Bill Donohue: Christians Are Being Assaulted from All Sides

 

April 24, 2019 By Bill Donohue

Members of the clergy walk past new graves as they wait for the funerals of people killed in the Easter Sunday attack on St Sebastian’s Church, on April 24, 2019 in Negombo, Sri Lanka. At least 321 people were killed and 500 people injured. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Muslim fanatics, so-called Islamists, are the most violent enemy of Christians in the world. While it is considered controversial to even mention this today, even less reported is the non-violent counterpart to these barbarians: militant secularists. The latter are growing in influence by leaps and bounds, even to the point of accommodating the Islamists.

According to CBN News, thus far this year there have been well over 1,000 attacks on French Christian churches and symbols, most of them  Catholic. That’s an increase of 17 percent in one year. As everyone knows, radical Muslims are to blame.

In the Middle East and Africa, Christian persecution is routine. The Christian character of Mosul in Iraq is gone—Christianity has been obliterated. Eritrea, known as the “North Korea of Africa,” is under siege by a madman; women and girls are bearing the worst of the brunt.

In Nigeria, more than two million people, many of them Christians, are being driven from their homes by Islamists known as Boko Haram. During the first half of 2018, 6,000 Christians were killed in Nigeria, most of whom were women, children, and the elderly.

As University of Mississippi professor, and Catholic League advisory board member, Ronald Rychlak notes, “The only place in the Middle East where Christians face no restrictions on the practice of their faith is Israel.” That, too, is underreported.

On Easter Sunday, a reporter for the Guardian, Giles Fraser, offered the following astute observation: “Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, Christians have been driven from the Middle East with bombs and bullets, and with hardly a bat squeak of protest from the secular west.”

Fraser is correct. Just last month, his own nation, the U.K., denied asylum to an Iranian Christian convert (from Islam) on the grounds that Christianity is not a “peaceful” religion (various books from the Bible were cited as proof). According to another British writer, Becket Adams, there is a “trend in the U.K. of government officials taking explicitly anti-Christian positions.”

How bad is it getting? “[I]f you’re a Christian living in the U.K., now might be a really good time to think about emigrating to the land of the free and the home of the brave,” Becket Adams says, “where the biggest nuisance for people of faith is an overabundance of options for worship.” He also noted that Sweden is deporting Christians seeking asylum to countries such as Afghanistan.

What’s driving this? A minister in the U.K. explains that this is all a reflection of “post-colonial guilt.”

Matters are better here at home, though militant secularists are targeting Christians and Jews at an alarming rate.

Government officials at the federal, state, and local levels, along with elements in the media, Hollywood, the artistic community, and higher education, are doubling down these days in their efforts to smear or otherwise denigrate people of faith. Ready to assist them are radicals who staff non-profit activist organizations, and the foundations that support them.

In the “civilized” world of the West, Christian men and women who take their religion seriously are subjected to bigoted inquisitions when being considered for a judicial appointment. Christian clubs on college campuses are denied the right to have Christians lead them.

Catholic schools are told they don’t qualify for matching corporate gifts because they teach Catholicism. More common is the practice of denying Christian organizations a religious exemption, even when it is clear that not granting the exemption effectively neuters their right to be Christian. They are told that by clinging to their Judeo-Christian teachings, they are interfering with the rights of others.

Jews are accused of “dual loyalties,” an anti-Semitic trope that has recently resurfaced in elite quarters. The BDS movement, which is popular on many college campuses, is out to crush Israel. The fact that such bigotry is led by young people—including in the halls of Congress—makes this all the more disturbing.

If those who preach the virtue of tolerance meant what they say, we wouldn’t have any of these problems. But they don’t—they are content to lie for a living. Worse, they are the guilty parties in the West.

Is it any wonder that militant secularists rarely condemn radical Muslims? To be sure, the former don’t want to live under Sharia law, but they are prepared to take that risk provided their Muslim allies keep whittling away at our Judeo-Christian heritage. This is a sick pact that has grown exponentially since 9/11. It needs to end before more damage is done.

Bill Donohue is President and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.

https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/bill-donohue/bill-donohue-christians-are-being-assaulted-all-sides

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A Country That Honors God

What truly protects a Nation

July 3, 2018 by Charles F. Stanley

 

As you look at the state of our nation today, what do you see? The Bible says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 33:12), but this is not a popular belief in our society. However, it’s the only way our nation can flourish. Further support for this truth is found in Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” Abandoning the Lord leads to disgrace and the loss of His blessings.

Contrary to popular belief, what actually protects a nation is not military strength but the righteousness of its people and government. When the Lord is honored in a nation, He is exalted, and the people are protected. Therefore, we should look at our nation today and ask ourselves whether we as a country are honoring God. Our future depends on the answer.

Freedom doesn’t come cheaply, and it’s always under attack by our enemy, the devil. His ungodly and unbiblical influences fight against our beliefs, but the Lord gives us courage to resist.

As believers, we are under the divine guidance of our Commander, the Lord Jesus Christ, and we do not fight with weapons but with the Word of God—the only message that can transform lives and influence the world for good. Christ’s church will not be overpowered, and He will be faithful to raise up believers in every generation. We have been commanded to proclaim the gospel throughout the world, and this commission is not just for those trained as missionaries but for each of us in our own places of influence.

However, this means we must be willing to stand firmly for our convictions when they are challenged. Convictions are unaffected by the times, the values of the culture, or the popularity of current ideas. Christian beliefs may be unpopular presently, but the Lord is our defense as long as we exalt and obey Him as Lord and honor His Word as our compass for life.

As followers of Jesus, we are His representatives, and there is no room for compromise with the immoral, disrespectful, or self-indulgent aspects of our culture. So, how are we to respond to this world in which we live? Others may criticize and stand against Christianity, but we who love the Lord must stay true to Him. We can’t afford to let ourselves be lulled into thinking that because we live in a free and prosperous nation, nothing bad is going on or could happen to us in the future.

Despite the sinful condition of our culture, we should not be discouraged. Our God is greater than the world’s knowledge and wisdom, and His purposes are not thwarted by sin. He is sufficient and adequate to guide us through whatever we face—our responsibility is simply to believe, trust, obey, and follow Him, modeling the Christian life for those around us.

 

This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message“Standing on Your Convictions” which airs this weekend on TV.

https://www.intouch.org/read/blog/a-country-that-honors-god

Why an offended person is hard to win

 

prison bars
Pixabay 

“An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.” (Proverbs 18:19 NLT)

It’s very difficult to win the favour and affection of a person who is offended, even if he is a Christian. Ask persons who have been offended if they will ever forgive and reconcile with the people who have hurt them, and most likely you’ll hear a resounding “no.” Offences drive wedges into relationships and cause divisions. Why is it like this? What happens in an offence?

Broken trust

The first thing that gets broken whenever there’s an offence is trust. All of us have a certain level of trust given to our different friends. The closer and more important the relationship, the deeper and bigger the level of trust given. It simply follows that when the offender is a trusted and very close person to the offended person, the level of pain is higher.

Strong cynicism

Second, when a person gets offended, that individual often asks, “Why did this happen to me?”

Because of this, many who are offended get bitter and lose their trust in others. In some cases, the offended see themselves less than what they really are, because “somebody had the nerve to hurt them.” From this point on, there are at least two responses: distrust of others and an overwhelming desire to protect or hate oneself, both of which are cynical.

Fear of relationships

Here is what happens next: The offended persons erect defences to protect themselves. Some become “hermits,” keeping to themselves for fear that they will be hurt once more. Others remain vengeful, waiting for the offender to fall down and be humiliated. Others seem to move on with life, but remain guarded – when a new friend comes too close, they start putting distance. These suspicious people often live life “wounded and bleeding,” even though they don’t admit it.

How to win an offended brother

Winning an offended brother is a very difficult task, but it’s worth all the effort if the person goes away from the Lord. It matters to God that we give efforts to restoring a brother who fell either by sin or by another’s offence. (see Galatians 6:1-5; 1 Peter 4:8)

First, you need to pray for the person. Keep praying until God softens the heart of that person who may eventually open up.

Second, you need to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Offended people need to admit their hurts, and release them. Satan loves to put footholds in a person’s life, and these often come in the form of hurts that are not brought into the light and addressed. Do your best to let offended persons open themselves up.

Third, offer them brotherly love. If you’re the one who hurt them, ask for their forgiveness. If someone else hurt them, help them release their forgiveness. Forgiveness has to be released: It’s like the drawbridge of a medieval castle – unless the bridge is let down, no one can come in or go out. There’s no freedom in not forgiving.

 

H/T https://talkativeangel.wordpress.com

Original here

The Good Gift of a Downcast Soul

How our emotions—even the unpleasant ones—point us back to a loving God.

 

The Good Gift of a Downcast Soul
Image: Natalie Grainger / Unsplash

Emojis. I love them. Thumbs up, thumbs down, cry-laughing, heart-eyes, blowing my top: They are so handy and expressive! Most of us have over 90 facial-expression emojis on our phones, all meant to communicate how we’re feeling with one tap of a button.

I love being able to express any emotion without actually having to verbalize it. Don’t you? After all, why take time to describe how I feel when “smiling-face-with-happy-hands” says it so perfectly and (more importantly) with such ease. Clearly, the developers of our smartphones knew something of the cauldron of emotions stirring within us. And they knew, intuitively, that we would want a simple and satisfying way of expressing them.

But sometimes, of course, our emotions are confusing, unsettling, or intense enough to defy easy expression. King David once asked, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” (Ps. 42:5). In their new book, Untangling Emotions, J. Alasdair Groves and Winston T. Smith set out to uncover the nagging questions underneath our emotions, the ones that keep us clicking on that crying face or the angry one with symbols over the mouth. Questions like, Why am I feeling like this? orHow can I stop? They want us to know why Christians struggle with understanding their emotions and engaging with them in a productive way.

Good to Feel Bad

Believers are often tormented by an inner voice that says, If I’m a Christian, shouldn’t I be joyful? Don’t my negative emotions prove that my faith is flawed?

Not so, say Groves and Smith, two experienced counselors affiliated with the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation. Emotions—even the unpleasant ones—are a good gift from a loving God. “Our emotions,” the authors write, “are one of the most common and commonly misunderstood opportunities in our lives to grow in maturity and love.” Rather than ignoring our fear, anger, grief, guilt, or shame, we should focus on what those emotions reveal: first, about God and what he loves, and second, about us and what we love. “The way you respond to your emotions, including how you feel about how you feel,” write Groves and Smith, “is of vital importance to your relationship with God and others in your life.”

Untangling Emotions contains three main sections. The first helps explain the complexity of our emotions and demonstrates how, surprisingly, it might be good to feel bad. It also addresses the confusion that arises from the fact that emotions rarely arrive alone and are tied so closely to our bodily state. The second section teaches us how to respond to our emotions—how to bring them before God and share them with friends and loved ones. In the final section, the authors offer guidance on how to engage our most common and troubling emotions. Every chapter ends with reflection questions for individuals facing their own emotional difficulties, as well as a section for those who are seeking to help others.

I found Untangling Emotions hopeful, helpful, and wise. It was hopeful, in that it showed me how my experience of negative emotions can be instructive when I’m motivated to ask myself penetrating questions. One such question—What am I loving right now?—helps me identify the idols that I am striving to protect or seeking to attain. Very often, these idols are at the root of unwelcome feelings that oppress us.

When struggling with difficult emotions, it is surprisingly hopeful to realize that they’re flowing out of a heart full of disordered loves, rather than some fixed aspect of personal history or biology. These factors play a role, of course. But if the primary mover of my emotions is disordered loves, then I can hold out for my emotions to change precisely because my loves can change.

A Better Balance

For me, the book really broke out of its expected mold when it taught me to ask, What does this emotion tell me about the character of God, in whose image I have been made? Can our fear, sorrow, or anger really teach us something about the nature of divine love?

Let me offer an example. One morning, not long ago, I recognized that I had been short with my husband the day before because he had changed his mind about attending an event that was important to me. As I would normally do, I began asking myself, What is it that I’m loving more than my husband? I realized that I was overly concerned about my reputation as a person who is theologically adept—something that my attendance at this event would confirm. I could see how my love of truth resulted in anger toward him, and I repented.

But this further question—What does my current emotional state tell me about God?—offered a comforting surprise. I realized that my love of truth was really a good thing, a gift from the God who also loves truth. This wasn’t the problem. Instead, the problem was that I loved truth more than I loved my husband. That thought prompted a time of prayer, during which I asked God to help me be more like Jesus, who loved truth without sacrificing love for other human beings. Knowing that my anger, sinful though it was, had roots in a godly desire to love truth, I was able to boldly engage it and seek to respond in faith. This included having a serious conversation with my husband, expressing my gratitude for his love and loyalty and resolving to strike a better balance between love and truth in my own life. The description of Jesus in John’s gospel—that “grace and truth came through [him]” (1:17)—came alive for me in a new way.

Groves and Smith avoid superficial antidotes or empty pleas for mere behavioral change as they encourage their readers in wisdom. Their book is deeply relationship driven, with its primary goal of furthering our love for God and neighbor always at the forefront. The authors pray that “as you read this book God would nurture your emotional life in the midst of the real and troubling problems in the world around you and the real and perfect promises of God.”

If you’re interested in understanding your emotions or in helping others with theirs, then Untangling Emotions should prove a very helpful read. As we learn not to deny, ignore, or hide from our emotions, we’ll learn more about the God who has created us in his image and the neighbors he has called us to love.

Elyse Fitzpatrick is a certified biblical counselor, a frequent conference speaker, and the author of more than 20 books on Christian living.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/april-web-only/untangling-emotions-alasdair-groves-winston-smith.html

The Persecution of the ‘Easter Worshippers’

 

April 26, 2019  By L. Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham

Sri Lankan officials inspect St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo after multiple explosions targeting churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019. (Photo by Stringer/Getty Images)

Imagine taking your family to Easter Sunday services to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus when — bam! — a psychopathic suicide bomber blows the church to pieces. This happened in Sri Lanka at two Catholic churches — St. Anthony’s Shrine in the capital city of Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo — as well as an evangelical church in Batticaloa. Hundreds died.

The size of the death toll and the holy-day church bombings were dramatic enough for the news media in America. Politicians began tweeting their thoughts and prayers, which normally draws abuse from some of the more radical elements of the left.

But not this time. These were 253 dead, most of them Christians murdered on the holiest of feast days.

Christians.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton expressed sympathy for “Easter worshippers.”

Neither could bring himself/herself to write the word “Christians.” Their phrase of choice was ignorant at best. You don’t worship a holy day; you worship God. If conservative Republicans were to describe Muslims as “Ramadan worshippers” or “Hajj worshippers” in a tweet, they’d be mocked endlessly as those poor, uneducated and easy-to-command Christians.

This wasn’t about ignorance. Obama and Clinton knew exactly what they weren’t doing.

Dennis Prager noted at National Review that after 11 people were shot and killed at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last October, “Clinton mentioned the synagogue in a tweet.” But after the bombing of the churches in Sri Lanka, she “made no mention of churches.” After the New Zealand mosque shootings on March 15, she tweeted that her heart broke for “the global Muslim community.” But after Sri Lanka news broke, there was not a word about the “global Christian community.”

Obama had the exact same issue. He wrote in his tweet about New Zealand that he was grieving with “the Muslim community,” but after Sri Lanka, there was no mention of Christians or churches.

Why the refusal to denounce the Muslim assault aimed directly and solely at Christianity? The left seems to resent the Christian faith as a dominant Western, imperialist, patriarchal (and somehow, Caucasian) presence. While it’s true that America’s “dominant” religion is still Christianity, that’s not the case in Sri Lanka, which is 70 percent Buddhist and only six percent Christian. It’s six percent too many.

The left has a reflexive tendency to avoid underlining Muslim terrorism against Christians, or Muslim persecution of Christians. After the New Zealand mosque murders, Clinton tweeted against white supremacy and “the perpetuation and normalization of Islamophobia and racism in all its forms.” No leftist would ever sink to using a word like “Christophobia,” let alone demand an end to its “perpetuation and normalization.”

In February, Christians were being slaughtered in Nigeria — anywhere from 120 to 280 — but that was over a period of weeks and not during church services. ABC, CBS and NBC couldn’t find that story with a map and binoculars. But in March, all three networks reported on the collapse of a three-story school building in the capital city of Lagos and the subsequent efforts to rescue survivors.

The persecution of Christians around the world for their faith, especially in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, is a real crisis. It deserves more sympathy and attention than the secular press is allowing — even if you’re so hypersensitive about it you say, “Easter worshippers.”

(L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.)

https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/l-brent-bozell-iii/persecution-easter-worshippers

VIDEO Χριστός ἀνέστη, Christos Anesti

Jesus Risen Mt 28 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eastern Orthodox Christians Celebrate Easter Today
Apr 20, 2008

The music piece “Christos Anesti (Resurrection)” performed by Vangelis and sung by actress Irene Papas. Released as part of the 1986 Vangelis CD “Rapsodies”. Music & lyrics based on the Greek-Orthodox Easter hymn “Christos Anesti” (“Christ is risen”).

Lyrics:
Christos anesti ek nekron, thanato thanato patisas,
ke tis en tis mnimasi zoin harisamenos.

Christos Anesti (“Χριστός ἀνέστη!” – “Christ is Risen!” in Greek) refers to the:

Paschal troparion, hymn for the celebration of Easter in the Eastern Orthodox Church

Paschal greeting, Easter custom among Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic and some Protestant Christians to greet another person with “Christ is Risen!” and the response is Alithos Anesti (“Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! ” – “Truly He is Risen!” or “He Has Risen Indeed!”)

Χριστός ανέστη ♫ Христос Воскрес Hristos voskrese ♫ Kabarnos