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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Education

JAN. 16 – Religious Freedom Day ‘- Almighty God hath created the mind free’ Thomas Jefferson

 

American Minute by Bill Federer
“Each year on JANUARY 16, we celebrate Religious Freedom Day in commemoration of the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom,”-wrote President George W. Bush in his 2003 Proclamation.

Passed in 1786, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was drafted by Thomas Jefferson and commemorated on his tombstone.

Did Jefferson intend to limit the public religious expression of students, teachers, coaches, chaplains, schools, organizations and communities?


In his original 1777 draft of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, Jefferson wrote:

“Almighty God hath created the mind free, and…all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments…tend only to begat habits of hypocrisy and meanness,

and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do, but to extend it by its influence on reason alone….”

President Thomas Jefferson explained in his Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805:

“In matters of religion I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the General Government.

I have therefore undertaken, on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercise suited to it; but have left them, as the Constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of state and church authorities by the several religious societies.”

Jefferson explained to Samuel Miller, January 23, 1808:

“I consider the government of the United States as interdicted [prohibited] by the Constitution from inter-meddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises…

This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the United States [10th Amendment]…”

Jefferson continued:

“Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the General government…

I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines…

Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets.”

In 1776, a year before Jefferson drafted his Statute, another Virginian, George Mason, drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which was later revised by James Madison and referred to in his Memorial and Remonstrance, 1785:

“Religion, or the duty we owe to our CREATOR, and manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence;

and, therefore, that all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience,

and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love and charity toward each other.”

James Madison made a journal entry, June 12, 1788:

“There is not a shadow of right in the general government to inter-meddle with religion…The subject is, for the honor of America, perfectly free and unshackled. The government has no jurisdiction over it.”

On June 7, 1789, James Madison introduced the First Amendment in the first session of Congress with the wording:

“The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship.”

James Madison appointed to the Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story.


Justice Joseph Story wrote in hisCommentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833, Chapter XLIV, “Amendments to the Constitution,” Section 991:

“The real object of the First Amendment was, not to countenance, much less advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects.”

Samuel Chase, who had been appointed to the Supreme Court by George Washington, wrote in the Maryland case of Runkel v. Winemiller, 1799:

“By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing, and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty.”

FOR A SHORT HISTORY OF THE EVOLUTION OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT, READ BELOW:

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens admitted in Wallace v. Jaffree, 1985:

“At one time it was thought that this right merely proscribed the preference of one Christian sect over another, but would not require equal respect for the conscience of the infidel, the atheist, or the adherent of a non-Christian faith.”

When the country began, religious liberty was under each individual Colony’s jurisdiction.

In the decision Engel v. Vitale, 1962, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black wrote:

“Groups which had most strenuously opposed the established Church of England…passed laws making their own religion the official religion of their respective colonies.”

Like dropping a pebble in a pond and the ripples go out, States began to expand religious liberty from the particular Christian denomination that founded each colony to all Protestants, then to Catholics, then to liberal Christian denominations, then to Jews, then to monotheists, then to polytheists.

This process was then continued by the Federal Government to expand “religious” liberty to atheists, pagans, occultic, and eventually to religions which historically have been violently ANTI-Judeo-Christian.

After the Constitution, the States ratified the First Amendment, as well as all Ten Amendments, specifically to limit the new Federal government’s power:

“CONGRESS shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF…”

The word “Congress” meant the Federal Congress.

“Shall make no law” meant the Federal Congress could not introduce, debate, vote on or send to the President any bill respecting an establishment of religion.

The word “respecting” meant “concerning” or “pertaining to.”

It was simply telling the Federal government “HANDS OFF” all religious issues.

When anything regarding religion came before the Federal government, the response was to be that it had no jurisdiction to decide anything on that issue, neither for nor against.

“Establishment” did not mean “acknowledgment.”

“Establishment” did not mean believing in Christianity or believing in God.

Establishment was a clearly understood term.

It meant setting up one particular Christian denomination as the official denomination.

With varying levels of official state endorsement and favoritism, countries typically had some kind of established Church:

England had established the Anglican Church;
Sweden had established the Lutheran Church;
Scotland had established the Church of Scotland;
Holland had established the Dutch Reformed Church;
Russia had established the Russian Orthodox Church;
Serbia had established the Serbian Orthodox Church;
Romania had established the Romanian Orthodox Church;
Greece had established the Greek Orthodox Church;
Bulgaria had established the Bulgarian Orthodox Church;
Finland had established the Finnish Orthodox Church;
Ethiopia had established the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church;
Italy, Spain, France, Poland, Austria, Mexico, Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Vatican City had established the Roman Catholic Church; and
Switzerland had established Calvin’s Ecclesiastical Ordinances.

The attitude of the original 13 States was that they did not want the new Federal Government to follow the pattern of most Western nations and pick one denomination with its headquarters in the Capitol.

Allegorically, they did not want a Federal Walmart Church to come into town and put out of business their individual State “mom & pop department store” denominations.

To make the purpose of the First Amendment unquestionably clear, they went on to state that the Federal Congress could not make a law which prohibited “THE FREE EXERCISE” of religion.

Ronald Reagan stated in a Radio Address, 1982:

“Founding Fathers…enshrined the principle of freedom of religion in the First Amendment…

The purpose of that Amendment was to protect religion from the interference of government and to guarantee, in its own words, ‘the free exercise of religion.'”

Like dealing a deck of cards in a card game, the States dealt to the Federal Government jurisdiction over a few things, like providing for the common defense and regulating interstate commerce, but the rest of the cards were held by the States.

Justice Joseph Story wrote in hisCommentaries on the Constitution, 1833:

“The whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the State Governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice and the State Constitutions.”

Just as today some States allow minors to consume alcohol and other States do not;
some States allow the selling of marijuana and others do not;
some States have smoking bans and others do not;
some States allow gambling and others do not, and
some States allow prostitution (Nevada and formerly Rhode Island) and the rest do not;
at the time the Constitution and Bill of Rights were ratified some States allowed more religious freedom, such as Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, and other States, such as Connecticut and Massachusetts, did not.

But it was up to the people in each State to decide.

Congressman James Meacham of Vermont gave a House Judiciary Committee report, March 27, 1854:

“At the adoption of the Constitution, we believe every State – certainly ten of the thirteen – provided as regularly for the support of the Church as for the support of the Government.”

When did things change?

Charles Darwin theorized that species could evolve.

This inspired a political theorist named Herbert Spencer to suggest that laws could evolve.

This influenced Harvard Law Dean Christopher Columbus Langdell to develop the case precedent method of practicing law, which influenced his student, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

The 14th Amendment was passed in 1868 with the original intent to guarantee rights to freed slaves in the Democrat South.

Activist Justices quickly began to use the 14th Amendment very creatively to take jurisdiction away from the States over issues such as unions, strikes, railroads, polygamy, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly.

The freedom of religion was still under each individual State’s jurisdiction until Franklin D. Roosevelt.

FDR was elected President four times, which led to the 22nd Amendment being passed to limit all future Presidents to only two terms.

During his 12 years in office, FDR concentrated power in the Federal Government to an unprecedented degree.

Franklin D. Roosevelt nominated Justice Hugo Black to the Supreme Court in 1937.

Justice Hugo Black concentrated power in the Federal government by taking jurisdiction over religion away from each State.

He did this by simply inserting the phrase “Neither a State” in his 1947 Everson v Board of Education decision:

“The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a State nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another.”

He conveniently ignored innumerable references to and requirements in the various State Constitutions regarding religion.

In a word, he took the handcuffs off the Federal government and placed them on the States.

After this, Federal Courts began evolving the definition of “religion” away from that originally used by George Mason and James Madison in the Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776:

“Religion…the duty we owe our Creator and the manner of discharging it.”

This progression can be seen in several cases.

“ETHICAL” = RELIGION

In 1957, the IRS denied tax-exempt status to an “ethical society” stating it did not qualify as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt “church” or “religious society.”

The case went to the Supreme Court, where Justice Warren Burger wrote in Washington Ethical Society v. District of Columbia (1957):

“We hold on this record and under the controlling statutory language petitioner [The Washington Ethical Society] qualifies as ‘a religious corporation or society’…

It is incumbent upon Congress to utilize this broad definition of religion in all its legislative actions bearing on the support or non-support of religion, within the context of the ‘no-establishment’ clause of the First Amendment.”

“SECULAR HUMANISM” = RELIGION

In 1961, Roy Torcaso wanted to be a notary public in Maryland, but did not want to make “a declaration of belief in the existence of God,” as required by Maryland’s State Constitution, Article 37.

In the Supreme Court case Torcaso v Watkins (1961), Justice Hugo Black included a footnote which has been cited authoritatively in subsequent cases:

“Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others.”

Justice Scalia wrote in Edwards v. Aguillard(1987):

“In Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488, 495, n. 11 (1961), we did indeed refer to ‘SECULAR HUMANISM’ as a ‘religio[n].'”

“A SINCERE AND MEANINGFUL BELIEF” = RELIGION

During the Vietnam War, Mr. Seeger said he could not affirm or deny the existence of a Supreme Being and wanted to be a draft-dodger, claiming to be a conscientious objector under the Universal Military Training and Service Act, Section 6(j) that allowed exemptions for “religious training and belief.”

In United States v Seeger, (1965), U.S. Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark stated:

“The test of religious belief within the meaning in Section 6(j) is whether it is a sincere and meaningful belief occupying in the life of its possessor a place parallel to that filled by the God of those admittedly qualified for the exemption.”

“BELIEFS ABOUT RIGHT AND WRONG” = RELIGION

Another draft-dodger case involved Elliot Welsh. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Welsh v. United States (1970), decided that belief in a “deity” is not necessary to be “religious”:

“Having decided that all religious conscientious objectors were entitled to the exemption, we faced the more serious problem of determining which beliefs were ‘religious’ within the meaning of the statute…

Determining whether the registrant’s beliefs are religious is whether these beliefs play the role of religion and function as a religion in the registrant’s life…

Because his beliefs function as a religion in his life, such an individual is as much entitled to a ‘religious’ conscientious objector exemption under Section 6(j) as is someone who derives his conscientious opposition to the war from traditional religious convictions…

We think it clear that the beliefs which prompted his objection occupy the same place in his life as the belief in a traditional deity holds in the lives of his friends, the Quakers…

A registrant’s conscientious objection to all war is ‘religious’ within the meaning Section 6(j) if this opposition stems from the registrant’s moral, ethical, or religious beliefs about what is right and wrong and these beliefs are held with the strength of traditional religious convictions.”

“ATHEISM” = RELIGION

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, (W.D. WI) decision inKaufman v. McCaughtry, August 19, 2005, stated:

“A religion need not be based on a belief in the existence of a supreme being…Atheism may be considered…religion… ‘Atheism is indeed a form of religion…’

The Supreme Court has recognized atheism as equivalent to a ‘religion’ for purposes of the First Amendment…

The Court has adopted a broad definition of ‘religion’ that includes non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as theistic ones…

Atheism is Kaufman’s religion, and the group that he wanted to start was religious in nature even though it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being.”

Overlooking that the Constitution is only to be changed by Amendments voted in by the majority of the people, the Supreme Court admitted in Wallace v Jaffree (472 U.S. 38, 1985) that the original meaning of the First Amendment was modified “in the crucible of litigation,” a term not mentioned in the Constitution:

“At one time it was thought that this right merely proscribed the preference of one Christian sect over another, but would not require equal respect for the consciences of the infidel, the atheist, or the adherent of a non-Christian faith such as Islam or Judaism.

But when the underlying principle has been examined in the crucible of litigation, the Court has unambiguously concluded that the individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any religious faith or none at all.”

The Federal Courts gradually gave the word “religion” a new definition which included “ethical,” “secular humanism,” “a sincere and meaningful belief,”  “beliefs about right and wrong,” and “atheism.”

Under this new definition, so as not to prefer one “religion” over another, Federal Courts have prohibited God, which, ironically, has effectively established the religion of atheism in the exact the way the First Amendment was intended to prohibit.

This was warned against by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in his dissent in Abington Township v. Schempp, 1963:

“The state may not establish a ‘religion of secularism’ in the sense of affirmatively opposing or showing hostility to religion, thus ‘preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe’…

Refusal to permit religious exercises thus is seen, not as the realization of state neutrality, but rather as the establishment of a religion of secularism.”

Ronald Reagan referred to this decision in a radio address, February 25, 1984:

“Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart noted if religious exercises are held to be impermissible activity in schools, religion is placed at an artificial and state-created disadvantage.

Permission for such exercises for those who want them is necessary if the schools are truly to be neutral in the matter of religion. And a refusal to permit them is seen not as the realization of state neutrality, but rather as the establishment of a religion of secularism.”

U.S. District Court, Crockett v. Sorenson, W.D. Va,. 1983:

“The First Amendment was never intended to insulate our public institutions from any mention of God, the Bible or religion. When such insulation occurs, another religion, such as secular humanism, is effectively established.”

Ronald Reagan stated in a Q & A Session, October 13, 1983:

“The First Amendment has been twisted to the point that freedom of religion is in danger of becoming freedom from religion.”

Ronald Reagan stated in a Ceremony for Prayer in Schools, September 25, 1982:

“In the last two decades we’ve experienced an onslaught of such twisted logic that if Alice were visiting America, she might think she’d never left Wonderland.

We’re told that it somehow violates the rights of others to permit students in school who desire to pray to do so. Clearly, this infringes on the freedom of those who choose to pray…

To prevent those who believe in God from expressing their faith is an outrage.”

Is it just a coincidence that the ACLU’s agenda is similar to the Communist agenda read into the Congressional Record, January 10, 1963 by Congressman Albert S. Herlong, Jr., of Florida (Vol 109, 88th Congress, 1st Session, Appendix, pp. A34-A35):

“Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of ‘separation of church and state.'”

Ronald Reagan stated in a Radio Address, 1982:

“The Constitution was never meant to prevent people from praying; its declared purpose was to protect their freedom to pray.”

Judge Richard Suhrheinrich stated inACLU v Mercer County, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, December 20, 2005:

“The ACLU makes repeated reference to ‘the separation of church and state.’ This extra-constitutional construct has grown tiresome.

The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state. Our nation’s history is replete with governmental acknowledgment and in some case, accommodation of religion.”

The Supreme Court stated in Lynch v Donnelly, 1984:

“The Constitution does not ‘require complete separation of church and state.'”

Associate Justice William Rehnquist wrote in the U.S. Supreme Court caseWallace v. Jafree, 1985, dissent, 472 U. S., 38, 99:

“The ‘wall of separation between church and state’ is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned.

It is impossible to build sound constitutional doctrine upon a mistaken understanding of Constitutional history…The establishment clause had been expressly freighted with Jefferson’s misleading metaphor for nearly forty years…

There is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the framers intended to build a wall of separation…Recent court decisions are in no way based on either the language or intent of the framers…

But the greatest injury of the ‘wall’ notion is its mischievous diversion of judges from the actual intentions of the drafters of the Bill of Rights.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart wrote in Engle v Vitale, 1962, dissent:

“The Court…is not aided…by the…invocation of metaphors like the ‘wall of separation,’ a phrase nowhere to be found in the Constitution.”

In the U.S. Supreme Court decision, McCullum v Board of Education, it stated:

“Rule of law should not be drawn from a figure of speech.”

Justice William O’Douglas wrote inZorach v Clausen, 1952:

“The First Amendment, however, does not say that in every and all respects there shall be a separation of Church and State…

We find no constitutional requirement which makes it necessary for government to be hostile to religion and to throw its weight against efforts to widen the effective scope of religious influence…

We cannot read into the Bill of Rights such a philosophy of hostility to religion.”

Ronald Reagan told the Annual Convention of the National Religious Broadcasters, January 30, 1984:

“I was pleased last year to proclaim 1983 the Year of the Bible. But, you know, a group called the ACLU severely criticized me for doing that. Well, I wear their indictment like a badge of honor.”

Are anti-faith groups using the evolved interpretation of the First Amendment to take away the liberties which the original First Amendment was intended to guarantee?

Dwight Eisenhower is quoted in the TIME Magazine article, “Eisenhower on Communism,” October 13, 1952:

“The Bill of Rights contains no grant of privilege for a group of people to destroy the Bill of Rights.

A group – like the Communist conspiracy – dedicated to the ultimate destruction of all civil liberties, cannot be allowed to claim civil liberties as its privileged sanctuary from which to carry on subversion of the Government.”

Ronald Reagan worded it differently on the National Day of Prayer, May 6, 1982:

“Well-meaning Americans in the name of freedom have taken freedom away. For the sake of religious tolerance, they’ve forbidden religious practice.”

Ronald Reagan stated at an Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast, August 23, 1984:

“The frustrating thing is that those who are attacking religion claim they are doing it in the name of tolerance and freedom and open-mindedness. Question: Isn’t the real truth that they are intolerant of religion?”

Did Jefferson intend to outlaw the acknowledgment of God and limit students, teachers, coaches, chaplains, schools, organizations, and communities from public religious expression?

In light of mandates in President’s Healthcare law which forces individuals to violate their religious beliefs or be subject to “temporal punishments” for non-compliance, it is incumbent upon Americans to read again the words of Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom:

“Almighty God hath created the mind free, and…all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments…are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of religion…

That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical…

That therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence, by laying upon him an incapacity…unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages, to which…he has a natural right…

That to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion…is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own…

Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man…shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief,

but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.”

Ronald Reagan addressed the Alabama State Legislature, March 15, 1982:

“The First Amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values; it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny.”

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God of Wonders: Scientists prove Almighty God’s existence through S


How to walk on water when you jump off the boat

    I recently began home schooling one of my daughters. It was day three of High School and she was completely overwhelmed. She quit swim team because of the work load -3 math classes, plus a mandatory online class added to a full day of classes. I went to the school counselor many times, but the counselor wouldn’t budge on the work load they had given her. I knew this wasn’t right. Within 24 hours, I read up on the laws, found a local home school group, selected a curriculum, asked millions of questions and sent my letter of intent to our county school board the next day. I always thought about home schooling but I could never figure it out, it seemed difficult and impossible.  I know without a doubt, the hand of the Lord was leading in all of this. It was truly amazing to see how everything worked out. Even in my chaotic world, everything worked out perfectly as if pieces of a puzzle were all being pieced together.

    It was as if I had jumped off the security of trusting in the schools and all they had to offer- like the safety of a ship and do something impossible- walk on water.

For me, it was about trusting God. It is about faith.

 Fix your thoughts if you want to walk on the water

 As I begin this unfamiliar journey, I know there is a lot at stake. It’s a huge risk but the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. Will she make it? Will she succeed? Can I do this? Will she get into college? How can I prepare her for the SAT? How can I make up for all the lost years of knowledge she never received in the public schools? Is she learning enough? Do I remember World History? Can I teach? What if? What if? What if?

    Those are thoughts I refuse to entertain. I know the Lord is with me. I started this race and I will run to win, and that’s it. There is no other thought than that for me to entertain. I have learned that our thoughts keep us grounded in our faith and trust in the Lord. I remember to Philippians 4:8 my thoughts at all times.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you”

 Another version says “Fix your thoughts”. Notice how it ends with a promise of God’s peace.  How do I keep my faith up so I don’t drown? I fix my thoughts. Maybe the last few (many) years have been my training ground to get to this point – where I have the strength and discipline to fix my thoughts.

You can’t walk on water if you are worrying and complaining – it’s weight that will sink you

   The same rule of Philippians 4:8 can be applied for finances, sickness, family issues and other worries. Jesus said worrying won’t add one more day to our life. A few years ago I cried out to the Lord in my distress. It seemed like my entire world was about to fall apart. By the world’s standpoint, we couldn’t survive, it was impossible. I began to pray telling God about my situation and what was going to happen. As I was praying I saw a verse come out of the heavens towards me.  I couldn’t read it at first because it was so far away, but as it got closer and closer to me I could see it. I saw “Isaiah 51:12” I got up from my prayer time to find the verse:

I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;

  Wow, what was that saying to me? Was I trusting in man’s words and doom around me or was I trusting in the supernatural powerful hand of the Lord Almighty? Why should I put my trust in the words people say? The news I read? Or the worries of this world? They will all disappear. The Lord comforts me and He tells us over and over again NOT TO WORRY but to be strong and courageous in all you do, doing all you do as if you are doing it for the Lord.

  • Deuteronomy 31:6 So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you
  • Joshua 1:9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go
  • 1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong
  • Don’t complain: Numbers 11:1 [ Fire From the Lord ] Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp and Numbers 14:27 “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites

God will give you the strength you need

Feeling discouraged? Feeling down? The Lord is your strength. Ask Him for help. Consider Isaiah 41;30 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint

The Lord is always right beside you, but you need to reach out for His help. Call on Him and He will answer. Trust Him and He will carry you through. He can strengthen you when you feel week, He will lift you up when you fall and He is never too far way, but always beside us. Try and see, the Lord is good and His Promises never fail.

We walk by faith, and not by sight

Keep your heart protected so you don’t speak words of faithlessness

    If I let my thoughts run away into negative and wrong things, soon they slip out of my mouth into the hearts of those around me. That’s no good! I said something this weekend to my youngest daughter I wish I wouldn’t have said. I had thought it for a while and oops! There it came out of my mouth into her ears and she heard it. Ugh! I need to shut out anything negative and keep my children protected also Prov 4:23

Guard your heart above all else,
    for it determines the course of your life.
 Avoid all perverse talk;
    stay away from corrupt speech.
 Look straight ahead,
    and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
Mark out a straight path for your feet;
    stay on the safe path.
Don’t get sidetracked;
    keep your feet from following evil.

 I know! I’m always quoting this verse – but it’s key and it’s connected like a puzzle to many things in the bible especially the teachings of Jesus. We need to make sure nothing sinks into the well of our heart unless it undergoes the Philippians 4;8 test.

   Are our thoughts really important? Read the verses below. Consider the psalms of David. He would cry out in distress to the Lord and each time David would call on the promises of God in His prayer. He always spoke and prayed in faith even when he was in terrible trouble. Imagine what Abraham was thinking as he marched his son Isaac to the mountain. The only way Abraham got there was by faith and the only way he had faith was by looking straight ahead, not looking to the left or right. He put all his focus on the orders God gave Him and marched on without doubt. He fixed His thoughts. We see the same thing with Esther when she went before the King and many other people of the bible.

  • Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
  • Matthew 6:27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
  • Matthew 6:28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
  • Matthew 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
  • Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof
  • Psalm 139:2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off
  • Proverbs 12:5 The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit
  • Proverbs 21:5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want
  • 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you

Beware of the Devil’s lies that cause doubt and discouragment 

  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints Ephesians 6

You also need discernment as you step out in faith and walk on the water. The Lord explained discernment to me by allowing me to see the fiery darts that the devil sends. They are just like arrows and they are aimed straight for your head. The arrows are full of wrong thoughts, blasphemy, discouragement, doubt and everything against Jesus and the Lord. Discernment is knowing what to allow yourself to think and ponder and what to throw out and refuse to think about.

  • 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned
  • Ecclesiastes 8:5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.
  • Ezekiel 44:23 And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean

What is of the Lord and what is not? You see, the devil tries to plant a poisonous lie into your thoughts so it sinks down into your heart and soon becomes a part of your every day life. That is just one of his tactics. You don’t have to think about everything that comes into your mind. Keep your eyes and your thoughts fixed on the prize-Salvation in Jesus Christ.

  • James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
  • 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour

Whatsoever you do, do it for the Glory of God

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites Col 3:23

Not with eye service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. Eph 6:7-8

   In everything you do, do it as if you are doing it for the Lord. Run the race to win. I started this race and I will finish. Don’t give up if you are struggling with doubt or discouragement. Lift your head up and keep going.

Persistance is key!

  • Luke 18:1[ The Parable of the Persistent Widow ] Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
  • Romans 2:7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

   Persistance is a running theme through scripture. David didn’t give up! Noah didn’t give up! They all had difficult times yet they pursued through them. Isaiah, Zechariah, Jeremiah, Esther, Mordecai, the Shumanite woman, Rahab, Abraham, Jesus! Peter, Paul, Stephen – their lives weren’t perfect, they had struggles yet each one had persistence and endured to the end victorious.

I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me  

    From day one I can sense the darts of defeat and discouragement coming out me, but I don’t allow them to enter my mind. I remind myself that I started this race and I will finish this race and I run to win.  Each day throws new challenges and new obstacles in my way, but I know with God I can do anything. With God I can jump the highest mountains, with God I can win the race. Now my 5-8 hours of bible study a day has gone down to 2-3 hours as I relearn biology, World History, Spanish and Algebra. I can see God’s handiwork in each of these subjects I am teaching my daughter.  I remember these verses and they keep me going:

If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small Proverbs 24:10

 If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan? Jeremiah 12:5

    If I faint in times of adversity, how can I race against the strong? So each day I keep on and each day I see God’s miraculous hand on my life and my steps. Trust Him in all your ways and He will direct your paths.

Did Jesus promise the walk to be easy?

   No, but He did promise to walk with us. He did promise to always help us. He did promise that we are overcomers in Christ Jesus and though Him, all His promises are yes, true and amen.

Why did I make this decision?

          My 15 year old has never been taught grammar in the public school. She can’t figure out multiplication because the way she was taught was so confusing. The kids are expected to type all their papers but no one has been taught how to type. The students hen peck at 10-20wpm and they cannot read or write cursive. How can they attend 4 years of college hen pecking the keyboard and using bubble baby print for note taking as they listen to their college professor? How are they going to calculate statistics if they have to draw boxes to figure out a simple math problem? I am ready to pull my second grader out as well. The math they teach is confusing. They try to teach logic without foundation. You need foundation first and then logic comes. An example of the new math is 436 + 249, instead of lining them up and adding them, the children are told to draw out 6 hundred boxes, then 7 ten lines,  then 15 small circles for the ones, then they have to count the boxes, the lines and the ones, finally they must line up all those numbers and add them all up. Calculators are encouraged, homework and class time are spent playing games on computers to “tutor”. God is far away and non existent in the schools. “English 1” is 6 months of learning and studying all the greek gods, their offspring, and perverted affairs – for middle and high school- without grammar knowledge or writing skills.  Who is behind this? Why are they dumbing down our kids? Why aren’t they teaching history? Why aren’t they encouraging students to read biographies ,autobiographies or something intelligent? The scholastic book bulletin just came out and 80% of the books are about magic.  As I prepare for SAT teaching , I read that 22% of the biology exam is proving and acknowledging the evidence of evolution and patterns of evolution. Isn’t that a violation of my religious rights?

    My daughter now has more social interaction than she did in school. She is able to join in at youth groups, drama groups, learn guitar and volunteer at a local ministry.  These are all things she was unable to do when she was going to school. She is a different person, I can see her joy. She has always wanted to be in the famous Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant but homework made that impossible. Now she is able to be a part of this cast. She practices for hours every week. God is truly good and surely has taken care of my daughter because she belongs to Him.

Do you want to walk on water? Has God called you to a specific task and you think it’s impossible for you?

  • Trust God, not man
  • Fix your thoughts
  • Refuse to worry
  • Don’t let doubt and discouragement entertain your thoughts
  • Call on God for Strength
  • Watch your words- begin by guarding  your heart
  • Be wise to the devil’s lies and pray for discernment
  • Stay Grounded in Gods word which gives discernment
  • In all you do, do as if you are doing it for the Lord
  • Don’t think it a strange thing when you run into trials
  • Run the race to win
  • See you at the finish line! :)

We Have Rejected God – A Poem


A Teacher’s Prayer

The First Day of School
Prepare each heart,

both young and old;

may each be well,

as day unfolds.

When bags are packed,

and lunches made;

with new clothes donned,

supplies arranged.

Lord, go before,

each one of us;

whether by car,

by foot or bus.

Let hope be held,

in every heart;

as we make way,

to year’s new start.

May every child,

find safety there;

may peace be found,

through smiles we wear.

Let each student,

find champion;

and know our care,

as they walk in.

God give us strength,

use us to be;

a voice of hope,

with kids we lead.

For all who come,

are capable;

may we provide,

a place to grow.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for new beginnings. Thank You for the privilege of partnering with You in preparing young lives to be tomorrow’s leaders. Thank You that as we begin a new school year, You have already set in place, which people are to care for every child who enters our schools. Strengthen and equip us to reach and care for each one, and may they leave a bit better at each day’s end. Forgive us for our oversights, and please stand in the gaps where we fall short. Protect every student and staff member that enter our schools, and help each to become the very best version of ourselves. May we honor You with all we do, and may many find way to faith in You. Amen.

Aine 2
Anne update: Yesterday was a quieter day for Anne, but I imagine a bit of rest was good. Today she has an important appointment. Please pray not only for her healing, but for wisdom and words for the medical community entrusted with her care. Please grant them Your words to speak. Hold her heart and her hand as she goes, and be her perfect peace. Blessings to you, my prayerful friends!
With countless thanks, Shannon

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

U.S. Senate Chaplains via American Minute

U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black was elected in 2003.

Posted on the official U.S. Senate website is:

“Chaplain’s Office – Throughout the years, the United States Senate has honored the historic separation of Church and State, but not the separation of God and State.

The first Senate, meeting in New York City on APRIL 25, 1789, elected the Right Reverend Samuel Provost, the Episcopal Bishop of New York, as its first Chaplain.

During the past two hundred and seven years, all sessions of the Senate have been opened with prayer, strongly affirming the Senate’s faith in God as Sovereign Lord of our Nation.”

This was a continuation of the practice of the Continental Congress during the Revolution, as Ben Franklin remarked in 1787:

“In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection.”

The first Senate Chaplain was Bishop Samuel Provoost, who conducted George Washington’s Inaugural Service at New York’s St. Paul’s Chapel.

Bishop Samuel Provoost preached the first Episcopal ordination sermon in St. George’s Chapel, New York City, July 15, 1787:

“We are occupied in the…most important business that can possibly engage the human mind…that…in the Hands of God, we shall be made the happy instruments of turning many from Darkness to Light, and from the Power of Satan to the Knowledge and Love of the Truth…

Lay no other foundation than that which is already laid…upon the Doctrine of Jesus Christ, and him crucified…

Let us all unite our most strenuous endeavors, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may run and be glorified, till the earth be filled with the Knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”

From 1789-2013, the 62 Senate Chaplains have been Christian:

Episcopalian 19,
Methodist 17,
Presbyterian 14,
Baptist 6,
Unitarian 2,
Congregational 1,
Lutheran 1,
Catholic 1,
Seventh-day Adventist 1.

Occasionally members of other faiths have been invited to offer prayers.

The U.S. Senate Chaplain after World War II was Peter Marshall, who prayed:

“Our liberty is under God and can be found nowhere else. May our faith be not merely stamped upon our coins, but expressed in our lives.”

Peter Marshall’s son, Peter Marshall, Jr., together with David Manuel, wrote the best-selling book, The Light and the Glory, which traced the Hand of Providence in the founding of America.

On February 7, 1984, President Reagan addressed the National Association of Secondary School Principals:

“God…should never have been expelled from America’s schools.

As we struggle to teach our children…we dare not forget that our civilization was built by men and women who placed their faith in a loving God.

If Congress can begin each day with a moment of prayer…so then can our sons and daughters.”

American Minute is a registered trademark. Permission is granted to forward. reprint or duplicate with acknowledgement to vwww.AmericanMinute.com

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Debunking the Common Core “The Emperor’s New Clothes” Narrative…. via The Bell News

The following post is reprinted with permission and it is a must read for anyone with children and grandchildren. It is also a must read for educators. Please do take time to check the links and read the other posts available!

Debunking the Common Core “The Emperor’s New Clothes” Narrative….

and why are education reformers/politicians ascribing to fairy tales for policy?

Should Common Core State Standards be considered an educational version of the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes”?  The standards are the promise of  new clothes for education but is there basis for believing there are any clothes at all?  From Wikipedia:

The Emperor’s New Clothes” (DanishKejserens nye Klæder) is a short tale byHans Christian Andersen about two weavers who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, a child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” The tale has been translated into over a hundred languages.[1]

Christopher H. Tienken, Editor of AAASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice provided commentary in the Winter 2011 publication entitled Common Core State Standards: An Example of Data-less Decision Making.

His research may just expose the standards to be unfit and fallacy to those who are critical thinkers asking for data determining their stated validity.  This article should be studied by educators, politicians, taxpayers, to understand the colossal farce Common Core standards are in terms of providing promises of educational improvement for American students as they are unproven and untested.

Tienken writes the standards have not been validated empirically and no metric has been set to monitor the intended and unintended consequences they will have on the education system and children (Mathis, 2010).  So why would governors and private trade organizations spend millions of taxpayer dollars on theories instead of verifiable researched data?  The CCSS proponents have bought into these two arguments:

  • America’s children are “lagging” behind international peers in terms of academic achievement, and
  • the economic vibrancy and future of the United States relies upon American students outranking their global peers on international tests of academic achievement because of the mythical relationship between ranks on those tests and a country’s economic competitiveness.

Where’s the data supporting the CCSS proponents’  arguments?  There isn’t much put forth by the education reformers.  So why are states and school districts implementing unproven and untested theories?  He defines the acceptance/lack of data for the unproven and untested CCSS assessments and implementation allegedly designed to enable students to become “globally competitive” with such sentences/phrases as:

  • An unbelievable suspension of logic and evidence
  • To believe that economic strength of the United States relies on how students rank on the Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) or the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), rather than reliance on policy (tax, trade, health, labor, finance, monetary, housing, natural resources policy)…”is like believing in the tooth fairy”
  • The “critical skills necessary to compete in the 21st century” are repackaged 19th century ideas and skills…they are “inert, sterile, socially static”…the CCSS are stuck in a curricular time machine set in 1858
  • Connecting an individual’s education achievement on a standardized test to a nation’s economic future is not empirically or logically acceptable and using that mythical connection for large-scale policymaking is civically reckless…when school administrators implement programs and policies built on those faulty arguments, they commit education malpractice
  •  More countries with national standards underperformed the US than did countries without national standards
  • To think that every student in this country should be made to learn the same thing is illogical—it lacks face validity…we should have learned from the Soviet Union that central planning does not work in the long-run
  • Standardization and testing are so entrenched in Singapore that every attempt to diversity the system has failedleaving Singapore a country that has high test scores but no creativity
  • (CCSS) creates a standardizing apparatus…we should respect differences among children, not try to extinguish them…there is a lot more going on here on the societal level than meets the eye…it’s more complex than the creators and vendors of the standards either understand or wish to present
  • Children have a right to a quality education.  School leaders, those who prepare them, and the people who lead our professional organizations have a duty to help provide the quality…if some education leaders choose to drink the snake oil then they should expect to get sick.  If some help sell it, they should resign.

 

He backs up his findings with 48 independent referenced sources.  It is worth your time to read his commentary that destroys the CCSS proponents’ arguments with methodical precision based on actual data.  Compare/contrast his research/reference with the data CCSSO and the NGA use:

 “

Many school districts or schools have “data committees” that make school-widedecisions based on some type of data. Surely there must be quality data available publically to support the use of the CCSS to transform, standardize, centralize and essentially delocalize America’s public education system.  The official website for the CCSS claims to provide such evidence. The site alleges that the standards are “evidence based” and lists two homegrown documents to “prove” it: Myths vs Facts (NGA, 2010) and the Joint International Benchmarking Report (NGA, 2008).

 The Myths document presents claims that the standards have “made use of a large and growing body of knowledge” (p. 3).  Knowledge derives in part from carefully controlled scientific experiments and observations so one would expect to find references to high quality empirical research to support the standards.

When I reviewed that “large and growing body of knowledge” offered by the NGA, I found that it was not large, and in fact built mostly on one report, Benchmarking for Success, created by the NGA and the CCSSO, the same groups that created these standards; Hardly independent research.
The Benchmarking report has over 135 end notes, some of which are repetitive references. Only four of the cited pieces of evidence could be considered empirical studies related directly to the topic of national standards and student achievement.

The remaining citations were newspaper stories, armchair magazine articles, op-ed pieces, book chapters, notes from telephone interviews, and several tangential studies.

Many of the citations were linked to a small group of standardization advocates and did not represent the larger body of empirical thought on the topic”.

Tienken’s report needs to be sent to school boards, superintendents, state educational agencies, educational reform groups, governors and state legislators for their response to his research and conclusions.  These private and/or public entities need to asked why they support common core standards and provide the data to back up their beliefs and use of the standards.  If you get shocked faces and declarations from these groups/politicians such as “I do whatever _________ tells me to” (fill in the blank: state agency, federal government, governor, etc), you know the right to direct your school’s educational direction is in dire jeopardy.

Tienken writes those who perpetuate bad ideas based on flawed data are practicing poor leadership.  If some school leaders and their organizations do not want to stand up for children then they should stand down and let those who are will assume the leadership reins.

How do you believe these organizations/politicians will respond (if they do) to Tienken’s research?  Tienken welcomed rebuttal on his 2011 commentary:

“I welcome your rebuttals but please remember: Leave the opinions and ideology behind and bring the evidence”.

 

Do the CCSS proponents have anything other than opinions and ideology?   This commentary was published in Winter 2011.  I haven’t seen any data backing up CCSS proponents’ assertions, have you?   That’s odd as they state CCSS is data driven.  If they insist CCSS should be data driven, shouldn’t the foundational theory of their reforms consist of verifiable data to determine the veracity of their argument?

Dr. Tienken’s academic profile:

Christopher Tienken, Ed.D. is an assistant professor of Education Administration at Seton Hall University. He has public school administration experience as a PK-12 assistant superintendent, middle school principal, and elementary school assistant principal. He began his career in education as an elementary school teacher. Dr Tienken’s research interests include the effect and influence of professional development on teacher practice and student achievement, the construct validity of high-stakes standardized tests as decision-making tools about student achievement and school effectiveness, and curricular interventions used in schools to improve achievement. His research about the effects of professional development on student achievement has been recognized by the Institute of Education Sciences and the National Staff Development Council awarded him the Best Research Award in 2008.

 

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