To Be Holy: God’s Grace First, Then Our Choice

 

HOLY MAN/OR WOMAN BOTH CHOICE AND GRACE

Like it or not we all are what we are

We can choose our path, to the light or the dark

If we choose to walk in darkness, that is our choice

The light still shines even then, if we choose to see

We choose to walk in and stay in the light or darkness

Not by accident, it is a choice that each of us make

I am what I am because

I love the Son of God,

More than the toys of man

We all sin daily

For like you, I am just a man

If I forgive, and hold not against you

Will you in like kindness, give, as I give to you

Being a Man of God is an honor given

Not from our own righteousness, but grace

For such kindness is given, only from above

It is difficult to have the heart of a hawk

And the spirit of a dove

Being a Man of God, is something I long prayed for

To have a soul full of God’s love and Grace

Always willing to speak what you now know is the truth

The world will rage at the words that you speak

Being kind, decent, and loving is no life for the meek!

On 3-3-17 I Reblogged An Article With Serious Misquotes Of Bishop Angaelos Of The Coptic Orthodox Church Of The U.K.

 

Earlier today I received an email letting me know that one of the articles that I reblogged from one of my readers was filled with mistakes.  I always try to only print articles that are totally the truth and in the four plus years that I have been managing this website this is the first time that I have been informed that something that I reblogged for someone was needed to be deleted because it was filled with errors. I appreciate it very much that a lady from the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom informed me of the errors. Per her request I have permanently deleted that article from this site and I ask that anyone who may have reblogged the article to go into your files and do the same. The correct quote from Bishop Angaelos from a speech of his from this past February 28th of 2017 I am copy pasting below. The young lady from the Bishop’s office was kind enough to email it to me. If you would, please take a moment to read the correct article below.

 

Comment by His Grace Bishop Angaelos,
General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom,
on the recent spate of attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt,
including the recent attacks in Al-Arish, Sinai

28 February 2017

I have now drafted and redrafted this statement numerous times over the past weeks, wanting to say something about the deadly attacks experienced by Coptic Christians in Egypt on a daily basis, yet every time I do, there seems to be a new and often more horrifying attack that needs to be addressed. In the past three months alone forty Coptic Christians have been murdered in targeted attacks in Egypt. From the terrorist bombing on St Peter’s Coptic Church in Cairo that claimed the lives of twenty nine mainly women and children, to the murders of individuals across the country since, the one common denominator is that these innocent children, women and men have had their lives brutally and tragically ended for no other reason except that they are Christians.

Incitement by terrorist groups that calls for the killing of Christians in Egypt has spiralled over the past weeks to the extent that lists of churches and individuals have now been released as desirable targets.

While persecution is nothing new for the Coptic community, this escalation of attacks over the past months, culminating in the most recent murders of seven Christians in Al-Arish, has resulted in the displacement of hundreds forced to leave their generations-old homes in North Sinai.

These horrific attacks have gone largely unnoticed by the international community, but Copts continue to suffer tragic violations daily. The attacks against them are anti-Christian and religiously-motivated, demonstrated in many cases by the circulation of flyers within villages urging Christians to ‘leave or die’. Similar events have tragically occurred far too often over the past years, and there is unfortunately little deterrent to prevent them from reoccurring.

In our fast moving world that is filled with so much news of tragedy, war and death, it is all too easy for atrocities to become ‘incidents’, and for individuals suffering them to become mere statistics, very quickly pushed aside by the next item of news. In the eyes of the perpetrators they are a viable target, and in the eyes of the world they become a regrettable phenomenon; yet what is actually left behind is traumatised individuals, families and communities that have lost loved ones, living the reality of themselves being targeted.

While Coptic Christians have been particularly targeted they have always remained peaceful and opted for non-retaliation. Exceeding this already admirable stance, they have even proceeded to forgive their perpetrators. After the destruction of over 100 places of Christian ministry and worship in August of 2013, the bombing of various churches across the country in the last decade, and the targeted killing of clergy, families, women and children, purely for their Faith, the community and individuals within it remain non-violent and resilient. Despite their being condemnation of these attacks by national government and authorities, there is yet to be a consistent robust and fair implementation of these same sentiments more regionally and locally.

In communicating over the past weeks with various brothers and sisters in Egypt, what becomes immediately apparent is that this community that continues to witness its Faith with integrity and strength despite the hurdles it faces, desires to live with dignity in its indigenous homeland.

It must also be mentioned that Coptic Christians are not alone in facing these attacks, as scores of Egyptian civilians, soldiers and police officers have lost their lives as a result of this wave of terrorist activity.

We pray for those suffering terrorism and violence, for God to grant them peace and reassurance that they are not forgotten by Him or by all those who not only witness their plight but strive to advocate for them. We also pray for those in positions of authority and influence that they may be advocates for all those entrusted into their care. Finally, and not of least importance we pray for those who perpetrate these crimes, that they once again become conscious of the true value of every life that appears to be dispensable in their eyes.

Ends

 

View this comment and other statements/releases via www.CopticMediaUK.com

 

Follow HG Bishop Angaelos on Twitter @BishopAngaelos

 

Pope Francis: Read The Bible As Often As You Check Your Cellphone

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME AND THE VATICAN AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Pope Francis: Read the Bible as Often as You Check Your Cellphone

12:51 PM Eastern

(VATICAN CITY) — Pope Francis has called on the faithful to consult the Bible with the same frequency as they might consult their cellphones for messages.

Francis urged a packed St. Peter’s Square following his weekly Angelus blessing Sunday to give the Bible the same place in daily life as cellphones, asking: “What would happen if we turned back when we forget it, if we opened it more times a day, if we read the message of God contained in the Bible the way we read messages on our cellphones.”

The message was a twist on Francis’ frequent use of social media to reach the faithful, including regular messages on Twitter.

Disciple: We All Are One, But A Disciple Of What

 

A lot of people when they hear the word disciple tend to think of the Lord’s twelve Apostles. These men were indeed disciples of Jesus Christ but in their case they were a whole lot more that just disciples. These men were hearer’s and seekers of the Lord in the flesh and of His miracles. There are no Apostles of Christ left upon the Earth today as John, the writer of the last book of the Bible called Revelation was the last and he died in the late first century A.D..  I put this little ‘disclaimer’ in because I have heard of a few men in my lifetime who has tried to deceive people by saying they were one.  John was the only one of the Lord’s Apostles who wasn’t murdered for their testimony of Christ. If you come across a person who says that they are an Apostle of Christ you can know without any doubt that this person is not even a disciple of the Lord because this person starts his testimony with a lie. The definition of the word disciple is to be a ‘follower’ of.

 

There are sects of the Christian faith that teach in error the concept of ‘once saved always saved’ even though the Scriptures do not teach this. Think about a person who was actually an Apostle of Jesus, a man who witnessed Jesus and His miracles and listened to His words daily for three years yet his own actions condemned himself. This man of which I speak is of course Judas Iscariot, the Apostle who for 30 pieces of silver betrayed Jesus to be condemned. Judas chose to become a disciple of and a worker for Satan, much to his own horror. Jesus Himself said “it was better for the man who betrayed Him, if he had never been born. For it was for this purpose , this act that Judas was brought into this world.” In the Gospel of Luke 22:3 it is written,”Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot.” Folks, what a horrible thing for this man Judas for the next time he see’s the face of Jesus will be at his own judgement at the Judgement Seat of Christ. In the Webster Dictionary the definition of the word disciple reads as follows “follower, one who takes another as a teacher and model, training that produces orderliness, obedience and self-control.” All of these things that Mr. Webster says about being a disciple is exactly what I want to be, a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. This thing, this event, being a disciple of Jesus is exactly what I wish for everyone on Earth to have as their main daily goal in their lives.

 

Friends, everyone on Earth is a disciple of something or of someone, humans always have been, it is a reality of our nature. I know that there are some who are disagreeing with me right now on a personal level , that is okay, hopefully before you finish reading this article you will change your mind on that issue. Everyone of us humans are known by our works, what we do, or what we do not do. The people that are around us each day (at least the ones who even notice us at all) make judgements of us on the things we say and or do, or don’t do, fair or not this is reality. We humans are not saved by our works but we are known by them. This is so that we as humans should not boast of our accomplishments, raising ourselves above others because it is by the Grace of God that we are saved. This is why we must all walk our lives after the path of and the face of He whom we follow each day, if we are a disciple of Jesus Christ. If we are a disciple of Jesus we must all walk in the Light of The Lord everyday. The Lord gave us the examples on how we should live our lives, He doesn’t force us to do anything though, it is our choice what we do or don’t do. Question, if we walk after the face and the heart of Jesus in faith wouldn’t the things we do each day, our works, show to the world that we are a disciple of Christ? If you have people in your life who don’t believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Saviour of the human race, I pray that you by the example you lead each and everyday is an example of the Light, the Love of Jesus. If we are just a once a week Christian then we are neither hot or cold as we show Christ as a bad example to those around us and those people will turn away from the salvation that Jesus offers all of us, because of you, because of your works being evil they will be condemned.

 

Folks, this is concerning our ‘works’, our daily activities and why they matter so much. The Apostle Paul in his letters to the Churches in Asia Minor told the Christians there that just because it is legal for us to do something, let’s say like going to a bar/saloon/pub after work with a few of our buddies and have a couple of beers before we head home, it is not always a good idea to do so. The reason Paul gave was because if a weaker Christian sees us going into the bar they may think less of us as a Christian, thus think less of Christianity and fall away from The Faith. Paul was just telling us to be careful about our actions each day because our actions do matter, if we are a Christian we are supposed to be a ‘light unto the world’. It may sound a bit cold but if we are not walking our lives, our daily examples, after the Light of Lord then we are walking in the darkness of this world and at the very least, our own actions are condemning ourselves. This life for we humans is but the ‘blink of the eye’ in regards to eternity yet we seem to find it so difficult to stay faithful for just this little while. If we fall, if we fail, it is our own fault if we are after this life, thrown into Hell.

 

The Devil puts so much onto the daily path that we walk. He wants us all to trip and fall as often as possible hoping for the day that we give up and do not get up. He wants every one of us to stumble in and to live in His darkness. Remember friends, the Devil is a raging Lion constantly walking the Earth seeking whom He can devour.  Satan wants you, your parents, grandparents, your kids, brothers and sisters, your spouse and everyone you know and love to go to Hell, literally. You see, Satan and tens of thousands of Angels fought against God, His Son, the Holy Spirit and their faithful Angels for supremacy of Heaven itself, and they lost. They were kicked out of Heaven onto the Earth where they will be until the end of this system of things that we are all part of. Then once the Second Advent of Christ happens they will be cast straight into Hell as their final punishment for their treason against God. The Devil and His Angels know the Bible better than any human and they know that events are winding down. They also know that we humans whom they hate so badly are going to have a fair and honest chance to have what they once had, salvation, eternity with God. So you see friends, it really does matter what path we choose in this life, it matters a lot whom or what we decide to ‘follow’,  to be a disciple of. None of us knows when our last heartbeat will be yet once it has happened the path we followed can not be changed. With the Lord Jesus there is only one path, the one that leads us to Him. There are many other paths and they all lead us to the same place and that place is not to God, it is to the Devil and all of His raging Angels who are waiting for us in Hell, it is our choice. Whom or what are we a Disciple of?

Caring And Charity From A Biblical Christian View Point

 

Caring, it should be a deep, loving, kind thing, a way of life. Just as a lack of caring shows a deeply troubled hurt filled way to live and these two are not compatible within one home, or within one Soul. A caring person is usually a kind and loving type of person. Yet a person who is self-centered and egotistical by their nature tends to be a person who is down on the world around them, they tend to be people who think very little or nothing at all about how they treat other people or animals, or even themselves. I am not a doctor but to me, this sounds a lot like the building blocks to depression issues. The Lord wants all people to be good, decent and kind to each other. The Lord wants us all to treat people of all tongues, races and beliefs like they are our brothers and sisters if these people will allow such to be. Do you remember the ‘Golden Rule’? Friend, it does not say ‘do unto others before they have a chance to do unto you.’

 

The Lord tells us all to be a person who is charitable, to gives alms to the poor, if you don’t know what alms means it is simple, it means food, clothing, a place to stay and even some money when we can. Charity is caring about the people in your Church, your family, town, state and Country and even toward people in other Countries. It is an old saying that charity begins at home for if you are a person who turns a blind eye toward helping your own family members and people close to your home, is any charity you give to other people in other Nations without sin? But in your charity do not be taken advantage of by people who could work, who are healthy enough to work, but refuse to do so for they are worse than a non believer in your own Church family, remember folks, if a man will not work, neither shall he eat. The Lord has never said that He wants His disciples to be lazy, to lay around on their backside while begging or stealing from those who do work. If a person’s nature is that of caring and are charitable they seem to have a love filled, light filled, quiet self-assured ora about themselves. Think about this for a moment, a Christian is a person that is indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God Himself so our lives should be one of His light and His love. Without love, is there really caring and charity in their lives?

 

I am not saying nor is it true that all of the kind, good, honest, caring, charity filled people on Earth are Christians for that is not at all so. There are people of all Faiths and religious beliefs and even some people of no Faith system at all who are good, honest, hard-working, caring, charitable people, but these traits, these ‘works’ does not save our Soul at our judgement time. Remember folks what the Apostle Paul told us, that faith without works is dead, just as works without faith our works are  dead. Every single person who is a Christian is supposed to be a light unto the world, a light that one does not try to hide from the world. Would this be saying that every Christian is supposed to be a role model whether they wish to be or not? The world is full of darkness as the Devil and His tens of thousands of Angels roam this world at will looking for anyone that they can destroy. If we walk outside in the darkness with a lit lantern, the world will see that light and many will gravitate toward that light and this Light is the Lord.

 

Any person, community, or Nation can not fully serve two different Masters, we can not serve God and serve the Devil at the same time, it is not possible. People can pretend to care about you or your family, they can even be charitable and may even do some charity work but this does not mean that they are a Christian, even if they smile a lot and confess themselves to be. The people who are around us each day know what the truth is about whom we serve. If a person is just a Sunday Christian, they are not a Christian. Think about it, the people we work with each day, our neighbors, friends and families, they see the ‘true’ us. We do not have to be one who pushes religion on other people, we don’t need to be yelling sermons from the street corners to try to prove that we are a Christian. The daily lives we lead show those around us that we are different from ‘the world’. If we don’t curse or tell dirty jokes or steal or lie, those around us notice that we are different and those tend to be the same people who gravitate toward the ‘Light’ that you are showing daily. But, if we are ones that confess to be a Christian yet we act no different from how the people of ‘the world’ act we turn ourselves into the “lukewarm water'” the Lord spoke of to the Apostle John in the book of Revelation. Now think about it, if those around us can see through our fake Christianity do you honestly believe that God can’t see straight through us?

 

Throughout the New Testament we are told over and over again that the harvest is ready and that we as Christians must produce. Any tree that produces no fruit shall be cut down and cast into the fire. Friends, we cannot hide our ‘talents’ in the sand until the Lord returns. Look at how caring and charity and love brings people closer to each other. If you woke up late at night and you noticed that your neighbor’s home next door was on fire and you knew that their whole family was asleep inside but you just went back to bed because it wasn’t your house, not your family, not your problem, and that family all died do you think that man’s laws would leave you at peace if they knew what you had done? When we do not try to keep our friends, neighbors, coworkers and family from the fires of Hell because we just didn’t want to put out the effort do you really think that God will hold us blameless when we are at the Judgement Seat of Christ?

 

As I said earlier there are a lot of really good people in the world today, people of every Nation, skin color and tongue who are not Christians yet they are daily looking for the meaning of life. There are people around us each day who are caring, loving, charity filled individuals who do not have the Light of Christ within them. If we do not live a Holy Spirit led lifestyle around them, if we do not show them the Light of Christ within us and they die without Christ, their blood will be required of us at our own Judgement. Let us all be truthful to our own selves for a moment please. When it comes to our own faith, are we just sitting on our hands, doing little to nothing? Do we really care about anyone? Honestly, do we really even care about our own families? Friends, if we don’t then we are condemning our own selves to Hell. It is not the Devil doing it, nor is it God doing it, it is us, our own selves that is doing it through our own lack of faith. The Lord knows all of us, He knows exactly why we do or do not do things, there is no way we are going to be able to fool God and quite honestly only a fool would try to.

 

In the book of Matthew 10:38-39 it says “He that does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. He that finds his own life shall lose it. And he that loses his life for my sake shall find it.”

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the works of the Lord. For as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the Judgement Seat of Christ,  that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that does the will of My Father which is in Heaven.”

Now the last Scripture passage I will use tonight goes like this, it is from 1 Peter 4:7-8

“But the end of all things is at hand: Be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: For charity shall cover a multitude of sins.”

 

This article tonight is just an effort to try to get each of us to thinking outside our human box we tend to put ourselves in so that hopefully when we are put in a pine box we aren’t likely to get awakened by a hot pitchfork.

2,000 Jewish Teens On Spiritual Tour De Force In New York City

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHABAD.ORG)

2,000 Jewish Teens on Spiritual Tour de Force in New York City

Students are coming in from all over the world, to then bring the spirit of the Shabbaton back home

Teens from around the world, accompanied by Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries, will pour into New York to participate in the ninth annual CTeen International Shabbaton. The official program starts Friday and lasts through Sunday. Pictured from last year is Samuel Tibi from Ra’anana, Israel; this year, his younger brother, Victor Tibi, is attending. (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)
Teens from around the world, accompanied by Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries, will pour into New York to participate in the ninth annual CTeen International Shabbaton. The official program starts Friday and lasts through Sunday. Pictured from last year is Samuel Tibi from Ra’anana, Israel; this year, his younger brother, Victor Tibi, is attending. (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)

“How many people can show up in Times Square and have a mad Jewish party there?” asks Koby Lerner, rhetorically.

The 16-year-old from San Diego will be one of more than 2,000 Jewish teenagers from countries around the world to share in a Havdalah ceremony and spend Saturday night in New York’s iconic neighborhood at Broadway and Seventh Avenue as part of the ninth annual CTeen International Shabbaton, to take place Feb. 24-26. And that’s only a part of a weekend of spirited (and spiritual) celebrations, learning, touring, socializing and more.

Koby recalls the first time he attended the Shabbaton two years ago and his first impression of Crown Heights in Brooklyn, N.Y. “At first, it seemed like we didn’t fit in there because we didn’t have black hats and white shirts,” he says. “But it didn’t matter at all to anybody there: They loved us unconditionally. You could feel the love from these random strangers.”

RELATED

These numbers, according to Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, executive director of Merkos 302, “are a testament to the dedicated Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries who have worked tirelessly to bring Jewish teens closer to Yiddishkeit.”

In Germany, getting ready for going abroad. This year will see the largest international group to date, including chapters from Moscow, Monaco and Brazil. (CTeen Photo)
In Germany, getting ready for going abroad. This year will see the largest international group to date, including chapters from Moscow, Monaco and Brazil. (CTeen Photo)

Rabbi Mendy Mottal, Chabad emissary of CTeen Paris, is accompanying 207 participants from throughout France to New York. “Each year, the energy and effort that is poured into making this event is incredible,” he says. “Our teens always have an uplifting and inspiring experience, much of which I attribute to the incredible community feeling that Crown Heights offers us.”

This year, for the first time, CTeen will welcome chapters from Moscow, Monaco and Brazil, making this the largest international group ever. And as many as 75 young Israelis are flying to New York.

Rabbi Aizik Rosenfeld of the Marina Roscha Synagogue and Jewish Community Center in Moscow will be accompanied by 22 teens to the Shabbaton, none of whom have ever been to the United States before. “They’re really pumped up,” says Rosenfeld. “New York is like a dream come true; it’s what America means to them.”

The students will be hosted by local families and experience a traditional Shabbat, similar to what it was like for many of their great-grandparents and forefathers, adds the rabbi.

Rabbi Zalman Marcus, co-director of the Chabad Jewish Center of Mission Viejo, Calif., fields questions from participants and parents about what to expect at the three-day event. (CTeen Photo)
Rabbi Zalman Marcus, co-director of the Chabad Jewish Center of Mission Viejo, Calif., fields questions from participants and parents about what to expect at the three-day event. (CTeen Photo)

“It will be an interesting experience for them, keeping Shabbat from beginning to end,” says Rosenfeld, who moved to Moscow three years ago with his wife, Blumi. He remembers being amazed at “how much liberty there is now, how much openness there is as far as Yiddishkeit in general. Still, the density of Jewish life in Moscow, growing as it is, remains very different from Crown Heights.”

For these young people, he says, every small step—such as putting on tefillinonce a week or observing Shabbat to any extent—is a huge change.

Similar to the Russian students, Rabbi Chai Kohan, head of CTeen Español, adds that “the draw for many arriving from South and Central America is the chance to meet other Jewish teens from around the world. Most of them have never traveled to the United States.”

The worldwide growth of CTeen programs like the Shabbaton is thanks to the Meromim Foundation, spearheaded by Rabbi Bentzi Lipskier. To date, the foundation has sponsored more than 40 CTeen Chabad couples under the “New Shluchim Initiative.”

The Shabbaton comes just days after thousands of women filled Brooklyn as part of the annual International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Women Emissaries (Kinus Hashluchos).

CTeen Côte S. Luc preps in Montreal, Canada (CTeen Photo)
CTeen Côte S. Luc preps in Montreal, Canada (CTeen Photo)

‘Part of Your Journey’

In New York, teens will get to visit some of the city’s major attractions: the Statue of Liberty, the new One World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial, Midtown, Uptown, Downtown and more—and will spend Shabbat learning, eating, praying and getting to know one another.

Participants will also get a tour of Lubavitch World Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway, and the President Street home and the study of the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory. And they will visit the Ohel, the Rebbe’s resting place at the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, N.Y.

Teens get an update in Ashkelon, Israel, about the Shabbaton. As many as 75 young Israelis are flying to New York. (CTeen Photo)
Teens get an update in Ashkelon, Israel, about the Shabbaton. As many as 75 young Israelis are flying to New York. (CTeen Photo)

Victoria Lamport, 17, from Tampa, Fla., sees the recreational parts of the Shabbaton as intrinsically connected to its more religious aspects. “It’s fun to see all your friends, to reconnect and to meet new people,” she says, “but the spiritual side to it is also the fact that you’re around so many people who are as motivated as you are . . . people who want to help, people who want to be a part of your journey, people doing certain mitzvahs for the first time and seeing how it affects them.”

She has seen that transformative energy work in her own family. “What is really awesome,” says the high school senior, “is that as I started to learn more, my family also got more involved. My dad started having the rabbi over every other week to learn. It’s been amazing to see the impact that Chabad has had on our lives.”

She hopes to spend the summer focusing on Jewish studies before starting a pre-med curriculum at college. “When I’m learning is when I really feel; I can almost feel my neshamah [‘soul’]. I don’t really know how to explain it. I just feel it—like I have a purpose in this world.”

Koby relates how exposure to the strong camaraderie that Victoria describes has been “life-changing.” Last summer, the California native went on the “CTeen Xtreme” summer travel camp out West, staying on afterwards for a yeshivah program. “I liked it so much I decided I didn’t want to go home, so I convinced my parents to let me stay.” Now, Koby lives and learns full-time at Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad in Los Angeles.

Koby Lerner of California will join the Shabbaton for a second time. The 16-year-old was also part of “CTeen Xtreme” summer travel camp last year, shown here having a blast. (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)
Koby Lerner of California will join the Shabbaton for a second time. The 16-year-old was also part of “CTeen Xtreme” summer travel camp last year, shown here having a blast. (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)

Youths Into Leaders

For many teens, the inspiration continues long after the Shabbaton is over.

“My daughter, Sydney, was always deathly afraid of getting up to speak, even to our own family,” says Craig Winawer of Dix Hills, N.Y. “Recently, I watched her make a 10-minute speech in front of our of whole shul about CTeen and the Shabbaton. This is a kid who you can barely get to say three words at our Passover seder.”

Ever since Sydney became involved four years ago, her father has watched his shy daughter transform into a real leader. Today, she is member of the CTeen International Board.

A little anxiety, however, isn’t just relegated to teenagers. Brochie Levin of Chabad Lubavitch of Alberta in Calgary, Canada, acknowledges that “as a new shlucha to CTeen, I was nervous about bringing in a group for the Shabbaton. But the amount of advice, prep and work that was put into helping us was incredible. Our teens are so excited—and so are we.”

To learn more about CTeen International and the Shabbaton, click here.

The Havdalah ceremony and celebration in Times Square 2014 (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)
The Havdalah ceremony and celebration in Times Square 2014 (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)
Times Square 2015 (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)
Times Square 2015 (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)
Times Square 2016 (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)
Times Square 2016 (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)
A group on the way from Kiryat Bialik, Israel, for the 2017 Shabbaton (CTeen Photo)
A group on the way from Kiryat Bialik, Israel, for the 2017 Shabbaton (CTeen Photo)

Why I Choose To Operate A Diversified Website

 

I know that there are a lot of folks who choose to stay very narrow in the material they publish on their websites and I do totally understand that line of thought. There are many people who are by their nature very narrow-minded in the way they choose to live their lives, some would say they are very ‘focused’ and I do not doubt their sincerity, our lives after all is a personal thing. Some people are wildly diversified in their beliefs yet choose to be very narrow in the material they will post in their blog, that is understandable to me also. There are a lot of people who when they get onto the internet in search of material to read they want to go to sites that totally and only agree with their personal points of view. This is understandable to me if a person is looking for a certain venue like muscle cars, farm equipment or clothing fashions. There are some folks who run websites who know their targeted market and the people who visit their site so the author’s stay on that narrow path so that they don’t lose readership, in my opinion that is a safe way to operate your site. Yet there are subject matters in this world we live in that are diversified by their very nature.

 

I know that there is an old cliché about never mixing religion and politics into a conversation unless you are wishing to start a war, or to get everyone to leave your party. Yet these are two genre’s that affect our lives whether we wish them to or not. So, this is why I add them into the things I write about and that I reblog for other writers. I try to be a bit eclectic on purpose hoping that I can get people to think outside their norm. I want my readers to search out this website each day for the purpose of liking some things and getting upset about other things they find on this site each day. I do not agree with everything I reblog from other writers, some I very much do not agree with. Yet I do this to broaden my own area of knowledge and hopefully broaden the knowledge of some of my readers.

 

Before I went to college I did not write anything at all except maybe an occasional letter to a family member. While in school I was forced into taking a class called Creative Writing, one that I am positive many of you folks also had to labor through. I found that I actually liked writing during the time I was in those classes though. I survived by writing a lot of poems that a lot of people seemed to like and I was pleased to be able to pass the course. As many of my readers know I still post one of my poems once in a while just to break a routine from serious articles. In the political arena I am a registered Independent voter who is sick of both the Republican and the Democratic parties yet on this site I post articles that are for and against both of these parties as well as other parties and groups of people like Nazi believers, Communists believers and even Socialists believers. Do I do this because I wish to start a war? No, not at all, what I am trying to do is to help start a conversation between these different ideologies. You know, sometimes this conversation I am trying to facilitate is even one that is between one’s own ears.

 

Another genre that a person will find on this site is about religion, or should I say religions. Personally I am a fundamentalist Christian that does not agree totally with any of the world’s main denominations doctrines. There are many ‘Christian’ religions and many people through the past two thousand years have died fighting against other ‘Christians.’ In my personal opinion this violence toward each other is anti-Christian. Then as you know, there are many other ‘religions’ here on this planet that have nothing to do with Jesus (Yeshua) or God the Father Jehovah (Yahweh). There are billions of people who believe in Gods that are not found in any version of the Bible such as Buddhist, Hindu and Islam to name just a few. Yet you may ask why I will forward writings from other bloggers on to this site that are not fundamentalist or even Christian at all and this is a fair question. If you have ever read my homepage article you know that I was brought up in the ‘Church of Christ’ as a kid and as a teenager. I was taught that only people who were members of the Church of Christ would go to Heaven and that everyone else on Earth would go to Hell. Yet there were many questions I had that the Elders would not or could not answer so I started digging into other religions, Christian and otherwise. The Church taught that we were correct and every other religion was wrong yet I was expected to go around the neighborhood knocking on people’s doors telling them that their version of Christian worship was wrong without knowing what they were wrong about. How does one do that? Yet the Elders told me it was evil to be reading materials about religion that wasn’t from the Church of Christ. My opinion then was as it is now, how do you tell someone they are wrong if you don’t even know what they teach?

 

These are the reasons why I post a different type of articles and opinions on this website, to get people to think, to read, to question, to understand. Do I believe in everything I post up each day? Of course not. In editing this site I have learned so very much from what other writers have written. I have learned many things about other cultures, religions, jobs, economies, militaries, and about other countries, some of which I did not even know existed. Friends this is why I do what I do on this site. No one is paying me anything at all to write what I do or to reblog what I choose to reblog, I have never earned one penny from this site and I do not ever expect to. I write and read these articles to educate myself and hopefully to help broaden the understanding and knowledge of others. I do have things that I will not put over onto this site that other WordPress bloggers who read me write about though. I do not put anything I consider to be pornographic nor do I put over articles with filthy language onto this site. That is just a personal choice, just as I hope it is your personal choice to stop in each day to see what range of genre I have posted for you to consider. Until we can meet again, Shalom my friends, may God bless you and your loved ones always.

Three Minutes Till The End

 

Three minutes, it’s not a lot of time

But, if you were in deed all we have left

Three minutes, what should we choose to do with thee

Not much time to think or act

In three minutes will be the end of all life

Friends, what would we do, will we whine and cry

Do we think carnal, grab the first skirt for a quickie try

Like blood in an hourglass the seconds are ticking by

Do we smoke one last joint so we can go out with a high

Do we wonder how it is going to feel to die

How many seconds did we spend in self-pity

Do we hit the floor with our knees and cry to on High

Should we spend our precious time pleading for more

Or, maybe flip open our phone for calls and texts

O Lord if so please teach our fingers how to fly

Who do we choose for that one last phone call

Whom is it that we choose to  drop that one dime

How quick a note to tell them all that they were loved

Would we take that very last moment to spend with our Lord

For all their lives, and our own, to thank Him for

One last chance  to ask Him for all our Souls to save

Every second that passes, we are that much closer to the grave

Jakarta Indonesia: Hardline Muslims Protest There Being A Chinese Christian Governor

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

Jakarta vote: Indonesia hardliners call for Muslim governor

  • 8 hours ago
  • From the section Asia
Islamic hardliners demonstrate against Basuki Tjahaja PurnamaImage copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption Hardline Muslims have been marching against Jakarta’s ethnic Chinese Christian governor for months

Tens of thousands of Indonesians have gathered in Jakarta to urge people to vote for a Muslim candidate to be the capital city’s next governor.

The incumbent, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok, is an ethnic Chinese Christian currently on trial after being accused of insulting Islam.

Despite the court case, Mr Purnama is still expected to win Wednesday’s vote.

The campaign against him has been led by Muslim hardliners, stoking fears of growing religious intolerance.

Crowds gathered for mass prayers around the city’s Istiqlal Mosque on Saturday, urging people to cast their ballots for Muslim leaders.

Supporters of several Islamic groups held posters with messages such as “I’d prefer if my leader is a Muslim” and “It is forbidden to pick an infidel leader”.

Hardline protesterImage copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption Hardliners insist that the city should be governed by a Muslim
mass prayer at Istiqlal mosqueImage copyright EPA
Image caption The event centred on the Istiqlal Mosque drew tens of thousands of people

The action follows big protests against Mr Purnama in December and a rally that turned violent in November, leaving one man dead and dozens of police and demonstrators injured.

Mr Purnama became Jakarta’s first non-Muslim governor for 50 years and the first ethnic Chinese to hold the position when he took over from Joko Widodo – now the president – in 2014.

He won popularity for his no-nonsense style, as well as his stances against corruption and in favour of public transport and greater access to healthcare and education.

But some Islamists rejected him from the outset because of both his religion and ethnicity.

His position has been undermined by the court case against him, with prosecutors arguing that he insulted Islam by misusing a Koranic verse.

Mr Purnama had said that Islamic groups using a passage of the Koran to urge people not to support him were deceiving voters.

The verse is interpreted by some as prohibiting Muslims from living under the leadership of a non-Muslim.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr Purnama wept as his trial opened in December

Mr Purnama insisted his comments were aimed at politicians “incorrectly” using the verse against him, not at the verse itself.

Rights groups say the authorities have set a dangerous precedent in which a noisy hardline Islamic minority can influence the legal process.

Mr Purnama is facing two prominent Muslim challengers for the Jakarta governorship.

If none of the contenders gets more than 50%, a run-off election between the two top candidates will take place in April.

Christians represent less than 10% of the country’s 250 million people, and ethnic Chinese about 1%.

In 1998, a wave of anti-Chinese sentiment led to mobs looting and burning Chinese-owned shops and houses, leaving more than 1,000 people dead.

However, Muslims in Indonesia are largely moderate and the country’s largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, had advised its members not to take part in the recent anti-Ahok protests.

The Land: Israel And The Palestinians: And The U.S. And The Native Indians

 

Most people in the ‘wired’ world of today know about the struggles in the Holy Lands of Israel between the Nation of Israel and the displaced Palestinian population. For those of you who do not know the back story of this issue I will try to condense this issue into just a few sentences so as to not make a book out of this article. When World War Two broke out the Ottoman Empire ruled the current land of Israel. After the war the British took control of that region but in the U.N. in 1947 a resolution was passed to recreate the Nation of Israel so that the displaced Jewish population could have a Nation of their own again, and this came about in 1948. Because of all the turmoil in the U.N. about this issue the Jewish people were only given a small sliver of the land that they used to call home for over 2,000 years. The British had made an agreement with the U.N. that they would pull out of Palestine in May of 1948 and then give this land to the Jewish people for their homeland. It is sad that the people who lived there were displaced, these folks years later became known as the Palestinians, refugees, a people with no ‘home’. These ‘Refugees’ were eventually taken in by Jordan but were kicked out in 1967, again making them homeless. The Islamic people of the Middle-East own about 99% of the land in this region of the world yet none of them (except for the short stint in Jordan) would let them into their countries. Either this issue shows that the ‘Palestinians people’ are very lousy guests, and/or the Islamic countries of the region are really lousy hosts, or possibly both? I say that because a brother is suppose to take in and to help when their brothers and sisters are in need but the Islamic Nations have not done that.

 

In 1948 on the day that the British completed their pull out the tiny newborn Nation of Israel was attacked by all of their Arab neighbors in an attempt to push all of the Jewish people into the Mediterranean Sea. To make a long story shorter, the people of Israel won that war but just 19 years later the Arab Nations of the Middle-East attacked Israel once again in what has become know as the Six Day War. In this war which Israel won they captured a lot more land from the Arab population who had attacked Israel. Among the lands captured was the Golan Heights in the north and they captured the rest of Jerusalem, to the south they also captured the West Bank and Gaza all the way down to the border with Egypt. The people who started the war who were in the lands that Israel recovered were also now displaced adding to a lousy situation for the Islamic people who caused the war. By my understanding it is the land that Israel recaptured in that six-day war of 1967 that has been causing the biggest conflict with the U.N. (among others). It is this land that has become known as the “occupied territories”. Some world leaders think that Israel has no rights to this land and should not build anything on it.

 

Israel was given a much larger piece of the land by God Himself somewhere around the human year of 1,800 B.C.. They lived on this land until about the year 630 A.D. when Mohammad’s army murdered their way through many countries including the land that belonged to Israel. So, here is where I want to start making some comparisons with land issues inside the U.S.. The Islamic people in Palestine had lived in what is now Israel for about 1,400 years before the U.N. gave some of it back to Israel, it is easy to understand why the ‘displaced’ people are mad at the people who now live on that land. Yet they refuse to accept the fact that there was ever a Nation of Israel before the time of Mohammad no matter how much evidence they are shown. What I am saying is the people of Israel simply took back some of what was their own in 1948 and then again in 1967. In 2005 the Israeli government in an attempt for peace gave back the ‘West Bank’ and the Gaza Strip so that the Palestinian people could have a home of their own since none of the Arab countries would ever allow them to settle in any of their countries. Land for peace is what this event was called, that concept failed, all it did was to give Israel’s haters closer Bases in which to attack Israel from. I have often wondered why if there is going to be a ‘two nation’ reality why can’t the ‘West Bank’ be given “Statehood” status? With Hamas ruling the Gaza Strip there is no way to allow them to become a State. So, who’s land is it in your eyes?

 

Now I would like to talk about the Native American ‘Indians’ and their rights to the land that we call America. A little over 500 years ago Europeans discovered North America and started settling it as if the land was barren of other human beings. Most Europeans did not consider the Indian people who were already here, and had been for thousands of years, as being humans, they demonized them as nothing but Savages. For the next 400 years Europeans kept marching west, killing the Indian people and taking their lands. By the late 1800’s America reached from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and the Native Americans had almost been exterminated. When the newspapers in the east started showing and telling the people what was being done to the Indian people they raised such a ruckus that the extermination concept ended and the concept of Reservations began. The Indian people were ‘given’ the worst of the worst lands to be exiled upon, these were lands that the white man didn’t want, so the Indian people were forced to live there.

 

I am going to make a small example for the purpose of easy clarity. There is a large Navajo Reservation in southwest New Mexico and part of eastern Arizona. I am going to use them in this example. When Europeans discovered what is today the State of New Mexico less than 300 years ago they began ‘settling’ it by removing the Native Americans who had lived there for thousands of years. If today the Navajo people decided that they were tired of living on their Reservation and told the white, black and Mexican people to move off of their land or they would be removed by the Navajo Nation, what do you think would be the result? I know this would not happen, it’s just a conversation point, but what if the U.S. Government said, okay we agree with you so all non-Indian people have to leave the state of New Mexico, what do you think would happen? Now put that concept to all of the 50 States, if the United Nations and the World Court ruled in favor of the Native Americans and they told all of us non-indigenous people to pack up and get off of the Native Americans land, where would we all go? I honestly believe that the Native American people do have the right to tell us all to get off of their land, after all it was stolen by the end of a gun from them. Now back to Israel and the Palestinian people, the Islamic people stole the land  from the Jewish people at the point of a blade, they either had to leave their homes or die. What I am saying is that there is no such thing as Israel’s “occupation” of Arab lands, there is no such thing as Israel building on occupied lands. Just as the correct thing to do here in North America is to give back the occupied lands to its rightful owners because they were well established here long before Europeans crossed the Atlantic, the people of Islam should give back all of the land that was Israel before they were stolen from them. Here in North America there is an occupation” going on right now and has been for about 500 years. In Israel the only “occupation” going on is in the lands where believers of Islam are occupying land that belongs to Israel, it is not the other way around. I hope you liked the article, I am just trying to get people to think and to consider the truth of history.