Archive for March 30th, 2009

The Fiery Furnace – A Bible Story Mural

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Artist Doug Westbrook has added a new mural to his collection. This one depicts the account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, from the Book of Daniel, and their time in the “Fiery Furnace”.

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.

Daniel 3:13-27

“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.”

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 created 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.

“Europe, We Hear You; Now You Hear The Word of God” by Stan Goodenough

Monday, March 30th, 2009

This is a message to the foreign minister of the Czech Republic and to his counterparts in the European Union, over which his government currently presides:

Mr Karel Schwarzenberg,

Israel this weekend heard your clear and unequivocal message; your demand that its new government embrace and facilitate the division of Jewish lands for the creation of an Arab state; your warning that Israel will pay if it fails to acquiesce.

As the Jews went into their synagogues Friday evening to worship their God, you were loudly applauding the already-intensive efforts of the new Obama administration to oversee and direct the slicing and dicing of the Land He gave to them.

Once their Sabbath was over, observant Jews would have read about how your friend from Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, said: “We must tell the Israelis that it is not allowed to walk away from the peace process…”

You both came hard and fast behind the arrogant and bullying diktat that erupted from Javier Solana earlier this month, when he looked directly into the cameras and spelled out his message to Israel:

“Let me say very clearly that the way the European Union will relate to an [Israeli] government that is not committed to a two-state solution will be very, very different.”

Indeed, there was nothing at all unclear about that.

But gentlemen, even clearer than your threats are God’s words to Israel, and His warnings to you, concerning this land.

To Abraham, God repeatedly promises ownership forever of the land upon which you plot and plan to build a Palestinian state:

Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” (Genesis 12:8)

And the LORD said to Abram, after lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are-northward, southward, eastward and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. … Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.” (Genesis 13:14,15,17)

Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: “… And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:3,7,8)

In Isaac this promise was established, when God told Abraham that: “… in Isaac [not Ishmael] your seed shall be called.” (Genesis 21:12 c).

To Isaac the deed of the land was confirmed:

Then the LORD appeared to him and said: “… Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; (Genesis 26:2,3,4)

Isaac passed on the covenant to Jacob when he blessed him:

“May God Almighty bless you,
And make you fruitful and multiply you,
That you may be an assembly of peoples;

And give you the blessing of Abraham,
To you and your descendants with you,
That you may inherit the land
In which you are a stranger,
Which God gave to Abraham.” (Genesis 28:3,4)

God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, and confirmed that the covenant of the land was passed onto him and his descendants (and not to Ishmael, Esau or any of their descendants):

And God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.” So He called his name Israel. Also God said to him: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land.” (Genesis 35:10,11,12)

On his deathbed, Israel assured his son Joseph:

“Behold, I am dying, but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers. Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow.” (Genesis 48:21,22)

Joseph passed the promise onto his brothers:

And Joseph said to his brethren, “I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” (Genesis 50:24)

God, citing His everlasting promise to the founding fathers of the nation of Israel, commissioned Moses to implement Joseph’s words:

Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’ Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt; and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ (Exodus 3:15-17)

And after the 12 Tribes of Israel had wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, God passed the charge onto Joshua, saying:

“Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory…” (Joshua 1:2-4)

Israel conquered the Land – destroying and driving out its inhabitants in a way that doubtless would have appalled and enraged the EU, had you existed then, but in direct accordance with the instruction of the Creator of heaven and earth.

The nation took root and grew on this land. Here it was established and here, 3000 years ago, it made Jerusalem its capital. Because of the people’s unfaithfulness towards God, He sent them into exile, but He never ended His covenant with them; never revoked their ownership of the land, and repeatedly promised through prophet after prophet to one day bring them back and establish them again inside their borders.

“Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “that it shall no more be said, ‘The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.’ For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers. …” (Jeremiah 16:14,15)

God gave them this land, exclusively and forever. He is keeping His promise to restore them to this land and, scoff though you may; it is in His purpose to make little Israel chief among all the nations of the world.

The “great” and arrogant nations you represent have two choices ahead of them: They will either serve Israel, or they will perish.

You might not believe in God, Messrs Solana, Schwarzenberg, and Asselhorn. You might disregard His word, sneer at it and dismiss it out of hand, it matters not.

You will stand before Him one day to give account for your actions. Your nations will be brought into the valley and be judged according to their treatment of the Jewish people and your dealings with their land.

“For behold, in those days and at that time,
When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem,
I will also gather all nations,
And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
And I will enter into judgment with them there
On account of My people, My heritage Israel,
Whom they have scattered among the nations;
They have also divided up My land…” (Joel 3:1,2)

Note that God continues:

“They have cast lots for My people, …” (v.3)

If you know the Bible, then you know what happened to another man and nation that dared cast lots for the people of Israel.

Lot means Pur – and as they have every year for millennia – the Jewish people have just celebrated Purim, their deliverance from – and the destruction of –Haman and those who had volunteered to implement his planned genocide of the Jews of Persia.

But to Zion (you know, from which word and place comes the universally-vilified movement called “Zionism”), God says:

“The sons of foreigners shall build up your walls,
And their kings shall minister to you;
For in My wrath I struck you,
But in My favor I have had mercy on you.
Therefore your gates shall be open continually;
They shall not be shut day or night,
That men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles,
And their kings in procession.
For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish,
And those nations shall be utterly ruined. …” (Isaiah 60:10,11,12)

These are not my words.

This is the word of the LORD.

Original Link.

Christians Inciting Muslims in Morocco??

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Keeping in mind how little it takes to “incite” a Muslim to blood lust, here is the latest from Muslims in Morocco.

Horror of horrors! Inciting them to what? To violence? To hatred? To (gasp) creationism?

Naaah. They were inciting them to convert to Christianity. And in a land that respects Muhammad’s dictum “If anyone changes his religion, kill him” (Bukhari 9.84.57), the free exercise of one’s conscience is a crime.

Islamic Tolerance Alert from modern, moderate Morocco, which is also moving against homosexuals today: “Muslim Morocco expels 5 Christian missionaries,” from AP, March 29 (thanks to all who sent this in):

RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Authorities have expelled five Christian missionaries from Morocco on the grounds that they were illegally inciting Muslims to convert, the Interior Ministry said Sunday.The missionaries were caught Saturday during an assembly with Moroccan Muslims in Casablanca, the North African kingdom’s economic capital, and have been sent to Spain by boat, the Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the official MAP news agency.

“Numerous pieces of evangelical propaganda material were also seized,” including video cassettes in Arabic that advocated conversion to Christianity, the statement said.

A senior Interior Ministry official said the missionaries were four Spaniards and a German woman. He insisted Morocco has nothing against the Christian faith, but that authorities felt the missionaries had gone too far.

Of course!

Many people frown on proselytizing. I have no problem with it from any group. If someone wants to convert me to another religion or point of view, I’ll be glad to discuss it. If, however, someone who rejects an invitation to convert must be killed — well, that does seem to cross a line. So in Morocco, why not let Christians preach, and anyone else who wants to preach also? If Islam is true, its truth will shine forth in comparison to error, will it not? Actions like this one from the Moroccan government manifest a deep insecurity that can also be found all over the Islamic world.

Original Link.

“Our Eternal Struggle” by Dr. Phyllis Chesler

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Who would ever have believed that Jews would be in such danger again? That Israel and Zionism would become such dirty words in the world, despised by western intellectuals and Islamist mobs alike?

Who would ever have predicted that the United Nations would remain ineffective in all things except one: the legitimization of Jew-hatred? And that so many members of international human rights organizations and the mainstream western media would join Muslim leaders to accuse Israel of running an apartheid Nazi state bent on genocide?

Who would ever have thought that the Islamic jihad against Jews, which long preceded the establishment of the state of Israel, would still be going strong – a jihad that began during Muhammad’s reign when he slaughtered the Jewish tribes of Arabia?

Who would ever have suggested that the largest refugee story in the Middle East – 750,000-800,000 Jews expelled from Arab countries – would be forgotten and replaced with a Palestinian-only persecution narrative that would seize the imagination of the world? That Israel, which absorbed its refugees at its own expense, would be demonized and that Palestinian leaders, including terrorists who devote themselves to the destruction of Israel, would be glamorized as righteous and noble victims?

Who would ever have dreamed that Israel would be condemned for trying to defend its civilians? Or that Israel would reap hatred for exercising restraint in its treatment of Palestinian civilians? Or that Israel’s terrorist enemies would be praised for hiding behind their own women and children or would themselves be counted as civilians (even as they fire rockets at Israel) because they craftily choose to dress as such?

Who would ever have imagined that such Big Lies would be championed by western intellectuals, academics, journalists, students – not a few of them Jews and even Israelis?

Orwell would laugh. Or cry.

Read the rest of the article here.

100,000 Secular Britons Seek ‘De-Baptism’

Monday, March 30th, 2009

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”
1 Timothy 4:1-2

LONDON (AFP) – More than 100,000 Britons have recently downloaded “certificates of de-baptism” from the Internet to renounce their Christian faith.

The initiative launched by a group called the National Secular Society (NSS) follows atheist campaigns here and elsewhere, including a London bus poster which triggered protests by proclaiming “There’s probably no God.”

“We now produce a certificate on parchment and we have sold 1,500 units at three pounds (4.35 dollars, 3.20 euros) a pop,” said NSS president Terry Sanderson, 58.

John Hunt, a 58-year-old from London and one of the first to try to be “de-baptised,” held that he was too young to make any decision when he was christened at five months old.

The male nurse said he approached the Church of England to ask it to remove his name. “They said they had sought legal advice and that I should place an announcement in the London Gazette,” said Hunt, referring to one of the official journals of record of the British government.

So that’s what he did — his notice of renouncement was published in the Gazette in May 2008 and other Britons have followed suit.

Michael Evans, 66, branded baptising children as “a form of child abuse” — and said that when he complained to the church where he was christened he was told to contact the European Court of Human Rights.

The Church of England said its official position was not to amend its records. “Renouncing baptism is a matter between the individual and God,” a Church spokesman told AFP.

De-baptism movements have already sprung up in other countries.

In Spain, the high court ruled in favour of a man from Valencia, Manuel Blat, saying that under data protection laws he could have the record of his baptism erased, according to a report in the International Herald Tribune.

Similarly, the Italian Union of Rationalists and Agnostics (UAAR) won a legal battle over the right to file for de-baptism in 2002, according to media reports. The group’s website carries a “de-baptism” form to facilitate matters.

According to UAAR secretary Raffaele Carcano, more than 60,000 of these forms have been downloaded in the past four years and continue to be downloaded at a rate of about 2,000 per month. Another 1,000 were downloaded in one day when the group held its first national de-baptism day last October 25.

Elsewhere, an Argentinian secularist movement is running a “Collective Apostasy” campaign, using the slogan “Not in my name” (No en mi nombre).

Original Link.

Jenin Orchestra Shut Down After Playing for Holocaust Survivors

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Palestinian officials in a West Bank refugee camp say they have disbanded a youth orchestra after it played for Holocaust survivors in Israel.

Jenin refugee camp official Adnan Hindi says the 13-member Strings of Freedom orchestra should not have played for the survivors, calling the Holocaust “a political issue.”

Hindi added Sunday that the conductor has also been barred from entering the camp.

Conductor Wafa Younis says she was not informed of the ban.

The orchestra performed a goodwill concert for elderly survivors in the Israeli town of Holon Wednesday.

“I feel sympathy for them,” Ali Zeid, an 18-year-old keyboard player said after the concert. He said he was shocked by what he learned about the Holocaust, in which the Nazis killed 6 million Jews in their campaign to wipe out European Jewry.

“Only people who have been through suffering understand each other,” added Zeid, who said his grandparents were Palestinian refugees forced to flee the northern city of Haifa during the war that followed Israel’s creation in 1948.

Original Link.

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