The Lord is my portion, and an important part of His portion, is the continual song of joy and praise He has placed in the heart and soul of every lamb.
"The Lord is my song."--Psalm 118:14
A joyful spirit is a praiseful spirit; and our Living God, to whom our loftiest and sweetest praises gather, has said in His Word, "Whoever offers praise glorifies me." That there are so few joyful believers, shouts and testifies to the truth that ther are only few praiseful believers in the in the body of our Lord. Praise is one of the holiest of His graces, and is one of the most magnificent endeavers, of the believing soul.
With my whole heart have I sought Thee;
With my lips have I declared Thee;
I have rejoiced in Thy witness;
Meditated on Thy precepts, Delighted in Thy voice,
And praised Thy holy name.
I trust in Thy Word and hope in Thy judgements;
They are as a song on my pilgrimage.
Oh My soul, pluck your harp from the willow, where too long it has hung in silence, and, waking its sacred notes, praise your God for all providential mercies--for the blessings of this life--food and clothing, home and friends, His daily care and thought of you.
This very morning, as I awoke
From a generous, refreshing sleep;
A wondrous and rich stream
Of golden.......warm sunlight
From the lofty Throne of Divine Majesty
Sliced clean through to my inner soul;
A signal pledge of the presence of God.
For He inhabits the commonplace of earth,
And His vision can be seen in all things.
In the early stillness,
I know that He is near;
As I reverently, deliberately, and quietly,
Breathe-in His Countenance,
The unseen becomes visible;
And the Eternal, real.
Surely, as I abide, secure in His alcove,
In the heat of His pure, holy Fire,
I shall be kept pure, glowing, and intense.
Praise Him for sovereign calling, and His saving grace. Oh, my friends, if only we would fully realize what true sonship is, and that, we are now truly living sons of God; the very thought would kindle within our soul the deepest of thanksgivings, and wake our slumbering harps to the loudest praise!
The grace of purity,
And self - control;
Of fervent, effectual prayer,
And understanding in the Word;
Of love for our fellows,
And zeal for God;
Of lowliness and meekness,
Of gentleness and goodness:
All this, and more, is in Christ.
If Christ be in us;
All is ours as well.
Oh that we would dare to believe it!
And learn to draw on it:
Letting down the pitcher of faith,
Into the deep, untroubled well
Of our Lord's indwelling love;
Opened within us
By the Spirit,
Of the Living God.
Wake-up your harp, oh my soul, to the high praise of Christ's power, faithfulness, and love. Sing, and rejoice, that we are, even now: "Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation."
As we walk;
With lowly guise
And reverent heart;
By sweet consent;
The surrender of the will,
In the presence of
A pure and absorbing Love;
Brought close within,
By a life ablaze,
With the sacred glow
Of His everlasting glory.
The Lord, too, is our song of comfort and consolation, in all of our pathways, we have traveled through many dark and stormy vistas; but our consolations, my friends, when we take the time to recollect, have been neither few nor small. The God of all comfort has never deserted us, the Consolation of Israel has never failed us, , the Comforter, has ever stood by to soothe, soften, and heal our wounds with the wine and the oil of divine grace and sympathy -- both flowing from the blood of Yeshua.
Morning by morning,
Comes the sunrise;
With Thy tender glories,
In its warm rosy light,
And the blushing heavens:
As heavy eyes open,
To behold Thy face
In all righteousness;
My whole heart sings:
For when I awake,
I am still with Thee !
Then, uplift your praises with every morning's light and evening's shadow. Praise Him with a new song for every new blessing. Praise Him for everything; for the cloud that shades, for the beam that brightens, for the mercies given, for the mercies withheld; for all He removes, for all He bestows. Praise Him for every affliction He sends, for every cross He appoints, for every sorrow He mingles, for every temptation He permits. Praise Him for present sickness and suffering, bereavement and loss; for His blessing is in it all, and all demands our grateful, joyful praise. Oh,my friends, cultivate a thankful, praiseful spirit. It will hearten many a lonely path; sweeten many a bitter trial; and lighten your heavy load along life's weary, dusty road, home to God. Soon the praises of earth will be exchanged for the higher, holier, and more lasting praises of heaven. And then will come the "new song" of glory, honor, and thanksgiving unto Him who sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, forever and ever.
Wondrous and intricate,
In their multitude;
And made one
In the Vine:
From the Root;
Refreshes every leaf,
And freely brings
Bloom, and savor,
Into every cluster
Heavenly Father, let me dwell
In unbroken contact with Thee,
Let Thy tides of divine Energy
Flow freely into and through
My humble yet eager spirit,
Awaken my slumbering soul,
And pierce my willing heart.
BAGHDAD - Iraq will not be fully able to defend its borders and airspace until at least 2020, a watchdog quoted Iraq's top general as saying in a report on Sunday, months before US troops are to leave.
The Iraqi military's chief of staff, Lieutenant General Babaker Zebari, "estimated that it will take several more years before Iraq can provide for its external defence without assistance from international partners," said the report from the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).
"General Zebari suggested that the (Ministry of Defence) will be unable to execute the full spectrum of external-defence missions until sometime between 2020 and 2024, citing (Iraqi government) funding shortfalls as the main reason for the delay," the report said.
"Iraq will not be able to defend its own airspace until 2020, at the earliest," Zebari told SIGIR, adding that "an army without an air force is exposed."
Iraq has ordered 18 F-16 warplanes from the United States, but it will be years before that force is fully operational.
Zebari has stated before that his forces will require training for another decade before they are fully capable of securing the country.
Iraq's military has been tied down by years of bloody internal conflict here, with US officers saying it needs to transition to a more traditional role of external defence.
US President Barack Obama announced on October 21 that all US soldiers will depart the country by the end of 2011, after protracted and ultimately failed negotiations with Iraq about a post-2011 US military training mission here.
The roughly 39,000 US soldiers still in Iraq are now in the process of drawing down, after a nearly nine-year campaign that has left thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi dead, with costs running into billions of dollars.
DOHA - A proposed Arab League plan to end months of bloodshed in Syria includes a demand to remove tanks from the streets, the head of the pan-Arab group Nabil al-Arabi said on Monday.
"The Arab proposal to Syria calls for withdrawing tanks and all military vehicles to bring an immediate end to the violence and give assurances to the Syrian street," Arabi said in the Qatari capital Doha.
The Arab League was on Monday awaiting a response from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to its plan which, Arabi said, also calls for a dialogue to take place in Cairo between Syrian regime officials and opposition figures.
Arabi's statements came after an overnight meeting Sunday between a group of Arab foreign ministers and their Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem in Doha that was convened to address fears that unchecked Syrian bloodshed could further inflame the Arab world.
Qatar's foreign minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani, who headed an Arab ministerial meeting with a Syrian delegation late on Sunday, said Assad must take "concrete steps" to end the unrest that according to the United Nations has claimed more than 3,000 Syrian lives since March.
Repeating previous warnings, the Qatari Foreign Minister told reporters that Assad risks forcing an international intervention if he allows the violence to continue.
"The entire region is at risk of a massive storm," said Sheikh Hamad after Sunday's three hour meeting.
"What is required of Syria... are concrete steps that could avoid what happened to other countries," he said, in an apparent reference to NATO's military intervention in the popular uprising against Libya's slain leader Moamer Gathafi.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting in the Qatari capital Doha, Sheikh Hamad said the group of Arab League foreign ministers "agreed on a serious proposal to stop the killing and all forms of violence in Syria," adding that the committee expected a response from Assad on Monday.
He did not reveal details of the proposed plan.
The comments came in response to a warning from Assad that any Western intervention in Syria would cause an "earthquake" across the Middle East.
"Any problem in Syria will burn the whole region. If the plan is to divide Syria, that is to divide the whole region," Assad told Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
"Syria is the hub now in this region. It is the fault line, and if you play with the ground you will cause an earthquake -- do you want to see another Afghanistan, or tens of Afghanistans?" he asked.
At an emergency session in Cairo on October 16, the 22-member League called for "national dialogue" between the government and opposition by the end of October to help stop the violence and avoid "foreign intervention" in Syria.
China, which together with Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria earlier this month, expressed support for the Arab mediation effort.
Its Middle East envoy Wu Sike said in Cairo he had told Assad in Damascus on Thursday that his regime's deadly crackdown on dissent "cannot continue."
The Doha talks came as Syrian activists put mounting pressure on the Arab League to suspend Syria's membership of the 22-member bloc. Activists across Syria organised protests on Sunday calling for the League to "freeze the membership" of Syria.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Syria continues to rise with at least seven people killed in violence on Sunday in several cities including Homs, Hama, Idlib and Deraa, the National Organisation for Human Rights said in a statement.
Almost 100 people were killed in Syria on Friday and Saturday, the two bloodiest days yet of the uprising, among them 30 Syrian security agents and dozens of civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based rights watchdog.
Psa 139:1 O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.
Psa 139:2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
Psa 139:3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
Psa 139:4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
Psa 139:5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
Behind and Before
“Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me.”—Psalm 139:5
“Thou hast beset me behind!” He deals with the enemy in the rear, the foe that lurks in our yesterdays. He does not ignore the dark heritage that bears down upon us from the past. Not only behind, but before, as well! He deals with the enemy in the front, the foe that seems to hide in our to-morrows. “And laid Thine hand upon me!” He deals with the immediate need, and gives us witness of His intimate knowledge, His full defence, and His absolute security.
We are assured here, my friends, that He understands us completely; He knows all our idiosycrasies; He is intimate with each of our peculiar weaknesses: He knows where the hedge is most thin and vulnerable, and where our lives are most easily invaded and defiled.
In these verses, our Heavenly Father explains and assures us of His intimate knowledge of our many separate, yet individual lives.
“O Lord, Thou hast searched me.” The examination has been most thorough and penetrating. Every nook and corner has been explored. Nothing has been overlooked, “I, the Lord, search the heart.”
“And known me.” It is the unique, individual knowledge of an intimate friend, who knows your every step, like no other. As our Lord said, “I know my sheep.”
“Thou knowest my downsitting.” He is present in our seasons of meditation, in the hours when we sit down to wonder, and when we lay down to rest. In these times, He helps to shape and direct our lives.
“And mine uprising.” He is an intimate presence when meditation is ended, and the day has arrived. He knows when our responses become actions, and His plans are being fulfilled, both in and through each of us.
“Thou understandest my thought afar off.” He discerns the faintest beginnings of our thoughts; the mental germs, so to speak. He sees our plans long before they are incarnated into actions. He sees it “afar off,” when it is only a trembling suggestion, and when it passes almost imperceptibly across the threshold of the mind.
“Thou searchest out my path.” He knows the way we will go. He knows all the windings of the road. He knows when it is “straight” and when it is “crooked.” He knows all the means we employ. “He is acquainted with all my ways.”
“There is not a word in my tongue, but lo! O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether.” He watches life as it blossoms at the lips. He marks the kindly vehicle of grace. He notes the ungainly vehicle of malice and ill-will. He knows the contents of all our conversations, and how they are often determined and coloured by the threats and flatteries of men.
Surely this God, our Heavenly Father, knows us as no other can! He is intimate with all our personal make-ups, with our own individual, peculiar weaknesses, and he knows just what is needed to render us strong and invulnerable.
Because He has chosen us, known us, and loved us from the beginning, He has covered us with His shield.
“Thou hast beset me behind.” He stands between us and our enemies in the rear virw mirror. He defends us from the hostility of our own pasts. He does not cut us away from my yesterdays. Consequences are not annihilated; their operations are changed. . The Lord “besets us behind” and the sins of yesterday no longer send their poisoned swords into our lives. They are changed into the ministers of godliness, nourishing godly sorrow, and humility, and meekness, and self-mistrust. The failures and indiscretions of yesterday are no longer creatures of moral impoverishment and despair. He “besets us behind,” and they become the teachers of a quiet wisdom in our daily walk.
“And before.” He comes between us and the enemies of tommorow, and their assaults that so often disturb our peace of today, and He enables us to live and labor within His garden, in a fruitful, exhilarating calm.
“And laid Thine hand upon me.” And the hand suggests the sweet sense of companionship -- the child awakes in the night, afraid in the darkness and the stillness, but as He puts out His hand and rests it upon the troubled brow, the little one sinks to rest again. “O, let me feel Thee near me!” “Only in the darkness just to feel Thy hand.”
And the hand suggests the ministry of safety. You are His, called out and chosen before the creation of the world; redeemed at an exceedingly high price; none shall pluck you out of His hands, my friends. He will be your shield and buckler, and your stalwart of defense; with these defences we are safe. In these hands our security is complete.
As David contemplated all these things, his soul began to rejoice; as evidenced in the next verses in the psalm:
Psa 139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
Psa 139:7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
Psa 139:8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
Psa 139:9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Psa 139:10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
Psa 139:11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Psa 139:12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
Psa 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
Oh my friends, from before the beginnings of all time our Father has known us with an intimacy seated deep within our souls. He has succored us; guided and prepared us; strengthened us; and possessed us. We are His, and He has not dropped us off to fall, or fend for ourselves in a deeply dark and desturbing time -- for always, my friends, His hand shall lead you, each of you, and His right hand shall hold you, each of you; for the darkness hides us not from Him. As a matter of fact, it goes much deeper than that: each of us was chosen and prepared for the times in which we live and die -- we are here - now - at His chosing, for His purposes, and unto His glory. Lean hard on our Heavenly Father and He will guide your steps; let His light shine forth in the darkness, and He will be your buckler and shield. I have seen much darkness ahead, and death on an unimaginable scale ahead, my friends. A recent flash vision of carnage in the Middle East literally shook me. Now, more than ever, we should draw courage and joy from these verses; for He knows us completely; intimately - each of us - here we see that He has prepared and strengthened us - each of us - for the times of our lives; and here we have His witness that His hand will lead us, and His right hand shall hold us - EACH OF US! Take strength, my friends in His Living Word, in His Living promises, and in His Living presence; and He will be that light about us in the darkness -- to hedge and protect from that darkness.
[These kind of incidents constantly confirm all that Zeph and others have said about the organized church, and the path to advancement within these organizations. That being said, I still find this to be physically nausiating, and a spiritual slap in the face. However, the real body blows (and I do feel them, as do many of you) come from the comments made that revile and heap abuse upon our Lord every time one of these soul-less bastards gets uncovered. The very ones who led this man into his living oblivion will now lead in the supposed outrage -- in between their own escapades of course; all the while, acting pious and concerned. The Lord rebuke them and all their minions for the shame and reproach these churchians bring upon our Lord and His real lambs. I am so offended and angered in the spirit that I am physically shaking as I am up writing this at 4 in the morning. "How long, Oh Lord, how long."] -- MY COMMENTARY
Logan pastor accused of sex with 13-year-old
The youth pastor at a southeastern Ohio church has been charged with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in the congregation.
Travis J. Branstetter, 30, of Logan, was arrested yesterday and charged with three counts each of sexual battery and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, each third-degree felonies punishable by up to five years in prison, Hocking County Sheriff Lanny North said.
He is being held in the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond. Hocking County Municipal Court Judge Pauline O’Neill set the bond at a hearing today, a court spokeswoman said.
Branstetter is accused of sexually assaulting the girl between November and February while he was youth pastor at the Logan Church of the Nazarene, according to the sheriff’s office incident report.
Branstetter, who is an ordained minister, was the church’s youth pastor for five years until February, Pastor Tom Gates said today. Gates declined to comment further.
“We need to pray for all the parties involved and for our church,” he said.
The church typically has Sunday attendance of about 250 people, he said.
New street lights that include “Homeland Security” applications including speaker systems, motion sensors and video surveillance are now being rolled out with the aid of government funding.
The Intellistreets system comprises of a wireless digital infrastructure that allows street lights to be controlled remotely by means of a ubiquitous wi-fi link and a miniature computer housed inside each street light, allowing for “security, energy management, data harvesting and digital media,” according to the Illuminating Concepts website.
According to the company’s You Tube video of the concept, the primary capabilities of the devices include “energy conservation, homeland security, public safety, traffic control, advertising, video surveillance.”
In terms of Homeland Security applications, each of the light poles contains a speaker system that can be used to broadcast emergency alerts, as well as a display that transmits “security levels” (presumably a similar system to the DHS’ much maligned color-coded terror alert designation), in addition to showing instructions by way of its LED video screen.
The lights also include proximity sensors that can record both pedestrian and road traffic. The video display and speaker system will also be used to transmit Minority Report-style advertising, as well as Amber Alerts and other “civic announcements”.
With the aid of grant money from the federal government, the company is about to launch the first concept installation of the system in the city of Farmington Hills, Michigan.
A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Using street lights as surveillance tools has already been advanced by several European countries. In 2007, leaked documents out of the UK Home Office revealed that British authorities were working on proposals to fit lamp posts with CCTV cameras that would X-ray scan passers-by and “undress them” in order to “trap terror suspects”.
Dutch police also announced last year that they are developing a mobile scanner that will “see through people’s clothing and look for concealed weapons”.
So-called ‘talking surveillance cameras’ that use a speaker system similar to the Intellistreets model are already being used in UK cities like Middlesborough to bark orders and reprimand people for dropping litter and other minor offenses. According to reports, one of the most common phrases used to shame people into obeying instructions is to broadcast the message, “We are watching you.”
The transformation of street lights into surveillance tools for Homeland Security purposes will only serve to heighten concerns that the United States is fast on the way to becoming a high-tech police state, with TSA agents being empowered to oversee that control grid, most recently with the announcement that TSA screeners would be manning highway checkpoints, a further indication that security measures we currently see in airports are rapidly spilling out onto the streets.
The ability of the government to use street lights to transmit “emergency alerts” also dovetails with the ongoing efforts to hijack radio and television broadcasts for the same purpose, via FEMA’s Emergency Alert System.
The federal government is keen to implement a centralized system of control over all communications, with the recent announcement that all new cell phones will be required to comply with the PLAN program (Personal Localized Alerting Network), which will broadcast emergency alert messages directly to Americans’ cell phones using a special chip embedded in the receiver. The system will be operational by the end of the year in New York and Washington, with the rest of the country set to follow in 2012.
The notion of using the street lights as communication tools to broadcast “alerts” directly from the federal government is also consistent with Homeland Security’s program to install Orwellian ‘telescreens’ that play messages by Janet Napolitano and other DHS officials in Wal-Mart stores across the country.
The fact that the federal government is funding the implementation of ‘Intellistreets’ comes as no surprise given that the nation’s expanding networks of surveillance cameras are also being paid for with Department of Homeland Security grants.
On Tuesday authorities in Knotville, Louisiana were called on to investigate reports of proof that tiny French people exist and are real, and are living in and around us all but we just can't see them. Shown (below) is a photograph of a teeny mouse sized guillotine which was recovered Tuesday in the French Quarter by local police investigators. Police subsequently removed the teeny-weeny guilloteeny out of the wall it was built into on account of the chance it might be evidence, of something, though they weren't sure what.
Mrs. Gloria Rodriguez Sanchez Popcorn Smith, who initially discovered the teeny guillotine, made the initial report to police. Smith inadvertently lost three fingers when she discovered the teeny head cutting device late Monday night while searching about in the dark basement of the abandoned Knotville shopping mall. Smith said she was down there "doing some moonlight treasure hunting".
"Eets a hobby, okay?" Smith said. "I taut I saw a beeg diamond stuck on the side of the wall", Smith told reporters Tuesday night in her downtown Knotville apartment. "So I got all excited and reached for it. But eet wadn't no diamond! It bit me!! Look! Eet took half my three best fingers off! Boy am I peesed! I'm giving up treasure hunting man, eet's a stupid hobby. I don't know how I let Rolando talk me into this! You loser Rolando! Looka my hand! See that? Eet's your fault you loser! Treasure hunting! Sheet! You and your stupid ideas!"
Rolando Rodriguez Sanchez Popcorn Smith was unavailable for comment. No charges have been filed in this incident, teeny or otherwise.
The Pentagon is about to crank the propaganda machine up to 11. According to a new report, the Department of Defense is attempting to find out what makes a person easily influenced in hopes of swaying them towards supporting their own causes.
In a report published this week by Wired.com’s Danger Room, they reveal that Pentagon researchers working in its DARPA division has begun work on a program called Narrative Networks. Under this initiative, scientists in the high-tech Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are scanning brain patterns and other body functions to see how stories shape the minds of audiences, and who is most vulnerable to be swayed by persuasion. From there, the DoD can counter brainwashed terrorists with an agenda of their own.
Or, perhaps, brainwash anyone they chose.
“The government is already trying to control the message, so why not have the science to do it in a systematic way?”a researcher close to the project told the Danger Room.
A neuroscience researcher involved in the project adds that scientists are specifically looking into how story-telling shapes the minds of listeners so that they can identify who is most vulnerable to the recruiting tactics of terrorists. In its first stages, the Narrative Networks projects aims to “explore the function narratives serve in the process of political radicalization and how they can influence a person or group’s choice of means (such as indiscriminate violence) to achieve political ends.” And to figure this out, they will be investigating the role that social media has on peoples’ thinking process.
Do you “like” your friend’s Facebook post? DARPA wants to know why. Soon after, they hope, you’ll be giving them the thumbs up yourself.
In the second face, Danger Room reports, researchers will be constructing hardware and software to analyze how people perceive stories, going as far as to use non-detectable sensors to monitor internal and external reactions.
Sound space age? It’s coming sooner than you think.
Last week RT reported that the Department of Homeland Security has already begun work on an operation called the FAST project, in which they’ve monitored the psycho-physiological measurements of test subjects’ breathing, blink patterns and speech rhythms in order to pin-point security threats based solely on biological functions.
Did reading this make you uneasy? The government wants to know (and they already might).
The Vatican called on Monday for the establishment of a “global public authority” and a “central world bank” to rule over financial institutions that have become outdated and often ineffective in dealing fairly with crises. The document from the Vatican’s Justice and Peace department should please the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrators and similar movements around the world who have protested against the economic downturn.
“Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of a Global Public Authority,” was at times very specific, calling, for example, for taxation measures on financial transactions. “The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence,” it said.
It condemned what it called “the idolatry of the market” as well as a “neo-liberal thinking” that it said looked exclusively at technical solutions to economic problems. “In fact, the crisis has revealed behaviours like selfishness, collective greed and hoarding of goods on a great scale,” it said, adding that world economics needed an “ethic of solidarity” among rich and poor nations.
“If no solutions are found to the various forms of injustice, the negative effects that will follow on the social, political and economic level will be destined to create a climate of growing hostility and even violence, and ultimately undermine the very foundations of democratic institutions, even the ones considered most solid,” it said.
It called for the establishment of “a supranational authority” with worldwide scope and “universal jurisdiction” to guide economic policies and decisions.
Asked at a news conference if the document could become a manifesto for the movement of the “indignant ones”, who have criticised global economic policies, Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the Vatican’s Justice and Peace department, said: “The people on Wall Street need to sit down and go through a process of discernment and see whether their role managing the finances of the world is actually serving the interests of humanity and the common good. “We are calling for all these bodies and organisations to sit down and do a little bit of re-thinking.”
There are desert places,
Where the springs
Seem far away;
The harvest, sure
At the birth;
But it is not born:
The seed, and
The earth touch,
But do not mix;
There is contact,
But no communion.
Beguiled and betrayed,
By the evangel
Of the desert lily:
There is a soul,
In touch with life;
But not alive,
In touch with Truth,
Not knowing Its nature;
Hands touch, but
They do not clasp:
There is contact,
But no communion.
Of that Mystic Immanence;
There may be feeling,
But no perception,
No vital correspondence;
May attend the birth,
But nothing is born:
The seed is near,
But not in the ground;
The Lord is near,
But not in the soul;
There is contact,
But no communion.
Mat 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
Mat 9:3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
Mat 9:4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
Mat 9:5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
Mat 9:6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
Mat 9:7 And he arose, and departed to his house.
Mar 3:1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
Mar 3:2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
Mar 3:3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.
Mar 3:4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
Mar 3:5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
Mar 3:6 And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
We are told, my friends, that the miracles of our Lord are intended as symbols and pictures of the analogous works by which He transforms the souls of believers. “But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power,” the power to heal and cleanse the spirit, He restored a paralyzed body to freedom. He drove the palsy out of the body as a token that He could drive the palsy out of the soul. He imparted the same strength and buoyancy and agility to the one as He had given to the other. And so it is with all the miracles of our Lord; they are types of the “greater things than these” which He works among, and through His lambs. Here was a man with a withered hand. A legend comes down to us that he was a bricklayer, an ordinary working man, who had been reduced to impotence by the loss of the hand he needed, and used everyday. But his accident, this calamity had not completely embittered him or turned him away from God: after all, he was found in the synagogue seeking communion with God; and it was there, the Master met him and restored life to his withered limb, and he was whole again.
Just as with this man's hand; the limbs of our soul -- the hands that grasp; the arms that hold; and the legs that follow -- can become dry, withered, and impotent. For any number of reasons -- attacks, injuries, or missteps --spiritual hands can lose their grip; spiritual arms, their apprehension; and spiritual legs, their power: our sense of newness and wonder begins to wither, and a diseased faculty will impair the strength of the entire life. It will hinder our daily walk with Him, and sap all the vigor out of our faith.
The power of love can become like a withered hand. Through abuse, misuse, or lack of use, it can shrivel away until it has no strength, no reach, no hold. A fiery love burns its way like hot iron through ice; it pierces through every difficulty, and nothing is allowed to obstruct his way. “Love never faileth.” But when the love itself begins to wither, like a limb that shrivels through a lack of vitality, life in our spirit becomes frail and anemic.
The gift of hope can become as a withered leg. What spring there is in the step of one who feels the days before him! The believer who lays hold of the triumph of to-morrow has a mighty inspiration in the battle of to-day. The lamb who sees the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God is a valliant laborer in the Jerusalem that is. But if hope shrivels into despondency, or dies away in despair, our helplessness will be on stage, for all to see. It is hope, my friends, that gathers the bread; it is hope that sustains the life. We are “saved by hope.” But let hope shrivel, and a dullness comes over the spirit; a laxity and a limpness will take possession of us. When a man can say, “I have lost my hope,” he is as a man with a withered leg.
The conscience can become as a withered arm; if we give over to this world our discerning apprehension of right and wrong. The conscience will become numbed and unresponsive. The withering begins in apparently small disloyalties; and often the unscrupulous will degenerate into the vicious. Moral corruption is like every other disease, it can proceed from the apparent trifle until it infects the very pillars of life. Poison can begin with a pin-prick and may at length reach the heart. A withering conscience is an unspeakable peril. A withering conscience indicates that a man is near unto death.
These things come upon all of us at some time or other; so the question is: what can we do? We have only one resource. We bring ourselves; body, soul, and spirit, to the One who made us, and who can remake, retool, and restore us by the power of His grace. But we must come deliberately, submissively, and obediently, ready and willing to carry out the Lord's instructions. If He asks us to attempt the seemingly impossible, we must attempt it. “Stretch forth thy hand!” The man might have replied, “Master, thou knowest, that is just what I cannot do!” No; “Stretch forth thy hand,” said our Lord, and as the earnest, and willful attempt was being made, the needful power flowed from the Divine; he was made whole. So it is with us, my friends, when the cares of this world, and the burdens of life deflect our vision and we begin to atrophe and wither; we must bring our withered soul to Him, and at His charge, stretch it forth with effort in His presence. And He will make us whole again.
The lamb awakes,
Startled in the night;
By the darkness,
And the stillness;
But the Shepherd
Puts out His hand,
On the troubled brow;
And the little one,
Sinks to rest,
"Oh let me feel
Thee near me;
Only in the darkness;
Just to feel
A miniature "kamikaze" drone designed to quietly hover in the sky before dive-bombing and slamming into a human target will soon be part of the US Army's arsenal, officials say.
Dubbed the "Switchblade," the robotic aircraft represents the latest attempt by the United States to refine how it takes out suspected militants.
Weighing less than two kilos, the drone is small enough to fit into a soldier's backpack and is launched from a tube, with wings quickly folding out as it soars into the air, according to manufacturer AeroVironment.
Powered by a small electric motor, the Switchblade transmits video in real time from overhead, allowing a soldier to identify an enemy, the company said in a press release last month.
"Upon confirming the target using the live video feed, the operator then sends a command to the air vehicle to arm it and lock its trajectory onto the target," it said.
The drone then flies into the "target," detonating a small explosive.
The California-based firm also said the drone can be called off at the last moment, even after a kill mission has been ordered. That feature provides troops with "a level of control not available in other weapon systems," it said.
The United States currently uses larger Predator and Reaper drones to hunt down suspected militants in Pakistan and elsewhere.
The robotic planes fire powerful Hellfire missiles and drop heavy bombs that can cause civilian casualties and extensive damage, which has fueled popular anger with the United States in Pakistan.
In the war in Afghanistan,US and coalition troops fighting the the Taliban can call in artillery fire or air strikes from fighter jets and attack helicopters. But the heavy firepower has been blamed by Afghan leaders for claiming the lives of innocent civilians and strained US relations with Kabul.
The Switchblade, however, is touted as a way to avoid killing bystanders.
"Flying quietly at high speed the Switchblade delivers its onboard explosive payload with precision while minimizing collateral damage," the company said.
The US Army in June approved a $4.9 million contract for AeroVironment to supply the new drones as soon as possible. Officials have not said how many Switchblade drones were ordered or when the robotic weapons would make into the hands of US forces.
Human rights groups have raised concerns that the use of drones by the CIA has allowed the conduct of a secret assassination campaign abroad without public scrutiny and little oversight by lawmakers in Congress.
Isa 42:3 -- A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
Mat 12:20 -- A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
THE Scriptures speak of bruised reeds as a metaphor for God's people; and for good reason. The word translated as bruised here, is also used in other places within the Word, and it is variously translated as: oppressed, broken, crush, crushed, discouraged, and struggling -- that sounds like all the lambs I know. How about you? Do you recognize yourself here? It sounds alot like my life -- some of them all of the time; and all of them some of the time. And what, my friends, of the reed? Let's talk of it, first of all, as a musical reed. When I was a boy, we used to cut-off reeds from out in the field, or along the creek bank, and turned them into flutes; you know, a reed, in any number of forms, can create a sweet, natural music that mingles and harmonizes with sounds of creation: the evening breeze rustling through the high grass on the uplands, or the murmerings of the pine; the rush of the incoming wave, or the subdued flow of the river; even the crickets of the field. But if the reed becomes bruised and broken, it loses its power to express the music within its soul.
Believers, in many ways, are just like these broken natural flutes. We have been so crushed, broken, and discouraged by the continuing barrages aimed at us; and a few, perhaps, of our own making; that we sometimes lose contact with the simple, sweet music of the Master's voice. When our souls are breathed upon by the breath of God they are like a splintered reed, and they give only a pitiful response. His breath wakes no high and pure note of faith or hope or love -- only the disjointed response of agony. The frost of this pain can crack our flute, and the freezing cares of a heart that feels itself to be unloveable, can chill the currents of the soul, and break its music. How can we sing the Lord’s song in the land of these strangers, in a climate, where our soul-instrument often becomes dispondent and mute?
And what is to be done with these bruised reeds? I will ask a larger question, what will the Lord do with these bruised flutes? Well, He will not break them and finish their destruction. He will not discard and abandon them. He will not fling them away. He will restore the bruised reed. He is the Physician of Broken Reeds, going about to restore the lost power of music and song? He can restore unto us the joy of His salvation. “I will seek again that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick.”
But we may look again at the figure of the reed, and drop the idea of the musical reed, and regard it as just the swaying, pliable reed of the desert and field. Hear the words of our Lord. “What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?” The reed of the wilderness was used to describe a certain type and quality of life. The desert reed yielded before the wind; it was swayed, anyhow, any way, anywhere. It bent before the wind, from whatever quarter it blew, and became the type of frailty, fragility of the lambs; seemingly at the mercy of the beast, in a world run by wolves. It is not only a shaken, swaying, desert reed; but a “bruised reed,” broken on its stem and withering at the fracture as it struggles for life.
The worlders despise them, and count them as worthless, only fit to be thrown away and destroyed. But our Lord will not cast us away as a broken and useless creature of this passing world “He will not break the bruised reed.” He will, in fact, use the bruised reed as an iron pillar, for His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
We have a perfect example of our Lord's restoration process given to in the life of Simon Peter. Here is a man, who on that immortal night, was driven and deeply bruised by the winds of hatred, and driven to the ground by the guilt of his failure. But now listen, my friends, to what our risen Lord said to the women outside the tomb that morning. “Go, tell My disciples and Peter.” What is the significance of that wording: My disciples, and Peter? It is the Lord at work on the bruised reed. And what did He say to Peter when He saw him? Did He berate him?Did he disavow him? No: A bruised reed shall he not break. He said simply,“Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?” It is the Lord at work on a broken heart, giving it the gracious opportunity of recovery and of once again expressing itself in adoration and service. Look further on in the Word. “When they saw the boldness of Peter.” At least 3000 were reached that day. Our Lord took a bruised reed, and by His touch, created a disciple faithful unto death.
Oh my friends, the Lord knows our struggles, He lived them too. He understands that we are strangers passing through an alien and hostile world. This is why He promised to walk with us, strengthen us, and restore us; and what He has promised, He will surely do. Have faith my friends, and continue to fight the good fight; even if it's only one step at a time. Lean on Him; and let His healing begin; that one day your song shall return.
The following questionnaire is based on research and experiences of socialised sociopaths. For each trait, decide if it applies to the person you suspect may be a socialised sociopath, fully (2 points), partially (1 point) or not at all (0 points). 1) Do they have problems sustaining stable relationships, personally and in business? 2) Do they frequently manipulate others to achieve selfish goals, with no consideration of the effects on those manipulated? 3) Are they cavalier about the truth, and capable of telling lies to your face? 4) Do they have an air of self-importance, regardless of their true standing in society? 5) Have they no apparent sense of remorse, shame or guilt? 6) Is their charm superficial, and capable of being switched on to suit immediate ends? 7) Are they easily bored and demand constant stimulation? 8) Are their displays of human emotion unconvincing? 9) Do they enjoy taking risks, and acting on reckless impulse? 10) Are they quick to blame others for their mistakes? 11) As teenagers, did they resent authority, play truant and/or steal? 12) Do they have no qualms about sponging off others? 13) Are they quick to lose their temper? 14) Are they sexually promiscuous? 15) Do they have a belligerent, bullying manner? 16) Are they unrealistic about their long-term aims? 17) Do they lack any ability to empathise with others? 18) Would you regard them as essentially irresponsible?
A score of 25 or above suggests strong psychopathic tendencies. This does not mean the person is a potential mass-murderer: socialised psychopaths are not mad, nor do they have to resort to violence. Even so, a close professional or emotional relationship with a socialised psychopath is likely to prove a damaging experience.
Glib and superficial
Sociopaths are often witty and articulate. They can be amusing and entertaining conversationalists, ready with a quick and clever comeback, and can tell unlikely but convincing stories that cast themselves in a good light. They can be very effective in presenting themselves well and are often very likable and charming.
Typically, Sociopaths attempt to appear experts in sociology, psychiatry, medicine, psychology, philosophy, poetry, literature, art or law. A signpost to this trait is often a smooth lack of concern at being found out that they are not. Egocentric and grandiose
Sociopaths have a narcissistic and grossly inflated view of their self-worth and importance, a truly astounding egocentricity and sense of entitlement. They see themselves as the center of the universe, as superior beings who are justified in living according to their own rules.
Sociopaths are seldom embarrassed about their legal, financial or personal problems. Rather, they see them as temporary setbacks, the results of bad luck, unfaithful friends or an unfair and incompetent system.
Sociopaths feel that their abilities will enable them to become anything they want to be. Given the right circumstances—opportunity, luck, willing victims—their grandiosity can pay off spectacularly. For example, the psychopathic entrepreneur “thinks big,” but it’s usually with someone else’s money. Lack of remorse or guilt
Sociopaths show a stunning lack of concern for the devastating effects their actions have on others. Often they are completely forthright about the matter, calmly stating that they have no sense of guilt, are not sorry for the pain and destruction they have caused, and that there is no reason for them to be concerned.
Sociopaths’ lack of remorse or guilt is associated with a remarkable ability to rationalize their behavior and to shrug off personal responsibility for actions that cause shock and disappointment to family, friends, associates and others who have played by the rules. Usually they have handy excuses for their behavior, and in some cases they deny that it happened at all. Lack of empathy
The feelings of other people are of no concern to Sociopaths. Sociopaths view people as little more than objects to be used for their own gratification. The weak and the vulnerable—whom they mock, rather than pity—are favorite targets.
Sociopaths display a general lack of empathy. They are indifferent to the rights and suffering of family members and strangers alike. If they do maintain ties with their spouses or children it is only because they see their family members as possessions, much like their stereos or automobiles.
Because of their inability to appreciate the feelings of others, some Sociopaths are capable of behavior that normal people find not only horrific but baffling. For example, they can torture and mutilate their victims with about the same sense of concern that we feel when we carve a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.
However, except in movies and books, very few Sociopaths commit crimes of this sort. Their callousness typically emerges in less dramatic, though still devastating, ways: parasitically bleeding other people of their possessions, savings and dignity; aggressively doing and taking what they want; shamefully neglecting the physical and emotional welfare of their families; engaging in an unending series of casual, impersonal and trivial sexual relationships; and so forth. Deceitful and manipulative
Lying, deceiving and manipulation are natural talents for Sociopaths. Given their glibness and the facility with which they lie, it is not surprising that Sociopaths successfully cheat, bilk, defraud, con and manipulate people and have not the slightest compunction about doing so. They are often forthright in describing themselves as con men, hustlers or fraud artists. Their statements often reveal their belief that the world is made up of “givers and takers,” predators and prey, and that it would be very foolish not to exploit the weaknesses of others.
Some of their operations are elaborate and well thought out, whereas others are quite simple: stringing along several women at the same time, or convincing family members and friends that money is needed “to bail me out of a jam.” Whatever the scheme, it is carried off in a cool, self-assured, brazen manner. Shallow emotions
Sociopaths seem to suffer a kind of emotional poverty that limits the range and depth of their feelings. While at times they appear cold and unemotional, they are prone to dramatic, shallow and short-lived displays of feeling. Careful observers are left with the impression that they are play-acting and that little is going on below the surface.
Laboratory experiments using biomedical recorders have shown that Sociopaths lack the physiological responses normally associated with fear. The significance of this finding is that, for most people, the fear produced by threats of pain or punishment is an unpleasant emotion and a powerful motivator of behavior. Not so with Sociopaths; they merrily plunge on, perhaps knowing what might happen but not really caring. Impulsive
Sociopaths are unlikely to spend much time weighing the pros and cons of a course of action or considering the possible consequences. “I did it because I felt like it,” is a common response.
More than displays of temper, impulsive acts often result from an aim that plays a central role in most of the psychopath’s behavior: to achieve immediate satisfaction, pleasure or relief. So, family members, employers and co-workers typically find themselves standing around asking themselves what happened—jobs are quit, relationships broken off, plans changed, houses ransacked, people hurt, often for what appears to be little more than a whim.
Sociopaths tend to live day-to-day and to change their plans frequently. They give little serious thought to the future and worry about it even less. Poor behavior controls
In Sociopaths, inhibitory controls are weak, and the slightest provocation is sufficient to overcome them. As a result, Sociopaths are short-tempered or hot-headed and tend to respond to frustration, failure, discipline and criticism with sudden violence, threats and verbal abuse. They take offense easily and become angry and aggressive over trivialities, and often in a context that appears inappropriate to others. But their outbursts, extreme as they may be, are generally short-lived, and they quickly resume acting as if nothing out of the ordinary has happened.
Although Sociopaths have a “hair trigger” and readily initiate aggressive displays, their ensuing behavior is not out of control. On the contrary, when Sociopaths “blow their stack” it is as if they are having a temper tantrum; they know exactly what they are doing. Their aggressive displays are “cold;” they lack the intense emotional arousal experienced by others when they lose their temper.
It’s not unusual for Sociopaths to inflict serious physical or emotional damage on others, sometimes routinely, and yet refuse to acknowledge that they have a problem controlling their tempers. In most cases, they see their aggressive displays as natural responses to provocation. Need for excitement
Sociopaths have an ongoing and excessive need for excitement—they long to live in the fast lane or “on the edge,” where the action is. In many cases the action involves breaking the rules.
Some Sociopaths use a wide variety of drugs as part of their general search for something new and exciting, and they often move from place to place and job to job searching for a fresh buzz. Many Sociopaths describe “doing crime” for excitement or thrills.
The flip side of this yearning for excitement is an inability to tolerate routine or monotony. Sociopaths are easily bored. You are not likely to find them engaged in occupations or activities that are dull, repetitive or that require intense concentration over long periods. Lack of responsibility
Obligations and commitments mean nothing to Sociopaths. Their good intentions—”I’ll never cheat on you again“—are promises written on the wind.
Truly horrendous credit histories, for example, reveal the lightly taken debt, the shrugged-off loan, the empty pledge to contribute to a child’s support. The irresponsibility and unreliability of Sociopaths extend to every part of their lives. Their performance on the job is erratic, with frequent absences, misuse of company resources, violations of company policy, and general untrustworthiness. They do not honor formal or implied commitments to people, organizations or principles.
Indifference to the welfare of children—their own as well as those of a man or woman they happen to be living with at the time—is a common theme among Sociopaths. Sociopaths see children as an inconvenience. Typically, they leave children on their own for extended periods or in the care of unreliable sitters.
Sociopaths are frequently successful in talking their way out of trouble—”I’ve learned my lesson;” “You have my word that it won’t happen again;” “It was simply a big misunderstanding;” “Trust me.” They are almost as successful in convincing the criminal justice system of their good intentions and their trustworthiness. Although they frequently manage to obtain probation, a suspended sentence or early release from prison, they simply ignore the conditions imposed by the courts. Early behavior problems
Most Sociopaths begin to exhibit serious behavioral problems at an early age. These might include persistent lying, cheating, theft, fire setting, truancy, class disruption, substance abuse, vandalism, violence, bullying, running away and precocious sexuality. Because many children exhibit some of these behaviors at one time or another, especially children raised in violent neighborhoods or in disrupted or abusive families, it is important to emphasize that the Sociopaths’s history of such behaviors is more extensive and serious than that of most others, even when compared with those of siblings and friends raised in similar settings.
Early cruelty to animals is usually a sign of serious emotional or behavioral problems. Cruelty to other children—including siblings—is often part of the young Sociopaths’s inability to experience the sort of empathy that checks normal people’s impulses to inflict pain, even when enraged. Adult antisocial behavior
Sociopaths consider the rules and expectations of society inconvenient and unreasonable, impediments to their inclinations and wishes. They make their own rules, both as children and as adults.
Many of the antisocial acts of Sociopaths lead to criminal convictions. Even within prison populations Sociopaths stand out, largely because their antisocial and illegal activities are more varied and frequent than are those of other criminals.
Not all Sociopaths end up in jail. Many of the things they do escape detection or prosecution, or are on the “shady side of the law.” For them, antisocial behavior may consist of phony stock promotions, questionable business and professional practices, spouse or child abuse, and so forth. Many others do things that, although not illegal, are unethical, immoral or harmful to others: philandering, cheating on a spouse, financial or emotional neglect of family members, irresponsible use of company resources or funds, to name but a few. The problem with behaviors of this sort is that they are difficult to document and evaluate without the active cooperation of family, friends, acquaintances and business associates. The complete picture
Sociopaths are not the only ones who lead socially deviant lifestyles. For example, many criminals have some of the characteristics described above, but because they are capable of feeling guilt, remorse, empathy and strong emotions, they are not considered Sociopaths. A diagnosis of psychopathy is made only when there is solid evidence that the individual matches the complete profile—that is, has most of the above symptoms.
My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. -- Psalm 119:25
I lie in the dust, completely discouraged; revive me by your word.-- Psalm 119:25
How many of you, my friends, can take up and sigh David's lament. You feel a deadness, a dullness, and a profound earthliness in spiritual enjoyments, duties, privileges; in which your soul should be vitally alive: full of ferver and love. Yet you are low where you ought to be elevated; you grovel where you ought to soar; you cleave to the earth where you ought to be embracing the heavens. Your thoughts are low; your affections are low; your feelings are low; your spirits are low; and you seem almost ready to question the existence of the life of God in your soul.
However, even in this condition of lowness, and spiritual depression, there is that ray of light, and a recognition of the Truth in David's prayer that is encouraging, and hopeful. "My soul cleaves unto the dust: quicken me." -- David's seeking, even panting, after the requickening of the Divine life of his soul: "Revive me, Lord, renew Your work in my soul, and strengthen that which You have wrought in me. The love that congeals, the faith that trembles, the hope that fluctuates, the joy that droops; inspire with new life, new energy, and new power! Here is that which marked him a man of God. He was a living man complaining of his deadness, and breathing, sobbing, with his whole being, after more life. His was a heaven-born soul lamenting its earthliness, and panting after more of heaven. David was a spiritual man mourning over his carnality, and praying for more spirituality. His is the prayer of one who is conscious of the low state of His soul, and who is repulsed and unsatisfied with this state.
"I lie in the dust, completely discouraged; revive me by your word." Perhaps no expression is more familiar to the ear, and no acknowledgment is more frequently on the lips of believers, than this. My friends, we often come away from our daily contact, and conflict with the world, bruised, bleeding, or crushed; and as this pattern repeats itself over and over again; we sometimes lack the energy to rise above it. Our armor is seemingly pierced by our own fatigue. Here, is the whole lesson contained in David's experience -- that while deep lamentation filled his heart, and an honest confession breathed from his lips, there was also a breathing, a panting of the soul, after a higher and a better state. He seemed to say–"Lord, I am bruised and prostrate, but I long to rise; I am fettered, but I struggle to be free; my soul cleaves to the dust, but quicken me, that I may rise above it!"
But you see, they key to his prayer, and to God's reviving his spirit is in the conflict -- the will and the efforts to emerge from the dust, to break away from the enthrallment, and soar into a higher and more pure state of grace. Alas! there are so many from whose lips this confession all too smoothly glides, while they almost embrace the dust, and even seem to love the dust, and they never stretch their spiritual pinions to rise above it.
This prayer states clearly, what is so needful in so many, and is required by all of us at one time or another; a lifting of the soul, that we may regain our perspective, and our equilibrium. To regain our vigor, our joy, and our hope; we need to ascend to the Throne of Him whose love once transformed our souls. Only here, my friends, can we find that refreshment, that nourishment we cannot live without. I will heal them..., I will love them freely; I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. Those who dwell under My shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine. This is His promise to quicken and revive you, to shed the dews of His grace upon your soul, thus moistening and nourishing the roots and fibers and fruits of the life planted within you, to lift you out and above the dust of our daily walk.
Through prayer, and the Living Word of God; our Lord quickens the soul. The Word of Christ is "spirit and life," therefore it is a quickening Word. "This is my comfort in my affliction; for Your Word has quickened me." Again, "I will never forget Your precepts; for with them You have quickened me." Therefore did Yeshua pray to His Father in behalf of all His lambs, "Sanctify them through Your truth." To sanctify, my friends, is to quicken.
Oh Heavenly Father, we so often need the renewing of our souls; yet do we still seek Thy hand to quicken, and revive us in Your power; quicken Your work in our souls, and strengthen that which You have wrought in us. In all our spiritual relapses, too, may the word of the Lord quicken us. May it, like Your mighty hand, raise our souls from the dust to which we so often cleave. We thank you, and we praise you; for you alone art God. In the name of Yeshua we pray. Amen.
And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Ezekiel 37: 8
“THERE was no breath in them.” There was everything except breath. They were perfectly articulated bodies, but they were devoid of inspiration. The organized bones were as impotent as when they lay scattered over the desolate fields, organization had accomplished nothing. Their lack was a vital one. There was a complete absence of life.
And this, I believe, is the symbol of a common course in the lives of men and the movements of men. Movements always stop short of inspiration; because organizations have no life, and no soul. Our Lord did not come and suffer to found an organization; He came to give life to a whole new organism: the bride of Almighty God. Organizations formed by men, owe their allegiance to men, and those who rule men; they may produce noise and there might even be shaking, but there is no quickening wind from God. There is communication, but no communion. Bone comes to bone, and there are sinews and skin, but there is no breath, no enlivening power from the heart of God.
We may find an illustration of the prophet’s symbolism in the domain of words. A dictionary can easily be thought of as a valley of dry bones. It is a mass of dismembered words scattered like dislocated bones, every word isolated from every other word, lying there bleached and dry. Along comes a fool who thinks himself to be a poet, and he comes to the dictionary, and he begins to gather the words together, bone to his bone. He joins them together, as seems proper; he organizes them in metrical rhymes. Every law of grammar and metre and melody is used and honored. The association is sweet and soft and orderly and-- and quite dead! It is a beautiful corpse, but there is no breath in it; it jingles, but it has no life of the imagination or the spirit; it is not poetry; it is simply an assembledge of dry bones.
This, my friends is the real condition of all state approved churches across this land; and, as a matter of fact, throughout the world. In this church that bears the name of Christ they have everything but the essential thing. They have order and decency and reverence, and the appearance of fraternity. Bone has come to bone, and there may be the sinews and even the flesh and skin, and yet there is no pervading breath, no wondrous and unifying life. They have a congregation, but no fellowship with the Living Redeemer; They have an assembly, but are not of the Body; they have a fellowship roll to call and a mailing list compiled, but few, if any of those whom they count as alive, are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. They are just a crowd, and not the family of the living God.
From this verbal valley of dry bones, they delve repeatedly to gather its words together to construct sermons, and creeds. The words are most carefully shaped and fitted together with exquisite; even holy associations. Word is joined to word in precise succession, and sentence linked to sentence in an exact logical arrangement. It is strengthened with the sinews of philosophy and music, furnished with the flesh of fancy special effects, and covered with the skin of reverant emotion; yet it is only a noise, for there is no life, no inspiration, no aspiration, and no confession of trust -- for there is no breath in them. They say their prayers, but they do not pray -- they marshall and organise their words, but there is no communion. They present before the Lord a corpse in place of the living, breathing Body of Christ.
Inside these assemblies you will find prayers, but no prayer; petitions, but no intercession; posture and homage, but no supplication. They have exquisite ritual, but no holy worship. They have what men call a complete service, and yet it contains nothing of the vital Living Spirit of our faith -- you will see benevolences, but no sacrifice, and the appearance of life, but no shedding of blood. This modern church is quite simply, a well organized corpse.
You might ask, my friends, as many others do, and have done; how did this come about? The Apostle Paul gives us the answer: The god of this world hath blinded their minds. Here is evil influence personified in the tempter, the fallen angel, Satan. And all of his immoral energy and contagious infamy is clearly shown to be an active, aggressive, personal force, which deliberately seeks to dwarf, and bruise, lame, and destroy the souls of men. He is elsewhere depicted as of a princely line, with imposing retinues and armies, moving stealthily amid human affairs, and inciting men to rebellion against the holy sovereignty of God. He is represented as “the prince of the powers of the air,” subtle and persuasive as an lullabye, insinuating himself into the most sacred privacies and invading even the most holy place. He is “the god of this world,” receiving homage and worship from all organizations, powers, and governments of men, however well intentioned, or well endowed. He is the god to whom countless thousands offer their ceaseless sacrifices, while the Lord of all grace and glory is neglected or defied.; and His true lambs are shunned and persecuted, for the Truth that their lives reveal. This ruthless and seductive evil has corrupted our holiest treasure, the house of God; and he blunts and spoils all the higher aspirations of the souls trapped within.
However, my friends, it is much more than a mere entrappment; those within the walls of these churches are, in reality, souls on the open spiritual market; consigned by their spiritual leaders, to another master. They worship, face to face, with the supreme enemy of men's souls. He creates within the assembly, the atmosphere of the market. He proposes a transaction in the nature of an exchange. He suggests a bargain and makes an offer. What are the terms? What does he offer? “The kingdoms of the world and the glory of them.” What does he ask in return? The worship and service of the soul. “If Thou wilt fall down and worship me.” That is to say, he offers a temporality and demands a spiritual eternity. He offers a reputation and demands your character. He offers a great “spread,” but insists upon a stooping and degraded soul. He offers a show of liberty, but his terms are spiritual servitude. He offers possessions, but the price is degradation. He proposes a profitable exchange, and for the treasures of the soul, he offers the treasures of the world. Make him supreme monarch in the empire of the soul, and he will make us kings in material domains. That is the essential bargain.
This, my friends, is the path that these pastors and leaders have chosen for you; you have been marketed, packaged, and delivered. While you thought you were serving and seeking the Living God, you were in fact given over to another master by those you have trusted to guide you. Those of you who hear my words; if you are tied up in one of these congregations, all I can say is to run for your very spiritual lives. They seek your very soul, my friends, as the price for their abundance. If any of the light of God remains in you it is only because they have not gotten to you yet, or they are only slowly feeding as of now. Flee their unholy alliance now, do not stop to pass go and collect your $200, grab the get out of jail card now and run; simply run, that you be not counted among those in Matthew 7, whom the Lord spoke of:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
For these, my friends are among the most forlorn words in all of Scripture, describing the most forsaken group in all creation, those who thought that they knew God, only to find that all their efforts were given over to the prince of the power of the air; and their doom, is therein made complete.
Is Obama abandoning his bid for a second term in the White House and is giving Colonel Sanders a run for his money by opening a chain of fried chicken joints?
Now that's change you can't really believe in.
But in Beijing, China, a restaurant is actually calling itself OFC with a logo that looks alarmingly like the President dressed in the colonel's clothes.
The catchphrase underneath, apparently says 'We’re so cool, aren’t we?'
The Obama Fried Chicken could be a response to the U.S. filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization about Chinese tariffs on American chicken exports.
According to the New York Times, the tariffs affect an industry that employs about 300,000 people and range from 50 to 100 per cent, which means some Chinese importers paid as much as twice the price for American chicken.
Maybe the Chinese have something of an Obama-chicken obsession.
Earlier this year in Hong Kong, an Obama lookalike was employed to advertize KFC.
The restaurant's sign was first spotted by TheShanghaiist.com and picked up by msnbc.com.
There are, of course, New York versions that caused quite a stir.
There is one in Harlem and one in Brooklyn.
Some people have complained the name plays into old racial stereotypes.