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Literature
First Amendment, Last Remembered
The First Amendment has become, to put it bluntly, one of the biggest lies in the American Judiciary system.
We've all heard it before; or, at least, the fallacy that atheist organizations such as Freedom From Religion have made of it. From the way they bring it up and cite it in court, one would almost believe that it called for religious censoring in the name of freedom. Given how clearly the Amendment was worded when written as an addition to the Constitution, it's absurd that these notions hold any water. Here is the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. -First Amendment (emphasis added)
For some inexplicable reason, the phrase preventing Congress from prohibiting free exercise of religion never comes up in court. It's n
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Literature
Revelation: The Prophecies that Already Passed
What if I told you the Bible prophecies the entire history of the church before it ever happened? While this isn't a Sunday School lesson a whole lot of people hear, it is an important thing to consider when the legitimacy of the Bible as God's Word is questioned.
The book of Revelations is typically viewed as a book of prophecy concerning only the end of the world, events that after two thousand years are still in the unknown future. But that's not all— a lesser known feature of the book is a prophecy of the history of the church from the time of Revelation's writing to the end of the world. Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation cover this.
On the outside these chapters just seem like letters to seven churches of John's time, much like the books of Ephesians, Colossians, and much of the rest of the New Testament. That's one purpose for them, but with two thousand years of hindsight we're able to see the other purpose the letters served. Each church John wrote to had a defining characte
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Literature
God Loves WHO?!
David was an adulterous murderer. We all heard in Sunday School about the righteous slayer of Goliath who became the greatest human ruler Israel has ever known. Unfortunately, even the shepherd-turned-monarch was still a corrupt, sinful human. Women were King David's weakness, and he allowed himself to sin repeatedly for their sake; polygamy was a practice he shamelessly engaged in, but was hardly his worst. 2 Samuel 11 records the tragic sequence of "the man after God's own heart"'s darkest hour.
As King David was lounging about Jerusalem one day (he was supposed to be in battle), the woman Bathsheba caught his eye. Upon asking his servant about her, he learned that Bathsheba was married to one of the Israelite soldiers, Uriah. David didn't let that sacred bond keep him from satisfying the lust of the flesh, not after the lust of the eyes had taken ahold of him.
He invited Bathsheba into his palace and committed adultery with her. Before you can say "Job's your uncle", she was
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Literature
The Bible Condones Slavery?
Many of us have heard this before: "I could never accept a book that says slavery is okay!" Such are the cries of atheists attempting to tear down the Bible and label it as morally depraved. And honestly, who can blame them? Anybody with the barest sense of morality would tell you that the kidnapping and subjection to forced servitude of a human being is a horrible thing. Yet the Bible seemingly allows for slavery by repeatedly giving commands for the good treatment of slaves. Skeptics commonly cite verses such as these:
Masters, give unto your bondservants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. -Colossians 4:1
And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee. -Deuteronomy 15:12
A slave is still a slave, regardless of whether he is treated well as per the Bible's orders. These verses seem to say that slavery is okay, and tha
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Literature
Be Tolerant! ...But What Does That Mean?
Oxford English Dictionary:
Tolerance noun
The ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with.
Modern-Day Liberals:
Tolerance noun
The act of censoring ideas that one disagrees with.
Yes, it's that time of year once again. The time when carols are sung, pageants are put on, and leftists grossly misuse words as they wage war on freedom of religion by claiming that references to God and Christ are evil. The excuses they use? Tolerance. Not everybody believes in God, so Christians must "tolerate" others' disbelief by not putting on plays of A Christmas Carol because Tiny Tim utters the word "God" on a single occasion at the end of the play. Christians must "tolerate" others' disbelief by having lawsuits filed against them for setting a cross on top of their Christmas trees.
Hold the phone, is anybody aware of the actual definition of tolerance? Tolerance is allowing Christians to put on plays
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Literature
Is the Papacy Legitimate?
The papacy is one of the longest-running and most widely-recognized governmental institutions in the history of the world. The numerous men who have borne the title of "Pope" have had a profound impact on not merely the Catholic Church, but the world at large. The Catholics claim that this is entirely proper, as the papacy is a Biblically-established system that holds authority over all on earth who believe in Jesus Christ—but is it really?
As a quick disclaimer, this very brief essay is by no means an attack on the men who have been known as "Pope" over the years (some of whom were doubtlessly well-meaning and moral), neither is it an attack on those who view the Pope as a supreme leader. This is merely an examination on the Biblical legitimacy of the papal office, with a conclusion based on the logic of God's Word rather than assumptions or forced implications. In any case, Galatians 2:11 sets an obvious standard that, if the Pope is legitimate, the church has every right to qu
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Literature
Scars and Sorrows
We are all scarred in some way. Maybe we don't all have the aftermath of physical cuts adorning our bodies, but as flawed, sin-natured humans we have all taken a fall of some kind–and no fall comes without injury. Maybe your scars do not even come from sin. So many people have minds and bodies scarred by disease or depression or other mental illnesses. Or maybe your scar is just a sorrow; a regret of a missed opportunity, a personal loss, a hard financial situation. There are so many scars and sorrows that seem to burden us in our lives.
Some people see their scars and think "If God were real, I wouldn't have hurt this way" or "God is obviously not going to help me out in life, so I cannot and will not keep living for Him." Others view their scars only as the result of falling headlong onto the jagged rocks of sin; they look at them only as a penalty inflicted for doing wrong.
The first view of scars is straight-up wrong. The second view might carry truth in some cases, but the r
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Literature
The Future?
    The future: man has long since pondered its mysteries and dreamed of its promises. However, not many souls on this earth can say what will become of this world by the year 2052. Fortunately I, Count Von Reginald the Foreseer, am a part of that precious minority who can see what the future holds. I must say, it looks very ominous indeed.
By the time 2052 comes, America will be in a political uproar. Donald Trump, who many now refer to as “King” Trump, will be elected to his ninth consecutive term in office. During his second term, he will have managed to repeal the Constitutional Amendment which limits a Presidential incumbency to ten years. His sweeping removal of illegal immigrants from the country and halting their further entry will make its mark upon Americans everywhere and give him nationwide approval second only to that of legendary Ronald Reagan. However, during the midst of his fifth Presidential term, Trump will become power-hungry and begin fixing e
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Literature
Apologetics: I Now Pronounce You Rapist and Wife?
Critics of the Bible have long attempted to discredit it, and one of their most common tactics is accusing God of being immoral and cruel. While several arguments they use, such as the Flood, have no effect on people who believe that God has a right to destroy what He created, I have seen several Christians at a loss for words when presented with a few passages from the Mosaic Law which seemingly punish innocent rape victims.
Deuteronomy 22:27-28 reads, "If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days." The command here is obvious: if an unwed woman is raped, God commanded that her rapist must marry her.
However, this does not have to be the case. The Deuteronomy passage does not mention a standard set in the very first place the
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Literature
God and Rabbits: Debunking the Bible Debunk
There's an error in the Bible! That is what skeptics would have us believe, in any case. A certain verse in the Mosaic law is often pointed to as proof that the Bible has made a mistake, and is therefore imperfect. Leviticus 11:6 is the verse that even atheists try to memorize; it says, And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
The hare cheweth the cud? But rabbits and hares don't do that! Why are they lumped into the same category as cows and other ruminants?
It must be understood that this apparent error is an illusion caused by linguistic limitations and ambiguity during translation and the problem that a certain biological fact regarding rabbits is somewhat obscure. To find the answer as to whether God really made a mistake, we must examine the original Hebrew with which the Old Testament was written and learn what actually happens to a rabbit's meal.
First off, the rabbit. As with all biological lessons, this will be on the
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Literature
Buried Alive By Religion
Buried alive by religion!
Finding it hard just to breathe.
Rituals, rites, and the motions
Surrounding me in a siege.
I feel so crushed by false doctrine.
God, are these truly Your ways?
Meaningless prayer repetitions,
Working hard just to be saved?
God is now feeling so distant!
None of my works bring Him near.
What is the point of man's teachings
If they can't settle my fears?
Agonized souls are now weeping,
Wondering how to be free.
Religion is but an obstruction
Relationship is the key.
Personal love with my Savior
Now is all that I long for.
Rituals are but an illness,
Deep fellowship is the cure.
Now I am free from the shackles,
Casting off these man-made chains.
My peace with God keeps on growing
Now that I'm sure of my faith.
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Literature
The Bible: History's First Scientific Facts
    The Bible is, without dispute, one of the earliest books ever produced. Archeological research has dated the earliest portions of the Book to the ancient, B.C. times that Christians assume it was written, and it has had a prominent place in ancient historical records.
    Scientific textbooks are, also without dispute, relatively new in the grand scale of human history. Ancient cultures such as the Greeks have produced writings laying basic foundations for future fields of scientific study, but true "science" was not developed until modern times (1500 A.D. to the present).
    Several thousand years stand in between the Bible and the scientific discoveries of modern times. One would think that the Bible would suffer a multitude of scientific inaccuracies as a result of this, but an in-depth look at the Bible reveals that the opposite is true; the Bible expressed scientific facts centuries before man learned of them.
    Listed below are sever
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Literature
Sandwiched!
    Sandwiched: A Tale of One Man's Unspeakable Terror and Another Man's Stubborn Refusal to Take His Medicine
    This is a possibly true account that might have maybe actually happened. Due to the characters wish to remain anonymous for media reasons, all names have been edited from this version of the account. You might be able to find a more specific record in the book buried under the Eiffel Tower.
    CHECKMATE! They closed in on him from all sides. He wheeled around in panic, frantically searching for a way out. But there was no way out. There would be no narrow escape this time; there would be no clever maneuvering. All his past escapades and close calls were now worthless. He was well and wholly trapped. They bared their fangs, tightening the circle around him. Death seemed certain.
    A thousand thoughts cluttered his mind simultaneously. How had the drama club's play gone so wrong? How had the beasts tracked him down? Who let them out
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Literature
Fred's Epic Quest
           Fred's Quest to Prove His Manhood
    Once upon a time, in a magical land known as the United States, there lived a boy named Fred. Fred was a happy lad. He always won hopscotch and marbles in his hometown of Stinkburg. His grades were usually H's; a hidden grade just between B- and B. His faithful hound was almost always killing the squirrels which had besieged Stinkburg for months.
    But alas! One day an idea crept its way into Fred's mind. Ideas in general aren't anything to mourn over, but this was a particularly bad idea. Fred decided one day that he would go on a grand adventure into the desert to slam his head into a cactus and prove his manhood. At the age of seventeen years and four months, Fred grabbed his favorite baseball bat, strapped his paintball gun and duct tape to his belt, and set off on his riding lawn mower.
    Stinkburg was located in one of the States, so that meant that the closest desert
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Favourites

Dissemination Of Faith :iconrhunel:rhunel 9 9 Morning :iconsignesandelin:SigneSandelin 22 6 Devil's Been Talkin' :iconindigoatmosphere:indigoatmosphere 34 14 From altar to throne. :iconsignesandelin:SigneSandelin 30 4 Lifesize Majora's Mask Wood effect - unique :iconoculus-lupus:Oculus-Lupus 5 0 Pixel Master Sword :iconarcanekeyblade5:Arcanekeyblade5 6 0 The Light And The Dark :icondiamondfusion:DiamondFusion 12 7 Hope is the Anthem :iconminidynz:minidynz 41 10 Embrace :icondiamondfusion:DiamondFusion 5 2 O Beautiful :iconrhunel:rhunel 31 20 Universe By God's Hands :iconvanzkie:Vanzkie 43 7
Literature
Ode To The People We Fail
Their faces haunt us--
Their names we cannot forget.
They are the people
Whose memory helps change us,
And whose lives, past time
And place to touch anymore,
Help us look inside
At what makes us who we are.
Once we found them gone,
Set adrift on different rafts,
We grieved that we failed,
We asked, "Was it beyond me
That I could have helped
Anyhow, by being there:
Could I have reached out
While my own walls were shaking?"
They are the whispered
Cry of our own souls when we pray
For those we know now,
Their unseen trajectories
The future we fear
For our kin, friends and neighbors
Unless we embrace
The courage to change ourselves.
Once we ask the Lord,
"Help me, whatever it takes,
To become the kind
Of friend You know I can be,
To love without fail,"
We can let the past in peace.
No path is perfect--
We become better each day.
They are those who walked
The dark valleys before us,
Whose steps we learn from,
Whose humanness, like our own,
Pulls us to our knees,
That we might learn the mean
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Job 38:4-6 (The Foundations of Earth) :iconparastos:Parastos 19 26 Warning Sign For A 3 Rated Game :iconquantuminnovator:QuantumInnovator 2 1 Read Bible!! :iconbritannialoyalist:BritanniaLoyalist 46 19
Literature
Me
I look in the mirror at a woman with bags under her eyes, an emotionless face.
 
“This is not who I am,” I say.
 
I see a woman so torn and blinded by the results of an election that she forces her roommate out of her life.
 
“This is not who I am,” I say.
 
I see a woman crying, again and again, not quite knowing why.
 
“This is not me,” I say.
 
I see a woman writing, reading her Bible, praying, doing all the “right things” and yet something still feels wrong.
 
“This is not me,” I say. “Or at least, it’s not the me that everyone sees. It’s not the me that I want to be.”
 
But still I put my hope in God. His Word reminds me of what makes me, me:
 
I am spilt ink, a story made tangible, the colors and the blacks and whites of life forming on the page a tapestry, that shows His love, His hope, His glory.
 
I am a woman of purpose, called to shine
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"I am the thorn stuck in Your side,
I am the one that You left behind,
I am the dried up doubting eyes
Looking for the well that won't run dry

Running hard for the other side
The world that I've always been denied
Running hard for the infinite
With the tears of the saints and hypocrites..." ~Jon Foreman

I don't know why I'm here. When God was handing out artistic talent, I was in the outhouse. I don't really do much art... If you want something for your trouble of loading this page, then here are a few good things to know:

~Jesus saves
~Everything is fixable with duct tape
~CCM is the best
~Driving with your eyes shut is dangerous
~Eight out of ten gun crimes are committed with illegally owned firearms
~Fried chicken is one of the essential food groups
~Don't drown if you can't swim
~Armadillos carry leprosy

That's all. I'd say it was nice meeting you, but I didn't meet you. You just kinda looked over my bio. But don't worry, I see you right this moment with my clairvoyance. I know you're reading this.



















...You're still here.



I have way too many stamps by jreaver
Interests
It was simply a clock falling off the wall, right? A meaningless occurrence that just happened to take place during the church service this Sunday morning... Right?

Half of the congregation didn't even notice at first. We were in the middle of worship, immediately after our pastor had reminded us that the church revival meetings would take place every night this week and urged us to attend them all if possible. There was no earthquake, nobody striking the wall, nothing. A clock situated too high for anybody to reach just fell down, landing in a seat that was fortunately empty and giving the man in the row behind a start.

It's not like God would try to send us so direct a message, right?

After worship a guest evangelist preached in place of our pastor, booming to us all about the importance of the coming revival meetings and, most importantly, telling us that we cannot allow the Holy Spirit to be quenched or held back from these meetings. He made a case for us that we have to have our hearts in the service and check our attitudes at the door to open the dam and bring the Spirit rushing in like a flood. It's hard to have your heart in it if you're too busy watching the clock, counting the minutes until those doors open and you can go home to watch your favorite show. I know I've glanced at my watch a few times in the past wondering how much longer a sermon could be.

So a clock inexplicably fell off the wall immediately after our pastor urged us to make time for the revival meetings and immediately before a guest evangelist told us to spend time with the Holy Spirit by keeping our hearts in the service, all on a morning where we lost an hour of sleep and half the congregation would probably have rather spent that time in bed instead of getting up early for church. That's just a coincidence, right?

What is time worth? You can't earn more when you spend it. It's the ultimate limited product. Just what are you spending that time on? Is it worth the price you're spending for it? Are you trading your diamond ring for a gas station hot dog? Those of us that are saved will spend an eternity's worth of time in Heaven, but does that mean we can afford to waste the time we're given on earth? There's nothing wrong with a little television now and then, but are we neglecting entirely to give our allowance of time back to our Father when He does ask for it? Is one hour or two hours or four hours too much to give out of a 168-hour week? Do any of us think the time we should give to God is no more than that one hour every Sunday? One can only wonder whether God is tired of how we worry about time.

After the service my pastor explained what had happened with the clock and told the congregation that he had a habit of looking at it too often during services and might not put it back up. But surely I'm the only one who questions whether or not this incident was random...

...Right?
  • Listening to: Too much Casting Crowns.
  • Reading: Ben-Hur.
  • Watching: TV? What's that?
  • Playing: The Game of Life (Realistic Edition)
  • Eating: Fried chicken. I'm always eating fried chicken.
  • Drinking: Gallons of water, because orthostatic hypotension.

Activity


It was simply a clock falling off the wall, right? A meaningless occurrence that just happened to take place during the church service this Sunday morning... Right?

Half of the congregation didn't even notice at first. We were in the middle of worship, immediately after our pastor had reminded us that the church revival meetings would take place every night this week and urged us to attend them all if possible. There was no earthquake, nobody striking the wall, nothing. A clock situated too high for anybody to reach just fell down, landing in a seat that was fortunately empty and giving the man in the row behind a start.

It's not like God would try to send us so direct a message, right?

After worship a guest evangelist preached in place of our pastor, booming to us all about the importance of the coming revival meetings and, most importantly, telling us that we cannot allow the Holy Spirit to be quenched or held back from these meetings. He made a case for us that we have to have our hearts in the service and check our attitudes at the door to open the dam and bring the Spirit rushing in like a flood. It's hard to have your heart in it if you're too busy watching the clock, counting the minutes until those doors open and you can go home to watch your favorite show. I know I've glanced at my watch a few times in the past wondering how much longer a sermon could be.

So a clock inexplicably fell off the wall immediately after our pastor urged us to make time for the revival meetings and immediately before a guest evangelist told us to spend time with the Holy Spirit by keeping our hearts in the service, all on a morning where we lost an hour of sleep and half the congregation would probably have rather spent that time in bed instead of getting up early for church. That's just a coincidence, right?

What is time worth? You can't earn more when you spend it. It's the ultimate limited product. Just what are you spending that time on? Is it worth the price you're spending for it? Are you trading your diamond ring for a gas station hot dog? Those of us that are saved will spend an eternity's worth of time in Heaven, but does that mean we can afford to waste the time we're given on earth? There's nothing wrong with a little television now and then, but are we neglecting entirely to give our allowance of time back to our Father when He does ask for it? Is one hour or two hours or four hours too much to give out of a 168-hour week? Do any of us think the time we should give to God is no more than that one hour every Sunday? One can only wonder whether God is tired of how we worry about time.

After the service my pastor explained what had happened with the clock and told the congregation that he had a habit of looking at it too often during services and might not put it back up. But surely I'm the only one who questions whether or not this incident was random...

...Right?
  • Listening to: Too much Casting Crowns.
  • Reading: Ben-Hur.
  • Watching: TV? What's that?
  • Playing: The Game of Life (Realistic Edition)
  • Eating: Fried chicken. I'm always eating fried chicken.
  • Drinking: Gallons of water, because orthostatic hypotension.
The First Amendment has become, to put it bluntly, one of the biggest lies in the American Judiciary system.

We've all heard it before; or, at least, the fallacy that atheist organizations such as Freedom From Religion have made of it. From the way they bring it up and cite it in court, one would almost believe that it called for religious censoring in the name of freedom. Given how clearly the Amendment was worded when written as an addition to the Constitution, it's absurd that these notions hold any water. Here is the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. -First Amendment (emphasis added)

For some inexplicable reason, the phrase preventing Congress from prohibiting free exercise of religion never comes up in court. It's never acknowledged in lawsuits over courthouses displaying the Ten Commandments. It's never followed in the battle to allow students in public schools to pray without persecution.

It is quite intentionally and blatantly ignored.

Instead all citations of the Amendment in court cases stop with "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." It's almost as though, for some reason, atheist groups are under the notion that this phrase gives Congress the authority to eradicate all religious references from the more public aspects of the nation. This phrase may not be so pointedly ignored, but it's easy to see how frequently it's twisted beyond recognition into permission to regulate religion.

Does this phrase say that Congress can't issue laws forcing people to own Bibles or pray in school? It is. And, within the bounds of reasonable interpretation, that's really all it does. This goes both ways: not only does it prevent Congress from making laws forcing aspects of religion on America, it also pretty obviously asserts that Congress also can't make laws denying America religious rights. "Make no law" does not mean "Make no law in favor of religion." It means "Make no law." Passing legislature that takes away religious rights such as City Halls displaying Nativity scenes or Ten Commandments is in violation of the Constitution.

So that's all the Constitution says about religious regulation, right? What about that old phrase "Separation of church and state" that people bring up every time a government official makes any passing religious reference whatsoever?

Well, it's time for your homework. Go read the Constitution (constitutionus.com), find the phrase "Separation of Church and State," and copy/paste the entire article from whence you found it in the comments. Failure to find it will result in your getting a passing score for the class.

I'll go ahead and spare you the trouble of looking. It's not there. You can read and reread the Constitution ten times over, you will not find anything relating to religion at all outside the First Amendment.

Where did "Separation of Church and State" come from? Thomas Jefferson wrote of it in a letter to friends in 1802, a decade after the Constitution was drafted. Jefferson did not say this at the Constitutional Convention; he was never at the Convention. He wasn't even in America at the time— he was serving as an ambassador to France.

Technicalities aside, what did Jefferson mean when he wrote about Separation of Church and State? Let's see for ourselves with the very letter that made the phrase famous.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties. -Thomas Jefferson

Why did Jefferson applaud Separation of Church and State? It's easy to see when viewing his original thoughts on the issue: he wanted that separation not to keep religion out of government, but to keep the government from oppressing religion. The phrase in question is not one of censoring religious beliefs from the public, but of preventing those beliefs from being censored. This, friend, is the core value on which the Constitutional rights of religion were founded.

The grand myth that the Constitution enables the courts to regulate religious expression is just that: a myth, devised from out-of-context and incomplete quotes and dependent upon the lack of knowledge of the American public. Issues such as this, that could be so simply solved in favor of Christianity, serve as an important reminder that, yes, Christians NEED to be involved with the affairs of the government. Our very rights are depending upon it more and more.
First Amendment, Last Remembered
We're still supposed to pray for the government that allows these misinterpretations, by the way. Paul wrote that while Nero was lighting his garden parties with Christians burning at the stake.
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What if I told you the Bible prophecies the entire history of the church before it ever happened? While this isn't a Sunday School lesson a whole lot of people hear, it is an important thing to consider when the legitimacy of the Bible as God's Word is questioned.

The book of Revelations is typically viewed as a book of prophecy concerning only the end of the world, events that after two thousand years are still in the unknown future. But that's not all— a lesser known feature of the book is a prophecy of the history of the church from the time of Revelation's writing to the end of the world. Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation cover this.

On the outside these chapters just seem like letters to seven churches of John's time, much like the books of Ephesians, Colossians, and much of the rest of the New Testament. That's one purpose for them, but with two thousand years of hindsight we're able to see the other purpose the letters served. Each church John wrote to had a defining characteristic that tied in with the old meaning of the church's name. We had…

*Ephesus, the "desiring" church. It was rebuked by God for straying from the straight and narrow and looking for worldly acceptance.

*Smyrna, the "crushed" church. It faced intense persecution "for ten days" and was commended by God for withstanding the storm.

*Pergamos, the "married" church. Married to the world and state, as it fell into practices of Balaamism (worldliness) and Nicolatianism (a state where the church clergy ruled as a government over the people). Rebuked of God, just like Ephesus.

*Thyratia, the "sacrificing" church. Known for the good intention of its work, but characterized by idolatry and absurdly corrupt church leaders (who were directly compared to the heathen, murderous, baby-sacrificing Queen Jezebel). Again, rebuked.

*Sardis, the "remnant" church. On the verge of collapsing and dying. Trapped in false teachings just like Perhamos and Thyratia, but a remnant of it has held fast to God's word. The corrupt portion of the church was rebuked, and the faithful remnant promised eternal life.

*Philadelphia, the church of "brotherly love". Received nothing but applause for their faithfulness to God and good works. Promised paradise, prosperity, etc.

*Laodicea, the church "ruled by the people". "Ye are neither hot nor cold so I spit you out." This is that church. Lukewarm, tolerant of the religious liberals of the day, prone to straying far, far from God because of their acceptance and implementation of beliefs that contradicted the Scripture.

These are the seven churches. If any of the descriptions for these churches sound familiar, it's because these churches are also the history of church's phases on earth. Each church John wrote to represents a different era in which that church essentially reigned supreme in the Christian world, and looking back on history we can see how every one of those came to pass in the same order John wrote the letters. Let's take another look…

*Ephesus Era: AD 30-100. The early church. They were new, didn't have the benefit of a canonical New Testament right off the bat, and wanted acceptance from the world. Just like Ephesus, they had a hard time staying on top of their beliefs because they wanted love from the world. To correct and instruct them, all the letters and books of the New Testament were written.

*Smyrna Era: AD 100-300. The great persecution of the Christians at the hands of the Romans. Just like the church of Smyrna, the Christian world was attacked in the most brutal of ways yet withstood the Romans' onslaught. Remember how John wrote that there would be "ten days" of persecution? History saw ten emperors usher in ten different degrees of persecution, with breaks in between— starting with Nero, ending with Diocletian.

*Pergamos Era: AD 300-500. Kickstarted when Constantine came to power and made Christianity a mandatory religion for the world. He married the church and state, watered down Christian beliefs with worldly systems, and began establishing church leaders as political leaders. We again see that Balaamism and Nicolatianism from earlier.

*Thyratia Era: AD 500-1500. The Dark Ages. Nothing more needs to be said, but I'll say it anyway. The ideas from the Pergamos era were hammered into the world tenfold here, with the Papacy rising and essentially taking over all of Europe. Just like with the church of Thyratia, the deceived masses (who had the Bible stripped away from them) gave all they had to the church, thinking it was for good works (but actually just fueling the Papal powerhouse). Most of the popes were wildly immoral and greed-driven men, just like the Thyratia church leaders compared to Jezebel. Countless practices such as worshiping graven images and re-sacrificing Christ via the Eucharist every Mass (hence the "sacrifice" namesake) were introduced here.

*Sardis Era: AD 1500-1700. The giant of the Roman Catholic Church is breaking up and the Protestant Reformation is coming out. Just like with Sardis, the corrupt, worldly church is dying and the Protestant "remnant" church that scraped by through the Dark Ages is making a stand for God. The Bible is again becoming available for everybody, despite Roman Catholic Inquisitions and the like.

*Philadelphia Era: AD 1700-1900. Doesn't pick up much steam until after two Great Awakenings have passed by and the 1800s have come. The British Empire is at its moral, Biblical peak, and just so happens to be at its peak of glory and power as well. The fledgling America is holding fast to Biblical principles and is making strides toward becoming one of the world's more prosperous nations. Both countries are gearing up a period of missionary activity like the world has never seen before. Christianity is at its historic highest here, loving and preaching and holding fast to its core values just like the Philadelphia church.

*Laodicea Era: AD 1900-????. This is the modern world. The church is still a prominent institution, but isn't keeping to its morals. Tolerance of religious liberals and acceptance of their unbiblical beliefs, a movement spearheaded by Billy Graham and other evangelistic giants, is just as prominent as in Laodicea. We live in a lukewarm age where political correctness and trying not to offend people who may be a tad oversensitive are more important than holding onto the core values that brought prosperity in the past. The Bible plays second fiddle to the opinions of mankind, hence the "ruled by man" name for the church.

Upwards of two thousand years of history, outlined in two oft-forgotten books of the Bible. Such an act of prophecy can come from God alone.

What happens after John writes to Laodicea, the last church/era prophecy? He has a vision of being raptured and taken up to Heaven; from there he witnessed the Tribulation and the end of the world. We know what that means, of course: this is the last era. After this, the Tribulation is unleashed.

I'm not saying the Rapture will happen soon, of course. It could take place five days from now or in five hundred years. The Thyratian church era lasted as long as all the other eras combined. We have no idea how long this one will be (which is why Christian apocalypse prophets make me shake my head). But this we can know for sure: between the last church era and the reformation of the nation of Israel, there's nothing left God has to make happen before we can see the Rapture.

God got two thousand years of church history spot-on. Can we trust that He's as accurate about His promises of eternity?
Revelation: The Prophecies that Already Passed
Not only scientifically accurate, but historically…

This isn't set-in-stone doctrine that all believers accept, but I find it too intriguing to not pass long. The finer details of most of Revelation are up for debate and not held dogmatically, anyway.
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David was an adulterous murderer. We all heard in Sunday School about the righteous slayer of Goliath who became the greatest human ruler Israel has ever known. Unfortunately, even the shepherd-turned-monarch was still a corrupt, sinful human. Women were King David's weakness, and he allowed himself to sin repeatedly for their sake; polygamy was a practice he shamelessly engaged in, but was hardly his worst. 2 Samuel 11 records the tragic sequence of "the man after God's own heart"'s darkest hour.

As King David was lounging about Jerusalem one day (he was supposed to be in battle), the woman Bathsheba caught his eye. Upon asking his servant about her, he learned that Bathsheba was married to one of the Israelite soldiers, Uriah. David didn't let that sacred bond keep him from satisfying the lust of the flesh, not after the lust of the eyes had taken ahold of him.

He invited Bathsheba into his palace and committed adultery with her. Before you can say "Job's your uncle", she was pregnant. Since Uriah had been off warring for so long, people were going to be immediately suspicious when they learned of the married woman's pregnancy. David had two options before him: coming clean and admitting he sinned, or murdering Uriah and marrying Bathsheba to make their sex legal. He went with the latter option, and sent his general Joab orders to place Uriah in the nastiest front line of the battle "so that he may be smitten, and die." Adding insult to injury, he had Uriah deliver the letter the orders are written on.

Uriah was slain, as per David's plan. When Joab questioned David on this command, David simply told him "Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another." In other words, "Don't worry about it. People die in war, that's all there is to it." Joab, of course, was also guilty of this murder despite questioning the command afterward; by following through on his earthly king's orders to ensure Uriah's death, the general joined in on the sin out of loyalty instead of objecting to the blatantly shady command. Now, Joab would never have intentionally done such a thing had David not commanded him. As such, David plays the role of a stumbling block that Jesus later warns against in Luke 17:1-2. Woe be unto you!

The list of offenses has piled by this point. Our godly hero has violated God's standards of sexual purity, murdered a man to cover it up, and knowingly led another man to sin alongside him. David was slammed by his conscience shortly thereafter and confessed everything to God, repenting of his acts.

Yet punishment from a just God came swiftly. Bathsheba and David's baby perished immediately after birth and was taken to Heaven. The rest of David's family rapidly became embroiled in violent infighting and their own sexual sins with and against each other. One of David's sons, Absalom, went so far as to openly lead a rebellion against his father and was slain by David's men.

…And that was all. God at this point had every reason to cast David down from glory. The heavenly King had stated time and again how seriously He abhors murder and sexual sin, yet the human king went through with his acts regardless. The penalties exacted on David were severe, certainly, but they were far from what they could've been. God could have allowed David's kingdom to sharply decline until the king went down in infamy. He could have broken His covenant with David and removed his bloodline from the throne and the genealogy of Jesus Christ. He could have cursed David to an excruciating death from leprosy or some similar affliction, and He would have had every right to do so.

But… He didn't. The Lord recognized David's repentance, gave him a couple lashes, and forgave him. God went on to keep His promise of planting David's bloodline on the throne for eternity and even gave him the generous title "A man after God's own heart." Is there a more well-painted picture of a loving God?

We all need to remember this the next time somebody says "God hates gay people!" or "God hates transgender people!" or "God hates whatever!" If God had a mind to hate anybody, it would have been David. God blessed him so gloriously but he still committed unspeakable acts against his Lord anyway. But God didn't show hate

If God hated people who engaged in homosexual interaction or similar controversial groups, He would have to hate everybody. All men have sinned (Romans 6:23), and all sin is counted as the same vile work in God's sight. Either God hates everybody, or God hates nobody. A quick rundown of the agonies Christ suffered on the cross ought to make clear which extreme is true of our Lord.

David was crushed by his conscience, recognized his sin, and asked for forgiveness. God rushed to forgive him out of love. He chastised David as any parent would punish a disobedient child, but He hadn't stopped loving David despite his atrocities. Why, despite punishments listed for sinners in the Bible, should we think He's stopped loving anybody else?

And if God still loves the earth's criminal pool of murderers and rapists AND it's more well-meaning pool of homosexuals, transgenders, and the like, why shouldn't we?



The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. -2 Peter 3:9
God Loves WHO?!
A post-script of sorts to what you see above that I have nowhere better to put: I am aware that there are some who view homosexual lust or similar sins as a part of their identity, and think that if homosexual intercourse is so bad, that homosexuals' very existence must be abominations. The Bible's repeated commands to love and respect everybody are evidence that God doesn't view a person as an abomination over their sexual orientation. He may view the action of sex between gays/lesbians as sinful (with the list of dangerous, incurable diseases resulting from homosexual sex, I can't blame Him), but not a sexual orientation.
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Many of us have heard this before: "I could never accept a book that says slavery is okay!" Such are the cries of atheists attempting to tear down the Bible and label it as morally depraved. And honestly, who can blame them? Anybody with the barest sense of morality would tell you that the kidnapping and subjection to forced servitude of a human being is a horrible thing. Yet the Bible seemingly allows for slavery by repeatedly giving commands for the good treatment of slaves. Skeptics commonly cite verses such as these:

Masters, give unto your bondservants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. -Colossians 4:1

And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee. -Deuteronomy 15:12

A slave is still a slave, regardless of whether he is treated well as per the Bible's orders. These verses seem to say that slavery is okay, and that God allows for it. Is this true?

The problem stems from a lack of understanding of a culture that existed over two thousand years ago, not from the Bible's moral value. What so many people fail to realize is that slavery in the ancient times when the Old Testament was written was not simply the human trafficking we see today. Slavery in ancient times took on two forms: one form is the kind we know today, the forced servitude. Yet the other form of slavery is one that has entirely disappeared over the centuries, and that is voluntary servitude.

Voluntary slavery was a widely practiced and entirely viable economic option. Men and women would intentionally sell themselves into slavery because of the different perks it carried as opposed to a regular occupation. Some freedom was lost, certainly, and people who chose to make a living this way volunteered themselves to be bartered or sold like a mule. But the benefits of having food, shelter, and protection provided for them were a worthy trade off for many people. If one couldn't hold a job or had just lost all his crops to a disaster, he had a way out; slaves were always in demand. And in cultures that followed the Bible, slaves were treated justly as individual human beings, not simply livestock to be branded and beaten.

Now we see why the Bible makes sure slaves are treated fairly. But what of people that were forced into slavery? Is there no justice in the Bible for them? Does God not care that their freedoms are being stolen, so long as their captors take care of them?

This is where skeptics conveniently leave out verses. The Bible does not condone involuntary slavery in any way. On the contrary, the Bible condemns forced servitude and sentences kidnappers to death.

And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death. -Exodus 21:16

Any man who kidnaps another man to force him into slavery is given the death sentence. Any man who purchases an unwilling slave is given the death sentence. The Bible couldn't be any clearer on this subject. God does not approve of the slavery in our world today, and have been seeing for a few thousand years.

How wonderful out God is, that He can make His commandments with our well being foremost in mind! If the Bible had outlawed slavery altogether, countless people would have been deprived of their only viable way of life and likely would have starved to death or been reduced to begging. Instead God allowed His people the opportunity to live the slave's life if they chose, and even made it clear that such people were to be treated as equal human beings and not animals! At the same time God harshly rebuked the human trafficking side of slavery, denouncing it as an evil worthy of death. We can be certain that those who had no choice but to become slaves were highly grateful that such an opportunity was available to them.
The Bible Condones Slavery?
More responses to the skeptics. Hopefully this will help some of y'all defend the faith.

TL;DR: The people who say the Bible supports slavery need to study history. And the Bible.
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:icondouble-bound:
Double-Bound Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2017  Professional General Artist
That stamp is one too many man [#53] yaranaihai 
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:iconwbrad99:
WBrad99 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2017
Yes, I know. But I just can't help it, having a stamp is a weakness of mine!
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:iconrhunel:
rhunel Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2017   General Artist
Thanks for the poetry fave, it means a lot!  :hug: -Debra
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:iconwbrad99:
WBrad99 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2017
No problem! It was one of the powerful things I've read lately, to be perfectly honest.
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:iconrhunel:
rhunel Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2017   General Artist
Thanks again!
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:iconwbrad99:
WBrad99 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2017
You're welcome! God bless.
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:iconpunkchicknerd:
PunkChickNerd Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2017  Student Writer
Thanks so much for the fave!
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:iconrhunel:
rhunel Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2017   General Artist
Thanks for the fractal faves!  Have a blessed day!! -Debra
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:iconrhunel:
rhunel Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2016   General Artist
Thanks for the devwatch, I am honored!  Have a blessed week! 
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:iconwbrad99:
WBrad99 Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2016
No problem. You too!
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