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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Will Tax Exemption For Religious Entities End?

Once Government Realizes There's Money To be Had, Tax Exemption For Religious Entities Will Come To An End Soon

A new study says religion in the United States is worth $1.2
trillion per year.

 Not only is that equivalent to the 15th largest national economy in the world, but it's more than the combined revenues of the top 10 technology companies in the U.S., including Apple, Amazon and Google.

The study, "The Socioeconomic Contributions of Religion To American Society: An Empirical Analysis," was conducted by Brian J. Grim from Georgetown University and Melissa E. Grim from Newseum Institute.

The Guardian reports:  

The Socioeconomic Contributions of Religion to American Society:

 An Empirical Analysis calculated the $1.2 trillion figure by estimating the value of religious institutions, including healthcare facilities, schools, daycare and charities; media; businesses with faith backgrounds; the kosher and halal food markets; social and philanthropic programs; and staff and overheads for congregations.

 Co-author Brian Grim said it was a conservative estimate. More than 344,000 congregations across the U.S. collectively employ hundreds of thousands of staff and buy billions of dollars worth of goods and services. 

More than 150 million Americans, almost half the population, are members of faith congregations, according to the report. 

Although numbers are declining, the sums spent by religious organizations on social programs have tripled in the past 15 years, to $9 billion.

 The report points to analysis by the Pew Research Center which shows that two-thirds of highly religious adults had donated money, time or goods to the poor in the previous week, compared with 41% of adults who said they were not highly religious.

The analysis didn't account for the value of financial or physical assets held by religious groups, or for "the negative impacts that occur in some religious communities, including [...] such things as the abuse of children by some clergy, cases of fraud, and the possibility of being recruitment sites for violent extremism."

1950 Arabia and Todays Arabia oil

I drive a fuel cell vehicle run by hydrogen. I no longer need gasoline.

The vehicle only emits non polluting fresh water.

Saudi Arabia is about to find that oil is no longer going to be in peak demand.

And it is only going to get worse over time as more non polluting fuel cell vehicles and electric vehicles hit the roads.

You Saudi Arabia are a great people from your father Ishmael.

"So We gave him the good news of a forbearing son."

In Muslim tradition, the Arabs trace their ancestry back to Abraham through Ishmael. Because Ishmael was circumcised (Gen. 17:25), so are most Muslims.  

They have been blessed with oil.

As the world uses less oil what will happen?


Samuel The Rainmaker Made Rain

Charles Hatfield (on the ladder) and his younger brother with one of their rain towers, in Coalinga, Calif. The pair built a similar 20-foot tower in the woods east of San Diego and began what one city official would later call “an incantation aimed at wringing moisture from the air.” What followed was a destructive downpour.  

Injection Locking Is A Mysterious Synchronization

Injection Locking

Friday, December 30, 2016

An Evil Son?

The son of a famous pastor, Bart Campolo is now a rising star of atheism — using the skills he learned in the world he left behind. 


 His father, Tony, was one of the most important evangelical Christian preachers of the last 50 years, a prolific author and an erstwhile spiritual adviser to Bill Clinton.

The Evangelical Scion Who Stopped Believing

Get Educated

Singapore Will Add Iris Scans As Identifier For Citizens And Permanent Residents Starting January 1 (channelnewsasia.com)

From the beginning of next year, authorities will start collecting iris images from Singapore citizens and permanent residents (PRs) when they register or re-register for their NRIC, or apply for or renew a passport, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). From a report: 

 The iris images will serve as another identifier to boost verification methods, in addition to the photographs and fingerprints already used on the documents. 

The change is part of amendments to the National Registration Act, which were passed in Parliament in November and paves the way for iris scans to be introduced progressively at Singapore's land and sea checkpoints within the next two years. 

In a statement on Wednesday (Dec 28), MHA said the amendments will take effect on Jan 1.


Satellite Spots Massive Object Hidden Under the Frozen Wastes of Antarctica (thesun.co.uk)

Scientists believe a massive object which could change our understanding of history is hidden beneath the Antarctic ice

The huge and mysterious "anomaly" is thought to be lurking beneath the frozen wastes of an area called Wilkes Land. It stretches for a distance of 151 miles across and has a maximum depth of about 848 meters. \

Some researchers believe it is the remains of a truly massive asteroid which was more than twice the size of the Chicxulub space rock which wiped out the dinosaurs.

 If this explanation is true, it could mean this killer asteroid caused the Permian-Triassic extinction event which killed 96 percent of Earth's sea creatures and up to 70 percent of the vertebrate organisms living on land.

This "Wilkes Land gravity anomaly" was first uncovered in 2006, when NASA satellites spotted gravitational changes which indicated the presence of a huge object sitting in the middle of a 300 mile wide impact crater.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Chemtrails Explained by The Massachusetts School of Law.

Jehovah's Witnesses Are In A Cult!

TIL Jehovah's Witnesses have falsely predicted the end of the world 20 times.

Don't drink only water. You ought to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often. 1 Timothy 5:23

 A trend is ravaging American media.

 A series of hot takes purporting to take down the wine industry has been steadily carving out a niche on the internet, claiming that wine experts are a hoax and expensive wine is bogus.

Are they right?


Bruce Willis Has Everyone After Him

Editor Pierre-Alexandre Chauvat spliced together hundreds of movies, creating an entirely new Bruce Willis film in the process. 

When he wakes up one morning, Bruce Willis finds himself pursued by an entire city... again !

(If you want to know the name of the 53 movies, press the English CC button. French subtitles available too)

Willis Expletive warning!

Everybody wants to kill Bruce 2 from Pierre-Alexandre Chauvat on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

You Might Want To Rethink Having A Device In Your House Storing Data Of Everything It Hears Or That You Do

Amazon's Echo and Echo Dot are in millions of homes now, with holiday sales more than quadrupling from 2015. 

Always listening for its wake word, the breakthrough smart speakers boast seven microphones waiting to take and record your commands. 

Now, Arkansas police are hoping an Echo found at a murder scene in Bentonville can aid their investigation

 First reported by The Information, investigators filed search warrants to Amazon, requesting any recordings between November 21 and November 22, 2015, from James A. Bates, who was charged with murder after a man was strangled in a hot tub

While investigating, police noticed the Echo in the kitchen and pointed out that the music playing in the home could have been voice activated through the device.

 While the Echo records only after hearing the wake word, police are hoping that ambient noise or background chatter could have accidentally triggered the device, leading to some more clues.

Amazon has not sent any recordings to the officers but did provide Bates' account information to authorities, according to court documents. 

The retailer giant said it doesn't release customer information without a "valid and binding legal demand."

 "Amazon objects to over-broad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course," the company said in a statement. 

Even without Amazon's help, police may be able to crack into the Echo, according to the warrant.

 Officers believe they can tap into the hardware on the smart speakers, which could "potentially include time stamps, audio files or other data."

 Police also found a Nest thermostat, a Honeywell alarm system, wireless weather monitoring in the backyard and WeMo devices for lighting at the smart home crime scene. 

Officers have also seized an iPhone 6S, a Macbook Pro, a PlayStation 4 and three tablets in the investigation.

Computers, ipads, phones and other devices have microphones that can be manipulated from the net.

 Spying through smartphone cameras, computer webcams, laptops and tablets is widespread and governments have been checking people out for years.


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

We get visited by the FBI now and then on this blog.

 FBI's Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Field Office.
I took a look at our live traffic feed section and there I saw a visitor from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

I suppose it is because this time the post under this one had some words that flagged their surveillance tools even though it is a very harmless post as it were.

Nice to see they are on their toes!

Way back in 2009 There Was NetDisaster And A Lot Of People Saw It!



So what this very harmless program did was allow you to mess with a website only in your own browser.

It actually did nothing what so ever to the actual website.

It was a really fun cool program.

But it looks like some nut jobs didn't understand that it actually harmed nothing at all and got it shut down...


Now this on the other hand is a threat to websites:

 A security flaw discovered in a common PHP class allows knowledgeable attackers to execute code on a website that uses a vulnerable version of the script, which in turn can allow an attacker to take control over the underlying server. 

The vulnerable library is PHPMailer, a PHP script that allows developers to automate the task of sending emails using PHP code, also included with WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and more.

 The vulnerability was fixed on Christmas with the release of PHPMailer version 5.2.18

Nevertheless, despite the presence of a patched version, it will take some time for the security update to propagate. 

Judging by past incidents, millions of sites will never be updated, leaving a large chunk of the Internet open to attacks.

 Even though the security researcher who discovered the flaw didn't publish any in-depth details about his findings, someone reverse-engineered the PHPMailer patch and published their own exploit code online, allowing others to automate attacks using this flaw, which is largely still unpatched due to the holiday season.


The Hottest Trend In Webdesign Right Now Is Really Bad  Websites:


Tuesday Tidbits Tapestry

Perfecting his form

The man who swims with crocodiles (2013) - After nurturing the crocodile to full health, the crocodile followed the man home. NOT to eat him but to be his friend. The FIRST recorded event of a crocodile becoming friends with a human. The crocodile lived with him until it died of old age. 45 minute video.

 Bill Bailey does the first moonwalk in 1955 - Michael Jackson wouldn't perform his rendition until March of 1983. 

Humans marrying robots? Experts say that it is coiming. Yuck!

America is largely Christian, but there's a lot of variation there. These maps break down where different religions and denominations are dominant.

The defiant posture reflected a bristling anger among Israel’s pro-settlement political leaders, who not only blamed the United States for failing to block the Council resolution, but also claimed to have secret intelligence showing that President Obama’s team had orchestrated it. 

Oh ya Merry Christmas. Disturbances that included gunfire, massive brawls and food-court fights played out at more than a dozen malls across the country in what proved to be a chaotic day after Christmas. We are jerks.

Russia's Desert

'Trophy' home tied to Trinity Broadcasting Network sells for $5.15 million

 TBN Tile and Tar and Me

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Stock I Am Going To Watch In 2017?


Here's why...

As Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Baidu take turns leapfrogging each other in artificial intelligence innovation, one company stands to profit from any outcome: Nvidia.

I expect the tide to rise higher.


I am also going to watch Toshiba. 

It's stock value is circling the drain right now.

Toshiba's troubles keep piling up.

From a report on CNN Money: 

 The Japanese firm's shares plunged 20% on Wednesday, after the company warned it is expecting billions of dollars in losses from its takeover of a U.S. nuclear construction business last year.

 "We're still figuring out the exact numbers, but it could reach up to several hundred billion yen," CEO Satoshi Tsunakawa told reporters Tuesday. 

Toshiba's U.S. nuclear-power subsidiary Westinghouse acquired CB&I Stone & Webster late last year, when Toshiba was still struggling to recover from a $1.2 billion accounting scandal. 

Toshiba's shares dived in the months following that scandal, which led to a major management reshuffle after the Japanese conglomerate admitted it had doctored financial results for years. 

The company reported a loss of 460 billion yen ($3.9 billion) for 2015.


Faced with the prospect of a multibillion-dollar write-down that could wipe out its shareholders' equity, Japan's Toshiba is running out of fixes:

 It is burning cash, cannot issue shares, and has few easy assets left to sell

 The Tokyo-based conglomerate, which is still recovering from a $1.3 billion accounting scandal in 2015, dismayed investors and lenders again this week by announcing that cost overruns at a U.S. nuclear business bought only last year meant it could now face a crippling charge against profit.

 Toshiba says it will be weeks before it can give a final number, but a write-down of the scale expected -- as much as 500 billion yen ($4.3 billion), according to one source close to Toshiba -- would leave the group scrambling to plug the financial hole and keep up hefty investments in the competitive memory chip industry, which generates the bulk of its operating profit. 

"Toshiba's immediate problem is that it is burning cash at an alarming rate, and this will be more than challenging," said Ken Courtis, chairman of Starfort Investment Holdings. 

"I see little option but to sell a slew of non-core assets."One source in the semiconductor industry said Toshiba could revive plans to list a slice of the memory chip business, which though highly profitable burns through cash for reinvestment.

 "Toshiba will probably need to sell 30-40 percent of the NAND business in an IPO to secure enough cash," the source said, adding China's aggressive drive into NAND flash memory chips could make the timing reasonable. 

The group has already said it could reconsider the "positioning" of its nuclear business, deemed core last year, and has signaled it could trim an 87 percent stake.

If it looks like Toshiba stands back up and brushes the dust off and rolls up it's sleeves once the plummet subsides, I might think about getting on board at the lowered price point.

That is if Toshiba survives the meltdown.

I have two Toshiba laptops and that is about as close to Toshiba I am personally.

  A Toshiba spokesman declined to comment on the stock plunge.

 On Tuesday, Toshiba executives said they remain optimistic about the nuclear business.

Which tells me that they are not quitters and just may get things under control.

If they do, then anyone jumping on board at the lowered price point will realize some value...


Rumor has it that Apple is building a car.  It is speculated that Apple "project Titan" is the car project that Steve talked about back in the 80's.

If this is true then Apple could be in for some atmospheric assent.
Over all tread lightly.

Some have been predicting a market crash of 80%.

Especially since we are in uncharted presidential territory as it were. No one really knows which way the tide will go.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Live Worship At Poeima Fellowship With Oden Fong 2002


Recorded live by me during an evening Poeima Fellowship worship service in 2002.

 When the church was located in a hidden room behind the Goodwill thrift store on the corner of Magnolia and Adams Ave in Huntington Beach California.

I used a pair of headphones for a mic (High End Professional Audio Technica) on a Sony Minidisc digital audio recorder. Turned out very well much to my amazement.

I set the headphones and recorder on the floor just under my chair and let it run.

I am really glad I decided to record the worship that night because Pedro Buford  is now with the Lord and this is to the best of my knowledge the only recording of him and Oden leading worship together in a Bible study.

I once talked with Oden about how he personally leads worship.

He told me that he closes his eyes and follows the Holy Spirit as to what to play, forgetting that he is seated in front of others.

He gets caught up in the Spirit and worships with all his being.

I think that this is why the Holy Spirit always manifest His presence when Oden is leading worship.

He has never tried to be more than he is when in front of God's people.

I know from experience because I used to be the roadie for a season or two when his band, Mustard Seed Faith played in prisons, mental health institutions, and churches back in the early 70's.

If you want to see what an authentic worship leader is like you really should visit.

Address: Halecrest Park Clubhouse, 3107 Killybrooke Ln, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Star Wars' Actress Carrie Fisher 'Stable' After In-Flight Heart Attack (abc7news.com)

Best-known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars trilogy and The Force Awakens, actress Carrie Fisher is recovering from a "cardiac event" Friday.

 An anonymous reader quotes ABC: Her brother, Todd Fisher, told The Associated Press that she was "out of emergency" and stabilized at a Los Angeles hospital Friday afternoon...

 The 60-year-old "Star Wars" star experienced medical trouble during a flight from London and was treated by paramedics immediately upon landing in Los Angeles around noon Friday, according to reports citing unnamed sources. 
Fisher reportedly remains in the intensive care unit while lots of celebrities are now wishing her a speedy recovery for Christmas, including Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels, Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew, and Billy Dee Williams, as well as Star Trek actors William Shatner and George Takei.

 Many fans are using the hashtag #MayTheForceBeWithHer, and she's even receiving messages of support from the Twitter account set up for her therapy dog, Gary.

12/23 13:03 PST: YouTuber Anna Akana and her boyfriend comedian Brad Gage tweeted that Fisher stopped breathing for approximately 10 minutes on their flight from London to Los Angeles. They were seated in front of Fisher in first class.

12/23 13:13 PST: TMZ is reporting Fisher had a 'massive heart attack' 15 minutes prior to landing. A medical professional on the flight administered CPR until the plane reached the gate at LAX where paramedics took over care.

Reactions from the Star Wars family:

Georg Fredrich Handel For Unto Us A Child Is Born And The Shekinah Fellowship Of Long Beach California Choir Christmas Special

 Shekinah Fellowship Choir was a tremendous collection of people who loved Jesus Christ.
They helped set the table for the manifestation of the Holy Spirit during the healing services of Shekinah Fellowship of Long Beach California.

This video is one of the surviving records of them that was once broadcast on TBN.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas Charlie Brown

Some people don't like Santa Claus Or Christmas And They Will Tell You

As a show of solidarity and peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians, a Muslim Iraqi businessman decided to build a 30-meter/ 85-foot tall Christmas tree, to celebrate the holidays in a country torn apart by war. 

 The businessman, Yassi Saad, said he did so in order to join “our Christian brothers in their holiday celebrations,” and help “Iraqis forget their anguish, especially the war in Mosul.”

 Rabbis in Israel call for ban on Christmas celebrations

Dude! Hydro Hammock

“The hydro- hammock literally has changed my life.

 When surfing here in Northern Cali even with a full wetsuit, hoodie and booties the cold water hurts. 

I am now able to run out, jump into my Hydro Hammock to get my core heat back and surf more.

 It's portable and easy to bring to the beach, set up in the snow, or just hang it between two trees or my porch railing."
 -Michele Upham


Jet Powered Snow Board

BitTorrent Live's 'Cable Killer' P2P Video App Finally Hits iOS (techcrunch.com)

BitTorrent has now done for live video what it did for file downloads: 

 invented peer-to-peer technology that moves the burden of data transfer from a centralized source to the crowd

Instead of cables and satellites, BitTorrent piggybacks on the internet bandwidth of its users. 

Since P2P live streaming is so much cheaper than traditional ways to deliver live content, BitTorrent could pay channel owners more for distribution per viewer. 

And BitTorrent can offer that content to viewers for free or much cheaper than a cable subscription. 

The transfer technology and the app that aggregates these channels are both called BitTorrent Live

Now, almost a year after the protocol's debut on smart TVs, and six months after it was supposed to arrive on iPhone, the BitTorrent Live app quietly became available on iOS this week.

 Until now it's only existed on Mac, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV -- much less popular platforms.

 And that's after being in development since 2009

The app features 15 channels, including NASA TV, France One, QVC Home and TWiT (This Week In Tech) that you can watch live. 

The latency is roughly 10 seconds, which could be faster than terrestrial cable, as well as systems like Sling TV that can delay content more than a minute. 

The problem right now is that BitTorrent Live has a pretty lackluster channel selection.

 It's still working on striking deals with more name-brand channels. 

It could offer some for pay-per-view, but cheaper than the same content on traditional TV due to the reduced broadcasting costs.



 Which is it's benefit to you if they get it right.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Star of Bethlehem Scientifically Proven

Are We Set Apart? Happy Birthday Jesus!

For Christians, God is not just a powerful, unseen reality, somewhere out there beyond unimaginable distances of time and enormity of space.

God did something highly impossible to make Himself completely relevant and comprehensible to humankind.

 He doesn't just visit the earth, He becomes human and walks on the earth and interacts with humankind on their own level of existence.

Jesus Christ is God's Son and He is also uniquely Almighty God Himself in the flesh.

 It is remarkable that God became a real human being and lived among us as the historical Jew, known as Jesus of Nazareth, between 6BC and AD30 in Palestine.

No one could accuse God Almighty of not doing everything possible to make Himself known and revealed in such a way that any human could have known who He is and what He thinks.

 God bridged the vastness of His creation in such a way as only He could make happen.

He took His high and lofty majesty, His Holy and Righteous presence and deposited Himself in an organic carbon based meatbag of flesh.

He choose to come down here to be with us on our level of existence.

This is the nexus point of all Christian reality. That God became man.

John 1:14
14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

What was truly kewl about all of this is that Almighty God touched some humans and gave them direct revelation into what He was going to do way in the future.

We call this prophesy.

Reading the prophesies about this event we see that Almighty God will be a Jewish man from the tribe of Judah, in King David's lineage, born in Bethlehem of a virgin, and that this child would be Almighty God Himself.

Everything to do with God is not always smooth and uncomplicated.

 We humans think that everything is going to be smooth and uncomplicated if God is involved.


Nothing could be further from the truth.

Put yourself in Jesus's mother Mary's place.

Here she is, around fifteen years of age. Betrothed, as was the Jewish custom of that day and age, to a man, destined to become his wife.

Then she suddenly finds herself pregnant.

This will make it appear to all around her, that she has been promiscuous.

And to make matters worse, a woman found in adultery must be stoned to death according to Jewish law. Frightening and numbing would be her position in life.

Her reputation in her village is surely going to be destroyed.

Holy Scripture tells it like this:

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:

When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Now her future husband is put in a very awkward position.

 He knows what the Jewish law requires, but he also is a just man.

He knows that there is no proof of Mary's infidelity.

Her demeanor suggest to him that what she has told him about an angel telling her that she is pregnant by the Holy Spirit just might be the truth, but he is not sure.

 He agonizes on his bed, not able to sleep, just laying there thinking about this terrible turn of events...I imagine that he eventually drops off to fitful sleep.

Matthew 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

While he is thinking about privately putting her 'away.'

 An angel appears to him in a dream.

The angel fills him in on what is up with Mary.

Matthew 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

Revelation sent from God to Joseph, in his consciousness, in a dream.


Can you imagine his relief and awe at what he is being told?

But still, even though now he knows the truth, his neighbors and family may not believe his story.

 He is still in a terrible bind of sorts.

But to him, the truth is valid, he is to take Mary as his wife inspite of what anyone thinks of the situation.

On the natural, there will be those who look at Mary in disgust and rejection.

There will be a figurative black cloud that will follow them.

Matthew 1:24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

He understood the truth now.

All he could do is trust God, inspite of what others might think.

How many times have we been in a situation where others think ill of us.

And we are tempted to try in our own efforts to set things straight.

I once had someone accuse me of a lot of things that had no truth behind them.

 Even so much as to go to the pastors of my church with the lies.

I silently watched as my reputation as a man of God had aspersions cast against it. 

I watched as the recipients of the lies turned against me.

But I had learned to trust in God and held my peace.

I not once did anything to defend myself.

 For I knew that my God on His throne was greater then any lies sent against me.

Over a period of months the truth became known and the perpetrator of the attack against my integrity was cast out of the fellowship.

All without me saying or doing anything.

So here is Mary and Joseph in a complicated situation.

They know the truth, but will others believe the truth.

To any average person, it looked like a couple of young people making up a crazy story to cover up their fooling around.

 Back in their day, such things were not treated lightly.

Today, no one thinks much about this situation, happens all the time...right?

God Almighty comes to earth as a vulnerable defenseless baby.

The heart of Christianity. The Muslim can't believe this.

"Allah Akbar," God is great.

They say this great God would never demean himself by becoming human.

But that is exactly what happened.

Not only that, Jesus grows up and gives up His life for all of us to set us free from our sins.

John 1:29
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Zechariah 13:6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands?

Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

We celebrate the birth of the Christ child.

We say Merry Christmas to one another in reference to this event in world history.

Not 'Happy Holidays.' To those who know of the truth, it is the most incredible knowledge that God became flesh, born as a baby.

Christians should never be found guilty of saying 'Happy Holidays' when they know the truth of this event of a baby's birth.

An event that changed the course of the world.

An event that sent a message down through the ages to you and I. An event that was written in the stars above.

Matthew 2
1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

2Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

We are told in this same chapter of Matthew:

10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.


What was it about this star?

 It was not the star, but what they had located by the star.

 Almighty God incarnatio, God being in human flesh, entering the physical realm as a baby.

Jesus Christ, the God~man!

No one could make up such a story.

No one could foretell of all events that would surround this birth, hundreds of years in advance and then have Holy men of God prophesy of the events.

This is what sets us Christians apart.

We celebrate the birth of our King, our Lord and savior.

No happy holidays no Festivus, no Kwanzaa.

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Joy to the world!


Merry Christmas Christ the Savior is born.

Merry Christmas 2016


Christians believe that the almighty God has visited us, not just through prophets, saints and humanitarian heroes, but through sending his son to be born of a virgin in Bethlehem.

Babies are vulnerable, more helpless initially than any of the animals, without outside care lowly babies can not survive.

So too was the son of God, but every birth inspires hope, even when it is only hope against hope.

As we celebrate again the birth of the helpless newly-born Christ child, we should remember the sick and the sad, the lonely and the angry and reach out to help them.

Jesus was/is about "giving" not taking.
Jesus was/is about "kindness" not greed.
Jesus was/is about "helping" those in need.
Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season.

All of us here at Shekinah Fellowship desire that you have a blessed Merry Christmas.

Bethlehem Christmas Eve. Sheep grazing on the field of the Shepherds; in the background is the cave.

In 1976 I had stood in the place where Jesus Christ was born.

When Dr. Harte was secretary of the Palestine Y.M.C.A., 1918-1931, he purchased a plot of ground in the valley below Bethlehem which had been traditionally called "The Field of Boaz" or "Shepherds' Field".

There on Christmas Eve, members of the Y.M.C.A. and their friends used to meet for a service which ended with, a supper such as shepherds might have shared.

At this place, away from the crowds that thronged Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity, it was easier to capture the scene of that night when shepherds saw the star that was to lead them to the Child.

This service was discontinued for a few years when the main road to Bethlehem was closed making access to Bethlehem difficult, but with the opening of a new road the service was revived.

 The discovery of a large cave in the field has added to the atmosphere of the place and has provided an excellent background for the service which each year attracts an increasing number of local Christians and tourists.

The sermon is usually given by a visiting minister and local choirs furnish music.

 Sheep are roasted in ovens at the entrance to the cave and timed to be ready when the service ends.

Each worshiper is given a piece of Iamb with freshly baked whole-wheat bread as he enters the cave on his way to an exit on the other side.

I  have been in this cave and have walked in this field of the Shepherds.

When you are standing there in person, you can not help but think that this is the actual location of the birth of Christ.

The gentle incline of the field combined with the wide open view of the sky above sends goose bumps when you ponder this location that took wise men up to two years to locate.

It is almost impossible to dig into the soil of Jerusalem without turning up some evidence of its ancient past.

Thus it is not surprising that when the foundation of the new Y was being laid workmen should come upon a tomb.

 It has been identified as First Century A.D. and it is in an excellent state of preservation.

 The tomb was obviously a private one, it may even have been in a garden.

 In it was found a jar in perfect, or nearly perfect condition.

A visit to the "Tomb in the Basement" may be of interest to you-ask at the desk.

The nearby field of Ruth is traditionally associated with the events of the Old Testament (recounted in the Book of Ruth 1:16).

This area is also believed to be where the Hebrew matriarchs Ruth and Naomi gleaned in the fields behind the harvesters on their way to Bethlehem from Moab (Ruth 2-4).

Ruth married Boaz, and they became parents of Oved, the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David, who was born in Jerusalem.

 Thus Bethlehem became known as the "City of David" and it was predicted that the Messiah would be born there (Micah 5:1-5).

The roads descending to the east of Bethlehem lead through the mostly Christian village of Beit Sahour (or Bait Sahur), which includes the Shepherds' Fields: the fields identified since ancient times with the shepherds who saw the Star of Nativity.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." (Luke 2:8-10)

The fertile fields of Beit Sahour are believed to be where this biblical scene took place.

There are two rival locations for the exact site, one run by the Greek Orthodox and the other by the Franciscans.

Both sites have been excavated, and there have been churches and monasteries on both sites since the 4th century or earlier.

This site interested the earliest Christian pilgrims; in 384 the pilgrim Egeria was shown the church called "At the Shepherds" in a valley near Bethlehem.

She reported, "A big garden is there now, protected by a neat wall all around, and also there is a very splendid cave with an altar."

The pilgrim Arculf remarked in 670 that this site was "about a mile to the east of Bethlehem."

 The Orthodox site seems to correspond better with Egregia and Arculf's accounts.

The Greek Orthodox site of the Shepherds' Fields is at Kanisat al-Ruwat in the middle of fields 2 km southeast of Bethlehem.

 The ruins at al-Ruwat include a cave used as a church from the 4th century, of which the barrel-vaulted roof (5th century) still survives.

It is approached by a flight of 21 steps and has three apses with traces of mosaic and old frescoes.

The mosaic floor includes crosses, and therefore must predate 427, when this was forbidden as impious.

The church at al-Ruwat served the Orthodox community from the 5th century to 1955.

 It is the only 5th-century church outside Jerusalem to survive intact.

Above it a Byzantine chapel was built, and was in turn replaced by a larger church, which was then destroyed in 614.

It and a monastery were rebuilt in the 7th century and survived until the 10th century.

Today, a new large church has been built, the 4th-century lower church has been restored, and the remains of the upper church and monastery have been preserved.

About 600m to the north of al-Ruwat is the site the Roman Catholics (Franciscans) identify as the Shepherds' Fields, at Khirbat Siyar al-Ghanim.

Here there is a low natural cave or rock shelter in pleasant surroundings and with a fine view of the hills.

The cave, with soot-blackened roof, has been partly enclosed to make a modern chapel.

Above is a modern church (1954) shaped like a tent and decorated with a bronze angel.

To the north are ruins of a rectangular monastery founded on a site occupied by nomadic shepherds in the 1st century.

An early phase is dated from the late 4th century to the early 5th century and a second phase (which used stones from the original apse of the Church of the Nativity) to the 6th century.

Only the apse of the church survives, and a large lintel decorated with crosses.

The monastery had winepresses, bakery, cisterns and animal pens.

 Scholars tend to believe this was probably not the site described by Egregia, but simply one of many Byzantine monasteries of the Judean desert.

It may have been where Palladius began his monastic life with the miracle-worker Poseidonius in 419. It was not reoccupied after being destroyed by the Persians in 614.

Of course there is also a third site. 

The YMCA of Beit Sahour, east of the town center on the north side of the road, is where many Protestants commemorate Shepherds' Fields.

There is a grove of pines, a cave, and a view toward Jerusalem and the desert.

This is where I personally believe the greatest news event in the history of the world took place.

The Shepherds and the Angels

Luke 2:8-20

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,

18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

"And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David.)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. "-Luke 2:4-7.

"Silent Night" was written by a Catholic priest, Joseph Mohr, pastor in the Austrian Alps in a little town of Oberndorf.

It was Christmas Eve, 1815, when he meditated on the wonderful story of the birth of Christ and wrote the sweet, simple verses of this song.

The next day he took them to the village schoolmaster, an organist, Franz Gruber, who prayerfully put them to music that fits them so quietly and so well.

 And that night they had the choir sing it for the first time with only guitar accompaniment, since the organ had broken down.

 Through the years this sweet song drifted out to the world and now millions of people rejoice as they sing

Silent night, holy night,All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and Child.

Holy Infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,Sleep in heavenly peace.

The name "Bethlehem" means house of bread.

John 6:35And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

John 6:48I am that bread of life.

Bethlehem is some six miles south and a little west of Jerusalem on the way toward Hebron.

It was the home of David and of Boaz and Ruth before him.

 Micah 5:2 prophesied that the Saviour would be born there: "But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."

I think the dear Lord does not want us worshiping a place so He did not let it be settled surely, either the place of the birth of Jesus or the house in which He lived in Nazareth or the place of crucifixion or the tomb in which He was buried.

 All that is left a little unsure lest men should worship as an idol a mere place when the Lord wants us to worship the Savior Himself.

 At least Bethlehem represents the place where Jesus was born, whether we know the exact place or not.

It is true that there was no room for them in the inn.

Does that seem sad?

No, surely that foretold that the Lord Jesus would be a Man of sorrows and He would be acquainted with grief.

 He came to be abused and rejected as well as to save all who would receive Him.

 So Jesus is fitly born in a stable.

Since He is to be "anointed. . .to preach the gospel to the poor. . .to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives," it is suitable that His coming be announced to ignorant shepherds and not in the palaces of the mighty but to the poor.

 But remember, this is a glad time.

Jesus is born to die on the cross, but, oh, praise the Lord He is born!

The shepherds heard the angels say, "I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."

 So it is a joyful, happy time.

So the song very properly says,
"All is calm, all is bright Round yon virgin mother and Child."

 Mary is in sweet peace and joy over her God-given Son.

The Baby sleeps peacefully for He is in God's care and has entered His earthy mission.

Psalm 22:9,10 says, "But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly."
And that indicates that even the Baby Jesus was someway conscious that He was from God and that His hope was in God His Father.

 I think I see a bit of a smile upon the face of the sleeping One there in the manger cradle.

"Round yon virgin mother and Child," the song says.

 Oh, yes, Mary is still a virgin.

And the angel had said to Joseph, "Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost" (Matt. 1:20).

Ah, yes, this Baby Jesus is the "Seed of the woman" which was promised Eve.

This birth of Christ fulfills the promise of Isaiah 7:14, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son." Oh, here is Immanuel, God with us in human form.

 I was shocked the other day looking in a hymnbook and saw that this first verse of "Silent Night," had been wickedly changed, and the unbelieving hand that changed that first verse took out

"Round yon virgin mother and Child," and put other words. Oh, but Mary is a virgin and Christ is God in human form.

Jesus, Baby Jesus, of a virgin mother born, Laid in manger cradle, wrapped in swaddling clothes and warm.

Birth cry in a darkened stable, in the inn no room. Jesus, Baby Jesus, Son of God, to share earth's gloom.

Silent night, holy night,Darkness flies, all is light;

Shepherds hear the angels sine,"Alleluia hail the King!

Christ the Savior is born,Christ the Savior is born."

Yes, suddenly the darkness turns bright as day and the Heaven is filled with glory!

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. "

 It was the Angel Gabriel who had announced to Mary up in Galilee nine months before that she was to be the mother of the Savior.

We suppose this is the same Angel Gabriel bringing glad news.

The "Field of the Shepherds" is not far from Jerusalem, and we suppose it is the same field where the shepherds watched their flocks by night.

 It may be also the same field of Boat where Ruth, the Moabitish young woman who came back to Israel with her mother-in-law Naomi to live under the shelter of God's wings--and there in the field, perhaps, where Ruth gleaned and got acquainted with Boaz.

The announcement is wonderful:

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in, swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."-Luke 2:10-12.

Ah, the Savior is born!

And the angel says they may find Him in the city wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

Then suddenly all the heavenly host filled the skies, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

The shepherds were told they would find the Baby Jesus "wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger," and they went quickly to find Him.

Oh, they believed the story; they were glad to hear it. King Herod heard it and was troubled.

The scribes and Pharisees knew where the Savior should be born and they told Herod it would be in Bethlehem, but they did not heed the glad news brought them by the Wise Men from the east.

But these shepherds were so glad to hear it!

Oh, whoever reads it, be sure you run to see Jesus and know Him for yourself and go away to tell it gladly as they did.

Silent night, holy night,Guiding Star, lend thy light;

See the eastern wise men bring Gifts and homage to our King!

Christ the Savior is born,Christ the Savior is born.

 The Scripture says, "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews?

 For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." They are "wise men."

The term reminds us of the wise men, the magi, in the book of Daniel.

 And these are from the east, so if we go back some 500 miles or so to the site of ancient Babylon we find, no doubt, the area from which these wise men came.

They said, "We have seen his star in the east."

 Note carefully, they did not follow the star, traveling all this way.

They had seen the star in the east as a warning, a reminder.

But it seems evident they knew from the book of Daniel that the Messiah would come, and that He would be King of the Jews.

In Daniel 9:25 Daniel had been inspired to write it down, "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."

And it is interesting that although nearly all the Old Testament is written in Hebrew, certain parts of Daniel, including this part, are written in Chaldaic and so God must have intended that the Scriptures there should be kept in the Chaldean language so they would know about the coming of the Savior.

He is to be a Prince or King and He is to come to Jerusalem.

And we are plainly told that it is to be sixty-nine weeks of years from the time Jews were to go back from captivity until the coming of the Savior.

 So they took what they knew from the Scriptures and then had a sign from God to verify it and they came.

Later they came to Jerusalem thinking the Savior, a King, would be born there.

There scribes and elders told them, as Herod insisted, that the Messiah must be born in Bethlehem six miles away in the city of David and now they came to find it.

But how will they find the house?

 Ah, there is the star. They see it again and it stops over the house where the Child lay and they came in to see the Baby Jesus.

We are told that they opened their treasures and brought forth gold, frankincense and myrrh--gold, no doubt, as a proper tribute for a king and myrrh for the suffering of a Savior as picturing the spices of His burial, and like the bitter herbs with which the Passover lamb was eaten, and frankincense for worship to God, for Christ is God.

Oh, Wise Men, let us kneel beside you by the manger cradle and to Jesus let us open our treasures and bring all we have to the Lord Jesus.

Wise men came to see Him, having seen His star afar, Bro't their gifts of precious gold and frankincense and myrrh. Herod heard, was troubled, could not kill the Holy Child. Jesus, Baby Jesus, King and Priest, and Savior mild.

Silent night, holy night,Wondrous Star, lend thy light;
With the angels let us sing Alleluia to our King!
Christ the Savior is born,Christ the Savior is born.

There were wonders and marvels to astound the mind and lift up the heart, give a lilt to voices of praise the night Jesus was born.

His birth was itself a miracle. It was good news to all people.  

He is Christ the Savior.

The angels were miraculously present and it was so important that it seems every angel in Heaven wanted to join in the glad refrain, the chant, of peace on earth.

The star was wonderful, too.

 Some think it might have been the conjunction of two of the planets in the heavens that made an extra brightness.

 No, no.
 This was a special star.

Was it like a comet across the sky?

 Was it like a meteor falling into space?


 In those days before there were any telescopes, they did not have a great many names for heavenly bodies, they did not differentiate between ancient planets and suns and meteors and comets.

 This star was especially created for this time to announce the Savior.

The Wise Men saw it in the east, and again when they came to Jerusalem they saw the star resting over the house where the Baby Jesus lay.

We suppose then that star disappeared having run its course, having made its holy announcement.

But do not miss even a greater marvel than the angels and the star and the divine leading of these Wise Men.

They came according to the Scriptures.

Oh, the birth of Jesus was wonderful, but it was foretold and this is the Gospel "how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures."

All the other miracles and manifestations are subject to a divine pattern, a divine schedule written down in the Bible.

 It was in "the fullness of the time" that Christ came, as we are told in Galatians 4:4.

That is, He could not come before and He could not come after--He must fulfill the Scripture, and He did.

So wise men studied the Scriptures yonder in the area of ancient Babylon.

Old, old manuscripts and books they studied until they came across what Daniel had prophesied.

When they came to Jerusalem, they needed more light.

They came as far as they knew how.

They came into Jerusalem, but they found now the Scripture said the Savior would be born in Bethlehem, so they came to Bethlehem.

 In the east they were to follow the Scriptures but they had a star then to verify their decision and comfort their hearts. Now they follow the Scriptures out to Bethlehem and again God gave the star to give additional light.

Do you not see again, as we sing about the Christmas story, that the virgin birth of Christ is far better than any fairy tales of Santa Claus and reindeer and sleighs?

 Do you not see that the story of the announcement to the shepherds and the Wise Men coming from the east is far more joy and blessing than the worldly festivities and drunkenness and feasting and revelry?

Let us rejoice then in the blessed Word of God this Christmas season.

Jesus, Baby Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, Tempted, poor and suffering no one knows us as He can!

Holy, righteous, blameless, fitting sacrifice complete. By His blood atonement, God and sinners in Him meet.
Now, let us sing again this sweet Christmas song, "Silent Night, Holy Night," for
"Christ the Savior is born,Christ the Savior is born."

Oh, make sure that you take Him as your own Savior, that you trust Him for forgiveness, that you love Him and give Him all your heart and all you have.

Jesus Christ loves you!

Merry Christmas from all of us at Shekinah Fellowship.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The secret chord that makes Christmas music sound so Christmassy (Vox)

Yahoo Email Scan Shows US Spy Push To Recast Constitutional Privacy (reuters.com)

Yahoo Inc's secret scanning of customer emails at the behest of a U.S. spy agency is part of a growing push by officials to loosen constitutional protections Americans have against arbitrary governmental searches, according to legal documents and people briefed on closed court hearings. 

The order on Yahoo from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) last year resulted from the government's drive to change decades of interpretation of the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment right of people to be secure against "unreasonable searches and seizures," intelligence officials and others familiar with the strategy told Reuters. 
The unifying idea, they said, is to move the focus of U.S. courts away from what makes something a distinct search and toward what is "reasonable" overall. 
The basis of the argument for change is that people are making much more digital data available about themselves to businesses, and that data can contain clues that would lead to authorities disrupting attacks in the United States or on U.S. interests abroad.
 While it might technically count as a search if an automated program trawls through all the data, the thinking goes, there is no unreasonable harm unless a human being looks at the result of that search and orders more intrusive measures or an arrest, which even then could be reasonable.
 Civil liberties groups and some other legal experts said the attempt to expand the ability of law enforcement agencies and intelligence services to sift through vast amounts of online data, in some cases without a court order, was in conflict with the Fourth Amendment because many innocent messages are included in the initial sweep.
 But the general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Robert Litt, said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday that the legal interpretation needed to be adjusted because of technological changes.***

A quote from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice In Wonderland”

“March Hare: …Then you should say what you mean.

Alice: I do; at least – at least I mean what I say — that’s the same thing, you know.

Hatter: Not the same thing a bit! Why, you might just as well say that, ‘I see what I eat’ is the same as ‘I eat what I see’!

March Hare: You might just as well say, that “I like what I get” is the same thing as “I get what I like”!

The Dormouse: You might just as well say, that “I breathe when I sleep” is the same thing as “I sleep when I breathe”!


 "The federal government has not justified its excessive secrecy about the massive telephone surveillance program known as Hemisphere, a court ruled in an EFF Freedom of Information Act lawsuit on Thursday." 

 The EFF announcement:  
As a result, the federal government must submit roughly 260 pages of previously withheld or heavily redacted records to the court so that it can review them and decide whether to make more information about Hemisphere public.

 Hemisphere is a partnership between AT&T and federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies that allows police almost real-time access to telephone call detail records. 

The program is both extremely controversial -- AT&T requires police to hide its use from the public -- and appears to violate our First and Fourth Amendment rights.
Government lawyers had argued the disputed documents were restricted to use at the federal level, but the court remained unconvinced, especially "after EFF demonstrated that many of them appeared to have been given to state and local law enforcement."