Monday, 29 February 2016

Christian student expelled from university for quoting Bible on homosexuality

A married Christian student with four children has been expelled from his university because he wrote a post on Facebook opposing gay marriage.

Felix Ngole, aged 38, was asked to leave the University of Sheffield, where he was in the second year of a Masters in social work.

He is to appeal against the decision, which came after members of the faculty decided he might have "caused offence" to some people for expressing support for Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk jailed after refusing to issue same-sex marriage licences.

Did a Church Deaconess Bribe an American Student to Commit 'Severe Crimes' in North Korea?

An American student held in North Korea since early January was detained for trying to steal a propaganda slogan from his Pyongyang hotel and has confessed to "severe crimes" against the state, the North's official media said on Monday.

Otto Warmbier, 21, a student at the University of Virginia, was detained before boarding his flight to China over an unspecified incident at his hotel, his tour agency told Reuters in January.

North Korea has a long history of detaining foreigners and has used jailed U.S. citizens in the past to exact high-profile visits from the United States, with which it has no formal diplomatic relations.

"I committed the crime of taking out a political slogan from the staff-only area of the Yanggakdo International Hotel," the North's KCNA news agency quoted Warmbier as telling media in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.

Muslim Nanny Arrested While Carrying Around Child's Severed Head

Russian police wrestled to the ground a woman in a hijab brandishing the severed head of a child outside a Moscow metro station on Monday and charged her with murder in an incident that stirred fears of an Islamist terrorist attack.

The macabre episode was caught on camera by passers-by, with footage showing the unnamed woman in a black hijab wandering around in the street holding an infant's severed head high in the air.

Pastor Gunned Down During Choir Performance

A pastor was gunned down by his own brother at the end of a Sunday service yesterday, police say.

Police arrested Daniel Schooler for the murder of his brother, Rev. William B. Schooler, according to multiple sources. William was the pastor of St. Peter's Missionary Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio.
"We were still having church services when he started shooting, and everybody ran," a woman said in a 911 call recording.

William was gunned down in his office while the choir was wrapping up the service. CNN reports William was the only intended target.
"I just got everybody out of the church and we just kept hearing shooting and shooting," said church member Alberta Blayth.

The Dayton Daily News reports Daniel has an incredibly violent past, including charges for felony assaults and weapon possession.
"Bipolar, schizophrenic. He had a lot of things going on he was dealing with," Joyce Napier, niece of the pastor and suspect, told WHIO. "I don't think he woke up this morning and said, 'I want to kill my brother.' I just think the mental state and illness goes together, and that's what evil does."

Marco Rubio Picks Up Endorsement of Key Figure in Religious Liberty Battle

On Sunday, the presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) picked up a big boost with the endorsement of Hobby Lobby founder David Green.

Hobby Lobby, headquartered in Oklahoma City, started in 1972 and now operates over 600 arts and craft stores. The company is privately held by the Green family. Hobby Lobby is noted for its high wages and its Christian values.

The entire chain is closed on Sundays and the company's mission statement reads: "We believe that it is by God's grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured. God has been faithful in the past, and we trust Him for our future."

In a statement released by the Rubio campaign, Green outlined the differences between Rubio and GOP front-runner Donald Trump. It is those differences, he said, that led to his decision to endorse the Florida senator.

"Our family business that we began with $600 has quite possibly been more successful than Mr. Trump's, but that doesn't make either of us qualified to be president," he said. "And unlike Mr. Trump, we give all the credit to God.

"Marco Rubio has impressed us with his preparation and the way he carries himself. But most importantly, Marco regularly exhibits humility and gives the glory to God. Humility is what brings success. I don't see humility in Mr. Trump, and that scares me to death.

"I want a president that my kids, my grandkids and my great-grandkids can emulate. In Marco Rubio, I see a man who has achieved great things from humble beginnings but gives the glory to God, where it belongs.

"I see a man who is prepared to be president, and someone I would be proud for my children to emulate. I will be voting for Marco Rubio on Tuesday and I encourage my fellow Oklahomans to do the same."

10 Things That Drive Your Pastor to Frustration

You won't hear pastors express these frustrations often, but they are very real.

Indeed, some of these issues hinder their ministries. Here are 10 of the most common frustrations, followed by close approximations of quotes I've heard from pastors.

1. Church members who treat church attendance as a low priority. "We have families who treat soccer attendance as a non-negotiable, but a few drops of rain means they will miss church."

2. Criticisms over minutia. "She sent me an email complaining about my socks. I'm serious. My socks."

Clear Proof U.S. Government Promotes Witchcraft

Every year about this time, I write about Jezebel's witchcrafts. I never would have dreamed I'd be writing about U.S. Air Force Academy chapel using tithes and offerings to blatantly support witchcraft.

Judicial Watch just issued a report that reveals the academy used its "Chapel Tithes and Offering Fund" to pay for cadets to participate in worship services marked by witchcraft, "Faery Magick" and voodoo. According to the watchdog group, records show the academy shelled out money to send cadets to a Wiccan festival and a Denver Witches Ball in 2014. A group called "Spiritual Programs in Religious Education" hosted the events at the Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel Falcon Circle on the Academy campus.

Yes, God Does Have a Sense of Humor

God has a rich and wonderful sense of humor, and He loves to show His "funny side" to His children. Does that thought surprise you?

It shouldn't. After all, most of us have a sense of humor, and we are created in God's image. Where else would we have gotten it?

Sometimes we get wrong images of God. We see Him as stern and hard to please or distant and unloving. But God wants to reveal Himself to us as a loving daddy who is close and caring and sometimes playful. He enjoys bringing levity and humor into our relationship with Him.

The Key to Access the Place That Torments the Devil

Admittedly, I spent far too many of my early Christian years living idly while the devil toyed with my emotions, tormented me with the past and instigated fear about the future. And many of you can probably admit the same.

The truth is, we let the devil have far too much fun for far too long. But you can turn the tables today.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

The 1 Lie Millions of Christians Are Believing About the Holy Spirit

When the devil wants to hijack the advancement of God's people, he introduces subtle, yet destructive deceptions. Deceptions that are easy for us to embrace as truth, even though they are not presented in Scripture ... anywhere!

I want us to consider one of these deceptions and its severe implications to every single Christian or church who has bought into the lie.

Why Does the Devil Hate the Holy Spirit?

One of the enemy's favorite topics to target is the Holy Spirit. This is no coincidence. The more the enemy can confuse the church about the role of Holy Spirit, the more he can gain influence.

Consider this. The very Spirit of God that empowers ordinary men and women to be a restraining force to darkness in the earth has become reduced to being a controversial doctrine that we tolerate, at best, and ignore, at worst. This should not be so!

Satan hates Holy Spirit intensely for one key reason. The Christian who fully embraces the revelation that he or she is actually filled with the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead becomes a spiritual Joshua or Caleb who enters into and releases the promise land of heaven on earth. We begin thinking, speaking, and acting like people who are, quite literally, possessed by God. Surely, this throws a wrench into Satan's diabolical plans.

This is why the enemy so persistently perpetuates lies about the Spirit. He's done this since the beginning of church history, causing division about how equal (or non-equal) the Holy Spirit is to God the Father and God the Son. Controversy has continued all the way up into our modern era, where everything from speaking in tongues to the continuation of miracles to being "slain in the Spirit" is on the table for theological debate and division. Yet, while Christians are dividing over the Spirit, darkness is gaining ground. This must stop if we are going to see a great worldwide revival prior to the Second Coming of Jesus.

Prophecy: False Revivalists Rising in Emerging Move of God

Intercession broke out. Travail ensued. Groanings too deep for utterance seemed to echo throughout the church—and then the spirit of the fear of the Lord fell on the entire congregation (Is. 11:2).

Everybody froze. The intercession stopped. The travail stopped. The groanings stopped. The church was silent. The spirit of the fear of the Lord permeated the atmosphere. There was an awe among us, a reverence for God. It was a holy moment. You could hear the proverbial pin drop.

In that moment, the Holy Spirit spoke something that shook me. He told me, "False revivalists would rise up in this hour." These false revivalists don't truly have a heart for revival or awakening or transformation. Rather, they are motivated by the potential profits in the latest church trend.

Catholic bishop rebukes Vatican over conference trying to make children ‘agents of change’ on climate

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, a prelate known for his outspoken defense of the Catholic faith, is raising concern about a recent Vatican conference that focused on how to help children become “agents of change” in the fight against “man-made climate change.”

Titled “Children and Sustainable Development: A Challenge for Education,” the conference took place last November under the auspieces of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS), whose chancellor is Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo.

How to Detect Signs of Eating Disorders in Your Children

"It all started for me when I was 8 years old," a friend of mine recently shared. She said, "I would sit at the kitchen table looking at Vogue magazine and even Victoria's Secret."

She would look at the pictures of the women in the magazines and pick out the ones she thought were the prettiest. In her mind, it set an expectation that one day she should eventually look like the women in those photos. When she got a little older, she realized that she would never look like those girls or even the popular girls she saw in school. The image in the mirror was a disappointment to her because it didn't meet a standard of what she thought was pretty.

NRB Awards Kim Davis for Commitment to Christian Values

Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk who was jailed for her Christian faith and her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, received the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) President's Award for her faithful commitment to Christian values despite political and media opposition. Last year, this award went to Miriam Ibrahim, a woman imprisoned in Sudan for her Christian faith.

5 Killed in Washington Standoff

Five people are dead, including a suspect, following a shooting and standoff with police at a home in Washington state, the Seattle Times newspaper reported on Friday, citing Mason County authorities.

The male suspect "apparently came outside the home and shot himself," Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury told the newspaper. "It's a terrible tragedy."

The newspaper quoted Mason County Sheriff Deputy Chief Ryan Spurling as saying that a man called law enforcement on Friday morning and reported that he shot two children, a woman and another person.

Police surrounded the home near the community of Belfair, about 35 miles (60 km) west of Seattle, but did not immediately enter the residence because the man was armed with a handgun, Spurling said, according to the newspaper. 

Friday, 26 February 2016

‘Brain-dead’ gunshot victim gives thumbs up right before her organs were to be harvested

A victim of Saturday's gun massacre who was declared brain-dead and set to have her organs harvested was rushed to surgery on Sunday after unexpectedly responding to her mother and doctor.

Abigail Kopf, 14, was shot as part of Jason Dalton's alleged shooting massacre in Michigan last Saturday. According to People Magazine, Michigan State Police First Lt. Dale Hinz said that the girl's parents "were told that she was brain dead and that it was unlikely that there was anything else they could do for her."

An hour later, however, Hinz told People, "She squeezes her mother's hand and her mother begins to communicate with her." The mother called in doctors, who got two "thumbs up" when asking the girl questions.

13 of the Biggest Retailers in America Are Closing Down Stores

Barack Obama recently stated that anyone who is claiming that America's economy is in decline is "peddling fiction." Well, if the economy is in such great shape, why are major retailers shutting down hundreds of stores all over the country? Last month, I wrote about the "retail apocalypse" that is sweeping the nation, but since then it has gotten even worse. Closing stores has become the "hot new trend" in the retail world, and "space available" signs are going up in mall windows all over the United States.

Why This Church Wants to Open Next to a Strip Club

When one Indiana church began to comb the neighborhoods for a larger building, it's doubtful they expected this particular door to open.

Lafayette Community Church will soon move into a building right next to a strip club, according to NBC 4i.
"The time has come for us to settle down into our own space, and God has provided a doozy for us!" according to their church website.

"The more and more we talked about it, the more we felt like we could find ways to be a blessing to the people who come to this part of town," lead pastor Jeff Mikels says.

The church is in the process of renovating the building and erected a fence between their sanctuary and the strip club.

Ed Gobel, co-owner of Filly's Gentlemen's Club, told NBC4i the working relationship between the two is built on mutual respect.

"It's a wonderful thing because it's the fact that we're all sharing together because we want to all prosper," Gobel said.

The church has met in several locations so far, moving as the congregation expands.

According to their website, they've met in a handful of schools and even a hotel.

3 Things That Must Change in Order to Maintain Weight Loss

I recently saw the "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin, sing "Natural Woman" at the Kennedy Center Honors program. Her performance stunned me. I also noticed that she'd lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw her on T.V.
Curious to see how she did it, I did an online search for "Aretha Franklin weight loss." I discovered that she lost 85 pounds—the same amount I lost many years ago from my highest weight of 240 pounds.
Back in 2010, Aretha had surgery for an undisclosed ailment. While many speculated that she had weight-loss surgery, Aretha herself has not confirmed that.
However, she did confirm on The View T.V. program that she changed her lifestyle after her health scare. She said:

Why Southern Baptist Missionaries Are Quitting in Droves

One out of five Southern Baptist missionaries overseas—or nearly 1,000 total—have volunteered to leave their posts to help the denomination's mission board deal with its financial straits. That's in addition to the departure of a third of the staff of the International Mission Board, also mostly through a voluntary program.
"Obviously, this number exceeds what we needed," said its president, David Platt, at a trustee meeting Wednesday (Feb. 24). But he said the departure of 983 missionaries means the mission board will be in improved financial health.
In August, leaders of the nation's largest Protestant denomination announced that the board would need to cut up to 800 employees, after spending a total of $210 million more than it had received since 2010.
The number of missionaries now stands at about 3,800 and there are about 300 staffers, said IMB spokeswoman Julie McGowan. In August, there were 4,800 missionaries and 450 staff. Officials had said the missionary force needed to be reduced to 4,200 to balance the budget.
Platt said that although "these brothers and sisters will be missed," it is time to turn to the future and the board's goal of taking the gospel to those who have not heard it.
In addition to remaining the largest missionary-sending organization of its kind, Platt suggested that the current full-time foreign missionaries can be augmented by Southern Baptists ranging from students to retirees who spend time overseas.
Southern Baptists, along with other Christian denominations, have seen a decline in membership, dropping from 16.3 million in 2003 to just under 15.5 million in 2016.
Two prominent Baptist state conventions—in Texas and North Carolina—have set aside $1.5 million to help provide jobs to missionaries returning to the U.S. McGowan said the funds would be used specifically to evangelize immigrants in those states.

Indian Group Re-Circulating Book Claiming Jesus Was a Hindu

Indian Christians fiercely criticized the reprint of Christ Parichay, which translated means Jesus was a Tamil Hindu. Furthermore, the text by Ganesh Damodar Savarkar espouses Christianity is merely a sect of Hinduism.
"There is an attempt to re-write history and draw us into controversy. Christianity is well-grounded and based on the person of Jesus, who without a doubt is a real person in history. The RSS is welcome to claim what they will; it doesn't affect us. Our faith in Jesus is based on a personal encounter with Christ," Fr Nigel Barrett, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Bombay told Mid-Day.
The book, originally published in 1946, will be re-published Feb. 26 by Swatantryaveer Savarkar Rashtriya Smarak, a trust of the organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Author Savarkar was one of the founders of the organization.
India Today evaluated the book's basic ideas:
  • "Ganesh Damodar claims that Christianity is a sect of Hinduism.
  • "The present-day Palestinian and Arab territories were a Hindu land.
  • "He went on to say that Christ traveled to India and learnt yoga. Who knows Modi might have also learnt it from 'our very own' Christ, right?
  • "Christ's real name was Keshao Krishna, according to the author.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

BREAKING: Canadian gvmt panel recommends forcing Christian hospitals to euthanize patients

All publicly funded institutions – which includes Christian hospitals and nursing homes – must be forced to provide assisted suicide and euthanasia, according to recommendations of the federal parliamentary committee in its report released today.
But that “simply cannot happen and must not happen,” says Christian Elia, executive director Catholics Civil Rights League.
“It’s very simple, Catholic hospitals can never participate in an intrinsically evil act, they cannot be forced,” Elia said in a media statement . “This can never be carried out, and they can expect a fight to the bitter end.”
The all-party committee of 11 MPs and five senators was tasked with providing recommendations for drafting a law governing assisted suicide and euthanasia, after the Supreme Court struck down the existing prohibition in February 2015, a ruling that takes effect June 6, 2016.
The committee heard from about 60 witnesses and received over 100 written briefs since it was convened on January 18.

John Kasich Tells Christians to 'Move On' Over Same-Sex Marriage

During a speech in Virginia on Monday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate, took part in a forum at University of Virginia.
During the course of the forum, he was asked about his thoughts on the matter of same-sex marriage. And, despite claiming earlier to be "lifelong conservative," his answer seemed to come from a more "moderate" ideology.
"People talk about religious liberty, and I think frankly our churches should not be forced to do anything that's not consistent with them, but if you're a cupcake maker and someone wants a cupcake, make them a cupcake," he said. "Let's not have a big lawsuit or argument over all this stuff. Move on."
Despite the comments that call into question how committed he would actually be at defending religious liberty, the mainstream media instead focused on other "controversial" comments he made earlier in the day. In remarking about his earliest political campaigns, he noted he had the support of many women "who left their kitchens to go out and go door-to-door and to put yard signs up" on his behalf.
Kasich was lambasted for the comments. But his communications team said they accurately reflected the nature of those campaigns, which they said were "made up of stay-at-home moms who believed deeply in the changes he wanted to bring to them and their families."

6 Ingredients For a Powerful Prayer Service

After I wrote the post "4 Prayer Services Most People Won't Go To," one reader asked about what kind formats of prayer service people do want to attend. Although I plan to write more about this in the future, I thought I would at least give some ingredients to get us started.
Acts chapter 4 gives us a picture of a powerful prayer service. Although Dr. Luke was probably not writing to give people a workbook on how to run a prayer service, he highlights six ingredients I see often in successful prayer meetings:
1. Leader-initiated The apostles wanted to update the church on what was happening, so they called the church together. Most successful prayer services that I see are initiated by the senior leaders. This does not mean that the senior pastor needs to run every meeting, but I often tell leaders to think about their commitment to be involved before another prayer service is added to the calendar.
2. Begins with worship – These early Christians began with acknowledging who God is in the universe. Any good prayer service is helped by beginning at this point.

Father-to-Be Sets Pregnant Girlfriend on Fire Because 'He Wanted a Free, Happy Life'

A father-to-be stabbed his pregnant girlfriend and set her on fire because he didn't want to be a father, according to multiple reports. This week a judge sentenced Eren Toben to 14 years in prison for the murder.
"For him the crime was a solution, he wanted a free, happy life which he had control over," Judge Regina Alex said of Toben. "He abused Maria's love for him to lure her into an ambush."
Last January, 20-year-old Toben lured his eight-months-pregnant girlfriend Maria Peiner into the woods on the outskirts of Berlin before stabbing her. After that, Toben, with the help of his friend Daniel Mueller, set Peiner on fire.
"She was still conscious, it could have been 10, 20, 30 seconds—she was still moving," the judge said.
Mueller "acted for the sole purpose of taking pleasure in the destruction of another human being's life," Alex said.

Canadian archbishop: No last rites for Catholics planning assisted suicide

Since suicide is a “grave sin” — being contrary to the 5th commandment against murder — it would be in “direct contradiction” to Catholic values for a person intent on assisted suicide to demand last rites, that is the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, stated Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa. 
“Asking to be killed is gravely disordered and is a rejection of the hope that the rite calls for and tries to bring into the situation,” the archbishop stated in an interview with Canadian Catholic News last week.
Any person who requests assisted suicide “lacks the proper disposition for the anointing of the sick,” he added.
The Sacrament of the Sick, one of the seven sacraments of the Church, is the ancient practice since the time of the apostles of anointing the seriously ill with blessed oil. While laying hands on them, the priest prays that the sick person may be helped “with the grace of the Holy Spirit” and that they will be saved and raised up by the “Lord who frees you from sin.” The grace of the sacrament strengthens the sufferer and gives him peace and courage to bear the illness and to unite himself to Christ, the Catechism states.
Last year the Supreme Court of Canada made what critics called an “activist decision” to give doctors the right in law to cause the death of patients by euthanasia and assisted suicide.

8 Qualities We Need in Our Next President

The 2016 U.S. presidential contest has become an endless TV soap opera: It's part drama and part comedy, with surprising plot twists and a cast of colorful characters that includes a former president's wife accused of lying, an eccentric tycoon who spends millions of dollars of his own money on his campaign, two conservatives of Hispanic origin who fight daily with the tycoon (and sometimes with each other), an African-American neurosurgeon, and a socialist senator with a New England accent who sounds like a nerdy university professor.
Only in America can you get this much entertainment during one election. But in November the political theater will end and voters will elect the next commander in chief—hopefully without triggering recounts. And hopefully we will choose a leader who has the qualities needed to guide this nation wisely for the next four years.
What are those qualities? I have never been of the opinion that the president of the United States should be the "pastor" of the country.

New app funded by tax dollars connects teens to birth control, ‘sexuality education’

A Pennsylvania-based non-profit group dedicated to giving young people access to birth control and “sexuality education” has launched a free app that connects “teens and young adults ages 14-24 with accurate, timely information about sexual and reproductive health.”
AccessMatters launched the app, dubbed “It Matters,” last week, and a spokesperson with the organization told that the app was funded by grants from Health and Human Services’ Title X Family Planning and the Centers for Disease Control’s teen pregnancy prevention program.
“Users can find answers to common questions on topics such as relationships, birth control options, LGBT health, STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases), and more,” a press release announcing the release of the app stated.

First Liberty Institute: Attacks on Religious Liberty Have Doubled Since 2012

This week, the First Liberty Institute, formerly known as Liberty Institute, led by religious liberty defender Kelly Shackelford, released its annual report on the hostility to religion in America.
The report, titled "Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America," offers nearly 350 pages of recent reported attacks on religious liberty in the U.S. with four or five examples per page. It also found that attacks on religious liberty have skyrocketed in the past three years.
"Hostility to religion in America is rising like floodwaters, as proven by the increased numbers of cases and attacks documented in this report," Shackelford wrote in the report's introduction. "This flood is engulfing ordinary citizens who simply try to live normal lives according to their faith and conscience. It is eroding the bedrock on which stand vital American institutions such as government, education, the military, business, houses of worship and charity. It has the potential to wash away the ground that supports our other rights, including freedom of speech, press, assembly and government by consent of the people."
First Liberty Institute has been documenting assaults on religious liberty since 2012.

Hollywood Actor: Porn Addiction 'Really, Really Messed Up My Life'

Former athlete and current actor Terry Crews says his pornography was a "dirty little secret" that nearly destroyed his marriage—and his life.
"It affected everything. My wife was literally like, 'I don't know you anymore. I'm out of here.' I had to change," the Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor revealed in a series of Facebook videos. "I literally had to go to rehab for it."
And while many in the world may deny watching pornography is evil, Crews says addiction is a problem in society.
"It changes the way you think about people. People become objects. People become body parts; they become things to be used rather than people to be loved."
Millions have watched his online confessions, with thousands showing their support in likes and comments.
The pornography statistics are horrifying. According to Family Safe Media, more than $3,000 is spent on graphic images and videos every second. Nearly 30,000 are watching videos at any given second, and new videos are made every 39 minutes.
By 2017, a quarter of a billion people are expected to be accessing mobile adult content from their phones or tablets, an increase of more than 30 percent from 2013, according to CovenantEyes.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

5 Ways Sleeping Well Will Protect Your Heart

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia most likely suffered a heart attack while sleeping, which caused his heart to stop beating, says noted cardiologist Dr. Chauncey Crandall.
"He probably was just feeling poorly but didn't recognize what was happening, so he went to sleep," says Dr. Crandall, chief of the cardiac transplant program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
But experts warn that sometimes poor sleep is often the culprit itself, increasing the risk of heart disease.
"Sleep is something all human beings do—most not very well," says Johns Hopkins neurologist and sleep expert Dr. Rachel Salas. When you don't get enough good-quality sleep, whether because of an untreated sleep disorder or simply not getting enough shut-eye, you raise your odds of developing many conditions that can lead to heart disease.
A recent British study linked lack of sleep to diabetes and heart disease and a 12 percent increase in death. People who sleep less than six hours nightly—and that's more than one in three Americans between 40 and 90 years of age—are more likely to die prematurely than people who sleep for six to eight hours.
Dr. Craig Title, an obesity expert from New York City, tells Newsmax Health that sleep deprivation disrupts the balance between the crucial hormones leptin and ghrelin which regulate the appetite.
"When you are sleep deprived there is an increase in ghrelin, a hormone that signals the brain you are hungry and a decrease in leptin that tells your brain you are full," he explains.

Bishop Urges Boycott of 'Vulgar' and 'Blasphemous' Madonna Concert

A Roman Catholic bishop in the Philippines on Wednesday urged the faithful to stay away from American pop singer Madonna's two-night concert in Manila, calling her music "suggestive" and her clothes "vulgar."
Madonna, 57, is on a world tour to promote her 13th studio album, Rebel Heart, which combines her trademark sexually charged performance and lyrics.
She performs on Wednesday and Thursday in the same hall where Pope Francis met Filipino families a year ago.
"Why is the Catholic Philippines the favorite venue for blasphemy against God and the Holy Mother?" asked Ramon Arguelles, archbishop of Lipa City, south of the capital.
"Pinoys and all God-loving people should avoid sin and occasions of sin," he said in a statement on the website of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, referring to Filipinos.
Roman Catholics make up about 80 percent of the Philippine population of more than 100 million and the church has strong influence, blocking legislation on the death penalty, divorce and same-sex marriage.
There was no immediate reply to telephone calls from Reuters seeking comment from the event organizer or Madonna, who arrived in Manila on Monday and visited Catholic-run orphanages, including one of the oldest, near the presidential palace.
Tickets for the concert can cost as much as 57,750 pesos ($1,211.84).
Madonna is famed for her hits, "Like a Virgin" and "Material Girl," but some of her music videos used religious symbols in ways the Roman Catholic prelates found offensive and disrespectful.
The performer's concerts were among "subtle attacks of the evil one", the bishop added, in an apparent reference to Satan. In 2012, Arguelles also opposed the Manila concert of Lady Gaga as the work of Satan.
In the wealthy neighboring city state of Singapore, where Madonna is scheduled to perform on Sunday, Catholic authorities also expressed grave concern.
"It is our moral obligation not to support those who denigrate and insult religions, including anti-Christian and immoral values promoted by the secular world," Singapore Archbishop William Goh said on the archdiocese website.

Queen Elizabeth Opens Up About 'the King She Serves'

English royalty rarely speak of their beliefs, but Queen Elizabeth II has written about her religious faith in a foreword to a new book titled The Servant Queen and the King She Serves
"I have been—and remain—very grateful to you for your prayers and to God for His steadfast love," Queen Elizabeth wrote. "I have indeed seen His faithfulness."
The Bible Society will publish the book in April marking the queen's 90th birthday.
Three Christian charities—HOPE, the Bible Society and LICC—teamed up to write the book, which gives readers a glimpse into Her Majesty's religious beliefs.
The book will not be used for commercial gain, a condition that had to be met in order for the queen to agree to write the foreword.
In the foreword, she also refers to problems in the Middle East, saying the world is seeing suffering on an unprecedented scale.
The queen is supreme governor of the Church of England.
"So to have a monarch who talks openly about Jesus in a very relaxed and natural way, we find that a huge encouragement and hope that Christians across the country will take a leaf out of the queen's book and learn to talk about Jesus in a natural way with friends, relatives and colleagues so people can discover more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus," co-author Catherine Butcher, from HOPE, told

Pat Robertson Is Taking on Donald Trump Tonight

Christian Broadcasting Network News Chief Political Correspondent David Brody announced Tuesday afternoon to his "Brody File" readers that he was moderating a political discussion on Wednesday night.
Regent University is hosting a presidential forum featuring Dr. Pat Robertson and Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump. According to Brody, Trump will have the opportunity to give a campaign-style speech in front of Regent University students, followed by a one-on-one interview with Robertson.
The event will stream live online and runs opposite a Republican presidential town hall event on FOX News Channel. The 9-11 p.m. EST "voter summit" is set to be hosted by Megyn Kelly, who has a rather acrimonious relationship with the GOP front-runner.

Beating Cancer: How Cutting Sugar Reversed One Man's Death Sentence

Scientists believe two-thirds of all cancers are caused by bad choices such as smoking, tanning beds, not exercising and the granddaddy of them all: a poor diet.
When it comes to diet, one of the worst types is one high in sugar. In fact, scientists are increasingly discovering a dramatic link between sugar and cancer.
A clear relationship between sugar and cancer leads scientists to two conclusions: Sugar use contributes to cancer, and going without it can slow the growth of the disease.
One hundred years ago, the average person consumed just four pounds of sugar a year. Now, most of us take in 40 times this amount—160 pounds a year.
Food manufacturers add enormous amounts of sugar, often in the form of high fructose corn syrup, to products we consume all day, every day, such as coffee drinks and cereal, soda and snacks—even foods you wouldn't expect, like spaghetti sauce and peanut butter.
For instance, a tiny container of fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt contains more sugar than a candy bar.
The Cancer-Sugar Link
Now scientists tell us sugar directly influences cancer cells.

A Lesson in Burden-Bearing

"My burden is light" (Matt. 11:30). This is one of Jesus' more paradoxical statements. He makes it in the form of a promise. He doesn't promise no burdens, but that His burden is light. How can that be? Isn't what defines something as a burden is that it is heavy?
It begs the question: What makes a burden heavy? In the physical realm—God's illustration of spiritual truth—what makes something heavy is gravity. The downward gravitational pull of the earth makes something heavy.
Imagine with me now that I am about to pick up a huge, heavy boulder. Can you see the scene? I struggle to pick it up and put it on my back. It's too heavy for me. It crushes me to the ground. I am paralyzed under its weight. Got it?
Reset the scene. I'm about to pick up exactly the same boulder. Nothing has changed about the burden. Except that this time when I pick it up, I'm on Mars. Since Mars has no gravity, the very same burden that paralyzed me on Earth is light as a feather on Mars.
The difference is not in the burden, but in the atmosphere in which we carry the burden. When we try to carry it in our flesh, it crushes us. When we carry it in the Spirit, it is light.
We may have to transfer out of flesh to the Spirit hundreds of times a day. But one day we'll get into the spiritual realm with that burden and stay there. The burden may not change immediately, but our reaction to it will. We can hold it up before the Lord instead of having it weigh us down and paralyze us.
Don't slip into guilt or condemnation here. The Lord is on your side. He is not scolding you. He is inviting you. Let Him show you how to transfer the burden. A Scripture He gives you to use? A phrase? A mental picture? Just ask Him. When I realize I'm burden-bearing in the flesh, I mentally say, "Only You." And that phrase calls me back.

International hotel chain pulls in-room pornography from its 4,900 locations

A leading hotel company has decided to remove on-demand pornography from every location in its international chain.
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which has 4,900 properties in 100 nations around the globe, had an existing policy not to show films rated NC-17 or above, but it strengthened penalties for hotels that refused to comply with its standards.
“We are grateful to Intercontinental Hotels Group for the priority the company placed on working with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation in order to ensure that none of its hotels profit from sexual exploitation,” said Dawn Hawkins, the executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “InterContinental Hotels Group has committed to rigorously enforce a brand standard prohibiting the distribution of pornography across all of its brands, such as Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza.”
Hilton Hotels announced it would remove pornography from its hotel chain last August. That October, the Hyatt Hotel Corporation followed suit, removing in-room porn from its 160,000 hotel rooms.
Hawkins called porn-free televisions the “new normal” in the hospitality industry. “Increasingly hoteliers are recognizing that pornography is an exploitative means of profit, partly due to pornography’s link to prostitution, sex trafficking, and sexual violence.”
Free streaming pornography has largely made in-room, on-demand pornographic services unprofitable. Robert Habeeb, president and CEO of First Hospitality Group, estimated that a 200-room hotel could make $2,000 a month from the rental of pornography from each room's TV menu.
But on demand movie rentals have been cut nearly in half since 2007, according to PKF Consulting, an expert on the hotel industry.

Forbidden Romance Results in Honor Killings for Coptic Women

Not for the first time in Egypt, a romance between a Muslim divorcee and a Copt eventually ended in tragedy late last year, when the woman, who had "converted" to Christianity, was killed by members of her family.
Many parts of the story seem inexplicable: how a romance between a Muslim woman and a Christian man could end in marriage in a country where Sharia makes this legally impossible; and how a mother could pay with her life for being with a Christian, while her killers remain at large. There appears to be a pattern of collective punishment, favoring the strong against the weak.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The Triple Threat the Enemy Uses Against You

Sports teams, political rivals, and military strategists all have one thing in common, they are aware of what their opponent's strengths and weaknesses are. This is why teams study the game tapes, why politicians listen to the comments of their rivals and why military units spy out the land they are seeking to take.
If you don't know what your enemy is doing, you will not be as victorious as could be if you did know what he was doing. Many people go into war without all the information, which is a critical part of the preparation and that is why they lose more battles than they win.

Revival Hits Muslims in Syria Amid Deadly Persecution

ISIS targeted more Muslim-populated areas in Syria on Sunday. According to reports, the attacks left at least 140 dead in Damascus and Homs. These attacks were the deadliest of Syria's five-year war.
Citing a monitoring group, the BBC reporting a double car bombing in Homs. Later in Damascus, four or more blasts killed and injured people, according to Syrian state media.
Both attacks were targeting minority groups.

How to Avoid the Coming Deception

If only one facet of a diamond is cut, its true brilliance will not shine forth. However, when all of the facets are cut and revealed at the same time, it radiates with majestic glory. God's heart is like a diamond. He wants us to connect with all aspects or facets of His heart; in that way, we experience His true glory, brilliance and deeper intimacy with Him.
The "Falling Away"
The problem we have with connecting with all aspects of His heart, is that we (the church and the world) have defined and described God in the way that we want Him to be. In other words, we focus on one or maybe a few of His characteristics that we like and that serve us well, and we ignore the rest. The serious dangers of doing this are two-fold: 1) We can't truly experience and grow in intimacy with God (or with anyone) when we only desire to know "certain parts" of them; and 2) It opens us up to be extremely vulnerable to deception, which will eventually lead to "falling away" from the faith.

Why 'Risen' Is Changing Faith-Based Movies

The resurrection story isn't new to the big screen.
The King of KingsThe Greatest Story Ever Told and The Passion of the Christ are classic films giving the biblical account of Jesus' life and have all become Easter staples.
Now, Risen hopes to join that list—but this time, focusing primarily on the days after Christ was crucified and those who disbelieved.
The movie, which released in theaters Feb. 19, was written with a skeptic's view in mind. After all, the film's main character, Clavius—played by Joseph Fiennes—is a pagan Roman officer.
He and his aide, Lucius—played by Harry Potter star Tom Felton—are tasked with disproving claims that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. The path their assignment puts them on, though, is a transformational one that many may be experiencing in real life.
"It was a moving journey to go on," Fiennes said. "What I love is the sense of the crumbling of a man's conditioning and him getting to a place where he can take on another philosophy."
Action with a Message
Risen stays true to the period piece standard. Filmed in Malta and Spain, the movie's setting visually takes a trip back in time, even down to clothing and fighting techniques.
"I've always wanted to tell a story like this where it really feels like a big Hollywood movie," Mickey Liddell, producer of Risen, said.

Monday, 22 February 2016

5 Ways to Avoid Jekyll-and-Hyde Mentality

Insecurity is born in fear and develops into double-mindedness.
Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a book in 1886 titled Jekyll and Hyde. Today, the fictional character is often used to describe a leader who acts one way one day, then acts differently the next day.
Oddly, the leader is usually not aware of the behavior and will fight vigorously to suggest he is the same leader in every situation. His delusions remain with him throughout his various transformations.
It is fear that causes a leader to rapidly morph into someone who displays temper or out-of-control outbursts.

Pope Francis Pleads To Abolish Death Penalty Around the World

Pope Francis on Sunday called for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty, saying the commandment "You shall not kill" was absolute and equally valid for the guilty as for the innocent.
Using some of his strongest words ever against capital punishment,

The Holy Spirit: A Person, Not an 'It'

One evening when our oldest daughter Anna was in college, I, Mahesh, was suddenly overcome by a strong urge to pray. I did not know why, but I knew the Holy Spirit was alerting me and giving me this sense of urgency.
I began to pray in the Spirit, and continued to pray for nearly three hours until I felt the inner prompting leave. It was late in the evening when I left my study, and I saw Anna's light was still on where she was preparing for her final exams. I stuck my head in the door to say good-night and heard myself saying, "Please drive your mother's Jeep instead of my car in the morning."
She ordinarily drove my car to school every day. I had no particular reason to make the request, but when she nodded without looking up, I told her a second time just to make sure she had heard me. Then I went to bed.
The next morning, our phone rang just before eight o'clock. It was the police department.

When Does Cleavage in Church Become Sinful?

Two arguments usually come to mind: The first being legalism. The second, a "God doesn't care what I wear, he's more concerned about what's in my heart" sentiment.
So how much skin can a woman show before it's a sin?
Ayesha Curry, wife of NBA player Stephen Curry, sparked fiery debate when she expressed on Twitter her preference in clothing.
She tweeted that she would rather keep a more modest appearance than what today's trends demand. She also wrote that she'll take "classy over trendy any day of the week."
Curry received a ton of backlash from people who said she was shaming women who dress less modestly.
Actress Meagan Good, who is also a Christian, has often been criticized for wearing clothing viewed as too sexy.
Good, an actress who is married to film producer and minister Devon Franklin, turned heads when she wore a blue dress with a deep plunging neckline at the BET Awards in 2013.
Now, she's making headlines again.

BREAKING NEWS: Beloved Pentecostal Preacher T.L. Lowery Passes Away at 87

T.L. Lowery, who spent more than 70 years in Pentecostal ministry, passed away Sunday at the age of 87.
Lowery accepted Christ on New Year's Day at 13 in 1943. By 1954, however, he had pastored four congregations, married his sweetheart, Mildred, and saw the birth of his son, Stephen.
While in Galax, Virginia, Lowery made the decision to move into full-time evangelism. For the next 15 years, he traveled throughout the country and the world, conducting crusades in over 115 countries and every state in the U.S.
According to the T.L. Lowery Global Foundation website,, the name T.L. Lowery "became synonymous with spiritual power, fire-from-heaven sermons and miraculous healings. Summers included week after week of ministry at Church of God camp meetings.

Why You Build Walls Around Your Heart

A bridge is an interesting thing. It is a pathway connecting two places, often over an obstacle or tumultuous area. In many cases we would never be able to cross wide gaps in the terrain while travelling without the assistance of bridges. When you are standing at the edge of a thorny embankment looking down at the raging waters below, dreaming about the inviting gardens on the other side can seem like a lost cause unless there is a bridge to join where you are presently with where you desire to be.
Just as a structural bridge is needed to transverse natural ravines, mental bridges are needed to transverse spiritual ravines. When deep pain enters your life it can cut into your emotions, into your faith, and into your ability to trust God, creating a deep spiritual valley. A valley so expansive and so consuming that it can become a hiding place. It can become a place to which you retreat for fear of being hurt again.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Mennonite Pastor Who Helped Child Flee Lesbian ‘Mother’ to go to Prison

Kenneth Miller, a Mennonite pastor who helped a woman and her daughter flee the country in 2009 to avoid court-ordered visitations with the girl's lesbian "mother," has ended his appeal against a 27-month federal prison sentence and will be required to begin his term on March 1.
Lisa Miller and her daughter Isabella are believed to have flown from Canada to Nicaragua in late 2009 after Kenneth Miller drove them to the Canadian border. Kenneth Miller was convicted of "aiding an international kidnapping" in 2012 but was allowed to remain free while he appealed the sentence.
"God allows hardships and trials to make us into the image of His Son. THAT'S GOOD. So if this time in prison makes this poor sinner a little more like Jesus, it will be good and I will be happy," wrote Kenneth Miller in response to his impending imprisonment.
"We are not discouraged or depressed about the future, because God is in the future and we are with God, therefore we are encouraged," he added.
"There are some things that can never be locked up behind prison walls. Truth. Conscience.

4 Prayer Services Most People Won't Attend

When you hold a prayer meeting, make sure it is a spiritually transformational one. 
Part of the reason is that leaders realize that although the prayer service is important it is "the least attended service in the church." Pastors will come up to me and say something like, "People would rather go to a potluck than a prayer service."
However, one of the reasons that people won't come to the prayer service of the church is that they may fall into one of these categories:
1. The national flag Prayer Service. I am not sure if this is a common type of prayer service in other places in the world but some form of these shows up in various places in the United States.