who you are.

And what if your perceptions change over time? So does your "gender identity."

As explained in a 2013 NPR interview, one housing director "has clients who might be Jimmy one day, and Delores the next," because of which you have to "develop the habit of saying, oh, that person, that is a she, that's Delores. It doesn't matter that she looks rather like Jimmy or looks like she was called Jimmy by her parents"—unless, of course, today, she is Jimmy, in which case she is he.

In fact, I recently watched a video in which the speaker explained that one's gender could actually change by the hour. I kid you not.

During the aforementioned NPR interview, one participant explained that some "high school students . . . said, I want you to call me Tractor and use pronouns like zee, zim and zer. And, in fact, I reject the gender binary as an oppressive move by the dominant culture."

Facebook has now made room for that option: My gender is Tractor.

Why not? Who are we to argue? Who wants to be labeled transphobic and insensitive?

And what if your perceived identity is not even human, like those people who genuinely believe they are part animal? (That's a whole other story for another article, but it's a growing trend as well.) What if you genuinely believe you're a werewolf or the like? How about "My gender is male werewolf"? Will that work?

I truly care for people who struggle with their gender identity, especially little children, who cannot possibly be accused of having some kind of sinister agenda, and I do hope we can get to the root of the very deep and significant issues that contribute to the feeling of disharmony they experience between their bodies and their minds.

But it is madness to have 58 ways to describe your gender or, worse still, to offer a "fill in the blank" option to describe your gender.

It needs to stop.

 Michael Brown is the author of 25 books, including Can You Be Gay and Christian? and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show "The Line of Fire." He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience.

Michael Brown Featured In the Line of Fire Opinion Fri, 27 Feb 2015 09:30:00 -0500