Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving God’s Way!

 Colossians 3:17


I.                   The basis of our Thanksgiving
A)    Confession: involved recognition of our failure to meet God’s Holy standard
-          this was done by thanksgiving offerings Leviticus 22:29 and 2 Chron 29:31
-          this was done Joshua 7:19, Psalm 51
B)    Thanksgiving: the means by which we acknowledge the receipt of God’s forgiveness
-          Psa 118:21  I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
-          Eph 1:6  to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
-          Eph 1:7  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
C)    Praise: the overt vocal and often public expression of acknowledgement
-          Heb_13:15  Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
-          Through Jesus- acknowledging that we have what we have because of his provision of salvation on the cross.
II.                The Nature of our Thanksgiving - agreement
·         A whole hearted agreement with God
-          This brings to mind an understanding of salvation
-          Romans 10:9,10
-          Our confession is to be based on agreement with God
-          We agree we are sinners and that we have not met God’s Holy standard
-          We agree that we need salvation only God can give
-          We agree that we deserve the penalty of death Romans 6:23
-          We agree that God would be gracious to save us from that penalty
-          We agree that sin is bad and we should not be doing it.
-          The need to be in agreement is the purpose behind the physical sacrifices in the OT
-          But before we could give acceptable sacrifices we must first be in agreement with God Psalm 51
-          This is what I believe was wrong with Cain’s sacrifice. His heart was not in full agreement with God. Probably over just who it was that provided that which he was to sacrifice.  He might have given himself more credit than God. A prideful Spirit.

III.             The Application of our Thanksgiving
A)    An Informed Thanks
-          Make sure your thankfulness comes from your knowledge of God from His word.
-          Otherwise your thankfulness can never be in agreement and that can lead to pride and selfishness.
-          Make sure God is the object of your thanks and He is in agreement with the subject of your thanks.
-          Can you thank God for what you have or are doing?
-          Or would He be displeased with you because of it?
B)    Intercessory Thanks
-          Paul made a habit of this
-          Ephesians 1:15-23
-          Php 1:3  I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
-          Php 1:4  always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy
C)    An Imperative Thanks  
-          Dictionary: absolutely necessary or required; unavoidable:
-          Rom 15:9  and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, "Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name."
-          When we share the gospel it is not just about the act but also about the attitude
-          Do we share the gospel because we are thankful or because we are just relating facts
-          Psa_57:7  My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
-          That psalm is both in agreement and an imperative
-          It is an imperative that we thank God both privately and publically

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Brave French Woman Calls Out Muslims For Double Standards and Hatred

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Why the Tea Party is being Mischaracterized

            In recent days even Republicans, who call themselves conservative, are painting the Tea part as extremists. There are several reasons they are doing this and there are several reasons why everyone who paints the Tea Party as extremists are wrong. I find it ironic if not absurd that the very movement that won the House of Representatives back for the Republicans in 2010 are now being bullied and painted falsely. The very stance the Tea Party took in 2010 is now being characterized as extreme. How can this be? The first error in the recent caricature of the Tea Party is that it is strictly the extreme wing of the Republican Party.
           That is largely a Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi talking point. The truth is that the Tea Party has always been a movement made up of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats who are tired of the unceasing spending and heavy government regulations that puts Americans out of work.[1] The goal to paint the Tea Party as simply an extreme wing of the Republican Party is just plain dishonest. One of the caricatures of the Tea Party has been that they are not the party of Ronald Reagan. This false caricature is coming from within the Republican Party itself. It is sad and shameful that this is happening within our party.
And honestly I question the motives behind this behavior as it is as extreme a behavior as they are falsely claiming the Tea Party to be. I would add that there are honest people who are buying into this false caricature but the point of origin is where I question the motives. The fact is this could not be more wrong. One of the recent reasons given for this has been the recent shutdown of the government. This was labeled as unnecessary and unlike anything Reagan would do. However, when you take a look back into time under the administration of President Ronald Reagan what you find is that the government shut down more times under Reagan than under any other conservative President in history.[2] [3]
Those who are Republicans and are at the point of origin of this false characterization of the Tea Party know these facts about history and are simply ignoring them due to political expediency for their own jobs because of their weak stomach for doing the right thing. With the recent election in the state of Virginia the mean spirited nature of the establishment Republicans could not have been more on display. There were a number of Republicans who were willing to endorse an extremist Democrat like Terry McAuliffe instead of what has been characterized as a Tea Party candidate. Boyd Marcus, the previous chief of staff for Cantor came out in support of McAuliffe, former Republican National Committee finance chairman Dwight Schar supported him as well, Judy Ford Wason, who is a GOP strategist who did work for Republican Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, endorsed McAuliffe, Former Virginia Sen. John Chichester, the former GOP president pro tempore of the Virginia Senate, also endorsed McAuliffe, former state GOP Sen. Russ Potts did as well as a few others. The real kicker here is that while RNC chairman Reince Priebus spent Tuesday in New Jersey to support Chris Christie he did not make any effort to do the same for Cuccinelli.[4] 
Given that the Libertarian candidate who entered the race late was largely funded by Democrats it would seem that Preibus would want to make an effort.I believe this shows a clear attempt to undermine anyone dubbed a “Tea Party” candidate and this coming from the Republican Party that gained the majority in the House of Representatives largely because of the Tea Party.  This appears to be highly hypocritical and nothing but a practice of how to shoot yourself in the foot. But Juan Williams wrote an opinion piece about the details of the recent conflict between some Republicans and the Tea Party. It appears that Boehner is seen as not having control of his House of Representatives because others have outside the House has been influential over House Republicans.[5
As Williams put it “The stampede ran over Boehner and he lost control. Now out of 232 Republicans in the House, he has at best 80 votes at his command.”So now it appears that Boehner and the establishment Republicans are in a battle over the House of Representatives and political power. It also appears that in order to gain back that so called power they are willing to undermine Republican candidates by giving support to Democrat candidates who are diametrically and politically opposed to what Republicans say they stand for. This behavior is shameful and should not be supported by anyone. It shows a lack of character and it shows severe immoral problems. No majority leader should try to have that kind of power over people. Each individual representative should be listening to their constituents that elected them, not buckle under the political power and pressure from some power hungry majority leader. We need ethical politicians who are looking out for the people. We need politicians who serve the people not themselves. Boehner and his ilk need to go. Period.


[2] Rich Smith, “10 Fun Facts About the Government Shutdown”.; (Oct 12th 2013)
[3] "Brief Government Shutdown." In Historic Documents of 1981, 831-34. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 1982.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Eritrean Christian dies in prison

ERITREA (BP) -- A Christian woman perished from pneumonia in an Eritrean prison after facing harsh conditions and denial of medical treatment -- all because she would not renounce her faith.

Open Doors, an organization supporting the global persecuted church, reported this week that Wehazit Berhane Debesai is the 25th known Christian to have died in prison in Eritrea. According to the report, the exact date of death of the woman in her 30s is unknown. Eritrean authorities arrested her a year ago. They held her near the Ethiopian border for being involved in Christian activities outside the Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran church groups.

Debesai's death came as government forces arrested 70 Christians who met for prayer in the capital of Asmara, according to Open Doors. It is the third time the pastor who led the prayer event has been thrown in prison for his faith. This latest development brings the total number of Christians arrested this year in Eritrea to nearly 300. Local Christians call it the government's most serious campaign against the church so far.

In what may be a separate event, according to conflicting reports, government security forces arrested 185 Christians praying together in a suburb to the north of Asmara. According to Release International, a United Kingdom-based group serving the persecuted church, most of those arrests involved women.

"Our Eritrean partners say church leaders fear this mass arrest could herald a new clampdown on Christians and a wave of further detentions," Paul Robinson, chief executive of Release International, told the UK-based charity Cross Rhythms.

The Christians were believed to have gathered to pray for the country's refugee crisis. The United Nations reports thousands of Eritreans try to flee every month despite an alleged "shoot-to-kill" policy by security forces against anyone attempting to escape.

"The arrest has alarmed underground church leaders, who fear that this may be a sign of things to come," Robinson said.

According to International Christian Concern, an organization supporting persecuted believers, Eritrea is one of the world's worst persecutors of Christians. More than 2,000 Christians are believed to have been imprisoned for their faith.

All churches not sanctioned by the government were outlawed in 2002, and their leaders have been arrested since then. Religious groups the government does allow to operate do so under severe restrictions and are also persecuted.

An Open Doors observer asked for Christians to pray for their fellow believers who remain in prison for their faith.

"They are secluded in underground dungeons, metal shipping containers and military detention centers. They face exposure, hard labor and insufficient food, water and hygiene," the observer said. "They are regularly denied medical treatment for malaria and pneumonia which they contracted while in prison or diseases such as diabetes, hypertension or cancer that they may have had prior to imprisonment."

Eritrea is ranked No. 10 on the Open Doors 2013 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians.
John Evans is a writer in Houston. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook ( and in your email (

Monday, October 21, 2013

Keep Jesus Out of Your Socialism (Part 2) by Michael Youssef

Michael Youssef | Oct 20, 2013

In part one of this series, I made clear, from the words of Jesus and the New Testament, that ministering to the poor and the needy among us is the work of Christian individuals and the church, not the secular government. Jesus said, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. . . ." Today's Religious Left wants to change that to, "He has anointed the federal government to preach good news to the poor."
The Christian gospel is a message of salvation, not a message of income redistribution and raising our neighbor's taxes. Jesus said that the way to serve the poor is by giving generously of our own resources. "But when you give a banquet," He said in Luke 14, "invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
The Religious Left is very generous—with other people's money. In fact, I believe the founder of the Religious Left was none other than Judas Iscariot. When Mary, the sister of Lazarus, anointed Jesus with costly perfume just days before the crucifixion, Judas lectured her and said, "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor?"
Notice that Judas put on a show of caring for the poor—even though the money was Mary's, not his! The motives of Judas, John 12:6 tells us, were corrupt and self-centered—and Jesus responded with a stinging rebuke.
At least one of the Lord's disciples was a "social action Christian" in the Sojourners mold: Simon Zelotes (Simon the Zealot). Just as Sojourners president Jim Wallis was once president of the Michigan State chapter of the militant Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Simon Zelotes was a young political radical who attached himself to Jesus because he thought Jesus would lead a revolt against the Roman Empire.
Simon saw Jesus as a political Messiah who would topple the powerful while lifting up the poor and oppressed. But Jesus was not a political Messiah. He didn't attack the Roman Empire. He did battle with the Evil Empire of Satan himself.
Jesus didn't tell the Roman government what its budget priorities should be. Why? Because His agenda was much larger than the agenda of Simon Zelotes or the Religious Left. His eyes were fixed on eternity. He said, "My kingdom is not of this world."

The Religious Left has missed the meaning of that statement. Yes, there is a place for Christian social action—but that place is in a personal lifestyle of generosity and compassion to the poor. Jesus didn't tell the rich young ruler to become a political activist and affect public policy. He said, "Go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
It's true, there's poverty in America, and some of the poor can't lift themselves out of poverty without help. Some are physically or socially disadvantaged. Some are down on their luck. They need and deserve Christian compassion and the good news of the gospel.
But a huge number of people receiving government assistance are substance abusers, welfare cheats, or chronically lazy. Doesn't the Bible tell us, "If a man will not work, he shall not eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10)? Why must the "makers" of society support the "takers" of society? That's not compassion. That's theft. Wouldn't it be more compassionate to encourage the takers to develop self-respect by becoming productive citizens?
Would Jesus endorse government policies that encourage and enable addiction, indolence, and welfare fraud? Certainly not. The Religious Left should read His parables, especially the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the Parable of the Vineyards (Matthew 20:1-16), and the Parable of the Tenants (Matthew 21:33-46). In those parables, Jesus blesses hard work, personal responsibility and the freedom to achieve.
Government programs can't separate the truly needy from the welfare cheats—but private Christian charities can. Private charities are far more effective than government at meeting needs, changing lives, eliminating fraud and waste, and dispensing compassion. Our stance as Christians should be pro-compassion, not pro-bureaucracy.
The place for compassionate Christian social action is in the church, and in the lives of individual believers. When the church becomes a political pressure group, telling the government, "Confiscate more wealth from those who earned it and give it to those who have not," then the church has formed an unholy union with the kingdoms of this world.
Income redistribution is not Christianity. It's Marxism—and mixing the two only pollutes the Gospel and betrays the Great Commission.
Stay tuned for Part 3: Is America a "fallen nation"?