“My soul, wait thou
only upon God; for my expectation is from him.”
Greetings! A friend of ours told us about the first video on the website this week. We found it encouraging and thought you may also. The video ends with “...we win”. And so we will.
As Jesus said in Luke 21:28, “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” What things was Jesus speaking of here? It was the cataclysmic end time events predicted throughout God's word. Events so overwhelming that Jesus said, “Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.”
Although many in the world will have great fear, those of us who know Jesus will be looking forward with great anticipation.
Aren't you excited with expectancy when you find out a loved one you have not seen for a long time is due for a visit, one from your youth with whom you can relive the joys of childhood?
How much more us (we) can look forward to eternal life with a new heavenly body with Jesus. And what if your loved one told you he was bringing a special gift for you and you tried and tried to guess what it was and the only clue he would give you was “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
“Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (Revelation 22:12)
By Aiden Tozer
O taste and see.--Psalm 34:8
To most people God is an inference, not a reality. He is a deduction from evidence which they consider adequate; but He remains personally unknown to the individual. "He must be," they say, "therefore we believe He is."
Others do not go even so far as this; they know of Him only by hearsay. They have never bothered to think the matter out for themselves, but have heard about Him from others, and have put belief in Him into the back of their minds along with the various odds and ends that make up their total creed.
To many others God is but an ideal, another name for goodness, or beauty, or truth; or He is law, or life, or the creative impulse back of the phenomena of existence.
These notions about God are many and varied, but they who hold them have one thing in common: they do not know God in personal experience. The possibility of intimate acquaintance with Him has not entered their minds. While admitting His existence they do not think of Him as knowable in the sense that we know things or people.
Christians, to be sure, go further than this, at least in theory. Their creed requires them to believe in the personality of God.... But for millions of Christians, nevertheless, God is no more real than He is to the non-Christian. They go through life trying to love an ideal and be loyal to a mere principle.
Over against all this cloudy vagueness stands the clear scriptural doctrine that God can be known in personal experience. A loving Personality dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living Person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working, and manifesting Himself whenever and wherever His people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation.
The Bible assumes as a self-evident fact that men can know God with at least the same degree of immediacy as they know any other person or thing that comes within the field of their experience. The same terms are used to express the knowledge of God as are used to express knowledge of physical things. "O taste and see that the Lord is good." "All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces." "My sheep hear my voice." "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."1 These are but four of countless such passages from the Word of God. And more important than any proof text is the fact that the whole import of the Scripture is toward this belief.
What can all this mean except that we have in our hearts organs by means of which we can know God as certainly as we know material things through our familiar five senses? We apprehend the physical world by exercising the faculties given us for the purpose, and we possess spiritual faculties by means of which we can know God and the spiritual world if we will obey the Spirit's urge and begin to use them.
Why do [we] know so little of that habitual conscious communion with God which the Scriptures seem to offer? The answer is our chronic unbelief. Faith enables our spiritual sense to function. Where faith is defective, the result will be inward insensibility and numbness toward spiritual things. This is the condition of vast numbers of Christians today.
A spiritual kingdom lies all about us, enclosing us, embracing us, altogether within reach of our inner selves, waiting for us to recognize it. God Himself is here waiting our response to His Presence. This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon upon its reality.
What do I mean by reality? I mean that which has existence apart from any idea any mind may have of it, and which would exist if there were no mind anywhere to entertain a thought of it. That which is real has being in itself. It does not depend upon the observer for its validity.
The sincere plain man knows that the world is real. He finds it here when he wakes to consciousness, and he knows that he did not think it into being. It was here waiting for him when he came, and he knows that when he prepares to leave this earthly scene it will be here still to bid him good-bye as he departs. By the deep wisdom of life he is wiser than a thousand men who doubt. He stands upon the earth and feels the wind and rain in his face and he knows that they are real. He sees the sun by day and the stars by night. He sees the hot lightning play out of the dark thundercloud. He hears the sounds of nature and the cries of human joy and pain. These he knows are real. He lies down on the cool earth at night and has no fear that it will prove illusory or fail him while he sleeps. In the morning the firm ground will be under him, the blue sky above him, and the rocks and trees around him as when he closed his eyes the night before. So he lives and rejoices in a world of reality. With his five senses he engages this real world.
Now, by our definition also God is real. He is real in the absolute and final sense that nothing else is. All other reality is contingent upon His. The great Reality is God, who is the Author of that lower and dependent reality which makes up the sum of created things, including ourselves. God has objective existence independent of and apart from any notions which we may have concerning Him.
Another word that must be cleared up is the word reckon. This does not mean to visualize or imagine. Imagination is not faith. The two are not only different from, but stand in sharp opposition to, each other. Imagination projects unreal images out of the mind and seeks to attach reality to them. Faith creates nothing; it simply reckons upon that which is already there.
God and the spiritual world are real. We can reckon upon them with as much assurance as we reckon upon the familiar world around us. Spiritual things are there (or rather we should say here) inviting our attention and challenging our trust.
Our trouble is that we have established bad thought habits. We habitually think of the visible world as real and doubt the reality of any other. We do not deny the existence of the spiritual world but we doubt that it is real in the accepted meaning of the word.
The world of sense intrudes upon our attention day and night for the whole of our lifetime. It is clamorous, insistent, and self-demonstrating. It does not appeal to our faith; it is here, assaulting our five senses, demanding to be accepted as real and final. But sin has so clouded the lenses of our hearts that we cannot see that other reality, the City of God, shining around us. The world of sense triumphs. The visible becomes the enemy of the invisible; the temporal, of the eternal.
At the root of the Christian life lies belief in the invisible. The object of the Christian's faith is unseen reality.
Our uncorrected thinking, influenced by the blindness of our natural hearts and the intrusive ubiquity of visible things, tends to draw a contrast between the spiritual and the real; but actually no such contrast exists. The antithesis lies elsewhere: between the real and the imaginary, between the spiritual and the material, between the temporal and the eternal; but between the spiritual and the real, never. The spiritual is real.
If we would rise into that region of light and power plainly beckoning us through the Scriptures of truth we must break the ... habit of ignoring the spiritual. We must shift our interest from the seen to the unseen. For the great unseen Reality is God. "He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."2 This is basic in the life of faith. From there we can rise to unlimited heights. "Ye believe in God," said our Lord Jesus Christ, "believe also in me."3 Without the first, there can be no second.
If we truly want to follow God we must seek to be other-worldly. Every man must choose his world. If we who follow Christ, with all the facts before us and knowing what we are about, deliberately choose the Kingdom of God as our sphere of interest I see no reason why anyone should object. If we lose by it, the loss is our own; if we gain, we rob no one by so doing. The "other world," which is the object of this world's disdain and the subject of the drunkard's mocking song, is our carefully chosen goal and the object of our holiest longing.
But we must avoid the common fault of pushing the "other world" into the future. It is not future, but present. It parallels our familiar physical world, and the doors between the two worlds are open. And this not by any trick of the imagination, but in downright actuality. The soul has eyes with which to see and ears with which to hear. Feeble they may be from long disuse, but by the life-giving touch of Christ alive now and capable of sharpest sight and most sensitive hearing.
As we begin to focus upon God, the things of the spirit will take shape before our inner eyes. Obedience to the word of Christ will bring an inward revelation of the godhead.4 It will give acute perception, enabling us to see God even as is promised to the pure in heart. A new God consciousness will seize upon us and we shall begin to taste and hear and inwardly feel the God who is our life and our all. There will be seen the constant shining of the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.5 More and more, as our faculties grow sharper and more sure, God will become to us the great All, and His Presence the glory and wonder of our lives.
O God, quicken to life every power within me, that I may lay hold on eternal things. Open my eyes that I may see; give me acute spiritual perception; enable me to taste Thee and know that Thou art good. Make heaven more real to me than any earthly thing has ever been. Amen.
From "The Pursuit of God," published 1957. -
Excerpted and republished on Anchor March 2012. -
Read by Simon Peterson.
1 Psalm 34:8, 45:8; John 10:27; Matthew 5:8.
2 Hebrews 11:6.
3 John 14:1.
4 John 14:21 - 23.
5 John 1:9.
New York Post
There'll be hell to pay
Dolan's Pill pledge to O
By KEVIN SHEEHAN and GARY BUISO
March 4, 2012
Timothy Cardinal Dolan ramped up the rhetoric in his battle with the White House over contraception policy yesterday -- and promised some political payback.
"Don't impose your teaching upon us and make us do as a church what we find unconscionable to do!" the freshly minted prince of the church told a roaring crowd of 1,000 at Holy Trinity Diocesan HS in Hicksville, LI, referring to a government plan to mandate that religious institutions provide free contraception to workers.
"The Health and Human Services fight is a freedom-of-religion battle. It is not about contraception. It is not about women's health," Dolan said.
PREACHING: Timothy Cardinal Dolan speaks at Holy Trinity Diocesan HS in Hicksville, LI, yesterday.
"No, we are talking about an unwarranted, unprecedented, radical intrusion into the interior life of, integrity of a church's ability to teach, serve and sanctify on its own."
In a blistering attack interlaced with humor, Dolan never mentioned President Obama by name -- only his policies. And the cardinal promised to put the political muscle of 78 million American Catholics to work against the enemies of free religion.
"President Johnson said, as an American, I look to the church -- I look to religion as a beehive. If you leave them alone, they're going to give you tons of their honey. But if you stick your head in there, you're going to get stung bad."
The cardinal, dressed in black and wearing his priestly collar, warned that the sting may come in the voting booth.
"I'd recommend starting voter-registration drives at our parishes. Not only is it going to help churches, it is going to help our American republic. More voters the better."
And he said he's confident he's not alone in the fight.
"We look up and see people who share our values and our vision," he said.
Washington softened its stance on the contraception issue last month, saying insurers would foot the bill -- not the church's schools, hospitals or clinics directly.
But on his blog, Dolan said he and the bishops "are still as worried as ever" about the proposed regulation by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Dolan, the de-facto leader of the American Catholic Church, didn't shy away from other controversies.
"I thought there's a vocation, a call to marriage, responsible entry into marriage," he said. "I don't recall a right to marriage. Now we hear there is a right to sterilization, abortion and chemical contraception."
He continued, "I suppose we could say there might be some doctor who would say to a man who is suffering some sort of sexual dysfunction, 'You ought to start visiting a prostitute to help you, and I will write you a prescription, and I hope the government will pay for it.'
"We live in an era that seems to discover new rights every day and then expects government and culture and society to pay for it. The church emphasizes responsibility more than rights."
The St. Louis native started off his 50-minute speech with lighter fare -- baseball.
"When I got here, somebody said, 'Are you going to be a Mets fan or a Yankees fan?' I said in this instance, I can be pro-choice."
After the laughs, the cardinal came out swinging.
'GOOD CHRISTIAN BI----S' COMES TO PRIMETIME
ABC debut blasted as 'blasphemy' and 'attack on the faith'
March 5, 2012
by DREW ZAHN
Making its television network debut tonight is a new ABC series that was originally titled "Good Christian Bi---s" and that has already been blasted as "blasphemy," "an affront to women" and "an attack on the world's largest faith."
Following some fury over the announcement of the series, ABC changed the show's name first to "Good Christian Belles" and then again to simply "GCB," but yanking obscenity from the title hasn't settled questions about the show's content.
As WND reported last year, "GCB" is based on the book "Good Christian Bi---s" by Kim Gatlin and is being made by the reportedly homosexual executive producer Darren Star, Emmy-winning creator of a several steamy TV hits, including "Melrose Place," "Beverly Hills, 90210â€³ and "Sex and the City."
The pilot episode stars actress Leslie Bibb as Amanda, a mother of two and onetime "mean girl" in high school who returns home a widow to Dallas, only to discover she is the center of malicious gossip in the Christian community.
Trailers, advertisements and sneak previews for the series suggest the show will be snide, steamy and seriously offensive to many Christians.
"ABC-TV has taken blasphemy against God, the Bible, God's church and Jesus Christ to new levels of depravity," claims Dr. Ted Baehr, founder of Movieguide and chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission. "The [above] advertisement for ABC's new program, 'GCB,' found in a New York subway, not only is a blasphemous use of the biblical command to "love thy neighbor," [but] it also blasphemes Jesus Christ, who died on the Cross to save the souls of all people who have faith in Him."
A trailer for the show also shows the Christian women of Dallas misusing other verses to justify pettiness, claiming God "told" them to buy furs, making jokes about oral sex and claiming teenage girls should wear low-cut clothing so their cleavage can help the crosses about their necks "hang straight."
"Ladies, it is not appropriate to speak of such things on the phone," declares one of the ladies in a "GCB" trailer. "I'll see you in church."
An ABC advertisment for the program can be seen below
Netanyahu and Obama Discuss Book of Esther
Netanyahu draws a scriptural parallel between Israel's face-off with Iran and Purim for US President Barack Obama.
By Gavriel Queenann
First Publish: 3/5/2012
Netanyahu and Obama
US President Barack Obama reportedly on Monday gave Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu a copy of the Book of Esther in honor of the Jewish holiday of Purim, which is celebrated on Thursday and Friday this week.
Netanyahu took the opportunity to draw a parallel between the narrative in the Book of Esther - wherein the wicked Haman seeks to destroy the Jewish people throughout the Persian Empire - with Israel's modern day conflict with Iran..
Iranian leaders - including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - have repeatedly called for the destruction of the Jewish state, referring to Israel as a "one bomb state."
Iran is geographically Persia and the Iranians are descendants of the ancient Persians.
The exchange took place at the end of the meeting between the two leaders, which lasted approximately 3 hours.
After the meeting, Netanyahu told reporters that Obama understood that Israel has the right to defend it against its enemies, and has the full right to take its future and security into its own hands.
A deep and high-profile schism between Jerusalem and Washington on how to confront Iran's nuclear ambitions has resulted in a nadir in relations between the two allies.
Netanyahu also hinted that he raised the issue of Jonathan Pollard's release from US prison. Pollard has served 27 years of a life sentence for passing classified data to Israel.
"I have worked for his release in the past, and always will work for his release," Netanyahu said.
Meanwhile, Channel 2 reported that senior Obama administration officials are convinced an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear program would "cause a conflagration" in the Middle East.
It was also reported US intelligence officials believe Israeli leaders have already decided to attack Iran, barring significant change in Iran's nuclear posture in the coming weeks or months.
Analysts say it is unlikely Jerusalem will warn Washington ahead of a strike on Iran due to numerous leaks in Washington, compromising Israel's plans and stature in its face-off with Tehran.
Spain's sovereign thunderclap and the end of Merkel's Europe
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Economics Last updated: March 5th, 2012
The Spanish rebellion has begun, sooner and more dramatically than I expected.
As many readers will already have seen, Premier Mariano Rajoy has refused point blank to comply with the austerity demands of the European Commission and the European Council (hijacked by Merkozy).
Taking what he called a "sovereign decision", he simply announced that he intends to ignore the EU deficit target of 4.4pc of GDP for this year, setting his own target of 5.8pc instead (down from 8.5pc in 2011).
In the twenty years or so that I have been following EU affairs closely, I cannot remember such a bold and open act of defiance by any state. Usually such matters are fudged. Countries stretch the line, but do not actually cross it.
With condign symbolism, Mr Rajoy dropped his bombshell in Brussels after the EU summit, without first notifying the commission or fellow EU leaders. Indeed, he seemed to relish the fact that he was tearing up the rule book and disavowing the whole EU machinery of budgetary control.
He is surely right to seize the initiative. Spain's economy will contract by 1.7pc this year under his modified plans and unemployment will reach 24pc (or 29pc under the 1990s method of counting). To compound this with manic fiscal tightening - and no offsetting devaluation - is intellectually indefensible.
There comes a point when a democracy can no longer sacrifice its citizens to please reactionary ideologues determined to impose 1930s scorched-earth policies. Ya basta.
What is striking is the wave of support for Mr Rajoy from the Spanish commentariat.
This one from Pablo SebastiÃ¡n left me speechless.
My loose translation:
"Spain isn't any old country that will allow itself to be humiliated by the German Chancellor."
"The behaviour of the European Commission towards Spain over recent days has been infamous and exceeds their treaty powers... these Eurocrats think they are the owners and masters of Spain."
"Spain and other nations in the EU are sick and tired of Chancellor Merkel's meddling and Germany's usurpation - with the help of Sarkozy's France and their pretended "executive presidency" that does not in fact exist in EU treaties."
"Rajoy must not retreat one inch. The stakes are high and the country is in no mood to suffer humiliations from a Chancellor who is amassing all the savings of Europe and won't listen to anybody, as if she were the absolute ruler of the Union. Merkel and the Commission should think hard before putting their hand into the sovereignty of this country - or any other - because it will be burned."
This then is the fermenting mood in the fiercely proud and ancient nation of Spain in Year III of depression, probably the worst depression the country has seen since the 1640s - or have I missed a worse one?
As for the "Fiscal Compact", it is rendered a dead letter by Spanish actions.
Gracias a Dios. If the text were enforced, the consequences would be ruinous. It enshrines Hooverism in EU law, and imposes contractionary policies without the consent of future parliaments - including any future Bundestag. Indeed, it probably violates the German constitution.
But it won't be enforced in any meaningful sense because the political realities of the EU are already intruding, and will intrude further. A president FranÃ§ois Hollande of France will rip it up.
The Latin Bloc is awakening.
That's a Smarties move! Nestle becomes first confectioner to ditch all artificial additives from its products
By SEAN POULTER
2nd March 2012
Smarties along with other Nestle brands will no longer contain any additives
Nestlé has become the first major confectioner to remove artificial colours, flavours and preservatives from its entire range.
The company, which is behind leading brands including KitKat, Smarties and Quality Street, has changed the recipe of 79 products to remove suspect chemicals.
Nestlé's Crunch bar is the last of the company's products to have the chemicals removed as part of a programme that dates back six years.
In total, more than 80 ingredients have been replaced with alternatives, mostly from natural sources such as carrot, hibiscus, radish, safflower and lemon.
Other companies are also racing to drop artificial additives from products, particularly those targeted at children. The moves follow a Daily Mail campaign and research by British academics linking some artificial colours to harm, including hyperactivity, in children.
The Daily Mail first highlighted the use of suspect colours in products such as Smarties in 2005. It launched the 'Ban the Additives' campaign in 2007 following research which found that normal healthy children became hyperactive when fed a cocktail of additives commonly used in sweets, cakes, fizzy drinks and some medicines.
The colours involved were tartrazine (E102); quinoline yellow (E104); sunset yellow (E110); carmoisine (E122); ponceau 4R (E124); and allura red (E129).
Subsequently, the Food Standards Agency announced a voluntary code calling on all food manufacturers to stop using these chemicals.
However Nestlé has gone further and removed all artificial additives from its range. The changes meant that blue Smarties disappeared for a time until a natural colouring could be found.
Smarties chocolates are amongst Nestle's most popular products
The managing director of Nestlé Confectionery UK, David Rennie, said: 'This is a significant milestone. Nestlé is proud to be the only major confectionery company in the UK to announce it is 100 per cent free of artificial preservatives, flavours or colours across the entire portfolio.
'To achieve this, Nestlé Confectionery and our suppliers have worked very hard ensuring we don't compromise and we maintain the same quality and taste of all our brands.'
The firm's research found that three quarters (74 per cent) of consumers buying confectionery now look for natural products, which includes the need to be free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.
Sally Bunday of the Hyperactive Children Support Group, which has warned against the use of artificial additives for 35 years, welcomed the Nestlé announcement.
She said: 'There is more than enough evidence to show that these artificial colours have an adverse effect on the well-being and behaviour of the children.
'We are delighted to learn of the decision taken by Nestlé to stop using all artificial additives. I am sure many other companies will also decide to stop using questionable additives.'
If You Feel O.K., Maybe You Are O.K.
By H. Gilbert Welch
February 27, 2012 - Hanover, N.H.--Early diagnosis has become one of the most fundamental precepts of modern medicine. It goes something like this: The best way to keep people healthy is to find out if they have (pick one) heart disease, autism, glaucoma, diabetes, vascular problems, osteoporosis or, of course, cancer--early. And the way to find these conditions early is through screening.
It is a precept that resonates with the intuition of the general public: obviously it's better to catch and deal with problems as soon as possible.
Recently, however, there have been rumblings within the medical profession that suggest that the enthusiasm for early diagnosis may be waning. Most prominent are recommendations against prostate cancer screening for healthy men and for reducing the frequency of breast and cervical cancer screening. In addition there is a concern about too much detection and treatment of early diabetes, a growing appreciation that autism has been too broadly defined and skepticism toward new guidelines for universal cholesterol screening of children.
The basic strategy behind early diagnosis is to encourage the well to get examined--to determine if they are not, in fact, sick. But is looking hard for things to be wrong a good way to promote health? The truth is, the fastest way to get heart disease, autism, glaucoma, diabetes, vascular problems, osteoporosis or cancer ... is to be screened for it. In other words, the problem is overdiagnosis and overtreatment.
Screening the apparently healthy potentially saves a few lives (although the National Cancer Institute couldn't find any evidence for this in its recent large studies of prostate and ovarian cancer screening). But it definitely drags many others into the system needlessly--into needless appointments, needless tests, needless drugs and needless operations (not to mention all the accompanying needless insurance forms).
This process doesn't promote health; it promotes disease. People suffer from more anxiety about their health, from drug side effects, from complications of surgery. A few die. And remember: these people felt fine when they entered the health care system.
It wasn't always like this. In the past, doctors made diagnoses and initiated therapy only in patients who were experiencing problems. Of course, we still do that today. But increasingly we also operate under the early diagnosis precept: seeking diagnosis and initiating therapy in people who are not experiencing problems. That's a huge change in approach, from one that focused on the sick to one that focuses on the well.
Think about it this way: in the past, you went to the doctor because you had a problem and you wanted to learn what to do about it. Now you go to the doctor because you want to stay well and you learn instead that you have a problem.
How did we get here? Or perhaps, more to the point: Who is to blame? One answer is the health care industry: By turning people into patients, screening makes a lot of money for pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and doctors. The chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society once pointed out that his hospital could make around $5,000 from each free prostate cancer screening, thanks to the ensuing biopsies, treatments and follow-up care.
A more glib response to the question of blame is: Richard Nixon. It was Nixon who said, "we need to work out a system that includes a greater emphasis on preventive care." Preventive care was central to his administration's promotion of health maintenance organizations and the war on cancer. But because the promotion of genuine health--largely dependent upon a healthy diet, exercise and not smoking--did not fit well in the biomedical culture, preventive care was transformed into a high-tech search for early disease.
Some doctors have long recognized that the approach is a distraction for the medical community. It's easier to transform people into new patients than it is to treat the truly sick. It's easier to develop new ways of testing than it is to develop better treatments. And it's a lot easier to measure how many healthy people get tested than it is to determine how well doctors manage the chronically ill.
But the precept of early diagnosis was too intuitive, too appealing, too hard to challenge and too easy to support. The rumblings show that that's beginning to change.
Let me be clear: early diagnosis is not always wrong. Doctors would rather see women with small breast lumps than wait until they develop large breast masses. The question is how often and how far we should get ahead of symptoms.
For years now, people have been encouraged to look to medical care as the way to make them healthy. But that's your job--you can't contract that out. Doctors might be able to help, but so might an author of a good cookbook, a personal trainer, a cleric or a good friend. We would all be better off if the medical system got a little closer to its original mission of helping sick patients, and let the healthy be.
H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, is an author of "Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health."
Until next week...
for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God
and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”