Around the Web, October 2014

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Here are some of the headlines that caught my eye this past month:

Religion

13-Year-Old Ethan Hallmark Died on September 26th. You’re Going to Want to See the Powerful Message He Left Behind.

A sign of their be-leaf: Christians begin worshipping a tree in Russia after seeing the face of Jesus on its trunk

Are Christians “Intolerant Haters”? The Charges are Not New

Believe in aliens? Then you’re probably an atheist or Muslim: Study reveals how religion affects your likelihood of believing in ET

Christian rapper Jackie Hill-Perry comes out as ex-gay firebrand

Christianity is a natural prop for liberal democracy, Chinese communists are continuing to learn

Christian outfitter ordered to undergo ‘diversity training’ for refusal to print ‘Gay Pride’ t-shirts (Video)

Commission says Christian business owners should leave religion at home

‘“God Bless” is very offensive to me': ‘Viking with a Ph.D’ in rant after Christian’s job application

God Our Mother?

Houston demands oversight of sermons

Ted Cruz Tells Brody File: “Real Risk” Of Pastors Being Jailed For Preaching Against Homosexuality

Idaho Ministers Must Perform Homosexual Weddings Or Go To Jail. In America (UPDATED 10/23/14)

‘Jesus NEVER existed': Writer finds no mention of Christ in 126 historical texts and says he was a ‘mythical character’

Permission to obey God?

Praise be! 85-year-old defies death threats from Satanists to spend 22 years returning 1,000-year-old derelict church to its former glory

Ritual child abuse linked to witchcraft on the rise in the UK: Drownings and rape part of ‘hidden crimes to drive out the devil’

Same Sex Marriage: Protecting The Church In A Morally Depraved Culture

Politics, Economics, Social

Baby bust! Australia’s birth rates at lowest point in almost TEN years

British holidaymaker jailed for four months in Morocco for being gay

Canadian Prime Minister hid in a CUPBOARD for 15 minutes as MPs sharpened flagpoles to use as spears against the gunman

Chicagoland voting machine casts candidate’s vote for his Dem opponent

‘Christian-Right’ lumped with ISIS, Boko Haram

Denmark moves to ban bestiality: Controversial right to have sex with animals will be outlawed

Sex with animals banned in Denmark after outcry over legal loophole: Minister acts after country became magnet for sex tourists

Democrat-Appointed Federal Judge: No Right to Same-Sex Marriage

Furious Cameron warns Britain is closer to leaving the EU after Brussels ‘thumps’ UK with ‘appalling’ bill for an extra £1.7billion to prop up struggling European nations

Gun Control Is An Irresponsible Act Of A Barbaric Society

Houston demands oversight of sermons

Pastor who fought communists now fighting … Houston

Ted Cruz Tells Brody File: “Real Risk” Of Pastors Being Jailed For Preaching Against Homosexuality

Hillary: ‘Don’t Let Anybody Tell You’ That ‘Businesses Create Jobs’

Idaho Ministers Must Perform Homosexual Weddings Or Go To Jail. In America (UPDATED 10/23/14)

Insane: This Classic Nursery Rhyme Was Just Deemed Racist And Sexist By Childcare Centers

IRS seizes life savings for deposits under $10,000

‘I’ve been raped 30 times and it’s not even lunchtime': Desperate plight of Yazidi woman who begged West to bomb her brothel after ISIS militants sold her into sex slavery

No longer just a job for the boys: Norway extends compulsory military service to ALL medically fit women aged between 19 and 44

Dutch slaughter

What “cultural marxism” is and isn’t

Health

Aluminium could be poisoning our brains and causing Alzheimer’s, professor claims

Are energy drinks making you MORE tired? Products are blamed for soaring levels of iron deficiency – and exhaustion – in young women

Aussie doctors perform world-first transplant of DEAD hearts into patients in a medical breakthrough that will save thousands more lives

CDC: 110 Million Americans Have STDs At Any Given Time

Does Milk Actually Build Strong Bones? Sugar Content May Lead To Greater Fracture Risks

Ebola-killing ROBOT destroys the virus in minutes: ‘Little Moe’ uses flashes 25,000 times brighter than sunlight to kill diseases

Escape Obamacare In One Bold Move

Fluoride Officially Classified as a Neurotoxin in World’s Most Prestigious Medical Journal

Genetic research abuse?

‘I was terrified they’d turn off my life support': Horror of mother whose medics thought was brain dead…but heard every word they said as she lay paralysed and robbed of speech for two weeks

Is this proof that vegetative patients ARE aware of their surroundings? Brainwaves reveal ‘fingerprint’ of consciousness in people thought to be ‘beyond hope’

Mums-to-be are warned they must stop eating for two: Overweight pregnant women should be sent to slimming classes, say MPs

Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity:

“Since 2006, epidemiological studies have documented six additional developmental neurotoxicants—manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers.”

Number of children lacking Vitamin D soars by more than 200% in five years: Parents told to give youngsters supplements

History proves vaccines are quite safe—really?

The terrible truth about cannabis: Expert’s devastating 20-year study finally demolishes claims that smoking pot is harmless

Third Reich science and today’s smoking bans

UCSF Study Links Soda To Premature Aging, Disease, Early Death

Vegetarians have much lower sperm counts

History

Diver Finds Evidence Showing Giants Lived In Arkansas

Weather

Climate change PROVED to be ‘nothing but a lie’, claims top meteorologist

14 California Communities Now on Verge of Waterless-Ness; Mass Migration out of California Seems Imminent

Amid drought, mayor directs L.A. to cut water use 20% by 2017

California drought is now so severe that fisherman finds federal agent’s gun that was dropped overboard on lake 22 years ago

With Dry Taps and Toilets, California Drought Turns Desperate

Frederick the Wise’s Prophetic Dream

6a00e554ba603388340153929f10e1970b-800wiThis is an account of a dream the Elector Frederick the Wise had on the night of October 30-31, 1517:

“Brother, I must tell you a dream which I had last night, and the meaning of which I should like much to know. It is so deeply impressed on my mind, that I will never forget it, were I to live a thousand years. For I dreamed it thrice, and each time with new circumstances.”

Duke John: “Is it a good or a bad dream?”

The Elector: “I know not; God knows.”

Duke John: “Don’t be uneasy at it; but be so good as tell it to me.”

The Elector: “Having gone to bed last night, fatigued and out of spirits, I fell asleep shortly after my prayer, and slept calmly for about two hours and a half; I then awoke, and continued awake to midnight, all sorts of thoughts passing through my mind. Among other things, I thought how I was to observe the Feast of All Saints. I prayed for the poor souls in purgatory; and supplicated God to guide me, my counsels, and my people according to truth. I again fell asleep, and then dreamed that Almighty God sent me a monk, who was a true son of the Apostle Paul. All the saints accompanied him by order of God, in order to bear testimony before me, and to declare that he did not come to contrive any plot, but that all that he did was according to the will of God. They asked me to have the goodness graciously to permit him to write something on the door of the church of the Castle of Wittenberg. This I granted through my chancellor. Thereupon the monk went to the church, and began to write in such large characters that I could read the writing at Schweinitz. The pen which he used was so large that its end reached as far as Rome, where it pierced the ears of a lion that was crouching there, and caused the triple crown upon the head of the Pope to shake. All the cardinals and princes, running hastily up, tried to prevent it from falling. You and I, brother, wished also to assist, and I stretched out my arm; — but at this moment I awoke, with my arm in the air, quite amazed, and very much enraged at the monk for not managing his pen better. I recollected myself a little; it was only a dream.

“I was still half asleep, and once more closed my eyes. The dream returned. The lion, still annoyed by the pen, began to roar with all his might, so much so that the whole city of Rome, and all the States of the Holy Empire, ran to see what the matter was. The Pope requested them to oppose this monk, and applied particularly to me, on account of his being in my country. I again awoke, repeated the Lord’s prayer, entreated God to preserve his Holiness, and once more fell asleep.”

“Then I dreamed that all the princes of the Empire, and we among them, hastened to Rome, and strove, one after another, to break the pen; but the more we tried the stiffer it became, sounding as if it had been made of iron. We at length desisted. I then asked the monk (for I was sometimes at Rome, and sometimes at Wittenberg) where he got this pen, and why it was so strong. ‘The pen,’ replied he, ‘belonged to an old goose of Bohemia, a hundred years old. I got it from one of my old schoolmasters. As to its strength, it is owing to the impossibility of depriving it of its pith or marrow; and I am quite astonished at it myself.’ Suddenly I heard a loud noise — a large number of other pens had sprung out of the long pen of the monk. I awoke a third time: it was daylight.”

Duke John: “Chancellor, what is your opinion? Would we had a Joseph, or a Daniel, enlightened by God!”

Chancellor: “Your highness knows the common proverb, that the dreams of young girls, learned men, and great lords have usually some hidden meaning. The meaning of this dream, however, we shall not be able to know for some time — not till the things to which it relates have taken place. Wherefore, leave the accomplishment to God, and place it fully in his hand.”

Duke John: “I am of your opinion, Chancellor; ‘tis not fit for us to annoy ourselves in attempting to discover the meaning. God will overrule all for his glory.”

Elector: “May our faithful God do so; yet I shall never forget, this dream. I have, indeed, thought of an interpretation, but I keep it to myself. Time, perhaps, will show if I have been a good diviner.”

Excerpted from History of Protestantism, Vol. I. by Dr. J.A. Wylie.

The monk, Martin Luther, appeared later that day to nail his 95 Theses to Wittenburg’s door.  The “goose” was John Huss, who was martyred 100 years earlier, and who said at the time of his martyrdom:

“You are now going to burn a goose, but in a century you will have a swan which you can neither roast nor boil.”

Martin Luther was that swan.

Sin Before Grace

Pastor Bob Thune on how hearts are truly changed:

Dolmen Culture pot“In order to see true heart transformation in someone’s life, you have to get him to delight in Jesus more than money or love or ambition or control or self-interest. The only way to do that is to constantly remind him of his deep brokenness and sinfulness…so that he despairs of his own efforts. Only then can you encourage him to rejoice in the powerful grace of God through the cross…so that he deeply feels and believes God’s radical love for him.”

Read more: http://thegospelcoalition.org/article/how-to-disciple-a-transsexual/

Parley Not With Thine Enemy!

Frederic Remington - The Parley - Google Art Project

The Rev. Roger Drake, Puritan Sermons, I:291:

Entertain no parley with thy enemy.—This cost all mankind dear at first. (Gen. 3:1–4.) It is disloyal, looks like a confederacy, and is very dangerous. Come not into Jael’s tent; sleep not in Delilah’s lap; talk not with Joab, lest he smite thee under the fifth rib. Sin and Satan are too cunning sophisters for us to dispute withal. He in a manner gives up his cause that will plead it with the devil. The best answer to Satan’s suit is, a round and churlish denial. (Zech. 3:2; Matt. 4:10; Jude 9.) Parleying is a kind of faint denial, and draws on this impudent suitor.

What Children Need

Kelly at Generation Cedar reminds us of what children really need:

1386612_14668269“They need you to slow down. They need your time, your face, your voice, your hugs, your explanations about life. They need to know you are willing to sacrifice even some material comforts in order to be with them as much as you can. They need you to walk with them, laugh with them, play games with them and read to them. More than anything, they need you to disciple them…”

Read more: http://www.generationcedar.com/main/2014/07/you-have-too-many-children-to-give-them-what-they-need.html

Eyes on God

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Lit First in Me

Jack Klumpenhower:

Match stick, lit a match, match box, fire“The adage that the gospel is caught rather than taught so often proves true. If I’m to be a good teacher, the fire must be lit first in me and tended daily, fueled by the gospel and fanned by the Spirit of God.”

Read more: http://jackklumpenhower.com/kids-catch-fire/

Should Christians Watch Movies?

CinemaaustraliaThis is an issue I have been pondering for some time owing to the fact that the Puritans and others preached against theater attendance.  I have not been able to come down firmly against movie watching, though (or yet!), because I find many of the arguments against movies to be rather weak.  However, here are the headings from some arguments by Free Presbyterian minister Brian McClung to mull over:

I. It is wrong because of the concept.

II. It is wrong because of the company.

III. It is wrong because of the content.

Read more: http://soundofanalarm.blogspot.ca/2010/02/what-is-wrong-with-christian-attending.html

I guess the issue I’m having is that these arguments don’t seem to apply in all cases.  For instance, a group of Christians watching a Christian film together doesn’t quite seem to fit the case being made.  What do you think?

A Thoughtful Review of The Hunger Games

Wes Bredenhof gives a thoughtful review of The Hunger Games and draws a conclusion with which I agree:

Panem Map Fan-made“To conclude, no, this is not a Christian book and, on the whole, it doesn’t portray a Christian worldview.  But does that automatically mean that we can’t read it or discuss it?  I fail to see the logic in that — unless (and this is a big UNLESS) parents are disengaged or disinterested from reading anything that might appeal to their children.”

Read the whole thing: http://yinkahdinay.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/the-definitive-christian-review-of-the-hunger-games/

See the absolute necessity of prayer

Thomas Boston, Works 2:560:

Praying_Hands003See the absolute necessity of prayer in the Christian life. Be convinced, that ye cannot be without that which the Lord is at so much pains to bring you to, by not only teaching you what to pray, but promising his Holy Spirit to assist you therein. Apply yourselves diligently to this duty, that you may be often with God, guiding yourselves therein by the direction of the word; and plead importunately for the quickening power and influence of the Holy Spirit, for his help and assistance. He will show thee thy wants, to give thee matter of petition; thy sins, to give thee matter of confession; the mercies and blessings of God, to yield thee matter of thanksgiving; and the church’s miseries and necessities, to furnish thee with matter of intercession.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/f25/see-absolute-necessity-prayer-83280/, Comment #1 (Thank You, Reverend Winzer!)

God Breaks Our Hearts’ Idols

Tissot The Egyptians Are DestroyedWhatsoever we have over-loved, idolized, and leaned upon, God has from time to time broken it, and made us to see the vanity of it; so that we find the readiest course to be rid of our comforts is to set our hearts inordinately upon them.

~ John Flavel

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/f29/chastisement-3941/, Comment #3

Not a Saving Mercy Indeed

David Clarkson (Select Works, 420-421):

Giovanni di Paolo 003They ascribe to him a will of universal salvation; when they discern it can be no other than a mere velleity, an incomplete intention, a weak, ineffectual desire, a faint and fruitless wishing of such general happiness, when he knows it will never be effected, and is resolved not to take the course to effect it. This is such a mercy, as jostles out and clashes with his other perfections, and is inconsistent with his knowledge, power, sincerity, wisdom, blessedness, and mercy itself in the true notion of it.

With his knowledge; for who will desire and design that, which he knows will never be effected? With his power; for who will not effect that, which he really intends and designs, if he be able? With his sincerity; for what ingenuous person will pretend to desire and design that which he never means to bring about? With his wisdom; for who will propose to himself an end, and never intend the means which are proper, and alone sufficient to obtain it? With his blessedness; for to fall short continually of what one desires and intends, is an unhappiness. With the nature of Divine mercy and goodness; for that is not real goodness, which does no good, or not the good it makes show of. That is not saving mercy indeed, which leaves the objects of it miserable, when it can relieve them; that wishes them well, but lets them perish eternally. But that which they ascribe to God, is such a mercy, as can well digest the everlasting misery of all mankind: such a love, such a goodness, as could be satisfied, if not one person in the world should be saved.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/f48/universal-will-salvation-destroys-mercy-83253/, Comment #1 (Thank You, Reverend Winzer!)

Seven Reasons to Stop Breaking the Sabbath

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“If you are consumed with secular activities and unwilling to devote merely one day a week to God, you have every reason to be concerned with the state of your soul”

~D. G. Hart

Read more: http://theaquilareport.com/seven-good-reasons-to-stop-breaking-the-sabbath-right-now/

Convert and Marry….Or Else

My heart breaks for these little girls in Pakistan:

Jesse Johnson:

Schoolgirls in Shalwar Kameez, Abbotabad Pakistan - UK International Development“But that is not the worst of what happens to Christians there. The worst is that their children—particularly their young daughters—are the targets of violence. It is estimated by the few Christian organizations that track these things that around 3,000 Christian girls between the ages of 10-12 are kidnapped every year. Schools make Christians wear different uniforms than the other students, making them easy targets. They are forced to “convert” to Islam and marry Muslims (often becoming a man’s third or fourth wife), and their children are by law considered Muslim. Young kidnapped girls that refuse to convert and marry are beaten, physically tortured, and either killed or simply raped and left to die naked in the wilderness.”

Read more: http://jesaja662.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/the-hardest-place-on-earth-to-be-a-christian/#more-3484

The Book of Mormon Refutes Mormon Doctrine

Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes:

Book of Mormon English Missionary Edition Soft Cover“The teaching of the exaltation of God from a man is in direct contradiction to Smith’s Book of Mormon, though. Moroni 8:18 declares, “For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.”3 Mormon 9:9, borrowing from the book of Hebrews reinforces the idea that God is changeless. “do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing.”4  According to the Book of Mormon, then, Joseph Smith’s teaching that God was once a man is false.”

Read more: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2014/06/the-book-of-mormon-shows-joseph-smith.html?utm_content=buffer49e78&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer