Archive for June 5th, 2007

The Fiery Furnace – A Bible Story Mural

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

“King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.

Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”

Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, O king.”

He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”

Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.”
Daniel 3:1-30 (New International Version)

“Three young men refused to bow down to worship the 90 foot tall golden image of a false god. King Nebuchadnezzar was so furious that he commanded the fire be 7 times hotter than normal. Some scholars believe the fourth person in the furnace was an angel, others believe it was a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ. I chose to depict the second interpretation.”
-Doug Westbrook, Artist of “The Fiery Furnace – A Bible Story Mural”

See Mr. Westbrook’s Bible Story Murals here.
Bible Story Murals
If your church is looking for a unique way to bring the Word of God to it’s children and young people, take a look at Doug Westbrook’s Bible Story Murals. Each wall sized mural is based on the hand painted originals Mr. Westbrook painted at Central Baptist Church in Houston, Texas and represents a different well known Bible story.
They are available on durable vinyl wallpaper for easy installation.

N-Word Fine, But ‘Family Values’ Banned

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Talk about the world being upside down. How have we come so far that obviously “bad” things can be good and “good” things are now bad. Welcome to the world of “moral relevancy”.

A Christian organization fighting on behalf of religious and speech rights is going to the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge an appellate court decision that found municipal employers could censor words such as “marriage” and “family values” because they are hate speech and could scare workers.

At the same time, those municipal officials for the city of Oakland, Calif., were allowing employees to exchange epithets such as the N-word, the appeal said.

“To allow the lower court’s ruling to stand exposes every public employee to outright censorship by a municipal employer for merely mentioning words such as the ‘natural family,’ ‘marriage,’ ‘and ‘family values,’ issues which are at the forefront of national debate,” said the appeal prepared by the Pro-Family Law Center.

“In fact, the lower courts’ decisions could preclude a public employee from so much as mentioning the birth of one’s child or the fact that they were just married because this might theoretically offend a co-worker,” said the file in the case argued at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals level by Richard D. Ackerman, of the Pro-Family Law Center, as well as Scott Lively.

“We are simply unwilling to accept that Christians can be completely silenced on the issues of the day – especially on issues such as same-sex marriage, parental rights, and free speech rights,” Ackerman told WND.

“If we fail to get U.S. Supreme Court review, however, it will be up to each individual Christian in the United States to stand up for their rights to be heard on the issues of the day. If we choose to be silent, silenced we shall be,” he said.

The case involves the Good News Employee Association and two women, Regina Rederford and Robin Christy, who wanted to launch the organization among co-workers. They put up an announcement on an Oakland city bulletin board asking those interested in those “family” issues to contact them.

Original Link.

Abbas: Palestinian People Are On The Verge of Civil War

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

The pali terrorist occupying the Israeli Holy Land, have failed. According to Abbas, they are on the verge of civil war. The usual attempts to blame Israel for all of their problems and shift the inherent violence, that pali’s are programmed with from birth, against Israel have failed.
Surely the world can see that these people are incapable of forming and running their own country.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas warned Tuesday that his people were on the verge of civil war and said the infighting was worse than living under Israeli military rule.

Israel’s capture of the West Bank, Gaza and parts of Jerusalem in the Six Day War was a “black day” for the Palestinians, who paid a heavy price for defeat, Abbas said in a televised speech on the anniversary of the start of the war on June 5.

Abbas focused on the bloody factional fighting between Fatah and Hamas. The two parties have been governing in an uneasy coalition since March, after a year of Hamas-only rule, but another round of deadly gun battles erupted in May.

“Regarding our internal situation, what concerns us all is the chaos, and more specifically, being on the verge of civil war,” Abbas said.

He said he has spent hundreds of negotiating hours trying to halt the bloodshed, “realizing that what is equal to or even worse than occupation is internal fighting.”

Abbas warned that factional fighting had harmed the Palestinians’ standing in the world. He also criticized Palestinian operatives, who captured IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit a year ago and continued to fire rockets at southern Israel after the 2005 disengagement. Abbas said the operatives only invited Israeli retaliation that had left hundreds of Palestinians dead.

Abbas said he wanted to move forward instead of affixing blame, and was not trying to restore calm by negotiating a cease-fire with Israel.

Hours earlier, a two-hour gunfight broke out between Hamas and Fatah near the Karni crossing in Gaza. A number of Hamas members were wounded, in addition to one of Abbas’s security guards.

Hamas blamed Fatah security men for opening fire, Army Radio reported.

Earlier Tuesday morning, a Hamas parliament member speculated that the violent confrontations between Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip would begin again soon, according to Israel Radio.

Salah al-Bardawel, a member of the PA parliament, told the London newspaper Al-Quds al-Arab that in talks held last week in Cairo, representatives of Hamas and Fatah quarreled over the issue of Kassam rocket fire at Israel.

Two weeks ago, Hamas and Fatah signed a fifth cease-fire deal in an attempt to stop escalating violence in Gaza. The truce held for only a couple of hours.

In a meeting held at the Egyptian consulate in Gaza under Egyptian supervision, it was agreed that all combatants would disarm and leave the streets.

Original Link.

Biblical Worldview Cited as Critical to Survival of Christian Faith in America

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

If you have read this blog much, you will know how I feel about the moral path the United States has chosen. I see a country that used to be the epitome of Christian values, throw them to the wind and regrade into an immoral shell of it’s former self.
Don’t get me wrong here. There are still more Christians and moral people than immoral. But we are practically silent on all issues. Unlike our adversaries, who seem to thrive on confrontation, we sit back and hope that people will do “the right thing”.
People are not doing “the right thing” anymore. Our silence is taken by the people in the middle as our acceptance of the issue. Christianity in the United States is slowly being shoved into the corner of irrelevancy.
Unless we are willing to fight for our morals and values as hard, if not harder, than those people who fight against us, we will become irrelevant.
I’m talking to you. There is no one else to do it. There is no faceless entity that will take care of this for you. You are it. You are the face of Jesus here on earth. You must put your lethargy aside and do this. Now. There is no more time to wait. You are almost too late the way it is. Do what Jesus commanded you to do.

The founder of the Center for Moral Clarity says Christians in America must be equipped to stand against secular humanist worldviews and choose to get involved in the culture war. Otherwise, says Rod Parsley, the United States could look like post-Christian Europe within a single generation.

In his new book Culturally Incorrect; How Clashing Worldviews Affect Your Future, Pastor Rod Parsley says decades of liberalism and post-modern thinking have crippled America. It is vital, he says for Christians to have a biblical worldview.

“If we don’t engage in this fight, [in one generation] we are going to … look like post-Christian Europe,” Parsley warns. He cites an example. “In Austria, scientists appealed to the government of Austria to give apes human rights, since [they believe] we are descendants of apes,” he says.

Parsley says his new book focuses on what he calls the real “war of the worlds” as it urges Christians to action in the culture war. “It deals specifically with situations like secular humanism, with Marxism, with post-modernism, with nihilism, and all of the countering worldviews that are in opposition to the solid Christian worldview,” he shares.

And that worldview, explains the pastor, can be summed up in one verse of scripture. “Hebrews 11:6 says he that comes to God must believe that God is. [So] first of all, God exists. And secondly, [one must believe] that he’s a rewarder of those who seek him; that he can be found [and] that you can know him today.”

Parsley says liberals and secular humanists have a clear agenda to silence the Christian witness. But the biblical worldview, says the pastor, is the only worldview that offers true hope.

Original Link.

Analyst Urges Moderate Muslims to Get Involved Against Jihadists

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

I feel there are two reasons that “moderate” Islam is silent. The foremost reason is fear. Fear of reprisals if they were to speak out against radical Islam. Fear for the welfare of their families. Fear of being cut off from their community.
The second reason is that the end justifies the means. They want the world wide dominance of Islam. They can live with the pall of radical Islam, for a short time, if it helps them realize their goals of establishing Shariah law worldwide.
On top of that, Muslims are taught from the Koran to resist “turning over” other Muslims to infidels (non-Muslims)

The founder of a conservative military think tank believes the vast majority of Muslims in the United States would not participate or even sympathize with terrorism. But the former member of the Ronald Reagan defense team says most moderate Muslims don’t want to speak out against the Jihadists.

A recent survey released by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reports that about a quarter (26 percent) of young U.S. Muslims (ages 18-29) say suicide bombing can be justified, at least in some circumstances. Among all age groups of U.S. Muslims, that number drops to half (13 percent). Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy, observes that while the vast majority of American Muslims are peaceful, they are not willing to take a stand against terrorists.

“When they see what is happening to these people — the oppression, their ostracizing, their threatening of even their lives — it’s clear why most moderate Muslims are just as likely to sit it out,” says Gaffney. “They’re not politically engaged [and] they don’t particularly want to be,” he continues. “They just want to live their lives.”

But they are watching — “with some interest,” he believes — to see what is happening to “their co-religionists who are standing up and who are opposing the Islamists.” That moderate Muslim majority, says Gaffney, needs to be encouraged to speak out in opposition to the Jihadists.

“We need to engage them,” he urges. “They’re our natural allies. We need to encourage them to participate. The only way to do that, I think, is to empower the anti-Islamist Muslims, and to help them defeat our common enemies — namely, the Islamofascists.”

Gaffney says that is why it is important that concerned Americans see the PBS film he helped produce. The documentary Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center explores the struggles of moderate American Muslims at the hands of their radical brethren.

Original Link.

Congressman’s Indictment ‘Long Overdue,’ Says Capitol Hill Ethics Watchdog

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

I have always felt that public required a higher level of ethics and morals than we find in the typical walk of life. Regrettably, it appears that just the opposite seems to be the rule.
It is time that congress and the senate stop being above the law.

The head of a Washington, DC-based organization that promotes ethics in public life says the indictments handed down to Congressman William Jefferson (D-Louisiana) this week were long overdue. If convicted, Jefferson could face more than 200 years in prison.

The Louisiana Democrat was indicted on charges of racketeering, soliciting bribes, and money-laundering in a long-running bribery investigation of business deals he tried to broker in Africa. Almost two years ago, Jefferson was videotaped taking a $100,000 cast bribe from an FBI informant. Subsequently, investigators found $90,000 in cash stuffed into a freezer in his home.

Jefferson’s indictment is 94 pages long. According to news reports, it lists 16 alleged violations of federal law that could keep the congressman in prison for up to 235 years. Ken Boehm of the National Legal and Policy Center says the charges are long overdue.

“I don’t recall ever having an instance where we had a videotape of somebody taking a bribe,” says Boehm. “He took a $100,000 bribe, they were marked bills, and $90,000 of that bribe money was later found in [his] freezer. And so, yes, the evidence is very strong.”

Boehm recalls early reaction within Congress to the investigation, which included the FBI’s legal search of the congressman’s office.

“Nancy Pelosi for the Democrats and Congressman [Dennis] Hastert for the Republicans stood side-by-side and said the FBI shouldn’t be conducting searches of [the offices of] members of Congress,” he states. “Nothing could be further from the truth. These people are not above the law.”

Boehm says Pelosi, who is speaker of the House, has two choices. “She can step forward and ask for his immediate resignation,” he explains. “And if she doesn’t, then she’s going to have to explain why she spent a whole year using the ‘culture of corruption’ charge to get elected if they’re going to behave by just tolerating this sort of activity.”

Boehm’s group is calling on Pelosi to ask for Jefferson’s immediate and unconditional resignation from Congress. Two of Jefferson’s associates have already struck plea-bargain agreements with prosecutors and have been sentenced.

Original Link.