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The Endtime News Digest
Issue # 65 DFO              June 2003
Messages from Jesus or Dad are denoted by bold type. Notes from the editors are either in italics or are preceded by "Editor." Short quotes from the Letters are preceded by a bullet and are followed by the reference.

       Contributions to the END should be e-mailed to: end@wsfamily.com
       The END is a nonaligned, nonprofit publication. All articles published herein are for informational purposes only. Opinions and viewpoints expressed in the reprinted news articles are not necessarily those of the END editors.
       Comments added by heavenly sources or by the earthly editors are copyright © 2003 by the Family.

Cover story:
Designed to make a difference

By Rick Warren, Baptist Press
       You were put on earth to make a contribution. You weren't created just to eat, breathe and take up space. God designed you to make a difference with your life. This is one of God's purposes for your life, and it's called your "ministry" or service.
       The Bible says, "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10, NIV). You were placed on this planet for a special assignment.
       The apostle John said, "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death" (1John 3:14, NIV). If I have no love for others, no desire to serve others, and I'm only concerned about my needs, I should ask myself whether Jesus is really in my life. A saved heart is one that wants to serve.
       Another term for serving God-one that's misunderstood by most people-is the word ministry. In the Bible, the words servant and minister are synonyms, as are service and ministry. If you are a Christian, you are a minister, and when you're serving, you're ministering.
       Serving is the opposite of our natural inclination. Most of the time we're more interested in "serve us" than service. But as we mature in Christ, the focus of our lives should increasingly shift to living a life of service. The mature follower of Jesus stops asking, "Who's going to meet my needs?" and starts asking, "Whose needs can I meet?"
       Do you ever ask that question?
       At the end of your life on earth you will stand before God, and He is going to evaluate how well you served others with your life. Think about the implications of that. One day God will compare how much time and energy we spent on ourselves compared with what we invested in serving others.
       At that point, all our excuses for self-centeredness will sound hollow: "I was too busy" or "I had my own goals" or "I was preoccupied with working."
       To all excuses God will respond, "Sorry, wrong answer. I created, saved and called you and commanded you to live a life of service. What part did you not understand?"
       If you're not involved in any service or ministry, what excuse have you been using? Abraham was old, Leah was unattractive, Joseph was abused, Moses stuttered, Gideon was poor, Samson was strange, Rahab was immoral, David had an affair and all kinds of family problems, Jeremiah was depressed, Jonah was reluctant, Naomi was a widow, John the Baptist was eccentric, to say the least, Peter was impulsive and hot-tempered, Martha worried a lot, the Samaritan woman had several failed marriages, Zacchaeus was unpopular, Thomas had doubts, Paul had poor health, and Timothy was timid.
       That's quite a variety of misfits, but God used each of them in His service. He will use you, too, if you let Him.
       (Jesus:) Yes, My dear one, I will use you too, if you are willing! I long to use you personally to tell others of Me, to be My Gospel bound in shoe leather, even if you think you are a misfit, a problem, someone unfit for the Kingdom, much less able to lead others into it.
       I have chosen you personally-you, the one reading these words at this very moment-and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, much fruit, many souls for My Kingdom! This is My personal commission to you, your personal Heaven-sent mission on earth, that you should walk and win as I walked and won. As My Father sent Me, so I send you. Go into all the world and preach My Gospel of love to every creature, and make disciples of all nations!
       I know that you bear the treasure of My Word in earthen vessels, as frail humans fraught with problems, but I allow that so that both you and others may know that the excellency of the power is of God, not of you. It is God that works in you, and has worked in you, and will yet work in you!
       So, dear one, do you love Me? If so, I bid you now, as I bade My disciples of old, "Feed My sheep."


       "You don't need perfect humans around you to worship a perfect God."-Boston College theology professor Tom Beaudoin, quoted by USA Today.
       "I do not know what path in life you will take, but I do know this: If, on that path, you do not find a way to serve, you will never be happy."-Albert Schweitzer, 1875-1965, German-born theologian and missionary.

News Review: May 2003

Some of the top news stories of the month, in brief (Reuters/AP/AFP):


       An earthquake in the Algerian capital and nearby towns killed more than 2,200 people, injured over 9,000, and left 20,000 homeless.
       Suicide bombers killed 41 people in attacks in Casablanca, Morocco.
       Fighting between heavily armed ethnic groups in the eastern Congo intensified, leading to hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of refugees.

Asia and the Pacific

       A strong earthquake shook northern Japan, resulting in 100 injuries.
       A deadly heat wave in southern India killed at least 640 people.
       India and Pakistan renewed diplomatic relations for the first time in two years. Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee announced the restoration of diplomatic and airplane links to Pakistan, and Pakistan quickly reciprocated. Both countries still lay claim to the border state of Kashmir.
       At least 300 people died in Sri Lanka's worst flooding in five decades.


       Pope John Paul II paid a 36-hour visit to Spain, the 99th foreign trip of his papacy, urging Spaniards to stay true to their Catholic roots.
       A powerful earthquake killed 176 people and wounded 1,000 others in a mountainous region of southeastern Turkey.
       A plane carrying 62 Spanish peacekeepers returning from Afghanistan crashed in Turkey as it tried to land in heavy fog and all aboard, including 12 crew, were killed.

Latin America

       Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo declared a state of emergency in Peru to rein in a wave of violent strikes that had crippled the country's transit systems and public services.
       Patagonian leader Nestor Kirchner assumed the presidency of Argentina. Meanwhile, the worst flooding to hit Argentina's farming heartland in memory killed 22 people and forced 100,000 from their homes.


       The U.S. military said it will move its major Middle East bases out of Saudi Arabia after the conflict ends in Iraq.
       Looters continued to dismantle Iraq's infrastructure, and most of the equipment needed to restore the national electric grid was stolen. Nostalgia for the days of Saddam Hussein was spreading among the people. L. Paul Bremer took over from Jay Garner as the new American overseer of Iraq. The UN Security Council voted to end 13-year-old sanctions against Iraq and gave the U.S. and Britain extraordinary powers to run the country and its lucrative oil industry.
       American interrogators were forcing Iraqi prisoners to listen to songs by the rock band Metallica in order to make them talk. "These people haven't heard heavy metal. They can't take it," said one Psy Ops officer. "If you play it for 24 hours, your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down, and your will is broken. That's when we come in and talk to them."
       Attackers shot their way into three foreign housing compounds in the Saudi capital, then set off suicide car bombs, killing 34 people.
       Israel cracked down on human-rights activists, requiring all foreigners entering the Gaza Strip, including UN relief workers, to sign a waiver stating that they will not hold the Israeli army responsible if it injures or kills them.
       Israel formally accepted a U.S.-sponsored "road map" to peace, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that "the moment has arrived to divide this tract of land between us and the Palestinians."

North America

       In the course of one week, more than 290 tornadoes smashed through parts of the U.S., killing 44 people and causing tens of millions of dollars in damages.


       Two rebel suicide bombers drove a truck packed with explosives into a government building in Chechnya, killing 54 people and wounding 200 others. Another suicide bomber struck a week later, killing 10 more.

Other news

       The dollar continued to fall against the euro.
       The SARS virus was found in six masked palm civit cats and in a dog; SARS antibodies were also found in a Chinese ferret badger. Investigators said it was probable that the virus had jumped from one of the Chinese delicacies to humans.

Endtime News
u Wars and rumors of war

[text box:]
A rehabbed war junkie

By Kerry Candaele, AlterNet
       Chris Hedges was a war correspondent for the New York Times and reported from the killing fields of El Salvador, Bosnia, the civil wars in the Sudan, Algeria and Yemen, the West Bank and Gaza, and the Persian Gulf War, among others. He was held captive in Iraq by Republican Guard, sniped at by both Serbian and Israeli soldiers, and kept awake by heavy artillery in Sarajevo. In a recently published book, War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, Hedges gives an accounting of his 15-year battle with what he now calls the addiction and myth of war.
       Hedges: War is an addiction. Having been a war correspondent for many years, I know war is addictive, and that's why many war correspondents go from war to war to war, and barely function in between. In the same way that soldiers get off on a combat high, journalists get off on an adrenaline rush and that high voltage, high octane life that comes with war. It's a very unhealthy way to live. But it's not uncommon to firefighters, police, soldiers or war correspondents.
       Alternet: If war is an addiction, how does a person or a culture beat that addiction?
       Hedges: The only antidote is love. It's the only force that can overpower you to such an extent that you can no longer go to war.
       (Dad:) Love conquers all! The first of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse wasn't the red horse, the war horse, but the white horse and its Rider, Jesus, who went forth to conquer! He's still able to conquer the spirit of war, if men will yield to Him. And for those who won't, He's coming back on that white horse one of these days to conquer them and put an end to war!
[End of text box.]

Missing in action: Truth

       Editor: One of the main reasons the U.S. and Britain gave for invading Iraq was to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, which became such a catch phrase with the U.S. government that they often simply abbreviated it as WMD. However, dozens of UN weapons inspectors were unable to find Iraq's purported WMD during months of searches before the war and U.S. military teams have been unable to find them since then. Following are what some scientists, politicians and commentators have said about the search for the elusive WMD.

       * (Barton Gellman, Washington Post) The group directing all known U.S. search efforts for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is winding down operations without finding proof that President Saddam Hussein kept clandestine stocks of outlawed arms, according to participants. The 75th Exploitation Task Force, as the group is formally known … said they expected to find what Secretary of State Colin Powell described at the UN Security Council on Feb. 5-hundreds of tons of biological and chemical agents, missiles and rockets to deliver the agents, and evidence of an ongoing program to build a nuclear bomb. Scores of fruitless missions broke that confidence, many task force members said in interviews.
       * (Alan Elsner, Reuters) "We can conclude that the large number of deployed chemical weapons the administration said that Iraq had are not there. We can also conclude that Iraq's nuclear weapons program was not nearly as sophisticated as the administration claimed," said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former UN nuclear weapons inspector in Iraq.
       Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said the failure to turn up large-scale weapons programs pointed to serious problems. "I think it's safe to say the weapons do not exist in the quantities claimed by the administration … and there simply was not the imminent strategic threat that the president cited as his main cause for going to war."
(Karen DeYoung, Washington Post)Under pressure to explain why the U.S. has been unable to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, senior Bush Administration officials have hinted it may take a long time-if ever-before they are able to prove the case they made to justify the war. In an interview with Vanity Fair magazine, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said the weapons issue was merely one of several reasons behind the decision to go to war. "For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue-weapons of mass destruction-because it was the one reason everyone could agree on," he said.
       * (Charley Reese, King Features Syndicate) While we were impatient with UN weapons inspectors, now that we are hunting these so-far-mythical tons of weapons of mass destruction, people must be patient and understand it might even take years. But even if we don't find them, never mind that everything we said to sell the war was a lie. After all, we got rid of a tyrant, even though we have temporarily misplaced him. … Sometimes, following the news, I think I'm having hallucinations, but I know I'm not, for I am as sober as a Southern Baptist preacher on Sunday morning. Perhaps there is, "Matrix"-style, a dual universe. The Bush administration lives in one, and I in another.
       * (Nicholas D. Kristof, NY Times News Service) When I raised the Mystery of the Missing WMD recently, hawks fired barrages of reproachful e-mail at me. The gist was: "You *&#*! Who cares if we never find weapons of mass destruction, because we've liberated the Iraqi people from a murderous tyrant."
       But it does matter, enormously, for American credibility. After all, as Ari Fleischer said on April 10 about WMD: "That is what this war was about."
       I rejoice in the newfound freedoms in Iraq. But there are indications that the U.S. government souped up intelligence, leaned on spooks to change their conclusions and concealed contrary information to deceive people at home and around the world.
       Let's fervently hope that tomorrow we find an Iraqi superdome filled with 500 tons of mustard gas and nerve gas, 25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 29,984 prohibited munitions capable of delivering chemical agents, several dozen Scud missiles, gas centrifuges to enrich uranium, 18 mobile biological warfare factories, long-range unmanned aerial vehicles to dispense anthrax, and proof of close ties with Al Qaeda. Those are the things that President Bush or his aides suggested Iraq might have, and I don't want to believe that top administration officials tried to win support for the war with a campaign of wholesale deceit.
       "The intelligence that our officials was given regarding WMD was either defective or manipulated," Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico noted. Another senator is even more blunt and, sadly, exactly right: “Intelligence was manipulated."
       The CIA was terribly damaged when William Casey, its director in the Reagan era, manipulated intelligence to exaggerate the Soviet threat in Central America to whip up support for Ronald Reagan's policies. Now something is again rotten in the state of Spookdom.
       * (Molly Ivins, AlterNet) Funny how media attention slips just at the diciest moments. [For example], the ongoing non-appearance of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. More and more stories quoting ever-unnamed administration officials appear, saying the administration would be "amazed if we found weapons-grade plutonium or uranium" and that finding large volumes of chemical or biological material is "unlikely."
       Look, if there are no WMDs in Iraq, it means either our government lied to us in order to get us into an unnecessary war or the government itself was disastrously misinformed by an incompetent intelligence apparatus. In either case, it's a terribly serious situation.
       Nonexistent WMDs present us with a huge international credibility problem, particularly since the Bush administration now feels entitled to "punish" those countries that did not join the "coalition of the willing," as we so preciously called those who caved in to our threats to cut off their foreign aid.
       Come on, think about this. The Bush administration apparently feels entitled to take actions punishing close old friends, including Mexico and Canada-not to mention the Europeans-for not siding with us in a war we may have lied about?
       * (Senator Robert Byrd, Statement in the U.S. Senate, May 21, 2003) "Regarding the situation in Iraq, it appears to this Senator that the American people may have been lured into accepting the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation, in violation of long-standing international law, under false premises. … The run-up to our invasion of Iraq featured the President and members of his cabinet invoking every frightening image they could conjure, from mushroom clouds, to buried caches of germ warfare, to drones poised to deliver germ-laden death in our major cities. … Since the war's end, every subsequent revelation which has seemed to refute the previous dire claims of the Bush Administration has been brushed aside. Instead of addressing the contradictory evidence, the White House deftly changes the subject. No weapons of mass destruction have yet turned up, but we are told that they will in time. Perhaps they yet will. But, our costly and destructive attack on Iraq seems to have proven, in the main, precisely the opposite of what we were told was the urgent reason to go in. …
       "What has become painfully clear in the aftermath of war is that Iraq was no immediate threat to the U.S. Ravaged by years of sanctions, Iraq did not even lift an airplane against us. Iraq's threatening death-dealing fleet of unmanned drones about which we heard so much morphed into one prototype made of plywood and string. Their missiles proved to be outdated and of limited range. … Our loyal military personnel searching for WMD … have so far turned up only fertilizer, vacuum cleaners, conventional weapons, and the occasional buried swimming pool. The Bush team's extensive hype of WMD in Iraq as justification for a preemptive invasion has become more than embarrassing. It has raised serious questions about prevarication and the reckless use of power. Were our troops needlessly put at risk? Were countless Iraqi civilians killed and maimed when war was not really necessary? Was the American public deliberately misled? Was the world?"
       * (Jay Bookman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution) [This war was] not really about Iraq or weapons of mass destruction, or terrorism, or Saddam, or UN resolutions. This war … is intended to mark the official emergence of the United States as a full-fledged global empire, seizing sole responsibility and authority as planetary policeman. It would be the culmination of a plan 10 years or more in the making, carried out by those who believe the United States must seize the opportunity for global domination, even if it means becoming the "American imperialists" that our enemies always claimed we were.
       (Dad:) All the American hoopla about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was a ploy, a fabrication, an excuse for invasion! It aroused frightening images and terror in the minds of Americans, even if all it did was create skepticism in the minds of much of the rest of the world, who were more worried about American weapons of mass destruction.
       The U.S. started downplaying the WMD excuse even before the invasion of Iraq, and as you can see from the news articles above, they're downplaying it even more now.
They figured once they'd whipped up the American public's fervor to invade and conquer, the excuse they used wasn't so important anymore. And they know the American public has a pretty short attention span, so they were counting on them to have the attitude that, "Well, it's over now and we won. Saddam is gone and Iraq is free, so who cares if they didn't find WMD? What else is on TV?"
       Oh, I have no doubt that they'll find a little something sooner or later, whether it's real or planted by the Americans.
One commentator sarcastically said something to the effect of, "What will the Americans find in Iraq? Whatever they want to find! The stakes are too high to permit anything else." In other words, if they can't actually find weapons of mass destruction, or a few more "deadly drones" or something else that seems menacing, they'll whip up a substitute and plant it. And even if the fake or forgery is eventually exposed, very few Americans will hear about it in comparison to the great numbers who will hear about the "discovery" of some terrible weapons of mass destruction!
       So between the mainstream media's reluctance to criticize the government and the apathy and disinterest of most of the American people, the reasons for invading Iraq are becoming less and less important, and the U.S. government will probably become even bolder and more blatant in future invasions! But it's making itself to stink in the eyes of much of the rest of the world, and such pride, as the Lord has said, inevitably leads to a fall.

u Famine and drought
Deserts encroaching on civilization

By Janet Larsen, The Globalist
       More than 5,000 years ago, the Sumerians inhabited the rich land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Here they developed a sophisticated irrigation system, built the first cities, devised a written language-and invented the wheel.
       Thousands of years later, scholars studying the dawn of western civilization would dub the region "the Fertile Crescent." One might, therefore, have expected the region to be the breadbasket of the world. But Iraq finds wealth only in its oil fields. Once-fertile land is now desert.
       Unfortunately, this situation is not unique. All told, desertification plagues up to one third of the earth's land area, affecting more than 1 billion people in 110 countries. And each year, deserts claim millions of hectares more of cropland and rangeland.
       The secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification has projected that, without concerted efforts to arrest and reverse desertification, Asia could lose one-third of its arable land. In South America, arable land area could shrink by one-fifth. In Africa, two-thirds of the arable land could be lost.
       Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, loses some 350,000 hectares of land-about half the size of the U.S. state of Delaware-to the encroaching Sahara Desert each year.
       The United Nations Environment Program conservatively estimates that, between 1978 and 1991, some $300-600 billion in income was lost worldwide because of the failure to combat desertification.
       The Fertile Crescent, where agriculture was invented, has turned into a desert. It is time to take action to prevent the rest of the world from following the fate of the land that supported some of the world's first great empires.
       (Dad:) There were no deserts when the world was first created in all its perfection and beauty. The entire earth was like the Garden of Eden in many ways, and will be again one of these days, when the Lord re-creates it as a new earth, with a new heaven and the Heavenly City, New Jerusalem, on earth!
       For now there are deserts, and in many ways you can say they're man's "just deserts"-punishments for man's sins, the natural result of his ravaging the earth and polluting and destroying it, etc. Thank God we have a desert-free future to look forward to, a paradise to come, when both the earth and man's heart and nature will be remade!

u Pests and pestilences
SARS may be just the start

By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times
       In the few months since its emergence, the SARS virus has killed hundreds, sickened thousands and scared millions. But many infectious disease experts believe it is only a dress rehearsal for some other, more dangerous outbreak that could strike at any time.
       "What we have today is the perfect storm-an entire puzzle that favors the microbes," said Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health.
       Today, there are more people than ever before on the planet-6 billion compared with about 1.5 billion at the start of the 20th century. The human race has become a vast petri dish for the growth and spread of microbes.
       More than ever, we are a species on the move, abandoning countryside for closely packed cities, and boarding planes, trains and buses that can swiftly transport a SARS virus, flu virus or mosquito infected with West Nile or dengue virus far afield.
       Food production has turned into a giant, industrial undertaking that crowds animals together in huge congregations where they can pick up bacterial or viral contaminants that in the past would have stayed localized. The resulting ground beef, cutlets and chops are shipped far and wide.
       Plagues are by no means new. In the 1300s, the bubonic plague spread from China to Europe, killing 25 million Europeans, or about one third of the population there. Smallpox crossed the Atlantic to the Americas in the 1500s, ravaging the Aztecs and Incas.
       Records of deadly flu epidemics and pandemics date back as far as ancient Greece and Rome-and one of these, in 1918, claimed at least 20 million lives.
       New bacteria and viruses are emerging, often because of the actions of human beings. Frequently, the diseases come from animals that we cultivate for food.
       In Malaysia, the close proximity of pig herds and fruit bats allowed a previously unknown agent now known as the Nipah virus to jump from bat to pig-and eventually to people, where it caused more than 100 deaths from encephalitis in 1998 and 1999.
       In the United Kingdom, the practice of feeding ground animal carcasses to cattle may have allowed an agent causing a deadly, degenerative disease (known as "mad cow disease") to jump from sheep to cows in the 1980s. When the beef was turned to burgers, it killed at least 117 people.
       Perhaps the biggest threat linked to our close association with animals is influenza, which strikes every year, killing 36,000 Americans in a typical flu season.
       Flu viruses infect people, pigs, seals, horses, chickens, and are present in the guts of many species of waterfowl, where they cause little by way of disease. But when strands of animal flu meld with pieces of human flu-often in the body of a pig, where both can happily live-huge shifts in the virus can occur. The new strains, unfamiliar to humans, can overwhelm the body's defenses, causing deadly, global pandemics.
       It has been more than 30 years since a flu pandemic swept the globe-and if the past is anything to go by, we are overdue for another one.
       (Dad:) When the next pandemic comes-whether the Lord allows it, man creates it, or the Enemy brings it-you can be sure the governments of the world will have learned a lot from this one, and they'll capitalize on it.
       They've found that they need to work together to combat such diseases, a fact which the AC and his people will use to help promote a one world government with all of its unified systems.
       They've also found that dictatorial or repressive regimes fight such diseases better, because they have more control over the people-they can limit their travel, quarantine their home or apartment building or neighborhood, put GPS bracelets on them to track their movements or install webcams to keep an eye on them, or otherwise control and monitor them in the name of public health and safety.
       In democracies or less repressive countries, on the other hand, those in charge can't crack down on their people in the same way, and if they try, people sometimes just thumb their nose at them and disobey, and go on spreading the disease. So authoritarianism has just been given a new excuse for existence, or at least an old one that hasn't been used in a while!
       Thus, you can again see how the Enemy is using even such things as disease outbreaks as part of his plan to promote his superman and his "solutions" in the days to come!

[Text box:]
       & "The Antichrist promotes, funds, and perpetrates disease like [SARS]. This is only one of many experiments he will do, all part of his plan to make the world desperate for a savior, someone with solutions" (ML #3447:195.3, GN 1031).
[End of text box.]

u Cloning
God and genetics

By Linton Weeks, The Washington Post
       No longer is the act of creation seen as the sole province of God. Genetically altered mice are scampering all over the place. There are reports of cloned cattle, pigs, goats, rabbits and kittens. Just about every week we get details of some newly minted-or demented-form of life.
       Serious scientists believe that these steps toward self-creation-toward tampering with our own DNA right down to the fundamental part of our biological code known as the germline-are natural and necessary in human evolution.
       "The arrival of safe, reliable germline technology will signal the beginning of human self-design," writes Gregory Stock in Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future.
       Stock, director of the Program on Medicine, Technology, and Society at UCLA's School of Public Health, writes enthusiastically of human beings seizing control of their own evolutionary future. He spins tales of artificial chromosomes that will enhance life for one generation, then be replaced-or upgraded like software-for the next. He waxes on about technology that could possibly give us longer life spans, sexier characteristics, smarter babies and other traits such as greater height, greener eyes and perfect pitch.
       Is it the dawn of disease-free teens, sexually zestful old folks and century-plus life spans for all? It all seems so new. But humankind has often leapt forward-sometimes with glorious results, such as improved sanitation, cured diseases, ameliorated pain, saved lives. Sometimes with vainglorious-and disastrous-outcomes, such as genocide, the "unsinkable" Titanic, Chernobyl and weapons of mass destruction.
       Adam and Eve were warned by God not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But the serpent told the nudist couple that if they did eat the fruit, "Ye shall be as gods." By eating the fruit, the couple overreached themselves.
       There are other instances in the Bible of mankind outreaching its grasp. The Tower of Babel, for instance. "Now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do," God said. So He put a stop to the tower-building.
       Another cautionary tale, published in 1818, was Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. "It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn," says narrator Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein, like scientists of today, purports to be motivated by the best intentions. "Wealth was an inferior object; but what glory would attend the discovery, if I could banish disease from the human frame, and render man invulnerable to any but a violent death!"
       But hubris takes over. He proclaims: "I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation."
       Shelley wrote the novel in response to her times, a period of immense scientific discovery. All around her, people believed that science and technology would bring great change to the world and usher in a period of prolonged prosperity.
       Shelley wasn't so sure. "Frightful must it be," she wrote in an introduction to a later edition, "for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the World."
       It all came together in the 20th century: Radical scientific advances, rampant existentialism blended with the godless nihilism born of world wars and unparalleled vanity from the Hollywood dream factory.
       The eugenics movement, dedicated to "improving" humankind by better breeding, gained a foothold in America in the late 19th century. More than 30 states passed laws in favor of forced sterilization under certain circumstances. It's estimated that more than 60,000 people underwent the procedure. The horrors of the practice were driven home when the Nazis used eugenics to attempt to create a master race.
       In the post-World War II West, attention turned toward self-augmentation. In the past 10 years, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of cosmetic surgery patients in the U.S. has tripled. In 2001 7.5 million people underwent some form of cosmetic plastic surgery. That year: 125,000 Americans had their faces lifted, 220,000 received breast enhancements and 275,000 received liposuction.
       It's no wonder that we have come to believe a long, happy, healthy, handsome pain-free life is our inalienable right. With the mapping of the human genome, we can now begin to tinker with future generations.
       "Scientists downplay the implications of [this technology]," says Father John Crossin, executive director of the Washington Theological Consortium. "God has made us to be creative and be free. But what are the boundaries? When do we become too dangerous to others, to ourselves and to the world?"
       He harkens back to the Tower of Babel, that "warns us against the overweening pride that goes before the fall."
       (Dad:) The Lord is all for man making the world a better place. After all, that's one of the first jobs He gave Adam and Eve after their creation-to tend to the Garden of Eden and keep it up, and work to make it even more beautiful, under His guidance.
       It's when man steps into the realm of "ye shall be as gods," of disobedience to the Lord, that he overreaches himself. And in this case, in seeking to tamper with the workings of life itself, the domain of God, man is overreaching himself.
       Frankenstein, as the writer said, is a good illustration, because man's proud creations often turn out to be monsters which turn against him, as atomic bombs have been and as genetically engineered life could be, unless the Lord puts a stop to it!

u Galloping globalization
The big gobbling up the little

By Silvia Ribeiro, La Jornada (Mexico)
       At the beginning of the new millennium, of the 100 largest economies on the planet, 51 were companies and 49 were countries. The pace of corporate acquisitions and mergers accelerated at a dizzying rate over the past decade, and at present these transactions represent more than 17 percent of the gross global product. The sales of the 500 largest transnational corporations are now equal to 47 percent of the gross product of the planet.
       The intrusion of the mega-corporations-the majority of which are American-into the economic, political and social life of countries and their populations is the defining trait of globalization. Their interests are what move international financial institutions, governments, and UN agreements, and they are the driving force for most policies, both international and "national." This is only logical, because the transnational corporations are the ones that control huge percentages of international trade, ranging up to 90 percent in certain product areas.
       In the year 2000, five transnational corporations controlled more than 75 percent of the world grain trade. Presently three companies have gobbled up the others and dominate the market: Cargill, Bungi and Dreyfus. If you add just a couple more companies, a few transnational corporations now control more than 90 percent of the world trade in corn, wheat, coffee, coca, and pineapples; about 80 percent of the world trade in tea; 70 percent of the global market in rice and bananas, and more than 60 percent of the global market in sugar cane, according to a study by Filemon Torres and other authors, presented in 2000 to the Global Forum on Agricultural Research.
       Last year, the 10 largest agricultural chemical companies controlled 90 percent of the world market, 58.4 percent of the pharmaceutical market, 34 percent of the world market in food and beverage products, 30 percent of the world market in seeds.
       Twenty years ago, there were thousands of seed-producing companies, and none of them controlled even 1 percent of the market. Now, 10 companies control 30 percent of the world market. Also, 20 years ago there were 65 companies that produced materials for use in agriculture. Today, some 10 companies control 90 percent of that market.
       This brief snapshot of the corporate context shows that "trade" treaties do not really refer to trade. They are projects for economic, social and cultural domination by big capital over populations and cultures in order to ensure their profits.
       (Dad:) The big corporations are swallowing up the little ones because they can control the market in that way-there's little or no competition! And, of course, the bigger and more powerful and profitable they get, the more they can control governments as well. Politicians and governments come and go, as do their powers, but the power of the merchants of the world continues. As the Lord said, "Thy merchants were the great men of the earth" (Revelation 18:23).
       If you don't believe that the merchants of the world control and manipulate the governments, look what happens when some little upstart government nationalizes some or all of the big industries in its country.
Castro did it, and he's suffered U.S. wrath and a trade embargo for more than 40 years. Godahfi did it, and he's also had problems for decades. Allende did it, and he got overthrown-as have a host of other leaders in recent history.
       Just as the Lord's children are the apple of His eye and He reacts violently if anyone harms them, the industry and finances of the world are the apple of the eye of the merchants of the earth,
many of whom are ACs, and they react violently if these things are touched.
       These merchants-some of them knowingly and others unknowingly-are following the path of Joseph of old.
He controlled the food of Egypt, and if anyone wanted to eat, they had to come to him and deal with him. And he was quite a dealer, let me tell you! Since he had a monopoly on the grain and it was a time of famine, he made so much profit that, before long, people had no money left. So he took their horses and cattle in trade for food. And when that was gone, he took their lands and even their bodies in exchange for food. Men sold themselves into slavery to get the food they needed to survive! (See Genesis 41:55-57, 47:13-21.)
       Slavery is out of vogue these days, of course, but it exists nonetheless.
Just ask almost anyone who's heavily indebted about how they feel, and listen to their tales of "slaving away" to pay all their bills, which never seem to go away. So slavery lives on in various forms, slavery to the System, which is often run by the merchants of the earth, who are consolidating more power all the time.

u Big Brother
The spy machine of DARPA's dreams

By Noah Shachtman, Wired
       The Pentagon is about to embark on a stunningly ambitious research project designed to gather every conceivable bit of information about a person's life, index all the information and make it searchable.
       The embryonic LifeLog program would dump everything an individual does into a giant database: every e-mail sent or received, every picture taken, every Web page surfed, every phone call made, every TV show watched, every magazine read.
       All of this-and more-would combine with information gleaned from a variety of sources: a GPS transmitter to keep tabs on where that person went, audio-visual sensors to capture what he or she sees or says, and biomedical monitors to keep track of the individual's health.
       This gigantic amalgamation of personal information could then be used to "trace the 'threads' of an individual's life," to see exactly how a relationship or events developed, according to a briefing from the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, LifeLog's sponsor.
       Someone with access to the database could "retrieve a specific thread of past transactions, or recall an experience from a few seconds ago or from many years earlier … by using a search-engine interface."
       On the surface, the project seems like the latest in a long line of DARPA's research efforts, most of which never make it out of the lab. But DARPA is currently asking businesses and universities for research proposals to begin moving LifeLog forward. And some people, such as Steven Aftergood, a defense analyst with the Federation of American Scientists, are worried.
       With its controversial Total Information Awareness database project, DARPA already is planning to track all of an individual's "transactional data"-like what we buy and who gets our e-mail.
       "LifeLog has the potential to become something like 'TIA cubed,'" Aftergood said. "The more that an individual's characteristic behavior patterns-'routines, relationships and habits'-can be represented in digital form, the easier it would become to distinguish among different individuals, or to monitor one," Aftergood wrote in an e-mail.
       (Dad:) Monitoring people is the bottom line. Oh, the scientists and officials may say that such programs will help nab terrorists, cut down on crime and criminals, and have other worthwhile uses. And it's true that they will have some of those effects.
       But what the Enemy is ultimately interested in is control, and that's why he manipulates events to make such technology seem necessary and helpful, why he motivates people to create it, and why he sends along some of his human agents to fund its research and development! There's always an ulterior motive under the Enemy's so-called good intentions, and in this case it's to help prepare the surveillance technology for his future repressive reign.
       Such software or technology used to be rumored or whispered about, never confirmed or advertised in such a way as this. But now, with events moving so quickly in these Last Days, the Enemy has become more blatant and above-ground in his operations, because the great mass of people have become accustomed to hearing about such things and much more used to such intrusions into their lives. They just see it as something to be lived with, not realizing the shape of things to come!


By Fredric Alan Maxwell, NY Times Magazine
       The whole strange thing began nearly two years ago, when an acquaintance e-mailed me, wondering why the Secret Service had contacted him to ask if he thought I was a threat to George W. Bush. Me? A pretzel is more of a threat to Bush than I am. At the time, I was writing an unauthorized biography of Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer. I fully expected Microsoft to keep tabs on me-which, of course, it did and which, of course, Ballmer publicly denied-but the Secret Service?
       Private investigators have been known to intimate that they're with the government, so I called the Secret Service's Seattle office to report that someone might be impersonating one of their agents. No, the officer responded, they had wanted to contact me for the past eight months but couldn't find me. Weird-my name and number were in the Seattle phone book. I went to their office to find out what was going on.
       After a couple of pat-down searches, I sat in a small room with the good cop, Steve, and the bad cop, whom I'll call Cruella. Steve said they had received a report that, on Oct. 12, 2000, I was overheard in a D.C. bar saying, "I have friends in the CIA who will make sure Bush doesn't enter the White House." I responded that except for the facts that I don't have any friends in the CIA and that I've never thought, let alone said, something like that, I was in Philadelphia that day. Unfazed, Cruella opened an inch-thick file. She then said, firmly, "You've been arrested for trespassing on federal property in Washington."
       The jig was up. Brilliant police work. As was widely reported, in 1986 this son of a librarian was convicted of a petty misdemeanor, having been caught red-handed studying after hours in the Library of Congress.
       "We want your medical records," she continued, sliding a paper across the table, "and want you to sign this release." She paused. "You were in the military, you use the V.A. We can get those records." They can? So why do they need a release?
       "I'd like to talk with my attorney first," I said. "May we continue this tomorrow?"
       Cruella said, "Yes, but you'd better come back," ominously adding, "I don't want to have to come looking for you."
       My attorney relayed the sobering news that, in a rare First Amendment exception, the simple utterance of a threat against a major presidential candidate can get you five years in prison and a fine-and what I reportedly said qualified.
       Sitting in the interrogation room the next afternoon, I gave the agents a copy of my Philadelphia hotel bill from the day in question and again refused to sign the release. I told them that I realized that this was a serious charge and said I'd answer any questions they had.
       "When was the last time you were in the White House?"
       "In the early '90s, for a press conference in the East Room," I said.
       "What do you think of George W. Bush?"
       "He's grammatically challenged, verbicidal," I said. "I made plans to attend the Gore inaugural."
       Eventually, they ran out of questions. I left. Steve and Cruella might have been inept, but still, I started looking over my shoulder.
       Later, I submitted four Freedom of Information Act requests. The Secret Service ignored them all until my attorney filed suit in federal court.
       That got their attention, and my Secret Service file recently appeared in the mail. Along with the 85 pages they sent, there was a cover sheet noting, "In addition … 97 pages were withheld in their entirety."
       Much of what I got was blanked out. They spelled my name five different ways, gave my weight variously as 173, 220 and the correct 190, and listed three different birthdays; my height was either 5-foot-9 or my actual 5-foot-11. The report also revealed: "There is no indication that he has ever behaved violently toward anyone. … Most importantly, the subject has no interest in Potus [the President Of The United States]. Case closed."
       Recently, as I sat in a tavern, talking with a few strangers, the subject of George Bush came up. "He's an idiot going to war for oil," said one. "He's doing his daddy's dirty work," said another. "He looks like Alfred E. Newman," said a third. But I didn't say a word.
       (Dad:) That's one reason I've always advised you Family members to steer clear of politics or political statements while out witnessing-they can easily get you in trouble, especially during these days when the governments of the world think they see terrorists lurking behind every tree and blade of grass.
       You can leave any political pronouncements to the Lord in the Letters. And share any personal opinions with your friends privately, where others won't overhear them and misunderstand. Please do use wisdom in your witnessing, remembering the Lord's warning: "I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves" (Matthew 10:16).

Watching from space

By James Bamford, NY Times News Service
       On Aug. 19, 1960, satellite espionage was born [with satellite surveillance of the USSR]. Forty-three years later, satellite imagery similar to that collected by the Central Intelligence Agency is available to anyone with a credit card. From detailed shots of India's nuclear sites, to high-resolution pictures of a neighbor's backyard, reconnaissance satellite images have become as easy to obtain as a novel from Amazon.com. The close-up resolution of today's commercial imaging satellites is comparable to that of the spy world, and their numbers are constantly growing.
       But the high quality and wide availability of such imagery is also raising questions. For more than four decades, American intelligence has aimed its cameras almost exclusively on foreign targets. But now the lenses are also being trained on American citizens.
       Minutes after someone began shooting passengers at Los Angeles International Airport last July 4, for example, law enforcement agencies began receiving close-up images of the airport and the exact coordinates where the attack took place. The pictures came from the federal National Imagery and Mapping Agency, which is responsible for analyzing spy satellite images. Its imagery was also used at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City to assist the Secret Service and FBI in security.
       In addition to the expanded use of commercial satellites, which can be used for both foreign and domestic surveillance, plans are under way to increase the number of spy satellites. Under a program known as Future Imagery Architecture, the intelligence agencies plan to launch nearly a dozen imagery satellites to replace the four or five currently in orbit.
       Given enough commercial and spy satellites, supplemented by aircraft and a ground system to marry it all together, the intelligence community might one day achieve the ultimate in coverage: constant, real-time surveillance of the planet.
       But even without such coverage, imaging and other satellite technologies are already colliding with privacy concerns. Consider the constellation of global-positioning satellites that provide precise tracking information to hand-held receivers. Many people use them to pinpoint their locations while driving, boating or hiking. The president of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe, keeps one on him at all times in case he is kidnapped or is the target of an assassination attempt.
       But the sheriff of Spokane County, Washington, found another use for a G.P.S. receiver. Hoping to discover where a suspected murderer hid his victim, one of his deputies planted a satellite tracking device on the suspect's car.
       Allowing the police to plant such devices on suspects without a warrant troubles many. "Do we really want the ability to track everybody all the time, without any suspicion, or without probable cause?" asked a lawyer, Doug Klunder, in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "How close are we to Big Brother?"
       (Dad:) Pretty close, I'd say! He's preparing the way for his reign and revelation even now!
       As far as satellite tracking and surveillance, that sort of stuff is old hat to the Lord-pretty primitive technology. Man might be able to snap fuzzy photos of objects on earth from a satellite a few hundred miles out in space, but the Lord can examine the very thoughts of your mind and feelings of your heart from a far greater distance, because there is no distance to Him! He's the real all-seeing eye, and these surveillance satellites are just pale imitations of Him!
       Of course, man looks upon these things as wonderful technology, especially the major powers of the world, who have more satellites keeping an eye on their enemies and even their own populations than they'll admit. So these "eyes in the sky" help prepare the way for Big Brother as well.
       But they're no real threat to the Lord's children, because the Lord is well able to send along a solar flare to cause interference, a few cosmic rays to cause malfunctions, or a meteorite or a piece of space junk to cause destruction, not to mention an angel to zap a satellite or two if necessary! Ha!

Big Brother Briefs

       Wireless cameras raise privacy fears. (Barry Fox, New Scientist) A merger of cellphone technology with digital cameras means CCTV is going wireless, ending the need to wrestle with spaghetti-like cabling when setting up a system.
       Cellphone maker Nokia is launching a camera that can snap a high-resolution picture and send it to a picture-messaging phone or PC when prompted by a text message. It sounds harmless enough. But civil liberties groups are concerned that people will now be able to hide intrusive cameras just about anywhere.
       The camera can be bolted unobtrusively to a wall or sat on a stand, watching and waiting until someone in its field of view moves. Alternatively, it can be triggered by sending it a text message from anywhere in the world. The camera then snaps a picture and sends it to a picture-messaging phone or e-mail address. Infrared imaging lets the camera see in the dark, and a microphone can even eavesdrop on speech.
       U.S. to fingerprint most foreign visitors. (AP) Foreign visitors arriving with visas at U.S. airports or seaports next year will have their travel documents scanned, their fingerprints and photos taken, and their identification checked against terrorist watch lists.
       The system, which goes into effect Jan. 1, will check the comings and goings of foreign travelers who arrive in this country carrying visas, Homeland Security Department undersecretary Asa Hutchinson said.
       When the visitor leaves, the system will verify the traveler's departure and identification. The system will later be enhanced, possibly to include iris scans or facial recognition technology.

u Racing toward the Mark
Barcoding humans

By Angela Swafford, Boston Globe
       The painless procedure barely lasted 15 minutes. In his South Florida office, Dr. Harvey Kleiner applied a local anesthetic above the tricep of my right arm, then he inserted a thick needle deep under the skin.
       "First we locate a prime spot," he said. "The next thing is to release the button that triggers the injection mechanism, and that's it, the cargo's been delivered."
       The "cargo" was a half-inch-long microchip inside a glass and silicone cylinder that carries my permanent identification number. The tiny chip inside me can now transmit personal information to anyone with a special handheld scanner.
       My arm was like a barcoded product at a supermarket cash register: It beeped every time the scanner prodded the chip. It worked even through my clothes. Displayed on the screen was a long number with many zeroes. For good or bad, I thought, this chip may be quietly heralding a time when people will literally have technology under the skin.
       Theoretically, this VeriChip will allow doctors to call up my medical records even if I'm too badly hurt to answer questions. It is also supposed to allow me to get money from an automatic teller machine by flashing my arm instead of punching in my PIN number. Or reassure airport security that I am a journalist, not a terrorist.
       And, though the VeriChip strikes critics as Orwellian, its makers think the surgically implanted IDs could be the Social Security numbers of the future in a nervous world.
       "I believe the day will come when most of us will have something similar to the VeriChip under our skin," said Scott Silverman, president of Florida-based Applied Digital Solutions [ADS]. "People will regard that its benefits-in terms of financial, security, and health care-far outweigh the possibility of loss of privacy."
       Right now, I am part of a very small club, the 18th person in the world-and the first journalist-to get "chipped." Most of the others are ADS employees, along with one Florida family who have been jokingly dubbed "the Chipsons" in a play on the old Jetsons cartoon. [See END 54, page 6-7.]
       But critics see surveillance technology like the VeriChip as a growing threat, giving potentially dangerous new power to businesses and government alike. In a report issued in January by the American Civil Liberties Union, Jay Stanley and Barry Steinhardt warned that an explosion of technology has already created a "surveillance monster."
       "Scarcely a month goes by in which we don't read about some new high-tech way to invade people's privacy, from face recognition to implantable microchips, data mining, DNA chips, and even 'brain wave fingerprinting,'" they wrote. "The fact is there are no longer any technical barriers to the Big Brother regime portrayed by George Orwell [in his novel 1984]."
       ADS officials say this is just the beginning. They want to build a chip that can store loads of information, or act as the key to a central database that stores information about the user. Ultimately, the company hopes to be able to track the movement of people with chips worldwide using global positioning satellites.
       The company is field-testing its Personal Locator Device, or PLD, which ADS says could help track lost children, sick elderly family members, mountain climbers who get lost, or kidnap victims. The PLD is powered by a pacemaker battery. It would let anyone with access to the PLD system follow the wearer anytime, anywhere in the world, at the click of a mouse.
       (Dad:) The future is here! What the apostle John warned of nearly 2,000 years ago, the Mark of the Beast, is now well within man's (or the Enemy's) grasp for the first time in history-a mark without which no man might buy or sell!
       I hope you folks aren't reading this and thinking, "Yeah, Dad. We've read about this in the END before. So what's new?" Please don't let familiarity breed contempt for these signs of the times. Don't let these signs of the times become ordinary events to you, just another "scientific marvel" that's come to pass. That's how the Enemy is conditioning the world, that these sorts of things are commonplace, no big deal, another technological advance like any other, until people reach the point that they'll readily accept and receive these chip implants.
       Implants like these are an amazing sign of the times, the sort of thing we used to be in awe of years ago when the Family first began, looking forward to those days because we knew that when we reached them, there wouldn't be much time left before the End. Well, those days have arrived, and there's not much time left! Work while you can!

u Techno Topics
Big Bang and Big Brain

By Charles Colson, BreakPoint
       Dr. Arno Penzias was frustrated. While adjusting an antenna for a radioastronomy experiment, he and Dr. Robert Wilson encountered a noise that wouldn't go away. Eventually they realized they had discovered "cosmic background radiation," which many physicists now call "the radio echo of creation."
       At the time, many scientists scoffed at the words in Genesis, "In the beginning." They assumed that the universe had existed from eternity past. More importantly, if the universe did have a beginning, that implies a Creator-and many people prefer not to believe that.
       But Dr. Penzias says, "The creation of the universe is supported by all the observable data astronomy has produced so far. As a result, the people who reject the data can arguably be described as having a 'religious' belief." That is, people who refuse to consider the evidence because it conflicts with their preconceived ideas are following a "dogma" in the most stubborn sense of the word.
       In an article in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Penzias told Dr. Jerry Bergman of the American Scientific Affiliation, "I invite you to examine the snapshot provided by half a century's worth of astrophysical data and see what the pieces of the universe actually look like. … In order to achieve consistency with our observations we must … assume not only creation of matter and energy out of nothing, but creation of space and time as well."
       Penzias, a Nobel Prize winner, added, "The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted had I had nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole."
       So what does Penzias think that the Big Bang was? He says the most logical explanation is "a moment of discrete creation from nothing!"
       Some have paraphrased the Big Bang as "God spoke, and bang, the universe was created." That's close to the Psalmist's statement: "Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast" (Psalm 33:8,9). The Big Bang really points to a Big Brain-to God, who has the wisdom and power to create everything that exists.
       (Jesus:) How great a wonder is contained in the simple verse, "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth." Many marvels lie unseen within these words-unseen now, but able to be seen when you join Me in glory and can view the splendor and magnificence of that moment when the physical universe came into existence. Then you too, like the angels and all the host of Heaven, will sing of the glory and power of God! (See Job 38:7.)
       But oh, how great a stumbling block these words are to those who believe not, to those of little or no faith, who only believe what they can see. They read this, the first verse in the Bible, and are immediately tested as to whether they will have faith or not, whether they will accept the evidence that their heart and spirit urges on them, that the creation around them attests to, or whether they will say, "No, it cannot be. It is too supernatural." Professing themselves to be wise in these matters, they become fools.
       This is why I choose you, My dear ones, the "foolish things of the world," to confound those who think they are wise, the "weak things of the world" to confound those who consider themselves mighty in the flesh and in the mind. And I send you forth in My wisdom to save the world through "the foolishness of preaching," for what the world considers foolishness is the wisdom of God, and what the world considers wisdom is often foolishness to Me!
       In truth, faith is wisdom and lack of faith is foolishness. So, blessed is this dear scientist who has faith, and blessed are you, My faithful ones, who not only have faith but who share it with all who will hear. The "foolishness" of your faith has saved many and will bring you great reward in the ages to come!

Other News
u Religion in the News
The weapon of praise

By David Sisler, Agape Press
       One day Jesus painted a word picture, a parable, with an image that would have been familiar to His listeners. "No one," he said, "pours new wine into old wineskins."
       When vineyard workers sealed freshly pressed grapes in a new, supple wineskin, the fermentation process began. The skin was soft and flexible. It could expand with the fermentation. Jesus' listeners knew if they put new wine into old skins, the new wine would burst the skins, the wine would run out and the wineskins would be ruined. The old skins had already been stretched as far as they could stretch. Their capacity to receive new wine was greatly limited.
       The message was clear. When Jesus comes to live inside of us, He brings the new wine of His presence. The intensity of that new life causes us to expand. If we do not allow Him to give us new, soft hearts, the new wine will cause our old, dry skins to burst. The wine will be lost.
       Jesus must soften us and make us usable. If we do not allow Him to do that work of new creation in us, we will never know the joy of His new, sweet wine. We will burst open like an old bag trying to hold new, fermenting wine.
       Part of the new wine that we need to enjoy today is praise. And it's not only for our enjoyment; it's also a weapon. Look at one incident in the life of God's people under the leadership of King Jehoshaphat.
       Early in his reign a three-part military alliance attacked Jehoshaphat's nation. Faced with odds they knew to be overwhelming and forces they knew they could not defeat, the people called on the Lord. Jehoshaphat prayed, "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You."
       God answered through His prophet Jahaziel: "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you."
       The next morning Jehoshaphat led his army to the battle site. He stood in front of his people and declared, "Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld." Then he "appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness." The advance party went ahead of the army, not with swords, but with songs.
       Never was an army so unaccountably destroyed as the coalition that attacked Judah. Two members of the alliance turned against the third and when they had finished slaughtering them, they turned against each other. Their destruction, at their own hands, was complete. The Bible says, "No one escaped."
       What was Jehoshaphat's secret weapon? Praise! "As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated." The people did the praising and God did the fighting. Praise opened the way for God to work a miracle for His people. Praise won the day!
       In your own life right now, you may be facing overwhelming odds. You do not know which way to turn or how to proceed. Before you make another move, begin to praise God for His power in your life. Then you will see His all-sufficient power available to meet your every need. Faith grows as you begin to trust God in praise.
       & "Praise … is still not used enough by My children. It is rightly said that in praise is found the victory. For praise chases away the doubts and clouds of the Enemy. Praise lifts the burden of discouragement and condemnation. As you glorify Me and praise Me for the victories by faith, I am able to work miracles. Praising Me brings down My blessings, and makes the mountains which the Enemy would put in your path melt away. Yes, there are mountains to climb, and there are battles to fight. But the Enemy is a liar and a bluffer. Many times the mountains are much smaller than he would make them appear, and it is through praising Me that you see them clearly and are given the faith and strength to climb them" (From "Shepherding Our Children and Young People," ML #3191:99-101, GN 796).
       [Editor: See also "Praise Your Way to Victory," ML #3449, GN 1034, and "The Power of Praise," Treasures, pp.530-532.]

u Men's Corner
Men and women are different

By Zig Ziglar, Creators Syndicate
       Several years ago, my wife and I were enjoying an early-morning cup of coffee. Neither of us was saying much. Then she softly said, "You know, honey, I wish I were younger." I asked why. She said, "If I were younger, I could be married to you even longer."
       How do you build a relationship like that? You start by understanding that men and women are different. Ladies, when your husband has been knocked flat on his back, let him know that, even if nobody out there loves him, in your home he's always the hero and you find him devilishly, irresistibly attractive. If you do this at critical times in his life, it will do more to restore his confidence and self-image than anything else you could possibly do.
       Fellows, if you take the same approach when your wife has been knocked down, feels she has no value, is despondent and thinking she is inadequate, I can assure you it will backfire big time! She will be thinking, "Here I have all of these problems, and all he thinks about is sex and himself!" Yes, men and women are distinctly different!
       Then how do you "court" after marriage? I'm persuaded beyond any doubt that it's not the huge Christmas or anniversary gifts-it's the little things we do that make the big difference. Your kindness, thoughtfulness, gentleness and consideration for each other are critical.
       Guys, your wives want to be courted in the living room, dining room, kitchen and backyard. She wants your arms around her. She wants you to look into her eyes and tell her how special she is and how much you love her. Your wife wants a man she can look up to and one who doesn't look down on her.
       I speak from over 56 years of marriage experience when I say my wife and I are far more affectionate, talk more, do more things together, and so on, than when we were first married. We are more in love than we have ever been because we court each other every day. In all the years we've known each other, my wife has opened her car door less than a dozen times when I am with her. When I walk around the car to open her door, I am reminded, "Here is the most important person on this earth to me! Here's the one I love above all others."
       Courting each other means we always treat each other with respect and courtesy, never go to bed angry at each other, and when we are in error we ask forgiveness. Over a period of time, these "little things" keep our marriage stable and exciting.
       (Dad:) I believe in love and marriage, and I think it's wonderful! Finding someone to share your heart and life with, to raise children with, to serve the Lord with, to have and to hold, is one of the greatest experiences on earth! And it continues to be great and wonderful as you cherish and uplift each other through the little things, as the man said.
       In some ways, the courting just begins when you get married. You have to continue to work at courting each other, sacrificing for each other, laying down your own desires for each other, opening your heart and sharing your feelings with each other, being humble and yielded to each other, and showing a large measure of love to each other day after day! It can be work as well as pleasure, but if it's motivated by true love, it's some of the most fulfilling and rewarding work there is!
       Of course, the Lord is the ultimate source of love. He is love, and as you both draw closer to Him, you draw closer to each other as well, and have more love for Him, your mate, and others. He multiplies your love, and it grows and overflows and spreads abroad! Hallelujah!

u Africa
Flashes of Heaven

By Henry Allen, The Washington Post
       There are days in the world media when the sun seems to eternally set on Africa's flyspecked, AIDS-ridden, war-withered amputees shaking with malaria and huge-eyed with starvation. These extraordinary things have come to seem ordinary.
       They are not. The sun also rises on a truly ordinary African day the Lord hath made, and let us rejoice and be glad in it.
       Sometimes, in magazines, you see gazelles grazing on a savannah, or a gorilla staring through the brush, or Masai warriors in all their array, or Mount Kilimanjaro with its snows.
       But so many comfortable, educated American woe-sayers look at these Eden pictures and see ecological cataclysm, ravages of neocolonialism, vanishing species, collapsing cultures, and the oncoming disaster of global warming as demonstrated by Kilimanjaro's retreating snow line. The real everyday Africa gets forgotten.
       On a given day, the mass of 800 million Africans live lives of quiet ordinariness, like most of the people in the world.
       Eritrean women grind chickpeas in a market. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a young woman waits under a beauty parlor hair dryer. Angolan weight lifters grunt their way toward perfect bodies. An old man in Sao Tome puts on his pants with suspenders, his necktie and his white shirt buttoned at the wrists so he can visit his son's general store.
       This is the heaven of the ordinary day. How startling and pleasant to find it in Africa. How encouraging to think that if you can find it in Africa, you might find it anywhere-even, or especially, in your own back yard.
       Rejoice and be glad in it.
       (Dad:) Africa is a wonderful place, with some of the sweetest, most receptive people you'll ever meet. It does have its problems-and sometimes they can be very serious ones of war, crime, poverty and disease-but don't let the Enemy exaggerate the problems and difficulties in your mind if the Lord is calling you to Africa! It's also a mission field which is white unto harvest, with many precious souls that Jesus wants in His Kingdom, and where He might want you as a harvester.
       As you experience "the heaven of the ordinary day" in Africa, you can lead others to Heaven above through God's love, and that's really something to rejoice and be glad about!

u North America
Violent weather-a prophecy fulfilled

Associated Press

       The barrage of twisters that ripped across the U.S. midsection [in early May] marked the most active week of tornadoes on record, meteorologists said as they sized up a wave of storms that left 44 people dead from Kansas to Georgia. The storms, combined with straight-line wind, lightning and floods, reduced hundreds of homes and businesses to splinters and piles of loose bricks. Nearly 300 tornadoes were reported in the first ten days of May, the most for any 10-day period since record-keeping started in the 1950s, said Dan McCarthy, meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center.
       & "I will cause disease and violence and famine and hunger to sweep through America. I will remove My blessings upon her. There will be violent weather. … these judgments will start to humble the head of the mighty and the proud" (From "World Currents 101," ML #3447:117, GN 1031).

u Ask Dad!-No.17
Current Comments

Will it be Syria or Iran?
       Right after the invasion and occupation of Iraq, it looked like Syria was going to be next. The U.S. was making all sorts of threats toward Syria, accusing them of helping Iraq during the war, harboring Iraqi officials, sponsoring terrorism, etc. As one commentator put it, Syria was being "fattened for the kill"-set up as the next likely U.S. target in the Mideast. You expected to hear any day that Saddam was in Syria and they were building weapons of mass destruction!
       But now it looks like the U.S. has turned its sights toward Iran, so it's a toss-up who might be next to get a taste of U.S. wrath. The Americans are saying that some Iranian groups were behind the suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia that killed 40 people, so they're cutting what few official contacts they had with the Iranians and are talking about trying to "destabilize" Iran-overthrow its government, in other words!
       There's still no proof the Iranians had anything to do with it, but the U.S. has never been strong on needing proof before it decides to attack a country in some way. And even when they get their "proof," it's sometimes flawed, like the so-called evidence they had several years ago [in 1998] that a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan was making nerve gas. So they launched 13 cruise missiles at it and blew it and some poor night watchman to smithereens, and were later mightily embarrassed to find it was making aspirin and anti-malaria pills, not nerve gas!
       It used to be that the U.S. State Department ran U.S. foreign policy, or at least suggested the best course of action to take-the diplomatic corps. But now it seems like the Pentagon is conducting U.S. foreign policy-the war corps! And soldiers don't generally make very good diplomats. They're trained to resolve problems by force, not diplomacy! But I guess it's fitting that the military runs U.S. foreign policy, since the U.S. has become such a bully in world affairs. Soldiers make good bullies!

Saber-rattling works both ways!
       While the U.S. is rattling the saber at Iran and Syria, breathing out all sorts of threats, North Korea is doing a little saber-rattling of its own! It's virtually telling the U.S., "You want weapons of mass destruction? We have lots of weapons of mass destruction, including nukes, and we're thinking of building more!" So the U.S. isn't the only one that can rattle sabers-it works both ways!
       North Korea doesn't just have a nuclear saber-it also has a pretty powerful regular saber, with an army numbering over a million men, 1,700 aircraft, and more than 800 ships in the navy. So the U.S. has been a lot more cautious in its words and actions toward North Korea than it has toward Iraq or Syria. It's a lot more powerful opponent, and the leader of the country, Kim Jong Il, is pretty unpredictable, with a penchant for threatening to turn the U.S. into a sea of fire, unleash nuclear holocaust, etc.!
       Well, as one journalist pointed out, the North Koreans often mistake threats for diplomacy, so it's just their way of talking to those they consider "evil U.S. imperialists" and getting their attention. What they really want is very simple, apparently-for the U.S. to agree not to attack them, and for some sort of economic aid to get their bankrupt nation back on its feet again, or at least up to the point where they can crawl along on their knees instead of laying flat on their face. They have very little food, almost no electricity, little industry outside the military, and about all they export is their missile technology-besides a little drug-dealing on the side, even by their diplomats, as a quick way to raise desperately needed cash!
       So North Korea is really in a sad state, much of which it's brought on itself, and its threats are actually just its way of trying to get some attention and money from the U.S. It's a crazy way to conduct diplomacy, but then North Korea is a pretty crazy country with a crazy leader! The smartest thing for the U.S. to do would be to simply humor them-that's what you do with crazy people, up to a certain point. They should strike a deal to feed the hungry and provide humanitarian aid to civilians-love even their enemies.
       One thing they shouldn't do is attack North Korea, as some of the hawks in the U.S. military are urging! Lord help us! Please pray that the Lord will keep that situation in check and restrain the crazy and irrational men of war on both sides!
       [Editor: For more background on North and South Korea see "World Currents No.75," ML #2927:38-52, Lifelines 21.]
Haiti makes voodoo an official religion.
       Speaking of crazy things and crazy people, did you know that Haiti made voodoo an official religion, on a par with any other religion? President Aristide, a former Catholic priest, issued an official decree that voodoo is "an essential part of Haiti's national identity!" You really wonder how a priest, of all people, could do such a thing! He must know that voodoo is just full of evil spirits, witchcraft, demon possession, and all sorts of vile filthiness! I always did wonder about that man's state of mind, not to mention his spirituality!
       Frankly, I think he's just struck a deal with the Devil. He's been unpopular with his countrymen for some time now, the international community has cut off its aid, and poverty and problems have been spiraling out of control, to the point that people are saying it was better under Duvalier and their past dictatorships. So Aristide has done something that he thinks will make him more popular with the people, probably in some sort of compact with the Evil One that "if you let me stay in power, I'll make it easier for your evil spirits to be worshipped." Ugh!
       The voodoo priests are rejoicing, of course, saying that their religion has been "misunderstood, despised and persecuted" for too long, especially by Christianity. Well, they've been despised because Christians have understood them only too well! Voodoo is a religion where people worship and call up the evil spirits, ask favors of them, and come under possession and oppression by them! It's demonic, and is one of the main reasons that Haiti has continued to be such a black pit of iniquity with so many problems! That's what happens when you let the Enemy and his evil spirits have so much sway and control over a country! God bless and help all the good Christians and missionaries there who try to shed the light of God's Spirit in that dark place!

Survival of the most vigilant.
       A British expatriate who's been living and working in Colombia for the last year wrote an article about all the ways it's possible to get held up, robbed, kidnapped or killed there, and the precautions that she and her friends take to avoid such things. But what was most interesting was her advice that precautions alone aren't enough. She said, "The most frightening aspect of living in Bogotá is not the everyday precautions that you have to take. It is the fear of becoming complacent. Many of my colleagues have been victims of crime after living in Colombia for a year, because they have become less vigilant."
       In other words, if you're just depending on your precautions, your security measures or common sense or whatever, and you become complacent because of that, that may not be enough to keep you safe. You need to continue to be vigilant when you're in such a field, which is good advice for you Family members spread abroad in many dangerous fields around the world! Keep praying and asking the Lord everything. Remain open to His voice and His checks. Stay close to Him so that He can tell you when and where to go and when and where not to go, who to talk to and who to avoid. Hear from Heaven, call on the keys, and do your part to be vigilant, and He'll do His part to keep and protect you!

Revival of communism in the Philippines
       Communism is undergoing a revival in the Philippines, and communist rebels are more active than ever, as are Moslem rebels in the south of the country. That poor country! Well, that's just the problem-it's a poor country. Most of the people live in extreme poverty, and the few who are wealthy are very, very wealthy, and unwilling to share with the poor. And these few wealthy folks control the government as well, which would normally be helping the poor, building roads, providing food, etc. But since many of them are crooks, and since graft, corruption and crookedness are the generally accepted means of running the Filipino government, the poor get thrown a few bones to gnaw on while the rich feast and keep getting richer!
       So the communists are making a comeback, the New People's Army and all the rest, because they figure if the rich won't share the wealth voluntarily, they'll just make them share it by pointing a gun at them. They don't have any problem finding recruits, either, because many Filipinos are so poor that, even if they don't believe in communist doctrines, they're glad to have a way to get some food, even if it means holding up a few wealthier folk at gunpoint.
       Many Filipinos used to blame Marcos for all their problems. So they got rid of him, but the problems continued. They blamed the presence of the American bases and influence and their problems, so they asked the American military to leave, but their problems continued. The problems continue because they're not external ones but internal ones. The Filipino rich won't share with the poor, which is a very big problem. And, to be fair, many of the Filipino poor are sort of lazy and lethargic and don't work hard enough to help themselves, so they bring some of their own problems on themselves. So the country continues to be a mess, and is certainly a terrible sample as one of the few Christian nations in Asia!

       Millions of Americans and Europeans are now practicing what they call "downshifting"-shifting downward in their work hours, in their spending habits and purchases, in the levels of stress and strain they're willing to tolerate in their jobs, so they can shift upward in spending more time with their families and doing the things they enjoy and feel fulfilled at. They're paying off their debts and scaling back their lifestyle so they don't spend so much, not buying new cars or eating out, but growing their own vegetables, doing their own repairs, and even making some of their own clothes, or getting them in secondhand stores.
       They've found that materialism just doesn't make them happy and fulfilled, and that in the rat race, no one ever wins the race! It's a treadmill that doesn't take you any place but to frustration and physical and mental and spiritual exhaustion. It's quite a testimony that the modern materialistic System doesn't really work, so people are going back to the simpler lifestyle of their ancestors which did. That way they have more time for each other, and for the Lord!

[Text box]
Does wealth equal happiness?

The Globalist

       Many people seem convinced that, although money cannot buy love, financial comfort does guarantee at least a degree of contentment. Considering this, let's look at four nations to see which boasts the world's most cheerful population.
       The United States is the world's wealthiest and most powerful nation. The average American citizen presently enjoys an average annual income of $31,872. Yet, Americans are only the 46th happiest people in the world, according to research conducted by Professor Robert Worcester of the London School of Economics. This ranking lags behind countries with far less wealth, including Ghana, Latvia, Croatia and Estonia.
       The British public has an annual income of $22,093, yet they are only the 32nd most jovial people on the planet.
       On the whole, Indians are a pretty happy bunch. This is in spite of the country's abysmal poverty. At just over $2,000 per capita, India's GDP is currently less than one-tenth of that of the U.S.
       Bangladesh's economic, financial and social data reads like a recipe for mass misery. Bangladesh has low life expectancy, low adult literacy-and suffers some of the most frequent major natural disasters in the world. Yet, Bangladeshis are reportedly the happiest people on the face of the planet. This is despite having a GDP of just $1,483. Many impoverished Bangladeshis truly do appear to laugh in the face of adversity.
       (Dad:) A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth! True happiness and purpose in life come from loving the Lord and loving and helping others in some way, in giving rather than receiving, in sharing rather than hoarding, in making the world a better place, in "being a force of nature instead of a feverish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy," as one writer put it! That's what brings on happiness. God bless you with happiness!
[End of text box.]

u Words for the wise

By Evan Morris, The Word Detective
       Q: What's the significance of the "apple" in the phrase "apple of my eye"?
       A: To say that someone or something is "the apple of one's eye" is to say that he, she or it is the most cherished or valued among many, the favorite, the pet. The metaphor first appeared in English around A.D. 885 and has been in nearly constant use ever since, though more recent citations have taken a rather cynical turn ("He may have been the apple of your eye, but to me he was only a cinder"-Frank Gruber, Hungry Dog, 1950). Although apples have long been used as symbols of health or good fortune, the origin of "apple of one's eye" reflected a misunderstanding of human anatomy. Before ocular structure was fully understood, the pupil of the eye (the small dark opening at the very center) was thought to be not a hole, but a solid, globular object. As apples were perhaps the most common spherical object in everyday life, this "tiny sphere" became known as "the apple of the eye." And, since vision is generally regarded as our most vital sense, it made sense to use the apparent core of vision, the "apple of the eye," as a metaphor for that which is most precious to us.

u Tidbits

       Typing monkeys don't write Shakespeare. (AP) Give an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters, the theory goes, and they will eventually produce the works of Shakespeare.
       Give six monkeys one computer for a month, and they will make a mess. Researchers at Plymouth University in England reported that primates left alone with a computer attacked the machine and failed to produce a single word.
       "They pressed a lot of S's," researcher Mike Phillips said. "Obviously, English isn't their first language."
       At first, said Phillips, "the lead male got a stone and started bashing the hell out of the computer. Another thing they were interested in was in defecating and urinating all over the keyboard."
       The notion that monkeys typing at random will eventually produce literature is often attributed to Thomas Huxley, a 19th-century scientist who supported Charles Darwin's theories of evolution. (Dad:) Monkeys are about as good at typing literature as evolutionists are at telling people how the world came into existence! Both just make a mess out of things, and the results stink!
       Violent lyrics linked to violent thoughts. (Reuters Health) Young adults may experience a surge in aggression-related thoughts and feelings after listening to music that contains violent lyrics, new study findings suggest. In the study, violent songs increased feelings of hostility. The increased hostility was not an effect of differences in musical style or a specific performing artist. Instead, the violent lyrics themselves appear to be responsible for the increase in aggressive thoughts and feelings, according to the report. Even violent songs that were of a humorous nature increased aggressive thoughts. (Dad:) Music has an effect on you, on your spirit, because it can convey spirits. Look how Wagner's music influenced Hitler and even Germany as a whole, for example. Just as you can become what you read, watch or eat, you can become what you listen to. Thank the Lord, if you listen to good, godly, inspiring music, you can become that way as well!
       New meaning to SARS. (Religion Journal) A church in Hong Kong, where Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome is causing widespread concern, preached a sermon using the acronym SARS:
       "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matthew 6:33-34).
       Act on what you know to be true. "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2Corinthians 10:5).
       React responsibly. "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God" (Matthew 4:7).
       Seize opportunities. "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time" (Colossians 4:5).
       The perils of petting pooches. (The Week) Stroking a friendly pooch could make you sick, says a new study in The Veterinary Record. Vets in Somerset, England, examined 60 dogs and found that a quarter of them had coats infested with the eggs of a parasitic worm. Researchers previously thought that people could only become infected by touching dog feces, but the latest findings show the worm can be picked up simply by petting a dog's fur. Young children who touch a dog and then suck their thumb are at greatest risk. Once eaten, the eggs hatch in the intestine and the larvae are carried in the blood to other parts of the body. If worms travel to the lungs or liver, they can cause a debilitating lethargy called toxocariasis. About 10,000 Americans-mostly children under 12-are infected each year. Owners can take preventive steps by washing and worming their pets regularly, and washing their hands after touching them. (Dad:) Washing your hands after touching animals-or after going out, going to the bathroom, before meals, etc.-is a quick and simple way to stay healthy, and lack of it is a quick way to get sick.
       Evangelicals rank low. (Religion Today) How do people with no connection to the Christian faith feel about evangelicals, born-again Christians, ministers and other types of people? Barna Research asked a national sample of adults and found the following: Of the groups whose image was evaluated, evangelicals came in tenth out of the eleven-beating out only prostitutes. In general, non-Christians have a higher favorable opinion of both lesbians and lawyers than of evangelicals. The more highly educated a person without a Christian connection is, the less likely he is to have a positive impression of Christians. (Dad:) Sanctimonious self-righteousness is never very appealing to others. Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).
       Simple measures may prevent motion sickness. (Reuters Health) Downing a protein bar and keeping your face cool may be all it takes to prevent motion sickness, according to research by Dr. Max E. Levine from Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania. Of all the approaches tried, eating a small meal worked best to reduce nausea and motion sickness severity, Levine reported.
       Speaking tips from great orators. (The Bottom Line) Pause before speaking. Napoleon was short and spoke French with an Italian accent. But he was peerless at rallying his troops. Before a battle address, he would first stand silent. Every second he waited, he seemed to grow in stature. When he spoke, his message was magnified. Take a moment before you speak. Look at your audience. They will listen more attentively.
       Have a precise goal. Dwight Eisenhower said that the message of any speech should fit on the inside of a matchbook. What is the goal of your speech? Make everything relate to that point. "Grasp the subject," the Roman orator Cato said, "and the words will follow."
       Close with a flourish. You can even recover from a bland talk with a great close. Churchill liked to end his speeches by quoting from Scripture or Shakespeare. Or conclude with a historical anecdote. Don't just recite the lines-make theater of them. Pull out a piece of paper and put on reading glasses to make people anticipate what you're about to tell them. Or tell a poignant tale from your own life. Closing with a powerful story is the best way to get a standing ovation.
       Traffic deadlier than wars, WHO says. (Reuters) Traffic kills four times as many people as wars, the World Health Organization said. In two reports on injuries, both accidental and deliberate, the United Nations agency said they killed more than 5 million people in 2000, one-tenth of the global death toll. Road deaths, totaling 1.26 million, claimed the highest number of victims, followed by suicide at 815,000 and interpersonal violence at 520,000. Wars and conflicts ranked sixth-between poisonings and falls-with 310,000 deaths. Death rates from road accidents, burns and drownings were particularly high in Africa and Asia. (Dad:) Please be careful and very prayerful on the roads, whether you're driving, biking, or simply walking or crossing them. Claim the keys of protection and safekeeping, because the roads of the world are dangerous territory. If the Devil and his imps can't cause you to have an accident, they might cause someone near you to have an accident that affects you!
       Think about it. (Vic Johnson) Most people give very little thought to what occupies their thinking and even fewer people understand that "good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit." Most of us understand the law of sowing and reaping in other aspects of life, but we fail to understand that this same law is just as potent when our thoughts are involved.
       A June 1997 story in the Wall Street Journal said that HMOs reported that as much as 70 percent of all visits to a primary care physician are for a psychosomatic illness-a disorder that involves both mind and body. According to Dr. David Sobel, a primary care physician and author of the highly respected Mind-Body Health Newsletter, only 16 percent of people who visit their physician for common maladies like nausea, headache and stomach upset are diagnosed with a physical, organic cause. That means that a whopping 84% are suffering from an illness that originated in THOUGHT! These statistics tell us that the majority of people literally think their way to sickness.
       And it's not just our health that our thoughts affect. In "Make Your Life Worthwhile," Emmet Fox wrote, "The more you think about your grievances or the injustices that you have suffered, the more such trials will you continue to receive; and the more you think of the good fortune you have had, the more good fortune will come to you."
       If you've never trained yourself in "right thinking," I challenge you to spend a day monitoring and recording your thoughts. The Apostle Paul left us some priceless wisdom: "Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about" (Philippians 4:8, TLB). That's worth thinking about. (Dad:) Your thoughts do have power! Positive thoughts have positive power and negative thoughts have negative power. Think positive! [Editor: For the Lord's insight on positive thinking, see "Leaping the Hurdles, Part 2," ML #3341:142-148, GN 935.]
       Backsprain the No. 1 workplace injury. (HealthScoutNews) Only three types of injuries account for the majority of the 6 million workplace injuries that occur in the United States each year, according to a new survey. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) reports that over-exertion, repetitive stress injuries and falls while on the job cost more than $60 billion in lost wages, health care expenses, legal costs and worker's compensation claims. And what, by far, is the most common workplace injury? Back sprains-because of falls, slips and improper lifting-add up to more than half of the 6 million injuries each year. Slippery and uneven floors are one of the main causes of workplace falls that can cause permanent disability, or even death. (Dad:) Please take good care of your back, dear folks. Many Family members have painful back problems of one sort or another, but if you use care and prayer, you won't have to suffer such things.
       Brown bread or white? (The Bottom Line) Q: Is whole-grain bread really more healthful than white bread? A: Yes. For six weeks, participants in one recent study ate six to 10 servings daily of breakfast cereal, bread, rice, pasta, muffins, cookies and snacks made from refined flour. For another six weeks, they ate the same foods made from whole grains. Result: Insulin levels were 10% lower when eating the whole-grain diet. Low insulin levels allow the body to control blood sugar more effectively, reducing the risk for diabetes and heart disease.
       Squabbling Christian soldiers. (Mark Earley, BreakPoint) According to one survey, at any given time, some thirty thousand Protestant churches are fighting about something. The problem has become so serious that seminaries now teach classes in conflict resolution.
       Of course, churches have been fighting over doctrine-and everything else-for centuries. Sometimes debates are necessary. But as Charles Colson notes, "When we do this unlovingly … we unleash our own base instincts. We become more strident to mask our own insecurity, and we use doctrinal disputes as an excuse to grab power."
       Worse, ugly power struggles are a terrible witness. When pollsters ask people why they don't go to church, the two top answers are: "All Christians are hypocrites," and "Christians are always fighting with each other."
       This is why, when we disagree with our fellow Christian, we need to do it lovingly and graciously. Remember, Jesus said to His Own squabbling disciples: "All men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." (Dad:) Amen! Don't allow the Selvegion any entrance in your life or Home. God bless and keep you united!

u A few for fun
Warning: this salmon may contain fish

By Elizabeth Day, Electronic Telegraph
       The first [British] national competition to promote the sensible use of English on product labeling has named and shamed Britain's top 10 silliest packaging instructions.
       Among the front-runners for the Ridiculous Packaging Instructions Award are salmon packets which state that they contain fish, sleeping pills that warn they cause drowsiness, and hair dryers instructing users not to operate them while sleeping.
       In a tightly fought contest, a packet of Nytol Sleep Aid bearing the words, "Warning: may cause drowsiness," was named the overall winner, with the judges praising the packet's "masterful stating of the obvious."
       Coming in a close second was Tesco's Tiramisu dessert pot. Customers buying the pudding are warned: "Do not turn upside down." This instruction, however, is printed on the bottom of the packet.
       In third place was a packet of American Airlines peanuts bearing the instruction: "Open packet, eat nuts."

(End of file.)