Archive for February, 2009

Jews Facing Increased Challenges and Threats Worldwide

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Representatives of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute (JPPPI) briefed the cabinet at its weekly meeting Sunday on their 2008 assessment, presenting a particularly bleak forecast.

According to the assessment, Israel and the Jewish people are facing a wide array of challenges and threats, including a new US administration, a continuing erosion in the US’s global position, the strengthening of Iran, the use of Israel as a pretext for the dissemination of a new anti-Semitism, and the economic crisis and consequent blow to Jews’ economic status.

The report pointed to the overall decline in the United States’ status during 2008 as impacting worldwide Jewry.

The simultaneous strengthening of an axis advocating the annihilation of Israel, led by Iran, is threatening the image of the Jewish state as a haven for the Jewish people, the report said.

“Israel is becoming a mainstay for the proliferation of ‘new Anti-Semitism,'” it stated. “This harms Israel’s ‘soft power’ and the image of the Jewish people as a whole.”

Additionally, the report said the global economic crisis may challenge the political power of Jews in the West.

“The assessment is not particularly encouraging from the socioeconomic point of view,” the report went on to explain. It noted that “the economic crisis has dealt a serious blow to Jewish wealth and, along with the Madoff fraud, has severely damaged philanthropist activity and has exacerbated the danger of rising traditional anti-Semitism. Budgetary problems could adversely affect the ability to manage community life and education systems in various locations abroad, given intensified competition over allocations and the channeling of donations outside the community.”

Original Link.

More Churches “Falling Away”, Rejecting the Bible

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and (C)will turn away their ears from the truth and (D)will turn aside to myths.”
2 Timothy 4:3-4 (New American Standard Bible).
See our article “”Falling Away” of the Church” here.

In Michigan, the new bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan is an ordained Zen Buddhist. Northern Michigan’s Episcopal congregations and delegates overwhelmingly elected the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester at their convention on Saturday.

The diocesan website says Thew Forrester “has practiced Zen meditation for almost a decade,” and the Buddhist community welcomed his commitment by granting him “lay ordination.” The website also says Northern Michigan’s new bishop “resonates deeply” with “his own interfaith dialogue with Buddhism and meditative practice.”

Meanwhile, Presbyterian Church (USA) representatives in Arkansas and central North Carolina have endorsed amending the church constitution to allow non-celibate homosexuals to be ordained as ministers, elders and deacons. The votes were taken at regional presbytery meetings on Saturday.

Original Link.

“The Palin Parable — Bristol Says Abstinence ‘Not Realistic At All'” by Albert Mohler

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Bristol Palin, the 18-year-old daughter of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, made headlines last summer when it was revealed that she was about to become an unwed mother. On December 27, she gave birth to a baby boy named Tripp. Now, Bristol Palin is back in the news again — and this time by her own choice. She granted an interview to Fox News Channel’s “On the Record.”

At the same time the pregnancy was made public last summer, Bristol’s mom had just been announced as Sen. John McCain’s choice to be his running mate. This put the pregnant teenager into the glare of national publicity. Many were impressed and thankful as Bristol Palin and Levi Johnson, her fiance’ and the baby’s father, made a commitment not to have an abortion but to welcome the baby. They lived up to that pledge, and baby Tripp seems to be doing quite well.

Bristol’s parents also affirmed the sanctity of human life when they made a similar commitment during Gov. Palin’s pregnancy with a child with Down syndrome. The vast majority of unborn babies identified as carrying the marker for Down syndrome are now aborted, but the Palins said they never even considered aborting their baby. Little Trig Palin, soon to be a year old, was seen by millions of Americans during the course of the campaign. That one baby became a testimony to the worth of every single human life.

Bristol Palin is back in the headlines, and some Americans may be shocked. Bristol told Fox News that teenagers should not have sex. However, she also said that sexual abstinence for teens is “not realistic at all.”

These comments seem contradictory, but the national media immediately leapt upon Bristol’s apparent rejection of sexual abstinence as an expectation for teenagers. To her credit, she maintained a clear pro-life perspective, even as she admitted the difficulty of being a teenage mother. But the rejection of sexual abstinence as “not realistic at all” caught many off guard.

As reported in the press, Bristol’s statement lacked context. But, many in the media simply reduced the story to her statement about abstinence. Consider this headline from the Associated Press: “Palin’s Daughter Says Abstinence ‘Not Realistic.'”

Many people who admired the way that the Palin family handled their family crisis last summer will be rightly disappointed with this new word from Bristol. But, leaving Bristol’s personal situation aside for now, her comment deserves a closer look.

Is sexual abstinence realistic for teenagers and young adults? Well, abstinence is certainly not realistic when teenagers put themselves or are put into a situation where sexual activity is likely. At some point, sexual abstinence becomes very unrealistic indeed.

The real issue for Christian teenagers and their parents is not to debate whether sexual abstinence before marriage is realistic or not. The larger and more important issue is that sexual abstinence until marriage is the biblical expectation and command. Once this is realized, the responsibility of all concerned is to ensure that expectations and structures are in place so that abstinence is realistic.

The debate over whether abstinence is realistic or not misses the more important issue — abstinence must be made realistic.

Parents and teenagers must make certain that adequate protections and expectations are in place so that sexual abstinence is very realistic indeed. Far too many Christian parents allow their teenagers to be part of the “hooking up” scene of teenage culture. In that highly sexualized context, sexual abstinence would appear unrealistic in the extreme.

Premature pair dating and unsupervised liaisons, set within the supercharged culture of teenage sexuality, can put teenagers into very vulnerable situations. Asking whether sexual abstinence in those contexts is realistic can appear almost irrational.

Those who reject the norm of sexual abstinence for teenagers will leap on Bristol Palin’s statement as evidence for their cause. But the real issue here is our responsibility to ensure that abstinence is made realistic and stays realistic. Anything short of this is truly “not realistic at all.”

Original Link.

Bibi vs. Ahmadinejad – The Confrontation WILL Happen

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

The global stage is set for a confrontation reminiscent of Churchill vs. Hitler and Reagan vs. Gorbachev. How long will Benjamin Netanyahu tolerate an Iranian nuclear threat before acting?

When Shimon Peres asked Bibi Netanyahu to form a government on Friday, he also set into motion an inevitable confrontation. Long before anyone else was warning about Ahmadinejad and Iranian Nukes it was the number one issue for the man who will be the next Prime Minister of Israel.

While the naive President of the United States believes that the crazy Iranian President can be talked to, Netanyahu believes Ahmadinejad means what he says. As soon as the means are available the Iranian President will launch a Nuclear attack on the Jewish state. The government that pays for Hezb’allah and Hamas suicide bombers does not care about “mutually assured destruction” they are willing to sacrifice their entire country to Allah. Bibi gets it, Obama doesn’t. A Likud government will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear bomb, and the Clock is Ticking.

Read the rest of the article here.




Christian Gifts from Israel – The Jerusalem Gift Shop

Archeology Proves Bible Accuracy Again

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Archeology has proven the accuracy of the Bible yet again. This time it’s proof that King Hezekiah existed (see 2 Kings Chapters 16 through 21, 2 Chronicles Chapters 28 through 33, Isaiah Chapters 36 through 39 and Matthew 1:9 and 1:10).
Archeologist excavating in the city village of Umm Tuba (derived from the Byzantine name, Metofa, which in turn is a variation on the Biblical name, Netofa. The ancient Judean village of Netofa is mentioned in the second book of book of Samuel (23:28-29) as the birthplace of two of King David’s warriors), have unearthed seals for King Hezekiah and from high-ranking administrators Ahimelech ben Amadyahu and Yehokhil ben Shahar.

Seal of King Hexekiah

A routine archeological excavation ahead of private construction in an Arab neighborhood on the outskirts of Jerusalem has uncovered a series of seal impressions from the reign of the biblical King Hezekiah 2,700 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Monday.

The archeological treasure trove was discovered in Umm Tuba, on the southeastern edge of the city, during a salvage excavation carried out in January ahead of planned construction at the site.

The seal impressions found include those of two high-ranking officials named Ahimelech ben Amadyahu and Yehohail ben Shahar, who served in the Judean kingdom’s government.

Another Hebrew inscription, dating 600 years later than the seal impressions, was discovered on a jar fragment from the Hasmonean period in the second century BCE.

The site also housed a large building during the First and Second Temple periods unearthed during the dig.

The remains of the building included several rooms arranged around a courtyard. Pottery that was recovered from the ruins of the building were used to date it to First Temple period.

The building was destroyed, along with Jerusalem and all of Judah during the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem.

Jews reoccupied the site 600 years later during the Hasmonean period, and the rebuilt structure stood for another 200 years until the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 CE.

Original Link.

Also see Biblical Era Royal Seals Found in Jerusalem Hills.

Hezekiah From Wikipedia.

Amnesty International Urges Arms Embargo on Israel

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

The ‘human rights’ group Amnesty International called on the United States to stop weapons sales to Israel and on all countries to impose an arms embargo on both Israel and the Palestinians.

“As the major supplier of weapons to Israel, the USA has a particular obligation to stop any supply that contributes to gross violations of the laws of war and of human rights. The Obama administration should immediately suspend US military aid to Israel,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty’s Middle East director.

He also called on the “UN Security Council to impose an immediate and comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups.”

The London-based group, which operates in 150 countries, targeted both Israel and Hamas in the 38-page report it issued late Sunday night.

But the bulk of the text detailed Israeli actions against Palestinians in Gaza and US culpability for Israel’s 22-day military operation in the Gaza Strip. Amnesty has been highly critical of Israel in past reports.

In this report, Amnesty focused on the issue of arms sales, and explained that due to a 10-year agreement lasting until 2017, the US was due to provide $30 billion in military aid to Israel.

“To a large extent, Israel’s military offensive in Gaza was carried out with weapons, munitions and military equipment supplied by the US and paid for with US taxpayers’ money,” said Smart.

Its use in Gaza was in violation of US and international law, the report charged.

“Israeli forces used white phosphorus and other weapons supplied by the US to carry out serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes. Their attacks resulted in the death of hundreds of children and other civilians, and massive destruction of homes and infrastructure,” said Donatella Rovera, who headed Amnesty International’s fact-finding mission to southern Israel and Gaza.

Amnesty researchers found fragments and components of munitions used by the IDF – including many made in the US – littering school playgrounds, in hospitals and in people’s homes, according to the report.

They also found remnants of a new type of missile, seemingly launched from unmanned drones, which releases large numbers of tiny sharp-edged metal cubes, each between 2 and 4 square millimeters in size.

Rovera also charged that Hamas and the Palestinians had committed war crimes against Israel by firing rockets at Israeli civilians along the southern border.

Israel initially denied using white phosphorous during Operation Cast Lead but has since stopped denying it and is investigating the matter.

The Foreign Ministry issued a sharp attack on the report prior to its publication and said it was a “tendentious description of reality that doesn’t rest on objective and professional criteria.”

The statement stressed that the weapons Israel had used during Operation Cast Lead were compatible with international law.

The statement said Israel had never intentionally targeted civilians, and testimony to the contrary in the report had come from “interested parties, under Hamas influence.”

The ministry took Amnesty to task for its comparison of the supplying of arms to Israel to the supplying of arms to Hamas.

“Israel is a sovereign state obligated to use force to protect its citizens, while Hamas is a terrorist organization. Is it possible to compare the arms in al-Qaida’s hands to the weapons in the hands of the NATO forces?” the statement read.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the report ignores the basic fact that Hamas is a terrorist organization that is so recognized by the US, the European Union and other countries.

“The organization systematically refuses to recognize Israel and any possibility of reaching peace with it, and publicly declares its yearning for its destruction,” the ministry said.

The statement also took Amnesty to task for not mentioning Hamas’s uses of civilian shields, something it knew would lead to civilian casualties during combat.

“Hamas openly and in an organized fashion uses women and children to protect military targets, and booby-traps homes and public buildings,” the statement read.

While mentioning the rocket fire on Israel, the ministry said the Amnesty report ignored its scope – the fact that some 10,000 rockets and mortars had been fired at Israel over the last eight years.

In advance of the report, Gerald Steinberg, the executive director of NGO Monitor, said, “This report is clearly part of a campaign to deprive Israel of the means to defend itself. This is another example of Amnesty’s double standards and anti-Israel bias exploiting the language of international law.”

“Amnesty’s reports on Israel are often based on inaccuracies, half-truths and unverifiable allegations from so-called eyewitnesses, and reflect a lack of serious credible research capabilities,” Steinberg said.

“In 2002, an Amnesty ‘expert’ first confirmed the nonexistent Jenin ‘massacre,’ and in the 2006 conflict with Hizb’allah, many of Amnesty’s claims were later shown to be unsubstantiated.

The factual errors are amplified by inaccurate statements using the rhetoric of international law, using terms such as ‘disproportionate’ and ‘war crimes,’ which they apply far more to Israel than to groups such as Hamas. This ideologically biased pattern was repeated in the recent Gaza conflict.”

Original Link.




Christian Gifts from Israel – The Jerusalem Gift Shop

“One Nation Under…Obama” by Ron Graham

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Change is on the way. Americans enthralled by Obama’s language of “change” haven’t a clue as to just what those changes entail. There have been many disheartening reports concerning America’s dismal future over the past few months. Just look at the nightly news, internet news sites, blogs, etc. and you will see that many Christians, and even non-Christians, in this nation are quite concerned, and rightly so.

In the meantime we who have known the truth about this man all along are still reeling from the fact that we are systematically losing our rights as once free Americans. Do we, as American citizens, still have rights? Apparently not. We don’t even have the right to expect that a man who sits in the highest office of our land show proof that he was actually born on US soil. The Constitution says we have that right, but we are being denied what the Constitution calls for. Why can’t we the people see the proof of citizenship for each person running for this high office? Although I’m not a fan of John McCain either I do know that he was thoroughly investigated and exonerated as being a natural born citizen. The Constitution of the United States of America, under Article II, section I dictates: “No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President” Period. End of story. There are no qualifying words to infer anything different.

We’ve all heard the rumors about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate from Hawaii being a forgery. Before her death the man’s own grandmother claimed that Barack was born in Kenya and she made that statement on the record in a video. Grandmas aren’t usually known for lying about the location of a grandson’s birth. I see a very simple solution to this whole debacle: Come clean Mr. President, if you’re not afraid of the outcome, and present the people who elected you President of the United States of America with an original birth certificate proving beyond the shadow of a doubt the origin of your birth. That’s all there is to it.

———-

All of our past accomplishments, as a nation under God professing liberty and justice for all, will be of no avail as we the people allow the red, white, and blue to be trampled upon. I know many don’t look at this country as a nation built on the precepts of God’s word, but it was. This fact is in the history books of the past, books that for the most part have been removed from our public school curriculum and substituted with lies. There is plenty of proof of the truth for anyone who honestly wants to seek after it. There are many in this country who would love to see the United States of America fail and fall apart. This is certainly in the making as we currently stand at this most extraordinary precipice in our nation’s history.

———-

I’m afraid we (Americans as a whole) have placed into the Oval Office a man who has never had any respect for the Constitution or the Country which placed him there. God forbid that Americans elect a president who is actually proud of the United States of America and wants to do all he can to uphold the Constitution. God forbid that we would actually elect a man or woman who would work with, and along side of, the system of laws and regulations set up in this nation’s beginnings. Our nation has a U.S. birth certificate–it’s called the Constitution. What about you Mr. Obama?

Mr. Obama made many promises on the presidential campaign trail, many of which he has shunned in his first thirty days in that prestigious office. Those of us who did not vote for him (and there are many) are seeing exactly what we expected from him and were fearful of. Others, those Obamaniacs, (new word I found on WND – WorldNetDaily.com) are still looking to him for their salvation.

———-

This nation looked to a man to fix their problems, a man who seemingly was surrounded by a light, a new light of hope. They had never seen such a man engulfed in such a brilliant hopeful light before, one that the media swooned over and the multitudes clamored to touch. Those who voted for Mr. Obama were blinded by that light. Blinded to the truth and so they fell for the lie – the lie of “change”, the lie of prosperity. They were hopeful of retuning to a life of excessive materialism. A Mercedes in every garage attitude.

As for those irritating Christ followers, well, we’ll just have to do something about them. They are a fly in the ointment, a thorn in the side of Mr. Obama, but Mr. Obama has a plan to eliminate that segment of the American society. Mr. Obama is going to push through every immoral perverse piece of legislation possible and create a multitude of immoral laws that will sooner or later render the Christians in this country completely powerless. At least that’s what he thinks. That’s because he doesn’t really know who he’s dealing with. Watch out for hate crimes. They will be focused on those who believe the truth of the Bible.

There is really nothing Mr. Obama can do to those who faithfully follow Jesus Christ. Our God is much bigger than Mr. Obama, and has a much longer reach. God is in control of our current situation here in the US , the same as He is in every nation on earth. God will have his way; He will be exalted above all others. Nothing can change that fact, or alter the outcome, and no man can legitimately claim otherwise.

In everything Mr. Obama does as President, the only thing that would really matter is if he were to embrace the Christian faith with all his heart. If that would happen he could truly effect change. He could, with the following he currently enjoys, lead many to Christ. Many people would realize true God-given salvation with a President in office who faithfully followed Jesus Christ in his public as well as his private life. Imagine the change that would come over this country, and the infectiousness of such change that would permeate the entire world.

Alas, I see Mr. Obama embracing the enemy of God instead. So, we will continue to see politics as usual. And along with the same lies of the past we will see many new deceptions appearing on the American scene, and the American people becoming even more disillusioned, and all this after just a few short months of Mr. Obama’s presidency. Mr. Obama will continue to spew his father’s lies, and some will believe them because they feel they have no other choice. The majority of Americans who voted for Mr. Obama will hopefully come to the conclusion that they were wrong in believing this man and will begin to let their voices be heard in opposition to him.

Those who are currently blinded by the light of such a man will need to be convinced that they have swallowed his lies hook, line, and sinker. Currently I see that everything Obama does is quickly eroding away at America ’s future. I also see that unholy light which has so completely surrounded him and protected him from most of the populace coming to a correct understanding of just what he represents, soon being depleted. This man is so bent on destroying what was once the American way of life that before long it will mean America will be unrecognizable as a nation of free, peace loving people.

This report just out from WND:

When Americans were asked whom they admired enough to call their No. 1 hero, the majority of respondents answered “President Obama.” In the new online Harris poll, citizens chose Jesus Christ as No. 2.

Folks if you agree with this poll I can tell you without hesitation Obama is your god. Anyone who puts any human or any material object before Jesus Christ has made up their minds to just who or what is their God.

Yes folks change is coming it will be here sooner than we would like. Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham

Read the complete article here.

Detainees “Rights” – Obama Agrees with Bush

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

I bet that Obama’s most liberal supports are livid with him over this. I bet they are feeling very betrayed right about now.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s Justice Department sided with the former Bush administration on Friday, saying detainees in Afghanistan have no constitutional rights.

In a two-sentence court filing, department lawyers said the Obama administration agreed that detainees at Bagram Air Base cannot use U.S. courts to challenge their detentions. The filing shocked human rights attorneys.

“The hope we all had in President Obama to lead us on a different path has not turned out as we’d hoped,” said Tina Monshipour Foster, a human rights attorney representing a detainee at the Bagram Air Base. “We all expected better.”

In midyear last year, the Supreme Court gave al-Qaida and Taliban suspects held at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the right to challenge their detention. With about 600 detainees at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and thousands more held in Iraq, courts are grappling with whether they, too, can sue to be released.

Three months after the Supreme Court’s ruling on Guantanamo Bay, four Afghan citizens being detained at Bagram tried to challenge their detentions in U.S. District Court in Washington. Court filings alleged that the U.S. military had held them without charges, repeatedly interrogating them without any means to contact an attorney. Their petition was filed for them by relatives since they had no way of getting access to the legal system.

The military has determined that all the detainees at Bagram are “enemy combatants.” The Bush administration said in a response to the petition last year that the enemy combatant status of the Bagram detainees is reviewed every six months, taking into consideration classified intelligence and testimony from those involved in their capture and interrogation.

After Obama took office, a federal judge in Washington gave the new administration a month to decide whether it wanted to stand by Bush’s legal argument. Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd says the filing speaks for itself.

“They’ve now embraced the Bush policy that you can create prisons outside the law,” said Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who has represented several detainees.

Original Link.

“My Neck of the Woods is in the News” by Michael, an American Oleh

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later….

After Shabbat ended yesterday, my wife went online and read this:

A Katyusha rocket fired from Lebanon hit an Israeli village near the Lebanon border early Saturday. Two residents of the town were injured by broken glass, and several others were treated for shock. Two houses were damaged in the blast….

Here are more details, from the Jerusalem Post:

Five people were wounded in the … Katyusha attack, as the rocket fired from Lebanon exploded near a home in a Western Galilee town.

Three people who were inside suffered light wounds from flying glass and shrapnel, and were hospitalized in Nahariya. Magen David Adom paramedics treated two others for shock.

We heard that the “Western Galilee town” was Ma’alot, about 5 kilometers north of us here in Karmiel. We never heard the rockets, and Shabbat here seemed normal and peaceful. Sometimes, these news bites can be a real slap in the face, more because it’s not how you want to end the sabbath than because it’s particularly unexpected. And that itself is a slap in the face. [Michael, that’s too close for comfort!! We’re praying for you and your family. -ed.]

Of course, the Army shot back:

The IDF responded immediately by firing artillery rounds at the source of the fire in southern Lebanon.

I’m glad that there was a quick response, even though I have mixed fdeelings about it; what self-respecting country can let itself get hit by random artillery and rocket fire with responding? Isn’t that what Cast Lead was all about?

The shooting drew the usual rounds of condemnations, from the usual suspects:

International media reports said Hizbullah denied involvement in the rocket attack. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora denounced the attack as a violation of UN resolution 1701, and also condemned Israel’s retaliatory shelling.

Senior Fatah commander in Lebanon Sultan Abul-Einein condemned the attack as well and said it had not been carried out by anyone connected to the PLO, Israel Radio reported.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese Army, together with UN peacekeepers, discovered the launch sites for the rocket attacks.

So let’s get this straight: the largest terrorist groups in Lebanon deny firing the rockets (why deny it, if Israel is so weak?), and the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL found the rocket launchers (which tells you how effective the long range artillery response is; hence, my mixed feelings). So why is Siniora denouncing the Israeli respose?

As I see it, these rocket attacks from the north are either launched by Hezbollah, which now claims to be part of the Lebanese government (and which makes the attacks an act of war), OR they were launched by terrorist groups (of which Hezbollah is the largest), and the Lebanese government is powerless to stop them (assuming that the denounciation means they want to stop them).

In the first case, denouncing Israel’s response is simple hypocrisy; in the second, it’s simply impotence. In either case, it’s more of the Arab world’s moral equivalency bunk. Par for the course, eh?

Original Link.

Comment Captcha Replaced

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

I never could get the old comment captcha to work, so I’ve replaced it with a new one. Let me know if any of you have problems with it. Again, sorry for the inconvenience.
-Steve

Comment Captcha Deactivated

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

I wish someone would have emailed me and let me know that the captcha comment protection wasn’t working. Us administrators never see it, so I didn’t realize it was broken. I’ve deactivated it until I can get it fixed.
Sorry for the inconvenience.
-Steve

Obama’s Housing Plan to Bail Out People Not in Trouble

Friday, February 20th, 2009

President Obama’s mortgage plan is designed to make it easier for an estimated nine million homeowners to afford their monthly payments either by refinancing the mortgages or having their loans modified. The president says he wants to focus on homeowners who are still current in their payments but at risk of default.

Ron Utt, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, notes President Obama is proposing to spend $275 billion on a problem that does not exist yet.

“This establishes essentially a new right, that is, people who are current in their mortgages, who aren’t having any problem making their payments but are unable to, let’s say, refinance at a lower rate because the value of their house has fallen,” he explains. “Well, what we have is sort of this massive program here to allow those people to refinance.”

Original Link.

“Miracle Cells: The Real Stem Cell Success Stories” by Chuck Colson

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Many who listened to President Obama’s inaugural address believe he means to spend taxpayer money on research that destroys human embryos. Before he does, I hope somebody brings to his attention the story I’m about to tell.

A few years ago, a Texas teenager named Laura Dominguez lost control of her car when she hit an oil spill on the road. The accident left Laura paralyzed from the neck down. “You’ll never walk again,” doctors told her.

Laura refused to accept this prognosis. She and her mother met with experts on spinal cord injuries. They learned about an exciting new treatment being performed in Portugal. The procedure is known as olfactory mucosa transplantation. Surgeons take adult stem cells found in the nasal region and transplant them into the injured area.

Laura underwent this treatment—and her spinal cord began to heal. She gained upper body agility, and, in time, she learned to walk with the use of braces and outside help. Laura is determined to walk unassisted by her 21st birthday.

Miracles like this have been repeated many times as researchers bend their attention to the uses of adult stem cells. Writer Bradley Hughes describes many of them in his article “Real-World Successes of Adult Stem Cell Treatment.”

To date, Hughes writes, these “miracle cells” are providing hope for patients with Crohn’s disease, lupus, heart disease, blindness, Parkinson’s, and sickle-cell anemia. And according to biotech writer James P. Kelly, umbilical cord blood stem cells are already being used to treat 70 forms of blood and bone marrow cancers.

And just a few days ago, there was a report at Northwestern University. Twenty-one patients with multiple sclerosis were stabilized following treatment with adult stem cells removed from each patient’s bone marrow. In some patients, the disease was reversed.

But because much of the mainstream media refuses to report on this, many Americans remain unaware of it. Ignorance about these cures may be driving the public’s demand for embryonic stem-cell research, which kills human beings at the embryonic stage.

Americans also seems unaware that not a single clinical success has resulted from treatments using embryonic stem cells. None!

So why do researchers and the biotech industry push so hard for public funds for embryo-destructive research? Because science wants science for science’s sake and, incidentally, because they stand to make huge profits through potential patents. It’s potentially far more lucrative than research involving adult stem cells.

You and I need to spread the word about the miracle cures being found through the use of adult stem cells. They’re a far superior alternative to embryonic stem cells—and nobody is killed in the process of retrieving them.

As science demands unfettered research in the future, we need to be encouraging ethically challenged reporters, researchers, and politicians to take a look backwards for a grim reminder of what happens when science is divorced from morality—euthanasia, gas chambers, and Nazi experiments on children.

Do we really want to start down that terrible road again?

Original Link.

‘Iran Already Enriched Enough Uranium to Make Atomic Bomb’

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Experts say a recent report by the UN nuclear watchdog which states that Iran has slowed down its uranium enrichment program neglects to underscore the fact that Teheran already has enough fissile material to produce an atomic bomb.

The recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report states that inspectors uncovered 209 kilograms of low-enriched uranium that the Iranians had failed to declare, which brings the total amount that Teheran has so far enriched to over a ton, enough, with additional purification, to produce a nuclear weapon, officials told the New York Times Thursday.

Independent weapons experts told the paper that they were surprised by the figures and criticized the IAEA for conducting inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities only once a year.

“It’s worse than we thought. It’s alarming that the actual production was underreported by a third,” said Gary Milhollin, the director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control.

“You have enough atoms” to make a bomb, a senior UN official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The IAEA report, which was made public Thursday, stated that the new assessment of the total amount of uranium enriched by Iran factors in 171 kilograms of newly-produced material and 839 kilograms of old production. In the past, however, the agency had only reported 630 kilograms of old production.

The discrepancy between the two figures, 209 kilograms, brought the total amount of uranium enriched by Iran to over a metric ton.

UN officials were quoted by the Times as saying that the inconsistency could be accounted for by the fact that the Natanz enrichment facility was new, which could make it harder for Iran to make an accurate assessment.

The officials rejected the possibility that the gap in the numbers meant Iran could smuggle enriched uranium out of the plant for further processing at a secret location.

“We’re sure that no material could have left the facility without us knowing,” the senior United Nations official said, admitting, however, that inspectors only made the inventory rounds once a year. “It’s only at that moment that we have our own independent data.”

The report also updated the figures for the number of centrifuges in place in Natanz, bringing the total figure to 5,600, up from a count of 3,800 working centrifuges in the IAEA’s November 2008 report.

Original Link.

“From Generation to Generation” by Ron Graham

Friday, February 20th, 2009

“Every generation since Jesus died on the cross has been sure of Christ’s return during their lifetime.” It may very well be true that each generation anticipated Jesus’ return, and well so. However, anticipation and hope alone aren’t what will facilitate Jesus’ soon return to earth. According to the prophetic scriptures, Jesus would only return after certain events.

In centuries past, those who diligently studied Scriptures should have understood that the signs (the events) which were to precede Christ’s return weren’t in place yet. It would have been a mistake to anticipate Jesus’ return during any other generation than this, our current generation.

Past generations of Christians may have believed their own generation to be the one in which Jesus was to return, but by so doing they had to twist Scripture. The signs that the prophets of the Old Testament spoke of and the signs Jesus Christ spoke of, as well as many of the writers of the New Testament, pointed to His Second Advent as being fulfilled at a much later date than when they wrote those prophecies.

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end:” Daniel 12:4. Basically the book was sealed until the time of the end. This generation is seeing those signs come to pass. The knowledge to understand the prophecies has been delivered to the faithful by way of God’s Holy Spirit.

Until 1948 most Bible teachers were searching for alternative interpretations of the scriptures that contained the signs of the last days. Why? Because many saw no possibility of Israel ever being a nation re-established and living in the land God promised them. During WWII, when so many Jews were slaughtered during the Holocaust, besides being a horrible tragedy and a very significant blight on the humanity of mankind, it must have been terribly disappointing for prophecy buffs of the time. Six million Jews had just been horribly eliminated from the face of this earth so how could God’s chosen people ever be expected to become a nation once again?

Today we can look at Scriptures which foretold of Israel being back in their God–given land and see that prophecy was fulfilled exactly as God said. Israel is a well-established nation – powerful, self-governed, with an entrenched foothold in the land God gave them. But for those Christian denominations who hold to the erroneous doctrine of replacement theology, this absolutely proven prophecy is looked upon as a non-event. That’s just blindness.

“For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.” Ezekiel 36:24.

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land,” Ezekiel 37:21.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.” Isaiah 11:11. This verse tells us there will be a re-gathering and return of the Jews back to the covenant land God established specifically for the Jewish people. Clearly God’s end time plans were predicated on Israel returning to their promised land.

Those individuals in past generations who diligently studied their Bibles knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that until Israel was an established nation once again and dwelling in the land God promised them there could be no Second Advent. The Bible is clear as to the signs we are to look for and yet many refuse to seek a clear understanding. Jesus is our sign giver. The Old Testament prophets, through the inspiration of God, wrote down earth’s future history and God preserved those words for all the future generations.

Along with Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah, we have all the Minor Prophets who, even though they are referred to as minor, contributed major prophetic insight into the last day’s events. “And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.” Amos 9:14-15. This is just one of the numerous end time prophecies that are recorded in the books of the so called Minor Prophets. Actually minor only means shorter in length, not subordinate at all in regards to importance.

Prophecy has been placed in the Bible by God to bring us to a deeper understanding of just what the future history of the world holds. Not only do we discern that God’s word is true, but from prophecy, both fulfilled and not yet fulfilled, we recognize the End Times are yet to come. Yes, we are living in the End Times and have been since Jesus died on that cross, but our current generation is the generation that is living in the very last days of the End Times.

Even though we can’t help being concerned about Israel and the fact that they are surrounded by their enemies – enemies bent on their total destruction – God has promised Israel that they will never again be pulled out of their land. God’s mighty hand is covering Israel and that’s a fact we witness every day. Their enemies will never be successful in their attempts to wipe Israel off the map.

It should come as no surprise that even though the Hamas terrorists lob rocket after rocket into Israel, year in and year out, the destruction of property and the taking of innocent Israelis lives is quite minimal. The taking of an innocent life is tragic under any circumstance, but the very fact that Hamas has launched literally thousands of rockets into the land where God’s people dwell with hardly any effect should give all people pause. We must come to the conclusion that God’s people are divinely protected and established where God wants them.

The Old Testament contains many prophecies which foretold of Jesus’ first advent. They were recorded many, many years before His birth. These prophecies were missed by the Scribes and Pharisees. For instance in the Book of Genesis we were given the first words concerning the Coming of Christ. Speaking to the serpent, God said, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15. Note that the Coming One was to be of the woman’s seed, which described the miraculous virgin birth of our Lord. This was written down thousands of years before He was born.

In order to deny the undeniable prophecies recorded in scripture, we must allegorize at least one third of the Bible. On the other hand, if we take the Bible seriously and allow the word of God to speak to us, we can come to an informed and correct conclusion of what will transpire as we move ever closer to Christ’s return and before that, the snatching away of His Church.

We Christians have, for the most part, no problem believing in the virgin birth or the fact that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which was all foretold of in the Old Testament. However, when it comes down to understanding prophecy that is directly pointing to the end of days here on earth and Jesus’ Second Advent, that’s just too weak, too hard to grasp. “It’s all allegories. Those scriptures have nothing to do with our future.” Here’s a news flash for those who think that way: God authenticates His word by giving us history lessons in advance. Fulfilled prophecy is obvious and yet dismissed by many Christian as inconsequential.

The Bible is replete with prophecies both fulfilled and yet to be fulfilled, all establishing the undeniable fact that there will be a Rapture of Christ’s Church and that the saints (believers) will return with our Lord in His glory at the end of the Tribulation. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6.

Why is it so difficult for some to gain an understanding of the end times through prophecy? Because many Christians today refuse to study their Bibles at all, let alone Bible prophecy. They are completely reliant on their pastors, many of whom don’t believe in biblical prophecy. Therefore they parrot what they hear and neglect Bible prophecy altogether.

Paul the Apostle spoke of future events. Paul didn’t know when the events he taught about would occur anymore than we do today. But over the past two-thousand years we can see many prophetic signs that have been fulfilled, and this generation is witnessing the speedy culmination of prophetic signs exploding on the scene.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass,” Revelation 1:1. This may very well be the verse that has tripped up generations of believers in the past. Just reading the English version of the above verse gives us the impression these things referred to here by Jesus would shortly (or soon) come to pass. By carefully analyzing the original language, we can more clearly understand this verse and what it actually is saying. It’s the English word “shortly” that’s the culprit. Translated from the Greek word tachos, its intent isn’t to infer something happening very soon, but is to show quickness or speed. Our English word tachometer is derived from this Greek word. Jesus is going to open the eyes of His servants who study His word to understand the signs of the end times, and when these signs begin to come about they will happen rapidly and speedily, precisely what we see happening today.

Jesus Christ will return soon for His Church and that’s something the enemy doesn’t want people to believe, let alone dwell on. Satan knows the Rapture will happen and if he can keep the focus of the Church on the worldly things which entrap God’s people and re-direct their thoughts and efforts, then Christians will spend much less time, if any at all, thinking about or promoting our Heavenly destination. Our enemy would like to see the Church become just another secular social club totally devoid of God’s truth, especially prophecy.

There are many alternative views floating around for Christians to choose from, many of which disparage Bible prophecy. Amillennialism, Preterism, Kingdom now, or Dominionism, it really is confusing and some of these views are difficult to understand. When we just allow others to influence us with their interpretations instead of searching the scriptures for ourselves, we may find ourselves following a view that is basically unscriptural.

Many believers put little, if any, reliance in the Rapture view even though Paul taught that Christ’s Church would be raptured before the Wrath of God was to come on this Christ-rejecting world.

Side Note:
Christians have been listening to false teachers who’ve exchanged God’s word for a lie for years. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:13. This manipulation of the saints by deceitful workers has moved Christians into a pattern of resorting back to worldly ideas and concepts. About 90% of all Christians no longer hold a Christian world view. They look, sound, and act just like the earth dwellers (non-believers) of this planet, opposed to true, born again believers, who are just sojourners here. That leaves only a remnant of Christians with a genuine Christian world view.

Prophecy is being fulfilled right in front of our eyes; signs are coming to pass. The end of all time is upon us. Secular scientists also speculate the end of planet earth will come, but not for another billion years or so. God says that event will be much sooner. n fact Bible prophecy tells us it’s at the door.

Still, one question remains. When we take God’s word seriously and truthfully where does that leave the unbeliever? The unbeliever is already condemned. So they will only be affected by the Rapture in an adverse way. When the “caught up” happens they will be left on planet earth scratching their heads in bewilderment at the instantaneous disappearance of millions. Will any of your family or friends be stuck in that mode of bewilderment?

God bless you all,
Ron Graham
twotug@embarqmail.com

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Buffalo News Story Portrays Muslim Who Beheaded Wife as “Victim”

Friday, February 20th, 2009

From Robert at Jihad Watch:

The poor thing is “almost in shock.” Almost! Here is an appalling farrago attempting to portray a man who beheaded his wife as a victim — and in the process, of course, to exonerate Islamic teaching for any responsibility for this horrific murder.

Moderate Beheading Update: “Suspect ‘almost in shock’ over wife’s beheading,” by Fred O. Williams for the Buffalo News, February 19 (thanks to Soren):

Under arrest in his wife’s brutal death, Muzzammil Hassan is “almost in shock,” his attorney said Wednesday following a court appearance in Orchard Park.“He’s having difficulty coping with this,” attorney James Harrington said.

Poor fellow. He beheaded his wife, and now he is having trouble coping. What suffering he has been through!

Hassan, 44, appeared briefly in the Orchard Park courtroom Wednesday for the first official proceeding since he was arrested last week and charged with seconddegree murder. His wife, Aasiya, was found beheaded at the office of their business in the Village of Orchard Park.Tall and stout in a tan suit, he was led into the courtroom in handcuffs, blinking through his glasses at the approximately two dozen people gathered….

“If and when he’s indicted, he’ll plead not guilty,” said Harrington, adding, “It’s too early to know what approach we’ll take, but we’re exploring everything.”

He must have been crazy! Maybe…Islamophobia drove him to it!

Assistant District Attorney Colleen Curtin Gable said her office would seek an indictment against Hassan within 45 days on a charge of seconddegree murder. The first-degree charge is reserved for special circumstances, including torture or the death of police.Conviction on second-degree murder carries penalties ranging from 15 years to life in prison, to 25 years to life, she said….

Why not first degree murder? A beheading is likely to have been premeditated.

Harrington said that a history of domestic violence will be part of the case.“They had their problems,” he said.

Orchard Park police said they had been called to the couple’s home on Big Tree Road because of domestic disputes previously. The most recent occasion was Feb. 6, the day Aasiya Hassan filed for divorce and obtained an order of protection barring Muzzammil Hassan from the house.

Although Hassan told police where to find his wife’s body, he has not confessed, Harrington said. Hassan went to Police Headquarters last Thursday evening and said his wife was dead at their business office, a Muslim-oriented television channel on Thorn Avenue.

Obligatory exoneration of Islam:

Harrington rejected a connection between the beheading of Aasiya Hassan and the couple’s Muslim religion and culture.“No, it does not [have any bearing],” he said, adding, “I think the media is doing a very great disservice to the Muslim community.”

How? Who? What media? What mainstream media story has said the first thing about Islam or the culture of honor killing in connection with this case?

The brutal nature of the crime has raised questions about whether it was a so-called “honor killing,” a possibility that the district attorney’s office is investigating. Harrington called questions about the extreme violence of the act inappropriate.Advocates for women — some of them Muslims — have called for the community to acknowledge religious and cultural traditions that stigmatize divorce and heighten the danger of violence in divorce cases.

That at least is good. Calling the Islamic community to account for the cultural and religious traditions that justify honor killing is the only way to prevent more honor killings in the future. But what the mainstream media gives with one hand, it takes away with the other:

Meanwhile, the Imams Council of Greater Western New York on Tuesday issued a statement calling it “unfair to vilify the Islamic faith or Muslims” in the homicide.“To generalize the issue is misleading and masks the real problem that women globally are being abused and domestic violence is on the rise. We must all unite in condemning anyone, of any faith or culture, who harms the innocent and recognize that the causes of domestic violence are not limited to any religion or culture.”

No. False. Wrong. It is not “vilify[ing] the Islamic faith or Muslims” to note that honor killing is widely accepted in Islamic culture, and that honor crimes frequently get lighter penalties than other forms of murder in Muslim countries. This manifests cultural attitudes that must be confronted, or more women will get murdered. It’s that simple. These disavowals of responsibility by Muslim imams are only ensuring that more women will be victimized as was Aasiya Hassan.

Original Link.

Netanyahu Chosen to Form New Israeli Government

Friday, February 20th, 2009

It looks like Bi-Bi won the election in Israel and will form the new government.

JERUSALEM — Israeli President Shimon Peres chose hard-line Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new Israeli government on Friday, ending days of speculation and giving Netanyahu six weeks to put together a ruling coalition.

The question now is whether Netanyahu will form a narrow government with his hard-line allies or a broad government along with his centrist rival, Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni. His choice will have serious ramifications for the Mideast peace process.

Peres made his announcement early Friday afternoon after holding meetings with Netanyahu and Livni. An official ceremony appointing Netanyahu was to be held shortly afterward.

Peres had been meeting political leaders as he decided which candidate would be given the task of cobbling together a new coalition in the aftermath of Israel’s national election last week.

The choice of Netanyahu was cemented on Thursday when Avigdor Lieberman, who heads the hawkish Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) party, endorsed the Likud leader.

Kadima edged out Likud in the election, capturing 28 seats to Likud’s 27. But Likud is in a better position to put together a coalition because of gains by Lieberman and other hard-line parties.

Netanyahu now can form a hard-line government or bring Livni into a broad coalition that would provide more stability and help Israel avoid a clash with the Obama administration and much of the world.

Original Link.

“Picking Winners and Losers by Executive Fiat” by David Limbaugh

Friday, February 20th, 2009

It is ironic to the point of absurdity that leftists could ever complain about conservatives threatening their liberties. Now back in power, they’re in a full sprint to grab power and reduce our liberties.

Of course, we always knew the left’s spurious charges against President Bush were not just rank partisanship but also classic projection — accusing him of precisely the type of tactics they would employ if they were in power. And now they are — big-time.

Let’s consider just a few examples.

Former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey, at the personal expense of incurring the fury of such liberal mouth foamers as MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, has helped expose hidden health care provisions in President Obama’s stimulus nightmare that “will affect ‘every individual in the United States.'”

The bill creates a new bureaucracy, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, which “will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective.” Note: not what your doctor deems appropriate, but what the federal government does. Doctors and hospitals will face penalties if they fail to kowtow to this fiat requiring uniformity. This new bureaucracy will receive greater funding than “the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force combined.”

Worse, the bill will result in the rationing of care for the elderly. But that’s OK because Big Brother has determined that individuals will benefit in their younger years and will have to sacrifice later. I’m not making this up. This is one of the rationales defenders of these innovations are serving up.

Much of the impetus for these health care changes came from disgraced former Sen. Tom Daschle, who would be head of Health and Human Services right now but for his little tax issue. McCaughey shares revealing gems from Daschle’s 2008 book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.” Among them are his opinions that doctors must give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners” and that seniors will have to learn to deal with — rather than receive treatment for — conditions that arise from their age.

Perhaps the most chilling aspect of this particularly noxious stealth provision of the stimulus scheme is not what’s in it, but how it — and other such free market-destroying provisions — were rushed through under deliberate cover of darkness. McCaughey attributes this strategy to Daschle, as well.

A year ago, McCaughey tells us, Daschle warned that the next president should not make the same mistake the Clintons made with Hillary Care, which was to allow debate. Daschle wrote: “If that means attaching a health-care plan to the federal budget, so be it. The issue is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol.”

So much for “liberal” democracy. So much for transparency. So much for a new era of hope and change.

Read the rest of the article here.

Our Friend James is Not Doing Well – Continue to Pray

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Our friend James has cancer and is not doing well. Please continue to pray for him and his wife, Gail.
Thank you.
-Steve

Far-Left Justices a Concern

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

This is exactly why Christians need to be dilligent in their support of conservative Presidential candidates…..a liberal President will appoint liberal Justices which will result in NO justice for anyone.

Ogden, Kagan, Johnsen, & Perrelli — what sounds like a law firm is actually a group of individuals who Americans should not want taking up office space in the Department of Justice. That’s according to the Alliance Defense Fund.

ADF has written a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee about administration appointees to the Justice Department. The letter objects specifically to four nominees: David Ogden, Elena Kagan, Dawn Johnsen and Thomas Perrelli.

Spokesman and ADF attorney Gary McCaleb first points to Ogden, who represented prominent porn industry owners in court. Ogden hopes to be the next deputy attorney general at the DOJ.

“He’s sought to strike down even the slightest restrictions on abortion,” McCaleb offers, “and he’s been probably the biggest friend in America to sexually oriented businesses. If there’s a porn store near you, then there’s a good chance that Mr. Ogden’s advocacy had something to do with allowing that store to be there.”

Then there is Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan, who President Obama has nominated to be Solicitor General of the United States. McCaleb points out that just two years after the attacks on September 11, 2001, she tried to get military recruiters kicked off her campus.

“And when she did so she wound up in the Supreme Court trying to defend that [argument],” says the ADF attorney. “And the court characterized her position as one that would make the statute virtually meaningless. So we have an attorney taking what amounts to a frivolous argument to the Supreme Court, and now that very same person is being asked to step into the Department of Justice.”

ADF also objects to the nominations of Dawn Johnsen and Thomas Perrelli to the Department of Justice. McCaleb says their track record is far to the left of center. For example, Johnson is one of the most ardent supporters of abortion, says McCaleb.

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