peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts
and minds through Christ Jesus.”
PEACE!--IN THE MIDST OF STORM!
Have you ever been in a big storm, a powerful hurricane, earthquake or typhoon? Were you afraid or scared or worried? Well, most people are when caught in such storms because they never know if they're going to get blown away or if the lightning is going to strike them or the wind will rip the roof off their house or somehow hurt or even kill them!
Do you know what a mother hen does with her little chicks whenever danger is near? She gathers them under her wings and covers and protects them there. Well, the Bible says that the Lord does the same thing with His children.--"He shall cover you, and under His wings you can trust. There you need not fear the terror by night, nor the destruction by day, for the Lord is your refuge and place of protection." (Psalm 91)
If we belong to the lord and stay close to him, he will take care of us.--always! So that even if we're in the middle of a terrible storm His strong and loving Heavenly hands will be there to keep, protect and take care of us. Even when all is dark and stormy outside, we can have the sunshine of His love and rainbow of His blessings and peace inside!
Did you ever hear the bible story of Rahab?--A long time ago, there was a city called Jericho which was so wicked that God was going to punish and destroy it. But within the city was a dear little woman named Rahab who was kind and helpful to God's children. And because she was good to God's people, God was good to her!
The huge protective walls that ran around Jericho were very high and very thick--so thick that many people actually had their houses on the walls, as did Rahab. When the day of God's judgements came, He shook the city and caused the entire wall to collapse to the ground!--Except for one tiny little part of it that remained standing all alone--and that was the house of Rahab! Because she had faith and because she had received and been good to God's children, when He destroyed the entire city and everybody else in it, her little house didn't fall and she and her family were spared and protected! (Joshua 2 and 6)
So why worry?--if you're the Lord's child, He will take care of you! His children who stay close to Him live in a charmed circle of His protection! It's like a special force-field that nothing can get through without His permission! Of course this doesn't mean that the Lord will never allow us to be harmed or tested, but He'll never allow us to have any insufferable harm or any unbearable damage, and He promises to always save us out of our troubles. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all!" (Psalms 34:19)
The most important thing is to make sure that you belong to Him.--Then you'll know that everything will be all right and that whatever happens to you will be for your good. He says that "all things work together for good to them that love the Lord." (Romans 8:28) If you are His child, you'll know that everything that happens in your life comes from Him and is somehow for your good!
Then even if there's a terrible storm and great destruction all around you, you won't need to fear! The Lord says, "Fear thou not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed, I am thy God!--You shall be safe in the midst of storm, in the hollow of My hand, for underneath you are My Everlasting Arms." (Isaiah 41:10; Deuteronomy 33:27)--He is always there, He'll never ever leave you, for He promises, "I am with you always, even to the End of the World!" (Matthew 28:20)
If you would like to have such peace and assurance and heavenly protection, all you need to do is receive and love God's Son, Jesus! Then, no matter what difficulties or hardships arise in your life, He will help you to brave the storms and face the winds and not be swept away! No matter how dark the clouds become that may sometimes overshadow you, the Light of His Love will always come bursting through to encourage you and to give you hope and strength to pull through!
He and His love are just that wonderful! He will brighten your life and give you peace that the Bible says even "passes your own understanding--perfect peace, because you trust in Him!" (Philippians 4:7; Isaiah 26:3) No matter how dark or stormy or difficult the outward conditions may be, in your heart the sun can always be shining, the birds can always be singing, the flowers can always be blossoming, and all can be well and happy in Him!
So may God bless you with His peace and His love through the one and only "Prince of Peace", Jesus Christ!--He loves you and will come into your life right now if you'll just ask Him into your heart! He says, "Behold, I stand at the door (of your heart) and knock. If any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come into him." (Revelation 3:20)
SIMPLY PRAY: "Lord Jesus, I believe that You are the Son of God and that You died for me. Please forgive me for all my sins. I ask You, Jesus, to please come into my heart and give me Your free Gift of Eternal Life! Help me to love You and to love others by telling them about You and Your Love.--In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."
by David Brandt Berg
Edited by Almondtree Productions
God is Not the Author of Confusion
Dec 22, 2011
By Jim Bakker
Here it is, the Christmas season, and though it is a time of family gathering and festivity everywhere, there is a solemnity that many are feeling… like a calm before a huge storm. Something is about to happen that will shake our world and test our faith. I believe that what’s coming will either result in a ‘falling away’ or a ‘getting closer’ to God in the next few months.
2012 is a year unparalleled in the amount of speculation about some soon-coming calamity. Books have been written, movies made and a great deal of talk shows produced in efforts to get a glimpse into the projected events of 2012. Will the world end? Will some cataclysmic event destroy our planet? Will millions perish of some world-wide pandemic? Will volcanoes, earthquakes and other natural disasters rearrange our world’s landscape?
What can we know for sure about this highly anticipated apocalyptic year?
Some people go to psychics, some go to the scientific community, some to the writings of ancient civilizations to determine what will happen to our world in 2012. As for me, I go to the Word of God, the Bible – that ancient text authored by God himself through his holy people. Then I go to the Lord in prayer and listen for His voice. That’s the voice we can trust and the Bible the final authority. The Lord said “my sheep hear my voice,” and I know that to be true.
As a watchman of the Lord, he has given me several specific words for 2012. The first and most outstanding word is “CONFUSION.” 2012 will be a year of confusion beyond anything we have ever experienced before in our nation and in our world, not just confusion, but mass confusion.
Yet, the Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:33 that “God is not the author of confusion…” The Church, that Body of Believers that are born again and listening to His voice, should NOT be confused! If God is not the author of confusion, that means it’s coming from satan. The spirit of the anti-christ is disorder.
It’s almost ironic that 12 is the Biblical number for perfect order, just exactly the opposite of confusion. God needs His Church to be in full force and in divine order so that we can be winning souls in the midst of a confused world. The Church will be the new ‘ark’ in the confusing days ahead. This could be the last full year we have to get our house in order and to get prepared for what’s coming!
In 2012, confusion is going to manifest in uncertainties, misunderstandings, good being spoken of as evil, disorder and turmoil of every kind. If ever there was a time to “know what we know,” it’s now. It’s time to get in the Word, because deception is coming! The Word of God is truth and it leaves no room for bewilderment or perplexity. It will dispel any darkness with its Light!
The Lord told me that first, there would be a great earthquake in Japan, and then total collapse of the world’s economy. I can’t tell you the day, I can’t tell you the month or the week, but I can tell you that an economic collapse is imminent.
Get your house ready and get your Church ready to be that ark of safety as the confusion swirls all around. Be fully persuaded in your heart and in your mind that you will be steadfast and sure because the Word of God lives within you, and you know His voice. This is going to be a year of soul winning because those who know God’s voice will have wisdom to guide them and love to sustain them. They will not be confused – but instead, they will be steadfast and sure. Jesus is coming soon and we are looking for Him!
God loves YOU, He really does!
--Virginia Berg"s AMAZING PROPHECY OF 1965!
"TURN YOUR EYES TOWARD MEMPHIS (EGYPT), FOR OUT OF IT SHALL COME THE GREAT CONFUSION!
The author of Confusion is even now marshalling his forces for this Great Confusion!
He is gathering his forces from a great nation and Eastern nations, friends that will join with him.
So sudden will be the Great Confusion, that it will cause a mighty widening of the eyes of those who have not discerned the signs of the times. But be ye not deceived! Be prepared! And be not deceived by the Great Society, for it will come to travail and then bring forth the Great Confusion!
Be prepared! Even now, the skies are red, red with warning, and black, black with clouds gathering for the Great Confusion which is almost upon you!"
(Is it about to be fulfilled!)
What does 2012 really hold for the world?
Dec 27, 2011
It's finally here – 2012.
What is the spiritual significance of this year that so many ancient cultures dreaded?
Maybe now is the right moment to examine all the theories and some of the shocking facts.
With all the hype about the ancient Mayan calendar suggesting the demise of human civilization taking place in 2012, one American author wants everyone to know that other calendars predict the same outcome, and he claims a demonic plot bringing about the end date could be hiding in plain sight inside the U.S. Capitol and your wallet right now.
Tom Horn, a Bible-believing Christian and author of "Apollyon Rising 2012," says he never actually had an interest in the Mayan calendar, which comes to a cyclical end on Dec. 21, 2012. But then he became aware of numerous unrelated calendars and prophecies spanning many centuries, all predicting the end of the current human age at next year's winter solstice.
"I started finding that it wasn't just the Maya," Horn told WND, noting prognostications from Jewish mystics, as well as the ancient Chinese, Hindus, Cherokee Indians, and even artwork among famous American symbols that all point to the same time frame.
Despite not having telescopes, the Mayan people of Central America were extremely accurate observers of celestial movements, with the zenith of their civilization occurring between A.D. 250 and 900.
"The Maya understood this procession of the equinox, basically not to end, but to roll over, to start over" in December 2012, Horn explained.
He says their prophets coupled that date "with prophecies of unrest on Earth after which a new form of man appears on Earth, plus the return of their dragon god, a flying serpent who has the power of air."
"The Aztec saw the same thing, a flying serpent, Quetzalcoatl," Horn said, adding, "their calendar ends in 2012."
He says the Kali Yuga calendar of the Hindus forecasts global changes around 2012, and China's "Book of Changes," also known as the "I-Ching," predicts the end for the same year.
A timeline graph created in 1973 based on China's I-Ching, shows the line plunging entirely off the graph precisely on Dec. 21, 2012.
Horn says 38 years ago, when scientists Terrence and Dennis McKenna created a stock-market-like linear graph based on the "I-Ching," the timeline abruptly plunged off the graph into infinity on precisely Dec. 21, 2012.
"This finding is all the more astonishing given that McKenna's research was published in 1973 independent of any knowledge of the ending date in the Mayan calendar," Horn noted.
Meanwhile, the Zohar, a collection of books in the mystical Jewish Kabbalah that first debuted in Spain in the 13th century, talks about the coming of the Messiah at the same general time the other calendars forecast the end.
It predicts in late 2012, "All the kings of the world will assemble in the great city of Rome, and the Holy One will shower on them fire and hail and meteoric stones until they are all destroyed, with the exception of those who will not yet have arrived there. These will commence anew to make other wars. From that time the Mashiach (Messiah) will begin to declare himself, and round him there will be gathered many nations and many hosts from the uttermost ends of the Earth."
Horn says, "Given the rejection of Jesus by orthodox Jews as Messiah, this coming could herald the coming of Antichrist in 2012."
'2012: What’s in Store...’
Dec 26, 2011
The Private Global Power Elite embedded in major governments is dead set on imposing World Government on us sooner rather than later. Let’s look at 12 mega-processes – veritable “Triggers” – that we infer they are using to achieve their goals.
All roads lead to World Government. This should come as no surprise. London’s Financial Times openly articulated this view in an article by their chief foreign affairs commentator, Gideon Rachman, published on 8 December 2009, whose title said it all: “And Now for a World Government.” These goals are echoed by the Trilateral Commission, CFR and Bilderberg insiders – even by the Vatican.
Macro-managing planet Earth is no easy matter. It requires strategic and tactical planning by a vast think-tank network allied to major elite universities whereby armies of academics, operators, lobbyists, media players and government officers interface, all abundantly financed by the global corporate and banking superstructure.
They do this holistically, knowing that they operate on different stages moving at very different speeds:
Financial Triggers move at lightning speed thanks to electronic information technology that can make or break markets, currencies and entire countries in just hours or days;
Economic Triggers move slower: manufacturing cars, aircraft, food, clothes, building plants and houses takes months;
Political Triggers tied to the “democratic system” put politicians in power for several years;
Cultural Triggers require entire generations to implement; this is where PsyWar has reached unprecedented “heights”.
Risk-managing this whole process takes into account the many pitfalls and surprises in store. So each plan in every field counts, with “Plan B’s” – even Plans “C” and “D” – which can be implemented if needed.
Twelve Triggers for World Government
Today, the Global Power Elite are wrapping up globalization and ushering in World Government. Paraphrasing the tightrope walker in German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra,” this implies “….a dangerous crossing, a dangerous wayfaring, a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous trembling and halting…"
These 12 Triggers are interlinked and interlocked in a highly complex, holistic matrix, very flexible in its tactics but rigidly unbending in its strategic objectives. When read as a whole, the picture that unfolds shows that whole being far more than the sum of its parts.
1) Financial Meltdown. Since 2008, the Global Financial System continues on life-support. Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner and the US economic hit team – Robert Rubin, Larry Summers and Goldman Sachs, CitiGroup, JPMorganChase mega-bankers working with the Bank of England and the European Central Bank – have not and will not take any measures to help the populace and ailing economies. They just funnel trillions to the banking elite, imposing the media myth that certain banks are “too big to fail” (Orwellian Newspeak for “too damn powerful to fail”). Why? Because it’s not governments overseeing, supervising and controlling Goldman Sachs, CitiCorp, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, JPMorganChase, but exactly the other way around…
2) Economic Crises. Today, “Destructive Extreme Capitalism” is collapsing national and regional economies, reformatting them into international slave-labour Gulag-like entities that Joseph Stalin would envy. Our woes lie not with the world’s real economy (mostly intact), but with the fake world of finance, banks, and speculation;
3) Social Upheavals. Meltdowns in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Iceland and – soon to come – Italy, Spain and others, trigger violent social uprisings, even in the US and UK;
4) Pandemics. Get ready for more “flu surprises” leading to mandatory vaccinations: a discreet opportunity to slip RFID chips into our bodies and test “intelligent viruses” targeting specific DNA strains. Racially and ethnically selective viruses as part of mass depopulation campaigns?
5) Global Warming. As the global economy sinks into zero growth mode, economic drivers shift from growth expansion to consumption contraction. Will coming “carbon credits” open the path to full societal control?
6) Terrorist “False Flag” Mega-Attacks. The Elite have this wildcard up their sleeve to jump-start new “crises” as short-cuts towards world government. Will new “attacks” dwarfing 9/11 justify further global wars, invasions and genocide? A nuclear weapon over a major city to be blamed on the Elite’s “enemies”?
7) Generalized War in the Middle East. As we speak, naval forces, bombers, entire armies are poised to attack and invade Syria, Iran…
8) Ecological/Environmental “Accidents”. The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident sparked the beginning of the end of the former USSR by showing the world and the Soviets themselves that their State could no longer manage their own nuclear facilities. April 2010 saw the BP “Deepwater Horizon” oil rig eco-catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico; since March 2011, Japan and the world have been grappling with a much larger nuclear accident in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex. Was foul play involved?
9) Assassination of a major political or religious figure to be blamed on an Elite enemy. Mossad, CIA, MI6 are really good at playing this type of dirty trick;
10) Attacks on “Rogue States” – Iraq, Libya… Who’s next? Iran? Syria? Venezuela? North Korea?
11) Staged “Religious” Event. The growing need of the masses for meaning in their lives makes them easy victims of a Hollywood-staged, 3D virtual reality hologram show, orchestrating a “second coming”. An electronically engineered “messianic figure” acting in sync with Elite global objectives? Who would dare go against God himself?
12) Staged “Alien Contact.” This too may be in the works. For decades, large sectors of world population have been programmed to believe in aliens. Here too, hologram technology could stage a “space vehicle landing” – on the White House lawn, of course – highlighting the “need” for Mankind to have “unified representation” in the face of extraterrestrials. Further justification for world government?
What do such interlocking “crises” have in common? Global warming, pandemics, “international terrorism”, financial collapse, economic depression, even alien contacts? They all serve to show that they cannot be addressed by any single nation state, thus “justifying” the need for World Government.
2012: We must stay especially alert, understanding things the way they really are and not the way the global TV Masters want us to believe they are.
2012 could prove even wilder ride than 2011
By Peter Apps
Dec 15 2011 - LONDON (Reuters)--The ancient Mayans attached special significance to 2012, possibly the end of time. That has spawned a rush of apocalyptic literature for the holiday season.
But you don't have to believe the world is about to end to realize that next year contains perhaps the widest range of political risks to the global economy in recent history.
With elections and leadership changes in the most powerful countries, Europe in crisis, ferment in the Middle East and worsening economic hardship driving unrest and discontent everywhere, 2012 could be just as volatile as 2011 if not worse.
The current year may yet carry a sting in its tail, with worries over the euro and jitters over a possible Israeli strike on Iran likely to keep financial markets and policymakers on tenterhooks all the way to the New Year.
More than three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers prompted the worst financial crash since the Great Depression, economic turmoil looks to be driving political upheaval in what could become a particularly disruptive feedback loop.
Economic stresses--from rising food prices to worsening economic hardship in the developed world--were at the heart of many of 2011's political stories. As they intensify, political volatility, gridlock, confrontation and conflict--whether domestic or international--look set to worsen.
"It's going to get worse before it gets better," said Jonathan Wood, global issues analyst at London-based risk consultancy Control Risks. "If you look at what's been driving events this year, none of the factors has gone away and many of the economic drivers are still growing."
Presidential elections in the United States, France and Russia and the dual transition of power at the top of China's Communist Party will add to the uncertainty. They may make it harder for political leaders to find compromises or push through tough policy choices.
That, many analysts warn, brings with it a mounting risk of political gridlock coming just as the world needs leadership most. The failure of the U.S. Congressional "super committee" to agree on how to reduce the budget deficit may be a sign of things to come domestically in many countries.
President Barack Obama faces a tough re-election bid, whomever the Republicans choose to challenge him, because of a sluggish economy, 8.6 percent unemployment and a squeeze on the middle classes due to fallen home and stock prices.
Top of the list of 2012 risks for many analysts is the unresolved sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone.
If the 17-nation European single currency is to survive in its current form, its members will have to confront harsh economic adjustments and seismic political reform. Last week's Brussels summit, the 16th since the start of the two-year-old crisis, was billed by some as the last chance to save the euro.
While euro zone leaders and some non-euro states agreed to forge a closer fiscal union with stricter budget discipline, the outcome fell short of guaranteeing the euro's ultimate survival.
At worst, 2012 could still see a disorderly breakup bringing with it a chain of defaults, bank runs and civil unrest, not to mention a savage global economic shock worse than that of 2008.
Ultimately, however, many believe the euro will endure--although not without colossal strains as it tries to reconcile very different economies such as Germany and Greece.
"The greatest single risk is obviously the euro zone but it might also be the risk that is sorted out the quickest," says Alastair Newton, a former British government official who is chief political analyst at Japanese bank Nomura.
"But even if that happens then you're still going to have very low growth and a rise in social unrest in the southern euro zone in particular and across Europe in general. Even in the best case scenario, 2012 looks pretty rough."
For others, the Middle East remains the most important area to watch for potential disruption to the global economy.
Almost a year after the beginning of the "Arab Spring" democracy movement, the region remains in political flux with untested Islamist parties winning power across north Africa and Syria's uprising slowly turning towards outright civil war.
After the fall of several veteran Western-backed Arab rulers, the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq is seen as the latest sign of the diminishing influence of Western powers in a region they dominated for some 200 years.
In the resulting vacuum, regional powers such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and an isolated and perhaps more erratic Iran appear in increasingly open confrontation.
Western intelligence estimates that Iran is moving closer to a viable nuclear weapon have a shorter timeline, and some analysts say 2012 could be the year when Tehran's enemies decide to go beyond covert sabotage with a military strike that could spark retaliation against oil supplies in the Gulf.
"The bigger wild card out there is an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities and elements of regime control," says Thomas Barnett, chief strategist of political risk consultancy Wikistrat, saying neither the Israeli nor the Iranian leadership looks inclined to back down. "The setting here is scary... something has got to give in this strategic equation."
Even if the world avoids a devastating shock such as a Middle East war or a European breakdown, many analysts fear the business of politics and policy-making could become increasingly difficult around the world.
With economic growth slowing and unemployment creeping up, most analysts believe the risks of social unrest will continue to rise across much of the developed and developing world.
"We have all the problems you'd expect from economic hardship. At some stage we will have rising food prices which are always destabilizing and we have a question over whether China will overheat," says Elizabeth Stephens, head of credit and political risk at London insurance brokers Jardine Lloyd Thompson.
"Even a fall of one or two percentage points of GDP (in China) could be enough to really question social stability if they can't keep job creation going... We (also) have probable ongoing unrest in Europe and the ongoing transition in the Middle East and North Africa could be quite unstable."
In the dying days of the year, other long held assumptions of stability have be thrown into question--not least by the rising tide of protest against Russia's Vladimir Putin. The one certainty for 2012, many believe, is more of the unexpected.
"2011 was a nightmarish year to be a policy maker or an investment portfolio manager but it was a great one to be a political analyst," says Newton. "I'd certainly expect the same for next year."
US judge rules Iran responsible for 9/11
By Daniel Harding, New York
Saturday, December 24, 2011
A US judge has signed a default judgment finding Iran, the Taliban and al-Qaida liable for the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Judge George Daniels in Manhattan signed the judgement a week after hearing evidence in the 10-year-old case. - - The signed ruling came in a $100 billion lawsuit brought by victims' families. - - He directed a magistrate judge to preside over remaining issues, including fixing compensatory and punitive damages. - - Judge Daniels signed findings of fact saying the plaintiffs had established that the attacks were caused by the support the defendants provided to al-Qaida. - - It also said Iran continued to provide material support and resources to al-Qaida by providing a safe haven for al-Qaida leadership and rank-and-file members. - - During last week's hearing, September 11 victims' families sat through a four-hour presentation from lawyers who cited evidence supporting their claims that Iran actively assisted the hijackers of planes that crashed into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. - - Former members of the September 11 Commission and three Iranian defectors also spoke. - - It would be near impossible to collect any damages, especially from the Taliban or al-Qaida. - - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly denied any Iranian connection in the September 11 attacks or with al-Qaida.
Iran Threatens To Block Oil Route Through Strait Of Hormuz
(RTTNews) - Iran has threatened closure of a vital oil-trade route in the Indian Ocean if the West imposes more sanctions on the Islamic Republic over its controversial nuclear program.
Iran's official media quoted Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi as saying on Tuesday that "not a drop of oil will pass through the Strait of Hormuz" if sanctions were widened. "The enemies will only drop their plots when we put them back in their place," The IRNA news agency reported.
Supporting Rahimi, Iran's Navy Chief Admiral Habibollah Sayari said closing the Strait of Hormuz would be "really easy" for the country's armed forces "or as Iranians say, easier than drinking a glass of water."
"But right now, we don't need to shut it as we have the Sea of Oman under control, and we can control the transit," Iran's Press TV quoted him as saying.
Western countries led by the United States had imposed a new set of sanctions on Tehran following a United Nations report that Iran had recently carried out tests related to "development of a nuclear device." Further measures being considered to target the country's oil and financial sectors have evoked sharp response from Tehran.
The Strait of Hormuz links the Gulf oil-producing countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to the Indian Ocean. About 40 percent of the world's tanker-borne oil passes through the waterway. Reacting to the Iranian threat, U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said: "I just think it's another attempt by them to distract attention from the real issue, which is their continued non-compliance with their international nuclear obligations."
Iran's Navy is currently staging war games in international waters to the east of the Strait, which Adm. Sayari says are designed to show Gulf neighbors the power of Iran's military over the zone.
The U.N. has endorsed four rounds of sanctions against Iran over its failure to halt uranium enrichment and cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
by RTT Staff Writer
Is this China's coolest town? Winter festival creates city made entirely from snow and ice
By GARETH FINIGHAN
24th December 2011
If Santa fancies taking a breather after his gift-giving jaunt around the world tonight, there's one spot on the planet where he'll feel right at home.
For the town of Harbin in northeast China has created an entire city carved out of ice and snow.
The 28th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, which opens on January 5, features work by some of the best ice sculptors and attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.
How did they do that? This impressive skyline was made from blocks of ice measuring up to three feet wide
Winter fun: As well as sculptures, the festival also features a range of ice-based rides
Slippery slope: Visitors are dwarfed by the giant ice architecture
Spread out across three zones, the theme park features a range of snow-based rides, ice mountains and reproductions of some of the most iconic buildings in the world - all carved from giant blocks of ice and snow.
The town, located near the border with Russia, experiences dry but freezing winters and has an abundance of ice on tap from the nearby Songhau River.
Winter activities at the festival include Yabuli Alpine Skiing, winter-swimming and the ice-lantern exhibition in Zhaolin Garden.
Taking the scenic route: Rows of ice pagodas line one of the park's central roads
Cool reception: Craftsmen have reproduced some of the world's most recognisable buildings
Grand entrance: This giant ice archway is an impressive entrance to the city
McDonald's close all their stores in Bolivia, making Bolivia the only Latin- American free McDonald's.
DECEMBER 26, 2011 12
McDonald's in Bolivia
Would you like some fries with that Big Mac or would you prefer just to go down the street and get yourself an empanada?
It seems like a very unlikely situation, but McDonald's can now add the country of Bolivia where it came and attempted to conquer the food market and to its chagrin was tossed out. Hardly the exported American dream story it may have hoped for when it opened its first store 14 years ago.
hispanicallyspeaking: After 14 years in the nation and despite many campaigns and promos McDonald's was forced to close its 8 Bolivian restaurants in the major cities of La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
McDonald's served its last hamburgers in Bolivia Saturday at midnight, after announcing a global restructuring plan in which it would close its doors in seven countries with poor profit margins.
With over 33 000 stores (see map below) worldwide one could suppose that 8 less would hardly make a difference to the world's largest food vendor's bottom line. Though what may be at stake isn't so much the immediate bottom line of the behemoth food chain but the fact that Bolivia represents the only Latin American country to exist without a McDonalds (and perhaps going forward not the only one?) which could inspire a revolt amongst other nations who equate the chain as low brow fast food that leads to health problems or worse American imperialism- something that has never gone down too well with the locals in Bolivia if one judges the leftist stance taking by as some would argue the belligerent Evo Morales, the leader of Bolivia who hasn't hidden his disdain for private American interests and hegemony in the past, especially his outspoken stance on cocoa production and American politics.
McDonald's served its last hamburgers in Bolivia Saturday at midnight, after announcing a global restructuring plan in which it would close its doors in seven countries with poor profit margins.
Ignore This Deficiency... And Become 3 Times More Likely to Die? (Edited from longer article.)
Posted By Dr. Mercola
Correcting a vitamin D deficiency may cut your risk of dying by more than half, according to an analysis of more than 10,000 patients.
People with low levels of vitamin D were found to be more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure, and diseased heart muscle -- and were three times more likely to die from any cause compared to those with normal levels.
The optimal vitamin D level has been raised to 50-70 ng/ml, and when treating cancer or heart disease, as high as 70-100 ng/ml. Ask your physician for a 25(OH)D blood test to find out your level.
Vitamin D from sun exposure or a safe tanning bed is the BEST way to optimize your vitamin D levels, but as a last resort, a vitamin D3 supplement can be taken orally (research published by Grassroots Health from the DAction study shows the average adult needs to take 8,000 IU's of vitamin D per day in order to elevate their levels to the absolute minimum necessary for disease prevention).
By Dr. Mercola
This is a really important study as it is one of the first large trials that examined the relationship of vitamin D supplementation on that of overall death rate.
Previous studies have correlated vitamin D levels but most of that was related to vitamin D levels raised naturally through sun exposure.
Numerous studies and meta-analyses have suggested that vitamin D deficiency has a negative association with survival; however, the effect of vitamin D supplementation on overall mortality has not been studied.
Addressing Your Vitamin D Deficiency May Cut Your Risk of Dying in Half
Taking vitamin D supplements in order to overcome a deficiency in the vitamin could cut your risk of dying by more than half, so found a recent analysis of more than 10,000 patients. Not only was vitamin D deficiency associated with several cardiovascular-related diseases, including hypertension, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, and diabetes, but it was also a strong independent predictor of all-cause death.
Researchers found that patients with low levels of vitamin D were more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure, and diseased heart muscle -- and were three times more likely to die from any cause compared to those with normal levels.
Now it's important to realize that more than 70 percent of the study participants were deficient in vitamin D, and this was based on a "normal" vitamin D level of â‰¥30 ng/ml.
However, the latest research suggests that any level below 50 ng/ml is actually a deficiency state, which means the number of vitamin-d deficient participants was actually much higher, most likely well over 90-95% of the patients. But it is quite extraordinary to see their improvement even at the lower levels they reported.
Because your body is designed to produce vitamin D from regular exposure of your skin to the sun, unless you live in a warm, sunny climate where you frequently spend time outdoors with large portions of your skin exposed, there's a very high chance you, too, are deficient.
Again, in the study those who corrected their deficiencies saw their risk of death drop by more than half ... which should give you an idea of just how crucial this vitamin is for your overall health.
As researchers noted:
"In conclusion, vitamin D deficiency was associated with a significant risk of cardiovascular disease and reduced survival. Vitamin D supplementation was significantly associated with better survival, specifically in patients with documented deficiency."
Vitamin D Helps Prevent Cancer, Heart Disease, Depression and Much More
In the past, vitamin D was primarily regarded as an important nutrient for bone health, and it was conventionally thought that a person had enough vitamin D as long as they didn't have an obvious bone disease like rickets or osteomalacia.
But new research shows how wrong this assumption was, as higher levels of vitamin D are necessary to provide protection from more serious chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, infections, multiple sclerosis and more.
Vitamin D receptors are present in virtually every tissue and cell in your body, and the research is very impressive supporting its role in preventing:
Diabetes 1 and 2
Cold & Flu
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Signs of aging
Eczema & Psoriasis
Cavities & Periodontal disease
Reduced C-section risk
Sunlight or a Tanning Bed are Your Best Choices for Optimizing Vitamin D
Many are interested in the guidelines for vitamin D supplementation, but it's important to realize that the IDEAL way to optimize your vitamin D levels is not by taking a pill, but rather allowing your body to do what it was designed to do--create vitamin D from sun exposure. This study however certainly provides some powerful support for the value of oral vitamin D.
However, there are a number of reasons that sunlight is better:
It is more natural. Our ancestors optimized their vitamin D levels by sun exposure, not by swallowing it in foods. Although vitamin D is in some animal foods it is in relatively low quantities and to my knowledge there are no known ancestral populations that thrived on oral vitamin D sources.
When you expose your skin to the sun, your skin also synthesizes high amounts of cholesterol sulfate, which is very important for cardiovascular health. In fact, Dr. Stephanie Seneff, believes that high LDL and associated heart disease may in fact be a symptom of cholesterol sulfate deficiency. Sulfur deficiency, in fact, also promotes obesity and related health problems like diabetes
You cannot overdose when getting your vitamin D from sun exposure, as your body has the ability to self-regulate production and only make what it needs
How Much Sun Exposure do You Need?
To optimize your levels, you need to expose large portions of your skin to the sun, and you need to do it for more than a few minutes. And, contrary to popular belief, the best time to be in the sun for vitamin D production is actually as near to solar noon as possible. During this time you need the shortest exposure time to produce vitamin D because UVB rays are most intense at this time. Plus, when the sun goes down toward the horizon, the UVB is filtered out much more than the dangerous UVA.
Just be cautious about the length of your exposure. You only need enough exposure to have your skin turn the lightest shade of pink. Once you reach this point your body will not make any additional vitamin D due to its self-regulating mechanism. Any additional exposure will only cause harm and damage to your skin.
Unfortunately, studies have shown only about 30 percent of Americans' circulating vitamin D is the product of sunlight exposure.
This is a byproduct of public health agencies' misguided advice to stay out of the sun to avoid cancer (when in fact vitamin D from sun exposure will actually help prevent it). If you can't get out in the sun, a safe tanning bed is the next best option. Safe tanning beds have electronic ballasts rather than magnetic ballasts, which help you avoid unnecessary exposure to health-harming EMF fields. They also have less of the dangerous UVA than sunlight, while unsafe ones have more UVA than sunlight.
The Latest Vitamin D Supplementation Guidelines
If neither sun exposure nor safe tanning beds are feasible options, then you should take an oral vitamin D3 supplement if your levels are low. It will definitely be better than no vitamin D at all.
There is no one-size-fits-all dosage level at which "magic" happens, but based on the most recent research by GrassrootsHealth--an organization that has greatly contributed to the current knowledge on vitamin D through their D* Action Study--it appears as though most adults need about 8,000 IU's of vitamin D a day in order to get their serum levels above 40 ng/ml. This is significantly higher than previously recommended!
For children, many experts agree they need about 35 IU's of vitamin D per pound of body weight.
At the time GrassrootsHealth performed the studies that resulted in this increased dosage recommendation, the optimal serum level was believed to be between 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). Since then, the optimal vitamin D level has been raised to 50-70 ng/ml, and when treating cancer or heart disease, as high as 70-100 ng/ml, as illustrated in the chart below.
What this means is that even if you do not regularly monitor your vitamin D levels (which you should), your risk of overdosing is going to be fairly slim, even if you take as much as 8,000 IU's a day. However, the only way to determine your optimal dose is to get your blood tested regularly, and adjust your dosage to maintain that optimal zone.
Remember, unless you get a deep dark tan, which is a pretty good indicator that your vitamin D levels are where they need to be, it is wise to get your blood levels checked -- that is the only way to know for certain you have reached therapeutic levels.
Is This Humble Plant Capable of Alleviating Most Human Suffering?
Sayer Ji, Contributing Writer
December 22, 2011
Ancient Indians believed that turmeric contained the energy of the Divine Mother. Modern science now confirms that it has therapeutic properties relevant to well over 500 health conditions and may bestow on those who take it protection from many common causes of suffering.
The author has personally reviewed the majority of 4,000+ biomedical citations on turmeric and its primary polyphenol curcumin, available to view on the National Library of Medicine's bibliographic reference database known as MEDLINE (and searchable through engines like Pubmed.gov), and has been awed by how diverse, powerful and seemingly ideally suited this spice is for addressing the broad range of diseases and/or disease symptoms that commonly afflict our species.
One of the novel findings that emerged in the author's comprehensive review of turmeric is that it expresses over 150 distinct beneficial actions, describable in terms of traditional pharmacological pathways, e.g. interleukin-6 down-regulator, apoptotic, cyclooxygenase inhibitor, etc. During the indexing process the image emerged of a many-armed Goddess, due to how diverse, intelligent and simultaneous are this spice's healing gifts.
In fact, from the perspective of monochemical-oriented pharmacology, a drug with more than 10 simultaneously therapeutic actions, and without the vast array of adverse, unintended side effects commonly associated with novel, patentable chemicals, turmeric would represent an impossible, miraculous entity, which if patentable, would generate more revenue than all the blockbuster drugs on the market put together.
After some reflection on the mass of data that accumulated on turmeric's ability to alleviate suffering, the question emerged: are these many "evidence-based," scientific studies really just exoteric descriptions of "compassion" and "intelligence"?
Are we now rediscovering through the optic of modern science -- albeit through the reductionist and inherently animal sacrifice-based methodology of empirical science -- the "spirit" of herbs like turmeric, whose very existence represent a kind of surplus of benevolent, regenerative energy that permeates the universe, bestowing its grace upon its inhabitants/creations? Is this not what the ancients meant, or saw, when they described the spice in Sanskrit as "Gauri" ("The One Whose Face is Light and Shining") and "Kanchani" ("Golden Goddess")?
Our turmeric database on GreenMedInfo.com (and by "our" I mean yours, as well, as this is an open source project) now contains the world's largest archive of biomedical data on the subject of turmeric's medical value, and includes voluminous research on turmeric's potential to prevent and/or treat multi-drug resistant cancers, chronic degenerative conditions, neurological problems, depression, serious infections, as well as hundreds of other diseases.
("One of us He commanded that we should teach Noah all their medicines; for He knew that they would not walk in uprightness, nor strive in righteousness. And we did according to all His words: And we explained to Noah all the medicines of their diseases, together with their seductions, how he might heal them with herbs of the earth. And Noah wrote down all things in a book as we instructed him concerning every kind of medicine." Jubilees 10:10-13)
Bracelet reveals amazing craftsman's skill from 7500BC (so good it couldn't be bettered today)
By TED THORNHILL
Last updated at 9:13 AM on
A 9,500-year-old bracelet has been analysed using the very latest computers - and the results show that it is so intricate even today's craftsmen would struggle to improve it.
Researchers from the Institut FranÃ§ais d'Etudes Anatoliennes in Istanbul and Laboratoire de Tribologie et de Dynamiques des SystÃ¨mes studied the bracelet's surface and its micro-topographic features revealing the astounding technical expertise of the maker.
The bracelet is obsidian - which means it's made from volcanic glass - and the researchers analysis of it sheds new light on Neolithic societies, which remain highly mysterious.
Polished skills: The obsidian bracelet contains remarkable detail
Discovered in 1995 at the site of Asikh Hoyuk in Turkey, it was analysed by software designed to characterise the 'orange peel effect' on car bodywork.
This process revealed that the bracelet - 10cm in diameter - was made and polished using highly specialised manufacturing techniques.
In fact, the surface was polished to a degree equal to that of today's telescope lenses.
Asikli Hoyuk: The Neolithic site where the bracelet was found
The bracelet is the oldest known example of an obsidian item, common during the Neolithic period.
The obsidian craft reached its peak in the seventh and sixth millennia BC with the production of all kinds of ornamental objects, including mirrors and vessels.
Neolithic people - or those leaving in what's sometimes termed as the New Stone Age - were essentially skilled farmers, who could also turn their hand to the manufacture of various ornaments.
The result of the study is published in the December 2011 issue of Journal of Archaeological Science.
'The most amazing thing I've ever seen in space': Incredible pictures of Comet Lovejoy taken by Space Station commander
Last week Lovejoy came within 87,000 miles of the Sun's 5700C surface
By TED THORNHILL
23rd December 2011
Comet Lovejoy, which recently survived a 'graze' with the Sun, has been captured on camera in spectacular fashion by the commander of the International Space Station.
Dan Burbank saw the comet from a magnificent vantage point - 240 miles above the Earth's horizon.
He described seeing the comet as 'the most amazing thing I have ever seen in space' in an interview with WDIV-TV in Detroit.
Heavens above: Comet Lovejoy is visible near Earth's horizon in this nighttime image photographed by Dan Burbank
Star-struck: Burbank described the view as the most amazing thing he'd ever seen in space
Comet Lovejoy last week astonished star gazers by surviving a hellishly hot encounter with the
Blow for 'dark matter' theory as scientists find faint, undetected star
The 660-foot-wide icy rock disappeared around the back side of the Sun, coming within 87,000 miles of its surface, and emerged triumphantly out the other side.
This was the comet that lived.
Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught the great escape on camera.
After the dramatic event it tweeted: 'Breaking News! Lovejoy lives! The comet Lovejoy has survived its journey around the sun to reemerge on the other side.'
Lovejoy was only discovered on November 27 this year and was named after the amateur Australian astronomer who spotted it, Terry Lovejoy.
Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured Comet Lovejoy diving past the sun just 87,000 miles from the surface - and surviving the 'graze'
Heat is on: Lovejoy emerges from the clutches of the Sun and was spotted escaping last week by Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory
It is classed as a 'Kreutz sungrazer', which is a class of comet whose orbit comes very close to the Sun.
They are named after the 19th-century German astronomer Heinrich Kreutz, who figured out that they are actually the remains of one huge comet that broke apart.
Soon after Lovejoy was found three separate space agencies excitedly began tracking its trajectory - Nasa, the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
Its fate was quickly marked as doomed because it would rush headlong into the Sun's hellish corona.
Writing on the Sungrazing Comets website, Naval Research Laboratory scientist Karl Battams said: 'We have here an exceptionally rare opportunity to observe the complete vaporization of a relatively large comet, and we have approximately 18 instruments on five different satellites that are trying to do just that.'
However, Lovejoy had other ideas and in a brief, but very clear, clip can be seen zooming away to safety from the Sun's fiery clutches.
Robert Massey, from the Royal Astronomical Society, was stunned by Lovejoy's close encounter.
He told MailOnline: 'It was an extraordinary event. Lovejoy was incredibly close to the Sun, closer to the Sun than the Earth is to the Moon.
'And it's certainly a pretty rare event. The Solar Heliospheric Observatory has seen many examples of comets being destroyed as they approached the Sun and there was a great deal of interest in this because there was an expectation of spectacular debris.
'I suppose if something is big and tough enough it will survive. This event tells us that the comet was rather more robust than expected. Doubtless it had a very rough ride though!'
Mr Massey explained that comets have probably survived skirmishes with the Sun before, but we just haven't been able to see them.
("The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof." Psalms 19:1-6)
Europe's Perishing Parishes
Dutchman Helps to Liquidate Dying Churches
By Benjamin Durr
A drastic exodus from the church is underway in the Netherlands. With two churches shuttered each week, one man has become the country's top advisor on how to repurpose the once holy buildings. Some are demolished, while others find new life as mosques, stores and even recreation centers.
The church pews will be sold according to size. The shortest ones, at 3.6 meters (12 feet) long, can be purchased for â‚¬40 ($52), the longer six-meter pews for â‚¬60. Churchgoers in the Dutch town of Bilthoven have already carried 17 pews out of their sanctuary.
The pews will not be a problem, says Marc de Beyer. But the organ and the baptismal font weighing hundreds of kilos at the back of the church will be more difficult.
Marc de Beyer is an art historian in Utrecht, located about a half an hour by train from Amsterdam, but one could also call him a liquidator. He's a man who shuts down churches. When a parish is dissolved, when a church is shuttered, de Beyer is there. And he has a lot to do.
Some 4,400 church buildings remain in the Netherlands. But each week, around two close their doors forever. This mainly affects the Catholics, who will be forced to offload half of their churches in the coming years.
"And that's just the beginning," says de Beyer.
His voice echoes in the vaulted building, where the dim autumn sunshine falls sideways through the window panes. De Beyer stands behind a block as large as a freezer chest. Until July 1, 2006, it was the altar at the St. Lawrence church in Bilthoven, north of Utrecht. But on that day the church become real estate and the altar where believers had been blessed, married and mourned became a hunk of cement.
At first, there was discussion about converting the church into a community center. But the Catholics wanted to sell quickly, and a project company bought the consecrated property. In the coming year, St. Lawrence will be demolished, making room for 62 apartments in its place.
"Architecturally, the loss can be borne," de Beyer says. The church was built in the 1960s, when the Catholic communities in Bilthoven and De Bilt grew so rapidly that the two districts needed three churches between them. It was built quickly and simply.
For years the number of faithful has been declining. The trend has swept across all of Western Europe, with churches forced to close in France and Belgium too. But in the Netherlands, Christianity's retreat from society has been particularly drastic. The Protestant Church alone loses some 60,000 members each year. At this rate, it will cease to exist there by 2050, church officials say.
The trend has led to the mergers of churches from several communities. St. Lawrence in Bilthoven has consolidated its congregation with that of eight other churches. But none of these amalgamations need more than one church, one organ, and one altar crucifix. All the other chalices, crosses and pews need to be disposed of. The problem, de Beyer says, is that holy items don't sell particularly well. The buildings themselves quickly find new renters, though.
In Helmond, some 80 kilometers south of Bilthoven, a supermarket even moved into a defunct church in 2001. A bookstore has opened in a former Dominican church in Maastricht, while in Utrecht and Amsterdam churches have been turned into mosques. Of the Netherlands' some 17 million citizens, about 850,000 practice Islam. Still, many other churches are simply being demolished.
For the last three years de Beyer has been closing down churches. He was there when a "strategy plan" was developed for the turning the St. Catherine's Convent into a museum. Together with the foundation for religious art heritage, he has also written a handbook with instructions for closing a church in six steps -- from inventory to divestment. It has been distributed among the different parishes since April, and will soon be translated into English.
'The Best Solution'
Recently de Beyer attended a symposium in Germany, and soon he'll speak in Belgium. After all, churches aren't just dying in the Netherlands. When he reaches point 5.4 in his manual, entitled "demolition," people are often forced to catch their breath, he says.
"But when a church has little purpose, emotional value or historical significance that can be the best solution," de Beyer adds.
Still, de Beyer thinks of himself as a rescuer of temples. He wants to preserve their value. His instructions are meant to help distinguish between the valuable and the worthless. He often personally shows up to the churches to provide guidance and support. Pews and Bibles are usually sold to members of the congregation.
"Altars often find new places in Eastern Europe," says de Beyer. "There's a big demand there because new churches are always being built."
A few weeks ago one parish in Arnheim decided on a totally new use for its church, which had stood empty for some five years. In late November St. Joseph's church opened a skate park, with ramps and obstacles in the nave, charging â‚¬3.50 to spend a day skating between holy figures. Since then church attendance has been respectable.
"OH WOW." Steve Jobs' Last Words Raise the Ultimate Question
Monday, December 26, 2011, 12:16 PM
Wesley J. Smith
When I was a lad, my mother told me about the death of her grandmother in the 1920s. "She was speaking to angels," mom told me. At least that is what she had told her family gathered around her bed.
When I was a hospice volunteer, I visited one of my patients a few days before he died. When his wife left the room, he told me that he could hear his mother calling him. Here's the thing: His mother was long dead and the voice he heard was hers, he told me, and used the nickname that only she had ever called him. "Am I going nuts?" he asked me. "No," I told him, thinking of my own mother's story, "it's perfectly natural." "Is it really my mother?" he asked. "I don't know," I replied. "But I hope it is."
Another friend, who died of breast cancer far too young, told me shortly before her death that she had experienced a vision of being held in the arms of Jesus. She was a faithful Catholic and it gave her great comfort. We all have such stories.
I bring this up because Steve Jobs' last words, as reported by his sister Mona Simpson, seemed to imply that something awesome was happening to him. The columnist Peggy Noonan also noticed. From her Wall Street Journal column:
"Before embarking, he'd looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life's partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them. Steve's final words were: 'OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.'" The caps are Simpson's, and if she meant to impart a sense of wonder and mystery she succeeded. "Oh wow" is not a bad way to express the bigness, power and force of life, and death. And of love, by which he was literally surrounded.
Ultimate questions arise, even if we are reading into his statement that which was not intended. I like Noonan's analysis:
I sent Ms. Simpson's eulogy to a number of people and spoke to some of them, and they all had two things in common in terms of their reaction. They'd get a faraway look, and think. And if they had a thought to share they did it with modesty. No one said, "I think I can guess what he saw," "I know who he saw," or "Believe me, if he saw anything it was the product of the last, disordered sparks of misfiring neurons." They were always modest, reflective. One just said, "Wow." Modesty when contemplating death is a good thing. When words leave people silent and thinking they are powerful words. Steve Jobs' last words were the best thing said in 2011.
We will all reach that, "Oh wow," moment. Uniquely among the species, we know it is coming ever closer and that, transhumanism notwithstanding, there is no escape. More than anything else, I think, that terrible understanding is core to what it means to be human, powerfully influencing what we believe and how we choose to live. Death matters because life does, and life matters because we are all going to die.
'There was this bright light above me': Teenager makes heartbreaking video about his near-death experiences - a week before he dies from heart attack
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
29th December 2011
After cheating death three times, Ben Breedlove, 18, finally lost his life on Christmas night after suffering from a heart attack.
But not before he recorded videos of his life and near-death experiences and how at peace he felt when he believed he was leaving the world.
The Austin teenager had a life-threatening heart condition he fought every day as he was growing up.
Scroll down for video
Sick: Ben Breedlove, 18, had battled with a life-threatening heart condition his whole life
Unique story: In the video, he describes his three near-death experiences using flash cards
He had a near death experience when he was four, fourteen and then less than a month ago.
[A near-death experience refers to a broad range of personal experiences associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations including detachment from the body; feelings of levitation; extreme fear; total serenity, security, or warmth; the experience of absolute dissolution; and the presence of a light.
These phenomena are usually reported after an individual has been pronounced clinically dead or otherwise very close to death, hence the term near-death experience.
According to a Gallup poll, approximately eight million Americans claim to have had a near-death experience.]
In the video, he shares these experiences, including the bright light that brought him peace the first time around and the time he was wearing a suit and standing in a white room with his favourite rapper Kid Cudi.
Of this experience, he wrote: 'I then looked in the mirror, I was proud of myself of my entire life, everything I have done. It was the BEST feeling.'
The rapper posted this message on his blog after hearing of Ben's death: 'I am so sad about Ben Breedlove. I watched the video he left for the world to see, and him seeing me in detail, in his vision really warmed my heart.
'I broke down... To Ben’s family, you raised a real hero, he’s definitely mine. You have my love.'
Talking about the white light he saw in the hospital when he was four he wrote: 'I couldn't take my eyes off it, and I couldn't help but smile. I had no worries at all, like nothing else in the world mattered.'
Acceptance: He talks about bright lights and feeling at peace and a rapper called Kid Cudi he met
Beyond the grave: He died on Christmas night from a heart attack and left these videos behind
Heaven: He said the feeling of peace was so immense, he did not want to leave
Kristine McGuire: A Ghost Hunter Calls on Christ
By Rod Thomas - The 700 Club
CBN.com - Kristine McGuire was deeply involved in the occult and ghost hunting. But one night, she realized she was in way over her head.
"I went in there and it was a very active night," Kristine Mcguire tells The 700 Club. "We had some very strange things happen, and I realized that there was a demon in this place."
Even though she was a full-fledged witch, Kristine still considered herself a Christian. Her husband Thom explains, "She had blended Christianity with witchcraft. We've now come to know as a term of syncretism, which is taking different religions and blending them together."
Kristine explains, "Basically, I just ignored what the Bible said in certain parts, read the rest of it to be what I wanted it to mean, and folded it into witchcraft."
She was raised in a Christian home. But when she and Thom started having problems in their marriage, they questioned their faith.
Thom says, "That's when things started to kind of fall apart in our marriage and in our relationship with God."
After Thom had an emotional affair with a woman online, he and Kristine separated.
"I felt abandoned by God," Kristine says. "I didn't have control over my own destiny. I wanted to connect with a feminine energy. I wanted to connect with the goddess. And so I felt that feminine energy. I think that's why I was so drawn to it, because it appealed to me as a woman."
Over the next five years, Kristine dove deeper into witchcraft. But she couldn't shake the feeling that God was trying to get her attention.
"The Holy Spirit prodded me from day one. I'd say He was poking me with a stick, you know, trying to help me to come to my senses. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I chose to ignore that."
She eventually started ghost hunting.
"By that time I was a medium and communicating with spirits on my own. I was watching this going, 'Well, I could do that.' So I got on the internet and I searched ghost hunting groups in my area."
At the same time, Thom rededicated his life to God and tried to reconcile with Kristine.
"I called and told her that I thought we ought to be back together, that God had a greater plan than what we had."
Kristine recalls, "We were reunited and he knew I was a ghost hunter, a medium and a witch."
"I decided this time I would go with the flow," Thom says. "I would pray for her a lot and be that pillar for her."
Kristine refused to change. But one night, she realized that her choices could have severe consequences.
"I realized that there was a demon in this place. At one point I felt like I should command this spirit to leave in the name of Jesus. There was an authority that I hadn't used in years."
She said, "In the name of Jesus, you are gonna leave. You are uninvited. Now he's gonna go where Jesus sends him."
"The interesting thing was we didn't hear anything happen at that time. But a few days later I got an email with a file attached to it that had an EVP on it (an electronic voice phenomenon) and it happened to be the clip from when I told this spirit it had to leave in Jesus' name.
"What you hear can only be described as a scream. It was the strangest thing I've ever heard. It scared me, to be quite honest. It sounded inhuman. I had just heard a demon react to the true, honest power of Jesus' name. I sent the file to my husband."
Thom says, "Being an audio engineer, I looked at in the wave forms to see, 'Okay, who edited this?' and 'Where's the edit happen?' And it's not there. This is a real clip of audio, and so it really freaked her out. She started realizing that there was power in Jesus' name. He wasn't just a good guy that she should listen to, but that He was the Son of God."
Kristine knew then that she could never combine witchcraft and spiritualism with Christianity.
"I realized that I had been fooled. I'd given myself over to demons. And it was at that moment that I literally got down on my face and just poured my heart out to the Lord and begged for his forgiveness. I renounced everything that I had been involved in."
Thom knew that God had answered him.
"I believe in the power of prayer. I figured that just praying a lot, eventually things would turn around. I had faith that God could do it."
Kristine says, "That meant more to me than anything. To know that my husband - he just accepted me where I was at that time and loved me enough to trust me to God's hands."
Today, she warns others about the dangers of the occult.
"You might not necessarily be involved or even dabbling in magic or ghost hunting or anything like that, but you start reading about it," Kristine says. "You start watching television programs. You start watching movies, searching on the internet. I think the most important thing I would say is, read the Bible and understand the power that is behind these things is the occult. Because it's a very real power. It's very real and its only intent is our spiritual destruction.
"I'm so thankful and grateful for God pulling me out of that deception and out of that life of harassment that I didn't even realize I was living. There's nothing like the power of Jesus. The power of Jesus... It saves. It forgives. It loves. Jesus is everything."
Can God change your life?
God has made it possible for you to know Him and experience an amazing change in your own life. Discover how you can find peace with God.
The Turin Shroud could not have been faked, say scientists
BY NICK SQUIRES, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
DECEMBER 19, 2011
A new study suggests that one of Christianity's most prized but mysterious relics - the Turin Shroud - is not a medieval forgery and could be the burial robe of Christ. Pictured, Father Vince Gulikers examines a replica of the Shroud of Turin that was on display in Windsor.
Photograph by: Dan Janisse, The Windsor Star
A new study suggests that one of Christianity's most prized but mysterious relics - the Turin Shroud - is not a medieval forgery and could be the burial robe of Christ.
Italian scientists conducted a series of experiments that they said showed that the marks on the shroud - purportedly left by the imprint of Christ's body - could not have been faked with technology that was available in medieval times.
Skeptics have long claimed that the 14ft-long cloth is a forgery. Radiocarbon testing conducted by laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Arizona in 1988 appeared to back up the theory, suggesting that it dated from between 1260 and 1390. But those tests were in turn disputed on the basis that they were contaminated by fibres from cloth that was used to repair the relic when it was damaged by fire in the Middle Ages.
The new study is the latest intriguing piece of a puzzle that has baffled scientists for centuries and spawned an industry of research, books and documentaries.
"The double image (front and back) of a scourged and crucified man, barely visible on the linen cloth of the Shroud of Turin, has many physical and chemical characteristics that are so particular that the staining Ã– is impossible to obtain in a laboratory," concluded experts from Italy's National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Development.
The scientists set out to "identify the physical and chemical processes capable of generating a colour similar to that of the image on the shroud". They concluded that the shade, texture and depth of the imprints on the cloth could be produced only with the aid of ultraviolet lasers producing extremely brief pulses of light.
They said the image of the bearded man must therefore have been created by "some form of electromagnetic energy (such as a flash of light at short wavelength)".
Although they stopped short of offering a non-scientific explanation for the phenomenon, their findings will be embraced by those who believe that the marks on the shroud were miraculously created at the moment of Christ's Resurrection.
"We are not at the conclusion. We are composing pieces of a fascinating and complex scientific puzzle," the team reported.
Prof Paolo Di Lazzaro, who led the research, said: "When one talks about a flash of light being able to colour a piece of linen in the same way as the shroud, discussion inevitably touches on things such as miracles and resurrection. But as scientists, we were concerned only with verifiable scientific processes.
"We hope our results can open up a philosophical and theological debate but we will leave the conclusions to the experts, and ultimately to the conscience of individuals."
The research backs up the outcome of tests between 1978 and 1981 carried out by a group of American scientists who called themselves the Shroud of Turin Research Project.
They conducted 120 hours of X-rays and ultraviolet light tests and concluded that the marks were not made by paints, pigments or dyes and that the image was not "the product of an artist", but that at the same time it could not be explained by modern science.
One of Christianity's greatest objects of veneration, the shroud shows the imprint of a man whose body appears to have nail wounds to his wrists and feet, pinpricks from thorns around his forehead and a spear wound to his chest. Each year it attracts millions of pilgrims to Turin cathedral, where it is kept in a climate-controlled case.
The Vatican has never said whether it believes the shroud to be authentic or not, although the Pope said the image "reminds us always" of Christ's suffering.
Until next week...
Happy New Year
wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because
he trusteth in thee.”