A Rescue Operation

At Christ For The Nations we strongly believe that caring for orphans is a God-given priority that must be intentionally focused upon. Started by Freda Lindsay, the Orphanage Support program assists orphaned children in different countries. Most of these children have experienced terrible afflictions – neglect, abuse, slavery and the horrors of war.

The humanitarian ministry of Pastor Vasyl Dekhtyarenko, a longtime friend of CFN, helps children who have been orphaned by the recent war in Ukraine. Since 2014, the ministry has been serving refugees and the families of the fallen soldiers. Currently, they are helping 32 families, including 27 orphans. They provide them with food, clothes, vitamins, Christian literature, free legal consultation and professional counseling.

They do their best to care for “the least of these,” but the resources are very limited in the country torn by war, governmental corruption and economic upheavals. Currently there are 183 orphans on their waiting list who need help.

Pastor Vasyl says, “We want to be a touch of joy for these little ones during their toughest season. Many of the children we minister to have asked me if they would see their daddies soon. In nearly 30 years of ministry, this is one of the hardest questions I’ve ever had to answer.”

Unfortunately, orphaned and abandoned children can be found in every country, but in Pakistan, they are especially at risk. Taliban organizations target these children in order to train them to become suicide bombers.

CFNI alumni Solomon and Tina Manzoor got to “kidnap” several such children from the terrorists. The ministry of this brave couple is nothing less than a rescue operation. They say, “Our vision is to raise a new generation in Pakistan that is strong in the Lord. The children at Manzoor Orphan House go to a school run by the Salvation Army, they have daily devotions, and attend church meetings and Christian summer camps. Our staff members serve as a family to them, but we think it is imperative to lay a solid foundation of knowing God as their ever-present Father.”

Manzoor Orphan House, built with the help of CFNI’s partners, currently accommodates 40 children. As the number of children continues to increase, the orphanage desperately needs to expand. By the grace of God, the ministry was able to purchase a property and lay the foundation for an eight-story building that will house 200 children. Solomon and Tina believe that the Lord, who started this good work, will help them complete this project.

You can make a difference in the lives of the orphaned children in Ukraine and Pakistan. You donation to the CFN Orphanage Support program will help more children encounter the love of the Heavenly Father. We invite you to be a part of this rescue operation. When you invest in these children, you sow into the future of their countries.

Donate to the CFN Orphanage Support program today: cfni.org/orphans.

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Permission To Dream

(the story of Lazarus Razaily)

by Maria Erokhina

This is the story of a man who decided to choose the important over the convenient and the calling of God over the plans of people.

Big Dreams, Big Challenges

Lazarus was born into an orthodox Hindu family that was deeply involved in witchcraft and suffered grinding poverty. At a certain point, his father became very ill and was dying. A Christian neighbor told his wife about Jesus the Healer and prayed for her husband. At that time, Lazarus’ parents didn’t know anything about Christianity, but they agreed to receive the Lord in hopes that it would make the father well. A miracle happened indeed – his health was restored.

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The joy of sharing food and Jesus with the people of Nepal

After their salvation, the life of the family started to improve. Nevertheless, severe need compelled the parents to send their children to the orphanage. Fortunately, it was a Christian orphanage, where the children heard about Jesus on a daily basis.

From a very young age Lazarus wanted to become a musician. He had many other dreams, too, but the economic situation in the country and other challenges were steadily choking those dreams to death. Despair was growing in his heart.

In 2001, Lazarus got connected with a group of people who were passionate about the Lord and found the place where he belonged. He testifies that his real experience of salvation happened at that time. Although the circumstances around him didn’t change, hope started to rise in his heart.

A Step of Faith Leads to Breakthrough

Lazarus was serving with a ministry that provided food for homeless children on the dirty street of Kathmandu when he found two boys who “were different from the others.” Lazarus and his brother adopted these children while they themselves struggled financially. “Right after these kids came home, God abundantly blessed us; His favor opened many doors. Our life was changed after that,” says Lazarus. Now these boys have become young men who study at university.

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Lazarus, Sajana and their daughters, Avani and Subani

In 2008, Lazarus married Sajana and they began to overcome life’s challenges together. His ministry was growing quickly. He was invited to lead worship in many different places and served in the leadership of several churches. Still, he felt that there was more to life. He always wanted to become a worship pastor and start a worship school that would equip worship leaders. He was surfing the internet, looking for a school where he could get trained for that vision, and came across Christ For The Nations Institute. He applied to CFNI and was granted an international scholarship that enabled him to attend.

A Year of Change

At CFNI, God blew on the cooling ambers of Lazarus’ dreams. He felt that God gave him the permission to dream big. God also told him, “If I am with you, it doesn’t matter where you are – in the USA, Canada or Nepal – I will take care of you.”

During his one year at the school, Lazarus found direction for his life. Among many other wonderful things that happened, he received a prophetic word that he would be a church planter in Nepal.

In Dallas, he got connected and served with a Nepali Church that offered Lazarus the opportunity to become a pastor and promised to help bring his family to the USA.

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Ministry outreach to a Nepali village

“The dream of every person in Nepal is move to America and break free from devastating poverty and endless hopelessness,” admits Lazarus. Although staying in America (and leading a church!) was a great opportunity, he knew that God wanted him to go back to his homeland. He had to make a difficult decision.

“I knew that I was coming back to a life of struggle. I had nothing, I was going empty-handed. I had to start from scratch with no support,” he says. In the midst of the storm brewing inside of Lazarus’ mind, God assured him, “Trust Me and I’ll show you the next step. I will open doors for you.”

He decided to follow the Lord’s call, taking the road of hardship rather than convenience.

A New Start

When Lazarus came back to Nepal, he found three families that were in a critical condition. The children had lost their fathers and their mothers were struggling to make the ends meet. Lazarus used the money that the Nepali American church gave him and sent all nine children to school. This act of kindness gave each of them a start in life.

The joy that Lazarus shared with these families was his own, too. He even prayed, “If this is what You want me to do in life, I’ll be the happiest person.” When people heard about what he’d done, they started sending their support, and now they are collectively providing for 35 unprivileged children.

Despite the delight of seeing these children taking steps toward a good future, some of Lazarus’ expectations blew up in his face. The church in Kathmandu that he had served with before coming to CFNI refused to receive him back as a leader. His desperate attempts to be heard by the church leadership and serve under their authority were not successful. It was a challenging time for him.

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Alleviating the suffering of the 2015 earthquake victims

At that time, Lazarus opened his journal and found the prophetic word he had received at CFNI: “You will be a church planter in Nepal.” He got encouraged. “This is why my church is not allowing me to serve with them! I am supposed to plant new churches!” he thought. He went to tell his pastor about this vision. In spite of the perplexity of the situation, the pastor prayed over him and released him with a blessing.

Lazarus’ family, including his parents, supported him. They began to meet on a daily basis, praying, fasting, studying the Bible and seeking the Lord. “From the very beginning, our vision has been to be a church that is worshipping, Spirit-filled and grounded in the Word,” says Lazarus. After six months, God started adding new people to their congregation, Levites Church, and many were saved, healed and delivered.

In March 2014, Levites Church moved from Lazarus’ house to a bigger building. They also planted a daughter church in the neighboring town of Makwanpur and played an active role in alleviating the suffering of the 2015 earthquake victims.

Igniting the Heart of Worship

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Bringing God’s presence to the uttermost parts of the world

For two years, Lazarus diligently served the people God entrusted him with. He wanted to be a faithful steward of that most valuable treasure, but the dream of igniting the heart of worship in Nepal was still burning in his heart. In 2016, God said to him, “You’ve been faithful with what I’ve entrusted you, now I want to respect your desire. Do what you have in your heart.”

From then on, Lazarus’ worship and music ministry launched quickly. God started sending him musicians, musical instruments and other necessary equipment. Now his team of 15 dedicated people travels to different parts of Nepal and India, leading worship and teaching about worship. Lately, God has been opening some amazing opportunities for them to serve and glorify Him.

It’s About Him

“My life is given to me by God to praise Him, and all that I am doing is not about me, but about Him. It’s His business, and He is more concerned about it than I am,” says Lazarus. “God’s love is what keeps me moving forward. I get my inspiration, motivation, energy, anointing and resources from Him alone. Challenges will always be there, but we have to be more focused on God rather than the problems.”

Levites Ministry’s motto is simply “Nepal needs Jesus.”

Because of people with dedicated hearts like Lazarus, Nepal has hope. If would like to connect with Levites Ministry and be part of what God is doing in this part of the world, email Lazarus at lazrusraj@yahoo.com.

 

 

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For Freedom He Was Set Free

By Mike and Lori Westlund

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At 8 years old, Raj’s mother was forced into temple prostitution by her own mother.

Raj Mugalkhod was born on the streets of the red light district in Kamathipura, Mumbai, India. His mother, only a teenager when he was born, was a seventh-generation temple prostitute. She had been given to the goddess Yellamma, so she would never be allowed to marry a mortal. Even though she maintained a relationship with her four sons’ father for short periods of time, Raj’s mother had to continue her life as a temple prostitute and struggled to care for her four boys, as well as her four orphaned nieces.

While his mother was doing the best she could, like many children born into severe poverty, Raj had to fend for himself from a very young age. He often had to resort to begging when he could find no work. Hunger was a fact of life, as were serious illnesses including hepatitis, malaria and typhoid fever. Just to survive, he joined a gang, engaging in criminal behavior. This bothered his sensitive conscience, which then led him to alcohol addiction, and the cycle of misery continued.

Raj grew up in a brothel, and in this unsafe environment he was sexually abused many times from the age of eight. He also saw others abused and trafficked, and this caused him to despair. At the age of 16, he had seen enough and attempted to escape his miserable existence by taking poison. For seven days, he lay in a coma with the doctors giving his mother little hope of his survival. She was not one to give up easily, and she contacted a Christian pastor, who fasted and prayed for Raj’s life.

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Raj’s mother holding him as a baby.

While lying in a coma, Raj remembers being pulled down toward Hell by demons, only to have Jesus appear. Jesus reached out His hand and pulled Raj out of Hell. After that near death experience, Raj was never the same. For the next 20 years, he invested his life in full-time Christian service, rescuing the victims of human trafficking in the district where he grew up. He rescued over 100 women and girls, often using his own money to purchase their freedom.

In April 2009, Raj married a beautiful Christian woman named Mansi, and shortly after they became pregnant. At the time, Raj was involved with the production of a groundbreaking documentary on human trafficking, The Cage. As was customary in India, Mansi returned to her parent’s home for the delivery. Unfortunately, Raj only got to see Mansi and their new son Mark for one day, and then he had to return to work on the project. He was soon notified that Mansi had complications and caught a train to be with her. Tragically, Mansi passed away early the next morning, only 15 days after bringing Mark into the world.

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As a child, Raj lived in brothels, sleeping under the beds of young girls while they were forced to have sex.

Raj struggled with survivor’s guilt; he was devastated and temporarily lost the use of his legs, probably due to severe shock and grief. He had to take a break from work to recover both physically and emotionally while his mother, who had become a Christian after seeing Raj’s deliverance, graciously stepped up to care for his new son. At this point Raj had no interest in remarrying, but he threw himself into the work of rescuing victims of trafficking. Since he had very little formal education, God gave him a desire to study and prepare for the high school equivalency test. Even though he had to teach himself, he miraculously passed. He attended South Asia Bible School for a year, which also couldn’t have happened without Divine assistance.

After faithfully serving with Teen Challenge for many years, God put a vision in Raj’s heart to further his education at Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas. CFNI gave Raj a Full-work Scholarship, enabling him to pursue this vision. The April before Raj embarked on this epic venture, he was advised by spiritual mentors, Samuel and Shalini Daniel, that he needed a wife for himself and a mother for Mark. Raj contacted Anita, his deceased wife’s sister, with a proposal of marriage. Anita had kept her faith secret because her parents were devout Hindus and blamed both Raj and his God for the death of their daughter. At the time, she had already been proposed to by a Google engineer who could offer her all the material things Raj could not. There was one very important thing he lacked: faith in Jesus Christ. After three days of praying and fasting, Anita accepted Raj’s proposal, and they were married one week later. Anita’s parents told her that she was no longer their daughter. She had to leave home with nothing but her faith in God and her new husband and son. (Anita is continuing to believe for her parents’ salvation and loves them dearly.)

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On the street of the red light district.

Seeing the call of God on his life, Raj’s friends rallied around his dream and gave him the money to travel to America to attend CFNI. The miracles of provision continued as soon as Raj and Anita arrived in America. When they arrived at the airport, they only had one dollar, and no one would let them use their cell phone or give them change for a dollar to call someone for a ride to CFNI. In desperation, Anita bowed her head and prayed to God for help. When she looked up, she saw a dark-skinned man walking up to her, and before she could ask him for change, he emptied out his wallet into her hands — $235! She looked down in amazement at all the money, and when she looked up, he was gone. To this day, the couple cannot explain this miracle, other than to say it was an angelic visitation. Anita and Raj kept the dollar bill they arrived with as a memorial of God’s faithfulness.

Raj and Anita have both paid a huge price to follow the path that God has set for their lives. Still, their heart burns to see the captives set free. They continue to see miracles as Raj finishes his second year of preparation at CFNI (after receiving another one year scholarship), gaining the training he needs to return and bring freedom to their home country of India.

 

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Why Should You Vote?

By Dennis Lindsay

In June, Ginger and I had the opportunity to attend a historic event. About 1,000 Christian leaders gathered in a closed-door, New York meeting, to have a conversation with Donald Trump concerning the future of our nation.

Flying there, June Hunt, the well-known teacher, author and radio commentator, was seated next to us. June is the Founder and CSO (Chief Servant Officer) of Hope For The Heart. Her two radio broadcasts air on approximately 900 radio outlets worldwide. Ginger told June she was constantly hearing Christians say, “I’m not going to vote.” Why? It’s because they believe that their personal, religious convictions won’t allow them to support either candidate. June’s reply was the next President will select two to five U.S. Supreme Court justices, and it would be a travesty for any Christian to refuse to vote.

The next morning we went to Times Square for the meeting. Franklin Graham opened the event with heartfelt prayer. Dr. Ben Carson, with great sincerity, spoke on behalf of Trump and how he had come to appreciate him. Carson said, “Our ship is going in the wrong direction. We must first stop the ship and turn it around; then we can move in the opposite direction. We cannot fix everything in any one moment. It will be a long journey, but with God’s power we can turn the ship around.” Former governor Mike Huckabee served as moderator and sat across from Trump who entertained questions from Dr. James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Kelly Shackelford, Dr. David Jeremiah, Cindy Jacobs, Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Sammy Rodriguez about religious freedom, Israel, potential Supreme Court nominees and abortion.

Other issues discussed were: defending the right to speak freely from the pulpit without the fear of losing one’s tax-exempt status, the Left’s war on Christians — political correctness, the Second Amendment, the Iran Nuclear Agreement and what type of judges Trump would appoint to the Supreme Court. It seemed obvious that he fully understands the importance of this issue. This is crucial because it doesn’t matter how many good laws are passed if the courts are going to strike them down. Trump continually pointed out that he would appoint judges who would defend religious liberty and be conservative.

Trump’s answer, regarding our concern about Israel, confirmed that he would be a strong supporter of Israel and mentioned that he never understood Jewish Americans who voted for Democrats, like President Obama, who don’t support Israel. It seemed obvious that Trump understands the threat to our country from the religion of Islam and the terrorists produced from its doctrines of hate, even though he has taken a lot of flack from the liberal media for criticizing that religion.

Trump also mentioned that he would take action against cancelling the tax-exempt status of churches if pastors were politically outspoken, which was put into law by President Lyndon Johnson . He also believes that churches should not be restricted from promoting and recommending Christian politicians for office for fear of losing their exemption status and donations from members of their congregation. He wants to give freedom to all pastors to promote individuals who have Christian values and whom they believe can make a godly difference. Other issues he spent time on were restoring and strengthening our military and dealing with illegal immigration.

I sensed tenderheartedness in Donald Trump’s answers. I along with some other Christian leaders haven’t been fans of his because of how he is portrayed by the media — brash, arrogant and sometimes rude, along with questionable investments, vulgar and hateful rhetoric, and biblical illiteracy. At this meeting he was pleasant, relaxed, joking a bit, thoughtful, caring and considerate. There seems to be a mellowed attitude toward receiving biblical values at a greater depth. As Dr. James Dobson mentioned, “I think that he’s open. He doesn’t know our language, and he refers a lot to religion instead of faith and belief.” Dobson’s interviewer responded, “I imagine Saul, when he became Paul, didn’t know the language, either.”

At the meeting’s end, both evangelicals and charismatics knelt side by side and petitioned our Heavenly Father for help in these challenging days for our nation’s future. We prayed for forgiveness, guidance, wisdom and strength to turn this country back to God. I believe it was a very special moment of united power in the spiritual realm. Jerry Falwell, Jr. stated, “If we all wait for the perfect candidate, who has the demeanor of our pastors and agrees with us on every issue, including our personal theological beliefs, then we may all sit at home on election day for the rest of our lives.”

At this event, I saw a reverent and patriotic heart deep within Trump’s 70 years of experience. He remembers when America was great, but now is willing to forget its heritage. Yes, he comes from the secular, marketplace world; yet, he seems to be searching for spiritual answers to his purpose in life. Around him now are some anointed men and women of God. After the meeting I heard Dr. James Dobson state, “Donald Trump has recently committed his life to our Lord.” Pray that in time the fruit of the Holy Spirit will become manifested in his life.

Remember, God gave us this unique, Christian freedom — we are first Christians, members of the Body of Christ, not members of a political party. This is not an endorsement of any political candidate. A responsible Christian should pray, examine character, check the voting record and positions of the candidate to see if they are voting Godly principles. We should not foolishly surrender our right to vote to the enemy. Voting is a priceless freedom and privilege, not only in our lifetime, but for the future of our children. So, go and VOTE!

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What Storyline Will You Be A Part Of?

By Will Ford

The week of July 4th was a very difficult one for our nation. Early in the week the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police officers were streamed on TV and social media. Sterling’s 15-year-old, sobbing during a news conference was devastating. Seeing Castile’s 4-year-old, witnessing his death from the back seat of his car broke our hearts. Then came Thursday, when the roots of bitterness from these tragedies struck my hometown.

Friday, I attended a prayer vigil in my city, Dallas, Texas, where a sniper shot 12 Dallas police officers, killing five, during a peaceful protest Thursday night. This egregious retaliation was deplorable, disgusting and painful. This attack was the worst, affecting police officers since 9/11, and the worst in Dallas’ history. According to Dallas Police Chief David Brown, the gunman, before he died, said he wanted to kill white officers in retaliation for the two black men who were killed in Louisiana and Minnesota. This was so senseless, especially since these innocent officers had nothing to do with these events. The shooter judged and stereotyped all of the officers as bad cops because of the abusive actions of a few. Ironically, this is in part what the peaceful protesters were marching against: Judgments and stereotypes. The sad irony is two communities, police officers and African-Americans, both feel judged and stereotyped by the actions of a few. An enemy has done this.

Related to further healing the race issue and a new justice movement, God gave me a dream about the dreamer, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the dream, my friend, Lou Engle, and I were driving in a SUV to church, but we couldn’t get there without picking up Dr. King. As we pulled up to his house, Dr. King came out with a white duffle bag with black handles. He went to the curb and dumped out everything that was in the duffle bag. Once it was empty, surprisingly, he threw away the bag as well. Dr. King then walked over to our vehicle and opened the door to ride with us. In the dream, I thought his bag would make a nice souvenir, but when I went to retrieve it, Dr. King grabbed me and abruptly turned me around. Staring intently into my eyes with his hands on my shoulders, he said: “No! Do not go back and pick that up!” He then began to tell me what I needed to do to heal the race issue and contend for justice in America. I began weeping in the dream and woke up with tears streaming down my face.

While praying for the interpretation, emphasis was placed on the white duffle bag with black handles. Suddenly, I realized the black handles represented my race, African-American, and the white duffle bag represented my “white baggage.” The dream revealed how God wanted me, an African-American, to “handle” any unresolved race issues that have been carried for too long.

This was consistent with anyone who desired involvement with Dr. King’s organization in the 60s. No one could be a part of the movement if they had racial hatred or bitterness in their heart. The Lord was saying to me, “Empty yourself of any souvenir of unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment. Get rid of your ‘white baggage’ and ride in the new movement that will bring revival and justice to everyone in America.” None of us who are crying out for justice in this hour can get where we’re going without picking up the justice mantle of Dr. King, and we cannot get breakthrough without riding together! The question before all of us is this: “What color is my baggage?? If you are carrying racial baggage—get rid of it, so we can all ride together. We need each other! We cannot be thermometers, merely reacting to the temperature of our times. We must be thermostats who change our cultural climate.

While I’m all about us having a dialogue regarding race, etc., I want us to be very careful about not being divisive. The Bible says we are to be “diligent to maintain the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace.” Also, as horrific as they look, there is much we still don’t know regarding these recent police shootings. So yes, grieve, mourn, but don’t rush to judgment. Our own bias and empathy can betray the facts of these situations, and there is so much we don’t know regarding what happened before the recordings began. In all our getting, we need to get an understanding as each phase is rolled out. Finally, as I’ve said before, don’t take the bait of offense and start name-calling, bashing others, finger pointing, etc. Remember to be quick to listen and slow to speak. The truth is we need each other’s perspectives to heal our today, so together we can shape a better future for our tomorrow.

Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood, and satan is trying to create a narrative of racial division to destroy us. Nevertheless, there is a meta-narrative going on. It’s God’s storyline of healing and redemption that can turn this nation around. What storyline will you be a part of? The healing or the hurt? This is our shared moment in history. What storyline will we be a part of?

With that I say, stay hopeful. Most of this week, I’ve been waking up to write my thoughts in regard to tragedies, but one day, I believe we’ll awake to write stories of triumph. One day, we will wake up to write the story of God’s redemptive power in Orlando, Chicago, Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, Dallas and other cities. And we’re going to realize that we were the pen, the Holy Spirit was the ink, and God took us by His hand and wrote His storyline through us. Together, let’s let Him use our lives to turn a nation.

 

Will Ford is the Director of CFNI’s Third Year Marketplace Major. For more information, visit cfni.org or you can connect with him on Twitter @willford3.

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It’s Time To Speak Up

By Michelle and Solomon Ofori-Ansah

Whose voice do you obey and whose authority do you submit to — God’s, or the government’s?

ultrasoundGianna Jessen, against all odds, survived a late-term, saline abortion. This procedure is designed to suffocate and burn a fully developed baby while it is still inside her mother’s womb. Yes, it is legal in America. Unlike most babies, Gianna escaped this grisly death. She was born alive! Her chances of survival were still very slim. However, because a nurse, not an abortionist, was attending her birth mother, an ambulance was called, instead of them administering death. Each year, in the U.S. alone, over 1 million babies are legally killed in abortion clinics in a silent holocaust. Not sentenced by a bloodthirsty tyrant, but by the Supreme Court of “We The People of the United States.” In this holocaust their guilt is not their race or ethnicity, but simply their fragility and innocence. They are the pre-born.

IT’S NOT THE FIRST TIME

Main gate and railroad to Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz Birkenau
Main gate and railroad to Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz Birkenau

Throughout history and up to the present day, the human race has gone through periods of extreme social injustice. In Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Jews were considered less than human, and over 6 million were killed in concentration camps. The apartheid regime of South Africa legislated a system of racial segregation that kept blacks from mixing with whites, suppressing the majority black population. This prevented blacks from determining their own destinies in their native land. Long after the abolition of slavery in America, the Jim Crow laws in the American South kept African-Americans from voting or riding at the front of a bus—and seemed to give implicit support for the beatings and lynchings of blacks. Wherever there has been change or improvement, it is because men and women of conscience and courage refused to be silent, and therefore, participate in the injustice. Wherever there has been no voice of advocacy, the darkness lingers.

HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE, ABORTION AND ERODING FREEDOM

Our culture seems to be changing right before our eyes. Or maybe it is just the hidden things coming to light (Job 28:11, Daniel 2:22). The moral pendulum of America appears to be swinging further away from anything remotely Christian or even civilized. On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of homosexual marriage, affirming and legalizing a practice that the Bible clearly states is a sin and an abomination to God (Romans 1:18- 32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:9-10). By legalizing it, the Supreme Court in effect makes it illegal not to recognize it. Thus, more than recognizing the freedom of people to engage in a homosexual marriage, it denies others the right to follow their consciences and practice their faith without the fear of persecution. In fact, Christian bakers and florists have already been fined and told that they have to provide wedding cakes or flowers for homosexual marriage ceremonies, despite their religious convictions. This is just the beginning.

The LGBT community holds parades and protests in support of homosexuality.
The LGBT community holds parades and protests in support of homosexuality.

As the Christian church was still recovering from the shock of the Supreme Court’s ruling, an even more outrageous and gut-wrenching evil came to light. A horrifying video (the first of many) emerged showing Planned Parenthood’s doctors callously discussing how they dismembered pre-born babies’ body parts, while they are still alive, for them to sell. They even described live births and “harvesting” the baby’s organs, which led to the baby’s death. Yes, this is happening in America! And yet, in a recent national poll, 65 percent of Americans still do not favor defunding this infamous organization. How would you respond if we said that America is a state sponsor of terror; condoning and funding a different type of terror of its own citizens—the most vulnerable little ones? We would never consider ourselves a rogue nation or compare ourselves to Nazi Germany, and yet, we watch as these innocent lives are destroyed — and we have been watching for over 40 years since Roe v. Wade was passed.

GOD HAS THE FINAL AUTHORITY

So what do you do in a time of apostasy, when a nation is in gross moral decline? What do you do when society says something is right that is so obviously wrong? Whose voice do you obey — God’s authority or the government’s authority? As Christians, we must recognize that God’s authority is the highest authority for our lives. An example of this is found in Acts 4:19: “But Peter and John replied, ‘Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!’” The apostles recognized that God was the One Who they had to obey.

lawAsher Intrater in his book, Authority: Biblical Principles of Spiritual and Delegated Authority, states, “Governments have authority in issues dealing with political and civil affairs. They do not have authority within the family.” What this statement means is that the government cannot and should not be allowed to tell us that we have to accept and condone homosexual marriage or any other type of immoral behavior. Government has no right to tell us how to live in our families, and it does not have the right to decide the value of life and which babies can live or even at what stage of development they can be killed. The Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:14 declares, “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb . . .” He was echoing a central, biblical teaching that life begins at conception, in the womb. Abortion then cannot be justified, legally or in any other way.

The government cannot and should not be allowed to tell us that we have to accept and condone homosexual marriage or any other type of immoral behavior.

COMPASSIONATE RESISTANCE

In spite of the overwhelming biblical evidence that homosexuality is a sin, people who do not condone the homosexual lifestyle are generally accused of being haters and homophobes. Dr. Michael Brown, a Messianic Jew and professor of Bible and Hebrew studies (formerly an adjunct professor at a CFNI affiliated Bible school), wrote a book called Can You Be Gay And Christian? He states, “You are created to be a child of God, a servant of the Lord Jesus, a world-changer and a history-maker in Him . . . The ultimate issue is not homosexuality or heterosexuality. All human beings fall short of God’s standards in many ways, and all of us — heterosexual and homosexual alike — need God’s mercy . . . and need to turn from our sins and ask God for grace to lead a holy and virtuous life.” So the issue is not a stance against homosexuality. It is against all manner of sin and iniquity. This is a call to take a stand for God — a stand of righteousness that is not born in legalism and condemnation, but in grace and truth.

Dr. Brown advocates a compassionate approach to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community. He says further that Jesus “practiced transformational inclusion, which I wholeheartedly advocate, not affirmational inclusion, which the LGBT community advocates … We are to reach out and resist, meaning, reach out to LGBT people with compassion and resist gay activism with courage.” He is describing the importance of building relationships with homosexuals, but not to the point of compromising the biblical standards by which we live our lives. The believer must submit to the authority and truth of God’s Word, while saying “no” to moral relativism and degeneration in our society.

SILENCE IS NOT AN OPTION

Abortion survivor Gianna Jessen describes the impact of compromising in the face of pressure. “We will have to give an account as a nation, before God, for our apathy and for the murder of over 50 million children in the womb. Every time we falter in courage as individuals and fail to confront this evil, I wonder how many lives have been lost in our silence, while we make sure we are lauded among men and do not offend anyone? How many children have died, been dismembered and their parts sold for our ego, our convenience and our promiscuity? … The blood cries out to the Lord from the ground, like that of the blood of Abel. Not one of them is forgotten by Him.”

Each year, CFNI students take a stand against abortion as part of the Life Chain event.
Each year, CFNI students take a stand against abortion as part of the Life Chain event.

Where do you stand as the silent holocaust goes on? Acclaimed author and church historian, Dr. Eddie Hyatt, writes, “There were Christians in Germany who opposed Hitler and the Nazi regime, but they were a minority. Too many yielded to Hitler’s intimidation and took the path of least resistance— the path of silence.” One of those who did not stand silently by and who opposed the Nazi regime was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was eventually hanged for his resistance. He declared, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

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David Barton: Remembering Our Biblical Heritage

By Belinda Elliott

God commands those who love Him to know their history. Throughout Scripture, God reminds us to recall what God has done in our lives and in our nation—and to be able to share that history with others. This was the emphasis of a series of recent lectures by David Barton at Christ For The Nations.

“Jesus tells us very specifically, ‘If you love Me, you will obey My commandments’ (John 14:15). One of the ways we measure our love for God is not by what we say but by what we do. You want to measure your love for Christ? Just go through the 49 commands Christ gives in the four Gospels and see how well you obey them,” says Barton, an acclaimed expert in historical and constitutional issues.

One such command for believers who wish to love and obey God is to remember history. “It is repeated time after time,” Barton says. “God says, ‘Recall the former days. Remember the former times. Know your history. Be able to recite your history to other people.’”

Barton isn’t just talking about knowing the names and dates of our historical past. He is discussing the need for believers to know what he calls providential history. “God wants us to be able to know exactly what He’s been up to in our country. Whatever country you are from, you need to know what God has been up to in the history of your country because He is the One who sets the lines for the nation.”

As the culture in the United States has become more secular, the history of the country’s founding on biblical principles is being forgotten by many. Barton points to many of the ideas that the country’s government was founded on, which find their basis in Scripture.

“Our free market economic system came from five Bible verses: 1 Timothy 5:8, 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Matthew 25, Luke 19 and Matthew 20. Can you look at those verses and figure out how to put together an economic system?” Barton asks. “We could in previous generations, and that is why we have the system we now have. If you took out our free market economic system, you would not recognize America, the best product of Bible teachings.”

He also cites the section of the Constitution that declares America must maintain a republican form of government. “Those who wrote that clause took the idea from Exodus 18:21, Deuteronomy 1:15-16, and Deuteronomy 16:18,” Barton says. “A republican form of government is what God recommended most often, and that’s what we adopt and use. If we took away our republican form of government, we wouldn’t recognize America. Most people today don’t have a clue that it came out of the Bible.”

The Constitution itself is often referred to as a godless document by secular professors. However, Barton explains that Christians who know Scripture know that to be false. “If you know the Bible and read the Constitution, you see multiple Bible verses referenced in the Constitution. Scripture is all through the Constitution; we just don’t recognize it anymore.”

In order to have a more complete picture of the history of God’s work in our nation and the world, Barton states we also need to be students of the Bible. “Ninety-five percent of American Christians have never read through the Bible from cover to cover once in their lifetime,” he says. “You can’t be a biblical person and not know what is in the Book.”

This biblical illiteracy has led some Christians to live in ways that are contrary to Scripture. Barton points to recent statistics about abortion as evidence. “Of those who profess to be Christians in America today, 42 percent of Christians in America say that abortion is a moral behavior,” he says. “Sixty-five percent of all abortions in America are performed on Christians, and 200,000 abortions a year are performed on born-again Christians. We may be a Christian nation, but we are not a biblical nation anymore. We used to understand that the Bible is the basis of what we did.”quote-abortion

More than just reading for facts, believers should study Scripture to find practical applications that will change how they act and think. “If you do that, it will change you,” he says. “It will change everyone you touch around you. It will change everything you put your fingers into. We need to know God’s Word from cover to cover thoroughly and see that it does apply to every aspect of life.”

David Barton is the Founder and President of WallBuilders, a national pro-family organization. Visit wallbuilders.com for more information or view his CFNI messages at CFNI.TV.

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How to Respond to the Threat of ISIS

By Dr. Eddie Hyatt

“We have never seen anything like it, and we must be ready for anything,” were the words of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in discussing the threat of the jihadist ISIS movement with an obvious note of concern in his voice. Military and intelligence officials are taking very seriously the threat of ISIS to bring its horrific brand of terror to America and fly its flag over the White House. Could it happen?

We must remember that this battle will not be won ultimately with jet fighters and tanks because, at its core, this is an ideological war for truth. This is why a strong and vibrant Christianity that can wage spiritual warfare is absolutely necessary. This is why we must pray for another Great Awakening in our land. This is why we also must learn from history, from those who have preceded us.

There is an example from the early history of the church that has amazing parallels to our nation and its current situation with radical Islam. Like America, this area saw great moves of God and became the bastion of Christianity from the second through the sixth centuries. The light of the Gospel shone brightly and there emerged some of the greatest leaders and thinkers the church has known.

Yet, because of certain trends that weakened and watered down the faith of the Christians of this area, it fell to Islam in the seventh century and is still under Islamic control. In this article, I share three important lessons from this period; three things we must avoid in order to not repeat the mistakes of the North African Church and suffer a similar fate.

THE POWER AND PROMINENCE OF THE NORTH AFRICAN CHURCH

Beginning in the first century, perhaps with the Ethiopian official whom Philip led to Christ (Acts 8:26-40), Christianity spread rapidly across North Africa. Paganism and false religions fell like dominoes as the message of Christ swept across the continent. Tertullian (160-220), the famous North African church father and apologist, wrote to a pagan official: “We are but of yesterday, and yet we have filled all the places that belong to you.”

Along with Tertullian, unusually gifted Christian leaders, such as Cyprian and Augustine, emerged in North Africa. They formulated theologies that are still the basis for much of the thinking in both Catholicism and Protestantism.

In its heyday, no one would have guessed that Christian North Africa would fall to Islam. Nonetheless, that is exactly what happened in the seventh century. Here are three trends (or sins) in the North African church that we must avoid in order to help guarantee that we will not suffer a similar fate.

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Hamas publicly executing men. Note three bodies already on the ground. The man in the striped shirt is waiting his turn while many men and children watch the executions.
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Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, leader of ISIS or the Islamic State

1. AVOID BEING DIVISIVE

It is one thing to disagree; it is another thing to be divisive. Christians can disagree in nonessential issues and still be one in Christ. A divisive spirit, however, divides and weakens the church, making it vulnerable to outside forces that want to destroy it. Divisiveness was a major factor that weakened the North African church and made it vulnerable to the attacks of Islam in the seventh century.

This divisive spirit showed itself especially in the Donatist controversy that erupted early in the fourth century. It was centered on whether those who had denied the faith in recent persecutions could, now that persecution was past, become leaders in the church.

One group led by Donatus insisted on high standards for those in leadership. The people on the other side insisted on mercy toward those who had recanted their faith in the past and allowed them to serve as bishops and leaders. They were unable to come to agreement.

This controversy eventually caused a split in the North African church. The rivalry was intense and this issue left a deep wound in the North African church from which it never recovered. Avoid being divisive. Satan’s tactic is “divide and conquer.” We must be uncompromising about truth, but at the same time, be careful that we are not so intent on digging up the tares that we also uproot the wheat in the process (Matthew 13:29).

2. AVOID A “WATERING DOWN” OF THE FAITH

The Donatist controversy was indicative of a “watering down” of the call of the Gospel to discipleship and absolute commitment to Christ. Yes, we must offer mercy, forgiveness and redemption in the Name of Christ to a broken and fragmented world; but we must, at the same time, make clear the call to absolute surrender to Christ and His Lordship, which is just as clear in the Gospels.

The evidence indicates that North African Christianity became soft and self-centered. As individual commitment to Christ waned and moral laxity increased, the church was further weakened, making it vulnerable to the committed armies of Islam when they arrived on the scene.

We must not allow this to happen to our generation. This is why we must pray for another Great Awakening in our land. God is calling his people to make a shift from a watered-down, me-centered approach to the Gospel to a selfless, Christ-centered approach. In this new attitude and mindset, we are no longer preoccupied with what God will do for us, but our consuming passion is to know His heart and do His will.

3. AVOID PURSUITS OF POWER

Power struggles go right along with a divisive spirit. Nothing weakens the church as much as internal power struggles for prominence and control. Many power struggles emerged in the church in North Africa, especially as it aligned itself more and more with the Roman political order.

This was another criticism of the Donatists toward the mainstream church — its alignment with the Roman state. When Augustine became the bishop of Hippo in 395, he sought reconciliation with the Donatists, for the separation had occurred before his time. Augustine, however, did not see unity as occurring through a mutual acceptance of one another in Christ. As far as he was concerned, the Donatists were sheep that had gone astray and the only path for reconciliation and unity was for them to return to the Catholic fold, which they had left.

When the Donatists rebuffed Augustine’s overture, he appealed to the Roman emperor to intervene. He condemned them and declared being a Donatist illegal. Those who refused to rejoin the Catholic Church were imprisoned or executed. Some fled to the desert, and others committed suicide rather than submit to the imperial decree. The power struggles in the North African church greatly weakened it and made it vulnerable to the Islamic invaders when they arrived. Only as Christian leaders have the confidence to be servants to the people of God will we see the body of Christ equipped to rise up in great strength and power, able to conquer every foe with the truth of the Gospel.

WHY I EXPECT ANOTHER GREAT AWAKENING

When Muslim armies began invading North Africa around the middle of the seventh century, the once powerful North African church did not have the internal strength of a vital faith and moral character to put up a defense, and they succumbed to the invaders. The noted church historian, Philip Schaff, says, “A large number of nominal Christians who had so fiercely quarreled with each other about unfruitful subtleties of their creeds, surrendered their faith to the conqueror.” Muslim armies eventually swept across the entire continent bringing an end to Christianity’s prominence and replacing the cross with the crescent. That is still the state of North Africa today.

I do not believe this will happen to America. I do not deny that it could, nor do I take the threat lightly. But, I believe churches, ministries, groups and fellowships, rising to the occasion, are calling one another to a new consecration and commitment to Jesus Christ. I believe more and more people are praying in sincere faith for another Great Awakening in our land. Because of this, I believe we’ll see a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit sweep across this nation and around the world. I believe God is hearing our prayers and, as He promised in 2 Chronicles 7:14, He will heal our land.

 

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray that the church will avoid divisiveness, a watering down of our faith and power struggles.
  • Pray for a strong and vibrant Body of Christ that can wage spiritual warfare.
  • Pray for another Great Awakeng, a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will sweep across this nation and around the world.
  • Pray that America will not follow the pattern of history but will instead draw closer to God and to His plans and purposes for her.

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is an author, ordained minister and founder/director of Revive America. Through Revive America, his goal is to help lay the biblical and historical foundation for another Great Awakening in our land. If you would like to host a Revive America event with your group or congregation, contact Dr. Hyatt at dreddiehyatt@gmail.com. His books are available on Amazon and at eddiehyatt.com.

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HAMAS IS ISIS, ISIS IS HAMAS

Warning: Contains images not suitable for children

By Shira Sorko-Ram, Co-Founder of Maoz Israel 

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood beside the U.N.’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and declared, “Hamas is like ISIS, Hamas is like al-Qaeda, Hamas is like Hezbollah, Hamas is like Boko Haram.”

The most significant element of this statement is that Netanyahu is the only world leader who has dared to point out this obvious fact. Strategically, ISIS has a united ideology, a clear belief system and a common goal. It is the same ideology and belief system as that of Hamas.

Mideast Israel Palestinians Collaborators
Hamas: Killing by dragging a man behind a motorcycle.

ISIS

Not long ago ISIS was much smaller in numbers than Hamas and its range of operations matched its strength. Now that it has grown exponentially, so have its aspirations. The original name, AQI (al-Qaeda Iraq) became ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), then became ISIL (change the word “Syria” to “Levant” which includes all of the Eastern Mediterranean) and finally has become IS, the Islamic State – meaning the entire world.

But how did it all begin? The founder of what has become ISIS or the Islamic State, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was simply a street thug, a free agent looking to create his own terrorist organization. When the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq began in 2003, Zarqawi commanded a campaign of suicide bombings against Shiites across Iraq – with the same tactics Yasser Arafat used in the Second Intifada against Israel. Zarqawi then joined up with al-Qaeda and formed the AQI, (al-Qaeda Iraq).

Zarqawi was killed in June 2006 when the U.S. Air Force hit his hideout, 20 miles north of Baghdad. His foreign militants, demoralized

by Zarqawi’s death, melted away with President George Bush’s surge in Iraq.

It was only in 2011, when American troops left a vacuum in Iraq, that the AQI’s new leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took advantage of the Sunni’s feeling of resentment against the Iraqi Shiite – dominated government.

Baghdadi’s vision was and is to take over all Arab nations — as a start. Hamas’ vision is to take over all of “Palestine” — the Holy Land from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River for now. The biblical Holy Land does also include parts of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Sinai. However, Hamas is concentrating first on conquering “the occupied territories,” i.e. the area of the Holy Land where the Jewish people now live.

Though both terrorist groups are Sunnis, ISIS and Hamas dislike each other. Hamas likes to portray itself as a victim of Israeli aggression and usually hides its terrorist acts from the cameras while ISIS glorifies its terrorism with gory video clips and pictures. However, both have the same goal to conquer and control the Holy Land.

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ISIS: Killing by crucifixion.
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Hamas: Islamic terrorist groups murder in public and private.

HAMAS 

Hamas is an offspring of the Jihadist Muslim Brotherhood. And no one can say that the Brotherhood doesn’t have global aspirations for a Sharia – governed Caliphate. It has over 2,000 branches throughout the world, including in Western countries!

The only reason Hamas is not also spreading like a cancer across the Middle East — as is ISIS — is because of Israel’s powerful army and the Jewish people’s will to survive. Israel knows it cannot leave a vacuum or grow lethargic or Hamas would metastasize in every nook and corner of Israel.

For this reason, there are no free and open border crossings from Gaza into Israel. Even though the nations howl, Israel has not allowed an airport or seaport in Gaza, for the simple reason they would be used to ship in weapons to destroy the Jewish state. Israel believes what Hamas publically declares: that Hamas’ goal is to kill every single Jew in the world. (Google Hamas Constitution.)

ISIS’ immediate goal is to wipe out the Christians of Syria and Iraq plus minorities like the Yazidi people, either by converting them to Islam or killing them. This is a call for genocide. ISIS and Hamas agree on one major point: Both groups want to eliminate an entire people group.

Pray that every hidden thing will be brought to light (Job 28:11) and that good would prevail against evil.

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Brain Activities Now Allowed In Church

by Maike Skwara

We cannot afford to be ignorant in an educated world.

Christianity today is known for its interest in souls, change of life and mind. People come to church when they feel mentally weak, experience hard times or when they simply desire a change from their old lifestyle.

We can reach these people as long as they have severe issues in their lives. In fact, we secretly hope sometimes that people would experience some inconveniences in their so far good life! Not because we want them to be unhappy, but because we find hardship to be a driving force for unbelievers to find Jesus. After all an old saying says, “Necessity teaches us to pray.” But do we have to watch people run into a pit in order to show them the Person who can prevent them from falling into one in the first place?

The church is doing a great job at giving advice about life. We learn to be unselfish, to serve others and to lift up fallen ones. People that are not accepted anywhere else find acceptance and friendship in Christian environments. Church members young and old are always happy to give some wisdom about life’s struggles and circumstances.

We have become masters at contemporary worship music, prayer and intercession, and our sermons are masterpieces. The subjects God’s love, healing of emotional wounds, obedience and how to change your lifestyle are being taught all around the world and have a great influence on society.

However, what do we do with those people that never have any severe problems, do not run out of money and do not ever file for divorce? What do we do with people who have unsentimental personality types? Not everybody is led by emotions; some people are led by logic. For people with this personality type, their heart might not be moved, even in difficult times, by someone who loves them and offers them help. Logical people are led by facts and proven strategies; when such information is provided, trust and faith in other areas will follow.

The good news is, the Bible offers more than just emotional sustainability! Though God cannot be proven, many facts mentioned in the Holy Scripture can. Hundreds of years before science proved it, Isaiah 40:22 told us that the earth is round.

Even neuroscience gives scientific explanations for some content of the Bible. Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice” (KJV).

As neuroscientists discovered, it is our decision to be happy or to be sad. According to these studies, a human is born with only positive thoughts. Negative thoughts are developed by a person and can be chosen to be replaced again by positive thinking. Thoughts are not only mental but physical. Thoughts are proteins and they can be detected as good or bad in the brain. When the Bible says that we should rejoice always, it is telling us that we are not bound to circumstances. Science then backs this up when it proves that rejoicing makes us physically healthy and strong.

These are only two examples of explanatory facts in the Word of God; there are many more. But it often seems that the Church has created an environment in which strategic and logical thinking counts as unbiblical; as if questioning and learning from our questions is a sign of unbelief.

John 20:29 says, “Jesus said unto him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.’”

Did we take this verse as an excuse to not think about the reasons for God’s commandments and other biblical truths? Has questioning and hunger for knowledge become a taboo? What are we afraid of? That God could not explain the world He created? That He would not be pleased with us for asking why?

Jesus Himself encouraged us to be like children. As we know, their favorite question is “WHY?” We are meant to discover the secrets of life in many ways. God has equipped us with incredible brain functions, and we are more than welcome to use them.

Hosea 4:6 tells us, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children” (NKJV).

Martin Luther—the German monk— did question. He questioned if it was right that priests made people pay for the sins of deceased ancestors. By asking “why,” he not only discovered this ritual to be unbiblical but also revolutionized the whole church and brought Christians back to the root of the Bible. Christianity is about more than emotions and keeping the laws; it is about science, understanding, logic, knowledge and wisdom. The Bible is supposed to make us smart; the Holy Spirit wants to bring us revelations that the world has been waiting for. This faith is not only for sentimental people it is for people that want to know why. Why am I alive? Why does God allow things to happen? Why is the sky blue, but the sunset red and orange?

shutterstock_181548842Asking why can give us all of these things and more:

Stronger relationship with God

Stronger foundation in faith

Stronger trust in God

Understanding the Bible and the world

Resolved anger towards God

Let us put an end to ignorance and revolutionize the world through the question “why?” God will be glad to give us the answers so many Christians crave! Understanding that occurrences are supposed to be understood will give us the ability to testify to logical, unsentimental people through answers, not feelings. We do not have to wait for unbelievers to become sick or to be stuck in problems in order to bring them the good news. Jesus is more than a problem solver He is the answer to all of life’s questions!

Let us put an end to ignorance, and revolutionize the world through the question “why?”

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS FOR 

THE LOGICAL THINKER 

Switch on Your Brain (Dr. Caroline Leaf)

Who Switched off My Brain? (Dr. Caroline Leaf)

The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics 

(Ed Hindson, Ergun Caner)

The Creation Answers Book (Dr. David Catchpoole,

Dr. Jonathan Safarti, Dr. Carl Wieland)

Maike Skwara was born and raised in Germany, where she obtained degrees in multi-lingual administration. She wrote for several years for an internal magazine before coming to the States to study in CFNI. Maike loves to translate and write, especially writings that help people understand God and the Bible better, like her children’s book Diego.

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