Christianity in Today's AmericaTweet
Posted 8/5/10 at 11:09 AM | Deborah J. Dewart
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In 1934, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) erected a Latin cross on Sunrise Rock in California’s Mohave National Preserve. The cross was to honor the sacrifice of World War I soldiers. For decades no one objected. The cross was repaired and even replaced, but it stood peacefully. As Chief Justice Roberts observed in a recent Supreme Court case involving the cross, it was--at least until lately--seen by more rattlesnakes than humans. Summer temperatures often exceed 100 degrees, and travelers in this remote region are warned accordingly. FULL POST
Posted 8/5/10 at 8:09 AM | Michael Youssef
The vast majority of Americans are frustrated and angry over the building of a majestic mosque and Islamic center near the heart of Ground Zero in New York City. Muslim leaders are using western language of “tolerance” and “freedom of religion” to gain approval for placing that monstrosity exactly where they want it. While in reality, Islamic and Arabic media outlets are triumphantly, if not blatantly, saying that Islam is a superior religion, therefore it can build a mosque anywhere in the world, and the infidels need to shut up and accept it.
When you realize that in Saudi Arabia (the most likely bank rollers of the $100 million project) it is forbidden even for Christian foreigners to worship in their own homes, you will soon realize the contempt they hold for the West in general and Christians in particular. One of the most celebrated Islamist clerics and head of the European Counsel for Fatwa and Research, Sheikh Al Qaradawi, was quoted as saying:
“Islam invaded Europe twice and then left it. … Perhaps the next conquest, Allah willing, will be by means of preaching and ideology. The conquest need not necessarily be by the sword. … Perhaps we will conquer these lands without armies. We want an army of preachers and teachers who will present Islam in all languages and in all dialects.” FULL POST
Posted 8/4/10 at 12:48 PM | Dale Garris
“Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.“
What an incredible statement of faith! To believe not only the unseen, but the incomprehensible simply because God said so! Abraham believed God! But how is it that we so readily try to take this great pronouncement of faith in God’s creative power and ascribe it to ourselves?
Abraham had just settled in Haran with his brother and family when God told him to pack up and leave. Just when everything was going so well! Just go, God told him, and He would tell him where he was going when he got there.
So Abraham left.
Then God declares unto Abraham great promises that he would inherit the land, that all nations would be blessed because of him, and that his seed would be like the dust of the world. Pretty astounding stuff for a camel herder to hear. FULL POST
Posted 8/4/10 at 11:19 AM | Deborah J. Dewart
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Atheists across America are busy these days, attacking religion in the public square. Michael Newdow has challenged the words “under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance and the tradition of prayer at the Presidential Inauguration. So far he has not succeeded, but the battle rages.The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently persuaded a federal judge to declare the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional, and the case is now pending in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The issue could eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1952, amidst growing concerns about the dangers of Communism, Congress passed a simple statute requiring the President to proclaim an annual day of prayer for the nation. The law was later amended (1988) to designate the first Thursday of May each year as the National Day of Prayer. A Task Force was organized in 1989 to coordinate and plan events across the country. FFRF, organized by atheists, filed a lawsuit claiming violations of the so-called “separation of church and state.” That tiresome phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution, which was carefully written to protect religion--not erase it. Thomas Jefferson, writing to the Danbury Baptists to address their concerns about religious freedom, coined this phrase to reassure them of the liberty to practice their faith without government interference. The First Amendment declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” These two guarantees are complementary sides of the same coin, both protecting religious liberty. The government may neither compel nor prohibit religious exercise. FULL POST
Posted 8/4/10 at 7:44 AM | Michael Youssef
Most Christians would admit that, at times, their Christian walk feels more like a crawl. We may feel our relationship with God has dwindled or that our work for Him is ineffective. We may even feel disillusioned about the path our life has taken.
God wants much more for us. He wants us to live abundantly and victoriously. He wants to empower us to do great things for His kingdom. But in order to live that triumphant life, we must first surrender everything to Him.
In studying the prophet Elisha, we see that God works miraculously to bring victory to those who surrender to Him. By emptying ourselves before God, He can fill us to overflowing. Are you in a situation where you feel inadequate? Do you feel like you have nothing to offer? Have you tried every human solution possible, only to realize you have no further options? If so, you can rejoice because your brokenness can be the foundation for God to do great things in your life. If you surrender to Him, God can bless you and fill you with the joy that only He can give.
Whatever we go through, whether small or large, God wants us to surrender to Him. When we lay our problems at the feet of Christ — truly place His will above ours — God is able to work fully in our lives. FULL POST
Posted 8/3/10 at 11:22 AM | Michael Youssef
It is easy to praise God when the sun is shining, our children are making good grades in school, and we have received a promotion at work. But when the storm clouds gather, the grades start to slip, and the pink slips are read, the last thing we feel like doing is praising God. Yet, this is the very time when we need to lift our voices to Him in praise.
When we praise God, we proclaim our faith in Him. The psalmist writes, "As for me, I will always have hope. I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure" (Psalm 71:14-15).
A sacrifice of praise is something that we offer to God — in times of well being and in times of sorrow. Never allow praise to become a habit or a trite activity. It is a priceless honor to kneel before the throne of our Lord and Savior.
One of the greatest misconceptions concerning praise is that it is something we do for God. However, nothing could be further from the truth. God does not need our praise, but certainly, He desires it. He knows when life takes an unexpected turn toward sorrow or when a serious illness lingers for months and even years, praise has the ability to lighten our hearts and fill us with a sense of love and security that can only come from one place — heaven's throne. FULL POST
Posted 8/2/10 at 11:19 AM | Michael Youssef
Most of the questions we ask concerning life will not be clearly defined in God's Word. For example, there is not a Scripture advising one to marry a certain person on a certain date. However, there are guidelines about marriage and other life events that are perfectly outlined in God's Word. It is up to us to take the time to pray and ask God to reveal them to us.
THE QUEST FOR ANSWERS
Prayer not only helps us discover the will of God for our lives, it also deepens our relationship with the Savior. Through prayer, we discover the depths of God's mercy and love for us. It is also where we confess our sin and receive His forgiveness.
Prayer is an opportunity for us to communicate with the Lord of heaven and earth. In prayer, we ask God to do what only He can do. Jesus gave us a pattern to follow in prayer when He prayed what we now know as the Lord's Prayer — recorded in Matthew 6.
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth
As it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one. FULL POST
Posted 7/30/10 at 7:57 AM | Michael Youssef
Many historians have attested to a phenomenon called the "cycle of nations." All nations go through a cycle of various levels of freedoms. Most nations start out in bondage, which they use to propel themselves into faith, then courage, then liberty, then abundance. After a time of abundance, they enter into stages of selfishness, then complacency, then apathy. Once a country becomes apathetic, it becomes dependent upon the government, which leads back to bondage.
We have become a nation of bondage-economic bondage, moral bondage, and social bondage. We have abandoned our faith and courage and liberty in exchange for selfishness, complacency, and apathy. We are becoming more and more dependent on our government and less dependent upon our God.
We see our Christian liberties being slowly stolen away from us. Some are quietly being hidden while others are openly attacked in the public eye. If events continue down their current path, soon we will have little freedom in sharing the Gospel or speaking biblical Truths. We will have to put away our crosses and Christian symbols. We will be silenced in prayer and action. Our nation is heading for a secularized nation of bondage-and our government is only too happy to step into this role and replace God as the authority in this land. FULL POST
Posted 7/29/10 at 10:05 AM | Michael Youssef
How do Islamic extremists regard Christianity?
1. First and foremost, Islamic extremists see Christianity as an expression of infidel values and practices.
2. Islamic extremists see Christianity as the most potent ideology they face – far more potent that other religions, communism or atheism. If the most potent foe can be subjugated, all other foes will become simply “a mop up action”.
3. Although they regard Christianity as a potent ideology, Islamic extremists tend to regard Christian people as passive “easy” targets – especially Christians who live in the democratic West, who seem to Muslims to have a “live and let live’ attitude as part of the freedom of religion they enjoy in their democracies. Islamic extremists see very few defensive measures set up against their radical activities.
4. Islamic extremists see the Christian West, and primarily the United States, as being responsible for many of the “ills” experienced in the Middle East:
– The establishment of the State of Israel.
– The establishment of military bases in Saudi Arabia and other nations.
– The introduction into the Middle East of Western culture in all its forms that are opposed to Islam FULL POST
Posted 7/26/10 at 12:42 PM | Michael Youssef
We've heard a lot of talk about change in this country over the past couple of years. But the only lasting and positive change that can occur is the spiritual revival that needs to begin in the hearts of Christian believers across this great nation. Our country was founded upon a complete dependence upon God, not government. Our liberties were based on spiritual freedom, not manmade rules. The Founding Fathers knew that their blessings and successes came from the Lord.
Today we have turned our backs on God's providence to seek out success in our own terms. Americans have allowed materialism to overshadow godliness and selfishness to replace our generosity. We have become more concerned with our careers and portfolios than with spreading the gospel.
This attitude is nothing new. Even within the first century of this country's birth, people were wandering from God in search of their own desires. In those days, there was one man who stood up against the growing secularism and materialism of the people. He was not a preacher or an evangelist or even a theologian. He was a New York businessman named Jeremiah Lanphier who began a series of small prayer meetings in 1857 at the Dutch Reformed Church in New York City. FULL POST