Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Yahoo! Aids the Communist Party

Here's part of an AP article from a week ago:


While China encourages use of the Internet for business and education, it also tightly controls Web content, censoring anything it considers critical or a threat to the Communist Party. Blogs often are shut down, and users who post articles promoting Western-style democracy and freedom are regularly detained and jailed.

Yahoo! turned over a draft e-mail from one of its users to Chinese authorities, who used the information to jail the man on subversion charges, according to the verdict from his 2003 trial released Wednesday by a rights group.

It was the third time the U.S.-based Internet company has been accused of helping put a Chinese user in prison.

Jiang Lijun, 39, was sentenced to four years in prison in November 2003 for subversive activities aimed at overthrowing the ruling Communist Party....

The information was listed in the verdict under "physical evidence and written evidence." It proved that Jiang and the other activists were planning to "make preparations for organizing a party and to use violence to overthrow the Communist Party," the verdict said.

Jiang also was one of five activists who signed an open letter calling for political reform that was posted on the Internet ahead of the Communist Party congress -- a major event -- in November 2002.

Now the first thing that comes to mind is shock at how oppressed China is. The freedom of speech is so limited that the Chinese government will shut down blogs that speak out in any way against the Communist Party! In China, you can be jailed just for voicing your opinion! If you write an email, post, or article promoting democracy or Western civilization you can be arrested!

Just when you're good a mad at the Communist oppression, you learn that a US company is helping China track down these "free-speakers"?!?! Yahoo, a site that most of us use daily, has aided the Communist Party in finding, arresting, and jailing innocent people!!

What a terrible thing it must be to live in a country where you cannot even voice your opinions on a blog or an email. I'd love to lead a nation-wide boycott against Yahoo, but it would probably not get very far. So just say a prayer that life gets better ( and safer) for the poor people living in China.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Faith, Hope, and Charity- Part 2

Hope
~~~~~~~
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison...
- 1 Peter 3:15-19

The word "hope" usually means "to wish or to long for something". But what is this Christian hope? And why is it such an important virtue?

Christian hope can be defined in many different ways: Hope is the longing for Christ's second coming. Hope is the longing for the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies. Christian hope is the yearning for the Lord's victory over his enemies.

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ... - Titus 2: 11-13

Hope comes from our love of God, our love of His kingdom and laws. Because of this, unbelievers are without this hope.

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. - Thessalonians 4:13

This hope is talked about as an "assurance" and a "comfort", being without it must be devastating. Having no hope, results in depression and loneliness. Before we became Christians, we all had this depression; we were lost, without any source of hope and comfort. If Jesus had not died for us, no one would have this hope, and we'd all be lost in sin.

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. - 1 John 3:1-3

This hope we are given is such a wonderful thing; we are commanded to spread the news of it. C.S. Lewis talked about this in his book, Mere Christianity:

It [having Christian hope] does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the slave trade all left their mark on earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven.

So, in closing, enjoy the wonderful hope God has given us and share it with others!

That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. - Ephesians 2: 12-13

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Oath- Book Review

The Oath
Author- Frank Peretti
Release Date- 2003

An ancient sin. An ancient oath. A town with a deadly secret...

After reading Nightmare Academy and Monster, I became a big fan of Frank Peretti, one of today's leading Christian-fiction authors. I was a little disappointed with This Present Darkness, but The Oath is really an excellent novel.

Nature photographer, Cliff Benson, is found brutally killed after going on a camping expedition with his wife near the town of Hyde River. With very little evidence to work with, the local sheriff department closes the case, ruling that a rogue bear had been the culprit. Steve Benson, wildlife biologist and brother of the victim, is not satisfied with the sheriff's conclusion. He teams up with one of the local deputies, Tracy Ellis, and tries to find out what really happened. It seems that for the last several decades, dozens of mysterious deaths have occurred. The oddest thing is that the townsfolk of Hyde River, don't care at all what happened or is happening. In fact, the town tries to cover up these deaths, by removing any evidence of the attacks.

Steve Benson is repeatedly warned by the local sheriff office, to back off and go home. But the memories of his brother push him forward. He ends up unlocking a deadly secret that had been formed when the town was established over 200 years ago. It was back then, that the oath had been signed in blood and the terrifying predator had been unleashed.

"If This Be Sin, Let Sin Be Served"

The Oath was very suspenseful, and frightening at times. It was very well-written and carried a powerful message about sin and human bondage to it. Sin is a predator that when welcomed into the heart, grows stronger and stronger. The only way to stop sin's rule is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Warning: Even though The Oath is a Christian-fiction novel, the story does take place in a VERY wicked town. The people are wicked and their actions are very sinful. Hyde River contains a lot of murder (some rather gruesome), drinking, and immoral behavior. None of this is graphic in any way, but keep in mind that the characters in the book (even the main characters) are not saved.

Rating: Ages 15+

Friday, April 14, 2006

Faith, Hope, and Charity- Part 1

Charity
~~~~~~~~~~
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. - 1Corinthians 13

Paul writes to the church at Corinth, expressing the necessity of faith, hope, and charity. Among these three virtues, the greatest is charity. In today's world, "charity" is defined as a donation to some organization or cause (such as the Red Cross or Salvation Army). But here in 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul writes:

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing...

So what is "charity"? Let's look at the Scripture's definition:

And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. -Colossians 3:14

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: -Timothy 1:5

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 2 Peter 1:5-7

So far, we note that charity is one of the greatest virtues a Christian can have. Charity itself is our godly love to fellow man; it is the brotherly kindness and compassion we show to others.

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth. -2 Thessalonians 1:3

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. - 1 Peter 4: 8-9

Charity can be defined Biblically as "hospitality" or "brotherly kindness" towards "others". We are commanded to be forgiving, compassionate, understanding, and kind towards fellow believers and "strangers."

Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church.... - 3 John 5:6

Charity is a specific kind of love. Throughout the Scriptures the word "charity" is defined as the love we bestow on one another. Charity is not the love we bestow on God, but a specific love we must show to men. Charity is a hard virtue to perform... how many times do we argue, hold a grudge, lose our tempers, and do all sorts of unkind things to one another? How often do we ignored strangers we see in church? By ourselves we can not hope to maintain charity and the "bond of perfectness", but with the aid of our Lord and Savior we can grow each day in this Christian virtue.

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. -Ephesians 4: 15-16

Friday, April 07, 2006

Vacation!

That wonderful time of year! My family and I will be headed up to Pennsylvania for a couple of days to visit with my grandparents, so I won't be blogging for almost a week. I should return to the blog world on Thursday. In the meantime, check out these posts by some other bloggers:

The Special Challenges of the 21st Century by Brett Harris is about new technology and the challenges this technology presents to Christians worldwide.

Accountability by Spunky Jr. reminds us that we are going to be accountable to God for all our actions.

The State of Fear: Global Warming by Palm Boy shows the follies of modern environmentalists and their belief that man can change the entire world's environment one way or the other.

That should keep you busy for a couple of days... :)

God bless!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Noah's Ark Found?

Satellite images taken over the past three years have spotted what many believe could be Noah's ark. These images capture an object almost 1,015 feet in length resting on Turkey's Mount Ararat.

ABC News reports:

A satellite image may launch a scientific expedition to search for Noah's Ark. The snapshot captures a mysterious object on Turkey's Mount Ararat.

"I see for a 1,015 feet in length a shiplike object that has almost unbroken symmetry," said Porcher Taylor, an assistant professor at the University of Richmond. Taylor, a professor of national security law, spent the past 13 years on a quest to discover what is on Mount Ararat, the area where the Bible says Noah steered his ark through raging floodwaters. Taylor persuaded a commercial satellite company to capture the mystery shot.

He calculated that the object in the photo had the same length-to-width ratio -- 300 cubits by 500 cubits -- of the ark described in the Bible. That is about the size of an aircraft carrier. "Currently, I'm working with a naval architecture team, and they're trying to determine whether a wooden boat this size could actually float," Taylor said.


I hope the expedition can get underway without too much hassle. First the US scientists need to abtain permission from the Turkish government to explore Mount Ararat. The "ark" rests on a ledge ( over 15,000 feet high) on the northwest corner of the mountain.

ABC- Satellites May Have Found Noah's Ark

CNN- Satellites Close in on Noah's Ark Mystery

Monday, April 03, 2006

Regenerate Our Culture, Issue 2

Regenerate Our Culture's second issue came out yesterday... The magazine is awesome with articles like "Can Evidence Lie?"- David S. MacMillian, "Dogpile: Soicial Darwinism Evaluated"- Tim Sweetman, and "God Breathed, Part 2"- David Ketter. Of course, the blog network is still up and running beautifully, so go check it out!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Zenkey, zonkey, zebra donkey!

Well, it's been a really busy week for me.... So I'm sorry I haven't posted in a couple of days...

But anyway, here's an interesting story from Answers in Genesis:


A zoo in Japan has proudly announced the birth of a zebra-donkey hybrid, describing it as a ‘zenkey’—a story excitedly picked up and relayed around the world by news media. Actually, the offspring of a zebra stallion and donkey mare (jenny) is more usually defined as a ‘zonkey’ or ‘zedonk’, or even ‘zebrass’. But whether zenkey, zonkey or zedonk, the appearance of this little foal sure caused a stir at Nasu Safari Park (near Tokyo).

‘As we keep herbivorous animals without separating them, the unbelievable can happen’, said Osamu Ishikawa, deputy head of the safari park. ‘A donkey was pregnant and everybody was expecting a donkey foal.’

But the keepers were surprised when, in August 2003, a striped foal was born! Was it a donkey, or … ? It had a donkey’s ears, and the black cross mark on its withers is characteristic of donkey foals, but oh … those stripes!

This is not the first time the arrival of a half-zebra foal from a non-zebra mare has surprised observers. A Shetland pony astonished its UK owners by giving birth to a half-zebra, half-horse foal—a ‘zorse’ or ‘zony’. The owners had earlier purchased the pony from a wildlife park, where, like the donkey mare at Nasu Safari Park, it had shared a field with a male zebra.

This ability of donkeys, horses and zebras to breed with one another indicates they all descended from the same original created ‘kind’, as specified in Genesis 1. This again helps us understand that Noah needed far fewer animals on the Ark than sceptics claim. Only two animals (maybe not horses as we know them today) were needed to represent the equine kind on the Ark.

Some people might argue that because hybrid offspring are often sterile, the horse, ass and zebra must therefore be separate created kinds. But this definition goes beyond the biblical text—no-one would say that a human male/female couple unable to have children must therefore be separate species!

Infertility in hybrid offspring can be due to rearrangements of chromosomes. Such (non-evolutionary) changes within the horse kind sees zebras today with 44 chromosomes, donkeys 62, and horses 64—so mules, the offspring of donkeys and horses, are often sterile as they end up with 63 chromosomes, which theoretically cannot divide into chromosome pairs.

However, accounts of mules giving birth show they are not always infertile, and also demonstrate that the genetics in such cases is not yet fully understood. Occasional fertile hybrids such as these strengthen the case that all Equus species and their offspring (mules, hinnies, zorses, zonies, zedonks/zonkeys and whatever other inventive names we give them) are the same created kind—descendants of the ‘horses’ that Noah let loose after the Flood around 4,500 years ago.