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Archive for April, 2013

Iranian Officials Throw American Pastor Saeed Abedini Into Solitary Confinement.


Saeed Abedini
Saeed Abedini

Already badly weakened by months of beatings and torture that have resulted in internal bleeding, American pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen, is facing perhaps his most grave situation since his imprisonment last fall.

Family members in Iran confirm that Abedini, along with nine other prisoners, has been placed in solitary confinement with new reports indicating that in addition to the severe internal bleeding he is experiencing—which has gone untreated—he is a now facing issues with his kidneys.

The American Center for Law and Justice has been able to confirm that the horrible conditions in Evin Prison led Abedini and a number of prisoners in Ward 350 to sign a letter expressing to prison officials their concern about the lack of medical care received and the threats and harsh treatment facing family members who come to visit. The prisoners expressed their dissatisfaction in a peaceful, silent protest in an outside courtyard at the prison.

That apparently prompted prison officials to retaliate, selecting 10 of the prisoners and placing them in solitary confinement. Sources indicate that Abedini is likely to be beaten again—in private, away from other witnesses and prisoners.

At the same time, there’s concern that his kidneys are no longer operating properly, the result of the internal injuries he has received over many months. Abedini has been told not to expect medical treatment or care for many months. When family members showed up at prison on Tuesday to visit Abedini, they were turned away and told he is no longer permitted to have visitors.

This latest very troubling development has Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, extremely concerned.

“Saeed has internal bleeding and now issues with his kidneys because of the beatings,” Naghmeh says. “We believe that he is being beaten in solitary confinement. We have no way of finding out about his health. There will be no more visitations allowed and we will have no way of knowing how Saeed is doing.

“Saeed had previously told his family that when he was in solitary confinement in the past, that was the hardest time in his life. That every hour was like one year and that he was losing his memory and his health was deteriorating quickly. Please pray for his health and healing. Pray for his release. Pray that the Lord would use this for His Glory and salvation of many.”

The ACLJ spoke with a former Iranian political prisoner, who spent 15 years in an Iranian prison—including some time at Evin—about Pastor Saeed’s solitary confinement. He said, “Saeed was most likely on a list of prisoners the prison wants to break.” He explained that the prison officials keep a list of prisoners who have stood their ground refusing to repent of their faith or confess to their crimes.

Prison officers use any prison resistance, regardless of whether the prisoner was involved in the resistance, to target and break those prisoners on their list,” he explained. “They took Saeed to solitary confinement to put pressure on his belief and faith. This shows that Saeed has stood strong for his faith.”

The latest developments underscore the brutality of Iran’s continued violation of human rights—imprisoning, torturing and refusing medical care for Abedini merely because of his faith. This treatment not only violates international law, but is abhorrent.

We know that a tactic used by the Iranians is to place prisoners in solitary confinement in an effort to get them to give into the demands of prison officials—in Abedini’s case, to recant his Christian faith. He continues to refuse to do so, and the only thing sustaining Abedini at this time is his Christian faith. We know that continues to provide him with strength and comfort during this most challenging time.

All of this is unfolding just days Abedini Saeed turns 33 on May 7. More than 42,000 people have already sent Abedini a birthday greeting—letters that we are personally delivering to Evin Prison. These are letters of prayer, support and encouragement. They are needed now more than ever. Please take a moment, if you haven’t done so already, and send a letter to Pastor Saeed today, his 216th day of imprisonment.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

JORDAN SEKULOW/ACLJ

Jordan Sekulow is the executive director for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).

Gay Groups Want Laurie Banned From Day of Prayer.


 

Greg Laurie
Greg Laurie, the honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer, believes America faces a spiritual crisis. (Courtesy of A. Larry Ross)

Gay rights groups are trying to bar Pastor Greg Laurie from events at the National Day of Prayer because of his biblical stance on homosexuality.

The Southern California pastor is set to lead prayer on Capitol Hill and at the Pentagon.

Now, a military group that supports gays says Laurie should be barred from the Pentagon because he has said that the Bible calls gay sex sinful.

Outserve SLDN says Laurie’s appearance would be wrong since gays can now openly serve and even get married in some military chapels.

The Human Rights Campaign says the pastor shouldn’t be allowed on Capitol Hill, either.

A spokeswoman for Laurie says he still plans to attend the events.

Click here to read more about Greg Laurie’s plans for the National Day of Prayer.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

CBN NEWS

Why the Situation in Syria Is at a Stalemate.


Brian C. Stiller
Brian C. Stiller is global ambassador for World Evangelical Alliance. (Facebook)

Cedars are valuable for their lasting quality. Building material and dock lumber all attest to a cedar’s ability to resist wood rot. “Cedars of Lebanon” filled the list of building materials required by Nehemiah to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. Solomon eyed the magnificent and resilient cedars for building the temple in Jerusalem.

Today, be it rot from the inside or attack from the outside, the Lebanese, having survived wars and its many rumors, speak in quiet tones, wondering if listening ears from Syria or its minions—Hezbollah in the south—are plotting nefarious schemes.

Prized as the pearl of the Mediterranean, the choice site for oil in the Gulf, Beirut, until the civil wars of the late 20th century, was a premium choice for lifestyle, opportunity and political freedom.

Centuries before Christ, as pioneers in coastal trading, Lebanon’s marine culture stimulated trade, bringing it riches and envy. Conquered by Persia (present-day Iran), then Rome, Lebanon became central to the spread of the gospel in the first century. Seventh-century Muslim Arabs took over the country, while a minority of Maronites (under the Roman church) hung on. Smack-dab in the path of the Crusaders, the country’s connection with France shaped her European influence.

Following World War I, as European powers divided up much of the world, Lebanon’s borders were decided by France. This twist, added to the mix of Christians (Maronites) as 50 percent of the population, brought about an eightfold increase of Sunni Muslim and four-time increase of Shi’ite Muslims. In 1926, Christians made up 84 percent of the population in Lebanon; today, they are 39 percent.

Lebanon wrote a constitution based on religious powers, a remarkable feat of building a country founded on religious sectarianism but also a disaster in the making. It was unprecedented and, in the end, problematic. France promised to keep Lebanon Christian; these were political promises with little current reality.

The Lebanese government was so divided, and this remains today: The president has to be Christian and the prime minister always Sunni Muslim, although the president can veto legislation. Even though, by the early 1960s, Muslims outnumbered Christians, the formula still remains.

For decades, Lebanon has been the punching bag of Syria, the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel. Syria used Lebanon to get at Israel, with its latest effort being to supply arms (much from Iran) through Lebanon to Hezbollah in the south. Israel retaliated. Tens of thousands of Palestinians flooded Lebanon after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Now, it’s estimated that 300,000 Syrian refugees bulge the camps in the north and along the Beqa’a Valley. Between 1975-1990, civil war raged, and 100,000 died. Syria continued its political interventions and military presence.

Finally, a new government led by Rafic Hariri started rebuilding, but on Feb. 14, 2005, a massive bomb killed Hariri, with fingers pointed directly at Syrian President Assad as the assassin.

This historical overview is meant to put in place the important moment Lebanon faces today, for it is in this world that Christian faith seeks its witness and presence. While evangelicals are not implicated in the political trade-off of Roman Catholic Christians and Sunni Muslims, the precarious environment requires strategic thinking for living between the factions, knowing that at any moment, an unexpected move could destabilize the tenuous arrangements of life and liberty there.

It was to Lebanon I came to renew friendships with Lebanese Christian leaders, to hear their concerns of what the Syrian debacle might mean to them and to visit Syrian refugee camps in the Beqa’a Valley, just east of Mount Herman, the mountain famous from the Scriptures.

Visiting these camps, east of Beirut, the human tragedy of Syria is overwhelming. Alongside the more than 300,000 refugees (mostly Syrian, although some came from Iraq) that are now in Lebanon, all together, some 2 million Syrians are displaced in their own country.

The situation in Syria is at a stalemate while the West offers words, Russia and Iran provide money and munitions, and the Chinese continue to back President Assad.

I had wonderful times with a number of families while I was there, as well as groups of Syrians, as they gathered round once I began to talk, huddling outside their shacks, interested in what was being said. I began by asking how they were getting along and what they needed, and then for their own views of what was needed back home.

I asked if I could pray. You should have seen their faces light up. It was as if I had given them a priceless gift. I told them I was a Christian and would pray in the name of Jesus. Before I began, I reminded them who Jesus is, as noted in the Quran, and then in my prayers (and my prayers were not short), I prayed about Jesus and to Jesus. In the prayer, I reminded those listening that he, too, was a refugee, fleeing with his parents to Egypt. This resonated with them.

At the close of the prayer, I asked the leader in the camp to step into the center, and then I put my hands on him for a special blessing. When I finished, their hand-signs told me how much it meant. One leader, Ibrahim, asked us into his shack for tea, which is a common sign of hospitality. A dentist from Damascus, he began asking about Jesus as we sat drinking tea with him.

The young man I was with from a local and creative ministry called Heart for Lebanon, (a good group to help) who love to tell others of the Lord, began with gentleness and care. He took it only as far as appropriate, and then said he would be back in a few days with a Bible.

I was most interested in knowing who else was there to help the refugees. They knew of Heart for Lebanon and World Vision. Then I asked where their Muslim organizations were. One man looked at me, turned his head and spit. “We’ve seen no one. No one has come here. Only Christians.”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

BRIAN C. STILLER

Brian C. Stiller is global ambassador for World Evangelical Alliance.

Christian Leaders Convene in Malaysia to Discuss Church’s Next Steps.


Steve Strang
Steve Strang speaks at a leaders’ meeting in Malaysia.

A group of top business leaders from six continents concluded last week that business leaders must see themselves as ministers who may usher in a badly needed spiritual revival. They also concluded that political corruption is the No. 1 issue Christian businessmen face worldwide. Most of the leaders signed a pledge to be “unashamedly ethical” as part of a movement started in South Africa that is going worldwide.

During round-table discussions in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the group identified that corruption in government is one of the most difficult problems Christian businessmen face. Graham Power from South Africa is heading an initiative he calls “Unashamedly Ethical,” and most of the attendees signed a pledge not to give or accept bribes or other forms of corruption.

Power also read a list of the countries with the most and least corruption. New Zealand is rated least corrupt, and Singapore second. Somalia is considered most corrupt—No. 182, just behind North Korea. (Where is the United States on the list? It’s rated the 24th least corrupt nation, with a score of 7.1 out of 10.)

There were stories—especially from developing countries—that told how many of these very wealthy businesspeople see business as a ministry rather than the dichotomy between the two we see in the West, where professional clergy do “ministry” while businesspeople do business and are merely seen as donors by ministry leaders.

The group heard reports on many world problems: the rise of Islam, the increasing persecution of Christians, the onslaught of gay marriage and the declining influence of the church in the West.

Charisma Publisher Steve Strang was one of the participants. Click here to read his personal e-newsletter report.

Strang wrote, “I was encouraged as I heard the stories and learned of ministries and outreaches in countries where I had little idea of what is happening. Even in the Muslim nations, there were very good reports. It proves once again that the body of Christ is alive and well on planet Earth.”

Before the group ended, reports were given regarding next steps on what the church needs to do. The steps included:

  • Be more unified.
  • Encourage the church to address social issues.
  • Try to change perceptions of Christians in culture as loving rather than being judgmental or hating.
  • Forming Christian “cartels” to work together to accomplish Christian goals.
  • Have better branding for the Christian message and better PR in worldwide media.
  • Focus on restoring families worldwide.
  • Usher in a revival through businesses and businessmen.
  • Work to improve education and ease poverty in developing nations.
  • Encourage Christians to boldly proclaim their faith rather than retreat from the public square.

The 100 business leaders were part of Global Kingdom Partners Network, which is the vision of Elias Dantas, a Brazilian who is now a part of Nyack College in New York. The informal group that met for its second year last week began several years ago as an almost secretive meeting of megachurch pastors from around the world (including some from Muslim nations) to see how they could collaborate in spreading the gospel and encourage each other.

The marketplace initiative that convened in Malaysia last week is a spinoff of the pastor’s group and is less secretive because what these businessmen do to fund the gospel and witness doesn’t get the same persecution from governments who may be hostile to Christians.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

CHARISMA NEWS STAFF

125-Mile Pro-Life Walk Underway in Canada.


Back to Life Canada
Twenty-five women are walking from Montreal to the Supreme Court in Ottawa in an abortion harassment awareness initiative. (Faytene Grasseschi / Instagram)

Twenty-five women are walking from Montreal to the Supreme Court in Ottawa in an abortion harassment awareness initiative that launched Sunday.

The Back to Life Walk is an authentic women’s movement that aims not only to raise awareness about abortion harassment, but also to pray for a shift in Canadian culture on this issue. The 25 culturally diverse women walking 200 km (about 125 miles) represent the 25 years of no laws on abortion in this nation.

“Abortion harassment” is the coercion of women into abortion when they do not want one. Studies indicate that as many as 64 percent of women in Canada who have had abortions would say they were badgered into it. The women walking are particularly interested in the issue because many of them have a personal harassment story to share. Many of them were pressured into unwanted abortions by boyfriends, family members and, unbelievably, even doctors. Video interviews of the walkers telling their stories are getting strong viewership online.

Organizer Faytene Grasseschi explains, “Many of the walkers have very painful abortion stories to share. What is troubling is that we are finding that their stories are representative of thousands of women—this really is the untold story of abortion in Canada.”

Back to Life walker Ashley Williams shares, “I was pressured into abortion when my baby was 5 months old. I could already feel it moving. My boyfriend told me I was going to do it. I honestly felt trapped. It was like my voice on the issue didn’t matter to him.”

Ironically, while she was on the abortion table, her boyfriend had a change of heart and tried to stop the procedure. He was resisted by medical staff, who told him he had no right to interfere with her “choice.” Ashley woke up on the other side of the abortion, devastated.

Grasseschi emphasizes the loving tone of the walk: “With every step we take, we are walking for our own restoration, our mothers, our sisters, our friends and our future nation. We count it an honor to share our stories in the hopes it will help other women and open many eyes in Canada.”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

BILL ROBERTS

President Ignores Gosnell Atrocities, Speaks at Planned Parenthood Fundraiser.


 

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to address the Planned Parenthood National Conference on Friday.

In the wake of the horrific murder trial of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell, President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to addressthe Planned Parenthood National Conference.

“While the abortion giant performed a record 333,964 abortions last year, the president spoke to Planned Parenthood for 12 minutes and never uttered the word abortion but touted cancer screenings, counseling, contraception, education and other deceptive rhetoric,” explains Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel.

While ignoring the atrocities against women and children performed by Gosnell, Obama promised the giant pro-abortion crowd, “No matter how great the challenge, no matter how fierce the opposition, there’s one thing that the past few years have shown: Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere … I want you to know that you’ve also got a president who’s going to be with you, fighting with you every step of the way.”

“President Obama’s deafening silence about the Gosnell infant-killing atrocities, combined with his fundraising speech at Planned Parenthood, show that President Obama is more willing to defend Planned Parenthood than women and children,” says Staver. “Minimum health and safety standards for surgical facilities are ignored, and abortion clinics around the country are allowed to function in squalid conditions because politicians are more interested in political contributions than women’s health.”

“In state after state, investigators have found abortion clinics failing to ensure sterile, sanitary surgical equipment; killing aborted babies born alive; performing abortions past the point of viability without documentation of a maternal health reason; arranging abortions for victims of sex-trafficking; misleading women about the risks and dangers associated with abortions; aborting children for sex-selection; violating biohazard waste disposal regulations; violating informed-consent laws; and many other atrocities while government officials turn a blind eye,” Staver adds.

While the president gives lip service to wanting abortions to be safe and rare, every year abortion ends the lives of hundreds of thousands of children—and the president is working to increase that number by requiring taxpayers to fund abortions through Obamacare.

“That principle is at the heart of the Affordable Care Act,” the president told those attending the conference.

“It is time for Americans to say ‘Enough is enough!’” Staver argues. “We must put an end to the butchering of women and children!”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

ANN CARROLL

Is the Great Falling Away Already Underway?.


deceived
(istockphoto)

While in prayer over the vision God gave Steve Hill about the “spiritual avalanche that could kill millions,” an alarming question nagged my soul: Could thegreat falling away already be underway? Could we be witnessing the first fruits of the great falling away even now? Are we at least seeing a shadow of the Great Apostasy?

There is much talk about Christ’s soon Second Coming. But we know that Jesus will not return for a church without spot or wrinkle unless the falling away comes first … (1 Thess. 2:3). Although it’s nothing entirely new, we are indeed witnessing a fast-progressing departure from sound doctrine and a holy life.

Even a quick comparison between what Scripture tells us about the last days and the manifest sin that has penetrated our generation should serve as a wake up call to every believer: Don’t ignore the signs of the times. In His discussions on the end of the age, Jesus warned us not to let anyone deceive us (Matt. 24). If it weren’t possible to get caught up in the Great Falling Away, Jesus wouldn’t have issued such a strong warning to His followers and left a record of it for you and me.

Discerning Doctrines of Demons

Paul wrote, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” (1 Tim. 4:1-3).

Some have indeed departed from the faith because they have engaged with deceiving spirits and embraced doctrines of demons. We’ve witnessed more than one man of God with a major ministry platform bow a knee to doctrines like universalism, deceiving and being deceived with this deadly heresy. Despite many in the church lifting their voice against heretical teachings, these deceived ministers hold fast to their demonic doctrine.

We’ve also watched famous pastors speak lies in hypocrisy—lies that left many hurt, wounded, and disillusioned—and yet they remain adored and adorned in the megachurches that made their name great. Clearly, the conscience of some influential church leaders has already been seared with a hot iron (see 1 Tim. 4:2). Some have become the proverbial blind leading the blind.

And would you believe it? Some modern-day, Spirit-filled churches even reserve the right to tell you whom you can or can’t marry (along with many other details of your personal life). I’ve known folks who have nervously gone to ask the pastor for permission to marry another congregant, hoping that their request wasn’t denied and their love wasn’t dashed. And this wasn’t during the Shepherding Movement, this was recent.

Living Idolatrous Lifestyles

Paul wrote, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Tim. 3:1-5)

Paul’s laundry list of idolatrous ingrates is not particularly new, but the love of many has certainly grown colder. Many pastors ignore the homeless (and the widows and the orphans). All the while, they spend multiplied thousands on sermon props and video announcements that rival MTV so they can entertain an idolatrous generation on Sunday mornings.

Some pastors offer a 20-minute sermonette and afterwards neglect the opportunity to lay hands on the sick, get people filled with the Holy Spirit, or otherwise open up the altar for believers seeking a touch from God. This form of godliness does not make room for God’s power. Pleasure has taken its place.

Scratching Itchy Ears

Paul also warned, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3).

We see some of this among congregations even now. Beyond universalism, there’s the prosperity gospel that only demonstrates one side of the cross. There’s the grace message that perverts the gospel. These are fables. Billy Graham once filled stadiums with his bold preaching on subjects like hell and holiness. Today, seeker-friendly preachers fill stadiums to hear a motivational message followed by a call to give. Many modern believers may cringe if they had to endure a Billy Graham sermon on hell. Again, some deny the existence of hell.

The Great Falling Away

Victorious believers will overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony—and the fact that they did not love their lives even unto death (Rev. 12:11). I fear there may be fewer victorious believers at the end of the age than some may think.

The Bible tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). We need to get at it because this is sure: Jesus is coming back for a glorious church without spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:27). I believe the spots and wrinkles will fall away before His return. The gates of hell are trying to prevail against the church and will ultimately fail, but not before enticing some believers into heresy, idolatry and other sin.

I don’t believe in once-saved, always-saved doctrines. I believe you can lose your salvation. I don’t think it happens overnight. I think it’s a slow progression down the slippery slope of deception. I often ask people who are deceived this question: “How would you know if you were deceived?” I’ve never met one who was deceived find an answer for the question. Rather, they insist that they cannot be deceived or that they would know if they were. If we don’t think we could be deceived, we’re deceived already. And if we are deceived, we wouldn’t know it unless the Holy Spirit broke in and opened the eyes of our heart.

So is the Great Falling Away already underway? Only God knows. At the very least, I think we’re seeing the shadow of this turning. We’re seeing the hints of this apostasy. And I pray. I pray that the Lord would count me faithful, that I would not be deceived in these last days, and that I might be a pure vessel the Lord can use to sound the alarm. What about you?

JENNIFER LECLAIRE

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including Did the Spirit of God Say That? You can email Jennifer at  jennifer.leclaire@charismamedia.com or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

5 Signs He Is Not ‘The One’.


date
(© Milanlj | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images (http://www.stockfreeimages.com))

With the divorce rate in the church matching the world’s, I thought I would offer this fresh reminder to single women considering serious relationships. I’ve seen a lot of heartache from women who didn’t listen to leaders who advised them not to marry. From the pattern of divorces, these are the five red flags I’ve seen women ignore when marrying the wrong guy.

#1: He has no interest in God.

I’ve been amazed at how many women ignore this basic warning sign. But I think this sign is ignored because they are desperate for male attention or looking for a father they never had. Don’t get me wrong—he may seem like he is interested in God for a season … until he gets you down the aisle. Then prepare for Sunday-morning battles when he would rather go to a sports activity than go to church.

Marriage is not an opportunity to evangelize, nor is it an outreach activity. God takes marriage so seriously that He states that you can’t be unequally yoked: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14 NIV)

Besides making the decision to follow Christ, getting married is the most important decision you’ll ever make in your life.

#2: Your leaders or pastors think marrying him is a bad idea.

I’ve seen marriages take place despite warnings from leaders. In most cases, the marriages ended in divorce or they are hanging by a thread. When my husband, Jerome, asked me to marry him, I asked several leaders for their advice. I also asked about his character. Every leader gave my future fiancé a rave review and spoke highly of his integrity, faithfulness and loyalty. Their review was a sign that he was “the one” for me.

#3: Your parents don’t like him.

My mom use to tell me how much her parents hated my dad. Well, he was a 29-year-old man who enticed a 15-year-old girl into marrying him against her parents’ wishes! Of course they were going to hate his guts. She wished many years later she would have listened to her parents.

My grandparents were not Christians, but I believe God gives parents a radar for men who don’t have the best motives for their daughters. When my mom met Jerome, she instantly liked him. Jerome won my parents’ hearts and approval for marrying me. That was the second sign that Jerome was “the one” for me.

#4: He doesn’t have a job or can’t hold one down.

I had a guy pay for my dinner with food stamps. Although he was a Christian, this was a sign from God he was not a candidate for a serious relationship. If you have to pay your own way in the relationship or help him out financially because he can’t hold down a job, he is not a candidate for marriage. He may speak in tongues and read the Bible, but if he can’t hold down a job, this is a red flag about his character.

One of my friends met a guy in the unemployment office. I told her I didn’t think the unemployment office was the best place to meet a guy. She dated him but ended the relationship because he wasn’t employed.

The Bible says if you don’t work, you don’t eat. Having a work ethic is a must for someone you’re considering for marriage: “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’” (2 Thess. 3:10)

#5: He has an addiction.

A friend of mine married someone who struggled with online pornography. She didn’t know he struggled with this until they were years into their marriage with several children. He wouldn’t go for counseling, and they eventually divorced.

A man who is addicted to pornography, drugs or liquor is not a candidate for marriage. He may tell you he plans to get counseling or wants God to set him free—because that’s what you want to hear. But until he is free from that addiction, he is not “the one.”

I plead with you to not compromise on these standards. I’ve seen so much heartache in families with women marrying against the counsel of wise leaders or marrying someone with an addiction. Listen to your leaders and parents. And above all, don’t pay his way. He is not “the one.”

LEILANI HAYWOOD


Leilani Haywood is a Kansas City, Mo.-based award-winning writer and columnist. Her work has been published in the Kansas City StarMetro Voice and other publications. When she’s not updating her status on Facebook or Twitter, she’s driving her three kids to school or their next rehearsal. Follow her on Twitter @leilanihaywood.

Moody’s: ‘Less Than Impressive’ Consumer Spending Proves Economy Is Slowing.


Consumer spending unexpectedly rose in March, temporarily boosted by demand for utilities due to colder weather, according to data on Monday that did little to alter a picture of a cooling in the economy.

The Commerce Department said consumer spending advanced 0.2 percent last month after a 0.7 percent rise in February.

The increase, which beat economists’ expectations for a flat reading, was driven by higher spending on services as outlays on utilities posted a second straight month of hefty gains. Spending on goods, a key measure of underlying demand, fell.

Editor’s Note: Economist Warns: ‘Money From Heaven a Path to Hell.’ See Evidence.

“Utilities made up a pretty decent chunk of spending,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “When you extract from that, spending was less than impressive in March. The economy is slowing.”

The economy’s weakness was underscored by a sharp cooling in inflation, with a price index for consumer spending falling for the first time since November. A core reading that strips out food and energy costs was flat.

The combination of soft demand and benign inflation should allow the Federal Reserve to continue on its ultra-easy monetary path when it meets on Tuesday and Wednesday. The U.S. central bank is widely expected to keep purchasing bonds at a pace of $85 billion a month.

“The case for tapering the size of the Fed’s monthly asset purchases is further reduced,” said Michelle Girard, chief economist at RBS in Stamford, Connecticut. “However, we think the hurdle for the Fed boosting the monthly purchase pace is high.”

Accounting for the drop in prices, inflation-adjusted spending grew 0.3 percent in March, matching February’s increase. Spending on utilities on an inflation-adjusted basis recorded the largest increase since October 2001.

“Much of the upside in March was in a second straight enormous gain in utilities consumption, which appears likely to see a substantial reversal in coming months,” said Ted Wieseman, an economist at Morgan Stanley in New York.

HOUSING REMAINS ECONOMIC BRIGHT SPOT

A private-sector report on Monday showed signed contracts to buy previously owned homes rose 1.5 percent last month to the highest level since April 2010, showing underlying strength in the housing recovery even though the pace of sales growth has cooled in recent months.

Prices for longer-dated U.S. government bonds rose on the inflation reading, while the dollar fell against a basket of currencies. Stocks on Wall Street rose as investors also focused on the upbeat housing data.

The U.S. economy grew at a 2.5 percent rate in the first quarter, accelerating from a 0.4 percent rate in the last three months of 2012. But a range of data from retail sales to factory activity weakened in March, and growth estimates for the second quarter are currently in a range of 1.0 percent to 1.5 percent.

Some economists, however, said the better-than-expected reading on consumer spending in March, and the cooling in inflation, could mean those forecasts are understated.

“This makes it much more likely than we thought for real consumer spending to post a solid gain in the second quarter and increases the chances that real GDP growth in the second quarter will come in above 2 percent,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.

FALLING PRICES LEND A HAND

The data on spending showed that consumer prices rose just 1.0 percent over the last 12 months, the smallest gain in nearly 3-1/2 years and down from a 1.3 percent rise in February.

The deceleration extended to core prices, which were up 1.1 percent from a year ago after advancing 1.3 percent the prior month. The March increase was the smallest in two years and well below the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target.

The lack of inflation is helping to support the purchasing power of U.S. households. Income at the disposal of households after inflation and taxes increased 0.3 percent last month after a 0.7 percent gain in the prior month.

With income growth matching spending, the saving rate  — the percentage of disposable income households are socking away — was unchanged at 2.7 percent.

Editor’s Note: Economist Warns: ‘Money From Heaven a Path to Hell.’ See Evidence.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: NEWSmax.com

Obama Admin Threatening Benghazi Whistle Blowers With Career Terminations.


The Benghazi Cover-Up Not Staying Covered Up

At least four career officials at the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency have retained lawyers or are in the process of doing so, as they prepare to provide sensitive information about the Benghazi attacks to Congress, Fox News has learned.

At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied.

At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied.

Victoria Toensing, a former Justice Department official and Republican counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, is now representing one of the State Department employees. She told Fox News her client and some of the others, who consider themselves whistle-blowers, have been threatened by unnamed Obama administration officials.

“I’m not talking generally, I’m talking specifically about Benghazi – that people have been threatened,” Toensing said in an interview Monday. “And not just the State Department. People have been threatened at the CIA.”

Toensing declined to name her client. She also refused to say whether the individual was on the ground in Benghazi on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, when terrorist attacks on two U.S. installations in the Libyan city killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

However, Toensing disclosed that her client has pertinent information on all three time periods investigators consider relevant to the attacks: the months that led up to the attack, when pleas by the ambassador and his staff for enhanced security in Benghazi were mostly rejected by senior officers at the State Department; the eight-hour time frame in which the attacks unfolded, and the eight-day period that followed the attacks, when Obama administration officials incorrectly described them as the result of a spontaneous protest over a video.

“It’s frightening, and they’re doing some very despicable threats to people,” she said. “Not ‘we’re going to kill you,’ or not ‘we’re going to prosecute you tomorrow,’ but they’re taking career people and making them well aware that their careers will be over [if they cooperate with congressional investigators].”

Federal law provides explicit protections for federal government employees who are identified as “whistle-blowers.” The laws aim to ensure these individuals will not face repercussions from their superiors, or from other quarters, in retaliation for their provision of information about corruption or other forms of wrongdoing to Congress, or to an agency’s inspector-general.

Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican from California who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday to complain that the department has not provided a process by which attorneys like Toensing can receive the security clearances necessary for them to review classified documents and other key evidence.

“It is unavoidable that Department employees identifying themselves as witnesses in the Committee’s investigation will apply for a security clearance to allow their personal attorneys to handle sensitive or classified material,” Issa wrote. “The Department’s unwillingness to make the process for clearing an attorney more transparent appears to be an effort to interfere with the rights of employees to furnish information to Congress.”

America...this is your president. Another 4 years?....

America…this is your president. Another 4 years?….

The Obama administration maintains that it has been more than forthcoming on Benghazi and that it is time for the State Department to move on. At a recent hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Kerry noted that administration officials have testified at eight hearings on Benghazi, provided 20 briefings on the subject and turned over to Congress some 25,000 documents related to the killings.

“So if you have additional questions or you think there’s some document that somehow you need, I’ll work with you to try to get it and see if we can provide that to you,” Kerry told committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., on April 17. But Kerry added: “I do not want to spend the next year coming up here talking about Benghazi.”

Asked about Issa’s complaints about attorneys not receiving security clearances, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell on Monday indicated that – far from threatening anyone – the administration hasn’t been presented with any such cases. “I’m not aware of private counsel seeking security clearances or — or anything to that regard,” Ventrell told reporters. “I’m not aware of whistle-blowers one way or another.”

Ventrell cited the work of the FBI – whose probe of the attacks continues almost eight months later and without any known instances of perpetrators being brought to justice – and the Accountability Review Board. The board was an internal State Department review panel led by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen. An unclassified version of the board’s final report that was released to the public contained no conclusions that suggested administration officials had willfully endangered their colleagues in Benghazi or had misled the public or Congress.

“And that should be enough,” Ventrell said at Monday’s press briefing. “Congress has its own prerogatives, but we’ve had a very thorough, independent investigation, which we completed and [which was] transparent and shared. And there are many folks who are, in a political manner, trying to sort of use this for their own political means, or ends.” source – Fox News

by NTEB News Desk

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