How can some churches affirm Same-Sex Marriage and relationships and others NOT affirm Same-Sex Marriage and relationships?

Aren’t they both reading the same Book?

The short answer is THEY ARE. (But read on.)

The really more basic question that must be answered FIRST is,  will the Church lose her biblical conviction and courage and morph into an unrecognized entity of this current age?

Recently, Same-Sex Marriage has come back on the local news scene with the decision of FBC, Macon to affirm same-sex marriage and with a new Gainesville, Georgia local “gathering” whose purpose is to affirm same-sex marriage and provide an officiate for same sex weddings.

I find it unfortunate that the First Baptist Church in Macon Georgia now joins a list of other formerly strong evangelical churches, led by the Episcopal Church from years ago, in affirming same-sex marriage and that these new “affirming” groups are gathering throughout local communities supporting and encouraging same-sex marriage and homosexual relationships.

The Question: Are they reading the same Book? (Read on.)

Some local clergy and lay volunteers who affirm same-sex marriage and homosexual lifestyle like to throw around reasons such as God is Love, God is BIG, Love is Love, Love is Good; and the list goes on ad nauseam.  Those clichés may sound and “feel good” but none of them convey what is really happening.

Actually, such clergy and lay volunteers are professing that they have decided to forsake the Scripture ascertaining NOW that they have some “NEW KNOWLEDGE” that the Church did not have 2000 years ago.

They are reading the same Book BUT they believe they have been enlightened with NEW KNOWLEDGE that allows the belief — the Bible NOW does not mean what it says.

What really makes this frustrating for a person like me, who holds to a Biblical Worldview, is that as I follow and affirm 2,000 years of consistent Biblical orthodoxy, this “new crowd” is coming along claiming “SPECIAL REVELATION” and asserting that I am the one being intolerant and divisive.

Understand, I am holding to 2000 years of Biblical Orthodoxy; and yet, I am the one being labeled divisive.

The clear “bottom line” (for anyone who has even a hint of intellectual integrity) is those who deny Biblical Authority on ANY subject claiming “Special Knowledge” are really 21st century Gnostics.

Yes, we are reading the same Book BUT Gnostic thinking claims that deeper truth can be found apart from God.

However, Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Instead of searching our corrupt, flawed “inner selves” for answers, believing we have received new and special knowledge, we should instead test everything against the revealed Word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

In the end, it is God’s truth alone that can be trusted.

So, when the Bible affirms marriage being between a man and a woman or lists homosexuality (and other activity as well) as sin, it is the modern day Gnostic that says, “No, you are wrong. We have Special Knowledge.”

This is what happens when churches abandon Scripture so they can feel good.

It is sad that the 21st century Church is having to  fight Gnostic Hersey from the 1st Century all over again!

Yes, we are reading the same Book BUT some NOW think that deeper truth can be found apart from God. They choose to believe, at their own peril, that the Bible NOW does not mean what it says.

We were warned of this in Scripture in Jude.

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

N. T. Wright, Anglican Bishop of Durham, noted scholar and theologian, has indicated that it is NOT intellectually honest to remove the biblical admonition to refrain from same sex activity or promote marriage as something other than between a male and female.

Clergy and local lay ministry volunteers, I urge you to hear these words of the Anglican scholar and author, J. I. Packer when he was asked about the affirming or blessing of same-sex marriage.

He said, “Asking God to sanctify sin by blessing what he condemns is irresponsible, irreverent, and blasphemous. It is completely unacceptable as church policy. I will not do it.”

Given that many Christians around the globe are “standing against a RAISED FIST,” I am willing to stand against the “Raised Eyebrows” in my own community and say as J. I Packer did, “I WILL NOT DO IT!”

 

Dr. Smiley is the Senior Pastor Lakewood Baptist Church, Gainesville, Georgia.  The 2600 member congregation is a vibrant Christian fellowship that is locally, regionally and globally engaged.  Dr. Smiley’s is the founder of “TomSmileyMinistries”. His messages are broadcast on WDUN 550 and his”Blog” entries and thoughts on God, Faith, Current Events, and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/  His Books, “Runaway Lives: overcoming emotional undercurrents”, “Angels all Around”, and “Uncommon Common Sense” can be ordered at his TomSmileyMinistries website. Contact Dr. Smiley at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

 

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The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed what my dad told me years ago -defend yourself and those weaker around you.

My dad was a quiet man who, as much as possible, sought to avoid conflict or physical altercation.  I remember my dad taking very specific personal stances on matters with others who disagreed, but I never saw or heard him use physical force or verbal abuse to make his point.

While he did not promote fighting or verbal assault, my dad taught me and expected me to never sidestep defending myself or the weaker ones around me.  It is a character trait that is very much part of my being.

I remember my dad and mom supported me regarding an incident on a school bus on my first day at a new school.  I was on the bus for the first time as a new student and knew no one.  Sitting alone on the back seat, I noticed an older boy picking on, threatening and physically hitting a much younger student. My mom learned later that this was a common occurrence on that bus.  I went to the defense of the younger student and stopped the altercation.  The pledge of an after-school “settling up” with the bully never materialized as the bully failed to show.

Now, when all the “zero tolerance” propaganda started on school campuses, I gravely disagreed. Such ideas and rules such as: “Don’t eat a sandwich in such a way that it might look like a gun.”, “Don’t wear a shirt with Christian scripture on it.”, “Don’t bring a 2-inch pocket knife onto school grounds.”, and “Don’t defend yourself or the weaker ones around you” NEVER MADE SENSE TO ME.

Hard to Believe:

Recently I read and saw a video of a bully hitting and abusing a special needs child.  A high school junior coming up on the scene immediately rush over, and with one blow, he ended the altercation, rescuing the special needs child.

The odd thing was the school suspended the rescuer along with the bully.  Notice that those enticing and encouraging the fight were not suspended, those who filmed it were not suspended, those who stood by and did nothing were not suspended, but the rescuer was suspended.

When I read and saw this incident, I remarked to myself, “My dad would not have stood for that!”  He would have approved of my rescue attempt and would have stood for me in my defense.

Recently, a parent did just that.

When his daughter was expelled for defending herself in a physical altercation, her parent went all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court to get the daughter cleared and reinstated.

In its first decision in a school discipline case, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled zero tolerance policies on school fighting cannot deny students the right to assert they were defending themselves. The court said Georgia law gives students the legal right to argue self-defense as a justification.

Georgia Code states, “A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when…he or she reasonably believes that such threat or force is necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person against such other’s imminent use of unlawful force.”

In essence, the State’s highest court ruled that Georgia’s laws on self-defense and defending the weak prevails over school zero tolerance policies on fighting.

I am so weary of some school administrators and school board members who are so very blinded by their own pseudo-intellect that they have little or no common sense.

The Court got this one right!

Read more about it:

State Supreme Court: Georgia students can argue self-defense to justify school fights

Dr. Smiley is the Senior Pastor Lakewood Baptist Church, Gainesville, Georgia.  The 2400 member congregation is a vibrant Christian fellowship locally and globally.  Dr. Smiley’s is the founder of “Life with Smiles Ministry”. His messages are broadcast on WDUN 550 and his”Blog” entries and thoughts on God, Faith, Current Events, and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/   His Books, “Runaway Lives: overcoming emotional undercurrents”, “Angels all Around”, and “Uncommon Common Sense” can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website. Contact Dr. Smiley at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

 

As I watched and observed the behavior of those in Charlottesville and in Seattle, I can’t help but think of Captain Woodrow F. Call of “Lonesome Dove” fame.

Following an ugly incident when he had to take up for a young boy being abused by an angry adult, he said, “I hate rudeness in a man, won’t tolerate it.”

The violent events last week in Charlottesville and Seattle are at their core rude, ugly, hateful and mean-spirited.  There is NO PLACE for such behavior, especially in the name of God.

I unapologetically proclaim that those who demonstrated or fueled hatefulness, racism, discrimination and violence do NOT represent God in any form or fashion.  They are wrong and deceived.

It would appear, too many people have forgotten or choose to ignore…..that there is only one race—the human race.

Caucasians, Africans, Asians, Indians, Arabs, and Jews are really not different races. Rather, they are different ethnicities of the human race.

More importantly, all human beings are equally created in the image and likeness of God.

God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus to lay down His life for us.   The “world” obviously includes all ethnic groups and all human beings.

It is important to understand and to proclaim, “God does not show partiality or favoritism and neither should we.  We are to love our neighbors as ourselves.”

What makes all forms of racism, prejudice, and discrimination so ugly is that such opinions are an affront to the work of Christ on the cross; Christ Died for all.  Since God’s Love is impartial we need to set that as our standard.

Stop mistreating any person created in God’s image; we are hurting somebody whom God loves and for whom Jesus died.

Final Thoughts:

Those who practice racism, prejudice and discrimination need to repent.

Victims of racism, prejudice and discrimination need to forgive just as in Christ God forgave you. While racists may not deserve your forgiveness, we deserved God’s forgiveness far less.

I pray that Galatians 3:28 would be more fully realized in our association with one another: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Please let’s all try turning off the television and begin to love our neighbor.

 

Addendum August 16, 2017

Let me be very Clear….as I was about Jim Jones, a deceiver, and David Koresh a false teacher…..I renounce anyone who professes to be Christian, who professes to know God that seeks to use GOD’s Word to advocate that one part of the HUMAN RACE is Better than another Part of the Human Race, I renounce anyone who would insinuate that God’s Word or HIS Character shows partiality to any Race, group, or Nation of people. I Denounce any Group who misapplies, misinterprets or misrepresents what God says in His Word about the Value, Worth and Dignity of all people. I can’t speak for Others, But I Do Speak for Lakewood Baptist, we will Proclaim the TRUTH about Jesus and we will affirm the Truthful Teaching of God’s Perfect Word. See ME if you need additional enlightenment on this matter.

 

 

I remember my brother and I got into a scuffle with two neighborhood boys after two of them jump on me.  My Big brother immediately came to my aid and well as they say, “the rest is History”.

After the “incident” the father of the two called my mom to complain.  Naturally I was concerned as to the potential outcome of that phone call.

I was so relieved upon hearing my mom say, “Well sir, THERE are TWO sides to every story and I will ask Tom and Jim what happened and get back with you”.

Today our Society NEEDS TO HEAR the OTHER Side of the “Climate Change”, “Global Warming” discussion.

The major news media outlets are now known to be engaged in societal change over journalist integrity.

We see this FACT in the discussion of  “Climate Change”.

I have heard till “ad nauseam” the worn and inaccurate leading headline, “97% of Scientist agree with Global warming.

My first problem with this false statement is the “Smugness” it implies.

For instance when the worn out response:  “97% of climate  scientists agree with climate change” is used the implication is:  Who are you to challenge them?

These people are not gods.  They are NOT always Correct or even honest.

Second, when you hear the 97% rule, you should ask, “ What exactly do the climate scientists agree on’?

The Truth is that it is likely that 97% of people making the 97% claim have absolutely no idea where that number comes from or where areas of agreement exist.  Usually, the response, “well the climate is changing”. Really?  Now that is enlightened news!

I remember President Obama stating, “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.”

TWO Problems Mr. Former President, “Not only are  you sloppily equating “scientists” with “climate scientists,” but more importantly you ADDED  “dangerous” to the 97% claim, which is not found in the literature you paid for or commissioned.

Here is a Side to the Story you may not have heard.

Since the end of 2012, total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average.

This is important because current data is contradicting the asserted global warming          claims that Polar ice caps are receding due to global warming.

Updated NASA satellite data show the polar ice caps remained at approximately their 1979 extent until the middle of the last decade. Beginning in 2005, however, polar ice modestly receded for several years.

By 2012, polar sea ice had receded by approximately 10 percent from 1979 measurements. (Total polar ice area – factoring in both sea and land ice – had receded by much less than 10 percent, but alarmists focused on the sea ice loss as “proof” of a global warming crisis.)

Regardless, global warming activists and a compliant news media frequently and vociferously claimed the modest polar ice cap retreat was a sign of impending catastrophe.

Al Gore even predicted the Arctic ice cap could completely disappear by 2014.

The Earth has warmed modestly and the Earth will likely continue to warm modestly as a result of natural and human factors.

The modest retreat – like that which happened briefly from 2005 through 2012 – would not be proof or evidence of a global warming crisis. Such a retreat would merely illustrate that global temperatures are continuing their gradual recovery from the Little Ice Age.

The TRUTH:

President Donald Trump has been excoriated for his decision to have the United States exit the Paris Climate Accord and for having opinions on Global Warming very similar to my own.

However, one very influential man — John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel — has his back (and mine).

In a series of tweets and emails Coleman sent to Al Gore and various Democratic supporters and organizations, he called out climate alarmists with a barrage of facts based on actual science and not wishful thinking.

As it turns out, if you chart global temperatures back into the ’70s, there are absolutely no signs of global warming.

There’s been less than one degree temperature change since 1978 and no warming to speak of since 1998.

So where is the government getting their information from?

It turns out that the government has been manipulating climate computer models. This means that the American taxpayers are being charged $4.7 billion a year in taxes that are being used to fund organizations that carry out meaningless studies based on bad science.

The sad truth is that the American people are paying fake scientists to lie to them.

It is Factual, if you chart global temperatures back into the ’70s; there are absolutely no signs of global warming.

YES, as a Christian I should be concerned about the environment.

I believe that God appointed man to be the steward of this world certainly not a destroyer of it.

However, we should not allow environmentalism to become a form of idolatry, where the “rights” of an inanimate planet and its non-human creatures are held in higher esteem than God and man created in His image.

My Point is we should NOT penalize America on the basis of fake science promoting a false narrative. With global warming, as with any other topic, it is crucial to understand what the facts are, whom those facts come from, how they are interpreted, and what the spiritual implications are.

Be informed!

 

Dr. Smiley is the Senior Pastor Lakewood Baptist Church, Gainesville, Georgia.  The 2400 member congregation is a vibrant Christian fellowship locally and globally.  Dr. Smiley’s is the founder of “Life with Smiles Ministry”. His messages are broadcast on WDUN 550 and his”Blog” entries and thoughts on God, Faith, Current Events, and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/   His Books, “Runaway Lives: overcoming emotional undercurrents”, “Angels all Around”, and “Uncommon Common Sense” can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website. Contact Dr. Smiley at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

 

 

 

 

 

Let the debate begin……President Trump has announced his Tax Reform.

I’m sure he will be Criticized by the opposition.  I’m just getting familiar with the Tax Reform recommendations but so far I say “GO”! (I do reserve the Right to amend my thinking as I Learn more and talk to professional tax folks whose opinion I respect).

Here are the POINTS I LIKE:

  • Reduce the Current 7 Tax Brackets to 3:  10%, 25% and 35% respectfully.
  • Double the Standard Family Deduction
  • Repeal the Death Tax
  • Keep TWO Deductions; Charity and Home Mortgage Interest (good comment from a friend regarding those with paid off mortgages. I could support a couple more deductions but I hope the reduction in taxes paid will offset the deductions we presently receive.)
  • Reduce Business tax from 35% to 15

Beware of the Smoke Screens

You will hear “How can we pay for it”?  That isn’t even a legit Question.  We Don’t have to “Pay for it”.  IT IS OUR MONEY.  We should be able to KEEP MORE of our income especially if our Representatives will Cut Waste, Fraud and Out of Control Spending.

Second, What about the Deficit?  First is my belief that this kind of Tax Reform will create more Taxable Revenue.  Second, Interesting how those asking about the Deficit didn’t “BLINK” when Obama Ran the Deficit up from 10 Trillion Dollars to TWENTY Trillion DOLLARS in 8 years.

The plan would eliminate the federal tax deduction for state and local income tax. If you are in a State where taxes are high, like New York or California, you would lose a valuable deduction. The simple answer to this Smoke Screen…Reduce Your State and Local Tax Burden.  Why should every tax payer fund deductions for another State’s out of control Spending?

Will President Trump reveal his Tax Returns?  WHO CARES.  We have more than enough information regarding the President’s Tax Return.  I am not interest in HIS Tax Return; I am interest in REDUCING MY TAXES.

Finally, we will hear……”This only helps the Rich”.  Not TRUE.  Tax Reform and Tax Relief will help us All.

I am hopeful we can see Good Tax Reform and Tax Relief PASSED.  GET TO WORK.

Dr. Smiley is the Senior Pastor Lakewood Baptist Church, Gainesville, Georgia.  The 2400 member congregation is a vibrant Christian fellowship locally and globally.  Dr. Smiley’s is the founder of “Life with Smiles Ministry”. His messages are broadcast on WDUN 550 and his”Blog” entries and thoughts on God, Faith, Current Events, and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/   His Books, “Runaway Lives: overcoming emotional undercurrents”, “Angels all Around”, and “Uncommon Common Sense” can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website. Contact Dr. Smiley at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

Modern society calls it “Easter.”

The one thing I find that people most often stumble over is the fact that Jesus actually did rise from the dead.

Just a few Years ago I was gravely disappointed with Three of our community’s prominent Churches who along w/ a community university sponsored a Pseudo- Intellect who presented to our community a series of lectures attempting to explain “Why the Bodily resurrection of Jesus isn’t   Necessary to believe in.

Consider This:

Thomas Arnold (Professor and world-renowned historian)  “I can tell you that Christ’s resurrection from the dead is the “best-attested fact in human history”.

C.S. Lewis: {about the Resurrection of Jesus} ….something perfectly  new in the history of the Universe happened….. Christ defeated death.

 Tim Keller: 21st C. author and pastor in  Manhattan, NY) “If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.”

The Apostle Paul Said:  “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins..

The Point is Simple:

Either The Resurrection we celebrate TODAY is REAL and ACTUAL or it is NOT….

Jesus’ Resurrection did happen, it isn’t a myth. It isn’t merely a nice idea that Christians have, Rather, it is something which occurred in history.

The truth is everyone in the world is affected by the resurrection of Jesus.

Nobody can live unchanged by this great historically accurate event!

Resurrection Evidence reveals that….

* The New Testament story is not a legend:  New Testament documents were written within two generations of the events by eyewitnesses or their contemporaries. The New Testament story-line is corroborated by non-Christian writers.

* The New Testament story is not an embellishment: New Testament writers were meticulously accurate as the well over 140 historically details demonstrate.

* The New Testament writers were not deceived: The New Testament writers were not wrong about what they saw! If all their other historical details has proven to be Accurate, why do you think they would be deceived about the resurrection?

There will always be people who say that Jesus did not really rise from the dead!

Don’t be discouraged by doubters who deny the resurrection.

Instead, Be filled with hope because one day you will see the living proof when Jesus Christ returns.

What does the resurrection mean to every one who by Faith accepts it?

I can have confidence that the apostles early teaching was true.

I know I am forgiven for my sins.

Finally, Because of the Resurrection I know that  God is a Living Sovereign. The Resurrection tells the world that the kingdom of God is ruled by a living sovereign.

* The founder of Buddhism is dead and his bones lie dormant in the earth.

*The founder of Islam is dead and his bones lie dormant in the earth.

But the founder of Christianity Jesus —made a number of appearances after His death over a 40 day Period.

For Instance:

Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, the women that came to Jesus tomb (Mary the Mother of James, Salome, and Joanna),

He appeared to two disciples on the Emmaus road.

He also appeared to the remainder of the Twelve Disciples with Thomas absent.  Later he appeared to them with Thomas present.

There was also an appearance to seven disciples on the Sea of Galilee.

On another occasion Jesus appeared to over five hundred people at the same time.

There is also an appearance to James.

Finally Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus – the man who became the Apostle Paul.

Jesus is Not DEAD IN THE GRAVE

 HE IS RISEN.  Have you received HIM today?  I would love to help. Please contact me.

Dr. Smiley is the Senior Pastor Lakewood Baptist Church, Gainesville, Georgia.  The 2400 member congregation is a vibrant Christian fellowship locally and globally.  Dr. Smiley’s is the founder of “Life with Smiles Ministry”. His messages are broadcast on WDUN 550 and his”Blog” entries and thoughts on God, Faith, Current Events, and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/   His Books, “Runaway Lives: overcoming emotional undercurrents”, “Angels all Around”, and “Uncommon Common Sense” can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website. Contact Dr. Smiley at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

Jesus said,

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Pray:

Lord Jesus, please forgive me for allowing worry and anxiety to take root in my life.  Father, please forgive me for living from a worldly perspective rather than Your eternal perspective.

I give You the weight of the world that I have taken on my shoulders, and I place it in Your hands.  I make this my declaration:  I will fix all my thoughts on You because I trust in You.

I surrender complete control. You are greater than any fear my mind can conceive.  I cannot change the future. I cannot change human hearts, but I trust you enough to bring to you my concerns.

Thank You Father, for delivering me from worry.  I thank You for allowing me to rest in this confidence, knowing that You are for me and with me.  In Jesus Name I pray, Amen

Dr. Tom Smiley is a pastor, author, speaker, blogger, husband, grand dad, and Christ-follower.  He is a regional radio talk show host with WDUN Jacobs Media.  He is the founder of Life with Smiles Ministry.  His Sunday messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, Christian faith, current events, politics and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/

His books: Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents, Angels all Around, and Uncommon Common Sense can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website (www.lifewithsmiles.com).  Dr. Smiley is available for speaking engagements and discussion forums and can be contacted at  tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org or by calling 770.532.6307.

The Backstory to the U. S. House Prayer:

Congressman Doug Collins of the 9th District was gracious to invite me to open Congress in prayer on March 22, 2017.  I shall always be indebted to Congressman Collins for his confidence and support in inviting me.  I can not express enough how professional and gracious Congressman Collins’ staff was in handling all the details. Each one of the Congressman’s staff is so talented and gifted; just meeting them was an added joy to the the whole experience.

Once I cleared the date and accepted the opportunity the House Chaplain’s office began corresponding with me about working out the details. Karen Bronson, Chaplain’s Liaison to Staff, was extremely professional.

A couple of interesting “rules” included no opening comments before my prayer and the request to keep the prayer to 150 words.   The first was no problem; however, the second was more difficult….I asked for and received permission to have a total of 167 words for my prayer.

I began reading and researching previous prayers used to open Congress and reviewed prayers from previous Congressional and Senate Chaplains.

Realizing that my prayer would become a matter of Congressional record, I determined that I would leave NO DOUBT as to Whom I was praying  and what I was requesting.

I divided my prayer into 2 segments–Part One: To Whom I was Praying and Part Two:  What I was asking.

Upon arrival to the Longworth House Office Building,  Terri and I and our dear friends Mike and Jane Weaver, who accompanied us to D. C. , met in Congressman Collin’s office and visited with his tremendous staff.  Final instructions were offered. The Four of us were escorted via underground to the Capital.

Prior to offering the prayer I was given a walk through in the House Chamber and was directed where to stand before and during the prayer and how to exit.

Terri , Jane and Mike were escorted to the gallery.

Right before I entered the House Chamber, Speaker Ryan came to the receiving room. He welcomed me and we visited for a few minutes.  I followed him to the House Chamber, he called the session to order, introduced me and I prayed.

Following the prayer Congressman Collins gave a warm and welcoming introduction of me to his colleagues from the Floor of The House.

Our day concluded with lunch in the Congressional dining room and a tour of the Capital. ( The  U.S. House white bean soup and cornbread are both as good as you have heard AND the fried chicken was exceptional.)

Here is the text of my Congressional Prayer, March 22, 2017:

In the Name that is Above Every Name,

In the Name of the One by whom all things were created and by whom all things created are sustained,

In the Name of the One who was crucified for the sins of all people, raised on the third day and who, upon HIS return, EVERY knee will bow and every tongue confess is LORD,

In the Name of JESUS, my Savior and my Lord, today, I ask….

 *Draw near unto Thyself the heart of any in this body who still remain far from You.

*Give confidence and courage to all who govern from this House, to be unashamed of the judo-Christian ethic, which has lead this nation to prominence and prosperity above all other nations.

*Remind all who by faith trust You that Your love wants what is best for us, Your wisdom knows what is best for us, and Your power will accomplish what Is best for us.

In Jesus’ Name, And God’s People Said, Amen.

 

Dr. Tom Smiley is a pastor, author, speaker, blogger, husband, grand dad, and Christ-follower.  He is a regional radio talk show host with WDUN Jacobs Media.  He is the founder of Life with Smiles Ministry.  His Sunday messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, Christian faith, current events, politics and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/

His books: Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents, Angels all Around, and Uncommon Common Sense can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website (www.lifewithsmiles.com).  Dr. Smiley is available for speaking engagements and discussion forums and can be contacted at  tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org or by calling 770.532.6307.

Americans have just celebrated another “Presidents’ Day” honoring all who served in our highest office.

One of the most notable and relevant Presidential messages is from President Franklin Roosevelt’s first inaugural address during the depth of the great Depression in 1933.

He said, “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”

Well, as Yogi Berra said, “Deja vu over again”.  Today, We find ourselves living in unsettling times.  Especially with regard to how our nation seems so divided and fearful.  While I’m sure there are many reasons we could cite for all the protests, unrest or disharmony, one reason remains clear: FEAR.

Fear is a dangerous and deadly undercurrent of life.  It will rob us of vitality, enthusiasm, anticipation and progress.

The Proverb writer is accurate when he writes, “I am worn out by my worries” — fear.

Think about the “fruit” of fear.

Fear ruins relationships because it prevents honesty.  When we deny our feelings and refuse to tell the truth we destroy those closest to us.

Fear hinders genuine happiness. Think about it; one cannot be happy and fearful at the same time.

Additionally, fear will sabotage success. The way we tend to think is the way we tend to react in life.  I am reminded that Job said to his friends, “Everything I fear and dread comes true.”

So what is the antidote to overcoming fearful living?

First for me, fear’s best antidote is filling my mind with God’s truth.  The Gospel writer John penned the words, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

Living free from fear will come as you build your life on truth.

Secondly, I have discovered as I fill my heart with God’s love, I tend to be less fearful.  Anytime you replace bitterness, anger and resentment with God’s love and compassion, fear is expelled.

A contemporary translation of a biblical text reads, “Love fully developed, expels every particle of fear.”

Finally, an antidote to fear is to replace fear with faith — faith to acknowledge Jesus as your Savior and Lord.  Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus and said, “Above all, be sure to take faith as your shield, for it can quench every burning missile that the enemy hurls at you.”

Our adversary, Satan, seeks to put fear in our hearts and minds.  He suggests all kinds of things for which to be fearful.

The shield against such an attack is faith. Where do you need faith today?

Faith to accept Jesus as Savior?

Faith to join a community of believers?

Faith to change a career?

Faith to make a commitment in marriage?

Overcome your fear!  Fill your mind with God’s truth.  Fill your heart with God’s love. Fill your life with faith in Jesus.

Dr. Tom Smiley is a pastor, author, speaker, blogger, husband, grand dad, and Christ-follower.  He is a regional radio talk show host with WDUN Jacobs Media.  He is the founder of Life with Smiles Ministry.  His Sunday messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, Christian faith, current events, politics and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/

His books: Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents, Angels all Around, and Uncommon Common Sense can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website (www.lifewithsmiles.com).  Dr. Smiley is available for speaking engagements and discussion forums and can be contacted at  tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org or by calling 770.532.6307.

We have a severe Ideological divide in the Country;  shouting, arguing, name calling won’t move us forward. Perhaps Persuasion with facts and details may move the minds and attitudes of people. Study, read, be prepared to give sound reasons to your positions. The World Needs a Strong America.

more to come……