Saturday, April 15, 2006

It is the day of Resurrection; let us be radiant for the festival, and let us embrace one another. Let us say, O brethren, even to those that hate us: Let us forgive all things on the Resurrection; and thus let us cry: Christ is risen from the dead, by death He has trampled down death, and on those in the tombs He has bestowed life.
Doxastikon of the Praises (Plagal of the First Tone)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Holy Saturday

Come, let us see our Life lying in the tomb, that He may give life to those that in their tombs lie dead. Come, let us look today on the Son of Judah as He sleeps, and with the prophet let us cry aloud to Him: Thou hast lain down, Thou hast slept as a lion; who shall awaken Thee, O King? But of Thine own free will do Thou rise up, who willingly dost give Thyself for us. O Lord, glory to Thee.

Today a tomb holds Him who holds the creation in the hollow of His hand; a stone covers Him who covered the heavens with glory. Life sleeps and hell trembles, and Adam is set free from his bonds. Glory to Thy dispensation, whereby Thou hast accomplished all things, granting us an eternal Sabbath, Thy most holy Resurrection from the dead.
(Hymns of the Ainoi) icon

Thursday, April 13, 2006

"Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree." 1 Peter 2:24

The Cross of Jesus is the revelation of God's judgment on sin. Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the Cross of Jesus Christ. The Cross was a superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken. There is nothing more certain in Time or Eternity than what Jesus Christ did on the Cross: He switched the whole of the human race back into a right relationship with God. He made Redemption the basis of human life, that is, He made a way for every son of man to get into communion with God. Oswald Chambers

He wrestled with justice, that thou mightest have rest; He wept and mourned, that thou mightest laugh and rejoice; He was betrayed that thou mightest go free; was apprehended, that thou mightest escape; He was condemned, that thou mightest be justified, and was killed, that thou mightest live; He wore a crown of thorns, that thou mightest wear a crown of glory; and was nailed to the cross with His arms wide open, to show with what freeness all His merits shall be bestowed on the coming soul, and how heartily He will receive it into His bosom. John Bunyon

Is it so?
Then He poureth water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded. John 13:5
The Lord Jesus loves his people so much, that every day he is still doing for them much that is analogous to washing their soiled feet. Their poorest actions he accepts; their deepest sorrow he feels; their slenderest wish he hears, and their every transgression he forgives. He is still their servant as well as their Friend and Master....humbly, patiently, he yet goes about among his people with the basin and the towel. He does this when he puts away from us day by day our constant infirmities and sins....It is a great act of eternal love when Christ once for all absolves the sinner, and puts him into the family of God; but what condescending patience there is when the Saviour with much long-suffering bears the oft recurring follies of his wayward disciple; day by day, and hour by hour, washing away the multiplied transgressions of his erring but yet beloved child!....While we find comfort and peace in our Lord’s daily cleansing, its legitimate influence upon us will be to increase our watchfulness, and quicken our desire for holiness. Is it so? ...
CH Spurgeon

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

There is not one avenue of sense or thought, but the figure of Christ stands in it; not one activity open to man, but the "Carpenter's Son" is there; beneath the stone, and in the heart of the wood.

The more minute our search, the more delicate is his presence. The more wide our vision, the more illimitable is his power.

So, little by little as we go through life, following with a hundred infidelities and a thousand blunders, with open defiances and secret sins, yet following, as Peter followed through the glare of the High Priest's fire to the gloom of penitence where Christ's eyes could shine-as we go, blinded by our own sorrow, to the ecstasy of his joy, thinking to find him dead, hoping to live on a memory, instead of confident that he is living and looking to the "today" in which he is even more than yesterday-little by little we find that there is no garden where he does not walk, no doors that can shut him out, no country road where our hearts cannot burn in his company.

And, as we find him ever more and more without us, in the eyes of those we love, in the voice that rebukes us, the spear that pierces us, the friends that betray us, and the grave that waits for us: as we find him in his sacraments, in his saints-in all those august things which he himself designed as trysting-places with himself; at once we find him more and more within us, enwound in every fiber of our lives, fragrant in every dear association and memory, deep buried in the depths of that heart of ours that seems most wholly neglectful of him.
Robert Hugh Benson

I Believe in the Resurrection of the Body...

A reader sends me
this link to a poll published last week by the Scripps-Howard News Service on belief in the resurrection of the body.

The question posed was

"Do you believe that, after you die, your physical body will be resurrected someday?" Thirty-six percent said "yes" to this question. Here is a breakdown of people who said they believe in a personal, physical resurrection.

Entire nation ................ 36
Men .......................... 31
Women ........................ 41

the rest

Hawaii First State in US to Enshrine Abortion “Rights” in Law
Same bill waives mandatory 90-day residency requirement; allows abortion in-office
By Terry Vanderheyden

HONOLULU, April 12, 2006 ( – Hawaii legislators have passed a law that would enshrine the “right” to abortion in the hopes that it will prevent a future challenge to legal abortion.

The addition of two new conservatives to the US Supreme Court, combined with South Dakota’s successful passage of an abortion ban has spurned lawmakers there to pass Bill 1242, which went to the governor for approval Tuesday. Adding the provision would make it more difficult for a court challenge in the island state – even if it were successfully challenged federally, lawmakers argued.

The same bill eliminates the mandatory 90-day residency requirement before abortion, and allows abortion as an in-office medical procedure. The proposal prompted one commentator to dub the island state as the “baby killing center of the Pacific.”

Republican Sen. Sam Slom added that the new law “would make Hawaii the abortion capital of the world. We are known for sewage in our ocean. What other negative thing could we be known for,” he said, according to
The rest

Europe's Chastisement?
-- How the Abandonment of Christianity May Be Leading to Disaster
Feature by Ed Vitagliano
April 12, 2006

(AgapePress) - Anyone know where we can find some Etruscans? You know, members of the Etruscan civilization that existed in ancient Italy, predating even Rome?
Well, there aren't any. The Etruscans were absorbed by the Roman civilization and ceased to exist as a distinct people.

Ominously, if a growing number of experts and cultural observers are right, it's entirely possible that the same question may be asked 100 years from now -- only about Italians or Spaniards or Russians.

As writer Mark Steyn glumly put it in The New Criterion, "Much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most Western European countries."

the rest

Judas betrayed once more
Ruth Gledhill weblog

Maybe this post should be titled 'Jesus betrayed once more.' Because none of what I have read on this
interesting new text gives any real indication of the truly baleful nature of the more sinister Mystery Cults. These are the cults that influenced many of the gnostic sects, and in particular the gnostic sect from which the Gospel of Judas derives. I am coming so late to this story and for that many apologies to loyal readers of this blog, I was away for a bit. I know the story is now, oh so over. It is so last week. So last millennium-but-one in fact. So so'rry if I'm so'ing on stony ground here. But reading all about it while sunning myself on the shores of Lake Coniston last week, I think it has highlighted some oh so dangerous trends in contemporary so'ciety that I can't conscientiously fail to address. There is a good debate and some useful links on this blog here.

the rest

Azusa Celebration to Draw Pentecostals from Over 100 Countries
Wednesday, Apr. 12, 2006
Posted: 6:35:08AM EST

Pentecostals from over 100 countries will gather at the birthplace of their movement to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival.

According to the Assemblies of God – one of the largest Pentecostal denominations with 51 million members and a chief organizer of the Azusa Street Centennial Celebration – the home countries of the thousands of pre-registered delegates exceeds 100, making it among the most diverse religious gatherings in history.

"This is a terrific milestone and demonstrates the momentum that the Centennial has received over the last few weeks," stated Rev. Billy Wilson, executive officer for the Azusa Street Centennial, in an announcement released Monday. "This is another indicator of the diversity, cultural and spiritual experiences that will set this event apart from other events in our lifetime."

Blackaby chairs National Day of Prayer
Apr 11, 2006
By Ken Walker
Baptist Press

WASHINGTON (BP)--As the honorary chairman of this year's National Day of Prayer, Henry Blackaby will address hundreds of government officials and other dignitaries on Thursday, May 4.

Not surprisingly, the noted Southern Baptist discipleship leader wants Christians to pray about his upcoming message at the Cannon Office Building, since he considers this year's observance one of the most crucial in the 54-year history of the National Day of Prayer.

Ominous threats from terrorists and the moral decay of American society are two factors making prayer vital to the nation's future, Blackaby said.

"I think it will be an astounding gathering that will have far-reaching implications. That's why I think the message that will be brought will be absolutely crucial," said Blackaby, whose message will reflect the day's theme of "America, Honor God."
the rest

What would Jesus eat? Bible tells us
New publication offers tips on healthy food based on Scriptures
By Kristen Browning-
Blas Denver Post Food Editor

With a new self-help book out every month, how could a 2,000-year-old text bring anything of value to the diet debate?

Take the New Testament, comb through it for food references, add health tips and recipes, lay it out like a magazine and you have a new breed of an old book called a "Biblezine."

While it's not the first to look to religion for lifestyle advice, the "Divine Health" biblezine repackages the whole New Testament and would look at home on any coffee table alongside Food & Wine or House & Garden.

And that's just how my neighbor Jody Neumann uses it.

"It's a great format. I think the Bible is an everyday book, not a stuffy piece of literature. It's an everyday instruction manual on how to live," says Neumann, a Fort Collins mother of four, who reviewed the book and tested some of its recipes for us.
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My song is love unknown,
My Savior’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake
My Lord should take frail flesh and die?
Samuel Crossman

Officer cites 82-year-old woman for being too slow to negotiate busy street
Dana Bartholomew, Staff writer

Mayvis Coyle, 82, was shuffling with her cane across busy Foothill Boulevard while a traffic police officer watched and waited.

And watched and waited.

Even before Coyle finished crossing the intersection at Woodward Avenue, he had scribbled a $114 ticket for crossing against a don't-walk signal. "I entered the crosswalk, it was green," said Coyle, of Sunland, who is fighting the infraction issued Feb. 15. "It turned red before I could get over. There he was, waiting, the motorcycle cop.

"He said, `You're obstructing the flow of traffic."'

Coyle and other seniors at Monte Vista Mobile Estates are up in arms over signals they say are too short to safely cross the five-lane boulevard.

Responding to The Gospel of Judas
R. Albert Mohler Jr.

Headlines around the world are announcing the publication of a "long lost" and "suppressed" ancient document, known as The Gospel of Judas. The National Geographic Society announced the publication at a major media event April 6, just in time to boost publicity for its special on the National Geographic Channel April 9.

The announcement led to a frenzy of media coverage, ranging from responsible reports to outrageous sensationalism. According to some commentators, the publication of this new document will force a complete reformulation of Christianity and our understanding of both Judas and Jesus. In reality, nothing of the sort is in view. The document is highly interesting, however, offering an ancient and authoritative source into the thinking of heretical groups who offered alternative understandings of Christianity.
the rest

'War on Easter' waged
Atheists hiding DVD copies of anti-Jesus film in churches
Posted: April 11, 20061:00 a.m. Eastern

A media company that produced a best-selling documentary asserting that Jesus Christ never existed today launches its
"War on Easter," encouraging volunteer atheists to plant copies of the film "The God Who Wasn't There" in churches across the United States.

Dubbing the effort "Operation Easter Sanity," Brian Flemming, a self-described "former Christian fundamentalist" and president of Beyond Belief Media, hopes to covertly place 666 copies of the documentary in churches by Easter Sunday, April 16. The number 666 is the biblical mark of "The Beast," which also is the name of
another film by Flemming set for a 06-06-06 release.

"People go to churches to hide from the truth," Flemming said in a statement. "At no time is this more apparent than Easter, when Christians get together to convince each other that a man died, stayed dead three days, rose from the dead and then flew into the air above the clouds.
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Beyond Belief Media Launches Preemptive Strike on Easter
Published: Tue, 11 Apr 2006, 17:22:00 GMT

Copies of Controversial Documentary Are Hidden in Churches Throughout U.S.HOLLYWOOD, CA - April 11 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) -- Declaring War on Easter, Beyond Belief Media has launched a preemptive attack on the Christian holiday, the company announced today. "Operation Easter Sanity" has already begun ( the rest

Christians Sue for Right Not to Tolerate Policies
Many codes intended to protect gays from harassment are illegal, conservatives argue.
By Stephanie Simon, Times Staff Writer
April 10, 2006

ATLANTA — Ruth Malhotra went to court last month for the right to be intolerant.Malhotra says her Christian faith compels her to speak out against homosexuality. But the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she's a senior, bans speech that puts down others because of their sexual orientation.

Malhotra sees that as an unacceptable infringement on her right to religious expression. So she's demanding that Georgia Tech revoke its tolerance policy.

With her lawsuit, the 22-year-old student joins a growing campaign to force public schools, state colleges and private workplaces to eliminate policies protecting gays and lesbians from harassment. The religious right aims to overturn a broad range of common tolerance programs: diversity training that promotes acceptance of gays and lesbians, speech codes that ban harsh words against homosexuality, anti-discrimination policies that require college clubs to open their membership to all.

The Rev. Rick Scarborough, a leading evangelical, frames the movement as the civil rights struggle of the 21st century. "Christians," he said, "are going to have to take a stand for the right to be Christian."In that spirit, the Christian Legal Society, an association of judges and lawyers, has formed a national group to challenge tolerance policies in federal court. Several nonprofit law firms — backed by major ministries such as Focus on the Family and Campus Crusade for Christ — already take on such cases for free. story

The First National Academic Freedom Conference
By Sara Dogan
April 11, 2006

On April 6-7, 2006, Students for Academic Freedom held its First National Academic Freedom Conference at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, DC. The conference featured detailed discussion on the indoctrination that is occurring in America’s K-12 schools and the politicization of American universities. A panel which served as a press conference featured the announcement by Pennsylvania Representative Sam Rohrer that he is going to initiate a process of legislative hearings that could lead to an Academic Bill of Rights for K-12 schools in his state. Representative Rohrer is the chairman of the subcommittee on K-12 education of the Pennsylvania House.

Rohrer’s action of behalf of K-12 education was prefaced by a presentation by Sol Stern, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow and author of the book Breaking Free: Public School Lessons and the Imperative of School Choice. Stern detailed the many ways in which a political agenda is inserted into K-12 curricula and teacher’s education programs, including in the naming of public schools after Communists and terrorists. One elementary school in Harlem for example is named after Don Pedro Albizu Campus, a Puerto Rican terrorist who directed two of his followers in an assassination attempt on President Harry Truman (one policeman and one terrorist were killed in the assault) and Powell Middle School in Harlem named for former congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. who was found guilty by the U.S. Congress of misappropriation of funds and other illegal activities. the rest

Graham Accepts 2006 George Bush Award

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - A humble Evangelist Billy Graham accepted the 2006 George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service on Monday.

"To be honest, when you first contacted me about this award I was very reluctant to accept it," Graham said to former President George Bush. "The words 'public service' usually bring to mind someone who has been active in government or politics, or perhaps a business leader or philanthropist. But that has not been my calling."

The preacher said his calling has been to help people look beyond this world and onto the next.
But over time, Graham said he has come to accept that his "commitment to Christ makes me more concerned about this world."
The rest

Monday, April 10, 2006

It is not thy hold on Christ that saves thee; it is Christ.
It is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee; it is Christ.
It is not even thy faith in Christ, though that be the instrument;
it is Christ's blood and merit.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Monks and their monasteries go into retreat as recruits dwindle
By Jonathan Petre
(Filed: 10/04/2006)

Monks first arrived in Britain almost 2,000 years ago but they are now in danger of all but disappearing within a generation, figures suggest.

A growing number of Roman Catholic monasteries are being sold as their ageing communities are hit by death and plunging vocations.

While a few larger institutions such as the Catholic independent schools may be strong enough to survive - though increasingly run by lay people - smaller houses will fade away if trends continue.

The official figures show that the flow of new recruits reached a trickle in 2004, when just 12 men joined monasteries, and the trend has been downwards for decades.

Although there was a modest recovery last year, when the numbers rose to 18, insiders concede that it was probably a blip, rather than any upsurge, following the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

By J. Grant Swank, Jr.
Apr 10, 2006

Confusion. Is "it" baby or thing?

The Connecticut Supreme Court is hurting for straddling. That happens when trying to go over a fence and getting stuck mid-way.

Supreme Court states that an unborn baby is neither just a fetus nor human being. Get this: It is a body part to be protected by law.

Therefore, Edwin Sandoval argues that he cannot be charged with attempting aggravated assault because the unborn baby in the mother's womb was the target and not the woman.

Edwin declares that the unborn baby is not a baby. It is a body part. It is like teeth or hair, something that can be done away with.
the rest photo

White House Letter: At the Easter egg roll, focus on a family issue
Elisabeth Bumiller
MONDAY, APRIL 10, 2006

WASHINGTON It had to happen: Washington's culture wars have now reached the Easter Bunny.

Next Monday, some 200 gay families are planning to attend the annual White House Easter Egg Roll to showcase themselves to the nation and President George W. Bush. But some religious conservatives say the families are "crashing" the public event and exploiting children for political ends.

"We're not protesting the president's policies on gay families," insisted Jennifer Chrisler, the executive director of the Family Pride Coalition, the organizer of the gay families attending the event. "We are, however, helping him understand that gay families exist in this country and deserve the rights and protections that all families need."

Not so, said Mark Tooley, the director of the United Methodist committee at the Institute on Religion and Democracy, an influential conservative group.

"It's facetious and not very persuasive for Family Pride to say they're not making a political statement," Tooley said in an interview last week. In the conservative Weekly Standard magazine in January, Tooley called the gay families crashers and surmised that President Rutherford B. Hayes, who held the first public White House Easter Egg roll in 1878, never would have imagined the controversy that the event was stirring up more than a century later.

The current hostess of the egg roll, Laura Bush, has adopted a neutral position.

"All families are welcome to attend the Easter Egg Roll, provided they comply with the rules," Susan Whitson, Laura Bush's press secretary, said Friday. "No more than two adults per group, and at least one child under the age of 8."
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A Velveteen Apologetic
How two creatures dig a rabbit hole in my disbelief.
by Agnieszka Tennant

I believe in God. On most days. The chief reason for this belief is a collection of stories so odd that they're either clumsily made up or eternally true.

Had I been asked to write a book in order to trick people into monotheism, I would have concocted a tale a lot more consistent, logical, urbane, mathematically verifiable, politically correct, gender-inclusive, crosscultural, and family-oriented than what we call the Bible. That bit about God—our most devoted parent—asking Abraham to kill his son Isaac? Unhelpful. Cut. The ode to love found in the First Letter to the Corinthians, on the other hand—that's good stuff! I'd stretch it out to a whole book of love poetry and stick it in front of Genesis, to show why God bothered with humanity. And I'd try hard to get a quote from Jesus about homosexuals.

But God's book is already written, and—for reasons only he knows—the tricky passages remain. I tell myself, as G. K. Chesterton put it, that truth must be stranger than fiction, because "fiction is the creation of the human mind and therefore congenial to it." My wager's on the Great Uncongenial. In spite of its many riddles, God's letter to his children is an engrossing thriller about Love on a mission to ravish the world.
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Look and Live

And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shalt come to pass, that everyone that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. (Numbers 21:8)

This is a glorious gospel type. Jesus, numbered with the transgressors, hangs before us on the cross. A look to Him will heal us of the serpent-bite of sin; will heal us at once—"When he looketh upon it, he shall live." Let the reader who is mourning his sinfulness note the words—"Everyone that looketh upon it shall live." Every looker will find this true. I have found it so. I looked to Jesus and lived at once, I know I did. Reader, if you look to Jesus you will live, too. True, you are swelling with the venom, and you see no hope, True, also there is no hope but this one. But this is no doubtful cure—"Everyone that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live."

The brazen serpent was not lifted up as a curiosity to be gazed upon by the healthy; but its special purpose was for those who were "bitten." Jesus died as a real Savior for real sinners. Whether the bite has made you a drunkard, or a thief, or an unchaste or a profane person, a look at the great Savior will heal you of these diseases and make you live in holiness and communion with God. Look and live.
CH Spurgeon