30 April 2009

The Writing on the Wall

--When the time comes, things happen quickly. No wonder Jesus said: "Stay awake, for you know not the hour when I come." Mene, mene, tekel, and parsin ... Daniel was exalted and the king died all in the same day. Here is the story from the Bible in Daniel 5:13-30.


13Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king said to Daniel, "So you are Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? 14I have heard of you that a spirit of the gods is in you, and that enlightenment, understanding, and excellent wisdom are found in you. 15Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and tell me its interpretation, but they were not able to give the interpretation of the matter. 16But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you are able to read the writing and tell me its interpretation, you shall be clothed in purple, have a chain of gold around your neck, and rank third in the kingdom."

17Then Daniel answered in the presence of the king, "Let your gifts be for yourself, or give your rewards to someone else! Nevertheless I will read the writing to the king and let him know the interpretation. 18O king, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar kingship, greatness, glory, and majesty. 19And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. He killed those he wanted to kill, kept alive those he wanted to keep alive, honored those he wanted to honor, and degraded those he wanted to degrade. 20But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he acted proudly, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and his glory was stripped from him. 21He was driven from human society, and his mind was made like that of an animal. His dwelling was with the wild asses, he was fed grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until he learned that the Most High God has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals, and sets over it whomever he will. 22And you, Belshazzar his son, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this! 23You have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven! The vessels of his temple have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them. You have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know; but the God in whose power is your very breath, and to whom belong all your ways, you have not honored.

24"So from his presence the hand was sent and this writing was inscribed. 25And this is the writing that was inscribed: mene, mene, tekel, and parsin. 26This is the interpretation of the matter: mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; 27tekel, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; 28peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians."

29Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed in purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made concerning him that he should rank third in the kingdom.

30That very night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was killed.

29 April 2009

Swine flu cull in Egypt

Egyptian Christians riot after swine flu cull http://bit.ly/jhFRI via @mparent77772

swine flu chronicles+ 4/29/09

Keeping a low profile
in Htown.

The King and the Wise Man

King Belshazzar made a great festival for a thousand of his lords, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand.

Under the influence of the wine, Belshazzar commanded that they bring in the vessels of gold and silver that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. So they brought in the vessels of gold and silver that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and began writing on the plaster of the wall of the royal palace, next to the lampstand. The king was watching the hand as it wrote. Then the king's face turned pale, and his thoughts terrified him. His limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together. The king cried aloud to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the diviners; and the king said to the wise men of Babylon, "Whoever can read this writing and tell me its interpretation shall be clothed in purple, have a chain of gold around his neck, and rank third in the kingdom." Then all the king's wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king the interpretation. Then King Belshazzar became greatly terrified and his face turned pale, and his lords were perplexed.

The queen, when she heard the discussion of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall. The queen said, "O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts terrify you or your face grow pale. There is a man in your kingdom who is endowed with a spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father he was found to have enlightenment, understanding, and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners, because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation." (The Bible, Daniel 5:1-12)

I wonder if Daniel was a seer and sayer something similar to
this mysterious figure? Surely not. Surely Daniel was more righteous than this man and more wise and cunning. Still, we sometimes need a curve ball to get us out of our mindlessness.

We tend to domesticate the God to such an extent that God becomes like a kind old pet. But God is wild and free and beyond our control. King Belshazzar knew that and so did Daniel. Imagine
King Belshazzar performing at the banquet in the story above.

28 April 2009

It's a Hard Rain's a Gonna Fall

There was a lot of thunder clapping going on around here last night. Flash lightening. Rain pouring down. This city floods like nothing I've ever seen. Originally a swamp, Houston, like so many flat delta lands, was drained by a massive ditch system which, along with the natural bayous, provides dry land most of the time. However, when it rains here it drops like 12 inches in 30 minutes and the streets flood and cars get flooded or simply float away. 

You develop a sense of timing in your driving. When it is going to rain, you either leave early before the rain or stay late after the rain. The streets usually drain a couple of hours after a flood so there is no need to risk a drive through the flood (although people like me still do it all the time). Sometimes these floods feel like a pox on your house, a judgement from God. Such feelings are nothing new, as evidenced by the psalmist here:

Let the floods clap their hands;
let the hills sing together for joy
at the presence of the LORD, 
for he is coming
to judge the earth.

Here is a song that connects the image of a hard rain with God's judgment, "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall"

More about the rain in Houston last night.

27 April 2009

Hey! Where ya' frum?

"Where ya' frum?" That's a question often heard where I come from in Mississippi. The question is asked because depending on where ya' from you may know someone I know. We may have mutual friends. You may know an uncle or aunt of mine. Heck, we may even be kinfolks. At the root of the question is a search for connections between people.

I think that is what Facebook and Twitter are also about. They are the current method of asking "Where 'ya from?" They are our "in the moment" tools for connecting with people. Much is lost in our communication when it is not face to face but rather through bytes of electrons. But at least we get a photo of the person we are connecting with unlike we did with snail mail or email.

So, "Where ya' frum?" is an ancient human question with deep theological implications. Not convinced? Consider this text from the New Testament: 

They are from the world; therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 3:5-6)

Granted, we have been trained through our New Age / Politically Correct education that either / or thinking does not compute. We have been taught there is no difference between good and evil; there are no winners or losers; nothing is any longer either black or white, there are only shades of gray. But this text is having none of that. "They are from the world. We are from God." There is a difference in quality and kind here. This is not to say "we" are "better" than they are. It is to say that we are different than they are.

Figure out who "we" and "they" are and the difference between the two and you may begin to see the difference between truth and error. Here's one final hint for the search: Neither ABC, NBC, PBS, FOX, or MSNBC is under any legal obligation to tell you the truth about anything. Keep that in mind going forward.

Here's a few "Where ya' frum?" songs from Jim Croce: "Operator" and "I've got a Name

"Like the fool I am and I'll always be
I've got a dream, I've got a dream
They can change their minds 
but they can't change me ..."

25 April 2009

Total War

There is a video game called "Total War" and I used to play it in but I always wondered about the orgin of the title: "Total War." Here is some background on that term from Alan Watt at Cutting Through the Matrix:

"You just go through history and find out when the major languages really took a big change in the Middle Ages, all at the same time across Europe. Then you have little vague statements made by Bacon, Dee, guys like that at Queen Elizabeth the 1st court, talking about creating the international language of the future, to be called English. Of course, in their day, and before them, they were talking a kind of Chaucer type English, a Germanic tongue really. And how did they get new languages into vogue? Well they came out with new bibles and they also came out with guys like Shakespeare or the team, I should call it, of Shakespeare who just churned out all these plays and put them across the country and gradually, over time, that became the English language. He's credited, in mainstream dictionaries, as having pretty well given us about 180,000 words, quite fascinating; and as they were giving King James bibles out to Britain, they were also upgrading Germanic languages in Germany; and French was altered too, the French-Canadians in Canada are often hard to understand if you've been trained in what you would call regular or classical modern European French.

Things are upgraded at the same time, across the board; and watching it now, we're going into linguistic minimalism, as they bring through the culture industry the state of the language down to its barest minimum, until, really, the time will come, like George Orwell said in "1984" the dictionary will get thinner and thinner until it's just like a little pamphlet and then they'll achieve success, because there'll be no danger of terrorism anymore, because no one will be able to convey a thought to anyone else, that's how they put it. You just need to listen to the music we've had, going down and down and down, over the years, until it's just completely minimalistic slang, that's all we've got, by design, because it's a war, all-out war.

Go into the history of Britain, because they were the first ones to come out with the idea of total war, which included, for the first time, and it was taught at Sandhurst and then was spread to Germany. Germany emulated it in fact, the guy who brought it to Germany for Hitler, studied at Sandhurst College. Total war included, for the first time, every person in the population; before that, armies fought armies generally, occasional plunder, pillage and rape, now they made fair game of everyone; they're all in it together. That's how it was done; and total war means also every method possible, to eliminate your target, or at least to conquer it, from psychological warfare to, again, depopulation. Depopulation is nothing new; transporting people from one country to another is ancient, ancient, read your Persian history. They use the same techniques over and over again: disease, famine, warfare, plagues, pestilence etc. Very popular and that's where all our tax money goes into, so that the elite can do it more effectively to us, as they achieve what they see as their wonderful utopia, when all primitive types are eliminated from society, in all countries, and they have their little smart population and the elite at the top, a technocratic bunch and technologists, to serve the elite; and a few labourers that will give them no trouble whatsoever; that's it."

20 April 2009

Facebook & the Ministry of Love

I resisted getting on Facebook for a long time. I knew any information I presented would end up in the hands of the CIA just as they already have a record of every credit card purchase I've ever made in my life. The same is true for you.

So what is there to worry about since I have nothing to hide? There is nothing to worry about and there is everything to worry about. If we have complete faith in the justness and righteousness of Big Brother (the state) then there is nothing to fear. Big Brother is there to protect us. That is why we have the war of terror. Since I am not a terrorist I have nothing to fear.

But what if Big Brother can legally define "terrorist" as anyone who does not agree with whichever administration is currently in power (administrations change every 4 to 8 years). What if, as GW Bush said, "Those who aren't with us are against us" - consider that to be a LEGAL statement - comes to mean that anyone who says something in disagreement with the current administration may be labeled a "terrorist" by that administration? Suddenly, something you wrote on Facebook 10 years may land you in a FEMA Camp or stateside equivalent of Abu Ghraib because it is considered politically incorrect by a future administration.

Then its, "Houston, we have a problem here." Read the prophetic book "1984" and you will see what Orwell describes as "Thought Crime" which is any thought that does not mesh with the current administration. (The term "current administration"refers to whichever party runs the White House at a particular time.)

You may want to watch this video and "count the cost' and decide if Facebook is worth it for you: http://tiny.cc/Facebook931

I am writing on Facebook for the joy that comes from connecting with old friends and meeting new friends, the sense of community, the fellowship I find here. Perhaps the same is true for you. In that sense, we are in agreement with the epistle of 1 John from the New Testament, whose author says:

"We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete." (1 John 1:4)

Facebook seems innocent enough and our motives may be pure as the driven snow but as society continues to change more and more rapidly into a scientific dictatorship good intentions may not be enough to keep us out of the Ministry of Love (Big Brother's Prison & Torture System" as described in "1984"). Jesus referred to such considerations as "Counting the cost of discipleship" before deciding to join his cause. Today may be the day to do the math and figure out if Facebook is worth it for you. As for myself, I've done the math, and I'll take my chances. I figure I'm already in their database so why not be myself and deal with the consequences?

19 April 2009

Children in Houston

Dr. Robert Sanborn, President, Children at Risk was the guest speaker at our first Justice For Children dinner on April 19, 2009.

Here are some facts about children in Houston that he shared with us.

There are over a million children in the Houston area.

47% of the children are at or near the poverty rate of $20,0000 per year for a family of 4.

There are 26 school districts in Harris County.

Houston has the 7th largest school district in the USA.

Only 2 school districts in the Houston area serve the universal free school breakfast.

50% of Houston children in the 9th grade won't graduate high school.

58% of Houston children are Latino children and that number is increasing.

24% of Harris County children live in poverty and a total of 47% live in low income families.

Texas is #1 in the USA in uninsured children.

The USA ranks 29th in the world on infant mortality - tied with Poland and Slovakia, and behind Cuba.

50% of children in the Harris County Juvenile Justice System have a mental health disorder. Texas ranks 49fh nationall in funding for outpatient mental health services.

Houston sends twice as many children to the Texas Youth Commission as does Dallas.

Houston is the American hub of human trafficing in the US. 14,000 to 17,000 persons are tracficked into the US each year - Houston is the hub. 70% are female and 50% are children.

Mentoring children is one way churches may be part of the solution.

Here is another way to get involved: Visit www.childrenatrisk.org and sign up for the e-advocacy email newsleter.

14 April 2009

Lunch today

Cafe Express Meyerland Plaza
Sending this post as a text message from my iPhone.

Water of Life

This water tank near my house does not contain water but has an
interesting microwave array transmitter on top. Google "microwave
energy weapon" and follow the links.

Posting from iPhone

So now I can post from my iPhone to this blog. Pretty sweet, huh?

Facebook hurting moral values, says study


Doesn't do your grades much good either
2 hours ago | Tell us what you think [ 0 comments ]

Facebook comes under the wrath of new studies

Bite-size news fed to us on social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can make us immoral, says a new study by the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California.

According to the scientists who did tests on 13 volunteers measuring how long it took to emotionally respond to real stories of pain and heartache, we can't reflect properly on sad news that comes to use in quick micro chunks.

"If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people's psychological states and that would have implications for your morality," claims the report.

Apparently we need six to eight seconds to fully respond to emotional stories, and the constant barrage of 'infotainment' Facebook and Twitter users come in contact with everyday is harming this.

"In a media culture in which violence and suffering becomes an endless show, be it in fiction or in infotainment, indifference to the vision of human suffering gradually sets in," said Manuel Castells, a leading sociology expert at USC.

Facebook doesn't make the grade

If making us immoral wasn't bad enough, apparently heavy users of Facebook suffer from lower grades at school.

According to Time.com, a report by doctoral candidate Aryn Karpinski of Ohio State University and her co-author Adam Duberstein of Ohio Dominican University has found that children's grades in the US were linked to usage of the site.

A survey of 219 undergraduates found that the grade point averages (GPA) of Facebook users was a grade lower than non-users.

Speaking to Time.com about the report, Karpinski said: "Maybe [Facebook users] are just prone to distraction. Maybe they are just procrastinators."

Via Telegraph and Time.com

By Marc Chacksfield

Jon's Jots on the Daily Lectionary for April 14, 2009

"O sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gained him victory."
Psalm 98:1

Our proper response to the amazing spectacle of Christ's resurrection is that we are speechless. Our jaws drop and our we can't make words come out of our mouths so great is the joyful shock to our system. When we do regain our ability to make sounds with our mouths nothing we are able to say seems worth saying because it falls so far short of the praise and wonder we wish to express.

We will have to learn to sing a new song. All the old songs won't work this time. This resurrection event calls for something totally new -- a new song. Our proper response to Easter is to "sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things." God's agenda turns out to be bigger than the agenda of the "prince of the power of air."

Christ's agenda was not merely to conquer this world but to redeem this world by conquering death. Jesus' goal was not be an earthly king so he told Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world." The victory Christ won upon the cross was life snatched from the jaws of death and then freely offered to all who will believe.

Let's sing a new song to the Lord today! This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

View Christus Victor at amazon.com > http://tiny.cc/ChristusVictor

Easter Song sung by Keith Green