Cloud Law up in the clouds

23Oct/120

Passover Saga – Myth Or History? (17) 1300 BC – 40 Years Wandering – Deaths of Aaron and Moses

The atmosphere about the camp was full of gloom for many weeks after the Golden Calf episode and the killings of the idolaters - many of the Israelites had known some of those slain; the families who had lost members felt shamed, and moved to isolate themselves at the outskirts of the camp.

Binay had watched Moses go up to the mountain-top again, but now, everyone knew he would return, the general feeling being that he would be away for another lengthy period. Binay noted an attitude of withdrawal by Aaron, essentially removing himself as second to Moses - spending much time in prayer, meeting only with his Levites. This benefited Binay - Joshua had assumed responsibility with the withdrawal of Aaron and the absence of Moses, and now devoted himself exclusively to tribal leader problems - Chonoch had become the operating military commander; in turn, promoting Binay as his lieutenant.

Meanwhile, Binay and Lansel, and Chadaric and Rachisa, had begun planning their marriages - lifting their spirits along with all who knew them - with joy and the excitement of their optimism about their futures.

After the mourning period had passed for those Hebrews who had been killed, Binay could feel an increasing confidence in the spirits of the people. Many able-bodied men had joined the Hebrew armed forces, and the days were busy with patrols and constant military exercises. It became clear to Binay that Joshua was preparing for what lay ahead, anticipating many hostile peoples to be encountered and overcome.

Moses finally returned - after exactly forty days and nights - and carrying two new tablets of stone on which symbols of the Ten Commandments were carved. Binay, part of the welcoming group of Joshua, Chonoch and tribal leaders, saw that his face shone even more than before. Aaron had remained quietly in the background, restricting himself to purely religious matters.

Finally came the day of joy and happiness - the marriages of Binay and Lansel, Chadaric and Rachisa, plus scores of other couples, Moses himself and Aaron officiating. There were seven days of celebration for the entire people of Israel after so many months of fear, uncertainty and struggle. Now the attitude became one of hope and a joyous future.

As the camp settled into a commonplace routine, in addition to the constant military practice, Binay found pleasure in a new activity instituted by Moses - which reminded him of his tutelage under Manthro in Egypt. Moses began giving detailed instructions he had received from the Lord: about building a Sanctuary, a Tabernacle and an Ark of the Covenant; and sermons about the laws of the Sabbath; of circumcision; of ritual cleanliness; of the monthly periods of impurity for women; of death and dead bodies and purification and mourning periods; of religious standards and purity for food, what could be eaten and what not. There were laws about proper respect for parents, requisite behavior with family and associates, even strangers; that during harvest, the corners of fields were to be left for the gleanings of the poor and strangers, also the droppings from fruit trees. These rules of behavior and morality were taught, first to Aaron and the tribal leaders, the elders, and military officers including Binay, then in turn, to all the people,

To build the tabernacle, the most expert artisans and skilled workmen among the people were recruited, along with all the materials needed: specially stained wood, precious stones, gold for plating the holy Ark and woven goods for curtains, To carry the holy articles with them wherever the Israelites would travel, designs of rings and staves were included. Gradually, the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant were crafted and assembled, and the place for the Sanctuary was erected - the Levites, under Aaron, taking control of this symbolic prayer site of the Lord God of the Israelites.

With hours spent each day in combat training of the citizen-soldiers, Binay gradually became aware of an attitude of concern growing into fear among the populace, "We hear there are giants in the land that Moses is taking us to - they will kill us." and "Better we should be slaves in Egypt!" Binay passed on the information to Chonoch, from him to Joshua, then to Moses himself - that the people wanted scouts to be sent, to see what the land and its occupants were like, and to bring back specimens of the fruit and

products. Binay and the honor guard heard Moses explode, "The Lord has already scouted this land for us - how dare this stubborn people ask this?"

However as time passed, and the fear and grumblings grew, Moses finally consented to a scouting mission, one scout from each of the twelve tribes. The leaders of the mission were Joshua and Caleb from the tribes of Ephriam and Judah.

The scouts were gone for forty days exploring the land of Canaan, returning with a large cluster of grapes - and with stories of mighty forces against them, of the Canaanites, and Amelikites, and Hittites, and Jebusites, and Emorites - and well-fortified cities - that the Hebrews would not be able to defeat them. So reported ten of the scouts to Moses and the elders - that the Israelites could not succeed militarily in conquering Canaan - that they should return to Egypt, even to be slaves again!

The heart of Binay sank at hearing such words from the ten scouts, one after another. But then came Joshua and Caleb - angry with the ten and their negative report - instead they roared confidence in themselves and the Lord God to defeat all the peoples of the land. Binay, his heart pounding now, shouted his support of Joshua and Caleb. All eyes became focused on Moses, whose face was as dark with anger as Binay remembered when Moses had confronted Pharaoh.

Moses stood up, looking at no-one - he closed his eyes, his face growing calm - he became immobile, as if in a trance. Everyone grew silent, with bated breath, watching. Time passed. Moses stood rock-like.

Finally Moses opened his eyes - but he looked straight ahead, staring at the horizon. His voice was calm, "This report is evil, there is no faith in our Lord God." He paused.

"Thus says the Lord - for each day of the forty days, the Hebrew people will wander in the wilderness for one year - until this entire faithless generation is gone." His solemn gaze now focused on the twelve scouts. "Only Caleb and Joshua will live to enter the promised land."

Moses then walked away, not looking to the right or left.

A hush was on the multitude. Then Binay saw one of the ten scouts cry out in pain, turn ashen and slump to the ground, then another, and another. Soon all ten were writhing on the ground. In shock, no-one moved to help them. Gradually the ten quieted, lay immobile. Then family members, weeping, took away their dead - for burial outside the camp.

For the mourning period of thirty days, the mood of the Israelites was somber, knowing their destinies, their lifetimes to be wandering in the wilderness.

Time passed, and Binay and Lansel had a son whom they named Moses; and Chadaric and Rachisa had a daughter they named Daphira. Their happiness in each other and their children made their lives full and rich despite the nagging knowledge of their own futures - their personal feelings dominated by hope, even confidence, in the futures of their children.

In the first month of the second year of the Exodus from Egypt, the tabernacle was set up - immediately the column of cloud of the Lord rose above it - becoming a pillar of fire by night. Binay experienced a flush of exultation. He felt inspired by the thought that the Hebrew people were now ready to be led again by the columns of fire and cloud, the beacons of God, leading them onwards - even for forty years through the desert and wilderness.

Binay, closer to the people through the citizen-warrior training exercises, was the first to become aware of resentment festering among some Hebrews - instigated by jealousy of Aaron and Moses. He reported his observations to Chonoch, who passed them on to Joshua and finally to Aaron and Moses - the feelings of the people gradually rising to expressed challenges and open rebellion. Two of the tribe of Reuben, Dathan and Abiram, whose tents were located in the south of the camp, were openly objecting to Moses having appointed himself as leader of the Israelites. Binay had heard Korach even confront Moses directly, "I am from the stock of first-born Reuben, so I should be Chieftain. Moses, you take too much upon yourself - our entire congregation is holy. The Lord is in the midst of us all. So, why do you raise yourself above the assembly?"

With Moses attempting to ignore such challenges, they only worsened. Soon after, Korach and some of the tribe of Levi, also began challenging the position of Aaron as High Priest.

Moses had sent to Datham and Abiram to come up to the Meeting Tent and be with the rebellious Levis, but they ignored his request, "We will not go up."

Binay and his soldiers then watched with alarm as Korach assembled 250 men who supported him. While mostly from the tribe of Reuben, some were learned elders of the Sanhedrin. Binay reported the gatherings to his superiors - the situation was now serious, an openly rebellious force against Moses and Aaron,

Moses, told of the rebellion, fell on his face in sorrow. Joshua, with Chonoch and Binay alongside, asked quietly, "Shall we draw our swords against them?"

Moses shook his head, "No. This is a challenge, not to me, but to the Lord."

Moses then went to the assembly of Korach and announced: "In the morning, the Lord will make known his choice, who is holy."

He then turned to the Levites who were in defiance of Aaron - each should take his censer vessel and coals, to sprinkle them with incense, and thus to ready them for the Lord's fire - if they would be chosen.

Joshua and his army, including Binay and Chadaric, formed a guard around Moses and Aaron, closely watching the playing-out of events, Moses, they saw, was in clear distress and had sunk to his knees; he emitted a cry of pain to the Lord, "Accept not their offering. I have not harmed even one of them."

Moses then rose and sent word to Korach, "You and your congregation on the morrow, all will be before the Lord - each man, and Aaron also, with his censer plus coals and incense - to see who will be chosen by God."

At dawn, the next morning, everyone stood ready, each praying to the Lord to be selected. Binay and Joshua's army surrounding Aaron and the rebellious Levis of the tribe of priests with their censers. Korach. Datham and Abiram, all stood, defiant, at the entrance of the Tent of Meetings. The Hebrew people all crowded around, watching with bated breath.

Moses then cried out to the congregation, "The Lord says that all of you who are not with Korach, Datham and Abiram are to withdraw from them."

Many drew back in fear. Then Korach, Datham and Abiram, with their families, withdrew to the entrances of their own family tents.

In a strong voice, Moses called out, "By this you shall know that the Lord sent me to do this thing - It was not I who devised it."

Binay watched in horror, then all fell to the ground as the Earth shook violently - a split in the ground appeared suddenly - beneath Korach, Datham and Abiram. Instantly they were swallowed up, along with their families, their tents and all their possessions. And all of Israel who were near, fled so as not to be swallowed up also.

And as Binay still watched - awe-struck - there came a mighty roll of thunder - and a swath of fire streamed down from the heavens - and, in a flash, all the 250 men who had challenged Aaron with their censers were consumed. Then, a thin, single streak of forked lightning, with a single clap of thunder, lit the censer of Aaron.

And so, gradually it became accepted that this generation of Hebrews would be forced to wander in the wilderness for forty years - until a new generation of Israelites had matured; all the males would have their foreskins circumcised - the Israelite people would then be led to their promised land.

And forty years passed - the tribes of Israel had lived as nomads of the desert for all that time. They had contested with the occupants of the lands who would not let them pass through in peace, or who had with-held water and vegetation - protected by the might and skill of Joshua's army, and the people's belief in Moses and their Lord God - and with the columns of cloud and fire upon the Ark of the Covenant which led them. Almost the entire Exodus generation had now been buried along the way.

Moses and Aaron were now very old, walking with difficulty. The Israelites had reached Mount Hor, by the boundary of Edom, east of the river Jordan. Binay and Joshua watched as Moses and Aaron climbed up the mountain with their staffs, moving slowly. Aaron was wearing the over-garment of his position as High Priest. Aaron's son Eleazar walked behind them. Tiny figures high up in the mountain, Binay and the

Hebrew people could still see them: Moses and Aaron turned to face each other, then embracing. Then Moses lifted the over-garment of the office of the High Priest from the shoulders of Aaron and placed it over the head and onto the shoulders of Eleazer. Aaron and Eleazer then embraced. A moment later, Aaron and Moses turned and began climbing higher up the mountain.

After a time Moses returned to sight, followed by Eleazer, now wearing the High Priest over-garment - Aaron had worn that symbol of his position for forty years.

It was proclaimed to the elders and tribal leaders, then to the people, that Aaron had been gathered unto his ancestors, at the age of 123 years - and the Israelites mourned for thirty days.

Joshua still enjoyed the strength of middle age, seeming with endless energy. Chonoch had been killed in battle a decade ago - Binay was now Joshua's second-in-command. As such he had been told by Joshua that Moses would not enter the promised land of milk and honey, but was going to die on a mountain east of the river Jordan; it would be he, Joshua, who would complete Moses' Exodus mission and lead the new generation of Israelites into Canaan. Many battles would be needed to conquer the land - no knowing if Binay would survive. Binay, however, had a soldiers philosophy, and was content to fight to the death for the life he had been given with Lansel, a life of freedom and children, of miracles witnessed, of leaders to be proud of, and of a Lord to be both feared and worshipped.

The Israelites had now reached the land of Moab - there remained only the crossing of the Jordan River to finally enter into the land so long promised. Knowing that Moses would not be permitted to do so, Binay and Joshua watched in abject sadness as Moses slowly climbed Mount Nebo - from which he could see the entire land - to which he had brought the Israelite people - but which he was not permitted to enter.

It was reported to the people that he had led for forty years, that Moses died there in the land of Moab, on Mount Nebo, at the age of 120 years, with no man knowing where he was buried.

Many decades earlier, Binay had made peace with the knowledge that only a few of his generation, possibly not he or Lansel, would see the land promised by Moses' Exodus adventure - because of the scout reports which had fearfully but falsely described the occupants as mighty and undefeatable. Binay and Lansel were both content. They had had good lives - they could recall the frightening times of their early years, when Bnai Israel were slaves in Egypt. Since their togetherness, they had looked upon life as a shared adventure, thus the decades had passed swiftly. Filled with contentment, they still loved each other, and their families, and had enjoyed happiness to the fullest. Together with Chadaric and Rachisa, now gone, they had raised families of four and five respectively, enjoyed the delights of weddings, of births, even of flint-stone circumcisions of their male babies, They had experienced the deep satisfaction in acquiring wisdom from the teachings of Moses as he had laid out the instructions received so long ago on Mount Sinai. They had mourned the passing of their parents, their siblings and friends, all leaving cherished memories. Their lives had been full and good.

Now they clasped hands and smiled at their youngest gurgling grandchild - held firmly on the knees of Binay as the father, a sharp flint-stone in hand, was preparing for the circumcision - the mother, apprehensive, was looking away, Lansel was holding a clean cloth dipped in wine to the baby's lips - drawing its attention from the momentary pain. Then it was over, the baby concentrating on the taste of the wine - everyone happy with relaxed anxiety.

In pure joy, Binay laughed heartily. Looking at his Lansel, his eyes beheld a white-haired old woman, her face wrinkled from too much sun, though still comely. But, in his minds eye, who he saw was the slender, frightened girl of forty years before, at their first embrace - she shivering with apprehension as his arms enclosed and comforted her - as they stood together, with fear and uncertainty - at the threshold of their life's adventure with Moses and the Exodus of their people - freed by miracles from slavery in Egypt - for a better life, a life of freedom, in a land of promise.
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6Feb/120

Honoring Our Fallen Soldiers

We've seen their faces and heard their names. We've learned their ages and where they were from. My heart breaks when I see television news reports informing us American soldiers have died.

This time loss of life wasn't in battle. It was going to be what's known as a "flyby" over the Liberation Day parade, celebrating the U.S. liberation of Guam from Japan. Flybys are something B-52s and some other military planes probably consider routine and I suspect the crews who fly these missions feel honored to take part. But this time, something went terribly wrong and six soldiers were lost in the B-52 crash off the coast of Guam.

When I first heard the tragic news of the crash, my heart sank when I considered the possibility that my son-in-law could have been part of the crew. We were relieved to hear of his safety, but our relief for him was soon turned to shock and sadness when we discovered that one of the crew lost was a good friend to our daughter and son-in-law.

Suddenly the loss of a soldier became "more real" as my husband and I reflected on our memories with this young man.

It has been difficult in these past few days to continue on with my daily activities and responsibilities without the dark cloud of melancholy hanging over me. In fact, I've found myself feeling guilty every time I laughed. In every happy moment, I couldn't help but think about all the dear families and friends of these soldiers who were -- in that same moment -- consumed with grief.

I have to express my enormous gratitude for these and all American soldiers. Let us never forget that our American soldiers choose to be soldiers. They choose to put their life at risk when duty calls. They choose to do everything in their power to keep us safe and free. And their families, too, willingly and graciously live the life that puts "country" before all else.

It has recently occurred to me that we -- all of us American citizens -- are the legacy of our American soldiers. We owe them our lives -- lives that must be lived to their fullest potential. And this is the greatest tribute we could possibly give to soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

So I will do my best, dear soldiers, to live a life that will make you proud. I will strive to live a life that is worthy of your life and death. Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) Soldiers must have extraordinary love for their country and their fellow citizens to be willing to relinquish their lives for others! I wonder if I could ever love that much.

Can you imagine a world where every citizen loves each other unconditionally and impartially? A world where each person is always ready to lend a hand when help is needed? A world where people believe the safety and welfare of others comes before their own? A world where respect, loyalty and trust is never questioned or doubted? Such is the world of the American soldier.

We have much to learn, my fellow citizens, from our soldiers. Their lives and sacrifices teach us many invaluable lessons. We are privileged to have our lives and freedoms in their strong and faithful hands.

May we always be a grateful nation and never forget to show it. And may you and I remember that we must show our gratitude with our own lives well-lived!
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27Nov/110

War On Christmas? Part 2: Who Is Lying To Whom?

The Truth: War on Christmas: As reported in USA Today in December of 2005: Last December, a group called Public Advocate for the United States (which claims to defend America's traditional family values) sent some Christmas carolers over to sing in front of the ACLU offices in Washington.

Carrying signs reading "Merry Christmas" and "Please Don't Sue Us!" — they also seem to have carried with them some rather strange imaginings about an assault on Christmas.

To tell the truth, the ACLU is not often serenaded by Christmas carolers. So it was with some excitement that the staff went outside and joined in the singing. They brought with them cookies and warm drinks to share. One staff member, who is an ordained Baptist minister, did a little witnessing about his faith to some astonished proponents of family values.

Fox News did broadcast the event (as a part of its "war against Christmas" campaign). Although the visiting singers were shown, the cameras failed to include any footage showing that everyone had participated in the caroling. Rather than reporting the facts, the anchor preferred the propaganda: "We believe the ACLU heard the message loud and clear, but they don't care." 5.

What about all of the reported claims where the Secular Left is attacking Christmas?

The majority of incidents I have been able to find thus far that are reported to be evidence of this alleged “War on Christmas” by the Secular Left have, in fact, been proven to be hoaxes. I prefer to call them what they are, lies.

In Saginaw, Michigan it was alleged that Township schools opposed red and green clothes and prohibit singing Christmas songs. The fact is that the official school color is green and that no such policy ever existed. 26In Watchung, N.J. it was alleged that the city council passed a policy to start calling the Christmas tree a “Mitten Tree” replace all references to Christmas with the word “Holiday.” In response Mayor Albert Ellis said the “Tree of Lights” is sponsored by the local rescue squad as a fundraiser. The town has been doing so for 15 years. The town has a holiday display policy negotiated with the two local churches. The policy allows private citizens to erect holiday displays. 26In Plano, Texas, the school allegedly told the students they could not wear red and green because they were Christmas colors. The district has responded by saying this is not true and never has been true. The Superintendent has expressed frustration that this story continues to circulate and instructed its attorney to write to Bill O’Reilly, requesting a correction. 26&27At Glendale-River Hills School District in Wisconsin it was alleged that they prohibited any song close to the Christmas holiday from having any religious “motive or theme,” yet they would still allow secular and Hanukkah holiday songs. The district responded by saying this is not true. In fact they do recognize the Christian religious tradition with songs being sung that include “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “I Saw Three Ships.” 26Lying, by omission, is still lying. To intentionally report only half the truth in order to promote false claims is unconscionable, especially from someone who is expected to report the truth as a member of the forth estate. The members of the press have an obligation to report the whole truth. With these blatant attempts at misdirection the agenda becomes clear. This is another attempt at creating a wedge issue designed to separate the Christians from the “liberal left” and manipulate the moderate independent voter. Isn’t it ironic that these self proclaimed Christians have to bear false witness in order to manipulate the public? After all doesn’t their own God order “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

Secular Legislation:

Where is all of this legislation that is being pushed through that allegedly strips Christianity from America as many have claimed? Where are all of the “activist decisions” by the courts that have left religion lying in a pool of its own blood about to expire?

It doesn’t exist, these false claims and misdirection are designed to keep America from seeing what is really going on.

Take witness;

[S]ince 1989...more than 200 special arrangements, protections or exemptions for religious groups or their adherents were tucked into Congressional legislation, covering topics ranging from pensions to immigration to land use. New breaks have also been provided by a host of pivotal court decisions at the state and federal level, and by numerous rule changes in almost every department and agency of the executive branch.

One result is that religious institutions participating in essentially secular business ventures now enjoy financial and other advantages over their secular competitors. And, a greater tax burden falls on ordinary citizens.12

The Courts:

The distinction that the press fails to make over and over is that the ACLU and other groups are trying to hold the government accountable to the First Amendment which prohibits the government from making a law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

There are numerous examples of the ACLU defending Christian Americans and their right to express their faith in the public square.

For example, in 2006 alone:

The ACLU has helped a New Jersey student’s right to sing “Awesome God” in a voluntary after school program. 6 In Louisiana the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Christian man who was protesting Wal-Mart based on his religious beliefs. Wal-Mart had the man chased away for carrying a sign that read “Christians: Wal-Mart supports Gay Marriage and Gay Lifestyles. Don’t Shop there.” 6The ACLU of Rhode Island filed an appeal in federal court on behalf of an inmate who was barred from preaching during Christian religious services, as he had done for the past seven years under the supervision and support of prison clergy. The prisoner, Wesley Spratt, believes his preaching is a calling from God. Prison officials cited vague and unsubstantiated security reasons for imposing the preaching ban on Mr. Spratt. The ACLU argued that the ban violates the religious freedom guaranteed to Mr. Spratt under federal law. 6The list goes on, and on, and on…..The ACLU lists approximately 80 such cases defending religion in places like the public square and public schools over the last 5 years. The alleged war on Christmas is what generates ratings - the truth, apparently, does not. The media continuously fails to point out the vast number of cases where these groups that are “determined to exterminate religion in the public square” and kill Christmas have expended vast resources to protect the very thing they are being accused of trying to destroy. Traditional Values?

Individuals are free to preach on the street corner, that is their right under the Constitution. They just aren’t allowed to use tax payer dollars to fund their preaching. The government is prohibited from endorsing that person, or stopping that person. It is so very simple yet there is a huge percentage of Americans that chose to believe the exact opposite and demand that their government do the same. How patriotic is it to ignore the Constitution and force un-American values on Americans?

The attacks on the courts and several attempts to pass legislation that strip the courts of their Constitutionally defined duties are as un-American as Stalin.

Using the law to deny rights or to silence dissenting political opinion is the warning bell that danger lies ahead. To silence political free speech and dissent is more in line with policies of the Red Coats.

If these anti-democratic actions are allowed to get a foothold, it will be the beginning of the death of America and the birth of another giant theocratic government or dogmatic dictatorship.

The same people that are screaming “Beware of Burning Flags and Marrying Fags.” are the exact people that are attempting to yank the Constitution and the Bill of Rights right out from under us all.

The Religious Right has been very affective in their campaign of terror. They are constantly running around and bellowing at the tops of their lungs about the DANGER AMERICANS FACE, the DANGERS AMERICAN CHILDREN FACE, the DANGER MARRIAGE FACES, and on and on and on. They distract the average person from real issues through fear and erode their rights while they look the other way. Didn’t anyone learn from the story of Chicken Little or the Little Boy that Cried Wolf?

There is further irony in the fact that the Religious Right has the highest divorce rate in America.9 How can it be that the righteous, who are waging the war against homosexuals in God’s name, have the highest divorce rates? I thought the Gays were destroying marriage?

If the Religious Right are the saviors of Marriage in America, then how is it that “90% of divorces among born-again couples occur after they have been ‘saved?’ 9

Look at how the Religious Right entertains their children with the new computer game “LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces”. 29 This game is a perfect example of the hypocrisy that these Religious Right groups preach. They protest and demand new laws to protect their children from games that depict street violence or emulate warfare unless that game promotes their world view to “Conduct physical & spiritual warfare : using the power of prayer to strengthen your troops in combat and wield modern military weaponry throughout the game world.” 29 The game takes place in New York City after the rapture. The objectives of the game include creating Christian militias in order to roam the streets of New York City. Simulate Christian conversion of non-believers while killing those who will not convert. After large scale and violent battles players must use prayer to recharge their "soul points" which are drained by all the killing. Doesn’t this just sound more like “Grand Theft Auto: The Rapture?”

Then we can mention the sexual misconduct by the conservative religious leaders, both liberal and conservative, but all Christians.

Wake up people. This is like having Michael Jackson telling you how to protect your children from sexual predators!

What’s the Point here?

There most certainly is not a war on Christmas, much less religion. There is no great conspiracy by the Secular Left nor is there some hidden “Gay Agenda.” These are fabricated lies designed to divide Americans with fear.

Inversely, there is definitely a great and vast conspiracy by the Religious Right to gain control of the United States and its government, to pass laws that reflect their values, and to revoke rights that our Constitution currently protects. I don’t have to make this stuff up, they have said so in they own words and in writing thereby making their thoughts and intentions perfectly clear.

There are those that would argue, “80% of America is Christian; the majority rules.” That is also completely and utterly wrong. The United States Constitution was drafted with a specific intent of protecting the minorities from majority rule, which is clearly explained quite eloquently on the United States Senate’s website:

For over two centuries the Constitution has remained in force because its framers successfully separated and balanced governmental powers to safeguard the interests of majority rule and minority rights, of liberty and equality…17

What to do?

We should all be more vigilant in protecting our Constitutional rights. We should all get offended when our tax dollars are used to proselytize or build houses of worship. Religion, like people, should be able to stand on its own two feet and be funded by its believers. If welfare for people or corporations is not good for America, why should we remain silent about welfare for religion? 22&23

The only people that can hurt Christianity are the Christian extremists. If you fear that religion is falling in numbers in America like they did in Europe then stop the Religious Right’s zealous venture towards theocracy in the United States.

The reason religion has failed in Europe is solely because they have or had state-sponsored and state-funded religion. The Europeans have seen the horrors of that sponsorship and they remember them.

Europeans also greatly resent their tax dollars being used to support a religion that they themselves may not subscribe to. Therefore, they stopped going to church and stopped believing the myth.

So to close:

The preponderance of evidence shows that we need understanding and tolerance to grow, not fear and not war. There is absolutely no way our tiny little minority can harm Christianity or kill Christmas. After all…

We still like getting presents.We still like the days off from work.We still enjoy the extra time with family and the big dinners.We aren’t organized enough to pull it off.We don’t have the money to pull it off.We don’t care enough about it to even try to pull it off.Oh yeah, The majority of my fellow liberals, they are Christians too.I predict that the harder the Religious Right pushes their agenda to achieve their theocratic goals the harder individuals that are liberal and moderates in this country will push back. America is the land of the free. Remember that one person’s religion is another person’s mythology; to each his or her own. Sources:

1) Religions in the U.S. – Wikipedia collection from U.S. Census Bureau.

2) Adherents.com - ("membership/adherent statistics and congregation statistics for over 4,200 religions, churches, denominations, religious bodies, faith groups, tribes, cultures, movements, ultimate concerns, etc")

3) The Telegraph U.K. – Jedi Knights

4) Media Matters – Bill O’Reilly & The War on Christmas, Religion out of the public square & Secular Progressives.

5) Fictional War on Christmas: USA Today

6) ACLU – The ACLU has numerous examples of where it defends religious liberty.

7) Theocracy Watch – A Religious Right watchdog group.

8) Americans United for the Separation of Church and State – The Religious Right in their own words.

9) Religious Tolerance – Divorce rates are slightly higher for Born Again Christians than Atheists or Agnostics.

10) Statement by the President – Activist Judges

11) Renew America – Calling Someone a liar

12) Rational Radical – Podcast #65

13) Wedge Document (PDF file), a 1999 Discovery Institute fundraising pamphlet. Cited in Handley P. Evolution or design debate heats up. The Times of Oman, 7 March 2005.

14) Dover Trial - Full text of Judge Jones' ruling, dated December 20, 2005 (PDF File)

15) Killing Policeman was a gift - http://judicial-inc.biz/Horsley.htm

16) Refuse & Resist – Anthrax Threat letters sent to 250 Abortion Clinics

17) Majority Rule – U.S. Senate Website

18) McCollum v. Board of Education

19) Eric Rudolf – Christian’s raising funds for Abortion Clinic Bomber

20) NY Times – Run, Rudolph, Run June 31, 2003

21) NY Times – Sympathy for bombing suspect may cloud search for evidence – June 2, 2003

22) March, 2004, issue of Church and State - "Faith Czar" Jim Towey announced $40 billion dollars was now available to religious charities.

23) NY Times - Lawsuit Challenges Use of Federal Aid for Bible-Based Counseling 09/13/2006

24) Christians against Christmas - http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualNLs/Xmas_ch2.htm

25) Puritan & Reformed against Christmas

26) American United – The Religious Right's Phony 'War on Christmas': Mything in Action

27) Plano Independent School District – Public Statement

28) Find Articles - Jerry Falwell Opens Law School To Train 'Radical' Attorneys

29) Left Behind: The Game – PC Game that is based on the left behind series of books.
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26Nov/110

Federal Judge David O. Carter and the Dismissal of "Keyes v. Obama"

A dark ominous cloud of judicial impropriety looms over the U.S. federal court system. The darkest of this precipitous cloud formation is that which hangs over the Central District of California, in the wake of U.S. District Judge David O. Carter's provocative decision to dismiss the case of "Keyes v. Obama," which a firm majority of the informed and concerned American electorate considered vital to a determination of whether Barack H. Obama, alias Barry Soetoro, is constitutionally eligible to continue as President of the United States.

I wonder what actually went on in the mind of the 64 year old federal judge, appointed by Bill Clinton in 1998, after he had firmly stated, in early November of this year, that pursuing the case was vitally important to a constitutional determination of Obama's basic eligibility as a natural born citizen of the United States, that is, whether he was actually born in the State of Hawaii or in Mombasa, Kenya, Africa. As a former U.S. Marine Corps combat officer in Vietnam, Carter has a history of being a stand-up jurist, and his statement, that "soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors sent into harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan need to be assured that the President ordering them into combat is eligible to hold that office and issue those orders," conveyed a poignant need to adjudicate the issues of "Keyes v. Obama" in a speedy and judicially responsible manner.

Then came the U.S. Department of Justice intervening improperly, in a totally non-governmental capacity, for Obama, using U.S. tax dollars to petition Judge Carter to dismiss the lawsuit, in the same fashion that eight of Carter's judicial colleagues had done since shortly after Obama's nomination in 2008, just after the first federal lawsuit was filed against the man. I wonder what Judge Carter was thinking as he was being intimidated by USDOJ attorneys, who challenged the judge's authority and jurisdiction to decide whether Obama was culpable of duplicity and fraud, and whether the dubious President should step down as the U.S. chief executive if found culpable. This was, of course, only after Carter had ruled that a trial on the merits of the case would commence in January 2010; but even then, Carter had refused to dismiss the lawsuit, and many Americans believed that he would proceed with the trial. Yet, Carter declared a dismissal, and after extensive research into the subsequent course of events, I have found it reasonable to suspect that Judge Carter was very probably the unfortunate recipient of some threatening, well-worded telephone calls, and e-mails from deceitful politicians who desperately wanted to see the case dismissed. What is that you say, that this is pure speculation?

Well, let's get down to basic reality, sad history repeats itself frequently; for such politically contrived corruption has been quite common in the course of 20th Century American government; and bad things have frequently happened to good people, by artifice, who have attempted at their own risk to ensure that justice prevailed. Just within the past five years, Stanley R. Hilton, a preeminent scholar and noted attorney in San Francisco, represented over a hundred 9/11 victims' families in a lawsuit he filed against George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and others of the Bush administration, for complicity and direct involvement in the 9/11 bombings of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston, of San Francisco, ordered Hilton to drop the lawsuit, which he refused to do. Subsequently, thereafter, began a number of stealthy burglaries into Hilton's San Francisco law offices resulting in the theft and destruction of vital material evidence linking Bush, Cheney, and others to the 9/11 attacks. Finally, when Illston couldn't get Hilton to drop the lawsuit, she curtly dismissed the case on grounds of "sovereign immunity," essentially declaring that a President can do anything during his time in office, even commit mass murder, and do it will civil and criminal impunity. More distantly, the lengths that corrupt politicians will go to ensure that their wily stratagems are implemented have been well documented. When a U.S. Navy commander with a heavy conscience came forward, in February 1968, to testify before a Senate Foreign Relations Committe hearing that the Gulf of Tonkin incident was not what it was originally reported by the Pentagon, in order to warrant the massive escallation of ground troops in Vietnam in 1965, Senator J. William Fulbright discovered that the honest naval officer was "picked up by heavy-handed CIA intelligence operatives under White House order and committed involuntarily to a psychiatric ward for several weeks."

Perhaps Judge David O. Carter, with his brilliant Rhodes Scholar-level mind, seriously considered Susan Illston's horrendous precedental ruling, and, perhaps, the perceived intimidations from the DOJ and regarded them as potentially ominous.

As a matter of historical record, there were, also, quite a few German judges, mentioned in my earlier Ezine essay, who, during the years leading up to the disastrous dictatorship of Adolf Hitler, either stepped down from their judicial positions or abandoned their judicial ethics and joined the Nazi Party, when they were told by the SS and the Gestapo that the formerly adored Weimar Constitution was no longer law, and that Nazi law reigned supreme. Actually, there were more than a few of the German judges who chose to side with the Nazis, at the threat of death.

Yet, there is another salient matter to consider in this quasi-legal fray. All American trial judges, federal and state, worry about their rulings being eventually overturned, on a basis of law, by appellate courts. When mistakes based entirely upon law are, supposedly, made by trial judges, the appellate courts are there to rightfully remand the cases back to the trial court for a correction of the errors. Nonetheless, Judge Carter probably realized the contrived political machinations surrounding "Keyes v. Obama," and that a ruling by him ordering Barack Obama to produce his original Hawaiian birth certificate, and the other undisclosed records sought by the plaintiff's attorney, even if correct, would be automatically reversed on a totally political basis by a federal appeals court. Though the facts and merits of the plaintiff's case might have clearly shown that Barack H. Obama fraudulently acted in a deliberate fashion to conceal the truth about his birth, by spending approximately 1.5 million dollars in legal expenses to keep from producing a 12 dollar certified copy of his original long-form birth certificate, the case would never have been allowed to proceed to trial.

Whatever the actual cause for the unfortunate dismissal, whether Judge David O. Carter was concerned about the perceived threats, or merely realized the absolute futility of proceeding to trial on the merits of the case, another example of a President (this time dubiously elected) being above the law has emerged. When I think of the great John Adams, lawyer, patriot, and the second American President, saying before the Massachusetts Assembly that the United States is a nation of laws, and not of men, I am utterly indignant at the appalling Machiavellian politicization of basic justice now prevalent in the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of the federal government. It would seem that the American republic is no longer, in form and substance, what it was a decade-or-more before the turn of the 20th Century; and that this nation, which was once a great constitutional republic, might sadly be at a point of no return from a mutated form of government destructive to the ends espoused in the Constitution of the United States.
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12Sep/110

Is it Going to Take a Mushroom Cloud Over a Major City to Wake the World Up?

It is amazing the games that we play with weapons of mass distraction and bio weapons, chemical weapon, and with nuclear weapon proliferation in the world. Apparently, the UN seems to have no teeth in their sanctions, whether economic or otherwise. The IAEA has no teeth either. NATO seems to be falling apart, while most of the NATO nations pretend to be collaborating on important security issues, but in name only.

Even the United States and this new presidential administration seems to believe that we can negotiate with rogue nation-states, which sponsor international terrorists, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year and shipments of over 500 tons of weapons at any given time. Even nations that we find as close allies such as France, Germany, and several others are busy selling weapons to rogue nations and even enemies of the United States. Interestingly enough, North Korea got their nuclear weapons technology from China.

Saddam Hussein received advanced fighter jets from France, and they even built him a nuclear power plant, if you'll recall. Then there are nations like Libya and others who have all sorts of biological weapons, chemical weapons, and everything they need to build nuclear weapons, as does their next-door neighbor Algeria. What's it going to take to stop this proliferation of nuclear weapons, or other serious weapons of mass instruction?

Is it going to take a mushroom cloud over a major city, or the destruction of Israel to wake up the world? Every month and year this goes on and continues we are closer to that reality, and we all know it's only a matter of time. Lately, the Obama administration has been talking about this, but talk is cheap, and action is what is necessary at this point.

It is amazing how many people tried to crucify President Bush for making all these points of contention, but the hard reality is if we deny existence of these challenges, they will come back and bite the world and the butt. Please consider all this.
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24Apr/110

Faith in the Workplace

Are YOU part of this “Movement”?

Have you ever been part of “a movement”? If you’ve taken part in the "Brown Bag Bible Studies" series in Stephenville, Texas, you have now.

Laura Nash, a Business Ethicist at Harvard University, said, "Spirituality in the workplace is exploding." Fortune Magazine, 2001, reported that, “… a mostly unorganized mass of believers--a counterculture bubbling up all over corporate America--who want to bridge the traditional divide between spirituality and work. Historically, such folk operated below the radar, on their own or in small workplace groups where they prayed or studied the Bible. But now they are getting organized and going public to agitate for change.” The article continued: "People who want to mix God and business are rebels on several fronts. They reject the centuries-old American conviction that spirituality is a private matter. They challenge religious thinkers who disdain business as an inherently impure pursuit. They disagree with business people who say that religion is unavoidably divisive.”

Hear that? They're calling you a rebel.

IS THIS MOVEMENT SCRIPTURAL?

“Indeed, as with first-century Christianity, it all begins in the marketplace, where the disciples of Jesus daily rub shoulders with the lost.” - Bill McCartney of Promise Keepers in his book, Anointed for Business

Where’s the Biblical precedent for such a movement?

In the New Testament, it’s recorded that Jesus made 132 public appearances. Of these, 122 were in the marketplace, not the synagogue. He spent half of His adult life as a carpenter until age 30 before taking His ministry into the workplace. Stands to reason. After all, that’s where most people spend the majority of their lives.

Jesus could have built His ministry team around clergymen, but He chose 12 working men instead. Of His 52 parables, 45 had a workplace context. In the Book of Acts, of 40 divine interventions recorded there, 39 occurred in the marketplace. Someone did the math and determined that 54% of Jesus’ reported teaching ministry arose out of issues posed by others in the scope of daily life experience. Let’s face it, when a person has issues at home, they bring those issues to work. Jesus met them where they were.

MIXING SECULAR WITH SACRED

“The spiritual manifests itself in a life which knows no division into sacred and secular.” - Oswald Chambers, Author of My Utmost for His Highest

The truth is, Work is Worship. The Hebrew word "avodah" is the root for the word from which we get the words “work” and “worship.” Work, in its many various forms, is mentioned over 800 times in Scripture. That’s more than all the words used to express worship, praise, music and singing combined!

Some of the most well-known ministers in the western world are recognizing the legitimacy of this Faith at Work movement. Dr. Billy Graham said, "I believe one of the next great moves of God is going to be through the believers in the workplace.” His son, Franklin, of Samaritan's Purse Ministry, put it in the present tense: "God has begun an evangelism movement in the workplace that has the potential to transform our society as we know it."

Henry Blackaby, author of Experiencing God, meets regularly with CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to discuss what it means to bring Christ into the workplace. He states: "I've never seen the activity of God this deeply in the business community as I do right now....God is marshalling his people in the workplace as never before in history. God is up to something. The next spiritual awakening could take place in the marketplace.”

Dorothy Sayers, writer and theologian, put it wonderfully. She says, "In nothing has the church so lost Her hold on reality as in Her failure to understand and respect the secular vocation. She has allowed work and religion to become separate departments, and is astonished to find that, as a result, the secular work of the world is turned to purely selfish and destructive ends, and that the greater part of the world's intelligent workers have become irreligious, or at least, uninterested in religion. But is it astonishing? How can anyone remain interested in a religion which seems to have no concern with nine-tenths of life? The church's approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him not to be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours, and to come to church on Sundays. What the church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes on him is to make good tables."

Respected researcher, George Barna, in his book Boiling Point, writes: “Workplace ministry will be one of the core future innovations in church ministry.”

COUNTERING THE CULTURES

“Societal transformation is high on God’s agenda and the chief catalytic force to bring it about will be Christians ministering in the marketplace.” - C. Peter Wagner, Chancellor, Wagner Leadership Institute

Christianity is not merely another sub-culture; it’s a counter culture. It’s not merely another religion; it’s a relationship. A relationship with Jesus is the ONLY way provided for human beings to secure that relationship with their Creator. We, as Christians, are part of a Kingdom of priests and Kings, Most of us just don’t know it yet.

Land Cope of YWAM hit the nail on the head with these words: "We have more Christians today per capita with less impact on the culture than ever before. We are big and we are weak."

As I read and hear reports about the nations of China and India and how committed they are to taking the lead in this global economy, I see opportunity for well-equipped, savvy Christians to boldly declare, “Bring ‘em on!” I don’t know about you, but I can’t get to China and India to minister to them and shine the light of truth. God, in His infinite wisdom, is bringing them to US instead! Come West, young men...women, too! I recall a minister in Bible College who had spent years in South Africa speaking prophetically to his class, warning us that Islam was on the rise. I remember taking it with a grain of salt. “I don’t even know anybody from the Middle East, “I said to myself.

God’s bringing them HERE. What are we going to do with the opportunity?

The Christian business community should take note. Bill Pollard, Chairman of ServiceMaster, wisely said: “In today’s global community, the greatest channel of distribution for ‘salt and light’ is the business community… the marketplace.”

Poultry producers, Pilgrim’s Pride, reportedly spends hundreds of thousand of dollars annually on Workplace Chaplains to come into the plant and minister to their 35,000 employees. Cliff Butler, vice chairman of the company, says: "Although it's intangible, we feel we've had a good return on every dime we spent [on workplace ministers]. We believe there's a payoff, and it's not always with dollars, It's with the feeling of gratitude of the employees to us."

WHERE DOES MY CHURCH FIT INTO THIS MOVEMENT?

"Workplace believers seldom feel served by their churches in their jobs and careers on issues of faith and biblical ethics." - Pete Hammond, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship

Is workplace ministry part of most local churches today? Sadly, no. In many cases, where it CAN be found, it’s merely as another bolt-on evangelism program that isn’t taken too seriously by leadership. Personally, though I’ve spoken in my share of churches across denominations, I’ve yet to see one workplace ministry.

Consider this statement by Doug Sherman, author of Your Work Matters to God. "Our surveys reveal that 90-97% of Christians have never heard a sermon relating biblical principles to their work life." Most church members have never been trained, equipped and released into the workplace by their church leaders, the one place where they spend 60-70% of their waking hours. The problem is that the teaching Christians DO receive is often not relevant for what most Christians need in order to impact their workplaces.

Workplace ministry can change the world.

One employee at a time.

THE ROLE OF CHURCH LEADERSHIP IN THIS MOVEMENT

"I believe pastors will be the last to really embrace this movement because it is such a new paradigm. However, ultimately, they will be the instruments God will use to make the greatest impact in the movement because of their influence in so many people's lives." - Os Hillman, Director, International Coalition of Workplace Ministries

“The most common self-inflicted put-down is ‘I am not a pastor—I am just a layperson.’ This is all part of a clever satanic scheme to neutralize apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers along with the entire army of disciples, already positioned in the marketplace.” - Ed Silvoso, Anointed for Business, Harvest Evangelism

The world needs ministers and leaders to equip their people to be effective where they spend the majority of their time: the workplace. In order to do this it has to be intentional, long term and foundational to the church. Church leaders must buy into the concept completely.

Pastor Dick Halverson once said, "There is a distinction between church work and the work of the church. Church work is what you do for the organized institution of the church. The work of the church is what is done between Sundays when the church is scattered all over the metropolitan area where it is located - in homes, schools, offices, on construction jobs, in market places."

Os Hillman wrote, “The church in the workplace is the purest form of the body of Christ today due to its diversity. Workplace believers are less prone to denominational differences because they have a common goal of representing Christ in their workplaces. The movement will break down denominational barriers that have been held in the past.”

Finally, there’s this wonderful comment by Dallas Willard in The Spirit of Discipline: “There is truly is no division between sacred and secular except what we have created. And that is why the division of the legitimate roles and functions of human life into the sacred and secular does incalculable damage to our individual lives and the cause of Christ. Holy people must stop going into “church work” as their natural course of action and take up holy orders in farming, industry, law, education, banking, and journalism with the same zeal previously given to evangelism or to pastoral and missionary work.”

IS IT A MOVEMENT?

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” - God Almighty, from His Book, The Holy Bible, Isa. 43:19

Is God doing something new?

Is the cloud moving?

You decide.

If you’re a minister and need help getting this message across to your congregation, ask me. We’ll make arrangements.
If you’re within driving distance, load up the company van or church bus and head my way. We'll talk.

If you want help, it’s available. Books, tapes, CD’s abound on the subject where once there was none. Get online and Google “Workplace Ministry,” “Faith at Work,” something like that.

Right now, here in Stephenville, I’m facilitating the “Brown Bag Bible Studies” at noon on Thursday’s. we began Feb 23rd, 2006. It’s 8-weeks long and lasts 45 minutes. We completed Week 2 today and it was awesome. Jump in ANY time! A man named Bill Bunce, Assistant to the Chairman of the 700 Club (Pat Robertson) was our first week’s speaker. Powerful! Today, a local businessman named Ed Dupas, and his wife, Marlene, spoke and left us spiritually touched (Randy Bachman - of "Taking Care of Business" fame, ironically - mentions Ed several times as having taught him the guitar). Ed led us in a wonderful song to close today. Many had moist eyes as we parted ways.

John 21:6 reveals Jesus telling His disciples, “...Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes..” Consider what was happening here:

1) They were working; doing their usual jobs as fishermen.

2) They were STILL doing their same ol’ job when Jesus suggested they fish on the OTHER side. Not much changed...but their perspective.

3) The simple act of obedience ultimately resulted in a miracle, increased their faith in Him as they began to know him as Lord experientially.

So, get on board with what God is doing.

Could it be we've been strategically placed?

Could it be we were born for such a time as this?
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26Jan/110

The Confession of Sins – Is 1 John 1:9 a Part of God’s Will for the Present Dispensation of Grace?

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

Guilt is a killer. A killer of our joy, our peace, our enjoyment of intimacy with God. It is one of Satan's most effective weapons against the sons of men. Psychiatrists and doctors tell us that unresolved guilt is the number one cause of mental illness and suicide. Over half of all hospital beds are filled by people who have emotional illnesses. Guilt kills relationships, both among people and with God. We cannot freely forgive others until we first receive that forgiveness from God.

Our gracious and loving Father has provided a full and complete deliverance from sin and guilt. But if we believe a lie and fail to deal with guilt in the way God has dealt with it, we fall into a snare and
it becomes a most grievous and cruel weapon against us.

Guilt is that moral sense of blameworthiness that each of us feels when we know that we have done wrong. It is not necessarily bad, for it tells us that we have sinned and that something must be done about it. Just as our bodies should hurt when they are diseased or injured, so our God-given conscience should hurt when we violate what we know is right.

At the beginning, we must realize that God has not dealt with the guilt problem in the same way throughout Bible history. This is of utmost importance to know, for so many of the problems regarding guilt are made worse by people trying to obey God's commands given to people of other dispensations. For example, under the law of Moses, the children of Israel were commanded to "afflict your souls" as the high priest made atonement for their sins through animal sacrifice (Lev. 16:29-31). The writer of Hebrews elaborates on this Day of Atonement and the inability of the law to provide complete forgiveness.

"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

"For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

"But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

"For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins" (Heb. 10:1-4).

Although this was a merciful provision in Israel for the time then present, the law was inadequate to make the worshippers perfect in conscience in relation to the guilt problem. The very fact that the sacrifices had to be repeated was a constant reminder that God's forgiveness was given out piecemeal, i.e., on an installment plan. It was never completed. God's people were expected to lament and afflict their souls, which is the antithesis of a perfected conscience. Indeed, far from being a satisfactory answer for guilt, Paul tells us in no uncertain terms why the law was given.

"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God" (Rom. 3:19).

God graciously provided the sacrificial system of the law to temporarily atone (cover) the sins of his people until the "precious blood of Christ" could be shed to purchase eternal redemption for us.
Those living before the Cross were "saved on credit," so to speak, until the fullness of time arrived for the complete removal of our sins. Even in portions of what we call the New Testament, forgiveness was conditional and therefore not complete (Matt. 6:12,14,15; 18:34,35; Mark 11:25,26; Luke 6:37c). The revelation of the Mystery through the Apostle Paul by the ascended, glorified Christ was yet future from the perspective of Matthew-John. And so the capstone of divine revelation concerning the total forgiveness of sins remained missing until that time. All of this is essential to understand throughout the remainder of our study.

With this in mind, there is one Scripture which in this writer's view has caused untold harm and detriment to the people of God. Not because the verse itself is faulty, for all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable, but because religious leaders have so miserably misinterpreted and misapplied its original intent. What makes this all the more tragic is that it comes not from the enemies of Christ but from sincere, well respected, Bible-believing Christians. The verse I speak of is 1 John 1:9.

In order to view the verse within its context, I ask you simply to prayerfully consider the following passage from 1 John 1:1-10.

1. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

2. (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)


3. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

4. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

5. This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

6. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.

7. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.

8. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

9. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

10. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.

Are you confident that you understand verse 9 in context? Let us see. Although men have many variations of interpretation on this verse, we will mention here only three of the most popular.

1. It is a salvation verse which tells the sinner how to receive the forgiveness of sins today.

2. It is a restoration verse.

a. Restoring one to salvation or,

b. Restoring one to fellowship

3. It is a verse pertaining to the Jews under the Kingdom program of Prophecy and has little if any application to the Gentiles today under the Body of Christ program of the Mystery.

For the time being, I would like to pass over numbers 1 and 3 and deal directly with number 2. The other two will take care of themselves as we come to understand the passage. Part 2-a is the most easily answered. This is the view that a saved person can become lost again through backsliding, carnality, losing faith, etc.

Often a person is told that his sins are forgiven up to the time he is saved. From that point forward the merits of Christ's death are beneficial to him only as he is faithful to confess his sins to God and thus stay cleansed in His sight.

First of all, regeneration or the new birth is spoken of as a one time experience. No Bible passage speaks of being born again and again and again. During my college years, I attended a tent meeting for three nights with some friends. I couldn't help noticing that the same people went forward each night after the sermon to receive forgiveness. One night the evangelist quoted 1 John 1:9 and made the statement that no one with unconfessed sin will enter heaven. When I pressed him about this after the meeting, he finally conceded that John probably meant the grosser forms of sin. This underscores another problem with this view. How many sins did God allow Adam and Eve before they were cast out from His presence in the garden of Eden? Only one. And all they did was eat a piece of fruit that the Lord told them not to. How many unforgiven sins do you suppose it will take to banish you to the everlasting burnings? Only one. God is holy and of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity. If your forgiveness depends on your confession of sins, you better be diligent not to forget even one.

The second reason 1 John 1:9 cannot refer to a restoration to salvation is that eternal life is a free gift. It is given by God's grace not merely to the undeserving, but to those who deserve the exact opposite. If God rescinded His gift, that would make Him more gracious to His enemies than to His own children. God does not take back the gift if you become unworthy. We were never worthy to begin with.

Thirdly, God wishes for us to enjoy the gift of salvation. Salvation is of the Lord. Man's only responsibility is to believe. Does God want us to walk through our Christian lives with a cloud over our heads? Those who believe that their forgiveness depends on their continual confession of sins soon find that their Christian experience has turned into "a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness."

The Scriptures tell us that upon believing that the Lord Jesus died for us and rose again we are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph. 1:13,14; Rom. 8:31-38). With the gospel of the grace of God, we have the pleasure of declaring the total forgiveness of sins. This brings peace, joy, and stability. More about this later.

Number 2-b above also speaks of restoration, not to salvation or even to maintain it, but rather to fellowship. Those who hold this view understand clearly the teaching of eternal security and the
preservation of the saints. The issue this time is intimacy with their heavenly Father. Our relationship is like the Rock of Gibraltar, steadfast and immovable. On the other hand, our fellowship (we are told) is like a tiny thread which the slightest sin in thought, word, or deed can break. Perhaps the best illustration of this view is the fellowship between a father and son. If the son sins against his father, the intimacy formerly enjoyed by both is broken and the pleasure of each other's company is strained. The blood relationship of father and son remains intact, but the fellowship must be
restored by confession of wrongdoing. Likewise, Christians have a blood relationship to our heavenly Father through His Son Jesus Christ. While nothing can break our relationship as sons of God, fellowship
can only be restored by acknowledging the sin and an apology made, preferably with a pledge not to repeat the offense. This re-establishes the sweetness of fellowship and the pleasure with which both
Father and son can relate to each other.

Believers who seek to practice this often speak of "keeping short accounts with God," that is, making sure you confess sins regularly so your account does not build up with unconfessed sin. Psalms
32, 51, and John 13:1-20 are often quoted to confirm this position.

This view of 1 John 1:9 has more to commend it than the previous one. "Confession is good for the soul" is a truism which holds good for all ages and dispensations. Indeed, Proverbs 28:13 says,

"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth1 and forsaketh them shall have mercy."

In my formative years as a Christian, this view seemed to me to be logical, balanced and right. I knew many respected Bible teachers who taught this. Through the years, however, I believe the Spirit of God was pricking my conscience to show me things which revealed the shortcomings of this approach. Among them were:

1. It is based on a performance system of conditional blessing, and shifted my gaze away from Christ and His grace to my own faithfulness (or usually failure) to confess.

2. If what I believed concerning confession was true, I was probably "out of fellowship" much of the time, and so were most believers.

3. There were many things in 1 John Chapter 1 which are inconsistent with this view.

4. Concerning the popular father-son illustration, several rhetorical questions could be asked to show its weakness. What if the son fails to confess wrongdoing? Should the father continue to show him the cold shoulder until he does? What kind of father would that make him? Would this be a fitting picture of how our loving heavenly Father deals with His children today under grace? Further, the phrase "faithful and just" more aptly describes the judge in a courtroom than a father in the family room.

5. I had to honestly admit to myself that I found it extremely difficult to confess all my daily sins on a consistent basis.

6. This view of 1 John 1:9 must, of necessity, occupy a major plank in a person's belief system. Without regular confession of sin, the promise of continual cleansing is rendered null and void resulting
in broken fellowship. And who wants to be out of fellowship with God?

7. Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, is silent in all his writings on confession of sins for forgiveness, parental or otherwise.

8. Paul's epistles give us a positive affirmation of total, complete and unconditional forgiveness for all those in Christ Jesus.

A few examples should suffice,

"In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7).

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Eph. 4:32).

"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses" (Col. 2:13).

Forgiveness for the believer is now spoken of as a finished transaction, past history. We do not plead for daily forgiveness any more than we should for daily redemption. It is a part of the "all
spiritual blessings" with which we have already been blessed (Eph. 1:3). For further references to Paul's doctrine of forgiveness for the present dispensation of the grace of God, consult the following
Scriptures: Colossians 1:14; 3:13; Romans 4:5-8; Acts 13:38,39.

To be continued...

Endnotes

1. We have not mentioned the Roman Catholic tradition of confession to a priest,
but one verse from Paul should suffice to show the error of this custom. "For there
is...one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5).
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4Jun/100

Christians and the Signs of the Last Days

The Christian is not engrossed with the dreadful signs of the last days. The reason for this is due to the assurance given Christians by Jesus of Nazareth, concerning the signs of the last days. The earliest Christians inquired of Jesus: "when shall things be? And "what will be the signs of the last days? And when exactly will these things come to pass? Jesus responded: "said he unto them is signs of the last days is evidenced by, Nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; Great earthquakes in divers places; famines, pestilences; fearful sights and great signs from heaven. Jesus said that before the elements dissolve, the false religious communities shall lay their hands on Christians, persecute them; murder them; and deliver them up to the synagogues, and into prisons.

The signs of the last days, is manifested by Christian being brought before kings and rulers to punish them for their testimony concerning my absolute divinity. The season of the last day will be an opportunity for Christians to give testimony concerning the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Christians will resolve to speak, testify, and prophecy as led by the Spirit of Jesus. The Spirit of Jesus will anoint the Christian with powerful words of wisdom which all their adversaries and the gainsayer will not be able to resist.

Evident signs of the last days are which Christians shall be betrayed and persecuted by parents, brothers, sisters, kinfolks, and friends. These shall cause Christians to be put to death. In the last days Christians shall be hated of all men on account of their testimony of the supremacy of Jesus.

It is a sign of the last day, when in the In the midst of Christian persecution, Christians remain calm and peaceful. They will exhibit the aura of an angel. By this sense of serenity the Christian has the assurance of eternal life. In this persecution of Christians facing the last day, there shall not an hair of their head perish; because their patience will cause their soul to possess the eternal reward.

More importantly, signs of the last days will be evidenced by Jerusalem being surrounded and attacked by Gentile armies. The armies of the Gentiles shall attack Jerusalem for a period not to exceed 42 months. During which time the city shall be plundered and its peoples given to the flames. Yet in all this Jesus has a remnant of Jacob, which he shall protect with divine force. In the last day, for the sake of King David, Jesus will beat back the forces of the Gentiles and dramatically intervene to deliver a remnant from the claw of the beast, and the raving lions. For this is the sign of the last day. These are the days of vengeance. This is the last day, in which all things which are written in the book of prophets shall be fulfilled. For in the last day many shall fall by the edge of the sword, and many shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

After all these things have occurred, then the shaking of the cosmos and the galaxies begin. The major sign signaling the appearance of Christ are the signs of the last day in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars. The Sun shall become black like sack cloth of hair; and the moon shall drip red like blood; and the stars of the galaxy shall fall to the earth.

These signs of the last days will manifest itself on earth by the distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then Christians, look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh.
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31Dec/090

Impeachment Hearing Leaves Cloud Over Hillary Clinton – 1998 Editorial

There was good news and bad news for the Clintons from the House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing Thursday. Good news for the president is that Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr gave him a pass on Whitewater, Travelgate and Filegate. The bad news is that Hillary was not mentioned. While giving Bill's Teflon a polish, Starr said investigations about the gate trio continue. He stated there was some evidence the president lied about his involvement in the Madison Guaranty fraud, but assertions by a single witness would be a weak case.

Having obtained 14 convictions of the many Whitewater finaglers -- including the governor of Arkansas -- Starr seems to be focusing on a final culprit. Is it Hillary or her law partner Webster Hubbell? Starr told the committee there still were unanswered questions about Mrs. Clinton's legal work for another land fraud known as Castle Grande. Also, he wants to know how subpoenaed law firm billing records -- allegedly destroyed -- were discovered by a secretary two years later in Mrs. Clinton's private study.

The independent counsel said his office was investigating "a single individual" in the travel office firings and in the illegal possession of confidential FBI files.

Last week's hearing shed no new light on White House lies and cover ups. During 12 hours of harassment by Democrats, not one question was asked about the charges in Starr's referral to the committee.

The affair was bitterly partisan from the opening statement by minority ranking member John Conyers, to a final call by Zoe Lofgren that Starr's answers under oath be examined for perjury.

Highlight of the day was the usual pit-bull attack against Starr by Clinton's personal Lawyer David Kendall. The latter spent the half hour allotted him -- plus an extra 35 minutes allowed by Chairman Henry Hyde -- trying to prove Starr was a biased prosecutor.

Not once did Kendall try to disprove the charges against Clinton. At each accusatory question, Starr waved a copy of his referral at Kendall and challenged him to refute "the facts."

Starr sailed through the partisan mine field unscathed. Indeed, he received an unprecedented standing ovation from sympathetic onlookers and Republican committee members after concluding questions by majority counsel. A smiling Starr shyly stood up to acknowledge the accolade. All in all, the hearing was a dud insofar as advancing the impeachment process. Democrat zealotry was painful to watch, it was so pitiful in effect. Particularly disgraceful was the mindless bias of the black members in asserting perjury about sex by the president doesn't matter. The civil rights movement stressed that lying by whites about offenses against blacks was heinous. The Black Caucus has become Uncle Tom to the Democratic plantation.

African-Americans overcame official discrimination through the courts by the rule of law. Truth-telling is the cornerstone of the American legal system. Perjury is a crime masking all other crimes. Friends of Bill -- and majority of Americans according to opinion polls -- contend lying under oath about sex by a president is not impeachable. How sad.

Perjury, for any reason, is perjury. This, alone, fully justifies impeachment.

However, there are larger justifications for removing Bill Clinton. He solicited sex service in the Oval Office. This was adultery, and adultery is a sin defined by the Ten Commandments. It is an offense established by four thousand years of social consensus.

Perhaps worse was the tawdry nature of the repeated sex overtures by the president. It was on the level of two-dollar deals with street walkers in darkened doorways. President John F. Kennedy at least carried off his sexcapades with style.

Those in Congress, and in the public, who clamor for overlooking perjury and tawdry sex are as guilty as Clinton. More so because they aren't even getting 10 seconds of ecstasy.

Now that Democrats have had their free shot to discredit the independent counsel, sterner ethicists can take charge. Facts speak for themselves.

Immediately after the hearing, Chairman Hyde issued four subpoenas for witnesses in the Kathleen Willey sexual harassment charge against Clinton. They are Bruce Lindsey, Clinton's most trusted confidant; Robert Bennett, Clinton's lawyer for "bimbo eruptions;" Daniel Gecker, Willey's attorney; and Nathan Landow, a wealthy contractor accused of trying to persuade Willey from pressing charges.

Again, there is possible perjury, witness tampering and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

It is likely that Hyde will call John Huang, the White House bag man for questionable campaign contributions. Attorney General Janet Reno is inching toward establishment of another independent counsel to investigate massive violations of campaign financing. This might rap Republican knuckles but decapitate Democrats.

Eventually, articles of impeachment will be reported to the full House by party-line vote. If that was to happen today, a batch of wobbly-knee Republicans might refuse to impeach.

The more that Democrats obfuscate and delay the Judiciary Committee proceedings, the more likely the impeachment process will continue well into next year.

New revelations of wrong doing by the Clintons and associates would gradually sober up public opinion.

Let the games begin.

November 22, 1998

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Click here to see this article on Lindsey Williams's website

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6Dec/090

Introduction to Storm Chasing

Being a storm chaser is as easy as saying you're a storm chaser, but to really be one, you need to first chase a storm. I mean what kind of storm chaser are you if you never chase? A common mistake people seem to pin with chasers is that we JUST chase tornadoes. This is not true. We chase all sorts of weather and storm activity including severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, derechoes, flood producing storms, hurricanes and even winter storms. You don't have to chase just tornadoes to be a storm chaser and whoever says you do is just plain ignorant. Before venturing out into severe weather, you really need to consider all the safety awareness and even training for you out in the world you can participate in.

Become a Skywarn Storm Spotter

One word of advice that I strongly recommend to beginning storm chasers is becoming a Skywarn Storm Spotter. A skywarn spotter is a trained and certified volunteer storm spotter with the National Weather Service. Spotters take annual free training classes which usually last anywhere from 4 to 8 hours and for only 1-2 days. These classes are free to anyone of any age. Spotters are not chasers however, sure some spotters do chase but the spotter program was not made to be a storm chasing group. Storm spotters get out in their city or local/county and observe and report severe weather and tornadoes. They don't do this for the rush, they do it to save lives. Spotters are the backbone of the warning system. Radar and detection equipment can not see what human eyes can see, so spotters are a very important function when it comes to severe weather awareness.

The Unofficial Rules

The following rules are unofficial and are more like tips to help you start your chasing adventures. These tips will keep you out of harm's way and out of jail. Please read them and follow them very closely as they are very important and most chasers live by them:

1. Always think of SAFETY FIRST! Never put yourself in a situation where you or another can be serious injured or even killed. Remember to think SAFETY FIRST for the other people on the roads in the storm area. People may be trying to get away from the storm and not realize your a storm chase and could accidentally wreck into you. Some people will also be curious to what you are doing and that could put them in harm's way in they do not know what they are doing.

2. Don't pull over unless you can do so in a safe manner. Interstates and freeways are not a good place to pull over when storm chasing. There is too much traffic on these forms of roadways and accidents can be very deadly. If your going to pull over, do it somewhere on a road that is not used as much and make sure you are not breaking the law as some roads have signs that ask people not to park on the side of the road and that means YOU TOO!

3. Obey the laws! Being a storm chaser or spotter does not give you extra rights or permission to violate traffic laws. You can not speed over the posted speed limits and you can not park in areas where parking is not allowed. You also can not trespass on other peoples property including fields and private roads. If law enforcement has you turn around or take a detour, abide by their orders and do as they tell you or you can go to jail. Too many bad chasers out there are arguing with police officers and giving us sane chasers a bad name. Don't do it!

4. Watch your speed! Remember some people may be trying to get away from the storm and driving badly. Some people can't drive as good anyways and may be all nervous and scared as they flee putting them and everyone around them in possible danger, including you. You should also take rain in to mind and hydroplaning where you drive across water and basically lose control of everything.

5. Core punching in dangerous. Driving through a storm to get on a different side of it is a form of core punching. Many chasers do it but its extremely dangerous as tornadoes can form where you are or already be on the ground and just invisible because they are rain-wrapped. Try to keep a safe distance from the storm at all costs. I have seen very nice vehicles core punch and by the time, they got out of the storm, their nice vehicle was destroyed from all the softball size hail that hit it.

6. Don't chase alone. I chase alone most of the time, I have over 10 years experience in storm chasing and many years being the actual driver but it is still a bad idea to chase alone. If I were to break down or get hurt, there is no one there to help me. I would be alone (maybe not even conscious) with the tornado or severe weather. Especially when you are a beginner, you should take someone with you. A suggestion if you have the money is doing one of these storm chasing tours. They are expensive but they will take you on a chase and they are very safe and experienced chasers.

7. Don't be a emergency vehicle! You can put fancy storm chaser and spotter decals all over and even a warning light on your car (if your laws allow it!) but it's a good idea to put less stuff like that on your vehicle. For one thing, people may mistaken you as law enforcement and cops may pull you over and even cite you for such activities. Another thing is that is draws attention to you and people may come over to talk about it getting themselves right in the middle of harm's way.

8. Supplies! Supplies! Supplies! Make sure you have everything including a full tank of gas, emergency cash, food and water, first aid and your other needed equipment. I would also make sure you have oil, power steering fluid and a spare tire or two because you may need to use this stuff at some point. Come prepared and be safe prepared!

9. Be cautious of the severe weather itself! Lightning is a big threat as people get struck by it all the time. Your getting close to these storms which are producing a lot of cloud to ground lightning most of the time and now you have a bigger chance of getting struck. You also need to make sure your not in the path of the storm but rather behind it and within a safe distance of it.

10. A final tip and a very important one is morality. People may lose their homes, lives and love ones lives after a tornado or severe weather event strikes. You should not go around video tapping these people after one has been through their area, be moral and have a heart. Not everyone likes storms as much as we do. And for the record, I don't want to see anyone die, get injured or have their property destroyed by severe weather! It would be better if you stayed out of damage areas so you can avoid this and be out of the way of emergency personnel trying to do their jobs!
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