Saturday, January 30, 2010
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Friday, January 29, 2010
In 1999, Time Magazine named Fleming one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century for his discovery of penicillin.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Guardian angels are part of traditional Catholic belief so I didn't think I was doing anything wrong, when one day wondering what my angel was called, I simply asked him. The name Gregory popped into my mind so I presumed that that must be it. The exercise, however, made me intrigued to know the names of other people's angels too and I persuaded my colleague at the time, Vivian Sewell, to ask about hers. The name that came into her mind was even more ordinary - Harold.
I didn't think about it that often but when I was having trouble getting in touch with Vivian, I would often tell Gregory to get Harold to give Vivian a nudge. It seemed to work, but of course, one is never sure. About this time, although I didn't connect the two things, I started to get very tired. It seemed however early I went to bed or long I slept I never felt refreshed. I eventually went to the doctor thinking I was maybe anaemic. But I wasn't. That got me really anxious and I started to think that maybe I had ME.
Shortly afterwards, however, I received an alarmed phone call from Vivian. A houseguest had left her a book called, "The Hot Line" by an Anglican vicar called Peter Lawrence. One chapter was dedicated to his deliverance ministry. In it he recounted how one time he was casting out a spirit that called itself Gregory, followed by one called Harold. Thinking these were rather strange names for evil spirits he asked what manifestations they brought. "Tiredness, particularly when reading the scripture", was the reply.
My heart missed a beat. The co-incidence was too palpable. Fortunately the following day I was visiting my spiritual director, who was very wise and spiritually mature. I explained to him what had happened and asked his advice. He asked me what had prompted me to know the name of my angel in the first place. I admitted that it was just curiosity. Then he asked if I had been talking to it. I admitted that I had, but not often. He didn't say much but in a low key way laid his hands of me and prayed that if anything had come in that shouldn't, that it leave in the name of Jesus. Then we prayed that God would fill me with power and energy and love.
I didn't particularly feel' anything, and even afterwards I wasn't sure if I felt different. The following morning, however, when my alarm clock went off, I had no trouble getting out of bed and one of my flatmates even said, "You look awake this morning." This all happened about a decade ago. Although since then I have been tired due to stress or lack of sleep, that chronic inexplicable fatigue I suffered for six months has never returned.
I found the whole experience a valuable one, however as it helped me to believe in the reality of evil spirits and the influence they can have in our lives, however innocently we might become involved.
Source: Good News
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Monday, January 18, 2010
Kreeft took his A.B. at Calvin College (1959), and an M.A. at Fordham University (1961). In the same university he completed his doctoral studies in 1965. He briefly did post graduate studies at Yale University. He joined the Philosophy faculty of the Department of Philosophy of Boston College in 1965. In 1994 he was a signer of the document Evangelicals and Catholics Together.
Originally a Calvinist, Kreeft converted to the Catholic Church while in college. The "central and deciding" factor for his conversion was "the Church's claim to be the one Church historically founded by Christ."
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Sunday, January 10, 2010
Tolkien's devout Catholic faith was a significant factor in the conversion of illustrious Christian apologist C. S. Lewis from atheism to Christianity.
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Saturday, January 9, 2010
"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." Matthew 16:18
Origins of Peter as the Pope
In the early Christian community recognised Peter as the head of the first Church. Even Paul accepted Peter as the leader of the Church. There was only One Church and there will always be One Church of Jesus Christ. What God has created cannot be destroyed. The Catholic Church can trace its roots for 2000 years. This is not a theory but it has tangible proof.
Empires, Countries, Organisations and Companies have come and gone but the Catholic Church has gone from strength to strength enduring all persecutions and defeating all its enemies for 2000 years. Its the only organisation in the world that has not been destroyed and is still thriving since her founding by Jesus Christ.
Just as Christ lives, so will the Catholic Church.
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By Caroline Gluck
David Lu has led a colourful life, to say the least.
His younger years were spent fighting, stealing and bullying.
An expert in tae kwon do and boxing, he soon became a gangster - a member of what is still Taiwan's largest organised crime syndicate, the Bamboo Union.
His job was working as the gang's debt collector - threatening force to get people to pay back money they owed from gambling.
His career as a criminal resulted in two spells in jail. But then came the turning point - Lu converted to Christianity.
Since his release from prison, he has become a pastor, dedicating his life to preaching the gospel and opening new churches.
His remarkable story of bad boy-turned-good was described in his autobiography, The Sword and The Sheath, and inspired many in Taiwan.
Now a US film company plans to turn it into a movie, with production expected to start next year.
"It's not very important for my story to become a movie," said 51-year-old Pastor Lu.
"But I said to the Lord: if you can use it... to help people to change their life.. let it happen."
"I committed a lot [of crimes] - kidnap, robbery, killing people... many things, intimidation. And I was sentenced to a total of 38 years in prison," he said.
Pastor Lu describes jail as little more than a school for crime.
"Prison in Taiwan is a place where, if you are a small thief, you learn a lot. When you leave, you become a big thief," he said.
It was during his second term in jail that he converted to Christianity.
At the time he was receiving letters from a Christian girl, the sister of a man he had recruited into the gang.
The turning point came with the sudden death of a prison inmate who had become a mentor figure to David. It forced him to reassess his life - and turn to God.
When he was finally released from jail in 1979 - cleared of two charges of kidnapping and robbery - he entered a seminary, where he was joined by the Christian girl who had written to him in prison.
The two fell in love and later married.
But initially, his presence in the church was not easy.
"At the beginning people said: 'This guy who was a troublemaker in society will also be a troublemaker in the church'," he said.
"But I apologised to people I had beaten, and helped people who were alcoholics or smoking or taking opium.
"After three years, many people had already changed. After five years, we had 300 in our congregation. And in the last 20 years, we have opened another four churches," he said.
Man of the people
"I helped criminals, prisoners - maybe 3,000 people have changed," he said, adding that about 150 gangsters had also become Christians.
Former prisoners like Wang Shih Ping say that without Pastor Lu's lead they would never have reformed.
"Without him, it would be impossible. We spent years, decades, with gangsters. We don't have real friends," he said.
"Without meeting him, I don't think we'd have had any chance."
Today, media coverage of Pastor Lu's past is attracting new members to his churches.
Congregants describe him as highly intelligent leader, someone who can draw on real-life examples to demonstrate that he understands their problems - and can help them with their struggles.
"He's different from the others. He'll always pick up points, pick up theories deeply, and cite examples from his personal experience," said Tsui Chong Yi.
"He always encourages us to do better," he added.
Another congregant said Pastor Lu was especially popular with the young.
"Kids learn how to respect others and get to know our Lord," he said. "They respect Pastor Lu - he behaved badly but now he's become a good person and a pastor. They think he's great."
The charismatic pastor says he will continue to work hard for the Church.
He has plans to open a large centre that will provide education, skills training and counselling for the disadvantaged, including former prisoners.
"It's never too late to be changed," he said with a smile. "Everyone can be changed. It's never too late."
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Friday, January 8, 2010
The Johnsons got a great deal on their home. They soon found out why: It was what some would call a "haunted house"—that is, a place where there was an uncomfortable and negative spiritual presence.
Some people are attracted to haunted houses because they're different and exciting. Perhaps you've seen hotels that advertise: "Stay in our hotel. It has a real ghost!"
A supernatural presence may seem like a plus for people renting rooms, but for the owners of residences that house a demonic spirit, it's usually anything but fun.
Experiences with demonic spirits in human habitations aren't new. A 16th century prayer implored God: "From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!" What makes things "go bump in the night"? There are three possible explanations.
Malevolent Presence of Satan
It could be that demons are present and misbehaving. Sometimes they propel objects at people, move furniture about or make various noises. At other times they create extreme temperatures—generally cold—or nauseating odors, or they may impede one's ability to pray. Satan can come at us physically, emotionally and spiritually.
The demons may have taken up residence for several reasons. One is because they were invited, either deliberately by someone who called on them to come or naively through games such as a Ouija board or tarot cards. Bishop Craig Bates of the Charismatic Episcopal Church gives an example of the latter, telling of former parishioners who saw an evil presence manifesting as a blue mist descending and ascending their staircase.
The family had been into demonic board games. They rebuked the presence, and it left.
A pastor in Iowa told me about a girl in his church. She was trying to mix Christian commitment with rebellion. She conducted a witchcraft ritual in her home, believing it to be "naughty but harmless." For months thereafter she would awaken at night to see a horrible, ugly creature staring her in the face.
The Rev. Vernon Stoop, longtime executive director of Focus Renewal Ministries in the United Church of Christ, tells the story of a child who got nightmares every night. There was reportedly a "presence" in his room that frightened him. After he had been experiencing the trouble for a while, his parents, who were parishioners of Stoop's, learned that séances had previously been conducted in their home.
Stoop says, "We subsequently prayed through every room in the house, with particular emphasis on the son's room, praying in the Spirit." The son never had a nightmare again.
Harold Hammond, pastor of The Chapel of the Shepherd's Heart in Fairfax, Virginia, prayed for a medical missionary couple having unexplained problems. In prayer he discerned, "Egyptian gods." The wife remembered they had brought home some "tourist trophies," now packed away. "They retrieved them," Hammond says, "and we prayed over these items to break any power and burned them. The problem went away."
Another reason evil spirits may take up residence is because of a curse. Sometimes a curse is placed on a home or other building as revenge for something the occupants have done or as spiritual warfare against believers. Many ministers relate that satanic leaders have told them, "We are calling Satan down on you."
Finally, demons may be present because of heinous crimes such as murder or rape, or from sexual orgies. When a crime is committed in a place, the demons that attend the evil may linger on.
In the face of a demonic presence, you must take action. Here are some positive steps to take to rid spiritual disturbance from a home, office, church or other place.
First, get right with the Lord and others. Before you talk about Satan, repent of all your sins. Confess them so that Satan has nothing with which to accuse you.
Second, put on your armor. In a riot it's not enough for a police officer to own a bulletproof vest. He has to wear it! Put on the armor of God (see Eph. 6:11-18).
Third, take authority in Jesus' name. Command anything of Satan to leave.
Finally, pray for the place to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
I co-lead New Creation Healing Center in Plaistow, New Hampshire, a place in which we bring together medicine, Christian counseling, massage and prayer to minister wholeness in Christ to the whole person. We find that unless we regularly cleanse the building spiritually, things go wrong and we find it hard to focus on the Lord.
We cleanse it by going through the building commanding any powers of Satan to leave and by asking God's presence to fill the place. Even nonbelievers comment on the sweet spirit in our building afterward.
Additionally, we ask an ordained minister to conduct a communion service. Though Christians differ in their theological understanding of Holy Communion, all Christians believe that communion celebrates Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God who died, shedding His blood to set believers free. Taking communion reminds us and the evil spirits of the power and authority of Jesus' atoning blood.
When we cleanse our building, we also sing praises to God, which encourages the demons to leave.
A Masquerading Spirit
Things may also "go bump in the night" because a demon is masquerading as a person now deceased. The demon gains entrance when a person refuses to acknowledge a loved one has died.
Deacon Dick Lamb, long a leader in charismatic renewal in the Roman Catholic Church on Long Island, New York, told me the story of a woman who asked her husband to come back and visit her after he died. She reported she felt touching sensations in bed and assumed it was her husband honoring her request, but it soon became apparent these sensations were not comforting to her.
Charismatic Episcopal Church Bishop Michael Davidson told me of a Christian woman who had lost her husband. She claimed he "visited me, even putting his hand upon my back—but the experience was 'cold.'"
We can understand the desire of people to hold on to the presence of loved ones now deceased, but it is essential for them to let the loved ones go—to stop setting a place at the table for them, to give away their clothing, to describe them as "dead," not "gone away."
This is why at the graveside I ask people to put dirt on their loved one's casket after it is placed in the grave. It says graphically, "This person has died."
We can recount with gladness what they meant to us. But God has ruled out séances or any similar attempts at contacting the departed (see Deut. 18:9-12). The New Testament tells us that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (see Gal. 5:20-21; Rev. 22:15).
How do you minister in cases such as this? You lovingly but firmly encourage people to move on with their lives, letting the deceased go. Having a memorial on the anniversary of the loved one's death is one way of transferring the honor and respect from an inappropriate holding on to an honoring of the one who is now departed.
You tell the survivors that what they are experiencing is the presence not of loved ones but of masquerading spirits. "But he knows the details of our marriage," a widow might object.
Though evil spirits don't know everything, they do know some things, and if they've been assigned to monitor you they know a lot about your loved one and your relationship.
Frequently God will allow Christian loved ones to appear once, just after their death, to assure survivors that they are now made whole and in the presence of God. This is good and of God. But such appearances, when they happen, are singular occurrences.
The woman Davidson described was not having this type of God-encounter; she was dealing with a masquerading spirit. "We bound the spirit after the wife renounced trying to communicate with the dead," Davidson says. "She never had another encounter, and joy filled her home."
The key is that you command the spirit to leave until it does. Sometimes, however, the spirit is not a masquerading loved one but someone else.
The Rev. Bill Blomquist, now of Texas, tells of an incident that occurred when he and his wife lived in Colorado. Their house's previous occupants told them that a little girl would walk around the house dressed a certain way. They themselves had seen her.
One night, the Blomquists and some Christian friends who were with them sensed evil in the house, especially in the basement. One of the guests went to a corner of the basement and picked up what looked like an old rag. It was a little girl's dress, like the one the previous owners had seen on the "ghost."
"We had the discernment that the real girl had been molested down there," Bill Blomquist told me, "and perhaps the demon had integrated the girl's trauma into itself as it roamed around the house. After this time of prayer and praise we never had a visit from the 'ghost girl' again."
Whether the demon is masquerading as a loved one or as someone else, we do not have to suffer this experience. We take authority in Jesus' name and command the spirit to depart.
The Unquiet Dead
Many Spirit-filled pastors and Bible teachers throughout the church speculate that a third reason for unquietness in a place is the presence of the souls of unsaved people who died without being commended to the Lord.
They believe their souls are trapped here until someone tells them to go to God for their eternal fate. They're not demons trying to harm us or spirits trying to enter into a relationship with us, but souls seeking our help to be freed from being trapped on earth.
In my years in the inner-healing ministry I have worked with numerous women who were troubled with psychological and spiritual ailments. In some cases they had delivered a stillborn child or committed abortion.
Often the remains of their children had been discarded without their naming the child or commending him or her to God. In such cases, when we've named the child and commended him or her to God using the same prayers I use for deceased adults, significant healing has taken place. (In the case of abortion the sin also has to be acknowledged and repented of and God's forgiveness has to be asked.)
Spiritually mature Christians with a gift of discernment can sense there is a presence in places such as battlefields. Retired professor Walter Barge told me that as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam he was aware of presences as he flew over certain places. He later discovered each was a battle scene where many had died.
British missionary surgeon Dr. Kenneth McAll was once asked to minister to a man hospitalized with incurable cross-dressing, gender-confusion issues. He researched the family history and discovered the man had a twin sister who was stillborn.
The family never thought a funeral would be necessary for one who was born dead, and the surviving brother was never told of her existence. After the discovery, McAll had a funeral performed for the sister. Some days later the mental hospital called saying the man had suddenly changed and was ready to be taken home.
In his book Deliverance From Evil Spirits highly renowned healing leader Francis MacNutt tells us to "set the wandering souls at rest." But I'm cautious theologically so it took a firsthand experience of the unquiet dead for me to admit that this theory might have some validity.
Years ago I was ministering in Florida. Florence, a gracious, intelligent widow heard me speak about the believer's authority over darkness. She went to her pastor, the Rev. Bob Doing, with her story.
For years she had seen an Indian man standing at the foot of her bed each night. He was not threatening and did not speak. She told him to go away, but he didn't. In her bathroom was a woman kneeling, combing the hair of a little girl, and with another child standing nearby.
"How do I get rid of them?" she asked. Her home was in Lehigh Acres, Florida, a new town carved out of the high glades over which the Calusa Indians had roamed. We theorized that long before Florence and her husband built their home there, the Calusa family she had been seeing at night had come to a tragic end.
We went to her house and performed a funeral from her church's book of services for the Indian family. The encounters ceased. Her pastor concluded: "I learned the wisdom the church gained through the ages is right for yesterday and today and forever."
Some Christians may object to the theory that unsaved souls must be commended to God. Their first response will be, "Where's that in the Bible?"
The truth is, as Pentecostals and charismatics we experience many things in our church services and supernaturally that are of God but are not spelled out in Scripture. Where do we find in Scripture, for example, the practice of having altar calls? What about the experience of receiving gold fillings in one's teeth during a spiritual meeting?
Though we must not believe or practice anything that is forbidden in Scripture, many things that are of God are not specifically cited in His Word (see John 20:30). We must approach anything that Scripture neither mandates nor forbids with openness and humility.
Others may hypothesize that these "trapped souls" are really demons pretending to be lost souls. Yet several people have told me that when they use a funeral service, they get results—though performing exorcisms or commanding in Jesus' name don't solve the problem. Commanding a demon to leave will not change things if there is no demon to dispel.
Remember: The theory about trapped souls is simply that—a theory. But you will neither violate a commandment of God nor summon evil spirits if you conduct a funeral for a person who has died.
As believers, we don't have to put up with things that go bump in the night. We can, in Jesus' name, take authority over them—whatever their cause—and ask God to fill the places His people inhabit.
Source: Charisma Magazine
Fascination with evil and the occult can cause people to be oppressed or possessed by diabolic powers. Listen to prominent Catholic theologian and exorcist Fr. Malachi Martin on The Nature Of Evil, Exorcism & Possession http://bit.ly/bZqbrb and watch a real video on an exorcism http://bit.ly/cwG3fP
If you need help concerning haunted houses, please contact a deliverance prayer group in your area listed in [this worldwide directory.]
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010
My wife Bridie and I were on our annual holiday in Warrenpoint where we have a caravan. We were enjoying our vacation there when, on Monday July 8th, 1996, I heard the news that a Lurgan taxi driver had been murdered. Bridie and I just stared at each other. Our son Michael had taken a job as a part-time taxi driver in Lurgan, while he was studying for his degree at university. ‘If it had been anyone belonging to us, we would surely have known by now,’ said Bridie.
Later on in the morning came more news about the dead man ‘. . . early thirties, married with one child . . . wife expecting another . . . just graduated from Queen’s University . . .’ said the radio news bulletin. It was Michael. It couldn’t be anyone else - our son, our only child. We were so shocked that we just started screaming and shouting. I ran out of the caravan and, going down on my knees, I hit the ground with my fists.
“I felt we would never laugh or smile again”
I looked up to Heaven and shouted at God: ‘Hanging on the cross was nothing compared to what I am going through!’ I felt we would never laugh or smile again. I loved my son so much, and now he had been taken away from us. The thought that we would not see him again was too much to bear. The next day Bridie and I made the decision to take our own lives, because Michael was everything we had. Bridie suffers from arthritis and had plenty of tablets. But as I went to the kitchen, suddenly a picture of the crucified Christ came into my mind. It hit me that God’s Son, too, had been murdered - for us. I knew that what we planned to do was wrong. It still amazes me how God intervened in such a miraculous way to change our minds. At the wake, and before they put the lid on the coffin I went up to Michael’s body and, putting my two hands on top of his, I said: ‘Goodbye, son, I’ll see you in Heaven”.
As I said this, it was as if a great power went through me – I haven’t a clue what it was – it wasn’t earthly, that’s for sure. It was as if I had been filled with a great sense of joy and confidence in God. I felt as if I could have faced Goliath – I had never felt as strong in my whole life. From that moment my whole life changed I realised how much evil there was in Northern Ireland and I wanted to turn my life into something good and positive.
“Bury your pride with my son”
After the funeral, I saw a film crew filming. There was a lot of activity because of the Drumcree standoff. I knew I had to go over to them. That morning I had written on an envelope a word which had come so calmly and clearly to me: ‘Bury your pride with my son.’ At the bottom I wrote: ‘Forgive them.’ I felt that, despite the agony we were going through, God had given me a message of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation.
I didn’t want the people who had murdered Michael to devastate another family. Bridie and I received the grace and power to forgive Michael’s killers publicly. I knew it was the Holy Spirit speaking to us through the words of Jesus: ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ The words from the Our Father also kept ringing in my ear: ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’
I told the TV reporters that I forgave whoever had taken Michael’s life. Every morning I ask God, however, to continue to give me the grace to forgive those who murdered my child. The power and grace I experienced to forgive from the heart was such a freedom and release. I know that resentment and bitterness would have killed me. After my son’s murder, God gave me a clear grasp of the horror of sin, and I remember saying to God,” These hands will never do any evil again”. I realised that in the same way I had offered forgiveness to those who killed my son, God had forgiven me my sin.
Sometimes it is impossible for us to carry alone the burden of grief thrust upon us. We have to give it up and I have discovered that the best person to give it to is God. He completely takes it off your shoulders and points you in a different direction. Since Michael’s death I have been a changed man. Along with Bridie I started a relief ministry to orphanages in Romania. I feel as if Christ has taken hold of my life and I now want to take hold of Christ and give my life to loving God and serving people. Lasting friendships, across denominational barriers, have been built up in the process through this charity work. People have been pulled together in their desire to respond to the desperate need of others.
Michael died in April 2006 while on a mercy trip to an orphanage in Moldavia in Eastern Europe.
Edited testimony that appeared in “Adventures in Reconciliation” by Eugene Boyle & Paddy Monaghan and in the “Power to Change” booklet.
Source: Good News
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