THE REPORT OF THE PERSECUTED CHURCH:

Religious Persecution is in America! A report by two U.S.-based religious freedom groups says anti-Christian persecution is on the rise in America. David French of the ACLJ says. “It’s clear that – particularly on college and university campuses – we have seen a significant rise in attempts to silence Christian organizations by the misapplication of nondiscrimination laws.” “It is dramatic,” says Liberty Institute Founder Kelly Shackleford, of the recent hike in reported incidents of persecution. Shackleford says the central culprits are the government, schools, and social programs. Shackleford claims the acts of persecution point to a deeply rooted spiritual issue that has mainstreamed throughout the sexual and countercultural revolutions in academy, media, churches and government; the trends are accelerating in alarming rates.

Among the violations listed on the American Center for Law & Justice joint report: (News Citation: Persecution of Christians on rise in US - Click here to view news article)

    • A federal judge threatened “incarceration” to a high school valedictorian unless she removed references to Jesus from her graduation speech. (click for news article on Angela Hildenbrand)

    • City officials prohibited senior citizens from praying over their meals, listening to religious messages or singing gospel songs at a senior activities center.

    • A public school official physically lifted an elementary school student from his seat and reprimanded him in front of his classmates for praying over his lunch.

    • Following U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ policies, a federal government official sought to censor a pastor’s prayer, eliminating references to Jesus, during a Memorial Day ceremony honouring veterans at a national cemetery.

    •  Public school officials prohibited students from handing out gifts because they contained religious messages.

    • A public school official prevented a student from handing out flyers inviting her classmates to an event at her church.

    • A public university’s law school banned a Christian organization because it required its officers to adhere to a statement of faith with which the university disagreed.

    • The U.S. Department of Justice argued before the Supreme Court that the federal government can tell churches and synagogues which pastors and rabbis it can hire and fire.

    •  The State of Texas sought to approve and regulate what religious seminaries can teach.

    •  Through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the federal government is forcing religious organizations to provide insurance for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs in direct violation of their religious beliefs.

    • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs banned the mention of God from veterans’ funerals, overriding the wishes of the deceased, and deceased’s families.

    • A federal judge held that prayers before a state House of Representatives could be to Allah but not to Jesus.


    SCRIPTURAL REFLECTION:

    Romans 12:1 AMP 
    "I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship" 
    The scriptures are full of invitations, and admonishing calls to heed the Spirit of God's instructions, exhortations, and imploring. These calls console, encourage, and strengthen us as we respond to the invitations coming from a merciful God. 

    QUESTIONS FOR DEEPER REFLECTION:

    1. In what ways can I/We make a decisive dedication of our bodies (presenting all members & faculties) in service and Spiritual worship? 

    2. We do not walk after the flesh, or wage war against flesh and blood. The passage speaks of my "service" and "Spiritual worship" as well pleasing to God. In what ways can I serve and worship God Spiritually?

    Fasting presents our bodies, thoughts, and plans as sacrifices in order to seek a deeper level of devotion as we minister to the Lord our God. As you set aside time this week to spend with God, praying for yourself, your loved ones, and our church consider how loving the unlovable is a command. Look over the landscape of your life and identify the Saul(s) who need the Love of Christ. 


    ASK GOD:

    Ask God to search your heart. Confess any action or thought that He reveals to you as to why you have struggled to love the unlovable. As a living sacrifice, how you can offer spiritual worship by living a life of unfailing love?  Confess where you have not loved your brothers and sisters in Christ. 


     PRAYER:

    Lord we desire to have a deeper revelation of God's love, and to be enabled to love others the way Christ has loved us. Please help Christians to take a stand where they can help the defenseless. (Insert any additional) In Jesus Name, Amen.


    News Citation:

    Persecution of Christians on rise â in U.S. (WND)
    http://mobile.wnd.com/2012/09/persecution-of-christians-on-rise-in-u-s/#shJsFi91RuGJYVbR 

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