Thursday, April 30, 2015

Christian Leaders Threaten Civil Disobedience if Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage

Christian Leaders Threaten Civil Disobedience if Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage

Gay marriage supporters rally outside the Supreme Court.
Gay marriage supporters rally outside the Supreme Court. (Reuters)
"We will not obey."
That's the blunt warning a group of prominent religious leaders is sending to the Supreme Court of the United States as they consider same-sex marriage.
"We respectfully warn the Supreme Court not to cross that line," read a document titled, Pledge in Solidarity to Defend Marriage. "We stand united together in defense of marriage. Make no mistake about our resolve." 
"While there are many things we can endure, redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the common good that this is the line we must draw and one we cannot and will not cross," the pledge states.
The signees are a who's who of religious leaders including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, National Religious Broadcasters president Jerry Johnson, Pastor John Hagee, and Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse. 
The pledge was co-drafted by Deacon Keith Fournier, a Catholic deacon, and Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel. Also involved in the document were Rick Scarborough, the president of Vision America Action and James Dobson, the founder of Family Talk Radio. 
"We're sending a warning to the Supreme Court and frankly any court that crosses the line on the issue of marriage," Staver told me.
He said that once same-sex marriage is elevated to the level of protected status—it will transform the face of society and will result in the "beginning of the end of Western Civilization."
"You are essentially saying that boys and girls don't need moms and dads—that moms and dads are irrelevant," Staver said. "Gender becomes pointless when government adopts same-sex marriage. It creates a genderless relationship out of a very gender-specific relationship. It says that it doesn't matter and that two moms or two dads are absolutely equivalent to a mom and a dad."
Dobson said the legalization of same-sex marriage could fracture the nation.
"The institution of marriage is fundamental and it must be defended," he told me. "It's the foundation for the entire culture. It's been in existence for 5,000 years. If you weaken it or if you undermine it—the entire superstructure can come down. We see it as that important."
And that means the possibility of Christians—people of faith—engaging in acts of civil disobedience.
"Yes, I'm talking about civil disobedience," Staver said. "I'm talking about resistance and I'm talking about peaceful resistance against unjust laws and unjust rulings."
That's quite a shocking statement. So I asked Mr. Staver to clarify his remarks.
"I'm calling for people to not recognize the legitimacy of that ruling because it's not grounded in the Rule of Law," he told me. "They need to resist that ruling in every way possible. In a peaceful way—they need to resist it as much as Martin Luther King Jr. resisted unjust laws in his time."
Scarborough said the pledge was meant to be forthright and clear.
"We're facing a real Constitutional crisis if the Supreme Court rules adversely from our perspective on same-sex marriage," he told me. For me there's no option. I'm going to choose to serve the Lord. And I think that thousands of other pastors will take that position and hundreds of thousands—if not millions of Christians."
Scarborough is urging pastors across the nation to sign the pledge. 
He referenced the "outrageous penalties" being assessed against people of faith simply because they don't want to participate in a same-sex union.
An Oregon bakery is facing a $135,000 fine for refusing to make a cake for a lesbian wedding and a Washington State florist faces fines for refusing to participate in a gay wedding.
"Christians are being declared the lawbreakers when we are simply living by what we have always believed, and by a set of laws that the culture historically has agreed to," he said. "Right now the courts are changing the playing field and declaring that what the natural eye can see and natural law reveals is not truth. ... What will we do, and how will we respond?"
Dobson said there's no doubt that LGBT activists are targeting Christian business owners.
"For about 50 years the homosexual community has had as its goal to change the culture, to change the ideology and if necessary—to force people who don't agree by use of the courts," Dobson told me. "I think there's a collision here and we can all see it, and where it's going to go is anybody's guess—but it is serious."
To be clear—the men and women who courageously signed this pledge did so knowing the hell storm that is about to be unleashed on them—and their families.
"We have no choice," Staver told me. "We cannot compromise our clear biblical convictions, our religious convictions.
Todd Starnes is host of "Fox News & Commentary," heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter. His latest book is God Less America.
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What Israeli Rescuers Found in Nepal

What Israeli Rescuers Found in Nepal

Thursday, April 30, 2015 |  Israel Today Staff
A 20-person delegation comprised of volunteers from Israel’s leading rescue organizations already has set up a field hospital and begun reaching out to earthquake victims in Nepal. Coordinated by IsraeLife and including representatives from United Hatzalah, Zaka and F.I.R.S.T., the rescue mission arrived on Monday and split up into two camps – one stationed in Kathmandu and the other in smaller villages in the periphery.
Dov Maisel, a member of joint delegation and United Hatzalah volunteer, explains conditions on the field. “Many communities have been utterly destroyed... their hospital or medical center is gone - they have nothing.” So far, the Israeli rescue team is treating injuries, pulling people out of rubble, rescuing victims from remote locations and consoling those facing grave tragedy.
"It is very difficult. After this kind of incident you have many wounded people who have nowhere to go - and they have fractures, an infected cut - all sorts of wounds... and they have no one treating them. Our mission is to help as many people as possible,” he said.
Eli Pollak, CEO of IsraeLife, said, “We decided to enlist the cooperation of the prominent Israeli emergency agencies in order to maximize the capabilities of the delegation, which is made up of experts in serving the needs of the disaster area. We are preparing for a long stay that will provide solutions to the Israelis living in Nepal and local residents.”
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Meet Avraham the Jewish Shepherd ✡ "His Father's Sheep in Bethlehem"

David would travel back and forth from Saul's presence to tend his father's sheep in Bethlehem.

I SAMUEL (17:15)

וְדָוִד הֹלֵךְ וָשָׁב מֵעַל שָׁאוּל לִרְעוֹת אֶת צֹאן אָבִיו בֵּית לָחֶם

שמאול יז:טו

v'-da-vid ho-laykh va-shav may-al sha-ul li-r'-ot et tzon a-veev bayt la-khem

Today's Israel Inspiration

It is no coincidence that so many of our Biblical heroes were shepherds, for this humble trade provided an abundance of time for quiet reflection, leading to an intimate relationship with the Lord. Today in the hills of the Land of Israel, a modern-day shepherd, Avraham Herzlich, has opened his grazing land for visitors to explore and learn about this Biblical way of life. His new interactive Shepherd's Tent attracted many visitors last year from around the world, but the tent was destroyed by severe winter weather. He now looks to rebuild and expand the site to facilitate a flow of expected groups and tours this coming year. You can take part in this building project and have your name in the Visitor's Center! There are many opportunities for everyone to be included, from sponsoring a wooden bench or picnic table, to "adopting" goats, and much more. With special gift options and progress reports, you'll be proud of your connection to the Holy Land.

Sneak Peak of the Shepherd's Tent

The life of Avraham the modern Jewish shepherd is a lesson for all in maintaining faith despite hardship. He lost his daughter in a terror attack, and suffered the thievery of his entire flock of sheep by Arabs, yet Avraham continues to rebuild and stand firm in his love of the Land of Israel.

U.S. Veiled Threat to Israel

The US is mulling a drastic change to its approach to the two-state solution, and not in favor of Israel, a top US State Department official confirmed.

Blessing for the Home

A meaningful verse from the Book of Kings is interwoven throughout this gorgeous print, in a form of art called micro-calligraphy. Just in time for Mother's Day, shower the one you love with this beautiful work of art from the Holy Land.

Today's Israel Photo

Today's beautiful photo by Yehoshua Halevi shows a herd of sheep at Nachal Prat, a refreshing stream of water that flows along part of the Judean desert.

Thank You

Please help us continue to spread the beauty and significance of the Land of Israel!

“Thankful for the Opportunity to Learn”

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Christians Died While Worshipping as Quake Hit in Nepal

Christians Died While Worshipping as Quake Hit

Hundreds of Nepalese Christians died as their churches crashed down upon them when last week's devastating earthquake hit during their weekly worship services.

In Nepal, Christians worship on Saturday because it's a day off, while Sunday is a work day. Most services last until 12:30 in the afternoon meaning most were still in service when the quake hit at 11:56 AM.

"Many Christians were buried while they were worshiping on Sabbath and died," the president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Nepal, Umesh Pokharel said, according to an article by Christianity Today. (The article cited several sources, including: Adventist Review, AsiaNews, Global Mission Nepal, the Brethren in Christ Church, Mission Network News, the Assemblies of God, the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, Christian Aid, and the Nepal Church of Christ.)

The CT article cites a Facebook post by a Brethren in Christ Church worker: "Although unclear some have reported 100 believers in a church in Kathmandu were worshipping on the 7th floor rented building was completely collapsed, some 40 bodies were taken out whereas others still missing."

About 80 people died when the Nepali Evangelical Church in Kapan oustide Kathmandu collapsed.

Seventeen bodies were discovered in the rubble of a rural church that was struck just as the service was ending, according to the IMB. The pastor reporteldy lost three family members in the tragedy.

Assemblies of God World Missions reports that three of its churches are totally destroyed and several lives lost.

Christian Aid said several churches had just let out ahead of the quake, including one in Kathmandu.

"Ten minutes earlier and everyone would still have been inside," said Christian Aid's South Asia director. "There would have certainly been many injuries, if not deaths."

Overall, approximately 500 Christians are feared dead.

Faith Leaders Warn Supreme Court: 'Don't Cross That Line'

Faith Leaders Warn SCOTUS: 'Don't Cross That Line'

A group of prominent Christian leaders are issuing a warning to the Supreme Court. If it legalizes gay marriage, they will not obey.

"We respectfully warn the Supreme Court not to cross that line," read a document titled, "Pledge in Solidarity to Defend Marriage." "We stand united together in defense of marriage. Make no mistake about our resolve."

The pledge goes on to state, "While there are many things we can endure, redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the common good that this is the line we must draw and one we cannot and will not cross."

The signees include Franklin Graham, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.

The pledge was co-drafted by Keith Fournier, a Catholic deacon, and Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel.

They're urging pastors across the nation to sign the pledge.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

IDF is on a Rescue Mission in Nepal ✡ "An Angel of the Lord"

An angel of the Lord is stationed around those who fear Him, and He saved them.

PSALMS (34:17)

חֹנֶה מַלְאַךְ יְ-הֹוָה סָבִיב לִירֵאָיו וַיְחַלְּצֵם

תהילים לד:יז

kho-ne ma-lakh a-do-nai sa-veev li-yi-ray-av va-y'-khal-tzaym

Today's Israel Inspiration

Israel has sent a remarkable delegation of IDF soldiers and medics to save lives in Nepal after its devastating earthquake. Here's what IDF Brig. General Yoel Strick had to say: "We have set out on a mission which symbolizes all that the IDF stands for, and we are greatly proud of this." The soldiers of the IDF are today's "angels of the Lord," renown for setting up field hospitals and rescue work throughout the world during times of natural disasters. This is the true face of Israel and its moral army.

67 Years of Bravery

With incredible historic footage of the IDF, this is Israeli heroism over the decades.

IDF Rescue Team to Nepal

Israel has sent a delegation of emergency responders to Nepal following a devastating earthquake that has killed more than 3,700 people and injured countless others.

Sterling Silver IDF Keychain

This fantastic keychain features the seal of the IDF in sterling silver. Below the shield is the Hebrew text: “Tzva Hagana L’Yisrael,” the Hebrew words for Israeli Defense Force.

Today's Israel Photo

Israeli soldiers and medics in Nepal use teamwork to set up a fully equipped field hospital. At the end of the mission, the IDF will leave all of their sophisticated, new medical equipment behind to benefit the people of Nepal.

Yesterday's Photo Trivia

Yesterday's photo by Boruch Len featured the Bania Springs in the Golan Heights, one of Israel’s wonders in the north. The spring emerges at the foot of Mount Hermon and serves as a main tributary into the Jordan River.

Thank You

Today's Scenes and Inspiration is sponsored by Stacey Phillips from Georgetown, Texas. Toda Raba!

“I Have Learned So Much”

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I have always loved Israel even though I really knew very little about it. In my mind I saw it as a desert until I started hearing about it from Pastor Hagge and Pat Robertson. I have been getting Israel365 for over a year now and I have learned so much and I really think it is a beautiful land. I live in Texarkana, TX, USA and I worry about how this country seems to be turning its head away from Israel. May God help us! I will continue reading Israel365 and I will keep Israel in my prayers. Martha S.
Rabbi Tuly Weisz

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Ancient and Emerging: 5 Major Changes Coming to the Church

Will church in the future be supernaturally driven?
Will church in the future be supernaturally driven? (Lightstock)
Over the last 24-plus years of ministry, one of the most difficult challenges I've faced has been effectively communicating just what changes are coming to the church.
The current church paradigm is so prevalent and saturating in our culture that people just can't seem to wrap their minds around the shift that is coming. It seems nonsensical, threatening or just plain bizarre. They wonder how their ministry stream or focus or gift fits in that structure.
The reality is that it may not, or it may be radically redefined. The discomfort level will be quite high, and it will take a radical remnant to truly sign up for the reformation—for the revolution of the church.
The disciples of Jesus had an idea of what it would look like in Acts 1, but Jesus radically violated their dreams, plans and comfort zones by leaving—and commissioning them to establish what they hoped Jesus would build!
"So when they had come together, they asked him, 'Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?' He said to them,'It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.' And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight."
The Coming Church
This book that I'm currently writing will be addressing some of the spiritual and practical changes that will be coming to the structure and expression of the church. Trust me, it will shock our nation severely. Those who hold on to a structure or a ministry instead of Jesus himself will not be willing to go where God is leading.
I call this the ancient and emerging church. Ancient because it's rooted in scripture; emerging because the biblical structure has been largely forsaken. What will this ancient and emerging church look like? Here's just a small peek into a grand shift in the structure of the church:
1. Services will become more like prayer meetings. One of the greatest indictments on the church today is that prayer is not the driving force. Today, people tend to choose churches based on the appeal of the teaching and the worship instead of the fervency of prayer. If the church was a house of teaching, or a house of worship, that would make sense, but it's not. The church is a house of prayer for all nations. Every person in the church will function as a burning intercessor and the services will be marked by this unified groan of fiery prayer.
2. Personal need will give way to personal mission. Today, churches are often more like organic, socially driven hospitals. People tend to use the church as a way to meet their personal needs instead of serving it as a minister of God. This is going to change. Of course, there will still be personal ministry and true needs will be addressed.
However, instead of the church functioning as a hospital, it will once again function as a mission-driven military. The mission will take precedence. The saints will be equipped for service, not for personal survival. In this ancient and emerging model, their will be MASH units that will take very good care of the wounded with the primary purpose of getting the soldier back into battle. Apostles will again lead with governmental authority and pastors will be seen as the main leader less and less as they focus more on shepherding and less on primary leadership.
3. Teaching will be minimized while instruction is emphasized. Teaching is mostly for personal edification while instruction is mostly for corporate assignments. Today, most churches focus on teaching principles of scripture, providing truths that will help Believers navigate through their lives and giving nuggets of biblical info. While there will still be important Bible teaching, apostolic instruction will emerge as a necessary new ministry.
There is enough Bible teaching online, on CDs, in books and on video to turn every one of us into personal spiritual giants. We need to take it upon ourselves to grow. What is lacking, however, is apostolic leaders, military commanders who give instruction and assignments to a ready army. Teaching is personal growth-based while instruction is a call to corporate action for the sake of mission fulfillment.
An example of apostolic instruction is this: The apostolic leader gives a corporate assignment for everybody in the church to fast for a week and then show up together to prayer walk through the city streets. It's a corporate call to action versus biblical study. It's mission focused versus personal growth focused. Personal growth will be largely our responsibility between services so we can be ready to respond to the corporate instruction where we will receive our assignments.
4. We will gather together most days of the week. The 24/7 church will again emerge as the church drives culture instead of reacting to culture. Cares of life will lose their power as we simplify our lives and put corporate prayer and mission ahead of most everything else.
This may be the most challenging change for Christians. Today, Sundays are the days to set aside for corporate worship while we give precedence to our 'normal lives.' In The Coming Church, the very reason we live will be to pray on fire together every day, receive apostolic assignments and then move out into our lives as kingdom ambassadors. It wouldn't be surprising if a tithe of our time is what became the standard. Two to three hours a day, whether it's in the morning, afternoon or evening, or even in the late night hours, will be given by every believer to praying on site together with others, ministering and giving ourselves to intercession-fueled kingdom ministry. Of course, much of what we have been giving ourselves to will have to be eliminated so we have the time necessary to devote.
5. Worship will be supernaturally driven. There is a new sound coming to worship, and it's not simply a new style. There is a supernatural, otherworldly groan of intercessory worship that will explode out of the entire body as a new breed of trembling worship leaders lead the way into the shock and awe of the glory of God. We will no longer simply sit in a pew or stand with a raised hand while a familiar worship song is sung.
The prophetic, groaning sounds of Holy Spirit facilitated worship will make it normal to shake and fall to our faces as we cry Holy! The natural, logical sing-a-longs will be no more. We will have a hard time standing as God's Shekinah and Kabod glory resides in his church. Worship teams will practice less and pray in the Spirit with tears in their eyes more.
Of course, this is an extremely limited glance into the many, many changes that are coming. I wanted to share this to provoke you to preparation. There is much that you and I enjoy in the church, or that is comfortable to us, that we will have to let go. Again, the coming church will be troubling and shocking, but it will result in the power and life that we have been crying out for.
God is about to answer that cry.
I strongly recommend that you read my book 20 Elements of Revival. That book reveals much of the shift that we must embrace right now. If you truly take in all that it has to say, you'll never participate in the church the same way again.
John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 20 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored nine books, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. Additionally, he planted two churches, has initiated two city prayer movements and is currently directing a prayer and revival focused ministry school in Detroit called theLab University. John's mandate is to call the church in the nations to repentance from casual Christianity and to burn in a manner worthy of the King of kings. He is equipping people to confront the enemies of God (established religion, Jezebel, etc.) that hinder an extreme, sold-out level of true worship.
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