Be of Good Cheer

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in FAITH

As a number of you know, I've been struggling of late regarding the fate of some very close friends. I've shed a lot of tears, been praying and fasting a lot, which are both very good to do even when things are all honky dory, and in general just trying to get a handle on things. Things are never really 'honky dory' of course, but we all do our best to cope with the bad and learn from it as we enjoy the good. 

Those friends I speak of ask why and all I can do is shake my head because I don't know; then I talk to God and ask Him "why...why do I see people you've brought into my life that I love hurting and dying?" "Why do their families have to endure this?" 

Sometimes it seems that He doesn't hear me or them, and doesn't hear our prayers and suffering; and then, just about when I'm reduced to a helpless puddle of tears where it's just me and Him simply communing together, I see the simple little message below. I didn't write it and I sure don't know who did, although I think His hand was on it because it surely reminded me that it's all going to be okay...He's in control, He's got my family, my friends, and all of it in in the palm of His hands. And He's simply waiting...waiting for us to just let go and trust Him. Anyway, here's the simple message:

"WHAT A WONDERFUL WAY TO EXPLAIN DEATH TO THOSE WHO HAVE JESUS AS THEIR MASTER"

A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side."

Very quietly, the doctor said, "I don't know."

"You don't know? You're a Christian man, and you don't know what's on the other side?!"

The doctor was holding the handle of the door; On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, "did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before." "He didn't know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear." 

"I know little of what is on the other side of death's door, but I do know one thing...I know my Master is there and that is enough."

My friends, I don't know every concern that each of you faces. Some of you know the friends of which I speak, many of you have friends and loved ones that are in similar situations or may have passed. In any event, I believe that our Heavenly Father brought this story to me to calm my soul and to share it with you. 

I'll leave you with this quick prayer. 

Father in Heaven, many of those reading these words are hurting tonight. It may be a financial need, a broken heart, an illness, or so many other issues. I know and trust that You are watching over them and have the answer to all of their needs. Please let them read these words of encouragement and be richly blessed and comforted, now, and always. Father, I lift them up to you in the matchless name of your blessed Son, Jesus the Christ.

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So...You're a Christian

Written by Clark Steele on . Posted in FAITH

Publisher's Note:  Mr. Steele has made some great points here, and I am grateful to offer my readers some very brief, serious food for thought.

Clarke Steele:  You promote the defiling of the Holy union of man and woman known as marriage.  You advocate and force the financial support of an institution that slaughters the most innocent amongst us, the unborn and newly born.

Your Party of affiliation removed God from their platform and upon realization of the public relations problem that caused replaced the word God and even that brought boos from your political family.

You aid, comfort, arm and consort with those that persecute Christians and Jews.  You refer to a heretical fiction that inspires death and persecution as "Holy" yet never refer to the Holy Bible or Holy Talmud as such.

You practice behavior encouraged by the Hadith, but not the Bible.  You deny your nation is a Christian nation to the world.

You are not a peace maker as Christ teaches but a divider and sower of envy.

You surround yourself not with Christians and faithful Jews, but with Atheist, deniers and blasphemers.

The Bible teaches we will know you not by your words but by your works.  We know you!

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Suing churches over gay marriage

Written by Yahoo News on . Posted in FAITH

Publisher's note:  While some churches may be concerned, and understandably so, about lawsuits stemming from them refusing to officiate at gay marriages, I would offer they not lose sight of the 'Heavenly Lawsuit' that awaits for bowing to cultural pressure.

Yahoo story:  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Worried they could be sued by gay couples, some churches are changing their bylaws to reflect their view that the Bible allows only marriage between one man and one woman.

Although there have been lawsuits against wedding industry businesses that refuse to serve gay couples, attorneys promoting the bylaw changes say they don't know of any lawsuits against churches.

Critics say the changes are unnecessary, but some churches fear that it's only a matter of time before one of them is sued.

"I thought marriage was always between one man and one woman, but the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision said no," said Gregory S. Erwin, an attorney for the Louisiana Baptist Convention, an association of Southern Baptist churches and one several groups advising churches to change their bylaws. "I think it's better to be prepared because the law is changing. America is changing."

In a June decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as between a man and a woman for purposes of federal law. A second decision was more technical but essentially ushered in legal gay marriage in California.

Kevin Snider is an attorney with the Pacific Justice Institute, a nonprofit legal defense group that specializes in conservative Christian issues. His organization released a model marriage policy a few years ago in response to a statewide gay marriage fight in California. Snider said some religious leaders have been threatened with lawsuits for declining to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Dean Inserra, head pastor of the 1,000-member City Church Tallahassee, based in Florida, said he does not want to be alarmist, but his church is looking into how best to address the issue.

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Mounting persecution of Christians in China

Written by Fox News on . Posted in FAITH

Christians and human rights advocates are alarmed over an aggressive crackdown on house churches in China, where the faithful are forced to call their gatherings "patriotic" assemblies or sent to prison where they can face torture, according to a new report.

Cases of the government persecuting Christians rose 42 percent last year, amid a three-phase plan by Beijing to eradicate the home-based churches, according to China Aid, a Texas-based human rights group. Experts say the Communist Party in China has long felt threatened by any movement that galvanizes a large sector of the population, fearing it could wield political clout. But the nation has become more systematically hostile to worshippers, according to Bob Fu, China Aid founder and president.

“There have been new tactics of persecution as well, especially with the government using secret directives and memos with long-term, step-by-step strategies to eradicate house churches,” Fu told FoxNews.com. “This is very serious stuff.”

Last year, the government mounted a new three-phase approach designed to wipe out unregistered house churches by forcing them to join the official "Three-Self Patriotic Movement" and stop defining themselves as churches. The phase included having China's State Administration for Religious Affairs secretly investigate house churches and create files on them, the report found. The current wave of crackdowns, which began midway through 2012, is part of the second phase, according to Fu.

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It's Christmas....Rejoice

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in FAITH

I love Christmas.  The smells, the lights, the atmosphere, the time and fellowship with family and friends; and mostly the time to reflect.  It’s a time to put politics and everything else aside for a couple of days and enjoy the season.

Like so many of my busy friends, I sometimes don’t take the time to smell the roses as it were; I tend to forget that the sky is blue.  Christmas has a way of changing that.  The calls and text messages start happening, cards come in the mail, packages are carefully wrapped, and wafts of Ginger Bread Cookies and other delights start emanating from kitchens everywhere.

This Christmas has been very special for a lot of reasons; as it turns out, many of my closest friends from out of state have converged on Florida so I’ve been able to hang out with some of them.

Last weekend I took a stroll down to City Place in West Palm Beach to start getting a sense of the Season, and I was blessed to spend time with some great friends at two very special Christmas Services since.

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