Rev. Franklin Graham, son of the famous Evangelist, Billy Graham has been touring across America with his Decision America 2016 tour, which has been touring the nation in order to lead Christian Americans in prayer for the government and the upcoming elections. Springfield, Illinois was the 27th stop for the 50 State Decision America tour. According to Rev. Graham, the number of people that came out for this particular tour stop was 5,800 Christians, who despite the sweltering 96 degree heat came out “because they mean business,” at least when it comes to praying for America and the multitudinous problems that our country is facing at this present moment. Some of the problems that America has been facing even just this week alone; the terrorist shooting in Orlando, Florida and tonight on the WICS Channel 20 news, it was reported that an active shooter was shot dead in a Walmart in Texas.
According to Rev. Graham, these problems didn’t just crop up overnight, but have been long in the making; one such contributing factor that he cited, was the removal of God’s Ten Commandments from the schools. These commandments were a moral guideline for the generations that came before and it is hard to not compare this lack in our schools to the problems we are now hearing about on the nightly news; these types of problems were just never heard of in prior generations. People feared the Lord God Almighty and they reigned in their behaviors because of this godly fear that had been instilled in their lives by their parents and their grandparents, as well as teachers from Kindergarten through the upper grades in high school.
Rev. Graham led the 5,800 Christians present through several times of prayer: first, he led the group assembled to pray for those in Orlando, Florida; next, he led those present to offer up repentance for the actions of our government as well as requesting repentance for those who work in politics; then to offer up repentance for our own personal transgressions; and then to request repentance for the transgressions of our forbears.
Franklin Graham made it clear that neither political party was going to be able to save America, but that the only One capable of saving America from our moral downhill slide, is none other than the Lord God Almighty. While he did not endorse any particular candidate, he did stress that every Christian should get out and vote. He quoted his Father, Billy Graham, from as far back as 1952, in which Billy Graham had been telling people to get out and vote and to get involved in the political process. He made telling comparisons of how if Christians would just run for school boards, mayoral positions and other political posts, that this could drastically reverse this downhill slide for the next 20 or so years. First to take back the local political scene and God willing, to then take back Washington, D.C.
The event lasted about forty-five minutes and the crowd dispersed in an orderly fashion. Many people came in church buses, but there were some people who had to walk ten or more blocks to get back to their parked cars. I find it rather interesting, but not surprising, that there weren’t any active Christian shooters at the event. Praise the name of the Lord God Almighty.
It has been 151 years since President Abraham Lincoln was laid to rest in Springfield, Illinois on May 4, 1865 at 7:56 p.m. in a temporary vault built into the hillside of Oak Ridge Cemetery. President Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865 but he was not laid to rest until three weeks later after traveling over 1500 miles from Washington DC to Springfield, Illinois, the place he called home.
On May 4, 2016 a reenactment of his funeral cortege pulled by four black stallions covered in black robes, proceeded from the Old State Capitol to his home on Eighth street, and then on to Oak Ridge Cemetery.
The hearse was festooned with black ostrich feathers and gold metal works.
The cortege was led by volunteers dressed as Union Army soldiers as they marched about 100 feet before the processional. Six of the soldiers were chosen to act as the President’s pallbearers as they removed the casket from the hearse, carrying it to the temporary vault. The gates were unlocked and the casket was set on the bier exactly at 7:56 p.m.
the very same time that President Lincoln was actually placed in the vault. The bell tower began to peal its solemn tones and one couldn’t help but count them as they sounded; six times did the bell ring out, interestingly, it rang the number of man. Speaking of the Bible, the number six is counted as the number of man, so it was obvious why the ringing of the funeral bell was chosen to ring six times. Speeches that were spoken at the actual funeral ceremony were read again and honor was given to President Lincoln for having written the Emancipation Proclamation as well as having already reunited the country once again and ending the Civil War.
The final tomb was partially constructed when they placed the bodies of Abraham Lincoln and his two sons, Edward and William, who had died prior to him, were laid to their final resting place together forever in the final tomb. It also marks the graves of Mary Todd Lincoln and one other son, Thomas who died in 1871. President Ulysses S. Grant dedicated the monument on October 15, 1874 and it was in the hands of the private monument association until 1895 when it was deeded over to the State of Illinois. Their son, Robert Todd Lincoln died in 1926 at the age of 82. The monument had already undergone major reconstruction and a new foundation had been erected from 1899-1901. In 1901 President Lincoln’s remains were placed beneath the floor of the burial chamber in a new vault.
Volunteers who came to act in the roles of Union Army soldiers, traveled from as far away as Kansas in order to participate in this event. Tourists had come as far as from California and New York to be present for this reenactment. However, the main, full reenactment was done last year in 2015 at the 150th anniversary, but the Historical Society has already planned on making this an annual event. So make your plans to come on or around May 4th of any year and you may witness this historic reenactment of the entombment of President Abraham Lincoln.
The movie, ‘The Young Messiah’ opened March 11, 2016 in most theaters. The movie plot is about Jesus of Nazareth as a young boy and as the trailers depict, it opens our imaginations about what the young Jesus might have been like. At the age of 7, Jesus is living in Alexandria, Egypt with his parents, Joseph and Mary, who fled Nazareth when the government edict was issued by King Herod, to slaughter all children under the age of 2. When they finally hear that Herod has died, the young couple set out with their 7 year old son to return to Nazareth.
The novel ‘Christ the Lord – Out of Egypt,’ was written by Ann Rice, who is not a newcomer to the writing industry. She has published novels such as ‘The Vampire Chronicles,’ ‘Blood Canticle,’ and many others which can be found at http://annerice.com. She also made a splash several years ago in 2010 when she announced that she was quitting Christianity (read my article :http://www.examiner.com/article/quitting-christianity-the-ann-rice-way.)
The screenplay was written by Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh and Cyrus Nowrasteh. Some of the major characters in the movie are:
Jesus – Adam Greaves-Neal
Mary – Sara Lazzaro
Joseph – Vincent Walsh
Herod – Jonathan Bailey
Cleopas – Christian McKay
James – Finn Ireland
the demon – Rory Keenan
The movie uses imagery garnered from stories from legends that cropped up about the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ; namely, bringing a bird back to life, etc. and that he was already engaged in performing miracles when he was still a boy. Whether these things really happened or not, we will not know for sure until He returns as King of King and Lord of Lords, at which time, we can ask Him if these things really happened. The movie definitely has a Roman Catholic background, for instance Ann Rice writes about James, the half brother of Jesus, but states that James was adopted. This being done in order to preserve the eternal virginity of Jesus’ mother, Mary. Mary and Joseph went on after Jesus’ birth to have four more sons: James, Joseph, Judas and Simon, and at least two daughters.
However, the movie was well done and well directed despite those issues and this writer definitely recommends going to see this movie. This is not like some of the other Hollywood movies that have recently come to the big screen that are simply unbelievable and quite clearly written by people who have no true knowledge about the Holy Scriptures.
This movie does have some violence but you really never see it graphically displayed. There are some blood spatters when the slaying of the infants was ordered by Herod the Great in an attempt to kill the Messiah when he was still a very young child, after the Magi had inquired about where they could find the new-born King. This is why Herod ordered that males under the age of 2 were to be put to death. The violence that is depicted is not the main point of the movie and is therefore nominal in nature, since this was not the focus. It is a movie well worth the price and very enjoyable to see an attempt to open up a window on the life of Christ as a boy, even if it is all from the imagination of the author.
This is an excerpt from a letter I wrote giving forth an Apologia for the faith.
You use two Scriptures and I have no problem with the first two and I find no problem with you using them. However, you cite Colossians 1:15-18 and you fall into classical errors simply because you are not discerning the use of English grammar, let alone Greek grammar, which is how the NT was originally penned.
Let’s address your first classical error: Scriptures were not written as a hodge-podge in which we are allowed to lift them out of context as we so desire in order to prove our doctrinal inclinations. I’m glad you are trying to exegete the Scriptures; however, you have need of a teacher yet. This then entails that we should go back to at least the beginning of the chapter to establish what is going on in this personal letter that Paul is writing to the church at Colosse.
V1 Paul establishes his apostleship that it is by the will of God and introduces Timothy as well.
V2 Paul names who this letter is to be addressed: saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colosse. He next blesses them with grace and peace, etc.
V3 Paul lets them know that he prays for them and thanks God…
V4 especially since they have faith in Christ Jesus and they love the saints.
V5 Paul reminds them of their hope which has been laid up for them, which had been proclaimed to them through the Gospel.
V6 The Gospel is bringing forth fruit and in them as well since they have known the grace of God in truth.
V7 Paul reminds them that they learned this through Epaphras their faithful minister of Christ.
V8 Paul tells them that Epaphras has told Paul and others of their love in the Spirit.
V9 Since the day that Paul heard the news, [What news? The news that the Gospel was bringing forth fruit in their lives], he has not ceased to pray for them and to desire that they might be filled with the knowledge of ‘his’ will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. So who does ‘his’ refer to exactly? Let’s go backwards to v4 and we find the subject of ‘his’ which is Christ Jesus. How do we know this? Because what is bringing forth fruit in these saints’ lives? The Gospel and who is the Gospel proclaiming…none other than Christ Jesus.
V10 [what will be the purpose of them being filled with the knowledge of ‘his’ (Christ Jesus’) will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding?]. That you might walk worthy of the Lord (Jesus), unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. [Because the Lord Jesus Christ came to announce the grace of God for reconciliation to God the Father by the shedding of his (Jesus’) blood.]
V11 Strengthened with all might [whose? Jesus’] according to ‘his’ [Jesus’] glorious power unto all patience and longsuffering with joy;
V12 Giving thanks unto the Father, who [God the Father] has made us meet to be full partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
V13 who [God the Father] has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated [moved] us into the kingdom of his [God the Father] dear Son:
V14 in whom [Jesus] we have redemption through his [Jesus] blood, the forgiveness of sins:
V15 who [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God….
So now let’s unpack verse 15….it is critical indeed for your understanding. So the verse tells us that Jesus is the IMAGE of the INVISIBLE GOD. Hmmm. Does God the Father have an IMAGE? The verse just tells us that HE is invisible and no one can see Him. So what does that tell us…except that GOD IS SPIRIT, even as John 4:24 tells us, and that God is seeking those who will one day be born again and be filled with His Spirit to worship Him perfectly. So now what does this tell us about Jesus Christ? If He is the IMAGE of God, it is saying that Jesus is SPIRIT too. If we think about the opening chapters of Genesis, what does God say about everything that He is making? It will REPRODUCE after ITS OWN KIND. Now, however, is this truly saying that Jesus was CREATED? NO! Why? Was God the Father created at some point in time? The Greek word for ‘first-born’ is πρωτότοκος and from this word, we get our English word ‘prototype,’ the first one in a series. So therefore, Jesus is the IMAGE OF GOD, and we are being made in Jesus’ image. How? We get born-again and we become SPIRITUAL BEINGS once again. This is what Adam and Eve were originally when God said in Genesis 1:26, “Let us MAKE man (their spirits) after ‘OUR IMAGE’ and then he FORMED their bodies and then He MADE their souls by blowing in the SPIRIT into their flesh and mankind became a living soul. So who was God talking to in Genesis? He states, ‘our’ (plural) image. Okay on to
V16 For by ‘him,’[who is ‘him’? It is the Lord Jesus and not God the Father. God in the Greek is in the genitive (possessive) case and not the nominative (subject)], were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him [Jesus] and for him [Jesus]:
V17 and he [Jesus] is before all things, and by him [Jesus] all things consist.
V18 and HE [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the prototype from the dead; that in all he [Jesus] might have the preeminence.
Verse 18 clearly states who the ‘HE’ the passage has been talking about and so HE was not CREATED as you are thinking of creation, but rather Jesus is the prototype, or the first in a series of spiritual sons and daughters that we should be like HIM and thus be able to worship the Holy Father in spirit and truth, especially since after Pentecost we are filled with the Holy Spirit so that we may do just that: worship the Most High God (the Father) and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.
Now that all of this is over for us it should be rather easy to just be contemplative about the whole matter. But oh, how hard it was to believe that when the seven month old baby in arms was supposed to turn into a monster during the dreaded time of the terrible twos…well, it was just plain hard to conceive this in our minds. Some of us older folks still remember reading Ann Landers’ advice column on a daily basis, and in one of her columns she had asked her readers to write in and let her know what their response would be to her question. The question was this: “If you had to do the parenting job all over again, would you do it?” There was an overwhelming majority of her readers that said quite frankly, “NO!” Hard to believe isn’t it? Of course, there were also those who said that they would do it over again, but with some major changes included. This column was read in 1977 when this writer had such a wonderful backlog of experience with children (baby was seven months old) and how this writer thought it was so terrible that these people would actually write in and say that they would never do the parenting job again if they had to do it over. Writer remembers the smell of baby powder in her nose and the sweet scents of a newly bathed baby nestling up against Mommy’s neck.
Oh, yes, as the title in this article also states….”the terrible teens….” as well. Yes, they were terrible. But perhaps it was because my two year old didn’t really have those so-called ‘terrible twos’ season….though later on, the wish was prevalent that those terrible twos had been as terrible as everyone said that they would be, but somehow they were not. Perhaps this is why her teen years were so terrible. She was making up for the easy time we had during her second year.
So what does it take to be even a somewhat decent parent? If you are an on-fire Christian in love with the Lord Yeshua, then you’ll probably come up to being a three-quarter way decent parent. If you are only a lukewarm Christian and only go to church on Easter and Christmas, (those dreaded CEO’s [Christmas-Easter-only] Christians, you’ll be lucky if you make it to one-third-way decent parent. However, if you’re fully living in the world….well….good luck.
So would this on-fire holiness preacher ever do the parenting thing again? I would as long as I remained an on-fire Christian, and totally in love with the King….that is, King Yeshua. Now, if only that had been the case the first time through. It probably would have been a lot easier. Not that children won’t probably still go through a time of rebellion….but that as parents…we have a source of comfort and wisdom that the world simply does not possess. So what do you say about the idea of doing the parenting trip again? Would you do it over again?
Well it’s hard to believe that Christmas…yes…CHRISTMAS…is coming up fast on our horizon. Seems like just yesterday that we were blowing horns that the New Year had just come in with a bang, and now we are shopping for gifts for our families and friends. Did everyone survive Black Friday? Well, now it is time that we begin writing out our Christmas cards and wrapping all of those gifts that we saved so much money on (or so we are told) by buying from this store rather than that one.
We know that stress is a killer and ‘T’is the Season’ that can bring much of this dreaded killer into our lives if we let it, and don’t carefully plan out our time schedules. Make sure you plan on taking some time for yourself and just relax and let the worries recede.
Here is a list of some of the things that can help you to get rid of the frazzle in your dazzle this Christmas season: First thing is to take the time to make a list. Here we go:
1. Sit down with a cup of your favorite beverage and make a list of the things you need to accomplish in the next 2-3 weeks.
2. Planning is essential if you’re going to survive the holiday whirlwind.
3. If you didn’t take part in Black Friday to buy your gifts, make a list of those you plan on giving gifts to and set the dollar amount that you wish to spend for each person, and stick to that limit. Overspending during the holidays is a sure-fire stress producer, so stay away from the temptation to buy just one more gift for that particular person.
4. Write out your Christmas cards and mail them promptly….don’t wait or you might get stuck in the long lines at the post office.
5. Take a long, hot bubble bath and pamper yourself.
6. Get your calendar out and write out the dates of any Christmas plays or concerts that you have to attend for your children’s school or those that might be at the church you attend.
7. Now add to your list and to your calendar the dates and times that you have already signed up to bake something for a club you belong to or the church bake sale. Not to mention the baking that you wish to do for your family and friends. Baking and cooking takes a lot of preparation and planning. So, because of the time constraints, make a grocery list of the items you will need to purchase in order to successfully get these projects done.
8. Sit down and watch your all time favorite Christmas movies.
9. Plan on setting aside a time that you can wrap your Christmas gifts in private (especially, if you have children) or a husband that likes to peek and see what you’re doing.
10. Spend time with your friends and family and just enjoy the holiest of all Holy(i)days. Unwrap your presents and be thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ that He agreed to come down as a little baby so that He could become your Savior and mine. Hallelujah!
Now….just think about it for a minute…. after you open up your presents and you have to clean up all of the mess….in just 371 days it will be CHRISTMAS once again. God Bless!
Surfing the web, this writer came across an article written by Matt Walsh that was posted in The Blaze at http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/no-serious-christians-arent-worried-about-the-stupid-starbucks-cups/ about the supposed Starbucks Christmas cup controversy. Seriously? It is hard to believe that any Christian(s) would be upset about such a thing. Then there is the backlash happening on the web as well as the major news outlets picking up the story, and so this guy, Joshua Feuerstein, has been making the rounds on Facebook trying to stir up a controversy. If Christians should get upset about anything that Starbucks puts on their cups, it would be their iconic twin-tailed mermaid siren or Norse goddess. According to Starbucks:
Suddenly, there she was: a 16th century Norse woodcut of a twin-tailed mermaid, or Siren. There was something about her – a seductive mystery mixed with a nautical theme that was exactly what the founders were looking for…http://www.starbucks.com/blog/so-who-is-the-siren
Then this writer found this blurb:
One of Astarte’s symbols was actually a star within a circle, which was used to symbolize the planet Venus. Interestingly, two stars are found within the green circle surrounding the logo character of the former Starbucks logo, which was used to separate ‘Starbucks’ and ‘Coffee.’ Artistic depictions of the goddess often show her naked, so why was such a figure with a steamy background chosen to represent the popular coffee chain? Astarte was a goddess that was worshiped in the Eastern Mediterranean countries dating back to the bronze age and into classical times, according to http://www.unexplainable.net
As some commentators have responded: Go feed the hungry, etc. etc. which is a reference to:
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
So what should shock Christians the more? No snowflakes on the red cups or the fact that Starbucks has chosen a snake-like goddess that has been represented as a twin-tailed Norse goddess, and which has also represented Astarte, a pagan goddess?
For Christians, the first of the Ten Commandments states very clearly:
And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.