Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Revelation 13: 666 New technology killing off cash

New technology killing off cash
By Jane Croft in London
Published: May 18 2007 22:00

Conrad Chase, British co-owner of the VIP Baja Beach Club in Barcelona, makes an unlikely human debit card.

Mr Chase and almost 100 other clubbers have opted to have tiny data chips implanted surgically under their skin. When they want to buy a drink, they simply wave their techno-enabled arms across the counter.

The chip, made by the VeriChip Corporation, is only the size of a grain of rice but can transmit an ID number to a scanner allowing money to be taken from clubbers’ bank accounts.

Mr Chase may be an extreme example but he demonstrates a wider point: Britons are rapidly embracing the cashless society. The Association for Payment Clearing Services, the UK industry body, forecasts that in less than a decade fewer than half of all payments will be made by cash.

Banks, including HBOS, HSBC, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland, are surfing the cash-free wave by introducing new credit and debit cards. Customers will be able to pay for items under £10 by tapping the cards on a terminal at the till – much as they would a transport fare card.

Sandra Alzetta, head of innovation and acceptance at Visa Europe, says this will speed transactions:.

“Until now, cash has been king. Other methods have been too slow or too expensive for small ticket items with values of less than £10,” she said. “But contactless payments are much quicker than cash. If you’re buying a coffee or doing a grocery top-up, speed matters a lot.”

Payment by mobile phone is also starting to take off.

This week, the Post Office announced an electronic money-transfer service that allows recipients to receive funds using a bar code sent to a mobile or email address.

The service is intended to allow companies to distribute promotional incentives and cash payments for less than the cost of a cheque. Companies send a reference code by text message or email, which customers take to any UK post office to receive instant payment.

Visa is already testing a system in France that will allow consumers to pay for goods via mobile phone. In Britain, items such as parking and London’s traffic congestion charge can already be paid in this fashion.

Another way cash is being edged out is through pre-paid cards that can be loaded up with cash and used like a credit card. PSE Consulting, the European payment consultancy, estimates that the total number of pre-paid cards issued in the UK will rise from 2m currently to 44m by 2010.

Those who cling stubbornly to pounds and pence may even pay a price for their intransigence. Some utility companies have already started to penalise households who settle their bills by cash or cheque. BT has introduced a £4.50 charge for the millions who do not pay by direct debit.

But the international experience suggests that Britain can expect even more striking developments in the future. A “pay-by-mobile” system already operates in Japan. In Texas, 500 people are taking part in a trial using a MasterCard PayPass to buy items from 7-Eleven stores via Nokia mobiles. Customers tap their pass or phone on to a specially equipped merchant terminal.

But not everyone believes that cash has had its day.

Jonathan Charley, vice-president of financial services at the business and technology company EDS, questions whether retailers will be willing to join the “tap and go” revolution if they have to bear the costs of rolling out the system.

Commenting on Visa’s declared wish to turn the 2012 London Olympics into a cashless event, he said: “I think a cashless Olympics is a good vision but will not be achieved unless retailers and small businesses have the devices to read cards. Who is going to be paying for the devices and using the service – the consumer, retailer or the banks?“

He added that the contactless card scheme also assumed that consumers had a bank account. “The challenge is that the contactless scheme [in London] can’t be used by those who don’t have a bank account. A whole swathe of people could be excluded from being able to take advantage of these new services.”

Nicola O’Reilly of the National Consumer Council said: “We have concerns around security and the ability of consumers to keep track of what they’re spending, which is an essential part of budgeting. If any of these systems are only available to credit-card holders that would be unfair to those who do not have cards.”

Matthew Knowles, from the Federation of Small Businesses, pointed out: “Small businesses would need to know that the systems were secure and they would not be liable if there was fraud in the system. We would also need to make sure small companies were not disadvantaged if they didn’t have the technology.”

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And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand and in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he had that mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name...Revelation 13

Monday, January 28, 2008

Jerusalem: Who Does it Belong to?

The Bible tells us a treaty will be signed giving Israel both Jeruasalem and the Temple Mount. The Bible also tells us that treaty will only be honored for 3 1/2 years.
Daniel 9:27

Arutze: Daily Israel Report

Jacques Gauthier, a non-Jewish Canadian lawyer who spent 20 years researching the legal status of Jerusalem, has concluded: "Jerusalem belongs to the Jews, by international law."

Gauthier has written a doctoral dissertation on the topic of Jerusalem and its legal history, based on international treaties and resolutions of the past 90 years. The dissertation runs some 1,300 pages, with 3,000 footnotes. Gauthier had to present his thesis to a world-famous Jewish historian and two leading international lawyers - the Jewish one of whom has represented the Palestinian Authority on numerous occasions.

Gauthier's main point, as summarized by Israpundit editor Ted Belman, is that a non-broken series of treaties and resolutions, as laid out by the San Remo Resolution, the League of Nations and the United Nations, gives the Jewish People title to the city of Jerusalem. The process began at San Remo, Italy, when the four Principal Allied Powers of World War I - Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan - agreed to create a Jewish national home in what is now the Land of Israel.

San Remo
The relevant resolution reads as follows: "The High Contracting Parties agree to entrust... the administration of Palestine, within such boundaries as may be determined by the Principal Allied Powers, to a Mandatory [which] will be responsible for putting into effect the [Balfour] declaration... in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

Gauthier notes that the San Remo treaty specifically notes that "nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine" - but says nothing about "political" rights of the Arabs living there.

The San Remo Resolution also bases itself on Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, which declares that it is a "a sacred trust of civilization" to provide for the well-being and development of colonies and territories whose inhabitants are "not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world."

League of Nations
The League of Nations' resolution creating the Palestine Mandate, included the following significant clause: “Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." No such recognition of Arab rights in Palestine was granted.

In 1945, the United Nations took over from the failed League of Nations - and assumed the latter's obligations. Article 80 of the UN Charter states: "Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed, in or of itself, to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties."

UN Partition Plan
However, in 1947, the General Assembly of the UN passed Resolution 181, known as the Partition Plan. It violated the League of the Nations' Mandate for Palestine in that it granted political rights to the Arabs in western Palestine - yet, ironically, the Jews applauded the plan's passages while the Arabs worked to thwart it.

Resolution 181 also provided for a Special regime for Jerusalem, with borders delineated in all four directions: The then-extant municipality of Jerusalem plus the surrounding villages and towns up to Abu Dis in the east, Bethlehem in the south, Ein Karem and Motza in the west, and Shuafat in the north.

Referendum Scheduled for Jerusalem
The UN resolved that the City of Jerusalem shall be established as a separate entity under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations. The regime was to come into effect by October 1948, and was to remain in force for a period of ten years, unless the UN's Trusteeship Council decided otherwise. After the ten years, the residents of Jerusalem "shall be then free to express by means of a referendum their wishes as to possible modifications of regime of the City."

The resolution never took effect, because Jordan controlled eastern Jerusalem after the 1948 War of Independence and did not follow its provisions.

After 1967
After the Six Day War in 1967, Israel regained Jerusalem and other land west of Jordan. Gauthier notes that the UN Security Council then passed Resolution 242 authorizing Israel to remain in possession of all the land until it had “secure and recognized boundaries.” The resolution was notably silent on Jerusalem, and also referred to the "necessity for achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem,” with no distinction made between Jewish and Arab refugees.

Given Jerusalem's strong Jewish majority, Gauthier concludes, Israel should be demanding that the long-delayed city referendum on the city's future be held as soon as possible. Not only should Israel be demanding that the referendum be held now, Jerusalem should be the first order of business. "Olmert is sloughing us off by saying [as he did before the Annapolis Conference two months ago], 'Jerusalem is not on the table yet,'" Gauthier concludes. "He should demand that the referendum take place before the balance of the land is negotiated. If the Arabs won’t agree to the referendum, there is nothing to talk about."

Comment on This Story

2. Fatah TV Broadcasts Daily Call For Ethnic Cleansing of Jews
by Ezra HaLevi

Fatah chief and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's PA television has been repeatedly broadcasting a hate-filled music video calling for the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish people from Israel.

"My enemy, oh snake! Around the land, you are coiled. You have no choice, oh enemy, but to leave my country," is the refrain in the video, which has been broadcast on a daily basis for the past several months, according to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).

"The song's refrain, 'My enemy, oh enemy,' is repeated over and over throughout the song. Israel is not even given the courtesy of a name, but is tagged with such labels as 'treacherous,' 'imperialism' and a 'coiled snake,'" PMW Director Itamar Marcus points out. "The Palestinian is portrayed as a heroic victim who courageously confronts the evil 'enemy' Israel."

The song incites Arabs living under Fatah's rule in Judea and Samaria to fight to the death to rid the land of Jews, assuring them that, through this, they will ultimately prevail: "You have no choice, oh enemy, but to leave my country," it says.

"The goal of this music video clip is to inculcate loathing of Israel and anticipation of its destruction," Marcus explains. "The repeated broadcast over recent months by Fatah-controlled television is consistent with other Arabic-language hate messages currently being disseminated - in spite of the peace talks."

PA TV first aired the music video in 2004 and resumed its broadcast in October, 2007. It was broadcast throughout the Annapolis conference as well as during US President George W. Bush's visit to Israel, PMW reports. It continues to be aired on almost a daily basis.

The following is the text of the hate video:

"My enemy. Oh, my enemy.
Stop your crimes.
Treaty breaker! Treacherous!...
If you pull out my eyes,
My heart will see. (x2)
If you cut off my hands,
My chest is knives and swords.
My enemy! Oh imperialism!
This homeland is ours. (x2)
This land will be tilled
only by our hoes. (x2)
Whenever the tension rises,
Whenever this land weeps, (x2)
the flower will return
to grow in our house.
My enemy. Oh, my enemy.
Stop your crimes.
Treaty breaker! Treacherous!...
My enemy! Oh snake!
Around the land, you are coiled. (x2)
We, noble, courageous,
on the day of ruin [battle], shall stand.
You have no choice, Oh enemy,
but to leave my country.
And my children will return.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Recession Fears - January 2008

"WASHINGTON - With recession fears rising and the stock market tumbling, President Bush on Friday called for up to $150 billion in tax relief for consumers and business — and said there was no time to waste."

With a Hindu Prayer given as a blessing over our Senate in July and, as this article is being written, many respected Christian leaders uniting with unbelievers, at the Rethink Conference, in encouraging the Church of the Living God to embrace heresy and apostasy, is it any wonder that chaos and uncertainty have come upon us?

Come on Christians, read your Bibles, and see what the Word of God has to say about what happens to a nation when its political and spiritual leaders turn from the Living God to embrace evil.

If you are not sure where to start reading, try Jeremiah and Lamentations .

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mystical Spirituality & the RETHINK Conference

Schuller and Christian Leaders Gather to Help Bring About Interspiritual Dream

Rethink Conference: Crystal Cathedral, California
January 17, 2008

Robert Schuller once said: "Standing before a crowd of devout Muslims with the Grand Mufti, I know that we're all doing God's work together. Standing on the edge of a new millennium, we're laboring hand in hand to repair the breach." He made that statement in his 2001 biography, My Journey (p. 501), and today he has taken a giant step forward in seeing his dream of an all all-inclusive spiritual body come true. What's more, Christian leaders and organizations are helping to bring it to pass.

Today, the Rethink Conference at Schuller's Crystal Cathedral began. This three day event is hosted by Schuller and popular emerging futurist Erwin McManus.

In addition to McManus, the Rethink Conference has several other Christian leaders speaking: Gary Smalley, Henry Cloud, Chuck Colson, and Kay Warren, to name a few. While the speaker list includes several names outside the Christian camp (Larry King, George Bush Sr., Rupert Murdoch, etc.), a majority of the speakers, both Christian and non-Christian, are proponents mystical spirituality. The reason this is important to know is because Schuller's vision of an all-inclusive global religious body cannot happen without mysticism.

It is in fact the vehicle through which Schuller's dream will occur. He discloses a little more of this vision in his book: "I met once more with the Grand Mufti (a Muslim), truly one of the great Christ-honoring leaders of faith. ... I'm dreaming a bold impossible dream: that positive-thinking believers in God will rise above the illusions that our sectarian religions have imposed on the world, and that leaders of the major faiths will rise above doctrinal idiosyncrasies, choosing not to focus on disagreements, but rather to transcend divisive dogmas to work together to bring peace and prosperity and hope to the world. (p. 502).In order for this "bold impossible dream" to occur, change agents such as Schuller and McManus realize that Christianity needs to be redefined. Thus, the term rethink. "

McManus has believed this for some time. In an interview, he stated: "My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ.... Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I'm anti-Christian. I think they might be right!"(1)

It's easier to understand what McManus means by this by reading this next statement from him: "The Barbarian Way was, in some sense, trying to create a volatile fuel to get people to step out and act. It's pretty hard to get a whole group of people moving together as individuals who are stepping into a more mystical, faith-oriented, dynamic kind of experience with Christ. So, I think was my attempt to say, "Look, underneath what looks like invention, innovation and creativity is really a core mysticism that hears from God, and what is fueling this is something really ancient." That's what was really the core of The Barbarian Way. (from Relevant magazine)

To put this in plain terms, there is a three step process in making this new vision become a reality.

First, re-education: convince Christians that the Christianity of today has to be thrown out and replaced by a whole new way of thinking.

Second, get these new thinking Christians to incorporate mysticism into their lives and hear the voice of a new kind of God, not one that is described in the Bible but one that is found through altered states of consciousness.

McManus put it this way: "I build my life not on the Word of God, but the voice of God. The Scriptures are to me the instrument that God has placed in history for me to learn the voice of God." (2)

The voice of this mystical god will direct people to the final step of the process, and that will be to bring about a supposed kingdom of God where all will be one, and where man finally realizes his own divinity. Unfortunately, it will be a kingdom built, not on the truth of the Word of God, thus not on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The rethinking of Christianity is taking place right now before our very eyes. The mystical practices are now being implemented by countless people around the world, including huge numbers of professing Christians through the spiritual formation movement.

It is just a matter of time before this new age dream will take effect, and a great spiritual delusion will overtake the masses. Roger Oakland, author of Faith Undone (the hard-hitting expose on the emerging church), spent this morning at the Crystal Cathedral listening to speakers share their hopes for the rethinking of Christianity. Oakland heard one popular evangelical speaker say that the emerging church is energizing Christianity. What that evangelical leader may not realize is that this energizing is happening through mystical practices. One person who does understand this concept is Robert Schuller.

Ray Yungen explains:
[W]hat many might not know about Schuller is his New Thought proclivities.

Interspiritual scholar Marcus Bach once related the following incident that took place at a Unity church in Hawaii in which Bach was speaking: "Dr. Schuller attended the first of three services, this one at 7:30 am. When we shook hands at the door, he tarried to assure me how much Unity principles meant to him and how helpful they had been to him in his work." (The Unity Way, p. 267)

What could some of these Unity principles be? Bach explains: Hinduism's emphasis on meditation fit[s] well into Unity's patterns for enlightenment.(Ibid, p. 104)

This is one of the major principles that Schuller was making reference to. In his own book, Prayer: My Soul's Adventure with God, he says: "Move into mighty moods of meditation. Draw energy from centers of sacred solitude, serenity, and silence.... Find yourself coming alive in the garden of prayer called meditation.... Yes, the "New Agers" have grabbed hold of meditation.... Hey, Christian! Hear me! Let's not give up the glorious, God-given gift of meditation by turning it over to those outside our faith." (pp. 141, 151)

The point that Schuller misses is that meditation is what makes a person a New Ager! This perspective is something to consider in light of the quarter million pastors who have trained and been mentored under Schuller at his Leadership Institute. (For Many Shall Come in My Name, ch. 3)

The line up at Rethink further confirms that Schuller and McManus see mysticism as playing a vital role in the rethinking and energizing of Christianity. Many of the speakers share McManus' and Schuller's propensity on mysticism's role in transforming the world.

Equally disturbing is knowing that CCN (Church Communication Network) sponsors and is helping to broadcast the Rethink Conference. CCN represents many of today's Christian leaders from Rick Warren, to James Dobson, to Joni Eareckson Tada, to Max Lucado and many many others.

What this means is that mainstream Christianity is going mystical, just as Alice Bailey, the woman who coined the term New Age, predicted so very many years ago.

Yungen ties this all together: "Bailey eagerly foretold of what she termed 'the regeneration of the churches' (Problems of Humanity, p. 152).

Her rationale for this was obvious: "The Christian church in its many branches can serve as a St. John the Baptist, as a voice crying in the wilderness, and as a nucleus through which world illumination may be accomplished." (The Externalization of the Hierarchy, p. 510)

"In other words, instead of opposing Christianity, the occult would capture and blend itself with Christianity and then use it as its primary vehicle for spreading and instilling New Age consciousness!

The various churches would still have their outer trappings of Christianity and still use much of the same lingo. If asked certain questions about traditional Christian doctrine, the same answers would be given. But it would all be on the outside; on the inside a contemplative spirituality would be drawing in those open to it.

"In wide segments of Christendom this has indeed already occurred.... Thomas Keating alone taught 31,000 people mystical prayer in one year. People are responding to this in large numbers because it has the external appearance of Christianity but in truth, is the diametric opposite---what a skillful spiritual delusion!"

Related Stories:
Erwin McManus: The Secret Behind the Secret (with Jon Gordon)

Kay Warren Recommends Henri Nouwen

Jim Burns promotes Ruth Haley Barton

John Ortberg and Contemplative Prayer

Dan Kimball's Emerging Church and Eastern Mysticism

For more information on Schuller's "dream" read Deceived on Purpose by Warren Smith.
Lighthouse Trails Research Project
Lighthouse Trails Publishing

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Childrens Spiritual Formation

Awana has given its stamp of approval for transforming our children through centering prayer, the Jesus prayer, Christ candles, the Catholic Eucharist and contemplative spirituality. See Spiritual Formation - New Age Spirituality

Article from Berean call:
Awana is showing signs that it is becoming a full-blown contemplative organization. First of all, through Awana's prison project, the organization is incorporating New Age sympathizer Ken Blanchard's Lead Like Jesus Encounter program. On July 13th, we spoke with Lyndon Azcuna, Awana Cross Cultural Ministries director, who told us he was a Lead Like Jesus facilitator. Azcuna works in the main headquarters office of Awana. He said that the project was using Ken Blanchard's materials. When we explained to him that Blanchard promoted the New Age and mystical meditation, he said that the program did not have these elements.

However, the Lead Like Jesus Encounter is largely based on Blanchard's book, Lead Like Jesus, and that book does include contemplative elements. For instance, in the chapter called "The Habits of a Servant Leader" a palms-up, palms-down exercise is described (something Richard Foster has encouraged)(p. 158). The book gives a typical instruction on contemplative:

Before we send people off for their period of solitude, we have them recite with us Psalm 46:10 in this way: Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know. Be still. Be.... When people return from their time of solitude, they have big smiles on their faces. While many of them found it difficult to quiet their mind, they say it was a powerful experience. The reality is most of us spend little if any time in solitude. Yet if we don't, how can God have a chance to talk with us?

While Awana's decision to include Ken Blanchard's materials into their program is enough evidence to show that the organization is quickly changing, we must now report that there is something even more disquieting with regard to Awana and their slide into contemplative - a book that is recommended by Awana and also carried by the Awana store: Perspectives on Children's Spiritual Formation. A description of the book is as follows:

In children's ministry, models, methods, and materials abound. How do you decide what direction you want your ministry to children to take? Perspectives on Childrens Spiritual Formation allows you to examine the four prominent points-of-view in the church today. You will then be able to make a more informed decision on the way in which your ministry should take.

The book offers four different views on how to transform children. One author, Scottie May, a professor at Wheaton, writes the section titled, "Contemplative-Reflective Model." May gives a hearty promotion of centering prayer, the Jesus prayer, Christ candles, the Catholic Eucharist and an strong endorsement for contemplative spirituality ala Thomas Merton, whom he favorably quotes in the book. Two Awana staff writers respond in the book to May's contemplative approach and give it a thumbs up with only minor cautions. But overall they believe that contemplative is a valid approach for all Christians, including children. Perspectives on Children's Spiritual Formation is giving a green light to Awana leaders around the world to practice contemplative prayer.

Some people may not understand why we write this report about Awana. After all, they have done some wonderful things for children. But that is the very reason we do issue this report - we do not want to see Awana sell out to the fast growing apostasy of contemplative spirituality and the New Age; and because we care about children, we speak up. With more and more public schools teaching kids to meditate and do yoga, and with more and more Christian schools bringing in emerging leaders like Rob Bell (through his Noomas and his book Velvet Elvis), millions of children are now placed in harm's way by learning meditative techniques that will possibly take them into altered states and demonic realms. We hope Awana leadership will reconsider their position on contemplative/spiritual formation for the sake of children and their parents. And if you have children in the program, please use extreme caution in light of these new developments.