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'The Case for Easter' Event Planned for April 6
((((((((He is a former Atheist))))))))
At an upcoming live simulcast event, three of the best teachers and speakers in apologetics and biblical hermeneutics, Lee Strobel, Mark Mittelberg, and Michael Licona, plan to give their answer to the question: Did Jesus of Nazareth really rise from the dead?
"The Case for Easter" event will be simulcast on the evening of Sunday, April 6, and hosted by churches all around North America, Strobel, who wrote the book by the same name, told The Christian Post via email recently.
"The resurrection, of course, is a linchpin of the Christian faith," Strobel writes. "As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:17: 'If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, you're still in your sins.'
"This event will present the latest historical evidence for this pivotal event that happened 2,000 years ago. It will be based on my book The Case for Easter, but it will go far beyond that by addressing today's most potent objections to the resurrection."
Strobel said he will be presenting a fresh talk that will set forth the affirmative evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. Then, he and Mittelberg will be interacting with Licona, a historian, on the current objections that are being offered by skeptics. "Dr. Licona is one of the leading resurrection scholars in the world and has debated atheist scholars on the topic," Strobel said. The three experts will also be taking questions from people watching at churches across the U.S.
Organizers point out that of the many world religions, only one claims that its founder returned from the grave. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the very cornerstone of Christianity.
"When you get down to the actual meaning of Easter," Mittelberg told CP, "you realize it comes with some big claims – ones that many people have never thought much about. Like: Did Jesus really die and come back from the dead three days later? How can we know? Is there really enough evidence for me to have a confident belief in this extraordinary claim? How can we be sure these weren't just fanciful stories from fanatical followers of Jesus?"
He adds, "What a lot of people don't realize is that this Easter claim is not just a story, it's an event of history that was seen and recorded by those who were there and who know what really happened – some of whom were skeptical themselves until confronted with the facts. And these eyewitnesses wrote down what they saw – as the apostle John puts it:
"'That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life ... We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.' - 1 John 1:1,3."
Strobel, who also wrote The Case for Christ and The Case for the Real Jesus, said that skeptics have heightened their objections to the resurrection in recent years, even making the claim that Christians stole the idea of the resurrection from earlier mythology.
"Muslims assert, based on the teachings of the Qur'an, that Jesus never died on the cross and therefore was never resurrected," Strobel noted. "Skeptics charge that miracles are impossible and therefore Jesus could not have risen from the dead. Some claim that the post-resurrection sightings of Jesus were hallucinations or a form of wish fulfillment by the disciples. The current movie 'Son of God' is prompting a lot of questions on why Christians are convinced Jesus really is divine."
When he was an atheist, Strobel said he began investigating Christianity, and recognized immediately that the key was whether Jesus really returned from the dead.
"Anyone can claim to be divine, as Jesus did in several direct and indirect ways, but Jesus has unique credibility if he backed that up by conquering the grave," he said. "In the end, the persuasive historical evidence for the resurrection was a major factor in me coming to faith in Christ. After all, the resurrection clearly can be investigated historically: was Jesus alive at Point A? Was he executed at Point B? And was he alive again at Point C?
"These are issues that can be checked out – and that's what we will be doing in this simulcast. This is essentially what I did when I was the legal editor of The Chicago Tribune. I checked out stories to see whether the evidence backed them up. The resurrection of Jesus, in a sense, was the biggest story I ever covered as a journalist!"
Strobel said that almost two million people have already read The Case for Easter. "This event offers a special opportunity for churches to present the historical evidence for the resurrection in a compelling and easy-to-understand format," he explained.
This simulcast gives churches a turn-key outreach event, say Strobel and Mittelberg. "They can promote it in their community by inviting Christians and spiritual seekers," Strobel said. "The question-and-answer feature will give the event an interactive feel."
The event will be live from Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (www.chcc.org). Churches can sign up to participate at
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Patience Pays Off
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12, NIV)
Friend to Friend
Patience is not one of my greatest strengths. In fact, I tend to live each day with a schedule in mind - an agenda by which to live that day and several goals I need to meet before the day’s end.
God does have a sense of humor.
I can’t tell you how many times my schedule falls apart, the agenda is completely forgotten, and I have to move today’s goals to tomorrow’s list of things to do. I am learning that when God wants to build a certain quality in my life, He puts me in the opposite circumstance. For example, if God wants me to be more patient, He arranges the hours and minutes of my day in ways that demand patience.
What is patience? To be patient is to have the ability to endure, but it doesn’t stop there. Patience must also have the capacity to be wronged and not retaliate. In other words, patience is love persevering and love waiting. We are not only to be patient in the way we face difficult situations but in our relationships as well. That just about covers life, doesn’t it?
One of the most powerful Bible passages on patience and perseverance is found in the book of James. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” Do you want to be blessed? Stand firm in your trial. Do you want to be rewarded? Stand firm in that tough circumstance. Be patient – because patience really does pay off.
God promises blessings and rewards to those who persevere and stand firm in hard times, but the reason we can stand firm is because He loves us unconditionally and promises to walk with us through every dark moment life will bring.
Nothing touches our life that does not pass through God’s hand, with His permission.
Remember the Bible story of the man named Job? Job was a faithful servant of God, strong in his faith and unwavering in his obedience to God. Satan didn’t like it. In fact, he went to God and asked permission to test Job. I love that truth! The devil had to go to God like an errand boy in order to get permission to touch His child, Job. Satan was convinced that if Job lost everything God had given him - his health, his family, and his possessions - if Job lost everything, he would curse God and follow Satan. God told the serpent to give it his best shot, convinced that Job would persevere. Satan stripped Job of his health, his possessions, his wealth and his family – everything Job held dear. Job stood firm.
Every trial must come through His love but every trial has a purpose. Every pain has a purpose, every ordeal contains a seed of victory, and there is a promise for every problem you and I will ever face. The psalmist writes, “The LORD is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy” (Psalm 28:7).
Patience pays off in many ways, but one of the greatest rewards of patience is joy. Joy is a deeply rooted confidence that God is in control. Warren Wiersbe writes, “When God permits His children to go through the furnace, He keeps his eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat!” God will never let us face more than we can handle with His help. Hebrews 12:12 says it so well: “So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs.” I have been there, done that and can relate to a weary heart and shaky legs. Can’t you?
An evangelist told the story of his friend who, during the depression, lost a job, a fortune, a wife and a home, but he held onto his faith because it was all he had left. One day, the man stopped to watch some men building a stone church. One of the workers was chiseling a triangular piece of rock. “What are you going to do with that?” asked the friend. The workman said, “Do you see that little opening way up there near the spire? Well, I’m shaping this down here so that it will fit up there.” Tears filled the eyes of the broken man as he walked away. It seemed that God had spoken through the workman to explain the trials of his life.” God is using the trials here on earth to refine and purify us. In Colossians 1:11, the apostle Paul writes, “God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient!”
No matter where you are today, where you have been, or what you are facing tomorrow, be patient, knowing your God will strengthen you to stand firm.
Father, please forgive me when I am impatient. Help me see You at work in the trial and choose to depend on Your strength instead of my own. Help me see Your purpose and plan, but even if I can’t understand it all, help me to stand firm in faith. Lord, make me more patient so that others will see You in me.
In Jesus’ name,
This post is from Inspirational a few days ago and thought it is a topic we all need to have more of. Our human nature wants it NOW and our way. God knows what is best and patience is needed to wait on HIM for the best results. My blindness has taught me patience because I know if I get in a big hurry, I will fall and will delay me even longer and the pain does not help either. Because I have limited sight, I memorize a lot and if someone tries to be helpful to me and move something, it takes forever to find it so patience is called upon or I find myself being angry. They say Patience is a virtue and I understand why that is true. It is not easily learned. It takes practicing it over and over again. It takes praying for guidance because we are always in a hurry and want it NOW. My prayer is to hold on to patience so I can learn the message God has for me. Gods Blessings to all Maggie
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:14 “Be patient with everyone.” What relationship in your life demands patience from you? Evaluate how patient you have been in this relationship. What one thing do you need to change in order to choose obedience to God as you relate to this person?
Read Ephesians 4:2 ”Always be humble, gentle and patient.” Notice that patience is listed along with two other important qualities that God wants to see in us. How do you think patience relates to humility and gentleness?
This is just an example of my impatience because I posted my thoughts in front of the scripture reading which were a part of the Inspirational post. I am not that good to look up scripture readings that go with a post so I will take no credit. I guess this proves a good example of patience. Love and God Bless Maggie
How the NSA Made Your Legal Defense Illegal
Mises Daily: Friday, March 07, 2014 by Ben O'Neill
We have seen how the NSA’s phony court system has acted as a substitute for genuine judicial review, allowing the NSA to build up precedents purporting to assist its constitutional claims. We have also seen that the NSA is able to obtain surveillance authorization through misrepresentations to the court, without any genuine consequence to the agency, even when discovered. In this Part, we now examine how the NSA shields its activities from review by the public court system, through the control of secret information that could be used as evidence against them.
By virtue of having its system of secret courts, the NSA has been eager to prevent any of its activities coming under scrutiny in the wider public court system. It has accomplished this goal by appealing to the public courts to dismiss claims against them prior to any assessment of the merits of the claim. This has been done by claiming that litigants who seek to challenge its programs lack standing to sue, and that the matters involve “state secrets” which cannot be raised in public courts. The former technique has been particularly successful for the NSA — it has engaged in mass surveillance while simultaneously relying on the fact that no individual litigant can prove that they are affected by the surveillance!
Before turning to the exact details of this argumentative technique, we first consider the general rules of disclosure occurring in litigation. In most legal cases, there are general principles which require the parties to give full disclosure of relevant documentary evidence to the other parties and the courts, in order to make sure that the legal matters are able to be discussed adequately. Of course, one would expect that in matters of security and surveillance there would certainly be some expectation of secrecy, and these general rules would be subject to some competing considerations. However, even in cases where there are legitimate expectations of secrecy, such that parties are not required to give full disclosure of all this evidence, there is still a general principle of litigation that the party in control of a relevant piece of evidence is the one that is expected to put forward that evidence, or suffer an adverse inference from the court if they refrain from doing so. Courts have generally required that when a party refrains from putting forward relevant evidence under their own control, and without good reason, it is advisable for the court to draw an adverse inference from this — i.e., if they don’t want us to see it, it must not do them any good.
Legal scholar Stephen Odgers has noted that, “[u]nder the common law, adverse inferences may be drawn from the failure of a party to give or call particular evidence, where such evidence would reasonably have been expected.” This principle is manifested in several rules of evidence that have prevailed under common law. This includes the “Jones v. Dunkel rule” applicable in civil proceedings, saying that if one of the parties to a case is in control of some piece of evidence relevant to a disputed matter, then their failure to put forward that evidence may lead to an inference that this evidence would not have assisted their case.
While some expectation of secrecy is legitimate in surveillance matters, in cases involving the NSA this principle has generally not been applied at all, and the NSA have been free to use their own undisclosed knowledge of the operations of their surveillance programs as a means to lock out critics from proving, or even arguing against the constitutional legitimacy of their surveillance programs. This has been most apparent in the many successful attempts by the NSA to preclude plaintiffs from challenging the constitutionality of their surveillance programs, by arguing that the challengers lack “legal standing” to sue. Briefly, courts require that a person cannot bring a legal case against a party without showing that they are somehow affected by the actions of that party — even if they can prove that the actions are unlawful, they must first show that they have “standing” to sue, in the sense of having been affected by the wrongful actions.
Until the recent whistleblowing against the NSA by Edward Snowden, the agency had created a wonderful legal Catch-22 around this doctrine, aided and abetted by delinquent US courts. In order for a plaintiff to challenge the constitutionality of the NSA’s illegal surveillance programs, the person first had to prove having been subjected to surveillance, in order to show that they have “standing” to bring the case. But of course, the very nature of the program is that it is kept secret, and all evidence which would prove that the plaintiff lies within the scope of the program is “classified.” To obtain this evidence, a plaintiff would have to access classified information, which would then lead them to legal dangers of another kind. Hence, a wonderfully absurd situation has prevailed. Every citizen in the US (and many outside the US) are subjected to this unlawful mass surveillance, but none, until Klayman, have been considered by the courts to have any standing to sue. Moreover, the reason that Klayman was successful in obtaining standing was because he was able to rely on documents leaked by Edward Snowden — leaks which the US government still regards as criminal espionage, punishable by death.
What this has meant, is that the public courts in the US have effectively ruled that to prove that secret mass-surveillance is unconstitutional, it first has to not be secret. This Kafkaesque legal approach has sunk several legal challenges to the NSA surveillance programs, including the high profile case of Clapper v Amnesty International. In that case the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the constitutionality of the NSA programs, based on the allegedly speculative nature of their claim to have been targets of the surveillance. (Of course, it has since become indisputable that all plaintiffs were indeed within the scope of the surveillance programs.) The attorney for the ACLU described the disturbing trend of judgments that had led to the ruling:
They are supposed to be ensuring that the government’s national security policies are consistent with the Constitution. Instead what’s happening is many of these challenges are being thrown out at the threshold. Different — there are different reasons. Sometimes it’s standing. Sometimes it’s state secrets. Sometimes it’s immunity. But the common thread is that all of these cases are being thrown out even before the courts reach the merits. And that is a disturbing thing that ought to be of concern to everybody.
In the Amnesty International case the majority of the Supreme Court relied on an assurance by the US government that NSA surveillance would be disclosed by prosecutors to criminal defendants, allowing them standing to challenge the program at a later time. Later prosecutions showed this to be false, and this effectively meant that the programs have been immune from judicial scrutiny.
In the many cases that have fallen before this doctrine, the NSA has claimed to the court that the claims by the opposing litigants to be within the scope of NSA surveillance are “speculative,” all the while perfectly aware that such claims are in fact true. It has not even been necessary for any NSA witnesses to deny that surveillance of the plaintiff has occurred, which would at least have meant that they would face a choice between disclosure and perjury. Instead, the NSA has simply argued that plaintiffs cannot prove that they are being subjected to surveillance, and therefore they cannot challenge the legality of the actions of the NSA in court. In light of the Snowden leaks this has been a particularly salutary lesson — a demonstration of how the government is able to shield its unlawful actions from judicial review simply by cloaking its operations in secrecy.
Of course, if one were to apply the general common law (and common sense) principles of evidence to this kind of situation, the solution to this impasse would have been quite simple. Since the NSA is the agency with full control of the programs and full knowledge of their scope and operations, they are the ones who should be expected to testify that a plaintiff does not, in fact, fall within the scope of any of its programs. If they fail to do this then the court should draw an appropriate inference. To assert that the plaintiff lacks standing, while hiding the evidence that would disprove this, and criminalizing its disclosure, flies in the face of this evidentiary rule.
In addition to this undermining of the normal rules for putting forward evidence, the NSA and its partners in the “Five Eyes” have further compounded the destruction of traditional legal principles by spying on privileged attorney-client communications. During trade talks involving the US government, Australian intelligence agencies (partnered with the NSA under the “Five Eyes” program) spied on confidential communications between the Indonesian government and its US attorneys, and communicated this information to the NSA. This led to protests from the US Bar Association, in view of the erosion of attorney-client confidentiality.
Now that the activities of the NSA have come to light, constitutional scrutiny of the NSA programs is at last winding its way through the public court system. By virtue of the accommodating rulings of the US Supreme Court, the mass surveillance programs have enjoyed a decade-long vacation from constitutional scrutiny, under the de facto immunity imposed by the court. The Klayman case, which is the first to break through this wall, differed from the Amnesty International case in one key respect — the former was decided early in 2012, prior to the Snowden leaks, while the latter had a recent preliminary judgment which came after the Snowden leaks, and was able to rely on that material. This material showed unequivocally that the NSA does indeed engage in mass-surveillance, and that two of the plaintiffs fell within the scope of one of the metadata collection programs. Contrary to the Supreme Court’s suggestions in Clapper v Amnesty International, it was not any government disclosure that allowed standing — it was a disclosure made against the wishes of the government, and treated by them as an act of criminal espionage.
(ARIZONA REPUBLIC) Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are still refusing to disclose the names, criminal histories and whereabouts of more than 2,200 detainees the agency suddenly released a year ago.
Citing public-safety concerns, an array of public officials have demanded that ICE turn over details about the detainees, more than 300 of whom were set free in Arizona.
The officials include Gov. Jan Brewer; Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu; Arizona’s U.S. senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake; and several other members of Congress.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/03/ice-silent-on...
With radical U.S. government and United Nations schemes such as “sustainable development” and UN Agenda 21 being quietly implemented across America at all levels of government under a variety of names and pretexts, lawmakers in the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly this week for legislation to protect the unalienable rights to private property and due process in the state.
With radical U.S. government and United Nations schemes such as “sustainable development” and UN Agenda 21 being quietly implemented across America at all levels of government under a variety of names and pretexts, lawmakers in the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly this week for legislation to protect the unalienable rights to private property and due process in the state. The “Oklahoma Community Protection Act,” which would nullify Agenda 21 and other outside assaults on individual rights in the state, now goes to the Oklahoma Senate.
HB 2807, which comes on the heels of other state-led efforts to protect private property in recent years, was approved by a vote of 66 in favor and 26 against in the state House. Conservative and liberty-minded activists across the state are now working to ensure that the popular bill makes it through the state Senate. Similar legislation protecting the rights of Oklahomans from UN and federal assault was held up in committee last year by Sen. Cliff Branan, who is now running for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
“It is very important for states to re-assert their sovereignty and protect the rights of citizens from intrusive and oppressive measures coming down from the federal government and even international organizations like the UN,” Oklahoma Rep. Mike Ritze, a strong supporter of the measure, told The New American. “The states operated for two centuries quite well on their own, so what we are doing now is taking back our rightful powers and ensuring that Oklahomans can continue to live in freedom under constitutionally limited government without outside unconstitutional intervention.”
If approved by the state Senate and signed into law by Republican Governor Mary Fallin, the law would set stiff penalties for violations of citizens’ property rights by officials. It would also nullify any anti-constitutional federal or international infringements on private property or due process in the state. “This bill protects your private property from being acquired by eminent domain without a public vote or public hearing,” added state Rep. Lewis Moore, one of the legislation’s House sponsors.
Supporters of the legislation, less than three pages long, say it would have a powerful impact in terms of protecting individual rights and state sovereignty from external or internal infringement. “Any attempt to restrict private property rights without due process of law shall be deemed null and void per the Oklahoma Constitution and the United States Constitution,” the bill explains, giving property owners strong language to rely on in cases of lawless activities by officials and bureaucrats.
If a court determines that a property owner’s constitutional rights have been violated, the legislation continues, “damages shall be awarded in favor of the property owner at an amount not less than ten times the property value as assessed in the previous year by the county assessor.” Property owners victimized by official abuses of their rights would also receive three times the amount they spent on attorney fees, giving bureaucrats a strong incentive to tread carefully.
The legislation takes direct aim at anti-freedom policies originating outside of Oklahoma, too. “The state or any political subdivision of the state shall not adopt or implement policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe upon or restrict private property rights without due process ... as may be required by policy recommendations originating in or traceable to any international or federal courts, laws, opinions, rulings, regulations, codes, restrictions or executive orders,” the bill states, defining “political subdivisions” as county, city, town, municipality, and other local government entities.
Past infringements on Oklahomans’ rights could also be thrown out under the measure. “Any changes made due to any international or federal actions shall not be considered permanent and shall be subject to change,” the legislation explains, meaning that controversial policies in Oklahoma stemming from Washington, D.C., or planetary organizations such as the despot-dominated UN could be more easily reversed. “Any debt or commitment to an international or federal entity whereby the citizens did not have the ability to exercise their constitutional rights shall be considered null and void.”
State Rep. Ritze, a Republican, noted that it was time for state governments to restore freedom and protect the individual rights of citizens. “We don’t need to roll over and be lapdogs while the federal government centralizes power over us,” he said in a phone interview. “The essence of freedom and liberty is to have local control and private property rights — we can govern ourselves much better than people thousands of miles away who don’t care about the traditions, values and liberties of our states.”
With the federal government becoming increasingly out of control, Oklahoma Rep. Ritze said, state governments have not just the right, but a duty to protect citizens. “What we want to do as state legislators is take the power back — and we have the Constitution on our side,” he explained, adding that the Founders never envisioned a massive central government like the one that exists today. “The federal government is broke and broken, and at this point it’s up to the states to fix this mess.”
As this magazine and countless experts have been warning for decades, the UN and its allies in the federal government have been fiendishly working to erode private-property rights — often bribing state and local governments to do much of the dirty work. Agenda 21, adopted at a UN “sustainability” summit in 1992 by governments and dictators but never ratified by the U.S. Senate, represents one of the international outfit’s key assaults on property rights, freedom, and self-government.
“Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts [sic] on the environment,” the UN admits in a summary on its website, sparking suspicions from analysts who point out that virtually every aspect of human existence has some “impact” on the “environment.” In 2012, the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit, The New American reported from the UN conference in Rio de Janeiro that UN member governments and dictators were again meeting to continue advancing the radical agenda.
Opposition across America, however, is surging. State-government efforts to stop the deeply controversial UN plot and its myriad components, which the U.S. federal government as well as numerous state and local governments are already working to implement, have been accelerating more quickly in recent years as awareness spreads. In Alabama, for example, lawmakers in both chambers of the state legislature voted unanimously in 2012 to ban Agenda 21. When the governor signed it, Alabama became the first state to formally prohibit the radical schemes in its jurisdiction.
Numerous other state and local lawmakers from both parties all across America have also approved resolutions slamming Agenda 21 and “sustainability” schemes as a “socialist” plot to undermine private-property rights, individual liberty, and national sovereignty. Even the Republican National Committee adopted a measure calling on all Republicans nationwide to oppose the national sovereignty-undermining UN schemes.
“This United Nations Agenda 21 plan of radical so-called ‘sustainable development’ views the American way of life of private property ownership, single-family homes, private car ownership and individual travel choices, and privately owned farms all as destructive to the environment,” explains one model resolution adopted by multiple states, local governments, and the RNC. “We hereby endorse rejection of its radical policies and rejection of any grant monies attached to it.”
The UN, however, is becoming increasingly shrill with its outlandish demands and machinations. As The New American reported just last week, for example, a recent UN “sustainability” report, prepared with Obama apparatchik and policy architect John Podesta, made clear once again that even the thoughts and behavior of every individual on earth are in the planetary outfit’s crosshairs for modification.
“The new global partnership should encourage everyone to alter their worldview, profoundly and dramatically,” the report explains, one of many references. “This partnership should involve governments but also include others: people living in poverty, those with disabilities, women, civil society and indigenous and local communities, traditionally marginalised groups, multilateral institutions, local and national government, the business community, academia and private philanthropy.”
If the legislation is approved in the state Senate and signed by the governor, the law protecting private property will go into effect in November. The citizens of Oklahoma will then be able to rest a little easier, knowing that their state government stands ready to defend their individual rights from out-of-control bureaucrats at the federal and international levels.
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