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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Linda Welby sings 'Im Telling You Now'


Here's a great track by Linda Welby, who hails from Galway in Northern Ireland. You can learn more about her by visiting her website
2008 award for Album "A Story To Tell"
This picture shows Linda with the Award she was presented with for her album Story to Tell.
Linda really is the genuine article, as commented upon by Pat Boone in the following review:
"After spending time with her and listening  her music, I can say Linda Welby is the genuine article. Everything about her is genuine. She's a singer, musician, recording artist, -- but so much more.  She's a mother, a wife, a beautiful woman (I've seen her up close) and a true joy to know. I put her in the same class with Emmy Lou Harris and Joan Collins.  Her songs are lovely, emotional, melodic and they spring from real life experience.  I feel her heartbeat in every one. She's the genuine article!" - Pat Boone

Living a Double Life in North Korea



North Korean Border guards taking a break outside their guardhouse on the South Korean border. They are ordered to shoot any who attempt to escape their country.
Dear Friends,
Let me tell you about Mrs. Sun (not her real name), a North Korean woman who is not all that she seems to be.
To the North Korean government and many of her influential friends and family, she is a doctor and a loyal, upstanding citizen.
To hungry and impoverished North Korean Christians, she is a Good Samaritan who helps sustain them by smuggling food, medicine, and Bibles into North Korea from China.
Mrs. Sun’s official life began decades ago, during a time of relative prosperity in North Korea. As a college student, Mrs. Sun had the opportunity to pursue the career of her choice. Due to her strong desire to help others, she chose medicine. Years later, when Mrs. Sun was in her thirties, North Korea endured the worst famine the country had ever experienced. Once again she heeded the call to help those in need by offering food, which she obtained from neighboring China.
Twenty years later, her life as a “double agent” had become routine. By “day” she served her people as a medical professional (under the guise of a loyal national), and by “night” she served as one of our most effective underground food distributors and evangelists. Using her influential status to travel into China, she gathered food, medical supplies, and other aid to bring back to the hundreds of people in her home city.
Last month, however, the unthinkable happened. During her stay with some friends in China, she received an urgent message from a trusted friend. Government spies had discovered the true purpose of her frequent border crossings. The message warned that officials were waiting to arrest her as soon as she stepped foot on North Korean soil.
Mrs. Sun was devastated. She knew that she faced certain death if she tried to return home, but the thought of leaving her husband and pregnant daughter in North Korea was unbearable. Making the hardest decision of her life, Mrs. Sun entrusted herself to God and went into hiding with the help of her friends in China.
But Mrs. Sun could not stay in China—she was now a hunted woman, as China cooperates with North Korea in searching for and returning North Koreans who have escaped. Those who are caught in China and returned to North Korea are sent to concentration camps where they are not likely to survive their sentences.
Using gifts from the North Korean Christians Fund, Heaven’s Family funded Mrs. Sun’s safe passage to Thailand, where she is now living. She will be there for three months and then relocate to South Korea. Please pray this month for her to have a smooth transition to her new life in South Korea as well as for her family left behind in North Korea.
For our suffering family in North Korea,

Elisabeth Servant
Director, North Korean Christians Fund



This correspondence is not intended to be an appeal for funds, but as an informational update for those who have already contributed to the North Korean Christians Fund or signed up to receive these updates. Thank you so much.
Our goal is to serve you as you serve the “least of these” among Christ’s family. If, however, you would like to contribute again to this fund, we want to make it easy for you, either through credit card or automatic bank withdrawal. Just click here or call our office during regular business hours (8:30AM – 5PM EST) at (412) 833-5826.
To contribute by cheque in the U.K., please write the designated fund name in the memo line and mail it to Heaven’s Family, P.O. Box 7402, Bournemouth, U.K. BH11 0EJ.
Heaven’s Family is a 501c3 non-profit organization recognized by the IRS. Heaven’s Family is also a registered charity in the U.K., and most gifts qualify for Gift Aid, significantly increasing the size of your gift. Please visit our website at HeavensFamily.org.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Toby Keith sings 'Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine On You'


     Here's a great Country singer who sings a mean Country song! Toby Keith sings Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine On You.
     My verdict is simply that it's a great song and a great singer.

Trent Jeffcoat sings 'When I Find Me That Mountain'


I hope that Trent Jeffcoat will be recording the Country version of my song 'We All Need Our Heroes' in a couple of weeks time in Nashville. I think that he'll make a great job of it! The completed CD will be released on the SJM label and will be sold to raise money for the Help for Heroes Fund to help all of our troops who give up so much to help make the world a safer place to live in.

Tim Hawkins in The Government Can LIVE!


I always enjoy Tim Hawkins' videos, and this one is well up to scratch. I hope that you enjoy this LIVE version of one of Tim's most popular viral videos. Part of Tim's new Rockshow Comedy Tour audio CD which brings you 65+ minutes of Tim solo in concert. 


Also new = Pretty Pink Tractor CD with 17 of Tim's new and classic studio cuts including
Pretty Pink Tractor, The Government Can, and Homeschool Blues. Both CDs are ON SALE NOW athttp://www.timhawkins.net

What would you want for Christmas? : Cute video


Mary Margaret sings 'I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas' in this video. Cute or what?

More Great Christian Quotes by Richard Sibbes and others

"Not to be afflicted is a sign of weakness; for, therefore God imposeth no more on me, because he sees I can bear no more."
- Joseph Hall

"When we grow careless of keeping our souls, then God recovers our taste of good things again by sharp crosses."
- Richard Sibbes

"The winter prepares the earth for the spring, so do afflictions sanctified prepare the soul for glory."
- Richard Sibbes

"Do not even such things as are most bitter to the flesh, tend to awaken Christians to faith and prayer, to a sight of the emptiness of this world, and the fadingness of the best it yield?  ...  How then can  we be offended at things by which we reap so much good?"
- John Bunyan

"As the wicked are hurt by the best things, so the godly are bettered by the worst."
- William Jenkyn

"He that rides to be crowned, will not think much of a rainy day."
- John Trapp

"Afflictions are light when compared with what we really deserve. They are light when compared with the sufferings of the Lord Jesus. But perhaps their real lightness is best seen by comparing them with the weight of glory which is awaiting us."
-Arthur W. Pink

I'm currently reading ... 'Revival Praying' by Leonard Ravenhill

I'm currently about halfway through this Spirit-inspired book by the late Leonard Ravenhill, and I completely concur with the writer of the following review which comes from the Amazon website.


     'REVIVAL PRAYING is one of the best books on prayer. In fact, I would rate it just a bit ahead of Leonard Ravenhill's best known book, WHY REVIVAL TARRIES?. The book focuses not on revival as much as prayer. It is Ravenhill's firm belief that we lack a true sense and awe of God's holiness and majesty because we don't pray (Luke 18:1). Despite the church being very active in politics, programs, and everything else under the sun, the average church's prayer meeting is either non-existent or lacking. For example a local church near me boasts in their 500 members but only 6 usually come to their prayer meeting. How sad!
     If you are a weak, defeated, sinning, dead in your sins, no hunger for God "Christian" then please don't read this book on prayer. Try a lighter book such as Bill Hybels' TOO BUSY NOT TO PRAY but don't read any books by Tozer, Wesley, Ravenhill, M'Cheyne, Morgan, Torrey, or any other of the older saints of God (Colossians 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:17; James 5:16). These books are not books on HOW to pray but are written to encourage those who DO pray (Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 11:1; Acts 2:42; Romans 12:12).'



Of course, if all you do is read this book and then put it back on your bookshelf then you will have only got a taste of a good book. What you need to do is to pray before, during and after you read it, begging God to help you apply the wisdom and truths found in it to your own life, for this is a Spirit-inspired book which has the ability to change your life if you so desire and so permit.

A Year ago we had Snow! Snow! Snow!

Picture of Winter snow in town - Free Pictures - FreeFoto.com


This was the scene in Gateshead in the North East of the UK, this time last year. 
The worst winter snow in decades hits Britain and Europe

There was plenty of traffic chaos where the roads were passable.
Snow Uk (Pic:Reuters)
What a bunch of Winter wimps we've become ... (READ the story by Tony Parsons in The Mirror, 16th January, 2010

New book by Brigitte Gabriel: “Understanding the Threat of Radical Islam”

A book on Radical Islam—for our youth!
by Brigitte Gabriel,
President, ACT! for America

I am so excited to be able to announce the completion of a new ACT! for America book for our youth—
“Understanding the Threat of Radical Islam”



Everywhere I go I hear from parents and grandparents who ask me, “is there a good resource about radical Islam available for young people?”

Now there is—and just in time for holiday gift-giving!!

This illustrated book covers all the essential topics needed for a young person to gain an understanding of radical Islam—without being too long or too weighty. They’ll learn about everything from al Qaeda to Khomeini, from jihad to the Muslim Brotherhood, from sharia law to Wahhabism. The book even contains a timeline and an index.

Designed for middle school and early high school ages, this book will provide your teen or grandchild, or a friend of the family, the facts they aren’t getting in school, movies or the media.

We’re making this important book available for a contribution of just $26. For just $26 you can put this book into the hands of your teenager, a grandchild, or the friend of your family.

Simply log on here, select the “Contributing Member” option, then select the $26 gift level. It’s safe, simple, and secure.


If you would like multiple copies, we’re offering bulk orders of six copies or more for a contribution of just $20 per copy. After you log on here, select the “Quantity Discount Orders” option, then scroll down to the $20 gift amount.

If you would prefer to make your contribution with a check, just click here to print out an easy-to-use reply form that you can mail in with your check.

The holidays are just around the corner, so if you’re interested, please act today. This book is a great gift for teenagers—but I’ve been told by adults who have read it that the information is packaged so well they enjoyed reading it as well.

You can change the heart and mind of a young person today by getting a copy of this book. In doing so, you’ll be helping to shape the next generation’s understanding of radical Islam.

Thank you for your support of ACT! for America. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Always devoted,


Brigitte Gabriel

Monday, November 28, 2011

PENSION STRIKE CANNOT BE JUSTIFIED

The Association of Christian Financial Advisers (ACFA) believes the public-workers’ strike over pensions is unjustified. ACFA says society can no longer afford ‘unfunded’ final-salary pensions when people are living longer – without either increased personal contributions or reducing the benefits. ACFA sees a growing  and ‘unfair’ gap between public and private sector pensions and wants the government to go further to encourage pension saving.

The following statement is by ACFA chairman Aidan Vaughan.
  
Public sector pensions - time for a reality check!
Everyone wants a pension but nobody wants to pay for one’

Wednesday sees a planned day of action by major public sector trade unions over pensions - the Association of Christian Financial Advisers (ACFA) consider whether their cause is justified. Chairman Aidan Vaughan writes:

Final salary pensions provide a guaranteed pension based on years of service and the final salary - they provide tremendous security in old age for the member and their spouse.  Pensions can be as much as two-thirds of final salary on 40 years of work, or much shorter periods for certain groups of key workers such as policeman, fireman, high court judges or members of parliament.  

Local Authority pension schemes are funded but others, notably the Civil Service, Teachers and the NHS, are un-funded and are paid for by the taxpayer, you and me.  30 years ago a virtuous combination of factors made the schemes affordable.

Times have changed such that very few comparable workers in the private sector have the luxury of a promise of guaranteed pensions, in fact out of the top 100 FTSE quoted companies only five offer new workers membership of a final salary-related pension. 

According to the Occupational Pension Scheme survey for 2010 there were 2.1million private sector active members in final salary schemes as opposed to 5.3m public sector employees.  There was another 1m active members in private sector defined contribution schemes where the employee takes the risk of the ultimate returns.  Overall, public sector pension costs for 2010 were £32billion, less £5b paid for by employee contributions.

Even very successful companies realize that they cannot offer open-ended promises of indexed-linked pensions for retirees who could live into their eighties or nineties (we expect to live a third longer than in the 1950s). 

The scope for ‘final salary’ manipulation is legion – promotions or bonuses at or near to retirement to inflate the final salary figure, early retirement without actuarial reduction due to adverse health, favourable early retirement as part of a ‘down-sizing’ package, retiring and then immediate re-hiring etc. 

An extreme private sector example of this was that of the former banker Fred Goodwin originally being awarded a pension reportedly up to £703,000pa (until voluntarily reduced) in August 2008 at age 50 after his disastrous tenure at Royal Bank of Scotland (precipitating the biggest loss in UK corporate history). 

In truth, all of us would love the security of an indexed final salary pension where someone else provides the guarantee, takes on the investment risk, longevity/annuity risk, not to mention the administration and compliance costs.  But if final salary pensions are to be maintained personal contributions will have to increase or benefits will have to be reduced.

Governments, who are themselves public servants, have been afraid to tackle the real issues.  Our last government tinkered around the edges but refused to grasp the nettle.  The current government, after the Hutton report, has shown some courage by seeking to cap the overall costs of schemes (most to 20 per cent of salary bill) and requesting a higher contribution from workers (either directly or by using a career average, working longer, less indexation, capping total benefits etc). 

The latest compromise (‘no reduction for anyone within 10 years of retirement’, when that is exactly the group who has the greatest accrual of benefits and the greatest scope for giving something up) shows just how difficult it is to try and reform such an emotive issue as public sector pensions.

Spare a thought for the millions who have to fund their own private money purchase pension arrangements, especially if policy holders buy annuities at derisory rates.  Based on a hypothetical funding calculation (using recent annuity rates - see below) a 25-year-old male would have to contribute 28 per cent of his salary to provide an indexed-linked two-thirds final salary at the age of 65 - an impossible task.

Let’s make no bones about it, final salary pensions can be the best possible and most efficient form of pension provision - it is a travesty that the private sector has largely had to withdraw them. 

To retain the support of taxpayers for public sector final salary pensions, there needs to be a reality check of what is ‘affordable’ to us all - citizens of an indebted and ageing western nation, struggling to adjust to a changing world order.

The Hutton report was commissioned and reported in October 2010 and, very reasonably, suggested that solutions should involve affordability and sustainability; adequacy and fairness; transparency and simplicity. 

When negotiation is taking place we are struggling to see the logic of industrial action - please make your points quickly and go back to work!

This issue is of enormous importance to everyone in our nation, especially the younger generations who have to help fund the retiring ‘baby boomer’ generations as well as themselves!  There has to be justice between the generations as well as between competing groups of workers for society to work effectively.  It is a time to think beyond our own interest groups.

Final salary pensions are a great thing. It would be wonderful if they could be available for all, but who should pay for yours – you or other taxpayers? There is an issue of fairness and integrity here that affects the whole of our society.

ACFA is the UK network of Christian financial advisers and related professionals. It aims to be the voice of Christian financial advice and champions best practice in the UK. The ACFA website offers links to Christian financial advisers across the UK.

Note: Male aged 25 retiring 40 years later, final salary £23,700 (national average earnings), starting salary £7,269pa, salary and contributions escalating at 3%pa, investment return of 7%pa, allowance for expenses of 1%pa,  spouse 3 years younger, RPI escalating annuity 3.2% and 50% spouse’s pension, retirement fund £492,700, no tax free cash.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Joanne Lowe's Meditations: 'Don't Be Anxious'

DON’T BE ANXIOUS
“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”
Psalm 55:22 (King James Version)
     Edward Henry Joy, who was an officer in the Salvation Army, wrote a beautiful hymn about leaving our anxiety with Jesus “Is There a Heart O’erbound by Sorrow?”  If we would leave our burdens and our anxiety with Jesus and trust Him to take care of us and our loved ones, we would have less stress in our life.
     Jesus is the greatest Friend we could ever have.  I believe that Edward Joy wrote this hymn from personal experience and from the depths of his heart.  “All your anxiety, all your care, Bring to the mercy seat, leave it there; Never a burden He cannot bear, Never a Friend like Jesus.”  There is no friend like Jesus!
     I wonder how many times we have shared our heart with Jesus and asked Him to take care of us and our loved ones and then as soon as we said “Amen” we started worrying again and trying to solve our problems.  O we may be able to fix the immediate crisis but it won’t last.  The problem will come back again.
     It is time that we start trusting Jesus because what He says, He will do.  When we worry and try to fix the problems after we have said “Amen”, we are telling Jesus that we don’t trust Him and don’t believe He can solve our problems.  How we must hurt Him and break His heart.
     Heavenly Father, please forgive us for not trusting Jesus and for hurting Him.  When we hurt Jesus, we also hurt You.  Thank You for being a loving, forgiving and compassionate Father.  I am so thankful that You love me enough that you sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sins.  I love You, dear Father.  Amen.
Joanne Lowe
November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers in the United States.
I hope that you all have a great day surrounded by your loved ones!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

More Great Christian Quotes

"A man who loves you the most is the man who tells you the most truth about yourself."
- Robert Murray M'Cheyne

"You don't need to know the word of God; you need to know the God of the word."
- Leonard Ravenhill

"God's will is hard only when it comes up against our stubbornness, then it is as cruel as a ploughshare and as devastating as an earthquake."
- Oswald Chambers

"Half a dozen men on their knees for 60 minutes waiting upon the Lord with the absolute conviction that they have no answer, that their human ideas and programmes are ineffective and bankrupt - they will accomplish more than 50 men around a table discussing problems for a whole year."

- Alan Redpath

"It takes spiritual authority to bless others. Many Christians say, "God bless you," but one clearly senses that although the words express a kind wish, they lack real spiritual authority."

- M. Basilea Schlink

"We are never, never so much in danger of being proud as when we think we are humble."
- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Joanne Lowe's Meditations: 'Are We Peacemakers?'

ARE WE PEACEMAKERS
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
Matthew 5:9 (King James Version)
      Our Scripture verse tells us that we are called the children of God if are peacemakers.  Are we called peacemakers by our families and by our friends or do we create chaos and cause problems in our homes?  May God have mercy on us if we are causing problems and starting arguments in our homes.
      If we have repented of our sins, confessed them and asked God to forgive us for our sins and invited Jesus into our heart to be our personal Saviour, we are saved.  Jesus lives in us.  He hears the criticizing and sarcastic words that we sometimes say to one another when we are angry and it breaks His heart.
      Next month, we will celebrate the birthday of our Saviour. When Jesus was born, He brought love, unconditional love, joy, peace and happiness into the world.  One of the greatest gifts we can give Jesus on His birthday is to be kind and loving to everyone and be a peacemaker in our home.
      Is Jesus happy because you are a peacemaker in your home or is He sad because are you causing problems and starting arguments?  It’s not easy to say kind and loving words in return when people attack us verbally.  We need to ask Jesus to help us so we won’t say unkind and cruel words to them.
      Heavenly Father, please help us to be peacemakers in our homes and with our friends.  May we never forget that when we say cruel and criticizing words to one another it hurts You.  I pray that we will be children that make You happy instead of children that make You sad.  Amen.
Joanne Lowe
November 20, 2011

Law affirms FBI cutting ties to unindicted co-conspirator organizations


PJM Exclusive: New Law Cuts Ties Between FBI

and Terror-Tied Groups
Obama signs bill codifying and expanding existing, but frequently ignored,

ban on engaging groups and individuals named unindicted co-conspirators
in terror trials.

by Patrick Poole

When Barack Obama signed the continuing resolution this past weekend

averting another potential government shutdown, it’s doubtful that he was
aware that tucked into the bill, which funds several federal agencies through
the fiscal year and extends the continuing resolution for the rest of the
government until December 16, is a provision that may dramatically impact
what Islamic groups and leaders the FBI and other law enforcement agencies
can continue to work with.

Under Division B, Title II of the bill, under the Federal Bureau of Investigation

-Salaries and Expenses section, is the following provision:


Liaison partnerships- The conferees support the FBI’s policy
prohibiting any formal non-investigative cooperation with
unindicted co-conspirators in terrorism cases. The conferees
expect the FBI to insist on full compliance with this policy by
FBI field offices and to report to the Committees on 
Appropriations regarding any violation of the policy.

The most obvious group that this will impact is the Council on American-Islamic

Relations (CAIR), which was named unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land
Foundation case — the largest terrorism-finance trial in American history.
During the trial, FBI Dallas Agent Lara Burns testified that CAIR was a front for
the terrorist group Hamas.

Following the trial, which resulted in guilty verdicts on all counts and lengthy

prison terms for all five Holy Land executives, the FBI was forced to
cut ties with CAIR – a decision that CAIR claimed would hurt local communities
and that prompted other Muslim groups, like the Muslim Public Affairs Council
(MPAC), to threaten to stop cooperation with the FBI unless CAIR was
reinstated. In a February 2010 letter to members of Congress, Assistant
Attorney General Robert Weich forwarded evidence submitted by federal
prosecutors in the trial and court testimony concerning CAIR’s ties to the
Hamas-controlled Palestine Committee and that committee’s role in supporting
Hamas.

Stung by their loss of access to federal law enforcement agencies, some of the

Islamic organizations named as unindicted co-conspirators in the case
unsuccessfully sued to have their names removed from the list. In a 2009
unsealed decision by federal Judge Jorge Solis, the court found that the
government should have submitted the unindicted co-conspirators list under
seal, and ordered the list resealed (a hollow victory since the list is
readily available), but declined to remove the groups and individuals named.

In fact, in his decision Judge Solis recounted the evidence submitted by the

government that justified CAIR’s being named unindicted co-conspirator in
the case:

The Government identifies four portions of the record from the first trail

that purportedly established that CAIR was a “joint venturer and
co-conspirator”: (1) a Government exhibit showing the objective of the
Palestine Committee is to support Hamas; (2) a Government exhibit showing
CAIR founder Omar Ahmad is part of the Palestine Committee and Mousa
Abu Marzook is its head; (3) a Government exhibit listing CAIR as part of the
Palestine Committee; and (4) the testimony of Special Agent Lara Burns and
accompanying exhibits placing the CAIR founder at the 1993 Philadelphia
conference and describing the CAIR founder’s mediation of a dispute between
HLF and Ashqar over Hamas fundraising . (Resp. at 12-13.) The Government
does not mention any occasion where it used the 801(d)(2)(E) hearsay exception
to introduce a statement of CAIR. The four pieces of evidence the
government relies on, as discussed below, do create at least a prima
facie case as to CAIR’s involvement in a conspiracy to support
Hamas. (p. 6-7) (emphasis added)

But it wasn’t just CAIR among the unindicted co-conspirators that Solis focused

on, but also the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which bills itself as the
largest Muslim umbrella group in the country, and the North American Islamic
Trust (NAIT), which owns the property to more than one-quarter of all mosques
in North America. Solis wrote that the government had “produced ample evidence
to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF, the Islamic
Association for Palestine (‘IAP’), and with Hamas.” He also wrote: “The Muslim
Brotherhood supervised the creation of the ‘Palestine Committee,’ which was put
in charge of other organizations, such as HLF, IAP, UASR, and ISNA.” And also:
“During the [1993 Philadelphia] conference, Palestine Committee members
discussed using ISNA as official cover for their activities.”

What impact this new legislation will have remains to be seen, but it is clearly

intended to roll back the Obama administration’s penchant for relying on groups
identified by government prosecutors as fronts for designated terrorist
organizations as partners for “outreach.”
(CONTINUE READING FULL ARTICLE HERE)

Terror Trials --- Should decisions be made by the Courts or by 'Mob Rule'?

Terror - and civil society - on trial in Boston
By Charles Jacobs
     Tarek Mehanna, a young Muslim student, son of an Egyptian immigrant, was arrested two years ago at his home in Sudbury; accused by the FBI of plotting a Mumbai like machine gun massacre of New England shoppers in Attleboro's Emerald Square Mall - and for giving material support to Al Qaeda in Iraq. His trial began on Oct. 24.
      Prosecution documents tell of Mehanna's attempt to seek terrorist training in Yemen and Pakistan. They describe the pleasure he and his friends took in watching videos of Americans being beheaded and of American soldiers killed and mutilated in Iraq. Watching a scene of an American soldier whose chest was ripped open and whose innards then set ablaze with gasoline, Mehanna called it "a Texas barbeque." When asked by a fellow extremist if the soldiers should not have received some sort of trial, Mehanna said no, "BBQ sauce is the way to go." Mehanna and his friends talked online about how his own translations of Al-Qaeda recruitment literature into English made him part of "the media wing of Al Qaeda." In these same conversations, monitored by the FBI, he has said that he "looks to Osama Bin Laden as his real father" and "loves him," and that he wasn't sorry for the victims of 9/11; he was just sorry "for the buildings."
     An upper middle class fellow with an advantaged background hates his neighbors and his country? Aren't we told that poverty produces radicals?
     Despite all this, the very people who have been telling us for years that they are true moderates have developed a Free Tarek Mehanna (FTM) Committee, which describes Mehanna in a petition as "a person with strong ethical values" who is "intelligent, charismatic, influential and trusted by many in the local Islamic community." A role model.
     The group has been aggressively politicizing the judicial proceedings against Mehanna. Its spokesmen accuse the FBI of a national effort to harm the entire American Muslim community. FTM has targeted individual prosecutors and harassed the US Attorney's office with repeated phone calls and sit-ins. It labels anyone who dares to raise concerns about radical Islam as bigots and Islamophobes.
     On Sept. 24, the leadership of the Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Roxbury organized an event there that featured pleas for support by Mehanna's brother and by the families of three convicted terrorists from Georgia, North Carolina and New York (Ehsanul Sadequee, Ziyad Yaghi and Syed Fahad Hashmi, respectively). Speakers claimed their communities were "suffering under the war on terror," which they called a US government plot against Muslims.
     Whether Tarek Mehanna violated the law is an issue that should be left up to the courts - without mob pressures.
     But what everyone in Boston should be concerned with is that Boston's Muslim leadership, under the guise of protecting free speech, is celebrating a man who sees himself as a hateful enemy of our society and was prepared - says the FBI - to kill his fellow New Englanders.
     One of the leaders of FTM is Imam Abdullah Faaruuq, president of the umbrella organization of all the mosques in New England (Islamic Council of N.E.) and the Muslim chaplain at Northeastern University. Imam Faaruuq caused a stir when, in response to Mehanna's arrest, he encouraged Boston Muslims to "pick up the gun and the sword, don't be afraid to go out there and do your job." Faaruuq, by the way, is a man who has been embraced by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. While my organization has made both Patrick and the Northeastern administration aware of Faaruuq's activities, both have refused to repudiate him. There's a money angle as well: Northeastern student activity fees paid for a Support Mehanna event on campus in April. Last year, Faaruuq gave the Patrick administration $50,000 for "Muslim sensitivity training" for police.
     In supporting an anti-American Islamist radical, Boston's Muslim leadership is promoting a sort of tribalism, which sees all Muslims as "our brothers and sisters" who must be defended regardless of their actions. Rather than shunning indecent behavior found among fringe people in their own groups, as all decent Americans have learned to do, they are teaching their children to embrace people who want to kill their neighbors. This can only encourage future acts of hatred and terror.
     Truly moderate Muslim leaders would want a fair trial for Tarek Mehanna, but would strongly condemn his hateful beliefs and might even undertake to investigate how these awful thoughts and radical ideology penetrated their community. We can only hope such voices emerge.
     It's disheartening to watch privileged children of Muslim immigrants who have benefited so generously from America turn toward hatred while their communal leaders exploit America's tolerance to promote and lionize an indecent young man who is also an accused terrorist. In my view, the most disturbing facet of this story is the utter failure of Massachusetts media and political leadership to honestly deal with the growing radicalization of young Muslims.
     I hope that Massachusetts' civic and political leadership will summon the courage to ensure that justice is served and Mehanna's trial proceeds without political interference or mob pressure. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Christmas Story --- plus a couple more

     Last December I wrote a short story, based on my own memories, about a small boy waking up in the early hours of Christmas Day. It was called One Christmas Morning : Recollections of a Small Boy, and to my pleasurable surprise it has been read by a tremendous number of folk. In fact, it receives a great number of 'hits' every day, and it's tremendous that it gives so much pleasure to people. If you have not yet read it, then you can find it by following this link.
     Because of the widespread success of this story I recently wrote two more in the same series of recollections. The first of these recalls my summer holidays from long ago, and it is titled One Summer's Day: Recollections of a Small Boy, and you can read it by following this link. The second, which was written a couple of weeks ago, recalls a typical 'Bonfire Night' from my childhood, and it is called One Bonfire Night: Recollections of a Small Boy. You can read the story of how we built our bonfires, often raiding other boy's fires to increase the size of our own, and the consequent necessity to guard our pile of wood, sticks and cardboard with almost military precision planning. Read also about the big night itself when we cooked potatoes in the embers. You can find it by following this link.
     Are these refllective stories the birth of a new book? I'm not sure as yet, but I think it would be a good idea. Have a read of them and see what you think. I hope you enjoy them!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Great Christian Quotes on Prayer by Leonard Ravenhill

'We may call prayerlessness neglect, or lack of spiritual appetite, or loss of vision. But that which matters is what God calls it. In 1 Samuel 12:23, God calls prayerlessness sin: God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you.'


'The man behind the pulpit must have a prayer life. With prayer behind him he can carry all before him.'


'Prayer is taxing. Prayer is exacting. Prayer means enduring. Prayer means denying self, a daily dying by choice.'


'The early Church prayed; every revival church has prayed; every participant in revival prayer has known travail. Though there are some tearful intercessors behind the scenes, I grant you that to our modern Christianity, praying is foreign.'


'Satan fears prayer and offsets it at every angle.'


'Prayer is, I think, the language of heaven.'


'Words are not prayer because we utter them on our knees, nor because we say them in the pulpit, nor yet because they are breathed within the confines of a church.'


'The place where the Christian stops to for refuel is prayer.'

Joanne Lowe's Meditations : 'Compassionate Christians'

COMPASSIONATE CHRISTIANS
“The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.”
Psalm 145:8 (King James Version)
      O that we would be like Jesus, full of compassion and slow to anger. Yet, all too often, instead of being compassionate and slow to anger with one another, we say harsh criticizing words to one another.  We may not really mean what we say but the words can never be taken back.
     When we say cruel words to people, we might as well take a gun and shoot them.  What a sad commentary it is on those of us who claim to be Christians that we say cruel and hurtful words to people.  We need to remember that we also hurt Jesus when we say these hateful words to each other.
     “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).  When we are kind to people, we are kind to Jesus.  When we are hateful to people, we are hateful to Jesus.
     Jesus has been hurt enough.  It is time that we stop hurting Him and breaking His heart.  He doesn’t just love us; He loves every person in the world.  Are you a compassionate Christian or are you saying hateful and cruel words to people?  Do you love unconditionally as Jesus has commanded us to love people?
     Heavenly Father, we confess that we have sinned because there have been times when we have been unkind to people and said hateful words to them.  We’re sorry.  Please have mercy on us and forgive us for hurting them and for hurting Jesus.  If we start to say something unkind, put a lock on our lips.  Amen.
Joanne Lowe