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The Secret of Spreading Revival
I believe the secret is summed up in that most significant little statement- "they had been with Jesus." Revival in the last analysis - whether praying, praising, or preaching - is Jesus. It is the manifestation of the glory, power and blessing of the Son of God among His people. It must always be characterized by the place and prominence it gives to the person, office and work of our matchless Savior.
The early disciples had been with Jesus and the outside world could not fail to recognize it. Their lives were Christ-captured, Christ-centered and Christ-controlled. In his writings, Luke tells us,
"When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they wondered; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus."
The Apostle Paul testifies of the same experience when he writes,
"For to me to live [or, life itself] is Christ" (Philippians 1:21).
Thus, wherever the apostles went, and whatever they said or did, Christ was seen and heard and felt. The Lord Jesus Christ always creates an issue. That was true of His
human life on earth.
Study His contact with individuals, groups or even large crowds, and you will notice that He never neutralized. He always antagonized or attracted them. When He spoke, people either believed on Him or they picked up stones to stone Him. In the Gospel of John particularly, we come across words like this:
"There was division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, “He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye Him?”
“These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?" (John 10:19-21).
We must never forget that He is the same Lord who indwells us by the power of the Holy Spirit. The same power of the Holy Spirit should characterize our lives.
Pastor Robert K. Teske
Tomorrow: Revival - Part 8D - The Secret of Spreading Revival
Two Reasons The 'War on Terror' Will Always Fail
written by justin pavoni
If we want to get to a world where terrorism isn’t such a regular tragedy, governments need to start recognizing the fact that the so-called “War on Terror” is a self-fulfilling prophecy destined to foment one thing and one thing only: more terrorism.
The Big Picture: The problem arising in the wake of the recent mass-murder event in Paris and the subsequent French bombing of the Islamic State (also a mass-murder event) is that the two acts (and hundreds like them) serve as justification for more of the same from the other side. They provide fuel for each other’s fire and the situation, not surprisingly, continues to metastasize.
The great paradox at play is that as the West continues to attack the Islamic State, the organization’s appeal continues to grow among those who view the West as an adversary. Nobody knows exactly what causes radicalization but my best guess is that its appeal will continue to increase as the West continues to respond to violent events with exponentially more violence in turn. Such has been the trend thus far.
Why Terrorism? Terrorism is likely to spawn from a number of things, such as a bankrupt ideology, a sense of injustice, and disenfranchisement with the status quo. Regardless of the exact origins in any particular case, there are two primary reasons that the “war on terror” will continue to fail (assuming the goal is to reduce the number of terrorist attacks and the rampant increase in radicalization). Reason #1: Western violence (the principal prescription for fighting terrorism) is also the primary motivation behind successful terrorist recruiting efforts. Reason #2: Western attempts to overthrow heads of state under the guise of fighting terrorism provide an incredible opportunity for terrorist organizations to take root in a more institutional fashion. Let’s discuss these two phenomena in more depth.
Reason #1: Regardless of their origins, where terrorist movements gain the most strength is from the fact that they can point to objective injustices perpetrated by western nations (whether well intentioned or not). Violence begets more violence and Middle East bombing campaigns by Western countries are used to rally otherwise moderate people to nefarious causes. This is also one of the reasons terrorist movements are able to grow beyond an extremely small and fractured group of individuals.
Bombing campaigns are a major contributing factor to radicalization, and the principal motivation Western democracies should be concerned about…because it is one of the few factors they have legitimate control over. The moment a bomb kills a single innocent person – man, woman, or child – it facilitates ten more terrorist sympathizers. What’s more is that even if the bomb kills actual terrorists, it’s still providing rampant material support against the cause of “fighting terrorism.” How many bombs has the United States dropped in the last fifteen years? Millions. In how many countries? Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria and probably a great number more that are largely classified operations.
Seen in this light, is it really hard to understand why terrorist movements are growing and becoming more unified? It’s much easier for a terrorist to convince the average person to hate foreigners when foreigners are actively bombing their country, either through boots-on-the-ground invasions, drone warfare, or manned bombing campaigns.
Reason #2: The second thing that facilitates terrorism is the active attempt to overthrow established governments with force. Despite the fact that Sadaam Hussein was a tyrant, Iraq was not a terrorist haven while he was in charge. He was certainly a criminal dictator, but he didn’t put up with terrorists. Compare this to the emerging reality in present day Iraq now that he’s gone. Or consider Libya. Muammar Qaddafi was also a tyrant, and now that he’s been removed (courtesy of a Western air campaign), his former country is a jihadist wonderland.
The UN resolution designed strictly to “protect civilians” was used as an excuse to act as the rebels' Air Force. Should it surprise us that “good” rebels might be fighting alongside “bad” rebels? The entire campaign did little more than make a bad situation much worse.
Next, consider Syria. Western governments, led by the United States, have been actively supporting militia groups trying to overthrow yet another head of state, Bashar Al-Assad. The hypocritical reality is that the militia groups in Syria are fighting in common caucus with the Islamic State against Assad (who somewhat legitimately calls them all “terrorists”) while simultaneously fighting against the Islamic State (and thus on the same team as Bashar Al-Assad himself). Is it really a mystery why the region is such an overwhelming disaster? The narrative of fighting terrorism is completely undermined by the obvious reality of ulterior geopolitical motivations.
Conclusion: The truth is that the political war hawks in the United States aren’t solely interested in combatting terrorism (an otherwise legitimate concern). They’re also interested in forcefully removing those from power whom they don’t like (whether it means an aggressive war or not). If the two interests align: great. If not, they do their best to brainwash the public in hopes that the blatant hypocrisy of their position doesn’t outshine the international “villain” of choice.
At present, the foe-du-jour is Bashar Al-Assad. Now Assad is clearly not a benevolent dictator, but what happens when he’s gone? Will the replacement be that much better?
Do we have any right to choose a replacement to govern other people? Can you imagine if a foreign country was doing that in the United States? You may or may not like former President Bush and you may or may not like President Obama, but do you think it preferable to have a foreign country (e.g. Russia or China) undermine them with force? That’s absurd. And it would rally a whole bunch of Americans to fight against the common invader. Would it be legitimate if Russia or China subsequently labeled such people as terrorists? Of course not. It is no less absurd for America to behave in such a way. Contrary to the theoretically possible idea of actually fighting terrorists (which is largely impractical in reality due to the nature of terrorist ideology), overthrowing foreign governments is a completely illegitimate and imperial motivation. Until we accept this reality and get back to the legitimate defense of our own country, terrorism will continue to gain momentum.
Over shrinking access of inspectors general to confidential records
(NY Times) – Justice Department watchdogs ran into an unexpected roadblock last year when they began examining the role of federal drug agents in the fatal shootings of unarmed civilians during raids in Honduras.
The Drug Enforcement Administration balked at turning over emails from senior officials tied to the raids, according to the department’s inspector general. It took nearly a year of wrangling before the D.E.A. was willing to turn over all its records in a case that the inspector general said raised “serious questions” about agents’ use of deadly force.
The continuing Honduran inquiry is one of at least 20 investigations across the government that have been slowed, stymied or sometimes closed because of a long-simmering dispute between the Obama administration and its own watchdogs over the shrinking access of inspectors general to confidential records, according to records and interviews.
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The impasse has hampered investigations into an array of programs and abuse reports — from allegations of sexual assaults in the Peace Corps to the F.B.I.’s terrorism powers, officials said. And it has threatened to roll back more than three decades of policy giving the watchdogs unfettered access to “all records” in their investigations.
“The bottom line is that we’re no longer independent,” Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, said in an interview.
The restrictions reflect a broader effort by the Obama administration to prevent unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information — at the expense, some watchdogs insist, of government oversight.
Justice Department lawyers concluded in a legal opinion this summer that some protected records, like grand jury transcripts, wiretap intercepts and financial credit reports, could be kept off limits to government investigators. The administration insists there is no intention of curtailing investigations, but both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have expressed alarm and are promising to restore full access to the watchdogs.
The new restrictions grew out of a five-year-old dispute within the Justice Department. After a series of scathing reports by Glenn Fine, then the Justice Department inspector general, on F.B.I. abuses in counterterrorism programs, F.B.I. lawyers began asserting in 2010 that he could no longer have access to certain confidential records because they were legally protected.
That led to a series of high-level Justice Department reviews, a new procedure for reviewing records requests and, ultimately, a formal opinion in July from the department’s Office of Legal Counsel. That opinion, which applies to federal agencies across the government, concluded that the 1978 law giving an inspector general access to “all records” in investigations did not necessarily mean all records when it came to material like wiretap intercepts and grand jury reports.
The inspector-general system was created in 1978 in the wake of Watergate as an independent check on government abuse, and it has grown to include watchdogs at 72 federal agencies. Their investigations have produced thousands of often searing public reports on everything from secret terrorism programs and disaster responses to boondoggles like a lavish government conference in Las Vegas in 2010 that featured a clown and a mind reader.
Not surprisingly, tensions are common between the watchdogs and the officials they investigate. President Ronald Reagan, in fact, fired 15 inspectors general in 1981. But a number of scholars and investigators said the restrictions imposed by the Obama administration reflect a new level of acrimony.
“This is by far the most aggressive assault on the inspector general concept since the beginning,” said Paul Light, a New York University professor who has studied the system. “It’s the complete evisceration of the concept. You might as well fold them down. They’ve become defanged.”
While President Obama has boasted of running “the most transparent administration in history,” some watchdogs say the clampdown has scaled back scrutiny of government programs.
“This runs against transparency,” said the Peace Corps inspector general, Kathy Buller.
At the Peace Corps, her office began running into problems two years ago in an investigation into the agency’s handling of allegations of sexual assaults against overseas volunteers. Congress mandated a review after a volunteer in Benin was murdered in 2009; several dozen volunteers reported that the Peace Corps ignored or mishandled sexual abuse claims.
But Peace Corps lawyers initially refused to turn over abuse reports, citing privacy restrictions. Even after reaching an agreement opening up some material, Ms. Buller said investigators have been able to get records that are heavily redacted.
“It’s been incredibly frustrating,” she said. “We have spent so much time and energy arguing with the agency over this issue.”
The Peace Corps said in a statement, however, that it was committed to “rigorous oversight” and has cooperated fully with the inspector general.
Agencies facing investigations are now sometimes relying on the Justice Department’s opinion as justification for denying records — even records that are not specifically covered in the opinion, officials said.
At the Commerce Department, the inspector general this year shut down an internal audit of enforcement of international trade agreements because the department’s lawyers, citing the Justice Department’s guidance, refused to turn over business records that they said were “proprietary” and protected.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general has reported a series of struggles with the organization over its access to documents, including records the agency said were classified or covered by attorney-client privilege. And investigators at the Postal Service, a special Afghanistan reconstruction board, and other federal agencies have complained of tightened restrictions on investigative records as well.
Hopes of a quick end to the impasse have dimmed in recent days after the Obama administration volunteered to restore full access for the Justice Department’s inspector general — but not the other 71 watchdogs.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, asked about the issue at a House hearing last week, said the proposal was intended to ensure, at least at the Justice Department, “that the inspector general would receive all the information he needed.”
But watchdogs outside the Justice Department said they would be left dependent on the whims of agency officials in their investigations.
“It’s no fix at all,” said Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who leads the Judiciary Committee.
In a rare show of bipartisanship, the administration has drawn scorn from Democrats and Republicans. The Obama administration’s stance has “blocked what was once a free flow of information” to the watchdogs, Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said at a hearing.
Nowhere has the fallout been felt more acutely than at the Justice Department, where the inspector general’s office said 14 investigations had been hindered by the restricted access.
These include investigations into the F.B.I.’s use of phone records collected by the National Security Agency, the government’s sharing of intelligence information before the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, a notorious gun-tracing operation known as “Fast and Furious” and the deadly Honduran drug raids.
In the case of the Honduran raids, the inspector general has been trying to piece together the exact role of D.E.A. agents in participating in, or even leading, a series of controversial drug raids there beginning in 2011.
Details of what happened remain sketchy even today, but drug agents in a helicopter in 2012 reportedly killed four unarmed villagers in a boat, including a pregnant woman and a 14-year-old boy, during a raid on suspected drug smugglers in northeastern Honduras. They also shot down several private planes — suspected of carrying drugs — in possible violation of international law.
An investigation by the Honduran government cleared American agents of responsibility. But when the inspector general began examining the case last year, D.E.A. officials refused to turn over emails on the episodes from senior executives, the inspector general’s office said. Only after more than 11 months of back-and-forth negotiations were all the records turned over.
The D.E.A. refused to comment on the case, citing the investigation. A senior Justice Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing review, said the refusal to turn over the records was the flawed result of “a culture within the D.E.A.” at the time — and not the result of the Justice Department’s new legal restrictions.
Mr. Horowitz, the inspector general, said the long delay was a significant setback to his investigation. He now hopes to complete the Honduran review early next year.
In the meantime, the watchdogs say they are looking to Congress to intervene in a dispute with the administration that has become increasingly messy.
“It’s essential to enshrine in the law that the inspector general has access to all agency records,” said Mr. Fine, who is now the Pentagon’s principal deputy inspector general. “The underlying principle is key: To be an effective inspector general, you need the right to receive timely access to all agency records.”
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