Are you ready for a future where China will employ millions of American workers and dominate thousands of small communities all over the United States? Such a future would be unimaginable to many Americans, but the truth is that it is already starting to happen. Chinese acquisition of U.S. businesses set a new all-time record last year, and it is on pace to absolutely shatter that record this year. Meanwhile, China is voraciously gobbling up real estate and is establishing economic beachheads all over America. If China continues to build economic power inside the United States, it will eventually become the dominant economic force in thousands of small communities all over the nation. Just think about what the Smithfield Foods acquisition alone will mean. Smithfield Foods is the largest pork producer and processor in the world. It has facilities in 26 U.S. states and it employs tens of thousands of Americans. It directly owns 460 farms and has contracts with approximately 2,100 others. But now a Chinese company has bought it for $4.7 billion, and that means that the Chinese will now be the most important employer in dozens of rural communities all over America. If you don’t think that this is important, you haven’t been paying much attention to what has been going on in the world. Thanks in part to our massively bloated trade deficit with China, the Chinese have trillions of dollars to spend. They are only just starting to exercise their economic muscles. (Read More….)
The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.
The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called Prism, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.
It’s all coming out now. The Washington Post reports that the National Security Agency and the FBI have been tapping into the central servers of nine top U.S. Internet companies in a highly classified program code-named PRISM that began in 2007.
Former CIA Director David Petraeus is in attendance at the 2013 Bilderberg Group conference to help construct the “big data” spy grid, which is set to become the new frontier of clandestine statecraft as Internet connectivity becomes ubiquitous.
American entrepreneurs pray more frequently, are more likely to see God as personal and are more likely to attend services in congregations that encourage business and profit-making, according to a study by Baylor University scholars of business and sociology.
Classified documents obtained by the Washington Post and The Guardian reveal that the National Security Agency, a US intelligence-gathering body, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are secretly tapping into the servers of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple. The program – called Prism – is the latest in a series of secret data gathering schemes put in place after 9/11.
“They always meet one time a year, at a five-star hotel with golfing facilities. And yeah, they’re really powerful people. It seems to be run by business, the idea is big business people. So this year it’s Jeff Bezos, Eric Schmidt, and over the years it’s been Heinz and Smithkline Beecham. They invite up-and-coming politicians along, with the idea that they can offer the up-and-coming politicians wise words. This is what ‘Bilderbergers’ have told me. And they’re globalists, and they feel like they want to try and spot the next presidents or prime minister,” he adds.
Two senators — two Democratic senators — are asking the Obama administration to disclose surveillance powers under the Patriot Act, saying citizens would be “stunned” to learn what the government says it can do.
We also believe that there are yet still four major conflicts that the Bible states must happen. These are: Psalm 83, Isaiah 17, Ezekiel 38-39, and Revelation 19 (Armageddon). With the exception of Armageddon, we aren’t sure when these events will happen, or in what order they will happen. All we know, is that the prophetic stage has been set and the actors are all waiting in queue. As Gavrilo Princip was the spark for World War I (and subsequent events), all we are waiting for now is for that prophetic spark to get these last-days chain of events in motion.
The hard truth is: Barack Obama considers traditional, freedom-loving, center-right Christian America – not Marxism, not Islamism, not a toxic culture nor a stagnant economy – to be his biggest enemy, his greatest obstacle to fundamentally transforming America.
Highlights of “OBAMA’S WAR ON CHRISTIANS” include:
If these headlines appeared over the course of a 10-year period, there would be plenty to worry about in terms of privacy rights in the United States. But, amazingly, these news stories all appeared in just one day – yesterday – in the reports of news organizations around the world.
By now you’re probably seen the viral “Harlem Shake” videos that are sweeping the nation with new versions uploaded to YouTube daily. If you haven’t, here’s how they work: First you see a subdued, well-behaved group or crowd. Suddenly you hear music audio declaring, “Con Los Terroristas!” A sole individual is then seen dancing while wearing a helmet or mask, while the others seem oblivious to the gyrations in their midst.
On 7 June 1553 Calvin writes
“Although I am not so devoid of pity as not to feel deeply moved at seeing you in still closer confinement, yet I cannot cease to exhort you to arm yourself so much the more with constancy, as the trial becomes more terrible; since when Satan and the enemies of the faith press us most without, then is the time for us to use the grace of God. St. Paul glories that, though he was in prison and in chains the doctrine which he preached was not bound, but free and operative. And indeed as the truth of God, far exalted above the world, reaches even up to heaven, it cannot be subjected to the pleasure and tyranny of men. However then the devil may labor to oppress us with troubles, let our hearts expand so much the more through faith, that we may…
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I struggled to keep a straight face when he asked me the question.
I was a candidate for the pastorate of this Baptist church, one that was nearly 200 years old, one that had sprung up as a result of the Second Great Awakening in the Ohio Valley.
Surely my ears were deceiving me: did this dear brother in Christ, this member of the pastoral search team, really just ask me, “What is your view of clown ministry in the local church?”
A thousand disparate thoughts catapulted through my mind over the next thirty seconds as I sat with the search team stunned in awkward silence; Giant cobalt blue shoes. Oversized purple and pink polka dot ties. Orange floppy hats with a flower that squirts water. Miniature red sports cars. The Shriner’s Day parade in my Deep South hometown. How many Gospel clowns fit in a Volkswagon? Ronald McDonald leads worship. The Gospel. Heaven. Hell.
Surely this was one of my pink elephant dreams. But it was all too real. Yes, this church had clowns: aggressive, hyper-involved clowns, a reality that would be a deal-breaker or deal-maker for the future pastor. “Okay,” said I, syllables stumbling from my lips as if upended by a pair of candy-striped oversized shoes. “These clowns work with the children, right?”
“Well, no,” said the church leader. “They do evangelistic outreach . . . And some other stuff.” I later learned what the “other stuff” entailed; the clown troupe often performed “dramatic skits” during the morning worship service on the Lord’s Day. And there were also mimes; they had their own service occasionally on Sunday nights, using no words and trapping themselves inside invisible boxes to the glory of God.
This congregation took its clowning seriously and, needless to say, I was not a fit candidate to serve as its preaching elder. Members blanched at my insistence on applying the Reformation principle of sola Scriptura as regulative for both corporate worship and external church ministry.
Sadly, this is not an isolated instance of “innovative” worship.
This question is not critical only today, but it was in the eye of the storm we call the Protestant Reformation that swept through and divided the Christian church in the sixteenth century. Martin Luther declared his position: Justification is by faith alone, our works add nothing to our justification whatsoever, and we have no merit to offer God that in any way enhances our justification. This created the worst schism in the history of Christendom.
In refusing to accept Luther’s view, the Roman Catholic Church excommunicated him, then responded to the outbreak of the Protestant movement with a major church council, the Council of Trent, which was part of the so-called Counter-Reformation and took place in the middle of the sixteenth century. The sixth session of Trent, at which the canons and decrees on justification and faith were spelled out, specifically appealed to James 2:24 to rebuke the Protestants who said that they were justified by faith alone: “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” How could James say it any more clearly? It would seem that that text would blow Luther out of the water forever.
Of course, Martin Luther was very much aware that this verse was in the book of James. Luther was reading Romans, where Paul makes it very clear that it’s not through the works of the law that any man is justified and that we are justified by faith and only through faith. What do we have here? Some scholars say we have an irreconcilable conflict between Paul and James, that James was written after Paul, and James tried to correct Paul. Others say that Paul wrote Romans after James and he was trying to correct James.
I’m convinced that we don’t really have a conflict here. What James is saying is this: If a person says he has faith, but he gives no outward evidence of that faith through righteous works, his faith will not justify him. Martin Luther, John Calvin, or John Knox would absolutely agree with James. We are not saved by a profession of faith or by a claim to faith. That faith has to be genuine before the merit of Christ will be imputed to anybody. You can’t just say you have faith. True faith will absolutely and necessarily yield the fruits of obedience and the works of righteousness. Luther was saying that those works don’t add to that person’s justification at the judgment seat of God. But they do justify his claim to faith before the eyes of man. James is saying, not that a man is justified before God by his works, but that his claim to faith is shown to be genuine as he demonstrates the evidence of that claim of faith through his works.
Turn on the television or pick up a news paper there is somebody somewhere claiming to be the answer to all your problems if only you give them a check or send your details to them. False teachers too are increasing by the hour as deception is rampart in these last days. The nature of the deception is becoming worryingly blatant.
We have all heard the news of the Australian man, Alan John Miller claiming to be Jesus and a week or two later, two other South African men claimed the same, that they are Jesus Christ.
Our question, to these men should be, why do these men not read the Bible before making such false claims ?
Do they not know that the second coming of Jesus will be a glorious event for all the eyes to see ?
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of…
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Quick – name the Seven Cardinal Virtues. Can’t do it, can you?
It’s funny (or maybe not) that many of us can name the Seven Deadly Sins but have no clue what the Seven Cardinal Virtues are. It seems sins are still objective, nameable things, especially the deadly ones; post-modern people can still find some wisdom in identifying conditions of the heart that lead to wrong action and lack of action. Or maybe sins are just more familiar to us. But there are also foundational virtues that lead to right action. I think this generation has forgotten them partly because “virtue” has become a quaint, stiff, slightly embarrassing word that denotes virginity and connotes librarians, and “goodness” is seen as either a vague, pink cloud of niceness and tolerance or Randian self-fulfillment at all costs, and is no longer an objective standard one can train for.
But let’s buck the trend of our generation and consider the Seven Cardinal Virtues.
- The word “cardinal” comes from the Latin root for hinge, hence the pivot on which all other things turn. These virtues are pivotal to our actions and understanding.
- Like all elements of Christian tradition, they serve as checks or guideposts to keep us from veering off the narrow path after the enthusiasms of our own age.
- They remind us that any virtue, even (especially) our favorite one, can be distorted into a vice when it’s not kept in balance with all the others.
- It is an act of humility in us to remember and apply the wisdom of tradition rather than trying to reinvent wisdom every generation.
- An acknowledgment of universal virtues presumes a realistic view of the world. The ancient philosophers, Church Fathers, and great souls of all times and places focused on training in virtue, because they knew that they had to prepare to live in a world of suffering, temptation, and imbalance. Confucius, Aristotle, Marcus Aurelius, St. Francis de Sales, and Gandhi all understood this.
- For thousands of years people have thought that one of the reasons we exist was to develop virtue. Whether because developing virtue provided one with immortal glory or because it aligned one with the gods or God, generations have seen life as the battleground of character, not (as we do now) the playground of whim.
- Finally, the Seven Cardinal Virtues give us a vocabulary to talk about an essential but neglected part of human history and human character. It’s a vocabulary that needs to be retaught, I think. The names of many virtues have fallen out of common use, which makes me wonder whether the virtues they represent are equally unfamiliar.
Definition. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines a virtue as “an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.” The pagan Aristotle would have felt comfortable with this definition, but the Catechism goes on to quote St. Gregory of Nyssa, reminding us that “The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God” (CCC 1803).
So according to the Catechism, virtue is more a disposition than an action, though it leads to action; it is what we are as well as what we do. It is the ground from which all the fruits of our lives grow. It is the habit of goodness. Virtue doesn’t just buff us up to make us more attractive; it enables us to act with generosity and integrity to give the best of ourselves to others. Its goal is Christlikeness – a Jesus-shaped life, in Michael Spencer’s words.
Like the Seven Deadly Sins, the Seven Cardinal Virtues are divided into two categories. There are four human, or natural, virtues and three theological virtues.
by Mike Ratliff
11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. (Hebrews 5:11-14 NASB)
Apostasy: [Middle English apostasie, from Old French, from Late Latin apostasia, defection, from Late Greek apostasi, from Greek apostasis, revolt, from aphistanai, aposta-, to revolt : apo-, apo- + histanai, to stand, place; see st- in Indo-European roots.] Noun pl-sies abandonment of one’s religious faith, political party, or cause…
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