Charisma News | Breaking News. Spiritual Perspective. Sat, 29 Apr 2017 09:15:14 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Prophetic Word: Shake off the Spirit of Python Into the Fire

Have you felt as though you have been easily distracted from your purpose and vision? Have you felt worn out and beaten down in recent months? You started off the year strong, but somewhere along the way it felt as though the wind was knocked from you—either through circumstances or just feeling weary and exhausted with no explanation of why?

This accurately describes our own (mine and Nate's) experience in the past few months. I believe the Holy Spirit led me to the story in Acts 16:16-40 to give me the right tools for the opposition that has come against us, and I want to share them with you. I believe that many in the body of Christ have been facing resistance from the spirit of Python. Acts 16:16 in The Passion Translation (TPT) tells it like this: "One day, as we were going to the house of prayer, we encountered a young slave girl who had an evil spirit of divination, the spirit of Python. She had earned great profits for her owners by being a fortune-teller."

This verse, and those to follow, tell us a lot about the effects of Python. I want to give you a brief outline of what Python is; but the emphasis of this word is not on Python itself, but on the supernatural tools and strategies from these verses that God has given us to overcome and break free from this demonic oppression.

About Python

Paul and Silas were on their way to the house of prayer but were sidetracked in their path by this slave girl. The spirit of Python seeks to distract and then enslave. Its objective is to distract those on their way to prayer; those who are on their way to their calling. It wants to keep you out of the secret place through annoyances and disturbances. It will throw circumstances and diversions your way to have you focused on the "noise," and in turn, draw you away from going to the Father in prayer. Python operates through false prophecy and counterfeits. Verse 17 (TPT) says: "She kept following us, shouting, 'These men are servants of the Great High God, and they're telling us how to be saved!'"

At first glance, this statement seems a little confusing because it appears to be truth, but let's be clear: The enemy will contort the Word of God for his own purposes, to mock and taunt, which is exactly what was happening here. The ambitions of Python are to wear you down through mockery. It will scorn you personally; it will mock the call of God on your life and have you question if the dreams in your heart are possible. It will shout over you relentlessly until, just like Paul, you become weary and greatly frustrated. It will accuse you in the public forum, and it will have people surround you with lies and judgments.

Python will also seek to expose you, strip you and beat you until you are raw (see Acts 16:22). Its intention is to rob you and divert you from your destiny; coiling its lies around your heart until finally you are enslaved in its chains. But you do not need to fear! For greater is He within you than he who is in this world (see 1 John 4:4).

Keys to Victory Over Python

1. Speak Your Authority

Many of us, when faced with opposition, have a tendency to run from confrontation rather than face the fear head on. Refrain from speaking negatively about the circumstances around you. Don't be distracted by the noise. This only weakens you. Instead, focus on who you are in Christ and declare your victory through His name. Paul showed us how to firmly turn toward the attack (see Acts 16:18) and ultimately away from the distraction; commanding it to leave in the name of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 12:11 (MEV) says, "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony ..." One of your greatest weapons is the word of your testimony. By declaring the name of Jesus, His blood makes you (as a son or daughter of the Most High God) inherently victorious over the enemy every single time, but you need to speak your authority.

2. Lift Up Your Victory Song!

If you have been beaten down and the coils of despair have been strangling the life out of your dreams and hopes, it is time to sing. Despite what circumstances have come against you, your song of worship to the Father is a warfare tool of heaven to burst through the atmosphere of heaviness.

In Acts 16:24, we see Paul and Silas in the after-throes of their battle with Python, bound by their hands and feet in prison. Yet The Passion Translation says they were "undaunted." They began to sing, and it was their songs of worship that captivated an entire jail of prisoners. In verse 26, it tells us: "Suddenly, a great earthquake shook the foundations of the prison. All at once every prison door flung open and all the chains of all the prisoners came loose."

Your song of victory before the breakthrough comes literally shakes the foundations of the ground and sky; causing every chain that has restrained you to come unstuck and every door that has confined you to come unlocked. Psalm 108:2 (TPT) says, "Awake, O my soul, with the music of His splendor. Arise my soul and sing His praises! I will awaken the dawn with my worship, greeting the daybreak with my songs of light!" Your song will cause the light to burst through the night.

3. Shake It Off

I believe the earthquake was a supernatural sign of shaking off the spirit of Python. In Acts 28:3, Paul encounters another snake, but this time a physical one. As he was gathering a pile of brushwood for the fire, a venomous snake latched onto his hand. In verse 5 it says, "But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed."

Among the very few natural predators of a python is an eagle. They have distinct ways of attacking the snake—especially if it is in pursuit of eaglets in their nest. They will shake it vehemently or drop it from a great height. They show the snake no mercy—and neither should you!

The question is, how do you shake it off? Do you recall Paul and Silas were on their way to pray before they encountered this opposition? Acts 4:31 gives us an amazing account of the manifestations of what prayer can do: "After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly" (emphasis mine). Prayer literally shakes off the attacks from your life and drops the snake into the fires of God.

Lastly, let's not forget the incredible miracle breakthroughs that are promised to you on the other side of this opposition. All of the prisoners that were with Paul and Silas that day were set free; along with the jailer and his entire family who gave their hearts to Jesus. Your breakthrough is not just for you, but for others. Those around you who have been in captivity and are lost are meant to be freed through your breakthrough as well.

Mighty ones, it is time to speak to the problem, turn your affections towards the Father and command Python to leave in the name of Jesus! As you pray and lift your songs of worship, you will see a breaking through of the night season and the shaking off of all that has been opposing you. {eoa}

Christy Johnston was born and raised in Australia. After living the majority of her life plagued with insecurity and fear, she came to learn the power of her identity in Christ. She now lives with the mandate to breathe fresh hope and life into God's sons and daughters through her passion of writing, uncovering the truths of living in grace and freedom through our identity in Christ. Nate and Christy have two daughters, Charlotte and Sophie, and currently live on the Gold Coast in Australia.

Christy Johnston Featured Opinion Sat, 29 Apr 2017 09:00:00 -0400
Christians Demand Safe Return of Kidnapped Archbishops

A new petition is urging American believers to call for the rescue of two kidnapped archbishops. In February 2013, Fathers Michael Kayyal and Maher Mahfouz were kidnapped in Syria near the Turkish border. The driver was murdered in the process. Since then, no one has heard from the victims.

Now the International Christian Union is calling for the United States government to resolve the case of Kayyal and Mahfouz's abduction. The petition, which has over 1,100 signatures, reads as follows:

On April 22, 2013, both the Greek and Syriac Orthodox archbishops of Aleppo, Boulos Yazigi and Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim (U.S. citizen), were kidnapped in Syria near the Turkish border. Their driver, Deacon Fatha' Allah Kabboud, was killed.

Today, 4 years later, the bishops remain missing—though for some time it has been rumored that only one of them is still alive. The bishops were abducted on their way back from the Turkish border, where they were negotiating the release of two priests, Fathers Michael Kayyal and Maher Mahfouz, who had themselves been kidnapped in February 2013.

We have been quietly inquiring behind the scenes for four years now. We will not be silent any more. As per the Freedom of Information Act and the fact that one of these men is a U.S. citizen, we are now demanding from the United States government in particular as well as the international community in general, to provide us with answers as to the whereabouts of these two servants of the Lord and the church, in the name of humanity and decency. We urge the United States government to place whatever pressure need be applied on all its allies to obtain results in this matter, particularly Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel and Syria.

If these two clergymen are deceased, release their bodies so that they may receive a proper and dignified burial. If by any miracle of God, any one of them is still alive, we urge the U.S. President, the Senate and the members of Congress and their allies to put their efforts together with other countries in the region and help bring them home. Please help us bring our brothers home.

Your immediate action is highly appreciated. {eoa}

Taylor Berglund Featured World News Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:00:00 -0400
How Old-School Tent Revivals Will Make a Comeback on the Airwaves

We're crying out for revival every day, but Third Day put their hearts' prayers into words in their latest single, "Revival." 

The lyric video, which released Friday, calls for all of those who want a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit to say, "amen!" 

The folksy song declares, "Ain't gonna find it in a politician/Not from the government or any law/Can't get it going by your own religion/Only by the Spirit and the word of God!" 

Watch the video and catch the fire.


Jessilyn Justice Featured Culture Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:00:00 -0400
Unanimous: Senate Sends an Important Message About Israel

All 100 U.S. senators signed a letter, sent to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, demanding that the world body end its "anti-Israel agenda."

The letter, authored by Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Christopher A. Coons, D-Del., called on Guterres to "ensure that Israel is treated neither better nor worse than any other U.N. member in good standing."

Further, the letter noted that "too often, the U.N. is exploited as a vehicle for targeting Israel rather than as a forum committed to advancing the lofty goals of its founders. These actions have at times reinforced the broader scourge of anti-Semitism, and distracted certain U.N. entities from their original missions."

The letter condemns several U.N. bodies, including the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, the Human Rights Council and the cultural body UNESCO. The senators urged the Human Rights Council to address "the many pressing human rights challenges of our time in countries such as Russia, China, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, and South Sudan," rather than singling out Israel for criticism. UNESCO, meanwhile, last year passed two resolutions denying Jewish ties to the Temple Mount holy site.

While the letter does not mention an end to any U.S. funding for the world body, the senators wrote, "As both the U.N.'s principal founding member and its largest contributor, the United States should insist on reform....Continued targeting of Israel by the U.N. Human Rights Council and other U.N. entities is unacceptable. This situation must change."

This article was originally published at Used with permission.

]]> Featured Issues Caucus Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:00:00 -0400
Roy Moore Has Resigned From the Alabama Supreme Court

Judge Roy Moore resigned from his seat as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in order to pursue a new job—this one in Washington, D.C.

The judge said Thursday he plans to challenge Sen. Luther Strange in the Aug. 15 Republican primary for the special election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Strange, the former Alabama Attorney General, was appointed by former Gov. Robert Bentley, whom he was investigating at the time.

Bentley resigned after he was arrested on two misdemeanor charges of malfeasance in office related to an extramarital affair he had with one of his senior advisers. His successor, Gov. Kay Ivey, set a date for a special election as one of her first acts after being sworn in.

"I'll stand for the rights and liberties of the people," Moore said while announcing his intent to run at the Alabama statehouse in Montgomery. "My position has always been God first, family then country.

"I share the vision of President Donald Trump to make America great again. Before we can make America great again, we've got to make America good again."

The GOP primary field is already widening up. In addition to Strange and Moore, state Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) and Christian Coalition of Alabama President Randy Brinson have announced their intent to run. Three other state legislators are said to be considering a run.

Candidates have until May 17 to qualify for the primary election. If there is no clear winner on Aug. 15, a runoff will be held Sept. 26. Regardless of how deep the field is, the election will provide a true test of Alabama's support for the twice-removed former chief justice, who has been the target of politically motivated complaints filed by the ultra-liberal Southern Poverty Law Center.

The most recent travesty was his suspension amid complaints over an administrative order he gave the state's lower courts in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to "legalize" same-sex "marriage." Following a complaint from the SPLC, the state's Court of the Judiciary found he had violated judicial ethics by telling probate judges they still had a duty to uphold Alabama's laws against gay marriage.

"I have done my duty under the laws of this state to stand for the undeniable truth that God ordained marriage as the union of one man and one woman," he said. "I know and I think you do, too, that the foundations of the fabric of our country are being shaken tremendously.

"Our families are being crippled by divorce and abortion. Our sacred institution of marriage has been destroyed by the Supreme Court. Our rights and liberties are in jeopardy.

"What I did, I did for the people of Alabama. I stood up for the Constitution. I stood up for God. The great majority of the people of this state believe in God."

After Moore's suspension by the Court of the Judiciary was upheld by a special court convened in lieu of the Supreme Court, Ivey appointed Associate Justice Lyn Stuart as chief justice. Stuart had been serving as the acting chief justice while Moore was suspended, and will likely face one of Moore's closest allies in the 2018 election.

Associate Justice Tom Parker has also announced that he will run for Alabama Chief Justice, saying the state needs to maintain a conservative court.

"Alabama is a conservative state," he said. "We revere the Constitution and the rule of law. And I believe our courts are the battleground for our God-given rights as free people.

"Please pray with me as I take this step, and thank you for standing with me as I continue to stand for the God-given principles that remain the foundation of the freedoms we cherish as Alabamians." {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Elections Caucus Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:00:00 -0400
Arkansas Inmate Kenneth Williams Spoke in Tongues as They Executed Him

Kenneth Williams, the fourth man to be executed by Arkansas in a rapid spree, planned to speak in tongues for his final words.

"Regarding my last words... Not that I believe that a person can speak last words, there's eternity. I imagined I will once again apologize to the victim's family members. In addition to that, I doubt it if you will be able to properly record my final words on paper. You [won't] even understand them because they will be spoken in my spiritual language, in 'tongues,'" Williams told the executioner.
"Tongues are made mention of in the Bible: 1 Corinthians chapter 14. If it be my fate to die on an execution table shaped like a crucifixion cross, my last words here on earth will be spoken to God above while the ADC and the State of Arkansas work to put my body to death beneath," he said before speaking in tongues.

Reporters say he continued to speak in tongues until midazolam took effect.

"[I am] not the same person I was. I have been transformed. Some things can't be undone. I seek forgiveness," Williams said before he died.

Midazolam is a sedative used before surgeries. The drug is also part of the cocktail used for lethal injection executions.

Midazolam belongs to a family of chemicals called benzodiazepines, psychoactive drugs used primarily for treating anxiety, Newsweek reports.

After all the drugs were administered, Williams reportedly convulsed and coughed, dying seven minutes after the execution process began.

Williams was one of eight inmates on death row Arkansas scheduled to execute before one of the sedatives expired Saturday. Williams was the fourth execution in the spree, and the last to be executed before the drug's expiration.

The 38-year-old was initially sentenced to life in prison for the 1998 killing of Dominique Hurd, a university cheerleader.

Three weeks into the sentence, he escaped in a barrel of kitchen scraps. He was later convicted of capital murder for killing Cecil Boren during the escape.

Williams was convicted of Boren's murder and sentenced to death row. He later confessed to killing another person the same day he murdered Hurd. {eoa}

Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Fri, 28 Apr 2017 14:30:00 -0400
Prophecy: The Lord is Decreeing Triumph Over the U.S.

The Lord is decreeing triumph over the United States of America, Lana Vawser wrote in a powerful new word she shared with Elijah List readers on Friday.

"I watched as angels of triumph that had been positioned all across the United States began to stomp upon the nation with their feet," she wrote. "As they stomped their feet and the intercessions of the people of God were rising up to Heaven, I saw a great and mighty shaking that was happening and increasing in the nation."

But, as the angels stomped their feet, Vawser wrote she also saw cracks beginning to appear in the ground, exposing "all of the hidden things" under the surface. These cracks spread "far and wide across the United States," but she was struck also by how deep they went, as well.

"The shaking was going deeper and deeper and deeper and I heard the words, 'I am going to the foundations,'" she wrote. "'I am going to the roots. I am uprooting and exposing the weeds and the snares in the foundations. I am uprooting and exposing the weeds in the roots and foundations.'"

This major spring cleaning, Vawser said, comes with an urging that Christians continue to pray as the Lord establishes His truth for the new day. She said the Lord also urged for prayer as He breaks the spirit of false accusation hanging over our nation.

A revival of courage is coming, she added, and "the dreamers" are arising in the U.S. She closed out with the following:

"People of God in the United States of America, the nation is being shaken, but more and more ground is being taken. Don't leave your post. Stand strong, keep praying, it has started to rain! 

"I heard the Lord say, 'The cloud the size of a man's hand has risen up out of the sea! Now the rain is about to get a whole lot heavier to bring refreshment and greater healing to My people and the nation. Do not put up umbrellas of offense as I move in unexpected ways. Stay close to Me, crying out for eyes to see and ears to hear, asking Me for wisdom and eye salve; that you would discern and see the truth of the new thing that I am doing and springing forth.'" 

Click here to read the entire article at the Elijah List website. {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Fri, 28 Apr 2017 14:00:00 -0400
Museum of the Bible Adapts the Aetherlight Gaming Narrative Into Immersive Experience

Among the most highly anticipated offerings of the forthcoming Museum of the Bible, opening this November in Washington, D.C., is the use of Digital Guides designed to optimize the touring experience for guests of all ages and backgrounds. The tablet-based technology allows users to set their tour times, interests and rendezvous points as the system intelligently navigates visitors through the museum. For families and groups with children, the Digital Guide provides another opportunity: to engage and educate younger guests by "gamifying" the touring experience.

After an adult has personalized his or her itinerary for the day, the child's tour is dynamically created based on the preferences set by the parent or chaperone and tailored to the age of each guest.

Catering to ages nine to 12, Museum of the Bible and New Zealand-based gaming studio Scarlet City have modified the studio's proprietary "The Aetherlight" biblical allegory to create a completely unique gaming environment for Museum of the Bible.

"Partnering with Museum of the Bible has been an incredible experience. We believe understanding the Bible is essential, and our passion with The Aetherlight is to get kids immersed in it through a language children gravitate to—games," shares Tim Cleary, Founding Worldbuilder at The Aetherlight. "To have the opportunity to work with a museum that inspires people of all ages to get excited about the history, narrative and impact of the Bible is directly in line with our work. We are excited to see all of this become a reality when the museum opens this November in the U.S." 

"We've partnered with Scarlet City, for the innovative and amazing work they do in the area of gamification and educational storytelling for the digital generation," says Jeff Schneider, vice president of interactive systems at Museum of the Bible. "Together, we've taken The Aetherlight, their biblically inspired narrative, and modified it to create a completely unique story for the museum. It's at the forefront of museum technology, and we think it will deliver a truly unique experience for families and school-aged visitors." 

Museum of the Bible's modified "The Aetherlight" narrative takes the story of the Bible and reimagines it as a steampunk, industrial allegory where a pervasive fog has overtaken the museum.

The story follows a time traveler who collects historical artifacts from different time periods. When he hears about Museum of the Bible, he opens a wormhole to visit the museum, but something goes wrong in the process: robots have also gotten through the wormhole, and they are spewing out a toxic fog that has caused the museum electronics to malfunction.

Players are paired with MBOT, a robot companion that assists in completing the various missions users encounter at each exhibit. Users can also collect other helper bots inspired by the museum galleries and can upgrade their capabilities along the way. Presented as an over-the-shoulder, 3-D environment, each player must gather clues found throughout the museum to complete missions and, ultimately, to drive out the fog and finish the game. {eoa}

Lori Lenz-Heiselman Featured U.S. News Fri, 28 Apr 2017 13:30:00 -0400
How Baal Played a Role in the Israelites Leaving Egypt

Most believers are familiar with the false god Baal, the idol Elijah faced down while King Ahab and Queen Jezebel ruled.

But the principality traces further back in the Bible, to Exodus 14, author Derek Gilbert says.

"Backing up 1500 years from the confrontation on Mount Hermon, the Red Sea crossing was a supernatural conflict, another smackdown if you will, in the supernatural realm between God and Baal. Now what was Baal doing in Egypt?" Gilbert says on The Jim Bakker Show.

When Moses was leading the Israelites from Egypt, God commanded him to go back and camp on a mountain with "Baal" in the name.

Why? Watch the video to see.


Jessilyn Justice Featured Opinion Fri, 28 Apr 2017 14:00:00 -0400
What Tim Tebow Teaches Us About Stumbling Blocks

To excel at anything in life, we have to learn to handle adversity and persevere when it's easier to quit. Long-term success is only achieved by persistence.

Recall the timeless quote by President Calvin Coolidge: "Nothing in the world will take the place of persistence. Talent will not; the world is full of unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."

Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ told us a parable about a sower planting seed (Luke 8:1-15). He stated emphatically that it was only by "persevering" that an individual will eventually produce a crop. The problem is many of us throw in the towel prematurely and as a result don't find the achievement and success for which we long.

One of the very best contemporary examples of this character trait is Christian athlete Tim Tebow. He's currently drawing fans in droves to watch him play professional baseball in a late-in-life career change in Columbia, South Carolina.

Critics and naysayers of Tim say, "It's unrealistic. He'll never make it!" Yet this 6 foot 3 inch, 233-pound 29-year-old athlete, surrounded by aspiring 19- and 20-year-old teammates, is on a mission to fulfill his destiny.

 Who Is Tim Tebow?

Many sports aficionados believe Tim Tebow is easily one of the 10 most recognized sports figures in America. He is second only to Tiger Woods and LeBron James over the decade in terms of appeal.

In the mid-'80s, his parents were Baptist missionaries in the Philippines. While there, Tim's mother, Pamela, contracted amoebic dysentery and fell into a coma, then discovered she was pregnant.

She developed a severe placental abruption, and doctors told her to get an abortion because the child would be stillborn. Because of their strong Christian faith, Mr. and Mrs. Tebow believed God for a miracle promising to consecrate their son for God's work. And that is just what happened, as little Timothy was born a healthy baby, to the glory of God!

He was one of five children, and they were all homeschooled even into high school. Tim was able to play on the high school football team, winning the state title with him honored twice as "Florida Player of the Year." Subsequently, he was named one of the top 33 football players in Florida's 100-year history of high school football.

Advancing to the University of Florida, Tim became the first homeschooled high school athlete to ever be nominated for the Heisman Trophy that he won as a sophomore. While there, he played on two national championship teams, both with records of 13–1.

Going on to play for four teams in the NFL, he competed in 34 games until eventually being released. Even though he took a team to the playoffs, many football experts said he just didn't have what it takes.

Every time he faced another setback, Tim was interviewed and displayed grace along with exemplary determination to follow the will of God every step of the way. Eventually, he sensed he should pursue a baseball career, even though he had not played in organized baseball since high school in 2005.

Tebowmania Comes to Columbia

Not since Michael Jordan attempted a baseball career with the Birmingham Barons in 1994 has there been such a stir in minor-league baseball! Fans fill the seats, and Tebow T-shirt sales are brisk.

Although there are a few success stories in switching from football to baseball, like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, the odds are slim Tim will make it to the pros. Hitting a baseball unleashed at 90-plus mph is one of the most difficult things in sports. Yet if anybody has the determination and athletic ability to be the exception, it's our favorite son.

In his first three games, Tim hit two home runs (one in his first time at bat, which ignited a frenzy) and was 3-for-13 with 5 RBIs. The Columbia Fireflies, farm team for the New York Mets, are elated to have such a star attraction, and so are tens of thousands of devoted baseball fans, even though he's struggling at the present time.

Only time will tell if Tim Tebow can achieve his goal of playing major-league baseball at the ripe old age of 29. In the meantime, he stands on the field and in life as an inspirational role model whom all of us can pray for and emulate.

Behind the Scenes

I had the privilege to meet Tim Tebow not long ago and count it a privilege to validate his authenticity and humility. Tim says, "Trophies don't last. Awards come and go. Impressive titles move from one person to the next. But how we live can make an eternal impact."

This man of God is an outspoken Christian who faces mockery and criticism with dignity and divine strength. He has a winsome personality and takes his position as an ambassador for Jesus Christ most seriously.

Tim still returns to the Philippines to preach the gospel in schools and assemblies. He speaks in prisons and schools throughout America, supports more than 40 Filipino evangelists and works with The Tim Tebow Foundation to establish children's hospitals in the Philippines.

He unashamedly claims his commitment to moral purity and abstinence until God brings the right one to be his covenant partner in marriage. Wanna' bet there are more than a few Christian ladies-in-waiting taking note of this special man of God?

For decades, I've tried to encourage people to not let failure make them fearful of trying again. Turn your trials into triumphs; your stumbling blocks into steppingstones; and, your tests into testimonies has been my motivational challenge.

When Tim spoke to 20,000 people at an Easter rally in Florida not long ago, he put it this way, "I still have my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, because at the end of the day, that's what's important, win or lose ... We need to get back to one nation under God, and be role models for kids!"

Here's the deal: In a day in which the American dream has been twisted to mean entitlements and material things—automobiles, free education and a guarantee of future increase—we need to recapture the original meaning of starting from nowhere and achieving something through persistence and hard work.

In an hour when there are so few godly role models, Tim Tebow is a bright, shining light. May we follow in his footsteps as we share these words with our family and friends.

Thanks, Tim. Now go hit a grand slam and set off some fireworks in that beautiful South Carolina sky! {eoa}

Larry Tomczak Featured Here's the Deal Opinion Fri, 28 Apr 2017 13:00:00 -0400
BREAKING: Congress Prevents Government Shutdown ... For One Week

With only a little more than 12 hours to spare, the Republican-led Congress has put together a continuing resolution to allow the federal government to function, avoiding a shutdown some fear could be politically damaging.

The measure maintains government funding for just seven additional days. It passed the House by a 370-30 margin and was immediately messaged to the Senate, where after a brief delay it was adopted on a voice vote. President Trump still needs to sign the bill, and is likely to do so as he works with Congress to secure funding to begin construction on the southern border wall.

Republicans had attempted to pass a one-week "CR" on Thursday, but were blocked by Senate Democrats, who refused to do so without an agreement on a long-term funding proposal. They claim the GOP has inserted "poison pill" policy riders in the funding bill, and they will not vote on a long-term "CR" with those in place.

"Not all the poison pill riders have been eliminated," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Friday over his sudden change of heart. "We're willing to extend things for a little time in hopes that the same kind of progress will be made."

Insiders on Capitol Hill have suggested the House GOP leadership offered to delay the vote on the American Health Care Act to "sweeten the deal" with Democrats to avert a shutdown. But the issue hasn't gone away.

But it does give the House a little more time to work on a continuing resolution to get through the remainder of the fiscal year. The end of Fiscal Year 2017 is Sept. 30. The new deadline to avoid a government shutdown is midnight next Friday. {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Fri, 28 Apr 2017 11:30:00 -0400
Benny Hinn Ministries Responds to News of IRS, Postal Inspectors' Raid

Benny Hinn Ministries "remain confident in the days ahead" after the Internal Revenue Service and postal inspectors raided the headquarters earlier this week.

"As has been widely reported, Benny Hinn Ministries is cooperating fully with the governmental entities that are reviewing certain operations of the Church," the ministry posted to Facebook. "The ministry has undergone intense scrutiny over the years, and we remain confident that there will again be a positive and speedy outcome in the days ahead. Pastor Benny appreciates the love, prayers, and support of our beloved partners as we continue to minister the saving and healing Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world." 

Federal agents raided the ministry headquarters in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area April 26.

The raid occurred while Hinn was abroad in Paris.

In 2007, Hinn was one of six TV evangelists investigated by the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, led the investigation.

All six were cleared of wrongdoing in 2011. {eoa}

Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Fri, 28 Apr 2017 11:31:32 -0400
Did Pope Francis Just Make Another Move for One World Religion?

Pope Francis arrived in Cairo on Friday hoping to mend ties with Muslim leaders, just as Egypt's ancient Christian community faces unprecedented pressure from Islamic State militants who have threatened to wipe it out.

In an address to the Egyptian people this week, Francis said he hoped his visit would help bring peace and encourage dialog and reconciliation with the Islamic world.

But it comes at a painful time for Egypt's Copts, the Middle East's largest Christian community, three weeks after Islamic State suicide bombers killed 45 people in twin church bombings.

Those attacks followed a cathedral bombing that killed 28 people in December and a spree of murders that has forced hundreds of Christians to flee North Sinai, where the group is most active.

"Pope of Peace in Egypt of Peace," read posters plastered along the road leading from the airport to central Cairo, showing a smiling pope, his hand raised above the Christian cross and the Crescent moon of Islam.

Military Humvees patrolled the streets and soldiers guarded routes the pope will take. As on other foreign visits, Pope Francis will shun armored limousines during his 27-hour stay and use a normal car, saying this lets him be nearer the people.

Streets close to the Vatican embassy in Cairo and other sites have been cleared of cars and blocked off, and pedestrians were not allowed to linger.

"After all the pain we have experienced ... we are satisfied and confident that the state is taking strong security measures to prevent terrorism and protect churches," said Father Boulos Halim, spokesman of the Coptic Orthodox church to which the majority of Egypt's Christians belong.

"It's in the state's interests to protect its nationals, and the Copts are not an independent people, they are part and parcel of the nation itself."

Strained Relations

Francis will meet President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi; Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, the world's most influential seat of Sunni Islamic theology and learning; and PopeTawadros II, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church who narrowly escaped a church bombing in Alexandria on Palm Sunday.

Francis is expected to give his key address to a conference on religious dialog at Al-Azhar, part of efforts to improve relations with the 1,000-year-old center after Egyptian Muslim leaders cut ties in 2011 over what they said were repeated insults against Islam by Pope Benedict.

Tayeb visited the Vatican last year after restoring relations. Widely considered among the most moderate clerics in Egypt, Tayeb has condemned Islamic State and its practice of declaring others as infidels as a pretext for waging jihad.

Francis denounces violence in God's name and papal aides say a moderate like Tayeb would be an important ally in condemning radical Islam.

But Tayeb is under fire over the slow pace of reform at Azhar, which critics in Egypt's parliament and media accuse of failing to combat the religious foundations of Islamist extremism. They say Azhar is an ossified institution whose clerics have resisted pressure from Sisi to modernize their religious discourse. {eoa}

© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Lin Noueihed and Crispian Balmer/Reuters Featured World News Fri, 28 Apr 2017 12:00:00 -0400
What Has Been Our Return on Investment for Voting President Trump In?

My friend Cathy, a Wharton grad like President Trump, recently posed this question that pretty well sums up how we conservatives ought to look at President Trump's first 100 days: "What's our return on investment, or ROI, in our vote for President Trump?"

We know what the establishment media is already saying: President Trump's first 100 days have been a failure.

Indeed, The New York Times' op-ed pages claim President Trump's first 100 days are "the worst on record" and New York Magazine's far left writer-at-large Frank Rich and contributor Alex Carp said, "As someone is writing every 10 minutes now, Trump's first hundred days have been marked by no major achievements beyond the successful nomination of a Supreme Court justice."

However, in terms of conservative ROI, the confirmation of that one Supreme Court Justice might have been worth the whole election.

At least that's what our libertarian-oriented friend Representative Thomas Massie (KY-4) thinks.

Massie, who is not necessarily always a fan of the president, said the president is off to a great start and told Sean Moran of Breitbart News that the nomination of Neil Gorsuch was a defining moment for the Trump presidency:

I'm excited for the wins that we got already, which includes Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch being confirmed and that's going to last for decades. Neil Gorsuch was worth the entire election; everything else is a bonus.

Among the "bonus" items Massie identified were President Trump's rollback of the EPA's Waters of the U.S. rule and the Social Security gun grab, and the President's executive order attacking the regulatory state.

President Trump's attack on the regulatory state brings to mind another important data point in the calculation of the conservative ROI in a vote for President Trump, what our friend Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government called, Trump's crash course in "creative destruction."

Manning reminds us that "creative destruction" is the term MIT economist Joseph Schumpeter used to describe the capitalist process where business constantly seeks product and process upgrades that result in the development of new and improved ways of doing things and new products that drive out the old and outdated ones.

In Rick Manning's analysis Donald Trump's first 100 days should be judged on whether he is successfully generating the creative destruction the voters demanded, and by any standard, says Manning, he is doing just that.

By exiting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Trump is resetting what it means to be a trade partner with the United States.

Donald Trump's budget is equally transformational, says Manning.

In proposing the elimination of agencies like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, Trump is signaling that his administration will end government payments to organizations that could be better supported by the private sector.

And perhaps most consequentially, said Manning, Trump has re-ordered how the United States is going to interact with the rest of the world.

Each of those is a significant return on the vote conservatives invested in Donald Trump.

Measured strictly on a quarterly basis, the conservative ROI on our vote that we achieved with the Gorsuch confirmation was stellar, and that investment is likely to continue to pay dividends for years to come.

Likewise, the conservative ROI on regulatory reform will pay dividends, not just in the short-term, but for years to come.

However, American business is often criticized for having a shortsighted quarter-to-quarter focus on profits, and American politicians are likewise criticized for focusing on today's polls rather than doing the hard work to sell long-term policy results.

From our perspective, having worked at the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives and an executive branch agency, those same critiques apply to complaints about President Trump's first 100 days.

The establishment media will look at President Trump's campaign promises and "what I'm going to do on Day 1" rhetoric and claim the President's first 100 days have been a failure.

Many Trump voters are frustrated, and might be tempted to agree.

Some of President Trump's biggest promises, and the ones that are likely to pay some of the greatest returns on the investment we conservatives made with our vote for President Trump, such as the executive orders on border security and sanctuary cities and the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, aren't giving us any return—yet.

But that's not because President Trump didn't put them in motion; it's because they were stymied through the overreach of liberal judges and the failures of the Republican leadership in Congress.

The establishment media and the #NeverTrump crowd will focus on what isn't yet final and judge President Trump's first 100 days a failure. However, ignoring President Trump's successes and judging the president's results strictly by what investments haven't yet come to maturity is a shortsighted view of the conservative ROI of President Trump's first 100 days.

As a builder, President Trump understands that you aren't going to book a profit in the first quarter after you break ground on a new project—what's important is keeping the project on schedule and under budget.

The executive orders on immigration, the Obamacare repeal and replace, and the sanctuary cities order were investments in creative destruction that are going to take more than one quarter to mature, but the fact that those actions are in the pipeline and have by no means been abandoned bodes well for future dividends.

George Rasley is editor of Richard Viguerie's A veteran of over 300 political campaigns, he served on the staff of Vice President Dan Quayle and as spokesman for now-Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Mac Thornberry. He has served as a staff member or consultant to some of America's most-recognized conservative political figures. He is a member of American MENSA and studied international relations at Worcester College, Oxford.

This article was originally published at Used with permission.

George Rasley/Conservative HQ Editor Featured Opinions Caucus Fri, 28 Apr 2017 13:00:00 -0400
President Trump Vows to Get Tough on Bad VA Employees

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday aimed at cracking down on bad employees in the Department of Veterans Affairs by improving accountability and whistle-blower protections.

The order directs Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David Shulkin to establish within 45 days an Office of Accountability and Whistle-blower Protection, and to appoint a someone to serve as its executive director. The office's directives will be to:

  • advise and assist Shulkin in using, as appropriate, all available authorities to discipline or terminate any VA manager or employee who has violated the public's trust and failed to carry out his or her duties on behalf of veterans; and to recruit, reward and retain high-performing employees;
  • identify statutory barriers to Shulkin's authority to discipline or terminate any employee who has jeopardized the health, safety, or well-being of a veteran; and to recruit, reward and retain high‑performing employees and report such barriers for consideration as to the need for legislative changes;
  • work closely with relevant VA components to ensure swift and effective resolution of veterans' complaints of wrongdoing at the VA and
  • work closely with relevant VA components to ensure adequate investigation and correction of wrongdoing throughout the VA and to protect employees who lawfully disclose wrongdoing from retaliation.

One likely outcome from this effort will be shining a bright light on the need for civil service reform throughout the federal government. Although the president hasn't specifically talked about seeking such reforms from Congress, he did make it clear once again prior to signing the order that he intends to "protect the people that are protecting us."

The following are his complete comments at the order signing ceremony:

I'm pleased to be here. And we're joined by so many members of Congress. It's been really a fantastic period of time for me. And I'm honored also to be at the Department of Veterans Affairs, because I will tell you this has been something, right from the beginning of the campaign—does not get any more important for me than making life really great for our phenomenal veterans. That I can say.

So we're sharing the stage with a lot of great people, a lot of great friends. A couple of my friends are out in the audience today—Ike Perlmutter, Laurie Perlmutter. Where are they?  Where are they?  Where are they?  These are incredible people, incredibly successful people. And they just have an affinity for helping the veterans and for helping David. And I want to thank them. Unbelievable. Thank you. Dr. Moskowitz, also.

And we're going to protect those who protect. And we're going to protect the people that are protecting us. First of all, Secretary Shulkin—and I call him the 100-to-nothing man, because in a totally obstructionist group of Democrats—we say that with affection—he got not only the Republicans but he got all of the Democrat votes. And he won at a 100-to-nothing clip. So I guess—boy, do they know. I hope they're right, you know.

But David is doing a phenomenal job. He was voted unanimously out of the United States Senate, and he's worked ever since then, day and night, to reform and improve the VA.

I'm also pleased that we're joined by so many members of Congress. We have with us Senators Ernst—where's Joni Ernst? Where is Joni? What a tremendous woman. And right from the beginning, she has been—and she knows more about veterans than anybody. Thanks, Joni. Really appreciate it.

Senator Isakson—thank you, Senator. Thank you very much. Senator Moran and Senator Tester. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, all. Along with Congressmen Arrington, Bergman, Bridenstine, Dent, Roe and Wenstrup. I look forward to serving our veterans with all of you.

And I can tell you, this group, whether they're Democrat or Republican, they're here to help. And we're going to help, and we're going to make this so good, it's going to be one of our crown jewels. And it's happening already.

As part of that process, Secretary Shulkin has carried out a really thorough review—he had some very inside understanding of the VA because he's been here—but a thorough review of the VA to uncover all of the problems and challenges that we inherited, of which there are so many. Based on those findings, we're putting plans into place to fix those problems and give our veterans the health care they need and the health care they deserve.

And they were so for me during this recent election, and I can promise them, and they know it's going to happen—we're not going to let them down. We have a team the likes of which has never, ever been assembled. That includes outside people who are so brilliant and so good—like Ike and Laurie. And they're helping us. And they don't fail.

Much work lies ahead, but we will not rest until this job is totally done. During these first 100 days—which, as you know, I've been saying there's a very extreme emphasis placed on these 100 days, Joni. It's not quite as big as they're saying. But we have really laid a foundation—had a lot of legislation passed, which nobody understands. I think it's 28 bills as of this moment. Somebody said, by the time it ends, it's 32 bills. And tremendous legislation. But we've already made huge strides to improve the VA and the VA services.

We've imposed new standards of accountability and transparency, including a new website that publishes wait times at every VA hospital. This is a website that works. This is not the $5 billion Obamacare website. Do we remember that?  Nobody remembers that. Does anybody remember the $5 billion website? No, I don't think so. We don't have to remember it anymore.

We've implemented same-day mental health services at all 168 VA medical centers, so that the veterans in crisis can find help at the VA, without any delay.

Last week, I signed the Veterans Choice Improvement Act—very proud of that—so that more veterans can see the doctor of their choice, and don't have to travel long distances or wait forever for VA care. They were waiting on lines for seven days, eight days, nine days, two weeks. Some instances were horrible. They we're waiting so long—they had a very curable problem and they died before they got to see the doctor. It's not going to happen any longer.

Already this year, using the Choice Program, veterans have received 42 percent more approvals to see the doctor of their choosing. But that's just the very beginning of what we have planned. So much more is coming.

Today, we're taking another bold step forward. I'm signing an executive order to create an Office of Accountability and Whistle-blower Protection at the Department of Veterans Affairs. This executive order makes it clear that we will never, ever tolerate substandard care for our great veterans. With the creation of this office, we are sending a strong message:  Those who fail our veterans will be held, for the first time, accountable.

At the same time, we will reward and retain the many VA employees who do a fantastic job—of which we have many. And I will tell you, some of the doctors in the VA, I've heard it from so many people, they're the finest in the world. These are great, great people. We have to get our vets to those doctors. But we have some of the finest doctors in the world.

We have also some of the most honest employees, and some of them expose wrongdoing, and we will make sure that they're protected.

We're also calling on the Senate to pass legislation to give the Secretary the authority he needs to ensure all VA employees are held accountable for how they treat our veterans.

Today's action is historic. But it is only the start of our reforms. Our veterans have secured this nation with their blood, sweat and tears, and we will not let them down. These are our great, great people. We will always stand with those who stood for freedom and who stood for us. They protected us. They've made it all possible, and now we're going to protect and take care of them.

So I'd like to thank David and his family, and all of the people that are working so hard at the VA. They haven't had enthusiasm—David was just telling me—like this for many, many years. And the veterans see what's happening—because I'm getting so many different messages through all forms of communication, of which we now have many. But they're very, very happy, very pleased with what's going on.

So, David, we want to God bless you and your family. We want to wish you a lot of luck, with a lot of talent, because you have a big job ahead.

I want to wish everybody Godspeed. And we will do a fantastic job at the VA, rest assured. Thank you very much. And we're going to sign right now. Thank you very much. Thank you. {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Press Releases Caucus Fri, 28 Apr 2017 12:00:00 -0400
House GOP Still Can't Muster the Votes for AHCA

Despite the fact nearly half of the conservative House Freedom Caucus announced beforehand they would begrudgingly vote for the failed RINOcare bill—the American Health Care Act—and that those remaining in opposition constituted less than a quarter of the legislation's opposition, they took much of the blame for its failure last month.

Following a series of meetings over the Easter recess, the House Freedom Caucus announced this week it was endorsing the AHCA 2.0 bill as a good first step in the process of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But late Thursday evening, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced there would be no vote on the measure before the end of President Donald Trump's first 100 days in office.

"We are not voting on health care tomorrow," he said following a late-night meeting between Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other members of the Republican leadership. "We're still educating members."

Democrats and the compliant liberal mainstream media hailed it as a bitter defeat for the president.

But, rather, this finally exposes the real problem the president and conservatives in Congress face as they try to dismantle the destructive elements of Obamacare. As has been the case all along, it is moderate Republicans—not the conservatives—who are to blame for the impasse in the House of Representatives.

Some observers are even saying the speaker is purposely failing to whip up the votes just to withhold a major victory from the president in his first 100 days.

Both Politico and The Hill have whip counts that show the GOP is about 50 votes short of having the necessary majority to pass the bill onto the Senate. Anything more than 30 votes will doom any legislation without help from the Democrats—and on this measure, that won't be coming, perhaps ever.

The biggest stumbling block seems to be over mandatory insurance coverage for Americans with preexisting conditions. Conservatives correctly note this is one of the biggest drivers of skyrocketing out-of-pocket expenses for most Americans, while moderate-liberal Republicans are wary of a constituent backlash if they agree to remove that provision.

The Trump administration is calling in its biggest gun, Vice President Mike Pence, to help secure the final votes necessary to get the legislation passed. He was on a diplomatic tour of the Asia-Pacific region, which was cut short to make him available to lobby on Capitol Hill. {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Fri, 28 Apr 2017 11:00:00 -0400
Trump: 'Major, Major' Conflict With North Korea Possible

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday a major conflict with North Korea is possible in the standoff over its nuclear and missile programs, but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute.

"There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely," Trump told Reuters in an Oval Office interview ahead of his 100th day in office on Saturday.

Nonetheless, Trump said he wanted to peacefully resolve a crisis that has bedeviled multiple U.S. presidents, a path that he and his administration are emphasizing by preparing a variety of new economic sanctions while not taking the military option off the table.

"We'd love to solve things diplomatically but it's very difficult," he said.

In other highlights of the 42-minute interview, Trump was cool to speaking again with Taiwan's president after an earlier telephone call with her angered China.

He also said he wants South Korea to pay the cost of the U.S. THAAD anti-missile defense system, which he estimated at $1 billion, and intends to renegotiate or terminate a U.S. free trade pact with South Korea because of a deep trade deficit with Seoul.

Asked when he would announce his intention to renegotiate the pact, Trump said: "Very soon. I'm announcing it now."

Trump also said he was considering adding stops to Israel and Saudi Arabia to a Europe trip next month, emphasizing that he wanted to see an Israeli-Palestinian peace. He complained that Saudi Arabia was not paying its fair share for U.S. defense.

Asked about the fight against Islamic State, Trump said the militant group had to be defeated.

"I have to say, there is an end. And it has to be humiliation," he said, when asked about what the endgame was for defeating Islamist violent extremism.

XI 'Trying Very Hard'

Trump said North Korea was his biggest global challenge. He lavished praise on Chinese President Xi Jinping for Chinese assistance in trying to rein in Pyongyang. The two leaders met in Florida earlier this month.

"I believe he is trying very hard. He certainly doesn't want to see turmoil and death. He doesn't want to see it. He is a good man. He is a very good man and I got to know him very well.

"With that being said, he loves China and he loves the people of China. I know he would like to be able to do something, perhaps it's possible that he can't," Trump said.

Trump spoke just a day after he and his top national security advisers briefed U.S. lawmakers on the North Korean threat and one day before Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will press the United Nations Security Council on sanctions to further isolate Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs.

The Trump administration on Wednesday declared North Korea "an urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority." It said it was focusing on economic and diplomatic pressure, including Chinese cooperation in containing its defiant neighbor and ally, and remained open to negotiations.

U.S. officials said military strikes remained an option but played down the prospect, though the administration has sent an aircraft carrier and a nuclear-powered submarine to the region in a show of force.

Any direct U.S. military action would run the risk of massive North Korean retaliation and huge casualties in Japan and South Korea and among U.S. forces in both countries.

"I Hope He's Rational'

Trump, asked if he considered North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to be rational, said he was operating from the assumption that he is rational. He noted that Kim had taken over his country at an early age.

"He's 27 years old. His father dies, took over a regime. So say what you want but that is not easy, especially at that age.

"I'm not giving him credit or not giving him credit, I'm just saying that's a very hard thing to do. As to whether or not he's rational, I have no opinion on it. I hope he's rational," he said.

Trump, sipping a Coke delivered by an aide after the president ordered it by pressing a button on his desk, rebuffed an overture from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, who told Reuters a direct phone call with Trump could take place again after their first conversation in early December angered Beijing.

China considers neighboring Taiwan to be a renegade province.

"My problem is that I have established a very good personal relationship with President Xi," said Trump. "I really feel that he is doing everything in his power to help us with a big situation. So I wouldn't want to be causing difficulty right now for him.

"So I would certainly want to speak to him first."

Trump also said he hoped to avoid a potential government shutdown amid a dispute between congressional Republicans and Democrats over a spending deal with a Saturday deadline looming.

But he said if a shutdown takes place, it will be the Democrats' fault for trying to add money to the legislation to "bail out Puerto Rico" and other items.

He also defended the one-page tax plan he unveiled on Wednesday from criticism that it would increase the U.S. deficit, saying better trade deals and economic growth would offset the costs.

"We will do trade deals that are going to make up for a tremendous amount of the deficit. We are going to be doing trade deals that are going to be much better trade deals," Trump said. {eoa}

© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Stephen J. Adler, Steve Holland and Jeff Mason/Reuters Featured World News Fri, 28 Apr 2017 11:15:00 -0400
Why Is This Pentecostal Megachurch Pastor Burning Bibles?

A Pentecostal pastor in Uganda's capital has reportedly torched thousands of Bibles because they were "fake" and "demonic."

Pastor Aloysius Bugingo of the House of Prayer Ministries in Kampala ordered the burning of the Good News Bible and the King James Version because they used the words "Holy Ghost" instead of "Holy Spirit."

The Easter Weekend action shocked and angered church leaders in the country, with many terming his actions an insult to Christianity.

"We condemn the act in the strongest terms possible," Bishop Herman Sentamu, leader of the Passover Harvest church, a large Pentecostal group in Uganda, said in a telephone interview Wednesday (April 26).

"Holy Ghost" and "Holy Spirit" are interchangeable terms for the third entity of the Christian Trinity composed of God, Son and Holy Spirit. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the term "Holy Spirit" came into wider use and is now preferred by many Christians.

The pastor had collected the Bibles from his 6,000-member congregation and set them on fire. He also charged that words "fasting" and "Lent" had been omitted from the books without explanation.

The Good News Bible is a translation of the American Bible Society.

Bugingo allegedly told his followers the Bibles in question were the handiwork of "devil worshippers" and should, therefore, not be allowed to confuse Christians.

But the pastor denied burning the Bibles, alleging his enemies had organized the burning and used his voice. Still, he said he wants to start a publishing house to print "correct versions" of the Bible.

On Sunday, a post on his church Facebook page said the church believed in the Holy Spirit but not the Holy Ghost.

"We shall speak the truth until the end of this world," the post says.

Sentamu suggested the pastor's actions stem from ignorance.

The Bible Society of Uganda said it is looking for evidence and may seek legal action against the pastor.

"When you hear somebody has burnt Bibles, it's like a funeral," Simon Mukhama, general secretary of the Bible Society of Uganda, told The Observer of Kampala. "The person who did it must be brought to book immediately." {eoa}

© 2017 Religion News Service. All rights reserved.

Fredrick Nzwili/RNS Featured World News Fri, 28 Apr 2017 11:00:00 -0400
Galatians 6:2 Explains Exactly How Believers Should Approach the Health Care Debate

Different kinds of insurance operate very differently. Auto, homeowners, health, life, Workers' Compensation and medical malpractice all operate in different markets under different rules and different organizational structures. But one thing they all have in common is "risk pooling." 

"Risk pooling" certainly figures into recent discussions about repealing, replacing for "fixing" government health care. And it is almost universally misunderstood by policy-makers. It is a pool of money, yes, but it is also a pool of risks. From the customer's perspective, they pay money into a pool of funds that is available to pay their claims according to the terms of the contract they have with the insurance company. Because of that contract, the "pool" is not just a big vat of money that can be allocated any way they want. Every penny is already contractually obligated to be paid out in the future.

From the insurance company's perspective, this is a pool, not of money, but of risks. Each member of the pool is a risk—some higher, others lower. The company works very hard to determine how much risk it is assuming when it insures any given population. It is required to pay claims regardless of how much money is in the pool, so it needs a very reliable estimate of how many claims will be filed by this group of people in order to know how much to charge in premiums. This is the core function of every insurance company.

This is not easy. The company must set premiums well in advance of the claims being filed—sometimes many years in advance, such as with life insurance. With life insurance, people may pay premiums for decades before ever filing a claim. Consumers need to know that the money paid in will not be squandered or depleted by the time they have a claim. That is why insurers tend to use words like "fidelity" or "trust" when naming their companies. They are trying to reassure consumers that they are dealing with a responsible organization.

Verbal assurances such as these are nice, but may not be worth much to the consumer. So, the primary responsibility of insurance regulators is to oversee the companies to make sure the premiums are adequate, the pools are responsibly invested and claims are paid out in full and on time.

Life insurance is an extreme example. Most insurance does not have that much of a lead time between premiums paid and claims filed, although with some other lines of coverage, such as homeowners or auto insurance, consumers pay the premiums in the hope they will never have to file a claim. No matter how much they might pay in premiums, it is a good thing to avoid the expenses associated with house fires and traffic accidents. Consumers are still willing to pay the premiums, "just in case." 

In all these scenarios, the great challenge for the insurance company is to set premiums high enough to cover costs, but not so high that they scare off customers. This requires the unique work of actuaries. They look at the covered population and estimate how likely this population is to incur conditions that will require filing a claim sometime in the future.

Actuaries will analyze historical trends and scrutinize factors that could arise in the future to determine the "risk" of the people enrolled. They will factor in such variables as age, sex, health status, income, geographic location, occupation, medical history or driving record, and so on.

These variables will affect different lines of insurance differently. Older people are likely to have more health problems but drive safer than younger people. Men drive more recklessly than women but typically have fewer encounters with health professionals. Some occupations are far riskier than others.

Based on all this information, actuaries can estimate what the "pure premium" needs to be. The pure premium is what the company must collect to cover expected claims. On top of that are administrative expenses, taxes, compliance costs and in some cases, strategic pricing. Strategic pricing is how a company might vary the premiums to attract a market segment it hopes to build.

All this money is collected and put into a pool of funds with which to pay claims. This pool is especially needed because actuarial estimates are not always accurate. There might be a surge of claims due to economic or environmental surprises. There could be a sudden new strain of influenza, or ice storms may result in a flurry of fender-bender accidents or problems in the economy might lead to a large number of lay-offs (people tend to hurry to get medical services when they know they could lose their jobs).

In most states, the regulators require a certain minimum amount of money to be held in the pool; three months' worth of claims is typical, but some companies hold more than that—six months or more. On a large scale, this can result in a large amount of money, sometimes billions of dollars.

The company invests this money and collects revenues from it. That provides considerable clout in the financial markets, but it also can provide leverage to the company, as some of its investments are made in companies it is doing other business with.

Health Care Sharing Ministries are nothing like what has been described thus far. They have no actuaries. There is usually no pool of funds, but even when there is, there is no contract for future benefits and no assessment of risk. In fact, every member of a Health Care Sharing Ministry is responsible for paying his or her own medical bills. The purpose of the ministry is simply to organize other people who voluntarily choose to help fellow members pay their medical bills in keeping with Biblical commands to "share one another's burdens." 

The ministry notifies its members when there is a medical need, and the members share the expenses of a member in need. If the needs are higher than normal, members may be asked to spread contributions over a period of months. If the needs are very low for a month or two, the amount members are asked to contribute will be reduced.

Insurance executives would think this is crazy—how can you rely on the goodwill of other people for paying bills? Exactly. It makes no sense at all in the world of business. It only makes sense in the Kingdom of God and the world of faithful believers. All others should stick with the insurance model. {eoa}

Joel Noble is director of Public Policy at Samaritan Ministries International, where he directs the ministry's legislative program. He also serves as vice president of the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries. Greg Scandlen is the founder of Consumers for Health Care Choices, a non-partisan, nonprofit membership organization aimed at empowering consumers in the health care system. He also has served as a fellow in health policy at the Cato Institute and as President of the Health Benefits Group consulting firm.

Joel Noble and Greg Scandlen Featured Marketplace Fri, 28 Apr 2017 10:45:00 -0400
11 Obvious Signs of a Personality-Driven Church

I have been striving since the early 1980s to help the church follow in the way of Jesus and the apostles. That being said, one of the earmarks of the first-century apostolic church is how the church edified itself in love (Eph. 4:16) and was led by a team whose primary purpose was to equip the church to perform the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:11, 12).

Of course, even the first-century church had a primary apostolic leader who served as the first among equals with the other apostolic leaders. In Acts 1-11, Peter was the lead apostle of the church; and from Acts 12-21, it seems as though James, the Lord's half-brother, was the clear leader. Also, in Acts 13:1,2, it seems as though a team of prophets and teachers were the leaders of the church until somebody matured as the primary leader in this nascent fellowship.

In this article, I am defining what I call a "personality-driven church" as a congregation that showcases nobody else but the founding pastor/leader. All the attention is on that lead pastor /visionary. He lacks a strong team around him that can function as a fivefold ministry gift to the church (Eph. 4:11). As a matter of fact, it almost seems as though the culture of the church forbids anyone but the lead pastor from being highlighted, celebrated and showcased.

Furthermore, when I use the term "personality-driven," I am not referring to an evil leader and or a church that is preaching a false gospel; I am merely accentuating the myopic focus some churches have on their primary leader. Of course, when there is a new church plant, there may not be other leaders mature enough to perform most of the ministerial functions; hence, the lead pastor will be the center of gravity until other leaders mature.

Unfortunately, I have seen congregations and ministries who have been in existence for decades who still function as if everyone in the church is immature and incapable to minister except the lead pastor. Conversely, I know other churches that have developed such strong team ministry that the lead pastor can be away from the pulpit for months at a time without the church skipping a beat because they have matured so many great leaders to preach, teach and serve the congregation.

The following are the first four of 11 traits of the personality-driven church:

1. All the marketing centers on the lead pastor.

I have been to some Christian conferences in which there was a life-size picture of the lead pastor in the hallway of the conference center. The lead pastor was highlighted in such a way that every other speaker was barely mentioned in promotions, even though they had significant ministries as well. For example, near my house, there is a church with an 8-10 foot poster of their apostle (that's his title) on the outside of the church building. Perhaps said apostle means well, but he is conveying a message to all outsiders that the church is centered on him and not on the congregation or on the Lord Jesus.

2. The ministry profile features only the lead pastor.

There are some church websites that focus so much on the lead pastor you have a hard time knowing what the congregation as a whole is doing. Lead pastor ministry profiles like this on congregational websites give the impression that the church is functioning more like a private non-profit ministry of the lead pastor as opposed to a New Testament Church. When I go on a church website, I desire to see what the church congregation is doing, not just what the lead pastor is doing and saying. To me, highlighting the ministries and volunteers of the congregation can poignantly illustrate a healthy New Testament church culture.

3. All ministry focus is on the lead pastor.

In some churches, the services and all the ministries are all focused and or emanate from the lead pastor. During the services, the lead pastor does all the preaching all of the time (unless he is out of town), almost all the announcements and all the offering devotionals. Of course, it is possible that this could be the style of some healthy churches as well. The point here is their church culture is too dependent upon the lead pastor and not enough on the love and service of the whole congregation. In healthy churches, numerous people are involved in public ministry, and there are numerous ministries led by various individuals. Another trait of healthy churches is that people are committed to the vision of the church, not just to the visionary of the church. Having a church that focuses on cell ministry (small groups) is also a good sign that the ministry to the congregation is spread out among many lay leaders.

4. People are only loyal to the lead pastor.

In personality-driven churches, people are consistently pressured to speak about their loyalty to the lead pastor. Of course, the lead pastor is also the primary visionary who represents Christ to the congregation more than anyone else (Zech. 13:7); however, loyalty should also be to the vision of the congregation as well as to the lead pastor. When a local church develops an inordinate loyalty whose sole focus is towards the lead pastor, said leader can preach false doctrine and lead them to destruction, and much of the congregation will follow him without question.

Check back next week for Part 2 with the remaining traits. {eoa}

Joseph Mattera Featured The Pulse Opinion Fri, 28 Apr 2017 10:30:00 -0400
Program Glorifying False Gods Marked Most Politically Relevant Show on TV

A storm is brewing in Starz's gritty new series "American Gods," as deities old and new gear up for a battle that reverberates with topical issues in the real world.

Immigration, race, religion and sexuality are all examined in "American Gods" through the saga of Shadow Moon, a convict who is released to the news of his wife's death. He is hired to be the bodyguard of an old grifter named Mr. Wednesday, the disguise of the Norse god Odin.

"This show has become the most politically relevant show on TV without a doubt," actor Ricky Whittle, who plays Shadow, told Reuters at the red-carpet premiere on Thursday.

"American Gods," which premieres on premium cable network Starz on April 30, is based on British author Neil Gaiman's 2001 novel of the same name, a surreal story of how the old gods of folklore struggle to be revered and remembered in an age of new gods like technology and media.

"Our goal with this project was really to give the audience our experience reading it, and we wanted to tell the story as vividly as we imagined it when we read Neil's book," said Bryan Fuller, who developed the show for TV.

"We are talking about what is America," Gaiman added. "What is the soul of America, what makes it tick, what do people believe, what do they care about, and where do they put their attention, and all of those things are still every bit as relevant."

To bring the story forward 16 years after the novel was published, Fuller and Green added a couple of new gods, such as Technical Boy, to reflect what people are currently "worshipping."

"He is already one of the youngest and one of the most powerful gods in this whole universe," said actor Bruce Langley, who plays Technical Boy.

"He is only getting stronger, so watch this space." {eoa}

© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Ben Gruber/Reuters Featured Culture Fri, 28 Apr 2017 10:00:00 -0400
Donald Trump Disappoints the Anti-Semites

So, Donald Trump delivers a speech in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the anti-Semites are up in arms. He is not the man they thought he was.

In reality, he never was that man, which was more a projection of their own ideology than a right assessment of his. As Sam Kestenbaum reported on the Jewish Forward, "Trump Gives A Holocaust Speech—And The 'Alt Right' Screams 'Betrayal'."

How, exactly, did Trump betray the "alt-right"?

In his speech, he said, "The State of Israel is an eternal monument to the undying strength of the Jewish people. The fervent dream that burned in the hearts of the oppressed is now filled with the breath of life, and the Star of David waves atop a great nation arisen from the desert."

This was certainly in keeping with his campaign speeches, in which he pledged to be a great friend of Israel and guaranteed that he would move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Trump commended the late Elie Wiesel, perhaps the most famous Holocaust survivor, affirming his call that "we must bear witness." Trump spoke to the survivors who were there, people who witnessed "the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people."

And he denounced Holocaust denial, saying, "Denying the Holocaust is only one of many forms of dangerous anti-Semitism that continues all around the world. We've seen anti-Semitism on university campuses, in the public square, and in threats against Jewish citizens. Even worse, it's been on display in the most sinister manner when terrorists attack Jewish communities, or when aggressors threaten Israel with total and complete destruction."

He pledged to confront anti-Semitism, and said, "As president of the United States, I will always stand with the Jewish people—and I will always stand with our great friend and partner, the state of Israel."

Then he closed with some moving, personal stories of courage and hope.

All in all, a fine and fitting speech, and one that I would have expected from President Trump, since at no point in his campaign did I think he was an anti-Semite (despite the many other reservations I had about him).

But words like these from Trump's speech are fighting words for the anti-Semites of this world.

As Kestenbaum reported, "'You can never appease the Jews,' wrote Benjamin Garland at the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer. 'Give them an inch and they want a mile. The only way to deal with them is to ignore them and/or tell them to shut their filthy mouths.'

"Garland bemoaned what he saw as a turnaround for Trump. Months ago he was 'a man who knew how the Jews operate and as a man with enough self-respect to not be publicly humiliated by them by bowing to their every whim and demand.'

"But Jews 'have their ratlike claws deep in him now,' Garland wrote."

What in the world he is talking about? The Trump who gave the Holocaust remembrance speech is the same man as the Trump whom Garland supported.

It's the same Trump whose daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism. The same Trump who remains very close to his Jewish son-in-law Jared. The same Trump whose grandchildren through Ivanka are considered Jewish. The same Trump who has had many Jewish colleagues and friends. The same Trump of whom Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "I've known the president and I've known his family and his team for a long time, and there is no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than President Donald Trump. I think we should put that to rest."

This is who Trump has been for many years. Why the shock from the alt-right now?

David Duke, a leading anti-Semitic, white supremacist (and former KKK leader), tweeted, "Why is the so-called Holocaust the only atrocity to receive its very own 'Remembrance Proclamation'? Jewish privilege."

Is Duke unaware that Trump also gave a speech in memory of the Armenian genocide this week (although he didn't use the word "genocide" in his speech)? For the record, it's officially called Armenian Remembrance Day, and it's recognized by the White House. Shall we call this "Armenian privilege?"

Getting back to Duke, he challenged Trump directly, asking, "Do you not have any power? Why are you surrounding yourself with the enemies of the American people?"

And who are these "enemies of the American people"? Obviously, the Jewish people and their allies, to whom Trump has now sold out.

The reality is that Trump is simply carrying out his campaign promises and being true to who he has been for many years: a friend of the Jewish people.

As my colleague Rabbi Shmuley Boteach wrote in February, "Trump as anti-Semite is not implausible, but it is absurd and libelous. It would also suggest that his strong support for Israel is inauthentic, when it's something he has worn on his sleeve for his entire adult life."

Shmuley even said this: "He has surrounded himself with Jews— they are his business colleagues, employees and friends. I know orthodox Jews who have long worked for Trump and say that his respect for the Jewish faith has been exemplary."

Did you hear that, Mr. Duke? Are you listening, Mr. Garland? Trump "has surrounded himself with Jews" for decades, so it's nothing new if he's doing so today.

We can certainly debate whether Jared Kushner has too much influence or whether Kushner's views represent those of Trump's major supporters. But we can't debate Trump's historic relationship with Israel and the Jewish people. That's not new at all.

What's new is that he has also surrounded himself with conservative Christians in recent years. And what's new is that his populist, pro-America message helped catapult him to the White House.

Apparently, these anti-Semites misunderstood Trump's words and pledges, finding confirmation for their white-supremacist, Jew-hatred, thereby projecting their views on his.

It looks like they're in for a rude awakening. {eoa}

Michael Brown Featured In the Line of Fire Opinion Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:30:00 -0400
Hillary Clinton's IT Contractor Is Back in the News Again

Hillary Clinton's IT contractor, Platte River Networks, is back in the news again, and it's really bad news, both for the former secretary of state and for Platte River Networks' CEO, Treve Suazo.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology has issued a criminal referral to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, alleging failure to produce documents and information demanded in Aug. 23 and Sept. 16 subpoenas, making false statements regarding not having custody or control of responsive documents and obstructing the committee's investigation. This stems from a committee hearing held in January of 2016 titled "Cybersecurity: What the Federal Government Can Learn from the Private Sector."

At that hearing, industry experts raised concerns regarding the precautions taken to secure the Clinton private server and legality of such an email arrangement.

The Science, Space and Technology Committee has direct jurisdiction over the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which sets standards pursuant to the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014. With jurisdiction over the nation's cybersecurity standards, the committee issued its subpoenas because Clinton chose to forego Department of State computer systems, which would have strictly complied with FISMA standards.

Based on the January 2016 testimony, the committee launched an investigation to determine whether the level of security of Clinton's private server and email account was comparable to the cybersecurity standards prescribed by NIST and FISMA. The following is the timeline of requests and subpoenas directed to Platte River Networks:

  • Jan. 14, 2016 — the committee wrote Platte River Networks, Datto and SECNAP, all companies that played a role in securing data stored on Clinton's private server, requesting their assistance in understanding the work each company performed to secure the server, and whether it was performed in accordance with the NIST Framework.
  • July 12, 2016 — Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), together, wrote to Suazo, reiterating the Jan. 14 request for documents and additionally requested transcribed interviews of seven Platte River Network employees.
  • Aug. 23, 2016 — Smith wrote a formal demand, known as a subpoena duces tecum, ordering Suazo to appear before the committee and to produce the requested documents. The committee has determined his attorneys deliberately misinterpreted the language of the subpoena. At this time, the committee began receiving responsive materials from Datto that showed it was regularly communicating with Platte River Networks regarding the status of Clinton server backups, and that Platte River Networks was purposefully withholding documents and other materials responsive to the committee's subpoenas.
  • Sept. 16, 2016 — Smith issued a second subpoena duces tecum to Suazo.
  • Sept. 28, 2016 — the committee again wrote to Suazo's attorneys, reiterating its demand for the subpoenaed documents.

After announcing the criminal referral, Smith issued the following statement:

Failure to comply with duly issued subpoenas and obstruction of a congressional investigation will not be tolerated. As a result, the Committee is referring Mr. Treve Suazo, CEO of Platte River Networks, to the Department of Justice for prosecution under federal laws pertaining to failing to produce subpoenaed documents, making false statements to Congress regarding possession of documents and obstructing Congress. Platte River Networks, a company hired by former Secretary Hillary Clinton, has deliberately withheld requested materials from the Committee and refused to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas. With a new administration in place, I am hopeful that the Department of Justice will appropriately respond to the referral. We cannot allow companies with valuable information to stonewall us in our oversight efforts.

But it's only getting worse from there. Judicial Watch released its own statement that a federal grand jury granted the FBI subpoenas to investigate Clinton's email accounts. The revelation flies in the face of repeated claims that she was not the focus of a criminal investigation during the 2016 presidential election.

The government watchdog group has sued the Department of State, demanding Secretary of State Rex Tillerson conduct a "damage assessment" of Clinton's private, unsecured email server, as required by the Federal Records Act. FBI Special Agent E.W. Priestap, the supervisor of the agency's investigation into Hillary Clinton's email activities, issued the following statement as part of the government's declaration in the case:

The FBI obtained grand jury subpoenas related to the Blackberry e-mail accounts, which produced no responsive materials, as the requested data was outside the retention time utilized by those providers.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton had a very good question for the FBI as a result of the new development in the case. Noting how this new information is the direct opposite of what Americans were being told during the course of the presidential election, he wondered why this information was only just now being released by the federal government.

"It is disturbing that the State Department, Justice Department and FBI are still trying to protect Hillary Clinton," he added. "President Trump needs to clean house at all these agencies." {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Fri, 28 Apr 2017 10:00:00 -0400
New Congressional Caucus Launched With an Eye on Protecting Israel

Republican members of Congress and pro-Israel activists organized an "Israel Victory Caucus" to press for revision of America's Middle-East negotiating strategy.

GOP Reps. Ron DeSantis (Fla.) and Bill Johnson (Ohio) are co-chairing the new caucus.

At a Capitol Hill launch event Thursday, DeSantis said because American-sponsored negotiations since the 1980s have failed, the time has come for "a new U.S. approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ending the emphasis on Israel making 'painful concessions' and instead putting the onus on Palestinians—they must give up the goal of destroying Israel and recognize Israel as the Jewish state."

The left-wing lobby group J Street assailed the Israel Victory Caucus before its launch, charging that the Middle East Forum (MEF), the Philadelphia-based think tank promoting the new caucus, is undermining peace by promoting the idea "that Israel can only make peace by defeating the Palestinians." MEF responded, "Wars end when one side gives up. Which side do you want to win, J Street? The Palestinian?"

Two members of the radical-left group "Code Pink" entered Thursday's Capitol Hill event and yelled pro-Palestinian slogans. When they refused the moderator's repeated requests to desist, the protesters were escorted from the room by security guards. {eoa}

This article was originally published by Used with permission.

]]> Featured Issues Caucus Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:00:00 -0400
Tax Reform: This Is What You Need to Know

The liberal mainstream media is attempting to suggest President Donald Trump's proposal for tax reform is lacking specifics.

Keeping in mind that Congress ultimately writes the nation's tax laws, we should be mindful that "specifics" will come from Capitol Hill, not the White House. But, the Trump administration is calling the president's proposal the "biggest individual and business tax cut in American history."

So, what does that mean?

The White House has released this explanation, authored by one of the architects of the plan, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn:

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do something big. President Trump has made tax reform a priority, and we have a Republican Congress that wants to get it done. This is something that Democrats should support too because it's good for the American people.

The President is going to seize this opportunity by leading the most significant tax reform legislation since 1986—and one of the biggest tax cuts in American history.

The president has focused on three things since his campaign: job creation, economic growth and helping low and middle-income families who have been left behind by this economy. He understands that there are a lot of people in this country that feel like they work hard and still can't get ahead. They are sick of turning their paychecks over to Washington and having no idea how their tax dollars are spent. They are frustrated by a tax code that is so complicated that they can't even do their own taxes.

That's why tax reform is such a big priority for this president. He cares about making the economy work better for the American people.

We are going to cut taxes for businesses to make them competitive, and we are going to cut taxes for the American people—especially low and middle-income families.

In 1935, we had a one-page tax form consisting of 34 lines and two pages of instructions. Today, the basic 1040 form has 79 lines and 211 pages of instructions. Instead of a single tax form, the IRS now has 199 tax forms on the individual side of the tax code alone. Taxpayers spend nearly 7 billionhours complying with the tax code each year, and nearly 90% of taxpayers need help filing their taxes.

We are going to cut taxes and simplify the tax code by taking the current 7 tax brackets we have today and reducing them to only three brackets: 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent.

We are going to double the standard deduction so that a married couple won't pay any taxes on the first $24,000 of income they earn. So in essence, we are creating a 0 percent tax rate for the first $24,000 that a couple earns.

The larger standard deduction also leads to simplification because far fewer taxpayers will need to itemize, which means their tax form can go back to that one simple page.

Families in this country will also benefit from tax relief to help them with child and dependent care expenses.

We are going to repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax. The AMT creates significant complications and burdens by requiring taxpayers to do their taxes twice to see which is higher. That makes no sense; we should have one simple tax code.

Job creation and economic growth is the top priority for this administration, and nothing drives economic growth like capital investment. Therefore, we are going to return the top tax rate on capital gains and dividends to 20 percent by repealing the harmful 3.8 percent Obamacare tax. That tax has been a direct hit on investment income and small business owners.

We are going to repeal the death tax. The threat of being hit by the death tax leads small business owners and farmers in this country to waste countless hours and resources on complicated estate planning to make sure their children aren't hit with a huge tax when they die. No one wants their children to have to sell the family business to pay an unfair tax.

We are going to eliminate most of the tax breaks that mainly benefit high-income individuals. Home ownership, charitable giving and retirement savings will be protected—but other tax benefits will be eliminated.

This is not going to be easy. Doing big things never is. But one thing is for certain: I would not bet against this president. He will get this done for the American people. {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Fri, 28 Apr 2017 08:00:00 -0400
North Korea Requires a Good Deal of Resolve

In the cold reality of international relations, the boldness exhibited by President Donald Trump in his first 100 days is far preferable to the timidity of the past eight years of the former administration. Nevertheless, the "art of the deal" probably is the best and least dangerous option for dealing with North Korea. Despite Kim Jong-Un's outrageous rhetoric, bizarre behavior and brutal elimination of potential threats to his rule, he seems more sociopathic than insane. Ultimately, Kim lives like a debauched, ancient, Asian despot, and a good bet would be that he probably wants to continue living to debauch to his self's content. His behavior is more akin to that of a rattlesnake rather than an obsessed tyrant like Adolf Hitler who, being insane, preferred Gotterdammerung to loss of power.

Additionally, Kim and North Korea's military leadership are far different from the Islamist jihadists in Raqqa and, for that matter, the mullahs in Tehran with their Armageddon mindsets bent on a nuclear war to advance their end-times scenarios culminating in various iterations of global, Islamic caliphates. Though he seems reckless, Kim Jong-Un does not want World War III. Neither do the leaders in Beijing. The instinct to survive to keep on behaving badly is what makes socio-paths so dangerously cunning.

While tensions between Washington and Pyongyang rise, it's time to for the Trump administration to take a breath and evaluate options. Although the North Korean regime cannot survive a war with the United States, the costs could be astronomical for South Korea, the United States and China.

Here's why:

The ground forces in North Korea's People's Army (NKPA) number over one million, with up to seven times that number in reserve. More than 3,500 to 4,000 tanks and an estimated 2,000 armored fighting vehicles support North Korean infantry. Estimates indicate there are over 8,000 artillery pieces and 5,000 mobile rocket launchers, many of them zeroed in on Seoul, 30 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone.

Because the North Korean Air Force (NKAF) is antiquated, much of Pyongyang's military would be devastated in the first few days of fighting. The approximately 1,200 combat aircraft in the NKAF are Soviet-era legacy systems, the latest acquired during the 1980s. In addition to being obsolete, most NKAF planes are flown by inexperienced and poorly trained pilots. American fighter pilots receive more training in a month than North Korean flyers obtain in a year. Fear of potential defections to the South keep NKAF pilots under rigid control. Lack of expensive jet fuel also inhibits training.

The fangs are in North Korea's integrated air-defense system's surface-to-air missile (SAM) and anti-aircraft artillery (AAA). Much of this system protects artillery deployed along the frontier. Additionally, self-propelled SAMs can advance with the infantry. Nuclear and missile sites rely on SAMs and AAA for protection. It is likely enough North Korean People's Army artillery will survive long enough to devastate Seoul, injure and kill thousands, possibly scores of thousands of civilians, while dealing a crippling blow to the Asian economy, to include China's and, by extension, those of the United States and Japan.

Unless Kim Jong-Un is insane—which he probably is not—starting a war with the United States would be suicidal. Provoking him with even a limited military strike, however, would be like stepping on a rattlesnake. The response will be swift and devastating. Kim will continue his weapons-development programs, even if President Trump orders those missiles shot out of the air or otherwise disabled—which could provoke Kim into a military response. While many of their missile launch sites are above ground and therefore vulnerable to U.S. airstrikes, some are concealed. Most of their nuclear facilities are deep underground and relatively invulnerable to anything other than nuclear strikes.

Finally, U.S. military forces have not recovered from ravages of 16 years of deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, sequester-driven budget cuts that devastated maintenance and training and personnel policies focused on propounding a socio-political agenda that drove many warfighters to resignation or early retirement. American armed forces need rebuilding and rearming as well as a reformed focus toward warfighting with destroying the enemy as the ultimate goal.

North Korea is ruled by a sociopathic personality inured to brutality exceeding anything by Uganda's Idi Amin and Haiti's Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier. What's needed is regime change. The use of American military force could prove devastatingly expensive in blood. The Trump administration's best alternative is to ratchet up pressure on China to affect regime change in Pyongyang. Additionally, it should request full funding for the Boeing Midcourse Ground Based Defense System designed to shoot down incoming missiles. {eoa}

Dr. Earl Tilford is a military historian and fellow for the Middle East & terrorism with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. A retired Air Force intelligence officer, Dr. Tilford earned his Ph.D. in American and European military history at George Washington University. From 1993 to 2001, he served as director of research at the U.S. Army's Strategic Studies Institute. In 2001, he left government service for a professorship at Grove City College, where he taught courses in military history, national security and international and domestic terrorism and counter-terrorism.

This article was originally published at Used with permission.

Dr. Earl Tilford/The Center for Vision and Values Featured Opinions Caucus Fri, 28 Apr 2017 07:00:00 -0400
President Trump's Tax Reform Proposal Is a Good Start

President Donald Trump's tax plan announced on Wednesday shows that he is serious about his campaign promise to cut America's taxes.

For too long, the American economy has been held back by an outdated tax system. Trump's promise to lower tax rates and update the tax code will benefit all Americans.

Chief among the proposed reforms is lowering tax rates for businesses and individuals. Lowering the business income tax rate to 15 percent has rightly received the most attention.

Currently, Americans pay a federal corporate income tax rate of 35 percent—one of the highest in the world. Because businesses are made up of people, it is those Americans who work for and invest in American companies who actually pay the tax.

In fact, most of the recent economic research shows that workers actually bear a majority of the tax in the form of lower wages.

High business taxes make it harder for businesses to invest in new equipment, factories and research and development. Slower investment caused by high and distortionary taxes has limited job creation and wage growth.

A 15 percent business tax rate would reverse some of these negative effects, helping to re-energize economic growth. The U.S. would be a more attractive place to do business. At 15 percent, the U.S. could have a tax rate well below the average of our major trading partners.

Lowering tax rates is necessary if America wants to compete for global business. Allowing for the immediate deduction of the full cost of capital purchases would make the United States one of the most attractive places in the world to do business.

Full expensing, currently not included in the president's proposal as presented to the public, would simplify the currently complex and economically harmful system of depreciation and would encourage additional investment, job creation, and economic growth by treating all business costs equally.

The president has also proposed reducing tax rates and consolidating brackets for individual wage income. These reforms, along with repealing the death and the alternative minimum taxes, will rightly allow Americans to spend more of their own money and send less of it to Washington.

The lower rates for businesses and individuals should be applied consistently by eliminating targeted deductions, exclusions, and credits.

Tax reform should not expand or create new tax subsidies. While many special tax breaks are on the chopping block, the proposal adds a new tax subsidy for child and dependent care.

This addition should be reconsidered as it will provide benefits to some taxpayers at the expense of others, while introducing additional and unnecessary complexity.

Responsibly updating the tax code could, however, present a challenge for the federal government's budget. Absent cuts to Washington's profligate spending, large tax cuts could balloon the national debt.

But the impact on the deficit may not be as significant as some critics will likely assert.

Indeed, reforms to business taxes could over time make up for a large share of the lost revenue. That's because tax reform will allow for economic growth, which will in turn generate additional tax revenue.

Further, a low rate and the proposed territorial system will reverse the tide of businesses leaving the U.S., which ensures a more stable tax base and translates into additional revenue.

If the plan includes full expensing, America could become a leader in global business tax environments—allowing businesses to shift income, production and the resulting tax revenue back into the U.S. Eliminating targeted tax breaks will also help pay for lower rates.

Nonetheless, the changes proposed by the president will have significant negative effects on the U.S. deficit unless they are coupled with near-term spending reforms.

The fact is that budget deficits are the result of uncontrolled spending, not insufficient taxation. The IRS actually took in almost $3.3 trillion last year, more than the historical average, yet the government still ran a deficit well over $500 billion.

The largest drivers of the U.S. debt—health entitlements and Social Security—ultimately constrain long-term sustainable tax reform.

Holistic tax reform should be done by taking into account both revenue and spending.

Opponents of tax reform will criticize reform as not "revenue neutral." This constructs a false choice between otherwise pro-growth tax reform tied to additional revenue raisers, and no reform at all.

Entitlement and discretionary spending reforms are the only way to make tax reform sustainable in the long run. Even absent tax reform, without spending-based reforms deficits will continue to grow, requiring still higher taxes in the future.

True reform should apply the most efficient and least economically destructive forms of taxation, have low rates on a broad base that eliminates the double taxation of investment, and be transparent, predictable, and simple.

If Congress and the president take hold of this significant opportunity, their efforts could result in one of the greatest tax reductions in American history—allowing American families to keep more of the money they earn, instead of sending it to Washington, and creating far-reaching benefits for all Americans by growing the economy. {eoa}

Adam Michel focuses on tax policy and the federal budget as a policy analyst in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

This article was originally published at Used with permission.

Adam Michel/Heritage Foundation Featured Opinions Caucus Fri, 28 Apr 2017 06:00:00 -0400
Can God Restore a Marriage Ruined by Adultery?

The Bible describes the intoxicating power of passion associated with lust and adultery. Misdirected passion deceives, misleads and influences; we walk in darkness, stumbling—unable to see what we stumble over. This description explains why so many caught in sexual sin describe a sense of confusion and a disconnect from God. Adultery moves us from the altar to the courtroom—transforming a couple, once deeply in love, into bitter enemies. Hopes and dreams for the birth of a child, now twisted, become a nightmare for innocent children. Adultery is selfishness at its core.

How sad that sexual appetites often devour our own children, as well as ourselves. Proverbs 9:17-18 describes adultery, "Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he does not know that the dead are there, and that her guests are in the depths of the grave."

Adultery hardens the heart toward spouses. Those who were once loved and cherished now feel insignificant and discarded. Children often feel to blame for not being good enough, trying hard enough. God help our selfish hearts! It would seem, that for loving parents, the thought of this horror would bring sexual sin to a sobering halt.

Sexual sin's ultimate goal is to destroy the marriage: "When sin is finished, it brings forth death" (James 1:15b). Often, the only way out of adulterous and destructive relationships is to do what is right regardless of feelings, to experience the pain of discipline rather than the pain of regret. Feelings can be unstable and deceptive, but obedience to scriptural truths can be trusted.

The pain of adultery can make us bitter, or it can make us better—ultimately, it's our choice. God can restore if genuine repentance and forgiveness takes place. True repentance is unconditional and takes full responsibility for wrongs done. A truly repentant person is desperate to be forgiven, to focus on what they have done rather than placing blame or responsibility on others. Don't misunderstand: Both spouses have work to do, but this comes later.

Two areas often prevent reconciliation:

1. Complete separation never occurs. Reconciliation is nearly impossible if complete separation does not occur between those involved in adultery. The spouse often feels that this new person makes them feel loved and appreciated, and that may be true, but so did their spouse when they first met. Love does not leave people—people leave it. Deception lies in the fact that we often do not see the full effect of an affair until sin is fully grown. Unrepentant sin brings death to the restoration process: Death to clarity, direction and peace (cf. James 1:14-15).

Sexual sin hardens the heart and closes off forgiveness and brokenness. Again, when we are caught in sin, we are in darkness and we cannot see the things we stumble over. This is deception at its core. We lose the spiritual vision to see truth, believing that God will turn a blind eye or be unconcerned. Worse yet, some even believe that God directed them to this new relationship. This should not surprise us: James 1:22 says that we live in deception when we hear the word but fail to obey it.

Completely stepping out of the other person's life to see where God will lead is the only way to clear vision. I often wonder how many marriages are never restored simply because of pride and disobedience. Many say they will stop communicating with the other person, but the truth is that they are afraid to lose the relationship—it's often a back-up plan. The adulterer is often more concerned about the feelings of the other person rather than the feelings of their spouse and family.

2. Genuine repentance does not occur. Many are sorry about adultery, but being sorry is not enough. Only genuine repentance opens the ears of God and restoration. Isaiah 59:2 says our iniquities separate us from God, and our sins hide His face so that He will not hear. Repentance, real repentance, makes restoration possible. Many are sorry they got caught; sorry their reputation and life are ruined; sorry they are miserable and so on. The difference between sorrow and repentance is vital because the two can be easily confused. It's not about "being caught"; it's about "coming clean."

It's possible to be sorry about the consequences of sin but not truly repentant. A penitent person turns from their sin. They accept full responsibility for their actions without blame, resentment or bitterness. When repentance is genuine, reconciling with those injured is a priority. Forgiveness is sought without conditions. We take full, not partial, responsibility for our actions.

How can a truly broken and repentant person continue in a relationship that they know is wrong—a relationship that is destroying their family? They can't. A person who is genuinely repentant will jump at the opportunity to foster restoration. Actions reveal the condition of the heart. Those who are truly repentant often walk away from the affair.

There is hope: Don't give up; look up. There are consequences for past mistakes, but it's better to live in God's arms redeemed rather than to live broken outside of His will. Which way will you run? {eoa}

Sermons can be found on our website at—enter "marriage series" in the search bar.

Shane Idleman Featured Opinion Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:00:00 -0400
2 Disgusting Truths About Your Morning Cup of Joe

Straight out of the "scary but true" file, those of us who drink coffee every morning are also probably drinking mold and bacteria along with it. But fear not, there's a way to correct the problem.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. We know that mold and bacteria grow in warm, moist, dark environments. That's a coffeemaker. All coffeemakers are prone to develop mold and bacteria, but it's those single-serve coffee makers, that about half of us now use, the ones with the little pods, that are particularly bad. That's because in that type of coffeemaker, there are small hoses that pump the water, and when they are not in use, the water just sits in the little hoses.

If you're hoping the hot water in the coffee maker kills the mold and bacteria, that's a pretty good guess, but incorrect. The problem is, the water in coffee makers isn't hot enough to kill. It needs to be boiling. Furthermore, it needs to be exposed to the germs for a full two minutes or so. The hot water in coffee makers goes through the machine faster than that.

In theory, this means mold and bacteria build up. But is it really true? Sadly, yes.

Local television station KDKA in Pittsburgh tested nearly 30 coffeemakers. The scientific experiment involved swiping the insides of the various machines and sending the sample swabs off to a laboratory for analysis.

What the lab discovered was not pretty: millions of colonies of bacteria and mold. Nasty things like E. coli, staphylococcus, streptococcus and pseudomonas aeruginosa.

The good news is there is a cheap and easy way to get your coffee maker clean and keep it that way. The key is vinegar. Just plain, old white vinegar, not the pricey, fancy stuff that overwhelms the grocery store shelves.

According to here's 

How to Clean Your Coffeemaker 

1. Fill your brewer's water reservoir with 50 percent white vinegar and 50 percent water.

2. Run the mixture through your brewer (without using any coffee, of course).

3. Halt the brew process halfway through, so there is plenty of vinegar mix inside the machine.

4. Leave it to sit for 30-60 minutes so the vinegar can do its work.

5. Complete the cycle.

6. Rinse the brewer's insides by filling the reservoir with fresh water and then running it through the machine a few times.

To keep your coffee maker as germ-free as possible between cleanings:

  • Use filtered water rather than tap
  • Leave the lid off to allow the machine to air out
  • Wipe it down daily


Copyright The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., All rights reserved.

Lorie Johnson/CBN Featured Opinion Fri, 28 Apr 2017 08:00:00 -0400
Why So Many People Fall Victim to the Deception of the Hyper-grace Movement

What some people call the hyper-grace message began as a result of a sort of revolt against religion and man-made rules. A portion of that message, however, went into a ditch on the other side and manifested as rebellion in some believers against every kind of discipline and godly conduct. In a word, Christians abused their liberty.

There are now so-called "liberated" churches who party and drink alcohol, all in the name of "being free" from the Law. One church had a beach party with women dressed scantily in bikinis while beer and wine were being served. Their motto: "We want people to know that we're not religious!"

Hmmm ... what does that mean? What are some characteristics of "being religious"? Is there such a thing?

I was raised as a devout Roman Catholic. I believe I have a pretty thorough understanding of religion, the Law and legalism—all being used here as synonymous terms. I define religion (without relationship) as man-made expectations enforced upon someone as a means of defining how they may be accepted in a particular religion, church or denominational system.

"For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God" (Rom. 10:3).

Religion is man trying to reach God on his own terms through a system of works and rituals. True Christianity is God reaching down to man, and by His real and amazing grace, doing for him what he could never do on his own—forgiving him, freeing him and transforming him.

In my Catholic upbringing, we had our own rules of coming to God from obeying the sacraments and having our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds to the extreme act of people crawling on their knees during religious festivals, to paying indulgences for their sins. It was all motivated by man's efforts to please God and get Him to accept us. It was all driven by guilt and condemnation.

What Christians have done in the extreme hyper-grace camp is to confuse conviction with condemnation. Have you ever thought about the fact that both the Holy Spirit and Satan will expose your sins and faults? How can we differentiate between the two?

Here it is. The Holy Spirit not only convicts the world of sin, but He also leads and guides the believer into all truth—which means He will lead you away from sin and the lusts of the flesh. When He convicts you it draws you closer to the Lord, causing you to be more sensitive to Him. He corrects you lovingly and points you to Jesus and His grace.

Condemnation, however, comes from Satan and is manifest through him pointing out your sins and faults while crushing your motivation to serve the Lord fervently. Condemnation draws you to yourself and makes you self-centered—beating yourself up, pitying yourself, feeling despair, hopelessness and more. You begin to fight your habits, and you try harder and use willpower to overcome. But all the time, it's the devil using religion and the Law to work you over. Condemnation is present in your mind and draws you away from God, but conviction is a force working in your spirit and draws you closer to God.

Here's where the problem has been in the extreme hyper-grace message. In an attempt to be free from religion and man-made rules and regulations, many believers stopped following the Spirit of God. In an effort to be free from the Law written on tablets of stone, they forgot about the Law that has been written on their hearts. These so-called Christians stopped listening to the Spirit of God and stopped following the love of God that's been shed abroad in their hearts (Rom. 5:5). If they would listen to the Holy Spirit and follow after love they wouldn't act so irresponsibly, using their liberty as a license to sin, and being a stumbling block to many and exuding such indiscreet and even "dopey" behavior.

"'This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,' then He adds, 'Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more'" (Heb. 10:16-17).

While many who promote the hyper-grace message see it as a departure from religion and the Law, which indeed it is, the extreme of it is the aforementioned example of liberal churches who forsake the Law that has been written on their hearts by the Spirit of God. In an effort to pull some believers out of one ditch, they have dug another. Can you see that?

Here is the ditch that hyper-grace teachers have attempted to bring believers out of, which began, with what I believe, were godly motivations. They recognized and rightly discerned that many believers are still too religious, and in fact, operating more from a self-righteous perspective than from the righteousness of God. Hyper-grace proponents accurately assessed that many believers still operate under a legalistic mind-set based on self-effort and have a need to properly understand the empowering grace of God. Here are some examples of a legalistic and religious mind-set present in believers today:

  • A Bible school student gets up at 4:00 every morning in an effort to please God and to show Him how much he loves Him, all the while struggling because he works two jobs while going to school. His motivation is more to receive God's approval than it is out of a pure heart to just love and commune with the Lord.

  • A woman dances around the church at each service performing for God because she thinks if she dances enough that God will meet her pressing financial needs.

  • A man goes to a Sunday service and fasts all day because he missed two straight Sunday services and doesn't want God to be angry with him and forget his prayer requests.

  • Another man purchases a fancy car that he can't really afford because he feels it is a show that his faith is working.

  • A woman never misses a church service because she wants to show God how serious she is so He won't forget her prayers for her backslidden children who are no longer serving the Lord.

We could probably come up with many more versions of these legalistic traits that portray believers as being religious and lacking a true understanding of God's love and grace.

Do you have any of the mind-sets of these aforementioned individuals? Are you depending more on your own righteousness than God's righteousness? Are you legalistic? Are you doing certain things to appease God and make Him happy with you? Are you fighting bad habits in your own strength? Are you religious?

If you are like me and were raised in a legalistic home and were reprimanded constantly because of the wrongs you did without ever being acknowledged and praised for the right, you may still be influenced by a religious, legalistic spirit more than you know.

For example, if you were told by either of your parents to do several things in a given day like clean your room, take out the garbage, sweep the floor and other tasks, and you did all but one, for which you were corrected or disciplined, then you are probably prone to be religious and have legalistic tendencies. You may still have a mind-set of trying to please men and find acceptance in others. You probably have a fear of rejection. You are probably living with a constant striving to be more and to do more in order to find love and approval from others, especially your friends. It's a vicious cycle.

Here is the escape from this mentality.

  1. Realize that you are loved by God and fully accepted and approved in His Son's righteousness. You are the righteousness of God now and not in the future (2 Cor. 5:21). If righteousness is a position and a gift more than it is something you earn—if you are the righteousness of God in Christ, as the Scriptures declare, then you are as righteous as Jesus is. And God loves you as much as He loves Jesus (John 17:23). It sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? But it is. Renew your mind to that marvelous truth with the Word of God.
  2. Realize that as a disciple, you are a disciplined follower of Jesus Christ. The Christian life is one of discipline, but it is a discipline born of the Spirit and of love. All God requires from us is to love Him and love our neighbor (Matt. 22:37-39). There are no external rules in Christianity. It's all internal. Be led from within. Follow your heart. Ask yourself continually: "What would the love of God say and do?"
  3. Let every motivation be born out of a desire to know the Lord and be close to the Lord, and not to gain His favor and approval. This attitude will also help you overcome bad habits. Look at a bad habit as a thief that steals the sweet fellowship you enjoy with the Lord, instead of  approaching it from the standpoint of you trying to quit the bad habit. The more you try, the worse it gets. That's how religion works.

Your own efforts according to the Law actually gives more strength for you to sin. "The strength of sin is the law" (1 Cor. 15:56b). Instead of curbing sin, your own efforts to quit actually give strength to sin.

So the question remains: How religious are you?

Be free from the Law. Be free from legalism. Be free from all man-made rules and restrictions that are contradictory to the Word. Be not entangled with any yoke of bondage like that ever again.

Instead, be free to follow the Spirit of God within you. Be free to follow after love. Be free to live from within.

That's the good and fruitful life! That is what the real empowering grace of God does. {eoa}

Bert Farias Featured The Flaming Herald Opinion Fri, 28 Apr 2017 07:00:00 -0400
Last 2 Chapters of Revelation Reveal Important Intersection in End-Times Prophecy

Since John was the last writer of Scriptures, his writings contain a unique view of the whole spectrum of Scriptures from beginning to end. John often spoke in terms of "beginning to end" (John 1:11 John 1:1Rev. 1:817).

This "beginning to end" perspective comes to light particularly in the last chapters of Revelation. The first two chapters of Genesis describe creation and Eden; whereas the last two chapters of Revelation describe the restoration of creation and Eden.

In these last two chapters, there is a special addition about "heavenly Jerusalem" (21:9-22:3). Glorified Jerusalem becomes the centerpiece of the restoration of Paradise. Heaven and earth come together as heavenly and earthly Jerusalem come together. The glorious destiny of both Eden and Jerusalem are one and the same.

Revelation 21:1-2 – "I saw a new heaven and a new earth ... the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven ..."

Revelation 22:1-2 – "...the river of the water of life, coming out from the throne of God and the Lamb; in the middle of the street of the city and on the bank of the river on each side is the tree of life..."

Revelation 22:14 – "... they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter through the gates into the city ..."

Revelation 22:19 – "...his part out of the Book of Life and out of the Holy City ..." 

The unification of Jerusalem and Eden comprises the last revelation of Scriptures. The last two chapters of Revelation unify the two great biblical themes of Eden and Jerusalem. This rather shocking perspective unifies the plan of the Bible from beginning to end.

In the Garden of Eden, God planned for the people multiply, fill the earth and eventually form a perfect society with a perfect King. The capital of that kingdom would be at the center of the paradise. The garden of paradise and the capital of the kingdom are one and the same.

Adam was expelled eastward out of Eden; Abraham was sent back westward to Canaan. Adam sinned at the tree in Eden; Yeshua had to be hanged on a tree in Jerusalem to reverse the sin of mankind. Abraham had to offer his son Isaac at the same location, and David had to build his temple there. From there Yeshua rose into heaven, and there He will return to set up His kingdom on earth.

Ultimately Eden will be restored, along with all creation, with Jerusalem at the center. The restoration of paradise, the glorification of Jerusalem and the unification of heaven and earth all come together at the end of God's plan. {eoa}

Asher Intrater is the founder and apostolic leader of Revive Israel Ministries and oversees Ahavat Yeshua Congregation in Jerusalem and Tiferet Yeshua Congregation in Tel Aviv. Asher was one of the founders of Tikkun International with Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff and serves on the board of the Messianic Alliance of Israel and Aglow International. He and his wife and full-time partner in ministry, Betty, have a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew and unity of the body of believers worldwide.

This article originally appeared at

Asher Intrater Featured Standing With Israel Opinion Fri, 28 Apr 2017 06:00:00 -0400
This Dangerous False God Has Infiltrated the Modern Church

Of all the false gods of this world, the one that is the most dangerous is the god of "me-ism." When we place our desires above the desires of God, we are yielding to the pressure of "me-ism."

When we begin to look at a project or a goal and think, "I am in control of this as well as my destiny," we take another huge step toward bowing down before the god of this world—the god of senseless pride whose goal is to entrap us in the lustfulness of "me-ism."

One of Satan's greatest desires is to tempt us to doubt God. He loves to twist God's Word by telling us that we don't need to rely on the Lord's wisdom because we have all that we need within us. We see this has been true from the very beginning when Satan questioned what God said in the Garden with Eve. "Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, 'Has God said, "You shall not eat of any tree of the garden"?'" (Gen. 3:1).

The bottom line to faith is being willing to trust God with our lives. He is the One who calls us to live lives of personal sacrifice so we may give all that we are to Christ to be used for His glory. The enemy of our souls tempts us to stop and question what God requires. He tells us we don't need to make a deep commitment because that would be too costly and embarrassing.

Abraham lived a life of faith. He was not concerned with what his sacrifice would cost him. He was only concerned with his love and devotion to God. Therefore, he learned to follow the Lord, and we can do the same. There will be times when we make wrong turns, but God will quickly restore us and direct us back to the place where His blessings are.

Have you been questioning what God has asked of you, afraid to commit your entire life to the Lord? Today is the day to know Jesus as more than your Savior. He is your living and eternal Lord.

Prayer: Father, help me to know how to follow You and not be drawn aside by the temptations of this world. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen. {eoa}

This article originally appeared on Leading The Way.

Michael Youssef Featured Opinion Fri, 28 Apr 2017 06:00:00 -0400
North Korea: White House Is 'The Enemy to Be Destroyed'

North Korea released a new video showing missiles exploding in the United States' capital.

The video openly targets the White House and U.S. Capitol building, which they identify as "the enemy to be destroyed is in our sights." 

"This is a real threat to the world, whether we want to talk about it or not," U.S President Donald Trump said of North Korea.

As North Korea continues to issue nuclear threats to its southern counterpart and the rest of the world, Trump's team is prepared to take action.

A joint statement issued by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said:

The United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. We remain open to negotiations towards that goal. However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies. The president's approach aims to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile and proliferation programs by tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our allies and regional partners.

 Watch the video to see how North Korea is now targeting the U.S.


Jessilyn Justice Featured World News Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:00:00 -0400
Supreme Court's Decision on California's 'Reproductive FACT Act' Will Impact More Than Religious Liberty

The California Reproductive FACT Act, a law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to post notices directing women on how to obtain state-funded abortions, is coming before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Care Net, a national non-profit ministry supporting one of the largest networks of pregnancy centers in the United States, filed an amicus brief to support National Institute of Family and Life Advocates in that case. In the brief, Care Net's attorneys argue it is directly impacted by, and deeply concerned about, California's decision to force pregnancy centers to become spokespersons for the abortion industry.

In a press release announcing the filing, Care Net officials state:

The amicus brief clearly lays out the reasons the Reproductive FACT Act creates compelled-speech regulations that must be reversed. The regulations force pregnancy centers to promote an idea—abortion —that they believe puts their clients at risk; and the regulations force pregnancy centers to engage in unnecessary speech that dilutes the centers' own communications and messages. Such regulations would be akin to a state requiring Alcoholics Anonymous, whose mission is to encourage those it serves to abstain from drinking, to provide listings of nearby bars and liquor stores.

Additionally, the compelled-speech regulations also violate the Free Exercise Clause, which protects religiously-motivated groups and individuals from being singled out and targeted by the government. Given that the Reproductive FACT Act's scope is defined to apply only to facilities "whose primary purpose is providing pregnancy-related services," it is clear that California targeted religion and religious practices. For example, places such as hospitals that provide non-pregnancy-related services are exempt from the law even though they also offer the same pregnancy-related services that pro-life pregnancy centers do. Lukimi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah prohibits such religious targeting.

Finally, pro-choice activists should be against these regulations, too. If the government can take sides on a political debate and force people or organizations to express ideas that they disagree with or find morally objectionable, then it could force abortion clinics to post signs informing pregnant mothers that the clinic does not provide live-birth deliveries or support for mothers choosing to continue their pregnancies, directing these women to nearby pregnancy resource centers where they could reconsider their decision. Such regulations must be invalidated by the Supreme Court.

In conclusion, the brief argues that the Supreme Court should grant the petition, reverse the Ninth Circuit, and invalidate California's compelled-speech regulations because they "fail to respect a [pregnancy resource center]'s right not to utter a state-sponsored message that offends its core moral and religious principles" (Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, Inc. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore), and because they violate the Free Exercise Clause (Lukimi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah).

"Clearly, this law is promoted by pro-choice activists and those in the abortion industry to silence any voices that oppose their agenda," Care Net CEO Roland C. Warren said. "Sadly, this unconstitutional violation of free speech and religious freedom was signed into law and upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. We support NIFLA's petition to reverse this decision in the Supreme Court, allowing pregnancy centers and other life-affirming organizations to continue their life-saving work without state interference." {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:12:21 -0400
Art of the Deal: How President Trump Forced Mexico and Canada to the Negotiating Table

Thursday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted that he had a discussion with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.

He wrote:

I received calls from the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Canada asking to renegotiate NAFTA rather than terminate. I agreed subject to the fact that if we do not reach a fair deal for all, we will then terminate NAFTA. Relationships are good-deal very possible!

The call the president was speaking of apparently took place Wednesday afternoon. The White House, a short time after his tweet, provided the following readout of those conversations, although it doesn't provide much more detail:

Late this afternoon, President Donald J. Trump spoke with both President Peña Nieto of Mexico and Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada. Both conversations were pleasant and productive. President Trump agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time, and the leaders agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation of the NAFTA deal to the benefit of all three countries. President Trump said, "It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up to date through renegotiation. It is an honor to deal with both President Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Trudeau, and I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better."

Politico, however, is reporting the rest of the story. And once you hear it, you'll realize the president had a plan all along:

A draft order has been submitted for final stages of review and could be unveiled late this week or early next, two White House officials told POLITICO. The effort, which still could change in coming days as more officials weigh in, would indicate the administration's intent to withdraw from the sweeping Clinton-era pact by triggering the timeline set forth in the deal.

The approach appears designed to extract better terms from Canada and Mexico. But it raises the possibility the Trump administration could walk away from one of the largest trade deals on the planet after having already pulled the U.S. out of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation deal that the Obama administration saw as a way to cement American influence over Asia-Pacific trade.

The article also squashes the narrative that somehow chief strategist Steve Bannon is on his way out at the Trump White House. It states the former Breitbart News chairman, who the liberal mainstream media treats as an "alt-right" political pariah, carefully crafted the executive order with National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro.

The report is also quick to point out a number of Republicans are opposed to withdrawing from NAFTA. But, it also notes that what the president is doing is entirely consistent with pledges he made on the campaign trail.

Click here to read the entire report. {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:00:00 -0400
Why You Shouldn't Let Your Teen Watch '13 Reasons Why'

Recently, the Netflix Original show, 13 Reasons Why, has been the talk of the town, with the critics praising the show and a high volume of viewers. What critics don't understand, is that "children won't always be able to distinguish what is a plot device and what is reality," according to Dr. Ted Baehr, who has taught cognitive development and media literacy for 40 years.

Movieguide® has numerous studies on the impact of media on children who have different susceptibilities. The proof is shown very clearly in this situation by the fact that more calls than ever are coming into Suicide Hotlines, in fact a "steadily increasing stream of calls and emails" are coming from teenagers and parents, according to some Australian Mental Health organizations.

To give background on the series, 13 Reasons Why follows a high school girl named Hannah Baker who has made 13 tapes for the people who wronged her and led her to commit suicide. The show graphically depicts the suicide and also depicts rape.

The writer of the episode depicting the suicide, Nic Sheff, told Vanity Fair, "From the very beginning, I agreed that we should depict the suicide with as much detail and accuracy as possible. I even argued for it, relating the story of my own suicide attempt to the other writers."

Experts say this decision is very risky.

"The point was to make [the scene] frightening," Dr. Victor Schwartz, of the JED Foundation, said. "For some small portion of people, they might find this appealing in a way."

A study that CNN reports on from the Canadian Medial Association Journal, says that if 12- to 13-year-olds are exposed to a peer's suicide, they are five times more likely to have suicidal thoughts. Another expert, Kristen Douglas of a mental health foundation named Headspace, confirmed those sentiments, saying "National and international research clearly indicates the very real impact and risk to harmful suicide exposure leading to increased risk and possible suicide contagion. People have said the show has triggered their own vulnerabilities and made them consider whether suicide is a possible option for them."

Movieguide® has found that there are hundreds of thousands of studies on various aspects of the influence of the mass media of entertainment. 99 percent of them found the mass media of entertainment influences different self-destructive and aberrant behaviors among those few who are susceptible to being influenced. Thus, about 7 to 11 percent are susceptible to copying the violence, while 25 percent are susceptible to alcohol and drug messages. Furthermore, the more intelligent the young person is, the more susceptible they are to those influences that appeal to them.

Therefore, Movieguide® advises extreme caution for 13 Reasons Why.

To protect your children, please teach them to be media- and culture-wise by reading and following the directions in The Culture-Wise Family. {eoa}

This article originally appeared on Movieguide®.

Evy Carroll/MovieGuide Featured Culture Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:00:00 -0400
'Happy Days' Actress Came to Christ Through 'Facts of Life' Friend

Erin Moran, the former child star who played Joanie Cunningham in the sitcom "Happy Days" and "Joanie Loves Chachi," died Saturday at age 56.

She died from Stage Four skin cancer. Her husband, Steve Fleischmann, says he held her hand as she passed away.

"She was there watching TV in bed. I laid down next to her, held her right hand in my left. I fell asleep and woke up about a hour later still holding her hand, and she was gone, she was just gone..." he said in a statement.

While many mourn her death, new information reveals that Morgan was a strong believer who knew the Lord before she died.

Moran's limo driver, Barton T. Wade, told Breaking Christian News that years ago, Moran told him about how her friend and fellow actress, Lisa Whelchel, had led her to the Lord, and that she had accepted Christ.
Moran spent her years acting in TV and movies. She had several years of experience when she was cast in 1974 in Happy Days as Joanie Cunningham, the kid sister to high school student Richie Cunningham, played by Ron Howard. Other cast members included Tom Bosley and Marion Ross as Joanie's parents and Henry Winkler as the loveable tough guy Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli.
"What happened with all of us was like we were this family," she told Xfinity in 2009. "It was so surreal with all the cast members. ... They were my family, get it?"
Debuting at a time of nostalgia for the seemingly innocent 1950s, the sitcom was set in Milwaukee and became a long-running hit. Howard and Winkler were the show's biggest stars, but the smiling, freckle-faced Moran also became popular. In 1982, she was paired off with fellow Happy Days performer Scott Baio in the short-lived Joanie Loves Chachi. Moran returned to Happy Days in 1984, the show's final season.
Her more recent credits included The Love Boat and Murder, She Wrote, but she never approached the success of Happy Days in any other role. {eoa}

Copyright The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., All rights reserved.

CBN News Featured Culture Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:00:00 -0400
Dr. Alveda King: 100 Days of Trump, 100 Days of Prayer

Many people who voted for President Trump agree that he is delivering on his promises. When I voted for President Trump, I lifted up a prayer asking God to guide our president and to heal our nation. I have not regretted my vote or our prayers for his success throughout his 100 days.

Throughout his first 100 Days President Trump has taken dramatic steps to undo burdensome regulations, restore law and order, bolster our military, revive the American dream, change Washington by holding it accountable, put the American worker first and confirm Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, an incredible 96 percent of us who supported the President in November say we would do it again today.

Added to his proactive agenda, President Trump has enacted more legislation and signed more executive orders in the First 100 days than any president in half a century.

Our POTUS has removed more job-killing regulations through legislation than any president in U.S. history. Consequently he has boosted job creation and economic optimism has been renewed, with consumer confidence reaching its highest level in 16 years.

As a Christian African American woman who is 50+ years of age who is also a concerned mother and grandmother, I am grateful to say that President Trump has allayed many of my concerns, and those of my constituency. Just to name a few of the POTUS improvements:

  • Helping Women/Minorities by Minimizing Affordable Care Act
  • The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Initiative
  • Appointment of Dr. Ben Carson as HUD Secretary
  • Canada-United States Council for the Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs
  • Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act
  • Promoting Programs to Engage Women in STEM Fields
  • Challenge to Planned Parenthood to stop abortions and help heal Americans, not kill them

Once again, there is hope for the people of America as our POTUS continues "thinking big about exploration and discovery again; protecting the farmers and ranchers that feed our country, and reasserting American power on the world stage."

Members of the POTUS Cabinet will continue to reach out beyond the beltway, responding to the concerns of the people and spreading President Trump's message across the country. There is promise of a 100 Days webpage where the White House will be producing graphics, videos and other digital content for the President's online constituents to share.

"The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live" (1 Tim. 2:1-3 The Message).

The prayer network will continue. God bless America. {eoa}

Dr. Alveda King Featured Opinions Caucus Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:00:00 -0400
Perversion Watch: You Won't Believe What This University Wants to Sell in Vending Machines

Vending machines can now dole out anything from basic snacks to pizza and cupcakes, but one California university is now experimenting with contraceptive items.

The Wellness to Go machine offers condoms and Plan-B morning after pills to students.

"I believe most of the college students are sexually active on college campus, which means we should have more resources and more talk on these issues, decreasing the stigma," senior Parteek Singh, 21, who spearheaded the move to install the vending machine, told the Los Angeles Times. 

"Colleges and universities should be offering pregnant and parenting students options of housing, financial aid, diaper decks and childcare instead of handing over abortion drugs," Students for Life Executive Director Kristan Hawkins said.

It's almost too crazy to believe, but this video tells you otherwise. See for yourself.


Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Thu, 27 Apr 2017 13:00:00 -0400
IRS, Postal Inspectors Raid Benny Hinn's Headquarters

Federal agents raided the Texas headquarters of televangelist Benny Hinn while he was abroad in Paris.

Around 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, federal agents were seen carrying boxes in and out of Hinn's headquarters in Grapevine, Texas, near the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

According to media reports, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service referred inquiries to the Northern District of Texas U.S. attorney's office, which was "unable to confirm or deny if there is an investigation," the Star-Telegram quoted spokeswoman Lisa Slimak.

Requests for comments from Hinn's staff went unanswered.

In 2007, Hinn was one of six TV evangelists investigated by the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, led the investigation.

All six were cleared of wrongdoing in 2011. {eoa}

Copyright The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., All rights reserved.

CBN News Featured U.S. News Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:00:00 -0400
Have Spiritual Warriors Misinterpreted Jesus' Words About the Gates of Hell?

When Jesus told Peter he was the rock on which He would build His church, did he really say, "And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18)?

The common translation may be a mistranslation, biblical scholar Michael Heiser tells The Jim Bakker Show about Matthew 16:18.

"We all know that this is a big blow-up passage," Heiser says. "... I think 'upon this rock' is the place where they're standing. And I get that because of the Old Testament history of that place."

So what does Heiser think the passage actually means? Watch the video to see.


Jessilyn Justice Featured U.S. News Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:00:00 -0400
End-Time Deception: People Seeing UFOs Everywhere

As men and women claim to have seen more unidentified flying objects now than ever, some are wondering if this is a sign of the end times.

There are 121,036 eyewitness accounts, organized county by county in each state and the District of Columbia, published in a new book, UFO Sightings Desk Reference: United States of America 2001-2015. 

U.F.O. reports are collected by two volunteer organizations: the Mutual U.F.O. Network, or Mufon, and the National U.F.O. Reporting Center, or Nuforc, The New York Times reports.

Mufon's 500 volunteer investigators check out many of the sightings reported to the group. Roger Marsh, a Mufon spokesman, said that of the 270 cases his group investigated in Manhattan from 2002 through 2016, 44 eluded explanation and remained "unknown," NYT continues.

According to prophet Rick Joyner, these men and women may not understand what they see.

"Although it may be interesting to consider if there are other occupied worlds, this is not clear in Scripture and we cannot make a doctrine out of it. But what about what many consider to be 'proof' of alien visitations or UFOs?" Joyner writes.

"I submit that they are not visitors from other planets but are spiritual beings, such as 'Ezekiel's wheels' that do manifest in the natural from time to time. I bring this up because this can be a major diversion from our course."

He continued: 

I did a study in the 1970s to track when most of the UFO sightings took place. It was noteworthy that most of them happened around significant events on earth, such as the beginning of revivals, other significant moves of God, or important events with the nation of Israel. These are not aliens from other planets. These are spiritual beings from both the good and bad side that for some reason tend to become visible to more people during times of important events on earth. Some experiences that people claim to have had about being kidnapped by aliens may seem to be real, and they may have been to a degree, but they were dealing with demonic entities, not aliens.

This kind of thing will increase in frequency as this age comes to a close. There are some things in Revelation that might be considered comparable to the aliens people claim to see, but we must not be distracted by this. If anything like this happens to you, take authority over it in the name of Jesus. {eoa}

Jessilyn Justice Featured Culture Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:30:00 -0400
How Mandisa Overcame Suicidal Depression, Disappointment With God

Christian artist and Grammy Award-winning singer Mandisa is opening up about how she overcame a painful struggle with depression after the death of a dear friend.

Mandisa spoke with The 700 Club about the struggle that began after her close friend Kisha died from breast cancer. It was a tragedy that left her shaken.

"My depression was rooted in disappointment with God," she said. "I'm learning to trust and to rest in the character of who God is, over my need to understand and to have all the answers."

"This is something that I will see fully when I see him face-to-face, and I know that Kisha is with Jesus right now," she continued.

Mandisa also opened up about her deep pain on Good Morning America Wednesday.

She revealed that her battle with depression became so intense three years ago that she almost committed suicide.

"It got pretty bad, to the point where if I had not gotten off that road I would not be sitting here today," Mandisa told GMA cohost Robin Roberts. "I was this close to listening to that voice that told me, 'You can be with Jesus right now, Mandisa. All you have to do is take your life.'"

But she says God rescued her and she finally got help for the depression after friends held an intervention outside a movie theater.

"I came out of the movie theater, this was after years of me being in that dark place and ignoring everybody, and I noticed that my car had a bunch of sticky notes all over it," she told GMA.

"As I got closer to it I realized that those notes said things like, 'We love you. Come back to us. We miss you,'" she continued. "And then as I got closer to my car, a group of my friends, whom I had shut out, they were there."

"And they had been waiting at that movie theater as I sat there and watched two movies, not just one, they waited there for over four hours for me," she said. "And they pretty much had an intervention and they said, 'We love you just as you are, but we love you too much to leave you that way.'"

Mandisa has a new album that reflects how God lifted her out of that time of severe depression. Entitled Out of the Dark, it will be released May 19.

"When I look at where we began and where we ended, like my heart and my soul, and the lessons that I learn at the end of this album process, I know that this album is not just for other people," she told The 700 Club.

"I can see that God used it to lift me out and to help me to see what he was doing and how he was working through that ... throughout the entire process," she said.

"And it's called Out of the Dark because that's what God brought me out of," she continued.

Along with her GMA interview, Mandisa also performed her new single, "Unfinished."

The Christian artist blogged about the song on her website:

I've been thinking about the importance of the message in my latest song. I beat myself up ... a lot. I would never talk to anyone the way I speak to myself sometimes. Ask me what my best qualities are and it would take me a long time to compile a list. But ask me what I don't like about myself and buckle up, because I can rattle off that list in 3.5 seconds flat! I know I'm not alone in that harmful habit. I believe it is time for the children of God to stop wallowing in shame and regret, and start living lives of freedom, power, and authority. We do that by taking those destructive thoughts captive, and making them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Mandisa entered the spotlight after becoming a finalist on American Idol's fifth season.

She received a Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album for her best-selling and critically acclaimed project, Overcomer.


Copyright The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., All rights reserved.

CBN News Featured Culture Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:00:00 -0400
Tony Perkins: President Obama Just Won't Go Away

Love him or loathe him, you have to admit that Barack Obama's career prior to becoming a senator and then president set him up well for his life after leaving the White House.

The "community organizer" is back, and in a big way. And, according to the Family Research Council's president, Tony Perkins, if he's successful in his latest efforts, it will be a disaster for the country.

In a new fundraising email obtained by Charisma Caucus, Perkins shares what the former president has been up to since Jan. 20:

I have some troubling news to share with you.

Barack Obama has no intention of going away. In fact, he has set up a Washington command center in his new $5.3 million mansion about two miles from the White House.

According to media reports, his goal is nothing less than to subvert the Trump presidency—and your religious freedom in the process ...

The Obama war chest is swelling. His Organizing for Action (OFA), a new incarnation of his "Obama For America" presidential campaign, has tens of thousands of radical activists on board to do his bidding. To date OFA has received more than $40 million in donations and has more than 250 offices across the country.

Obama and his allies on the left view the election of Donald Trump as illegitimate. They would like to force his resignation or see him impeached. They will do all they can to stop him from fulfilling his campaign promises.

They are flooding the airwaves and internet with "fake news."

They are delaying or blocking his appointments to key positions.

They tried to vilify his pro-religious-freedom judge, Neil Gorsuch.

Part of the plan also involves a "redistricting committee."

This organization seeks to redefine congressional districts in order to benefit liberal candidates!

And let's not forget that there are thousands of Obama holdovers in the judiciary, Congress, the U.S. military, and government agencies who are dedicated to protecting and perpetuating the former president's radical policies.

Winning the election really did not save our liberty. The election simply granted us a temporary reprieve. It gave us a short window of opportunity to empower America's families ... America's churches ... and America's civic organizations to take our country back.

We are engaged in an epic struggle for the very survival of our republic-of our freedom. And while the hand-to-hand fighting is figurative, it is not for the faint of heart. When Paul tells us to "stand" in Ephesians 6:14, that is not a passive position. The term in that context is a military term of standing firm on the ground you've been given.

Perkins had three requests from his supporters: pray, prepare and be proactive. Like Obama, he added, evangelical Christians need to remain "in campaign mode," he added.

"Just as we worked to get conservatives elected, now we have to prod, push, shove-whatever we need to do-to get the conservative ideas that won November's election actually implemented into policy," he wrote. "Be a part of the process. Communicate with your congressional representative and two senators. Encourage them to stand firm and keep the promises that were made to the American people."

Perkins said the run-up to the 2016 election put a strain on the Family Research Council's own war chest, and that with Obama preparing an all-out assault on faith, family and freedom, it is prayerfully asking for support.

"Despite the dark forces arrayed against us, I am confident that, together, we can save our republic and the Christian heritage that sustains it," he wrote. "The only way we can fail is by doing nothing. And I am sure you agree with me, that is not an option." {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Press Releases Caucus Thu, 27 Apr 2017 13:00:00 -0400
Is God Going to 'Bless' a Government That Gives $500 Million a Year to Fund Planned Parenthood's Abortion Holocaust?

More video has just been released which proves that Planned Parenthood has been selling off aborted baby parts to the highest bidder.

The crimes against humanity that Planned Parenthood is committing are off the charts, and yet nobody ever goes to jail, and the federal government keeps on giving them about half a billion dollars a year. If the federal government did not give Planned Parenthood giant mountains of money every year, there are real doubts about whether it would be able to survive or not. Planned Parenthood is the No. 1 abortion provider in the United States, and the U.S. government is their number one financial supporter by a very, very wide margin. So no matter how you want to look at the issue, the truth is that America's abortion holocaust is being bankrolled by the U.S. government.

This was supposed to change with the election of Donald Trump. With the Republicans in charge of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, many social conservatives were anticipating that there would be no more excuses and that Planned Parenthood would finally be defunded.

Well, it turns out that Republicans are already throwing in the towel on this battle. The Democrats threatened to shut down the government indefinitely over the issue of Planned Parenthood funding, and the Republican chose to fold rather than fight.

Amazingly, even though the Republicans have already surrendered on Planned Parenthood and the border wall, the Democrats just keep pushing for more, and this is holding up a final budget agreement. In fact, it looks like a one week funding bill will have to be passed in order to give negotiations more time:

The U.S. House of Representative could move soon to consider a bill to fund the government for a week to avoid a shutdown at midnight on Friday and buy time to strike a deal for a long-term funding plan, a House Republican source said on Wednesday.

A one-week bill would give lawmakers "a little breathing room" to complete negotiations on broader legislation, the source said.

The Republicans have already given the Democrats virtually everything that they wanted, and so my gut tells me that the Democrats are either being exceedingly greedy or they actually want to force at least a short government shutdown in order to score some political points with the American public.

But of much greater importance is how the Republicans have turned their backs on the pro-life community.

I keep hearing about how Donald Trump is "God's anointed" and that God is going to bless the government now that the Republicans are in control.

Are we actually supposed to believe that God is going to "bless" a government that gives 500 million dollars a year to fund Planned Parenthood's abortion holocaust?

This is an organization that slaughters close to a thousand babies a day, chops them up into little pieces, and then auctions off the body parts to the highest bidders. The Center for Medical Progress has just released a new undercover video which shows a Planned Parenthood executive "haggling over per-specimen pricing for livers, lungs, and brains":

New undercover video shows Dr. Mary Gatter, the Planned Parenthood senior executive who infamously laughed "I want a Lamborghini" about payments for aborted fetal parts, again haggling over per-specimen pricing for livers, lungs and brains, even while insisting the purchaser must do all the work to harvest.

You can watch this new undercover video on YouTube right here. If you cannot see that this is evil, your moral conscience is probably completely gone.

The Nazis killed approximately six million people during their holocaust, and it is a horror that the history books will remember forever.

But now we have killed close to sixty million people during the American holocaust, and yet we are going to be "greatly blessed" as a nation?

Give me a break. It doesn't work that way.

It would be one thing is we were repenting, but we aren't. Instead, Donald Trump and the Republicans have completely caved in and have agreed to continue bankrolling Planned Parenthood's slaughter of American children.

To give you an idea of just how wicked these people are, I want to share with you a little bit more from the press release that the Center of Medical Progress put out to accompany their latest video:

During the conversation, Gatter advises, "You know, you have to pay a little money to use the space." After asking for a ballpark figure, the buyer observes, "Most people now seem to be doing per specimen."

"Per specimen. Like $75 a specimen?" Gatter replies. After the buyer asks for clarification, Gatter repeats, "$75 a specimen, or $50 a specimen?" The buyer replies, "What we've been quoting is $50 per specimen. I think some people are doing more, some slightly less."

Gatter then comments, "Yeah, $50's on the low end, $50 [per specimen] was like 12 years ago."

When you see the phrase "per specimen", what that really means is "per body part."

Yes, this is against the law, but nobody from Planned Parenthood ever goes to jail.

So America's abortion holocaust just keeps rolling along, and very few people even seem to care anymore. The following comes from CNS News:

Although President Donald J. Trump promised to defund Planned Parenthood if elected president, and the GOP House and Senate often claim that they want to defund the group, there reportedly is no language in the continuing resolution to fund the government through next September to defund Planned Parenthood, a group that has performed approximately 81,567 abortions since Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20. That's about 877 abortions per day, 36 per hour, or one every two minutes.

Those who are boldly proclaiming that Trump, the Republicans and our entire nation will be "blessed" even while this is going on are not telling you the truth.

There are no more excuses for Trump and the Republicans. They have control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. If they really wanted to defund Planned Parenthood they could do it.

Any Republican who votes for any spending bill that gives money to Planned Parenthood and any Republican that signs such a bill will have the blood of dead babies from all over America on their hands.

And anyone that tells you we will be "greatly blessed" even as we slaughter babies on an industrial scale is telling you a lie of epic proportions. {eoa}

Michael Snyder Featured Opinion Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:30:00 -0400
Report: Democrats Aren't as Interested in This Scandal as They've Said

There are 20 members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, 11 Republicans and nine Democrats.

Every single one of them has expressed to the media an intense desire to see the documents related to former National Security Adviser Susan Rice's involvement in "unmasking" Trump presidential campaign staffers and leaking that information to the media. But you'll never guess how many have actually reviewed those documents, now that they have been made available.

Rep. Adam Schiff (R-Calif.), the committee's ranking Democrat, screamed the loudest about the need for the committee's members to have access to those documents. And, he has publicly stated he has reviewed them now that they are available. But, according to a new report from the Daily Caller's Richard Pollock, only one other Democrat has bothered to look at them:

Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes is the only Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence other than Rep. Adam Schiff, the panel's ranking minority member, to review intelligence files showing former White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice "unmasked" aides to President Donald Trump during his transition to the Oval Office, The Daily Caller News Foundation's Investigative Group has learned.

The apparent lack of interest among the remaining seven Democrats on the intelligence panel is in striking contrast to their earlier vocal demands that they see the documents after committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes disclosed he had read them at the White House complex.

According to a source with knowledge of congressional visits to the National Security Agency, the classified documents have been available to committee members for three weeks, but Himes and Schiff are the lone Democrats to review them.

Click here to read the entire article. {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:00:00 -0400
Senators Told Situation on Korean Peninsula 'Very Grave'

In a rare "White House briefing" for all 100 members of the U.S. Senate, President Donald Trump and key members of his national security team offered a "very grave" assessment of the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

According to Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon, the senators were told during the meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building that North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs pose an "urgent national security threat." In addition to the president, who only made very brief introductory remarks, the senators heard from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats during the hour-long gathering.

Gertz reports:

"I think it's really an expression of how seriously the president is taking this, and that he wants to engage with Congress on it," a senior administration official said of the session that has been scheduled for some time and is not a response to any particular event.

The aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson is expected to arrive near the Korean peninsula in the next day, and a U.S. missile submarine also has been deployed.

The Air Force Strike Command also announced that a U.S. long-range nuclear missile was test fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on Wednesday. The command called the test of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile "an important demonstration of our nation's nuclear deterrent capability."

The deployment comes as U.S. intelligence agencies are closely watching North Korea for signs of another underground nuclear test, or a long-range missile test.

North Korea earlier this week carried out a large-scale live-fire artillery drill with some 300 to 400 artillery pieces firing into the sea.

North Korea has amassed a large percentage of its forces, including hundreds of artillery pieces along the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea. The artillery is within range of the South Korean capital of Seoul.

Click here for the full report.

After the meeting, Mattis, Tillerson and Coats issued a joint statement. Here is the full text of their comments:

Past efforts have failed to halt North Korea's unlawful weapons programs and nuclear and ballistic missile tests. With each provocation, North Korea jeopardizes stability in Northeast Asia and poses a growing threat to our allies and the U.S. homeland.

North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons is an urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority. Upon assuming office, President Trump ordered a thorough review of U.S. policy pertaining to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Today, along with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford, we briefed members of Congress on the review. The president's approach aims to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile and proliferation programs by tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our allies and regional partners.

We are engaging responsible members of the international community to increase pressure on the DPRK in order to convince the regime to deescalate and return to the path of dialogue. We will maintain our close coordination and cooperation with our allies, especially the Republic of Korea and Japan, as we work together to preserve stability and prosperity in the region.

The United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. We remain open to negotiations towards that goal. However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies. {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:00:00 -0400
Matthew 24 End-Times Realities Manifesting in This Nation

It's been just over two months since the South Sudanese government declared famine conditions in parts of the country, according to Relief Web. Now we're getting close to what's called the "lean season" in South Sudan from May to July.

The latest UNICEF report says over five million people—almost half of the South Sudanese population—will face severe food shortages and over one million children will be acutely malnourished.

World Mission carries out ministry in South Sudan. Greg Kelley with World Mission shares on the situation, "Because the infrastructure has been gutted over decades of war that's going on, the infrastructure is almost non-existent in every capacity of the word—including educational, from a business standpoint, from a development standpoint, agriculture—just the entire infrastructure is in shambles. So there's millions of people who are entirely dependent upon humanitarian aid."

Kelley says, now more than ever, this isn't a time for the church to sit on the sidelines.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for us to be the hands and feet of Jesus and respond to these precious people in South Sudan, not only with these acts of relief and kindness, but also with the Treasure, which is our solar-powered audio Bible, in their language so that not only do they receive a cup of cold water, but they also are told very clearly the motivation behind it—which is the love of Jesus Christ." 

However, there are several challenges to ministry and relief work in South Sudan. With six more humanitarian aid workers killed in March, that brings the total number of relief workers killed in South Sudan to 79 since the start of the conflict in 2013. It's getting dangerous to carry out humanitarian service in South Sudan, and even more dangerous as tribal conflicts continue.

Kelley explains it as conflicts between people groups or 'nations'. "Inside of one little country, South Sudan, you have 78 [nations], and there's a lot of challenges with it, not to mention the war. Even recently, they're talking about acts of genocide that are actively going on right now, nation against nation. So that creates all kinds of challenges and complications."

For World Mission's outreach, he says, "Our distributions are over across about a dozen different nations and different languages, like the Dinka and the Shaluk and the Bari and the Zandi, all different nations, very distinctive, fighting against each other for grazing grounds and the animals. It's not so much a religious issue. Most of them are animist. But it is, nevertheless, a great amount of bloodshed."

Despite the overwhelming hurdles, God is moving and the Church in South Sudan is growing. One example Kelley gives is the Dinka people. "They're kind of in the middle of the war that's going on right now. The Dinka Treasures that we're sending in, we're getting reports from the church on how it's strengthening the church, it's encouraging the followers of Jesus because so many of them, they can't read at all. So they're walking around and listening to the Treasure day and night.

"We heard another story from the Bari people in the village of Tali where 40 people just in the past few days have given their lives to Jesus because of listening to the Treasure in their language!"

Kelley shares that the Treasure containing God's Word is "even going into the hands of government officials. We've gotten photos back that are even too sensitive for us to share of government officials who are actually not only receiving and listening to the Treasure, but they're actually helping distribute the Treasure. The same goes with relief—U.N. and Red Cross workers—distributing Treasures."

So what can you do as a believer to get off the sidelines and do something for South Sudan? You can lift the country and the South Sudanese Christians before the Lord.

"We need to be praying for the national leaders. It is one of the most challenging environments to be a minister of the gospel. So we need to pray for these national leaders, that God would raise them up with great spiritual depth and capacity. But also, we need to pray for them to have courage, because they're literally facing the end of the barrel of a gun in many instances, and they're going into some of the more rural places."

Also, says Kelley, "We need to pray for these hundreds and hundreds of refugee camps. We're distributing Treasures inside of these, but these are complicating, challenging situations. So we need to pray for the refugee camps and the opportunities to minister both physically and spiritually in them."

It takes just $40 to send one Treasure into South Sudan, and on average, around 100 people benefit from each unit as they share and gather in groups to listen to Scripture. Click here to donate in support of World Mission's Gospel work in South Sudan.

And finally, thank God for the ways He is using the Church in South Sudan to be a light to the rest of the world, even in the midst of seemingly devastating circumstances.

"Interestingly, as unstable and undeveloped it is, we're even seeing people mobilized and launched out into other unreached areas, other neighboring countries, where there's not a receptivity or an openness to the gospel. We're seeing Sudanese ... sending missionaries into other neighboring counties, which just shows that God can do anything He wants in the most unusual and unscripted way in order to see the gospel going forth." {eoa}

This article originally appeared on Mission Network News.

LYNDSEY KOH/Mission Network News Featured World News Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:00:00 -0400
Have We Just Reached Peak Stock Market Absurdity?

Have you ever wondered how tech companies that have been losing hundreds of millions of dollars year after year can somehow be worth billions of dollars according to the stock market? 

Because I run a website called "The Economic Collapse", there are naysayers out there who take glee in mocking me by pointing out how well the stock market has been doing. This week, the Dow is flirting with 21,000, and the Nasdaq crossed the 6,000 threshold for the first time ever. But a lot of the "soaring stocks" that have been fueling this rally have been losing giant mountains of money every single year, and just like the first tech bubble, this madness will eventually come to an end in a spectacular fiery crash in which investors will lose trillions of dollars.

Anyone that cannot see that we are in the midst of an absolutely insane stock market bubble simply does not understand economics. Every valuation indicator that you can possibly point to says that we are in a bubble of epic proportions, and history teaches us that all bubbles inevitably come to an end at some point.

I came across an article by Graham Summers in which he persuasively argued that the price to sales ratio indicates that stock prices are far more inflated than they were just prior to the great stock market crash of 2008:

Sales cannot be gimmicked. Either money comes in the door, or it doesn't. And if a company is caught messing around with its sales numbers, someone is going to jail.

For this reason, Price to Sales (P/S) is perhaps the single most objective and clear means of measuring stock valuations.

This metric, above all others, you can point to and say, "this is definitively accurate and has not been messed with."

On that note, as Bill King recently noted, today the S&P 500 is sporting a P/S ratio that is massively higher than it was in 2007 and is only marginally lower than it was during the Tech Bubble (the single largest stock bubble of all time for most measures).

To me, looking at profitability is even more important than looking at sales.

Large tech companies such as Twitter certainly have lots of revenue coming in, but many of them are deeply unprofitable.

In fact, Twitter has never made a yearly profit, and over the past decade it has actually lost more than 2 billion dollars.

But despite all of that, investors absolutely love Twitter stock. As I write this article, Twitter has a market cap of 11.5 billion dollars.

How in the world is that possible?

How can a company that has never made a single penny be worth more than 11 billion dollars?

Twitter is never going to be more popular than it is now. If it can't make a profit at the peak of its popularity, when will it ever happen?

And guess what?  ABC News says that Twitter actually just reported a decline in revenue for the most recent quarter...

Twitter has never turned a profit, and for the first time since going public in 2013, it reported a decline in revenue from the previous year. Its revenue was $548.3 million, down 8 percent.

Net loss was $61.6 million, or 9 cents per share, compared with a loss of $79.7 million, or 12 cents per share, a year earlier.

The only reason why financial black holes such as Twitter can continue to exist is because investors have been willing to pour endless amounts of money into them, but now that bubble is starting to burst.

In his most recent article, Simon Black discussed how Silicon Valley investors are starting to become more cautious because so many of these "unicorns" are now going bust. One of the examples that he cited in his article was a company called Clinkle:

(Given that investing in an early stage company is high-risk, investors might provide a few hundred thousand dollars in funding, at most. Clinkle raised $25 million.)

The company went on to burn through just about every penny of its investors' capital.

There were even photos that surfaced of the 21-year old CEO literally setting bricks of cash on fire.

At the end of the farce, Clinkle never actually managed to build its supposedly 'world-changing' product, and the website is now all but defunct.

Most of you may have never even heard of Clinkle, but I bet you have definitely heard of Netflix.

Netflix has revolutionized how movies are delivered to our homes, and that revolution helped drive movie rental stores to the brink of extinction.

There is just one huge problem. It turns out that Netflix is losing hundreds of millions of dollars:

Netflix might be my favorite example.

The company's most recent earnings report for the period ending March 31, 2017 shows, yet again, negative Free Cash Flow of minus $422 million.

Not only is that a record loss, it's 62 percent worse than in Quarter 1, 2016, and over twice as bad as Quarter 1, 2015.

Netflix just keeps losing more and more money.

But even though Netflix is losing money at a pace that is exceedingly difficult to imagine, investors absolutely love the company.

I just checked, and at this moment Netflix has a market cap of $68.4 billion.

Sometimes I just want to scream because of the absurdity of it all.

Companies that are losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year at the peak of their popularity should not be worth billions of dollars.

Nobody can possibly argue that these enormously inflated stock prices are sustainable. Just like with every other stock market bubble in our history, this one is going to burst too, and I have been warning about this for quite a long time.

But for the moment, the naysayers are having their time to shine. Despite the fact that U.S. consumers are $12 trillion in debt, and despite the fact that corporate debt has doubled since the last financial crisis, and despite the fact that the federal government is $20 trillion in debt, they seem to be convinced that this irrational stock market bubble can keep inflating indefinitely.

Perhaps they can all put their money where their mouth is by pouring all of their savings into Twitter, Netflix and other tech company stocks.

In the end, we will see who was right and who was wrong. {eoa}

Michael Snyder Featured Marketplace Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:30:00 -0400
President Trump's First 100 Days Have Been Defined by Paul Ryan's Betrayals

Whether President Trump and his team recognize it and make a bold stand for his agenda, or whether they choose to try to spin their way past it, the success or failure of the president's first 100 days will be defined by what's in or out of the continuing resolution soon to be before the House of Representatives.

Unfortunately for President Trump, as things stand right now, everything candidate Donald Trump campaigned against, and everything that his voters expected him to protect them from, is in the budget and about to be funded for the rest of the year.

And almost nothing that the president promised he would do is in the budget and set to be funded and implemented in this fiscal year.

  • Sanctuary cites? Funded.
  • Obamacare? Funded.
  • Massive "refugee" resettlement in America? Funded.
  • Planned Parenthood? Funded.
  • The Border Wall? Not funded.
  • More border security and Border Patrol Agents? Not funded.
  • The promised military build-up? Not funded.

It's as if Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were still in charge on Capitol Hill.

And in a sense they are, because their liberal policy goals and their Big Government, Big Spending ways are the defining precepts of Capitol Hill's Democratic and Republican establishments, and hence the real bipartisan majority in Congress.

What the president has not yet grasped, and the Capitol Hill insiders on his team aren't telling him, is that the Democrats will threaten to filibuster everything the President wants—and the Capitol Hill Republican establishment will go along with it because, when it comes to the President's conservative—populist agenda, they are on the same side as the Democrats.

That is why the purported attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare was such a spectacular failure.

From a strictly policy perspective, Ryan and the House "leadership" had zero interest in repealing the Obamacare cost-drivers that have wrecked the private insurance market.

They want responsible working adults to subsidize healthcare insurance for snowflakes who live in their parents' basement and refuse to work, and they have no intention of allowing healthy young working people to escape subsidizing health insurance for older adults with chronic lifestyle health conditions brought on by smoking and obesity.

As the president surveys the wreckage of his first 100 days' legislative agenda he would do well to review who, exactly, opposed his agenda before and during the campaign.

True, as expected, Democrats opposed it, and they will continue to oppose it no matter how much the President "reaches across the aisle."

But so did Speaker Paul Ryan—and quite vociferously we might add.

Trump's opposition to Syrian "refugee" resettlement?

"That's not us," said Ryan.

Defunding Planned Parenthood? Ryan has squelched that every time it has come up.

The Border Wall?

As our friend Cheryl Chumley of WND reported back in 2015, soon after Ryan was elected Speaker a border wall, complete with a security patrol, went up around his private home in Wisconsin, but funding for the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which would have put a double-layer fence along a 700-mile stretch of U.S. border property, was dropped from the Omnibus spending bill Ryan rammed through the House.

As President Trump's 100-day mark approaches for once the judgements of the establishment media and his supporters will be in alignment—without funding for the Border Wall and his other priorities, and with the continued funding of the many Obama—Clinton policies he campaigned against—the President's first 100 days will be judged a failure.

And these policy failures are indicators of a more fundamental failure on the part of the president. As well-intentioned and committed to his agenda as he may be, he has failed to grasp that Paul Ryan is the author of these failures not because he is an inept Speaker, but because he is on the other side.

George Rasley is editor of Richard Viguerie's A veteran of over 300 political campaigns, he served on the staff of Vice President Dan Quayle and as spokesman for now-Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Mac Thornberry. He has served as a staff member or consultant to some of America's most-recognized conservative political figures. He is a member of American MENSA and studied international relations at Worcester College, Oxford.

This article was originally published at Used with permission.

George Rasley/Conservative HQ Editor Featured Opinions Caucus Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:00:00 -0400
How J Street Came to Embrace One 'Israeli Settlement'

J Street, the left-wing group that claims to be staunchly opposed to Israeli settlements, has embraced an Israeli settlement.

What? How can that be?

This strange but true story began when the Israeli Knesset overwhelmingly adopted a law to prohibit the entry of foreign citizens who actively promote the BDS movement against Israel. The law does not prevent Israeli citizens from boycotting Israel. Their right to seek the destruction of their own country remains protected. The law does not block the entry of foreigners who happen to agree with BDS. Their right to believe what they want to believe—and still enter Israel—remains intact. The new legislation keeps out people who actively seek to undermine Israel.

For some reason, that was too much for J Street, which claims to be "pro-Israel." For some reason, J Street, which claims it does not support BDS, wants Israel to open its doors to BDS organizers.

Even though the Anti-Defamation League has described the BDS movement as anti-Semitic, J Street wants BDS activists to have unfettered access to Israel. Fortunately, Israel's lawmakers have more common sense than the radical-chic activists of Scarsdale and Potomac. Most Members of Knesset from the left-wing Zionist Union party joined MKs from the right in supporting the anti-BDS bill.

Last week, J Street's campus division, J Street U, mobilized 575 Jewish students to write a letter to Taglit-Birthright Israel, demanding that it refuse to cooperate with Israeli law. The letter demands that Birthright refrain from any screening of applicants for its trips to Israel to determine if they are BDS activists. Or, to put it another way, J Street wants BDS promoters to be able to exploit Birthright and gain access to Israel under its cloak, so they can avoid being caught by the Israeli border authorities.

Then, this gets really interesting.

The 575 signatories described themselves as having already taken part in Birthright trips, or are planning to participate in them in the near future. And the letter mentioned what it said is

Birthright's policy of not traveling to "the West Bank," and thus supposedly recognizing "a distinction" between pre-1967 Israel and Jewish settlements beyond the 1967 lines. But when the

Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on the letter of the 575, it attached to its report a photo of Birthright participants (maybe even including some of the 575 signatories) posing and smiling in front of the best-known Jewish "settlement" beyond the 1967 lines.


That's right, in the photo we see smiling young Jewish men and women visiting a site beyond the 1967 lines—a "settlement," in "occupied territory." It's on the itinerary of every single Birthright trip. Every J Street U student who has gone on Birthright must have visited it. It's called the Western Wall.

That's right—the Palestinian Authority considers the Western Wall "occupied Arab territory." So does every single Arab country, and most other countries, for that matter. In their eyes, the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter surrounding it are "illegal settlements."

It's a safe bet that many Birthright trips visit other parts of Jerusalem that the Arabs likewise consider "settlements"—French Hill, Ramot, Gilo, Talpiot Mizrach and more.

My point is not that the J Street U kids who visit these Israeli settlements are hypocrites. Maybe some are. Or maybe they're just naive. Maybe they're so poorly informed that they don't even realize that when they visit the Western Wall and many other parts of Jerusalem, they are visiting "settlements."

No, my point is that they—and the entire Jewish left—are kidding themselves if they think that Jewish settlements that are out in the hills of Judea and Samaria are the obstacle to peace. They're fooling themselves if they think that getting Birthright to boycott Shiloh or Beit El or Kiryat Arba is going to advance the cause of peace. It won't. Because if the day ever comes that

Israel tears down Shiloh or Beit El, that won't bring peace. The Arabs consider the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter to be "settlements," too. And if they ever take over those places, then Haifa and Tel Aviv will be next on their march to "liberate Palestine."

Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

This article was originally published at Used with permission.

Stephen M. Flatow/Religious Zionists of America Featured Issues Caucus Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:00:00 -0400
Key Group of House Republicans Now Back AHCA 2.0

According to its mission statement, the House Freedom Caucus "gives a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them."

To that end, the group of conservative Republican lawmakers has pledged to support "open, accountable and limited government," as well as the Constitution, the rule of law and policies that "promote the liberty, safety and prosperity of all Americans." And that's why they were collectively able to announce Wednesday they now support the amended American Health Care Act as part of the process to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The group, chaired by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), released the following statement about the health care reform legislation:

Over the past couple of months, House conservatives have worked tirelessly to improve the American Health Care Act (AHCA) to make it better for the American people. Due to improvements to the AHCA and the addition of Rep. Tom MacArthur's proposed amendment, the House Freedom Caucus has taken an official position in support of the current proposal.

The MacArthur amendment will grant states the ability to repeal cost driving aspects of Obamacare left in place under the original AHCA. While the revised version still does not fully repeal Obamacare, we are prepared to support it to keep our promise to the American people to lower healthcare costs. We look forward to working with our Senate colleagues to improve the bill. Our work will continue until we fully repeal Obamacare.

The group's Twitter account later posted the following additional comment:

"The AHCA is not full repeal & there is more work to be done. But because of the hard work of conservatives, we have a better bill today."

While the House Freedom Caucus was unfairly blamed for the AHCA's original failure to get the votes needed to pass, moderate Republicans have in fact been the biggest obstacle to getting a full repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Conservatives and moderates worked together to draft a compromise bill that both sides could support—precluding the need for President Donald Trump to seek a compromise with Democrats, who have so far marched in lockstep in opposition to any changes to health care, despite skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs and loss of insurance options for almost all Americans.

This announcement sets the stage for a potential vote in the House of Representatives yet this week—still within the president's first 100 days in office—on the legislation. {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:00:00 -0400
President Trump's First 100 Days Were Just as Unconventional as His Campaign

No two campaigns for the presidency are the same, and few were as surprising or unconventional as President Donald Trump's nomination and subsequent victory.

It should come as no surprise then that Trump's "first 100 days" in office—an archaic benchmark set during a different era—have been equally unconventional and in many important ways successful.

Nowhere is that change more apparent than in foreign affairs.

Eight years ago, President Barack Obama began his infamous apology tour, confessing the sins of America and ceding moral authority to any nation or world body willing to listen.

To Europe he apologized for the "times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive." Obama told the G-20 of world leaders that "with my election and the early decisions that we've made, that you're starting to see some restoration of America's standing in the world."

By contrast, the Trump administration acted decisively in response to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad's gassing of his own people. The response was appropriate, proportional, and carefully calibrated—and a welcome change from Obama's inept response to similar actions.

The missile attack on Assad's air base coincided with Trump's dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping, perhaps adding clarity to Trump's comments earlier in the month that "If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will."

My Heritage Foundation colleague James Carafano explains the Obama administration was "risk-averse." There was a "tendency to pull decision-making to Washington" because its "top goal was to figure out how to disengage."

The Trump administration "seems more inclined to let commanders do their jobs and exercise their military judgment." The results are welcomed and noticeable on the world stage.

Trump's most obvious domestic accomplishment is the successful confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Not only did candidate Trump seize on the vacancy during the campaign—an opportunity created by a surprisingly strong stand from Senate Republicans—but he nominated a conservative judge that unified a fragmented Republican Party.

Gorsuch's impact on the court will be felt for a generation.

Beyond that, there are a few victories Republicans can claim as a result of the party's unified control of Washington.

The president and his administration have taken aggressive actions to begin rolling back the administrative state and the worst excesses of the Obama administration.

Obama-era fuel economy standards are likely gone. Draconian rules on coal-fired power plants will be blocked.

And then, of course, there has been the historic use of the Clinton-era Congressional Review Act to permanently repeal more than a dozen midnight regulations issued at the end of the Obama administration. Unlike other regulatory efforts, these cannot be undone by future administrations.

Overall, the Trump administration's regulatory efforts will save the U.S. economy $18 billion annually.

And then, of course, there is the issue of immigration.

During previous administrations, the federal government's commitment to enforcing America's immigration laws waned as Washington's desire to grant another round of amnesty grew.

There can be little doubt Trump is delivering on one of his key campaign promises by enforcing our nation's immigration laws. The results are apparent, with illegal border crossings dropping to a 17-year low.

Predictably, liberals will use the 100-day marker to celebrate what has not been accomplished.

While it took Obama, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 428 days to make Obamacare the law of the land, the fact that it remains so is a disappointment.

There are multiple reasons for that, most notable being the extreme divisions within the Republican Party—for instance, some Republicans quietly hoped to repeal the medical device tax while leaving the vital organs of Obamacare in place.

These divisions were exacerbated by an insular, leadership-driven legislative process that was designed to "accomplish something" rather than build consensus and deliver for the American people.

For its part, the Trump administration was slow to recognize just how bad the policy, politics, and process of the original repeal and replace proposal were. It is clear it has learned from that initial stumble, though.

Trump's enormous wisdom in tapping Mike Pence as his vice president was apparent in the aftermath of the health care debacle, when Pence's leading role in pushing to restart health care talks helped the White House recapture momentum for its ambitious legislative agenda.

It is possible—indeed, it is likely—that Congress will provide relief from Obamacare and that our crony-laden tax code will be reformed in less than 365 days. And if you believe the rumors, another conservative jurist will be sitting on the Supreme Court by then as well.

No one would deny that there have been stumbles and missed opportunities—many of those generated by congressional malfeasance—but there is no doubt that an unconventional president is enjoying unconventional successes in his first 100 days.

If he learns the right lessons from the health care debate and refuses to let the Washington establishment drive him into similar ditches, many more successes are to come.

Mike Needham is CEO of Heritage Action for America.

This article was originally published at Used with permission.

Mike Needham/Heritage Action for America Featured Opinions Caucus Thu, 27 Apr 2017 07:00:00 -0400
How the Facebook Live Killer's Actions Are Driving People to God

The daughter of the man whose murder was posted on Facebook is sharing how people are getting saved as a result of her family's message of forgiveness.

Debbie Godwin has been posting messages on her Facebook page from people touched by her and her family's decision to forgive the man who killed their father, Robert Godwin.

"I heard of your fathers story last night but didn't pay mind because I was intoxicated the whole weekend yesterday included. When i get up today i started following the story," read one message.

It goes on to say "Im in tears as i write this and may not be wording my words correctly lol. But all i want to shout is praise jesus. I wanna scream his name! Im craving to be in my fathers presence again! Thank you and your family for not being scared and showing god ! I viewed the video and only saw him speaking through you guys."

Another person shared, "I was a back slider raised by pastors, but let me tell you what got me together on Monday!! You and your family interview about your dad and how he forgave ppl and how he gave you all the tool of life!"

Robert Godwin, 74, died Easter Sunday in a random killing that was posted in a video on Facebook.

His family stunned the world with their message of forgiveness towards the shooter, Steve Stephens.

Over and over again, the message has been loud and clear: Anger isn't going to do anyone any good, and forgiveness is the only way to find any peace through such a tragic event.

"It's not just by mistake that we made it here today. God called this meeting," said Debbie, an ordained minister, as she delivered her father's eulogy at River of Life Ministries in Euclid last Saturday.

"God has gathered all of us here today ... because it is time for the world first of all to know who He is know that he is the true and the living God."

"It is time for us as a nation to forgive," said Debbie.

She also shared what God told her after her father's death.

"I heard God say this, He said, "Your Dad's death will cause many to be made free and delivered."

She also recalled the first time she heard about her father's death and what it did to her emotionally.

"The day that I heard about my dad's death—even with the horrendous way that he died—from that day, I never felt pain in my heart for (Stephens), not one time. I felt sadness for him," she said. "It all starts in your heart. When you hold on to hate and unforgiveness, you are the one who is captive."

"God is changing hearts," said Debbie.

She shared the testimonies of hope as she and her family hold on to their faith after the painful loss of her father.

"Jesus, you are solid, my solid rock." {eoa}

Copyright The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., All rights reserved.

Charlene Aaron/CBN News Featured U.S. News Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:00:00 -0400
Gary Cohn: Tax Reform Plan Is 'Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity'

President Donald Trump's National Economic Council director, Gary Cohn, and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin unveiled the administration's sweeping plan to reform federal taxes at the White House on Wednesday afternoon.

Here are the key points of the plan:

the seven current individual tax rates will be reduced to three: 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent; 

the standard deduction will be doubled, which will mean the first $24,000 of income will be tax-free;

the estate tax will be eliminated;

the alternative minimum tax will be eliminated;

the corporate tax rate will be reduced to 15 percent and

small and medium-sized businesses will be able to benefit from the lower corporate tax rate.

Mnuchin said the plan being unveiled Wednesday was a "statement of principles" as the president begins working with Congress, which must come up with the final piece of legislation that will go up for a vote. He said the proposal "pays for itself"—a colloquial term used in Washington, D.C., to mean limiting the growth of the federal debt—by spurring economic growth and job creation, which he measured in the trillions of dollars.

Cohn said a more detailed summary of the tax reform plan will be coming in the weeks ahead. He briefed the media first and provided some background on the individual income tax plan:

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do something really big. President Trump has made tax reform a priority, and we have a Republican Congress that wants to get it done. And this is something that, quite honestly, I hope the Democrats would support, too, because it's good for the American people. The president is going to seize this opportunity by leading the most significant tax reform legislation since 1986, and one of the biggest tax cuts in the American history.

We've been working on this for a long time. We've had great meetings. We had a great meeting last night with the leadership of the House and the Senate. We have agreed on many of the important principles of tax reform. We look forward to working together with the House and the Senate, very closely, in the weeks ahead.

The president has focused on three things since his campaign: job creation, economic growth and helping the low- and middle-income families who have been left behind by this economy. He understands there are a lot of people in this country that feel like they work hard, and they just cannot get ahead. They are sick of turning their paychecks over to Washington and having no idea of how those dollars are spent. They are frustrated by a tax code that is so complicated they can't even do their own taxes.

That's why tax reform is such a big priority to this president. He cares about making the economy work better for all American people.

Here's a little history. When President Kennedy cut taxes in early 1960, the top rate of personal income was over 90 percent, and there was rampant tax avoidance. And then, 20 years later, President Reagan took rates down to 28 percent for individuals. Since then, rates have been creeping back up and more loopholes and special interest tax breaks have made their way back into the tax code, disadvantaging average Americans.

And then, on the business side, when President Reagan left office in 1988, the corporate tax rate was 34 percent, and it hasn't changed much since. For the last 25 years, other countries have been aggressively cutting their tax rates and moving to a territorial system in order to attract business. And the U.S. has done none of that. In 2017, we are still stuck with a 1988 corporate tax. That's why we're now one of the least-competitive countries in the developed world when it comes to corporate tax.

So tax reform is long overdue. We are going to cut taxes for businesses to make them competitive, and we're going to cut taxes for the American people, especially low- and middle-income families.

Today I'm going to outline the principles we have put in place for personal tax reform, and then I'm going to hand it over to Secretary Mnuchin to talk about the business side.

First, here are a few statistics for you on the individual side. In 1935, we had a one-page tax form consisting of 34 lines with two pages of instructions. Today the basic 1040 form has 79 lines and 211 pages of instructions. Instead of a single form, the IRS now has 199 tax forms on the individual side of our tax code. Taxpayers spend nearly 7 billion hours complying with these tax codes every year. And nearly 90 percent of taxpayers need some help in filing their taxes.

We are going to cut taxes and simplify the tax code by taking the current seven tax brackets we have today and reducing them to only three brackets: a 10 percent bracket, a 25 percent bracket, and a 35 percent bracket. We're going to double the standard deduction so that a married couple won't pay any taxes on the first $24,000 of income they earn. So, in essence, we are creating a zero tax rate—yes, a zero tax rate—for the first $24,000 that a couple earns.

The largest standard deduction also leads to simplification because far fewer taxpayers will need to itemize, which means their tax form can go back—yes —to that one simple page that I talked about earlier.

Families in this country will also benefit from tax relief to help them with child and dependent care expenses. We are going to repeal the alternative minimum tax. The AMT creates significant complications and burdens which require taxpayers to do their taxes twice to see which is higher. That makes no sense, and we should have one simple tax code.

As we all know, job creation and economic growth is the top priority of the administration. Nothing drives economic growth like capital investment. Therefore, we are going to return the top capital gains tax rate and dividend rate to 20 percent, repealing the harmful 3.8 percent Obamacare tax on dividends and capital gains. That tax has been a direct hit on investment income and small business owners.

We're going to repeal the death tax. The threat of being hit by the death tax leaves small business owners and farmers in this country to waste countless hours and resources on complicated estate planning to make sure their children aren't hit with a huge tax when they die. No one wants to see their children have to sell the family business to pay an unfair tax.

We're going to eliminate most of the tax breaks that are mainly benefits to high-income individuals. Home ownership, charitable giving and retirement savings will be protected. But other tax benefits will be eliminated.

This isn't going to be easy. Doing big things never is. We will be attacked from the left and we will be attacked from the right. But one thing is certain:  I would never, ever bet against this president. He will get this done for the American people.

Mnuchin followed up with an explanation of the corporate income tax plan:

Our objective is to make U.S. businesses the most competitive in the world. Right now, we have a 35 percent corporate rate on worldwide income and deferral. It is perhaps the most complicated and uncompetitive business rate in the world. Not a surprise that companies leave trillions of dollars offshore.

Under the Trump plan, we will have a massive tax cut for businesses and massive tax reform and simplification. As the president said during the campaign, we will lower the business rate to 15 percent. We will make it a territorial system. We will have a one-time tax on overseas profits, which will bring back trillions of dollars that are offshore to be invested here in the United States to purchase capital and to create jobs.

The president is determined to unleash economic growth for businesses. This is not just about large corporations. Small and medium-size businesses will be eligible for the business rate as well.

As Gary said, we have had very productive meetings with the House and Senate, working weekly, to get this done. We will continue to do that. We are determined to move this as fast as we can and get this done this year.

I would also just comment that we will hold listening sessions. One thing this President has done very well is listen. We've had hundreds of business leaders here from all different types of areas—manufacturers, retail, airlines, community banks, big banks. We are listening, and we have been taking feedback.

Finally, I would just add, the president's objective is creating economic growth. And as we've said before, we believe we can get back to 3 percent or higher GDP that is sustainable in this country. The overall economic plan consists of massive tax cuts and tax reform, regulatory relief and renegotiating trade deals. And with that, we will unlock the economic growth that's been held back for too long in this country.

Watch the entire briefing, including the question-and-answer session with members of the media, in the video above. {eoa}

Bob Eschliman Featured Issues Caucus Thu, 27 Apr 2017 06:00:00 -0400
Is It Really So Dangerous to Play With the Occult?

With Ouija boards populating movies, the dead coming back to life in television shows and wizardry books lining shelves, many people are asking: "What's the big deal?" 

The occult is a slippery slope. What may start as an innocent game could soon snap into a deadly trap.

"My brother really misses his wife, who died about six months ago. Now he's talking about going to someone who claims she can make contact with his wife's spirit. I think he'd just be wasting his money, but what should I tell him?" one reader asked Billy Graham.

There's a reason God warns us against this.

The evangelist responded

I hope you will strongly urge your brother not to have anything to do with this person, or anyone else who says they have the power to make contact with the dead. The Bible clearly states that occult activities like this are not from God but from the demonic powers of darkness. The psalmist declared, "A perverted heart shall be far from me; I will not know anything wicked" (Ps. 101:4).
Why does the Bible tell us to avoid them? One reason is because they're often fraudulent and deceptive, falsely claiming to have powers they don't really have—all for the sake of money. But the main reason is because occult practices like this may bring us into contact with spiritual powers that are not from God, but from Satan. The Bible bluntly says, "For all that do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God will drive them out from before you" (Deut. 18:12).
I hope you will encourage your brother instead to find his peace and comfort in Jesus Christ. God knows the emptiness and grief your brother feels, and Christ wants to come into his life and take away those hurts. Jesus' promise is for him, and for all who experience the heartache of losing a loved one: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matt. 5:4).
Remember: For the Christian, death is not the end, because by His resurrection from the dead Christ conquered death and opened heaven's door for us. He alone can give us hope—and He will, as we open our hearts and lives to His love. {eoa}
Jessilyn Justice Featured Culture Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:00:00 -0400
Prophecy: 'I Will Remove the Dividing Line to Bring a Unified Korea'

Plans of Peace to Give Korea a Future and a Hope

I love the nation of South Korea, as I have been going there for many years now. The Korean Christians are some of the most dedicated, loving people I know. From my years of ministry in Seoul, Incheon and other cities in South Korea, there is a common cry that echoes from that nation— that God would remove the dividing line and make a unified Korea again. I've heard story after story from leaders to lay people of those who have family separated in both North and South Korea. It is the heart of God to bring healing to that divided nation and to make "One Unified Korea" again.

After the cold war in 1945, tensions heated up along the 38th parallel separating into the North and South zones, and by May 1946 it was illegal to pass between this line without a permit. In 1947 (70 years ago this year), the UN passed a resolution on November 14, 1947, declaring that free elections should be held. By August 15th, 1948, both the divided North and South were liberated from Japanese occupation and independence was established. The Lord says:

"I will remove the dividing line in the nation of Korea that has divided My people for 70 years, and just as I brought a swift justice to My people who were in Babylonian captivity after 70 years, they will be released to their land to rebuild."

"For thus says the Lord: When seventy years [of exile] have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jer. 29:10-11).

Just as Daniel understood the times and the season of God's people being released into freedom from Babylonian captivity, so now is the time for those who are held captive in the North to be set free. Daniel began to pray and confess his sins and the sins of his people. It's time to pray! As a result of Daniel's intercession, God sent both Gabriel and Michael the archangels to fight and bring wisdom, skill, knowledge and understanding (Dan. 9:22). I see angels being released as arrows of the Lord to bring transition and healing to the fragmented nation of Korea!

The 110-Year Anniversary of the Pyongyang Revival of 1907

Just as we celebrated the 110-year anniversary of the 1906 Azusa Street Revival last year in America, so this year marks the 110-year anniversary of the great revival that hit the unified Korea in Pyongyang in 1907. This revival swept the nation of Korea, bringing reformation. In January 1907, after months of persistent prayer, 50,000 people were converted in that one year and Korea was set ablaze—it was known as the Pyongyang Great Revival (1907-1910).

The Lord said He was going to release His hidden power again in the nation of Korea:

"The Lord (Father) says to my lord (the Messiah, His Son), 'Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies your footstool.' The Lord shall send your mighty scepter out of Zion, rule in the midst of your enemies. Your people will follow you in the day of Your battle (Ps. 110:1-3a).

Just as revival fire swept through the nation 110 years ago this year, so the "Day of Your Power" is here again that will bring another wave of revival and restoration to the nation of Korea. In order for this to happen, it is absolutely necessary that things "heat up" in the North to bring about the resolve necessary for change. The demonized regime of the North will be dispersed and let go so healing can come to the whole nation.

God will restore and reunite family members that have been separated for generations as a result. Just as Daniel recognized transition according to the word of the Lord and set himself to pray, we too must pray as we see these things approaching. God is releasing all of Heaven to facilitate this process. He is releasing His declaration through the "whirlwind of the South."

The Whirlwind of Revival Is Blowing in the South

I'm getting ready to go back to Seoul this week, and the Lord said to me, "Just as Pyongyang (in the North) was the place of the great revival that released an outpouring of Holy Ghost fire throughout the whole nation of Korea, so now the Lord says: I will release My whirlwind of the South upon the whole nation that will bring revival, liberty and unification to both North and South. I will restore all that has been stolen from My people and I will release My arrows (angels) over them, declaring and decreeing with the blast of My trumpet over a unified Korea. I will defend and protect you from the enemy who seeks to destroy, devour and trample you down with sling stones."

Listen to Zechariah: 

Return to your stronghold, prisoners who now have hope.
    Today I declare that I will return to you a double portion.
 Because I have bent Judah as My bow
    and fitted the bow with Ephraim.
I will stir up your sons, O Zion,
    against your sons, O Greece,
    and will set you like the sword of a warrior.

 Then the Lord will appear over them,
    and His arrow will go out like lightning.
The Lord God will sound His trumpet,
    and will march forth like storm winds of southern Teman.
  The Lord of Hosts will protect them.
They will devour up
    and subdue them with stone slingers.
And they will drink and make noise as with wine;
    they will be filled with blood as a bowl,
    saturated like the corners of the altar (Zech. 9:12-15). {eoa}


Jeff Jansen is an internationally known conference speaker and crusade evangelist. He is also Founder of Global Fire Ministries International, and Senior Leader of the Global Fire Church and World Miracle Center located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Jeff's burning desire is to see churches, cities, regions and whole nations ignited and transformed by the power of God. He also teaches, trains and equips believers how to live and move in the supernatural Presence of God and emphasizes that communion and intimacy with the Holy Spirit is vital for transformation. Global Fire Ministries is an inter-denominational ministry aimed at equipping and igniting the Body of Christ for Global harvest. Jeff, his wife, Jan, and family live in the Nashville, Tennessee area. Jeff travels full-time hosting international crusades and ministering at conferences, churches and Glory Gatherings around the world.

Jeff Jansen Featured Opinion Thu, 27 Apr 2017 06:00:00 -0400
50 Ways Israel Is Fulfilling God's Promise to Abraham in This Age

The 50th anniversary of the re-unification of Jerusalem on May 24th will be celebrated during the 50 days between the Jewish festivals of Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (Pentecost). This feature article focuses on the significance of the number 50 in many of the recent amazing achievements of the Jewish state.

Among Israel's numerous medical innovations, ApiFix's minimally invasive system has straightened the deformed spines of 50 adolescents within two years of being approved in Europe. And the Israeli breakthrough treatment hCDR1 from XTL Biopharmaceuticals is the first new treatment for Lupus sufferers in 50 years. Finally, when surgeons from Save a Child's Heart mended the heart of baby Lisa from East Timor, the Southeast Asian nation became the 50th country to have children treated by surgeons from the life-saving Israeli organization.

Now let's celebrate—there must be at least 50 ways! {eoa}

Michael Ordmanwrites a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.

This article originally appeared at

United With Israel Featured Standing With Israel Opinion Thu, 27 Apr 2017 06:00:00 -0400
Why Every Christian Should See the Movie 'Lion'

I'm not ashamed to admit that I cry in movies. In fact, I'm known to cry more than my wife when a film really tugs at the heartstrings. I've watched Lion three times now (once when it came to theaters and twice since it was released for purchase a few weeks ago), and I've cried every time.

You need to see this movie. While it has mainstream actors and a Hollywood budget—and it was nominated for six Oscars—it offers a powerful Christian message without even trying to be Christian.

Based on a true story, Lion begins in 1986, when a 5-year-old Indian boy, Saroo, ends up on a train that takes him 1,500 miles to Calcutta. Separated from his older brother, Saroo desperately tries to survive as a street child. He scrounges for food, sleeps on a piece of cardboard in a train station and is almost abducted. He ends up living in a crude orphanage and is then adopted by a caring Australian couple.

The film then fast-forwards 20 years, and Saroo (played as an adult by Dev Patel) begins to remember bits and pieces of his traumatic childhood. With the help of college classmates, his girlfriend Lucy (Rooney Mara) and Google Earth technology, he figures out where he lived when he got lost.

When Saroo returns to India to look for his mother, the drama intensifies. I won't tell you the ending, but you will need some Kleenex—especially when director Garth Davis reminds us in the closing credits that more than 80,000 Indian children go missing every year and that 11 million children live on the streets in that country. You will then realize that Saroo was fortunate; most kids in his situation don't end up in nice homes in Australia.

Lion is a powerful film partly because it shines a harsh light on the cruel reality of poverty and child exploitation. But it is also powerful because it explores the beauty of adoption. Saroo's adoptive mother, Sue Brierly (Nicole Kidman), tells him she knew when she was a young girl that she would adopt a child from another culture.

One of the most moving moments in the film occurs when Saroo tells Sue he's sorry she and her husband, John, couldn't have their own kids. She gently scolds him for thinking that he was some kind of second-class substitute for a biological child. "We chose not to have kids," Sue says, explaining that she and John adopted Saroo and another Indian boy, Mantosh, because there were already so many children in the world who needed parents.

"We wanted the two of you," Sue says. "That's what we wanted. We wanted the two of you in our lives. That's what we chose."

There are Christian movies today that aim to reach secular audiences. (The Case for Christ, for example, is in theatres now.) But there are also mainstream films that Christians need to see. Lion is in that category. Christians need to see it because we still don't fully embrace the importance of adoption—and in some cases adoption is viewed negatively in the church.

I know many Christian couples who are praying about starting a family—yet when I suggest they look at the possibility of adoption, my idea sometimes gets a cold reception. We often have the mindset that a biological child is the better choice, and that adoption is either a painful alternative or a last resort. Or, because adoption can be expensive, some people automatically rule it out before asking God to provide the funds.

We forgot that God chose to adopt each of us (see Rom. 8:15), and that the decision to adopt a child—especially one from a culture different from our own—is one of the most loving and generous acts any human could perform.

While Lion is a masterful film with beautiful cinematography, first-class acting and a moving score, it is at its heart a film about parental love: The love of a poor Indian mother who lost her little boy, and the love of an Australian mother and father who were willing to bring two Indian boys into their world, all the while knowing that adoption comes with great risks.

My prayer is that Lion will convince many Christian couples to open their hearts to adoption so that more children like Saroo can find loving homes.

Lion was released on DVD on March 28. It is rated PG-13 for some mild sensuality, and is too intense for young children. {eoa}

J. Lee Grady Featured Opinion Thu, 27 Apr 2017 07:00:00 -0400
Bible-Believing Wife Stuns Broadcaster With This Matthew 5 Declaration

A woman whose husband died intercepting one of the suicide bombers who attacked churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday has told Egyptian TV she completely forgives his killer, causing the news anchor to exclaim that Copts "are made from a different substance."

Naseem Faheem, the guard at St. Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the first people to be killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the cathedral, having been prevented from entering. His widow told Egypt's ONTV that she is not angry with the suicide bomber, has forgiven him and prays that God would also forgive him.

"I'm not angry at the one who did this," she said, with her children by her side. "I'm telling him, 'May God forgive you, and we also forgive you. Believe me, we forgive you. You put my husband in a place I couldn't have dreamed of. Believe me, I am proud of him. And I wish I was there beside him.'"

Footage subtitled and circulated by the Bible Society shows television host Amr Adeeb speechless for about 10 seconds after watching the interview.

"The Copts of Egypt are made of steel!" he says eventually. "If it were my father, I could never say this. These people have so much forgiveness. But this is their faith and religious conviction. These people are made from a different substance."

Watch the video to see more.


This article originally appeared on World Watch Monitor.

World Watch Monitor Featured World News Wed, 26 Apr 2017 17:00:00 -0400