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Pixabay.com

George Nathaniel, a Twin Cities-area bus driver was removed from his bus route last week after leading students in prayer, the Star Tribune reported. Nathaniel says his rights to free speech and to practice his religion were violated.

Nathaniel drove children to Nasha Shkola, a Minnesota Charter School that celebrates Russian language and culture. He began working for the company in January 2017 and started incorporating prayer into the bus ride this winter.

“The students would volunteer to lead the prayer,” Nathaniel said.

Nathaniel believes children need more prayer in their lives and he’s determined to bring prayer back to public schools.

Quality Care Transportation removed Nathaniel from his route after receiving complaints that Nathaniel was forcing children to pray. While bus drivers are given time for personal prayer, leading children isn’t part of the job, said Muk Musa, owner of Quality Care.

Nathaniel, who also pastors a Minneapolis congregation said that he wants to turn people to Christianity, but he never forced students to pray, he told the Star Tribune. He was also surprised that parents complained because he’d discussed the issue with them.

“That’s where the Constitution comes in,” Nathaniel said. “You’ve got the freedom to exercise your religious beliefs.”

Musa says Nathaniel isn’t fired but hasn’t received a new route either. This also isn’t the first time Nathaniel has been in this situation. He was fired four years ago while driving a Burnsville route for the same reason. He is determined to share Christ with those he encounters.

“He’s not going to change. His main focus is to influence even one person in following what he worships,” Musa said.

Do you believe we need prayer back in schools? Do you think Nathaniel had the right to exercise his faith?

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

Some believe the Rapture is a lot closer then we think. According to a Christian numerologist and end times theorist, David Meade, it will happen next week.

Meade says the heavens are aligning to point to the Rapture occurring on April 23, 2018 according to a FoxNews.com report. Meade is basing his prediction off of Revelation 12:1-2 which says:

“And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.”

Meade goes on to explain that, on April 23, the sun and moon, as well as the planet Jupiter, will be in the constellation of Virgo. Virgo is thought to represent the Virgin and Jupiter the Messiah.

He believes the heavenly alignment represents “the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” and is “a unique once-in-a-century sign exactly as depicted in the 12th chapter of Revelation. This is our time marker, Meade says.

But some Christians are skeptical of Meade’s claims. Author Jonathan Sarfati is one of them. He explains, “There is nothing to suggest that April 23 is a momentous date for biblical prophecy, and Christians need to be careful about being drawn into such sensationalist claims. We won’t know the day or the hour – so we should be prepared at all times!”

While the word Rapture does not appear in the Bible, the event is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-44. At the time of the Rapture, believers who have died will have their bodies resurrected and, along with believers who are still living, will meet the Lord in the air. This will all occur in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye.

In short, the Rapture is the return of Christ in the clouds to remove all believers from the earth before the time of God’s wrath. The Rapture is typically associated with events of the Second Coming of Christ, when Jesus returns to defeat the Antichrist, destroy evil, and establish His millennial kingdom. While the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ are similar, they are separate events. Both involve Jesus returning. Both are end-time events.

We are warned in the Bible to avoid determining a date and time for the Rapture. Despite many attempts throughout the years to calculate the date, the truth is we cannot calculate the day Christ will return because God specifically chose not to reveal this to us. When Jesus was asked about the apocalyptic time by the apostles, He replied. “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:7-8).

Only God knows the date, the time and the hour, and only God knows when time will run out.

Frans Timmermans via Twitter

Frans Timmermans via Twitter

He made the ultimate sacrifice.

French police officer Arnaud Beltrame died after voluntarily taking the place of a female hostage during a recent terrorist attack on a Super U supermarket in Trèbes, southern France. An ISIS-inspired gunman killed Beltrame and three others. He was a devout Christian.

Beltrame, who once served in Iraq, was part of a team of gendarmes who were among the first to arrive at the supermarket scene; most of the people in the supermarket escaped after hiding in a cold storage room and then fleeing through an emergency exit.

The Lieutenant-Colonel offered to trade places with a hostage the attacker was still holding, by strategically leaving his phone on as he entered the supermarket so that his colleagues could hear any conversation between him and the terrorist.

Beltrame was shot in the neck by jihadist Radouane Lakdim prior to police storming the supermarket. When shots rang out, elite police were alerted and went in to kill the assailant. Beltrame was shot three times according to police sources. The heroic move that saved another person’s life cost him his own life.

In an interview with the BBC, Beltrame’s brother Cedric explained how Beltrame knew he “didn’t have a chance,” adding that his heroic actions went “beyong the call of duty.”

“He gave his life for strangers,” Cedric said. “He must have known that he didn’t really have a chance. If that doesn’t make him a hero, I don’t know what would.”

“Arnaud Beltrame died in service of the nation to which he had already given so much,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement. “He fell as a hero, giving up his life to halt the murderous outfit of a jihadist terrorist.”

When Beltrame served in Iraq in 2005, he was the recipient of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest military award. He was a devout Catholic, having experienced a genuine conversion in 2008, according to the Catholic Herald.

Beltrame didn’t hide his faith. In fact, he radiated and bore witness to it, Fr. Dominque Arz, national chaplain of the gendarmerie told French Catholic magazine, Famille Chrétienne.

“We can say that his act of self-offering is consistent with what he believed,” Arz said. “He served his country to the very end, and bore witness to his faith to the very end.”

pexels-photo-257037 (1)Thousands of students walked out of school this week for 17 minutes. Each minute was meant to represent one of the students killed in the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The protest was meant to demand stricter gun laws, but one Virginia school did not want to bring politics into a time meant to recognize the 17 lives that were ended too soon. So, they organized a small memorial and dedicated those 17 minutes to prayer instead of protest.

Greenbrier Christian Academy is located in Chesapeake, Virginia. The students at Greenbrier wanted to recognize the 17 people who were killed in Florida, but they did not want a time of reflection and grief to be tangled up with politics. “We just wanted to give our students a way to honor the victims and be a part of the national discussion,” said Danielle Gullickson, the school’s community director.  “They don’t want to be used for a political agenda but to do something to honor the people who were involved and suffered from this tragedy.”

The school built a small memorial using 17 chairs. Each chair had a photograph, a name, a white carnation and a white ribbon. When students left class during the time of reflection, they gathered together at different parts of the campus to pray.

“I think that prayer is an amazing tool; I think that prayer is part of the heart, and I think that there’s a time to mourn and to take time out of your day to respect the families,” said Greenbrier senior Jessica Ferebee. “But I also believe that faith without works is dead… there also needs to be something done to put the prayers into action.”

For Ferebee, the simple memorial the school constructed was very powerful. “Seeing those students was devastating; I saw their personalities, their smiles in the pictures, and it made it so much more real than 17 names on a piece of paper.”

Greenbrier was not the only school to alter the “Walk Out” campaign. A number of schools encouraged students to “Walk Up Not Out.” Rather than leaving school for 17 minutes, students at Arbor Preparatory High School in Michigan were told to tape positive or encouraging notes on each other’s lockers. Similarly, a teacher at Arcadia Middle School in Virginia suggested that students “walk up to the kid who sits alone and ask him to join your group” or “walk up to the kid who never has a voluntary partner and offer to be hers.” Students in Jacksonville, Florida, meanwhile, wrote cards to 17 people they felt were not “usually noticed or appreciated.”

These smaller, internal movements are not as noticeable as thousands of students leaving school buildings, but they have the potential to prevent tragedy before it ever begins. As Ryan Petty, who lost his son in the Parkland shooting said, “If you really want to stop the next school shooter walk up not out.”