The Inspiring Faith of the Eagles’ Comeback Quarterback Nick Foles

Regardless of who you rooted for the Super Bowl, it’s great to see some players who are Christian actually sharing their faith through the media. The mainstream media likes to cut off this kind of information, but it looks like enough got through. Kudos to the quarterback for sharing his faith. And cudos to those players and coaches who said the Lord’s prayer after the Super Bowl.

https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/jarrett-stepman/inspiring-faith-eagles-comeback-quarterback-nick-foles

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Tens of Thousands Participate in Walk for Life West Coast – Breitbart

Anyone who has attended the national march for life in Washington DC knows that it is sometimes difficult to get there. Most of us who don’t live around DC have to travel long ways, and it’s often at a very difficult time of year. It’s great to hear that there are now other marches for life around the country. I know these have been going on in other parts of the country for a while come but it’s great to know that they are actually growing.

I would encourage everyone to plan to attend either a regional or the national march in January of next year. You should start now to find out what is happening and is being planned for next year. Put it on your calendar now.

Http://www.breitbart.com/abortion/2018/01/28/tens-thousands-participate-walk-life-west-coast/

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At least 10 killed after gunmen open fire outside Coptic Christian church in Cairo | Fox News

Egypt has been a Muslim-majority nation for a long time. However, they have tolerated their significant Coptic Christian community. During the past few decades, there have been systematic attempts to weaken and attack the Coptics. It is sad that there are plenty of Muslims who believe this will actually make their lives better. Nevertheless, Coptic Christians are doing their best to defend themselves and still love their neighbors. 

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/12/29/at-least-10-killed-after-gunmen-open-fire-outside-coptic-christian-church-in-cairo.html

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Update: Trump to Let Health Practitioners Skip Procedures on Religious Grounds

One of the most fundamental rights medical personnel have traditionally had was the right to refuse to perform a procedure if that procedure goes against that person’s religious convictions. For centuries, a doctor who believed a specific medical procedure was morally wrong could refrain from participating in it. Most often, that procedure was abortion, but it could be other procedures such as euthanizing a person, even if requested by that person.

However, there are other procedures that have been objected to over time. Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to do blood transfusions, even if it would save someone’s life. Some object to giving vaccinations, believing they actually cause autism, although I have never heard someone have a religious objection to a vaccination And then there’s hormonal treatment or surgery for those with gender dysphoria; there are many with religious convictions against that.

There has been debate about this over the years, but there has been a general deterioration of the right to object to supporting abortion over religious convictions. During the Obama years, there were a number of actions that were taken:

  • Religious groups (though not churches) had to provide abortion as a service to everyone on their health insurance plans
  • States were allowed to force pro-life clinics to refer clients if they wanted an abortion
  • States were allowed to force all businesses to provide abortion services

While these actions were not directed specifically to medical personnel, the actions themselves attacked the very idea of religious objection to abortion. It was only a matter of time before medical practitioners themselves would not be able to object to doing an abortion. (I have heard of anecdotes of medical schools that forced their residents to perform abortions so they knew how to do the procedure, even if they objected.)

As indicated in the story below, Trump is about to execute an executive order that would allow medical personnel to not participate in abortion if it is against their religious convictions. That is great news. Unfortunately, that type of executive action can also be reversed by executive action. It needs to be codified in law or in a Supreme Court decision. Nevertheless, I appreciate Trump’s action.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-to-let-health-providers-skip-procedures-on-religious-grounds-1516231878

Update: On January 18, the Trump Administration announced a new division within the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) that supports medical personnel who will not perform abortion or sex change operations based on religious convictions. See https://stream.org/hhs-announces-formation-of-conscience-and-religious-freedom-division/

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Iowa lawsuit pits gay rights against religious freedom

Here again, we find someone in the LGBT community who insists on forcing a Christian organization to cater to their beliefs. In this case, it’s a Christian organization (Business Leaders in Christ) at the University of Iowa. The gay individual is not being forced to do something against their well. Instead, he’s trying to force Christians to accept him as a leader in their Christian organization. This is not about discrimination. It’s about using anti-discrimination as a shield to batter and tear down a group that should have religious freedom.  

https://www.yahoo.com/news/iowa-lawsuit-pits-gay-rights-against-religious-freedom-161237064.html

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100 Iranian Christians Waiting to Enter U.S. Could Be Sent Back to Iran This Week

Please pray for these believers. They have suffered enough in their own land. They started their trip here believing they would be accepted. They have suffered a legal snafu. Please pray for them.

Http://freebeacon.com/national-security/100-iranian-christians-waiting-enter-u-s-sent-back-iran-week/

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Hard to Keep a Dry Eye When You Watch This

Here is wonderful video from the most unlikely of sources. It’s from a women’s lingerie company. We are used to seeing videos from such companies as being very alluring. Instead, this one has released a video that shows women being self sacrificing and caring for children. There are 3 videos strung together here. 2 of them are very pro life. Make sure you have a kleenex when you watch this. 

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DYeAjOimUHOU&ved=0ahUKEwiHkLaEvq_YAhUSSt8KHe4ZBQAQtwIIKzAC&usg=AOvVaw04kO8E019ixlkSMF-RqTPV. 

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Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men – But What about Muslim Attacks During Christmas?

In America during Christmas, Christians look forward to Christmas pageants, musicals, plays, midnight mass, and other special services. We dress up perhaps more than we do the rest of the year. We typically have more people visiting our churches than at any other time of the year. And, of course, there’s the anticipation of remembering the very first Christmas, when the Savior of the world became man.

But it’s not quite as great for Christians around the world, especially for those in Muslim majority countries. Christmas is a time when Christians are subject to more harassment and attacks.

Imagine your own church, decorated for Christmas. And then imagine it looking like this:

At least eight people were killed when two suicide bombers attacked a Pakistani church on Sunday, officials said.

This is what happened to a church in Pakistan. Two suicide bombers attacked this Methodist Church. One attacker was shot and killed outside the entrance, but the other one made it inside. He opened fire on the congregation, and detonated his suicide vest. Of the 400 people in the building, 9 were killed, and 57 were wounded.

This was just one of two example incidents that happened over the Christmas season.

The second one occurred just outside Cairo, Egypt on December 23. A mob of hundreds of Muslims stormed a Coptic church there, ransacking the place. Coptic Christians had been trying to get approval from the government for the church since 2016. A 2016 law was supposed to make it easier for churches to be approved, but government authorities often don’t give approval because they believe it will anger Muslim extremists. Here is a photo from the scene:

Christians constitute 10 percent of Egypt's mostly Muslim population. Followers of the religion are seen shouting slogans after a funeral service for victims of a bus attack in May (stock photo)

I encourage you to help out our brothers. I suggest the following:

  • Pray for our brothers and sisters in Muslim majority countries such as Pakistan and Egypt
  • Contribute money to help them. There are plenty of organizations that can do that, but I recommend Open Doors USA.
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Persecution Near and Far

Dozens of Christians were sitting in attendance at their local church, unconcerned about what was happening outside their four walls. They were focused on worshipping their Lord, a brief respite from the turmoil that otherwise swirls around them. For a brief period each week, these Christians gave their attention to the Prince of Peace, who could fill them with solace, purpose, and hope.

Into the sanctuary burst a shooter, who sprayed the room with bullets. The shooter did not concentrate on any single worshipper, but was merely trying to kill or maim as many Christians as possible. After several moments of destruction, the shooter exits, leaving several dead and wounded, as well as many physically untouched but emotionally shaken.

I’m not describing the shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas on November 6, 2017. But the description is similar to other church shootings around the world. Across the globe, there are many church attacks, often in areas where Christians are a minority. The attacks are not always shootings. Sometimes they are stabbings or bombings. But their intention is to kill as many Christians as possible.

Most people are unaware of it, but the attack on Sunday was horrendously ironic. It was the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. It was a day for American Christians to become aware of, and pray for, Christians in other countries who are suffering for their faith. It rarely dawns on us that we also need to pray for persecution within our own country.

There is one thing that domestic church shootings have in common with foreign church shootings. All of those locations were targeted precisely because they were churches. They wanted to kill the people there precisely because they were inhabited by Christians.

We American Christians are familiar with being marginalized. The media, a large segment of the political elite, and many in academia frequently misrepresent us and vilify us. What we have not become used to is the possibility of physical harm.

For several years, I have noticed the presence of security personnel in churches. These are not paid security officers. They are volunteers who are serving that function. When I have asked them, they would not tell me whether they were armed or not. My guess is that most of them are. Recently, I began attending a new church where a security volunteer stood on the side of the church, somewhat between the congregation and the podium. He continuously scanned the sanctuary. After looking at him, I noticed that he began to focus on me, probably because I was new.

All of this happened after the 2012 shooting at the Family Research Council offices in the District of Columbia. The shooter was a gay rights activist who wanted to kill as many Christians as possible before he was stopped by an alert security. Since that shooting, church security teams have become much more prominent.

Christians in third world countries have experienced much more marginalization. Coptic Christians in Egypt are unable to get building permits even when their numbers necessitate it. Pakistani Christians often face prison when they are falsely charged with blaspheming Islam. Indonesian Christians often face the same. Yet, they also face beatings, loss of homes and businesses, and even death.

In America, conditions are much better, so we should be helping our persecuted brethren. Even as conditions begin to worsen for us. It may be that we will need their help in the not too distant future.

It has been reported that the Sutherland Springs shooter was an outspoken atheist. Although his motive is still under investigation, at this point, it seems that he was eager to turn his disbelief into violence against believers. Although we American believers are used to opposition, we are used to some respect as well. Rarely do we see the opposition turn grim and dark.

But that may be changing. In the light of the Sutherland Springs shooting, there have been a number of disturbing tweets that disparaged the victims of the shooting, belittling their faith. As we Christians pray for persecuted Christians in other countries, we should also turn our prayers to those who persecute us within our own borders. And we also pray that our unbelieving neighbors will join with us to stay the hands of those who would turn disbelieving debate into violence.

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Kentucky judge shows commitment to his personal faith.

Rarely do we hear about Christians in society actually standing up for their faith in the face of possible loss of employment. It is an important and courageous thing to do when we place our careers on the line.

Most Christians would agree that gay marriage is a wrong idea come but also that gay adoptions are also wrong. In this article, a Kentucky judge has stood up for his personal Christian convictions that gay adoption is wrong. He believes it is wrong in every situation coma and he is resigning his position as judge because he will not facilitate this. Kudos for having the strength to stand for his convictions.

Http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/10/26/kentucky-judge-who-refused-to-handle-gay-adoptions-resigns.html

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