Saturday, February 28, 2009

Psa 44:1-26

(1) To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah. O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old:
(2) you with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted; you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free;
(3) for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them.
(4) You are my King, O God; ordain salvation for Jacob!
(5) Through you we push down our foes; through your name we tread down those who rise up against us.
(6) For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me.
(7) But you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us.
(8) In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah.
(9) But you have rejected us and disgraced us and have not gone out with our armies.
(10) You have made us turn back from the foe, and those who hate us have gotten spoil.
(11) You have made us like sheep for slaughter and have scattered us among the nations.
(12) You have sold your people for a trifle, demanding no high price for them.
(13) You have made us the taunt of our neighbors, the derision and scorn of those around us.
(14) You have made us a byword among the nations, a laughingstock among the peoples.
(15) All day long my disgrace is before me, and shame has covered my face
(16) at the sound of the taunter and reviler, at the sight of the enemy and the avenger.
(17) All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you, and we have not been false to your covenant.
(18) Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from your way;
(19) yet you have broken us in the place of jackals and covered us with the shadow of death.
(20) If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
(21) would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart.
(22) Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.
(23) Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever!
(24) Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
(25) For our soul is bowed down to the dust; our belly clings to the ground.
(26) Rise up; come to our help! Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Psa 43:1-5

(1) Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me!
(2) For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
(3) Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!
(4) Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
(5) Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

If Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians was Published in Christianity Today

A must-read!!!

Dear Christianity Today:

In response to Paul D. Apostle’s article about the Galatian church in your January issue, I have to say how appalled I am by the unchristian tone of this hit piece. Why the negativity? Has he been to the Galatian church recently? I happen to know some of the people at that church, and they are the most loving, caring people I’ve ever met.

Phyllis Snodgrass; Ann Arbor, MI

Others follow.... :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Psa 42:1-11

(1) To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah. As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
(2) My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
(3) My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me continually, "Where is your God?"
(4) These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.
(5) Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation
(6) and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
(7) Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.
(8) By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
(9) I say to God, my rock: "Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?"
(10) As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me continually, "Where is your God?"
(11) Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Psa 41:1-13

(1) To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him;
(2) the LORD protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
(3) The LORD sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.
(4) As for me, I said, "O LORD, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!"
(5) My enemies say of me in malice, "When will he die and his name perish?"
(6) And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words, while his heart gathers iniquity; when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
(7) All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me.
(8) They say, "A deadly thing is poured out on him; he will not rise again from where he lies."
(9) Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
(10) But you, O LORD, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them!
(11) By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
(12) But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever.
(13) Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Psa 40:1-17

(1) To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
(2) He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
(3) He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.
(4) Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!
(5) You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.
(6) Sacrifice and offering you have not desired, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
(7) Then I said, "Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
(8) I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."
(9) I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD.
(10) I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.
(11) As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!
(12) For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.
(13) Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!
(14) Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether who seek to snatch away my life; let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who desire my hurt!
(15) Let those be appalled because of their shame who say to me, "Aha, Aha!"
(16) But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, "Great is the LORD!"
(17) As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

12-year-old speaks out on the issue of abortion

Her father says: "My daughter prepared and delivered this speech for her grade 7 class. Even those who didn't agree with her loved it."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pro-marriage speech garners professor's profane wrath

After being called a "fascist" by his professor, a Christian California student has filed suit against his college for violations of his free-speech rights.

Less than a month after voters in California decided to amend their state constitution and protect traditional marriage, Jonathan Lopez -- in a public speaking class -- shared his beliefs on faith and marriage. David French of the Alliance Defense Fund picks up the story.

"Jonathan talked about his faith -- and one of the things he talked about in context of his faith was...marriage," says French. "He read from the dictionary definition of marriage. The professor stopped the class, called him a 'fascist b_____d' -- [he] used the expletive -- [and] told the class that anyone who wanted to could leave if they were offended...."

Read on...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

From Crosswalk Weekly Update


Waiting for Patience
Betsy St. Amant
Why can't we be content to sit back and trust the Lord's timing over our own anxiety and urgency?
Read the full article here

50 Years Later, Vatican II's Legacy Still Being Felt
Michael O'Malley
Fifty years ago, Pope John XXIII unleashed such a wave of change in the still waters of the Roman Catholic Church when he called for a worldwide council of bishops to reform their ancient institution.
Read the full article here


'Free Finally of His Burdens': Bush at Home
Paul Edwards
History will judge whether George W. Bush was a great president. But given how he has personally conducted himself in the midst of much personal vilification, it has already been decided that he is a great man.
Read the full article here


Hearing God at the End of a Bad Day
Paul Edwards
Sometimes a bad performance is due to circumstances beyond our control, and many times it is evidence of depending only on ourselves and not on the sufficiency of Christ.
Read the full article here

Reluctant Entertainers: Singles Can Offer Hospitality, Too
Sandy Coughlin
Connecting with others is so important to our faith and quality of life. Yet singles often feel reluctant to open their homes, while families hesitate to reach out to singles. But we can learn a lot from others, single or married, and others can learn a lot from us.
Read the full article here

Monday, February 16, 2009

Psa 39:1-13

1 I said, I will guard my ways,
that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,
so long as the wicked are in my presence.
2 I was mute and silent;
I held my peace to no avail,
and my distress grew worse.
3 My heart became hot within me.
As I mused, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:
4 O LORD, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
5 Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
6 Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in you.
8 Deliver me from all my transgressions.
Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
9 I am mute; I do not open my mouth,
for it is you who have done it.
10 Remove your stroke from me;
I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
11 When you discipline a man
with rebukes for sin,
you consume like a moth what is dear to him;
surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah
12 “Hear my prayer, O LORD,
and give ear to my cry;
hold not your peace at my tears!
For I am a sojourner with you,
a guest, like all my fathers.
13 Look away from me, that I may smile again,
before I depart and am no more!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Psa 38:1-22

1 O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath!
2 For your arrows have sunk into me,
and your hand has come down on me.
3 There is no soundness in my flesh
because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
because of my sin.
4 For my iniquities have gone over my head;
like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.
5 My wounds stink and fester
because of my foolishness,
6 I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
all the day I go about mourning.
7 For my sides are filled with burning,
and there is no soundness in my flesh.
8 I am feeble and crushed;
I groan because of the tumult of my heart.
9 O Lord, all my longing is before you;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
10 My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
11 My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,
and my nearest kin stand far off.
12 Those who seek my life lay their snares;
those who seek my hurt speak of ruin
and meditate treachery all day long.
13 But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear,
like a mute man who does not open his mouth.
14 I have become like a man who does not hear,
and in whose mouth are no rebukes.
15 But for you, O LORD, do I wait;
it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
16 For I said, Only let them not rejoice over me,
who boast against me when my foot slips!
17 For I am ready to fall,
and my pain is ever before me.
18 I confess my iniquity;
I am sorry for my sin.
19 But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty,
and many are those who hate me wrongfully.
20 Those who render me evil for good
accuse me because I follow after good.
21 Do not forsake me, O LORD!
O my God, be not far from me!
22 Make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Psa 37:1-40

1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
2 For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.
3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!
8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
9 For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.
10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.
12 The wicked plots against the righteous
and gnashes his teeth at him,
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that his day is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose way is upright;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.
16 Better is the little that the righteous has
than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
but the LORD upholds the righteous.
18 The LORD knows the days of the blameless,
and their heritage will remain forever;
19 they are not put to shame in evil times;
in the days of famine they have abundance.
20 But the wicked will perish;
the enemies of the LORD are like the glory of the pastures;
they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
but the righteous is generous and gives;
22 for those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land,
but those cursed by him shall be cut off.
23 The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the LORD upholds his hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread.
26 He is ever lending generously,
and his children become a blessing.
27 Turn away from evil and do good;
so shall you dwell forever.
28 For the LORD loves justice;
he will not forsake his saints.
They are preserved forever,
but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land
and dwell upon it forever.
30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
and his tongue speaks justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
his steps do not slip.
32 The wicked watches for the righteous
and seeks to put him to death.
33 The LORD will not abandon him to his power
or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.
34 Wait for the LORD and keep his way,
and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
you will look on when the wicked are cut off.
35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,
spreading himself like a green laurel tree.
36 But he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
though I sought him, he could not be found.
37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
for there is a future for the man of peace.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
the future of the wicked shall be cut off.
39 The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;
he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
40 The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Anti-Semitism on the rise in Sweden

Good and objective article, which is very rare in today's Sweden.

Sweden, like most countries in the western world, is obsessed with the Middle-East. The Arab-Israeli conflict receives constant media coverage and public interest, and the recent events in Gaza were no exception. As usual, they sparked a lively and sometimes violent debate. Sadly, and this too is usual, the debate is full of misinformation and misunderstandings.

Most Swedish political figures positioned themselves between strongly condemning Israel while mildly criticizing Hamas' actions on the one hand and totally supporting Hamas and its administration in Gaza on the other.

On the left many condemned Israel's military operation and the Jewish state in general. "I don’t think Israel is a democracy worthy of the name. It’s a racist apartheid state,” said the Left Party's Hans Linde, calling for a boycott of Israel.

On the right, Carl Bildt, Sweden's foreign minister who visited Gaza last week, blamed Israel for intentionally targeting economic infrastructure and called Israeli policies "neither morally nor politically defensible". These remarks were part of a wider debate which included demonstrations, calls for boycotts and anti-Israel diplomacy.

A leading Social-Democrat, Urban Ahlin, Deputy Chair of the Committee of Foreign Affairs, implored the government to encourage the EU to suspend its cooperation agreement with Israel, while perhaps the most amazing remark was made by another Social-Democrat. “Israel is an apartheid state. I think Gaza is comparable to the Warsaw ghetto,” said Ingalill Bjartén, the vice-chair of one of the Social Democratic women's organizations.

This is all very well and is part of living in a democracy but when one mentions the Holocaust and the latest round of violence in the Middle East in the same breath - a ridiculous and manipulative comparison - one should try to remain true to the facts. These are important since the victims of the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel, Jews and Arabs alike, deserve the truth. Deceitful and over-simplified versions, like those listed above, are an insult to those who live through the reality of the region, and are part of the reason the tragedy goes on.

Here are a few inconvenient truths that Swedish politicians, on the left and right, choose to forget:

There is no Israeli occupation in Gaza. Israel withdrew all its troops and settlements years ago and did not blockade Gaza when its forces withdrew. In fact - and this may come as a surprise to those who don't bother with facts before they make their moral judgments - Israel signed an agreement with the Palestinian Authority concerning security arrangements and safe passage of people and goods between Israel and Gaza. The agreement was breached by Hamas, purposely ignoring the best interest of the Palestinians themselves, when they took control of Gaza in 2007 and declared that all agreements and cease-fires with Israel were cancelled and that Israel must be destroyed.

Hamas then launched numerous rocket attacks against Israeli citizens (who, for some reason, don't attract much attention from Swedish moral experts) and massacred hundreds of members of the rival Palestinian fraction, Fatah, among them those who were responsible for the safety of the borders with Israel (yes, that’s right, their own people). Two additional facts are interesting to point out here: first, even when Israel finally had to close its border with Gaza because of the violent nature of the new Palestinian regime it still allowed the passage of humanitarian help, fuel, electricity and money.

Second, Egypt too had to close its border with Gaza, which shows that this is not really an Israeli-Arab conflict, but rather a struggle against gangsters and thugs. Egypt, of course, drew absolutely no Swedish criticism though it is blockading Gaza just as much as Israel is. In Swedish terms you could imagine the following scenario: Norway is taken over by a gang of crazed fascists who regularly launch rocket attacks on Karlstad, kidnap Swedish nationals and threaten to annihilate all Swedes in a holy war. Obviously, in a case like this most Swedes would support a strong reaction and certain adjustments in Swedish border and foreign policies. Well, this is exactly what happened in Israel and Israel waited eight years before finally attacking the Hamas power basis in Gaza.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. During the latest conflict Hamas intentionally fired rockets from schools and mosques in order to provoke a counter-attack. You would expect Hamas's rather unlikely Swedish supporters (oddly enough, usually left-wingers supporting ultra nationalist religious fanatics), to be a little more critical of a leadership cynically sacrificing its own people, including women and children for political purposes.

Even the Arab press has had enough of this. "There are a million and a half desperate people", wrote a columnist in the leading Arab daily Al-Hayat, "they were wounded, their houses destroyed, their children were kidnapped to be human shields for those craving a confrontation with Israel. And there are those who sit in their comfortable chairs in Damascus and Beirut, boasting their divine victory which never existed and preventing a cease-fire". It is one thing that extremist Arab regimes silence voices like this. It's incomprehensible that Swedes should do the same.

In the broader context, Hamas began to implement Sharia Law over the population of Gaza. These laws include punishments such as executions, beatings and limb amputations, not to speak of the degradation of women, a total lack of respect for human rights and a complete disregard of human life. Not exactly the material of Socialist utopias.

Now Israel is often accused of aggression towards its Arab and Muslim neighbors but history, both recent and far, shows that it is the Arab regimes which oppress their own people and sometimes slaughter them in an orgy of death-worshipping fundamentalism. Yet, somehow Israel is always to blame. Israel, though far from perfect, didn't butcher almost two hundred thousands Muslims with knives and axes during the nineties, that was Algeria. Thousands of Palestinians were murdered during "Black September" by forces under the control of the king of Jordan, not by the Israelis.

The Israeli regime, while having its flaws, didn't slaughter, rape and burn thousands of Shia Muslims in Afghanistan. That was the Taliban. Israel is not responsible for the daily suicide bombs in Iraq that claim the lives of thousands of Muslims. Israel is not innocent, it has also committed acts of violence and aggression, but it is nothing compared to the barbaric and murderous regimes in Sudan, Syria and Saudi Arabia, which, like Hamas are all responsible for countless Muslim deaths and for millions of Muslims living in poverty and despair.

Swedes with a conscience may want to stop turning their head the other way when it concerns the homemade tragedies of the Muslim world. Was there a large demonstration in Sergels Torg when the Syrians, the Pakistanis or the Somalis initiated yet another of their bloodbaths? Are there any boycotts of products from the Gulf States which continue to persecute minorities, oppress women and mock basic concepts of freedom and Democracy? Of course not. It's all Israel's fault.

If only the Jews could stop provoking the Arab world, say Israel's critics, if only Israel would accept a peaceful solution. But they're wrong. The assumption that the Palestinian struggle is a reaction to Israeli policies, though it may sound reasonable, is simply wrong.

Any careful study will show that radical Islamism is not a reaction to Israel's so-called imperialism - it existed long before the state of Israel; Islamic racism and anti-Semitism are not a reaction to Israel's so-called aggression, they existed long before the Zionist movement even began and, for God's sake, movements like Hamas and Hizbullah aren't really interested in a Palestinian state. Their agenda is to kill Jews, and focusing on this agenda enables them to continue oppressing their own people.

The Palestinians themselves rejected numerous chances to establish an independent state and reach a solution to their tragic situation (some examples are the 1936 Peel Commission, the 1947 UN Partition plan and the 2000 Clinton proposal). Their leadership simply thrives on the conflict and they'll continue it at any cost.

But why are these facts ignored in Sweden? How can a leading Social Democrat compare Israel to the Nazis and still keep her seat. Is this ignorance or deceitfulness? Are they ill-informed or are they knowingly playing an active role in the propaganda machine of extremist elements from the Middle East? One can only speculate as to which of these is the case for Ms Bjartén and Mr Linde.

And it's not just a question of words. Mr Linde and Ms Bjartén cannot claim their words have nothing to do with the eggs and bottles thrown at pro-Israel demonstrators in Malmö at the end of January. They are partly responsible for the attacks on Israel's embassy in Stockholm, the Jewish centre in Helsingborg and the Jewish cemetery in Malmö. An ugly wave of anti-Semitism is on the rise in Sweden and they cannot claim to be free of responsibility.

A participant in a demonstration in Stockholm, a Swede converted to Islam who writes regularly in the Swedish press, wrote in his blog: "it felt good to burn Israel's flag and trample on the remains. It was uplifting to shout "Allahu akbar" [Allah is great] together with blond and blue eyed non-Muslim Swedes".

Do Mona Sahlin and Jan Eliasson, leaders of Sweden's biggest political party, really think that marching under Hezbollah and Hamas flags, as they did a couple of weeks ago, doesn't contribute to the legitimacy of these actions? Can they really consider themselves worthy heirs to the noble Social Democratic values of Humanism and Solidarity?

Back in Israel, many Israelis are not at all sure that the Israeli operation in Gaza was wise or justified. Many opposed it and demonstrated against it. They may be right. Israel is a democracy and unlike the Palestinians in Gaza they are entitled to express their opinion without being tortured or executed. The obvious conclusion after almost every round of violence in the Middle-East is that the conflict isn't between Jews and Arabs, it's between progressive peace-seekers and warmongers within the various countries.

At the end of the day, the Palestinians have suffered the most from the recent conflict. Sadly, their own leadership is responsible. Most Palestinians, and especially the children and the families who have lost everything, are innocent victims. For their sake the historical lesson must be clear. Freedom and Democracy must be defended at any cost. Racists, fascists and promoters of oppression and genocide must be opposed.

Hamas is all of these things just like the Lebanese Hezbollah, despite the support they attract from the bizarre Swedish so-called left. Swedes, as lovers of peace and freedom, would be wise to encourage those who fight these forces of evil thousands of miles away or they might find them in their back yard. If they're not there already.

David Stavrou

The original article here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How Beautiful

Today's Verse: is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Today's Verse:
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Short recap

8 airports, 6 different lodgings, 4 countries, 6 flights - and lots and lots of impressions and memories; that is what I am keepeing myself occupied these days, sorting my photos and starting work on the videos after traveling to Florida and Mexico. The pictures, though in an unorganized mixture, can already be seen here:
So dig in if you will :)

The rest will come, as the time permits. Blessings!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Interesting article

Charles Darwin zealots have made science a substitute religion
Christopher Booker is troubled by the fervour surrounding the 200-year anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth.
Darwinians refuse to accept how much they don't know Photo: PA

As councils ran out of the grit they had failed to stockpile because they fell for the Government line that climate change made it unnecessary, Britain was last week doubly-carpeted, partly by snow, partly by a blizzard of tributes to Charles Darwin. What did these have in common? In contrast to the centenary of Darwin’s death 26 years ago, what has been noticeable about this homage, not least on the BBC, is how relentlessly reverential it has been.

One would never have guessed from the adulation heaped on the great man by the likes of Sir David Attenborough that there is something very odd about Darwin’s theory. He did not, of course, originate the idea that life on earth had evolved. This notion went back to the ancient Greeks, and was accepted by many of Darwin’s predecessors, including his own grandfather Erasmus. The novelty of Darwin’s thesis was his claim that evolution could be explained solely by the process of natural selection, whereby an infinite series of minute variations gradually turned one form of life into another.

One great stumbling block to his argument is that evolution has repeatedly taken place in leaps forward so sudden and so complex that they could not possibly have been accounted for by the gradual process he suggested - “the Cambrian explosion" of new life forms, the complexities of the eye, the post-Cretaceous explosion of mammals. Again and again some new development emerged which required a whole mass of interdependent changes to take place simultaneously, such as the transformation of reptiles into feathered, hollow-boned and warm-blooded birds.

Years ago, a good illustration of this was Attenborough himself claiming to 'prove’ Darwin’s theory by showing us a mouse and a bat, explaining how one evolved into the other. He seemed oblivious to the obvious point that, as the mouse’s forelegs evolved by minute variations to wings, there must have been a long period when the creature, no longer with properly functioning legs but as yet unable to fly, was much less 'adapted to survive’ than it had been before.

As even Darwin himself acknowledged, these jumps in the story might have seemed to render his thesis â absurd’. He might therefore have recognised that some other critically important but unknown factor seemed to be at work, an â organising power’ which had allowed these otherwise inexplicable leaps to take place. But so possessed was he by the simplicity of his theory that, brushing such difficulties aside, he made a leap of faith that it must be right, regardless of the evidence. In this he has been followed by generations of 'Darwinians’ who have found his theory so beguiling that, like him, they have refused to recognise how much it cannot explain.

What is fascinating about the Darwinians is their inability to accept just how much they do not know. Armoured in their certainty that they have all the answers when they so obviously don’t, neo-Darwinians such as Richard Dawkins rest their beliefs just as much on an unscientific leap of faith as the â Creationists’ they so fanatically affect to despise. It is revealing how they dismissively try to equate all those scientists who argue for 'intelligent design' with Biblical fundamentalists, as their only way to cope with questions they cannot answer.

Something strikingly similar has been taking place over the belief that the world is dangerously warming, due to the rise in man-made CO2. For a time the believers in this theory seemed to have the evidence on their side, as CO2 levels and temperatures rose in apparent harmony. But lately all sorts of evidence has been put forward by serious scientists to suggest that this theory is seriously flawed, not least the fact that recently falling temperatures were not predicted by any of those computer models on which the advocates of global warming rest their beliefs.

It becomes increasingly obvious that, like the Darwinians, the warming supporters are so convinced by the simplicity of their theory that they are unable to recognise how much they do not know - and like the Darwinians their response has been to become ever more fanatically intolerant of anyone who dares question their dogma. This might not matter so much if they hadn’t, on the basis of their faith, persuaded so many of the world’s politicians to propose measures which threaten to inflict a real economic disaster on the world.

Continue reading...

Friday, February 06, 2009

When Unclothed Is Unfitting: Thoughts on Selling with Sex

John Piper

Jonathan Edwards once said that godly people can, as it were, smell the depravity of an act before they can explain why it evil. There is a spiritual sense that something is amiss. It does not fit in a world permeated with God.

Ephesians 5:3 says that some things "are not fitting" among saints." "Fitting-ness" is not always easy to justify with arguments. You discern it before you can defend it. That's good, because we have to make hundreds of choices every day with no time for extended reflection.

But from time to time we need to pause and give rational, biblical expression why something is not fitting. Some years ago I came to that point when, week after week, a local newspaper put scantily clad women on the second page of Section A in order to sell underclothes. I wrote a letter to the paper with nine reasons why they should stop using this kind of advertising.

Perhaps my reflections will help you deal with the hundreds of abuses of God's good gift of sexuality in our culture. Here is what I wrote.

As a 14-year subscriber and reader of the [name of paper omitted], I am writing to express the persuasion that your sexually explicit ads that often turn up in Section A are increasingly offensive and socially irresponsible. I mean that the effectiveness of catching people's attention by picturing a woman in her underclothes does not justify the ads. The detrimental effects of such mercenary misuse of the female body are not insignificant. The harm I have in mind is described in the following nine persuasions.

1. This woman could not go out in public dressed like that without being shamed or being mentally aberrant. Yet you thrust her out, even in front of those of us who feel shame for her.

2. This portrayal of a woman sitting in her underclothes at a table with a cup of tea disposes men to think of women not as persons but mainly in terms of their bodies. It stimulates young boys to dwell on unclothed women's bodies and thus lames their ability to deal with women as dignified persons. I have four sons.

3. The ad stimulates sexual desire which in thousands of men has no legitimate or wholesome outlet through marriage. In other words, it feeds a corporate, community lust that bears no good fruit outside marriage, but in fact many ills.

4. The ad makes sensibilities callous so that fewer and fewer offenses against good taste feel unacceptable, which spells the collapse of precious and delicate aspects of personhood and relationships.

5. The ad makes thousands of women subconsciously measure their attractiveness and worth by the standard of rarefied, unrealistic models, leading to an unhealthy and discouraging preoccupation with outward looks.

6. The ad feeds the prurient fantasies of ordinary men, lodging a sexual image in their minds for the day which can rob them of the ability to think about things greater and nobler than skin.

7. The ad condones the proclivity of males to mentally unclothe women by reminding them what they would see if they did, and by suggesting that there are women who want to be publicly unclothed in this way. This reminder and this suggestion support habits and stereotypes that weaken personal virtue and jeopardize decorous relationships.

8. The ad encourages young girls to put excessive focus on their bodies and how they will be looked at, adding to the epidemic of depression and eating disorders.

9. The ad contributes to dissatisfaction in men whose wives can't produce that body and thus adds to the instability of marriages and homes.

I realize that the bottom line is big bucks for page two, and lots of attention for [name of department store omitted]. But please know that at least one assessment of your standards of fitness for print is that it is part of a tragic loss of modesty and decency that may, for now, feel like mature liberation, but in generations to come will reap a whirlwind of misery for all of us.

From John Piper, A Godward Life, published by Multnomah Books.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

There is power in the blood

Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you over evil a victory win?
There's wonderful power in the blood.

There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Come for a cleansing to Calvary's tide;
There's wonderful power in the blood.

There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Sin stains are lost in its life giving flow.
There's wonderful power in the blood.

There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Would you do service for Jesus your King?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you live daily His praises to sing?
There's wonderful power in the blood.

There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Words & Music by Lewis E. Jones, 1899

Monday, February 02, 2009

This can be reality for many...

Isaiah 11:6-7
6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.