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Repeal the ObamaCare individual mandate
Stop the NSA's warrantless spying on Americans
Refuse to reauthorize the Import-Export Bank
Stop the ObamaCare bailouts of insurance companies
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President Barack Obama's health care law has had a surprising side effect: In some states, it appears to be enticing more Americans to apply for food stamps. The AP is reporting West Virginia's food-stamp enrollment increased 4 percent after a Medicaid expansion that was part of the health care changes.
President Barack Obama's health care law has had a surprising side effect: In some states, it appears to be enticing more Americans to apply for food stamps. The AP is reporting West Virginia's food-stamp enrollment increased 4 percent after a Medicaid expansion that was part of the health care changes. Enrollment jumped because people were "more engaged with our systems and more aware what they're eligible for," said Jeremiah Samples of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. National food-stamp enrollment declined in 2013 and 2014. But in 11 states, demand rose between January 2013 and the end of 2014, the AP analysis showed.
Ten of those states expanded their Medicaid programs under the health law. Six of the states employed new easy sign-up systems that helped people apply for both Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps, at the same time. Some used online calculators or click-the-box features. While it's unclear exactly how much growth can be attributed to the law and incentives it offered to states, the increased enrollment could be expensive. The average food-stamp recipient was paid $125.35 a month last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers SNAP. Based on that, the nearly 632,000 people added to food-stamp rolls in the 11 states would cost SNAP nearly $79 million a month.
"It wasn't clear to us whether the Affordable Care Act was going to be something that would cause SNAP enrollment to go up or to go down," said Dorothy Rosenbaum, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington group that advocates for low-income people. Washington provides the money for food stamps, but the assistance program is administered by the states, with regulations varying from state to state because more states are planning to upgrade their application systems for social programs, using federal money offered by the administration through 2018. Under the new health care law, 29 states, including those governed by both Democrats and Republicans, have so far decided to expand their Medicaid programs to cover more low-income people. Five states are still discussing the expansion.
Sixteen states, most led by Republican opponents of the health program, are rejecting the Medicaid expansion. In almost every state refusing to expand Medicaid, food-stamp enrollments have been going down with the improving economy. Among the states with growing food-stamp use, many made efforts to improve Medicaid and food-stamp enrollment systems, using health-law funding for call centers, document imaging, electronic data matching and other tools, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
In Illinois, food-stamp enrollment increased 2.5 percent to 2.08 million between January 2013 and December 2014, an increase of about 50,000 people in a period when the state's unemployment rate fell from 9.1 percent to 6.2 percent. Illinois has long let people sign up for food stamps, Medicaid and other benefits on a single form, state officials said, but a new online application, nicknamed "ABE" for the 16th president, is easier to use. In New Mexico, food-stamp enrollment has grown by about 22,000 people, a 5 percent increase in 14 months, since the state launched a Web-based sign-up system. "We attribute the increase in SNAP to Medicaid expansion," said New Mexico Human Services Department Deputy Secretary Sean Pearson. "When folks go online now, they have the ability to apply for multiple programs in a single session."
Enrollment counselors who sign people up for Medicaid say the new systems make it easier for people who qualify to overcome any hesitation about getting food benefits. In Illinois, an online calculator allows people to see how much they might get in food benefits each month. "If it's over $100, they definitely say, 'Yeah, check the box for me,'" said Juanita Dorantes of Chicago, who has helped people sign up for benefits for 12 years and said it's never been easier. Illinois resident Mishaun Cannon, 48, who unexpectedly lost a good-paying hospital job last year and has been pursuing a career-switch master's degree, signed up for Medicaid in January. She was surprised to learn she likely would qualify for food stamps too. "I was amazed. I said, 'Where do I apply?' Every little bit helps," Cannon said. Signing up was a breeze, she said.
He was commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration, which determined food-stamp eligibility in the city, until 2013. The federal emphasis was on program promotion and ease of enrollment, he said, "and has not been, 'help people get jobs.'" With the three-year extension, more states are expected to take advantage of the funding, which can mean millions of dollars per state and allow technology improvements "at little to no cost," said Megan Lape of the American Public Human Services Association, a nonprofit membership organization for state human services officials. Some who were reluctant to sign up for food stamps have "no reluctance at all signing up for Medicaid," Goolsby said. "They don't see that in the same category as what we used to call welfare."
Listening To GOD or Hearing Satan
Life is full of decisions we must make that do not have absolute, specific-by-name, how-to directions in the Bible. How many hours a day should my kids watch TV? Is it okay to play shoot-ʼem-up video games? Am I allowed to go on a date with a co-worker? Does God get mad if I miss work because I stayed up too late the night before? We all have notions about the truth, but how do we know for sure that these ideas are coming from a Divine Source? Sometimes distinguishing our own ideas from God’s leading is difficult. And what if our urges are actually coming from the enemy of our souls and not from God? How do we “take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5) when we aren’t sure where the thoughts are coming from?
The most common ways God communicates are through the Bible and the leadings of the Holy Spirit. Also, God can use a godly mentor to provide wise counsel (Proverbs 12:15). If God wants to speak to us, nothing can stop Him.
If we are confused about whose voice we are hearing, it is good to pray for wisdom (James 1:5). We should ask God to clearly make His will known to us. When we pray, we “must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6). If we have no faith, we “should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:7).
Talk to God in prayer and earnestly wait for His response. However, keep in mind that sometimes He doesn’t give us all the answers we desire. He knows what we need to know at any given time, and He will tell us if it is best.
Study the Word
Reading the Bible is the primary way God speaks to us. It is also the best way to learn about God’s character and His dealings with people throughout history. All Scripture is “breathed out by God” and is the guide for a righteous life (2 Timothy 3:16). While we speak to God in prayer, He speaks to us through His Word. As we read, we must consider the words to be the very words of God.
Listen to the Holy Spirit's Voice
The Holy Spirit is God—a divine Being with a mind, emotions, and will. He is always with us (Psalm 139:7–8). His purposes include interceding for us (Romans 8:26–27) and making decisions to benefit the church (1 Corinthians 12:7–11).
When we feel that we have received personal instruction from God, we need to remain wise (Proverbs 4:7). We must “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1). The world is full of noise and distractions, and so are our minds. Life on earth is a spiritual battle. The enemy is eager to supply diversions to distract us from God’s will (1 Peter 5:8). We must be vigilant to ensure that what we have heard is more than a feeling but is truly from God Himself.
Remember, God wants to show us the right path to take. He’s not in the business of hiding His will from those who seek Him.
Here are some good questions to ask as we examine whether or not promptings are from the Lord: Are the promptings confusing or vague? God is not the author of confusion; He is the bringer of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). Do they go against God’s Word? God will not contradict Himself. Will following these promptings lead to sin? Those who live by the Spirit will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature (Galatians 5:16).
In addition, you may want to seek counsel from a Christian friend, family member, or pastor (Proverbs 15:22). GotQuestions.org is a great resource, too, as we have many volunteers waiting to help answer your questions with biblical truth.
God does not want us to fail. The more we listen to God, the better able we will be at distinguishing His voice from the other noises in our heads. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, gives His promise: “He goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:4). Others may speak, “but the sheep [do] not listen to them” (verse 8). The better we know our Shepherd, the less we have to worry about heeding the wrong voice.
Next Post Will Be: Recognizing the Voice of God
April 24, 2015
Romans 1:1-17 (Good News Translation)
God’s Hopeful Word
Romans 1:1-17: Today we begin reading excerpts from Romans, a letter in which the apostle Paul provides a detailed summary of the Good News about Jesus Christ. Paul wrote this letter about 55-56 A.D. to introduce himself to the followers of Christ in Rome, who likely included new Gentile Christians as well as Jewish Christians. In today’s reading, Paul points out that he is an apostle called to preach the Good News. He offers a prayer of thanks for the Roman Christians and states his confidence in the gospel which is “God’s power to save all who believe” (verse 16).
Today’s Scripture: Romans 1:17b
As the scripture says, “The person who is put right with God through faith shall live.”
1From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus and an apostle chosen and called by God to preach his Good News.
2The Good News was promised long ago by God through his prophets, as written in the Holy Scriptures.3It is about his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: as to his humanity, he was born a descendant of David;4as to his divine holiness, he was shown with great power to be the Son of God by being raised from death.5Through him God gave me the privilege of being an apostle for the sake of Christ, in order to lead people of all nations to believe and obey.6This also includes you who are in Rome, whom God has called to belong to Jesus Christ.
7And so I write to all of you in Rome whom God loves and has called to be his own people:
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
8First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because the whole world is hearing about your faith.9God is my witness that what I say is true—the God whom I serve with all my heart by preaching the Good News about his Son. God knows that I remember you10every time I pray. I ask that God in his good will may at last make it possible for me to visit you now.11For I want very much to see you, in order to share a spiritual blessing with you to make you strong.12What I mean is that both you and I will be helped at the same time, you by my faith and I by yours.
13 You must remember, my friends, that many times I have planned to visit you, but something has always kept me from doing so. I want to win converts among you also, as I have among other Gentiles.14For I have an obligation to all peoples, to the civilized and to the savage, to the educated and to the ignorant.15So then, I am eager to preach the Good News to you also who live in Rome.
The Power of the Gospel
16 I have complete confidence in the gospel; it is God's power to save all who believe, first the Jews and also the Gentiles.17 For the gospel reveals how God puts people right with himself: it is through faith from beginning to end. As the scripture says, “The person who is put right with God through faith shall live.”
Reread verses 2-7. How does Paul describe the Good News? How does he describe what he is called to do? What does the “Good News” mean to you? According to Paul, what is the power of the gospel (verses 16-17)?
Holy God, I have complete confidence in the gospel, knowing that it is your power to save all who believe and that, through faith, I am put right with you. Thank you, Lord God, for your saving love. Amen.
Those who have not yet heard the Good News
Romans 3:19-31: The apostle Paul describes how we are put right with God.
Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”
Can you imagine the Lord wanting to wash your feet? Peter could not. His shocked reaction—“Lord, how can you wash my feet!”—would probably be ours too.
I want you to notice what the Lord said to him: “Peter, if I don’t wash your feet, you have no part with Me.” What the Lord was actually saying to Peter was, “Peter, you cannot flow together with Me, you cannot walk together with Me in ministry, in service and in effectiveness, if you don’t let Me wash your feet.” So Peter said, “Lord, [wash] not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” (John 13:9)
But Jesus answered him saying, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean…” (John 13:10)
Once we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are bathed all over, and cleansed by His blood once and for all eternity! His blood has perfected us forever (Hebrews 10:14), and we only need to wash our feet because we walk in the world and our feet pick up dust and dirt, causing us to stumble.
So how is Jesus washing our feet today? Ephesians 5:25–26 tells us that “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the Word”.
We, the church, are cleansed with the washing of water by the Word. The more we come under anointed teaching that unveils Christ through the Word, the more the cleansing goes on. And as our feet are washed, instead of stumbling, we will be walking and even running!
Today, though high and lifted up in heaven, Jesus is dressed in a robe with a golden girdle around his chest. (Revelation 1:13) Like a servant who uses his girdle as a towel to serve, Jesus wants us to sit down and let Him serve us—by washing our feet with a deeper revelation of Himself through His Word. Beloved, this is what gives us victory in our daily walk!
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