Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Occasionally you will see depictions in art of the scene Jesus portrays in Matthew 25. That's where He stands before a divided congregation of sheep on one side and goats on the other. Artists usually see Jesus standing alone and the two groups before Him. I think there might be something wrong with that picture. Consider:

1. Jesus is not coming back alone. He is coming with the saints.

2. The saints have already been "judged". I'm talking about bona-fide products of grace who overcame the world and were caught up to meet Jesus in the air. They are not breathlessly waiting to see whether they are a sheep or a goat.

3. The terms and conditions of the offer made to these two groups is not the same as the salvation offered now. It is works-based. Because you did such and such, namely offer friendship to a suffering Christ, you may now come to Heaven. But although works are produced by saved saints, the message to them is clear: we are saved by grace through faith and that not of ourselves...

4. If this is about rewards as we know it, where is the mention of the preaching of the Gospel, and the many other gifts and ministries that operate in a Spirit-filled Church? Why no reward for this?

5. Why are the saints surprised when they discover that serving others is serving Christ? (Inasmuch as you did it to the least of my brothers, etc) Babes in Christ know this.

No, I think this passage is a victim of tradition, and needs to be seen as it really is.

The prophets talked about a Kingdom, Israel in its fullness, that would be ruled by Messiah. Daniel sees a plurality of thrones, as does the Revelator. A kingdom truly is coming. And many kings will reign under King Jesus.

But Kingdoms are made up of subjects and rulers both. And those Jewish prophets saw ordinary people doing ordinary things entering into that Kingdom. In fact, at the end of that Kingdom period there will still be people on earth able and willing to rebel against Jesus the Lord over all the earth for 1000 years at that time. Surely Spirit-sealed saints do not leave the City.

No, the Kingdom of God will be a combination of saints (rulers) and non-saints (subjects) who will have the opportunity to give their heart fully to Christ or reject Him and pay the consequences. The Millennium, though incredibly peaceful and orderly, will still have room for imperfection, thus the need for rulers. Eternal bliss follows the Millennial reign.

So, do you now see three groups in Matthew 25? The saints, coming back with Jesus, stand with Him, poised and ready to rule. But they need someone to rule. That's group 2. Who will it be? Those who had a heart to help the suffering Jesus- the Body of Christ persecuted - when he was being hurt by evil men. On this basis, following the worldwide tribulation, the entire planet is separated. One group is asked to stay and enter the Kingdom.The other group, group 3, the goats, is sent to eternal perdition, the public pronouncement of which will take place 1000 years later.

Let us humbly bow before our God who calls us to be Christ crucified in this evil day. Are you a member of His Body by faith?

Look for "Bob Faulkner" on http://sermonaudio.com There you will find a combination of love for the Scriptures and a desire for North Korean believers to have their needs met. There are nearly 300 blogs, ovber 200 Bible teaching MP3's, lists of resources, NK picture albums, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let's love Chosun together! Contact me any time at diakonos5@yahoo.com

And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Married, member of a local church in the Chicago area, with full time work in public education. Would love to fellowship with believers who respond.

30 Days To Creating Super Habits

Do You Believe in the Bible - Religion

Do you really believe in the Bible? The other day I was listening to an audio book on the Dead Sea Scrolls. The author had a Ph.D. and of course I have no idea what the Ph.D. was in, it didn't say on the audio book cover. He made the statement below and it got me thinking about our beliefs and what we believe in.

"For those who want proof positive that the Bible is true, there's really only one thing to say for those who disbelieve no proof is possible for those who believe no proof is necessary."

The statement is coming from an educated person and it kind of sounds like an oxymoron. For those who want proof positive that the Bible is true, there is really only one thing to say, for those who disbelieve no proof is possible. What does that mean to a Christian and this same statement applies to most religions throughout the world. If you want proof positive, there really isn't any is there.

Researchers can prove certain parts of the Bible like, people's names and that some of these people were actually alive and have some history to them, geographical locations like cities, rivers and oceans, and some beneficial facts to religious believers. I don't want to single just the Bible out here, other religious text can't be proven, proof positive.

There are a lot of sections in the Bible that quite possibly could never be proven. Unless of course God or some sort of superior being with superior knowledge could give us positive proof that the Bible was true. This of course would eliminate the need for faith and faith is pretty much the most important part of believing in most religions.

Let's take the last part of the statement, "for those who believe no proof is necessary". Where do we draw the line between belief and facts, where do we draw a line between faith and truth. What is it going to take to get religious believers to start doing some research on their religious beliefs, instead of following with only faith. You should question your religion.

If you're going to believe in something like the Bible, you have no right to question someone else's beliefs and their religion. The next time a Christian judges a Muslim or Hindu about their beliefs, start thinking about yours a little more clearly, before you pass judgment on someone else who is living their life based on faith.

You are free to copy this article to your site as long as you include the following resource information with an active link to my site:

Greg Vanden Berge is a published author, internet marketing expert, motivational inspiration to millions of people all over the world and is sharing some of his wisdom with experts in the fields of writing,marketing and personal development

Greg is currently working on a video library filled with great movies on a wide array of topics, like religion, self help and spiritual changes in the world

Feeling Alive Teenage Problems

Thoughts At an Air Show

There he was, the lonely thing, right in the midst of the glory of that day, and no one noticed him. They say over 2 million people gathered during that 2-day event in Chicago, the famed "air and water" show. I'd listened to it on the radio, traveling to and from this bit of business or that, determining finally last year that I'd BE there next time!

And I was. My wife and I braved the heat, the traffic, the throngs, even a ride on the CTA. Things are never as wonderful as they seem, you know. To keep cool, we stood ankle deep in Lake Michigan, turning sunburned faces into a hot Chicago sky. Children unaware of our august presence splashed by with aggravating showers from time to time.

But through all the little annoyances, we were thrilled by the sights and sounds of some of men's finest creations. Pleasure planes and war planes, loud and quiet, modern and ancient. I forget when I saw him . Perhaps during the daring act of the Blue Angels. A lone seagull twisting and turning and diving and rising and soaring and...no one noticed that he was outdoing every vessel in the show.

Friends joined him, and there were pigeons, too. Lowly pigeons. The lowliest of the birds was similarly outclassing these monster machines. No one has yet equaled the creation of God. But the announcer made no mention of it. I heard no shouts or even hushed whispers as the glory of God, eloquently declared by these winged creations, hovered over the proceedings.

Reminds me of one who said it far more beautifully, Marcie Hans:


by a million


wings of fire-

the rocket tore a tunnel

through the sky-

and everybody cheered.


only by a thought from God-

the seedling

urged its way

through the thicknesses of black-

and as it pierced

the heavy ceiling of the soil-

and launched itself

up into outer space-





Isn't it always the way, believer? You brought a soul to Christ the other day. Through the Spirit's work in you, someone now will live forever. On that day, a fine doctor saved a fine patient and the world roared. The patient may live a few more years now.

But then we do not seek glory now. God has promised it for later, when crowns of same shall be placed on our heads. Crowns which we will then be able to snatch away and cast at the feet of Jesus claiming we were unprofitable servants. And so we are. Created and programmed by God like those pigeons and gulls, but even in our "unprofitable" state, honored by Christ , and told that we are loved .

Little bird, your Day is coming.

http://chosunhouse.com is a website I put together a few months back to get the word out to believers that they need to pray for North Korea. I have created over 200 blogs and the site features a live news feed , lists of resources, picture essays, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let's love Chosen together! Contact me any time at diakonos5@yahoo.com

And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Married, member of a local church in the Chicago area, with full time work in public education. I love to write Scriptural works. Who are you? Would love to fellowship with believers who respond.

Five Things You Should Know

Monday, June 29, 2009

Romance Re-visited

Some time ago I posted here an article about the romanticizing of pain. It's a theme that wends its way back every now and then, and is pricking me this morning.

A nasty struggle goes on in this old brain as I contemplate spending a summer in Korea this year. There's a voice of some sort, I won't call it the Lord, as so many rush to do. Perhaps conscience. Perhaps common sense. But maybe the Lord is speaking too...

"So," the voice says, and I loosely translate the impressions I receive, "you really think you have something to offer these Koreans!"

"Yes, sir, I have felt their pain so strongly, that I must do something."

"Felt their pain, you say? Felt their pain? You?! Exactly what pain have you felt?"

"You know, the pain of their suffering and their rejection. I feel it in my gut!"

"Oh you do, do you? I'm wondering just which part of their suffering you feel. Is it the hunger? Do you fast often, or have you been unable to afford food, or have you been on a low-vitamin diet so long that you are developing a sickness of some sort? That kind of pain?"

"Well, uh, actually I eat quite well. I do skip a meal now and then to keep my weight in line. I've even been known to fast and pray, but not too often, really..."

"Then perhaps you have lost your job? The economy even here is sinking, and you've joined the thousands who are now unemployed? That would surely help you feel the pain!"

"Hmmm, no, my job still seems to be intact. The education sector has not been affected as yet. Not so much as missed a paycheck, and there's even a bonus now and then. No, it's not that."

"You've been in jail, then? A political prisoner, arrested because of your involvement with Jesus, locked up away from your family, with a few beatings thrown in?"

"No, the only times I went to jail I was just visiting. Never been seriously persecuted for my faith."

"Then what kind of pain can you possibly be speaking of? You're not talking about the bravado the disciples displayed when they vowed they would die for Jesus? You're not talking about the tears you shed when you saw that NK video? Call it any number of things, but don't call it pain! How dare you compare your sniveling to the North Koreans' prison sentences and say that you now know their pain!"

"Uh, well, I , I guess I..."

And this smothering exchange of comments keeps reminding me of how fully and totally inadequate is any external preparation for such a visit as this. Through the months I have asked God for His preparation, though, and some things that have surfaced are promising. Since my decision to go, I have had to face nights - long nights - of personal fears and doubts. I have had major and minor procedures done on my body, where - in my imagining way - I despaired of life. I have been a victim of ineffective drugs. Attacks have assailed me at my work place. And more...

When we lay our comfortable little lives at the foot of the cross and say, "Show me the rest of the story,let me feel, not just romantic "pain," but the pain You felt on the cross, and what You want me to feel on my own cross, and the real pain of your people, so I can relate..., " things begin to happen. Life unravels, a bit at a time, and our sham hypocrisies are exposed. Even we realize who we are after a while, and cry out with Isaiah our unworthiness, "I am a man of unclean lips..." Only then are we fit for this service.

It may start with tears, but it ends with the real thing. And on the way, there will be constant re-calculating of the cost, many chances to say, "Hey, I just can't afford this. I never knew..."

The apostles, filled later with the Holy Ghost, decided the cost wasn't that high after all, and are in bliss with Jesus as I write. May we be able to see what they saw, and decide what they decided.

Hey, romance is OK at the beginning of a relationship. That's the natural order. We "fall" in love. But eventually there is the rising back up again, to commitment, marriage, hardship. Are we ready to be wedded to His cross? Is He worth it? Is His suffering Body worth it? Is the lost world worth it?

Look for Bob Faulkner's home page on http://sermonaudio.com. There you will find a combination of love for the Scriptures and a desire for North Korean believers to have their needs met. There are nearly 300 blogs , over 200 Bible teaching MP3's, lists of resources, NK picture albums, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let's love Chosun together! Contact me any time at diakonos3@gmail.com.
And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Married, member of a local church in the Chicago area, with full time work in public education. Would love to fellowship with believers who respond .

Habits To Prevent Losing Things

Change, Happiness, Success And Our Core Values

The saying that "change is the only constant thing in this world" holds profound meaning in every sense of the word. Backed by this universal truth is also the dictum that there is no such thing as 'forever'. However, amidst all these acclaimed universal truths, there are things in this world that stay eternal: One of them our set of core values the fundamentals that enable us to find happiness and success in our lives.

In his # 1 National Bestseller book that sold over 10 million copies, author Stephen R. Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1990 ed.) illustrates his own personal experience on change. As a parent, he claims that to change a situation, we first have to change ourselves, and to change ourselves effectively, we first have to change our perceptions. However, Dr. Phil argues that it's more complicated than that. Illustrated in his book Life Strategies - Stop Making Excuses! Do What Works, Do What Matters (1999 ed.), he firmly wants to instill in our minds the glaring truth about change that we can not change what we do not acknowledge. In similar fashion, I totally agree on his argument. It's like saying that the hardest thing to open in this world is a closed mind - therefore making change difficult to occur.

There are some people who have a mindset to make some changes in their lives and choose to be happy. Even the great Chinese philosopher Confucius would agree in his belief that "man must be wise and unafraid to live a happy life" - a philosophy similarly shared by his contemporary, Mencius where he enumerates three mature virtues of his 'great man' as wisdom, compassion and courage deliberated in Lin Yutang's book, The Importance of Living (1962 ed.) a must-to-read book for daily living.

Likewise, Stephen R. Covey focuses the "Character Ethic" as the foundation of success things like integrity, humility, fidelity, temperance, courage, justice, patience, industry, simplicity, modesty and the Golden Rule.

In his book, he presented Benjamin Franklin's autobiography as the epitome of these values "a man's effort to integrate certain principles and habits deep within his nature", he explained. The Character Ethic, according to Covey teaches us that there are basic principles of effective living, and that people can only experience true success and enduring happiness as they learn and integrate these principles into their basic character.

In addition, Anthony Scire's dynamic and contemporary book The Power of 2 (2003 ed.) promotes building solid relationships over the long term and encouraging us to be "nice, kind and good" to everyone we know and meet. This highlights Henry James's core value of kindness:"Three things in human life are important", he said. "The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind." In the same book, then eminent Bishop Fulton J. Sheen admonished us to also take control of our emotions so that we may live a successful and happy life. He said: "Each of us makes his own weather determines the color of the skies in the emotional universe which he inhabits."

Change therefore is inevitable in our lives. If - and when it comes, our core values should help us adapt to the consequences of change. Hence, as exemplified by great and wise men of past and present generations, our happiness and success depend upon our core values and attitudes.

Letty R. Vendramini

Your Voyage To Happiness Begins Here. Learn how you can find real happiness in your life and how to live it to the full. Abandon unhappiness and achieve true lasting happiness. Discover the "real you" and unleash the joy within.

Visit http://www.BestSecretsToHappiness.com/ and receive Your FREE Happiness Report Worth $47 On How You Can Find True Lasting Happiness In Your Life. Click now to download. Alternatively Letty regularly writes articles on How To Sustain True, Lasting Happiness available to view at http://www.BestSecretsToHappiness.com/blog/

Letty R. Stevens Vendramini acquired two degrees in Bachelor of Philosophy (Ph.B) Minor in English and Bachelor of Social Work (BSocWk). Letty teaches subjects in Philosophy, Psychology, Public Speaking, Argumentation and Debate, English Grammar and Composition, Research and Thesis Writing and Business Ethics. Letty is a part-time Private Practitioner in Social Work-Counseling. She is also a writer, a newspaper columnist/correspondent and an editor.

Prayer Beads

How Imminent Is The Return Of Christ?

The doctrine of Imminence is one that is sworn by these days. Suggest that you don't quite believe in it and you're out!

"Jesus could come at any time, today, this hour." That's the watchword of believers in this teaching. I know what the people who say this mean, but we must take objection to that statement as it stands. For, Heaven has a day circled on the Heavenly Calendar when Jesus must come. [Acts

17:31, "(God) has appointed a day in which He will judge the world by the Man Whom He

has ordained."]

That is to say, God knows when Jesus is coming. It is not a random day. It is clearly and definitely scheduled. Jesus cannot come at just "any" time, but only on the day He has appointed. The problem is not that there is uncertainty in Heaven, but that we are uncertain. The question then is, just how far is that uncertainty to extend?

When the disciples asked Jesus, "What shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3) why did Jesus even suggest a time frame? Why did He answer such a thing at all, if we are not to know something ? Why not say, as we hear commonly today, "Don't worry about it! It will all pan out. I'll come when I come."

That was not His approach. Jesus for all time laid out a clear description of a particular generation, a season, when He will come, so that those believers living in that generation will know it is time! All others of all time, not totally certain of what He was saying, since the time was not ready, have been commanded to watch, and be ready. Of course, the coming of Jesus at a man's death is reason enough for any person, any time, to be on guard against foolish behavior.

The importance of knowing a particular season is confirmed by our dear brother, the apostle Paul, in I Thessalonians 5. First he says to the ungodly (verse 2) that Jesus is coming as "a thief in the night." This is the concept that has been passed on to godly people as their own norm

for looking for Jesus to come! But moving even one more verse leads us to : "For when they say, 'Peace and Safety' then comes sudden destruction upon them..."Who are they and them? The world! The unbelievers! Verse 4 insists, "You are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief!"

That means we can and should know the general time of His coming, especially if we are living in the last generation. That generation is described further by Paul in II Thessalonians 2:3. In words that could not be more clear, Paul demands that that Day will not come unless there is a noticeable world-wide apostasy and the revealing of the man of sin .

Oh my! Jesus could come at any moment? Yes, in death. Yes, theoretically to those who walk in darkness and have not read the words of the apostles. But in fact? No! He must come when Paul says He must come, and that is after the great apostasy, and after antichrist.

The man or woman who is seeking God with all the heart about the coming of Jesus will see the plan unfold clearly and will indeed be watching when He comes. The ungodly "carnal" Christian, if there be such a thing, will be loudly proclaiming His love for a Jesus who might come just any time, and for him the coming will be a surprise, for that person has never dug deeply into God's Word to find the truth. I am saying that more light is

revealed to those who seek, and those who do not seek will be still in darkness and fulfill their own prophecies about how "we can never really know."

The only information that has been denied to us is the very day on the calendar and the very hour on the clock when Jesus will come. Let us be diligent though to comprehend with all the saints what are the times and seasons God has revealed to us.

http://chosunhouse.com is a website I put together a few months back to get the word out to believers that they need to pray for North Korea. Just about every day I'm writing a blog featuring some news, a book, or a story of North Korea. There's a live news feed on the site, lists of resources, picture essays, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let's love Chosun together!

And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Married, member of a local church in the Chicago area, with full time work in public education. Who are you? Would love to fellowship with believers who respond on my site.

Committed People To Success

Time Management in the Workplace - Slow Down and Still Get More Done

Do you know what an overworked machine looks like? It functions at its optimum level right before it finally breaks down.

Does this seem like you?

Has your life turned into one big race to beat the clock? Does it feel like no matter what you do, you can never seem to catch up? Has this pressure to catch up caused you to go into overdrive - working faster and harder - fearing that one day you too might just break down?

Being on overdrive leads us to belief that we are being more productive. However, the reality is, it can be the quite opposite. When you are on overdrive, you are in a "do, do, do!" mode, without being able to slow down and step back.

As a Result, Time Management in the Workplace Suffers.

Instead, step back and slow down. Doing this can be very beneficial to your overall productivity in the workplace. Slowing down allows you to plan so you can do more with less effort and time. It also allows you to think more clearly and strategize better as you are less stressed and have more energy.

So, if you seem to be caught running on all cylinders, yet can't seem to get anything accomplished, it's time to step on the brakes and slow down.

Listed below are useful strategies for time management in the workplace, which you can use to ease yourself out of overdrive, yet still be as productive as you want to be.

Time Management Strategy #1 - Learn to delegate tasks. Whenever possible, delegate less important errands, especially repetitive tasks that can be done by a lower level staff member or assistant. Assigning minor tasks to others gives you extra time to take care of the more important projects and assignments, especially those that are critical for decision making and those that impact the bottom line.

Delegation not only saves you time, but money as well. The less time you waste on petty errands, the more time and money you can save by focusing on the bigger goals. Of course, there will always be tasks that require your attention and personal touch, so focus on those tasks yourself.

Time Management Strategy #2 - Brainstorm. Hold meetings with your staff to brainstorm better time management in the workplace techniques. They may have fantastic ideas that they have not voiced because they were never given the opportunity. Their specific skills and experience puts them in a good position to make thoughtful recommendations on use of time, ease of work, and improving job efficiency. This will encourage your staff to work together as a group to become a more effective, time efficient unit.

Remember, heed smart ideas and give credit where it is due. Otherwise employees will be unwilling to share their ideas in the future.

Time Management Strategy #3 - Go for a Walk. Slowing down means clearing your mind from the cluttering effects of your office. The best way to do this is go outside, walk around, and get some fresh air. This may sound like a waste of time, but it is very effective in de-stressing which plays a big part in easing you out of overdrive.

Also, talking a nice relaxing walk helps you remove all the ancillary worries from your mind that can get in the way of important obligations you have to focus on. By eliminating these distractions, your mind can be freed to better focus on these obligations, be more creative, and hence, be more productive.

In the workplace, it is easy to find ourselves falling into a fast track routine. However, the fast track might not be the right track. Meaning, it might not be the best pace for you to do the things you need to get done. Instead of the fast track, focus on the smart track.

The smart track is to slow down, relax, and plan ahead on ways you can save time. Doing so will allow you to do more without burning out like our overworked machine we mentioned in the first paragraph.

To learn more time management in the workplace strategies and how to achieve a work life balance, visit http://www.selfmadeeasy.com, a self help and personal development company.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

In North Korea - The Glorious Pyongyang Church

North Korea's church history

As we continue our study of the Body of Christ in North Korea, we simply must stop and talk about the 1907 Pyongyang Revival. The Christian Koreans have a glorious history and a glorious future. Though we cannot understand some of the goings-on in the North today, we are confident that the situation is only temporary. God HEARS and ANSWERS the cries of his people! I quote below from Young-Hoon Lee's Korean Pentecost: The Great Revival of 1907.

The origin of the 1907 Pyongyang revival could be traced to a prayer meeting of Methodist missionaries at Wonsan in 1903, and attributable to Dr. R.A. Hardie, a medical missionary working in the Kangwon province. Although Dr. Hardie worked arduously in his ministry, he was able to achieve very little. Frustrated, he entered into a period of self-reflection. He was strongly convicted as his prejudices, sins and efforts of self-reliance were revealed to him.

Deeply moved, Hardie began to share his testimony of the work of the Holy Spirit and publicly repent before other fellow missionaries. Subsequently, he shared his confessions and repented before Korean congregations, which ignited a flame of revival and a receiving of the Holy Spirit as never experienced before. As the revivals grew in number and intensity throughout Wonsan, the following year witnessed the outbreak of an enormous blessing and revival that swept the area through Pyongyang, Seoul and beyond.

The height of the revivals that took place between 1900-1910 came on January 14, 1907 when over 1,500 gathered for a meeting and were invited to pray. The entire congregation burst into prayer and public confession lasting throughout the night until the next day. The Spirit that came through this Pentecost spread to the children and youth sparking revivals of a similar scale among high school students. It is said that the repentance and forgiveness was to the degree that the jails in all of Pyongyang were empty!

Men and women became walking testimonies of the power of the Holy Spirit as their daily lives were completely transformed to the amazement of friends and family. Korean Christians gained a new strength and boldness as they took leadership in the independence movement and endured terrible persecution during a dark period of Korean history. The face of Korea was changed forever and the spirit of the 1907 Revival has endured throughout the history of the Korean church.

100 years ago God's Spirit poured out on Pyongyang. Then persecution. 2000 years ago God's Spirit poured out on Jerusalem. Then persecution. But persecution leads to deliverances and miracles and church growth. Let us join in praying that the present darkness hovering over the North will soon erupt into glorious light as the Enemy is again defeated. The true Korean War, the one for the souls of men, is in the Spirit as in the natural: no final peace has ever been declared. So let us fight on!

http://chosunhouse.com is a website I put together a few months back to get the word out to believers that they need to pray for North Korea. Just about every day I'm writing a blog featuring some news, a book, or a story of North Korea. There's a live news feed on the site, lists of resources, picture essays, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let's love chosen together!

And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Married, member of a local church in the Chicago area, with full time work in public education. Who are you? Would love to fellowship with believers who respond on my site.

Neil Donald Walsch

Recapture Your Dreams

Have you ever wondered why your once exciting dreams have somehow lost their luster? Perhaps you have not positively attended to your plans, or maybe it goes a little deeper and getting off track has evolved over time.

To embrace and achieve the mindset that leads to the success you truly desire, a shift in thinking may be necessary. Often, after years of trying to get ahead and following the directives of other people, we lose site of our own aspirations. Getting back to your dreams and nurturing their growth can sometimes be a challenge. But it is a challenge worth taking on.

As children we start out with innocence, a sense of invincibility, and the natural ability to imagine exciting possibilities. Then, as we grow and enter society we are increasingly surrounded by people bombarding us with limiting beliefs and diminished images.

Little by little our belief that anything is possible is often whittled away and we seem to accept a diluted version of what we had hoped to achieve. Some people are fortunate enough to slip through the deluge of the 'can't - don't - no way' mentality.

However, most of us, as we grow into adulthood, find a time in our lives when we must choose between being inundated by self-defeating patterns or to take control and consciously decide to reverse the damage. Optimally, the choice is to participate in successful ways to nourish the mind and reach for imaginative and ambitious goals. This is called Success-Minded Thinking and it takes practice to get the mindset where you want it.

Consider this exercise: Begin by making a list of all the things you believed in before you were told they were impossible. Do this without any editing. For now, just get your imaginative thoughts noted. Keep adding to your list, and new ideas are okay too. Bring your dreams and creative ideas back to the surface You may want to take several weeks to let your thinking percolate.

When you feel that you have captured a healthy list of possibilities, then begin to view them with an open mind. Warning: with all the old tapes of what you should or should not do playing in the back of your mind, you may need to really work on that 'open mind' concept. Keep in mind that this is your life and your future that you are addressing. So, allow yourself to consider how your recaptured dreams and new ideas can possibly be engaged in your life.

After identifying what you want to act on, begin to establish clear goals and action plans for achieving your desired results. You must make a conscious choice to participate in successful ways to nourish your mind and act on imaginative and ambitious goals. Engage in Success-Minded Thinking to pursue the dreams you want to fulfill in your life.

Success Coach-Author David Schaefer offers an outstanding FREE AUDIO CD about Breakthrough Success at http://DiscoverMillionDollarDesire.com -- Also visit http://DiscoverMillionDollarDesire.com/blog

Christian Themes in Contemporary Art

Undoubtedly, the first Christian art - or "God art" - appeared during or shortly after Jesus' life here on earth. Indeed, paintings from around 70 A.D. still exist. Over the past two decades, Christian themes in contemporary art have enjoyed a renaissance as artists have sought to express their spirituality and religiosity through their paintings.

Religious Themes

Contemporary Christian paintings incorporate a wide variety of themes. Some fine art adheres to the iconic imagery seen in religious art throughout the ages - what some might call literal Biblical interpretations. These iconic themes include the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Stations of the Cross, and the Virgin Mary. Saints are also popular iconic themes in contemporary God art.

Some artists go back to before Christ's birth; indeed, to the creation of the universe. For example, contemporary fine artist Anthony Falbo's Genesis Series depicts the first book of the Bible. Through Falbo's paintings, the creation of the universe unfolds as though it was happening today. Through his abstract style, you can see light emerging, the separation of day from night, the firmament rising, the land appearing, the vegetation blooming, the living creatures coming forth, and the hand of God touching the hand of man.

But just as God created both light and darkness, contemporary Christian artists depict both good and evil. From the shame that Adam and Eve felt after disobeying God in the Garden of Eden to both overt images and subliminal messages of hell, artists depict the darker side of humanity.

A Variety of Styles

Today's Christian artists employ styles and media as varied as devotion itself. For example, some artists may paint in an Impressionist style, using bold colors, loose strokes, and thick dabs of paint to bring a scene to life. Others express themselves through cubism, the art form that rearranges pieces of objects in such a way that the person seeing the painting gains new insight into the object represented. Still others paint in an abstractionist form, stretching, enlarging, or magnifying figure and form to shed new light on everyday subjects. Some artists, like Anthony Falbo, combine forms like cubism and abstractionism into what could be termed "cubestraction," and produce remarkable pieces.

Exhibiting Our Devotion

Christians today are embracing contemporary artists by purchasing both original works and limited edition reproductions. Fine art with a spiritual theme - whether it's the birth of Christ, the creation of the earth, or other "God art" - serves as a reminder of the Creator's presence in our lives, as well as His importance to our safety and well-being. It also keeps us mindful of the need to express our devotion, to spread the Word of God, and to be thankful for the gifts He has bestowed upon us.

Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies on the web. Learn more about God Art: Christian Themes in Art.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

An Unpopular Promise Regarding Persecution; Notice the Complete, Unavoidable Feature of this Promise

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)

We are in the category of "unpopular" promises. This promise guarantees persecution for the people who are serious believers in Jesus Christ. In a church world where many of the treasure comfort and the status of ones self are more important, this promise is not at all well-received.

This promise is given to those who want to live a life of godliness: "who desire to live godly." Godliness is the will of the Lord for His people. Read that again; Godliness is the will of the Lord!

"But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness" (1Timothy 6:9-11).

Our Lord Himself stated that there is great blessing in having a passion for righteous living. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matthew 5:6). The blessing is God's pledge to satisfy the heart that desires for righteousness. "For they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6).

Yet, we have seen that fullness of righteousness is not all that is promised to those people who want to walk in godliness. Persecution is also promised. "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." Notice the complete, unavoidable feature of this promise. "All who desire to live godly . . . will suffer persecution." There are no exceptions - again I say - there are no exemptions.

All who sincerely desire to follow the Lord Jesus Christ will experience the consequences that He met, as He walked in righteousness. "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:20). Jesus was not very will like by everyone for the way He lived on the righteous path. He was opposed, mocked, conspired against, and betrayed. We dont need be troubled when events of similar harassment happen to us.

Of course, this promise of persecution is not given to discourage us from pressing on down this path of godliness. Rather, it is presented to prepare us for the difficulties that are guaranteed as we seek to grow in Christ likeness. In fact the Lord even adds gracious encouragements to be righteous, so we will be strengthened to practice His holy will in this matter. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:10). Persecutions can remind us that we are not from this world; we are headed home to heaven. Persecutions can bring us heavenly actions of supporting grace along the way.


O righteous Lord, I long to walk in Your paths of righteousness. Strengthen my heart with Your grace that I might press on in godliness. Help me to never shrink back, even though persecutions are guaranteed. Help me to stand true, even though persecutions may become severe. Lord, I count on Your promises to see me through the battles, in Jesus name, Amen.

The possibilities of prayer are gauged by faith in Gods ability to do. Faith is the one prime condition by which God works. Faith is the one prime condition by which man prays. Faith draws on God to its full extent. Faith gives character to prayer. A feeble faith has always brought forth feeble praying. Vigorous faith creates vigorous praying. Christ asks this pointed question, When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth? For more info on prayer and faith please go to my blog at byfaith-enterprises.blogspot.com and leave a comment. For prayer or any questions you may have, leave the request in the comment section. Also sign-up and get your FREE eBook and Prayer Training Report. I have written a book called The Science of Prayer and it is ready at, byfaith-enterprises.blogspot.com Keep praying to the Great I AM.

Tight Writing - Literary Fat Reduction

It is a rare thing to find someone capable of writing tight copy. The primary reason is tight writing falls is more dependant on your editing skills than your 'first draft' writing skills.

What is tight writing?

When you write in compact sentences using simple words without redundancies you are writing a 'tight' article.

The excess words are sometimes called 'fluff' and should be avoided.

An example of fluff

Brenda rode her bicycle all the way to the park. Her bike was one of these old style banana seat bikes that her mother rode when she was girl and had a whip antenna on the back with an orange triangle at the top. She had made the decision to right to the park after watching a program at school on the benefits of exercise, which of course was something that Brenda found herself very concerned about since she learned about the health risks of being a couch potato.

An example of tight writing

Brenda made the decision to ride her bike to the park. She made a firm promise to become healthy and fit after watching a program at school.

This may not be a perfect example, but the idea behind tight writing is to cut the fat. This involves the removal of redundant and nonessential language. In the above example the description of the bike had nothing to do with Brenda's commitment to good health so it was easy to cut.

If you read through your writing with a laser-beam focus you will find words and phrases that are unacceptable. These words have little to do with the advancement of your story or the point you are trying to make.

Many writers add fluff to their work to enhance word count, but an editor will recognize fluff and may ask for a copy revision. They may also lay your work aside looking for something a bit leaner.

Tight Writing Pinpoints

One of the most successful pre-writing tools is the use of an outline to identify where the story is headed.

You shouldn't worry about tight writing while working through your first draft.

In editing nothing is sacred, every word and phrase should be tested and reduced or removed as needed.

There numerous tricks to tight writing, but the best is that if your sentence is more than ten words it may be too long.

Always consider revisions, working to shorten and clarify.

Less really is more in writing.

Scott Lindsay is a web developer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of FaithWriters and many other web projects. FaithWriters has grown to become one of the largest online destinations for Christian writers and Christian authors FaithWriters is a great place for writing jobs

Keeping Your Dreams on a Wire?

Are you living or acting on your dreams or are your dreams sitting, like birds on a wire waiting on the right moment to take flight? If you do not act on your dreams, or take decisive steps to make your dreams a reality, they will remain dreams; buried deep inside of you. Here are a few suggestions to help your dreams take wings:

Believe in yourself, self-confidence is a key component to success. You know much more than you think you know because you have researched and researched your project.

Business plan: Work on a business plan. There are several free samples readily available or find some who specializes in writing business plans.

Mastermind group: Discuss your plan/idea with a trusted friend, or if you have several good friends form, (or join), a mastermind group where you will discuss ideas and come up with solutions or ideas that may be very workable.

Know your product. Do your homework, what/who is your competition. Know the pros and cons of what you are offering. Find out all you can about similar products. Ensure that your product is exceptional.

Prepare yourself to go the extra mile, offer the best of the best.

Listen to others but make knowledgeable, fact based decisions.

Network, network, network you will gather invaluable information from other entrepreneurs, business owners, managers, coaches and or consultants.

Try, try and try again; seek out different avenues and ways to do what you want to do; success does not always come on the first attempt. Trying several times affords you the opportunity to perfect your craft.

Remember, no one can dream Your dream, therefore no one can make it a reality but you. Do not let anyone, not even you, talk you out of your dream.

Joanna Parris, CSP is a Certified Home Stating Expert, a member of RESA (Real Estate Staging Association) & SEA (Staging Excellence Alliance) she can be reached at effectivestaging@rogers.com.

Studying on Faith Alone - Education Can Often Be Hard on Religious Faith

It's probably hard to find facts if your mind is already made up. If you're trying to find information on anything, more than likely you will find exactly what you're looking for, if you look hard enough. With all the information out there, available in books, media, and of course the Internet, would we really know the honest to God truth if we ran into one.

Not something that man made up and forced our ancestors to believe in.

If you're studying on faith alone and trying to prove or disprove something, you will succeed. If you're reading the Bible and looking for answers to problems in your life, eventually you will find the answers. All you need is to believe in your God and he will show you the way. Has he truly shown you the way or are you basing your religious beliefs on faith alone.

I have studied the Bible for many years and came to the conclusion that, I was often blinded by the way I view the information and couldn't get the facts most of the time. I always enjoyed reading Proverbs and the story of Job, both of these books in the Bible inspired me to become a better person.

By studying the Bible without faith and looking for information based on facts, it wasn't long before I realized this book could be and I say could be a group of stories that man over the centuries combined into one book during the Council of Nicaea in 325A.D and became religious doctrine for Christians.

In order to study anything effectively, you need to keep an open mind, this might require you to reprogram your thinking. You have been taught for years that only your religion is correct and all other religions are wrong. You can't think like this and gather information effectively.

Studying on faith alone could close your mind and keep you on the path of spiritual resistance. You know you're on this path if only the things you believe in make sense. Nothing nobody else says can make much sense if you're studying on faith alone.

What would it hurt to read a life changing spiritual book on another religion or form of spirituality? If you can't read another religious book, because you're religious organization tells you to only read their spiritual books to gather information, you're following a path of spiritual resistance.

If you're really going to study on faith alone then I suggest studying with intention to learn instead of follow.

Greg Vanden Berge is a published author, internet marketing expert, motivational inspiration to millions of people all over the world and is sharing some of his wisdom with experts in the fields of writing,marketing, and personal development. Check out one of his recommended reading, Stories from the Old Testament

Greg is currently working on a religious and spiritual answers library filled with great subjects on a wide array of topics, like religion, self help and spiritual changes in the world. His views on religious freedom are slowly changing the way people think about institutional religion.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, in the Company of the Biblical Prophets

Perhaps no other American is as controversial as Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Mormon Church and a self-proclaimed prophet. Such claims as he made, to have been visited by God, the Father, and Jesus Christ; to have been called to be a prophet to preach the Gospel to a world in apostasy are at least shocking and incredible and at most outrageous. Joseph Smith, his life and his legacy deserve close attention, then, for if true, his claims are the most important message since the discovery of the empty garden tomb.

To understand the issue, however, one must first understand what a prophet is and only then can Joseph Smith be measured against this rubric. To dismiss Joseph Smith as a prophet because he does not fit ones own definition of prophet is a circular argument since that wholly depends upon the persons preconceived image of what a prophet is. We must, therefore, look to the Bible, the record of Gods prophets to begin to understand what a prophet is. In the popular imagination the role of a prophet is to tell the future. This is, however, only one aspect of a prophets calling and likely not a major one. So, what does the Bible tell us a prophet will be like?

There are two words in the Bible that are translated as prophet. One is the Hebrew word Nabi (or Navi), and the other is the Greek Prophetes. Both have the basic meaning of spokesman or one who proclaims something. A prophet of God, therefore, speaks in the name of, and hence with the authority of, God. A prophet says, Thus saith the Lord. Joseph Smith was such a spokesman. He spoke in Gods name. To him, the Lord said, I give unto you my servant Joseph to be a presiding elder over all my church, to be a translator, a revelator, a seer, and prophet (Doctrine and Covenants 124:125).

This mouthpiece of God speaks Gods word. The Lord said to Moses concerning Aarons role as Moses spokesman: Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet [hence, his spokesman] (Exodus 7:1). In a latter revelation to Moses the Lord said:

I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him (Deuteronomy 18:18).

Peter thus said in his epistle that prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:21). The Doctrine and Covenants (hereafter D&C), which is a compilation of revelations given to modern prophets of the Mormon Church, echoes this statement saying that, whatsoever they [the prophets] shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation (D&C 68:4).

The Bible is a collection of the inspired words and deeds of prophets. Thus, the words of prophets become scripture. Isaiah was a man who saw great visions. Paul was a prophet whose inspirational teachings form the bulk of the New Testament. The revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith including the Book of Mormon and the visions and revelations recorded in the Doctrine & Covenants testify that Joseph Smith was a prophet. He spoke the words he received of God in visions and revelations. These words became scripture, just as in biblical times.

The message for which prophets are spokesmen is of the mission of Jesus Christ and the importance of obeying Gods commandments. In Revelation 19:10, an angel tells John that, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. A prophet, who must by definition have the spirit of prophecy, must also therefore have a testimony of Jesus. Jesus commanded His disciples to read the scriptures, comprising essentially the Old Testament, explaining that, in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me (John 5:39). He later testified that every prophet wrote about Him:

These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me (Luke 24:44).

John the Baptist, of whom Jesus said, there is not a greater prophet, had as his primary mission to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. Of him, no record details miracles or great prophesies of the future. Instead, he taught the people to prepare themselves for Jesus coming and when that came he willingly stepped aside (see Luke 7:28 ff). Joseph Smith likewise testified of Jesus Christ. In a vision he received on February 16, 1832, he and an associate Sidney Rigdon saw Jesus Christ much as Paul had centuries earlier. They declared:

And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the FatherThat by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God (D&C 76:22-24).

For Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ was the central figure in every doctrine and deed. Joseph Smith taught that Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of all mankind and provides salvation to all those who love and serve him. Prophets also denounce sin and call people to repentances. In 2 Kings 17:13, we read:

blockquote>The LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.

It is the duty of prophets to call people to repent and return to God. This can be seen in many instances. In 2 Kings 12, we read that Nathan, the prophet, was sent to call David to repentance because of his sins with Bathsheba. Nehemiah was sent to call the people of his day to repent and rebuild the temple. Jonah was sent to preach against the wickedness of Nineveh. Joseph Smith said, This we believe to be our duty-to teach to all mankind the doctrine of repentance (History of the Church 2:255). It is the duty of a prophet to denounce sin, call people to repentance and to worship the God of Israel. This last duty, namely calling to worship the God of Israel is essential, for Moses warned that false prophets could accurately predict the future, but if they used these miracles to lead people away from the God of Israel, then they would be false prophets (Deuteronomy 13:1-10).

The Lord says further, If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream (Numbers 12:6). Prophets, then, have dreams and visions in which the Lord is made known unto them. Peter also mentions this as what may be termed the prophetic pattern. In Acts 10:39-44, Peter teaches that God reveals Jesus Christ to chosen witnesses, the prophets, who then teach the world about God. Every prophet is chosen by God, taught by angels or through dreams and visions and finally commissioned to teach others. Isaiah fits this pattern. In a vision recorded in Isaiah chapter 6, this great poet-prophet saw the Lord on His throne surrounded by angels. He is forgiven of his sins, and charged with a mission.

This vision and the charge given to the prophet is the Sowd, the sacred and oftentimes secret intimacy that prophets obtain with God. Sowd in Hebrew translates as counsel, assembly, secret, or divine intimacy. At its root it refers to private correspondence or counseling. The Prophet Amos said, Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret [Sowd] unto his servants the prophets (Amos 3:7). That is, the Lord will not act until He has revealed His counsel, His plans, and His secrets to the Prophets. Thus another role of a prophet is to be a diviner, through revelation, of Gods deed present and future. This can refer to prophesying the future, or to determining what work is of God right now and what His will is regarding human actions.

Joseph Smith and his mission fit this ancient pattern perfectly. As a young man, confused but full of faith, he prayed to God. According to href="http://scriptures.lds.org/js_h/1">Joseph Smiths own account, he saw in vision, just as Moses, Isaiah, and Stephen had, the God of Israel. Just as was the case with Isaiah his sins were forgiven and like Moses he learned the true nature of God. In subsequent visions he was taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ by angels and through multiple revelations which are recorded as sacred scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants. He was commissioned by God to translate the Book of Mormon as testimony to Jesus Christ and to Joseph Smiths own divine commission. He was shown Gods counsel and href="http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_prophecies.shtml">prophesied many things that have since occurred.

In connection with this divining of counsel, it is interesting to note that the Samaritan women whom Jesus met at the well in Sychar said, I perceive that thou art a prophet (John 4:19), when He told her about her life previous to meeting Him. Prophets, then, are given such spiritual insights as necessary to fulfill their missions. In this capacity a Prophet may rightly be called a Seer. When Saul sought out a man of God who could give him advice on what course he could take, the record states, Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer (1 Samuel 9:9). A Seer, then, is one who sees what is ahead, who understand the operations of God in the world. He sees accurately not only the future, but also the present and the past. Through this divine insight he can perceive Gods workings in the world.

In a revelation given to Joseph Smith in November of 1831, the Lord said of Joseph Smiths mission:

Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments (D&C 1:17)

The reasons given were:

  1. That every man might speak in the name of God the Lord (v. 20)
  2. that faith also might increase (v. 21)
  3. That mine everlasting covenant might be established (v. 22)
  4. That the fullness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple (v. 23)

Joseph Smith was commissioned to be an instrument in the hands of God, but only one of many, who would lay the foundation of Gods Kingdom here in these days. As a Seer and Revelator he taught truth and revealed many things to come, as a Prophet he preached repentance in Gods name and taught the testimony of Jesus Christ, and as translator he translated and published the Book of Mormon. Finally, as a prophet he was a leader. In Hosea we read:

And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved (Hosea 12:13).

A prophet is set to lead the covenant people of the Lord. Paul said that the household of God is built upon a foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone (Ephesians 2:19-20). Apostles, as can be easily shown, are prophets also, since they have the spirit of prophecy which is the testimony of Jesus Christ, but as apostles they have a special mission to go forth and proclaim Jesus Christs resurrection (see Acts 1:22). Prophets and Apostles lead the people of God. In this capacity, Joseph Smith was the leader of the Mormon Church, called of God, and ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the first elder of this church (D&C 20:2). Until his death in 1844, he led the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a Prophet and Apostle of god. Joseph Smith guided the Mormon Church through persecution and trials.

It must be remembered, however, that prophet are human agents working for God and are thus fallible. James said of Elias (i.e. Elijah), that he, was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months (James 5:17). Commenting on this passage Joseph Smith said:

I was this morning introduced to a man from the east. After hearing my name, he remarked that I was nothing but a man, indicating by this expression, that he had supposed that a person to whom the Lord should see fit to reveal His will, must be something more than a man. He seemed to have forgotten the saying that fell from the lips of St. James, that Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, yet he had such power with God, that He, in answer to his prayers, shut the heavens that they gave no rain for the space of three years and six months; and again, in answer to his prayer, the heavens gave forth rain, and the earth gave forth fruit. Indeed, such is the darkness and ignorance of this generation, that they look upon it as incredible that a man should have any intercourse with his Maker. (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 Vols. 2:302)

Of himself he later said, I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 Vols. 6:366). The Prophets and Apostles of God are human and hence fallible, but the inspired words they reveal, as Peter said, come from the Holy Ghost who is a revelator to mankind. Like Isaiah, Samuel, Moses, Noah, Paul, and Peter before him, Joseph Smith had his faults, which makes his miracles and teachings all the more amazing and inspiring, for God works always through weak and erring servants to accomplish His great purposes.

Perhaps it is the faults of the prophets that make some people reject them. Jesus Christ once remarked that, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house (Matthew 13:57). To neighbors, Jesus was merely a carpenter, the son of Joseph, but to those with faith He was the Messiah, the Son of God. Similarly with the prophets who, unlike Jesus, were not sinless, they are often rejected for trivial reasons. Some rejected Joseph Smith as a prophet because a business venture he participated in failed, or because he enjoyed playing sports. Others were offended by his denunciation of their actions. Finally, on June 27, 1844, Joseph Smith was murdered by a mob with faces painted black while he sat in jail awaiting trial on false charges. Like Paul before him, Joseph Smith was jailed, persecuted, and finally killed. Many prophets and apostles have been killed because of their teachings and deeds and Joseph Smith was no different.

In every possible test Joseph Smith compares favorably with the prophets of the Bible. Like them, he spoke in Gods name and the revelations given to him have become scripture just as Paul or Moses did. He had the testimony of Jesus Christ, the spirit of prophecy, and so devoted his ministry to testifying of the divine mission of Jesus Christ. He was commissioned by God through visions and the visitations of angels to do Gods work here on earth and so received authority to act and speak in Gods name. He was a prophet, a seer, a revelator, a translator, a missionary, an apostle, and a martyr for he was hunted and murdered by angry mobs because he dared to speak against their traditions and because his teachings and deeds stirred up controversy.

Ultimately, one must look at the fruits of Joseph Smiths mission. To know if Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God, one must study his teachings and his deeds. These can be found first and foremost in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. If the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God, then Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God and while argument and evidence may be compiled for pages upon pages, only the Spirit of God will ultimately reveal to a person whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet. Why this matters, even and perhaps especially for Christians, is that if Joseph Smith was a prophet, then Jesus Christ has a message for the whole world and especially for those who claim to believe in Him. This message is that His Church has been established by prophets and is now being led by them through inspiration of God. For non-Christians, the message is one of faith and hope, that Jesus Christ lives again and through His power all may be resurrected and saved.

Jonathan F. Barney was born and raised in Mapleton, Utah and graduated from Springville High School. He attended Utah State University on full scholarship and graduated in 2004 with a degree in History and Linguistics. He is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Near Eastern Studies, emphasizing the Arab World at Princeton University. From 1999 to 2001, he served as a volunteery missionary for the Mormon Church in Ohio. In 2003 he studied for one semester at the American University of Cairo in Egypt. In his spare time he enjoys reading, hiking, calligraphy (both Latin and Arabic scripts), and writing

To learn more about Joseph Smiths life and teachings visit these excellent sites:

Joseph Smith.net With pictures, writings, and biographical information about Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith.com with Joseph Smith's writings about his life

Spreading the Good Word of God Gently

The other day I was walking through the park when I saw a man, an extremely large man reading the Bible. I was minding my own business like I normally do in full observation mode, just simply enjoying life. When what I thought was a tree reading the Bible, moved and scared the crap out of me. This man was about 6'9" and look like he played professional football but when he spoke it was nonthreatening and very gentle.

Have you read the Bible he said. I thought to myself, you have got to be kidding me. Couldn't this person have been smaller and what's he going to do when I tell him that I have but no longer follow Christianity. I liked my face and the rest of my body, should I lie to this man to save my own life or would he be understanding about my beliefs.

I threw the dice out on the table and told him that I have read the Bible and do not believe it is the word of God, the Creator of the universe. I explained to him that, there is a lot of useful information and some wonderful stories in the Bible but that it could not completely be proven as factual information. I continued to explain to him that there was a lot of information in the Bible that contradicted itself and some that simply wasn't true.

He sat back down on the park bench and asked me to join him. I couldn't resist as I always have enjoyed talking about religion and ready to learn something about this man and why he is a Christian. He started to tell me about some recent events that have happened in his life, some bad, some worse and of course some that he didn't want to talk about. However, he did mention a trip to church a few Sundays ago that changed his life.

I was happy for him that he had found peace but explained to him that he is extremely vulnerable to anything right now that can make a little sense out of his life. Be careful I told him, because you could get caught up in something that feels and sounds good, only to find out later in life, that you have questions about Christianity that can't be answered.

I had a very pleasant conversation with this person and I believe he appreciated a few of the points I made. When people are down and out and their lives seem to be really messed up, they're extremely vulnerable to others religious beliefs, whether they're right or wrong.

Don't force your religious beliefs onto others, be kind and courteous to those who are on the edge and having difficulties in life. Explaining to them about your religion and how it has benefited you is wonderful but it might not be as beneficial to someone else. The next time you plan on converting someone who is down in the dumps, make sure that you understand your own religion before you pass false beliefs onto others.

It's like a cancer spreading through the body, most of the cancer cells don't know what they are doing or how much damage is going to be done until it's too late.

You are free to copy this article to your site as long as you include the following resource information with an active link to my site:

Greg Vanden Berge is a published author, internet marketing expert, motivational inspiration to millions of people all over the world and is sharing some of his wisdom with experts in the fields of writing,marketing, and personal development. Check out one of his recommended books, You Can Have It All

Greg is currently working on a self help library filled with great subjects on a wide array of topics, like religion, self help and spiritual changes in the world. His views on religious freedom are slowly changing the way people think about institutional religion.

Before You Answer a Trick Question

Last Sunday the "lectionary", or traditional Bible readings, of many Christian churches included Matthew 21:28-33, Jesus' parable of the father and his two sons. The father asks each of them individually to do some vineyard work; the first refuses but later thought better of it and did the work; the second agreed but then did nothing. Jesus' question to his audience, mostly of learned scholars at the Temple and Pharisees was, which did his father's will?

Jesus was asked trick questions many times in His ministry, that is, the questioner's motives were not the answer to the question as much as the opportunity for criticism, derision or culpatory evidence. In this case however, it was Jesus who asked the trick question. The real hero of this story was neither son, but the father, whose patience kept him silent when his first son directly defied him, but enabled that son to eventually come through. This was evidently lost upon His audience, preoccupied as they were about maintaining their own position to be receptive to the moral heroism of the present but silent father in Jesus' story. Eventually, after hearing some more of Jesus' parables, they came to realize that He was speaking of the lowliness of their moral position in maintaining their political position. He did this in an indirect, nonconfrontational way, using trick questions among other things.

All of us have had to one degree or another our share of trick questions asked of us - designed more to manipulate or entrap us than to get information. And all too many of us have asked questions with similar motives - hidden agendas. The value of this Bible story, like so many others, is in enabling us to find parts of ourselves in it. A part of us is that first son, who grumbles if not refuses to do what is asked of him, but eventually comes through. And another part is the second son who promises, but then does not deliver. And another part is the father, who if nothing else is given opportunity to weather a rebuff and so enable another to change his mind in a positive direction.

It is all too tempting for us to deny that we would ask trick questions; that is, ask with dishonest motives or with hidden agendas. Yet the place within ourselves that we come from in so doing is as much a part of ourselves as is our arms and hands and fingers. If we really 'fess up' and ask what the real motives and values of that part is, likely we find that it is self-defense - just as it was for the chief priests and scribes that Jesus was questioning. And, those of us most in denial of that part of ourselves will be most likely to use it - and hate others that use it, just as was Jesus' audience "who would have liked to arrest him" (Matthew 21:46).

Power questions the antidote

In coaching we ask power questions: generally beginning with 'what', 'where', or 'how', sometimes 'when' but generally not 'why'. They are questions with no 'right' or 'wrong' answer; because of that they are nonjudgmental; they invite us to explore within ourselves without fear. They are not multiple-choice and certainly not yes-or-no. Trick questions narrow the horizons, if they do not manipulate and deceive as well; power questions broaden them.

We are not likely to have the great skill Jesus had in asking trick questions to morally illuminate His recalcitrant audience. But power questions can be used by any of us in our personal relationships. One option to having to answer an obviously manipulative 'trick' question is to protest; and ask that the corresponding power question be asked. As an example, if you were asked "Don't you believe the Bible to be the Word of God?", the corresponding power question would be "What do you believe the Bible to be?"

Now might be the time to consider going into coaching; not only to experience the self-illumination and self-discovery of answering true power questions, but to learn how better to ask them.

Dave Smart is the lead coach at Transcendence Coaching and Mentoring. He trained at The Coaches Training Institute where he learned Co-actuve Coaching, where power questions begin with asking the client what his agenda is. If you feel your horizons narrowed by those about you by their questions, coaching is for you. Check out TCM's website: http://www.transcendencecoach.com.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Keys to Success

Have you toiled day and night searching for a success guide?

Have you searched and read all success tips, success articles, success ideas, success books, personal development books but you have not really recorded any success story in whatever you do?

Do you desire a proven personal development plan or a genuine personal growth and development?

Have you read the success stories of successful people all your life and you believe it is about time people read your own story?

If you answer "Yes" to these questions, then I advise you to read on.

I am sure you know very well that nobody wants to be associated with a failure. Everybody loves achievers. This is the simple truth!

You can make yourself stand on the winning podium always by studying and applying the success keys that I will be sharing with you in this article.

Success Key 1: Believe in yourself: You must understand that there is something unique that has been deposited into you by God during creation. You are a STAR (Genesis 1:17). Stars are meant to shine lights! You are very relevant wherever there is anything representing darkness. A star has in-built characteristics that are necessary for it to perform its great work of light-shining. Since you are a star, there is something great in you to succeed on this earth. You only need to make yourself believe this.

Success Key 2: Never stop learning the Truth about your success from the Word of God: I believe it is very important you make yourself learn the truth in the word of God-the Bible on a regular basis. It is the best place to learn. I have always read the success stories of Jesus Christ from the Bible on a regular basis. You can begin to do this too. He is the most successful Human Being that ever walked the surface of this earth. So position yourself to learn from Him the various success keys He used to open success doors. You can claim a FREE copy of my e-book "Jesus and Your Success" at www.sesanoguntade.com/freesuccessbooks. You will have access to 10 super-success secrets of Jesus.

Success Key 3: Update your knowledge of your industry: We all belong to one niche or industry or the other. Things are changing nowadays at a very fast rate. You can't afford to loose sight of the changes in your industry. If you do, you are making yourself very irrelevant and this will never make you open success doors.

Success Key 4: Have a great relationship with man: You must find a way of learning about how you can have a great relationship with man. If you must succeed here on earth, you need the company of people on most occasions. You must understand how you relate with people for you to gain tremendously from your relationships. I am assuring you if you can learn this skill so well, it will make you open success doors on regular basis.

Success Key 5: Be bold to take actions: This is also very important. You must be bold to take actions. If you are not bold, you will never do anything worthwhile that can ensure your success. Obstacles are always there to stop you, so you must be strong to overcome them. One of my hobbies is "crushing obstacles". You can't crush if you are not bold. Be bold to take actions always.

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A Choiceful State of Being

Julia Cameron in her world famous book The Artist's Way writes about, and for, blocked creatives. That describes not just the writers and artists for whom she initially intended her book, but all of us at one time or another. Being blocked is a fearful state of being.

What keeps us blocked and unable to find creative solutions to our challenges is being in this fearful state. It's like a catch 22 - you can't find solutions to your problems because your problems keep you in a state of fear where you can't find solutions to your problems. As I've written before, when you are experiencing fear you are accessing a portion of your brain called the Reptilian Brain.

This part of our brain is the first brain we had in our evolvement and we still have it for a good reason. It allowed us to survive back in the days of dinosaurs and still serves us in our modern day survival.

To this part of our brain everything is either something to flee from or something to fight. Either fight or run. Notice that there is not an array of choices here. In today's world this translates into the form of the threat usually being a person, rather than a dinosaur. We still react the same by either wanting to fight or run away. Now, however, the fighting may be verbal and the flight may take the form of avoidance.

Luckily for us our brains evolved and we now have additional portions of our brain which we can utilize. The cerebral part of our brain is one of these "new" areas and is where we get creative.

It's where we visualize, create, and and are able to find new opportunities as we "see" choices and solutions.

Using our cerebral brain puts us in a choiceful state of being.

When we move our awareness out of the Reptilian part of our brain and into the cerebral cortex we begin to find choices that are far better than the limitation of only fight or flight. We begin to see choices that lead to collaboration, win/win solutions, harmonious relationships, and most importantly, peace.

Sounds great, doesn't it? But when your consciousness is in the limitation of the fear based Reptilian brain, how do you move it into the creative cerebral cortex? It's quite simple, actually.

When you visualize you are automatically moving your awareness out of the Reptilian brain and into the cerebral cortex, activating this creative portion of your brain. Any form of visualization will work. Here's a few suggestions:
  • Draw a diagram or mind map of the situation. Begin with diagramming the issue and as you work with it and your awareness moves into your cerebral brain, you'll begin to see alternatives and choices. Include them in your diagram or map.
  • Close your eyes and envision the situation as if it is on a stage and you are the director. As you are watching the players - including yourself as the star - how might you make changes to the plot for an equitable outcome?
  • Use a visual tool such as a Tarot card. Select a card at random from the deck and describe what's happening in the picture on the card. What are the choices the people on the card have in regards to their situation? How does this relate to your situation?

Living in a choiceful state of being gives you and everyone around you the gift of living in harmony rather than conflict, collaboration rather than competition, and inevitably, peace.

Kathy Wilson helps people get their life unstuck using a multi-faceted approach. She and her clients utilize life coaching, spiritual consulting, NLP, vibrational healing, and teaching... whatever is in her client's highest and best interests. She's a Certified Professional Coach, spiritual teacher, Reiki master, vibrational healer, and author of An Inner Journey: Living Your Life Purpose. For information about her products, services, and classes, visit her websites: http://www.under-one-roof.net and http://www.aninnerjourney.com

1 John 1 - Chapter 1 of John's Letter Explained

1 John 1 is not addressed to converts or Born Again Believers! How can this be I hear you say, and if it is not addressed to Spirit Born believers, how have 'Bible scholars', ministers, pastors and theologians missed this crucial understanding of God's Word? Under the title Recipients in the NIV Study Bible they clearly state 1 John is aimed at believers, but notice, they conveniently choose 1 John Chapter 2 to erroneously prove their point i.e. they go straight to Chapter 2 and in the process by-pass Chapter 1. Why do they do that? Easy, the NIV is the work of Bible intellectuals and theologians who are men with their own agendas. Unfortunately these agendas are not The Lord Jesus Christ's agenda and they never were.

Now, there are two factors of error or gross misunderstanding at work here. The first and most important factor is the error of reading the epistles as if they were, and are, written for the benefit of the converted alone. In fact this is a common failure of most 'Christian teaching'. The second factor of error, which leads to the first error is this: Paul's epistles are aimed at the converted or those being called; that is, Spiritually aware, so the above mentioned 'authorities' jump to the conclusion that all the epistles that follow Paul's epistles are also written to the same audience; to disciples, Spiritual beginners and mature Born Again believers alike. This is what I call 'one size fits all' preaching or, preaching as if to people all with same level of Spiritual maturity, but as I will prove, this is definitely not the case and especially in 1 John 1.

As an example, let's consider this; everyone is in church on a Sunday and a Spiritual message is delivered. Now this message maybe for those new to The Faith or it maybe for Spiritual children or it maybe for mature believers; some will say "is there a difference?" Well Paul certainly thought there was because he withheld his meaty teaching from certain congregations because they weren't ready for it:

1 Corinthians 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

I have only ever met one minister who differentiated or separated his flock for teaching. Why did he do this? After I have explained 1 John 1 I hope you will understand why he did.

So if 1 John 1 is not aimed at Born Again Believers, to whom is it aimed and what is the issue at stake here in this passage of Holy Scripture? Is the issue sin? Well yes, of course it is, but then again, no, it's more than that. The emphasis is more to do with attitude toward sin, a preparedness to admit to being a sinner, a willingness to confess those sins for the first time - honesty and truthfulness. Being prepared to not live in a state of denial; a state of mind of not kidding oneself - Truth, but before I get into the meat of this passage we need to understand the opening verses of 1 John 1.

1 John 1:1-5 "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; Verse 2; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us Verse 3; That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. Verse 4; And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. Verse 5; This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all."

Look at these opening verses carefully. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard..." John is immediately setting the scene, style and approach of this letter or as some have commented - this sermon - a letter to be read aloud to the Churches, but what is the style or approach of this letter? It's as if it is all new to the listeners and of course, it is, because the first five verses amount to a declaration and the word 'declare' appears twice; verses 3 & 5. Now only new news is declared - no one ever declares old news, so these opening verses must be for the benefit of those who have not heard this message before; they were new to this message and teaching. Why would John 'declare' this news to those already converted? They already believe, don't they? Have they not heard this message before? Of course they have, they knew very well that the Apostle John was an original disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you noticed, too, the other important point here, a point more important than it being a declaration? I have put it italics along with the word 'declare' - "That you also may have fellowship with us". We need to understand this crucial point! This is telling us that these people are not yet in fellowship with the brethren of that Church; they are not yet in fellowship with the congregation of that church area and if you ignore this Truth then you do so at your peril.

OK, let's now move on to the meaty part of this chapter, and notice, John opens it with the word 'IF' (the biggest word in the world!) and he says it five times.So let's go through these five verses, one by one, and reveal the real message or Truth within them:

1) Verse 6: "IF we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:"

Straight away, John is stating an obvious fact; how can we say we have fellowship with The Lord Jesus Christ and walk in darkness; it's impossible and it is a total contradiction in terms and in Spiritual reality? So who are they that walk in darkness? Who do you think they are; the fairies at the bottom of your garden!!?? Why, it's those who are still in the world and are of the world and are not saved - they are the lost, they are those who live in darkness and they walk in darkness and, therefore, cannot "do The Truth". Why can't they "do The Truth", because The Truth is not in them? Why and how is the Truth not in them, because they have not been called of the Father to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit!? They are not Born Again or Born from above. So why did John make this challenging, opening statement? Why, to help these potential new converts to examine themselves to see if the Father was calling them to His Son or not - to see if they were "doing The Truth". Furthermore, if we say we have fellowship with Him and we are not disciples or Born Again, then we are liars - plain and simple.

2) Verse 7: "But IF we walk in the light, as He is in The Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

Now what is John saying here when he says: "If we walk in The Light, as He is in the Light"? Let's be clear, the word 'in' here is a poor translation, because the Lord Jesus Christ is The Light, so He has to be able to walk 'in' the light for all The Light emanates from Him in the first place. The Lord Jesus Christ never walked in light that came from elsewhere or from another source, and I will rewrite verse 5 for the proof of this fact:

1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

Returning to verse 7, what is John saying here? He is saying 'If we?' Well, do we or don't we, do we walk in The Light or not, or perhaps more importantly; how can we walk in The Light? That's easy, or maybe it's not so easy. We begin to walk in The Light by confessing our sins, being baptised and receiving the Holy Spirit - becoming a Born Again son or daughter of God. Now we walk in The Light. Now we have fellowship one with another as brothers and sisters as Jesus' Blood has cleansed us from; now notice this - ALL SIN. All sin means all sin, not some of our sins but all of them!! Past, present and future, and don't let any blasphemer tell you otherwise.

3) Verse 8: "IF we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

OK, here's a question: What type of person is going to say they have no sin? Is a non believer going to say this or someone the Father is calling? Or, in this case, are these potential converts going to admit that they are sinners or not; are they going to say that they have no sin or confess that they do have sin? If they are going to say they have no sin they are then deceiving themselves. In this scenario of 1 John 1 the Father is probably calling some of them, and this question will challenge them and convict them, but not the others. Some of them will not have The Truth and some of them will have The Truth, so who is not going to be truthful? Now notice the last part "The Truth is not in us". If The Truth is not in someone, then they are of the world and not Born Again; they do not have the indwelling of The Holy Spirit. Now, if the Father is calling someone [John 6:44], this potential convert's awareness of sin is automatically enlivened; he or she will be made aware of their sins for the first time in their lives. Anyone reading this passage of Scripture, too, will also be convicted of their sins for the first time in their lives if they are being called. This is the whole purpose of 1 John 1.

If, on the other hand, we think this verse applies to True Believers or to those Born Again, let's try and apply it to them and see if it makes any sense. As an aside, I ask this question, for there are multiple thousands of mainstream Christians out there, who have been Baptised (albeit erroneously into the trinity) and do believe that this verse applies to them, and then they wonder why they find no relief from guilt and no peace - the peace that passeth all understanding. This means they do not live under grace.

OK, I've digressed a little there, but a necessary digression. So, is a Born Again son or daughter of God going to say they have no sin? Hello! Excuse me! Well, the first thing a switched on believer will say to this question is something like this: I have a body of sin that sins, but I, the Born Again Spiritual new man, do not sin because I cannot sin, so that means I can tell you quite plainly that I have no sin, apart from the sin in my body of sin which is no longer me, it's just a vessel that I reside in until I am resurrected and my body of sin dies. This also means that by telling you I have no sin I cannot be deceiving myself and the Truth is definitely in me. Please read my articles: "The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ - His True Grace, Not the Watered Down Religious Version!" and "Was the Apostle Paul a Schizophrenic? - Romans 7:14-25", for a full explanation of what it means to be truly forgiven, sinless and living free under His glorious grace.

Now bearing all this in mind, can you now see the nonsense of trying to apply this verse to Born Again believers? This verse can only apply to those approaching the Lord Jesus Christ for the first time - potential new converts. John is using this statement to invoke or prompt repentance within the souls of these new people whom the Father may, or may not, be calling to His Son.

4) Verse 9: "IF we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (emphasis mine)

John says, if we confess our sins. Now when do we do that? Well we know don't we, at the time of our calling and/or at the time of our Baptism? We need to understand, too, that confession of sins is a one off event, repetitive confession of sins is not required of Born Again sons and daughters of God. Please see my article for the proof of this Biblical truth: "Is Repetitive Confession of Sins, Biblical?" Moving on, John then tells us that if we do confess our sins the Lord Jesus Christ is faithful and just to forgive us sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, not some or only part of our unrighteousness, but all our unrighteousness.

Born Again sons and daughters of God have already confessed their sins, they are now walking in The Light and The Truth is now in them, so why would John re-teach this fundamental again, is he into preaching to the converted? No. True Believers who keep on believing are cleansed of all their sins and this cleansing takes place at Baptism. This verse, as with the whole of 1 John 1, can only apply to those new to the Faith and/or non believers being called. John here is encouraging those who were hearing the message to confess their sins for the first and only time.

5) Verse 10: "IF we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and his Word is not in us."

This verse just confirms and sums up what has already been said with the added dimension of telling the new converts that if they profess to be of The Lord Jesus Christ and they say that they have not sinned they make Our Lord out to be a liar as well, and His Word and Truth is not in them. By contrast, how could this verse apply to Born Again sons and daughters of God? Quite simply, it couldn't, because those Born of God cannot sin, so this statement could only be aimed at or only apply to those being called out of this world of sin and into His glorious Light.

Charles Crosby


If you wish to learn more please e-mail me at yes2faithatyahoo.co.uk If you do wish to e-mail me please replace the 'at' with @ - thank you

There are no contradictions in the Holy Word of God only the evil corruptions of men, within its pages, who have deliberately created them to meet the requirements of their satanic religious agendas - Charles Crosby

Revised and edited 7th September 2008