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Trump Signs Executive Order on Religious Freedom

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Political Editor – LeNora Millen

President Trump on Thursday followed through on a promise to grant religious organizations greater freedom in political speech. In doing so, he stated that he would mandate that the Internal Revenue Service relax enforcement of rules barring tax-exempt churches from participating in politics. Trump unveiled the Order in a somewhat formal setting in a Rose Garden ceremony—surrounded by religious leaders of various faiths, he spoke of the much-anticipated signing and its possible implications. The Order of Religious Freedom offers unspecified “regulatory relief” for religious objectors to the Obama administration mandate, already scaled back by the courts, which required contraception services as part of health plans, according to White House officials.

Choosing to unveil the order on a National Day of Prayer, Trump told those attending the event that “For too long the federal government has used the state as a weapon against people of faith.”  He would later state, “You’re now in a position to say what you want to say.  No one should be censoring sermons or targeting pastors.”  Vice President Mike Pence and a number of Cabinet secretaries also attended the event.

The order, unveiled on a National Day of Prayer, was noticeably more condensed than a February draft, which set off concern for alarmed civil gay right activists, libertarians, and other liberal advocacy groups who threatened  lawsuits.

The earlier version of the February draft, included a controversial provision that allowed federal contractors to discriminate against single mothers or LGBT employees on the basis of faith.

On the campaign trail, and briefly after taking office, Trump vowed that he would “totally destroy” what’s known as the Johnson Amendment, a six-decade-old ban on churches and other tax-exempt organizations supporting political candidates.

Lyndon B. Johnson, introduced the amendment in the Senate in 1954, nine years before his presidency. Under current law, churches are free to promote political candidates but must forego such activity to obtain tax-exempt status. According to congressional aides, the repeal of the Johnson Amendment is being written and further developed into the tax legislation and in the House of Representatives.

The provision written in the tax code would require an act of Congress to fully repeal it.  The provision also applies to all tax-exempt organizations, including some colleges and foundations. Taking a closer look at Trump’s order, it instructs the Internal Revenue Service to “exercise maximum enforcement discretion of the prohibition.” However, Trump’s directive may not extend beyond his presidency.  It is without question, that broader legislation and the provision will face substantial pushback.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and other Democrats expressed concern that repealing the amendment would allow tax-exempt churches and other nonprofits to be used to circumvent campaign finance laws. In a letter Wednesday to Republican leaders of Congress, Sen. Wyden, stated that

“Using charitable causes as shell companies to evade campaign finance transparency and contribution limits would increase the flow of dark money in politics.”

In an effort to keep his campaign promises, Trump’s religious liberties order sought to appease a key part of his evangelical base.  Taking a look at his exit polls in November showed then-candidate Trump defeating Democratic nominee Clinton 80 percent to 16 percent among white evangelical Christians.

Conservative Christian leaders have shown concern over the federal government retracting their tax-exempt status if showing any form of opposition toward gay rights and same-sex marriage. Some leaders of the ministry have endorsed the Johnson amendment, arguing that the amendment protects the church from intrusion of politics.

In a National Association of Evangelicals poll, taken in February, 89 percent of evangelical leaders polled stated that pastors should ‘not’ endorse politicians from the pulpit. The Johnson Amendment had not been a top priority for advocates of religious liberty, and did not seem to raise any concern, until Trump raised concern on the campaign trail.  A number of faith-based groups have stated that they support the amendment.  A requirement that churches stay out of politics, according to some faith-based groups, is key to separation of church and state.

 

 

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Making Mistakes & Never Giving Up

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Making Mistakes

In today’s society, we are taught to strive for perfection but the reality is we’re all going to make mistakes along the way and that’s okay! The important thing is to deal with mistakes in a healthy and positive way. When dealing with mistakes, most punish themselves in some form. Either they quit on a project or resort to pleasures like food, alcohol, sex, drugs to numb the pain. That’s only temporary relief and the pain/guilt eventually returns. We need to learn to deal with mistakes in a much healthier way.

Here are a few tips you can use the next time you make a mistake:

•Know you are human and making mistakes is inevitable.

•Analyze your mistake and work hard at not repeating the mistake.

•LET IT GO and work on doing better in the future.

Never Giving Up

Thomas Edison had to try over 10,000 times to invent the light bulb. Had he given up, we would have never been gifted with light. Some people would have given up after ten tries and thought they failed, but not Mr. Edison. He was determined to make it work and because of his perseverance millions of people benefited. The next time you are working on a new business, new dream, and new project, don’t give up the first time you encounter an obstacle. Keep going and never give up! Success is always right around the corner if you just persevere.

Here are a few tips you can use the next time you feel like giving up:

•Stay positive throughout the day by saying positive affirmations like: “With God all things are possible.”

•Think of new ways you can make your project/dream possible.

•Contact possible mentors who can help you get through hard times.

For more information on Elvira Guzman visit her websites www.elviegpr.com and www.elviraguzman.com Add her on social media @elviraguzmanla

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Follow The Signs

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We co-create our life with God. We do this because we have the Divine in us and always have access to a higher consciousness that holds all the answers we need. God sends us messages or signs and we are to follow that guidance. In doing this we are co-creating our life with our creator.

Opportunities don’t just arise, we create them with God! Every opportunity in my life is one we created. My Steve Harvey opportunity is a great example. God sent me a sign to tune in to a certain radio station. I obeyed. When I was listening to the radio show on my way to college, Steve Harvey said if anyone wanted to attend their in-studio audience taping, fax-in a request. At that moment, I got a feeling in my stomach and that translated to faxing in my request. God let me know at that moment that there was something at that radio station for me. I didn’t have plans to ask for a job that day; it just happened. As they were letting the audience leave, I got another hunch to go and ask for a job. Instead of denying my intuition, I followed it. That day I landed an internship that eventually led to a full-time job with Steve Harvey. Had God not sent me those feelings and signs I would have never even tuned in to that radio station nor would I have faxed in my request to attend the taping.

Many of us receive signs all the time but we are so busy in our lives we neglect to see them. We have to make sure we’re always paying attention and in communication with God so we can receive guidance. We are supposed to go through life knowing our blueprint and enjoying life because this world is for enjoyment and love. Instead, since we’ve forgotten all about our blueprint, we go through life killing ourselves with stress that leads to cancer, heart attacks, and more noise. God would never have sent us to this side without letting us know our purpose. Over time we forgot it and now it is our mission to find it and pursue it.
Knowing your purpose in life feels amazing! You begin to have a tremendous trust in God because you know everything that happens in your life is for your greater good. You just have to unscramble the puzzle.

There are many ways to find your purpose in life, but one prerequisite is you must have a healthy and open heart so that you can listen to God and be guided. Many people walk around depressed, disillusioned, abandoned, hurt, and abused. They are stuck in their pain and don’t realize they have a purpose because their pain is blocking their ability to hear God. The best thing to do if you can’t hear God is start thinking positive. For example, whenever I’m starting to feel negative or sad, I ask myself, “What are some things I’m proud of?”I start saying things that make me feel good about what I’ve done in this world. I automatically feel much better! When I’m feeling terrible, I immediately go to the mountains and run, and in minutes I’m able to shift my energy back to positive so I am able to hear God fully.

Symptoms Of People Who Do Not Know Their Purpose

People who are angry, evil, abusive, resentful, depressed, a.k.a. “Debby Downers,” are negative because they do not know their purpose. When your heart is healthy, it’s impossible to express negativity in any form.

It doesn’t have to be a person who hurts your heart. It can be an event, a death, a rape, a fraud, an ex…our past! For example, I couldn’t do anything huge with my life because my heart was broken the night my sister called and told me my parents were sentenced to 20 years to life for selling drugs. I said “What are you talking about, they don’t sell drugs?!”I remember throwing that phone against the wall and seeing all of those pieces scatter on the floor. That’s exactly how I felt my heart was: broken and scattered all over the floor. I didn’t know where to begin to put the pieces back together.

That event shattered me for a while. At 14 years old, I was left feeling abandoned, alone, inadequate, and unprotected. It manifested into: bad relationships, illness, low self-esteem, and depression. Even if we tape our heart back together it’s not until we control the issues that we can super glue it back. I was incredibly depressed during those days. I didn’t understand why God would give me such a tough obstacle. What I now realize is God didn’t do it to me but for me! That obstacle has been the biggest blessing in my life. I got closer to God and I learned I’m capable of much more than I ever imagined.

Obstacles sometimes lead us to meeting people we have sacred agreements with. A sacred agreement is someone God has put in our life to learn lessons from or get guidance through.

You’ll know when you meet a sacred agreement when: you get goose bumps and it’s like your hearts are smiling at each other. When you feel you knew them in another life or you are supposed to do something great with them in this life.

Sometimes people you have sacred agreements with can annoy or hurt you. For example, if you are working with someone and you can’t stand them, they still teach you a lot and you just know they are intended to be in your life. That’s a sacred agreement when it looks ugly. Those people are not intended to stay in our life forever, just long enough to learn our lesson from them.

How To Find The Lesson

When you communicate with your sacred agreement, pay attention to what they say. If they invite you to an event, go. The odds are that something great may happen. If you need guidance in something they are experts, try and meet them in person to see if there are additional signs and guidance they can give you.

How To Know When A Sacred Agreement Season Is Over

You will know your time together is over because of the energy the other person gives you. For example, if you have been emailing this person and every time they respond within 24 hours and for the last 2-3 months they don’t respond to your emails or texts or calls know that the season is done. This is not meant to hurt you but to let you know that there is nothing left to learn from them. You must now go out and find another mentor to learn from.

If you are in a sacred agreement and that person converts to Bad Energy let them go as a friend/mentor! Negative energy is contagious and you do not want to have anyone or anything mess with your energy you’ve worked so hard to protect.
Think about people who have come into your life and instantly impacted you and gave you chills you when met them. The people who have given you advice and helped redirect your path. These are the people with whom you have sacred agreements. You know them from another lifetime or you are supposed to do something with them in this lifetime. Their energy seems very familiar to you and you feel comfortable around them instantly.

These feelings are genuine! Also, when the opposite happens, know that the universe is giving you clear signs that you are not supposed to work with those people. Always follow your intuition.

For for information on Elvira Guzman please visit her websites www.elviraguzman.com and www.elviegpr.com Add her on social media @elviraguzmanla

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Stay Spiritually Awake

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Being spiritually awake means we have taken time to forgive everyone, including ourselves. It means we’ve cleared out the clutter in our system, and now we’ve made room for God to comfortably reside. When chaos enters our system, we are making God uncomfortable and we need to clear it out as soon as possible. Sometimes chaos enters and it takes over our thoughts, and the next thing we know we are spiritually asleep again. Quick signs of this include weight gain, being moody, watching more TV and reading less, and engaging in gossip and negative behavior.

Staying spiritually awake takes work! Because we now take responsibility for our thoughts, we must work at deleting all negative thoughts in our head. It means eating and drinking the way God would have us eat and drink. Many foods block our spiritual third eye and make us sluggish. Eat healthy foods to stay rejuvenated and awake.

If we want to stay spiritually awake, we need to seek things that will keep us awake. One of the daily rituals that I do to stay awake is to go to the mountains for a run and pray each morning. Before I answer emails or have calls, I make sure to do this because I get the energy I need to be successful that day. Many of us may wake up on the “wrong side of the bed” one morning, but after a run and prayer, we are guaranteed to feel amazing! I only want to engage with others in a full and joyous state.

Another of my rituals is going to the ocean every Sunday with my mom to pray. I feel a tremendous connection with God there. I realize how we are all just a part of a much bigger picture.

Questions To Ask Yourself:

1)What do you do to stay spiritually awake?

2)Do you take time to pray and meditate each day?

3)Do you surround yourself with other people who are awake?

4)What are some things you can do to build your Spirituality muscle?

For more information on Elvira Guzman visit her websites www.elviraguzman.com and www.elviegpr.com. Add her on instagram @elviraguzmanla

To purchase her book “Purpose Awaken and Succeed” go to Amazon or BarnesandNoble.com

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