Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Voodoo ritualistic attack - and people tell me that they rather serve satan than God Almighty??!!!

Brazilian confesses to sticking needles into two-year-old
AFP - Friday, December 18

A Brazilian man confessed Thursday to sticking more than 40 needles into his two-year-old former stepson in a ritualistic attack aimed at exacting revenge on his ex-wife, police said.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - – A Brazilian man confessed Thursday to sticking more than 40 needles into his two-year-old former stepson in a ritualistic attack aimed at exacting revenge on his ex-wife, police said.

Roberto Carlos Magalhaes, 30, has been moved from Barreiras in the western state of Bahia because residents of the city want to kill him for his horrific crime, which has raised fears over "black magic" rituals, officials said.

Police said Magalhaes had confessed to sticking the needles into the boy, two or three every day, and said he was helped by two women who have denied the accusation but are under temporary arrest.

"He did it aiming to kill the child, to take revenge on the child's mother, with whom he used to fight a lot," said Barreiras police chief Helder Fernandes Santana.

The boy, who has not been named because of his age, was rushed by helicopter to Bahia's main city Calvados for emergency operations to remove the needles, but doctors said an infection near his heart prevented immediate surgery.

"One of the needles got to the heart and caused an infection, he's taking antibiotics right now," said Francisco Reis, director of the Ana Neri hospital in Salvador.

"Every heart infection goes straight to the circulatory system. We will obviously have to operate this child, but now we're looking for the best moment to do it," Reis said.

The boy's 38-year-old mother, Maria Souza Santos, was with her son. She had taken him to hospital in Barreiras when one of the needles perforated his lung, causing him to vomit.

A careful examination counted 42 of the metallic objects -- some measuring up to five centimeters (two inches) in length -- dispersed throughout the child's body including the neck, torso and legs.

Doctors said they planned to remove the most dangerous of the needles, but others would have to remain inside the body because removing them was too risky.

The village of Barreiras lies in Brazil's tropical northeast, a region heavily populated by the descendants of African slaves. It is known throughout Brazil as a center of religions and rites similar to voodoo practiced in Haiti and West Africa.

The Estado news agency reported that the boy was taken each weekend to the home of a woman named Angelina, who ordered his stepfather to insert the sewing needles.

Santos said she did not know how the needles got into son, but told reporters she found objects used for black magic ceremonies in her house, including a bottle of cachaca -- a common Brazilian rum made from sugar cane.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Why get them to come home when in the first place we should try to get them to stay?

Reasons to leave
Why Not?

Friday December 4, 2009

The number of Malaysians leaving to settle down in other countries is growing and this worrying trend needs to be studied.

MALAYSIANS are a well-travelled lot and there are very few countries in the world where at least one of our countryman cannot be found eking a living there.

In my travels as a journalist in the past 25 years covering various assignments, especially the visits by the Prime Ministers, the only place I could recall where I did not meet a fellow Malaysian was Ulan Ude, the capital of Buryat - one of the isolated former Soviet republics in Siberia.

Former diplomat Dennis Ignatius wrote in his column in The Star last month that he estimated that there were about one million Malaysians living abroad, half of them in Britain and the United States.

According to Ignatius, there were more than 300,000 in Britain, 200,000 in the US, 95,000 in Australia and 50,000 in Canada.

I even met a Malaysian in Peru who together with his Taiwanese wife had settled down in the South American country where he exports seafood like abalone to Asian countries. Even in Africa, where I have visited more than 10 countries, I met at least two of our countrymen in each of those nations.

This shows that we are a resilient lot and can make a living anywhere in the world. It is something to be proud of.

However, when Deputy Foreign Minister A. Kohilan Pillay told the Dewan Rakyat on Monday that a total of 304,358 Malaysians left the country between March last year and August this year, it must have surely rung alarm bells in the halls of power.

If it did not and the government leaders are not worried, then they better sit up and listen.

The number of OUR people migrating overseas in that 18 months is more than double that in 2007 when 139,696 migrated to other countries.

Kohilan admitted that the figures may be higher because they were derived from only those who had registered with Malaysia’s representative offices abroad.

On top of that, the deputy minister said the figures included 50,000 students who left to study abroad during that period.

So even if we exclude these student numbers, that’s still over 250,000 capable Malaysians who have left the country to settle down elsewhere — and we can be sure that they are well qualified, otherwise their new home countries would not have accepted them.

I dread to think of how many doctors, engineers, accountants and other professionals we have lost. This does not include expert brick-layers, artisans and even artists who have chosen to seek their fortune elsewhere.

Many of our 50,000 students will also not return home.

I have made it a point when I am overseas to meet with our students, especially those about to graduate. It is not a difficult thing to do because the Malaysian missions often organise meetings between visiting VIPs and the students. I just stayed back to meet them afterwards and many of them tell me that they do not intend to come home immediately after their graduation.

Most of them want to stay back to gain some experience and some even admitted that they had already applied for their PR (permanent resident) visas.

Even at 250,000 (excluding the students), this means that we lost about 1% of our population - now that is a worrying figure if this trend continues, especially since these are among our top talents.

Labis MP Chua Tee Yong, who had asked Kohilan the question about migration, had wondered whether the higher number of migration was a result of the political climate after the March 8 election, to which the deputy minister replied that it was a ‘’weak factor’’.

And Kohilan stated that the reasons for them migrating were for better education, business and career prospects. In other words, they left because they don’t think their future in Malaysia is bright. Something must be done to reverse this trend.

The Government has drawn up an extensive brain gain programme to attract ex-Malaysians or those living overseas to come home but that is not a proactive move. Why get them to come home when in the first place we should try to get them to stay?

The authorities must examine the reasons why 1% of the population left in just 18 months and will this figure go up again? Are there any particular policies that are driving these good people away?

We have drawn up all sorts of incentives to attract foreigners to come here, ranging from tax incentives to the Malaysia My Second Home programme. Isn’t it more urgent and cheaper to retain our talents?

I hope that the authorities will not just dismiss this latest increase in migration as just an over-reaction by certain ethnic groups only.

Back in the 1970s, many non-Malays left because they felt insecure after the May 13 incident and the introduction of the New Economic Policy. In the late 1980s, there was another spike in migration after the Ops Lalang crackdown in 1987 and again it was mostly non-Malays.

However, a former Australian High Commissioner told me that in the past few years the number of Malays seeking to migrate has increased tremendously. But to me that is not the issue. Why not?

Because it would be against the spirit of 1Malaysia – we should treat brain drain not as an ethnic problem, but as a national issue.

> Deputy Executive Editor Wong Sai Wan’s son will soon leave for overseas to study but the boy says he will come back although the father is unsure.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wanted: Intercessors

5 Nov 2009

Dear Prayer Partner,

1. TQ 4 your prayers. We do not take it for granted for we understand and realize the power of prayer – especially intercessory prayers.

2. In the last mail, I talked a bit about ministering and praying for Sabah so that they may be revived for the Lord. I had even nicknamed it R-Sabah.

3. A few days ago I received an urgent invitation to preach in a camp in Sabah. The original speaker cannot stay for the whole camp and I was invited to substitute for him. They anticipate over 1000 people to attend it, as it is a combination of 3 churches. Pray that the Lord will minister to them and revive Sabah for the glory of God.

4. It will be a pretty tight schedule for me for the next 2-3 weeks. This weekend I will be teaching for 9 hours on How to Interpret the Bible to a group of church leaders in Klang Valley. I will also be preaching for their Sunday morning service. Pray that they will fall in love with the eternal Word of God.

5. I will be back to rush 3 assignments for my Doctorate in Ministry. Then I will attend one week of lectures (Mon-Fri, 8am – 5pm) on how to handle stress and burnout in pastoring. This is my 5th module out of 7th.

6. Three days later, I will fly off for the abovementioned camp in Sabah. Pray for me as I will preach and minister in 4 services in 2 days. The next day, I will fly off to Kuching to preach in an Iban camp. This annual Iban camp would probably have 2,000 over participants. Pray for me as I preach on Laborers for the Harvest.

7. I fly back and a week later I will be preaching in an English camp in Klang Valley. One or two days, I will be off again to Sabah for 2 weeks of intensive ministry (at least 2 camps are confirmed). The first week, Jessie and Ana will be with me. Ana’s first trip to the land below the wind!

8. I share in detail so that you will keep us in prayer, as I may not have time to write. Ministry is hectic and can be stressful ~ we need all the prayers we can get!

9. Pray for Jessie as she juggles between Ana, work, her own family, ministry and an impatient hubby (me!). Without her and her complete dedication to the calling we have, it would be near impossible to do the things that God has entrusted me to do.

10. This month is her birthday and I would be away on the day itself (Nov 28). I would appreciate your prayers for her and drop a word of blessing and encouragement to her. It’s never easy to be the spouse of an itinerant speaker.

11. As I watch her sacrifice and work so hard and choose to live a simple lifestyle so that I can continue to minister to the various groups of people, I wish I can provide a better life for her. Pray for us. Pray financial breakthroughs. Pray for greater wisdom.

12. Also urgently pray for more intercessors and prayer warriors for us as there are more ministries being opened up for us. But we need more prayer covering so that it can effectively tear down the work of the enemy. Pray for the double portion of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. It is a spiritual warfare, and not based on human effort alone.

13. Pray for more advocates for us. We need more people who will speak on our behalf and raise fund for us so that we can do the work of the ministry. I know the current economic situation is quite bad, but it is during such times that God reveal Himself in a greater way. Pray for more regular supporters as expanding ministry requires more finances.

Jesus is the "Amen" because all that He says is true, sure, and valid. His promises and warnings are trustworthy, certain and will definitely come to pass. The truths that He teaches are established and unchanging. He is the Last Word, the finality of all truths.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

25,000 children die per day due to poverty

Facts About the Worlds' Children

2.2 billion worldwide
143 million are orphans
2 million were HIV-positive at the end of 2007
25,000 die per day due to poverty
3 million have no shoes
Every three minutes in a developing nation a child dies from malnutrition
9.2 million who were born in 2007 died before age 5
One in seven have no access to health services
400 million have no access to safe water
One in three do not have adequate shelter
121 million are not educated

Sources: U.N. AIDS; U.S. DOJ; UNICEF;

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Every life is comprised of a few themes

Preaching to the De-Churched: An Interview with Mark Batterson
Michael Duduit
Executive Editor of Preaching

Preaching: Your congregation is also known as the Theater Church. Why is that?

Batterson: I went into church planting with a traditional mindset: meet in a rented facility so you can buy or build a building. Problem is, on Capitol Hill property was going for about $10 million an acre.

Preaching: That's a challenge!

Batterson: Yeah, we were not going to buy property and build something. Long story short, we were meeting in the movie theaters at Union Station, which is the most visited destination in D.C. About 25 million people pass through Union Station every year.

You know, sometimes I'm slow picking up on these things, but at some point I thought to myself: Here we are meeting in a movie theater in Union Station, with amazing screens that we use for videos and worship projection, and there are 48 food court restaurants right outside our front door. And how many churches have their own subway system?

And then I thought to myself: Why would we build a building when we can be at a place like this? So that vision of meeting in movie theaters at Metro stops was birthed. We're now one church with nine services at five locations, four of them movie theaters. And then we own and operate the largest coffee house on Capitol Hill. God has blessed us over these 13 years. And, for what its worth, we are 70 percent single, 20-somethings; so a lot of emerging generation folks are coming to church, and we're doing our level best to reach them for Christ.

Preaching: The vast majority of your people come from an un-churched or de-churched background. How do you go about reaching those "de-churched" folks?

Batterson: That's just someone who grew up going to church but quit going. I've read statistics that as many as 61 percent of 20-somethings quit going to church at some point, and we kind of get them on the rebound. It's amazing how many people were checked out for five or 10 or 15 years, and we find them or they find us on the rebound. We love being a church for those folks who left the church for one reason or another. That's really who we're targeting and part of the reason why we're trying to meet in marketplace locations. It makes it a little bit easier for them to walk in our front door.

Preaching: As you do that, tell me about the approach you take to preaching. If we were to come to one of your locations next Sunday, what might we see and experience?

Batterson: Those of us who are preachers, we eat and sleep and breathe these things called preaching and teaching. I'm going to say up front that even 13 years in, I'm still trying to find my voice; and I make no apologies for that. I have not arrived, and I continue to try to sharpen my edge as a communicator. I do that by listening to a lot of podcasts—I have a steady diet of preachers in my own life.

If I were to describe one thing that makes us somewhat unique, it is that while we are very biblical in our approach, we do try to brand our sermon series. Let me give you an example. We did a series on First and Second Timothy that was expository in nature; but instead of titling it "First and Second Timothy," we decided to title or brand that series "Potential" because we felt like it was all about a guy named Paul who saw tremendous potential in a kid named Timothy. By branding it that way, we felt like it would speak to some of those deep desires in people's hearts to reach their potential.

We're not watering-down or dumbing-down the message of the gospel. In fact, you're never going to reach your potential outside a relationship with Jesus Christ as Creator and Savior. So, we're pretty straight up in the way we communicate from Scripture—we don't pull punches—but we also try to bring a little bit of creativity to bear in branding those series in a way that wouldn't just appeal to the people sitting in our church but encourage them to invite their un-churched friends.

Preaching: How long would a typical message be for you?

Batterson: (Laughs) I think I'm at a stage where I'm getting a little bit more passionate, and sometimes that means I get a little bit louder and a little bit longer! Typically speaking, I usually preach anywhere between 37 and 43 minutes. Our service times are about 65 to 70 minutes, so we don't have long services; and sometimes I have a tough time keeping it in check. But on a normal weekend, somewhere right around that 40-minute mark.

Preaching: There are a number of people who insist that because of declining attention spans, preachers have to offer shorter and shorter messages. Yet it's fascinating that pastors who have churches that are reaching lots of young adults today are not preaching 15- or 20-minute sermons.

Batterson: Number one, I think that young adult demographic has a longer attention span than we give them credit for. But you've got to be a good communicator, and you've got to utilize story and illustration and find ways to mix it up. The other thing I'm finding is that they want you to get in their faces and speak the truth. They want you to challenge them, and I'm very encouraged by that. I think it's a great day for preachers with this upcoming generation.

Preaching: A friend of mine speaks weekly to between 800 and 1,000 20-somethings, and he started out trying to be very creative and innovative. Finally they came to him and said, "No, tell us what the Bible says, what it means, and what we should do about it." They really want to know the truth of God's Word.

Batterson: I think that's bullseye. That doesn't mean there isn't an appreciation for creativity. We try to bring creative elements into play. I've often said that I think the pulpit is the least effective place to preach. I mean, if you can get off-site and preach in a creative location—listen, Jesus preached from boats, you know? Yet I've come to an even deeper conviction this year that it's not my creativity that's going to change people's lives, it's the Word of God. It's the Word of God that will not return void, so we need to preach the Word. I would say, "let it rip." We need to put it out there and go for it.

Preaching: You've got a couple of great books that have become very popular with churches in terms of launching bible studies, and sermon series and other things. The first one has one of my favorite book titles of all time, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. That's just got to be one of the all-time best book titles ever done. And then another one that you have is called Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God. Did these grow out of your own preaching ministry?

Batterson: They did. Here's a little back-story on In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. The entire book really revolves around one little story kind of buried in Samuel about one of David's mighty men, Benaiah, who chases a lion into a pit on a snowy day and kills it. It's just an amazing story. I heard a preacher preach out of that text when I was 19 years old, Michael. And somehow that story just captured my imagination and kind of got into my spirit; and I thought: If I ever write a book, I would love to write a book on that story because I love Benaiah and this idea of chasing lions.
I held on to that idea. And so years later I wrote that book—it came out in 2006—and did a sermon series as well. For both books we actually created Web sites—chasethelion.com and chasethegoose.com—with all of the videos and graphics and transcripts and anything anybody could ever want, and it's all customizable. And so hundreds of churches have done series on those books, utilizing some of those resources on those Web sites; and it's been really neat to see a lot of churches just get the DNA of those books and utilize them on a church-wide campaign.

Preaching: Your most recent book is Wild Goose Chase. What is that book all about?

Batterson: Well, you know the Celtic Christians have this name for the Holy Spirit, An Geadh-Glas, or the Wild Goose. I love that! It sounds a little sacrilegious, but what a great description of the Holy Spirit—you know you can't track or tame a wild goose. There's this kind of element of danger, or a little hint of mystery. And what a great description of what it's like living a Spirit-led life—you're not going to know where you're going all the time, and that might cause a little anxiety; but we also have another name for it, adventure. And so really it's a book that invites people into the adventure of living a Spirit-led life or chasing after the wild goose. It's a book that invites people into that adventure of following after the Holy Spirit.

Preaching: Both books came out of sermon series that you did. Do you preach mostly in series, and how far out do you plan your series?

Batterson: We do series the entire year. Occasionally in between—just to take a little bit of a creative breather—we'll do a buffer Sunday. Sometimes we'll call it PBJ Sunday, peanut butter and jelly. We'll kind of strip it down, not a whole lot of creativity.

We'll often celebrate communion those weekends and do kind of a back-to-basics message. But by and large it's sermon series.

We do a staff retreat in November, and we begin strategizing our sermon series for the next year. By the time we're done with that meeting we will have a rough strategy of those series that we're going to do throughout the next year.

By the way, this might be really kind of a helpful tip: we do an annual survey every year before that retreat; and one of things I do in that survey is to pitch a dozen sermon series ideas to our congregation and say, "Which one of these series would be most helpful to your spiritual growth?" And we track those numbers—the ones that come back with a very high percentage, it's a pretty good bet we're going to do those series. And then, interestingly enough, the ones that come back very low—in other words, the series that people don't want to hear—those series will often end up making the cut, too, because we're wondering, "Why don't you want to hear about this?"

So we'll put together that strategy. That sounds better than it really is because about 70 percent of those series will make the final cut. Then what will happen is we get into a year, we just feel like God's moving a little different direction, and we'll pull the plug on one series and plug in another series. It's not a perfect science, but what really helps me is that then I can read strategically months in advance as we're gearing up for different series because we'll know what we're doing. It also enables our creative team to put together elements in advance. So we try to plan out that entire year in advance.

Preaching: As you come into that November staff meeting, have you already sketched out some of your ideas about some of those series? How much of the final decision on the series is yours as opposed to a consensus of the group?

Batterson: We have a teaching team, and I speak about 36 weekends at this point. I used to do 48, but we have two other people on that teaching team. And this year we did something a little bit different. I said to them, "Instead of all the series being my decision, why don't you guys pitch a couple of sermon series ideas; and then you can plug me into the series where you want to do it." I'm definitely a key determining factor, even in delegating a little bit of that responsibility; but it is a little bit more of a team effort than just me making that decision.

Preaching: How many weeks would a normal series be for you?

Batterson: We try to do anywhere between three to five weeks. We think if it's a two-week series, we will not pull out all the stops and do banners, posters, invite cards. It's a little bit pared down because you don't get as much bang for the buck. But if it's a three- to four-week series, then we tend to pull out all the creative stops. We really brand the entire series to the hilt and try to have all of those different elements in place. We've found that if we try to go more than six weeks, we start losing a little bit of the attention span or that series starts losing a little bit of its momentum.

Preaching: Are there certain series you've done in recent years that you've felt really resonated with the congregation?

Batterson: Yeah, you know the very first series that comes to mind is a series we did called the "Elephant in the Church." It's a play on that little phrase the "elephant in the room," an obvious truth that everybody ignores. In keeping with what we're seeing with 20-somethings saying, "Hey, get up in my face. Challenge me. Speak into my life," and in part I think because we're in the bastion of political correctness here in D.C., we just wanted to talk about some of the elephants that are in the church—some subjects that are very difficult for us to talk about, but we need to talk about them. And that series was such a huge success the first time around that it has become an annual series.

The topics will range from alcohol—which is kind of controversial depending on your church background—to consumerism, that we want to challenge people to confront the materialism that we see in the church and in our culture. There's the political elephant, which is an interesting one to preach here in Washington, D.C. We actually did that message right before the last election. And so that series has been wildly successful in part because it's a little controversial. That series, all of the branding, and some of the video trailers that we did, the graphics are available at elephantinthechurch.com. If folks want to think about doing that series, they can certainly use everything we've done. The only think we'd ask is: Come up with some of your own elephants, do it better than we did it and then share it with someone else.

Preaching: Are there some things you've learned about preaching and communication that you wished you'd known when you were first starting out?

Batterson: (Laughs) Fortunately I had a wise mentor very early on who encouraged me to preach one-point sermons. I'm not at all against multiple points or even alliterating those points as a kind of memory tool. But I've found that sometimes saying one thing, and then turning the kaleidoscope to reveal different dimensions of that or to come at it from different angles, I think that can be a helpful tool.
I remember a conversation with a member of our congregation whose name I won't mention, but who was a cabinet member and a name people would know. I was a young preacher, and he was attending our church. I remember he came up to me after one of my sermons and said "Pastor, that was a great series of sermons." He very kindly and in an encouraging way said, "Listen, that sermon was great, but it was pretty long. Your first half was really good, but I forgot it because your second half was really good too."

I always struggle with the question: Can I say more by saying less? I strive toward that. It's kind of the "bed of nails" principle. If you lie down on one nail, it's going to puncture the skin and penetrate; but with a bed of nails, the pressure is diffused across a thousand nails and nothing ever penetrates—it doesn't really make its point. I think the same is true with preaching—we've got to try to have one primary point that we really drive home, and then everything else kind of surrounds that point and helps make the point.

Preaching: You mentioned that you were fortunate to have a mentor. Put on your mentoring hat for a moment. If you're sitting with a young pastor, trying to give some counsel about ministry, about preaching, what would it be?

Batterson: I think one of the first things that comes to mind is, find your voice. Listen to as many people as you can; but at the end of the day, what does God want to communicate through your unique personality? Through your unique life circumstances? Through your unique gifts?

And be comfortable in your own skin. I think early on I was trying to be a pastor, trying to be a preacher. More and more now I'm trying to be myself. And people respond to that, the authenticity when you're just being real. And so I think part of finding your voice is, in a sense, discovering your unique contribution to the kingdom of God.

C.S. Lewis said every life is comprised of a few themes. And I think discovering those themes helps us be confident as we communicate. On the flip side, it helps us realize that if we aren't careful we might ride on those hobby horses and preach on the same things week in and week out. And so part of finding your voice is: what are those life themes that God has woven into your life?

The second part of it is gaining more confidence to preach on tough topics. You know, we are not doing people any favors if we dance around the difficult subjects. How can we complain about some of the sexual depravity in our culture if we aren't talking about it from the pulpit? I know those are touchy topics, they're difficult to communicate about, but we've got to have the boldness. Part of finding your voice is the confidence to be able to communicate on tough topics but do it in a way that is more concerned about being biblically correct than politically correct. And in those moments when God's put something on your heart, let it rip.

My word of encouragement would be to thank God for His anointing. I don't know that I can even define it. I don't even know exactly what it is, I just know I need it. I know when I have it, and I know when I don't. And I think as preachers that keeps us humble.

At the end of the day, I think God's anointing is Him taking whatever message we've communicated and using it beyond our ability. It's an amazing thing — once those sound waves leave our lips and somewhere between there and hitting the ear drums of listeners, the Holy Spirit goes to work. That's when preaching is that wonderful tag team. The anointing of God, I think, can accomplish things in peoples' lives that we certainly can't.

Find this article at: http://www.crosswalk.com/pastors/11607937/

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why I Kissed Facebook Goodbye

Christians Foregoing Facebook for 'Digital Fasting'
Bobby Ross Jr.
Religion News Service

In the world of faith-based social networking, evangelical Christian leader Mark Oestreicher commanded a huge chunk of cyberspace.

Known as "Marko," the technological hipster amassed 4,000 Facebook friends, 1,500 Twitter followers and 2,000 daily readers of his blog.

But then he decided he'd had enough -- and unplugged from his online circle of friends.

"It's not that I don't think online connections are real. It's just that they are perpetually superficial," said Oestreicher, former longtime president of Youth Specialties, a company based in El Cajon, Calif., that specializes in youth pastor training materials and seminars.

In an age when many religious leaders embrace the latest technology and even "tweet" from the pulpit, some -- like Oestreicher -- are reassessing the potential negative impact of online overload.

"Unplugging has become essential to my spiritual journey and truly hearing God," said Anne Jackson, an author, speaker, and volunteer pastor at Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tenn. "For me, all the noise can drown that out if I'm not careful."

Jackson, author of the book "Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic," maintains a church leadership blog at Flowerdust.net that draws 150,000 page views a month, by her estimate.

She has 6,700 Twitter followers.

But earlier this year, she closed her Facebook account -- saying goodbye to 2,500 friends -- and committed to spend less time on Twitter and her blog.

She finally acknowledged what her husband had hinted for a while:

She had become a little obsessed with her online persona.

"For me, Facebook was a problem," Jackson wrote in an essay titled, "Why I Kissed Facebook Goodbye."

"I don't believe everyone should quit using Facebook, or be afraid of it if one hasn't started," she added. "We just need to be aware of the ways any form of media can interrupt our time with God or those closest to us."

Balance is the key, said Peggy Kendall, an associate professor of communication studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn., who has researched the impact of technology on society.

She bristles at the notion that online connections are "perpetually superficial."

"While there are certainly limitations to online communication, there are also significant benefits to communicating online that one can only rarely experience face to face," said Kendall, author of the forthcoming book "Reboot: Refreshing Your Faith in a High-Tech World."

In the old days of youth ministry, a pastor might endure years of junior high gym nights and overnight retreats before a student would feel comfortable enough to share deep hurts and uncertainties and ask authentic questions, she said.

But in an age of texting and instant messaging, a student might divulge "intensely personal things" within days of getting to know the youth pastor, Kendall said.

Students "have found that the hyperpersonal nature of online communication provides them a safe place to be real and communicate freely," she said.

Rather than unplug entirely, Kendall advocates that people of faith periodically "fast" from technology -- to assess what's helpful about their online activities and what's simply distracting.

This concept has become a "huge conversation" in the classes that theology professor Dillon Burroughs teaches at Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tenn.

"I call it `digital fasting,' although I recommend short breaks since it is like asking someone my parent's age to stop using a phone or reading a newspaper," said Burroughs, a former pastor who networks extensively with ministry leaders and has more than 38,000 Twitter followers.

During the week, the Rev. Margot Starbuck, a mother of three who works as a writer and speaker, said she writes, blogs and typically replies to e-mails within minutes of receiving them.

"If I'm not at my computer, I'm wondering what I'm missing," said Starbuck, an ordained Presbyterian pastor who lives in Durham, N.C. "I check e-mail first thing in the morning and often as the last thing I do before bedtime. I am not proud of that."

Even on Sundays, when she wasn't technically working, she found herself staying busy with e-mail and computer games.

So, she implemented what she calls "Unplugged Sabbath" -- no computer all day long.

"When I wake up in the morning, when I'd typically start mentally tuning in to work on the computer, I find I have nothing better to do than crawl in bed with my daughter," Starbuck said.

"After worship, when I don't have to be about my own business, I'm freed up to take a hike with my family and be entirely present to them,"

she added. "By the time evening rolls around, I don't even want to check the e-mail that's backed up all day."

In Oestreicher's case, he said he's not suggesting that everyone delete online profiles and stop using the Internet.

Rather, he said he made a personal decision to choose "best over good" and stop constantly checking his Blackberry for updates.

Trying to maintain hundreds -- and even thousands -- of online connections distracted from his real-life relationships with his family and colleagues, he said.

Months after unplugging, he voiced surprise at how little withdrawal pains he experienced.

"I think that was primarily because I so immediately saw a return of four things I was hoping for: time, presence, focus and creativity," he said. "My family could tell the difference, and my co-workers also. It was rather astounding, actually."

c. 2009 Religion News Service. Used with permission.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Malachi 2:14 the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her

Malaysian falls to her death after discovering affair
Other News & View
Tuesday November 3, 2009

A MALAYSIAN woman fell to her death from the 11th floor of an apartment in Singapore after discovering her husband’s extra-marital affair, reported China Press.

Xu Ya Niang, 54, was seen sitting on the edge of the kitchen’s windowsill by her daughter before she fell to her death at 5.40pm on Sunday.

It is learnt that she had earlier confronted her husband over his alleged affair with another woman but he instead threatened to divorce her.

According to her daughter, Xu was depressed over the past few weeks after seeing her husband walking with a woman.

“We stopped her from committing suicide a few times before,” said the daughter.

She said her father was aware that her mother was sitting on the windowsill as he was browsing the Internet in the living room.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

God has given us a spiritual compass to guide our path

Our Spiritual Compass

Theme: The Bible is our spiritual compass.

Object: A compass

Scriptures: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

I am sure that probably all of you have seen a compass. A compass is used to find the right direction to get you to where you want to go. The compass has four main directions, they are North, South, East and West. The needle of the compass always points North. If the needle is pointing in that direction (point to the North) and I want to go South, I would go that direction (point in the opposite direction from what the needle is pointing.) With the needle pointing North, if I wanted to go East, I would go in that direction (point to the East.) If the needle sometimes pointed North and at other times it pointed to the South, East, or West, I would never be able to use the compass to find my way. I would wander around, hopelessly lost. The compass must always point in the right direction if we are going to use it to guide us.

When we are trying to find our way through the journey of life, God has given us a spiritual compass to guide our path. That guide is the Bible, God's Holy Word. The truth that we find in the Bible never changes. It will always point us in the same direction. It will always point us to Jesus.

Some people use their feelings to help them to decide what they should do. That's no good. Our feelings change from day to day and they cannot be trusted. Besides that, just because we feel good about something doesn't mean that it is the right thing to do.

Some people choose what they will do by what's popular. That is no good either. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean that it is the right thing to do, does it? Tomorrow everyone might be doing something else.

There is only one thing that we can trust to always point us in the right direction, and that is the Bible. It will always point to Jesus and Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by me."

Father, we thank you for giving us the Bible to be our guide through life. Help us to remember that we can always depend on the Bible to point us in the right direction. Amen.

Without a compass ~ people are lost & starve to death! Without the Word, people died spiritually!

Woman, 2 boys starve to death in speedboat drifting at sea

Published: Sunday November 1, 2009 MYT 7:36:00 PM
Updated: Sunday November 1, 2009 MYT 9:04:53 PM

Eight other passengers rescued

JAKARTA: Three out of the 11 passengers on a small speedboat died as their boated drifted in the Sulawesi Sea for eight days.

The boat had run out of fuel after the skipper failed to find the way to TawiTawi in the Philippines after the compass failed.

The eight others were rescued at about 10am Sunday by fishing vessels and taken to Tolitoli in Central Sulawesi, said Ilham, secretary of Ogotua Mukim, as quoted by Antara news agency.

All the passengers are believed to be Malaysians.

Ilham said skipper Sapil Mahmud, 40, had identified the dead as Rosida, 30s, her two-year-old son Arisman and a 16-month-old boy Jonathan, and said the boat was headed from Lahad Datu in Sabah to TawiTawi when the mishap occurred.

He said the skipper had tried in vain for four hours to establish the direction to TawiTawi after the compass failed and the boat ran out of fuel.

Ilham said the woman and the boys succumbed to starvation and the heat. The boat had run out of food and water.

The bodies have been brought to the Ogotua community health centre in Tolitoli Utara and might be buried late Sunday, he said, adding that the other passengers had also been brought there for treatment.

Ilham said the survivors were Abd Siman Abbani, 34, Hiya Jaini, 40, Naslin, six, Rosima, three, Ronal Karsa, 39, Jonathan's father (unidentified), Ema Karsa (Jonathan's mother) and Jonathan's sister, Jasmin Roy, five.

"They are under treatment and the important thing is to make sure their condition is stable," he said.

Meanwhile, three fishermen from Lingayan, an island off Tolitoli, who had stumbled upon the drifting boat gave their statements to the Tolitoli Utara police station.

Charge d'affaires at the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta, Amran Mohamed Zain, when contacted, said the mission was getting more information and would send assistance if they were confirmed to be Malaysians. - Bernama

Bimbos in prisons?

Malaysian girls easily duped
Sunday November 1, 2009
The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian lasses are an easy lot to charm. They are easily smitten by sweet words and gifts, making them an easy target for drug-trafficking syndicates looking for mules.

This is the view of Deputy Foreign Minister A. Kohilan Pillay, who said young Malaysian girls, some fresh graduates, were easily conned by men from the syndicates to travel abroad with a package.

“Some of the girls meet the men abroad and some meet them in Malaysia.

“There have been cases where girls just knew the men for a day and were willing to travel around with a bag, not knowing the contents,” he said at the launch of the Wanita MCA women and children’s aid and public complaints bureau in Kepong yesterday.

Also present at the event was Wanita MCA chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun.

He said there were currently 1,565 Malaysians jailed abroad and 60% of the cases were drug mules.

“Thailand has the highest number of jailed Malaysians at 52. In Peru, 12 out of the 15 Malaysians jailed are girls,” he said, quoting 2007 statistics.

He added that 25 Malaysians were jailed in Taiwan, 11 in China, 12 in Spain and one in Chile.

“Six in China have been sentenced to death. Since 2007, about 30 Malaysians are in death row,” he said.

Kohilan added that the syndicates, mostly comprising African men, would give the young girls free flight tickets and cash for shopping as part of the trip abroad.

“There is no such thing as a free trip.

“Parents should be mindful of such trips and keep a close watch on their children,” Kohilan said.

Who's beating the crap out of the Indian man?!

Now, the Indian man cries domestic violence

Published: Sunday November 1, 2009 MYT 5:08:00 PM
The Star

Domestic violence is the number one cause of suicide among married men, according to India's National Crime Record Bureau

NEW DELHI: If 'Men are from Mars, and Women from Venus', then, who's beating the crap out of the Indian man in the sanctity of his marital home?

It appears that the standard roles appear to have been reversed, at least in India, if the cries of battered husbands are anything to go by.

Now, helpless and harassed men are demanding protection from their abusive wives and in-laws.

While stringent Indian laws have protected the fairer sex from domestic violence, now it is the Indian man who laments he is out in the cold.

An increasing number of men fall victim to domestic violence, either in cities or rural areas, according to social activists, though hard data is not readily available.

"Domestic violence against men has been prevalent but not reported because men are too shy to report that they are abused by their wives.

“Many men suffer in silence," Neeraj Aggarwal, coordinator of the Save the Family Foundation, told Bernama in a recent interview.

The foundation, a social organisation set up in 2005 to hear domestic grouses from married men, has set up over 100 helplines across Indian cities and towns.

It receives about 400 calls every week from harassed husbands.

Last Sunday, the group even staged a silent protest in the Indian capital to highlight the plight of men who suffer ill-treatment from their female partners and the lack of proper pro-male equality laws.

"Indian laws are so biased towards women that Indian men dare not lodge reports. The judiciary is under pressure from radical feminists and the courts will only listen to the woman's side of the story," said Aggarwal.

Cases of women ill-treating their husbands and the latter's parents, verbal and emotional abuses and even husbands threatened by their in-laws are common grouses faced by the men, but they hardly receive any attention, complain activists.

According to India's National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), 57,593 married men committed suicide for various reasons in 2007, as compared to 30,064 married women.

"Domestic violence is the number one cause of suicide among married men.

“According to an NCRB survey from 1996 to 2007, 156,000 married men committed suicide but the government had turned a blind eye.

"The data clearly shows men are also abused but their sufferings are suppressed. They don't have any communication channel and the attitude of society makes them suffer emotionally," said Virag Dhulia, public relations officer of the Bangalore chapter of the Save the Family Foundation. - Bernama

Mixed up? Messed up?

Students denied varsity places because of mixed parentage
Sunday November 1, 2009
The Star

KUCHING: Three bright students were denied places in university matriculation programmes because they are of mixed parentage.

Awang Adrian Awang Kasumar scored 10As in last year’s SPM and was active in school activities.

Although his father is a Malay, Awang Adrian does not enjoy bumiputra status because his mother is a Chinese convert.

Another SPM top scorer, Marina Undau (9As), also had her matriculation programme application rejected by the Education Ministry because she is a product of mixed parentage.

Marina, from Sri Aman, has an Iban father and Chinese mother.

Awang Salleh said his son’s application for the matriculation programme was rejected four months ago, and that the Public Complaints Bureau of the Prime Minister’s Department had given the reason that Awang Adrian did not have a bumiputra status.

The contractor said he was shocked to learn that as a bumiputra himself, his son was not.

“This is not right as the biological ethnicity of the father must be a dominant factor in determining the status of the child,” he told The Star yesterday.

He wanted to highlight the case of his son after reading about Marina’s plight in local paper Borneo Post.

He urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to look into the issue in line with the 1Malaysia concept.

Meanwhile, Malaysianmirror on-line portal highlighted the case of Daniel Ibau, who failed to get into the Labuan Matriculation College although he was one of the top students in SMK Wira Penrissen in Kota Samarahan.

Daniel, of Kayan-Chinese descent, is a Science student who scored 10As and 1B in last year’s SPM.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Most of the big spenders are young professionals, married and singles, and the wealthy

Recession hits Singapore unevenly
Insight Down South
Saturday October 31, 2009

While the rich few rejoice, many Singaporeans are making do quietly.

YOUNG Singaporeans, who were raised in an era of affluence, have been indulging in a spending binge that appears out of line with economic realities.

The splurge, which followed signs of a mild recovery in recent weeks, resulted in a strong price run-up in stocks, properties and cars, taking many economists by surprise.

It was so strong that people were ironically fearful of an asset bubble building up during a weak economy. This apparent over-indulgence appears to ignore repeated warnings from government leaders and economists that more job cuts are in store and the recession could return.

One of its sovereign wealth funds, Temasek Holdings, said that as far as it was concerned, Singapore is still in crisis.

Despite these, expensive restaurants are once again packed with weekend diners and private clubs, once quiet, are again buzzing.

Most of the big spenders are young professionals, married and singles, and the wealthy. Their buying has caused prices of resale public flats and private condominiums to soar.

And despite the downturn, car usage in Singapore – one of the costliest in the world – has risen at the expense of public transport.

Analysts have, however, pointed out that the consumer splashing is unlikely to last and is only one aspect of life in a recession.

It is confined largely to the upper-middle class and irrationally exuberant professionals, who appear unfazed by the severity of it all.

Growing up in a golden era with years of news screaming about more good times ahead, many Singaporeans seem oblivious to their country’s vulnerability to world turmoil.

The bigger story is of a struggling middle class (some two-thirds of the population) that is too badly affected to be able to buy luxury items.

When I mentioned it to an old friend, a businessman and former human resource manager, he said the wider picture is different.

For the majority of workers, jobs have been lost and take-home pay diminished.

Almost all Singaporeans, rich and poor, have lost out in the recession, the worst being the poorer class.

“I admire these people very much. Mostly old and little skilled, they struggle on silently. No time to talk about their plight, just carry on working,” he said.

During the past two years, almost every Singaporean had to dip into his own savings to sustain himself, like the government did with its reserves in an effort to protect jobs.

The picture is different for the rich, whose number has been growing substantially through immigration.

The crisis has decimated fortunes, but the bulk of high-asset owners have enough financial muscle (again like the country itself) to ride out the storm or even prosper from it.

It is largely the spending habit of this group that fuelled the recent indulgence.

Years later, if writers looked back at the current severe downturn to ask what lasting impact the global crisis had on this society, one answer would be the erosion of the middle class.

The trend was first detected in Japan, and to a lesser extent in Hong Kong and Taiwan, as these middle-class societies prospered.

The theory, known as the M-shaped society, was enunciated by Japanese strategist Kenichi Ohmae. He observed that in Japan’s “M-shape” class distribution, very few middle-class people may climb up the ladder into the upper class, while the others gradually sank to the lower classes.

These people suffered a deterioration in living standards, faced the threat of unemployment, or their average salary was dropping, he said. Gradually, they could only live the way the lower classes lived: taking the bus instead of driving their own car, cutting their budget for meals instead of dining at better restaurants, and spending less on consumer goods.

Kenichi said all this might take place while the economy enjoyed remarkable growth and overall wages rose. However, the wealth increase may concentrate in the pockets of the very few rich people in society.

The masses cannot benefit from the growth, and their living standard goes into decline. For many middle-class Singaporeans, these sound uncomfortably like home.

The government, which relies on middle-class voters to keep itself in power, has vowed to make the closure of the economic gap a national priority.

It is a doubly tough job given the economic crisis which is widening – rather than narrowing – the differences. Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew seems to find this gap an inevitable feature here.

Singapore has the second-highest income gap with a Gini score of 42.5 among developed economies after Hong Kong, according to the UN Development Programme report,

(The Gini Coefficient index measures the income gap between the poor and the rich in any country with zero denoting absolute equality.)

Lee was speaking at a forum with undergraduates when he rejected a minimum wage for workers to narrow this gap, saying it was more important to keep jobs.

“Never mind your Gini coefficient,” he said. “If you don’t have a job you get zero against those with jobs.” In other words it is better to have a job with lower pay than no job.

Such remarks would obviously be more acceptable, albeit grudgingly, to the previous generation of poorer citizens than the current one.

It was such logic that helped turn Singapore into the richest country in South-east Asia, with a per capita GDP income rising steadily in four decades to S$53,192 (RM130,048) in 2008.

But in today’s high-cost city with Singaporeans finding it harder and harder to cope with the crisis, his words have neither helped nor dispelled many concerns.

Fasting Part 4

What Physical Effects to Expect

By Dr. Bill Bright

Although fasting can be an indescribable blessing, it is not always easy for everyone. In this time of discipline, self-sacrifice and reflection, do not be surprised if you experience mental and physical discomforts.

To begin, you may experience some inner conflict when you deny yourself the pleasure of eating delicious food. Any sort of fast may sometimes leave you feeling impatient and irritable. During a 3-day fast, this struggle can intensify toward the end of the second day. That seems to be a favorite time for the "self" to rise up and say, "This is as far as I want to go. I have done enough."

Physical Effect

Hunger Pangs: These are greatest usually during the first three days of the fast. Your body is adjusting from using the food in your digestive tract (which remains about three days) to consuming stored fats.

Suggested Relief:

Psyllium Bulk: Help eliminate hunger pangs and also aids in cleansing the body. Several capsules can be taken throughout the day with plenty of water.

Silymarin tablets may also be helpful, for they are believed to protect and enhance the cleansing of the liver.

Physical Effect

Coldness, bad breath and heightened body odor, changes in elimination (constipation or diarrhea), light-headedness, changes in sleeping and dreaming patterns, aches and pains.

A white-coated tongue at the beginning of a fast may be a part of the body's pattern of throwing off toxins.

Also expect to go the the bathroom often (you will be drinking lots of water!)

Suggested Relief

After the first two weeks of an extended fast, many of these symptoms subside. Continuing aches in a certain area of the body usually means elimination of fatty tissue is going on in that area, which is not harmful. However, any extensive pain should be examined immediately.


Physical Effect
Headaches or stomachaches may be a result of salt, sugar, or caffeine withdrawal.

Suggested Relief
Eliminating those items from your diet prior to fasting is the best way to avoid these pains.

Physical Effect
Lower back pain may indicate that you are dehydrating

Suggested Relief
Drink more fluids

Physical Effect
Dizziness may be caused by a sudden change in position, such as rising suddenly from a chair.

Suggested Relief
Stop for a second or two, then recover. Move slowly. (A word of caution: these conditions may be symptoms of other problems requiring medical attention).

Physical Effect
Minor fasting discomfort

Suggested Relief
Take one teaspoon of psyllium seed powder morning and evening. Mixed in lukewarm water, it becomes like Jell-O. This powder will hasten the elimination of toxins from your colon and help to prevent headaches and dizziness for most healthy people. Alfalfa tablets can help control bad breath and cleanse the system. Two tablets at a time can be taken several times a day.

In my desire to be absolutely faithful to my first 40-day fast, I stopped taking my usual vitamins and minerals. However during subsequent fasts, I have felt strongly impressed to continue my vitamin and herbal therapy and also using psyllium. I do this to keep my "temple" healthy while continuing to deny myself the pleasure of eating solid food.

During your fast, you may have your struggles, discomforts, spiritual victories, and failures. In the morning you may feel like you are on top of the world, but by evening you may be wrestling with the flesh-sorely tempted to raid the refrigerator and counting how many more days are left in your fast. This is especially true if you are new at fasting. To counteract temptations like these, take extra time with the Lord to spend with God. Step outside for fresh air and a moderate walk of a mile or two, and talk to the Lord as you walk along. And in the process always keep on sipping water or juice frequently during your waking hours.

How to Finish Your Fast in a Healthy Way

All the experts agree that "breaking the fast" is the critical phase of fasting. While your body is in the resting mode, your stomach shrinks and your intestines become idle, so solid food must be re-introduced very slowly to avoid kidney failure or digestive distress. In fact, after a 40-day fast, you should make a careful transition for at least three days before returning to eating meats or fats or normal foods.

Further, if you end your fast gradually, the beneficial physical and spiritual effects will linger for days. But if you rush into solid foods, you may lose much of your deep sense of peace and experience physical problems such as diarrhea, sickness, fainting, and frankly even death in some cases, due to shock!

Dr. Paul Bragg and his daughter Patricia have conducted fasting clinics for many years. Their book, The Miracle of Fasting, gives a specific daily food plan for breaking a 7-day fast that could be adapted and stretched out over several more days for a 40-day fast.

Breaking a Seven-Day Fast
5 o'clock as you end your 7th day of the fast

Peal four or five medium-sized tomatoes - cut them up, bring them to a boil and then turn off the heat. When they are cool enough to eat, have as many as you desire.

Morning of the 8th day

Salad of grated carrots and grated cabbage, with half an orange squeezed over it.
Bowl of steamed greens and pealed tomatoes (spinach, Swiss chard, or mustard greens). Bring the greens to a boil, then turn off the heat.

You may eat two slices of 100 percent whole-wheat bread, which has been toasted until it is thoroughly dry-this is called "Melba toast." After it has been cooled, the toast should be so dry that it would powder if you squeezed it in the palm of your hand. As I have stated, this first food should be in the morning.

During the day, you may have all the distilled water you wish to drink.

For dinner, you may have a salad of grated carrots, chopped celery and cabbage, with orange juice for dressing. This will be followed by two cooked vegetables, one such as spinach, kale, shard, or mustard greens, and one such as string beans, carrots, steamed celery, okra, or squash. You may have two pieces of whole-grain "Melba toast." These meals are not to contain oils of any kind.

Morning of the 9th day

You may have a dish of any kind of fresh fruit, such as banana, pineapple, orange, sliced grapefruit, or sliced apples. You may sprinkle this with two tablespoonfuls of raw wheat germ, and sweeten it with honey, but not over one tablespoonful
At noon you may have a salad of grated carrots, cabbage, and celery, with one cooked vegetable and one slice of "Melba toast."

At dinner you may have a salad dish of lettuce, watercress, parsley, and tomatoes, and two cooked vegetables.

Most experts agree that breaking a fast with vegetables, either steamed or raw, is best. Your stomach is smaller now, so eat lightly. Stop before you feel full. Stay away from starches like pastas, potatoes, rice, or bread (except for "Melba toast") for at least a week. Also avoid meats, dairy products, and any fats or oils for a week or more. Introduce them very slowly and in small amounts.

Extended fasts are not the only fasts which need to be ended with caution. Even a 3-day fast requires reasonable precautions. It is wise to start with a little soup -- something thin and nourishing such as vegetable broth made from onion, celery, potatoes, and carrots -- and fresh fruits such as watermelon and cantaloupe.

In terms of resuming any sort of exercise routine, the advice is the same. Start out slowly, allowing time for your body to re-adjust to its usual regime.

Fasting Part 3

How to Prepare Yourself Spiritually and Physically

By Dr. Bill Bright

Spiritual Preparation

In preparation for this special time with God, I strongly urge you to examine your heart, and detect any unconfessed sin. Scripture records that God always requires His people to repent of their sins before He will hear their prayers. King David said:

Come and hear, all of you who reverence the Lord, and I will tell you what he did for me: For I cried to him for help, with praises ready on my tongue. He would not have listened if I had not confessed my sins. But he listened! He heard my prayer! He paid attention to it!

Blessed be God who didn't turn away when I was praying, and didn't refuse me his kindness and love. (Psalm 66:16-20)

In your prayers, confess not only obvious sins, but less obvious ones as well. The sins of omission as well as the sins of commission experiences. These may be experiences leaving your first love for our Lord: worldly-mindedness, self-centeredness, spiritual indifference, and unwillingness to share your faith in Christ with others, not spending sufficient time in God's Word and in prayer, a poor relationship with your spouse, your children, your pastor, or other members of your church.

Another great way to prepare for your fast is to practice what I call "Spiritual Breathing." The concept is simple, but it has changed my own life and that of millions of others.

Like physical breathing, Spiritual Breathing is a process of exhaling the impure and inhaling the pure. If you knowingly sin, breathe spiritually to restore the fullness of God's Holy Spirit in your life. You exhale by confessing your sins immediately when you become aware of them, and you inhale by inviting the Holy Spirit to re-take control of your life. As an act of faith, trust Him to empower you. During the fast, spiritual breathing-constant reliance on the Holy Spirit-will enable you to resist temptation, not only to sin but to abandon your fast.

Physical Perparation

Although fasting is primarily a spiritual discipline, it begins in the physical realm. You should not fast without specific physical preparation.

If you plan on fasting for several days, you will find it helpful to begin by eating smaller meals before you abstain altogether. Resist the urge to have that "last big feast" before the fast. Cutting down on your meals a few days before you begin the fast will signal your mind, stomach, and appetite that less food is acceptable.

Some health professionals suggest eating only raw foods for two days before starting a fast. I also recommend weaning yourself off caffeine and sugar products to ease your initial hunger or discomfort at the early stages of your fast.

How to Manage Your Schedule While Fasting

How long you fast, the kind of fast you undertake, and how you adjust your work schedule depends mostly on your occupation. Persons with office jobs, pastors, or homemakers may find it easier to continue their duties and fast for longer periods of time. In fact, on the basis of my personal experience, worldwide travels and the many letters, which I have received, I am confident that many, many thousands of pastors and lay men and women have already completed a 40-day fast!

Though there are many who engage in strenuous physical labor and have enjoyed their extended fast, if you are so engaged, you may wish to fast only one or more days of the week, limiting yourselves to partial fasting if you are so engaged. Or you may look to weekends as the prime time to abstain from food. Remember, too, fasting during major holidays is not always a good idea. Families may be inconvenienced, and temptations to eat can be overwhelming.

Reasons for schedule adjustments, especially during an extended fast, are two-fold...

The first is physical. Throughout your fast, you may feel somewhat weaker than normal. During the first few days, you may feel tired and irritable. Lightening your workload and cutting down on strenuous exercise would be a very good idea to maintain your health and your morale.

The second reason is spiritual. Fasting is not just denying yourself food. It is exchanging the needs of the physical body for those of the spiritual. Long times of prayer and reading God's Word will be very essential if you are to enter into a more intimate communion with God to maintain your fast to its completion. While fasting, if you dissipate your energy on numerous errands or busy-work to the neglect of spending special time with God, you will starve both physically and spiritually. You will find yourself becoming discouraged and frustrated with your fast instead of being benefited and uplifted and blessed. I don't want that to happen to you.

The more time you spend with God in fellowship, worship, and adoration of Him, and the more you read and meditate upon His Word, the greater your effectiveness will be in prayer and the more meaningful your fast will be. So I encourage you to arrange your schedule accordingly!

Dealing With the Responses of Friends and Loved Ones

Many people are reluctant to tell others that they are fasting so they will avoid the sin of the Pharisees: fasting just to gain recognition for themselves. I strongly believe that attitude is a result of a wrong interpretation of our Lord's teaching and that it is a trick of the enemy who does not want us to fast, nor to share with your loved ones, neighbors and friends the benefits of fasting.

By isolating ourselves from the support of other Christians, we will be more susceptible to doubts and negative influences (both human and demonic). We need the prayer shield of our Christian friends and family members to help us continue when we feel alone and when the enemy tempts us to give up Our Lord as he did Jesus Christ. Eventually, people will notice you are not eating.

However, I have found that unless you see them daily, they do not consider your skipped meal much of a concern. If you are asked, nonbelievers may be satisfied by such a brief answer as, "I have other plans for lunch today." Or Christians should be satisfied when you answer that you are fasting today.

If friends and family express concern for your health, ease their fears by telling them that you will stop fasting the moment you feel you are harming your body or if the Lord leads you to end your fast. Tell them you are fasting under your doctor's care, which I urge you to do if you have any question concerning your health.

There is usually no reason for telling strangers or casual acquaintances that you are fasting. If you do, they may subject you to a lot of questions that you may not want to answer. But in any case, use your best judgment and the Lord's leading in telling people about your fast.

How To Make Your Spiritual Experience the Best it Can Be

Receiving God's best blessing from a fast requires solid commitment. Arranging special time each day with God is absolutely crucial in attaining intimate communion with the Father. You must devote yourself to seeking God's face, even (and especially) during those times in which you feel weak, vulnerable, or irritable. Read His Word and pray during what were mealtimes. Meditate on Him when you awake in the night. Sing praises to Him whenever you please. Focus on your Heavenly Father and make every act one of praise and worship. God will enable you to experience His command to "pray without ceasing" as you seek His presence.

As you enter this time of heightened spiritual devotion, be aware that Satan will do everything he can to pull you away from your prayer and Bible reading time. When you feel the enemy trying to discourage you, immediately go to God in prayer and ask Him to strengthen your resolve in the face of difficulties and temptations.

The enemy makes you a target because he knows that fasting is the most powerful of all Christian disciplines and that God may have something very special to show you as you wait upon Him and seek His face. Satan does not want you to grow in your faith, and will do anything from making you hungry and grumpy to bringing up trouble in your family or at work to stop you. Make prayer your shield against such attacks.

My major reason for fasting is for personal revival, revival for our nation, for the world and for the fulfillment of the Great Commission by the end of the year 2000. But praying for our own needs and interceding for others are also important reasons to fast and pray. Bring your personal needs before the Lord, intercede for your loved ones, your friends, your church, your pastor, your community, your nation, and the world. By your prayers of humility, as you fast, you will help the Great Commission be fulfilled.

However, do not become so caught up in praying for yourself and others that you forget about simply reverencing and praising God. True spiritual fasting focuses on God. Center your total being on Him, your attitudes, your actions, your motives, desires, and words. This can only take place if God and His Holy Spirit are at the center of our attention. Confess your sins as the Holy Spirit brings them to your attention and continue to focus on God and God alone so that your prayers may be powerful and effective.

A renewed closeness with God and a greater sensitivity to spiritual things are usually the results of a fast. Do not be disappointed if you do not have a "mountaintop experience," as some do. Many people who have successfully completed extended fasts tell of feeling a nearness to God that they have never before known, but others who have honestly sought His face report no particular outward results at all. For others, their fast was physically, emotionally, and spiritually grueling, but they knew they had been called by God to fast, and they completed the fast unto Him as an act of worship; God honored that commitment.

Your motive in fasting must be to glorify God, not to have an emotional experience, and not to attain personal happiness. When your motives are right, God will honor your seeking heart and bless your time with Him in a very special way.

How to Maintain Nutritional Balance and Health From Beginning to End

I know the prospect of going without food for an extended period of time may be of concern to some. But there are ways to ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs so you can remain safe and healthy during your fast.

For an extended fast, I recommend water and fruit and vegetable juices. The natural sugars in juices provide energy, and the taste and strength are motivational to continue your fast. Try to drink fresh juices, if possible. Off-the-shelf juice products are acceptable, as long as they are 100% juice with no sugar or other additives.

If you are beginning a juice fast, there are certain juices you may wish to avoid and certain ones that are especially beneficial. Because of their acid content, most nutritionists do not advise orange or tomato juice (these are better tolerated if mixed with equal portions of water). The best juices are fresh carrot, grape, celery, apple, cabbage, or beet. They also recommend "green drinks" made from green leafy vegetables because they are excellent "de-toxifiers."

Fruit juices are "cleansers" and are best taken in the morning. Since vegetable juices are "restorers" and "builders," they are best taken in the afternoon.

I usually dedicate a portion of my 40-day fast to a special liquid formula, which I have found to be effective over many years. A few recipes and my comments are on this page, as well as a helpful schedule.

One gallon distilled water
1-1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4-cup pure maple syrup
1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper.

The lemon juice adds flavor and vitamin C, the maple syrup provides energy, and the cayenne pepper -- an herb -- acts to open small blood vessels which, I believe, helps the body as it cleanses itself of stored toxins. (A word of caution: although I use this formula with no ill effects, cayenne pepper could cause severe physical reactions in persons with a specific allergy to this herb.)
My favorite juice is a mixture of 100% pure white grape juice and peach juice. The juice is available in frozen cans under the Welch label. Most knowledgeable nutritionists recommend:

Watermelon -- just put it in the blender without adding water
Fresh apple juice
Green juice -- blend celery, romaine lettuce, and carrots in equal proportions. (Vegetable juices like this one are important, for they supply the electrolytes necessary for proper heart function!)
Some nutritionists recommend warm broth, especially if you live in a colder climate. You may find their recipes helpful:

Boil sliced potatoes, carrots, and celery in water.
Do not add salt.
After about a half-hour, drain off the water and drink.
Gently boil three carrots, two stalks of celery, one turnip, two beats, a half head of cabbage, a quarter of a bunch of parsley, a quarter of an onion, and a half clove of garlic
Drain off the broth and drink up to two or three times daily.
You may find the following daily schedule helpful during your fast. I recommend you print it and keep it handy throughout your fast.

5:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.

Fruit juices, preferably freshly squeezed or blended, diluted in 50 percent distilled water if the fruit is acid. Orange, apple, pear, grapefruit, papaya, grape, peach or other fruits are good.

10:30 a.m. - noon

Green vegetable juice made from lettuce, celery, and carrots in three equal parts.

2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Herb tea with a drop of honey. Make sure that it is not black tea or tea with a stimulant.

6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Broth from boiled potatoes, celery, and carrots (no salt).

I suggest that you do not drink milk because it is a pure food and therefore a violation of the fast. Any product containing protein or fat, such as milk or soy-based drinks, should be avoided. These products will restart the digestion cycle and you will again feel hunger pangs. Also, for health reasons, stay away from caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, or cola. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it has a more powerful effect on your nervous system when you abstain from food. This works both against the physical and spiritual aspects of the fast.

Another key factor in maintaining optimum health during a fast is to limit your physical activity. Exercise only moderately, and rest as much as your schedule will permit (this especially applies to extended fasts). Short naps are helpful as well. Walking a mile or two each day at a moderate pace is acceptable for a person in good health, and on a juice fast. However, no one on a water fast should exercise without the supervision of a fasting specialist.

The most important consideration in fasting is your motive

How To Fast Safely

By Dr. Bill Bright

As you begin your fast, you may hear from concerned loved ones and friends who urge you to protect your health. And they are right. You should protect your health. But I assure you, if done properly, fasting will not only prove to be a spiritual blessing, but physical blessing as well.

By all means, consult your doctor before you begin your fast. But, be aware that many doctors have not been trained in this area and so their understanding is limited. Even so, it would be wise to ask your doctor for a physical exam to make sure you are in good health. You may have a physical problem that would make fasting unwise or dangerous. Also, if you are under any type of medication, make sure you talk to your doctor before changing your regime. Prudence and caution are in order.

When you are assured that you are in good health, you are ready to begin your fast. Follow the guidelines in the Physical Preparations and Maintaining Nutritional Balance and Health parts of this website.

In spite of the absolute safety and benefits of fasting, there are certain persons who should NEVER fast without professional supervision. For example:

1. Persons who are physically too thin or emaciated.
2. Persons who are prone to anorexia, bulimia, or other behavioral disorders.
3. Those who suffer weakness or anemia.
4. Persons who have tumors, bleeding ulcers, cancer, blood diseases, or who have heart disease.
5. Those who suffer chronic problems with kidneys, liver, lungs, heart, or other important organs.
6. Individuals who take insulin for diabetes, or suffer any other blood sugar problem such as hyperglycemia.
7. Women who are pregnant or nursing.

How Long and What Type of Fast is Right for You

If you have never fasted before, I applaud your present interest! Fasting has been a major emphasis in the lives of many of the great spiritual leaders throughout history. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist denomination, fasted every Wednesday and Friday and required all of his clergy to do the same. Effective ministers of God from the apostle Paul to Martin Luther to John Calvin made it a continual part of their walks with God.

None of those men had a "formula fast" that was the only "right" way. Fasting is about the condition of the heart, not the number of days. Each time that I have fasted for forty days, it was because I felt impressed by God to do so.

So, start slowly. Fast for one meal a day, or one day a week, or one week a month. Build up your spiritual muscles so that you will be prepared in a period of several months to fast for an extended 40 day period.

The Bible Recounts Primarily Two Types of Fasts

A partial fast is described in the book of Daniel. Although the water fast seemed to be the custom of the prophet, there was a three-week period in which he only abstained from "delicacies," meat, and wine (Daniel 10:3).

The two primary types mentioned in the Bible are the "absolute" and "supernatural absolute" fasts. These are total fasts-no food (solid or liquid) and no water. Paul went on an absolute fast for three days following his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:9). Moses and Elijah engaged in what must be considered a supernatural absolute fast of forty days (Deuteronomy 9:9; I Kings 19:8).

So, I strongly advice you to drink plenty of liquids. Obviously, if God leads you to undertake an absolute fast, you should obey. If so, be certain, without doubt, that God is leading you.

Water-only fasts that last for more than several days need to be undertaken with complete rest and under medical supervision because of the extreme danger of over-toxification, breakdown of vital body tissues, and loss of electrolytes.

I personally recommend and practice water and juice fasting, especially if you are going to fast for an extended period of time. This type of fast will provide you with more energy than absolute or water-only fasts and still lead you into the humbling experience of denying your desire for solid food that you can chew.

When it comes to making your final decision about what type of fast is right for you, the best advise I can give you is to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. He will guide your heart and mind as to what is best for you. Remember, the most important consideration in fasting is your motive. Why are you fasting? To seek something personally from God's hand or to seek His face in worship, praise and thanksgiving?

Through fasting and prayer, the Holy Spirit can transform your life!

Your Personal Guide to Fasting and Prayer

By Dr. Bill Bright

Fasting is the most powerful spiritual discipline of all the Christian disciplines. Through fasting and prayer, the Holy Spirit can transform your life.

Fasting and prayer can also work on a much grander scale. According to Scripture, personal experience and observation, I am convinced that when God's people fast with a proper Biblical motive-seeking God's face not His hand-with a broken, repentant, and contrite spirit, God will hear from heaven and heal our lives, our churches, our communities, our nation and world. Fasting and prayer can bring about revival - a change in the direction of our nation, the nations of earth and the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

The awesome power can be released through you as you fast through the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

Fasting is one of the most neglected spiritual admonitions. In fact, it has been ignored for so long that it is difficult to find information on the "how-to's" of this life-changing experience. When I first undertook an extended fast, I had a difficult time finding information on the nature of a Biblical fast, how to start, what to expect physically and spiritually, and how to terminate a fast.

These pages are designed to answer your practical questions about fasting and ease any concerns you might have. In this series, you will learn:

Why you should fast
How to fast safely
How long and what type of fast is right for you
How to prepare yourself spiritually and physically
How to manage your schedule while fasting
How to deal with the responses of friends and loved ones
How to make your spiritual experience the best it can be
How to maintain nutritional balance and health from beginning to end (including specific juice and broth recipes)
What physical benefits to expect
How to finish your fast and return to your normal schedule in a HEALTHY way

I want to be of help to you so I will be speaking to you from these pages at various points in the study. I have completed five 40-day fasts. I want to share with you what I have learned and what has helped me. Whether you hold a 1-day fast or an extended 40-day fast, I pray that our Lord's most wonderful love and blessings will be poured out on you as you take this exciting step of faith.

Why You Should Fast

If you do not already know of the power and importance of fasting, here are some very important facts:

1. Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament eras. For example, Moses fasted at least two recorded forty-day periods. Jesus fasted 40 days and reminded His followers to fast, "when you fast," not if you fast.

2. Fasting and prayer can restore the loss of the "first love" for your Lord and result in a more intimate relationship with Christ.

3. Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God (Psalm 35:13; Ezra 8:21). King David said, "I humble myself through fasting."

4. Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life.

5. The Holy Spirit will quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you!

6. Fasting can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience.
Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life-and make you a channel of revival to others.

7. Fasting and prayer are the only disciplines that fulfill the requirements of II Chronicles 7:14: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

If you fast, you will find yourself being humbled as I did. You will discover more time to pray and seek God's face. And as He leads you to recognize and repent of unconfessed sin, you will experience special blessings from God.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

ISAIAH 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil

Awards for reps who take single mums as 2nd wives!

Published: Wednesday October 28, 2009 MYT 3:53:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday October 28, 2009 MYT 4:10:09 PM

KOTA BARU: Kelantan Women, Family and Health committee chairman Wan Ubaidah Omar suggested that awards be given to assemblymen for marrying single mothers should they decide to take another wife.

Her suggestion drew support from backbenchers -- all of them men -- who started thumping their palms on the table at the Kelantan State Assembly on Wednesday.

She said the assemblymen could increase their quota to help single mothers with young children and it would help greatly if the assemblymen assisted by marrying them.

Her statement prompted house speaker Nassuruddin Daud to ask Wan Ubaidah to explain the word “quota.”

“What I meant by quota is the number of wives; awards should be given to learned House members who take the lead in doing this and also for those who have already married single mothers.

“This would help to reduce the number of single mothers in the state,” she said in reply to a question by Hassan Mahmood (PAS-Tawang), who had asked what was being done to reduce the number of divorce cases and what efforts were being taken by the state government to help single mothers.

To a supplementary question, Wan Ubaidah said that based on state records, there were 16,500-registered single mothers below the age of 60 in Kelantan and this figure did not include those who had been left in the lurch by their husbands.

She said one dilemma facing some single mothers in Kelantan and the country as a whole was that many of them could not register at the Welfare Department or related agencies because their husbands had left them without filing for divorce.

She said that she agreed with the call by Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Nik Mat to whip irresponsible husbands who left their wives high and dry without any reason.

She said Kelantan spent RM2mil annually to look after the welfare of single mothers who had no source of income.

“Apart from that, we have organised entrepreneurial workshops to help single mothers earn a living.

“The government has also organised talks to educate the immediate families of single mothers to take the initiative to help and not leave them alone to fend for themselves.

“We have had similar educational talks for husbands who had divorced their wives to encourage them to pay alimony to help their ex-wives get on with their lives,” she added.

Train ourselves to worship in all circumstances

Worship Sets Us Free

And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone¹s chains were loosed. Acts 16:23-26

Worship sets people free. How much do you worship? When do you worship? Are you able to worship when your circumstances are the very worst, your patience has failed and your confusion is maxed out? Do praise songs come to your mind at the most stressful times? We need to assess our ability to worship because worship will change our lives. We need to .

Paul and Silas were beaten, thrown in the inner prison and their feet were fastened in stocks. They were probably in too much pain to sleep, so at midnight they broke out in worship. They did not have a worship leader, instruments, power point, or a radio to sing along to. They probably could not even tap their feet to keep the beat. Paul and Silas may not even have had good singing voices. But from the wellspring of their hearts, their mouths worshipped the Lord despite their circumstances. As a result, other prisoners listened to them and even better, everyone¹s chains were loosed. Worship set prisoners free.

In many ways, you may feel like a prisoner. You may have habits that you cannot break, you may find yourself in circumstances that have not changed, you may feel that God isn¹t answering your prayers. What are you to do? Worship. Worship when you are sad, feel bad, and after you were mad. Worship every day, at work and at play, worship any way. Worship will change your life and if you sing loud enough for others to listen, your worship may set them free as well.

Lord, teach me to worship. Lord, bring songs to my mind so that worship can be my way of life. Change me through worship and allow me to see the fruit of worship in the lives of others around me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Don't be a donkey! Listen to your donkey!

A Talking Donkey
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
by Os Hillman

The donkey said to Balaam, ''Am I not your own donkey, which you have
always ridden, to this day?'' ~ Numbers 22:30

Most workplace believers I know tend to be task-oriented, motivated visionaries. And they will do just about anything to make their projects successful. This great strength can, if not properly bridled by the Holy Spirit, be a great weakness in their ability to fulfill God's will in their life.

Sometimes we want something to succeed so much that we fail to listen to that little voice inside trying to warn us by directing us on a different path. Such was the case of Balaam. He started out as a man of God, but then took the path of a "prophet-for-hire." God was not pleased with Balaam's decision to respond to a pagan king's request that he curse Israel. As Balaam rode his donkey to keep his appointment with the king, God sent the angel of the Lord to stand in the way and oppose Balaam.

Although Balaam did not see the angel, his donkey did. Three times the donkey turned from the path and three times Balaam beat the animal in anger. Finally, the donkey turned around, and to Balaam's shock and amazement, began to speak to him, admonishing his master for beating him. Imagine a donkey talking to you! He warned Balaam of the angel of death who was standing in the road with a sword drawn, ready to kill Balaam if he continued.

There are times when pushing harder, trying to manipulate the circumstance, or pressing those around you is not the response to have to the roadblock. God may be trying to have you reconsider your ways. God may be doing one of four things when you are faced with an obstacle:

1) He's blocking it to protect you.

2) His timing to complete this stage is not the same as yours, and He may need you to go through a process of character refinement.

3) He may want other players to get in place, and the circumstances are not yet ready for them to enter.

4) He may be using the process to develop patience in you. Relying on the Holy Spirit
to know which one applies to your situation is the key to moving in God's timing.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The need to stand up

Lessons of the world history speak louder than words.

When the fascists came to Germany, a German pastor, imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, Martin Nimeuller said:

"At first the Nazis took the communists. I kept silent because I was not a communist.

Then they took the Jews. I kept silent because I was not a Jew.

Then they took members of organized labor. I kept silent because I was not a trade union member.

Then they took the Catholics, but being a Protestant I kept silent again.

When they took me there was nobody who could intercede for me".

Friday, October 23, 2009

I see Sabah as a powerful state ....

Sabah – paradise and a paradox
Friday October 23, 2009

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is a paradox – it is a land blessed with many resources yet remains poor.

That is how Prof W. Chan Kim, co-author of the best-selling Blue Ocean Strategy, sums up the state.

“When you have so much natural resources you are comfortable to sell what you have (but) what you have will one day disappear,” he said.

The professor, who co-authored the Blue Ocean Strategy with Renee Mauborgne, said there was a need to exploit the state’s resources in areas which are untapped.

Noting that Sabah was home to the third largest rainforest in the world, he said it was important that the state made itself known to the world as Asia’s rainforest tourism destination.

The main areas of economic growth in the world are pharmaceuticals, bio-science and telecommunications, he said, noting that the rainforest provided 25% of the ingredients for modern pharmaceutical use.

“I see Sabah as a powerful state especially compared to a place like Dubai which had nothing apart from a desert, goats and some oil and gas and today is a big tourist spot.

“You have incredible resources. Sabah can become better than Dubai but you must do more to attract the world,” he told reporters at a Yaysan Sabah-organised Blue Ocean Strategy conference opened by Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman.

The Blue Ocean Strategy is about finding new market space that offers low cost, in-demand solutions.

Prof Kim said his advice to Sabah was to conserve its resources and attract people from around the world to come and multiply its resources to improve its economy and eradicate poverty.

He said the state should look at the future and adopt new ways to handle its resources.

“You have to put the pieces of the jigsaw together to get the full picture,” he said.