The rest of the world has found out that the U.S. government has been listening to their phone calls and watching what they do on the Internet and they do not like it one bit. Outrage has been pouring in from all over the planet, and one member of the European Parliament is even comparing the NSA to the Stasi. But instead of stepping back and reevaluating our Big Brother spying methods now that they have been revealed, Barack Obama and other leading members of Congress are defiantly declaring that there is nothing wrong with these methods and that no changes will be made. The U.S. government is going to continue to invade the privacy of the citizens of the rest of the world as much as it possibly can, and our leaders don’t seem to really care what the international response is. And make no mistake – the goal of the U.S. intelligence community is to literally know everything about everyone. The chief technology officer of the CIA, Gus Hunt, made the following shocking admission back in March: “We fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever.” He followed that statement up with this gem: “It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human-generated information.” In other words, they want it all, and they nearly have the capacity to gather it all already. So where does this end? Will the U.S. intelligence community ever be happy until they have every piece of data on every single person on the entire planet? Do we really want a government that collects “everything” and hangs on to it “forever”? (Read More….)
But have you ever wondered this in a more literal sense? When you buy a product, where does that money go? Do your favorite brands and companies put your consumer dollars toward research, innovation and job creation? Do they donate to charity? Do they invest in efforts that influence policy?
One company is out to answer these very questions — and it created an app to help you do the same.
The app is called Buycott and it serves two very important functions: to help consumers identify where their favorite products are coming from and, more importantly, to use that information to guide responsible purchasing decisions that better reflect the consumers’ values.
So when the NSA says that it has thwarted dozens of terrorist attacks thanks to their wholesale betrayal of the American people and the Constitution which is supposed to govern us, I’m not willing to believe it.
The Patriot Act provision that allowed the NSA to collect phone records has helped thwart “dozens” of terror events, Alexander said. He promised that records showing the secret surveillance program was critical to disrupting dozens of terrorist plots will be made public within a week. The order that allowed for the NSA collection of phone records of millions of Americans was based on Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows law enforcement to obtain a wide variety of “business records,” including calling records. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who questioned Alexander about the section, wanted specific figures about what attacks had been averted. Not yet, responded Alexander. But he vowed to have them soon.
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“Muslims and Christians can work together for the common good without compromising my convictions or your convictions. I am not interested in interfaith dialogue but interfaith projects.” –Washington Post
On June 9, the Clarion Project reported that the U.S. envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will be speaking at an Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) regional conference, sharing the stage with at least three Islamists. But there are some other featured guests: ISNA’s interfaith allies, including Pastor Bob Roberts of NorthWood Church in Texas.
ISNA is identified in a 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memorandum as one of its fronts. The U.S. government also listed ISNA as a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity when it designated the group an unindicted co-conspirator in the Hamas-financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation.
ISNA’s South Central Conference will be held in Dallas on June 15. The event will feature an interfaith panel that includes its Community Outreach Director, Mohamed Elsanousi, who attended a Muslim Brotherhood-linked conference in Mauritania last year.
The most high-profile interfaith speaker at the ISNA regional conference is Pastor Bob Roberts of NorthWood Church, a critic of “Christian Zionists.” As reported last month, Pastor Roberts’ NorthWood Church is holding its own Islamist-stocked interfaith event called the Global Faith Forum in November. Pastor Roberts’ speakers include ISNA officials, former senior Saudi officials and a former director-general of Al-Jazeera.
The Clarion Project’s original article on the event provides insight into some of the fellow speakers of Pastor Roberts, Rabbi Taub and Cristina Warner.
The times we are in are so confusing when it comes to what’s going on with Islam, and yet we know that the Muslim needs a savior in Jesus Christ just as we all do.
Joining us today is Elijah Abraham, who was once a Muslim. Born and raised in Baghdad, Elijah is now a born-again Christian and today is the founder and executive director of Living Oasis Ministries, reaching Muslims with the Gospel. Abraham is part of Biblical Missiology, a group dedicated to shining the light of truth on a movement called Chrislam, the blending of Christianity and Islam that has been infesting the Body of Christ and is a growing concern.
With leaker Edward Snowden revealing to the world that the National Security Agency has been both monitoring phone records for all Americans and obtaining emails, videos, voice chats and other private communications between American citizens and those outside the United States under the so-called PRISM program, controversy has broken out over the scope of government surveillance.
In recent years, Calvinism has been the focus of intense debate within the Southern Baptist Convention. There are influential figures within the SBC who fervently desire the denomination to move in a more explicitly and comprehensively Calvinistic direction. There are others who are just as fervently committed to prevent that from taking place. This debate is partly generational, partly theological, and, more recently, intensely personal.
We’re usually not too eager to deal with our sin, but doing so is an essential part of the Christian life. The Puritans offer six pieces of advice for how to meet our sin head-on. Mortification. It isn’t a word you hear much these days. But mortification of sin was what Paul was talking about when he said to the …
After Jesus rose from the dead, He “presented Himself alive” (Acts 1:3) to the women near the tomb (Matthew 28:9–10), to His disciples (Luke 24:36–43), and to more than 500 others (1 Corinthians 15:6). In the days following His resurrection, Jesus taught His disciples about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).
Forty days after the resurrection, Jesus and His disciples went to Mount Olivet, near Jerusalem. There, Jesus promised His followers that they would soon receive the Holy Spirit, and He instructed them to remain in Jerusalem until the Spirit had come. Then Jesus blessed them, and as He gave the blessing, He began to ascend into heaven. The account of Jesus’ ascension is found in Luke 24:50–51 and Acts 1:9–11.
It is plain from Scripture that Jesus’ ascension was a literal, bodily return to heaven. He rose from the ground gradually and visibly, observed by many intent onlookers. As the disciples strained to catch a last glimpse of Jesus, a cloud hid Him from their view, and two angels appeared and promised Christ’s return “in just the same way that you have watched Him go” (Acts 1:11).
The Ascension of Jesus Christ is meaningful for several reasons:
1) It signaled the end of His earthly ministry. God the Father had lovingly sent His Son into the world at Bethlehem, and now the Son was returning to the Father. The period of human limitation was at an end.
2) It signified success in His earthly work. All that He had come to do, He had accomplished.
3) It marked the return of His heavenly glory. Jesus’ glory had been veiled during His sojourn on earth, with one brief exception at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1–9).
4) It symbolized His exaltation by the Father (Ephesians 1:20–23). The One with whom the Father is well pleased (Matthew 17:5) was received up in honor and given a name above all names (Philippians 2:9).
5) It allowed Him to prepare a place for us (John 14:2).
6) It indicated the beginning of His new work as High Priest (Hebrews 4:14–16) and Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15).
7) It set the pattern for His return. When Jesus comes to set up the Kingdom, He will return just as He left-literally, bodily, and visibly in the clouds (Acts 1:11; Daniel 7:13–14; Matthew 24:30; Revelation 1:7).
Currently, the Lord Jesus is in heaven. The Scriptures frequently picture Him at the right hand of the Father-a position of honor and authority (Psalm 110:1; Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 8:1). Christ is the Head of the Church (Colossians 1:18), the giver of spiritual gifts (Ephesians 4:7–8), and the One who fills all in all (Ephesians 4:9–10).
In the Qur’an, Muhammad commanded Muslims to read the Bible.
What is your guide? If hadiths or imams differ with the Qur’an, which would you believe? Most likely, the Qur’an is your ultimate authority. As a Muslim, does the Qur’an give you permission to learn from the Bible?
• “Lo! We did reveal the Torah, wherein is guidance and a light” (Surah 5:44a).
• “And We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps, confirming that which was (revealed) before him in the Torah, and We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein is guidance and a light, confirming that which was (revealed) before it in the Torah—a guidance and an admonition unto those who ward off (evil)” (Surah 5:46).
• “It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong)” (Surah 3:3).
• “And be not thou of those who deny the revelations of Allah, for then wert thou of the losers” (Surah 10:95).
If you are a Muslim, you have no excuse not to read the Bible. The Qur’an commands and praises it. Why don’t you start today? Begin with the Gospel of Luke which tells the story of Isa. He alone can give you assurance of paradise.
As the Qur’an says, reading the Bible will answer your questions: “If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee: the Truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord: so be in no wise of those in doubt” (Surah 10:94).
Ethnocentrism is the belief that a particular race or ethnic group is superior to all others and all other races and ethnic groups are to be subjectively measured in relation to that race or ethnic group. It is a system of belief that leads to extreme pride and lack of concern for others. Simply put, ethnocentrism is another name for racism, which has been a plague on humanity for centuries and the cause of the death of millions. There is no place among God’s people for the ethnocentric attitudes which lead to racism. Such attitudes are contrary to Scripture and displeasing to God.
Biblically, ethnocentrism is sin. All men and women are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27, 9:6), although that image is corrupted by sin. It is because we are created in His image that God does not show partiality or favoritism (Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34). Jesus did not lay down His life for a particular race of people, but by His death He “purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). The Israelites were ethnocentric by virtue of being God’s chosen people, but His choice was not based on their merit, but on His mercy and grace. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus came to save the world, both Jews and Gentiles. Paul bears this out by saying, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28) and “there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all” (Colossians 3:11).
Jesus destroyed all barriers of race and ethnicity with His death on the cross. As Paul said in Ephesians 2:14, “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” Ethnocentrism, whether based on historical grudges or on the erroneous teachings of men, is wholly contrary to God’s Word. We are commanded to love one another as He has loved us (John 13:34), and such a command precludes any discrimination based on race or culture.
In His death on the cross, Jesus finally cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30).The verb here carries the idea of fulfilling one’s task and, in religious contexts, has the idea of fulfilling one’s religious obligations. The entire work of redemption had been brought to completion. The single Greek word here (translated “it is finished”) has been found in the papyri being placed on receipts for taxes meaning paid in full (Col. 3:13,14).“He gave up His spirit.” The sentence signaled that Jesus handed over His spirit as an act of His will. No one took His life from Him, for He voluntarily and willingly gave it up (10:17, 18).
It was “Preparation Day” (v. 31). This refers to Friday, the day before or the preparation day for the Sabbath. “Bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath.” The normal Roman practice was to leave crucified men and women on the cross until they died (and this could take days) and then leave their rotting bodies hanging there to be devoured by vultures. The Mosaic Law insisted that anyone being impaled (usually after execution) should not remain there overnight (Deut. 21:22, 23). Such a person was under God’s curse, and to leave him exposed would be to desecrate the land in their minds. So “the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken.” In order to hasten death for certain reasons, soldiers would smash the legs of the victim with an iron mallet. Not only did this action induce shock and additional loss of blood, but it prevented the victim from pushing with his legs to keep breathing, and thus the victim died due to asphyxiation.
However, the soldier’s stabbing of Jesus’ side caused significant penetration because of the sudden flow of blood and water (v. 34). Either the spear pierced Jesus’ heart or the chest cavity was pierced at the bottom. In either event, John mentioned the outflow of blood and water to emphasize that Jesus was unquestionably dead.
From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, http://www.thomasnelson.com.