"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."
World Without End
Greetings. If you sometimes feel weary with spiritual and emotional fatigue, you are not alone. As the above verse shows, the entire creation groaneth and travaileth in pain waiting to be delivered from the evil and corruption that seems to permeate the very air we breathe.
These next few paragraphs were written many years ago : "I It is man's rejection of the love of God and His loving laws that causes him to be selfish and unloving and vicious and cruel and unkind to each other, man's inhumanity to man which is so apparent in today's weary world with all of its enslavement by oppression, tyranny and exploitation, robbery by the rich, suffering from hunger, malnutrition, disease, ill health, overwork, evil abuse, the tortures of war and nightmares of perpetual fearful insecurity.
All of these evils are caused by men's lack of love for God and each other and their defiance of His laws of love and faith and peace and harmony with Him, each other and His whole Creation. "For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God Whom he hath not seen?" 1John.4:20 says; "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen"?
It's really just that simple: if we love God, we can love each other! We could then follow His rules of life, liberty, and the possession of happiness, and all would be well and happy in Him!" (From "Our Declaration of Love!" David Brandt Berg)
Hang in there. There is a better world coming and it wouldn't be long now. Don't let this end of the world talk alarm you. According to Ephesians 3:21 the world is not going to end. "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end".
We are however approaching the end of an 'age' when evil men will no longer rule this earth. The thousand year reign of Jesus Christ is fast approaching when the world will finally be governed in truth and rightousness.
'Web-bot project' makes prophecy of 2012 apocalypse
"Web-bot" technology has moved apocalyptic prophecy into the internet age, predicting that the world will end on 21 December 2012.
By Tom Chivers -
24 Sep 2009
Conspiracy theorists on the web have claimed that the bots accurately predicted the September 11 attacks and the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, and that they say a cataclysm of some sort will devastate the planet on 21 December, 2012.
The software, similar to the "spiders" that search engines use to index web pages, were originally developed in the 1990s to predict stock market movements.
The bots crawl through relevant web pages, noting keywords and examining the text around them. The theory is that this gives an insight into the "wisdom of crowds", as the thoughts of thousands of people are aggregated.
However, the technology was later appropriated for another, more controversial - some say nonsensical - use: predicting the future.
Its study of "web chatter" is said to give advance warnings of terrorist attacks, and proponents claim that it successfully did so ahead of 11 September 2001. George Ure, one of two men behind the project, says that his system predicted a "world-changing event" in the 60 to 90 days after June 2001.
Despite the vagueness of this prediction, many believed it to be genuine. Now its makers claim that the technology can predict natural disasters, and that it foresaw the earthquake that triggered the 2004 tsunami, as well as Hurricane Katrina and the devastation that followed.
Its latest and most sweeping prediction is that 21 December 2012 signals the end of the world, possibly through a "polar shift" - when the polarity of the Earth's magnetic field is reversed.
Believers claim that as well as the bots, the 2012 apocalypse is predicted by the ancient Mayan calendar, the Book of Revelations, and the Chinese text I Ching.
Sceptics have pointed out several major flaws in the theory. First, the internet might plausibly reveal group knowledge about the stock market or, conceivably, terror attacks, as these are human-caused events. But, say critics, it would be no more capable of predicting a natural disaster than would a Google search.
Second, the predictions are so vague as to be meaningless, allowing believers to fit facts to predictions after the event: a blogger at dailycommonsense.com compares them to Nostradamus's quatrains. They give the September 11 prediction as a case in point.
Third, the prophecies become self-distorting. "The more people publish about 2012 and the end of the world," says the same blogger, "the more data web bots get pointing towards 2012."
The polar shift theory is based on a genuine scientific theory, "geomagnetic reversal", which suggests the Earth's polarity shifts every few hundred thousand years. However, the theory in its current form is not reconcilable with the web-bot predictions of it taking place on a particular day in 2012: best estimates suggest each shift takes around 5,000 years to complete.
A film based on the predicted apocalypse, by The Day After Tomorrow director Roland Emmerich and starring John Cusack and Danny Glover, is due to come out in November, called 2012.
Obama Plans Internet Grab: FCC to Embrace 'Net Neutrality'
Sunday, September 20, 2009
By:John O. Edwards
Since the Internet took root as a mass communications phenomenon in the mid 1990s, a quiet war has raged in Washington over the extent to which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would regulate the new medium.
Until, now the Internet has been largely self-regulated, and the FCC has taken a hands-off approach.
But that could change dramatically soon if the Obama administration has its way.
During the weekend, press reports revealed a stunning development: The Obama administration will announce Monday that the FCC would propose new rules to embrace what it calls "Net Neutrality."
Obama's new Federal Communications Commission chairman, Julius Genachowski, will use a speech to the Brookings Institution, a liberal think tank, to announce the FCC proposals, according to those reports.
On the face of it, Net Neutrality appears to be a popular and fair proposal.
Genachowski will "propose new rules that would prohibit Internet service providers from interfering with the free flow of information and certain applications over their networks," according to the Associated Press.
The FCC rules "would bar Internet service providers such as Verizon Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. or AT&T Inc., from slowing or blocking certain services or content flowing through their vast networks," according to the AP.
But critics contend that the proposals are nothing more than a backdoor way for the FCC to tighten federal control over the Internet by beginning with the regulation of Internet service providers.
The battle lines over Net Neutrality have formed along partisan and ideological lines, with some exceptions.
During the presidential campaign, Obama said he would embrace Net Neutrality -- a cause championed by Google and other Silicon Valley companies that don't want large Internet service providers denying or controlling their access to Internet users.
But Republicans have largely opposed Net Neutrality, suggesting self regulation has worked well.
The previous FCC chairman, Bush appointee Kevin Martin opposed Net Neutrality. He suggested it was not needed.
Conservatives see Net Neutrality as a power grab that will benefit big Internet players such as Amazon and Google while stifling smaller competitors.
The libertarian CATO Institute, in a 2004 policy analysis concluded: "The regulatory regime envisioned by Net Neutrality mandates would also open the door to a great deal of potential 'gaming' of the regulatory system and allow firms to use the regulatory system to hobble competitors. Worse yet, it would encourage more FCC regulation of the Internet and broadband markets in general."
Democrats in Congress have pushed for such controls in the past without success. In 2006 House Democrats offered an amendment to make Net Neutrality law, but the motion failed.
At the time Republicans warned of efforts to control the Internet.
"I want a vibrant Internet just like they do," Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, said during the 2006 House debate over the issue. "Our disagreement is about how to achieve that. They say let the government dictate it . . . I urge my colleagues to reject government regulation of the Internet."
UPDATE 1-VeriChip shares jump after H1N1 patent license win
Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:11pm EDT
Sept 21 (Reuters) - Shares of VeriChip Corp (CHIP.O) tripled after the company said it had been granted an exclusive license to two patents, which will help it to develop implantable virus detection systems in humans.
The patents, held by VeriChip partner Receptors LLC, relate to biosensors that can detect the H1N1 and other viruses, and biological threats such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, VeriChip said in a statement.
The technology will combine with VeriChip's implantable radio frequency identification devices to develop virus triage detection systems.
The triage system will provide multiple levels of identification -- the first will identify the agent as virus or non-virus, the second level will classify the virus and alert the user to the presence of pandemic threat viruses and the third level will identify the precise pathogen, VeriChip said
in a white paper published May 7, 2009.
Shares of VeriChip were up 186 percent at $3.28 Monday late afternoon trade on Nasdaq. They had touched a year high of $3.43 earlier in the session.
(Reporting by Mansi Dutta in Bangalore; Editing by Mike Miller and Anil D'Silva)
Greater role for emerging powers
The G20 group of leading and emerging economies is to take on a new role as a permanent body co-ordinating the world economy, a White House statement said.
It will take on the role previously carried out by the developed powerhouses of the G8 group.
The G20 is meeting in the US city of Pittsburgh for a two-day summit.
EU officials also announced a deal to shift the balance of voting in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) towards growing nations such as China.
Currently, China wields 3.7% of IMF votes compared with France's 4.9%, although the Chinese economy is now 50% larger than that of France.
WHAT IS THE G20?
Set up after the Asian financial crisis in 1999 as a forum for finance ministers and central bankers
First G20 leaders summit in 2008 to discuss response to economic crisis
Members are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, EU, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, UK, USA
Joined by Spain, Netherlands, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organisation
BBC business editor Robert Peston said that the rich nations of North America and Europe formally acknowledging that they no longer have a monopoly of wisdom on what's good for the global economy would be the most important thing to come out of this summit.
The IMF has 186 member-states. It lends money to countries that are facing problems, but in return economic changes have to be made by those countries.
The IMF has been criticised in the past as being a group of developed countries trying to lay down the law to struggling, developing countries, which is why the decision to give growing nations more votes is important.
"If you talk to the Chinese or talk to anyone from emerging markets they say the IMF doesn't have legitimacy and... we don't trust the IMF to come and rescue us in a crisis," Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the IMF told the BBC.
"They don't trust it because it's US and West Europe-dominated. That's not fair... and the IMF doesn't function properly as a result."
Reports also suggest that the US is seeking a reduction in the number of seats on the IMF board from 24 to 20, which could mean the UK and France lose their seats.
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown hailed the agreements that will be announced at the end of the summit.
"The old systems of international economic cooperation are over, new systems... have begun," he told a news conference. (Our emphesis)
"I believe that is a very important development that will reassure people that the world economy will be better prepared for all future events and will work in harmony to create the jobs and growth and prosperity that is needed for the future."
He said that the eventual communique would include the following agreements:
The action taken at the London summit worked in avoiding a depression
The G20 will be the premier organisation for dealing with issues of economic management
It will agree that a growth strategy is needed and it is too early to remove stimulus measures
The G20 will also act as an early-warning system to prevent a future crisis
The rules on bankers' remuneration will be tougher than had been expected
A White House statement announced the new role for the G20.
" They are sending a message that this is now the forum where the important stuff gets done. The G8 is dead "
" It is endeavouring to patch up the failed framework of banking regulation rather than going for more fundamental and radical change "
" The US had until now appeared to want to leave this politically tricky proposal [on bonuses] on the back burner "
"The G20 leaders reached a historic agreement to put the G20 at the center of their efforts to work together to build a durable recovery while avoiding the financial fragilities that led to the crisis," it said.
"Today, leaders endorsed the G20 as the premier forum for their international economic cooperation." (Our emphesis)
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said G20 countries had reached a consensus on the "basic outline" of a proposal to limit pay and bonuses by the end of 2009.
Each country would set their own standards, he said, but that these would be overseen by the G20's Financial Stability Board - made up of central bankers and regulators. (Our emphesis)
But there are G20 members that would like to see the agreement going further.
German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck wrote in the Financial Times that a "global financial-transaction tax" of about 0.05% should be introduced.
Ireland warned not to reject Lisbon treaty
By John Murray Brown
Published: September 18 2009
Charlie McCreevy, Ireland's European commissioner, who joked during last year's Lisbon treaty referendum that he had not read the document and "no sane person would," on Friday warned a second rejection by Ireland next month could turn a "very serious economic problem for Dublin into a full blown economic crisis".
In a strongly worded speech to a business lunch in Dublin, the commissioner warned that there was an unacceptably high risk that "international investors would take fright" following a second 'No' "at a time when our government, our banks, and our businesses need to raise more international capital than ever."
The Strong-Willed Leader
John Ortberg, Leadership Journal, 9/21/2009
Jon Meachem's Pulitzer-Prize-winning biography of Andrew Jackson, American Lion, begins with a quintessential Jackson quote: "I was born for a storm, and calm does not suit me." (He includes another that is pure Teddy Roosevelt: "The darker the night, the bolder the lion.") He recounts how Jackson was beaten, scarred, and nearly killed as a fourteen year old boy for refusing to blacken the boots of a British officer.
A side note to Meachem's account is his insistence that Jackson's formidable will and mind were shaped in surprising degree by his faith. Jackson attended church services for three to four hours growing up. Public prayers in his Presbyterian church could last over twenty minutes; longer than many Presbyterian sermons nowadays. As a grown man, Jackson said he read three chapters of Scripture every day.
When reading this I thought of Jim Collins' famous description of the highest level of leadership. The truly transformational leaders differ in almost every imaginable respect except for two common denominators: they have a deep sense of humility, and an indomitable will. In church leadership, a good deal gets written about the importance and virtue of humility, but not nearly so much gets written about the need for an indomitable will.
We are a little distrustful of the whole notion of will in leaders. Willfulness comes pretty close to the essence of sin. And perhaps the highest prayer ever recorded is an expression of surrender: "Not my will, but yours be done."
However, there is a fundamental difference between a surrendered will and a weak will. Jesus' surrendered his will. That meant he placed it in submission to his Father, to the mission his father gave him, and to the service of sacrificial love. But that did not mean he was weak-willed. To the contrary, it required a tremendous exertion of moral courage to defy power and authorities and influences that tugged on him from all sides trying to divert him from his calling.
An indomitable will is not the same as sheer stubbornness (being Swedish, this is something of an inherited trait.) Stubbornness lacks precisely the humility that makes learning possible, and gives conviction the flexibility needed to achieve ultimate goals. It is not egoism, which seeks to gain control for the gratification of the self.
At its heart, an indomitable will involves a sense of commitment; a binding of oneself to a task or a cause or a value so intensely that mere external forces are not allowed to sway or deter. At its best, in the words of Gerald May, it involves not willfulness but willingness--a giving of my will in the service of a greater mission.
Amazingly, the One who demands the most surrender of my will is the One who wants and makes my will to be its strongest and best.
You've got to hand it to Mother Nature as gardener digs up five-fingered carrot
21st September 2009
A gardener got his own unique five-a-day in one go after digging up a hand-shaped carrot complete with five fingers.
The bizarre 'carrot claw' was grown by Peter Jackson, 66, in the garden of his home in Shropshire.
But Peter thought nothing more of the wacky-shaped vegetable and merely took a picture before proceeding to cook it, much to surprise of his daughter Lindsay.
Hands up for the carrot. The five-fingered vegetable which was grown in Shropshire
Lindsay, 42, a chef from Condover, Shropshire, joked whether the hand might count as all of her 'five a day' in one go.
She said: 'We couldn't believe it, it was quite a shock to see a carrot perfectly shaped like a hand.
'You'd think that with me being a chef and my dad a gardener, we might have come across something this strange before - but we never have.
'My dad just seemed to make some joke about it being 'handy', took a picture and then I think they just ate it. He played it all down, but that's just the way dad is.
"We've not had anything weird since - no arms or legs to go with it. I don't think his garden is trying to build a carrot man. Now that would really be unusual.
'It was just one of those one-off freak of nature occurrences - but isn't it funny?'
Peter, who is a semi-retired gardener, has three vegetable plots in his large garden, in a leafy part of Shropshire.
He said that throughout his years of gardening, he had never seen anything quite like his 'carrot claw'.
Reunited: Maine workers discover they're lost brothers
By Gabor Degre, AP, September 22, 2009
WALDOBORO, Maine (AP)--Seven years into his tenure as a furniture mover for a local bedding retailer, Gary Nisbet was joined by a new colleague, Randy Joubert, who looked so much like him that customers asked whether they were brothers.
"We thought they were just trying to razz us," Joubert said.
Turns out the customers were on to something. They really are brothers--and the attention they got after finding each other also has turned up a sister.
The two men were given up for adoption as babies about 35 years ago, then attended rival high schools and even lived in neighboring towns on the Maine coast before working together at Dow's Sleep Center in tiny Waldoboro and uncovering their relationship.
"This kid could have been anywhere in the world, and here I am riding in a Dow furniture truck with him," Joubert said in a telephone interview Monday.
Nisbet said he was "star-struck and blown away. I couldn't even believe it." He was raised with three brothers and a sister in his adoptive family but never knew he had a biological brother.
The brothers kept their story under wraps at work until last week, colleagues said.
"Everybody was standing around with their mouths open. The girls had the tears flying and the guys, just, 'Wow!"' Dow's employee Greg Berry said.
"There's nothing like family, especially when you don't have one. Now they've got it."
More than they know what to do with, it seems.
After all the attention the brothers' story received in the Maine press, a half-sister turned up at Dow's furniture with copies of her birth certificate and other documents proving their relationship.
Joubert says Joanne Campbell, of nearby Warren, was "hysterical" with joy when she found her brothers. Campbell, 41, had the same mother as Joubert and Nisbet.
"I searched for her too," Joubert said, "and I was close to finding her."
Relishing a Sweet Taste of Nostalgia
By Alan Cowell, NY Times, September 19, 2009
LONDON--Every so often, Britons like to measure their present against a past that time has in some ways overtaken--doughty, imperial, island folk with a reach far beyond their shores, suffused with a backs-to-the-wall fighting spirit, conjuring victory against the odds.
From Shakespeare's Henry V rallying his troops against the French at Agincourt in 1415 to the English soccer team beating the Germans in the 1966 World Cup (not to mention, as some people would always include in the catalog of triumph, two world wars), this is a narrative built on the high points of national memory, a connect-the-dots guide to an old land's sense of what it has done, and can do, best.
Recently, there seems to have been a sunburst of such reflected glory. Last month, the funeral of Harry Patch, the last British survivor of the fighting in the trenches on the Western Front in World War I, drew national, live television coverage as his coffin wound through the cathedral city of Wells--escorted by, among others, German soldiers. It offered an occasion to ponder his message of war's futility, challenging the government's efforts to justify a war in Afghanistan that is leeching the lives of the soldiers it sends there.
But of all those moments, none seems quite so determinedly quirky, and yet so perversely predictable, as the ascent this week to the top of the British music charts of a collection of songs by Vera Lynn, at 92 the oldest person to attain that artistic peak--songs that first became popular in World War II, known probably as much to American service personnel based in Britain at that time as to the British themselves.
Vera Lynn was known as "the forces' sweetheart," the lyrics and lilt of her music resonating as much with the troops on far-flung battlefields as with those left behind to work on farms and in munitions factories, facing the harsh austerity and perils of war--in the parlance of the era, keeping the homes fires burning.
Best-known among Vera Lynn's songs were "We'll Meet Again" and "The White Cliffs of Dover," offering a reminder that, in war, it is not only the troops in battle who shoulder the burden, ears ringing with the blast of roadside bombs or the enormous, intimate rattle of automatic fire.
Back home, there are those who wait and fret and hope for solace. And on the front lines, soldiers cherish snapshots and mementos of those left behind. Then, as now, Vera Lynn's lyrics offered what she called "a bit of home and a bit of cheer and comfort."
For me, growing up in baby-boom Britain, the memory of her songs became intertwined with the stories of wartime separation and Home Guard heroics at family gatherings as Britain emerged from rationing and deprivation to find that victory coupled uneasily with a greatly reduced role in a changed world.
The family chronicles told how husbands and wives spent years apart, how uncles were assigned to douse the flames of bombing on Britain's north-western shipyards, how aunts stoically packed up one home and moved to another after the baleful wail of the air-raid sirens sent families scurrying into home-made shelters while bombs blew out the windows and flattened the roofs of their row houses.
In those moments of danger and absence, with soldiers far from home and enemy bombers in the skies, imagine scratchy radios tuned to the BBC, serenading its listeners with lyrics that promised bluebirds and peace.
In "The White Cliffs of Dover," Vera Lynn assured the nation that: "There'll be love and laughter/And peace ever after/Tomorrow/When the world is free."
And in "We'll Meet Again," she conjured the end of those long absences when a simple telegram could bear tidings of the ultimate loss: "We'll meet again/Don't know where/Don't know when/But I know we'll meet again/Some sunny day."
Many, of course, did not make that rendezvous with hope.
Vera Lynn last topped the charts in 1952.
"Our boys are away again," she said this week to explain her success, "and the music is significant again. And it's a bit of nostalgia, too."
Others have drawn similar conclusions.
"Lovely tunes have been out of favor for some time," the columnist Michele Hanson wrote in The Guardian. "It's been all screeching, thumping, rapping, crashing rage and multi-decibels, but not much melody and modulation, so perhaps we need a bit of a change."
Have a great week ahead. We invite you to write us with any comments or suggestions you may have. We would also like to encourage you to contact one of our Christian mystics concerning any situation or questions you may have.
"From Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."