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1 Peter 1:13-1:25
A Nation of Bible Illiterates
George Barna wrote The State of the Church in 2002. Barna conducted a survey of self-pronounced Christians and here’s what he found about their knowledge of the Bible. These are Christians.
• 48% could not name the four Gospels.
• 52% cannot identify more than two or three of Jesus’ disciples.
• 60% of American Christians can’t name even five of the 10 Commandments.
• 61% of American Christians think the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.
• 71% of American Christians think “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse.
George Barna said, "Americans revere the Bible, but by and large they don’t know what it says. And because they don’t know it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates."
Just as the people in this Barna poll are woefully biblical illiterate, Christians are far too ignorant of the Word of God. No wonder 21st century Christians are failing to finish their marathon race. No wonder Christians by the thousands are falling prey to the false teachers of our day. They are being feed junk food and don’t feed themselves on the Word of God. They are desperately in need of a solid diet of good food, Scripture. We need to get into "spiritual shape"!
The Spirit’s message and power can only be understood by the help of the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:11-16).
i. His wisdom is what brings us understanding in this world of confusing messages.
ii. His wisdom is what helps us to see in the darkness of this world.
iii. His wisdom is what helps us to see if something is true or false.
iv. His wisdom illuminates our minds to deception and danger.
v. His wisdom see’s the trap of the enemy and exposes it to us.
vi. His wisdom guides us down the narrow path of life.
vii. His wisdom tells us we are in the right when many others say we are in the wrong.
Contributed by: Michael McCartney
Americans are willing to spend billions to lose weight. Marketing products and services to dieters is a cinch, a dream, and a no-brainer big business, and easy money, because more than 120 million or 61% of people in the USA are overweight, obese, or overweight by 30 pounds or more. The common techniques marketers use include testimonials and before/after photos, claims of rapid weight loss, and the promise of no dieting or exercise required. Actors say, ?7 weeks ago I weighed 268 pounds, now I am down to just 148 pounds!?Ads claim: ?You can eat as much as you want and still lose weight.? Another ad claimed: ?You could lose 8 to 10 pounds per week, easily . . . and you won’t gain the weight back afterwards.?
However, the dieter’s dream of being healthy, slim or trim, and attractive was dashed by the Federal Trade Commission in a big way. Newspapers, local and national news all reported the FTC warning that advertisements for weight-loss products and services make ?grossly exaggerated? claims. The agency reviewed 300 weight-loss ads in the previous year and tested 218 dietary supplements, meal replacements, patches, creams, wraps and other weight-loss products and services. The report found that 40% of the ads made at least one representation that was almost certainly false, and 55% made a claim that was very likely false or at least lacked adequate substantiation. The agency had the help of a coalition of representatives of science, academia, health professions, government agencies and public interest groups.
The FTC said that the ads are distracting people from doing things that would help them achieve a healthy body weight. Surgeon General Richard Carmona said, ?There is no miracle pill that will lead to weight loss. Losing weight requires a lifelong commitment to healthful eating and physical activity.? (USA Today 9/18/02 “Weight-loss deception found.?
REMEMBERING JOSEPH BAU--COMMUNION MEDITATION
When someone dies, we remember—we remember all the stories that filled their life. Last week a man named Joseph Bau died. It’s a name you probably don’t know, but a story worth hearing.
Joseph Bau was born on June 18, 1920, in Krakow, Poland. He became a young man just in time to experience the German invasion of Poland. He was one of three boys in a prosperous middle-class family that lived in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods. Joseph had always been good at art, and at the age of 18, he enrolled in the University of Plastic Arts at Krakow.
But the war interrupted his studies. His family was forced to move to the Jewish Ghetto, and then later to the Plaschow concentration camp. Because of Joseph’s partial education in Art before the war, and because of his talent for Gothic lettering, the Nazis employed him in producing maps and signs for the camp.
Joseph’s job also enabled him to save more than 400 Jews by forging false documents and identity papers that secured their release from the camp. When asked after the war, why he did not forge documents for himself, he replied, “Then who would have done it for the other Jews?”
When Jesus was hanging on the cross, we hear a similar question, “He saved others; He cannot save himself?” And Jesus answers, “What shall ...
THE FALSE FOUNDATIONS IN THE KINSEY REPORT
Almost 50 years ago, Alfred Kinsey, a quiet Midwestern Zoology professor, published the 1st of 2 volumes that would shake American culture to its foundations. His 1948 book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male - like its 1953 sequel, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female - claimed to report the findings of a massive survey of American sexual behavior.
And what findings they were! In dry, scientific language, Kinsey declared that many traditionally forbidden sexual activities were commonplace: About 1/2 of all married men and one in 4 married women had had extramarital sex; 69% of men had been with prostitutes; 10 % of men had been homosexual for at 3 years; 40 to 50% of boys raised on farms had had sexual contact with animals.
What’s more, Kinsey claimed many of these practices could be beneficial. Premarital sex helped women "adjust" to marriage. Boys may develop "affectional relations" with their animal sexual partners.
The public - then sexually conservative by today’s standards - might not have accepted such information from just anyone. But Kinsey was a scientist and, impressed by the wonders of modern technology, Americans had grown to respect science deeply. And because Kinsey’s was a scientific study, says historian John D’Emilio of the University of N. Carolina at Greensboro, "The press had permission to write about the subject in a way it wouldn’t have before."
American culture shifted under the impact. The old sexual rules, supposedly hypocritical, began weakening. "If you discover that the desires you’ve been repressing are being acted out by millions," says historian Paul Robinson of Stanford University, "you are less inclined to repress them." Newsweek characterized that effect as "If it’s OK with Kinsey, it’s OK with me."
Today, in good measure because of Alfred Kinsey, we live in a different world. But were the things he said true?
In December 1995, nearly 50 years after Kinsey’s 1st report, the Indiana institute that Kinsey founded to carry on his work acknowledged that certain data had been misrepresented. Kinsey had written that 9 observers - some technically trained" - had found that children as young as 5 months were capable of multiple orgasm and, when "uninhibited," were "aggressive in seeking" sex. The truth, the Kinsey Institute now said, was that those data were supplied by a single observer - a pedophile who claimed to have sex with 317 boys....
In fact, many of Kinsey’ findings were based on flawed methods. And some are outright false. Nevertheless, prominent scholars who know this continue to promote Kinsey’s work....
When Kinsey took a sexual history, he was far more likely to "find" sexual activity than were his own colleagues - reporting 2 to 3 times as much premarital intercourse and 4 times as much homosexuality as they did. Says historian James Reed of Rutgers University, "Kinsey was a man who very much wanted to find sexual activity."
Even more troubling was Kinsey’s collection of child pornography. According to a 1981 letter from Kinsey colleague Paul Gebhard to researcher Judith Reisman, Kinsey obtained photos and film of children engaged in sexual acts from adults who had had sex with them. Kinsey never notified law enforcement of the existence of any of these pedophiles.
Kinsey claimed to be a neutral scientist who had no agenda. He wrote in his 1st volume that he aimed for "scientific fact completely divorced from questions of moral value and social custom." His claim was false. "Kinsey had views, and they’re in his books," says sociologist John Gagnon, a former president of the International Academy of Sex Research, who joined the institute after its founder’s death in 1956. Kinsey believed that sex was a simple, biological reaction to stimuli with no moral, spiritual or psychological dimension. Only "inhibitions" imposed by society, he claimed prevented everyone from enjoying equally a variety of "outlets."
"It is not so difficult," Kinsey wrote in his 2nd report, "to explain why a human animal does a particular thing sexually. It is more difficult to explain why each and every individual is not involved in every type of sexual activity." In his declared opinion, there was no moral difference between one sexual outlet and any other.
It is not surprising, then, that the Kinsey Reports contain graphic description of young children under prolonged sexual stimulation by a pedophile including the children’s screams and struggles to get away. Yet Kinsey concluded that the children "derive definite pleasure from the situation."
The survey respondents on whom Kinsey based his conclusions were grossly unrepresentative of the general population. About 75% of his male respondents volunteered to take part, for instance. Using Kinsey’s data, psychologist Lewis M. Terman of Stanford University reported that such volunteers are anywhere from 2 to 4 times more active sexually than nonvolunteers.
Kinsey’s sample also included prison inmates. Pomeroy wrote that by 1946, the team had taken sexual histories from 1400 convicted sex offenders. Kinsey never revealed how many he included in his total sample of 5300 males; he did acknowledge that his 1st volume included "several thousand" male prostitutes.
THE FALSE FOUNDATIONS IN THE KINSEY REPORT by Rachel Wildavsky in R.Digest 4/97 p. 59 ff.
You just know that some things are going to happen sooner or later.
That’s the way it was with Michael Parfit, a writer for Smithsonian magazine. For a feature article on the mighty Mississippi River, Parfit rode in a twelve-foot rubber dinghy down the Mississippi from Memphis, Tennessee, to the Gulf of Mexico.
Parfit learned of the incredible power of this giant river. The Mississippi gathers its water from 41 percent of the continental U.S., catching water from Montana to New York. Half a trillion tons of water flow down the Mississippi every year, carrying downstream sixty-three thousand tons of soil a day.
A river this big is a threat to the surrounding countryside. That’s why engineers have built levees to pinch the mighty giant and keep it from flooding the farmland and towns nearby. The levees on the lower Mississippi stand, on average, twenty-five feet high and run 2,203 miles on both sides of the main river and its tributaries.
"As the wall was built over the years," writes Parfit, " people came to live under its protection. They tore down the forest and planted cotton, and the floodplain of the Mississippi became the expanse of farmland known as the Mississippi Delta."
More than eight million people live in the Delta. But at what risk? Parfit flew in a plane over the Mississippi Delta and saw plainly the river’s tracks on the land, where it once had flooded the delta.
"The levee…cages the giant, or appears to," writes Parfit. "And no one but birds and an occasional light-plane pilot notices the long sweep of the river’s indelible script. What the river has written in the mud again and again is simple: ’Someday soon.’ "
Someday soon will come another flood. That’s what Parfit warned in February of 1993. Someday soon will come another devastating flood like the ones in 1882, 1927, and 1973.
"People in this valley get a sense everything is totally controlled," one engineer told Parfit. "That’s a false sense of security. We haven’t seen anything yet in this valley as to what this river can do. We’re not in control of anything."
"The river," wrote Parfit in February 1993, "moves brown swift, unpredictable, enormous, always murmuring ’Someday soon…’"
In February 1993 when his article was published, Parfit could not have imagined how right he would be. Only months after the publication of the article, in the summer in 1993, came one of the worst floods of the history of the Mississippi.
God’s Word warns that someday soon, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, Christ will return to the earth, bringing the terrible wrath of God on all who have not prepared their lives for His coming. Nothing can stop Him. The wise person gets ready.
SOURCE: Jack Voss, Crossroads Christian Center, Collinsville, OK. God’s Secret(A Study On The Book Of Acts).
In England, most radio and television stations are run by the government-operated British Broadcasting Service (the BBC). There are some independent stations today, but 40 years ago, the BBC ruled the airwaves alone in England. In 1965, a free-spirit named Roy Bates, decided to set up his own, independent, illegal, pirate alternative – Radio Essex. Operating a radio transmitter on English soil was clearly against the law, and he was quickly arrested and fined £100.
Not willing to give up his radio voice, Mr. Bates moved his operation offshore. England’s territorial waters at the time extended only 3 miles off the coastline. Roy Bates, once a commercial fisherman, knew of an old abandoned fort six miles off the coast, just far enough to lie within international waters. Rough’s tower, as it was known, was a military platform built during WWII to protect the Thames Estuary – the harbor at the mouth of the Thames river, where large and vulnerable convoys of shipping were assembled. It housed up to 200 men, and had a helipad. These sea forts were equipped with radar and heavy armaments, and housed enough troops to man and maintain artillery designed to shoot down German aircraft and missiles. The fort, built on a barge which was later intentionally sunk, was originally intended to be built within English waters, but was moved to it’s current location at the last minute to take advantage of shallow waters in the area. After the war, the platform had been abandoned and had lain derelict ever since. Roy set up his radio station on Rough’s Tower, safely in international waters, and broadcast his own brand of entertainment over much of England.
Were this all there was to the story, it would still be quite interesting, but what happened next makes it truly epic. In 1967, realizing that his home was in international waters claimed by no country, Roy Bates decided that he could, in fact, claim it as his own sovereign realm. He and his wife Joan declared the tower to be the “Principality of Sealand,” and a independent country. They crafted a constitution, named themselves Prince Roy and Princess Joan of Sealand, and swore loyalty to their new country, using their newly created flag and national anthem. They designed their own passports, postage stamps, and minted coins (about 25 coins of each denomination). The official language is English, and the currency exchange rate is fixed at one Sealand dollar equal to one US dollar. The Sealand national motto is E Mare Libertas, or "From the Sea, Freedom".
Sealand offerred to join the coalition of nations supporting both the first and second Gulf Wars, and issued statements of condolences and offers of assistance to the United States after 9/11. In 2003, Sealand also appointed its first official athlete - Darren Blackburn of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Blackburn has represented the Principality at a number of sporting events, including marathons and off-trail races.
By late 1968, the British navy had become aware of the new situation and dispatched a naval cruiser to quietly resolve the situation. Prince Roy took exception to this invasion of his territorial waters and fired warning shots – basically plinking the side of the naval warship with a shotgun loaded with bird shot. Since Prince Roy was still an English citizen, he was accused of several serious crimes against England and was summoned to a British court. In this widely publicized lawsuit, the court decided that it could not exert any jurisdiction outside of British national territory, which many interpret as the first de facto recognition of the Principality of Sealand. English law had ruled that Sealand was not part of the United Kingdom, nor did any other nation claim it, hence Prince Roy’s declaration of a new Sovereign State was upheld. Prince Roy has been called to British courts several times since to face charges ranging from more incidents between his shotgun and British warships to not paying taxes. In each case the Court ruled that they had no jurisdiction in international waters, strengthening Sealand’s claim to statehood. A well-recognized international precedent known as the Montevideo Convention states that one test of the legitimacy of a nation is when it is recognized by other states. England, by specifically NOT claiming it, was recognizing it.
Prince Roy now claimed Sealand as his own based on de jure (based on law – because the fort was abandoned in international waters) and de facto (based on facts – recognition by other states) precedent.
What would you do with a country of your own. What laws would you pass?
Sealand instituted an international ferry service consisting of a rubber Zodiac. In order to board the Sealand vessel at the dock in England, you had to present your Sealand passport and submit to customs inspection. Smoking and swearing were both subject to banishment, as was taking more than three five-minute showers per week. Sealand printed international postage stamps and used them to post letters in England, which the British postal service subsequently delivered, again recognizing Sealand’s existence and rights.
But dark days soon fell on the brave new country…
SEALAND GOES TO WAR (AND WINS)
In August of 1978, a number of Dutch men invited Roy to continental Europe. It was later found that the men represented organized crime families interested in the possibilities of owning a country beyond the reach of other nations. They stated their purpose was to discuss the possibilities of paying Prince Roy a large amount of money to relinquish Sealand to their control. Roy left Sealand under the control of his Prime Minister (the German night shift disc jockey, who was later discovered to be in league with the Dutch criminals. While Roy was away in Britain, armed men boarded Sealand and staged a coupe, imprisoning Prince Roy’s son the His Royal Highness Prince Michael in the toilet. Prince Roy became suspicious of the delaying tactics employed by the “business men” and returned to his country. Discovering what had happened, Prince Roy declared war on both Germany and the Netherlands, went back to Europe and hired a mercenary unit, and led the helicopter assault to retake his country. They were quite successful. No lives were lost, and the traiters were declared prisoners of war and imprisoned.
During the time that he held the prisoners, the Governments of the Netherlands and Germany petitioned for their release. First they asked England to intervene in the matter, but the British government cited their earlier court decision as evidence that they made no claim to the territory of Sealand. Then, in the most definitive recognition of Sealand’s sovereignty, Germany sent a diplomat directly to Sealand to negotiate for the release of their citizen.
Roy first released the Dutch citizens, as the war was over, and the Geneva Convention requires the release of all prisoners. The German disc jockey was held longer, as he had accepted a Sealand Passport, and therefore was guilty of treason, but was later released as well. He claims to this day that his government was entirely legal, and now claims to be the ruler in exile of Sealand, living in Spain.
On 1 October, 1987, Britain extended its territorial waters from 3 to 12 nautical miles. The previous day, Prince Roy declared the extension of Sealand’s territorial waters to be a like 12 nautical miles, so that right of way from the open sea to Sealand would not be blocked by British claimed waters. No treaty has been signed between Britain and Sealand to divide up the overlapping areas, but a general policy of dividing the area between the two countries down the middle can be assumed. International law does not allow the claim of new land during the extension of sea rights, so Sealand’s sovereignty was safely "grandfathered" in. Britain has no more right to Sealand’s territory than Sealand has to the territory of the British coastline that falls within its claimed 12 nautical mile arc.
In 1997, forged Sealand passports started tuning up around the world. Some of these were used to open bank accounts under false names in various countries. Since few people have ever seen a legitimate Sealand passport (less than 300 exist today) it was difficult for these to be easily detected as forgeries. The source of these forgeries was traced back to the same German disc jockey who was involved in the earlier attempt to take Sealand by force. His Minister of Finance had created a fake Sealand Business Foundation and boasts that he has sold over 150 000 fake Sealand Passports to all comers. Thus there are now unfortunately 500 times more forged Sealand Passports in circulation than real ones. Many of the forged passports were apparently sold to people leaving Hong Kong at the time of Chinese reoccupation for USD 1 000 each. These passports, which were not authorized by the Bates family, were involved in several high-profile crimes, including the murder of Gianni Versace.
Whilst Sealand has been the pride and joy of Prince Roy and his family for well over 30 years, his recent poor health has caused him fundamentally to review the arrangements which have been in place for decades and to look to the future of his Principality. Consequently, his son Prince Michael was appointed Prince Regent as Sovereign pro tempore by Royal Decree in 1999. Since that time, the Royal Family has struck a deal with HavenCo Limited, and that company now leases exclusively its offices in Sealand, where it offers, and is able to offer, unparalleled security and independence to users who wish to take advantage of its Internet services. The presence of an active and rapidly growing high-tech internet industry in Sealand has changed the character of the Principality; once more, Sealand rings with the sound of voices, boasts regular support ferry services, and is host to a growing and dynamic population.
The point of all this? Roy Bates is an extreme example of a man who set up a kingdom for himself here on earth. As cool as that sounds, the Bible tells us that we have a kingdom in Heaven. We are citizens of that country, not this. We are just strangers here.
"YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A JESUS."
It is truly heartwarming to know that millions of people around the world believe in Santa. Sure, most are under four feet tall, but still it’s amazing that so many believe in the big guy in the red suit. Consider the following:
Around the globe, today, live approximately two billion children (persons under 18). Santa doesn’t visit all of them, of course. Subtracting the number of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Buddhist children reduces Santa’s Christmas Eve workload to 15 percent of the total, or 378 million children (according to the Population Reference Bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, and presuming that there is at least one good child in each home, Santa must visit about 108 million homes.
Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. That means that at each household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, and get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh, and get on to the next house.
For the purposes of our calculations, we will assume that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false). We’re talking about a trip of 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks. To cover that ground in 31 hours, Santa’s sleigh moves at 650 miles per second--3,000 times the speed of sound. By comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.
The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh must carry over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. In air, even granting that the "flying" reindeer could pull 10 times the normal amount, the job can’t be done with a mere eight or nine of them—Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).
Six hundred thousand tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance—this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft reentering the earth’s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip.
Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 miles per second in .001 seconds, would be subje...
A. Todd Coget
A few years ago the Promise Keeps (which urges tens of thousands of men nationwide to be responsible, self-disciplined, and God-fearing) drew fire from the then president of the National Organization of Women, Patricia Ireland, “Promise Keepers have created a false veneer of men taking responsibility when they really mean men taking charge.”
Whenever a farmer in western Kansas buys a new truck or combine or something, they are hesitant to bring it out or tell anyone about it. I’m not quite sure why that is - but I think a part of it is they don’t want the other farmers to get jealous over what they’ve got and they don’t want to come off as arrogant. So they keep it to themselves as long as possible, or just don’t buy new trucks so as not to come off as being better than their neighbors. It seems rather ridiculous to a point - almost like a false modesty. If God has blessed you with the ability to get a new truck and you are still generous with your offerings and giving, why can’t you let people see your gift from God? Why can’t you use it? As long as you aren’t arrogant and flashy about it, why not enjoy it? Let them look at it and do the “oohs and aahs.”
Mary realized that there is no way she could keep this gift hidden in a garage - that it wasn’t just a gift for her - but for the world. She had to admit the bare truth of the matter - she had been given a wonderful gift. She said, From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. Soon after she gave birth, she would realize what a PUBLIC thing this was. Shepherds first came and then told all kinds of people about it. So they came and saw the baby. Then Wise Men came some months later. Here she had all these strangers coming in their house and visiting the manger on the same night as the birth, but she didn’t say, “come back tomorrow - I just gave birth for crying out loud.” She knew that all generations would know about this birth, but she didn’t want to be arrogant and flashy about it. She wanted to make sure that they kept the praise where it belonged - to the Mighty One - for doing great things for her. She didn’t want any of the credit.