VIDEO Father Launches Fundraiser After PA State Rep. Harasses His Pro-Life Wife, Daughters

May 7, 2019  By Alex Madajian

State Rep. Brian Sims (D)
(Facebook)

(CNSNews.com) — After [hate filled]  openly gay Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims (D-District 182) publicly filmed, harassed, and sought to “dox” a mother and three daughters who were praying outside a Planned Parenthood abortion facility, the father of the three girls launched a GoFundMe page to support the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia.

The gofundme.com page reads, “State Rep. Brian Sims tried to Harass and Dox my Daughters. He Offered $100. Let’s Donate $100,000 to the Pro-Life Movement Instead.”

“On Holy Thursday (April 18, 2019) my wife, two teenage daughters, and their friend were peacefully praying outside of a Planned Parenthood in Center City Philadelphia when a man started yelling at them,” reads the fundraiser. “[A]fter ranting at them for several minutes, he left, and returned with his cell phone to record the above video.

“It turns out that the man is an elected official,” states the page. “Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims. In his video, later posted on Twitter, Rep. Sims not only attempts to shame them for praying for the unborn babies facing abortion, but offers viewers $100 if they will identify the teen girls in the video.”

“It’s bad enough that a grown man would be trying to dox three teenage girls,” reads the page. “It’s even worse that he is an elected official. I’ve got two responses to these despicable actions by ‘Representative’ Sims:

“First, Brian, if you have a problem with my wife and daughters praying outside of an abortion clinic, you can come and see me.

“It seems like you like to pick on women, teenagers, and senior citizens (see him harass a senior citizen who was praying by clicking here ). That’s shameful, and unacceptable.”

(Twitter.)

“Second, I have a challenge for the pro-life community,” reads the fundraising page. “Rep. Sims offered $100 to anyone who would identify these teenage girls for him. Instead of $100, let’s join together to donate $100,000 to the pro-life movement.”

So far, in a little over 11 hours, the fundraiser has generated more than $5,500.

During the video made by Sims, he says to the mother and the teenage girls, “Hi everyone! Representative Brian Sims here. And I am outside the Planned Parenthood in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Oh no, they’re leaving now. What we’ve got here is a bunch of protesters. Bunch of pseudo-Christian protesters who have been out here shaming young girls for being here. And so here’s the deal. I’ve got a $100 to anyone who will identify any of these three [teen girls].”

(Twitter.)

The mother then interjects, “Hi — we’re actually just praying for babies, and we believe women deserve more.”

Talking over the mother, Sims says, “But I’m going to donate to Planned Parenthood. So look, a bunch of white people standing out in front of a Planned Parenthood shaming people.”

“There’s nothing Christian about what you’re doing,” says Sims. “Nothing Christian at all about what you’re doing. Nothing Christian, or loving, or godly about what you’re doing. So I’ve got $100 to anybody who will identify who this [is].”

Sims then points his phone at a young man who is standing on the sidewalk and says, “See if you’ve got some friends out here, a $100, it would be easy if you gave me your name an address.”

The man responded with his name and address. Sims shot back without giving him the $100: “What makes you think that it’s your job to tell women what’s right for their bodies? And the truth is I’m not really asking ’cause I don’t care. Shame on you.”

Pennsylvania’s State Rep. Brian Sims (D) sends a visual
message to Vice President Mike Pence. (Twitter)

Sims apparently did not pay the young man the $100 as promised.

Sims then walked away from the man and towards the clinic. “Guys, Planned Parenthood out here faces attacks daily from people like this, from pseudo-Christians saying that they are here to somehow protect their own version of Christianity,” he states. “Do me a favor, if you’ve watched this, please consider giving $100 to Planned Parenthood, I’m going to do the same.”

https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/alex-madajian/father-launches-fundraiser-after-pa-state-rep-harasses-his-pro-life-wife


Exodus 14:13,14
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever…

2 Chronicles 20:15

This is what the LORD says: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast number, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

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Something Reaffirmed for Me

May 5, 2019 by Dr Mark Creech

 

A few days ago, I preached for a community Revival service held in a convention center in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Several churches participated. The people who provided the Christian music for that event were stupendous. I’ve never heard better singing at any church, gospel concert, or church event.

As I waited to be introduced, unbeknownst to anyone, I started to fret a little about whether the message I had prepared would be suitable for the situation. On the large marquee outside the building, it read something to the effect: “Come hear a message of hope from Dr. Mark Creech.”

I thought to myself, did I understand the purpose of this event? Maybe those who invited me are expecting something other than what I’ve planned to say – maybe the organizers, as well as this audience, are expecting only sweet and encouraging remarks – something that unifies everybody – something that makes people feel good about their lives and gives them a sense of well-being, and certainly nothing negative.

My message was titled, “It’s a Bad Thing When God Dies.” It’s about the way we may not deny God outright, but live as though he were dead. It highlights what one might call practical atheism, where we don’t repudiate God’s existence, but we live as though we don’t need him.

Because the message had a number of references to things political like our nation’s Christian heritage, the growing acceptance of socialism, the wholesale acceptance of evolution and the manner in which it has contributed to the demise of the sacredness of human life, racism, and even a rash of school shootings in recent years, I worried it might not be appropriate for the occasion. I thought that many might be deeply offended at me, and it could be a bad start for the meetings.

I found myself silently and earnestly praying. As I prayed, the witness in my spirit was saying, “Stay the course. Stay the course.”

I said in my prayer:

“Lord, I know that you gave me this message. In this sinful day and time, these words are not popular, but they desperately need to be heard. Give me the grace to preach it – no matter what happens – no matter if some people end-up with scowls on their faces – no matter if some walk out – no matter if I am shamed in some way because of it. This moment is not about me. It is about people truly hearing a word from God. How can there be hope – hope for reconciliation between you and sinners – if we don’t first understand the ways we’ve offended you – the ways we’ve drifted  – the ways we’ve gotten off the right paths and onto the wrong ones?”

The message was laced through and through with the hope that God provides through the blood of Jesus Christ, but it confronted people with the need to repent – a message by nature quite negative. It challenged them to make a choice – to choose God – to choose Christ.

After the message, a number of people came forward to make commitments to Christ. One person, whose face seemed to express a godly sorrow, came forward to receive Christ as his Savior. At the end of the service, pastors present came forward to share with me what a powerful message they thought I had delivered. Moreover, get this: more than one told me, it was a perfect message for the occasion.

It was a reaffirmation for me that if preachers would make a mark for eternity, they must obey the Lord by their willingness to sometimes, even many times, preach the hard things. If the truth is told, there hardly ever seems to be an appropriate time to preach the hard things, if you catch my drift.

It also reaffirmed for me that making politics, based on a biblical worldview as a part of the sermon, is a way of presenting the Gospel in a relevant way, and does not turn people away from Christ. Instead, it becomes the springboard for presenting him to the masses.

All glory to God!

As seen here at Christian Action League of North Carolina. Posted here with permission.

 

Original here

The Fresh Start Effect

Rebooting Your Spiritual Walk

March 1, 2017 By In Touch Ministries Staff

 

If you’ve ever been to the gym at the new year (or even on a Monday), you’ll notice it’s a bit more crowded than usual. Whatever cookies one indulged in—or 5:00 a.m. exercise classes were missed—they are long forgotten. It’s a new day, and everyone has a bolstered sense of motivation and purpose.

Psychologists have coined a term for this and other similar “get ’er done” moments of inspiration. They call it the “fresh-start effect.” It’s the notation that we all have a way of making progress toward our goals during transitional time periods, like from an old year to a new one. Even simply returning to a task after taking time off from it can give us renewed energy to do what we couldn’t seem to muster the strength to do before.

From the creation of the world to the final promises of a new heaven and earth, the Bible is full of stories of—and encouragement to observe—new beginnings. Jeremiah wrote about the Lord’s mercies being new each morning (Lam. 3:22-23). Paul instructs us to forget what lies behind and to reach forward to what lies ahead (Phil. 3:13). And Jesus Himself often said things like, “I don’t condemn you for your past. Go and sin no more” (paraphrased, John 8:11).

God is constantly providing opportunities for us to have a clean slate, the ultimate fresh start being when He sent His Son to die on the cross to give us the gift of a new spiritual life. It was a do-over of epic proportions. And when we accept His salvation, He makes us into new creations. “The old things [pass] away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

But the fresh start doesn’t end there. As new creations, we can begin each day by dying to our past selves and embracing the present opportunity to live in Christ (Rom. 12:1-2). At any moment, we can renew our minds by remembering what Christ has done for us and given to us. We can be freed from the burdens of yesterday and embrace the newness of life God gives us.

Do you need a fresh start with God? Let today be a new day of reconciliation with your heavenly Father. Ask Him for forgiveness and thank Him for the gift of new life. Start reading His Word again. Resolve to follow His will for your life. Today is a new day. And through Christ, you can do it!

Reignite your spiritual walk with a copy of “Cross and Crown: Scripture and Pastoral Reflections on Easter.”

 

https://www.intouch.org/read/blog/the-fresh-start-effect

VIDEO Just Don’t Let the Old Man In

Greg Laurie – Don’t Let The Old Man In

I was invited a while ago to a film premiere. Actually it was an opportunity to see the film before it went nationwide. It was directed by acting and directing legend Clint Eastwood and the film is called “The 15:17 to Paris”. It is a true story of three men who stopped a terrorist attack in the train bound for Paris and there was a faith element because all three of these young men met in a Christian school. So there was that element of faith to it. So after the film was over, standing there in the lobby with a crowd of people around him was none other than Mr. Clint Eastwood. And of course I’ve always liked Clint Eastwood and his movies you know.

So I thought I’m going to say hello to him. So I waited for a moment and I walked up and I thanked him for making a film with a faith element. And he said to me, “Well you know, these young men could not have done what they did without help from above”. And I said that was very true. And I have to tell you, Clint Eastwood he was 87 when I met him. He’s 88 now. He looked great. You know he just looks like Clint Eastwood. Just an older version. And then he squinted his eyes and looked at me and said, “Feeling lucky, punk”. Then I heard this.

Okay these are really dated references. Some of you understand what I’m talking about. Some of you don’t. That’s a theme song from one of his films and a line from one of his films as well. Well speaking of Clint Eastwood, he was having a conversation with country star Toby Keith. They were out golfing. I read this in a Magazine article. Toby commented on how active Clint still was at his age and still making movies. And he asked Clint Eastwood “What is your secret”? Eastwood simply replied, “I don’t let the old man in”. I thought that’s a good line. I thought that will preach. In fact that’s my sermon title: don’t let the old man in.

You know, it’s kind of hard to do because as you get older you start doing old person stuff. You don’t plan on it but you just do. You know what I’m talking about. Like wearing your pants too high. Where does that start? When did it seem like a good idea to no longer wear your pants down where your hips are, but I’m going to bring them up to where my chest starts? I think this is a good place. Or you know when you’re a man, you start missing patches when you shave of course.

And another thing old people do is they drive way too slow. Right. And you get behind them and it’s like seriously. And then you go around them. I don’t know about you, but if you go around somebody that is going to slow, do you ever look at them? Who is this person? And they’re like leaned really forward like this in the car. You know the windshield is right here. It’s like do you have to be that way? Things you say you’ll never do, you start doing these things.

Another thing about older people is the filter sort of disappears and they say whatever they think and they are often cranky about something and they’ll just complain about something. There’s actually a lot of traits of getting older. I think for one thing older people like routine. They like to know what’s coming. They eat in the same restaurants. They order the same meal and they like everything to be predictable. When they come to church they sit in the same seats. You know who I’m talking to. If anyone dares take your seat you’re not happy about it either.

I actually read that is why, as you get older, it seems like time goes by more quickly. Of course time does not speed up or slow down but our perception of time can change. When you’re younger time seems to go very slowly, especially when you’re in elementary school. I felt like I spent 10 years in like the fourth grade right. Like how long will it take till it is 12 o’clock and we break for lunch? But as you get older things start morphing together. It’s almost like decades start going together and that’s because you don’t have as many new experiences. So because there is such a familiarity in the things that you do, it seems like time is going by quickly. They say the way to counter this is to go out and do new things and have new experiences.

So today I want to talk to you about not letting the old man in. But actually I’m not speaking about age. I’m talking about that sinful nature that we all have. That’s what Paul is talking about here in Romans 6. In fact, he calls that nature the old man, so let’s read Romans 6:6-11.

6. Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
7. For he who has died has been freed from sin.
8. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
9. knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.
10. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
11. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So Paul now is showing us how to not let the old man in. That old sinful nature. Really in Romans 6 he sort of shifts gears. Romans 1 to 5 he talks about the sinfulness of man and just really makes a case for the fact that everyone has sinned. The moral people sin. Immoral people sin. Religious people sin. We all fall miserably short, but Christ died for our sin and if we will turn from our sin he will forgive us. But now in chapter 6 we are dealing with a new theme and it’s really sanctification. What is sanctification? Sanctification is something that takes place over a period of time. For instance, salvation or regeneration happens in a moment bringing a sinner from spiritual life to death. But sanctification, in contrast, is an ongoing process. Salvation is where we’re forgiven of past sin. Sanctification is where we break free from the power of sin.

So Paul is showing us now how this works out in our life. When you were baptized – how many of you have been baptized in water? Raise your hand up. Every one of us should be baptized. When we are baptized and we go into the water and come out, it’s a symbol of dying to the old nature the old life. In fact, in Romans 6:4 he says, “We died and we were buried with Christ by baptism and as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the father. Now we may live new lives”. But what does that mean practically? If you’re taking notes here is point number one: let me say that again. The Christian no longer has to be under the power of sin.

Verse 7: “For he who has died has been freed from sin”. But some might say, “I still sin. So what’s wrong with me”? Let me ask you a question. How many of you committed a sin this week? Raise your hand. You committed a sin? How many of you committed a sin today? Raise your hand. Really? It’s kind of early. What did you do? Let’s share. Here. I’ll hand the mic. How many of you are committing a sin right now? Don’t raise your hand for that. This is a problem. We know we’re free from the power of sin, but we still sin and we don’t like it. But maybe we say, “Well there’s just really no way to overcome it. I’m always going to be this way”.

As Oscar Wilde once said, “I can resist anything but temptation”. I’m fine in between temptations, but man as soon as it comes I have no willpower. I just cave in. There’s no way I can change. Or maybe you look at your own life and you say, “This is a pattern that runs in my family. My father always had a temper, so I’m always going to have a temper and I am going to scream and yell and throw things too” or “My mother was an alcoholic and so I’m going to end up as an alcoholic too. There’s just no getting around it” or “My parents divorced and that means that I am going to end up divorced as well”.

Listen, stop talking that way. That’s stinking thinking. That’s not how a Christian should think because Christ can break the cycle of sin in your life. I know this from experience. Conceived out of wedlock, alcoholic mother married and divorced seven times, my life could have so easily gone the wrong direction. But I believed in Jesus Christ and he changed the course of my life and if he can do it for me he can do it for anybody. This is what God can do.

I think we think no this is the way it’s always going to be and that’s the direction I’m going to go. Not necessarily because Jesus Christ has freed you from the power of sin. Before you were a Christian, you really had no ability to resist sin. In fact, the Bible even tells us that before we are believers in Jesus we are held by the power of the devil, but this is no longer true. I’m no longer a slave to sin. I am a child of God.

Listen to this: the power of God over sin in your life is more powerful than satan’s power was. I heard one kid say to an older kid, older sibling “You’re not the boss of me. I don’t have to do what you tell me to do”. You can say to the devil “You’re not the boss of me”. You can say to sin “You’re not the boss of me anymore. I’m no longer a slave to sin. I am a child of God”. But some people will understand that God has forgiven them and they will use it as sort of a license to sin thinking, “I can just keep doing this because God will forgive me”. Actually, in 1 John 3:8 it says if people live that way, if they keep on sinning, it shows they belong to the devil. In other words, if you deliberately, woefully, continually sin without any remorse or any desire to change, I have to wonder are you a child of God?

If you will admit, “Yes I do give in. I do have these thoughts. I do struggle with it. I don’t want to do these things,” that is something every believer deals with in one way, shape, or form. Every one of us still sins. The Bible says if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in it and us. But here’s what Paul is saying. You don’t have to be controlled by sin any longer. Verse 2: “How shall we who are dead to sin, live any longer in it”? By the way, that phrase “Live in it” means to swim in it or to breathe its air or let it be the main tenor of your life. Listen, “Whoever continues to sin without remorse is not in danger of losing their salvation. Rather, by their choices, they reveal they may have never have salvation to begin with”.

Point number two: you’re no longer a slave, so stop acting like one. Verse 6: “Knowing that our old man was crucified with him that the body of sin might be done away with. We should no longer be slaves to sin”. One of the worst national sins of America was slavery. And after the civil war ended president Lincoln signed what is known as the Emancipation Proclamation. All slaves young and old were finally given their freedom. But history tells us that many of the older slaves who had endured years of servitude did not fully understand their new status. In fact, many slaves stayed on the plantation.

Fast-forward now to the 20th century and there’s still a lot of prejudice and bigotry shown to African-American people in states like South Carolina and Alabama and Georgia. They were still treated like second-class citizens. Segregation was the rule. African-American people had to stay in separate hotels and eat in separate restaurants and use separate restrooms and see degrading signs over a drinking fountain with words like: “For colored people only”. So along came Martin Luther King who stood up for the rights of black people and he gave that great speech there in Washington DC and I quote from it.

Five score years ago a great American in whose symbolic shadow we stand today signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree is a great beacon of light and hope to millions of negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice, but 100 years later, the negro is still not free.

He was right and there were various people that stood up for their rights because they said, “We are no longer slaves and we are not going to live like slaves”. One of those people was Rosa Parks. They call her the first lady of civil rights. It was my privilege a number of years ago to actually meet Rosa Parks. Now if you know her story she was on a bus in Alabama and the rule was you had to give up your seat to a white man if you are a black person on a bus and she refused. She became legendary for that and so I ended up on a bus with Rosa Parks. I’m not making this up. I know it sounds like fiction. This is true and here’s how it happened.

I had written a book and there were a bunch of other authors who had written books at the same time. Josh McDowell had written a book. Ravi Zacharias and Ralph Reed and Rosa Parks. So they said, “We want to put you on a bus like you’re on a tour and we’re going to have you go from sort of the headquarters over to a bookstore”. So it was just a little kind of press thing for fun. So I get on this bus and there’s Rosa Parks and all the other guys are talking and having fun and I said, “Wait, is that Rosa Parks”? They said yes.

And I sat down with her and I all I wanted do is just talk to her. I wanted to hear her story. She was an amazing woman and she had written a book about her faith in Jesus Christ and she said it was that faith in Christ that motivated her and influenced her and informed her to make that principled stand. She basically said, “I’m not a slave and I’m not going to live like a slave,” and we need to say the same thing to sin today. We’re not slaves anymore and we’re going to be free people. Because Jesus issued his own Emancipation Proclamation from the Cross of Calvary when he cried out the words “It is finished”. The power of sin is broken in your life so you can start living like a free person.

Now listen, Jesus paid the penalty for your sin, he freed you from the power of sin, and soon in heaven he’s going to remove you from the presence of sin. Now most believers know he took our penalty when he died in our place, but they fail to realize that he also frees us from the power of sin – not just from the guilt but the grip of sin. But the devil whispers in your ear, “You’ll never change. You’ll always be this way. I’ll always have a hold of you,” and we can just say to the devil “Go to hell because you’re a liar and you’re the father of lies”. Some of you are saying, “Did Greg just cuss”? No. Hell was created for the devil and that is where the devil is going to go.

Point number three: you need to start living like you are free if you feel it or not. Start living like you are free from sin’s power if you feel it or not. It would be like living like a homeless person when you have a beautiful home, or living like a person on the street begging for food when in fact you have plenty of money in the bank and food in your refrigerator. So here’s what we need to do, we need to count this is true or believe the promises of God. Look at verse 11. “Likewise, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

Reckon – we don’t know. What does that even mean? Reckon. It’s not a word we use that often. You see it in old westerns. You know the cowboy will say, “I reckon I’m going to fill you with lead, boy”. Or something like that. It generally means reckon – think so. I reckon. But that’s not what it means in the Bible. The word reckon means count as true. Count as true. It simply means believe what God has said. Claim the promise that God has given.

God says you’re no longer a slave to sin bringing me to point number four: we need to yield ourselves to God. Verse 13: “Don’t let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourself completely to God for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God”. God has given to you your body. People will sometimes say “It’s my body and I have my rights”. No. It’s actually not your body. God gave you that body. The Bible says you’re not your own. You’ve been bought with a price, therefore, glorify God with your body. You need to present your mind to him. Present your hands to him, your feet to him. Everything to him. It belongs to him.

Anthony Bourdain had a tv show on CNN called “Parts Unknown”. He’d travel around the world and try unusual foods and have conversations with people and often asked him the question: what makes you happy? Bourdain was quoted to say, “Your body is not a temple. It’s an amusement park, so enjoy the ride”. Really? Well, he didn’t seem to enjoy the ride all that much because sadly Anthony Bourdain committed suicide. No. Your body is not an amusement park. Your body is the temple of God, and we need to think about what we do with this body that God has given to us.

You know, the Bible tells that people who yielded their bodies to God, God used the rod in the hand of Moses to conquer Egypt. He used the sling in the hand of David to defeat Goliath and ultimately the Philistines. He used the words of the prophets and the apostles to change the world. This is why the Bible says how beautiful are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things. So you can give your body to God and you can also give your body to evil. David’s eyes looked on a woman lustfully. Plotting a wicked plan, his hands signed an order condemning an innocent man to death and that is why we need to present our whole body to God.

Point number five: where you turn your head, your body will follow. In the cinematic masterpiece “Kung Fu Panda 3” this statement is made: “Before the battle of the fist, comes the battle of the mind”. Very true. So you know we talk about this battle that we’re in. It starts right here. This is Command Central. Listen, you are the air control or Air Traffic Controller of your mind. You know an Air Traffic Controller decides what plane flies where, at what altitude, when they’re going to land, what they’re going to do and you decide what thoughts are going to come into your mind. And so wherever you look, that’s where your body will go.

I know when I ride my motorcycle, which is not very often these days, but when I make a turn I look and I turn into it. I don’t lean this way and look that way. No. I’m looking at where I’m going and so the way you’re looking and the way you’re thinking will determine the way that you will be living. So we have to start with the thoughts that come into our mind and be very careful about what we let in. It’s been said you can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop him from building a nest in your hair. In my case, he would have to bring his own materials. In other words, I can’t stop whatever random evil strange thoughts come knocking on the door of my imagination, but I don’t have to invite them in for lunch now do I? I can say I reject that thought. No, I’m not letting that thought in either. Nope. Not that one. Oh this thought? This thought is good. This thought is coming in.

I love what Paul writes in Philippians 4. He says, “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are noble, whatsoever things are just and pure and of good report, if there’s any virtue, if there’s anything praiseworthy – think on these things”. Or literally meditate on these things. Another translation puts it this way, “Summing it up, I would say you’ll do your best by filling your minds by meditating on things that are true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious, the best not the worst, the beautiful not the ugly, things to praise – not things to curse”.

So when that thought comes to you – in church or at 3 o’clock in the morning – those thoughts of terror, those terrors by night, those fears that grip you, you just run it through the grid. Oh, wait. This is not from God. This isn’t true. This isn’t helpful. This isn’t inspiring. I reject this thought and I’m going to replace it with another thought because I’ve taken the time to memorize scripture and that’s how you win the battle of the mind that rages on every single day. Ask yourself the question: this thought that wants in right now, is it true? Is it helpful? Is it pure? Is it lovely? Is it ugly? Is it the worst? Then you don’t want that thought in there.

And the devil will say “You’re going to fail. God doesn’t even love you. Life is over for you”. And you say to him, “It’s not true because God is for me”. Here’s Romans 8:31, “If God is for us who can be against us? Since he did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one – for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? Answer: no one – for as Christ died for us and was raised for us, he’s sitting at the place of honor at God’s right hand pleading for us”. God has you covered, my friend. Don’t listen to the lies of the devil that says it’s over. God is working in your life and as we’ll learn later in Romans, he’ll cause all things to work together for good to those who love him and are the called according to his purpose.

 

Original here


US Report Bashes China’s Religious Freedom Violations

With its crackdown on Christians and other faiths, the communist country ranks as a top offender by USCIRF for 20 years in a row.

May 2, 2019 by GRIFFIN PAUL JACKSON

US Report Bashes China’s Religious Freedom Violations

Barely a week after the bombing of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka killed nearly 300 on Easter Sunday, and a day after six Christians were killed at their church in Burkina Faso, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) made clear that the worst violators of religious freedom are gaining steam.

The findings are grim in 2019 report and echo the conclusions from this year’s Open Doors rankings, with China taking the brunt of the critique.

“As a Christian [living in China], your Bible may have been rewritten by the Chinese government, your church shuttered or demolished, and your pastor imprisoned,” the commission wrote. “As a human rights defender who works to protect people targeted for their faith, you may be arrested, or worse, disappeared.”

According to commissioner Johnnie Moore, this year’s report represents “the strongest stance against China in the history of the USCIRF.”

China was a primary focus of the first-ever USCIRF report released two decades ago, along with Russia and Sudan. The world’s most populous nation remains a Tier 1 “country of particular concern” (CPC) today, having made the list in each of the 20 annual releases. China also jumped to No. 27 on the 2019 World Watch List, which tracks the countries where it is hardest to be a Christian.

Christians and adherents of other faiths in China have seen an uptick in persecution as President Xi Jinping has consolidated power and abolished term limits, easing the way for a harsh government crackdown on believers and advocates of religious freedom.

Ministry leaders have weighed whether the moves represent “a step toward tighter government control, an opportunity to further indigenize and contextualize the faith, or perhaps both.”

In the past year, China banned the online purchase of Bibles, shuttered hundreds of churches—including major Protestant gatherings like Shouwang ChurchEarly Rain Covenant Church, and Zion Church—and pressed hard for the “sinicization” of religious institutions across China. Just last month, Hong Kong pastor Chu Yiu-ming and eight other activists were convicted for crimes related to their participation in pro-democracy movements.

David Curry, president of Open Doors USA, told Mission Network News after the commission’s release, “It’s just stunning the levels to which China is now going to persecute and to hold down the expression of Christian faith.”

But Christians have not been the only ones to suffer. Tibetan Buddhists are forbidden from displaying photos of or expressing public devotion to their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama; hundreds of Falun Gong adherents were arrested for their faith; and a million ethnic Uighur Muslims have been forced into concentration camps. Of the more than 1,400 prisoners of conscience imprisoned in China as of last October, approximately half of them were detained, at least partly, for participating in religious practices “unauthorized” by Beijing.

“If we were to rate the Tier 1 countries, China would be in a category all by itself,” saidUSCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer in a news conference in Washington, DC. “The level of persecution—they are an equal opportunity persecutor. They go after anybody, any sect that might compete with the communist, atheistic government of China.”

USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan group tasked with making policy recommendations around religious freedom abroad. In this year’s report, the authors noted that China has faced “few, if any consequences” for its abuses of religious freedom, despite US condemnation.

“Policy and practice now must focus on holding the responsible parties accountable,” they said, “ceasing China’s myriad abuses against all faith communities, and documenting the evidence of the atrocities that have occurred.”

The 28 countries and five terror entities USCIRF identifies as the worst in the world in terms of their assaults on religious freedom are nearly identical to the 2018 list, though the commission has recommended additions to the State Department’s official list of CPCs, which is more limited.

According to the commission, the 16 worst countries for their abuses of freedom of religion and conscience are Burma, the Central African Republic, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

All but one of these countries—Russia—make the top 30 most dangerous places to be a Christian according to the World Watch List. The commission notes how faiths and denominations not aligned with Moscow are perceived as foreign, missionary activity can be prosecuted or blanketed as “extremism,” religious groups are readily intimated, and the 2016 Yarovaya Law effectively banned public evangelism.

Per the report’s analysis on Russia: “Religious and other communities can be financially blacklisted or liquidated, and individuals can be subjected to criminal prosecution for social media posts that are arbitrarily determined to offend the religious sensibilities of others.”

Russia earned a spot among the commission’s top-tier countries for the first time in 2017 after it banned Jehovah’s Witnesses as extremists and was found to persecute religious minorities in Crimea and Donbas.

“In 2018, both state and nonstate actors increasingly used religion as a tool of exclusion to isolate, marginalize, and punish the ‘other’ through discrimination and violence,” says USCIRF.

The commission proposes a variety of policy recommendations in response to what it calls “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” They include increased sanctions, aid programs that promote tolerance and respect for human rights, and increased funding to antiterrorism and defense programs.

Notably, of the 10 current CPCs listed by the State Department, four countries—Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Pakistan—are spared sanctions due to what the report calls the “important national interest of the United States.”

USCIRF’s list of Tier 2 countries, those that don’t meet all the qualifications of Tier 1 offenders but where the government engages in or permits significant religious freedom violations, includes Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, India, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, and Turkey.

The report’s five “entities of particular concern” are the Islamic State, the Taliban, Somalia’s al-Shabaab, and, newly added this year, Yemen’s Houthis and Syria’s Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.

 

 

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The church in Philadelphia is unique among the seven churches

Christ’s message to Philadelphia in Revelation 3 was quite different from the messages to the other churches.

This church in Philadelphia is unique among the seven churches because it is the only church the Lord registers no complaint against. This is the church that delights Christ!

The cornice from a building in ancient Philadelphia (photo by Joel Meeker).

The cornice from a building in ancient Philadelphia (photo by Joel Meeker)

Question: “What was Jesus’ message to the church in Philadelphia in Revelation?”

Answer: Revelation 3:7-13 records Christ’s message to the sixth of the seven churches addressed in Revelation 2–3. The Philadelphian church is the recipient of this letter. Philadelphia was a city in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) on the Imperial Post Road, an important trade route.

The message is from the Lord Jesus Christ through an angel or “messenger” (likely a reference to the pastor): “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write . . .” (Revelation 3:7). This was not John’s personal message to these believers; it was a message from the Lord, who identifies Himself as “him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” This description of Jesus emphasizes His holiness, His sovereignty, and His authority. The reference to the key of David is an allusion to the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 22:22. Jesus is the one who opens and shuts, and no one can say Him nay.

Jesus affirms the church’s positive actions: “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (Revelation 3:8). The church of Philadelphia was weak in some respects, yet they had remained faithful in the face of trial. Because of this, the Lord promises them an “open door” of blessing.

Jesus’ letter then condemns the enemies of the Philadelphian believers: “I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you” (Revelation 3:9). Those who persecuted the believers (the persecutors were religious hypocrites in this case) would one day realize Christ loves His children. The church of Philadelphia would be victorious over its enemies.

Jesus encourages the Philadelphian believers regarding His future coming: “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown” (Revelation 3:10-11). The church’s faithful endurance would serve as a blessing. Jesus would take them to be with Him before the coming tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). He also exhorts them to remain faithful, because this would lead to rewards in the afterlife. Based on this and other passages, many Bible interpreters conclude that the rapture is an event distinct from the second coming of Christ. The fact that the Philadelphians are promised to be preserved from the time of the tribulation corresponds with the pretribulational view of the rapture.

Jesus provides a final promise to the believers in Philadelphia and to all believers: “Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down from out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name” (Revelation 3:12). Professor Thomas Constable notes, “God promised that He will not just honor overcomers by erecting a pillar in their name in heaven, as was the custom in Philadelphia. He will make them pillars in the spiritual temple of God, the New Jerusalem (21:22; cf. Gal. 2:91 Cor. 3:16-172 Cor. 6:16Eph. 2:19-221 Pet. 2:4-10).” (Source: Thomas Constable, Notes on Revelation at http://soniclight.org/constable/notes/pdf/revelation.pdf.)

So, those who struggled with weakness Jesus makes everlasting pillars in the house of God. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). Jesus’ words of comfort certainly would have been a blessing to the Philadelphians who had faithfully stood for Christ in their pagan culture. His words continue to serve as an encouragement to faithful believers today.

https://www.gotquestions.org/church-in-Philadelphia.html


Blessed Are Those Who Believe Without Seeing

April 29, 2019 The Godly Chic Diaries

 

If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross and follow me…. Mathew 16:24″

This verse pierced my heart. As I reread the above verse, the Holy spirit whispered to me, “Where is your cross? This question permeated throughout my entire being….”

It was dark and a sombre day in the outskirts of Jerusalem. On a hill just outside the city walls, a Man who’d been attracting crowds of eager followers for the past three years hung in disgrace and unbearable pain on a rough wooden cross. Mourners wept openly and wailed in sorrow. The light of the sun no longer brightened the afternoon sky. And the intense suffering of the Man on the Cross ended when He cried out in a loud voice, “It is finished” — Matthew 27:50, John 19:30

At that very moment, another sound came from the great temple across town — The sound of ripping fabric. Miraculously , without human intervention, the huge, thick veil that separated the outer temple from the Holy of Holies tore in two from top to bottom — That torn curtain symbolised the reality of the Cross….

The deep love that our Lord Jesus demonstrated through His death on the cross frees us from the debt of our sins and opens the way for our reconciliation with God. His forgiveness empowers us to FORGIVE others, as we cannot forgive in our own strength and ask Him to help us. When we love others because our Savior loves them and forgives, because He has forgiven us, God gives us strength to let go of the past and walk forward with Him into a beautiful place of grace.

If you feel like this is you, Leave a ❤ if you will let go of something that no longer serves you. Often times we get so confused of what letting go means. To let go of something that is no good for you, does not mean getting angry or upset. It simply means telling yourself that your values does not align with “that something” and its time to let go and be done with it. And that’s okay.

Blessings and Love…😊🙏

 

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