***

The Independent

Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural

MICHAEL DAY

ROME

20 DECEMBER 2011

Italian government scientists have claimed to have discovered evidence that a supernatural event formed the image on the Turin Shroud, believed by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.

After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists.

However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax.

Such technology, say researchers from the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Enea), was far beyond the capability of medieval forgers, whom most experts have credited with making the famous relic.

"The results show that a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin," they said.

And in case there was any doubt about the preternatural degree of energy needed to make such distinct marks, the Enea report spells it out: "This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date."

A statement by lead researcher, Dr Paolo Di Lazzaro, said: "If our results prompt a philosophical or theological debate, these conclusions we'll leave to the experts; to each person's own conscience," he said.

Luigi Garlaschelli, a professor of chemistry at Pavia University, told The Independent: "The implications are... that the image was formed by a burst of UV energy so intense it could only have been supernatural."

BreakPoint

Tim Tebow: Why So Controversial? (Tim Tebow plays for a professional football team in the USA.)

Chuck Colson

Dec. 19, 2011 -

A few weeks ago, the college basketball game between Cincinnati and Xavier ended in a bench-clearing brawl. The fight got so bad that the referees decided not to play the last nine seconds. The media and fans were rightly appalled and demanded harsh measures.

This debacle came only a week after the NFL announced that 11 players had failed drug tests. Two of the players, from the Washington Redskins, were suspended for the rest of the season because this was their third offense. The media and Redskins fans were appalled and wondered how anyone could be so foolish and irresponsible.

These stories represent the tiniest tip of a huge iceberg. It seems that no news cycle is complete without a story about some athlete getting into trouble both on and off the field.

Yet, by many accounts, the most controversial athlete in America is a God-fearing man who grew up serving the poor overseas and whose teammates would walk through fire for.

I'm speaking, of course, of Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. A recent piece in the Atlantic Monthly named him as one of the "15 Most Divisive Athletes in Recent History." Others on the list included Michael Vick, Barry Bonds, Dennis Rodman, Pete Rose and O.J. Simpson.

So, let's see ... that's one man convicted of animal cruelty, another of obstruction of justice, yet another of tax evasion and banned from baseball for betting on games, someone who probably killed his ex-wife, and a guy who appeared at a book signing wearing a dress.

What did Tebow do to make this august list? Essentially, he is up-front about his Christian faith and he made an ad saying that he was glad that his mother didn't abort him.

Even with this, the controversy over Tebow is hard to understand. After all, he's hardly the only Christian football player or even quarterback. Players kneeling on the sidelines in prayer is almost as much of the NFL as cheerleaders.

Neither is he the first player to publicly take a pro-life stand: In 1989, members of the New York Giants and owner Wellington Mara made a pro-life video which was far more direct in its condemnation of abortion than anything that Tebow has done.

When you add the appalling, often criminal behavior of many athletes, calling Tebow "divisive" brings to mind the words of Jesus denunciation of the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. It also brings to mind the story He told about "We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn."

There is nothing that Tebow can do, it seems, that will really please people. And that's ironic because there's never been a time when people wanted more good role models for their children.

I guess they want the role models--especially religious ones--to be silent, however, about what motivates them.

Ultimately, what makes Tebow "divisive" and "controversial" has little, if anything, to do with what he does on the field. It's all about our increasing intolerance of faith in public life. Tebow isn't trying to "impose" anything on anyone besides himself.

Yet, even that is too much for some people. I can't help but suspect that our generation is getting the kind of athletes it deserves. So, maybe, Tebow should just wear a wedding dress...

***

CNN

Report: Girl thought to be swept away during tsunami found alive

An aerial photo from January 2005 shows destroyed houses in Meluaboh, in West Aceh, Indonesia.

December 22nd, 2011

This page has been shared 15 times. View these Tweets.

An 8-year-old girl who was swept away from her mother's arms during the 2004 tsunami that hit Indonesia has been found alive and reunited with her parents, according to the Indonesian state news agency Antara.

The girl, who was identified by state news only as Wati, now 15, was reportedly discovered nearly seven years after the tsunami devastated the coastlines of Asia.

An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of between 9.1 to 9.3 strikes the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, and triggered a deadly tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Wati was in the village of Ujong Baroh when flood waters came crashing in.

"Her mother, Yusniar, was trying to take her and her two siblings to a safe place, but somehow she lost her grip on her mother's arm and was carried away by the rushing waters, leaving her mother powerless to help her," the state news agency said. "Yusniar was able to save her two other children, but she and the rest of the family eventually had to resign themselves to the notion that Wati was lost as she never returned nor had anybody in the neighborhood seen her again dead or alive."

The now teenage Wati was spotted in a coffee shop near her home in West Aceh, Indonesia.

She said that "she had come [there] by bus from Banda Aceh and was trying to find her way back home but did not know how. She also could not remember any of her parents' or relatives' names except Ibrahim," according to Antara.

She was sitting in silence in the coffee shop, assumed to be a beggar, the news agency reported.

Later that day, Wati and someone she met showed up at a man's house.

His name? Ibrahim.

"After listening to the acquaintances account, Ibrahim immediately sensed the girl could be his long-lost grandchild and, after a closer look at the dark-skinned girl, was indeed convinced she was Wati who went missing in the tsunami seven years ago," the news agency reported.

Ibrahim called her parents to immediately come meet her, according to the agency, and the parents confirmed it was their daughter because of a small mole and scar that she had as a child.

Antara said they were told no other details about what happened to the girl when she was swept away other than she had been in several areas throughout Indonesia's Aceh province after the tsunami.

***

The Upper Room
     </center>



***

December Thots

December 23, 2011

A compilation

Christmas living is the best kind of Christmas giving.—Van Dyke

+

Christ did not come to do away with suffering; He did not come to explain it; He came to fill it with His presence.—Paul Claudel

+

The hinge of history is on the door of a Bethlehem stable.—W. S. Sacman

+

The message of Christmas is that the visible material world is bound to the invisible spiritual world.—Author unknown

+

Christmas is not a date. It is a state of mind.—Mary Ellen Chase

+

It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.—Charles Dickens

+

It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.—W. T. Ellis

+

Christmas is not just a day, an event to be observed and speedily forgotten; it is a spirit which should permeate every part of our lives. To believe that the spirit of Christmas does change lives and to labor for the realization of its coming to all men is the essence of our faith in Christ.—William Parks

+

Christmas began in the heart of God. It is complete only when it reaches the heart of man.—Religious Telescope

+

The light that shines from the humble manger is strong enough to lighten our way to the end of our days.—Vita-Rays

+

There was once a family that celebrated Christmas every year with a birthday party for Jesus. An extra chair of honor at the table became the family’s reminder of Jesus’ presence. A cake with candles, along with the singing of “Happy Birthday,” expressed the family’s joy in Jesus’ presence.

One year, a Christmas afternoon visitor asked five-year-old Ruth, “Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas?” After a moment’s hesitation, she answered, “No, but then it’s not my birthday!”—James Hewett

+

“When Christmas is over,” said a merchant to a minister, “it’s over, and it’s our job to rid this store completely of Christmas in a day.” “Well,” said the minister, “I’ve a bigger job—to keep Christmas in the hearts of my people for a lifetime.”—Eleanor Doan

+

There was a gift for each of us left under the tree of life 2,000 years ago by Him Whose birthday we celebrate today. The gift was withheld from no man. Some have left the packages unclaimed. Some have accepted the gift and carried it around, but have failed to remove the wrappings and look inside to discover the hidden splendor. The packages are all alike; in each is a scroll on which is written, “All that the Father hath is thine.” Take and live!—Author unknown

+

Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.—Oren Arnold

+

Peace on earth will come to stay,
When we live Christmas every day.—Helen Steiner Rice

+

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.—Norman Vincent Peale

+

This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone.—Taylor Caldwell

+

Remember, if Christmas isn’t found in your heart, you won’t find it under a tree.—Charlotte Carpenter

+

Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won't make it “white.”—Bing Crosby

+

My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?—Bob Hope

+

The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.—W. C. Jones

+

Late on a sleepy, star-spangled night, those angels peeled back the sky just like you would tear open a sparkling Christmas present. Then, with light and joy pouring out of heaven like water through a broken dam, they began to shout and sing the message that baby Jesus had been born. The world had a Savior! The angels called it “Good News,” and it was.—Larry Libby

+

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.—Hamilton Wright Mabie

+

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.—Agnes M. Pahro

+

I truly believe that if we keep telling the Christmas story, singing the Christmas songs, and living the Christmas spirit, we can bring joy and happiness and peace to this world.—Norman Vincent Peale

+

Christmas—that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance—a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.—Augusta E. Rundell

+

Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.—Ruth Carter Stapleton

Published December 2011.

Copyright © 2011 The Family International.

***


Quote

When you claim the power of the keys, My light, love, energy, and force become a part of your very being.