If you're like me you appreciate practical tools to help you in your Christian life. With Thanksgiving approaching, here's a gift to enable you to cultivate grateful hearts in those with whom you gather.
First of all, living in our increasingly secular society, it's important we remind ourselves of the pertinent facts concerning the holiday of Thanksgiving. In 1863 a Christian president, Abraham Lincoln, proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwells in heaven."
Secondly, the first Thanksgiving was a joyous event celebrated by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims who enjoyed a plentiful harvest after their prayers and hard work redeemed a very difficult first year in America. Remember that the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact stating their purpose in leaving England to come to America was for religious freedom not selfish greed. That purpose is clearly stated: "for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith…" Subsequently they joined together for three days of prayerful thanksgiving to God for the harvest and the blessings He bestowed upon them. more >>
"Catching Fire," the new sequel to "The Hunger Games," opened this past weekend. It broke the November box office record with a staggering $161.1 million, and Christian reviewers say the sacrifices in the film prove remarkably similar to the deaths of early Christians in the Roman coliseum.
"I was struck by the level of sacrifice and strangely selfless heroism that we find in the film," Paul Asay, senior associate editor for Focus on the Family's review blog, Plugged In, told The Christian Post in an interview on Monday. In his own review, Asay wrote "The premise and plot of The Hunger Games can recall for some the Church's earliest martyrs – those who took part in another bloody spectacle on the floor of the Roman Colosseum."
"Catching Fire," the sequel to "The Hunger Games" (2012), follows the story of Katniss Everdeen, a heroine who voluntarily sacrifices herself to save her sister from a bloody struggle where children must fight to the death. The gladiator-like battle, known as the "Hunger Games," was instituted to keep the colonies in the empire of "Pan Am" subservient. In the first film, Everdeen wins the games, along with Peeta Malark, a boy from her district. more >>
For most Americans, the first Thanksgiving brings to mind images of pilgrims and Indians, a fierce winter, and hopeful British settlers coming to America to found a "New England."
Today, across the country, schools and communities reenact events featuring black-clad Europeans with funny hats, generic Native Americans with feathers, and food items like turkey and pumpkin pie.
Yet the first Thanksgiving may have taken place years earlier in a much warmer climate with a completely different cast of characters. more >>
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is putting up over 55 billboards across Sacramento, Calif., in November with messages like "I'm not a believer and life is still awesome." A local bishop has branded the ads as "propaganda."
"While I'm not happy about these billboards, I am certain people still, when they look deep down in their soul and in their heart, find a spark. They believe in a higher power," said Bishop Jaime Soto with the Cathedral of a Blessed Sacrament in an interview with FOX40.
FFRF, one of the largest secular groups in the nation, says that its idea behind the billboards is to show that atheists are regular people too who can be good and happy and love the holidays, but without a belief in God. The ads feature images of secular people and couples with declarations reading: "Integrity and passion require no gods" and "Reason. Equality. Doing good without Gods." more >>
There was once a stream of thinking in this country that the best way to defeat an idea you disagree with was to beat it with a better idea. Now, the paradigm has shifted and the new rule is, if you hear something you disagree with, silence it. Stories of atheistic animosity seem to be dominating the news lately. Take, for example, this story from South Carolina.
Each year, around the holidays, Samaritan's Purse invites people to show compassion to needy children throughout the world through a project know as Operation Christmas Child. The International Christian relief organization asks people to fill shoeboxes with basic items like tooth brushes, small toys, books, socks and a personal note.
The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ – and therein lays the news story. more >>
DUI sobriety checkpoints, also known as roadblocks, are one of those things that sound good until you think it through. No one wants drunk drivers on the road. But no one wants texters or people eating lunch on the road, either, which are even more dangerous. In order to catch the latter two, it would be necessary to set up video cameras either alongside the road or inside cars. Every year, several states that prohibit DUI checkpoints consider passing legislation to permit them. These laws are usually championed by Democrats.
Motorists engage in secondary behavior during approximately half of their time on the road. Hands-free mobile phone conversations are legal all around the country, but slow reaction times by a significant 26.5 percent, according to a study from the UK. Eating slows reaction times by up to 44 percent. Drivers who text slow their reaction times by 37.4 percent. In contrast, drivers at the legal limit for alcohol in the UK, which is .08 BAC, only demonstrated a 12.5 percent increase in reaction time. The National Highway Administration finds this disparity to be even greater, surmising that driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.
This becomes even more troublesome when it is taken into consideration that some states don't require a minimum BAC level for a DUI; the violation level is "impaired to the slightest degree." Someone who blows a .03 BAC level may be perfectly capable of driving safely, but the laws as drafted in many states do not distinguish. If caught at a DUI checkpoint, even though the driver has not made a single driving error, the driver can likely expect to be fully prosecuted with little chance of escaping the draconian consequences of a DUI conviction. more >>