Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Expansion of world religions

Click on the title for a fascinating short video.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

The new perspective on Paul

Click on the title for a good, perceptive analysis of what N T Wright is saying.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

All religions are not equal

Christian Institute says,'Sadiq Khan MP wants new laws to force public bodies to promote equality between different religions, so that Muslims won’t be treated as ’second-class citizens’.

However, there is concern that such laws may give public bodies an excuse to withdraw from any involvement with religion – particularly the Christian faith.

For example, in the news today, a college in Yorkshire has stopped using the words “Christmas” and “Easter” to avoid offending minority faiths.

The college says it has taken the steps to comply with Ofsted’s equality rules. But it has been criticised for over-interpreting the guidelines.

This scenario – of public bodies over-interpreting equality duties – is what some Christian groups fear.

The Government has announced that it is minded to place a duty on public bodies to promote equality across various strands including sexual orientation and religion.

However, it has also said that it will pay particular attention to how an equality duty may work with religion.

If there was an equality duty covering sexual orientation without one covering religion, this too could be used to undermine religious liberty.

The Equality Bill is a massive overhaul of the UK’s discrimination law. It is due to come before MPs in the next session of Parliament.'


Excuse me. England has an established church. All religions are not equal before the law. Nor are all true. One is.

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More BBC bias

Christian Istitute reports,'A successful Christian children’s author says he was refused appearances on the BBC because it couldn’t be “seen to be promoting Jesus”.

G P Taylor’s first novel, Shadowmancer, spent 15 weeks at the top of the British book charts in 2003. His second book, Wormwood, sold 22,000 copies in one day.

Yet the author claims that invitations for appearances on the BBC stopped once producers found out he was a Christian.

“I had good relations with them until they realised that there were religious allegories in my stories,” he told The Sunday Telegraph.

“Once they had decided that I was promoting Christianity in my books I found the door firmly shut.”

Mr Taylor said his faith meant that he was not welcome on children’s programmes like Blue Peter.

He said: “A BBC producer told me ‘off the record’ that it was a matter of my faith and the fact that I was an Anglican priest. ‘We can’t be seen to be promoting Jesus’, he said with a laugh.”

A spokesman for the BBC denied the allegations. “Programme makers make their own editorial decisions about which guests to have on their shows. There is no truth in the claim that there is a BBC ban on G P Taylor.”

However, Mr Taylor said: “They weren’t turning me down because I was a bad guest, but because of who I am.

“I’m an Anglican priest and sadly while it’s OK to be the next Philip Pullman, it’s not all right to be a Christian writer.” '

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Blaming Muslims for the heroin trade

BBC says,'Muslim police leaders are demanding to know why no action has been taken over a leaflet which blames Muslims for the heroin trade.

The leaflet, distributed to hundreds of households in parts of Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire, says people should "heap condemnation" on Muslims.

The Crown Prosecution Service said there was not enough proof it was meant to stir up racial or religious hatred.

The National Association of Muslim Police said the CPS advice was flawed.

The leaflet says Muslims are "almost exclusively responsible" for the manufacture, transport and sale of heroin, 95% of which it says comes from the Afghanistan and Pakistan region.

It says the process of "naming and shaming" Muslims will have a "positive effect" on bringing about the abolition of the heroin trade.

The Crown Prosecution Service said the contents of the leaflet were "racist" but has advised police that no criminal act had been committed.

The National Association of Muslim Police said the CPS advice gave a green light to those behind the leaflet to continue distributing them.

Lancashire Police said it was "monitoring" the situation, adding that no-one had been arrested.'

Seems fair comment to me. Will I be suspected of racism for stating that Colombians are responsible for most of the cocaine trade? I hope the Luton police take note and leave brave Lionheart alone.

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Creationist Britain (would you Adam and Eve it?)

Click on the title for an article form the Indy which is pretty fair for a liberal rag.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

UK’s first official sharia courts

From The Sunday Times September 14, 2008

'ISLAMIC law has been officially adopted in Britain, with sharia courts given powers to rule on Muslim civil cases.

The government has quietly sanctioned the powers for sharia judges to rule on cases ranging from divorce and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence.

Rulings issued by a network of five sharia courts are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court.

Previously, the rulings of sharia courts in Britain could not be enforced, and depended on voluntary compliance among Muslims.

It has now emerged that sharia courts with these powers have been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester with the network’s headquarters in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Two more courts are being planned for Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, whose Muslim Arbitration Tribunal runs the courts, said he had taken advantage of a clause in the Arbitration Act 1996.

Under the act, the sharia courts are classified as arbitration tribunals. The rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give it the power to rule on their case.

Siddiqi said: “We realised that under the Arbitration Act we can make rulings which can be enforced by county and high courts. The act allows disputes to be resolved using alternatives like tribunals. This method is called alternative dispute resolution, which for Muslims is what the sharia courts are.”

The disclosure that Muslim courts have legal powers in Britain comes seven months after Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was pilloried for suggesting that the establishment of sharia in the future “seems unavoidable” in Britain.

In July, the head of the judiciary, the lord chief justice, Lord Phillips, further stoked controversy when he said that sharia could be used to settle marital and financial disputes.

In fact, Muslim tribunal courts started passing sharia judgments in August 2007. They have dealt with more than 100 cases that range from Muslim divorce and inheritance to nuisance neighbours.

It has also emerged that tribunal courts have settled six cases of domestic violence between married couples, working in tandem with the police investigations.

Siddiqi said he expected the courts to handle a greater number of “smaller” criminal cases in coming years as more Muslim clients approach them. “All we are doing is regulating community affairs in these cases,” said Siddiqi, chairman of the governing council of the tribunal.

Jewish Beth Din courts operate under the same provision in the Arbitration Act and resolve civil cases, ranging from divorce to business disputes. They have existed in Britain for more than 100 years, and previously operated under a precursor to the act.

Politicians and church leaders expressed concerns that this could mark the beginnings of a “parallel legal system” based on sharia for some British Muslims.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, said: “If it is true that these tribunals are passing binding decisions in the areas of family and criminal law, I would like to know which courts are enforcing them because I would consider such action unlawful. British law is absolute and must remain so.”

Douglas Murray, the director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, said: “I think it’s appalling. I don’t think arbitration that is done by sharia should ever be endorsed or enforced by the British state.”

There are concerns that women who agree to go to tribunal courts are getting worse deals because Islamic law favours men.

Siddiqi said that in a recent inheritance dispute handled by the court in Nuneaton, the estate of a Midlands man was divided between three daughters and two sons.

The judges on the panel gave the sons twice as much as the daughters, in accordance with sharia. Had the family gone to a normal British court, the daughters would have got equal amounts.

In the six cases of domestic violence, Siddiqi said the judges ordered the husbands to take anger management classes and mentoring from community elders. There was no further punishment.

In each case, the women subsequently withdrew the complaints they had lodged with the police and the police stopped their investigations.

Siddiqi said that in the domestic violence cases, the advantage was that marriages were saved and couples given a second chance.

Inayat Bunglawala, assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “The MCB supports these tribunals. If the Jewish courts are allowed to flourish, so must the sharia ones.” '

But there is a big difference. British law comes from a Judeo-Christian tradition and is equitable. Shari'a has no such antecedents and is not equitable in its treatment of women as witnesses. Muslim women will not be free to opt out of this if their men want to opt in. This seems to be to be our dhimmi government yet again feeding the tiger.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sacrifice - christiansquoting.org.uk

It is in spending oneself that one becomes rich.- Sara Bernhardt

To gain that worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else.- Bernadette Devlin b 1947

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.- Jim Elliot

Unless a life is lived for others, it is not worthwhile.- Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Sacrament - christiansquoting.org.uk

Division has always been a disease of the church... The Love Feast, which should have been the sign and symbol of perfect unity, has become a thing of divisions and class distinctions. And here there is something which only the newer translations reveal. In the older translations, it is said that to eat and drink at the sacrament without discerning the Lord's body is the way to judgment and not to salvation. But in the best Greek text, the word Lord's is not included. The sin is not to discern the body; that is to say, not to discern that the church is a body, not to be aware of the oneness of the church, not to be aware of the togetherness in which all its members should be joined.- William Barclay (1907-1978), Ethics in a Permissive Society

He was the Word, that spake it:
He took the bread and brake it;
And what that Word did make it,
I do believe and take it.
John Donne. 1573-1631. Divine Poems. On the Sacrament

There is more in sacramental bread than in common bread. Though the nature is not changed, the use is changed. It does not only nourish the body as it did before, but also it brings a bread with which it nourishes the soul. For as sure as we receive bread, so sure we receive Christ - not only the benefits of Christ, but Christ.- Henry Smith

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sabbath - christiansquoting.org.uk

The sabbath is God's special present to the working man, and one of its chief objects is to prolong his life, and preserve efficient his working tone. The savings bank of human existence is the weekly sabbath.- William G. Blaikie

M. Let us now see how far this command has reference to us.
S. In regard to the ceremony [the resting one day in seven], I hold that it was abolished, as the reality existed in Christ.
M. How?
S. Because, by virtue of his death, our old man is crucified, and we are raised up to newness of life.
M. What of the commandment then remains for us?
S. Not to neglect the holy ordinances which contribute to the spiritual polity of the Church; especially to frequent sacred assemblies, to hear the word of God, to celebrate the sacraments, and engage in the regular prayers, as enjoined.
M. But does the figure give us nothing more?
S. Yes, indeed. We must give heed to the thing meant by it; namely, that being engrafted into the body of Christ, and made his members, we cease from our own works, and so resign ourselves to the government of God. -Calvin's Catechism for the Church at Geneva. - on the Fourth Commandment

Sundays, quiet islands on the tossing seas of life. - S.W. Duffield

If anywhere the day is made holy for the mere day's sake -- if anyone set up its observance on a Jewish foundation, then I order you to work on it, to ride on it, to dance on it, to feast on it, to do anything that shall remove this encroachment on Christian liberty.- Luther

Luther, in speaking of the good by itself and the good for its expediency alone, instances the observance of the Christian day of rest, -- a day of repose from manual labour, and of activity in spiritual labour, -- a day of joy and cooperation in the work of Christ's creation. "Keep it holy", says he, "for its use's sake -- both to body and soul! But if anywhere the day is made holy for the mere day's sake, -- if anywhere anyone sets up its observance upon a Jewish foundation, then I order you to work on it, to ride on it, to dance on it, to feast on it -- to do anything that shall reprove this encroachment on the Christian spirit and liberty." - Samuel Tayler Coleridge (1772-1834), Table Talk

Sunday: A day given over by Americans to wishing that they themselves were dead and in Heaven, and that their neighbors were dead and in Hell.- H. L. Mencken

In Hebrew thought the word 'rest ' has a positive meaning and ' stands for consummation of a work accomplished and the joy and satisfaction attendant upon this. Such was its prototype in God...For mankind, too, a great task awaits to be accomplished, and at its close beckons a rest of joy and satisfaction that shall copy the rest of God. Before all other important things, therefore, the Sabbath is an expression of the eschatological principle on which the life of humanity has been constructed...It teaches its lesson through the rhythmical succession of six days of labour and one ensuing day of rest in each successive week. Man is reminded in this way that life is not an aimless existence, that a goal lies beyond.' - Geoffrey B Wilson, Hebrews, Banner of Truth, 1970, p52, quoting, G Vos, Biblical Theology, pp156-157.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Rules - christiansquoting.org.uk

Rule no. 1 The customer is always right.
Rule no. 2 When the customer is wrong, go to rule no. 1.

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Rulers - christiansquoting.org.uk

Princes are like to heavenly bodies, which cause good or evil times, and which have much veneration but no rest.
Francis Bacon. 1561-1626. Of Empire.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Rousseau - christiansquoting.org.uk

The biggest mischief in the past century has been perpetrated by Rousseau with his doctrine of the goodness of human nature. The mob and the intellectuals derived from it the vision of a Golden Age which would arrive without fail once the noble human race could act according to its whims.- Jakob Burckhardt

Rousseau, sir, is a very bad man. I would sooner sign a sentence for his transportation, than that of any felon who has gone from the Old Bailey these many years. Yes, I should like to have him work in the plantations.- Dr. Johnson, in Boswell's _Life of Johnson_, 1791

He is the father of the romantic movement, the initiator of systems of thought which infer non-human facts from human emotions, and the inventor of the political philosophy of pseudo-democratic dictatorships as opposed to traditional absolute monarchies. Ever since his time, those who considered themselves reformers have been divided into two groups, those who followed him and those who followed Locke.... At the present time [1945], Hitler is an outcome of Rousseau; Roosevelt and Churchill, of Locke. - Bertrand Russell, _A History of Western Philosophy_

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Rome - christiansquoting.org.uk

This charter has been forced from the king. It constitutes an insult to the Holy See, a serious weakening of the royal power, a disgrace to the English nation, a danger to all Christendom, since this civil war obstructs the crusade. - Pope Innocent III, Papal Bull condemning Magna Carta, 24 August 1215.

We are so much bounden to the See of Rome that we cannot do too much honour to it... for we received from that See our Crown Imperial.-Henry VIII, in a remark to Thomas More, displays the loyalty that moved Pope Leo X to title him Defender of the Faith on 11 October 1521

Mel Gibson has come under fire for being hard on Jews in his film "The Passion of the Christ" &emdash; but apparently, he feels that Protestants are also doomed to damnation. In fact, it looks like Gibson, a conservative Catholic, believes that his Episcopalian wife could be going to hell.
Gibson was interviewed by the Herald Sun in Australia, and the reporter asked the star if Protestants are denied eternal salvation. "There is no salvation for those outside the Church," Gibson replied. "I believe it."
He elaborated: "Put it this way. My wife is a saint. She's a much better person than I am. Honestly. She's, like, Episcopalian, Church of England. She prays, she believes in God, she knows Jesus, she believes in that stuff. And it's just not fair if she doesn't make it, she's better than I am. But that is a pronouncement from the chair. I go with it." - Jeannette Walls with Ashley Pearson,Mel Gibson says his wife could be going to hell,MSNBC,Feb. 10, 2004

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Books read in September 2008 (6)

1. The Kabul Beauty School: The Art of Friendship and Freedom by Deborah Rodriguez

I have read a number of books on Afghanistan and have visited Kabul. This is the most amazing book I have read concerning that troubled country. The author went there after 9/11 to work with a medical NGO. She found her hairdressing and beautician's skills much in demand and a way to help Afghan women eventually starting her own school. Her commitment to the Afghan women is outstanding. She is brave to the point of folly in battles with all and sundry from muggers to ministries.She becomes the second wife of an Afghan and in the end has to leave the country for her own safety. This is one very feisty female. Her book is all the more remarkable as despite her bad experiences with men, home and abroad, her book is devoid of any feministic reaction.

2. The Shack by William P. Young

The Shack is a novel and interesting read but the author is no Bunyan.I found it an easy read until I got to the meeting with God, then I had to slow down and ponder what the author was saying and implying. Much of it is very positive about the need to relate to the God who is the perfect Trinity who loves us. There are no easy answers to the problem of suffering but to rest in God's love. There is much spiritual wisdom here and food for thought and discussion. I think the book could be a positive help to people who are suffering. But it seems to me the book is theologically deficient on at least two points. Hierarchic authority is seen as no part of God. True there is no hierarchy in the ontological Trinity (essence), but in the economic Trinity (the working) the Son submits to the will of His Father. So one can have equality and also submission. Secondly, the book seems universalistic. That God is love is taught but where is His holiness and justice? I also did not find the treatment of forgiveness to have any real depth of understanding. So I would commend this is an interesting attempt at wrestling with profound problems, but it is no sure guide.

3. Riga (City Guides) by Chris Patrick

The one essential thing for a city guide is portability and this one is the right size for the pedestrian tourist. Unfortunately, my copy, ordered from the publishers, did not arrive by return of post so I had to tour Riga with a larger book. Reading this one on my return I found it an accurate and informative guide though it could have done better by including hotels a little farther from the centre. They are cheaper and the access to the centre by public transport is good. It also failed to describe the excellent food and beer at The Lido, another non-central facility.

4. The Regiment: The Real Story of the SAS by Michael Asher

A very comprehensive history of the SAS from their inception in WWII North Africa to the first Iraq war. This is a detailed account of the men involved and their operations. Actions are described in detail, sometimes horrifying detail. It is a story of very brave but sometimes flawed men. The flaws were particularly apparent in some of the men and in many operations in Northern Ireland where the rules of engagement hindered SAS effectiveness. It is a thrilling read. Real life beats fiction.

5. The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright by John Piper

Wright is an exciting theologian with many helpful insights but is his new perspective on Paul good news for our understanding of justification by faith? Is justification more to do with being part of the covenant community than individual salvation? Is the righteousness of Christ imputed to the believer now? Were the reformers wrong in their understanding of justification? Did the Jews of Jesus time really understand that salvation was by grace alone? Was the problem at Galatia one of mere ethnocentrism? read this book for Piper's critique of Wright's answers. But be warned. This is not an easy read. it is technical theological stuff. A more popular version might be needed if the impact of Wright's perspective grows. Wright is a bishop's egg. very good in parts but one wonders where his teaching might lead. I share Piper's concerns if Wright is followed down some of his paths. However what is great about this book is that it is an irenic, civil, Christian polemic. the two men have interacted in correspondence. Christians will differ in interpretation of the scripture, but let them do so graciously like Piper does.

6. One World Two Minds by Denis Lane

This booklet is worth its weight in gold. It is an exercise in cross cultural understanding between west and east, specifically the Confucian influenced cultures of the far east, China, Korea and Japan. Different issues are examined from the approach of both sides and in each case a Christian perspective is also offered. The holistic approach of the east, concerned to maintain harmony is contrasted with the direct western approach, often seen as rude from the eastern perspective. The concluding section is on guilt and shame which is a very significant difference in perspective. This short booklet should be required reading for anyone wishing to promote cross cultural communication and understanding.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Risk - christiansquoting.org.uk

"Time" magazine helpfully advises us on the risks of dying from CJD by eating beef on the bone, compared to other causes of death. These are:
1 in 200 Smoking 10 cigarettes per day
1 in 8,000 Road traffic accident
1 in 100,000 Murder
1 in 600,000,000 Eating beef on the bone
(note that some helpful statistician on radio 5 this week qualified this as the chance on winning the UK's national lottery jackpot 6 weeks running).

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach for another is to risk involvement.
To expose your feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To believe is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
Chained by their attitudes they are slaves; they have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.

Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.- James B. Conant (1893-1978)

Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.- Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968) In "The Speaker's Electronic Reference Collection," AApex Software,1994.

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Psalms in context

Some time ago during persoanl devotional reading of the psalms I tried to classify them under headings of the context in which they were written. I then recorded the first line of each Pslam grouped by my context assessment, together with the line which I think is the key thought in the Psalm. Here are the results. I think this is important because all of life is there in these Psalms; good days and seemingly bad days, mountain tops and the valley deep in shadow too.

Blessed , blessing 1,2,15,20,32,67, 84,127,128,

Under attack 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10,11,12,13, 16,17,25, 27,28,31, 35, 36,37,38, 40,41,43,44,49,52, 54,55,56,57, 59 60,61,62,63,70,71,74,79.83, 86,89,91,94,102,106,108,109,119,120,121,123,,138,139,140.141,142,143,144

Rejoicing in the Lord 8,19,21,23,24.26,29,30,33,34, 46,47,48,65,66,68,73,75,76, 77, 78,87,92,93,95,96,97,98,99, 100,103,104,105,107,111,112,113,114,115,116,117,118,122,124,125,126131,133,134,135,136,145,146,147,148,149,150

Revival required 14,53,80.85,90,101,130,132,

Messianic 18,22,45,69,72,110

Depression & death 39,42,88

God rebukes Israel 50,81

Confession of sin 51

Imprecation 58,129,137

Injustice 82,101

Blessed , blessing 1,2,15,20,32,67, 84,127,128,
1 Blessed is the man
his delight is in the law of the LORD
2 Why do the nations conspire
Kiss the Son
15 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
He whose walk is blameless
20 May the LORD answer you when you are in distress
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but
32 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven
the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.
67 May God be gracious to us and bless us
May the peoples praise you
84 How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty
I would rather be a doorkeeper
90 Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations
Teach us to number our days aright
127 Unless the LORD builds the house
Sons are a heritage from the LORD
128 Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways.
blessings and prosperity will be yours

Under attack 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10,11,12,13,
16,17,25, 27,28,31, 35, 36,37,38,
40,41,43,44,49,52, 54,55,56,57
59 60,61,62,63,70,71,74,79.83,
86,89,91,94,102,106,108,109,119,120,
121,123,,138,139,140.141,142,143,144
3 O LORD, how many are my foes!
From the LORD comes deliverance
4 Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God
greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound
5 Give ear to my words, O LORD
Listen to my cry for help
6 O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger6
How long, O LORD, how long?
7 O LORD my God, I take refuge in you;
God is a righteous judge
9 I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart
Those who know your name will trust in you
10 Why, O LORD, do you stand far off?
Why does the wicked man revile God?
11 In the LORD I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a
When the foundations are being destroyed,
12 Help, LORD, for the godly are no more
O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us
13 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
But I trust in your unfailing love
16 Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.
you will not abandon me to the grave
17 Hear, O LORD, my righteous plea
Keep me as the apple of your eye
25 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul
Remember not the sins of my youth
27 The LORD is my light and my salvation
be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
28 To you I call, O LORD my Rock
The LORD is the strength of his people
31 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
My times are in your hands
35 Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me
Contend for me, my God and Lord.
36 An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked
There is no fear of God before his eyes.
37 Do not fret because of evil men
the future of the wicked will be cut off.
38 O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger
I am feeble and utterly crushed
40 I waited patiently for the LORD
I desire to do your will, O my God
41 Blessed is he who has regard for the weak
my close friend, .. has lifted up his heel against me.
43 Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause
Send forth your light and your truth
44 We have heard with our ears, O God
Why do you hide your face
49 Hear this, all you peoples
But man, despite his riches, does not endure
52 Why do you boast of evil, you mighty man?
You love evil rather than good
54 Save me, O God, by your name
Surely God is my help
55 Listen to my prayer, O God,
I see violence and strife in the city.
56 Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me
When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
57 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens
59 Deliver me from my enemies, O God;
snarling like dogs
60 You have rejected us, O God,
you have raised a banner
61 Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
62 My soul finds rest in God alone
you, O God, are strong
63 O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you
my soul thirsts for you
64 Hear me, O God, as I voice my complaint
protect my life from the threat of the enemy
70 Hasten, O God, to save me;
O LORD, come quickly to help me
71 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame.
you will restore my life again
74 Why have you rejected us forever, O God?
But you, O God, are my king from of old
79 O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance
Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name;
83 O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet
See how your enemies are astir
86 Hear, O LORD, and answer me
give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
89 I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever
O Lord, where is your former great love
91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
You will not fear the terror of night
94 O LORD, the God who avenges
Rise up, O Judge of the earth
102 Hear my prayer, O LORD
..you, O LORD, sit enthroned forever
106 Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
We have sinned, even as our fathers did
108 My heart is steadfast, O God;
With God we will gain the victory
109 O God, whom I praise, do not remain silent
They may curse, but you will bless
119 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless
I have hidden your word in my heart
120 I call on the LORD in my distress
Save me, O LORD, from lying lips
121 I lift up my eyes to the hills
My help comes from the LORD
123 I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven.
our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he shows us his mercy
126 When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion
Those who sow in tears
138 I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart
The LORD will fulfill [his purpose] for me
139 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me
Search me, O God, and know my heart
140 Rescue me, O LORD, from evil men
I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor
141 O LORD, I call to you; come quickly to me
Set a guard over my mouth
142 I cry aloud to the LORD
When my spirit grows faint within me
143 O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy
The enemy pursues me
144 Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war
Part your heavens, O LORD, and come down

Rejoicing in the Lord 8,19,21,23,24.26,29,30,3334,
46,47,48,65,66,68,73,75,76, 77,
78, 87,92,93,95,96,97,98,99,
100,103,104,105,107,111,112,113,114,115,
116,117,118,122,124,125,126 131,133,134,
135,136,145,146,147,148,149,150
8 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth
what is man that you are mindful of him
19 The heavens declare the glory of God
The law of the LORD is perfect
21 O LORD, the king rejoices in your strength.
Surely you have granted him eternal blessings
23 The LORD is my shepherd
I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
24 The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it
Who is this King of glory?
26 Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have led a blameless life
I have trusted in the LORD without wavering
29 Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones, ... glory and strength.
the God of glory thunders
30 I will exalt you, O LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths
For his anger lasts only a moment
33 Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD
34 I will extol the LORD at all times
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him
46 God is our refuge and strength
the God of Jacob is our fortress
47 Clap your hands, all you nations;
For God is the King of all the earth
48 Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise
Mount Zion, the city of the Great King.
65 Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion
You crown the year with your bounty
66 Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
Come and see what God has done
68 May God arise, may his enemies be scattered
Summon your power, O God; show us your strength
73 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
75 We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks
He brings one down, he exalts another.
76 In Judah God is known; his name is great in Israel
Surely your wrath against men brings you praise
77 I cried out to God for help
I will remember the deeds of the LORD
78 O my people, hear my teaching;
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD
87 He has set his foundation on the holy mountain
Glorious things are said of you, O city of God
92 It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
93 The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty
the LORD on high is mighty.
95 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD
..he is our God and we are the people of his pasture
96 Sing to the LORD a new song
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name
97 The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad
Light is shed upon the righteous
98 Sing to the LORD a new song
He will judge the world in righteousness
99 The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble
Great is the LORD in Zion
100 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
103 Praise the LORD, O my soul
forget not all his benefits
104 Praise the LORD, O my soul.
..the earth is full of your creatures.
105 Give thanks to the LORD
He remembers his covenant forever
107 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
111 Praise the LORD. I will extol the LORD with all my heart
..he remembers his covenant forever.
112 Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright
113 Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD
From the rising of the sun
114 When Israel came out of Egypt
the mountains skipped like rams
115 Not to us, O LORD
not to us but to your name be the glory
116 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice
The cords of death entangled me
117 Praise the LORD, all you nations
wgreat is his love toward us
118 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good
The stone the builders rejected
122 I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
124 If the LORD had not been on our side
Our help is in the name of the LORD
125 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion
the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore
131 My heart is not proud, O LORD
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
133 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head
134 Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD
135 Praise the LORD. Praise the name of the LORD
The LORD does whatever pleases him
136 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
145 I will exalt you, my God the King
Great is the LORD
146 Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.
The LORD reigns forever
147 Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
148 Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD from the heavens
Let them praise the name of the LORD
149 Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song,
to bind their kings with fetters
150 Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD

Depression & death 39,42,88

39 I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin
let me know how fleeting is my life.
42 As the deer pants for streams of water
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
88 O LORD, the God who saves me
the darkness is my closest friend.

Revival required 14,53,80.85,90,101,130,132,

14 The fool says in his heart
there is no one who does good, not even one.
53 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
Everyone has turned away
80 Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel,
Restore us, O LORD God Almighty
85 You showed favor to your land, O LORD
righteousness and peace kiss each other
130 Out of the depths I cry to you
But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.
132 O LORD, remember David and all the hardships he endured.
arise, O LORD, and come to your resting place

Messianic 18,22,45,69,72,110

18 I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The cords of death entangled me
22 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD
45 My heart is stirred by a noble theme
I recite my verses for the king
69 Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck
I looked for sympathy, but there was none
72 Endow the king with your justice, O God,
He will endure as long as the sun
110 The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand
You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek

God rebukes Israel 50,81

50 The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth
He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me
81 Sing for joy to God our strength
If my people would but listen to me

Confession of sin 51

51 Have mercy on me, O God
cleanse me from my sin

Imprecation 58,129,137

58 Do you rulers indeed speak justly?
surely there is a God who judges the earth.
129 They have greatly oppressed me from my youth
Plowmen have plowed my back
137 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?

Injustice 82,101

82 God presides in the great assembly
Rise up, O God, judge the earth
101 I will sing of your love and justice
I will set before my eyes no vile thing

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Oxfordistan

The Oxford news says,'A row has broken out after a Christian group organised a day of prayer in Oxford about Muslims during Ramadan.

The Muslim Education Centre of Oxford (Meco) accused Witney-based Open Doors UK of preaching "evangelical propaganda", after the Christian group held a Call to Prayer day in Oxford yesterday.

But Open Doors UK, which held the event at St Aldate's Church, insisted it had been taken out of context, although it "regretted" any offence that had been caused.

A spokesman denied the meeting targeted Muslims, and said its aim was to reduce fear of Islam.

Meco chairman Dr Taj Hargey was invited on BBC Radio Oxford yesterday to talk about the month of Ramadan, and was followed on to Phil Mercer's show by Brother Andrew from Open Doors UK.

Dr Hargey said: "It was only then that I learned they were running a day-long Christian initiative called Call to Prayer.

advertisement"I was flabbergasted and straight away looked at their website. The innocent sounding publicity was headlined 'A Call to Prayer', but Open Doors goes on to call Islam an 'ideology'. I was shocked by their theological self-righteousness. They assume the self-appointed task to 'pray for Muslims'.

"They also say that each year there are incredible stories about how God answers these prayers, revealing Himself to Muslims around the world, and bringing many to faith in Jesus."

Dr Hargey also said the event was advertised with an image of a fully veiled woman, but less than one per cent of women in Oxford covered their faces.

He added: "Not only was this evangelical activity ill-conceived and insensitive, it was grossly insulting and inflammatory to Oxford's Muslim inhabitants.

"At Meco our aim is to bring people of all faiths together, not divide them further. Things like this only serve to break people apart."

A joint statement from Open Doors UK and St Aldate's Church said: "Open Doors and St Aldate's very much regret that offence has been taken by Meco at an event designed to encourage church-going Christians to engage positively with Muslims.

"Hundreds of Christians responded to an invitation that had been sent to churches to a series of meetings held in a church aimed at 'reducing fear of Islam, increasing love for Muslims'.

"Thus we would emphasise that it was not a meeting targeted at Muslims. Before the event we emphasised that we were not denigrating Islam or criticising Muslim beliefs.

"At the same time we do believe that having discovered God's love in Jesus and made a choice to become Christians ourselves, everyone has the right to explore religious faiths and make decisions based on their exploration."

Dr Hargey said that while Meco had been offended, it would not hold a grudge.'

I am trying to work out if Open Doors is being excedingly gracious or dhimmis. I think their so called apology was the mildest possible, but why take this criticism lying down. Cranmer's blog (click on title) is incandescent. I share his (f)ire. A call to prayer by Christians seems to me appropriate at any time and if it is parayer for Muslims, what better day than the start of their Ramadan, their holy month?

This is what gave offence.

'Around the world millions of Christians face persecution for their faith, many in Muslim societies. Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, pioneered the way for Church in the West to reach out to its persecuted family in love, prayer and commitment. Brother Andrew advocates a fresh and dynamic approach to Muslims characterised by the acronym, I.S.L.A.M. — I Sincerely Love All Muslims.

By distinguishing between Islam as an ideology and Muslims as human beings, we seek to reduce the fear of Islam and increase Christians' love for Muslims, for our Lord Jesus commands and enables us to love all people, and the Apostle Paul notes that 'perfect love drives out fear'.

Sunday 31st August is the day before the beginning of Ramadan (the Muslim month of fasting). Take an honest look at some of the challenges posed by Islam today and join us as we seek to love, bless and pray for Muslim people in Britain and around the world.'

If this is 'grossly insulting and inflammatory to Oxford's Muslim inhabitants' they are indeed an hyper-sensitive people. Complaining about the veiled woman is silly. The background of the picture shows she is not in Oxford unless its architecture has changed since I last visited when I saw Muslims on the street selling their books near the martys' memorial. Dr Hargey was shocked by 'theological self-righteousness'. He should not be unless he never looks in a mirror. Islam and Christianity have in common a commitment to revealed truth and a missionary zeal. Obviously he judges this right for Muslims and wrong for Christians. Now we know Muslims pray but do they organise meetings to educate their people to show love to Christians and to pray for their conversion? I have not seen any publicised. I wonder why?



MECO's url says it is 'THE HOME OF EGALITARIAN, ENLIGHTENED AND ERUDITE ISLAM'.
'It is a home for everyone who shares its inclusive, modern and enlightened vision and values. MECO’s multi-purpose centre will foster open-mindednes, tolerance and social cohesion for British Muslims by encouraging their effective integration into the UK mainstream. Apart from its role as a haven for thinking Muslims, this institution will generate a spirit of debate and inquiry and pioneer a vibrant and inspirational Islam that is rooted in and relevant to 21st century Britain......
MECO upholds ideological tolerance, inclusiveness and coherent thinking amongst British Muslims and nurtures meaningful dialogue, interaction and harmony with all non-Muslims.'

If this is Meco chairman Dr Taj Hargey's idea of 'meaningful dialogue, interaction and harmony with all non-Muslims'one wonders what his idea of jihad might be.

But MECO does some better stuff, e.g. 'MECO has produced a full page (~600 word) article about Muslim women being forced to wear the niqab by tracing the historical roots for this patriarchal and un-Qur'anic custom.' I applaud their criticism of Muslim Council of Britain who they call New Labour stooges sponsored by the Saudis. MECO are as critical of conservative Muslims as well as we conservative Christians.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Rights - christiansquoting.org.uk

The modern liberal will strike a militant posture in defense of rights, but he can no longer explain why that biped who conjugates verbs should be the bearer of rights.- Hadley Arkes, Natural Rights and the Right to Choose

No one has a right to happiness. - Eric Hoffer

Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).- Ayn Rand

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Revival - christiansquoting.org.uk

Errors are sown thicker in times of revival in the church of God than at any other times.- Isaac Ambrose

It is true that [people] are praying for world-wide revival. But it would be more timely, and more scriptural, for prayer to be made to the Lord of the harvest, that He would raise up and thrust forth laborers who would fearlessly and faithfully preach those truths which are calculated to bring about a revival.- A. W. Pink (1886-19562

O that in me the sacred fire might now begin to glow,
Burn up the dross of base desire,
And make the mountains flow.
Charles Wesley

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Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of Hamas leader, becomes a Christian

The Telegraph says,'The son of one of the most revered leaders of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has renounced his religion to move to America and become an evangelical Christian.

Mosab Hassan Yousef, 30, said that his decision to abandon his Muslim faith and denounce his father's organisation had exposed his family to persecution in his home town of Ramallah and endangered his own life.

But despite the cost, Mr Yousef told The Daily Telegraph that he is convinced that speaking out about the problems of Islam and the "evil" he witnessed back home would help to address the "messed-up situation" in the Middle East and one day bring about peace and enable him to return.

"I'm not afraid of them, especially as I know that I'm doing the right thing, and I don't see them as my enemies," he said. "I do think about this a lot. But what are they going to do? Are they going to kill me?

"If they want to kill me, let them do it. I'm not going to stop anyone. It's going to be my freedom.

"My soul's going to be free of my body, not flesh any more."

Mr Yousef, who is known as Joseph by friends at the Barabbas Road church in San Diego, California, arrived in America 18 months ago but only recently made "the biggest decision of my life" to go public with his conversion to draw attention to how the Palestinian leadership is "misleading" and exploiting its people.

"Palestinians look really ugly in front of everybody in the world and they are very, very good people ... they are misled, and their picture is very dark because of this leadership.

"They need some help, they need people to stop lying to them, and lying to the world."

Mr Yousef was raised as a Muslim by his politically powerful family. His father, Hassan Yousef, a highly respected sheikh born in the West Bank town of al-Ghaniya near Ramallah, is a founding member of Hamas, whose military wing has instigated dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks against Israel since it was formed in 1987.

Hamas now governs the Gaza strip after ousting the more moderate Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas, whose administration now only controls the West Bank.

Mr Yousef said that the decision to leave the home he loves and his family including five brothers and two sisters had made life hard for them.

"They are definitely suffering because of what I've done," he said. "They are not a regular family, they are a very famous family, and Muslims around the world praise my family, praise my father. So when I came with a step like this, it was impossible to think about, it was crazy.

"I knew from the beginning my family would face an impossible situation. It wasn't their choice but they have had to carry it with me. It's difficult for my mother, she's crying all day long. Every time I talk to her, she's crying."

His mother, Salsabin, told The Daily Telegraph that she and her children were "in daily contact with Mosab" but she declined to comment further on his new life.

Mr Yousef said that his father, who has spent more than a decade in Israeli jails for his involvement with Hamas, was in prison when he "got the worst news in his life" - that his son had become a Christian and left Ramallah. "But at the same time he sent me a message of love.

"Everybody is asking him to disown me. You understand if he disowns me he will give terrorists a chance to kill me. "He loves me as a son and he believes that what I've done was something I believed in, but at the same time it's very difficult for him to understand and he won't be able to understand."

Many saw him as heir apparent to his father, who retains great influence both within Hamas and in Palestinian society, winning election to the Palestinian Legislative Council in January 2006 from his prison cell.

But Mr Yousef said that his questioning of Islam and Hamas began early. His father, a pragmatist who has even suggested Hamas would be willing to talk to Israel under certain conditions, would often accept his concerns, such as the targeting of civilians.

Mr Yousef said that his doubts about Islam and Hamas crystallised when he realised not all Hamas leaders were like his father, a moderate who he describes as "open-minded, very humble and honest".

Mr Yousef said that he was appalled by the brutality of the movement, including the suicide bombers seeking glory through jihad.

"Hamas, they are using civilians' lives, they are using children, they are using the suffering of people every day to achieve their goals. And this is what I hate," he said.

It was after a chance encounter nine years ago with a British missionary that Mr Yousef began exploring Christianity.

He found it "exciting", he said, and began secretly studying the Bible, struck by the central tenet "love your enemies".

Nevertheless he does not advocate the "collapse of Islam", but rather for people to acknowledge that after 1,400 years "it's not working any more".

He said: "It's not taking them anywhere. It's making them look ugly."

He hopes that Muslims will begin to question their religion and "fix it" by rejecting the parts that call for "killing others, cutting hands, cutting legs, torturing people and asking for destruction of entire civilisations".

He said that after he converted to Christianity, he decided he had to escape and "live my life away from violence because I couldn't coexist with that situation as a Christian."

"I was thinking, what is my responsibility now? To see people dying every day or to stand up and say, this is wrong, this is right and be strong about this? So I had to make this move."

He plans to write a memoir about his "transformation" that he hopes will inspire others and to found an international organisation to educate young people about Islam and preach a message of "forgiveness", the only way he thinks "the endless circle of violence" between Israelis and Palestinians can be broken.

"I know this take a longer time, but this is the right way to do it, to build a new generation, a new generation who understand how to forgive, how to love."

It is a vision his new church shares. In a posting on the Barabbas Road website entitled "Joseph's story", the most unlikely member of the congregation is described as "a miracle" who left a society steeped in "brutal and bloody warfare" and instead "turned to Jesus".

"He is most certainly the face of things to come; an Ambassador to those oppressed by Islam. He is passionate about liberating his brothers and sisters from the darkness of a false religion, and living the truth that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Light."

Back in the West Bank, however, many are distressed about his move.

"It is upsetting not only to his community and to his family but to all Muslims," said Abdel-Jaber Fuqaha, an Islamist parliamentarian and friend of the family who described Mr Yousef as "a straightforward, observant Muslim".

"But the worst impact is on his family, and his father. This is a thing that is more unique to our Middle Eastern culture. It is the most difficult thing, to convert from one religion to another."

He suggested that Mr Yousef may have been pressured into conversion in exchange for financial help or permission to stay in the US, given his background - allegations Mr Yousef rejects.

"I didn't come to Christianity for money, I came to Christianity because this is the way we can live a better life," he said.

"I love my people. They have the right to live like any other nation on Earth. But at the same time, I want to help them [get] on the right track." '

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